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01.30.20

The Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organization (ILO-AT) is Moot, EPO Plays It Like a Fiddle

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 4:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Letter from Anette Koch to Battistelli

Letter from Koch to Battistelli

Summary: Another dark episode for EPO staff, staff representatives, and even ILO/ILO-AT (repeatedly failing to uphold the law at the EPO)

REGULAR READERS may already be familiar with Koch v EPO [1, 2, 3, 4], a case we last dealt with back in November, having researched some public postings. The latest developments, which are outlined with original documents in the tweets below, show that the management of the European Patent Office (EPO), i.e. lawyers of António Campinos and his cohorts, successfully managed to thwart any meaningful consideration of the case. ILO-AT has, as usual, gone along with it, demonstrating how toothless if not useless it can be. The tweets of relevance are added below in chronological order. Many people inside the EPO are likely familiar with this case already. It concerns a former staff representative.

In less than two weeks from now there will be further judgments and thus updates.

Links 30/1/2020: New Stable Kernels and FreeNAS 11.3

Posted in News Roundup at 1:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • IBM

        • OpenShift 4.3: The Project Launcher

          In Red Hat OpenShift 4.2, we introduced a number of new console customization features, including ConsoleNotifications, ConsoleExternalLogLinks, ConsoleLinks, and ConsoleCLIDownloads. New in 4.3, the ConsoleLink feature has been extended to cover even more use cases. In addition to the User Menu, Help Menu, and Application Menu, users can now add links to specific project dashboards.

        • Vault IDs in Red Hat Ansible and Red Hat Ansible Tower

          This article demonstrates the use of multiple vault passwords through vault IDs. You will learn how to use vault IDs to encrypt a file and a string. Once they’re encrypted, the vault ID can be referenced inside a playbook and used within Red Hat Ansible and Red Hat Ansible Tower.

        • What’s your biggest sysadmin pet peeve?

          But sometimes, it feels like it’s just a little harder than it needs to be.

          We’ve taken great pains to build standardized processes, establish systems for nearly everything, document our work, and make everything we can consistent and automatable. Our work may be difficult, but at least we’ve been able to bring it under control and make it predictable.

          Well, in theory. It never works out that way in practice.

          No matter how well-written our documentation is, that’s no guarantee it’s ever going to get read. No matter how many cases our ticketing system is designed to handle, somehow it never seems to prevent the unnecessary drive-by request. No matter how much care we put in to ensure that code deployments never happen late at night or on a weekend, sometimes they always do. Something breaks, and we get the call.

          Almost always, these things generate unplanned work, throw off our carefully-made plans, and cause slowdowns, missed deadlines, and, well, headaches.

          To some degree, that’s all just a part of the job. But that doesn’t stop us from grimacing and wishing perhaps, just this once, things had gone according to plan. So we’re curious: What unplanned activity irks you the most? We’ve listed a few common headaches we’ve heard above.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 842

        alpine linux, debian, docker, pi stuff

      • FreeBSD Down Under | BSD Now 335

        Hyperbola Developer interview, why you should migrate from Linux to BSD, FreeBSD is an amazing OS, improving the ptrace(2) API in LLVM 10, First FreeBSD conference in Australia, and a guide to containers on FreeNAS.

      • Host Your Blog the Right Way | Self-Hosted 11

        We each like different blogging platforms, and share why. Then our tips for keeping your server secure.

        Plus a great way to score cheap drives, a Project Off-Grid update, making your household light switches smart, and Alex’s review of the HDHomeRun.

    • Kernel Space

      • Need 32-bit Linux to run past 2038? When version 5.6 of the kernel pops, you’re in for a treat

        Linux fans intent on holding back the years will be delighted to hear that the upcoming version 5.6 of the kernel should see 32-bit systems hanging on past the dread Y2038.

        Arnd Bergmann, an engineer working on the thorny Y2038 problem in the Linux kernel, posted to the mailing list that, yup, Linux 5.6 “should be the first release that can serve as a base for a 32-bit system designed to run beyond year 2038″.

      • Linux 5.4.16

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.4.16 kernel.

        All users of the 5.4 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.4.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.4.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 4.19.100
      • Linux 4.14.169
      • Linux 4.4.212
      • Linux 4.9.212
      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Driver Revved But Not On Tap For Linux 5.6

        Earlier this month AMD finally published their Sensor Fusion Hub driver for Linux to improve the Ryzen laptop support. That new “SFH” driver hasn’t been queued as part of any Linux 5.6 pull request but a second version of the driver did make it out this week.

        The AMD Sensor Fusion Hub support has been long awaited and is needed for supporting the accelerometer/gyroscopic sensors on Ryzen laptops among other functionality. There have been requests for supporting the Sensor Fusion Hub on Linux going back to 2018.

      • Linux 5.6 Graphics Changes Bring Open-Source NVIDIA Turing, AMD Pollock Enablement

        The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) kernel driver updates were sent in today for Linux 5.6 with plenty of fun features in tow.

        Highlights of the open-source kernel graphics driver changes for Linux 5.6 consist of:

        - Nouveau Turing GeForce RTX 2000 series support albeit required on binary firmware images not yet published by NVIDIA. Beyond that, still no re-clocking support so the performance is quite slow. TU10x GPUs are supported and not yet TU11x.

      • Staging Changes Lighten The Linux 5.6 Kernel By More Than Thirty Thousand Lines

        With Linux 5.6 the staging area has seen new functionality but thanks to removing old code it ends up removing a fair number of lines of code from the kernel.

        The Linux 5.6 staging pull is adding just under eight thousand lines of code but deleting 40,990 lines. The lightening the kernel by 30k+ lines of code comes from dropping some old Cavium Octeon drivers, dropping a number of old ISDN components, and other clean-ups.

      • Systemd-Homed Merged As A Fundamental Change To Linux Home Directories

        Systemd-homed has been merged as the latest (optional) fundamental change to Linux distributions in how home directories are handled.

        Systemd-homed makes it easier to support migratable home directories, more self containment within home directories, better password and encryption handling, and other modern Linux home directory features.

        Some of the design objectives for systemd-homed are outlined in the documentation with support for LUKS encrypted volumes, mounting home directories from a CIFS server, FSCRYPT encryption, Btrfs sub-volume handling, and making use of JSON-formatted user records.

      • process_madvise(), pidfd capabilities, and the revenge of the PIDs

        Once upon a time, there were few ways for one process to operate upon another after its creation; sending signals and ptrace() were about it. In recent years, interest in providing ways for processes to control others has been on the increase, and the kernel’s process-management API has been expanded accordingly. Along these lines, the process_madvise() system call has been proposed as a way for one process to influence how memory management is done in another. There is a new process_madvise() series which is interesting in its own right, but this series has also raised a couple of questions about how process management should be improved in general.
        The existing madvise() system call allows a process to make suggestions to the kernel about how its address space should be managed. The 5.4 kernel saw a couple of new types of advice that could be provided with madvise(): MADV_COLD and MADV_PAGEOUT. The former requests that the kernel place the indicated range of pages onto the inactive list, essentially saying that they have not been used in a long time. Those pages will thus be among the first considered for reclaim if the kernel needs memory for other purposes. MADV_PAGEOUT, instead, is a stronger statement that the indicated pages are no longer needed; it will cause them to be reclaimed immediately.

        These new requests are useful for processes that know what their future access patterns will be. But it seems that in certain environments — Android, in particular — processes lack that knowledge, but the management system does know when certain memory ranges are no longer needed. The bulk of a process’s address space could be marked as MADV_COLD when that process is moved out of the foreground, for example. In such settings, letting one process call madvise() on behalf of another helps the system as a whole make the best use of its memory resources. That is the purpose behind the process_madvise() proposal.

      • KRSI and proprietary BPF programs

        The “kernel runtime security instrumentation” (or KRSI) patch set enables the attachment of BPF programs to every security hook in the kernel; LWN covered this work in December. That article focused on ABI issues, but it deferred another potential problem to our 2020 predictions: the possibility that vendors could start shipping proprietary BPF programs for use with frameworks like KRSI. Other developers did pick up on the possibility that KRSI could be abused this way, though, leading to a discussion on whether KRSI should continue to allow the loading of BPF programs that do not carry a GPL-compatible license.
        It may be surprising to some that the kernel, while allowing BPF programs to declare their license, is entirely happy to load programs that have a proprietary license. This behavior, though, is consistent with how the kernel handles loadable modules: any module can be loaded, but modules without a GPL-compatible license will not have access to many kernel symbols (any that are exported with EXPORT_SYMBOL_GPL()). BPF programs interact with the kernel through special “helper functions”, each of which must be explicitly exported; these, too, can have a “GPL only” marking on them. In current kernels, about 25% of the defined helpers are restricted to GPL-licensed code.

      • Scheduling for the Android display pipeline

        The default CPU-frequency governor used by Android is schedutil, which relies on the CPU utilization of the runnable tasks to select the frequency of the CPU they execute on: the higher the utilization, the higher the frequency of the CPU when they are runnable. This governor fits so well with the needs of mobile Android devices that, in Android, it also takes care of the SCHED_RT tasks, which are normally run at the maximum frequency in mainline Linux kernels.

        Schedutil chooses the lowest frequency sufficient not to overload the system, based on the measurement of the system utilization. This solution works well when tasks are independent and are able to run in parallel. But, whenever there is a dependency — tasks that are blocked on the completion of others — the single-task utilization accounting mechanism is no longer sufficient to define the requirements of the whole task set.

        For example, in the scenario shown below, schedutil sees that RenderThread only requires 50% of a CPU’s capacity, so it sets the CPU frequency to 50% of the maximum. But RenderThread cannot run until the UI thread has done its work — the two tasks cannot run in parallel — so it misses its deadline.

      • Control-flow integrity for the kernel

        Control-flow integrity (CFI) is a technique used to reduce the ability to redirect the execution of a program’s code in attacker-specified ways. The Clang compiler has some features that can assist in maintaining control-flow integrity, which have been applied to the Android kernel. Kees Cook gave a talk about CFI for the Linux kernel at the recently concluded linux.conf.au in Gold Coast, Australia.

        Cook said that he thinks about CFI as a way to reduce the attack, or exploit, surface of the kernel. Most compromises of the kernel involve an attacker gaining execution control, typically using some kind of write flaw to change system memory. These write flaws come in many flavors, generally with some restrictions (e.g. can only write a single zero or only a set of fixed byte values), but in the worst case, they can be a “write anything anywhere at any time” flaw. The latter, thankfully, is relatively rare.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Source Tree Includes WireGuard VPN

        The lean-coded, fast, modern, and secure WireGuard VPN protocol has made it into the Linux kernel as Linus Torvalds merged it into his source tree for version 5.6.

        The wait is closely coming to an end, with the next Linux kernel expected to be released in just a few months, considering that the latest refresh occurred on January 26.

        [...]

        Jason Donenfeld himself was excited about this step and shared that he tried to stay awake to see it happen, “refreshing Linus’ git repo on my phone until I was dreaming.”

        “I look forward to start refining some of rougher areas of WireGuard now,” announced the original author and developer of the project.

        Torvalds is a supporter of the WireGuard project. When Donenfeld made the pull request in 2018 to have it integrated into the Linux kernel, Torvalds expressed hope that the merge would happen soon.

      • Remembering the LAN

        We can have the LAN-like experience of the 90′s back again, and we can add the best parts of the 21st century internet. A safe small space of people we trust, where we can program away from the prying eyes of the multi-billion-person internet. Where the outright villainous will be kept at bay by good identity services and good crypto.

        The broader concept of virtualizing networks has existed forever: the Virtual Private Network. New protocols make VPNs better than before, Wireguard is pioneering easy and efficient tunneling between peers. Marry the VPN to identity, and make it work anywhere, and you can have a virtual 90s-style LAN made up of all your 21st century devices. Let the internet be the dumb pipe, let your endpoints determine who they will talk to based on the person at the other end.

    • Applications

      • 6 Best open source video editor in 2020

        When youtube and other similar platforms are proliferating then need of the best video editor software is at its zenith and if we get something in free and opensource to edit our videos than it would be ‘icing on the cake’.

        Now, we are in 2020 and already the Open-source software has gained a good reputation in the IT sector. It is because of the source code which is available for everyone that is not the case with closed software thus also reduce the risk of having spies or other third party spy software.

      • Dino is a Decent XMPP Client for Linux Desktops

        And it’s this service that Dino, a new desktop XMPP client for Linux desktops, makes use of.

        A small, lightweight chat app, Dino is designed with security, privacy and openness at its core, all presented in a clean, straight-forward and user-friendly interface.

        Dino is fully functional with other XMPP/Jabber clients and servers (i.e. you don’t need to be using the same app to chat) and it supports end-to-end encryption using OMEMO or OpenPGP.

      • New Update for bitfarm-Archiv GPL released

        New Update for bitfarm-Archiv GPL released
        As of today, GPL-Version 3.5.0 of the Open-Source-DMS document management system bitfarm-Archiv is available. The fully fledged DMS is in line with the current laws and contains five new features which effectively save users time.

      • Useful Backup Software For Linux In 2020

        Let’s have a quick look into the list of useful and best backup software for Linux based operating system in 2020.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Build your own first-person shooter in Unity

        Raspberry Pi Press is back with a new publication: this time, it’s Wireframe’s time to shine, with Build Your Own First-Person Shooter in Unity.

      • The Bad Seed DLC releases for Dead Cells on February 11

        One of my absolute favourite action platformers, the “RogueVania” game Dead Cells is getting a first DLC with The Bad Seed and it now has a release date of February 11.

        The Bad Seed should keep runs feeling fresh, with two new early-game biomes mixed with a bunch of new enemies and weapons plus “some unseen mechanics and a giant boss”. Sounds like everything the game needs once you’ve played multiple tens of hours in it.

      • ULTRAKILL – a fast-paced and rather violent FPS has a Steam page up and new demo coming soon

        Retro first-person shooters as a genre and theme are very much back in action, I am super happy about this and ULTRAKILL is one that needs to be in your sights.

        Fusing together elements from the classic like Quake, with modern touches from newer games and fast-paced character action from the likes of Devil May Cry it’s definitely got a unique feel to it.

        It currently has an older demo up on itch.io which we briefly covered before. Now, it has a Steam page up as it moves closer to a wider Early Access release and they’ve announced that a new demo will be coming soon.

      • Nightdive Studios have released some extended System Shock footage

        Excited for the System Shock remake? I certainly am! Nightdive Studios recently sent a special demo to backers but to keep the hype going for everyone else they’ve also doing a long new video.

        This is not the same as the demo recently released to the public, this is a bigger version that Nightdive will continue to update and backers keep hold of it until the game releases. You might want a coffee ready and the video is over an hour long but it’s a good look into what to expect from this hotly anticipated System Shock reboot.

      • Battle Axe has some awesome pixel-art with gameplay inspired by Gauntlet and Golden Axe

        Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Battle Axe looks impressive. A retro-themed pixel-art action adventure taking inspiration from the likes of Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara, and Knights Of The Round.

        It will be launching with Linux support, as clearly confirmed on the campaign page.

      • Tactical combat with time manipulation arrives with Iron Danger on March 25

        Today, Daedalic Entertainment and Action Squad Studios announced that their tactical combat game Iron Danger will release on March 25.

        An exciting sounding game with time manipulation mechanics and it looks pretty darn good visually too. The setting sounds equally delightful, with a mixture of nordic mythology, steampunk and tech noir. We covered this briefly back in September last year, where the developer confirmed Linux would happen. With the announcement today, Daedalic confirmed very clearly on Twitter that Linux support is in.

      • Rocket League Ends Online Multiplayer Support For Linux and macOS

        If you are playing Psyonix’s Rocket League on a Mac or Linux computer, you should know that the developer has announced that they will be dropping support for online multiplayer for the game on both those of these platforms. This will happen in March after a final patch for the game has been released.

        Harmonix says, “As we continue to upgrade Rocket League with new technologies, it is no longer viable for us to maintain support for the macOS and Linux (SteamOS) platforms. As a result, the final patch for the macOS and Linux versions of the game will be in March. This update will disable online functionality (such as in-game purchases) for players on macOS and Linux.”

      • Psyonix explains why Rocket League support for MacOS and Linux was pulled

        Psyonix has explained its reasons for pulling support for Rocket League on MacOS and Linux.

        Taking to the game’s subreddit, the developer detailed its decision to stop supporting these operating systems and said that MacOS and Linux users can get a refund.

        Combined, less than 0.3 per cent of the games player base are found on both platforms.

        “Rocket League is an evolving game, and part of that evolution is keeping our game client up to date with modern features. As part of that evolution, we’ll be updating our Windows version from 32-bit to 64-bit later this year, as well as updating to DirectX 11 from DirectX 9,” said the Reddit update.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Best Linux Distros For Programmers

        Linux distributions allow you to not only browse the web but also to work on any other necessary tasks. The Linux kernel is very flexible and it enables developers to make any modifications and contributions they want. Besides, Linux can run on any hardware and is compatible with all the popular programming languages.

        The flexibility of Linux distros is a reason why Linux has always been so popular among programmers. Some distros have quite impressive functionality and many useful tools, offering the best environment for software developers. We prepared this list of the seven best distros so that you can choose the one that fits your objectives.

      • Meet Zorin Grid: A Slick Linux Desktop Management Tool For Schools And Businesses

        If you’re a decision maker for a business, school or organization that’s been tempted to migrate your PCs to Linux now that free support has ended for Windows 7, you’ve probably identified some pain points. Desktop Linux distributions like Zorin OS are fast, secure and feature an attractive desktop that feels familiar. But you need a solution for centrally managing, securing and monitoring those PCs. You also need cross-platform software that fills the void when you make the switch permanent. That’s exactly where the newly announced Zorin Grid plans to enter the picture later this year.

      • Reviews

        • Beelink Gemini T45 Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review

          No sooner had I written ‘Beelink T45 Review with Windows and Linux, and Tweaking BIOS Power Limits’ than Beelink announce they wouldn’t in fact sell that configuration but an ‘updated’ version.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 is here with a new theme and single installer image

          The minds behind Kali Linux, namely Offensive Security, started the decade with a new update that focuses on improving the user interface, making installation more straightforward, and abandoning the root user model.

          If you haven’t heard much about Kali Linux, it makes sense to first introduce it to you all before getting to its latest version details. It is an operating system that is powered by Debian and focuses on penetration testing and ethical hacking.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Solus OS 4.1 Plasma Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Solus OS 4.1 Plasma.

        • What’s New in Elementary OS 5.1 Hera

          Elementary OS 5.1 codename “Hera” is the latest minor release of Elementary OS 5.0, brings a major update that adds many improvements and new features, as well as updated components and fresh new artwork.

          In this release, Elementary OS 5.1 based on ubuntu 18.04 LTS includes base packages and powered Linux kernel 5.0. Implemented out-of-the-box Flatpak support to make it easier and secure for users to install third-party apps that are not available in the AppCenter but are essential for their everyday tasks.

          Also, it comes with Sideload, a new, in-house built graphical utility that lets you install Flatpak apps with a single click. In addition, elementary OS 5.1 adds Flatpak support to the AppCenter so that users can manage Flatpak apps alongside regular applications from the official repositories.

      • Gentoo Family

        • exGENT 2020 Linux Distro Makes Gentoo Fun to Use with the LXQt Desktop

          Arne Exton’s exGENT GNU/Linux distribution aims to continue the tradition of Gentoo-based live distros with a new release that puts the latest LXQt 0.14.1 desktop environment in the spotlight.

          We all know by now that Gentoo is one of the hardest Linux-based operating systems to install due to packages needing to be compiled from sources locally. But the good thing about Gentoo is that it doesn’t uses a one-size fits all approach, which mens that it can be fully optimized for specific hardware.

          Newcomers who want to try Gentoo Linux on their personal computer have a hard time due to the lack of Gentoo-based live distributions. Here’s where exGENT Linux comes into play, promising to offer users an up-to-date Gentoo-based live system that can be installed in a few minutes.

      • Debian Family

        • Mollamby: the Debian Developer certificate

          In March 2018, the script for generating Debian Developer certificates was updated to create certificates for non-uploading Debian Developers.

          We can see that in the logs of the Debian keyring, the Debian Project Leader’s girlfriend, Molly de Blanc, was added to the Debian Developer non-uploading keyring in December 2018.

          In April 2019, Miss de Blanc started a new job at GNOME Foundation.

          If you assume she had to give her previous employer, the FSF, one or two months notice, then she probably received the GNOME job offer in January or February. Take another step backwards and it appears she was in the process of making job applications in December 2018.

          It appears that the DPL’s girlfriend was promoted and given that holy DD status at the very time she was looking for a job.

          [...]

          Ironically, McGovern’s email accuses the person asking the question of being divisive. Yet just weeks later, Neil McGovern played a key role in one of the most divisive events in the entire history of free software, ambushing de Blanc’s former boss, Richard Stallman, using his GNOME title to add weight to an anti-RMS attack blog.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 open source productivity tools on my wishlist

        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.

        But what about…

        When searching for productivity apps, I never find everything I want, and I almost always miss something great that my readers share with me. So, as I bring this series to a close, it’s time again to talk about some of the topics I failed to cover in this year’s series.

      • Run your network with open source software

        Way back in 2005, a company called Vyatta was founded by Allan Leinwand. It offered the first commercially supported, open source router and firewall solution. Named after the ancient Sanskrit for “open,” the company’s goal of bringing open source networking products to the market was so successful that it was purchased by competitor Brocade. This effectively killed Vyatta, but because Vyatta’s product was open source, it didn’t stop it. As it turns out, Vyatta’s software-defined networking capabilities have been continued and developed as VyOS.

        The VyOS distribution is based on Debian Linux, with source code available from a Git repository and a rolling release ISO. For mission-critical applications, there are long-term support releases and support contracts.

      • Events

        • Jonathan Dowland: FOSDEM 2020 timetable

          This coming week is FOSDEM! If you’re like me and find schedule planning easier with paper and highlighters, this might be useful.

          FOSDEM provide a (30 page) schedule PDF for printing, but the printing order doesn’t clearly show which tracks are in parallel.

        • Steve McIntyre: Presenting guest lectures at the University of Lincoln, January 2020

          Dr Charles Fox from the University of Lincoln contacted me out of the blue back in September. He asked me if I would give a couple of guest lectures to his Computer Science students. I was deeply flattered! I took him up on his invitation, and on Tuesday 28th Jan I headed up to visit him and the TSE students.

          My first talk was to provide background on Free and Open Source Software. I started with the history of software in the 1950s, working forwards through the events that sparked the FLOSS movement. I spoke about the philosophical similarities and differences between Free Software and Open Source, and how FLOSS has grown to a state of near-ubiquity. Several of the students are already involved in some existing FLOSS projects, so I was clearly preaching to the choir! I hope I managed to interest the rest of the audience too; I certainly had a warm welcome!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Released with New Features, Performance Improvements

          The new version includes a QR code generator, which technically makes it easier for users to add QR codes in their documents. The QR codes can then be scanned with a mobile phone for links and other information.

          The Document Foundation says it has also focused on improving consistency across the entire suite, so it updated the hyperlink context menus to display the same options regardless of the app you’re using. So beginning with this release, there are four hyperlink options, namely Open Hyperlink, Edit Hyperlink, Copy Hyperlink Location and Remove Hyperlink.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS 11.3-RELEASE

          We are pleased to announce the general availability of FreeNAS 11.3-RELEASE! The 11.3 series represents a year-long development effort and brings with it a wide variety of improvements and fixes.

          Please read these Release Notes thoroughly before updating to become familiar with the potential impacts of the many new features brought in by this update. Please report any bugs to https://jira.ixsystems.com/projects/NAS.

          To install this release, refer to https://www.freenas.org/download/ for installation instructions and to download the installation file.

        • FreeNAS 11.3 Released With A Plethora Of Improvements

          FreeNAS 11.3 has a year’s worth of improvements and features a much improved Replication Engine, managing SMB ACLs via the FreeNAS web user-interface, SMB Shadow Copies being enabled by default for new shares, an iSCSI wizard, dashboard updates, ZFS performance optimizations, new APIs, and much more.

      • FSF/Similar

        • FSFellowship releases sticker set 1.0 for download

          FSFellowship is releasing our first stickers. These are licensed CC-BY for you to use as you see fit.

          You can download an A4 PDF with four stickers to a page and then print it onto A4 label paper in your printer.

          These stickers were produced with free software using LibreOffice. You can download the LibreOffice document here.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • US court fully legalized website scraping and technically prohibited it

            On September 9, the U.S. 9th circuit court of Appeals ruled (Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California) that web scraping public sites does not violate the CFAA (Computer Fraud and Abuse Act).

            This is a really important decision. The court not only legalized this practice, but also prohibited competitors from removing information from your site automatically if the site is public. The court confirmed the clear logic that the entry of the web scraper bot is not legally different from the entry of the browser. In both cases, the “user” requests open data — and does something with it on their side.

      • Programming/Development

        • Development corner: IDEs and tools that can make your coding more productive

          Every craft needs craftsmen, every craftsman needs tools. If you make a living developing code, you want a friendly ecosystem to help you achieve best results from your work. Good development software will allow you to achieve higher productivity and precision, leading to a product that is more effective and with fewer bugs. Finding the right tools is an important part of this equation. Let’s see if we can assist in the search.

        • Libvirt: adoption of GLib library to replace GNULIB & home grown code

          These problems are common to many applications / libraries that are written in C and thus there are a number of libraries that attempt to provide a high level “standard library”. The GLib library is one such effort from the GNOME project developers that has long been appealing. Some of libvirt’s internal APIs are inspired by those present in GLib, and it has been used by QEMU for a long time too. What prevented libvirt from using GLib in the past was the desire to catch, report and handle OOM errors. With the switch to aborting on OOM, the only blocker to use of GLib was eliminated.

          The decision was thus made for libvirt to adopt the GLib library in the latter part of 2019. From the POV of application developers nothing will change in libvirt. The usage of GLib is purely internal, and so doesn’t leak into public API exposed from libvirt.so, which is remains compatible with what came before. In the case of QEMU/KVM hosts at least, there is also no change in what must be installed on hosts, since GLib was already a dependency of QEMU for many years. This will ultimately be a net win, as using GLib will eliminate other code in libvirt, reducing the installation footprint on aggregate between libvirt and QEMU.

          With a large codebase such as libvirt’s, adopting GLib is a not as quick as flicking a switch. Some key pieces of libvirt functionality have been ported to use GLib APIs completely, while in other cases the work is going to be an incremental ongoing effort over a long time. This offers plenty of opportunities for new contributors to jump in and make useful changes which are fairly easily understood & straightforward to implement.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Lua

          Lua is a lightweight, small, compact, and fast programming language designed as an embeddable scripting language. This cross-platform interpreted language has a simple syntax with powerful data description constructs. It has automatic memory management and incremental garbage collection, making it ideal for configuration, scripting, and rapid prototyping. Lua tries to help you solve problems with only hundreds of lines, or even less. To achieve this aim, Lua relies on extensibility.

          In the popularity stakes, Lua lags behind say Python, Perl, or Ruby for scripting purposes. As a barometer of its popularity, Lua is currently ranked in 41st place on the TIOBE Index (January 2020).

          Lua is not designed to develop standalone software. But Lua excels as a secondary language. Witness Lua cropping up in kernels, tools, and games. Lua was designed, from the beginning, to be integrated with software written in C and other conventional languages. But it’s also used as a standalone language.

          This language is free software distributed under the terms of the MIT license. Lua’s developers consist of a team at PUC-Rio, the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The language has been in development for 26 years.

        • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 323

          Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

        • Python

          • Random Forests (and Extremely) in Python with scikit-learn

            In this guest post, you will learn by example how to do two popular machine learning techniques called random forest and extremely random forests. In fact, this post is an excerpt (adapted to the blog format) from the forthcoming Artificial Intelligence with Python – Second Edition: Your Complete Guide to Building Intelligent Apps using Python 3.x and TensorFlow 2. Now, before you will learn how to carry out random forests in Python with scikit-learn, you will find some brief information about the book.

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.1 – January 29, 2020

            Wing 7.2.1 fixes debug process group termination, avoids failures seen when pasting some Python code, prevents crashing in vi browse mode when the first line of the file is blank, and fixes some other usability issues.

          • A tiny Python called Snek

            Keith Packard is no stranger to the linux.conf.au stage; he has spoken on a wide variety of topics since he started going to the conference in 2004 (which was held in Adelaide, where organizers apparently had a lot of ice cream for attendees). One of his talks at this year’s conference was on an education-focused project that he has been working on for around a year: a version of Python called “Snek” targeting embedded processors. He gave a look at some of the history of his work with 10-12 year-old students that led to the development of Snek as well as some plans for the language—and hardware to run it on—moving forward.

  • Leftovers

    • Soviet Hippies: The Grass is Greener on the Other Side

      Terje Toomistu’s Soviet Hippies is a strange trippy film. It’s full of characters coming out of a thaw, as if you were watching George Romero’s zombies in Night of the Living Dead go backwards to where they started from and find themselves in the Amazing Mirror Maze at Mall of America® — liking what they’re seeing for the first time. But one dimension removed.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Judge forces insurer to help small business to clean up after a crippling ransomware attack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          A Maryland federal judge on Thursday ruled that an Ohio insurer must cover the costs following a ransomware attack that forced a client to replace much of its technology. State Auto Property & Casualty Insurance is on the hook for losses incurred by National Ink & Stitch, a Maryland screen printing business, after a 2016 hack resulted in “direct physical loss or damage” of National Ink & Stitch’s property.

          No dollar figure has been set yet. The embroidery company had sought $310,000 in damages from State Auto, which has a $1.3 billion market cap.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • NSA cloud advice, Facebook open source year in review, and more industry trends

              As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

        • Security

          • Leaked Report Shows United Nations Suffered Hack

            Sophisticated hackers infiltrated U.N. offices in Geneva and Vienna last year in an apparent espionage operation, and their identity and the extent of the data they obtained is unknown.

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

            • Critical OpenSMTPD Bug Opens Linux and OpenBSD Mail Servers to Hackers

              Cybersecurity researchers have discovered a new critical vulnerability (CVE-2020-7247) in the OpenSMTPD email server that could allow remote attackers to take complete control over BSD and many Linux based servers.
              OpenSMTPD is an open-source implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol that was initially developed as part of the OpenBSD project but now comes pre-installed on many UNIX-based systems.
              According to Qualys Research Labs, who discovered this vulnerability, the issue resides in the OpenSMTPD’s sender address validation function, called smtp_mailaddr(), which can be exploited to execute arbitrary shell commands with elevated root privileges on a vulnerable server just by sending specially crafted SMTP messages to it.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facial Recognition Company Clearview Lied About Its Crime-Solving Power In Pitches To Law Enforcement Agencies

              A very questionable facial recognition tool being offered to law enforcement was recently exposed by Kashmir Hill for the New York Times. Clearview — created by a developer previously best known for an app that let people put Trump’s “hair” on their own photos — is being pitched to law enforcement agencies as a better AI solution for all their “who TF is this guy” problems.

            • UK Ignores US, Won’t Fully Ban Huawei Gear From Its Networks

              We’ve repeatedly noted that while Huawei certainly engages in some clearly sketchy shit (like any good unaccountable telecom giant), the evidence supporting the global blacklist of the company has been lacking. The Trump administration still hasn’t provided any public evidence supporting the central justification for the global blackballing effort (that Huawei works for China to spy wholesale on Americans), and at least some of the effort is little more than gamesmanship by companies like Cisco, which don’t want to compete with cheaper Chinese gear as they hunt down network and 5G contracts.

            • Puerto Rico’s Justice Department Demanded Info From Facebook About Journalists Who Livestreamed Protests

              Historically, the DOJ hasn’t really let the First Amendment stand in the way of its investigations. In very recent history, the FBI has targeted journalists to hunt down leakers, and has impersonated journalists during investigations. While the DOJ and FBI have dealt with some limited repercussions due to their targeting of First Amendment activities (which includes targeting Muslims because they’re Muslims), it really hasn’t promised to stop doing this. Nor has it been told to stop doing this. Instead, the DOJ has simply made it slightly more difficult for investigators to violate people’s rights.

            • Why Public Wi-Fi is a Lot Safer Than You Think

              If you follow security on the Internet, you may have seen articles warning you to “beware of public Wi-Fi networks” in cafes, airports, hotels, and other public places. But now, due to the widespread deployment of HTTPS encryption on most popular websites, advice to avoid public Wi-Fi is mostly out of date and applicable to a lot fewer people than it once was.

              The advice stems from the early days of the Internet, when most communication was not encrypted. At that time, if someone could snoop on your network communications—for instance by sniffing packets from unencrypted Wi-Fi or by being the NSA—they could read your email. They could also steal your passwords or your login cookies and impersonate you on your favorite sites. This was widely accepted as a risk of using the Internet. Sites that used HTTPS on all pages were safe, but such sites were vanishingly rare.However, starting in 2010 that all changed. Eric Butler released Firesheep, an easy-to-use demonstration of “sniffing” insecure HTTP to take over people’s accounts. Site owners started to take note and realized they needed to implement HTTPS (the more secure, encrypted version of HTTP) for every page on their site. The timing was good: earlier that year, Google had turned on HTTPS by default for all Gmail users and reported that the costs to do so were quite low. Hardware and software had advanced to the point where encrypting web browsing was easy and cheap.

            • U.K. Police Will Soon be able to Search Through U.S. Data Without Asking a Judge

              Law enforcement officials in the U.S. and U.K. have negotiated a deal that sells out the privacy rights of the public in both nations. For Americans, it will effectively abrogate Fourth Amendment protections, and subject their data to search and seizure by foreign police.

              This is all going to start happening in a few months—unless Congress does something to stop it now. That’s why we’re launching an action today, asking you to reach out to your members of Congress and tell them to introduce a joint resolution that could put a halt to the deal. If it isn’t stopped, the worst parts of this deal will likely come standard on future agreements, and Americans will be subject to more and more searches by foreign police.

            • ‘This Type of Surveillance Threatens Us All’
            • New Bill Would Make Needed Steps Toward Curbing Mass Surveillance

              Last week, Sens. Ron Wyden (D–Oregon) and Steve Daines (R–Montana) along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D–California), Warren Davidson (R–Ohio), and Pramila Jayapal (D–Washington) introduced the Safeguarding Americans’ Private Records Act (SAPRA), H.R 5675. This bipartisan legislation includes significant reforms to the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance authorities, including Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act allows the government to obtain a secret court order requiring third parties, such as telephone providers, Internet providers, and financial institutions, to hand over business records or any other “tangible thing” deemed “relevant” to an international terrorism, counterespionage, or foreign intelligence investigation. If Congress does not act, Section 215 is set to expire on March 15.

              The bill comes at a moment of renewed scrutiny of the government’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). A report from the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released late last year found significant problems in the government’s handling of surveillance of Carter Page, one of President Trump’s former campaign advisors. This renewed bipartisan interest in FISA transparency and accountability—in combination with the March 15 sunset of Section 215—provides strong incentives for Congress to enact meaningful reform of an all-too secretive and invasive surveillance apparatus.

            • PayPal Forecast Disappoints as Acquisitions Weigh on Profit

              Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman has been pushing PayPal into new partnerships with banks, technology giants and e-commerce platforms as he seeks to make it a versatile financial tool rather than just a payment method for websites. In November, PayPal spent about $4 billion to buy the coupon shopping app Honey, gaining access to valuable data on consumer buying habits. About 17 million people use Honey apps or web browser extensions to find discounts at online shopping sites.

              Last year PayPal also took a majority stake in China’s GoPay, and in December, it announced an agreement with Latin America’s MercadoLibre to offer payments in Brazil and Mexico. Earlier this month, PayPal announced an expansion of its partnership with UnionPay, which could boost its presence in China’s massive payments system.

            • Google’s tearjerker Super Bowl ad is sad and creepy

              Given all the ways it collects data on us, it’s depressing to consider that Google apparently doesn’t see anything unsettling about an ad that highlights a grieving widower providing the search giant with even more personal details. What kinds of ads would our voiceover man see in Google Chrome after feeding this information to Assistant — cruises to Alaska? Mustache trimmers? Funeral services? Gross, right? But that’s what Google’s good at: convincing us that, sure, you have to give up a little privacy, but look at all you get in return.

            • Facebook’s messaging apps are more important than ever as revenue growth stalls

              More pressing, however, is that while Facebook’s user growth remains steady, the same cannot be said for its revenue and profit. Facebook still makes money hand over fist, of course, but the future of the business depends on finding ways to make more money from those new users, and that doesn’t appear to be happening even as Facebook can say more people use its products than ever before. Profit growth this past quarter compared with the fourth quarter of 2018 was only 7 percent, compared to the whopping 61 percent jump Facebook experienced a year ago.

            • Confidentiality

              • [Older] Equifax Ordered to Spend $1 Billion on Data Security [iophk: Windows TCO]

                After agreeing to pay up to $700 million to settle charges brought by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Equifax now must pay an additional $380.5 million into a fund for class action benefits, attorneys’ fees, expenses, service awards and notice and administration costs, bringing the tally to well over $1 billion.

                But expenses associated with the massive cyber blunder don’t stop here. Chief Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr., in the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta, has ordered Equifax to fork out an additional $1 billion to strengthen its cybersecurity posture and ensure history doesn’t repeat itself.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • After a Half Century of Corporate Dominance Over the Food Economy, Change Is Coming

        Family farmers are fighting back against Big Ag to put forth a complete overhaul of industrial agribusiness policies, supplanting them with sensible, democratic approaches to serve the common good.

      • The Davos Set’s Most Dangerous Delusion

        Few thinkers are more deserving of criticism than Milton Friedman. Not only was he the late 20th century’s leading proponent of unfettered capitalism, he served as one of the intellectual fathers of the neoliberal ideology that has been so dominant (and destructive) over the past 50 years. It is no exaggeration to say that the Chicago School economist was one of the most—if not the most—influential ideologists of the past half-century, shaping economic policy in Washington and beyond while providing an effective intellectual apologia for capitalists, who seldom fail to put profit over people.

      • Brexit Deal Cleared by EU Parliament; U.K. Set to Leave Friday

        The European Union grudgingly let go of the United Kingdom with a final vote Wednesday at the EU’s parliament that ended the Brexit divorce battle and set the scene for tough trade negotiations in the year ahead.

      • BoJo Johnson’s Brexit Fantasies

        Immediately after his general election victory BoJo jetted to the private Caribbean island of Mustique with his latest mistress. Sequestered in a rental villa that cost £20,000/$26000 a week for a couple of weeks (probably paid for by one of his billionaire pals), and supposedly chugging down vodka martinis while sunning his plump frame on the beach, BoJo was unavailable for a response at the start of the Iran crisis. Not that he would have done much. With an unenviable track-record when it comes to being Trump’s lapdog, his response would have been all-too predictable.

      • Condemning NAFTA 2.0 as ‘Giveaway to Fossil Fuel Industry,’ Sanders Vows to Immediately Renegotiate Trump Deal If Elected

        “We need a trade policy that works for the working class and improves the environment. And that’s exactly what I will fight for as president.”

      • Trump: New Trade Deal With Canada, Mexico to Boost U.S. Growth

        President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed into law a major rewrite of the rules of trade with Canada and Mexico that he said replaces the “nightmare” of a Clinton-era agreement and will keep jobs, wealth and growth in America.

      • Trump Legal Team Donated Thousands to GOP Senators Ahead of Impeachment Trial

        President Trump’s legal team made numerous campaign contributions to Republican senators overseeing the impeachment trial.

      • 10 Things Every American Needs to Know About Trump’s Impeachment

        Don’t get bogged down by the marathon minute-by-minute coverage of the Senate impeachment trial stretching late into the night. Don’t get overwhelmed by all the complex procedural maneuvers aimed at securing a fair and open trial with witness testimony and new documents that Republicans want to prevent at all costs.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Mutually Assured Madness: Immunity to the 25th Amendment

        When Ronald Reagan first arrived at the White House after his big electoral victory over President Jimmy Carter in November 1980, and was now cleared to see and know all the secrets and issue commands, he was asked what he wanted to do first. He asked to see the War Room. The aides, handlers, military and security people were puzzled, what War Room? Reagan described the one with the big circular-arc table and circular-arc overhead light, and the big screen-map of the world that would show the progressive trajectories of B-52 bombers making a nuclear attack on Russia, in the event of such an attack. Reagan was told there was no such War Room. “But I saw it in a movie!” he protested. Indeed, we all saw it in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 phenomenal cinema satire of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) nuclear war (Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb).

      • ‘Out of Touch’ Pro-Israel Group Criticized for Ads Hitting Bernie Sanders on Electability

        “They know they are increasingly out-of-touch with Democratic voters, so they have to hide behind tired talking points about electability instead.”

      • With Bernie Sanders Now a Frontrunner, Corporate Media Smears His as Trump-ish

        Demonizing attacks will likely evolve, especially because the elite in both parties hates and fears Sanders so much that they would prefer Trump to Sanders.

      • ‘Absurd’: Sanders Campaign Hits Back at AP Story Equating Bernie’s Social Security Record With Biden’s

        “While Joe Biden was calling for cuts to Social Security, Bernie was sponsoring bills to block cuts and expand benefits.”

      • How to Survive this Election

        Having closely followed the 2016 Election, from the clear signs of manipulation and potential fraud in the earliest Primaries to the finger-pointing and hysteria over alleged Russian “election hacking” after one of the most unpopular US Presidential candidates in History beat another of the most unpopular of the US Presidential candidates in History, I resolved to stop following the media circus that passes for “politics” in our country. I thus managed to steer clear of what promised to be a remake of the 2016 Election – until last week when the CNN attack on Sanders finally drew me in.

      • The Swamp That Trump Built

        My favorite line from the Trumpist defense of their boss so far is from attorney Jay Sekulow. As the opening argument wound down, he told the Senate and whomever else was listening that “justice demands” the articles of impeachment against Trump “must be rejected.” There were a lot of things going on in the defense’s opening statements of Trump’s impeachment trial. Justice, however, was not one of them. Power, absolutism, corruption and denial were present, but a quest for justice certainly wasn’t, not even within the narrow confines of these stunted proceedings. The process continues in less than twenty-four hours with the likelihood that the show will continue to produce more repetition, denial and obstruction, which is how I would describe business as usual in Washington on most days. The impeachment process has just consolidated it all and put it on television. One thing I have had confirmed during my viewing is that there are a lot of lousy and overpriced attorneys who only seem smart because their clients are not.

      • ‘Huge’: Bernie Sanders Endorses Progressive Primary Challenger Jessica Cisneros

        “We’re proud that presidential candidates are taking a close look at South Texas as we fight to turn Texas blue in November—and that they know we’re the only candidate in this race who will champion Democratic values in Washington.”

      • A Different Impeachment

        For over two centuries, the American military has protected us by protecting our nation. Now it is time for the nation to protect the American military, by removing Donald Trump from the Presidency.

      • The End of American Exceptionalism? Study Indicates Failure of US Democracy Creating Wave of Self Doubt

        A new study shows that less than half of all Americans are satisfied with the nation’s democratic system.

      • US: Returns to Mexico Threaten Rights, Security
      • Why the Green Party isn’t the Problem

        I just read the open letter by Noam Chomsky, Bill Fletcher, Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathy Kelly, Ron Daniels, Leslie Cagan, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert calling on the Green Party not to run a candidate this year.

      • Bring It On: Why Democrats Should Take the Hunter Biden for John Bolton Trade

        What’s the worst that can happen?  Quite likely we will “learn” what we already know.

      • Trump Trial: Pointed Questioning With Bolton Book at the Center

        President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial shifted swiftly to pointed, back-and-forth questioning Wednesday as Republicans strained to contain the fallout over John Bolton’s forthcoming book, which threatens their hopes of ending the trial with a quick acquittal.

      • John Bolton Is a Shark, and There’s Blood in the Water
      • ‘He’s Desperate’: Trump Rants About Impeachment ‘Con Job’ as McConnell Admits He Doesn’t Have Votes to Block Witnesses

        “The pressure is working,” said Indivisible. “We need to hear from Bolton and the other witnesses who know exactly how egregious Trump’s abuse of power was.”

      • Game Over
      • The Impeachment Trial Has Been a Farce Staged by the GOP Since Day One

        At the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow Republican senators in a private meeting Tuesday that he does not yet have enough votes to block Democrats from calling impeachment witnesses. Democrats have pushed for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. On Sunday night, The New York Times published details about a draft of Bolton’s forthcoming book, in which he claims Trump personally told him in August he wanted to maintain a freeze on $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Ukraine turned over materials related to former Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday, Trump’s defense team wrapped up their opening arguments. We speak with Mehdi Hasan, senior columnist at The Intercept and host of “UpFront” on Al Jazeera English. John Bolton’s role in the impeachment trial is “hugely ironic, because we’ve always known that John Bolton wanted regime change around the world; I just didn’t realize he wanted regime change in Washington, D.C.,” Hasan says.

      • Impeachment Battles Could Determine Who Holds Real Power in the US Government

        The legal and constitutional battles sparked by President Trump’s behavior could affect how the U.S. government works for generations, long after the impeachment trial is over.

      • What Happens If Iowa and Nevada’s 2020 Caucuses Are Disrupted?

        In 2012, the Iowa Republican Party named Mitt Romney (now Utah’s senator) as the winner of its presidential caucuses. But 16 days later, long after Romney rode a wave of momentum into New Hampshire, the Iowa GOP said that then-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum had actually won after votes that weren’t turned in on caucus night were counted.

      • Dershowitz Is Wrong — Abuse of Power Is Grounds for Impeachment

        Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard emeritus law professor who is serving as a hired gun for Team Trump, is arguing that even if John Bolton testifies that Trump admitted the quid pro quo with Ukraine to him, the Senate could not remove the president from office. Dershowitz has gone so far as to say that even if Trump told Bolton he was withholding the congressionally authorized military aid to Ukraine until it helped him with an investigation of the Bidens, that is still not impeachable conduct.

      • New U.S. law requires government to report risks of overseas activities by ex-spies

        The new measure was driven by a Reuters investigation revealing how former National Security Agency employees clandestinely assisted a foreign cyber espionage operation in the United Arab Emirates, helping the monarchy target rivals, dissidents and journalists.

      • The US Is Losing Its Fight Against Huawei

        Now, as it weighs how to proceed, the US must confront a difficult question: Is it really prepared to cut off intelligence sharing with key partners who open their doors to Huawei? And if so, will it ultimately hand China yet another victory by weakening the very global alliance that could counter the rising superpower?

      • Presidential Primaries: What You Need to Know

        Every four years, our country holds a general election to decide who will be our next president. Before that happens, though, each party must choose its candidate through primary elections.But our system of primaries can be a bit confusing. So here’s a quick primer on the upcoming primaries, containing the most important things you need to know based on the most frequently asked questions:Are primaries, caucuses, and conventions written into the Constitution? No. The Constitution says nothing about primaries or caucuses. Or about political parties. So where did primaries and caucuses come from?From the parties themselves. The first major political party convention was held in 1831 by the National Republican Party (also known as the Anti-Jacksonian Party). The first Democratic National Convention was held in 1832. Who decides how primaries are run? It’s all up to the parties at the state level. Political parties can even decide not to hold a primary. This year, five states have decided not to hold Republican presidential primaries and caucuses, a move designed to stop Donald Trump’s long-shot primary challengers. Can state laws override party decisions? No. In 1981, the Supreme Court held that the Democratic Party wasn’t required to admit Wisconsin delegates to its national convention since they hadn’t been selected in accordance with Democratic Party rules. The court said that a political party is protected by the First Amendment to come up with its own rules. Why  did we start holding primaries? In the 19th century, the process for deciding on a party’s nominee was controlled by party bosses, who chose the delegates to the party conventions. In the early 20th century, some states began to hold primaries to choose delegates for party nominating conventions. Although the outcomes of those primaries weren’t binding, they sent a message about how a candidate might do in a general election. In 1960, for example, John F. Kennedy’s victory in the West Virginia primary [archival footage] was viewed by Democratic Party leaders as a strong sign that a Catholic like Kennedy could win the votes of Protestants. As recently as 1968, a candidate could still become the Democratic nominee without participating in any primaries, as Hubert Humphrey did that year. But since then, both parties have changed their rules so their presidential nominees depend on the outcomes of primaries and caucuses. They made these changes to better ensure their candidates would succeed in the general election. What’s the difference between a caucus and a primary?States that hold primaries allow voters to cast secret ballots in support of candidates. States that hold caucuses rely instead on local in-person gatherings at a particular time and place – maybe in a high school gym or a library – where voters who turn up openly decide which candidates to support. Here are the states that will have Democratic primaries in 2020 and those that will have caucuses: Iowa, Nevada, Kansas, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Maine.What’s the advantage of one over the other?Primaries are the easiest way to vote.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Time Magazine Explains Why Section 230 Is So Vital To Protecting Free Speech

        For years now, we’ve been highlighting just how bad various mainstream media publications have been in discussing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Therefore, it’s a bit of a pleasant surprise to find out that Time Magazine has published an excellent explainer by David French, a lawyer who has been a long time free speech supporter. At the very least, this new article makes up for an earlier Time article that appears (like so many) to confuse Section 230 with the 1st Amendment in terms of what enables the posting of disinformation online.

      • Home Owners Association Threatens Residents With Lawsuit For Online Criticism

        The fights involving Home Owners Associations (HOAs) are so legendary and stereotyped that they’ve even been a minor plot point in Seinfeld. The general stereotype is that HOAs involve insane political power struggles, significantly out of proportion to the actual issues at hand. It is often an example of Sayre’s law, in that the stakes are so little, yet the disputes are much more vicious and out of control than elsewhere. I’m thankful I don’t live in a place with an HOA, but for many years I did (as a renter, not an owner) and remember receiving a long (7 pages typed, I believe) letter from an owner complaining about HOA battles and claiming that he was afraid to go to the next HOA meeting for fear of being shot by another HOA member, and going on and on about threats of violence.

      • The Growing Threat to Free Speech Online

        There are times when vitally important stories lurk behind the headlines. Yes, impeachment is historic and worth significant coverage, but it’s not the only important story. The recent threat of war with Iran merited every second of intense world interest. But what if I told you that as we lurch from crisis to crisis there is a slow-building, bipartisan movement to engage in one of most significant acts of censorship in modern American history? What if I told you that our contemporary hostility against Big Tech may cause our nation to blunder into changing the nature of the internet to enhance the power of the elite at the expense of ordinary Americans?

        [...]

        Taken together, the two rulings put online providers in a difficult dilemma. Let everything in and your service would be quickly swamped with the worst, most vile forms of expression. But if you imposed even modest controls on user content, then you’d be liable for their words. Internet companies were on the verge of being forced to make a stark choice – dive into the sewer or dive into censorship..

        So, Congress acted. In 1996, it passed Section 230. The law did two things. First, it declared that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” In plain English, this means that my comments on Twitter or Google or Yelp or the comments section of my favorite website are my comments, and my comments only.

        But Section 230 went farther, it also declared that an internet provider can “restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable” without being held liable for user content. This is what allows virtually all mainstream social media companies to remove obscene or pornographic content. This allows websites to take down racial slurs – all without suddenly also becoming liable for all the rest of their users’ speech.

        It’s difficult to overstate how important this law is for the free speech of ordinary Americans. For 24 years we’ve taken for granted our ability to post our thoughts and arguments about movies, music, restaurants, religions, and politicians. While different sites have different rules and boundaries, the overall breadth of free speech has been extraordinary.

        As it always has through human history, free speech has been used for good and ill. Anti-vaccination activists abuse liberty by spreading medical misinformation online. Social media bullies have named and shamed even private citizens for often trivial offenses. But on balance, free speech is a great gift to American culture. As the courageous abolitionist Frederick Douglass declared in 1860, free speech is the “dread of tyrants.” It is the “great moral renovator of society and government.” The freedom to speak has been at the foundation of America’s most potent social movements.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Former officers who searched ‘Meduza’ journalist Ivan Golunov arrested, may face drug possession and evidence falsification charges

        Five former Moscow police officers have been arrested in connection with the case of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov. According to Russia’s Investigative Committee, the officers are Denis Konovalov, Akbar Sergaliev, Roman Feofanov, Maxim Umetbayev, and Igor Lyakhovets, a list that corresponds with earlier reporting from TASS and Kommersant. TASS initially claimed that Andrey Shchirov, the drug control chief for Moscow’s Western Administrative District and the former boss of all five officers, had also been arrested, but the Investigative Committee later clarified that he has been classified as a witness rather than a suspect (though his status may change over time). The five arrested officers will soon be indicted.

      • “Assange, Snowden, Manning and Harrison are the resistance fighters of the 21st century”

        The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined the two Belgian civil society organisations, Carta Academica and Belgium4Assange, in two public actions organised in Brussels to defend freedom of expression, freedom of the press and our right to know in general, and Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Sarah Harrison and Edward Snowden in particular.

        Over 120 personalities, artists, activists and journalists and a dozen organisations, including the International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ), signed a joint petition to the Belgian authorities to urge action on Julian Assange’s case. The text asks the Belgian government to recognise Julian Assange as a political prisoner, send observers to his trial, grant him international protection and do its utmost to impede his extradition to the US.

        “This text calls on the Belgian government to recognise Julian Assange as a political prisoner, to send observers to his trial, to grant him international protection and to do everything possible to prevent his extradition to the United States,” said Vincent Engel, representative of Carta Academica, at the Palais des Académies.

        The event also served as a ceremony to grant an Academic Honoris Causa title to four whistleblowers for their contributions to citizens’ right to know by denouncing crimes and state secrets. This honorary title was granted to Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Sarah Harisson and Julian Assange, whose father, John Shipton received it on his behalf.

        “We are receiving lots of support from all over the world, also in Europe. Recently, the Council of Europe voted unanimously against Julian’s extradition and calling for his immediate release. All these actions are very important. Thank you all for all the efforts you are doing, especially to the IFJ”, John Shipton said after receiving the title.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Glenn Greenwald and David Miranda on Bolsonaro’s Far-Right Movement in Brazil: ‘We Intend to Fight This Repression, Not Flee From It’

        The Rio de Janeiro-based couple, an American journalist and Brazilian congressman, detail the attacks they have endured over the past year.

      • A Step Forward for 10,000 Rohingya Refugee Children

        Bangladesh will allow 10,000 ethnic Rohingya refugee children to get a formal school curriculum for the first time after the government approved a “pilot” education program.

        It’s a step in the right direction, but also an urgent reminder of how far there is to go until all refugee children can get a real education.

      • French Police to Stop Using Explosive Tear Gas Grenades

        This week, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that French police would stop using the controversial GLI-F4 tear gas grenade. This move is long overdue, but doesn’t address serious concerns about other weapons French police still use to control crowds.

        In December 2018, Human Rights Watch documented injuries caused by police weapons during France’s “yellow vest” mobilizations and unrelated student protests, including people whose limbs were burned and maimed by presumed use of GLI-F4 instant tear gas grenades, which carry 25g of high explosive. The report also documented cases in which people were shot and injured by rubber ball-shaped projectiles (known as “flashballs,” based on one manufacturer’s trademark), and disproportionate use of chemical spray and “stingball” riot-control grenades. Amnesty International documented similar violations and the French human rights ombudsman has repeatedly called for an end to use of or revised guidelines for the use of some of these weapons.

      • Welcome New Monitoring for Poland

        Yesterday, one of Europe’s top human rights bodies voted to bring Poland under its monitoring mechanism. It’s the first time in over two decades that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), composed of parliamentarians from all 49 member countries, has taken such a step against an European Union member state.

        It is a welcome move and a clear rebuke for the Polish government’s years of undermining rule of law.

      • Tunisia: Halt Prosecution of Prominent Activist
      • Sex Offenders Were Becoming Cops. After Our Stories, Alaska’s Governor Wants That To End.

        Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing changes to state law that would improve police hiring standards and oversight after some villages hired police officers that were sex offenders or had been convicted of domestic violence.

        The proposed legislation, introduced Monday, is intended to deter communities from appointing unqualified people as VPOs and to deter people with certain convictions from applying for the jobs, Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

      • Meet The Cops: Inside Donald Trump’s New Commission On Policing

        Attorney General William Barr swore in 18 members of a White House commission on policing.

        Comprised entirely of law enforcement officials, the commission claims it will study how to “make American law enforcement the most trusted and effective guardians of our communities.”

      • U.S. Supreme Court lets hardline Trump immigration policy take effect

        The justices, on a 5-4 vote, granted the administration’s request to lift a lower court’s injunction that had blocked the so-called public charge policy while litigation over its legality continues. The rule has been criticized by immigrant rights advocates as a “wealth test” that would disproportionately keep out non-white immigrants.

      • Michigan plans to overhaul its jail system

        That is good for nobody. Crowded jails are a financial burden for counties. It cost $478m to run Michigan’s in 2017. Pew researchers point to evidence that people jailed or imprisoned, even briefly, are far likelier to be rearrested within two years than others who pass through the justice system but are not locked up.

        If America is to put fewer people behind bars, the priority will be fixing its jails. Several states are trying. Starting this month, New York no longer demands cash bail from those arrested for minor, non-violent crimes. New Jersey ended cash bail in 2017 and has seen its jail population shrink, even as crime rates continue to fall.

        Now it is Michigan’s turn. After holding public hearings and gathering expert testimony across the state in the past year, a task force on jail reform published 18 policy recommendations for legislators on January 14th. These include spending more on mental-health care, reclassifying many of the 1,900 misdemeanour offences as civil infractions, changing rules on cash bail and promoting more non-custodial sentences for minor crimes.

      • How These Jail Officials Profit From Selling E-Cigarettes to Inmates

        A Kentucky river city once rich in tobacco was grappling with growing concerns about the health risks of electronic cigarettes.

        The former governor had already banned e-cigarettes in some state buildings, and lawmakers had prohibited selling them to anyone younger than 18.

      • All Three R. Kelly Lawyers Are Abandoning His Case

        Singer R. Kelly’s defense in a civil sexual assault case may be falling apart. Tuesday, a judge granted a motion filed by R. Kelly lawyers to withdraw from the case.

      • Vladimir Putin pardons Naama Issachar, whose prosecution on drug charges shook Russian-Israeli relations

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order pardoning Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, who was convicted on drug possession and contraband charges. Issachar was in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport on a layover between Delhi and Tel Aviv when a dog found 9.6 grams of hashish in her checked luggage, to which she did not have access at the time.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon’s 5G Superbowl Ads Will Hype Nonexistent Firefighter Tech And A Barely Available Network

        Speaking of over-hyping 5G: Verizon is planning to unload a significant mountain of 5G hype at the upcoming Superbowl, both via ads that will air during the game, but also with a deployment in the stadium itself. The company, still clearly sensitive to having been caught throttling and upselling firefighters during a recent historic California wildfire, is hoping to make its breathless adoration of firefighters a cornerstone of the ad campaign. Speaking to Ad Age, the company says its new ads will showcase 5G firefighter tech that doesn’t actually exist:

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Design Patents Are Useless. So Why Are They Getting a Boost in DC?

          When we talk about patents, we’re usually talking about “utility” patents. Utility patents protect inventions that claim to have some practical application or use. (A lot of them still claim things that are actually useless, but they’re supposed to be potentially useful.)

          “Design” patents, by contrast, protect only the ornamental or decorative aspects of a design. They don’t protect any kind of functionality. If there’s a functional work to protect, only a utility patent will do.

        • Software Patents

      • Copyrights

        • CC Launches the Global Search for Its Next Chief Executive Officer

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        • Kim Dotcom Domain Dispute Settled, Next Up: Supreme Court Extradition Ruling

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        • Promoting Pirate Apps Lands US Phone Store in Court, Again

          The company behind the movie Hunter Killer has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Verizon retailer Victra. According to the complaint, employees of the phone store promoted the use of pirate apps including Popcorn Time and Showbox. This case follows a similar lawsuit against the shop from two other movie companies, which was quietly settled in 2018.

        • Juice WRLD Reportedly Left Behind 2,000 Unreleased Songs

          According to sources, Juice WRLD left behind a vast library of unreleased work — somewhere in the vicinity of 2,000 songs.

        • CBS Gets Angry Joe’s YouTube Review Of ‘Picard’ Taken Down For Using 26 Seconds Of The Show’s Trailer

          Joe Vargas, who makes the fantastic The Angry Joe Show on YouTube, isn’t a complete stranger to Techdirt’s pages. You may recall that this angry reviewer of all things pop culture swore off doing reviews of Nintendo products a while back after Nintendo prevented Vargas from monetizing a review of a a game. The whole episode highlighted just how out of touch companies like Nintendo can be with this sort of thing, given how many younger folks rely on reviews like Vargas’ to determine where they spend their gaming dollars. Coupled with the argument that these commentary and review videos ought to constitute use of footage as fair use and it’s hard to see why any of this was worth it to Nintendo.

EPO as a Kakistocracy of Lies and Bribes

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kakistocracy

Summary: Kakistocracy best describes the state of today’s EPO (the management) and the lies told every day in its Twitter account show that insincerity has simply become the norm, accompanying the endless misconduct

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has long promoted this illusion that it can outclass the world regardless of how bad a policy it adopts. The non-scientific presidencies (even predating Campinos and Battistelli) have meant that decisions were made by the clueless, who instead of promoting science sought to appease the litigation giants, listening only to them and their self-serving wishes (more patents, more lawsuits).

“The examiners are humans, they’re scientists and they tend to derive personal pride not from money but the contribution of their work to science, to progress, to innovation.”It typically takes a high court (e.g. Supreme Court on 35 U.S.C. § 101) to put an end to such office-wide coups. It’s a sobering moment for many.

The examiners are humans, they’re scientists and they tend to derive personal pride not from money but the contribution of their work to science, to progress, to innovation. Compare them to the top-level managers who are corrupt monsters, picked for nepotistic purposes, ruthlessness, and willingness to cover up crimes of predecessors. The former group was supposed to occupy top-tier positions as well (examiners turning into gentle and attentive management), but not so at the EPO…

Today’s EPO is a classic case of “friend brings a friend…” (even at present time; it didn’t end with Battistelli’s departure)

“Today’s EPO is a classic case of “friend brings a friend…” (even at present time; it didn’t end with Battistelli’s departure)”Earlier this week AdrianPatent wrote: “Cillian Ó Donnabháin of gave some valuable insights into the work of Examiners @EPOorg in Liverpool today @TheCIPA Merseyside meeting – turns out they *are* human after all…”

They’re good people, but they’re managed by corrupt people. This, in turn, can corrupt them against their will. Some leave, whereas others are desperate to stay (family relocated to another country already). The EPO retweeted the above and also this recruitment propaganda (as if the EPO is still recruiting examiners; it reduces their numbers).

I told them that “even EPO examiners tell people NOT to look for a job at EPO because it is corrupt and most staff have depression, partly because of corruption at the top…”

This is a typical ‘EPO day’ in Twitter. Lots of lies and nonsense all around.

The EPO has just resurrected a myth when it wrote: “140 years ago, Thomas Edison received a patent for the electric lamp. Here you can have a look at his patent document…”

“This is a typical ‘EPO day’ in Twitter. Lots of lies and nonsense all around.”But Thomas Edison was somewhat of a patent troll who ripped off people who actually invented things and amassed patents on things he exploited without doing the work. This is actually well understood by today’s scientists and historians. People like Tesla are far more worthy of credit and gratitude.

But never mind facts… the EPO has long favoured myths.

“If you’re a #startup,” the EPO tweeted, “IP rights can improve your competitiveness.”

There’s no such thing as “IP” (they meant patents I assume) and these are NOT rights. They’re simply NOT. The EPO sounds like a law firm rather than a patent office. “Having grown up with digital technology at their fingertips,” it wrote, “GenerationZ-ers think & act differently. Join us in Madrid to discuss their goals and how the IP world can adapt to their needs.”

They’ve used stock photography of young professionals — also the following day (same image) — to make this page (warning: epo.org link) entitled “IP for the next generation” — crafted like a marketing agency rather than a patent office.

“The EPO sounds like a law firm rather than a patent office.”We probably shouldn’t be so shocked by this (not anymore anyway), knowing that the EPO is run — at the management level — by people who haven’t a clue what they’re talking about and what kind of institution they run. Until his mid-fifties, for instance, Battistelli probably didn’t even know what patents really were. He probably still doesn’t know. His CV speaks for itself.

Sadly, nobody in the media talks about it anymore. It used to be occasionally mentioned here and there, but those who covered the subject and were capable of it have been threatened and/or bribed by the EPO. This includes IP Kat, which is never even mentioning EPO issues anymore, only advertising EPO agenda of the management and censoring comments critical of António Campinos and perhaps Battistelli too (it’s hard to see everything that they delete). The other day Riana Harvey advertised the “European Patent Office’s “East meets West” Forum 2020″ (she also promotes lots of Watchtroll articles, i.e. the most overzealous blogs). It’s another event of the patent maximalists with “hey hi” (AI) hype included. To quote: “The EPO’s annual ‘East meets West’ forum returns! The forum, which will provide an update on the most important developments in patent information and IP knowledge in Asia and other jurisdictions will discuss other topics of interest, from how to cope with the growing amount of patent data from Asia, and how to maximise opportunities made available by AI and new search tools, amongst others.”

“Sadly, nobody in the media talks about it anymore.”Meanwhile, the bananas (so-called ‘IP News Center’) published a repost of the EPO’s press release, bragging about bribery of academia. It’s entitled “EPO publishes six search [sic] reports” (they must have meant research, not search) and it says: “The European Patent Office (EPO) published six Research Reports that were developed with funding from its Academic Research Programme. The Academic Research Programme was launched by the EPO in 2017 with the objective of encouraging research in the field of patents and to promote the dissemination of research findings. A total of 300,000 Euros were awarded for the research projects. The final results of the research were presented at a workshop that was recently hosted by the EPO in Munich. During the research period, researchers used patent data to delve deeper into topics such as financing for innovation, knowledge transfer, trade, tracking inventions in the marketplace, and the growth of technologies to tackle climate change.”

“Why is the EPO controlling research now? Is it a patent office or what?”Why can’t anyone see what’s wrong with it and point it out in the media? This is NOT what a patent office is supposed to do. It is corrupting poor scholars in exchange for biased ‘research’ — the same thing oil giants do. Earlier this week it bragged about this at least twice. The first tweet said: “Igor Bagayev of @ucddublin has investigated how international #technology diffusion encourages local exports. His project was funded by our Academic Research Programme. You can read his findings here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN”

Why is the EPO controlling research now? Is it a patent office or what? Is it ERC (European Research Council) or EPO? Another newer tweet: “Gaétan de Rassenfosse at @EPFL has used data science tools to build a database that tracks #innovations into the marketplace. You can read the results here: https://bit.ly/38P7DkN His project was funded by our Academic Research Programme” (to associate patents with so-called ‘innovation’).

Not only EPO bribes scholars in exchange for propaganda. As someone correctly noted this week: “Always refreshing to have a lobby meeting and you learn that all civil society and academics in Europe are basically funded by Google in order to provide research that is in the interest of Google, and against the music industry…” [sic]

We’ve long complained about companies such as Google and Microsoft funding scholars in exchange for something, i.e. bribing them. It’s a sick game that ultimately harms the reputation of academic institutions, collectively.

The EPO just doesn’t seem to care about facts.

“The EPO just doesn’t seem to care about facts.”One new example of it is this tweet which says: “3Dprinting is set to revolutionise conventional approaches to design, materials, processes & products. The potential for #innovation will change and diversify accordingly.”

“3Dprinting,” I responded to them, “is one of the BEST known examples of patents retarding progress for a number of decades. Hard to understand who in EPO thought this area would be a good marketing, it is a rout…”

If that’s not embarrassing enough (for the EPO), consider who the EPO associates with these days. The EPO’s management has again found its match in Cambodia… with zero European Patents. What does that do for science or for public interest? Nothing.

The Phnom Penh Post has issued this puff piece, which helps the image of Cambodia a lot more than it helps the EPO. To quote:

Cambodia will renew its memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the European Patent Office (EPO) to boost investment from Europe, the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts said.

The decision was made during a meeting between Minister of Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh and EPO president Antonio Campinos on Monday.

[...]

Prasidh said Cambodia works with Singapore, Japan, China and the EU to register and validate patents.

Since 2015, the ministry has received 816 patent applications, of which 150 have been finalised.

The EU has filed 230 patent applications in Cambodia.

How many Cambodian applications were filed in the EPO? Better not tell. That would make a void article.

Enablers of Constitutional Violations and Unified Patent Court (Unitary Patent) Dreams

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now judges are being co-opted as well (because bribing media and academia has not been sufficient)

Robin Jacob
Photo credit: Emma Longland (photograph of Robin Jacob in an IAM think tank)

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) lobby — or Team UPC — which managed to enlist a former judge (the one above), is riding the back of IAM, an EPO-funded propaganda arm that’s shameless about lying to people to keep those bribes coming

TOMORROW the European Patent Office (EPO) will kiss goodbye to the UPC. It’s finished. António Campinos knows it. Battistelli also knew that, but he hoped that Brexit would not happen.

“UPC was all along nothing but a Trojan horse for software patents in Europe, raids, trolls, and even worse things (it’s absolutely crazy that UPCA even got off the ground and earned a few ratifications!).”This happens to be one of the few and rare ‘upsides’ of Brexit. UPC was all along nothing but a Trojan horse for software patents in Europe, raids, trolls, and even worse things (it’s absolutely crazy that UPCA even got off the ground and earned a few ratifications!).

Yesterday in Mirage News someone published “Intellectual property and transition period” (of Brexit). “You can apply for a European patent through us or direct to the European Patent Office (EPO) to protect your patent in more than 30 countries in Europe,” it said, but many granted patents are rejected by courts! Now more than ever.

Here’s more:

The UK and EU have ratified the Withdrawal Agreement. This allows the UK to depart the EU on 31 January 2020 and for the transition period (1 February 2020 to 31 December 2020) to begin.

During this time, EU law will continue to operate as it does now in the UK. The Intellectual Property (IP) system will continue as it is until 31 December 2020.

There will be no disruption to IPO services or changes to the UK IP system during this transition period.
The IPO will convert almost 1.4 million EU trade marks and 700,000 EU designs to comparable UK rights at the end of the transition period. These will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

The arrangements in the IP section of the Withdrawal Agreement take effect at the end of the transition period. These arrangements provide legal certainty and protect the interests of rightsholders and users of the IP framework.

The Withdrawal Agreement ensures continued protection of existing EU-level IP rights in the UK after the end of the transition period.

This will ensure existing UK IP rights can be managed appropriately in line with existing domestic arrangements.

[...]

Patents

You can apply for a European patent through us or direct to the European Patent Office (EPO) to protect your patent in more than 30 countries in Europe, using the (non-EU) European Patent Convention (EPC).

As the EPO is not an EU agency, leaving the EU does not affect the current European patent system. Existing European patents covering the UK are also unaffected.

European patent attorneys based in the UK continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO; see the news story on the EPO website.

“As the EPO is not an EU agency,” they said, “leaving the EU does not affect the current European patent system.”

The UPC is. It’s an EU system. And hence it’s untenable. The UK leaving the EU means that the whole UPCA is a piece of outdated and legally invalid junk. It’s toilet paper, however glorified (law firms spent much of their money on it, hoping for high RoI).

“The UK leaving the EU means that the whole UPCA is a piece of outdated and legally invalid junk. It’s toilet paper, however glorified (law firms spent much of their money on it, hoping for high RoI).”Coming yesterday from “City, University of London” was another new piece about Brexit and there’s a section about patents. It says that “the UK will participate in the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court system” as if the UK can participate (it cannot) and as if it already exists. Those are the two famous lies of Team UPC. These two lies are STILL being spread. Not only does the UPC lack legal validity; it doesn’t exist and no such thing will exist, so it is a loaded statement. It’s dead for many reasons, including Brexit (there are other reasons too).

Here’s the full section of the text:

Senior Lecturer and Intellectual Property and Trademark Law researcher, Dr Enrico Bonadio said:

“In the post-Brexit era, intellectual property (IP) law faces an uncertain future. The impact of Brexit on IP rights cannot be foreseen with certainty and depends on the outcome of negotiations and agreements made between the UK and the EU during the upcoming second phase of the negotiation. It is uncertain, for instance, if the UK will participate in the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court system, despite the UK’s ratification of the relevant agreement in April 2018. As far as EU trade marks and designs go, what appears certain is that EU trademarks and designs will no longer have effect in UK – with the British government creating (at the end of the transition period) a comparable UK trade mark for every registered trademark or design, without charging for it. The British government has also said it will not implement the EU Digital Single Market Directive, which leaves open the possibility the UK will diverge in the digital and copyright fields.”

As we noted the other day, IAM was about to use Robin Jacob for UPC propaganda. They had announced this upfront. This was the marketing strategy.

Emma Longland wrote about Robin Jacob’s words on Twitter, all this while attending an IAM event (patent maximalists’ think tank), sponsored by the EPO’s PR firm for UPC propaganda. These think tanks of patent trolls need to be called out if not shut down (if possible). They corrupt our democracy and this is in fact their business model.

As for Longland, the very fact that she’s attending says a lot about her (or her employer). She’s pushing CRISPR patents (her description in Twitter says “EP & UK Patent Attorney, HGF Ltd. Life Sciences esp CRISPR”), so basically patents on life and nature…

“As we noted the other day, IAM was about to use Robin Jacob for UPC propaganda. They had announced this upfront.”Have these people no sense of humility and shame?

This is what she wrote about the ‘main attraction’ — a judge turned de facto lobbyist of the patent ‘industry’. “Attending meeting about UPC on Thursday,” Longland wrote, “it’s still alive, they want it in Europe and I’m in charge of appointing judges; Sir Robin Jacobs, @IAM_magazine #PharmaBioIP – At The Bloomsbury Hotel”

Expensive hotel and expensive propaganda, spreading (again) the lie that UPC is alive. This wouldn’t be the first time he says that; he said that before and Team UPC was ever so delighted.

But no, there’s no UPC without the UK as they’d have to start all over again (rewriting, re-ratifying, dealing with several constitutional violations, EPO corruption etc.). “Also,” I responded to Longland, “when you say “they want it in Europe” by “they” you mean Team UPC i.e. litigators and trolls (or their lawyers). Everybody else would loudly opposed it (if they knew what it really was; most never heard of it)…”

“…there’s no UPC without the UK as they’d have to start all over again (rewriting, re-ratifying, dealing with several constitutional violations, EPO corruption etc.).”We don’t pick on Longland per se but on the person she mentions, Robin Jacob. We’re not alone either; even some attorneys see the ethical breach there…

Longland also tweeted: “Sir Robin Jacob – populism has been dictating the answers in the patent system, e.g. Prometheus and Myriad in US, and we haven’t been defending the Pharma patent system enough; keynote address, @IAM_magazine Pharma & Biotech IP event pic.twitter.com/dGCLE7V1yt – At The Bloomsbury Hotel”

An event funded by lawyers of “Pharma & Biotech” tells us that what 99% of people want and need is dumb, stupid and “populism”; we should really just do everything that’s dictated by the patent “barons”. After all, who cares about science, public interest etc. anyway? The ‘church’ of “Pharma patent system” — like the “free market” (i.e. deregulated oligarchy), should decide on everything…

This is very typical IAM, which later had to clarify, under pressure, that there’s a misunderstanding or misrepresentation (which IAM was happy to exploit). “Just to clarify,” IAM wrote, “he’s not a judge anymore!”

“An event funded by lawyers of “Pharma & Biotech” tells us that what 99% of people want and need is dumb, stupid and “populism”; we should really just do everything that’s dictated by the patent “barons”.”Oh, now you mention that? Having built hype to sell seats and propaganda?

“Revolving doors do tend to — well… — revolve,” I told him.

He’s “not a judge anymore!”

But he was.

And his decisions still bear much effect on the system.

Matteo Pes, an attorney who is occasionally critical of the UPC (we respect his sincerity), then wrote on Twitter: “Yes, but what you do/say after you get retired as public servant affects the perception of the people of what you did as public servant. I really don’t like those words…”

Judges for hire. Apply now… for think tanks.

It is obviously very bad when the general public gets the perception — nakedly proven — that judges may ‘monetise’ their authority later on, e.g. by receiving a pre-promised job from some oligarch looking to reward them for a decision (or systematic pattern of them). It’s bribery.

“It is obviously very bad when the general public gets the perception — nakedly proven — that judges may ‘monetise’ their authority later on, e.g. by receiving a pre-promised job from some oligarch looking to reward them for a decision (or systematic pattern of them). It’s bribery.”What’s pointed out above, with detailed description of what the judge did (photographs included), will hopefully be noticed by the FCC in Germany. This is exactly the kind of thing which makes the UPC unacceptable, not only constitutionally untenable. It’s like a system ‘bought’ by the industry or a mere section of it (the monopolists), aided by lawyers who are paid for it.

“Bundestag asked to submit comments on UPC complaint,” Benjamin Henrion noted, pointing to the latest “Update (27/01/2020)” from the famous complainant (who had worked for a Team UPC firm before he turned against it).

“EPO cannot be brought to court,” Henrion explained, and “this is like the Police violenting [sic] people and which cannot be brought to Court for maladministration…”

Here are latest three updates from the complainant in Germany:

Update (29/05/2019):

In its Opinion 1/17 of 30/04/2019 on the compatibility with Union law of the planned Investor-State Dispute Settlement Mechanism (“ISDS mechanism”) in the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (“CETA”), the CJEU (Full Court) once again confirms its requirements as to the protection of the principle of Union law autonomy in relation to international courts, cf. here.

Update (29/11/2019; 16/01/2020):

As a sidenote to recent events, between 24 and 26/11/2019 a delegation of the German Federal Constitutional Court visited the UK Supreme Court, discussing, inter alia, “the justiciability of issues relating to the separation of powers” (cf. the official press statement of 27/11/2019).


Update (27/01/2020):

In the constitutional complaint proceedings before the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) with docket no.s 2 BvR 2480/10, 2 BvR 421/13, 2 BvR 786/15, 2 BvR 756/16 and 2 BvR 561/18, which deal with the compatibility of acts of the European Patent Office with the German Grundgesetz, the German Bundestag decided in its 115th session on 26/09/2019 to appoint a representative and to submit comments (cf. the Plenary Protocol of 26/09/2019, section 14033 C [German language] and the resolution of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection of 25/09/2019 [German language]).

According to the usual procedures, this suggests that the BVerfG has shortly before granted the German Bundestag, which, amongst others, must be mandatorily involved pursuant to sec.s 23(2), 94(4), 77 of the Federal Constitutional Court Act (BVerfGG), an opportunity to submit comments in these proceedings and has set a respective deadline.

In the constitutional complaint proceedings on the UPCA, the same procedure took place already at the end of 2017 (cf. the Plenary Protocol of 13/12/2017, section 361 C [German language] and the request by the CDU/CSU Parliamentary group to file such comments [German language]); also cf. the above update of 28/02/2018.

The comments in German may seem to exclude input from other EU nations (concerned about the UPC), but this particular complaint refers the German constitution alone, so it probably makes sense.

There are many constitutional violations or at least 4 aspects of these. That does not even take account of constitutional violation in other European countries.

“Those who care about the integrity of the EU would ferociously oppose the UPC and anything of its kind. It’s not “unified” or “unitary” or “community” but a coup of the litigation zealots.”As Henrion noted, citing Bristows (Team UPC): “Sky v SkyKick: troll trademarking “computer software”. At least on trademarks the CJEU will cast some sanity in the system, not like for the coming UPC, where the patent microcosm will evolve in the reclusion and silence of a Trappist monastry…”

Something like the UPC is vendor-captured court. It’s not really subjected to public scrutiny and it is steered by patent maximalists rather than people who respect laws and constitutions. Such a court would be a massive slap across the face of the EU and merely contribute to more “exits” (like Brexit). Those who care about the integrity of the EU would ferociously oppose the UPC and anything of its kind. It’s not “unified” or “unitary” or “community” but a coup of the litigation zealots. Sure, it has been misnamed and falsely marketed.

Today’s EPO Stands for Nothing at All (Except Faking ‘Production’ to Amass Money for Gambling)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

At least we know what they do with this money

Standing on thin ice
Standing on thin ice

Summary: The EPO has exploited the Dabus (or DABUS) story to portray itself as strict, but the reality is exactly the opposite

THE European Patent Office’s (EPO) neglect of patent quality is truly a crisis. It can doom the EPO’s credibility first; then, despite immunity, the EPO will come under fire (from the public). It’s not unprecedented as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has long been ridiculed for some of the most ludicrous patents that it grants, e.g. patents on shapes of people and on shapes of animals [1, 2] (not fictional ones). One has to see these to believe it and yesterday the EFF complained about such patents. Remember that António Campinos comes from the world where shapes and appearances alone get monopolised (Battistelli just comes from politics), so who on Earth thinks it’s a good idea to let such people decide on software patenting? Campinos already personally meddles in these matters (which he clearly does not understand). They wish — by extension — to help squash 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US, based on internal documents.

“They wish — by extension — to help squash 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US, based on internal documents.”The EPO's response to patents with non-humans named as "inventors" should not shock us; the EPO still makes it possible to get those same patents by just altering the name of the “inventor/s” (so it’s a formality alone; nothing to do with quality) — a fact that we’ve seen only one single site mentioning. Much of the coverage in the press, such as this latest puff piece from World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR), is appalling. It’s not only shallow but oftentimes misleading (intentionally). WIPR has been acting as a EPO megaphone as of late (never any actual insights, only repetition of what management says). It’s hardly surprising considering who left and who was hired. Here’s what they said yesterday:

The European Patent Office has said it rejected two patent applications naming the machine Dabus as an inventor because European law requires an inventor to be a “natural person”.

The two European patent applications were filed last year by a team at the University of Surrey, and described a flashing beacon light and a plastic food container.

The two applications listed the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered machine Dabus as the sole inventor.

Last December, the EPO rejected the patents because they did not meet the requirements for inventorship under the European Patent Convention (EPC).

So the name alone is their issue with it? Never mind if such so-called ‘inventions’ are also abstract? This is 2020, when the “hey hi” (AI) hype continues unabated, along with “smart” and “cloud” and other meaningless junk.

“What does the EPO stand for if not quality and not ethics or fairness?”We don’t expect the EPO to pursue quality or even ethics. The sole goal now is to grant as many patents as possible.

Yesterday came this new press release about new European Patents in the controversial area of “treatment of cancer” (“Compugen Further Expands Intellectual Property Portfolio With New European Patent for Anti-PVRIG Antibodies”). To quote:

Compugen Ltd. (Nasdaq: CGEN), a clinical-stage cancer immunotherapy company and leader in predictive target discovery, announced today that The European Patent Office (EPO) has granted the Company a new patent for the use of any anti-PVRIG antibody in the treatment of cancer.

EPO Patent No. 3258951, titled “Anti-PVRIG Antibodies and Methods of Use” relates to any anti-PVRIG antibody that activates T cells and/or NK cells, for use in the treatment of cancer. The patent also relates to any anti-PVRIG antibody, having the complementarity-determining regions (CDRs) sequences of COM701, for use in the treatment of cancer. In addition, the patent covers these anti-PVRIG antibodies for use in combination with other immunostimulatory antibody, a cytokine therapy, or an immunomodulatory drug for the treatment of cancer.

Surely the EPO will continue to disregard reputable groups which repeatedly warn the EPO against granting patents on cancer treatments, stressing strongly that the practice harms patients, often causing them to die early.

What does the EPO stand for if not quality and not ethics or fairness?

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:57 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 30/1/2020: LibreOffice 6.4, Godot Engine 3.2 and Mesa 19.3.3 Released, Data Transfer in GTK4

Posted in News Roundup at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • CBS All Access serves ads, but not content, to Linux users

        I’m both a Linux user and a CBS All Access subscriber myself, but I had been unaware of the problem since I do all my own watching on a Roku. Technically, the Roku is a Linux PC in its own right—but CBS has its own app in the Roku store, which works perfectly.

        Moving back to one of my own PCs, I was quickly able to confirm the issue: trailers autoplay properly, and even the ads work—but the actual content won’t play on a Linux desktop PC on any browser including Google Chrome. Diving into the Chrome Web Console, we can see HTTP 400 (Bad Request) errors when the browser attempts to fetch a license from CBS’ Widevine back end.

      • You Can’t Stream ‘Star Trek: Picard’ on Linux Without This Workaround

        It’s 2020, and you think that it would be easy to stream any content you want on any device you want—especially that brand-new Picard series on CBS All Access. If you’re an ubergeek who loves both Star Trek and Linux, you’re out of luck. Thanks to the joys of digital rights management, or DRM, you’re unable to use CBS’ All Access service to stream Picard on Linux.

        In a cruel twist, not only can you not stream the show, but you can stream all the bullshit that comes wrapped around it.

        [...]

        That is, however, slightly more than you’d pay if you signed up for an annual plan via CBS itself ($60/year for limited commercials and and $100/year for no commercials). Amazon doesn’t offer these options, so this route is best if you’re only planning to binge a show or two and then cancel your service. If you’re looking to stick with CBS All Access for the long haul, you might just want to try not watching it on Linux; a tablet, phone, or app on your Smart TV will save you more cash.

      • The Kubuntu-Powered Premium Laptop is Available for Purchase

        We recently wrote an article on buying a Linux preloaded laptop from the best 16 places.

        Kubuntu Council has announced a premium Kubundu powered laptop called Kubuntu Focus.

        Kubuntu Focus Laptop is a collaboration of Mindshare Management Inc, and Tuxedo Computers.

        Most vendors offer Ubuntu running laptops with GNOME, except few.

        But this is a new option for Linux users to experiment with Ubuntu’s KDE flavor.

    • Server

      • Cloud is starting to smell a lot like legacy tech

        Cloud is already starting to smell a lot like legacy technology.

        That may seem an odd thing to suggest, but Amazon Web Services (AWS) has just made it plain by citing customer demand for extending support for its oldest Linux.

        AWS introduced its Linux, the Amazon Linux AMI, in September 2010. It did so for the oldest of reasons: it wanted an OS nicely-integrated with its own hardware, the same rationale that powered generations of minicomputers!

        The Linux AMI received rolling updates every six months and earlier versions could be updated or bug fixes incorporated into older versions. The last updated landed in early 2018.

        The AMI was replaced by Amazon Linux 2, a newer cut of the open source OS better-suited to its more recent innovations.

      • IBM

        • RHEL 8 Still Vulnerable to “Magellan 2” SQLite Bugs, as Patches Drop

          Severe bugs in the ubiquitous SQLite engine – used in thousands of software applications – continue to pose a major security threat, security researchers say, with Red Hat admitting today that its flagship Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 remains vulnerable, despite patching other products this week.

          Red Hat said in a security update it had now inoculated RHEL 7 and its “RHEL 8.0 Update Services for SAP Solutions”, but RHEL 8 itself remains affected by one of the vulnerabilities, first disclosed to the Chromium team by China’s Tencent Blade – which dubbed them “Magellan 2.0” – in October 2019.

        • Communication superstars: A model for understanding your organization’s approach to new technologies

          The Open Organization Ambassadors have learned a great deal about the ways open principles are impacting organizational practices. In particular, we’ve developed an Open Organization Definition that specifies the five principles that distinguish open organizations from other types of organization—namely, more transparency, more inclusivity, greater adaptability, deeper collaboration and a sense of purpose teams/community. I’ve also delivered a presentation on this topic several times since 2016 and learned new insights along the way. So I’d like to update this article with a few comments that reflect those findings. And then, in a follow-up article, I’d like to offer readers some guidelines on how they can determine their organization’s level of comfort with communication technology and use it to increase their success relative to industry competitors.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 327 – The Mozilla Thrilla

        First up, in our Wanderings, I follow in Tony H?s footsteps and paint, Tony H upgrades a laptop and attends another LUG, Josh returns, Moss meets a mintCast listener, Joe listens to more books and learns about Cockpit, and Tony Watts edits video and works on his Studio.

        Then in our news a new Wine, GParted, Edge and Yaru theme for Ubuntu. The Pinephone ships and Firefox runs into issues.

      • 2020-01-29 | Linux Headlines

        LibreOffice focuses on performance, a new FreeNAS release is out, Thunderbird gets a new home, and more.

      • FLOSS Weekly 564: Open Mainframe Update

        The Open Mainframe Project is to serve as a focal point for deployment and use of Linux and Open Source in a mainframe computing environment. The project intends to increase collaboration across the mainframe community and to develop shared toolsets and resources. Furthermore, the project seeks to involve the participation of academic institutions to assist in teaching and educating the mainframe engineers and developers of tomorrow.

      • Full Circle Weekly News #162

        Arch Linux Now Using ZStandard Instead of XZ for Compression

        https://www.archlinux.org/news/now-using-zstandard-instead-of-xz-for-package-compression/

        EA Is Permanently Banning Linux Gamers in Battlefield V

        https://itsfoss.com/ea-banning-linux-gamers/

        OpenBSD’s Calm Window Manager version 6.6 is now available in a portable package

        https://github.com/leahneukirchen/cwm

        Smartmontools 7.1 is available

        https://www.smartmontools.org/browser/tags/RELEASE_7_1/smartmontools/NEWS

        Supertux Cart 1.1 is available with better multiplayer

        http://blog.supertuxkart.net/2020/01/supertuxkart-11-released.html

        GitBucket has released version 4.33.0

        https://gitbucket.github.io/gitbucket-news/gitbucket/2019/12/31/gitbucket-4.33.0.html

        Linux Kernel 5.5 rc5 is available

        https://lkml.org/lkml/2020/1/5/185

        Credits:
        Ubuntu “Complete” sound: Canonical

        Theme Music: From The Dust – Stardust
        soundcloud.com/ftdmusic

        https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

      • Most Dangerous Tech Job in the World?

        There’s one tech job that’s easy to get into, and HARD to get out of. Know what you’re getting yourself into, and know how you’ll get out if you’ve had enough.

      • My YouTube Recording Studio Layout and Gear

        As I navigate trying to improve my video and audio quality, I figured I would create a video to show off some of my customizations and how my studio is set up. I’ll talk about my recording gear, and more. It’s still a work in progress, but here I show it’s current state.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6 Kernel Adds New System Call For “openat2″ – More Extensible openat()

        LINUX KERNEL –
        A new system call added to the very feature rich Linux 5.6 kernel is openat2() for more extensible behavior compared to the existing openat() functionality.

        The openat() system call has long existed as similar to open() but allowing relative paths to the directory stipulated by the passed file descriptor. With time trying to extend openat() has led to headaches for developers that is now made more extensible with openat2().

      • Indie VPN WireGuard gets the Torvalds seal of approval with inclusion in Linux kernel 5.6

        The WireGuard VPN protocol, which is smaller, faster and easier to configure than IPsec, has been merged into Linus Torvalds’ git repository for version 5.6 of the Linux kernel, the next release.

        There is no set date for Linux kernel releases. Version 5.5 was released on 26 January 2020 and there is typically a couple of months between releases, so 5.6 may come in April.

      • WireGuard + Multi-Path TCP Were Merged Tonight Into Linux 5.6

        The very exciting networking subsystem updates have made it into the Linux 5.6 kernel.

        The prominent networking changes for Linux 5.6 include:

        - Finally mainlining WireGuard! It’s finally in! This secure VPN tunnel software that has already been ported to many platforms and shown much potential is finally in the mainline Linux kernel!

      • USB4 Support Lands In The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        Ahead of USB4 devices expected to begin appearing later this year, the Linux 5.6 kernel is wired up with initial USB4 support.

        We were expecting USB4 in Linux 5.6 and indeed it has happened. It was just last September that the USB4 specification was published but allowing this Linux kernel enablement to come rather quickly is that it’s based on Thunderbolt 3. This USB4 enablement for the Linux kernel is based in large part on the existing Thunderbolt Linux code.

      • The Linux 5.6 x86 Platform Driver Changes Are Busy From Quirky Laptops To New Hardware Support

        Intel’s Andy Shevchenko sent in the x86 platform driver updates on Monday for the newly opened Linux 5.6 merge window. There is the never-ending work on dealing with quirky Windows-focused laptops to adding new Intel hardware support and other additions.

        Highlights of the x86 platform driver work for Linux 5.6 includes:

        - The fix for ASUS TUF laptops with AMD Ryzen laptops so they stop overheating so easily and leading to crippled performance. That is a very important fix for these ASUS TUF gaming laptops with Ryzen CPUs due to the thermal policy not being properly set otherwise on Linux.

      • The Big Set Of x86 Changes Hit The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        As part of the Linux 5.6 development dance, Ingo Molnar began sending in all of the pull requests this morning for the different areas of the Linux kernel he oversees.

        On the x86/asm front for x86 Assembly changes to the kernel, there has been some code clean-ups as well as a micro-optimization/simplification to the 32-bit boot code. Most interesting though on the Assembly side is Linux 5.6 will now use Intel Ice Lake’s Fast Short REP MOV instruction for faster memmove() performance. The FSRM instruction with Ice Lake should offer faster memory movements from one location to another. It will be interesting to see on the Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 system if this ends up having any meaningful performance difference in the real-world.

      • SELinux For 5.6 Kernel Sees Largest Change Set In A While

        Among the changes are deprecating CONFIG_SECURITY_SELINUX_DISABLE (the option allowing run-time disabling of SELinux via a sysfs node), SELinux controls for the new kernel lockdown functionality, an SELinux control for move_mount, improved SELinux security label data lookups, enabling SELinux per-file labeling for BinderFS, and various fixes and other enhancements.

      • Power Management + ACPI Updates Submitted For The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        Linux power management subsystem maintainer Rafael Wysocki is punctual as always in sending in his feature pull requests for the new merge window.

        This time around the ACPI and power management updates for Linux 5.6 include items like:

        - Support for Tiger Lake Mobile and Jasper Lake within the Intel Runtime Average Power Limiting (RAPL) power-capping driver.

      • Many Linux 5.6 Sound Driver Updates Especially On The Intel / Sound Open Firmware Front

        Linux sound subsystem maintainer Takashi Iwai of SUSE today sent in all of the sound driver updates for this next version of the Linux kernel.

        On the sound front with Linux 5.6 includes:

        - The ALSA ABI is now compliant against the Year 2038 problem, which comes after various ioctls have been extended and other special-case handling.

      • Linux 5.6 Crypto Code Brings The New AMD TEE Driver

        Herbert Xu sent in all of the crypto subsystem changes on Tuesday for the in-development Linux 5.6 kernel. Interesting us the most out of this crypto work is the AMD Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) driver.

        This AMD TEE driver that is part of this crypto pull is for providing Trusted Execution / Secure Processor support on newer AMD platforms. The current AMD TEE support is focused on Raven Ridge APUs.

      • It’s Finally Time: The Time Namespace Support Has Been Added To The Linux 5.6 Kernel

        The Time Namespace, which was originally proposed back in 2018 for allowing per-namespace offsets to the system clocks, has finally entered the mainline kernel in early 2020 with the in-development Linux 5.6 kernel.

        The Time Namespace ability to provide per-namespace offsets to the system monotonic and boot-time clocks is driven by container use-cases as explained in that article.

      • EFI Code Gets More Cleaning With Linux 5.6

        The EFI kernel code has seen a variety of clean-ups and low-level improvements to it for the Linux 5.6 cycle.

        Among the EFI work queued for Linux 5.6 is cleaning up of the graphics output (EFI GOP) handling code within the EFI stub, refactoring the mixed mode handling in the x86 EFI stub, overhauling the x86 EFI boot/runtime code, better robustness out of the mixed mode code, support to disable DMA at the root port level, getting rid of RWX mappings in the EFI memory map and page tables where possible, and other fixes and clean-ups.

      • Clang 10 + Linux 5.6 Will Be Able To Build A Working s390 Kernel

        With LLVM Clang 9.0 and Linux 5.3 together it became possible to build the mainline Linux kernel with this non-GCC compiler. The x86_64 Linux kernel Clang-based kernel builds has continued to improve through newer kernel releases. This follows the mainline AArch64 (64-bit ARM) Linux kernel mainline build by Clang too, which has been of much interest by different hardware/software vendors. There hasn’t been much Clang’ing kernel efforts for other architectures, but it turns out with Clang 10 and Linux 5.6 will be another working combination, this time for IBM s390.

        IBM System/390 interest in building the Linux kernel with Clang rather than GCC hasn’t been on my radar until now when Clang 10 build support was just added to Linux 5.6 Git.

      • Btrfs Ready For Linux 5.6 With Async Discard For Better Efficiency + Performance

        Btrfs in the now-stable Linux 5.5 kernel is exciting for its new RAID1C3/RAID1C4 capability allowing three/four copies of data rather than just two while looking ahead to Linux 5.6 is further feature work on this Linux file-system.

        The big Btrfs item on the table with Linux 5.6 is async discard support developed by Facebook engineers and so solid-state drive TRIM/DISCARD support isn’t done synchronously. This led to an efficiency improvement and lower read latencies when deploying the feature on Facebook servers.

      • Sony Now “Officially” Maintaining The Linux PlayStation Input Driver, But Leads To Interesting Problem

        It turns out Sony is now maintaining the mainline Linux kernel’s hid-sony input driver in an “official capacity now across various devices.” This hid-sony driver is what traditionally has supported the various PlayStation controllers and other input devices for their hardware. But their newfound “official” support for this open-source input driver could lead to interesting predicaments.

        Sent out this week by an independent Linux user was a patch for supporting Gasia controllers with the HID Sony driver. These controllers made by Gasia Co are USB-based controllers aiming for compatibility with the PlayStation 3 controller. These Gasia controllers are similar to “knockoff controllers” we’ve seen from other vendors for the PlayStation and other game consoles like the Xbox in that often times they even use the same device IDs and aim to mirror the hardware/software behavior all the same.

      • Linux 5.5 released with enhanced hardware support

        With this update, it seems clear that the main focus of the development team was to enhance the kernel’s hardware support. Other than that, there was also work done on improving the network driver and security.

        Delving deep into the hardware details, the new version will now be able to handle Raspberry Pi 4 better. Now, you will be able to connect your Raspberry Pi device to the Linux kernel right off the bat. Moreover, the kernel also offers better support for the Ugoos AM6, RK3308, and NanoPi Duo2 boards.

        The kernel will also come with drivers for Chromebook’s Wake-on-Voice feature, airplane mode LEDs, the keyboard backlight, and Fn key combinations.

        One impressive thing about this update is that it focuses on various demographics, even gamers. Accordingly, Linux 5.5 will be able to support two gaming keyboards, which include the first and second versions of Logitech G15. Although these keyboards are quite old, they are loved by gamers to this day, because they sport an LCD-screen, backlight modes, and macro buttons.

        Apart from that, gamers will have the ability to overclock their AMD OverDrive and also get better performance, all thanks to the improvements in the kernel’s scheduler.

        The developers of this update have also worked on improving the ext4, exFAT, and XFS file systems. When it comes to ext4, there is now support for direct I/O through fscrypt and iomap to handle smaller block sizes. Apart from that, users will also get better power management for Ice lake and Thunderbolt USB.

        Now coming to its upgraded security, it is now possible for MS Hyper-V virtual machines to hibernate and kernel concurrency sanitizer to spot data race conditions. Plus, from what we hear right now, Linux kernel 5.6 is highly likely to come with WireGuard support.

      • Linux 5.5 Performance Overall Is Comparable To Older Kernels For Most Workloads

        Since the stable release of Linux 5.5 this weekend I have been carrying out benchmarks for looking at how the performance of this newly-minted kernel compares to older releases. Here are benchmark results of Linux 5.3 vs. 5.4 vs. 5.5 with an AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X but the results are similar to other HEDT and lower-end systems we’ve tested thus far.

        Outside of some AMD and Intel graphics performance improvements, when it comes to overall CPU/system performance the Linux 5.5 performance is comparable to 5.4. Early on the Linux 5.5 performance was looking bleak with a sizable performance hit that turned out to be an AppArmor regression. There were some other oddities but some noise made it difficult to narrow down. But fortunately with Linux 5.5 final, the performance seems to be in good standing and I haven’t noticed any big performance hits in my Linux 5.5 stable testing from desktop to server platforms.

      • Linux 5.6 Is The First Kernel For 32-Bit Systems Ready To Run Past Year 2038

        On top of all the spectacular work coming with Linux 5.6, here is another big improvement that went under my radar until today: Linux 5.6 is slated to be the first mainline kernel ready for 32-bit systems to run past the Year 2038!

        On 19 January 2038 is the “Year 2038″ problem where the Unix timestamp can no longer fit within a signed 32-bit integer. For years the Linux kernel developers have been working to mitigate against this issue also commonly referred to as the “Y2038″ problem, but with Linux 5.6 (and potentially back-ported to 5.4/5.5 stable branches) is the first where 32-bit kernels should be ready to go for operating past this threshold.

      • Habana Labs Aims To Upstream Gaudi AI Accelerator Code For Linux 5.7~5.8

        Habana Labs, the AI start-up being bought out by Intel, is still striving towards upstreaming their Gaudi processor support code for AI training.

        Habana Labs has been a good member of the open-source community with having mainlined their driver in the Linux kernel a year ago. That initial focus was on the Goya AI inference processor while now they have been working on bringing up Gaudi too under this open-source kernel code.

      • Graphics Stack

        • There Is Experimental Patches Providing Support For DXIL Shaders With VKD3D

          The Wine project’s VKD3D initiative for translating Direct3D 12 support to Vulkan took another step forward today with patches for handling DXIL (Shader Model 6.0+) shaders with VKD3D, but the work in the current form may need to be re-worked.

          DXIL is the DirectX Intermediate Language that can be generated out of the conventional HLSL shaders. DXIL support as open-source has been apart of Microsoft’s DirectXShaderCompiler in the path to ultimately an LLVM-based compiler. This works with Shader Model 6.0 and newer for DirectX 12.

        • Mesa 20.0′s RADV Driver Deems Navi/GFX10 Stable, Vulkan 1.2 In Good Shape, ACO Fixes

          With Mesa 20.0 scheduled for branching today (though that could be delayed a few days potentially depending upon last minute requests), there’s been a flurry of Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver activity to squeeze into this first Mesa release series of 2020.

          [...]

          While contingent upon the number of Mesa 20.0 release candidates ultimately needed, Mesa 20.0 stable should be out around the end of February.

        • [Mesa-dev] [ANNOUNCE] mesa 19.3.3
          Hi list,
          
          I'd like to announce mesa 19.3.3. This release was delayed due to bugs caught in
          CI that needed to be resolved before the release could be made. Due to the
          slightly longer cycle there's slightly more patches than would normally be
          present in the release.
          
          I've also started using a new script to find the patches in master to pick, so
          please ignore any .pick_status.json: commits, they're generated by the new
          script.
          
          There's plenty of changes here, but intel, docs, radeonsi, and aco are the
          biggest sets of changes.
          
          Dylan
          
          
          Shortlog
          ========
          
          Adam Jackson (1):
                drisw: Cache the depth of the X drawable
          
          Andrii Simiklit (1):
                mesa/st: fix a memory leak in get_version
          
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
                radv: Disable VK_EXT_sample_locations on GFX10.
                radv: Remove syncobj_handle variable in header.
          
          Caio Marcelo de Oliveira Filho (1):
                intel/fs: Only use SLM fence in compute shaders
          
          Daniel Schürmann (2):
                aco: fix unconditional demote_to_helper
                aco: rework lower_to_cssa()
          
          Dylan Baker (5):
                docs: add SHA256 sums for 19.3.2
                cherry-ignore: Update for 19.3.3
                .pick_status.json: Update to c787b8d2a16d5e2950f209b1fcbec6e6c0388845
                docs: Add relnotes for 19.3.3 release
                VERSION: bump version to 19.3.3
          
          Eric Anholt (1):
                mesa: Fix detection of invalidating both depth and stencil.
          
          Eric Engestrom (1):
                meson: use github URL for wraps instead of completely unreliable wrapdb
          
          Erik Faye-Lund (8):
                docs: fix typo in html tag name
                docs: fix paragraphs
                docs: open paragraph before closing it
                docs: use code-tag instead of pre-tag
                docs: use code-tags instead of pre-tags
                docs: use code-tags instead of pre-tags
                docs: move paragraph closing tag
                docs: remove double-closed definition-list
          
          Francisco Jerez (3):
                glsl: Fix software 64-bit integer to 32-bit float conversions.
                intel/fs/gen11+: Handle ROR/ROL in lower_simd_width().
                intel/fs/gen8+: Fix r127 dst/src overlap RA workaround for EOT message payload.
          
          Hyunjun Ko (1):
                turnip: fix invalid VK_ERROR_OUT_OF_POOL_MEMORY
          
          Jan Vesely (1):
                clover: Initialize Asm Parsers
          
          Jason Ekstrand (8):
                anv: Flag descriptors dirty when gl_NumWorkgroups is used
                intel/vec4: Support scoped_memory_barrier
                intel/blorp: Fill out all the dwords of MI_ATOMIC
                anv: Don't over-advertise descriptor indexing features
                anv: Memset array properties
                anv/blorp: Rename buffer image stride parameters
                anv: Canonicalize buffer formats for image/buffer copies
                anv: Stop allocating WSI event fences off the instance
          
          Jonathan Marek (1):
                st/mesa: don't lower YUV when driver supports it natively
          
          Kenneth Graunke (2):
                intel/compiler: Fix illegal mutation in get_nir_image_intrinsic_image
                intel: Fix aux map alignments on 32-bit builds.
          
          Lasse Lopperi (1):
                freedreno/drm: Fix memory leak in softpin implementation
          
          Lionel Landwerlin (4):
                anv: fix intel perf queries availability writes
                anv: only use VkSamplerCreateInfo::compareOp if enabled
                intel/perf: expose timestamp begin for mdapi
                intel/perf: report query split for mdapi
          
          Marek Olšák (4):
                ac/gpu_info: always use distributed tessellation on gfx10
                radeonsi: work around an LLVM crash when using llvm.amdgcn.icmp.i64.i1
                radeonsi: clean up how internal compute dispatches are handled
                radeonsi: don't invoke decompression inside internal launch_grid
          
          Nataraj Deshpande (1):
                egl/android: Restrict minimum triple buffering for android color_buffers
          
          Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer (8):
                radeonsi: release saved resources in si_retile_dcc
                radeonsi: release saved resources in si_compute_expand_fmask
                radeonsi: release saved resources in si_compute_clear_render_target
                radeonsi: release saved resources in si_compute_copy_image
                radeonsi: release saved resources in si_compute_do_clear_or_copy
                radeonsi: fix fmask expand compute shader
                radeonsi: make sure fmask expand is done if needed
                util: call bind_sampler_states before setting sampler_views
          
          Rhys Perry (8):
                aco: set vm for pos0 exports on GFX10
                aco: fix imageSize()/textureSize() with large buffers on GFX8
                aco: fix uninitialized data in the binary
                aco: set exec_potentially_empty for demotes
                aco: disable add combining for ds_swizzle_b32
                aco: don't DCE atomics with return values
                aco: check if multiplication/clamp is live when applying output modifier
                aco: fix off-by-one error when initializing sgpr_live_in
          
          Samuel Pitoiset (2):
                radv: only use VkSamplerCreateInfo::compareOp if enabled
                radv: fix double free corruption in radv_alloc_memory()
          
          Samuel Thibault (1):
                meson: Do not require libdrm for DRI2 on hurd
          
          Tapani Pälli (1):
                egl/android: fix buffer_count for applications setting max count
          
          Thong Thai (1):
                mesa: Prevent _MaxLevel from being less than zero
          
          Timur Kristóf (1):
                aco/gfx10: Fix VcmpxExecWARHazard mitigation.
          
          
          
          
          git tag: mesa-19.3.3
          
        • Mesa 19.3.3 Released With Many Fixes

          While Mesa 20.0 will be entering its feature freeze this week and branching ahead of the stable release expected in about one month, for now the Mesa 19.3 series is the newest available for stable users.

          Among the fixes to find with Mesa 19.3.3 are listed below while mostly amounting to the usual AMD Radeon and Intel churn along with other core work.

        • Mesa 19.3.3 Released with Improvements for Dead Rising 4, Many Fixes

          The Mesa 3D graphics library has been updated today to version 19.3.3, another bugfix release in the Mesa 19.3 series that addresses various crashes and other issues.

          Mesa 19.3.3 arrives two weeks after version 19.3.2 and it’s here to fix a crash with the Dead Rising 4 action-adventure video game on GFX6 and GFX7 family of AMD GPUs, improve compiling support with GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 10, and a memory leak in the softpin implementation of the Freedreno DRM driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Raspberry Pi 4 Benchmarked with 32-bit and 64-bit Debian OS

        The first Raspberry Pi board with a 64-bit Arm processor was Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, and all new models including the latest Raspberry Pi 4 come with four Arm Cortex-A 64-bit cores.

        But in order to keep backward software compatibility with the original Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi 2, the Raspberry Pi foundation decided to keep provided 32-bit OS image, so nearly everybody is now running a 32-bit OS on 64-bit hardware, and Eben Upton famously claimed it did not matter.

        We already wrote that 64-bit Arm (Aarch64) boosted performance by 15 to 30% against 32-bit Arm (Aarch32) several years ago, but Matteo Croce decided to try it out himself on Raspberry Pi 4 board first running benchmarks on Raspbian 32-bit before switching to a lightweight version of Debian compiled as aarch64.

    • Applications

      • Screen sharing on Linux: The state of things

        When I want to show something, I can either:

        Share a single window, which can sometimes just share the entire screen anyway, or sometimes crash the entire chat application if I hide the window by switching to another workspace.

        Share outside of the chat application we’re using

        So, I use OBS (which actually has third-party support for wlroots if you’re on Wayland) and stream to my own RTMP server.

      • 7 open source desktop tools: Download our new eBook

        Linux users say that choice is one of the platform’s strengths. On the surface, this might sound self-aggrandizing (or self-deprecating, depending on your perspective). Other operating systems offer choice, too, but once you look at the options available for nearly anything you want to do on Linux, it doesn’t take long to conclude that a new word ought to be invented for what we mean by “choice.”

        User choice isn’t a “feature” of Linux; it’s a way of life. Whether you’re looking for a whole new desktop or just a new system tray, Linux hackers provide you options. You might also be able to hack some simple commands together to create a batch processor for yourself—and you might publish it online for others, thereby contributing to the array of choice.

      • Snowflake is the Linux SSH GUI you didn’t know you needed

        Every single day I rely on secure shell. 90% of the time I’m using that tool from the Linux platform, where I open a terminal window and SSH into what seems like an endless array of remote servers. Because I’m accessing so many servers, having a GUI tool makes that task less of a strain on my memory.

        What IP address goes to what server? There are so many of them.

        That’s why I’ve taken to using the Snowflake GUI tool. Snowflake includes a connection manager, file browser, terminal emulator, resource/processor manager, disk space analyzer, text editor, log viewer, SSH key authentication support, and more.

      • New features and changes in the Kuesa 1.1.0 release

        KUESA™ is a solution that provides an integrated and unified workflow for designers and developers to create, optimize and integrate real time 3D content in a 3D or hybrid 2D/3D software user interface. Models, including geometry, materials, animations and more, can smoothly be shared between designers and developers. Kuesa relies on glTF 2.0, an open standard which is being broadly used in the industry, so it can easily and seamlessly integrate with a growing number of authoring tools.

      • Apache SpamAssassin 3.4.4 available

        One of the most significant projects from the Apache Foundation has released another version of SpamAssassin. This is primarily a security release, but also includes improvements to macro document processing with OLVBMacro and a set of smaller fixes.Apache SpamAssassin is a mature, widely-deployed open source project that serves as a mail filter to identify spam. SpamAssassin uses a variety of mechanisms including mail header and text analysis, Bayesian filtering, DNS blocklists, and collaborative filtering databases. In addition, Apache SpamAssassin has a modular architecture that allows other technologies to be quickly incorporated as an addition or as a replacement for existing methods.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Pedestrian is an imaginative and fun puzzle game about travelling through signs – out now

        You are The Pedestrian, the little person you see in various street and wall signs and you’re on a mission. It’s a clever idea for a game but is the gameplay worth it? I took a look to find out. Note: Key from the dev.

        Truthfully though, unless something major changed, I was fully expecting to enjoy this. The demo released previously I briefly wrote up was already very enjoyable and showcased what they wanted to do well enough. The Pedestrian can be played by pretty much anyone, as the story is without text and dialogue.

      • Huge new Dwarf Fortress release out with villains and interrogations – you can also pet animals

        Dwarf Fortress, a single-player fantasy game that’s quite a complex mix of genres has a big new release now available. It’s been around a long time and it’s so popular it’s inspired the creation of other amazing games like RimWorld, Prison Architect, Minecraft and plenty more.

        Yesterday, Bay 12 Games put out v0.47.01 with some pretty huge new features, plenty of which are spread out across the multiple game modes. For the fortress mode, you will now get petitions for guildhalls and temples when you have enough believers digging around. Slightly more concerning though, is that villains might target you and steal some artifacts. If you have a Sheriff, you will get reports on it and you will be able to interrogate people and perhaps get the name of their master eventually.

      • Ordmonster

        The first thing I’d like to point out that my fluency in Godot as a tool is starting to show of. I’m more happy with the code structure of ordmonster, and I start to feel that I don’t continuously bump into the sharp edges of Godot, but use the engine as it was meant to be used.

        I also learned a couple of things. The first one is the Control::mouse_filter property. The GameButton nodes (the ones showing a word or a picture) consists of a Button with a Label for text and a TextureRect for holding the picture. The TextureRect sits inside a MarginContainer. It turns out the MarginContainer stops all mouse events from passing through, effectively disabling the Button. This took a while to figure out.

        The second half has to do with how resource files can be traversed on Android. Resources are embedded into the executable produced by Godot. The words available in the game are stored as the filenames of the images, so that I don’t have to create a table and keep it in sync with the file names. Really smart idea – right? This smart idea cost me quite some time.

        First up, it seems like you cannot have non-ASCII characters in asset filenames when building apk files for Android devices. Really annoying. The fix was using English for the filenames and having to add the words to my translation tables, so now I have a table to keep in sync with the filenames anyway.

        The fun did not end here. Now it worked on desktop (both Linux and Windows), but my Android builds simply crashed on me. It turns out that the Directory::list_dir_begin and friends do not seem to work on Android, or the assets are not included in the apk. I’ll spend some time figuring out what is up, then I’ll probably file a bug report. In the mean time you can follow the current forum discussion.

      • Psyonix explains why Rocket League on macOS and Linux is scrapped and offers refunds

        Rocket League players on macOS and Linux got some bad news last week, as Psyonix is dropping online support for both platforms. The online-removing patch will arrive in March, at which point players will only have access to local multiplayer. At the time, there was little explanation as to why this move had to be made, but the developers have since expanded on its reasoning, attributing the change to a shift away from DirectX 9.

        Psyonix said last week that it has become “more difficult to support macOS and Linux” as the studio looks to adapt to newer technologies. Now, thanks to some additional clarification, we know that Rocket League is making the jump from DirectX 9 to DirectX 11 in order to support “new types of content and features” that aren’t possible on the older API:

        “There are multiple reasons for this change, but the primary one is that there are new types of content and features we’d like to develop, but cannot support on DirectX 9. This means when we fully release DX11 on Windows, we’ll no longer support DX9 as it will be incompatible with future content”.

      • Rocket League losing Linux and macOS support

        Rocket League, a game with which we have a bit of history, is losing support for Linux and macOS. Psyonix, the team behind the game, explained in a recent Reddit post that Rocket League is being updated from 32-bit and DirectX 9 to 64-bit and DirectX 11. The game’s OpenGL render for the Linux and macOS clients requires DX9 to function, and future game content will require DX11. Given that only 0.3% of the playerbase is on Linux and macOS, the team has decided that investing the time and resources into updating the Linux version to Vulkan or OpenGL4 and macOS version to Metal cannot be justified.

      • GtkStressTesting: Stress and Monitor Linux Hardware Components

        Insight: GtkStressTesting: Stress and Monitor Linux Hardware Components

        GtkStressTesting is a system utility designed to stress and monitor various hardware components in Linux. It monitors various hardware components like CPU and RAM.

        Features:

        Run different CPU and memory stress tests
        Run multi and single core benchmark
        Show Processor information (name, cores, threads, family, model, stepping, flags, bugs, etc)
        Show Processor’s cache information
        Show Motherboard information (vendor, model, bios version, bios date, etc)
        Show RAM information (size, speed, rank, manufacturer, part number, etc)
        Show CPU usage (core %, user %, load avg, etc)
        Show Memory usage
        Show CPU’s physical’s core clock (current, min, max)
        Show Hardware monitor (info provided by sys/class/hwmon)

      • Awesome looking FPS ‘Prodeus’ Early Access release slips to Summer, new trailer is up

        Retro-inspired with plenty of modern tricks, Prodeus looks bloody awesome! Sadly though, we have to wait a bit longer to frag as the Early Access date has slipped.

        In a big update on Kickstarter, the team explained that while it’s come far they’re just not there yet, so they’ve pushed Early Access until Summer this year. The extra few months will be used to “deliver an amazing game” and “polish the game to get it to release quality”.

      • Obversion is a slow, peaceful and satisfying first-person puzzler out now

        Obversion from former-Google developer Adrian Marple is out now, I played through a bunch of it and found it delightful.

        Visually simple, mechanically very straightforward too but it’s also very accessible. You can play the entire game with a gamepad or mouse/keyboard – the choice is yours. The idea of each level is simply to reach the exit, you do this by manipulating the environment by creating and destroying certain blocks. Even if you get something wrong, you can undo entire moves at the tap of a button making it quite peaceful and relaxing even when you’re stuck as you’re free to experiment at your own pace.

      • Aquamarine, a story-driven quiet survival adventure set in an alien ocean

        Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, Aquamarine looks like a very sweet survival adventure about exploring an alien ocean.

        In development by Moebial Studios with a plan to release for Linux, macOS and Windows in Q4 this year, Aquamarine is a small-scale story-driven adventure inspired largely by the psychedelic sci-fi of the ’70s and ’80s. With gameplay combining elements of old-school roguelikes and the survival genre with the exploration and puzzle solving of classic point-and-click adventures.

      • Korean survival-horror The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters is officially out now

        From publisher Headup and the South-Korean development team at Devespresso Games we have the full release of The Coma 2: Vicious Sisters.

        Continuing the dark and vicious world setup in The Coma: Recut, this standalone sequel doesn’t need you to have played the previous game so you can jump right on in thanks to the new protagonist, Mina Park, although it does have certain references to the previous game for those who’ve played it.

      • Seven years later Kentucky Route Zero is finally complete with the release of Act V

        As a free update to all existing owners, seven years after the initial release Kentucky Route Zero from developer Cardboard Computer is actually done and finished.

        Not only can you now play through the full story, the update also includes the “interludes” – free experimental games which they published to “ill in the story and characters from different perspectives” and the game has new translations too, adjustable text size and Steam Achievements. Quite a big update!

      • Google Stadia adds GYLT and Metro Exodus for Pro and more Stadia news

        It’s time for another little roundup of happenings around Google Stadia, the Linux-powered game streaming service.

        Firstly, for anyone who does have the Founder/Premier Edition or were sent a Buddy Pass, the Pro games for February have been announced. At this point, it does seem like Google are running out of Steam as they’re giving away their own exclusive GYLT and Metro Exodus. Samurai Shodown and Rise of the Tomb Raider for Pro ends January 31, so you need to claim them before that date to keep them with your subscription. Google did also announce new Pro deals here.

        Google also did an official “Stadia Savepoint” news post on the official Google blog, going over what they’ve been doing but there’s nothing new there since they already announced the big stuff like 120 games coming to Stadia across this year including some timed-exclusives.

      • How Warcraft III accidentally became a great Lord of the Rings game

        Warcraft III shipped in 2002 with a robust set of map-making tools. To younger folks that might sound weird now. “Map-making tools?” But once upon a time it was normal. In the ‘90s and early ‘00s, most multiplayer games shipped with official tools for creating custom maps or scenarios. I imagine a number of today’s developers grew up making maps for Unreal Tournament, Quake, Counter-Strike, Age of Empires II, and yes, Warcraft III.

      • HERE COMES GODOT 3.2, WITH QUALITY AS PRIORITY

        Godot contributors are thrilled and delighted to release our newest major update, Godot 3.2! It’s the result of over 10 months of work by close to 450 contributors (300 of them contributing to Godot for the first time) who authored more than 6000 commits!

        Godot 3.2 is a major improvement over our previous 3.1 installment, bringing dozens of major features and hundreds of bugfixes and enhancements to bring our game developers an ever-improving feature set with a strong focus on usability.

      • Godot Engine 3.2 is out – advancing this FOSS game engine ‘with quality as priority’

        After nearly a year of development, the free and open source game engine Godot Engine has a big new feature-filled release out with 3.2 focusing on quality as their priority.

        Even though it’s a massive release, the Godot team is encouraging developers to upgrade from the older version as practically “every area of the engine has seen some degree of enhancement”. There are a few breaking changes though so check the changelog.

        Originally planned as a small release, however a lot of features introduced in 3.0 and 3.1 “needed refinement” and they did “a lot of work” to improve the “usability, implement missing components and fix bugs” to ensure Godot 3.2 is a long-lasting release with long-term support due to how vastly different Godot 4.0 will be.

      • Godot 3.2 Open-Source Game Engine Released With Better Documentation, New Features

        While developers are hard at work on Godot 4.0 with Vulkan support, that release won’t be ready until mid-2020 so as a result Godot 3.2 is out today as their latest stable release and serving as a “long-term support” release until transitioning to Godot 4.

        Godot 3.2 is bringing with it better documentation, Mono / C# integration working on Android and WebAssembly, Oculus Quest support, overhauling of Godot’s visual shaders, various graphics/rendering improvements, glTF 2.0 3D asset support, WebSocket and WebRTC support, new editor features, and a variety of other enhancements.

      • VULKAN PROGRESS REPORT #6

        It’s been a while since the previous progress report, as I went on vacation in November (did not take a vacation in years…), and December I had a lot of other engine related tasks that piled up that I had to solve. Work on the Vulkan branch resumed at the beginning of January and significant progress was made already.

      • Godot’s Vulkan Renderer Is Already Picking Up New Features In 2020

        We remain quite excited to see Godot 4.0 this year that most notably is working on Vulkan API support.

        Godot 4.0 will hopefully be out in mid-2020 with the big ticket item being a Vulkan renderer. Godot lead developer Juan Linietsky has been back at work striving to have the Vulkan renderer match feature completeness to the Godot 3.x OpenGL rendering while also introducing new advanced features.

        Some of the latest Godot Vulkan developments include working out a modernized post-processing stack, rewritten auto exposure code with better performance, rewritten glow/bloom, a new depth of field effect, new screen space ambient occlusion, and specular anti-aliasing.

      • Godot Engine continues advancing Vulkan support, plus Nakama Godot first release

        Two bits of news relating to the free and open source game engine, Godot Engine, to share today and it’s quite exciting.

        Firstly, the Vulkan support coming with the big Godot Engine 4.0 release later in the year (not the upcoming 3.2 release) continues improving the graphics overhaul. In a new progress update, lead developer Juan Linietsky writes about recent changes after taking a small holiday last November.

      • Epic Games Kills Rocket League on Linux! (Reaction)

        Epic Games decided that Linux and macOS Gamers don’t deserve the ability to play Rocket League on their preferred platform so I made this video because I am frustrated with losing my favorite game and I’m sick of Epic Games attacking the Gaming Industry while pretending to care about gamers.

        Tim Sweeney (CEO of Epic Games) has something against Linux apparently because he seems to refuse to support Linux with any games owned by Epic Games even to the point of buying a game that already had support for years and removing that support with Rocket League. In this video, I also cover the absurding of the claims that Sweeney thinks “Linux is great” while at the same time doing his best to ignore it and even hurt it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • conf.kde.in and Calamares

          I spent a week in Delhi on a trip to be part of conf.kde.in. One of the talks I gave had a line in it Translation is Accessibility.

          I would probably add accessibility is a right, although that would be hypocritical of me, given that Calamares’s accessibility isn’t all that good (part of that is down to Qt and a languishing patch for making Qt-applications-as-root accessible). There’s some open issues on that front, and I hope that we’re going to find some progress in the next few months.

          In any case, one of the talks was on the transition of the Janayugom newspaper to Free Software – Scribus and KDE applications. That includes the challenges of dealing with fonts, writing, transliteration, and more. Read the upstream story from the people who did the work. At conf.kde.in both Kannan and Subin spoke about Malayalam topics; Kannan about the newspaper, and Subin about KDE bits. I showed off Calamares running in Malayalam as well, although since I hadn’t prepared that, I didn’t have proper Indic fonts installed and it was terribly ugly. In Hindi it looked ok, so there’s plenty of work for system integrators to do to deliver a good-looking localized desktop there.

          Since I was also giving a talk about translations and one about Calamares, I decided to canvas for more translators. Gujrati, for instance, has only one translator and not much work done, so I was hoping to find some helpers.

        • Season of KDE

          I am thrilled to be a part of Season of KDE 2020. I am working with the KDE Web and Calligra teams to create a new website for the Calligra Suite. The project involves converting the website to jekyll so that it is inline with the rest of the KDE websites.

          I got involved with KDE in december 2019 by joining their telegram group. I have been trying to contribute to open source projects since a long time but always found it difficult getting started. KDE dev’s helped me get started. I would especially like to thank my mentor Carl Schwan for guiding me in contributing to KDE.

          As mentioned in my previous post, I’ll be documenting my Season of KDE journey in this blog. This is first report for my project.

        • Guest Post: Current State of ComDaAn: Community Data Analytics, by Christelle Zouein

          Paul Adams is a developer renowned for his work in the field of free software and his many contributions to the KDE FOSS community. Before retiring from KDE, Adams provided the community with a service in the form of community data visualization using git repositories. To ensure the continuity of the service, Kevin Ottens, Libre software craftsman and developer at enioka Haute Couture, decided to take over.

          And so, ComDaAn took form as a way of modernizing Paul Adams’ scripts while staying true to his vision.

          That later turned into a complete rewrite with the purpose of creating a solid base for community data analytics in general. The project then became a suite of tools to study and analyze data produced by software communities and teams.

        • Latte bug fix release v0.9.8.1

          Latte Dock v0.9.8.1 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Data transfer in GTK4

          The traditional methods for user-initiated data transfers between desktop apps are the clipboard or Drag-and-Drop. GTK+ has supported these methods since the beginning of time, but up until GTK3, the APIs we had for this kind of data transfer were thinly disguised copies of the corresponding X11 apis: selections, and properties and atoms. This is not too surprising, since the entire GDK api was modeled on X11. Unfortunately, the implementation includes horrors such as incremental transfers and string format conversions.

          For GTK4, we’re leaving these things behind as we are moving things in GDK around to be closer to the Wayland API. Data transfer is one the areas in most urgent need of this modernization. Thankfully, it is almost complete at this point, so it is worth taking a look at what has changed, and how things will work in the future.

        • GTK4 Data Transfer APIs Being Modernized Around Wayland

          Red Hat’s Matthias Clasen has provided an update on one of the latest areas the GTK developers are working on finishing up with the forthcoming GTK 4.0 tool-kit… Improving the data transfer interfaces around handling for copy/paste and drag-and-drop.

          With GTK4, the data transfer interfaces are being re-engineered with an emphasis on moving closer to the Wayland API where as with GTK3 the GDK API was modeled on the X11 interfaces.

    • Distributions

      • 9 Years After Starting, AppStream 1.0 Is Coming For Cross-Distribution Package Metadata

        AppStream was started in 2011 as a means of drawing up cross-distribution (XML-based) standards for describing software components/packages metadata and for repositories to describe software collections. Now nearly a decade later, AppStream 1.0 should be coming in the next few months.

        Debian developer Matthias Klumpp who has been extensively involved in AppStream and other Linux packaging/installation efforts over the years has provided an update on the AppStream efforts.

        Among the AppStream additions in recent times has been a run-time component type added (such as for Flatpak bundles), end-of-life date support for software releases, an agreement section for metainfo files, support for videos in the software screenshots area, and various other additions.

      • New Releases

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 Now Available for Download

          Beginning with this release, if you run the live version of Kali, both the default user and password are “kali.” On the other hand, if you install the distro, you are prompted to create a non-root user with administrative privileges.

          “Tools that we identify as needing root access, as well as common administrative functions such as starting/stopping services, will interactively ask for administrative privileges (at least when started from the Kali menu),” the dev team explains.

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 released: New tools, Kali NetHunter rootless, and more!

          Offensive Security have released Kali Linux 2020.1, which is available for immediate download. The popular open source project, which is heavily relied upon in the pentest community, is introducing several new features, including new packages and tools. The key new features include:

          Changes in the default credentials – Kali is abandoning the default ‘root/toor’ credentials and moving to ‘kali/kali’. This is a very big change as root has been the default for Kali since its inception.

        • Kali Linux 2020.1 Switches To Non-Root User By Default, New Single Installer Image

          For the latest Kali Linux 2020.1, released yesterday, the developers have decided to go with a traditional default non-root user model. Other changes in this Kali Linux release include a single installer image instead of separate images for every desktop environment, rootless mode for Kali NetHunter, and more.

          Kali Linux is a Debian Testing based Linux distribution created for digital forensics and penetration testing, which comes with hundreds of tools preinstalled.

          [...]

          The Kali developers note that while there’s nothing stopping users from using Kali Linux as their main OS, just like before, they still don’t encourage this. But the change to a non-root default user will make it easier for those that want this.

          The main reason for not recommending the usage Kali Linux as the main OS is that it’s not tested for this kind of usage, and the Kali developers don’t want the influx of bug reports that come with it.

          If you do, however, run Kali as your main OS, you’ll probably want to switch from the rolling branch to kali-last-snapshot for more stability.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 RC KDE-focused Linux distro now available for download

          Today, there is some great news for the Linux community — OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is RC now available! Yes, there is a new version of the KDE-focused Linux distribution.

          Before you get too excited, please know that RC stands for “Release Candidate.” What does that mean? Well, it should be more stable than an Alpha or Beta, but it is still pre-release software. Essentially, with an RC, the developers are proposing that this version could be stable enough to become “final” or “gold.”

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 Will Ship with Linux Kernel 5.5, LibreOffice 6.4

          OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 is just around the corner, and the Release Candidate (RC) build is now available for public testing, giving the community a glimpse over the features and components to be implemented in the final release.

          The Release Candidate (RC) is the last milestone in the development cycle of any GNU/Linux distribution, and it usually contains mostly bug fixes and update packages. But what’s more exciting is the fact that OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 RC is shipping with the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series.

          In addition to the Linux kernel bump, the Release Candidate also comes with the latest KDE Plasma 5.17.5 desktop environment, KDE Frameworks 5.66.0 and KDE Applications 19.12.1 open-source software suites, Qt 5.14.0 applications framework, Krita 4.2.8 digital painting software, and LLVM/clang 9.0.1 compiler.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Libvirt, PHP, FFmpeg Updates Roll Out on Tumbleweed

          The 1.4 version of kdeconnect-kde was updated in the most recent 20200127 snapshot. The version offers a new “KDE Connect” desktop app to control the phone from the PC and SMS app that can read and write SMS texts. The newer version also offers compatibility with Xfce‘s file manager Thunar. The third release candidate for LibreOffice requires java 1.8 or newer with the libreoffice 6.4.0.3 package. Some core and curl bugs were fixed with php7 7.4.2, which included an Exif fix, and a handful of rubygem packages had minor version bumps. The snapshot is currently trending at a stable rating of 99, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

          Snapshot, 20200125 had a half dozen packages updated. GNU’s Utilities tool package for multi-lingual messaging, gettext-runtime 0.20.1, removed dynamic linker ldconfig and script builder autoreconf. GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library has a new C++ function in the gmp 6.2.0 update and the new version provides better assembly code and greater speed for AMD Ryzen, Power9 and ARM 64-bit CPUs. An updated to the authentication-related tool shadow 4.8 synced password field descriptions in man pages and migrated to ITS Tool for translations. The snapshot is currently trending at a stable rating of 99.

        • Running for openSUSE Board #2: Getting new people aboard

          I’d like to illustrate my view on it with a simple example:
          When you visit opensuse.org there’s a menu item top right named “contribute”. Clicking it brings you to the contribution bit of the page. There you have choice between two things: Code and Hardware. Now if we’re lucky a potential contributor will click on “Code” and gets presented four slightly unmotivated lines of text and a button to “find out more”. That’s not how to be friendly and inviting. Let’s hope not too much people are turned down by that.

          But what I see as a way bigger problem – and some kind of basic pattern in oS – is that behind the “find out…” button in fact there would be really good and detailed information on how to contribute. Documentation, testing, translations and so on is all there. But it’s not communicated in any reasonable way! It’s hidden in different places, buried deeply in the wiki. The wiki is a good place for extensively written explanations but not for getting a first step into the pool.

          So my idea is part of a whole to-be-defined restructuring of opensuse.org. I proposed a few thoughts a while ago but got curbed due to the renaming/rebranding discussion back then. Yet I still have these things on my list to discuss and tackle. [1]

          Of course the website is just one puzzle part. The whole getting fresh blood (as you called it) thing needs further pushing. Hence the initiative of the marketing team to get special t-shirts for Leap 15.2. Beta testers. [2]
          This is something easily to be communicated to the outside and can be a door opener for new people. Though it is not a board member’s job there. But I think it’s good to have a board taking part in this whole communication
          initiative.

        • Instant Fresh openSUSE Tumbleweed with Docker and Vagrant Images

          On my machines I run openSUSE Leap (download), a stable distribution that follows the SUSE Linux Enterprise service packs. But frequently my task is to reproduce or fix a bug in openSUSE Tumbleweed (download), the hottest rolling distribution.

          In the past, I would take an ISO image of the installation DVD and install a virtual machine from scratch. (To say nothing about burning a CD, copying a boot floppy, and reinstalling a physical machine. I’ve been doing this for too long.)

          Fortunately, things got easier with ready-made disk images for containers (Docker/Podman) and virtual machines (Vagrant).

        • Klaas Freitag: Public Money – Public Code [Ed: in German]

          Genau dafür setzt sich die Kampagne Public Money for Public Code der Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) ein.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora Magazine: 4 cool new projects to try in COPR for January 2020

          COPR is a collection of personal repositories for software that isn’t carried in Fedora. Some software doesn’t conform to standards that allow easy packaging. Or it may not meet other Fedora standards, despite being free and open source. COPR can offer these projects outside the Fedora set of packages. Software in COPR isn’t supported by Fedora infrastructure or signed by the project. However, it can be a neat way to try new or experimental software.

          This article presents a few new and interesting projects in COPR. If you’re new to using COPR, see the COPR User Documentation for how to get started.

        • Robbie Harwood: Fedora Has Too Many Security Bugs

          I don’t work on Fedora security directly, but I do maintain some crypto components. As such, I have my own opinions about how things ought to work, which I will refrain from here. My intent is to demonstrate the problem so that the project can discuss solutions.

          To keep this easy to follow, my data and process is in a section at the end; curious readers should be able to double-check me.

        • Vague proposal: ship prebuilt initramfs images

          Measured boot involves generating cryptographic measurements of boot components and configuration and using that to either control access to a local secret (in the case of sealing secrets to a TPM) or proving to another device (eg, a remote server or a local phone) what was booted. We’re shipping most of the infrastructure to do this, but we’re still left with a pretty fundamental problem – we need to know what the expected values are in order to know whether something’s been tampered with or not. For many components this isn’t a huge problem (we build and distribute the files – users can extract them and calculate the appropriate measurements, and maybe long term we’ll be able to ship the measurements in a digestable way), but our initramfs images are generated on the user system and include system-specific data. This makes it impractical to know the expected measurements in advance. I’ve been thinking about ways to solve this for a while, and I’m coming to the conclusion that the best plan is probably to just ship pre-built initramfs images. I can think of three main reasons to want to use system-specific images: 1) They’re smaller. By default we’re already generating a generic image for rescue purposes, so disk space isn’t the concern here – we’re largely looking at losing boot speed. As machines have got faster this is probably not a huge deal. 2) They contain machine-specific configuration. Some of this can be passed on the kernel command line instead (eg, the machine ID), but we’d need answers for the rest. I can think of a couple of solutions: a) Stick the config in UEFI variables. It’s small enough that we wouldn’t run out. b) Extend grub to read some config files and synthesise an initramfs image for them. If we measure the paths that those images use then we don’t need to worry about the contents as long as the tools that read the config can’t be subverted via that configuration. 3) User customisation, such as including extra tooling. grub supports loading multiple initramfs images. Packages that right now install stuff in the initramfs could instead ship a prebuilt image that grub could append to the main initramfs. This would allow for things like overriding Plymouth themes, and we could ship the measurements for these pre-built images in order to allow them to be validated. Any thoughts on this?

        • Fedora Stakeholders Discuss Possibility Of Using Pre-Built Initramfs Images

          Another alternative to slow initramfs generation could be distributing pre-built initramfs images to users. An additional benefit of that is possibly better security with measured boot capabilities, a matter currently being discussed by Fedora stakeholders.

          Fedora from time-to-time has brought up the topic of using pre-built initramfs images and that happened again last week by former Red Hat employee turned Googler Matthew Garrett. He brought up a possible proposal to ship prebuilt initramfs images in the name of better security with measured boot.

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan McDowell: Hardware, testing and time

          This week I fixed a bug that dated back to last May. It was in a piece of hardware I assembled, running firmware I wrote most of. And it had been in operation since May without me noticing the issue.

          What was the trigger that led to me discovering the bug’s existence? The colder temperatures. See, the device in question is a Digispark/433MHz receiver/USB serial dongle combo that listens for broadcasts from a Digoo DG-R8H wireless temperature/humidity weather station monitor. This is placed outside, giving me external temperature data to feed into my home automation setup.

          The thing is, while Belfast is often cold and wet, it’s rarely really cold. So up until recently the fact I never saw sub-zero temperatures reported could just be attributed to the fact the sensor is on a window sill and the house probably has enough residual heat and it’s sheltered enough that it never actually got below zero. And then there were a few days where it obviously did and that wasn’t reflected in the results and so I scratched my head and dug out the code.

          It was obvious when I looked what the issue was; I made no attempt to try and deal with negative temperatures. My excuse for this is that my DS18B20 1-Wire temperature sensor code didn’t make any attempt to deal with negative temperatures either – it didn’t need to, as those are all deployed inside my home and if the temperature gets towards zero the heating is turned on. So first mistake; not thinking about the fact the external sensor was going to have a different set of requirements/limits than the internal one.

        • Debian package updates preining.info: Digikam (6.4 and 7), Elixir, Kitty, Certbot

          I have updated some of the Debian packages distributed at https://www.preining.info/debian/, the complete list as of now is as below.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ditch Windows 7 For Ubuntu Linux With This Great Guide

          If you’re still using Windows 7 and not paying for extended support (likely the vast majority of home users), you’re entering very risky waters. Microsoft won’t be sending along any more updates or security patches which leaves you exposed to all kinds of nastiness. You may be considering upgrading to Windows 10, or even buying a new PC with Windows 10 pre-installed since many older computers don’t meet the hardware requirements to run the latest version of Microsoft’s OS. But Canonical, the company behind the Linux distribution Ubuntu, has published a new guide to ease you through the transition from Windows 7 to Linux.

        • Here’s Ubuntu Touch Running on the PinePhone

          UBports’ Marius Gripsgård has shared today on YouTube a more in depth overview of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system on the PinePhone Linux phone.

          The PinePine is already shipping to customers who pre-ordered the BraveHeart edition, but the new Linux phone doesn’t ship with an operating system pre-installed. Several options are available though, including Ubuntu Touch and Plasma Mobile.

          Its makers, PINE64, are currently waiting for a Linux mobile OS vendor to port their operating system to the PinePhone before shipping the second edition in spring 2020, and I really hope that Ubuntu Touch will be the first option they choose.

        • Mark Shuttleworth 2020 Prediction

          Here are the predictions by Canonical founder.

        • Ubuntu’s Zsys Tool For Enhancing The ZFS On Linux Experience Now Supports Snapshots

          One of the work items we have been keen to monitor during the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS development cycle is tracking the happenings around Zsys, the Ubuntu/Canonical led utility for helping to administer ZFS On Linux systems. In ending out January, Zsys now has more functionality in tow.

          The latest with Zsys as of this week for the Golang-written daemon and user-space utility is zsysctl save for saving the current user state (snapshot) by default but also options for saving the complete system state and all users and another option for saving the state of specified users.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The CUPS Printing System Lead Developer Has Left Apple, Begins Developing “LPrint”

        More than a decade after Apple acquired the CUPS source-code and its lead developer, that developer, Michael Sweet, recently parted ways with Apple.

        Just before Christmas was an announcement by CUPS lead developer Michael Sweet that he left Apple and will be taking a break and then plans to begin forming a new business with his wife.

        During his tenure at Apple, there were many CUPS improvements: much better network printing support, basic 3D printer support, IPP Everywhere, and more.

        Back in 2017 though is when Apple decided CUPS would no longer be GPL licensed but they migrated to the Apache 2.0 license. Just last August came CUPS 2.3 with that licensing change and the print server’s first release in three years.

      • Flashing Builds from the Android Open Source Project

        AOSP has been around for a while, but flashing builds onto a development device has always required a number of manual steps. A year ago we launched Android’s Continuous Integration Dashboard, which gives more visibility into the continuous build status of the AOSP source tree. However, these builds were not available for phones and flashing devices still required a manual command line process.

      • Google Makes It Easier To Flash Android Open-Source Project On Phones

        Flashing the Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) onto devices is now a lot easier thanks to the Android Flash Tool.

        Deploying the open-source build of Android onto smartphones/tablets has been a chore with various manual steps involved from the command line, but now the Android Flash Tool makes it easy to flash builds produced via the Android Continuous Integration Dashboard onto supported devices. Android Flash Tool makes it much easier for those wanting to run AOSP builds on hardware.

      • Google Android Flash Tool Allows You to Flash AOSP From a Web Browser
      • Product Announcement: Chef Habitat 1.5 Now Available

        Chef Habitat provides automation capabilities for defining, packaging, and delivering applications to almost any environment with any operating system, on any platform. Over the last year, we’ve seen organizations like Alaska Airlines, Rakuten, Walmart, and Rizing address a broad range of application delivery automation challenges with Habitat. They’ve improved their developers’ productivity, reduced deployment failures, and are delivering applications consistently across a variety of platforms and technologies.

      • Events

        • Cephalocon 2020 sessions to look out for

          March is a busy month in the open source calendar, with not just SUSECON occurring in Dublin, Ireland, but also the Ceph community congregating on the city of Seoul in South Korea for the ever popular Cephalocon conference. The global Ceph community is very vibrant, and where better to hold the annual get together for lovers of the industry-leading, open source software-defined storage technology than the high-tech metropolis that is Seoul?

        • Philip Withnall: Interested in a GUADEC remote attendance party in the UK, July 2020?

          GUADEC is in Mexico this year, which is great! This means that, for once, the tables are turned and people in Europe will get to experience what everyone in the rest of the world normally experiences for GUADEC: long travel times. That’s no bad thing, but I suspect it means there’ll be more people from Europe who are taking a break from GUADEC this year.

          I don’t want to travel to GUADEC, but do want to keep up with the conference and see people. So I’m looking at organising a UK remote attendance party for GUADEC, where anyone who isn’t going to Mexico is welcome to come along for a few days, follow the conference remotely, hack together, and socialise together.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird Mail Client Now Being Pushed Along By “MZLA Technologies Corporation”

            Mozilla’s Thunderbird mail client has been rather neglected the past several years with all the focus on the Firefox web browser, but as the next step forward for this mail/RSS client is now placing it under the newly-formed MZLA Technologies Corporation.

            MZLA Technologies Corporation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation. By placing it under this new corporation, the hope is it will open new doors for Thunderbird and in turn more funding.

          • Thunderbird’s New Home

            As of today, the Thunderbird project will be operating from a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, MZLA Technologies Corporation. This move has been in the works for a while as Thunderbird has grown in donations, staff, and aspirations. This will not impact Thunderbird’s day-to-day activities or mission: Thunderbird will still remain free and open source, with the same release schedule and people driving the project.

          • Thunderbird spun out to a separate corporation

            The Thunderbird email client has been moved into a separate company called “MZLA Technologies Corporation”, which remains wholly owned by the Mozilla Foundation.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • BSD

        • Meet FuryBSD: A New Desktop BSD Distribution

          FuryBSD is a new BSD distribution based on FreeBSD and tweaked for desktops. Here’s more information about this new project.

        • FreeBSD quarterly report for the period October 2019 – December 2019

          Here is the last quarterly status report for 2019. As you might remember from last report, we changed our timeline: now we collect reports the last month of each quarter and we edit and publish the full document the next month. Thus, we cover here the period October 2019 – December 2019.

          If you thought that the FreeBSD community was less active in the Christmas’ quarter you will be glad to be proven wrong: a quick glance at the summary will be sufficient to see that much work has been done in the last months.

        • FreeBSD Had A Very Busy End Of Year 2019 With Numerous Advancements

          The FreeBSD project has issued their last quarterly status update for 2019.

          During Q4-2019 were many improvements to the FreeBSD project itself and related BSD ecosystem. Some of their happenings for Q4 included:

          - Delivering the successful FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE in early November.

          - Support for newer Intel WiFi chipsets. As part of that, WiFi now works on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 7th Gen laptop which is the laptop FreeBSD Foundation is aiming for good BSD support.

      • FSF

        • Petition asking Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 sails past 7,777-signature goal

          Good news everybody! The Free Software Foundation has blown through its self-imposed target of 7,777 signatories in its efforts to persuade Microsoft to make Windows 7 open source.

          We noted last week the GNU-gang’s attempt to coax the born-again open-sourcerer formerly known as “The Beast Of Redmond” into making a surprise deposit into GitHub.

          The thinking was that since Windows 7 has now come to the end of the road, as far as free security updates are concerned, then perhaps Microsoft might release it as open software?

          We put it to the Free Software Foundation that it might be more complicated than that – after all, Windows 7 contains all manner of codecs and the like licensed from third parties, as well as code licensed back to those same customers.

          The FSF’s Greg Farough told us: “We want all software to be free software.” The clue, after all, is in the name. “But Microsoft freeing just the operating system itself would satisfy our demand here.”

          But what of those enterprises that have already paid for support? Should Microsoft start lobbing out refunds or fork the freshly open-sourced code base?

        • FSFE

          • FSFE is hiring: interns and trainees for legal, policy and technical areas

            FSFE is hiring: interns and trainees for legal, policy and technical areas
            We are looking for interns and trainees experienced in legal, policy or technical fields. The persons will work 35 hours per week with our team in the FSFE’s Berlin office. There will be coordination with remote staff and volunteers, and depending on the work area opportunity to participate in events and meetings throughout Europe.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 Kernel Arrives for Those Seeking 100% Freedom for Their PCs

            The GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 kernel has been released today as a 100% free version of the Linux 5.5 kernel, shipping only with free and open source drivers.

            GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 kernel is here for those seeking 100% freedom for their personal computers, as it deblobs more drivers, including brcmstb_dpfe, i915, iwlwifi, mlxsw spectrum, wilc1000, r8169, x86 touchscreen dmi, and xhci-tegra.

            In addition, the GNU Linux-Libre 5.5 kernel release also cleans several new drivers, among which we can mention IDT Clockmatrix, Realtek RTL815[23] USB Ethernet adaptors, RT5677 sound codecs, and WFX wf200 wireless.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Journal transparency index will be ‘alternative’ to impact scores

            A new ranking system for academic journals measuring their commitment to research transparency will be launched next month – providing what many believe will be a useful alternative to journal impact scores.

            Under a new initiative from the Center for Open Science, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, more than 300 scholarly titles in psychology, education and biomedical science will be assessed on 10 measures related to transparency, with their overall result for each category published in a publicly available league table.

            The centre aims to provide scores for about 1,000 journals within six to eight months of their site’s launch in early February.

      • Programming/Development

        • AMD Zen 2 “Znver2″ Optimizations With LLVM Clang 10 Bring Some Improvements

          With LLVM Clang 10 having added a Zen 2 scheduler model tuned for the latest AMD CPUs over the existing “znver2″ tuning that had just copied the Zen 1 scheduler, here are some benchmarks looking at the LLVM Clang 9 vs. 10 compiler performance on AMD EPYC when making use of “-march=znver2″ optimizations.

          On the AMD EPYC 7742 2P server running Ubuntu 19.10 with the Linux 5.5 kernel, I carried out benchmarks earlier this month comparing the LLVM Clang 9.0.1 performance to that of LLVM Clang 10.0 after the Zen 2 (znver2) improvements landed and around the time of the LLVM 10.0 branching.

        • 3 lessons I’ve learned writing Ansible playbooks

          I’ve used Ansible since 2013 and maintain some of my original playbooks to this day. They have evolved with Ansible from version 1.4 to the current version (as of this writing, 2.9).

          Along the way, as Ansible grew from having dozens to hundreds and now thousands of modules, I’ve learned a lot about how to make sure my playbooks are maintainable and scalable as my systems grow. Even for simple projects (like the playbook I use to manage my own laptop), it pays dividends to avoid common pitfalls and make decisions that will make the future you thankful instead of regretful.

        • Introduction to Eclipse JKube: Java tooling for Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift

          We as Java developers are often busy working on our applications by optimizing application memory, speed, etc. In recent years, encapsulating our applications into lightweight, independent units called containers has become quite a trend, and almost every enterprise is trying to shift its infrastructure onto container technologies like Docker and Kubernetes.

          Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications, but it has a steep learning curve, and an application developer with no background in DevOps can find this system a bit overwhelming. In this article, I will talk about tools that can help when deploying your Maven applications to Kubernetes/Red Hat OpenShift.

          Background: Eclipse JKube

          This project was not built from scratch. It’s just a refactored and rebranded version of the Fabric8 Maven plugin, which was a Maven plugin used in the Fabric8 ecosystem. Although the Fabric8 project was liked and appreciated by many people in the open source community, due to unfortunate reasons it could not become successful, and the idea of Fabric8 as an integrated development platform on top of Kubernetes died. Although the main project is archived, there are still active repositories used by the community, such as the Fabric8 Docker Maven plugin, the Fabric8 Kubernetes client, and of course the Fabric8 Maven plugin.

          As maintainers of the Fabric8 Maven plugin, we started decoupling the Fabric8 ecosystem related pieces from the plugin to make a general-purpose Kubernetes/OpenShift plugin. We also felt there was a need for rebranding because most people were confused about whether this plugin had something to do with Fabric8. Hence, we decided to rebrand it, and fortunately, someone from the Eclipse foundation approached us to take in our project. Now, the project is being renamed to Eclipse JKube and can be found in the Eclipse Foundation repos on GitHub.

        • JSON Lines: record-style JSON

          There are lots of websites that explain why JSON is so popular. It’s based on the familar JavaScript syntax and it has several advantages over CSV, XML and other data transfer formats. T

        • Perl / Raku

          • JSON, Unicode, and Perl … Oh My!

            You might think this a reasonable enough round-trip, just using two different JSON libraries, Mojo::JSON and Cpanel::JSON::XS. In fact, though, when you run this you’ll see that $decode in the above is “\x{c3}\x{83}\x{c2}\x{a9}”, not just the “\xc3\xa9″ that we started with.

        • Python

          • Python ‘!=’ Is Not ‘is not’: Comparing Objects in Python

            There’s a subtle difference between the Python identity operator (is) and the equality operator (==). Your code can run fine when you use the Python is operator to compare numbers, until it suddenly doesn’t. You might have heard somewhere that the Python is operator is faster than the == operator, or you may feel that it looks more Pythonic. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that these operators don’t behave quite the same.

            The == operator compares the value or equality of two objects, whereas the Python is operator checks whether two variables point to the same object in memory. In the vast majority of cases, this means you should use the equality operators == and !=, except when you’re comparing to None.

          • Webinar: “Security Checks for Python Code” with Anthony Shaw

            Software has security issues, Python is software, so how do Python developers avoid common traps? In this webinar, Anthony Shaw discusses the topic of security vulnerabilities, how code quality tools can help, and demonstrates the PyCharm plugin he wrote to let the IDE help.

          • Leysin Winter sprint 2020: Feb 29 – March 8th

            The next PyPy sprint will be in Leysin, Switzerland, for the fourteenth time. This is a fully public sprint: newcomers and topics other than those proposed below are welcome.

          • [Old] BPF Theremin, Tetris, and Typewriters

            If you wish to develop your own BPF observability tools, start with bpftrace and only use BCC when needed. My BPF Performance Tools book has plenty of examples. This is the culmination of five years of work: the BPF kernel runtime, C support, LLVM and Clang support, the BCC front-end, and finally the bpftrace language. Starting with other interfaces is like writing your first Java program in JVM bytecode. You can…but if you’re looking for an educational exercise, I’d recommend using BPF tools to find performance wins.

          • Introducing Anaconda Team Edition: Secure Open-Source Data Science for the Enterprise

            I’m very excited to announce a new addition to Anaconda’s product line — Anaconda Team Edition!

            For the last few years, Anaconda has offered two products: our free Anaconda Distribution, meant for individual practitioners, and Anaconda Enterprise, our full-featured machine learning platform for the enterprise. This left a gap for many data scientists and developers who use Anaconda professionally, but whose companies either do not yet need a fully-featured machine learning platform, or are building their own solution.

            But even for these companies, open-source data science and machine learning tools are largely undermanaged. There are thousands of open-source packages data scientists and developers could bring into an organization, unaware of potential security or licensing implications. Moreover, these packages have complex inter-dependencies and intricate build requirements, which are underserved by traditional IT OSS management solutions.

            Many of our enterprise users have been asking for the convenience and security of mirroring Anaconda’s repository onto their own infrastructure, using an official facility rather than relying on our community-facing free services. This is why we are offering Anaconda Team Edition.

          • Joaquim Rocha: OCRFeeder 0.8.2 released

            Looking at this title gives me a “blast from the past” kind of feeling.
            OCRFeeder hasn’t seen a release in 6 years (!), but due to some recent efforts from members of the GNOME community, I decided to dedicate a few late nights to it and here it is the new release finally: version 0.8.2.

            I gotta give my special thanks to the community member scx who not only fixed a few important issues and added a couple of quick improvements, but also was patient enough to wait for my delayed reviews last year, and even created the flatpak for OCRFeeder.

            Here are a few paragraphs about the changes/status:

            Python 3

            Perhaps the biggest change in this version is the port to Python 3. Yes, Python 3 has not been a new thing for a while now, but it was never a priority to port the source code to it. An extra incentive for me to do the change though, is that Debian is in the process of nuking Python 2 for good.

            One of the good things that Python 3 brings is unicode support by default, so hopefully there will be no more unicode issues in OCRFeeder.

          • MOSS Video, BSSw Honorable Mention, and The Maintainership Book I Am Writing

            Mozilla interviewed me about the Python Package Index (PyPI), a USD$170,000 Mozilla Open Source Support award I helped the Python Software Foundation get in 2017, and how we used that money to revamp PyPI and drive it forward in 2017 and 2018.
            From that interview, they condensed a video (2 minutes, 14 seconds) featuring, for instance, slo-mo footage of me making air quotes. Their tweet calls me “a driving force behind” PyPI, and given how many people were working on it way before I was, that’s quite a compliment!

            I will put a transcript in the comments of this blog post.

            (Please note that they massively condensed this video from 30+ minutes of interview. In the video, I say, “the site got popular before the code got good”. In the interview, I did not just say that without acknowledging the tremendous effort of past volunteers who worked on the previous iteration of PyPI and kept the site going through massive infrastructure challenges, but that’s been edited (for brevity, I assume).)

          • Hidden test dependencies

            Tests should be independent, isolated and repeatable. When they are, it’s easy to run just one of them, run all of them in parallel or use pytest-testmon. But we don’t live in an ideal world and many times we end up with a test suite with unwanted hidden test dependencies. In this article I am describing a couple of tips and tricks which allow us to find and fix the problems.

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.1 – January 28, 2020

            Wing 7.2.1 fixes debug process group termination, avoids failures seen when pasting some Python code, prevents crashing in vi browse mode when the first line of the file is blank, and fixes some other usability issues.

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w04 – worklog – Python

            I dedicated most of my time in advancing the new anonymous workflow reporting. The interesting process in doing it was to have tests and having to refactor some functions a couple of times so it made more sense.

            Tests are really a safe place to make progress. A new function will break tests results and we will work to fix the tests and/or the function to a place which is cleaner. And then we work on the next modification of the code. Tests become a lifeline in your development.

            Another thing which I realize that it is maybe time we create a new module for our issues themselves. It would model, instantiate our issues and we can use in multiple places. Currently we have too many back and forth on parsing texts, calling dictionaries items, etc. We can probably improve this with a dedicated module. Probably for the phase 2 of our new workflow project.

            Also I have not been effective as I wished. The windmill of thoughts about my ex-work colleagues future is running wild.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Bash Select (Make Menus)

            In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of the select construct in Bash.

          • Some Useful Bash Aliases and How to Create Bash Aliases

            Do you spend a good amount of time working in the command line? Then you may have noticed that most of the commands you run are a small subset of all the available commands. Most of them are habitual and you may be running them every single day.
            To lessen the suffering of typing, developers the command utilities have attempted to eliminate the extraneous typing with abbreviations, for example, “ls” instead of “list”, “cd” instead of “change-directory”, “cat” instead of “catenate” etc. Yet, typing the same command over and over and over is truly boring and unenjoyable.

            This is where aliases come handy. Using an alias, it’s possible to assign your shortcut for a specific command. Here, we’ll be talking about how to create Bash aliases and demonstrate some useful aliases that you might enjoy.

          • Bash break and continue

            Loops allow you to run one or more commands multiple times until a certain condition is met. However, sometimes you may need to alter the flow of the loop and terminate the loop or only the current iteration.

            In Bash, break and continue statements allows you to control the loop execution.

      • Standards/Consortia

        • The need for adversarial tech-interoperability legislation

          In the words of Cory Doctorow: ?Interoperability is the act of making a new product or service work with an existing product or service?. The tech market has moved further and further away from interoperable standards in favor of vendor-lock-in or ?silos? over the last decade.

          I?ll discuss file hosting services to explain the problem with the lack of interoperable standards and argue for the need for legislation to ensure such interoperability.

          Let?s look at this app-integration with commercial file hosting providers targeted at consumers as an example. The big players in this space are Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, and Dropbox. There are dozens of more actors in this space.

          It?s common for all sorts of apps to integrate with one or more of these services to offer app-specific synchronization features. This is used to synchronize to-do lists, documents, and other app-specific data. A few large developers offer their own hosting services. However, many smaller app developers don?t want to take on the role of a file hosting provider. Instead, they build-in the option to synchronize using a third-party service.

  • Leftovers

    • Greece: a Chronology From January 25, 2015 to 2019

      Five years ago, on 25 January 2015, the Greek people sent a great signal of hope to the rest of the world.

    • Autobiographical Roots of Habermas’ Thought

      Habermas is reticent to talk about his childhood trauma of being born with a cleft palate, which had a decisive and lasting impact both on his own sense of himself and the deep-seated intuitions underpinning his thought. In a commemorative lecture, “Public space and political public sphere –the biographical roots of two motifs in my thought,” delivered in Kyoto, November 11, 2004, Habermas was invited to offer insights into his path of life. He was not used to doing this; he has been addressed most often as an “author, teacher and intellectual who is accustomed to communicate with readers, students and listeners” (p. 1).

    • The Disaster of Utopian Engineering

      This column is drawn from notes that Chris Hedges wrote in preparing for a debate held today by the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Hedges, speaking from Princeton, N.J., argued for the motion: “Be it resolved, politics isn’t working as usual. It’s time for a revolution.” Opposed was David Brooks, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times who spoke from Washington, D.C. A podcast of the contest will be available later.

    • 7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Off Jamaican Coast

      A tsunami warning was issued earlier but the danger has passed. 

    • Who Cares If It Leaks? An Afternoon at Hollyhock House

      Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1921, crowns a knoll called Olive Hill in East Hollywood. Once it was surrounded by citrus fields, now Hollyhock House and the small shady park it inhabits is hemmed in by LA sprawl: strip malls, gas stations, fast-food joints, the endless growl of traffic. The views from the hilltop stretch from the imperial towers of downtown LA to the Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills. The commission for the house came from Aline Barnsdall, an oil heiress, who wanted Wright to build a complex of buildings on the site–a theater, art gallery, concert hall, cinema–to enrich the cultural life of Los Angeles. But the doyenne and the architect fell out before construction even began. Wright headed to off Japan to build the Imperial Hotel and oversight of the Hollyhock project was left to his radical young protegé, Rudolph Schindler, who felt the decorative Mayan design was a minor retreat from Wright’s modernist aesthetics. (Wright and Schindler were both uncompromising iconoclasts, but Schindler designed the more comfortable furniture. Alexander Cockburn, who adored them both, described Wright as “a little man who hated chairs.”) Barnsdall lived in the house less than a year, before moving into a smaller Wright-designed house nearby, where Schindler had resided during the two-year-long construction, and then donated the entire site to the city of Los Angeles, which has never really known what to do with the bequest. What Wright understood at the time, and the city’s boosters, managers and moguls failed to acknowledge for decades, was that LA’s architectural past and future pointed south, to Mexico and Central America.

    • Psychologist, Clinical Psychologist, Doctor Or None Of The Above? Will The Real Bettina Arndt AM Please Stand Up!

      EXCLUSIVE: For many years, Bettina Arndt has been passed off by the Australian media as a “psychologist” and “clinical psychologist”. More recently, she’s been credited as “Dr Arndt” – in The Australian newspaper, and in federal parliament. But a long-running New Matilda investigation has discovered that Ms Arndt is not a doctor, has never obtained a PhD and nor, as it turns out, is she a psychologist or clinical psychologist. NINA FUNNELL and CHRIS GRAHAM report.

    • Science

      • Reflections of a Scientific Humanist

        Michael Shermer’s Giving the Devil His Due: Reflections of a Scientific Humanist (Cambridge University Press, 2020) is a very special book written for people that actually spend time “thinking.” Geez, come to think of it, that’s kinda special in and of itself, “people thinking about things.” It’s especially true because nowadays society is geared to the opposite of deep thinking. Rather, in today’s world quick reflexes attuned to electrical whims rule the day. People increasingly react to impulses, not deep thought, as buttons/apps are pushed to communicate across the room as well as across the world. Presto! So much for deep thought!

    • Education

      • China’s Media Regulator Cuts ‘Entertaining’ TV Content During Coronavirus Crisis

        China’s media regulator has responded to the deadly coronavirus epidemic sweeping the country by cutting “entertaining” TV shows and boosting news programs, it said Tuesday, at a time when millions are stuck at home under quarantine.

        The announcement comes just days after it declared it was also doing the opposite: actively working to bring in more TV shows to channels in Wuhan and Hubei province, the epicenter of the disease. The self-contradiction is an illustration of the Chinese regime’s desire to disseminate ideologically “correct” programming of the appropriate emotional timbre to residents at a chaotic time of crisis.

        It also provides a window into what kinds of content Beijing deems suitable for its citizens to consume as it tries to keep a lid on panic and mounting criticism of the government’s management of the outbreak.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • People with Albinism Form First Ever Global Alliance

        This week, I witnessed a historic moment in human rights advocacy and empowerment: people with albinism from around the world unanimously voted to form a global alliance on albinism.

        From January 26 to 28, civil society groups representing people with albinism from six continents gathered in Paris to lay the foundation for an international coalition to combat the attacks, stigmatization, and discrimination people with albinism – a relatively rare condition caused by a lack of melanin or pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes – face worldwide.

      • Global Efforts to Contain Coronavirus Epidemic May Not Work, Experts Warn

        “We need to plan for the possibility containment of this epidemic isn’t possible.”

      • More than 5,000 Russian tourists currently in China to be evacuated within the next week

        All Russian tourists who are currently vacationing in China on organized tours will be returned to Russia by February 4, the press service of Russia’s government agency for tourism announced.

      • China’s Coronavirus Outbreak Reminds Me of the Irish Polio Epidemic I Survived

        China is responding to the spread of the coronavirus in Wuhan much as countries have always reacted to life-threatening epidemics. At every level of society and government, fear of death – or, more accurately, fear of being held responsible for death – drives decision-making, which is consequently often ill-judged.

      • Radiation spike recorded in Severodvinsk; officials point to broken detector

        In Severodvinsk, the city in northern Russia that is closest to the location of the country’s August 2019 nuclear accident, another sudden uptick in radiation has been recorded. City officials first told Interfax about the detected result.

      • Virtually All Major US Drinking Water Sources Likely Contaminated With PFAS

        New laboratory tests confirm that drinking water in dozens of cities across the United States is contaminated with toxic chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at levels exceeding what independent experts consider safe for human consumption. The findings suggest that previous studies have dramatically underestimated the number of consumers exposed to PFAS through drinking water and come as the Trump administration continues to gut environmental and clean water protections.

      • Your computer mouse is twisting your arm every second. How to avoid a potential surgery

        Back in 1964, Douglas C. Engelbart created the wildly popular computer mouse. The design was simple, consisting of a wooden body complete with a circuit board and two metal wheels to interact with surfaces. If you use a computer, you?ve probably used a mouse with similar design before, but it?s probably not wooden. The reason for that is because sixteen years after the mouse was invented, Steve Kirsch invented the Optical mouse, which is quickly took off until recently. Regardless of the design or type, the mouse comes just as standard as your laptops keyboard but has been proven to be used three times as much.

        [...]

        When you’re choosing a mouse for your computer, whether for health reasons or otherwise, it’s best to choose something that’s going to make you feel comfortable, and that happens to be the Vertical mouse. It’s better not to wait until you feel pain in your hand to make the change, specifically if you want to find the one that fits correctly. Once the pain from incorrect posture settles in, it quickly becomes harder to manage. If you decide to stick with what you have, instead of investing in a Vertical mouse, whether as a creature of habit or because of familiarity, make sure you take a break every few hours in order to avoid stress injuries from repetitive movements.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Neil Young Says the MacBook Pro Has ‘Fisher-Price’ Audio Quality

          Neil Young has some harsh words to describe Apple’s MacBook Pro audio quality. The long-time proponent of hi-res audio assailed the laptop for having ‘Fisher-Price’ quality audio.

        • Ransomware Linked to Iran, Targets Industrial Controls

          Tel Aviv-based Otorio, a cybersecurity firm which specializes in industrial control systems (ICS), said that the ransomware called “Snake,” like others of its kind, encrypts programs and documents on infected machines. But it also removes all file copies from infected stations, preventing the victims from recovering encrypted files.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Banks are finally embracing the Open Source movement

              Even though bank leaders are becoming convinced that leveraging open source technology is the future, banks will not transform over night to open source adepts. Just like introducing all other new technologies and methodologies, embracing open source software requires a cultural shift in the whole organization, which takes time and intensive change management.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • XCP-ng 8.1 Beta Rolls Out While Becoming Part Of The Xen Project

                XCP-ng, the Xen-based enterprise-focused hypervisor offering a Xen Server Linux distribution, has released a beta of its next feature release while formally becoming part of the Linux Foundation hosted Xen Project.

                The Xen Project has announced that XCP-ng has become an incubation project within the organization to provide a fully open-source virtualization platform. “XCP-ng includes some key features inherited from Xen Project as the ability to live migrate VMs without interruption, scalability and security but also brings a whole new ecosystem as a modern Web-ui (Xen Orchestra), compatibility with recognized solution on the market (eg. Netdata) and turnkey installer to ease the adoption. XCP-ng provides a central, validated distribution that delivers Xen. Why is this important? It’s a streamlined way for users to gain access and creates a default go-to solution for the community. The inclusion of XCP-ng with its large and active user community into the Xen project creates a bridge between users and developers. The healthy flow of knowledge sharing ensures input from end-users gets incorporated into new releases.”

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • Avoiding gaps in IOMMU protection at boot

            When you save a large file to disk or upload a large texture to your graphics card, you probably don’t want your CPU to sit there spending an extended period of time copying data between system memory and the relevant peripheral – it could be doing something more useful instead. As a result, most hardware that deals with large quantities of data is capable of Direct Memory Access (or DMA). DMA-capable devices are able to access system memory directly without the aid of the CPU – the CPU simply tells the device which region of memory to copy and then leaves it to get on with things. However, we also need to get data back to system memory, so DMA is bidirectional. This means that DMA-capable devices are able to read and write directly to system memory.

            As long as devices are entirely under the control of the OS, this seems fine. However, this isn’t always true – there may be bugs, the device may be passed through to a guest VM (and so no longer under the control of the host OS) or the device may be running firmware that makes it actively malicious. The third is an important point here – while we usually think of DMA as something that has to be set up by the OS, at a technical level the transactions are initiated by the device. A device that’s running hostile firmware is entirely capable of choosing what and where to DMA.

            Most reasonably recent hardware includes an IOMMU to handle this. The CPU’s MMU exists to define which regions of memory a process can read or write – the IOMMU does the same but for external IO devices. An operating system that knows how to use the IOMMU can allocate specific regions of memory that a device can DMA to or from, and any attempt to access memory outside those regions will fail. This was originally intended to handle passing devices through to guests (the host can protect itself by restricting any DMA to memory belonging to the guest – if the guest tries to read or write to memory belonging to the host, the attempt will fail), but is just as relevant to preventing malicious devices from extracting secrets from your OS or even modifying the runtime state of the OS.

            But setting things up in the OS isn’t sufficient. If an attacker is able to trigger arbitrary DMA before the OS has started then they can tamper with the system firmware or your bootloader and modify the kernel before it even starts running. So ideally you want your firmware to set up the IOMMU before it even enables any external devices, and newer firmware should actually do this automatically. It sounds like the problem is solved.

          • Our upcoming Webinar on Security with Ubuntu and IBM Z

            My first interaction with the Ubuntu community was in March of 2005 when I put Ubuntu on an old Dell laptop and signed up for the Ubuntu Forums. This was just a few years into my tech career and I was mostly a Linux hobbyist, with a handful of junior systems administrator jobs on the side to do things like racking servers and installing Debian (with CDs!). Many of you with me on this journey have seen my role grow in the Ubuntu community with Debian packaging, local involvement with events and non-profits, participation in the Ubuntu Developer Summits, membership in the Ubuntu Community Council, and work on several Ubuntu books, from technical consultation to becoming an author on The Official Ubuntu Book.

            These days I’ve taken my 15+ years of Linux Systems Administration and open source experience down a slightly different path: Working on Linux on the mainframe (IBM Z). The mainframe wasn’t on my radar a year ago, but as I got familiar with the technical aspects, the modernization efforts to incorporate DevOps principles, and the burgeoning open source efforts, I became fascinated with the platform.

            As a result, I joined IBM last year to share my discoveries with the broader systems administration and developer communities. Ubuntu itself got on board with this mainframe journey with official support for the architecture (s390x) in Ubuntu 16.04, and today there’s a whole blog that gets into the technical details of features specific to Ubuntu on the mainframe: Ubuntu on Big Iron

            I’m excited to share that I’ll be joining the author of the Ubuntu on Big Iron blog, Frank Heimes, live on February 6th for a webinar titled How to protect your data, applications, cryptography and OS – 100% of the time. I’ll be doing an introduction to the IBM Z architecture (including cool hardware pictures!) and general security topics around Linux on Z and LinuxONE.

          • Intel Makes Public Two More Data Leakage Disclosures

            Intel last night made public two more data leakage disclosures, which tie back to Zombieload and November’s TAA issue.

            [...]

            As of writing no CPU microcode updates have been released for Linux users but as soon as that happens I’ll begin with some tests for seeing any new performance overhead.

          • Canonical Outs Major Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Kernel Security Update for Cloud Users

            New Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kernel security update addresses 15 vulnerabilities in the Linux 5.0 kernel packages for various cloud systems.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (apache-commons-beanutils, java-1.8.0-openjdk, libarchive, openjpeg2, openslp, python-reportlab, and sqlite), Debian (hiredis, otrs2, and unzip), openSUSE (apt-cacher-ng, git, samba, sarg, and storeBackup), Oracle (openjpeg2), Red Hat (libarchive, openjpeg2, sqlite, and virt:rhel), SUSE (aws-cli and python-reportlab), and Ubuntu (libgcrypt11, linux-aws-5.0, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oracle-5.0, linux-hwe, linux-hwe, linux-aws-hwe, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, and openjdk-8, openjdk-lts).

          • Duo CEO Dug Song: We have to make security simple

            Duo Security CEO Dug Song kept it simple Tuesday when he described the last decade in cybersecurity.

            “It sucked,” Song told the crowd at the Zero Trust Security Summit presented by Duo and produced by FedScoop and CyberScoop.

            The next decade doesn’t have to be that way, he says, because the technology ecosystem has the tools it needs to make security as seamless and easy to use as possible. Architectures like zero trust can become more commonplace, giving enterprises simple ways to protect themselves against the most familiar threats.

            At the core, it’s about ensuring that users and devices are connecting only with the data that they need. In a sit-down with CyberScoop on the sidelines of the summit, Song talked about the evolution of zero trust, how the cybersecurity market is changing, and how cybersecurity can be better woven into campaign operations.

          • [Old] ScreenConnect MSP Software Used to Install Zeppelin Ransomware

            Threat actors are utilizing the ScreenConnect (now called ConnectWise Control) MSP remote management software to compromise a network, steal data, and install the Zeppelin Ransomware on compromised computers.

            ConnectWise Control is a remote management software commonly used by MSPs and IT professionals in order to gain access to a remote computer to provide support.

          • How to Approach Linux Threats?

            There is a lot of importance given for protecting Windows endpoints in the antivirus industry. Windows desktop users dominate close to 87 percent of the total desktop market share when compared to the 2 percent share held by Linux desktop users. A group of people argue that Linux is the safest and most secure operating system as it is scarce that malware targets Linux end users. While discussing the threats to the Linux platform, we must understand that Linux desktop usage is a tiny piece of the puzzle. About 70 percent of the webserver market share is made by Linux, according to Web Technology Surveys, and, according to CBT Nuggets, 90 percent of all cloud servers. Linux is said to be the most popular operating system among Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, according to ZDNet.

            The recent discovery of HiddenWasp, QNAPCrypt, and Evilgnome has made the emergence of Linux threats evident. The detection rate is low as reported by several security vendors, and this is due to the industry’s quick migration to the cloud, combined with a lack of awareness about the threats.

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

            • OpenBSD OpenSMTPD Remote Code Execution Vulnerability (CVE-2020-7247)

              Qualys Research Labs discovered a vulnerability in OpenBSD’s OpenSMTPD mail server that allows an attacker to execute arbitrary shell commands with elevated privileges. OpenBSD developers have confirmed the vulnerability and also quickly provided a patch.

              Proof-of-concept exploits are published in the security advisory.

            • Critical Bug Fix: OpenBSD Vulnerability Needs Urgent Patching – RCE With Morris Worm Inspiration

              Security researchers at Qualys say they’ve identified a remotely exploitable vulnerability in OpenBSD’s mail server — used by a range of Linux distributions.

              The critical vulnerability is in OpenSMTPD, a free mail transfer agent that lets machines exchange emails with other systems speaking the SMTP protocol.

            • Critical Remote Code Execution Bug Fixed in OpenBSD SMTP Server

              A critical vulnerability in the free OpenSMTPD email server present in many Unix-based systems can be exploited to run shell commands with root privileges.

              The component is a free implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol to exchange email-related traffic with compatible systems.

              It is part of the OpenBSD project and has a portable version that is compatible with other operating systems: FreeBSD, NetBSD, macOS, Linux (Alpine, Arch, Debian, Fedora, CentOS).

            • Unpleasant vulnerability in OpenSMTPD

              Qualys has put out an advisory regarding a vulnerability in OpenBSD’s OpenSMTPD mail server. It “allows an attacker to execute arbitrary shell commands, as root: either locally, in OpenSMTPD’s default configuration (which listens on the loopback interface and only accepts mail from localhost); or locally and remotely, in OpenSMTPD’s ‘uncommented’ default configuration (which listens on all interfaces and accepts external mail).” OpenBSD users would be well advised to update quickly.

            • RCE in OpenSMTPD library impacts BSD and Linux distros

              Security researchers have discovered a vulnerability inside a core email-related library used by many BSD and Linux distributions.

              The vulnerability, tracked as CVE-2020-7247, impacts OpenSMTPD, an open-source implementation of the server-side SMTP protocol.

              The library is normally included with distros that are designed to operate on servers, allowing the server to handle SMTP-related email messages and traffic.

              The OpenSMTPD library was initially developed for the OpenBSD operating system, but the library was open-sourced, and its “portable version” has also been incorporated into other OSes, such as FreeBSD, NetBSD, and some Linux distros, such as Debian, Fedora, Alpine Linux, and more.

            • Uncovering Vulnerabilities in Open Source Libraries

              In recent articles, ForAllSecure has discussed how we were able to use our next-generation fuzzing solution, Mayhem, to discover previously unknown vulnerabilities in several open source projects, including Netflix DIAL reference, Das U-Boot, and more. In this post, we will follow up on a prior article on using Mayhem to analyze stb and MATIO by reviewing three additional vulnerabilities found in another open source library. Prior to detailing these new vulnerabilities, we will examine some of the factors which can help to identify code which is a good candidate for fuzzing.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Italian Spyware Company Execs Arrested After Company Employees Spied On Innocent Citizens

              Any tool that gives people access to tons of personal data will be abused. Law enforcement databases are routinely misused by government employees. Ring — law enforcement’s favorite consumer home product — collects tons of data about its customers and this data has been inappropriately accessed by Ring employees.

            • FISA Court Orders FBI To Start Cleaning Up Its Carter Page Surveillance Mess

              The FBI’s abuse of its surveillance powers in the Carter Page investigation — uncovered by the Inspector General — is now being addressed by the FISA court. The FISA court is often considered to be a rubber stamp for government applications — only very rarely rejecting the government’s national security advances.

            • Is William Barr’s Latest Attack On Section 230 Simply An Effort To Harm Tech Companies For Blocking His Desire To Kill Encryption?

              Last month, we noted that Attorney General William Barr was making a bizarre attack on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, claiming that the DOJ was “studying Section 230 and its scope” and arguing — without evidence — that 230 might be contributing to “unlawful behavior” online. As we noted at the time, Section 230 explicitly exempts federal criminal charges from what it applies to, meaning that it literally cannot interfere with any DOJ prosecution. So it’s truly bizarre to see the DOJ concerned about the issue.

            • Off-Facebook Activity is a Welcome but Incomplete Move

              Today Facebook announced the roll-out of its Off-Facebook Activity tool (initially introduced as “Clear History” nearly two years ago). The tools shows you a list of apps, websites, and businesses that Facebook knows you have visited through its business tools (including Facebook Login, Facebook’s tracking Pixel, social widgets such as Like and Share buttons, and other less visible features for developers). It also gives you options to “clear” or “disconnect” the identifiable information they have linked to your account. For more on how to use the setting, see our tutorial post.

              This is a good step for Facebook to take, and we hope it pushes other companies who talk a big game about transparency to follow suit. If even Facebook can give people this level of transparency and control around a particular data stream, other adtech players should be able to get their act together.

            • EFF and Other Groups to PCLOB: Urge the Ban of Face Recognition

              This week EFF joined a coalition letter asking the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB) to urge that the government suspend its use of face recognition technology. The letter was signed by organizations like Color of Change, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Demand Progress, Fight for the Future, National Center for Transgender Equality, and the Project on Government Oversight, to name a few.

              In it, the groups point to the many ways that face recognition can track people, presumes guilt of the people whose faces have been collected or identified, and can even misidentify them to great consequence. “While we do not believe that that improved accuracy of facial recognition would justify further deployment,” the letter’s authors write, “we do believe that the obvious problems with bias and discrimination in the systems that are currently in use is an additional reason to recommend a blanket moratorium.”

            • How to Change Your Off-Facebook Activity Settings

              Facebook’s long-awaited Off-Facebook Activity tool started rolling out today. While it’s not a perfect measure, and we still need stronger data privacy laws, this tool is a good step toward greater transparency and user control regarding third-party tracking. We hope other companies follow suit, and we encourage users to take advantage of it.

              This tutorial will guide you through the steps to not only “clear” the off-Facebook activity already linked with your account, but also to prevent future activity from being associated with your account going forward. Note that this won’t stop third parties from sending Facebook information about you—it will only stop Facebook from associating that information with your account.

            • Data Privacy or Data Protection Day? It’s a Human Right, Either Way

              Today marks the 39th anniversary of the Council of Europe’s “Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Automatic Processing of Personal Data”, or, more catchily, Convention 108. It is the root treaty that spawned the first European Union-wide data protection laws, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as well as similar laws in Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Argentina, Uruguay, Mexico, and more.

              Its anniversary is why in the United States, as declared in previous years by Congress, we celebrate National Data Privacy Day. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the nations of the Council of Europe—including the European Union, Russia, Norway, and their neighbours—will be celebrating Data Protection Day.  Others around the globe, will be relishing 24 hours of simple, undiluted Privacy Day, sans any mention of “data” at all.

            • Why Mark Zuckerberg’s Oversight Board May Kill His Political Ad Policy

              The Oversight Board’s bylaws set out a road map for what may become the end of his stubborn stand on political advertising. Here’s the scenario: A politician makes a bogus charge in a paid Facebook ad, falsely claiming an opponent has taken a bribe, appeared in a sex film, trafficked in drugs, or doesn’t wash their hands after visiting the bathroom. Right now, the victim of one of those lies has no recourse: If they appeal to Facebook, the company will refer to Zuckerberg’s official policy. Facebook will continue to pocket the money and promote the lie.

            • US colleges are trying to install location tracking apps on students’ phones

              Barely over a year ago, we pointed out how dystopian it seemed when Chinese schools added “smart uniforms” to track their students’ attendance. But US colleges are already testing out a similar tactic with a location tracking app, which students are now apparently expected to install on their phones.

              I say “apparently” because there’s some confusion over whether the schools are actually forcing this on their students. The Kansas City Star reported that at the University of Missouri, new students “won’t be given a choice” of whether to install the SpotterEDU app, which uses Apple’s iBeacons to broadcast a Bluetooth signal that can help the phone figure out whether a student is actually in a room.

            • How fast can a new [Internet] standard for sharing patient data catch fire?

              The consolidation of medical records may be on its way, as technology companies prod the health care industry to embrace an internet-based common standard for storing and sharing patient information. It’s known as FHIR and pronounced “fire” — a catchier way of saying Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources.

              Industry analysts say the rapidly growing demand for freer exchange of health care information is creating an electronic health record market estimated to reach $38 billion by 2025. With numbers like that bandied about, it should come as no surprise that Silicon Valley tech giants Apple and Google are lining up for a slice of the pie — as are other technology behemoths, including Amazon and Microsoft. Those corporations, and many smaller companies and startups, offer FHIR-based apps and services to consumers and health industry professionals.

            • US universities reject campus facial recognition systems

              Advocacy groups fighting the technology planned this week to highlight that about a dozen institutions had already committed to opposing systems that use cameras and software to identify people for security and payment purposes.

              That follows moves by Stanford University and the University of San Francisco to end their brief uses of facial recognition systems, and the acknowledgement by the University of Southern California that its students were largely rejecting the technology in their dormitories.

            • Payment Data from WaWa Customers Is For Sale Online

              Credit and debit card information from customers of the food and gasoline chain WaWa Inc. is being sold online, according to the fraud intelligence company Gemini Advisory.

              The breach “ranks among the largest payment card breaches of 2019, and of all time” because it potentially affected 850 stores and 30 million payment records, Gemini Advisory said in a report on Tuesday.

            • I Monitor My Teens’ Electronics, and You Should Too

              All valid arguments, but even I knew the truth: They wanted phones so they could screw around online.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Trump’s Feeble Phase 1 China-US Trade Deal

        With the announcement today, January 16, 2020 of the signing of the US-China Phase 1 ‘mini’ trade deal, and the US Senate’s simultaneous ratification of the USMCA ‘NAFTA 2.0’ trade agreement, Trump’s so-called ‘trade wars’ are at an end.  In election year 2020 nothing of additional significance will be achieved by Trump with regard to restructure US and global trade relations. While Trump himself will make further threats and claims, likely aimed at the Europeans, no country will agree to any changes this year when the possibility exists of Trump leaving the presidency next November 2020.  To repeat once again, the Trump trade wars are over. As the comedian once said: ‘what you see is what you get, baby’.

      • Elizabeth Warren’s Radical Critique of Corporate Bankruptcy—And How it Shapes What Kind of President She Would Be

        The 2020 candidate’s analysis dating back thirty years and the proposals she now promotes reflects an ideology that would make her orders of magnitude more radical than any President in our history. 

      • The Push to Create Co-ops Is Energizing a New Generation of Socialists

        Socialism is a yearning for something better than capitalism. As capitalism has changed and as experiments with socialism have accumulated — both good and bad — socialist yearnings, too, have changed. However, a bizarre disconnect surfaces as capitalism’s gross dysfunction during and since its 2008 crash brings socialism again into public discussion. Large numbers of people debate the pros and cons of socialism as if what it is in the 21st century were identical to what it was in the 20th. Is it reasonable to presume that the last century’s two purges, the Cold War, the implosion of the USSR, and the explosive emergence of the People’s Republic of China inspired no critical reflections on socialism by socialists themselves? No. The remarkable lack of awareness of new and different definitions of socialism since 1945, their elaborations, and their implications reflects the fact that sustained engagement with socialism was taboo in the US for decades. That people are now mostly unaware of socialism’s evolution in theory, practice, and self-criticism over the last half century is therefore no surprise.

      • Budget Deficit to Break $1 Trillion Despite Strong Economy

        An annual congressional report says the U.S. budget deficit is likely to burst through the symbolic $1 trillion barrier this year despite a healthy economy.

      • It Is Time to Bill the Billionaires

        The 1 percent does not have solutions for our system of inequality because they are its primary beneficiaries.

      • The Evolution of “Davos Man” into . . . Trump Fan!
      • Three billion in real estate, all owned by family Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation lobs its first volley at Russia’s new prime minister, Mikhail Mishustin

        Newly appointed Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin’s financial declarations list him as a “user” of real estate in the Moscow area whose total value is about three billion rubles ($48.2 million). Mishustin is not the official owner of any of that property, but all of it is registered to his relatives. These are among the claims made in the latest investigation from opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), which includes a list of all the real estate now known to belong to Mishustin’s family.

      • To Cancel Student Debt, You Don’t Need Congress

        The 2020 Democratic primary elevated the student debt debate to the national stage and has sparked discussion at dinner tables and workplaces across the country. Americans are asking themselves and the candidates: how much student debt should we cancel, and how shall we cancel it? Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to cancel it all — and has introduced legislation to do so. Sen. Elizabeth Warren wants to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for households making less than $250,000 on Day 1 of the next administration. Warren recently updated her plan to clarify that she will use executive authority to cancel student debt, without needing to wait for Congress to act.

      • Insurance Lobby Talking Points Don’t Come With Warning Labels

        The healthcare industry has spent over $2 billion on lobbying over the past four years, more than any other industry.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump’s Expansive Executive Privilege Claims Pose Serious Constitutional Crisis
      • Truth a Major Casualty of Impeachment Hearings

        As in any political battle, truth has been one of the major casualties of the impeachment proceedings against President Donald J. Trump.

      • John Bolton Is Not to Be Trusted, But the Question Remains: What Does He Want?

        What if Bolton is trying to get Trump removed from office? That would imply that he wants a president Pence.

      • ‘Green New Dud, Not a Green New Deal’: Climate Groups Denounce Draft Bill From House Democrats

        “A bold climate plan must call for a ban on fracking and all new fossil fuel infrastructure, and a swift and just transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy across all sectors of the economy.”

      • Sunrise Movement to Host Nationwide House Parties to Boost Sanders, Demand Green Green New Deal

        “Whether we can pull it off is up to you and me.”

      • Noam Chomsky Is the Antidote to Trump’s Facism

        In addition to the obvious terrors — gutting our social safety net, near-wars with North Korea and Iran, the family separations, and the everyday racism and xenophobia — the Trump era has been threaded with two subtler but no less damaging afflictions: confusion and paranoia. Not knowing on any given day whether President Donald Trump and his sycophants are serious about such critical matters as sending bombs into North Korea or the Middle East, say, or planning to take away our health care is nearly as damaging as the actions themselves.

      • Lobbies’ Greatest Ally in the Effort to Sabotage Health Care Reform

        Ever since The Intercept (11/20/18) found several planning documents by the Partnership for America’s Healthcare Future (PAHCF), a benign-sounding corporate alliance formed to prevent any kind of reform and prop up the dysfunctional US healthcare system’s profits, corporate media have been reporting on the PAHCF’s efforts to defend the US’s for-profit healthcare system (The Hill, 6/28/19).

      • Trump Team: Impeachment Not About ‘Unsourced Manuscripts’

        President Donald Trump’s legal team neared the end of his impeachment trial defense Tuesday, painting him and his aides as hounded by investigation and taking a dismissive swipe at an unpublished book by John Bolton that is said to contradict a key defense argument.

      • Union Accuses Federal Agency of “Chilling” Government Workers’ Speech by Barring Any Talk of Trump Impeachment

        “Government employees have a right to speak about this historic matter.”

      • 41 Senators Urge Trump Administration to End ‘Cruel and Dangerous’ Effort to Cut Social Security Disability Benefits

        “It is alarming that the agency appears more concerned with devoting limited resources toward making it harder for people with disabilities to receive essential benefits.”

      • Sometimes We Can Make Our Own Hope

        Running for office in the age of Donald Trump and climate change.

      • Perfecting the Call
      • Trump Unveils Controversial Peace Plan for the Middle East

        President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited Middle East peace plan Tuesday, calling for the creation of a State of Palestine with its capital in portions of east Jerusalem. He declared it a “win-win” opportunity for both Israel and the Palestinians.

      • Palestinians Brace for the Worst Ahead of Trump’s ‘Peace Plan’

        It is largely understood that the deal will be heavily pro-Israel.

      • Denouncing Trump Plan as ‘Unacceptable,’ Sanders Declares It Is Time to ‘End the Israeli Occupation’

        “Trump’s so-called ‘peace deal,’” warned the White House hopeful, “will only perpetuate the conflict, and undermine the security interests of Americans, Israelis, and Palestinians.”

      • Palestinians Call on World to Reject Trump ‘Peace’ Deal

        The so-called “peace deal” authored by White House adviser Jared Kushner was met with protests and condemnation by Palestinians on Tuesday ahead of an expected announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington, D.C.

      • ‘This Is Not a Peace Plan, It Is a War Plan’: Trump-Netanyahu Deal Decried as Shameful Attack on Palestinian Rights

        “Any attempt to address the Israeli-Palestinian issue that does not begin and end with the full acknowledgment of the Palestinian right to self-determination, freedom, justice, and equality is a non-starter.”

      • Sorry Chomsky and Friends, The Green Party isn’t the Problem
      • Where Was Rudy Giuliani When Democrats Needed Him?

        Help me get this straight. Rudolph Giuliani is the President’s private attorney, or at least he still seems to be. According to CNN on 10/11/19:

      • ‘Screaming the Quiet Part Into a Bullhorn’: Sen. Joni Ernst Admits GOP Using Impeachment Trial to Damage Biden in 2020

        “Trump is trying to use the trial to do what Ukraine wouldn’t—destroy his political rivals.”

      • New Tennessee Law Deepens Discrimination Against LGBT People

        Tennessee has just become the latest US state to let taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies operate under their own religious or moral beliefs – even if this means discriminating against prospective parents or jeopardizing the best interests of children.

        Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, single parents, and religious minorities have faced problems trying to adopt or foster children in the US because some agencies will only place kids with heterosexual parents of a particular faith – a discriminatory practice.

      • So Much For America’s Mayor
      • Nationalist writer Zakhar Prilepin announces founding of party said to be a future spoiler

        The prose writer Zakhar Prilepin has announced that he will be formally founding a political party based on the nationalist movement “For Truth,” which he created in October 2019.

      • Stop Blaming Algorithms For Misinformation And Threats To Democracy; The Real Problem Is Societal

        For quite some time now, we’ve pointed out that we should stop blaming technology for problems that are actually societal. Indeed, as you look deeper at nearly every “big tech problem,” you tend to find the problem has to do with people, not technology. And “fixing” technology isn’t really going to fix anything when it’s not the real problem. Indeed, many proposals to “fix” the tech industry seem likely to exacerbate the problems we’re discussing.

      • Biden Won’t Say Whether Sanders Could Unify Democrats as Nominee

        Former Vice President Joe Biden wouldn’t say Tuesday whether he thinks Bernie Sanders could effectively unify the Democrats if the Vermont senator wins the party’s presidential nomination.

      • New Poll Shows Bernie Sanders With More Than Double the Support of Joe Biden in New Hampshire

        Running away from the pack, Sanders leads former vice president by 15 points and holds double-digit lead over all his Democratic rivals in the key early voting state.

      • GOP Doesn’t Have Votes Yet to Block Bolton, McConnell Concedes

        Republican leaders do not yet have the votes to block Democrats from summoning John Bolton or other witnesses at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded to fellow GOP senators late Tuesday. It could be a major hurdle for Trump’s hopes to end the trial with a quick acquittal.

      • The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich

        A persistent American lawyer has uncovered the undeniable fact that the FBI has been continuously lying, including giving false testimony in court, in response to Freedom of Information requests for its records on Seth Rich. The FBI has previously given affidavits that it has no records regarding Seth Rich.

      • DNC Defends Diverse Group Of Corporate Democrats Appointed To Convention Committees

        Faced with a backlash, the Democratic National Committee defended the secretive manner in which dozens of lobbyists, corporate consultants, party insiders, think tank board members, and pro-Israel Democrats were nominated by DNC Chair Tom Perez to committees for the 2020 national convention.Seventy-five individuals were appointed to the platform, rules, and credentials committees on January 25 during a DNC executive committee meeting. Who currently is part of this executive committee is unclear.Two chairs and four vice-chairs were appointed to oversee each of the committees. Thirty-one spots on each committee were filled. Nearly all of the individuals appointed endorsed Hillary Clinton during her 2016 campaign. Many endorsed Clinton early in 2015, but the DNC said it does not consider “past endorsements” when filling committees.The DNC claimed “high-profile” supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders were appointed to the committees, but that is false. Only one “high-profile” supporter was appointed to the Platform, Rules, and Credentials Committees. Larry Cohen, the former union president of the Communications Workers of America, was appointed. He founded the pro-Sanders political action organization, Our Revolution.According to The Hill, “DNC officials said they look for policy experts to help shape the platform or for experienced Democratic hands who know their way around party bylaws to assist in the rules and credentialing process.”But positions were not merely filled with people capable of grasping Robert’s Rules of Order. These so-called “policy experts” have exhibited open hostility toward a leading presidential candidate, who may potentially be the Democratic Party’s nominee. They have also represented business interests, like Blue Cross Blue Shield, at the expense of policies and ideas that will presumably be championed in the Democratic platform in 2020. “Some DNC members complained that they were only alerted to the appointments late on Friday ahead of the executive committee’s Saturday vote,” even derisively referring to the appointments as the “midnight convention committee picks,” according to The Hill.Terry Tucker, a DNC member and Sanders supporter from Colorado told The Hill, “The subject of transparency and notice has been broached in the past with Chairman Perez in open meetings of the full DNC,” and, “Lack of transparency and input from the members continues to be a source of irritation.”But the DNC maintained it was completely normal to give members less than a day to consider nominees before they were ratified.  At least 26 of the people appointed are superdelegates, who will be able to vote for the presidential nominee if no candidate wins on the first ballot.Seventy-five percent of the appointments were “at-large” appointments, meaning they are not elected officials. Their status in the Democratic Party is not dependent on voters in any particular state or in any state party. “Most of the members will be allotted in proportion to the number of delegates the candidates win over the course of the primaries and caucuses,” The Hill noted. “There will be 187 people on each committee, and the winner’s supporters should make up a majority.”If Sanders is the nominee, his supporters may make up the majority, but they would potentially have to deal with chairs and vice-chairs that are opposed to their agenda.

      • Pro-Sanders Youth Movement Is Changing the Political Landscape in New Hampshire

        Fifty-two years after young people changed history with the New Hampshire primary election, a new generation is ready to do it again — this time by mobilizing behind Bernie Sanders.

      • It’s Media—Not Bernie Sanders—That Have an Antisemitism Problem

        Have you heard the news? Democratic presidential frontrunner Bernie Sanders is antisemitic. Yes, yes, he’s Jewish, and has a long history of anti-racist activism—but that doesn’t matter.

      • Impeachment Trial: The Big Picture

        10. What can the rest of us do? Vote Trump out of office this November, and convince everyone you know to do so as well. It may seem daunting, but remember: We already beat the liar-in-chief by 2.8 million votes in 2016. And the 2018 elections had the highest turnout of any midterm election since 1914 – handing House Republicans their most resounding defeat in decades. People are outraged, mobilized, and ready to keep fighting. If we come together, we will prevail.

      • Why does Trump love to hang with bottom-feeders, crooked lawyers and porn stars?

        Donald Trump has been a real estate developer, a TV show host, a casino owner, a politician and more. But through it all, there has been one constant: Trump has surrounded himself with sleazy characters. Oddly enough, those are exactly the people who helped propel him to becoming the 45th president of the United States.

        That’s the thesis of the new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporters Michael Rothfeld and Joe Palazzolo, titled aptly enough, “The Fixers: The Bottom-Feeders, Crooked Lawyers, Gossipmongers, and Porn Stars Who Created the 45th President.” I spoke with Rothfeld during an episode of “Salon Talks” about the book, a veritable encyclopedia of the unsavory characters that have made Trump who he is, alongside some new reporting.

      • [Attackers] hijacked nearly half of the NFL’s Twitter accounts, as well as ESPN and UFC

        The social media accounts of almost half of the teams in the National Football League, as well as the official NFL account, were [cracked], the NFL said in a statement today. Some ESPN social media accounts were also “briefly compromised,” ESPN said today in a statement to The Verge.

      • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Trump’s ‘Wealth Test’ for Immigrants

        The Supreme Court voted in favor of letting the Trump administration move forward on more of its harsh immigration policies.

        In a 5-4 vote, the conservative majority won out on Monday, allowing enforcement of a rule called a “wealth test” by immigrant rights advocates and “public charge” policy by the government. Enforcing the rule would make it more difficult for immigrants who are deemed likely to need public assistance, like food stamps and Medicaid, to secure a green card.

      • Conservative Justices Sanction Stephen Miller’s Anti-Immigration Agenda

        Not even an impeachment trial can slow down the White House’s anti-immigrant agenda.

      • Donald Trump Attacked CNN Anchor Don Lemon After Being Laughed at on Air

        In a video of the segment on YouTube, titled “Don Lemon loses it over GOP strategist roasting Mike Pompeo,” Wilson impugned Trump and members of his administration for their “war on the media.” Asked by Lemon about a line from Pompeo’s statement about the NPR incident, Wilson pivoted to a discussion of Trump’s intelligence.

      • McConnell Concedes Lacking Votes to Stop Dems from Calling Witnesses, Republicans Say

        Fifty-one of the 100 senators hearing the impeachment case would have to vote in favor of witnesses — meaning just four Republicans would have to side with the 47 Democrats and independents.

        Several moderate Republicans, including Mitt Romney, Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, have said they may be interested in hearing Bolton and others testify.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Split Hearings: the Assange Extradition Case Drags On

        It is being increasingly larded with heavy twists and turns, a form of state oppression in slow motion, but the Julian Assange extradition case now looks like it may well move into the middle of the year, dragged out, ironically enough, by the prosecution.  Curiously, this is a point that both the prosecutors, fronted by the US imperium, and the WikiLeaks defence team, seem to have found some inadvertent agreement with. This is the biggest case of its kind, and will determine, for an era, how journalism and the publication of nationally classified information is treated.  Neither wish to misstep in this regard.

      • ‘You Did a Good Job on Her’: White House Audience Laughs as Trump Praises Pompeo for Bullying NPR Reporter

        “That was very impressive, Mike,” the president said to applause during a press conference in the White House.

      • Stopping the Press: New York Times Journalist Targeted by Saudi-linked Pegasus Spyware Operator

        Ben Hubbard is the Beirut Bureau Chief of the New York Times. Prior to his promotion to that role, Hubbard reported on Saudi Arabia, including on Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman (MbS). In an announcement of his promotion, the New York Times noted that Hubbard had “turned out deeply revealing reports from a closed society that is changing rapidly under a headstrong crown prince,” and had “…peeled back the curtain from the prince’s relentless consolidation of power.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Make America Radical Again: A Conversation with Harvey J. Kaye

        Harvey J. Kaye is the Ben & Joyce Rosenberg Professor of Democracy and Justice Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, the Founding Director of the University’s Center for History and Social Change, and the author of numerous books, including The British Marxist Historians, The Education of Desire (winner of the Isaac Deutscher Memorial Prize) Why Do Ruling Classes Fear History?, Thomas Paine and the Promise of America, The Fight for the Four Freedoms (The Nation’s 2014 progressive book of the year), and most recently, Take Hold of Our History: Make America Radical Again (Zero Books). This spring he will also publish FDR on Democracy (Skyhorse Books).

      • Catholic Leaders Promised Transparency About Child Abuse. They Haven’t Delivered.

        It took 40 years and three bouts of cancer for Larry Giacalone to report his claim of childhood sexual abuse at the hands of a Boston priest named Richard Donahue.

        Giacalone sued Donahue in 2017, alleging the priest molested him in 1976, when Giacalone was 12 and Donahue was serving at Sacred Heart Parish. The lawsuit never went to trial, but a compensation program set up by the archdiocese concluded that Giacalone “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse” and directed the archdiocese to pay him $73,000.

      • We Assembled the Only Nationwide Database of Priests Deemed Credibly Accused of Abuse. Here’s How.

        ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

        It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

      • Making Rebellion Attractive: Why the Establishment Still Hates John Reed

        ‘If Mark Twain or John Reed were alive today and looking for work, would they find it at your newspaper or channel? Could Twain have a column? Would you carry Reed’s despatches?’

      • Nicki Minaj’s Brother Sentenced to 25 Years For Child Rape

        Rapper Nicki Minaj’s brother is facing life in prison after a judge sentenced him for child sexual assault.

      • Brutal Same As It Ever Was: Israel’s War On Justice
      • Algeria: Post Election Repression

        On July 5 2019, thousands of people protested for a twentieth consecutive week in Algeria’s capital, defying a major police presence just days before the mandate of interim president Bensalah expires. 

      • Poland: Veto Law Punishing Judges for Criticism

        Polish judges, joined by judges from other European countries, wear their robes during a January 11 protest against proposed reforms that would undermine judicial independence. 

      • Court Tosses Evidence From Pretextual Stop When Dashcam Shows Cop Had Zero Reason To Perform A Stop

        The #BacktheBlue types like to say stuff like “If you don’t want to get arrested, don’t break the law.” But breaking the law is never a prerequisite for a traffic stop, search, and/or arrest. The nation’s top court has already said cops don’t actually have to enforce real laws. They can predicate stops on what they perceive the law to be, whether or not any actual law was broken.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Oh Look, More Giant ISPs Taking Taxpayer Money For Unfinished Networks

        For more than a decade we’ve highlighted how the U.S. simply adores throwing taxpayer money at giant telecom companies in exchange for networks they then only half deploy. Whether it’s on the city, state, or federal level, we’ve thrown untold billions at mono/duopolies which in turn dodge their obligations under these agreements with little to no real penalty. While sometimes this money winds up being used as intended, just as often this money winds up being pocketed by executives and shareholders with little discernible impact on America’s broken and uncompetitive broadband markets.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Spring the mouse trap: don’t fall for Disney+

        It’s common to feel a little uneasy when it comes to Disney. Most people know that the mouse didn’t get to where he is now by himself, and that behind him there are more shadowy people wearing suits than their cheerful advertising admits. Likewise, the intricate control and extensive surveillance they have over their parks can be seen as a playground for dystopia.

        Over the last few decades, the company has grown tremendously, with billion dollar franchises such as Star Wars and the Marvel universe making up only a fraction of the Disney empire, in addition to the complete film catalog of 20th Century Fox. Disney’s leadership in the movie world has given them immense power that they have a rich history of abusing, as we’ve seen with the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” and the notorious Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

        Like the witch with her cauldron, Disney executives were concocting something evil when they were brewing up Disney+. It needed just the right amount of poison to be palatable: not enough to where it would turn everyone away, but not so little that users would be able to actually take a screenshot of the film that they are watching. Maleficent is more than just a character in a Disney film; it’s an apt descriptor for the behavior of Disney itself when it comes to their attack on culture through Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

        Along with the steady wave of advertising, Disney+ drew early comments from concerned free software developers like Hans de Goede, who was among the first to point out that Disney+ would be using the highest restriction level of Widevine DRM. Widevine is a scheme that’s familiar to anti-DRM activists, and is one commonly embedded in Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), the World Wide Web’s Consortium’s initiative to create a Hollyweb out of the Internet. For a short time, this made the Disney+ “service” incompatible with all GNU/Linux systems, Chromebooks, and many older Android devices. Though public comment led them to loosen the shackles a little, that doesn’t mean that your favorite films are any less imprisoned.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • A Secret Reason Rx Drugs Cost So Much: A Global Web of Patent Laws Protects Big Pharma

          Ordinary people around the world will increasingly find themselves in the same boat when it comes to accessing the medicines they need.

        • Apple, Broadcom Hit With $1.1B Verdict In Caltech Patent Suit

          A California federal jury found Wednesday that Apple and Broadcom infringed three California Institute of Technology data transmission patents with Wi-Fi chips used in hundreds of millions of iPhones and other devices, awarding the university over $1.1 billion in damages.

          A jury on Wednesday took under five hours to decide that Apple and Broadcom had infringed three Caltech patents, and ordered the tech companies to pay more than $1 billion in total damages. (AP) Following a two-week trial, the nine-person jury took under five hours of deliberating to find that Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. have been infringing five claims [...]

        • Software Patents

          • Strategy Lessons From Wells Fargo Fintech Patent Litigation

            United Services Automobile Association is a financial services company that provides insurance, banking, investment, and retirement products and services for members of the military and their families. On June 7, 2018, USAA filed a surprising patent infringement complaint against Wells Fargo & Co. in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.[1]

            In a suit that rapidly caught the banking industry’s attention, USAA alleged that Wells Fargo infringed four of USAA’s patents by offering its banking customers the option to conveniently deposit paper checks from their smartphones in real time by taking photographs of paper checks and submitting them through…

      • Copyrights

        • YouTube Rippers Battle RIAA in Takedown Whack-a-Mole

          The RIAA is continuing to use DMCA anti-circumvention notices to remove YouTube ripper websites from Google’s search results. The music group started a few months ago and has only increased its efforts. However, the targeted sites are fighting back by continuously updating their URLs in response, turning it into a game of whack-a-mole.

        • BitTorrent Owner Accused of Profiting From Movie Piracy

          A lawsuit filed against BitTorrent owner Rainberry Inc, TRON Foundation’s Justin Sun, and one of his colleagues, is based in employment law. However, the allegations it contains could pique interest in Hollywood, with claims that movies including The Lion King were involved in a “fraudulent scheme” to “make a profit from the illegal piracy of those materials.”

        • UK Says It Won’t Implement The EU Copyright Directive, Which Wouldn’t Have Passed Without Its Support During A Crucial Vote

          As Techdirt has reported, the EU member states are starting to transpose the EU Copyright Directive into their national laws, and the results are as bad as we feared. France wants to implement the Article 17 upload filters without user protections, while Germany plans to place ludicrous restrictions on the use of press materials as part of its implementation of Article 15. What’s particularly frustrating about the whole sorry EU Copyright Directive saga is that the law was very close to being thrown out last April. That was when the final vote by the EU Council (made up of representatives of the EU member states) took place. As Mike wrote at the time, because Sweden changed its original position, and voted against the Directive, it would only have required either Germany or the UK to do the same, and the legislation would have been dropped.

        • Impala Criticizes the UK’s Unwillingness to Enforce EU Copyright Directive

          Impala, a leading advocate of independent record labels in Europe, is speaking out against the United Kingdom’s decision to not enforce the European Union’s controversial Copyright Directive.

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