Links 31/1/2020: Lars Kurth RIP, Mesa 20.0 RC1, CERN Moving to Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 11:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Magazine’s Latest (Paywall)

      • Economies of Ink

        I noticed a post on Slashdot recently from a guy whose printer quit printing, because he stopped paying the monthly fee for HP’s Instant Ink system. In case you’re wondering, yes, Instant Ink is a subscription service for printer ink. You pay a flat rate per month, and the ink is delivered automatically to your doorstep. You don’t even have to order it; your smart print cartridge knows when you’re about to run out and orders it for you.

        The problem, apparently, is that some people don’t even know they have this service – they forget they signed up for the two month free trial and later notice an unexplained charge on their credit card. It appears that it is possible to exit the Instant Ink program in an orderly fashion, but you have to do it carefully and click all the right boxes. If you just stop paying, your smart print cartridge locks up and won’t print anything.

        HP’s Instant Ink system has been around for a few years, so it isn’t exactly news, but they keep extending it to include more printers, so it is gradually gaining a higher profile. I talked to an HP guy once on an airport shuttle, and he told me that ink had always been the biggest source of the company’s profits. According to my source, HP used to lose money on the retail cost of a printer just to set up the chance to keep plying the owner with proprietary print cartridges. If you’re going to play that game, you really need to price the cartridges to cover the risk associated with estimating how much the user will actually print. Now, due to market forces, the company is less able to assume that risk, or perhaps, they want to provide the user with an incentive for assuming the risk of estimating print volume.

        Instant Ink could be an attractive option – if you fit snugly into one of the available plans. Like a mobile phone company, the Instant Ink service offers different prices for different levels of service. For instance, one plan lets you print 100 pages per month for $4.99. That’s around 5 cents per page if you use all your pages, which isn’t too bad. But if you only print 50 pages, that’s more like 10 cents per page. (The plan does provide a means for rolling over unused pages, but it caps at 200 pages.) You owe the fee no matter how much you print, so if you only print one page, you pay $4.99 per page for that month. If you go over the maximum page count for your plan, the per-page rate scales up, which can lead to costly overruns.

        Interestingly, the company even offers a “Free” printing plan, which allows you to print 15 pages per month for no cost, and then you owe HP 10 cents per page for everything else you print, which is kind of like the old days, when we used to print faxes, documents, and photocopies at the local copy store for 10 cents a page, only this time, you are paying 10 cents per page to print them on your own printer.

      • On the DVD

        Kali Linux is a popular distro dedicated to the craft of penetration testing. Kali comes with hundreds of practical tools for information gathering, vulnerability analysis, wireless attacks, and stress testing. A bootable Forensics mode leaves the drives unmounted and provides a powerful collection of forensics utilities.

      • Zack’s Kernel News
      • Interview – Wikimedia’s Jaime Crespo
      • Block ads and trackers across your network with Pi-hole
      • Killing ads with the LAN-level Privoxy web proxy
      • Double Protection
      • Programming Snapshot – Go Game States
      • Charly’s Column – lshw
      • Command Line – duplicity
      • Preserve Your Favorite Pages
      • Using the curses library to view IoT data
      • Pocket-Size Programming
      • Open Hardware – DIY Soldering Kits
      • Linux Voice
      • Doghouse – RISC-V Summit
      • Organized Games
      • Building a secure, simple VPN connection
      • FOSSPicks
      • Tutorial – PeerTube
      • Tutorial – Readline
    • Desktop/Laptop

      • In the news: Kubuntu Focus Laptop Is Now Ready…

        The Kubuntu Focus is a new Linux laptop effort set to marry the Kubuntu Linux distro (https://kubuntu.org/) and a laptop aimed specifically for gamers, power users, developers, video editors, and anyone who seeks performance and seamless Linux compatibility. This brand new laptop is ready for preorder (https://kubuntufocus.myshopify.com/).

        The laptop was born from a collaboration between Kubuntu, TUXEDO Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc. The Kubuntu Focus will not only highlight the KDE desktop environment, but it will be the first officially recognized laptop created specifically for the Kubuntu Linux distribution.

        But before you visit the site for preorder, understand this is a premium piece of hardware with a premium price tag. The hardware specs alone should clue you in on the price.

    • Server

      • IBM

        • IBM reshuffles: Krishna CEO, Whitehurst president, Rometty to retire

          IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty is stepping down in April, the company announced Thursday. Arvind Krishna, noted as a key architect of the company’s Red Hat acquisition, will become CEO upon Rometty’s exit.

          Rometty will serve as executive chairman through 2020 and then retire. Red Hat’s CEO Jim Whitehurst was named IBM president.

        • IBM Names Arvind Krishna CEO, Replacing Ginni Rometty

          “Krishna, her successor, was the mastermind behind the Red Hat deal. He proposed the acquisition to Rometty and the board, suggesting hybrid cloud is the company’s best bet for future growth,” adds Bloomberg. “He has led the development of many of IBM’s newer technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud and quantum computing.”

          “Prior to IBM adopting its hybrid multi-cloud strategy, the company had a walled-garden approach to cloud computing, largely focusing on its own services. Krishna spearheaded IBM’s shift toward hybrid, prompting the company to work with rival providers rather than compete against them.”

        • Arvind Krishna Elected IBM Chief Executive Officer

          The IBM (NYSE: IBM) Board of Directors has elected Arvind Krishna as Chief Executive Officer of the company and a member of the Board of Directors, effective April 6, 2020. Krishna is currently IBM Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software, and was a principal architect of the company’s acquisition of Red Hat. James Whitehurst, IBM Senior Vice President and CEO of Red Hat, was also elected by the Board as IBM President, effective April 6, 2020. Virginia Rometty, IBM Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will continue as Executive Chairman of the Board and serve through the end of the year, when she will retire after almost 40 years with the company.

          “Arvind is the right CEO for the next era at IBM,” said Rometty. “He is a brilliant technologist who has played a significant role in developing our key technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud, quantum computing and blockchain. He is also a superb operational leader, able to win today while building the business of tomorrow. Arvind has grown IBM’s Cloud and Cognitive Software business and led the largest acquisition in the company’s history. Through his multiple experiences running businesses in IBM, Arvind has built an outstanding track record of bold transformations and proven business results, and is an authentic, values-driven leader. He is well-positioned to lead IBM and its clients into the cloud and cognitive era.”

        • Power Training at Red Hat Summit 2020 can build IT skills
        • Command Line Heroes – Minicomputers: The Soul of an Old Machine

          They don’t fit in your pocket. But in their day, minicomputers were an order of magnitude smaller than the room-sized mainframes that preceded them. And they paved the way for the personal computers that could fit in a bag and, eventually, the phones in your pocket. Listen to the first episode of season four of Command Line Heroes now.

        • IDC white paper: IBM Z helps enterprises move to hybrid cloud environment
        • IDC white paper: LinuxONE helps enterprises move to hybrid cloud environment

          A new IDC white paper spotlights how the next-generation enterprise IBM LinuxONE III system can help enhance the private cloud portion of a hybrid cloud environment. According to the white paper, “Transforming a Corporate Datacenter into a Modern Environment: Kubernetes as a Foundation for Hybrid Cloud,” the key enablement for hybrid cloud is made possible through the availability of a portable, multi-platform cloud platform — and as the industry moves in this direction, Linux, containers, and Kubernetes form the basis of a universal abstraction layer.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Test and Code: 99: Software Maintenance and Chess

        I play a form of group chess that has some interesting analogies to software development and maintenance of existing systems. This episode explains group chess and explores a few of those analogies.

      • 2020-01-30 | Linux Headlines

        A popular data analysis library for Python has reached a significant milestone, Google doubles down on FIDO authentication, RStudio restructures to better serve the public, and a new XMPP client is shaking things up.

      • Brunch with Brent: Peter Adams Part 2 | Jupiter Extras 51

        Brent sits down with Peter Adams, professional photographer and former founder and CTO of several internet-technology startups in New York and Silicon Valley. In this Part 2 we explore open source and photography through workflows, lighting controls, and camera OSs, artificial intelligence and the future of photography, and more.

      • Useless Dreams | User Error 84

        Whether we’d use Windows if it was FOSS, pointless tech, bathing habits, useless jobs, annoying popey with dream stories, and more.

      • Talk Python to Me: #249 Capture the Staff of Pythonic Knowledge in TwilioQuest

        Are you learning or helping someone else learn Python, why not make a game out of it? TwilioQuest is a game that doesn’t treat you with kid-gloves while teaching you Python. Using your editor of choice, write code on your machine, and still play the game to solve Python challenges.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5 released, Bootlin contributions inside

        Linux 5.5 was recently released, as usual bringing a large number of new features and improvements, which are nicely detailed in the LWN articles on merge window part 1 and merge window part 2, but also on the Kernelnewbies wiki.

        According to the statistics, a total of 14350 changes were made to this kernel release, to which Bootlin contributed 124 patches, making us the 19th contributing company by number of commits.

      • Linux Kernel 5.6 Ready To Fix Year 2038 Problem

        ith the onset of a new decade, Linux Kernel 5.6 is already prepared to resolve the “Y2038” or “Unix Y2K” problem that can arise in the upcoming decade.

        A few days after the release of Linux Kernel 5.5, Arnd Bergmann, Linux developer, mailed Linus Torvalds mentioning that the Linux Kernel 5.6 should serve as a base for a 32-bit system to run beyond the year 2038.

      • WireGuard is Now in Linus! WireGuard is Merged with Linux 5.3 [sic] Kernel!

        WireGuard is now in Linus Tree: Recently, WireGuard founder said that he gonna merge the WireGuard with main line Linux Kernel 5.6. Yesterday (29-Jan-2020), Linus Torvalds announced the Wireguard & Linux Kernel 5.6 will be merged! You can found this message on his blog.


        WireGuard is a simple open-source application that provides Virtual Private Network techniques to create a secure point connection!

        Many VPN providers adopting the Wireguard technique to provide the most secure VPN service!.

      • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Adds WireGuard Support

        While WireGuard was merged into Linux 5.6, the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release is currently tracking Linux 5.4 and for the April release is likely to be shipping with Linux 5.5 as the 5.6 release will be cutting it too close. But Ubuntu 20.04′s kernel has now back-ported WireGuard.

        There has been the talk in recent weeks over shipping Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with WireGuard support and indeed with Ubuntu’s latest kernel in the Focal repository is the WireGuard module back-ported for this secure VPN tunnel.

      • WireGuard VPN protocol will ship with Linux kernel 5.6

        The WireGuard VPN protocol will be included into the next Linux kernel as Linus Torvalds has merged it into his source tree for version 5.6.

        There is no set date for Linux kernel releases and being as version 5.5 was released this month, the next version will likely be released in a few months time.

        The addition of WireGurd in the next Linux kernel does also not come as a surprise as the code had already been merged into Dave Miller’s repository back in December. However, the code was just recently pulled into Torvalds’ source tree.

      • Collabora’s Contributions to Linux 5.5 Improve the Panfrost Driver, More

        Collabora continues to add numerous hardware improvements in the Linux kernel with their endless contributions, and today they’ve shared a list of contributions done as part of the latest Linux 5.5 kernel series.

        In an attempt to improve the upstream support of devices powered by the i.MX 6 family of processors, Collabora’s developers improved the brcmfmac open source Broadcom Wi-Fi driver by fixing suspend support for devices that try to save battery life by cutting the power during sleep.

        They also improved the Panfrost open source driver for modern ARM Mali GPUs, the Hantro VPU codec driver, the Chrome Embedded Controller, as well as the virtual media controller driver (vimc), and paved the way for bus format negotiation between DRM pipeline components.

      • Lars Kurth RIP

        Ian Jackson posted a note to the xen-announce mailing list with the sad news that Xen community manager and project advisory board member Lars Kurth has died.

      • Lars Kurth
        I'm very sad to inform you that Lars Kurth passed away earlier this
        week.  Many of us regarded Lars as a personal friend, and his loss is a
        great loss to the Xen Project.
        We plan to have a tribute to Lars on the XenProject blog in the near
        future.  Those who are attending FOSDEM may wish to attend the short
        tribute we plan for Sunday morning:
        For the moment, Lars's mail aliases @xenproject.org, and the
        community.manager@xenproject alias, will be forwarded to myself
        and/or George Dunlap.
        Ian Jackson.
      • EXT4 Gets Performance Work While XFS Gets 32-Bit Fixes For Linux 5.6

        File-system / storage activity is as busy as always during the Linux kernel merge windows.

        EXT4 changes this cycle include performance work in the inode locking code in the read/write paths, performance work for Direct I/O overwrites in boosting workloads like databases and other Direct I/O optimizations, and general code clean-ups and enhancements.

        XFS meanwhile has seen the removal of the last of their 32-bit timestamp code as well as memory corruption fixes affecting 32-bit platforms. There are also a variety of other fixes for XFS with this initial pull request while a secondary round of updates is expected next week.

      • pidfd_getfd Lands In Linux 5.6 With Use-Cases From LXD To Web Browsers

        In addition to the new openat2() system call in Linux 5.6, pidfd_getfd() has landed with growing interest from many different parties for what will be an increasingly used syscall moving forward.

        The pidfd_getfd() system call provides a straight-forward and easy means of accessing file descriptors from other processes via pidfd. It’s been possible to access file descriptors from other processes on existing Linux kernels but via messy ways causing unnecessary complications.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.0-rc1
          Hi list,
          It's a day late, but mesa 20.0.0-rc1 is now available. The 20.0 branches
          (staging and stable) have been created, and a new 20.0 release milestone has
          also been created.
          20.0.0-rc2 will follow on 02.05 per the release calendar.
        • Mesa 20.0-rc1 Released With Intel Gallium3D Default, OpenGL 4.6 for RadeonSI, Vulkan 1.2

          Mesa 20.0 feature development is over with the code now being branched from Git master and the first of several release candidates issued.

          A lot of new and improved features are to be found in Mesa 20.0 as the project’s 2020′Q1 feature release. Mesa 20.0 includes many optimizations to the RADV ACO back-end, many RadeonSI and RADV improvements around GFX10/Navi, Intel Gallium3D improvements, OpenGL 4.6 with NIR by default for RadeonSI, NIR support for LLVMpipe, Vulkan 1.2 for Intel ANV and Radeon RADV, the Intel Iris Gallium3D driver being the default OpenGL driver now for Broadwell “Gen8″ graphics and newer, plus much more that accumulated over the past three months. My usual feature overview will be out soon.

        • UBports’ Unity 8 Has Working Wayland Support

          UBports has managed to upgrade their Mir support so Unity 8 can ride off the modern Mir implementation that provides Wayland support. In turn this means Unity 8 (and Ubuntu Touch) can run Wayland applications. There are also other benefits like now being able to run Unity 8 off the upstream Mesa graphics drivers without needing any Mir patches as was formerly the case. This also opens up Unity 8 to running nicely on more Linux distributions.

        • NVIDIA Retiring Their Pre-Fermi “340 Series” Legacy Linux Graphics Driver

          NVIDIA has sent out word that they no longer plan to issue anymore driver updates for their 340 series Linux legacy branch.

          This Linux 340 legacy driver series has provided extended support for the G8x, G9x, and GT2xx GPUs. Or in other words, the GeForce 8 series through GeForce 200 series. Moving forward though they will still be maintaining the NVIDIA 390 driver series that is their legacy driver for the Fermi GPUs.

        • NVIDIA end updates to the 340 series legacy driver for Linux

          If you have an older NVIDIA GPU, chances are you’ve been using the 340 legacy series. Well, NVIDIA have said that it’s no longer getting updates. This does not affect any of their modern GPUs, just to be clear on that point.

          The 340 legacy series is the newest driver that supports NVIDIA GPUs from the GeForce 8 Series from 2006 up to the GeForce 3xx series (rebrands of the GeForce 200 series) from 2009. We’re talking GPUs that can be well over ten years old, so it’s only natural their support had to end at some point. NVIDIA did recently give it one last update, with the 340.108 released back in December 2019 which boosted compatibility with newer Linux Kernels so hopefully if you’re still on it you will be good for a little while.

        • RADV Re-Enables NGG Geometry Shader Support

          On top of the last minute Radeon Vulkan “RADV” improvements landing on Wednesday for Mesa 20.0, another big ticket item landed… Well, re-enabled.

          Back in July shortly after the Radeon RX 5700 series unveil, RADV added NGG geometry shader support for Navi/GFX10. NGG is the Next-Gen Geometry engines found with Navi but as shown by the RADV driver work and RadeonSI OpenGL driver changes, it can be difficult/buggy to target.

    • Benchmarks

      • Valve’s ACO Helps Put New Life Into Radeon GCN 1.0 GPUs With ~9% Better Linux Gaming Performance

        Among many other Valve ACO back-end improvements for Mesa 20.0, one of the notable additions is this AMDGPU LLVM alternative now working for Radeon “Southern Islands” / GCN 1.0 graphics cards. With this, these original AMD GCN graphics cards may have some extra life out of Linux gaming boxes thanks to slightly higher performance some eight years after these graphics cards first launched in the Radeon HD 7000 series.

        ACO is the back-end to the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver that’s funded by Valve and optimized for speedy shader compilation to help with game load times and for delivering optimal gaming performance. With the upcoming Mesa 20.0, ACO works from the Radeon GFX10/Navi graphics cards back through the GCN 1.0 products. Granted, by default the Radeon DRM kernel driver is used for these graphics cards so you need to first boot the system with “amdgpu.si_support=1 radeon.si_support=0″ for enabling the AMDGPU kernel driver that is needed for allowing RADV to work at all.

    • Applications

      • QuiteRSS 0.19.3 (29.01.2020)
      • PhotoFlare Open Source Image & Photo Editor

        If you’re looking for a free photo editor to use on your Linux or Windows system then do check out PhotoFlare.

        I hadn’t heard about PhotoFlare until very recently. But it only took one look at this image editor’s well-designed interface, ample feature set, and open-source friendly nature, to know that I had to try it out.

        In this post i’ll tell you more about PhotoFlare, its features, and show you how to install it on Ubuntu (or download it for Windows).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.5.3 Released – Helps Games Like Skyrim + Mafia II, Direct3D 9 Fixes

        Succeeding last week’s DXVK 1.5.2 is now a version 1.5.3 release with various fixes.

        Leading to this quick DXVK 1.5.3 release is a fix for a potentially critical Direct3D 9 regression introduced in the previous release. There is also a fix for Vulkan validation errors with D3D9 and on the plus side better GPU-limited D3D9 performance with some Vulkan drivers.

      • Vulkan translation layer DXVK 1.5.3 is out fixing up a ‘potentially’ critical D3D9 regression

        A small but needed release of the Direct 3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan translation layer has been put out today fixing up some issues.

        DXVK 1.5.3 has a rather important fix in as the headliner here, as 1.5.2 had a potential “critical D3D9 regression”. Additionally there’s some fixed up Vulkan validation errors, improved GPU-limited D3D9 performance on some drivers, and the HUD will now properly show D3D10 when it’s used rather than D3D11.

        For game specific fixes Mafia II, Skyrim and Torchlight were all mentioned so each should have a better experience under Wine with DXVK and so Proton too whenever Valve/CodeWeavers update it.

    • Games

      • Weekend Project: Build a portable RetroPie powered Game Console

        In this video, I show off the process of creating your very own retro gaming console that’s completely portable, powered by RetroPie!

      • Retro-styled colourful non-linear adventure platformer Alwa’s Legacy now has a Steam page

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign in December last year, Elden Pixels explain that progress is going well on their very colourful non-linear adventure platformer Alwa’s Legacy.

        In the first update this year on Kickstarter, they explained that work on it is progressing well with plenty of new content being added and it appears the story is already finished. They also now have a Steam store page up, so you can follow it along ready for release sometime in the Spring.

      • Northgard expands with The Clan of the Ox – DLC out now with a rather unique Warchief

        Shiro Games continue expanding their real-time strategy game Northgard, following on from the huge Conquest Mode free update last year they have a new DLC out adding in an entirely new Clan.

        Himminbrjotir, Clan of the Ox is the new clan and they’re a tough lot both stronger and bigger in stature than the other clans. Led by the powerful Warchief Torfin, they have +15% attack power and defence bonus, however they do eat 10% more than other clans so you need to balance your food stocks even more than usual. They’re fully featured, coming with their very own map for the Conquest Mode and if you beat it with them they have their own special Ox Townhall.

      • Proton GE has a fresh new build out with lots of updates and special fixes

        Proton GE, the unofficial build of Proton mainly for use with Steam Play (but you can use it outside Steam too – like with Lutris) has a big new release out with Proton 5.0 GE 1.

        Why would you use Proton GE instead of the official version included with Steam? Valve/CodeWeavers sometimes take a while to update it and certain games made need fixes sooner that Proton GE provides.

      • Edna & Harvey return to Linux with The Breakout – Anniversary Edition now available

        Daedalic Entertainment have been a good developer and publisher for Linux and they continue to be great. Edna & Harvey: The Breakout – Anniversary Edition, the upgraded version of the 2008 adventure game is now on Linux.

        This enhanced version of the multi-award winning adventure game released in December last year, with it gaining Linux (and macOS) support only yesterday. It has been given a “complete overhaul” with better controls, high resolution art and “new technology” (so an upgraded game engine and things like that).

      • Dungeon management and defence game Legend of Keepers releasing in March

        Goblinz Studio continue upgrading the free Legend of Keepers: Prologue and in recent patch notes, they gave Legend of Keepers a release date for Early Access.

        They’ve said it’s going to launch on March 26 but they’re still adjusting it all based on feedback, which they’re using to improve both the Prologue and the full game. Most recently, it gained a whole new Motivation system so don’t work them too hard and there’s now a Psychologist to let your monster crew talk it out and hopefully get better. Goblinz Studio also expanded the Prologue in other ways with new monsters, 7 new random events and new locations.

      • AMD Doesn’t Work Great for Gaming on Linux Desktop PCs

        AMD has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially with its great performance-over-price graphics cards and processors. However, that love story sounds limited when it comes to desktop PCs working on Linux, and with gaming.

        We wrote few months ago about how great AMD is performing on laptops on Linux comparing to Windows. You can even get 10-20 FPS higher on Linux than on Windows using your integrated graphics card. We still stand on our experiments that we did on AMD-powered laptops, however, desktops is another issue. AMD on desktop PCs perform extremely lower on Linux than on Windows for gaming, and not just by a little bit, but by an extremely huge margin, that can sometimes reach 100 FPS between the two.

        Our average hardware combination of the famous Ryzen 5 1600 CPU and the AMD RX 580 GPU is performing horribly on Linux comparing to Windows. While this setup is considered an on-budget one, and may not reflect all AMD’s cards, we think most people would consider it for their feature desktop PC, and we believed its important for you to know what you are about to enter if you plan to do Linux gaming on the same combination.

      • FTL: Faster Than Light now has Steam Achievements over seven years after release

        Subset Games today released a small update to FTL: Faster Than Light, finally giving it some Steam Achievements after the original release in 2012.

        FTL did already have its own built-in achievements but now it’s all nicely hooked up with the Steam API so you can show off how good you are. Not me though, I think I only ever had one successful run of it. Absolutely brilliant game though, a real devil with your time as you just want one more run.

      • Little Racers STREET gains a brand new Linux (and macOS) port using FNA

        Ethan Lee is back with another game port, this time it’s a little different. Little Racers STREET already had a Linux version but it’s been remade.

        Why? Well, Little Racers STREET is an older game now first released back in 2014. Milkstone Studios gave it same-day Linux support but it’s suffered from various severe issues, with many not able to actually play it anymore without digging into workarounds. So today, Ethan announced the new port that’s been completely redone with FNA.

        Going into further details, Ethan mentioned this is their 60th Linux port which is a crazy milestone. Ethan has given Linux some fantastic games like Rogue Legacy, Salt & Sanctuary, Pyre, Dust: An Elysian Tail and so on. They also did the port for free, as it’s so old and unlikely to make a profit but you can support Ethan’s porting work and FNA/FAudio using GitHub Sponsors on their page and if you’re a game developer you can hire Ethan to do porting work.

      • Valve announce Dota Underlords releasing on February 25 – new Underlord up today

        Today, Valve announced that Dota Underlords will be leaving Early Access and officially releasing on February 25.

        On top of that, the Underlord named Enno has officially joined the cast today. Enno is a ranged Underlord, who “leaps around the board poisoning enemies and generally wreaking havoc”. Hold on a hot second, poison? Yup, that’s in now too as a new status effect causing 15 physical damage per second and reduced healing—poison can stuck up to 5 times.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Regolith Desktop 1.3 Released, Makes Using i3 Even Less Scary

        For those unfamiliar with it, the Regolith desktop combines GNOME-based system management with a keyboard driven user interface built around i3-gaps, Rofi, and other shortcut-centric tools.

        Although still very shortcut dependent — you primarily open, close, move and switch windows and workspaces using keyboard shortcuts — Regolith remoulds i3 into a less intimidating shape.

        The Regolith desktop can be installed on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (and above) by adding a PPA. Alternatively, users can download Regolith Linux, an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that ships the Regolith desktop experience by default.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New Breeze Kate Icon

          This is now in the master branch of the breeze-icons repository.

          I hope other icon themes will update their Kate icon variants to match our new style, too.

          I first tried to enforce the use of the new icon by renaming it, but I got reminded this is too harsh and I should give the icon theme authors a chance to update them in their own pace.

          I guess that is the right approach and hope current themes will really catch up with this.

          Thanks already in advance to all people that might spend time on this in the future.

        • KDAB at Embedded World, Nuremberg

          February 2020 will be the tenth year that KDAB exhibits at Embedded World, in Nuremberg, Germany.

          When we started exhibiting, there were only five halls compared to today’s seven, so the event continues to grow and remain relevant, in a world where most interaction takes place on-line. In those ten years, trends have come and gone, with the emphasis moving from medical devices to industrial equipment and ‘automotive everywhere’, while slowly but surely software has taken center stage.

        • Season of KDE

          My first exposure to KDE was in December 2020, i was bit lost in Big KDE world at starting but KDE dev’s helped me alot to get started started. i would specially like to thanks Valorie to have that 2 hour chat with me and told me, how thing’s work here.

          Half period of the KDE has Passed and Till now it has been awesome, incredible learning experience and it was not that easy as i thought but i have super helpful mentors Johnny Jazeix and Emmanuel Charruau :). i have completed enumerate and smallnumbers2 activities, algebra_by still lefts.

          I started my SoK with smallnumbers2, the main challenge with this activity is it shares same code with some other activities too, so while working on it i have to take care that my patch shouldn’t break them. First thing which i have to do is repeat elements from JSON file several times so i have the options to acheive this eigther by modifing previous JSON files or make changes in js file.I choosed second option (ofcourse it was more interesting). The first patch i have submitted was just a rough and ready solution, which Emmanuel discussed with me for several hours and we arrived to a neat approach at the end and i remember it was 5AM in India. Things was bit smoother after that, my code quality increased then i also modified this algorithm to drop elements randomly where elements which current level is teaching will drop more often than other elements. Later i also added this updated dataset to smallnumbers activity as they both activities were sharing same code.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GtkSourceView Snippets

          The past week I’ve been pushing hard on finishing up the snippets work for the GTK 4 port. It’s always quite a bit more work to push something upstream because you have to be so much more complete while being generic at the same time.

          I think at this point though I can move on to other features and projects as the branch seems to be in good shape. I’ve fixed a number of bugs in the GTK 4 port along the way and made tests, documentation, robustness fixes, style-scheme integration, a completion provider, file-format and parser, and support for layering snippet files the same way style-schemes and language-specs work.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MeX Linux Is Now Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, Features Cinnamon and Linux 5.5

          Arne Exton has released today a new version of his MeX Linux distribution to give users a Cinnamon flavored Ubuntu 20.04 LTS based operating system running the recently released Linux 5.5 kernel series.

          This is Arne Exton’s second GNU/Linux distribution to be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, after ExTiX 20.2 announced earlier this week. Just like ExTiX 20.2, MeX Linux now also ships with Linux kernel 5.5, but not the final version released by Linus Torvalds on January 27th, 2020.

          Shipping with Linux 5.5 means that even if you don’t plan to use MeX Linux as your daily driver, you can still use the live ISO to check if the new kernel supports your hardware that wasn’t supported by previous kernels.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Debian Family

        • Remembering Lucy Wayland

          The Cambridgeshire coroner recently held a final hearing into the death of Lucy Wayland. Wayland died almost immediately after the Debian 2018 Christmas lynchings.

          Before getting into where Debian has gone wrong, it is important to emphasize consideration for Wayland’s family at this time. Speculation about the details of Wayland’s death is both distressing for people and un-necessary when considering the problems in the Debian environment.

          The purpose of this blog is not to focus on Wayland, rather, it is about the issues.


          At the time Wayland passed away, she was at the lowest tier of the Debian hierarcy, a Debian Contributor. When I resigned from my role in the GSoC team citing extraordinary personaly circumstances, Chris Lamb, Enrico Zini and other ruthless individuals had decided to “demote” me to this same lowly tier. It was a deliberate and malicious attempt to humiliate me, but it also served to humiliate other people, like Wayland, at the same tier. None of them knew the pain my family was going through at that time. Their callous behaviour only made it worse.

          When any organization goes through restructuring, it impacts everybody.

          As noted in the blog about enforcers, all the witnesses to shaming suffer just as much, if not more, than the victims. How would Lucy Wayland feel seeing other experienced volunteers being subjected to cruel demotions at Christmas?


          When I saw what Chris Lamb, Molly de Blanc and their underlings did to Dr Preining in Christmas 2018, I couldn’t help feeling outrage. If the supposedly ruthless merchant banks of London didn’t dare to violate Christmas, how could Debian, an organization constituted on volunteering, do so?

          Yet it only got worse.

          The more questions I asked, the more evidence of corruption emerged. For example, developers sending veiled threats to interns, behind the backs of the mentors. It reminded me of the case where a manager walked out on a plum job in Canary Wharf when HR sent communications behind his back.

        • Sparky news 2020/01

          The 1st monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • added to repos: ElectronPlayer, Stremio
          • added a new script to Sparky APTus Upgrade which lets you upgrade your OS in text mode via one command: sparky-upgrade
          • added Sparky configuration of Draco desktop to Sparky APTus-> Desktop mode; thanks to lami07
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.5.0
          • new live/install media of Sparky 5.10 of the stable line released
          • the old repo address: sparkylinux.org/repo/ is no available any more; use repo.sparkylinux.org instead
          • Sparky Wiki has been moved to a subdomain: wiki.sparkylinux.org
          • Nemomen translate Sparky Wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • migration to a new vps is on the way, stay tuned.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch is Shaping Up Nicely on the PinePhone [Video]

          Thousands of folks snapped up a PinePhone Brave Heart edition when it went on sale last year — now with the handsets now arriving many early-adopters will be scouting for a mobile operating systems to use on it.

          Pine64, the company behind the PinePhone, shared a video of 4 different operating systems running on the PinePhone just before Christmas. A month on from that and many of the systems showcased have improved greatly.

          Including Ubuntu Touch, the mobile OS created by Canonical but continued by the community-based Ubports.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Choosing the right tools for your open source projects

        Every open source community wants to make it easier for community members to participate and contribute. Typically, there are discussions on cultural aspects of the community to lower barriers to entry, such as fostering a friendly and welcoming environment, onboarding processes, mentorship, code of conduct, etc. However, in my discussions with several open source communities (e.g., Freedesktop, GNOME, KDE, etc.), I found that one of the key criteria when selecting new tools for code, CI, bug tracking, etc. for their projects was how a new tool could also help lower barriers to entry for new contributors.

      • CERN Replacing Facebook Workplace With A Set Of Open-Source Software Alternatives

        Facebook Workplace is Facebook’s corporate-focused product for internal real-time communication and related communication needs within organizations. CERN had been making use of Facebook Workplace and in addition to data privacy concerns, they were recently confronted with either paying Facebook or losing administrative rights, no more single sign-on access, and Facebook having access to their internal data. But now they have assembled their own set of software packages to fill the void by abandoning Facebook Workplace.

      • CERN ends trial of Facebook Workplace

        New changes to the status of CERN’s Workplace account prevent the Organization from continuing on the platform. CERN’s presence on Workplace will end on 31 January 2020. In October 2016, Facebook made Workplace available to any company or organisation.

      • Events

        • Bootlin at FOSDEM and Buildroot Developers Meeting

          This week-end takes place one of the biggest and most important free and open-source software conference in Europe: FOSDEM. It will once again feature a very large number of talks, organized in several main tracks and developer rooms.

          Bootlin CTO Thomas Petazzoni will participate to the FOSDEM conference, of course attending many of the talks from the Embedded, Mobile and Automative Devroom, to which he participated to the talk review and selection. Do not hesitate to get in touch with Thomas if you want to discuss career or business opportunities with Bootlin.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72.0.2 Lands in Ubuntu’s Repos, Minor Regressions Fixed

            The latest Firefox 72.0.2 web browser has just landed today in the stable software repositories of all supported Ubuntu Linux releases.

            Released by Mozilla on January 20, 2020, Firefox 72.0.2 is a bugfix release that fixes inconsistent playback performance for full screen 1080p videos on certain systems, addresses some issues that occurred when opening files that contain spaces in their path, and fixes a web compatibility issue with CSS Shadow Parts.

            Various stability fixes are included as well in Firefox 72.0.2, which is now available for installation from the main archives of Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series.

          • Open source email client Thunderbird finds a new home

            If you prefer to access your email through a desktop client, then Thunderbird is one of the better choices. However, the future of the open source tool has been a little rocky in recent years after the Mozilla Corporation decided to stop supporting it.

            However, there’s a lot of love for Thunderbird out there, and it’s managed to survive, and even grow thanks to user donations. And now the email client has found a new home.

            Thunderbird’s Philipp Kewisch says: “As of today, the Thunderbird project will be operating from a new wholly owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, MZLA Technologies Corporation.”

          • Announcing Rust 1.41.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.41.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • Google’s OpenSK Offers An Open-Source Rust-Written Security Key Implementation

            Google today announced OpenSK as an open-source Rust-based security key implementation supporting FIDO U2F and FIDO2 standards.

            OpenSK currently is a research platform that Google will hopefully be used by security researchers and security key manufacturers. The Rust code is written the Tock embedded operating system.

            This early version of OpenSK supports flashing the OpenSK firmware onto a Nordic chip dongle as the current reference hardware.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Vendor-bender LibreOffice kicks out 6.4: Community project feel, though now with added auto-█████ tool

          The Document Foundation has updated its free and open-source LibreOffice suite to 6.4, which it describes as “performance focused”, though there are also new features.

          LibreOffice is a large office suite, and there are seven applications included: Writer for word processing, Calc for spreadsheets, Draw, Impress for presentations, Math for creating and editing mathematical expressions (with support for MathML, Base for database management, and a largely pointless LibreOffice Start Centre where you can launch the other components. There is also an online version which you can download pre-installed in a Docker container, or use a hosted version from Collabora (a key LibreOffice contributor).

          Given the size of the suite, the list of new features in 6.4 is relatively small. One that caught our eye is auto-redaction. The redaction feature was new in version 6.3 but is now enhanced with a dialogue that automatically redacts text based on a text string or regular expression.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS 11.3 released with Wizards, Plugins, and Accelerated Replication

          FreeNAS 11.2 has been made available for the general public, and the most important highlights of this new version include better replication, easier plugins, and Wizards.

          For those of you who are unfamiliar with FreeNAS, please allow FOSSLinux to provide you with a brief introduction. According to the makers, FreeNAS is the best storage operating system you will find out there, which enables data sharing over a network.

          If you’re looking for developing a data center, FreeNAS could prove to be the right choice as it’s entirely secure and can run on pretty much any hardware platform available. Moreover, it has been developed in such a way that its use isn’t limited only for enterprise and small businesses as FreeNAS is also quite suitable for home use.

          So, now that you know a thing or two about the FreeNAS OS, it’s about time we check out what its latest update has to offer us.

        • OPNsense 20.1 “Keen Kingfisher” released

          For over 5 years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

          20.1, nicknamed “Keen Kingfisher”, is a subtle improvement on sustainable firewall experience. This release adds VXLAN and additional loopback device support, IPsec public key authentication and elliptic curve TLS certificate creation amongst others. Third party software has been updated to their latest versions. The logging frontend was rewritten for MVC with seamless API support. On the far side the documentation increased in quality as well as quantity and now presents itself in a familiar menu layout.

          Download links, an installation guide[1] and the checksums for the images can be found below as well.

        • OPNsense 19.7.10 released

          Hey hey,

          As Thursday nears the last preparations for 20.1 are underway. As a quick
          relief here is the End-Of-Life release of the 19.7 series with a tiny number
          of updates.

          Remember that when 20.1 is available it will take up to a day before we
          release the hotfix with the major upgrade path enabled. Please be patient
          as we simply want to ensure that upgrades will not be bumpy affair.

          Here are the full patch notes:

          o firewall: fix a typo in CARP validation
          o firmware: revoke 19.1 fingerprint
          o ipsec: add configurable dpdaction (contributed by Marcel Menzel)
          o mvc: BaseListField ignoring empty selected field
          o plugins: os-haproxy 2.20[1]
          o plugins: os-mail-backup 1.1[2]
          o plugins: os-nrpe 1.0 (contributed by Michael Muenz)
          o plugins: os-theme-rebellion 1.8.3 (contributed by Team Rebellion)
          o plugins: os-vnstat 1.2[3]
          o plugins: zabbix4-proxy 1.2[4]
          o ports: ca_root_nss 3.49.1
          o ports: curl 7.68.0[5]
          o ports: urllib3 1.27.7[6]
          o ports: isc-dhcp 4.4.2[7]

          Stay safe,
          Your OPNsense team

        • HAMMER2 questions

          Still, my recommendation is that for anything that fits on one drive no mirroring or RAID should be used. Make discrete backups to another drive on a regular schedule instead. RAIDs are not actually any more reliable than non-RAID on small systems in terms of machine uptime. For larger many-drive arrays HAMMER2 just isn’t the right solution (not yet) and I would recommend running ZFS on FreeBSD instead. But for any single-drive solution (even a large one), HAMMER2 gives premium performance and has a number of extremely useful features built-in such as automatic de-duplication (when copying a large file or tree), and compression. I use HAMMER2 on a bunch of 4TB HDDs and SSDs myself and it works flawlessly.

        • The first FreeBSD conference in Australia

          While there are many prominant Australian FreeBSD contributers, sysadmins, and users, we’ve always had to venture overseas for conferences. We’re always told Australians are among the most ardent travellers, but I always wondered if we could do a domestic event as well.

          And on Tuesday, we did! Deb Goodkin and the FreeBSD Foundation graciously organised and chaired a dedicated FreeBSD miniconf at the long-running linux.conf.au event held each year in a different city in Australia and New Zealand.

      • FSF

        • Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card now FSF-certified to Respect Your Freedom

          The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification to the Libiquity dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi card, from Libiquity LLC. The RYF certification mark means that Libiquity’s distribution of this device meets the FSF’s standards in regard to users’ freedom, control over the product, and privacy.

          Libiquity currently sells this device as part of its previously-certified Taurinus X200 laptop. Technoethical also offers the same hardware with their RYF-certified Technoethical N300DB Dual Band Wireless Card. With today’s certification, Libiquity is able to sell the Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card as a stand-alone product for the first time, and now has two RYF-certified devices available.

          “In the years since first joining the RYF program, we at Libiquity have worked to improve and expand our catalog. For anyone looking to join distant or congested 2.4-GHz or 5-GHz wireless networks, the Wi-Fri ND2H is a great internal Wi-Fi card for laptops, desktops, servers, single-board computers, and more. Most importantly, in an era when more and more hardware disrespects your freedom, we’re proud to offer a Wi-Fi card branded with the RYF logo on the product itself, as a trusted symbol of its compatibility with free software such as GNU Linux-libre,” said Patrick McDermott, Founder and CEO, Libiquity LLC.

          With this certification, the total number of RYF-certified wireless adapters grows to thirteen. The Libiquity Wi-Fri ND2H Wi-Fi card enables users to have wireless connectivity without having to rely on nonfree drivers or firmware.

        • Free Software Foundation Endorses First Product Of 2020: A $59~79 USD 802.11n WiFi Card

          We’ve seen a lot of odd products pick up the Free Software Foundation’s “Respect Your Freedom” endorsement like a USB microphone, various re-branded motherboards, and even last year certified a USB to parallel printer cable. The latest product they are endorsing — and their first endorsement of 2020 — is a USD 802.11 a/b/g/n PCIe half-mini card starting out at $59 USD but going up to $79 for this outdated wireless adapter.

      • Programming/Development

        • What the Dev?

          Java is coming up on a big milestone: Its 25th anniversary! To celebrate, we take a look back over the last 25 years to see how Java has evolved over time. In this episode, Social Media and Online Editor Jenna Sargent talks to Rich Sharples, senior director of product management for middleware at Red Hat, to learn more.

        • Web performance issue — reoccurrence

          In June we discovered that Treeherder’s UI slowdowns were due to database slow downs (For full details you can read this post). After a couple of months of investigations, we did various changes to the RDS set up. The changes that made the most significant impact were doubling the DB size to double our IOPS cap and adding Heroku auto-scaling for web nodes. Alternatively, we could have used Provisioned IOPS instead of General SSD storage to double the IOPS but the cost was over $1,000/month more.

          Looking back, we made the mistake of not involving AWS from the beginning (I didn’t know we could have used their help). The AWS support team would have looked at the database and would have likely recommended the parameter changes required for a write intensive workload (the changes they recommended during our November outage — see bug 1597136 for details). For the next four months we did not have any issues, however, their help would have saved a lot of time and it would have prevented the major outage we had in November.

        • 10 Best Free Unified Modeling Language Tools

          Unified Modeling Language (UML) is a general-purpose, modeling language designed to provide a standard way for visualizing, specifying, constructing, and documenting the artifacts of distributed object systems. It’s the industry standard modeling language for software engineering.

          The aim of UML is to give software engineers, agile and small development teams, and system architects useful tools for analysis, design, and implementation of software-based systems. It also provides modeling business and similar processes. The language helps to visualize your object-oriented design and communicate with others. It offers limited use for other programming paradigms.

          UML offers an efficient way to communicate object programming concepts that are not intuitive between programmers and end users. It can also be very precise and helps to avoid ambiguities when you define your system.

          UML is composed of many model elements that represent the different parts of a software system. The UML elements are used to create diagrams, which represent a certain part, or a point of view of the system. A full list of the diagrams is set out at the end of this article.

        • Norbert Preining: CafeOBJ 1.6.0 released

          We have released version 1.6.0 of CafeOBJ, an algebraic specification and verification language.

        • 5 ways to use Emacs as your RPG dashboard

          There are two ways to play a tabletop role-playing game (RPG): You can play an adventure written by the game’s publisher or an independent author, or you can play an adventure that is made up as you go. Regardless of which you choose, there’s probably prep work to do. One player (generically called the game master) must gather monster or enemy stats, loot tables, and references for rules, and the other players must build characters and apportion (pretend) equipment. Nothing’s going to eliminate prep work from a complex RPG, but if you’re an Emacs user, you might find that Emacs makes a great dashboard to keep everything all straight.

          Organize the rules

          Unfortunately, the digital editions of many RPGs are distributed as PDFs because that’s what the RPG publisher sent to the printer for the physical edition. PDFs are good at preserving layout, but they’re far from an ideal eBook format. If you play RPGs published under an open license, you can often obtain the rules in alternate formats (such as HTML), which gives you more control and flexibility. Even the world’s first and most famous RPG, Dungeons & Dragons, provides its rules as a free download in digital format (which has been translated into HTML and Markdown by many a website).

          I open the rules as Markdown in Emacs so that I have a searchable reference at the ready. While opening the rules as a PDF in a PDF reader lets you search for embedded text, using a text file instead provides several benefits. First of all, a text file is much smaller than a PDF, so it’s faster to load and to search. Second, text files are easily editable, so if you find a rule that sends you seeking clarification, you can add what you learn (or whatever you make up) directly into your master document. You can also add house rules and additional resources. My aim is to have a single file that contains all of the rules and resources I use in games I run, with everything a quick Ctrl+s (C-s in Emacs notation) away.

        • The 2020 Rust Event Lineup

          A new decade has started, and we are excited about the Rust conferences coming up. Each conference is an opportunity to learn about Rust, share your knowledge, and to have a good time with your fellow Rustaceans. Read on to learn more about the events we know about so far.

        • Python

          • We’ve Reached a Milestone: pandas 1.0 Is Here

            Today the pandas project announced the release of pandas 1.0.0.

            For more on what’s changed, read through the extensive release notes. We’re particularly excited about Numba-accelerated window operations and the new nullable boolean and string data types. This post will focus on how Anaconda helped pandas get to 1.0.

            Anaconda is proud to have been one of pandas’ longest-running Institutional Partners by employing pandas maintainers to spend some or all of their time working on pandas. Pandas is a large project that’s central to Python’s growth in popularity. Managing that project, with an emphasis on community involvement, is a mammoth task that would be difficult to achieve by volunteers alone. Having maintainers who can reliably dedicate blocks of time to maintenance and larger tasks ensured pandas health over the years.

            Beyond just paying people to work on pandas (and other open source projects), Anaconda connects its customers, who have demanding and novel use cases, with the pandas developers. One of the challenges of developing an open-source library is knowing who’s actually using it and how it’s being used. There are institutions who can’t or won’t announce that they’re using pandas on a public mailing list, but have interesting challenges. As a leader in this space Anaconda has existing relationships with many groups and is able to make connections where appropriate.

          • Feed Generator: Writing a Python script to generate my blog feed

            Late last year I changed my blog engine yet again. I’ve been happy with it so far, with the exception of XML feeds. The tooling I chose doesn’t have good support for feeds, certainly not with the filtering I need. Specifically, I need to have a python feed, a family feed, and so on. As much as I love my wife and daughter, non-technical posts about them probably don’t belong on places where this post will show up.

            After trying to work within the framework of the blog engine (Vuepress), I got tired of fighting abstraction and gave up. My blog wouldn’t have an XML feed.

  • Leftovers

    • Just Desserts: Resistance By Wind, Cake, Shepherd, Tunnel and Hymn To The 81%
    • Education

      • Most Schools Stifle Indigenous Youth. Standing Rock Offered a Different Vision.

        In early August 2016, tribal nations throughout North America passed resolutions in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their stance to protect the waters of the Mni Sose, Missouri River, against threats from the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline. This, after Standing Rock Sioux Tribal (SRST) Chairman David Archambault II put out an official call to tribal nations for support. The Standing Rock Sioux youth runners and founder of the Sacred Stone Camp, LaDonna Bravebull Allard, put out calls of their own via social media, also for allied support. Their messages to Indian Country and beyond went viral, reaching the masses worldwide. Within days, in early August, caravans of cars and delegations from throughout Turtle Island made their way to the Sacred Stone Camp and to the newly erected Red Warrior and Oceti Sakowin Camps just across the Cannonball River.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • A Public Option Sustains Health Care Inequities. Medicare for All Tackles Them.

        Health care has been at the forefront of discussion during the 2020 primary season. The debate has boiled down to whether Democratic candidates will embrace single-payer or support an expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a public option. While candidates trade jabs and throw around industry talking points, the debate and subsequent media attention has largely excluded how people with disabilities will be affected by the prospective nominees’ health care plans.

      • First coronavirus cases confirmed in UK
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Dremio CEO: Open Cloud Data Lake Levels on the Rise

              Cloud data warehouses are an improvement from the legacy on-premises versions, but they’re still just data warehouses, according to Tomer Shiran, co-founder and CEO of data lake engine company Dremio. Shiran says the cloud crusades will escalate this year, particularly in the realm of modern open cloud data lakes, as big data adoption continues to explode.

              The maturation of the technology stack, in addition to more machine learning frameworks entering the mainstream, has both accelerated cloud data lake adoption and sparked an evolution on two fronts: open cloud data lake storage and proprietary cloud data warehouses. “We believe the former will eclipse the latter,” Shiran said.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (graphicsmagick, opensmtpd, webkit2gtk, wget, and zlib), openSUSE (apt-cacher-ng, GraphicsMagick, java-1_8_0-openjdk, mailman, mumble, rubygem-excon, sarg, and shadowsocks-libev), Oracle (libarchive and openjpeg2), Red Hat (firefox, fribidi, openjpeg2, SDL, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (openjpeg2), SUSE (glibc, java-1_8_0-openjdk, and rmt-server), and Ubuntu (Apache Solr and webkit2gtk).

          • UN didn’t patch SharePoint, got mega-hacked, covered it up, kept most staff in the dark, finally forced to admit it

            As to the miscreants’ entry point, it was a known flaw in Microsoft SharePoint (CVE-2019-0604) for which a software patch had been available for months yet the UN had failed to apply it.

            The hole can be exploited by a remote attacker to bypass logins and issue system-level commands – in other words, a big problem from a security standpoint. The hackers broke into a vulnerable SharePoint deployment in Vienna and then, with admin access, moved within the organization’s networks to access the Geneva headquarters and then the OHCHR.

          • Amazon Tells Ukraine Publication To Alter Its Article After It Links The Company To Ring’s Problematic Ukraine Branch

            An extremely-problematic wing of an extremely-problematic company is back in the news. Ring’s Ukraine division made headlines last fall when the presence of a “Head of Facial Recognition Tech” in the Ukraine office appeared to contradict Ring’s claims it was not interested in adding facial recognition to its cameras.

          • Should Your Antivirus Software Be Spying On You?

            Back in August, Wladimir Palant, the creator behind Adblock Plus, wrote a blog post detailing how Avast Online Security and Avast Secure Browser were collecting and selling the browsing data of the Czech company’s 400 million users. In response, both Opera and Mozilla pulled Avast extensions from their respective add on markets, forcing Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek to go on a PR tour last month to downplay the issue.

          • SEO Spam Dominated Website Infections in 2019: Report

            Last year, SEO spam was the most frequently observed threat on compromised websites, according to a new report from GoDaddy-owned web security company Sucuri.

          • [Attackers] were paid ransom after attack on Canadian insurance firm, court documents reveal [iophk: Windows TCO]

            The unnamed firm had itself purchased coverage in case of a cyberattack. The company’s U.K.-based reinsurer paid $950,000 US to unlock the hijacked files and is now fighting to get the money back from criminals, according to court documents stemming from a hearing held in private.

            “A [cracker] managed to infiltrate and bypass the firewall of [the Canadian company] and installed malware called BitPaymer,” reads a Dec. 13 ruling from England’s High Court in London. The document was published Jan. 17 and the case was first reported by the New Money Review.

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

            • Qualys Reveals Critical OpenBSD Mail Server Security Flaw

              Jimmy Graham, senior director of product management for Qualys, said that OpenBSD flaw is severe enough to warrant an immediate patch that has been made available by the OpenBSD community. In addition, other distributions of Linux that might be using the OpenSMTPD mail server should apply the patch immediately, said Graham. It’s not known yet if cybercriminals or nation-states have already discovered this potential exploit to inject code into OpenBSD systems, but now that it’s been disclosed the skills required to exploit it are not especially high, added Graham.

            • Anatomy of OpenBSD’s OpenSMTPD hijack hole: How a malicious sender address can lead to remote pwnage

              The OpenBSD project’s OpenSMTPD can be potentially hijacked by a maliciously crafted incoming email.

              Infosec biz Qualys discovered and this week disclosed CVE-2020-7247, a root privilege-escalation and remote code execution flaw in OpenSMTPD. It can be exploited locally by a normal user to execute shell commands as root, if using the daemon’s default configuration, or locally and remotely if the daemon is using its “uncommented” default configuration, in which it listens on all interfaces and accepts external mail. Getting root access means it’s game over: the machine is now yours.

              This bug is bad news for anyone running a public-facing, external-mail-accepting OpenSMTPD deployment. Check for security updates to close the hole, apply this patch, or disable the daemon. The version shipping with OpenBSD 6.6, the latest available, and Debian testing, aka Bullseye, are vulnerable to attack; other releases may be as well. The bug dates back to May 2018.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Lawsuit Says Clearview’s Facial Recognition App Violates Illinois Privacy Laws

              Clearview has gathered a whole lot of (negative) attention ever since its exposure by Kashmir Hill for the New York Times. The facial recognition app developed by Hoan Ton-That (whose previous app was a novelty that allowed users to transpose President Trump’s distinctive hairdo on their own heads) relies on scraped photos to perform its questionable magic. Rather than limiting themselves to law enforcement databases, cops can upload a photo and search a face against pictures taken from dozens of websites.

            • [tor-announce] New stable releases: Tor and

              Source code for Tor is now available from the usual place at https://www.torproject.org/download/tor/ . Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser by mid-February.

              Source code for Tor is available from our distribution site, at https://dist.torproject.org/ .

            • Bernie Sanders Thinks Companies That Sell Your Browser History Are ‘Trampling Over the Rights of Consumers’

              Sanders joins fellow senators Mark Warner and Ron Wyden in calling for action over the secretive industry that makes millions of dollars tracking and selling the [Internet] behavior of ordinary [Internet] users. A joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag published Monday found that Avast antivirus, which has more than 435 million users around the world, is selling its users’ browsing habits to companies like Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, Pepsi, Yelp, Condé Nast, and Home Depot through a subsidiary called Jumpshot.

            • Mark Zuckerberg to Somehow Become Even More Unlikable in the 2020s, Mark Zuckerberg Says

              In a call with reporters, per USA Today, Zuckerberg alluded to the numerous crises, scandals, and political headaches confronting Facebook, like hate speech and disinformation, the use of Facebook to enable political lying, and the non-transparent data harvesting operation it has successfully extended over much of the web. And his message is that more of the same is coming.

            • Facebook pays $550M to settle facial recognition privacy lawsuit

              Facebook will create a cash fund of $550 million for its Illinois users who filed a lawsuit over its privacy practices, law firm Edelson PC said on Wednesday. The settlement came after Facebook was sued for collecting facial recognition data to use in tagging photos, which allegedly violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.

              Tagging someone in a photo on Facebook creates a link to his or her profile, with the feature finally made opt-in by Facebook last year. Facebook’s photo tag suggestions come from collecting facial recognition data from other photos.

            • Confidentiality

              • Amazon Employee Believes Ring Should Be ‘Shut Down’ for Security Issues

                The news just gets worse and worse for Amazon and the P.R. it’s been getting for it’s Ring Doorbell security camera. It’s gone from bad to worse to catastrophic with security issues.


                But it gets worse than that. One of the employees, software development engineer Max Eliaser, believes the Ring should be shut down. He said, “The deployment of connected home security cameras that allow footage to be queried centrally are simply not compatible with a free society. The privacy issues are not fixable with regulation, and there is no balance that can be struck. Ring should be shut down immediately and not brought back.”

                That’s just devastating to the company, and this statement comes amongst news from the Electronic Frontier Foundation that the accompanying app for the Ring gives personal information to third parties such as Facebook.

                The investigation by EFF showed that the app gives customer names, private IP addresses, and sensor data to marketing companies who use this information to track and spy on the Ring customers.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Many Danish companies doing nothing in climate battle

        The report found there were three key reasons preventing companies from buying into the idea of becoming more sustainable: a lack of customer demand, prioritising other areas, and difficulty earning money by being more environmentally conscious.

        The report showed that 62 percent of Danish companies indicated they are active in reducing their climate footprint.

      • Year without a winter? Forecast models suggest warmer than average February

        Could it be a year without winter in New England? Forecast models suggest “widespread warmth” in February, bringing us close to the official start of spring.

        The Arctic Oscillation is forecasted to go “extremely positive” for the first half of February, according to BAMWX. Forecasters added that data is “trending away from” a negative Eastern Pacific Oscillation.

      • Climate heat means new wine from familiar places

        Each great wine is a unique product of place and climate. Rising heat could force new wine into old, prized bottles from famous cellars.

      • Energy

        • The Hunt for Fugitive Emissions in the Permian’s Oilfields

          After spending a couple days with Wilson as she monitored for methane leaks at oil and gas industry sites in the Permian oilfields of West Texas, it is easy to understand why she believes that talk of meaningful regulation of the industry lacks meaning itself.  

        • Colorado Tries To Get Skiers Out Of Cars And Onto Buses To Tamp Down Traffic

          “Last year, when our family went skiing in Vail, it took six hours to get back on a Sunday night,” said Gov. Jared Polis.

          So the Colorado Department of Transportation has partnered with three ski resorts, including Loveland Ski Area, to run round-trip buses on weekends. Because buses are more efficient than cars at moving large numbers of people on a tight, winding two-lane highway, state officials hope they’ll take enough cars off the road to alleviate some congestion.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Is Iceland Losing its Taste for Whaling?
        • Cherokee Nation to Disperse Rare Heirloom Seeds Beginning on Feb. 3

          Back by popular demand, the Cherokee Nation will begin dispersing a limited supply of heirloom seeds February 3 to tribal citizens who are interested in growing traditional Cherokee crops.

          Last year, the Cherokee Nation gave away almost 10,000 packages of seeds to its tribal citizens. Cherokee Nation officials are committed to this program because it helps to keep the Cherokee culture and history alive.

        • The Ocean is Getting so Acidic That It’s Dissolving Crabs’ Shells

          The world’s oceans absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. That means that as levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased, so too have levels in the seawater, leading to an increase in the water’s acidity.

          Over time, a new study has found, the effect has become so pronounced that the Pacific Ocean’s increasingly acidic water is dissolving the shells of newly hatched Dungeness crabs.

        • The night sky is increasingly dystopian

          In the predawn hours of November 18, 2019, Northwestern University astronomer Cliff Johnson noticed a huge swarm of unfamiliar objects streaking across the sky.

          That night, Johnson was surveying the Magellanic Clouds — two very dim dwarf galaxies that orbit our own Milky Way galaxy — with the telescopes at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. These galaxies are teaching scientists how stars form, and what happens when two galaxies pass near one another. Johnson was watching them remotely, through a webcam at Fermilab outside of Chicago. “All of a sudden,” he says, “we just start seeing these streaks come across the webcam view. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

          The streaks weren’t from the heavens. They were from Earth.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why the Prospect of a “Bernie Blue Out” Terrifies the One-Percent

        I mentioned some time ago when it didn’t go without saying that Bernie Sanders stands a real chance to win the US Presidency. It goes without saying now. What’s also clear is that the One Percent establishment – both Democrat and Republican – now fear that Bernie Sanders may win any given election he enters, culminating in a potential 50 state Bernie Blue-Out.

      • Trump Lawyer Argues President Can Do Whatever He Wants to Get Re-Elected

        Lawmakers and legal analysts observing President Donald Trump’s ongoing Senate trial voiced alarm at a brazen and sweeping line of defense offered Wednesday by Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz: “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

      • Appease and Carrots
      • Experts Say Dems Should Let Hunter Biden Testify to Get Bolton on the Stand

        As the U.S. Senate continues to debate the possibility of witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump Thursday, two prominent experts are making the case that Democrats should allow testimony from former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden in exchange for compelling Trump’s former National Security Adviser John Bolton to speak under oath about what he knows.

      • What Changed at Independent Agencies in 2019

        As we have previously highlighted, independent federal agencies receive too little attention relative to their importance to our collective safety and prosperity. The Revolving Door Project has worked through multiple channels to shed light on these overlooked agencies and the threats that they face. We hope public education will generate pressure to safeguard the independence of these agencies and ensure that they are staffed with advocates for the public interest rather than corporate insiders.

      • Threatcast 2020: Our New Brainstorming Game To Explore Disinformation In The 2020 Election

        As you may recall, a few years back, I helped design and run a large group election simulation game called “Machine Learning President.” The game explored what odd or surprising coalitions might form around a 2020 election, as well as the impact of both money and technology on the races. It was a fun exercise, but a complicated one to run, and, to date, it has only been run twice.

      • Local Accountability Journalism Still Has a Huge Impact

        Judging from the conversation in Washington — “You’re a liar! No, you’re a liar” — it’s reasonable to conclude that many there no longer listen to the facts and it’s rare for journalists’ stories to make a difference.

        That may be true in our nation’s capital, but our experience with our Local Reporting Network and with ProPublica Illinois shows that state leaders across the country are still listening and things can change.

      • Corporate Media Are the Real ‘Sanders Attack Machine’

        As the Iowa caucuses approach, corporate media are beginning to panic.

      • The New York Times Endorsement Has Often Been a Boost for the Unendorsed

        The New York Times’ recent endorsement (1/19/20) of both Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination seems to have stirred up as much anger as when Time (12/25/06) selected “you” as its person of the year in 2006. CNN (1/20/20) mocked the Times’ “utterly confusing” decision as inconsequential. Others claimed it “reeked of ignorant pomposity” (the Federalist, 1/22/20) or that it “fails us all” (Nation, 1/21/20). Meanwhile, the Atlantic’s David Frum (Twitter, 1/20/20) said the board should “Quit mumbling and worrying about upsetting readers and forthrightly SAY, ‘Anybody but Bernie [Sanders].’”

      • This Is How Democracy Dies

        A new report from the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Future of Democracy, which one of us—Foa— co-authored, provides a broader look at this issue, and the conclusions are not hopeful, to say the least. The report analyzed data collected across 154 countries, 3,500 surveys covering more than 4 million respondents, and half a century of social-science research.

        Satisfaction with democracy, according to the report, has eroded in most parts of the world, with an especially notable drop over the past decade. Public confidence in democracy is at the lowest point on record in the United States, the major democracies of Western Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, and Latin America. In some countries, including the United States, this metric is now reaching an important threshold: The number of people who are dissatisfied with democracy is greater than the number of people who are satisfied with it.

      • Facebook Hires Fox News Producer Who Has Poisoned Boomer Brains for Years

        Facebook has hired Jennifer Williams, a longtime Fox News producer, to work on its editorial video strategy. At Fox News, Williams spent years working in key roles on Fox & Friends and The Daily Briefing, flagship programs of a network that has long operated as a right-wing propaganda machine.

        Williams will work on Facebook’s official curated feed of news sources alongside journalists from publications including CNN, the New York Times, ABC News, Huff Post, and the BBC.

      • Puerto Rico’s Internet Voting Plan Threatens Election Security: ACLU

        The American Civil Liberties Union and its Puerto Rico chapter urged the island’s governor, Wanda Vázquez, to veto a bill containing the Internet voting plan.

        “There is no secure way to hold elections online,” they wrote in a letter to the governor on Wednesday.

        “This measure is misguided, dangerous, and will needlessly expose Puerto Rico’s voting system to [cracking] and disruption.” The ACLU said “such disruption will only result in greater public mistrust of key democratic institutions.”

        The online voting plan is part of a bill to reform the U.S. territory’s electoral code. The bill is expected to be approved by the legislature by the end of this week.

      • University of Minnesota student jailed in China for tweeting memes of Chinese President Xi Jinping: How was he caught?

        In 2019, a twenty year old Chinese international student from the University of Minnesota was arrested, tried, and sentenced in China for tweets he made from an anonymous account while studying in America. The student, Luo Daiqing, was arrested when he returned home for summer break in 2019 and formally sentenced after a secret trial in November 2019. This news was first reported by Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian for Axios on January 22nd, 2020. This represents the first time that the Chinese government has prosecuted a Chinese citizen in this way for actions committed while abroad – and all signs show that this is just the beginning.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Bernie Blackout Is Real, and These Screenshots Prove It

        It’s 2020, but it could well be 2016 all over again — history is repeating itself as the cadre of neoliberal Democratic Party leaders who worked to derail Sen. Bernie Sanders’s previous presidential bid four years ago are once again projecting their confirmation biased, pro-corporate agendas into the primaries. Along with an establishment media that frames the issue of “electability” in favor of party centrists and moderates, these interests work against more popularly polling progressive candidates, like Sanders, first by ignoring them, then by attack.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Dissenter Weekly: ‘Luanda Leaks,’ Amazon Whistleblowers Defy Threats From Management—Plus, Assange Leaves Solitary

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights police whistleblowing in Houston, “Luanda Leaks,” and retaliation faced by Amazon workers defying threats from management for speaking out on how the corporation fuels climate change.

        Gosztola walks viewers through the struggle to form a police whistleblower committee in Houston. Activists with We The People Organize want the Houston City Council to appoint a body that can support anonymous complaints from officers.

      • Bridget McKenzie Is The Symptom, Not The Disease

        Nationals Deputy Leader Bridget McKenzie has got herself into hot water by systematically rorting sports grants. It’s part of a pattern of corruption that dogs the Morrison government, writes Ben Eltham. 

      • «A murderous system is being created before our very eyes»

        A made-up rape allegation and fabricated evidence in Sweden, pressure from the UK not to drop the case, a biased judge, detention in a maximum security prison, psychological torture – and soon extradition to the U.S., where he could face up to 175 years in prison for exposing war crimes. For the first time, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Facial Recognition Technology and AI Are Tainted With Racial Bias

        A new documentary looks at the dangers of artificial intelligence and its increasing omnipresence in daily life, as new research shows that it often reflects racist biases. Earlier this month, Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the latest major city to ban facial recognition technology, joining a growing number of cities, including San Francisco, to ban the artificial intelligence, citing flawed technology and racial and gender bias. A recent study also found that facial recognition identified African-American and Asian faces incorrectly 10 to 100 times more than white faces. The film Coded Bias,which just premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, begins with Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab, discovering that most facial recognition software does not recognize darker-skinned or female faces. She goes on to uncover that artificial intelligence is not in fact a neutral scientific tool; instead, it internalizes and echoes the inequalities of wider society. For more on the film, we speak with Buolamwini, who uses art to raise awareness on the implications of artificial intelligence, and Shalini Kantayya, director of Coded Bias.

      • Police who arrested Ivan Golunov indicted on falsification and drug possession, not just exceeding authority

        The five former police officers arrested in the investigation of Meduza correspondent Ivan Golunov’s unlawful detention have been indicted. In addition to the charges of exceeding authority that had already been announced against them, the former officers were charged with falsifying evidence and with drug possession, according to Interfax.

      • Former police officers who arrested ‘Meduza’ correspondent Golunov jailed to await trial

        Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ordered the five former police officers directly involved in the arrest of Meduza special correspondent Ivan Golunov to be jailed for two months as they await trial, according to Mediazona.

      • Episode 65: The Global Sex Trafficking Epidemic – Along The Line Podcast

        Along the Line, is a member of the Demcast network, brought to you by the Media Freedom Foundation. On today’s episode hosts Nicholas Baham III (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo,  and Nolan Higdon analyze the global sex trafficking epidemic, ATL’s  Creative Director is Dylan Lazaga.  Mickey Huff is ATL’s producer. ATL’s engineer is Janice Domingo. Adam Armstrong is ATL’s webmaster.

      • Naama Issachar freed from Russian prison

        Israeli citizen Naama Issachar, who was convicted on drug possession and contraband charges in Russia before receiving a presidential pardon January 29, has been freed, Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service told Interfax.

      • By the numbers: The real scope of domestic violence in Russia

        In Russia, public discussions about domestic violence have become far more frequent and high-profile in recent months. However, it’s difficult to understand the true scale of the problem because no detailed, comprehensive official statistics are available. How many women die at their husbands’ hands? How many survivors decide to contact the police? How often do children face violence at home? These questions and others are important, but answering them requires data. Meduza has selected 20 reliable figures to that end. These figures, which include several national studies and a few global ones, provide a glimpse into both relationship violence itself and what Russian residents think about it.

      • The Good Sister of Highway SS385

        The nun learned that up to 80 percent of the women who migrate from Nigeria to Italy end up in the clutches of criminals and working as prostitutes. She also learned that each day, some 10,000 Nigerian women, many of them underage, stand on the side of Italian roads waiting for johns. Their number has risen in recent years.

        The women are easily blackmailed because they often have to pay back the costs of their journeys to Europe. Increasing their vulnerability is the fact that they are often in the country illegally and some of them have forged passports. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the number of victims of human trafficking across the Mediterranean increased by 600 percent between 2014 and 2017.

      • Amnesty Int’l: Asia Seeing Growing Repression, Resistance

        Authoritarian governments in Asia are undermining human rights and demonizing their critics, but they face a rising tide of protest from young people who defy grave risks to protest such repression, Amnesty International said in its annual report on the region.

        The human rights group’s annual survey of the Asia-Pacific region, released Wednesday, said India and China, the two most populous nations, are trying to impose their “own bleak, domineering vision on the continent, perceiving minorities as a threat to ‘national security.’”

        The “main takeaway” from the report is that in Asia, “we saw an escalation of the repression in many countries. But we also saw an increase in the resistance and protest, often led by young people from Hong Kong to India, from Myanmar to Thailand,” Nicholas Bequelin, regional director for Amnesty International, told The Associated Press.

      • Amnesty Int’l: Asia seeing growing repression, resistance

        The effort to silence criticism and prevent the public from holding public officials and corporations accountable is a worrying trend, it said. But anti-government protests in Hong Kong and elsewhere showed an abiding will to resist repression, it said. Some highlights from the report.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T, Comcast Dramatically Cut Network Spending Despite Net Neutrality Repeal

        Comcast cut back on network investment in 2019 despite repeated claims that killing net neutrality (and neutering the FCC in general) would have the exact opposite impact. With the company’s fourth quarter earnings now in the books, it’s clear that the company’s cable and broadband division overall CAPEX dropped in 2019 by roughly 10.5%. Comcast reports cable division CAPEX in four categories, and investment dropped in three out of four of them:

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Federal Circuit affirms Obviousness based upon General Knowledge of PHOSITA

          Google & Microsoft teamed-up to challenge Phillips’ U.S. Patent 7,529,806 in an inter partes review (IPR). The Board complied and cancelled claims 1-11 — finding the claimed quasi-streaming method unpatentably obvious. On appeal here, the Federal Circuit has affirmed — adding important context to obviousness determinations based upon general knowledge.

          In KSR, the Supreme Court indicated that the obviousness analysis should consider the “background knowledge possessed by a person having ordinary skill in the art.” KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex, Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007). Under KSR, information deemed within PHOSITA’s general knowledge is more powerful than that found buried in a prior art reference because we assume that PHOSITA would consider using their general knowledge in combination with the prior art — even absent any express motivation to do so. Because of its potential power, the Federal Circuit has been somewhat concerned that the approach could serve as an end-run around traditional obviousness analysis. Here though, the court found that Google had presented enough evidence to assume that the pipelining (see next paragraph) was part of the general knowledge of PHOSITA.

          The invention: The claims call for downloading the “next file” in the background while playing the prior file. This setup is effectively a form of buffering (also known as pipelining or stream emulation). The approach uses a client-side “control information file” that facilitates sequential file retrieval. The claims have an additional feature of having a variety of media file formats, and the client device is able to “choose the format compatible with the client’s play-out capabilities.”

        • UK IPO Brexit Transition Guidance declares business as usual for IP, for now…

          The AmeriKat has been having a blissful few weeks away from the UK and the Brexit nightmare. Her head has instead been filled with palm trees, ocean waves and beautiful Pacific blue skies. That was until she looked at her email yesterday with news from the UK Intellectual Property Office alerting her to new guidance entitled “Intellectual Property and the Transition Period”.

          Tomorrow is Brexit Day. What does that mean for IP lawyers? It means that after tomorrow we will be in what is called the “the transition period”. The period starts as of 1 February 2020 and will end on 31 December 2020. The UK will remain in both the EU customs union and the single market, and, for IP, business will continue as normal, e.g., the UK will remain part of the EU trade mark, registered and unregistered Community design systems.

        • EPO: a machine cannot be an inventor

          As the EPO reported in a press release: ‘In both applications a machine called “DABUS”, which is described as “a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”, is named as the inventor. The applicant stated that he had acquired the right to the European patent from the inventor by being its successor in title, arguing that as the machine’s owner, he was assigned any intellectual property rights created by this machine.’

          In its decisions, the EPO stated: ‘The application designates a machine as the inventor and therefore does not meet the formal requirements under the EPC (Article 81, Rule 19(1) EPC).’ And: ‘Names given to things may not be equated with names of natural persons. Names given to natural persons, whether composed of a given name and a family name or mononymous, serve not only the function of identifying them but enable them to exercise their rights and form part of their personality. Things have no rights which a name would allow them to exercise.’

          The EPO also stated that the understanding of the term inventor as referring to a natural person appears to be an internationally applicable standard, and that various national courts have issued decisions to this effect.

        • Broad CRISPR loss shows how not to file a priority claim

          Life sciences in-house sources stress the importance of following the EPO’s strict priority claims guidelines after the Board of Appeal invalidated some of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents

        • Broad Institute Patents Remain Revoked in Europe

          Last January 17th, the Opposition Division (OD) of the European Patent Office revoked in its entirety European Patent No. EP 2771468, which named as Proprietors The Broad Institute, MIT, and Harvard College and had been opposed by Novozymes A/S, CRISPR Therapeutics GG, and several strawmen). Almost one year later to the day, the Technical Board of Appeal affirmed the revocation (after suggesting it would refer some of the Broad’s questions and challenges to the OD’s decision to the Enlarged Board of Appeal).


          In Europe, under Article 87 EPC and Paragraph IV of the Paris Convention, priority to an earlier-filed application can be validly claimed by the prior applicant or by her successor in interest. In either case, the applicant must be someone having the right to claim priority. In the U.S., these provisional applications were filed in the name of the inventor and the EPO requires that there be an assignment of the invention on or before a European or PCT application is filed. (Of course, a PCT application can always be filed naming the inventors as applicants.) In this case, proper application of the applicable rules required both the named applicants (The Broad Institute, MIT and Harvard College) and Rockefeller to have been named as applicants when the application was filed. Rockefeller was not named as an applicant. Accordingly, the OD determined that the named Proprietors could only validly claim priority to the third provisional application, and by the filing date of that application there had published prior art that invalidated the granted claims. In this regard, the formal opinion followed the earlier preliminary opinion in stating that “[i]n both the EPC and the Paris convention systems the decisive fact for a valid claim of priority is the status of applicant, rather than the substantial requirement . . . to the subject matter of the first application” (emphasis in opinion). The OD determined that “neither the requirement of the applicant’s identity nor the proof of a valid success in title [had] been fulfilled” for the claimed invention, and stressed that these were requirements to promote legal certainty that would protect third parties’ interests, and that these requirements were not subject to the national law of the priority document. Nor, according to the preliminary opinion could the granted European patent properly claim priority to U.S. 61/758,468 because that document failed to disclose the length of the guide sequence as claimed.

        • Meanwhile, Back at the Broad-CVC Interference . . .

          One of the briefs filed on January 9th in Interference No. 106,115 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) was the Broad’s Opposition to CVC’s Motion No. 1 to be accorded benefit to three priority applications for Count No. 1 in the interference as declared by the U.S. PTO.


          CVC’s Substantive Motion No. 1 argued that it was entitled to priority to its earliest provisional filings, because these applications set forth in detail the disclosure for at least one embodiment falling within the scope of Count 1. CVC further argued that these priority documents “disclosed, for the first time, that complexes of Cas9 and a double- or single-molecule DNA-targeting RNA . . . are useful for targeted DNA cleavage and described numerous applications of this gene-editing technology, including modifying target DNA in eukaryotic cells” and that “[t]he CVC inventors immediately understood that the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA-cleavage complex could be used in a variety of different cellular and noncellular settings.” The brief recited (prophetic) Example 1 in the P1 specification, asserting that the failure of the P1 specification to show actual reduction to practice is not required to satisfy the requirement for entitlement benefit. CVC also cautioned the Board against any attempt by the Broad to “erroneously to link the issues in this motion to the PTAB’s termination of Interference No. 106,048 due to no interference-in-fact,” stating that “the legal and factual issues raised here are fundamentally different from those decided in the prior ’048 proceeding” based on the PTAB’s own prior statements of the grounds for its no interference-in-fact determination.

        • Broad Files Opposition to CVC’s Motion No. 1 for Priority Benefit
        • Billion Dollar Jury Verdict for CalTech

          I posted WiLan’s $85 million verdict against Apple earlier this week out of the Southern District of California. A new verdict on Jan 29, 2020 looks to set-back Apply by another $837 million (in favor of the patent owner California Institute of Technology). Apple’s setback dwarf’s the parallel Broadcom verdict in the case of $270 million. The verdict form is not yet publicly available — the courtroom was sealed for much of the damages trial on the request of Broadcom and Apple. Craig Clough at Law360 reports that the verdict included $1.40 per device for Apple’s 600 million infringing devices and $0.26 per chip for Broadcom’s billion+ Wi-Fi chips.

        • CalTech wins $1.1 billion jury verdict in patent case against Apple, Broadcom

          The California Institute of Technology said on Wednesday that it won a $1.1 billion jury verdict in a patent case against Apple (AAPL.O) and Broadcom (AVGO.O).

          In a case filed in federal court in Los Angeles in 2016, the Pasadena, California-based research university alleged that Broadcom wi-fi chips used in hundreds of millions of Apple iPhones infringed patents relating to data transmission technology.

          “While we thank the members of the jury for their service, we disagree with the factual and legal bases for the verdict and intend to appeal,” Broadcom said in a statement.

          Apple said it plans to appeal the verdict, but declined further comment. The company had said in court filings that it believed all of the university’s claims against it resulted from its using Broadcom’s chips in its devices, calling itself “merely an indirect downstream party.”

        • Over WiFi-related patents, L.A. jury awards Caltech $838 million from Apple, $270 million from Broadcom

          WiFi is just a limited part of the technology in a smartphone, and there are numerous patents allegedly essential to that standard as well as non-essential patents with some connection to WiFi. It wouldn’t be possible to profitably make phones if one extrapolated a royalty of $1.40 per iPhone–which appears to have been the outcome–to the totality of patents potentially implemented in such a highly complex and multifunctional device.

          Based on the complaint as well as Apple and Broadcom’s answer to the complaint, I haven’t found an indication that the patents are subject to a FRAND licensing commitment. They might cover efficiency gains related to the actual implementation of the standard. I’ll update this post, or do a follow-up post, once I’ve found out.

          This is the biggest WiFi damages verdict to my knowledge. Apple and Broadcom have announced their intent to appeal, so we’ll see how much of that amount is ultimately awarded. Those verdicts tend to get slashed later on.

        • Software Patents

          • STPI’s review of Unified’s Portal & PATROLL

            The Science and Technology Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) of the National Experimental Research Institute in Taiwan has created a report detailing the use of Unified’s Portal as a free patent litigation search tool. The report provides a review of our Portal tools and capabilities, along with a quick “how-to” on searching for PTAB and litigation data. It also covers a description of our prior art crowdsourcing tool, PATROLL. The overall report concludes with a positive review of any user having the ability to “make good use of high-quality free tools to search the U.S. patent litigation database” with Unified’s Portal.

      • Trademarks

        • Same Old NFL: League Abuses Trademark to Shut Down New York Jets Parody Store

          The National Football League seems to be gunning for a spot in our Hall of Shame by setting a record for all-time career TDs—no, not touchdowns, but takedowns. We’ve written before about the NFL’s crusade against anyone who dares use the words “Super Bowl” to talk about, well, the Super Bowl.

          But the NFL’s trademark bullying doesn’t end there. One of the NFL’s latest victims is Zach Berger, a New Yorker who sells merchandise for frustrated New York Jets fans through a website called Same Old Jets Store. Most of Berger’s products feature a parody version of the Jets’ logo, modified to say “SAME OLD JETS”—a phrase that’s been used for decades to criticize the team’s performance and express fans’ sense of inevitable disappointment. His other products include “MAKE THE JETS GREAT AGAIN” hats and clothing that says “SELL THE TEAM” in a font similar to one used on Jets merchandise.

        • BREAKING: CJEU in Sky v SkyKick rules that a trade mark cannot be declared wholly or partially invalid on grounds of lack of clarity and precisions of its specifications

          Whether an EU or national trade mark may be declared wholly or partially invalid on the ground that some or all of the terms in the specification of goods and services are lacking in sufficient clarity and precision to enable the competent authorities and third parties to determine on the basis of those terms alone the extent of the protection conferred by the trade mark;
          In case that answer to the question above is in the affirmative, whether a term like ‘computer software’ is too general to be considered ‘sufficiently clear and precise’;
          Whether it is bad faith simply to apply to register a trade mark without any intention to use it in relation to the specified goods or services;
          If so, whether it is possible to conclude that the applicant made the application partly in good faith and partly in bad faith if and to the extent that the applicant had an intention to use the trade mark in relation to some of the specified goods or services, but no intention to use the trade mark in relation to other specified goods or services;
          Whether section 32(3) of the UK Trade Marks Act 1994 is compatible with the EU Trade Mark Directive and its predecessors.

        • Brands sound warning over ‘cluttered’ trademark register post-SkyKick

          In-house counsel in the consumer goods, IT and e-commerce industries say the SkyKick ruling will please brands but warn they are not completely out of the woods

      • Copyrights

        • Instagram Uses DMCA Complaint to Protect Users’ “Copyrighted Works”

          Facebook-owned Instagram has taken down an independently developed API claiming that it violates the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA. The complaint claims that the tool ‘Instagram-API’ allows unauthorized access to Instagram users’ posts, which the company says are copyrighted works to which it grants protected access.

        • President Trump Signs USMCA Trade Deal that ‘Exports’ US Copyright Policy

          President Trump has signed the new USMCA trade deal with Canada and Mexico into law. The agreement covers a wide range of trade topics including copyright issues. Despite objections from many copyright holders, the USMCA includes liability protections for Internet companies, including a DMCA-style safe harbor.

        • Trump Signs USMCA Into Law, Complete With Global DMCA Protections

          President Trump has signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), expanding U.S. copyright law into Mexico and Canada.

        • Speaking Freely: Christian Frank

          Christian Frank is a freelance IT consultant who was born and raised, and currently resides, in Cologne, Germany. Last year, he did some work protesting the Article 13 demonstrations in Europe, a topic that he remains passionate about, as you’ll see in this interview.

          Our conversation gives some perspective as to the differences between German and U.S. views on freedom of expression, particularly when it comes to hate speech. But there’s also a lot of similarities: Christian’s experiences growing up in Germany during the split between East and West, with parents who experienced World War II, have shaped his views about who should—and shouldn’t—regulate what we can and cannot say.

        • YouTube Takes Down Live Stream Over Copyright Claim…Before Stream Even Starts

          It seems that the concern over how YouTube is handling its platform when it comes to enforcing copyright claims is reaching something of a fever pitch. Hell, in just the last couple of weeks we’ve seen a YouTuber have his videos demonitized over copyright claims to the numbers “36″ and “50″, rampant abuse of ContentID even as the EU edges closer to making that platform a requirement through Article 17, and wider concerns about YouTube’s inability to enforce moderation at scale in a way that makes even a modicum of sense. The point is that it’s becoming all the more clear that YouTube’s efforts at content moderation and copyright enforcement on its site are becoming a nightmare.

The ‘a b c’ of Microsoft ‘Innovation’ Teaches Us About Its Strategy (or How Microsoft Will Be Attacking GNU/Linux)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Nice Linux you got there…”

Microsoft Loved Linux.

Summary: Microsoft’s decades-long modus operandi has been forgotten by far too many (possibly unknown to the younger generation); it’s worth reminding ourselves how it works

“The ‘a b c’ of Microsoft Innovation,” a reader told us in relation to this story about Paul Stovell, has changed little or not at all.

“Paul Stovell still doesn’t get it,” the reader asserted. “This is precisely how the Microsoft playbook gets executed. These people have no moral compass; if they see the source, they’ll just go ahead and steal it. Going way back, you’ll find similar examples.”

The reader outlines the ‘a b c’ as follows:

a. Partner with a company (“we’ll pay you for every version sold”).

“Sure, Microsoft has not formally partnered with every distribution, but it already has the Linux Foundation and the OSI in its back pocket. Canonical even hired staff to work for Microsoft.”b. Get a close look at their original work.

c. Then bring out a ‘free’ version with Windows (“oh, we were just working on something similar”).

Recall Alacritech’s story. The Alacritech case is described as follows: “Alacritech alleges it provided Microsoft details about its offload technology under a nondisclosure agreement in September 1998…”

Then there’s Avary v Microsoft: “Avary [...] claims he had a series of meetings with Microsoft in late 2002 and 2003 [...] Avary outlined his idea for a yoga game to them…”

Then, referencing Groklaw’s Microsoft Litigation page, the reader emphasised that “we haven’t even got past the ‘A’s :]” (Alacritech starts with an ‘A’, just like many others; more here from past years along with recent years)

WSL should strike a nerve too; similar strategy [1, 2, 3]. Sure, Microsoft has not formally partnered with every distribution, but it already has the Linux Foundation and the OSI in its back pocket. Canonical even hired staff to work for Microsoft. Novell did the same thing.

Collapse of the UPC is “Business as Usual” According to Bristows LLP

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What would be “unusual” for Team UPC then?

Business as Usual

Summary: Team UPC is so debased or so detached from reality that all it has to say about Brexit is that everything is normal, everything is just fine (deep state of denial)

THE “BREXIT DAY” or whatever one chooses to call it isn’t something to be celebrated, except perhaps by foes of the UK and gullible people who believe that the EU — of all things — was our main issue (not austerity or inequality or mass privitisation or zero-hour contracts or misbehaving princes etc.) and the only upside we see here in Techrights is the immediate collapse of UPC — something which Berlin too alluded to some months ago. That does not mean that the constitutional complaint in Germany is suddenly totally moot as it can help determine whether Team UPC can come up with something else in the future (it can take years) which resembles UPC but does not include the UK. UPC itself is now dead. Anything else that might resemble the UPC Agreement (UPCA) in the future would be totally different and potentially unattractive to everyone, especially now that opposition grows even outside Germany (the Poles, the Czechs, Spaniards and Hungarians are some of the examples). The UPC is in deep mud, maybe quicksand. One might say that Brexit is a nail in the coffin, depending on one’s choice of metaphor.

The European Patent Office (EPO) doing photo ops with Team UPC won’t help. António Campinos just makes himself look rather foolish any time he does those…

“One might say that Brexit is a nail in the coffin, depending on one’s choice of metaphor.”We’ve meanwhile noticed that Bristows (at least Annsley Merelle Ward) won’t even mention ‘unitary’ patents anymore. The Bristows blog had nothing to say either because a ‘unified’ patent court seems like a dead dream. Ward, a proponent of software patents in Europe (she used IP Kat to advocate these) even admits upfront that Brexit is depressing to her. We assume that’s mostly for professional reasons. Some of her colleagues retired early (possibly in connection with this; it’s difficult to prove the connection). The UPC — or anything like it — is now dead. They spent more than half a decade promoting it endlessly and now that it’s dead they don’t have the ‘heart’ to say so. They’re in denial. This is what happens when one’s career involves lying to the public and to clients (who are being robbed as well as deceived).

Where’s IAM in all this? It wasn’t until a year ago that IAM finally admitted the UPC was likely not happening (after IAM had been paid by Battistelli‘s PR firm to promote the UPC). Just promoted (Lexology apparently bumped this up in Google News yesterday) was this self-promotional nonsense from IAM that deflects to Spain and says this:

Spain currently shows no signs of becoming part of the proposed unitary patent system, is this likely to change?

While Spain shows no serious intention of joining the system, I do not see the country remaining indefinitely and voluntarily isolated from its European partners in this aspect.

The average Spanish company may not have the same innovative momentum compared with some foreign ones, but as the most dynamic among them shift their core activity from production to innovation they may become more interested in the unitary patent and the UPC and put pressure on the government and the political parties to effect change.

The level of interest in the system will also depend on how it works, if and when all of the obstacles are overcome and the unitary patent and the UPC enter into force.

Notice that laughable optimism; they — namely opportunistic law firms — want us to think that the UPC is inevitable and the only question is, will Spain participate in it? We saw similar talking points in the UK after the vote on EU membership in the middle of 2016. What will be the next bogus narrative trotted or put forth by Team UPC? 13+ years of imminence? Will an alien invasion and takeover of the planet bring about the UPC? They want to believe…

The EPO’s Epic Waste of Money (300 Million Euros) Ended up Not Only a Fire Hazard But Also a Suffocation Risk

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) “New Main”; beware the ‘loose bits’

Summary: The Hague branch of the EPO reports yet another potentially deadly Nouvel incident; the EPO’s workplace safety is appalling even if one survives the endemic depression and chronic Upper Limb Disorder (ULD)

PREMATURELY ‘inaugurated’ by Battistelli (to avoid António Campinos taking any credit) was a faulty building — or rather a construction site — which was rumoured to be the source of funding for Battistelli's 'suite' in Munich (quite a scandal in its own right).

“Mind the lift” is the title of a new internal publication, which follows many others about safety risks — e.g. fires [1, 2, 3, 4] — which became a hallmark of the Nouvel building (whose construction team too was reportedly harmed physically — by falls — and builder made huge losses).

Nouvel has repeatedly proven to be an overhyped piece of glass and a massive waste of EPO money. As a reader of ours put it, “300 Mio Euros of Applicants’ Money really well spent?

“Let’s hope that the colleagues trapped into the lift will catch up their production since the targets are here to be met!”

Remember the above video of the building? It’s only a matter of time until EPO workers — or stakeholders — die in it. The prior building too had issues; the windows were in fact bolted down after a colleague had jumped out the window. Picture that. It’s like a prison to them. Here’s the latest episode of this “Russian Roulette”:


Local section The Hague
Section locale La Haye

29 January 2020

New Main: Mind the Lift

Dear SUEPO Members, dear Colleagues,

Recently, we have been made aware of several incidents caused by a malfunctioning of the lifts of the New Main building in The Hague. This will be no surprise to most – if not all – of you, since the unsatisfactory functioning of the lifts has been a recurrent topic in staff’s conversations since the inauguration of the building.

However, one of the most recent incidents took a more serious twist, as it involved 14 people, who remained trapped in a lift for one hour before getting freed. Some of the affected colleagues reported symptoms of nausea due to a shortage of oxygen, and a tense atmosphere inside the lift shortly after it got stuck. It was also reported that the response team was not well prepared to deal with this type of emergencies.

The incidents seem to occur regularly since the move into New Main. This raises the question of whether they pose a serious threat to staff’s safety.

We therefore urge management to promptly react, e.g. with a sound maintenance or repair plan, in order to guarantee the safety of all the users of the lifts.

It should not be an issue to solve this problem quickly. The Office has all the necessary (financial) means it needs. In any event we will follow up the matter and keep you posted.

Your SUEPO Committee The Hague

EPO is a high-financed “Russian Roulette”; who will survive the journey?


IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 30, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:12 am by Needs Sunlight



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