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02.29.20

Alexandre Oliva in Defense of the FSF

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president

Previously:

Here’s another unplanned post before the planned closing one, prompted by attempts to portray my series of posts as attacks on the FSF.

My posts, and actions, are rather in defense of the FSF from:

  • pressure, external and internal, to swerve it off the course set and recently reaffirmed by its directing body;
  • actions that defy the given guidance; and
  • misinformation and maneuvers that have succeeded in containing the reaction for some time.

Had there been decisions to change course, properly communicated to staff, members and to the public at large, it might make sense to paint me as a disgruntled internal attacker. But no such things happened.

What happened were plans and actions kept from objecting parties and, once information got across, misinformation and intimidation to block reactions, to enable continued action in deviation from the guidance and thus from the authority delegated by the board.

I have no reason to doubt a large majority of staff believed to be following given guidance and acting in good faith, just kept in the dark and misinformed like members and most (all?) of the board.

But the communication walls and misinformation, the blatant bias in so-called mistakes, and most of all the stalling and refusal to take corrective actions made for a very clear pattern of subversion of authority to turn the RMS-founded FSF into an RMS-less, post-RMS FSF.

Yet some still insist it’s neither a coup nor an attack on the FSF.

So blong…


Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Links 29/2/2020: KaOS 2020.02, New Wine Release

Posted in News Roundup at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Android-x86 project lets you run Android 9 Pie on a desktop, laptop, or table

        The team at the Android-x86 project Abba released their latest version of an Android based desktop operating system, offering an open source platform that can run Android 9 Pie on a desktop, laptop, or tablet with an Intel or AMD processor. Today the team announced the public release of Android-x86 9.0, the first stable release for Android-x86 9.0 (pie-x86). The prebuilt images are now available to download from Foss Hub and OSDN, check out the links below.

        The latest release includes support for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors, hardware-accelerated graphics with support for OpenGL ES 3.x on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA GPUs, as well as experimental Vulkan graphics support, together with an optional Taskbar launcher, although you can also use the default Android-style launcher if you prefer. Other supported areas within the Android desktop operating system include WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, camera, audio, and multitouch input.

      • Android-x86 9.0 Offering Android Pie Experience on Computer Released
      • Android is NOT Linux

        Android is NOT Linux Let’s go over why Android is nothing like Linux. While it may use a Linux Kernel it is a completely different beast altogether.

      • The Chrome Cast 50: Linux on Chromebooks and the future of Chrome OS tablets

        This week on The Chrome Cast, we’re exploring a couple seemingly-unconnected ideas that actually tie into one another quite well. First up is the heightened interest in Linux apps on Chrome OS. While we’ve been tracking along with the development of Crostini since before it was actually a thing, it’s been a while since we’ve really dug into what Chromebooks are capable of with Linux. As part of that renewed effort, we’ve launched Command Line, where we are focusing more on what users can do and get done with Linux apps on their Chromebook.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-02-28 | Linux Headlines

        The Open Source Initiative kicks a co-founder from its mailing lists, OBS faces backlash for receiving support from Facebook Gaming, and Collabora launches its version of LibreOffice for mobile.

      • Destination Linux 162: Ikey Doherty Interview, Stuart Langridge Guest Host

        Topics covered in this episode:

        [...]
        Keeping Kids Safe Online

        [...]

        Interview:
        Ikey Doherty of Lispy Snake (formerly of Solus)

        Other Topics:
        GNOME 3.36 Preview
        ISP’s Claim Privacy Law Violates “Free Speech”

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 440.64 Driver Released with Initial Support for Linux Kernel 5.6

          Nvidia 440.64 comes about a month after the previous release, Nvidia 440.59, which added PRIME synchronization support for Linux kernel 5.4 LTS and later, as well as support for audio over DisplayPort Multi-Stream, and support for Nvidia High Definition Audio (HDA) controllers.

          This new version released today is only a small update that only introduces support for the Nvidia GeForce MX330 and Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPUs, as well as initial support for the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel series by fixing some compilation bugs that prevented the Nvidia kernel module from building correctly.

        • NVIDIA 440.64 Driver Released With MX330/MX350 Support, Linux 5.6 Compatibility
        • New NVIDIA Driver 440.64 Released With Linux Kernel 5.6 Support

          Weeks ago, Linus Torvalds closed the merge window for Kernel 5.6 with a bulk of changes such as GeForce RTX 2000 Turing support and fixed the Year 2038 problem.

          To enable high-quality display and faster performance, NVIDIA announced a new driver 440.64 with initial support for Linux Kernel 5.6 and other GPUs.

        • Initial Batch Of Radeon Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 5.7

          AMD Linux kernel graphics driver maintainer Alex Deucher has submitted the company’s first batch of graphics driver updates to DRM-Next that in turn is for inclusion with the upcoming Linux 5.7 cycle.

          One of the big ticket items this round is a rework of the virtual memory code in preparation for finally having the HMM support in order. That is the Linux kernel’s Heterogeneous Memory Management support and is important for compute in particular with Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) and other functionality. AMDGPU preparations around HMM have been ongoing for some time and with Linux 5.7 is nearing that milestone but as of this pull request hasn’t yet crossed it.

        • RadeonSI + Gallium3D Video Code Fix Up 4:2:2 Support, YUY2

          Stemming from incorrect rendering with VA-API and UYVY422 content with AMD Radeon graphics on Linux, a number of fixes were merged today for improving the Gallium3D video code.

          AMD’s Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer added YUY2 support to Gallium3D’s video acceleration state tracker along with 4:2:2 support. With these patches now merged for Mesa 20.1, the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver should be playing correctly for GPU video decoding of UYVY content with the VA-API state tracker. These improvements appear to have been tested so far with GStreamer.

        • Radeon ROCm 3.1 Released With RAS For Vega 7nm, SLURM Support

          A new version of the Radeon Open Compute “ROCm” stack is available today but it still doesn’t deliver on Navi support.

          Radeon Open Compute 3.1 is the new release that now versions its default installation directory structure, adds RAS support for 7nm Vega, and also introduces SLURM support.

          The Reliability, Accessibility, and Serviceability capabilities are for HBM ECC memory error handling, GFX/MMHUB ECC errors, and PCIe uncorrectable errors. The RAS behavior should these uncorrectable errors happen is to perform a GPU reset using BACO. This 7nm Vega work is presumably under the microscope still for the Vega-based “Arcturus” compute accelerator coming this year.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Begins Wiring Up Support For Radeon’s SQ Thread Trace Block

          On top of the Mesa “RADV” Vulkan driver’s recent support for using the Radeon GPU Profiler with this open-source driver, RADV is now adding support for the SQTT hardware block on Radeon GPUs for expanding the profiling metrics it is able to expose.

          The SQ Thread Trace block on modern Radeon GPUs collects thread trace data from timings to wave occupancy to other metrics on a per-draw/per-dispatch basis.

        • SHADERed 1.3 Released For This HLSL/GLSL Shader Editor – Adds Shader Debugger

          SHAREDed is an open-source, cross-platform solution for creating and testing HLSL and GLSL shaders. This “shader IDE” is out this week with SHADERed 1.3 that presents new capabilities.

          SHADERed 1.3 introduces shader debugging capabilities, a plug-in API, support for multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA), support for the #include keyword within shaders, and a wide variety of UI/UX improvements along with different fixes.

        • X.Org/FreeDesktop.org Is Looking For Sponsors Or May Have To Cut Continuous Integration Hosting

          The cost of cloud hosting — or in particular hosting their own GitLab instance and running continuous integration (CI) support for FreeDesktop.org projects — is putting financial strain on the X.Org Foundation.

          The X.Org Foundation estimates their annual hosting expenses this year to top out at 75k USD and at 90k USD for 2021. The gitlab.freedesktop.org hosting is done within the Google Cloud. This cost doesn’t include that of any continuous integration runners but just the expenditures from storing and serving build artifacts and images from the cloud to external runners.

        • LLVMpipe Tessellation Shader Support Is Now Working – Runs Unigine Heaven

          The LLVMpipe CPU-based software rasterizer OpenGL driver within Mesa’s Gallium3D now has working tessellation shader support (ARB_tessellation_shader) and can even run Unigine Heaven demo properly, just don’t expect good performance.

    • Applications

      • Introducing Jcat

        Jcat is a gzipped JSON file of detached signatures. Because it’s gzipped it’s easy to compress and decompress in basically any language, and because it’s JSON it’s dead simple to parse and generate in any framework. There is a little overhead of some metadata (e.g. signing ID, creation time, etc) and but it’s all the kind of thing you can just edit in vim if you needed to. There’s also support for storing binary stuff like DER certificates (base64 to the rescue…), but if possible I’d like it to be all readable in a text editor. The jcat command line tool can import existing detached signatures into the Jcat file, and can also verify the existing .jcat file against all the files in a directory or archive. You can include multiple signatures for the same file (using the AppStream ID as the key) and of course sign multiple files using all the cryptographic engines you need. There’s also rudimentary support for actually creating signatures in the jcat command line client too, although it’s WIP for the GNUTLS engine and completely missing for GPGME at the moment.

        This new thing also lets us fix another glaring issue in fwupd. Some companies can’t use PKCS-7, and some can’t use GPG for equally bad and nonsensical reasons – at the moment you need to specify the remote keyring when enabling a remote as we need to know if we need to download the metadata.xml.gz.asc or the .p7b version. Using a .jcat file allows to to not care, and just download one detached thing that can be used no matter how you’ve compiled your system. By adding SHA-256 as an additional not-to-be-used-for-trust engine, Jcat also lets you verify the download of your metadata and cabinet files even when you don’t have GPG or PKCS-7 available, which I know at least one company does on an IOT project. Jcat allows us to move the scary cryptographic verification code out of fwupd and makes the update-your-firmware codebase easier to maintain without worrying about potential landmines.

      • Jcat: A New Alternative To Microsoft Catalog Files

        Prolific open-source developer Richard Hughes of Red Hat who has been responsible for the creation of PackageKit, the ColorHug colorimeter hardware, GNOME Software, and for the past number of years focused on the Fwupd firmware updating utility and Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) has a new open-source project.

        Brought on by his LVFS development work, Hughes began developing Jcat as a new open-source project providing an alternative to Microsoft Catalog files. Due to Microsoft still not having documented the Catalog file format that hosts security catalog information and with that the inability to reliably generate Catalog files from Linux, Richard Hughes began developing Jcat. Jcat and Microsoft Catalog files are focused on holding arbitrary signatures for external files. This is of importance for LVFS for ensuring BIOS/firmware files are not tampered with and in fact originated from the LVFS platform.

      • Revive your RSS feed with Newsboat in the Linux terminal

        Psst. Word on the web is that RSS died in 2013. That’s when Google pulled the plug on Google Reader.

        Don’t believe everything that you hear. RSS is alive. It’s well. It’s still a great way to choose the information you want to read without algorithms making the decision for you. All you need is the right feed reader.

        Back in January, Opensource.com Correspondent Kevin Sonney introduced a nifty terminal RSS reader called Newsboat. In his article, Kevin scratched Newsboat’s surface. I figured it was time to take a deeper dive into what Newsboat can do.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Expect: tweaks in curl

        One of the persistent myths about HTTP is that it is “a simple protocol”.

        [...]

        Background

        HTTP/1.1 is designed for being sent over TCP (and possibly also TLS) in a serial manner. Setting up a new connection is costly, both in terms of CPU but especially in time – requiring a number of round-trips. (I’ll detail further down how HTTP/2 fixes all these issues in a much better way.)

        HTTP/1.1 provides a number of ways to allow it to perform all its duties without having to shut down the connection. One such an example is the ability to tell a client early on that it needs to provide authentication credentials before the clients sends of a large payload. In order to maintain the TCP connection, a client can’t stop sending a HTTP payload prematurely! When the request body has started to get transmitted, the only way to stop it before the end of data is to cut off the connection and create a new one – wasting time and CPU…

        “We want a 100 to continue”

        A client can include a header in its outgoing request to ask the server to first acknowledge that everything is fine and that it can continue to send the “payload” – or it can return status codes that informs the client that there are other things it needs to fulfill in order to have the request succeed. Most such cases typically that involves authentication.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        he Wine development release 5.3 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – More work towards Ucrtbase runtime support.
        – Full support for Unicode normalization.
        – Improvements in Shell Folders handling.
        – Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations:

        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.3.tar.xz

        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.3.tar.xz

        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:

        https://www.winehq.org/download

        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation

        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.

        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.

      • Wine 5.3 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04/19.10

        Wine 5.3 was released one days ago as the latest development release of the compatibility layer allows to run Windows apps on Linux and Mac OS. The official apt repository has made the packages for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10, and their derivatives.

      • Wine 5.3 Released With Various Improvements

        Wine 5.3 is out as the latest bi-weekly development snapshot on the road to Wine 6.0 next year.

        Notable this release is work coming together on Ucrtbase run-time support, which is the UCRT library used by Microsoft Visual C++ for compiler-independent components like the standard C library and various extensions. The Ucrtbase run-time support isn’t yet wired up in full but it’s getting there.

      • Compatibility layer Wine 5.3 is out with Unicode improvements and a number of bug fixes

        Hey, got any…grapes? Another development release for the compatibility layer Wine is out today, following their regular release cycle we have Wine 5.3.

      • Wine 5.3 Released!! Comes with Many Essential Improvements & Bug Fixes!

        Wine 5.3 Version Released: You can run the windows based application on Linux systems using the Wine application. Alexandre Julliard said that the latest version Wine 5.3 is released and available for download. The new wine has many essential improvements and bug fixes. He also mentioned that the Wine 6.0 will hit roads on upcoming year.

      • Wine-Staging 5.3 Fixes Online Play For Some Recent Games

        The lone albeit significant change for Wine-Staging 5.3 is implementing BCryptSecretAgreement and BCryptDeriveKey functionality that is used by various games as part of their online connectivity handling. This online play is known to fix the games For Honor, STEEP, Far Cry 5, and certainly others as well. These missing BCrypt functions have been known for affecting games since last summer and now the work is queued in Wine-Staging and hopefully will be working their way to upstream Wine in the near future. Upstream Wine 5.3 also has another networking fix for ironing out Far Cry 5′s online gaming support.

      • DXVK 1.5.5 Released With Many Game Fixes

        DXVK 1.5.5 is out this weekend as a big update to this Direct3D-over-Vulkan translation layer widely used by Linux gamers in running Windows games with decent speed.

        DXVK 1.5.5 is a big update contrary to its version number in bringing many game-specific improvements and other fixes. There is also expanded Direct3D support.

      • Direct3D to Vulkan translation layer ‘DXVK’ version 1.5.5 is out with lots of bug fixes

        Developer Philip Rebohle today announced the release of DXVK 1.5.5, bringing with it plenty of bug fixes for this impressive Direct3D to Vulkan translation layer.

        On the games side, quite a number had specific issues addressed with this release. You should find less issues running: Book of Demons, Close Combat, Cross Racing Championship, Dungeons and Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil, Elite Dangerous, Evil Genius, F1 2019, Hyperdimension Neptunia U Action Unleashed, Just Cause 1, Lumino City, Saint’s Row III / IV, Shade Wrath of Angels, Sins of a Solar Empire, Rocket League and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines which should see improved performance.

        Another tweak was done for Skyrim, this time fixing both crashes and incorrect rendering with the “d3d9.evictManagedOnUnlock” option, they say this is “useful for Skyrim with a large number of mods as an alternative to ENBoost”.

    • Games

      • AI War 2 gains a massive feature expansion with The Spire Rises

        War, war never changes. Except when it’s against a super smart AI that has you completely outgunned, and things just got a lot more interesting with AI War 2: The Spire Rises.

        Arcen Games released their massive grand-scale strategy game AI War 2 in October last year and it was a lot of fun. Since then, they’ve continued improving the base game with constant updates. It has a Very Positive user rating on Steam and it’s well deserved.

      • A Linux version of the RPG ‘Soul Saga’ is currently in progress as it enters Early Access

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign way back in 2013, the RPG from developer Disastercake ‘Soul Saga’ just recently entered Early Access.

        [...]

        Not seen or heard of it before? You will be forgiven considering the campaign was a number of years ago. The developer says it’s a “uniquely challenging RPG with airship exploration, guild management, free-roaming exploration, and a world that is literally destroyed as time goes on!” and you can see the brand new Early Access trailer below:

      • Get ready for more retro FPS goodness as ‘Core Decay’ is coming to Linux

        The first-person shooter genre is alive and well, especially for retro inspired titles and we have another on the way that looks quite awesome with Core Decay.

        In Core Decay you will explore derelict facilities, uncover a vast conspiracy, install cybernetic upgrades as you gain levels, and find a wealth of unique weapons and powerups in an old-school shooter inspired by the classics of the late 90s. Use an arsenal of 8 unique, upgradeable weapons as you battle both security robotics and the remnants of experiments gone horribly wrong.

      • Linux Game Publishing Brought Back Online For Archival Purposes

        In 2020 we certainly didn’t expect the Linux Gaming Publishing website to appear back online, years after their single server failed and ultimately faded away as one of the promising Linux game porters built up following the collapse of Loki Software.

      • CORE REFACTORING PROGRESS REPORT #1

        Expecting a Vulkan progress report? Not this month! As Godot 3.2 was released by the end of January, February was purely dedicated to do large core refactoring in preparation for Godot 4.0. This is required to unblock other contributors and their areas.

        [...]

        Godot offered PoolArray as a type of variable, which was useful for storing large arrays in a compact way. They were designed for 32 bits CPUs with small address space, to allow packing memory and avoiding memory fragmentation.

        Given pretty much all mainstream platforms are now 64 bits, this optimization is no longer required (64 bits operating systems have efficient memory allocation for large objects, putting them on opposite ends of the address space, which reduces memory fragmentation to the point of making it not a problem).

        Having tightly packed arrays available to the user still makes sense, because regular script array ([]) elements are 24 bytes (containing a Variant). Having packed versions (including bytes) is desired, so they are renamed to “PackedArrays”.

        This change also improves performance in all operations related to large memory allocations, as locking/unlocking is no longer required. As a side effect, put_pixel/get_pixel in images no longer requires locking either.

      • Godot Game Engine Working Towards Native Wayland Support, EGL

        On top of all the Godot happenings for its Vulkan rendering support, the code-base for Godot 4.0 is also being cleaned up and among the other improvements being worked on are Wayland and EGL support.

        Godot lead developer Juan Linietsky provided a first update on the state of Godot’s code refactoring. Besides a lot of low-level code improvements, looking ahead to March is working on an implementation for Wayland and Linux+EGL support. That EGL support in turn will also benefit Raspberry Pi handling as one of the big benefactors.

      • MoonQuest (Available now on PC, macOS, and Linux for $19.99 USD)
      • Very sweet 3rd person city-building adventure ‘Dwarrows’ is out now

        With colourful visuals, super happy music and a family-friendly atmosphere, Dwarrows has officially launched with Linux support today powered by Unreal Engine from Lithic Entertainment. Note: Key provided to us by the developer.

        Another title successfully launched after crowdfunding, with their Kickstarter being a success back in 2016 (see more projects here). Lithic managed to gather about fifteen thousand Canadian Dollars, and after the wait is it worth it? Well, it’s certainly nothing like I expected and that’s a really good thing—it’s quite wonderful. Not serious at all and full of charm.

      • DWARROWS RELEASES TODAY for Windows, Mac, and Linux
      • Valve reveals SteamVR 1.10 with a brand new Dashboard

        Valve continue rapidly iterating on SteamVR, as they attempt to push the limits of what VR can do both on the hardware and software side with SteamVR 1.10 out now. Not a Beta release either, a proper new version.

        Quite a big update too, giving a huge revamp to the Dashboard that Valve claim “gets you into your games quickly”. It has a new curved design that’s closer for increased clarity, and presents a recent games list for jumping in right away. Looks pretty nice too.

      • Diving into the world of Ring Fit Adventure

        Continuing with my Ring Fit Adventure adventure1, these are the first full two weeks of working out with Ring Fit Adventure.

        My plan is to work our every work day, but this weekend I could not stop myself from trying out a few more mini-games. On the other hand, I skipped two days, but felt bad and missed the routine.

        Anyway, onwards with the adventure²!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 6 awesome XFCE desktop themes to install

        XFCE is one of Linux’s “boring” desktops. It doesn’t have any fancy effects, it doesn’t use a lot of system resources, and the default themes are nothing to write home about. XFCE’s primary purpose is to get the job done and stay out of the way.

        While many love that XFCE has no frills, and stays out of the way, it’s hard not to want to make the desktop look a little more modern. For this reason, we’ve created a list of 6 awesome XFCE desktop themes to install!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Displaying Problems inline in KDevelop

          In 2018 the KTextEditor framework which powers the editor of KDevelop gained support for displaying inline notes enabling to show information inside the editor without interfering with the editing process. One of the prototypes shown during the development of the interface for displaying such notes was showing detetcted problems like compiler warnings and errors in the affected line. Being a KDevelop user for quite some time now I was excited about that feature when I read the blog post linked earlier. Unfortunately, it didn’t get implemented straight away and I forgot about it – until recently when the inline note cababilities were brought up on IRC. I though to myself: “How hard can it be?” And thanks to the incredible work done when implementing the InlineNote and related interfaces into KTextEditor and the extensible structure of KDevelop it wasn’t hard at all! The work needing to be done was basically plugging the two systems together and deciding how the notes should look like.

          The feature as implemented will show a short description of a detected problem next to the line that contains it in a color and with a fitting icon depending on the severity of the problem. I think this is a huge productivity booster because you can see what’s wrong at a glance without the need to do anything and can fix it right away. If you want a more detailed explanation of the problem, you can hover over the location of the problem marked by the curly underline as before or over the inline note. By default inline notes will be shown in lines that contain warnings and erorrs, but you can change it so they’re visible for hints too or only for errors. Of course, if you are not as excited as me you about such a feature, you can also disable them entirely.

        • 5 GNU/Linux Distros to Try KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Right Now

          Released on February 11th, 2020, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS brings lots of goodies for fans of the popular desktop environment including a new global edit mode for customizing the desktop, better integration of GTK apps, and improved notifications system that now shows when a connected Bluetooth device is low on battery power.

          Also new in KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS is support for Nvidia GPU stats in KSysGuard, a new Emoji selector, a new system tray widget for enabling the Night Color feature, as well as an optional User Feedback page in System Settings for those who want to help KDE improve future release of the Plasma desktop.

        • Porting to Qt 5.14 on Android

          During the last weeks we have been trying to migrate KDE’s Android applications to Qt 5.14. For a minor version Qt 5.14 comes with a surprising amount of rather invasive changes that require quite a few adjustments in our build infrastructure, frameworks and applications. Here’s the current state of the migration, hopefully providing some hints for others facing the same problem.

          Eskil and Bogdan have described what changed in Qt 5.14 already, and why. Working towards supporting multi-arch AAB packages and improving startup performance and resource consumption certainly makes sense.

          However, this is unfortunately sorely lacking more information on how to adapt applications to those changes. Given the invasiveness, I’d expect that hardly anything beyond a simple QMake based app will be able to upgrade without some porting work. Some of Qt’s own modules being broken in Qt 5.14.0 hints at this as well.

        • KF6 Progress Report: February Edition

          It’s been two months since my previous KF6 progress report. Clearly an update is long overdue, it’s time to make it happen!

          An actual Qt 6 is not published yet and we didn’t branch for KF6 yet either. Still as can be seen on the KF6 Workboard there are plenty of tasks in our backlog which can be acted upon now. No need to wait to participate, all the work done now will make the transition to KF6 easier later on anyway.

        • This month in KDE Web: January-February 2020

          This is the first post in a monthly series about improvements to the KDE websites. I plan to publish it every last Saturday of the month. Since a lot happened in January and I didn’t mention it anywhere, I will also mention those things in this post.

        • January and February in KDE PIM

          Following the post about what happened in KDE PIM in November and December by Volker, let’s look into what the KDE PIM community has been up to in the first two months of the new year. In total 23 contributors have made 740 changes.

        • Qt Wayland’s Maintainer Is Leaving The Company

          While the Qt5 tool-kit on Wayland is in fairly good shape in recent times, the Qt Wayland module that provides the Wayland platform abstraction and helpers for assembly Qt-based Wayland compositors could run the risk of regressing.

          The future of QtWayland was brought up on the Qt mailing list this week with QtWayland developer Johan Helsing leaving The Qt Company. The hope is there will be no reduced work on Qt Wayland support especially with several companies relying upon it as well as the community, but it was Johan that carried out much of the heavy lifting for this toolkit on Wayland.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME launches a new GTK site, the Linux Foundation on security vulnerabilities, OSI board elections, and more open source news

          Developers of apps will be delighted with the facelift to the GTK website. The new site integrates a complete set of documentation for anyone developing applications to run in a GNOME desktop environment. One of the major successes is its extensive documentation in multiple programming languages, letting developers have more choice than ever according to the site. The whole site is available on GitLab and you can see the recent commits that led to the new look.

        • GNOME 3.36 Lands Scaled/Transformed Hardware Cursors Support

          Landing just in time for GNOME 3.36 is a merge request that has been open for nearly one year on improving Mutter’s hardware cursor handling.

          Hitting Mutter today ahead of GNOME 3.36 is support for scaling and transforming cursor images with Cairo and using hardware cursors on rotated or fractionally scaled displays.

        • Felipe Borges: Ten Years Contributing to GNOME!

          I rarely celebrate recurring dates but this is a nice rounded number that serves as the perfect excuse for me to publish this letter of appreciation to our community.

          For me, it all started with a hardware vendor trying to cheap their desktop machine’s price by putting Linux on it. Initially, we didn’t have internet at home, so I spent a significant amount of time just exploring the OS and toggling every knob I could find in the UI. The first issues I encountered were missing translations. Googling for that lead me to discover the wonders of Free and Open Source Software. I could contribute that missing translation!

          Playing with computers wasn’t always my hobby. I had an offline childhood, despite being a 90’s kid. A career in anything computer-related was unthinkable given our economic reality at the time. My parents are low paid public servants, so I was inclined to find myself a job in the public sector too. I had strong feelings about teaching, just like my mom, but computers… well, they are addictive!

          When I was sixteen years old I made my first contributions to the Brazilian Portuguese translation team in GNOME. This was also when I started reading Planet GNOME. Your neckless floating heads were god-like figures to me. I couldn’t understand 90% of the topics discussed due to my limited English and technical skills at the time, but I basically just kept on reading everything. Really. IRC logs, mailing lists, blog aggregators, social media timelines… everything scrolled all the way to the bottom. This is indeed overwhelming, but it has helped me put everything together and ~kind of~ grasp what software development looked like.

    • Distributions

      • Zorin Grid will make managing large Linux rollouts simple

        Zorin OS is one of those Linux distributions that never ceases to amaze. It offers a user interface that can be configured to look and feel very much like other operating systems, and targets users new to Linux. Although it succeeds quite well with that target audience, the platform has a feature arriving sometime in Summer 2020 that is sure to turn admin heads.

        That feature is Zorin Grid.

        This new feature will enable businesses, schools, and other organizations to easily manage all of their computers from a single point of entry. With Zorin Grid you’ll be able to set up, manage, and secure an entire rollout of Zorin OS-powered computers.

      • Reviews

        • Netrunner Linux Still Goes Its Own Way at ‘Twenty’

          The Netrunner distro used to be a bleeding-edge choice among KDE options. With little that’s new and must-have, this release takes the edge off the bleeding.

          I wasn’t nudged away from my preferred competing KDE distro — the new Feren OS Plasma edition.

          While Netrunner 20.01 provides a fairly solid integration of classic KDE desktop performance, this release is a departure, in that it is not a step or two ahead of most other KDE-integrated Linux OSes. I

          Netrunner attracts two types of typical users. One fancies a more friendly desktop environment. The second wants the freedom to tweak more extensively than other desktop environments allow.

          Hardware requirements include a minimum CPU of 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 or greater and at least 1 GB of RAM with at least 10 GB hard drive space. Also, the computer should have Intel GMA 945 graphics card support with 128+ MB of video memory.

          Netrunner is a unique distro with its own spin on the K Plasma desktop environment. Seasoned Linux users who like to fiddle and tweak an OS into their own platform will love how this distro integrates the KDE Plasma desktop. Newcomers can be quite content using the out-of-the-box settings.

      • New Releases

        • KaOS 2020.02

          This means opting for a fully functional Plasma Desktop with a filemanager, texteditor and simple web-browser, but no further applications. So there won’t be a music player, image viewer, office suite and so on. You as a user can decide once the system is installed what to add when the minimal install was chosen.

          That brings us to the next new feature. To help with selecting what to add to your new install, the first run wizard Croeso has the option added to install packages from six commonly used groups. For example, one group will give a choice of four different web-browsers to add, so it is now very simple to add Chrome or Firefox. Since KaOS has never installed an email client by default, there naturally is now a group for that too.

          [...]

          KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4. It is a good four years ago that development for Qt 4 stopped, late 2015 all support including security fixes ended. Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit.

          Included is a KaOS specific tool to write ISO files to USB. Not only does IsoWriter write to USB it also gives the option to recover your USB stick after using it for an ISO, something that regular dd copy or the previously used Imagewriter were not able to do. New in this version is the ability to verify the integrity of the written USB flash drive in comparison to the downloaded ISO file. This can be done in Dolphin too, right-click the ISO file, select Actions then select Verify ISO Write

          Since LibreOffice 6.2, it is now possible to supply this as a pure Qt5/kf5 application. LibreOffice has thus replaced Calligra as the default Office Application for KaOS.

          KaOS’ creation Croeso (Welsh for welcome) for helping with configuring a new install is included. It will run on the newly installed system and offers to adjust some 15 commonly used settings, includes a custom Wallpaper selector, distribution info and the option to select packages to install from six different groups. It is written in QML and fits well with the Welcome application used in the Live system. The latter includes an Installation Guide.

        • KaOS 2020.02 Released: One Of The Best KDE Linux Distros For Desktop

          Being one of the best and non-derivative KDE focussed Linux distros, KaOS has launched the new version KaOS 2020.02 with major new features after a span of six years.

          KaOS is an open-source rolling distro built from scratch. It ships with Linux kernel and best-fit package manager, Pacman.

        • KaOS 2020.02 Released with KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS and Linux 5.5, New Features

          The development team behind KaOS, a KDE-focused, desktop-oriented independent GNU/Linux distribution, released today KaOS 2020.02 as February 2020’s live ISO snapshot with all the latest software updates and technologies, as well as new features.

          KaOS 2020.02 is here almost two months after January 2020’s snapshot and brings many of the recently released GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software, starting with the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment.

          In fact, KaOS 2020.02 includes all the latest KDE software, such as the Plasma 5.18.1 update, February 2020’s Applications update, and Frameworks 5.67.0, all compiled against the Qt 5.14.1 open-source and cross-platform application framework.

        • EndeavourOS: Refining the upcoming release

          Before our big net-installer release in December, we’ve informed you that our release cycle in 2020 would be bi-monthly instead of the previous monthly release.

          Development-wise, a lot has changed in the past two months. We are excited to announce that the help from our community members working actively to improve the ISO and our infrastructure has increased.

          There are some great projects going on that we’re developing in collaboration with the community such as GFX boot, to choose between an Nvidia, AMD or regular boot for the ISO, translations for our Welcome app and setting up our mirror. There’s also a “How to setup EndeavourOS on a home server”-manual in the making.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Screenshots Tour

          This is screenshots of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS which is due to be released on April 23, 2020.The Ubuntu 20.04 codename is “Focal Fossa”. This is LTS Release and Every LTS release is supported for 5 years on the desktop and server.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Moving to the new News [Ed: News outsourced to Microsoft then]

          In an effort to make contributing to openSUSE easier, openSUSE News has moved from being a WordPress application to a Jekyll static site developed directly on Github. Now you too can write an article, or a series of articles, by sending pull requests to the openSUSE/news-o-o repository.

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/09

          During this week we released 4 snapshots (0220, 0222, 0224 and 0226) – an average week from that perspective, yet there have been some interesting and well-awaited updates in these snapshots:

          zsh 5.8
          Mesa 19.3.4 & Mesa 20.0
          libcap 2.32
          GNOME 3.34.4
          KDE Plasma 5.18.1
          LLVM 6 has been removed from the repository
          ncurses 6.2
          Linux kernel 5.5.5
          Mozilla Firefox 73.0.1: it will now launch in Wayland mode inside a Wayland session
          MariaDB 10.4.12

        • Citrix Workspace on openSUSE Tumbleweed

          Some companies offer their employees to access their corporate computer work space remotely using a remote desktop connection. The company Citrix provides software for such a connection. To connect, the employees need the software Citrix Workspace on their terminal devices. The company provides on their download page also files for Linux including openSUSE. Unfortunately, their version 1912 from 12 December 2019 did not just work on my openSUSE Tumbleweed 64bit computer (and earlier versions I tried neither).

        • New IP addresses for build.opensuse.org

          People using this Open Build Service instance should normally not notice – but if you were crazy enough to add the old IP addresses to some firewall rules or configuration files, please make sure that you update your configuration accordingly.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat’s SPICE 0.14.3 Remote Display System Now Supports Microsoft Windows

          The Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE) is an important part of the Linux desktop virtualization stack and supported by the likes of KVM/QEMU, Xspice, and oVirt. With today’s SPICE 0.14.3 now comes support for supporting Microsoft Windows guests.

        • We’re headed for edge computing

          Every week seems to bring a new report on how edge computing is going to take over the world. But the question remains—will the edge computing phenomenon take over the world as predicted and, if so, how can businesses benefit from it?

          In this and future posts, we’ll demystify edge computing, examine its motivations, and explore best practices in creating scalable edge deployments and the role of open source at the edge. We’ll also look at 5G and its impact on the telco industry, remote office/branch office, IoT, and other use cases.

        • SAP and Red Hat collaborate to provide AI/ML on Data Hub
        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift Multi-Cloud Object Gateway Deep Dive with Eran Tamir (Red Hat)

          In this briefing, Red Hat’s Eran Tamir gives a deep dive on OpenShift Multi-Cloud Object Gateway which is a new data federation service introduced in OpenShift Container Storage 4.2. The technology is based on the NooBaa project, which was acquired by Red Hat in November 2018, and open sourced recently. The Multi-Cloud Object Gateway has an object interface with an S3 compatible API. The service is deployed automatically as part of OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 and provides the same functionality regardless of its hosting environment. Simplicity, Single experience anywhere

        • Open way and open source: enabling transparency and accelerating the enterprise

          What’s “obvious” to one person is often not obvious at all to another. If your university math professor writes a bunch of equations on the blackboard and says, “the proof is trivial,” you’d probably drop the class for fear of failing. When you work on a project, sharing as much as possible, with few assumptions about what is “obvious,” you help others succeed. And when one person succeeds, the team succeeds.

          Almost every project starts with a Proof-of-Concept (PoC), usually followed by a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Everything starts very simply, but projects grow as the team finds value in the product or service and a need to scale out. As a project grows, the team needs to assign responsibility for different groups of people. This is the right way of growing, and the separation of responsibilities is 100% necessary. However, as groups start working on discrete functions, they can lose sight of the project vision as a whole. This misalignment, as with the executives in the parable, goes undetected because the teams aren’t transparent, instead diligently pursuing the idea they believe represents everyone’s vision.

          The solution to this is that each individual needs to be as proactive as possible when it comes to sharing their knowledge and work with the rest of the team. This can be done by sharing documentation, periodic presentations, and mentorship. Agile methods can definitely help, but no Agile or other software development lifecycle or business process can fix the siloed problem if people do not want to share. By realizing that helping others can help everyone, a successful team is born. Enabling transparency in an open way is critical to every project.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-09

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Community News: Who spread false accusations of harassment and abuse?

          In Debian, these words are being used to describe any uncomfortable questions about money. For example, if a volunteer asks about the secret $300,000 donation from Google, they are accused of harassing the leader.

          [...]

          The rogue developers who misuse the words harassment and abuse in these situations are guilty of character assassination and they are also stealing from the experiences of people who really have been harassed and abused, including some Debian volunteers.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 “Debbie” Beta Version Released

          For the uninitiated, Linux Mint develops two Linux distros based on Ubuntu and Debian. Hence, Debian based LMDE 4 includes all new features of Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 19.3 such as boot-repair, language settings, new boot menus, and system reports.

        • Debian Edu on TV (NDR broadcast station, Germany)

          One of my Debian Edu customers has recently been on German television…

        • Freedb is closing its service

          Freedb, which is a free version of Cddb, and is used by the asunder cd-ripper (which I am the Debian maintainer of), is closing down it’s services March 31st.

        • Sparky news 2020/02

          The 2nd monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • migration to a new, bigger vps done; make sure to install a new public key of Sparky repository -> https://sparkylinux.org/migration-to-a-new-vps/
          • Sparky 5.10.1 of the stable line released
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.5.7 & 5.6-rc3
          • added to our repos: Android Messages Desktop, MystiQ Video Converter
          • Nemomen keep translating Sparky Wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • Sparky 2020.02 and 2020.02.1 of the rolling line released
          • Sparky Special Editions 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue released

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Lomiri: Ubuntu for smartphones gets a new desktop environment (Unity8 rebranded)

          When Canonical abandoned its Ubuntu for smartphones project, an independent group of developers called called UBPorts picked up the pieces of open source code and carried on.

          Over the last few years, the UBPorts version of Ubuntu Touch has started to diverge from the OS Canonical left behind by adding support for new devices and features.

        • Remember Unity8 from Ubuntu? UBports is Renaming it to Lomiri

          Ever since Ubuntu abandoned the Unity project, UBports continued the maintenance and development of Unity. On February 27th 2020, UBports announced that they are giving Unity8 a new branding in the form of Lomiri.UBports announced that the Unity8 desktop environment would be renamed as Lomiri. They gave three reasons for this fairly drastic announcement.

          First, they want to avoid confusion with the Unity game engine. Quite a few people confused the two. UBports noted that they are frequently receiving questions regarding “how to import 3D models and meshes into our shell”. When you search “Unity” in your favorite search

        • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Now Supports Linux Mint 19.3

          HPLIP 3.20.2 is out with support for new HP laser printers, including HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1201n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200nw, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202nw, HP Neverstop Laser 1000n, HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw, HP Laser NS MFP 1005n, and HP Laser NS 1020n.

          Additionally, the new version supports several HP ScanJet scanners, including the HP ScanJet Pro 2000 s2, HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s4, HP ScanJet Pro N4000 snw1, HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 5000 s5, and HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N7000 snw1.

          But, what’s probably more important for Linux users is that the HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.20.2 driver adds support for the Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” distribution. So if you’re running Linux Mint 19.3 and have a HP printer or scanner, you’ll have to install HPLIP 3.20.2 to make it work.

        • Mike Gabriel: Lomiri – Operating Environment for Everywhere

          I was honoured to witness the process of the long outstanding name change +/- in real time over the last couple of days / weeks. I was touched by the gentleness of the discussion and the weighing of pros and cons, this name and that name; also by the jokes being injected into the discussions.

          Dalton Durst, release manager on the UBports [2] team, explains in depth [1] about the reasoning and necessities behind the name change. Please (esp. if you feel sad or irritated by the name change), read the official announcement and detailled explanation. If you need time to adjust, Dalton’s explanations will help.

        • Xubuntu 20.04 community wallpaper contest

          We’re on our way to the 20.04 LTS release and it’s time for another community wallpaper contest!

        • Xubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open for Submissions

          The Xubuntu team announced today that it is organizing a wallpaper contest to celebrate the upcoming Xubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system release.

          With less than two months before the release of Xubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), the Xubuntu community interested in contributing beautiful artwork to the upcoming operating system release is invited to submit their artwork to the official wallpaper contest.

          The Xubuntu 20.04 LTS wallpaper content is aimed at the Xubuntu community, of course, but anyone who wishes to see its artwork displayed in front of hundreds of thousands of users who will install the Focal Fossa release after April 2020 are invited to contribute.

          However, there are a few rules to follow before diving in. First, you can only submit a total of five pieces of artwork, so make sure you submit only the best of the best and that their quality is top notch.

        • “Focal Fossa Wallpaper Shoots Laser From it’s Eyes” Said by Martin Wimpress

          Martin Wimpress, recently updated a status in his twitter account about Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. He says, “she’s called Felicity and shoots lasers from her eyes“. Here “she” referred to “Focal Fossa“. The latest Ubuntu 20.04 wallpaper has been revealed few hours before. The new wallpaper is awesome and got welcomed by the Ubuntu users all around the world.

        • Ubuntu Switches to a Snap’d Software Store for 20.04

          The upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 release will ship with a Snap version of Ubuntu Software app by default.

          But while Ubuntu’s default software management tool will become pre-seeded Snap app starting in 20.04 existing Snap builds of Calculator, Characters, and Logs will be reverted to their repo versions.

          As noted on Ubuntu Discourse, the ubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-minimal meta-packages now pull in the Ubuntu Software Snap app in place of the regular apt/repo version.

          To be clear: this is not a new app store. It is the same Ubuntu Software store as currently shipped, and is still based on GNOME Software. It just packaged as a Snap application.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Preview for Android – Interesting

            After I’ve published my recent series of Firefox articles, mostly the review of versions 71 & 72, and the important essay on why you should be using it as your primary browser, I got a bunch of emails from readers suggesting I take Firefox Preview for a spin. This seems to be the next-gen edition of Firefox for Android, designed to be faster, lighter and more appealing, and hopefully endear a bunch of hearts to Mozilla’s effort.

            While I’m not too keen on anything touch, I still want to be able to have a hassle-free, stupidity-free browsing experience anywhere, including the mobile, so I set about testing Firefox Preview. As the test device, I used my Motorola Moto G6 phone, which ought to be fairly representative of the kind of results we should be seeing. Let us begin, then.

          • William Lachance: This week in Glean (special guest post): mozregression telemetry (part 1)

            As I mentioned last time I talked about mozregression, I have been thinking about adding some telemetry to the system to better understand the usage of this tool, to justify some part of Mozilla spending some cycles maintaining and improving it (assuming my intuition that this tool is heavily used is confirmed).

            Coincidentally, the Telemetry client team has been working on a new library for measuring these types of things in a principled way called Glean, which even has python bindings! Using this has the potential in saving a lot of work: not only does Glean provide a framework for submitting data, our backend systems are automatically set up to process data submitted via into Glean into BigQuery tables, which can then easily be queried using tools like sql.telemetry.mozilla.org.

            I thought it might be useful to go through some of what I’ve been exploring, in case others at Mozilla are interested in instrumenting their pet internal tools or projects. If this effort is successful, I’ll distill these notes into a tutorial in the Glean documentation.

          • Desktop Firefox in Your Pocket with the Librem 5

            The first part tells Firefox to use the Wayland display stack instead of X11, which has fullscreen support with keyboard input. Finally –no-remote is a workaround to a Firefox bug. which has already been fixed and will find its way into Debian, as well as the PureOS and the Librem 5 soon.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Collabora brings smooth editing to Android and iOS

          Today we are releasing Collabora Office for Android and iOS which will allow you to edit documents directly on your phone or tablet, guaranteeing your privacy and putting you in full control of your data and documents. This release fully integrates the iOS and Android apps into our Collabora Office product family. They are now a supported part of our business suite and come with every Collabora Office Enterprise subscription. Take a look: it’s a great app: feature rich, providing smooth editing, a polished user experience and lots of design goodness.

        • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

          Planning for the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference has begun and members of the open-source communities can now register for the conference. The Call for Papers is open and people can submit their talks until July 21.

        • Navigator imprevements by Jim Raykowski

          Jim Raikowski, one from LibreOffice’s developers, has made many very nice Navigator improvements for Writer and Calc.

      • FSF

        • Environmental activist Shannon Dosemagen joins FSF conference keynote lineup

          Shannon Dosemagen is the second confirmed keynote speaker for the LibrePlanet conference. Dosemagen is the co-founder and current executive director of Public Lab, a nonprofit organization creating local environmental science solutions following the free software philosophy, and winner of the FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit. Shannon Dosemagen is an environmental health advocate and a community science champion, and is enthusiastic about free systems and technology that support the creation of a more just and equitable future. She is a previous Fellow at both the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and the Loyola University Environmental Communications Institute. During 2020, she will be a Fellow with the Shuttleworth Foundation, working on new concept.

          At LibrePlanet, Dosemagen will discuss her experience democratizing science to address environmental problem-solving. Her experiences and frustrations doing this work are very familiar to the free software community: “The work I do on the environment and health is being increasingly challenged by environmental deregulation and lack of cooperation. We’re also seeing heightened pressure to drastically alter how society functions in an effort to curb the climate crisis. This is a profound moment, and critical to address at an event aptly themed ‘Free the Future.’”

          “Shannon’s work is very important, and is a testament to the success of community collaboration,” says Zoë Kooyman, the FSF’s program manager. “Public Lab’s work towards free hardware solutions is a strong indicator of what the four freedoms can achieve, and how they can work towards a better future outside of software. Shannon is an experienced speaker and organizer, and we are proud to have her keynote at LibrePlanet.”

        • FSFE

          • Security scandal around WhatsApp shows the need for decentralised messengers and digital sovereignty

            The recent security scandal around WhatsApp and access to the content of private groups shows that there is an urgent need for action with regard to secure communication.
            Links to private chat groups in the proprietary WhatsApp messenger can be used to show the communication and private data of group members, even if you are not a member. The links could be found on various search engines. Even if they are removed from search results, links still work and give access to private group communication. Among these groups are also administrations like civil servants of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. This case shows again that digital sovereignty is crucial for states and administrations. The security breach was first reported by Deutsche Welle.

            In order to establish trustworthy and secure communication, governments need to strengthen interoperable Free Software solutions using Open Standards and enable decentralisation. This helps administrations as well as individuals to protect their privacy and empowers them to have control of the technology they use. The software is already in place and was used by most of the internet users before Google and Facebook joined the market: XMPP! This open protocol, also known as Jabber, has been developed by the Free Software community since 1999. Thanks to Open Standards it is possible to communicate with people who use a completely different client software and XMPP server. You are even able to communicate with other services like ICQ or AIM – some might remember. XMPP has also been used by tech enterprises like Facebook and Google for their chat systems, but both eventually switched to isolated proprietary solutions, so XMPP has been forgotten by many users.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU mailing lists censor United Nations report on Cybertorture and RMS

            A volunteer posted the following to gnu-misc-discuss. The message never appeared.

            Nils Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This is his web site at the United Nations.

            Melzer described the equivalence of cybertorture and psychological torture, such as the shaming of RMS, to the effects of physical torture. This is a serious issue for all organizations that shame their volunteers, such as the FSF and Debian.

          • GIMP 2.10.18 Released- Free and Open Source Image Editor

            GIMP 2.10.18 Released: Wilber from GIMP recently announced the release of GIMP 2.10.18 and added that GIMP 2.10.16 release is skipped because of a critical bug. The latest version of GIMP comes with a lot of highlighted featured and is the most advanced version ever. GIMP is a free, open-source, cross-platform image editor and the latest version of GIMP can be downloaded for GNU/Linux, Windows, macOS, and more.

          • GNU Health HMIS patchset 3.6.3 released with coronavirus COVID-19 coding information

            GNU Health 3.6.3 patchset has been released !

      • Programming/Development

        • Semantic versioning and containers

          How does that translates to containers?

          Imagine the following scenario: a developer deploys a containerized application that requires a Redi database. The developer deploys the latest version of the redis container (eg: redis:4.0.5), ensures his application works fine and then moves to do other things.

          After some weeks a security issue/bug is found inside of Redis and a new patched release takes place. Suddenly the deployed container is outdated. How can the developer be aware a new v4 release of Redis is available? Wouldn’t be even better to have some automated tool taking care of this upgrade?

          After some more weeks a new minor release of Redis is released (eg: 4.1.0). Is it safe to automatically update to a new minor release of Redis, is the developer application going to work as expected?

          Some container images have special tags like v4 or v4.1 and the developer could just leverage them to kinda pinpoint the redis container to a more delimited set of versions. However using these tags reduces reproducibility and debuggability.

        • Keeping your fast code fast

          One of the projects I completed before the end of the cycle is a memory allocation tracker for Sysprof. It’s basically a modern port of the Memprof code from 20 years ago, but tied into Sysprof and using fancier techniques to move data quickly between processes. It uses an LD_PRELOAD to override many of the weak memory symbols in glibc such as malloc() and free(). When those functions are reached, a stack trace is captured directly into a mmap()‘d ring buffer shared by Sysprof. We create a new one of these per-thread so that no locking is necessary between threads. Sysprof will mux all the data together for us.

          Below is a quick example running gtk4-widget-factory. We show similar callgraphs as we do when doing CPU profiling, but ordered by the amount of memory allocated. This simple tool and less than 20 minutes of effort found many allocations we could completely avoid across both GTK and Clutter.

        • Convert Float to Time in JavaScript (Hours and Minutes)

          How to Convert a given float number to hours and minutes. What is the JavaScript function we should use to convert float to time in JavaScript? Here, we share the easiest solution to convert a given number to time (hours and minutes).
          In this tutorial, you will see how to convert float numbers to time (hours and minutes) in JavaScript. There are a number of ways to convert float to time. However, we use the Math.floor() and Math.round() function from the Javascript Math object.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxvii) stackoverflow python report
          • Double-checked locking with Django ORM

            This post is about how we can implement this pattern in Django, using the ORM and database level locking features. The pattern applies if you are not using Django, or indeed any ORM, but I have only checked it for Django, and in fact only really verified it works as expected using PostgreSQL.

          • Implicit multiplication in Python – part 1

            What if we could do something half-way between what Python currently allow and what mathematicians would write by transforming something that is currently a SyntaxError into valid Python code?

          • Zope May Sprint

            Earl Zope has settled down for a good while in Python 3 wonderland. He made friends with the inhabitants and other immigrants. He enjoys his new live.

            The sunset of his original homelands took place as predicted by the beginning of January 2020. As Earl Zope was well prepared this was no longer a frightening date for him.

            But even living in Python 3 wonderland is not only joy and relaxing. The Python 3 wonderland changes in a more rapid speed than the Python 2 land ever had before: Each year a new policy has to be fulfilled (aka new Python version release). Additionally it is time to drop the last connections to the old Python 2 land to ease the transformation in Python 3 wonderland to make developers and consumers happy.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • PCI Express 6.0 Reaches Version 0.5 Ahead Of Finalization Next Year

        Following the PCI Express 6.0 announcement from last summer that called for 64 GT/s transfer rates, version 0.5 of the PCIe 6.0 specification is now out for evaluation.

        PCI Express 6.0 v0.5 is a “first draft” specification so that PCI-SIG members can review it and provide any feedback before delivering a complete draft in the months ahead and the v1.0 final draft in 2021.

  • Leftovers

    • Spies, Lies and Videotapes

      A while back, I noticed a brief reference in the N.Y. Times to a French spy thriller titled “The Bureau” that sounded intriguing. The Times reviewer described it as “a workplace drama with an arthouse aesthetic, set at an unusually exciting office: the D.G.S.E. (France’s equivalent of the C.I.A.).” It added that you might want to pass on it if you’re looking for James Bond-style chase scenes or can’t stand being confused.

    • The Beef with Kobe

      Great teams have great benches. So strong was the musical squad assembled for Kobe Bryant’s send-off at Los Angeles’s Staples Center on Monday, that even Hall of Famer Jennifer Lopez didn’t rate any playing time. All the megastar got was a couple of call-and-response notes in the massed sing-along to Beyoncé’s XO, claimed by that singer to be Bryant’s all-time favorite song. Beyoncé called the tune, not JayLo.

    • From turtles in the sky to mechanical buildings, a digital artist imagines cyberpunk Petersburg on Instagram

      Vadim Solovyov is a digital artist from St. Petersburg, and his aesthetic obsession is pseudorealism. On Instagram, Solovyov creates CGI images and videos depicting a cyberpunk version of his hometown. Each piece combines the familiar with the alien: pre-fabricated apartment buildings walk around the city on mechanical legs, futuristic flying trains extend over skyscrapers, and robot snowplows grapple with malfunctioning parts.

    • Help Us Save the Internet: EFF Seeks a Tech Projects Director

      There’s a very rare opportunity available right now for an engineering director to join EFF’s leadership team, and we’re asking our community to help us find the perfect candidate.

      We’re doing an open hire for our Technology Projects Director role. The role will lead a 16-person team that uses its creativity and skill to create a more secure, private, and censorship-resistant Internet. In addition, this director position joins our senior leadership team, helping EFF figure out what positions to take, what projects to invest resources in, and the strategic direction of the organization. That’s because EFF believes that technical expertise should be embedded at every level of our organizational decision-making.

    • Science

      • Science and the Turf Wars of Consciousness

        Who’s to say what consciousness is? Nobody knows. Only a few good wo/men seem to give a shit at any given moment. The poet T.S. Eliot famously noted that humankind cannot stand too much reality and that we are distracted from distraction by distraction. As Jack Nicholson once growled at us, like a Gitmo poster boy, tortured souls sandwiched between our knocking knees, “You can’t handle the truth.” And now with the glaring prospect of four more years of Trump ahead of us — violence guaranteed — understanding consciousness seems to be the last thing on most people’s minds. We long ago lost our sense of conscience; consciousness could not be far behind. And yet.

    • Education

      • Teachers Demonstrate How to Save America’s Public Services

        In the early morning of February 26, a chill hung in the air as a line of teachers and school support staffers clad in bright red union hats, jackets or some combination thereof stood on a busy street corner outside of Highland Park Middle School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Forever-Chemicals Tap Water

        Throughout the history of Western Civilization there are times, but only on rare occasions, when people en masse feel compelled to run into the streets, similar to the storming of the Bastille 1789, screaming at the top of their lungs: “Stop the Madness!”

      • Water Conflicts Will Intensify. Can We Predict the Worst Problems Before Conditions Boil Over?
      • Whistleblower Accuses Trump of ‘Corrupt’ Effort to ‘Cover Up’ Possible Exposure of Federal Workers to Coronavirus

        “The utter ineptitude of this administration is infuriating. They are going to get people killed.”

      • Corona and Flu in Beijing: a Report From the Chinese Capital
      • We Want to Talk to People Working or Living on the Front Lines of Coronavirus. Help Us Report.

        ProPublica has put together a reporting team to investigate the government’s response to the new coronavirus, which is officially known as COVID-19.

        Are you a public health worker or front line medical provider? Do you work for or with a government agency that’s involved in the effort to protect the public? Have you or your family personally been affected? Show us what we should be covering, or serve as an expert to make sure we’re on track.

      • Mick Mulvaney Suggests Media Attention on Coronavirus Merely a Ploy to Tank Trump

        “As Mulvaney spews this disinformation for political reasons, he highlights the grave danger of politicizing the response to an emergency for the benefit of a corrupt president.”

      • Warren Accuses Trump of ‘Bungling Every Aspect of This Crisis’ as WHO Elevates Coronavirus Threat to Highest Level

        “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready,” said a top World Health Organization official. “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready.”

      • A Message for Trump: Coronavirus Threat Is About Public Health—Not the Stock Market or Your Reelection

        The gangerous cynicism of the Trump administration’s response to the growing crisis.

      • “I Don’t Think That You are Telling Us the Truth”: House Democrats Grill Pompeo on Iran and Coronavirus

        “You can’t hide behind classification on this one because you can’t classify something that doesn’t exist.”

      • Pence Hates Science. Tasking Him With Coronavirus Response Could Cost Lives.

        The world has been watching the encroachment of the coronavirus closely ever since it emerged from Wuhan, China. Tens of thousands have been infected in 56 countries and counting, some of them lethally, and the virus appears to have a talent for evading even the most authoritarian quarantines. Supply lines out of China began to tremble, and then to quake, and then to break, until the global economy itself has begun to shake.

      • Cult-Like Ignorance is Death: Trump and the Coronavirus

        Trump’s lies, his disparagement of science and scientists, his claim that non-political civil servants are part of the deep state, his lack of credibility, his penchant for political opportunism over the needs of the nation, his pathological embrace of hyperbole, his delight in creating confusion, and his mistaking loyalty for public service puts the nation in grave danger in light of the growing pandemic. He has gutted the health services, slashed much needed revenue for public goods through tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, ousted, Tim Ziemer, one of the most trusted leaders in public health, and appointed a religious fanatic Mike Pence, to head the attack on the corona virus crisis. This is a politician who defunded Planned Parenthood, and once claimed that smoking does not kill people. Pence is not merely incompetent, given the policies he sanctioned during the opioid and HIV crisis while he was governor, he is also a walking testimony to the rise of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism and its move from the margins to the centers of power.

      • Virus Outbreak Has Earmarks of a Global Economic Crisis

        The coronavirus outbreak began to look more like a worldwide economic crisis Friday as anxiety about the disease emptied shops and amusement parks, canceled events, cut trade and travel and dragged already slumping financial markets even lower.

      • UC-Irvine update: Quackademic medicine continues its takeover

        I haven’t written about this particular atrocity against science and reason for over two years. Indeed, I had (mostly) forgotten about it. However, there was an update just this week that showed up in my Google Alerts for all things quackery. Also, Jan Bellamy took note as well, unfortunately before me. (I kid, I kid.) I’m referring to the University of California, Irvine (UC-Irvine). Regular readers might recall that, back in 2017, it was announced that Susan and Henry Samueli, a billionaire couple, were donating $200 million to UC-Irvine for the express purpose of…well, let me quote again UC-Irvine’s press release about the gift given that it’s been well over two years, the better to refresh your memory:

      • Michigan adopts new PFAS standards over industry, farmer objections

        It’s the first time in the state’s history it has set its own enforceable maximum contaminant levels that regulate chemicals in public water. Usually, that process is handled at the federal level. But the Environmental Protection Agency has been slow to move on setting a nationwide standard, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer directed the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy last year to make state-level rules on an expedited timeline.

      • Billionaire Family Behind Opioid Crisis Turned to Bloomberg for PR Help
      • When the Billionaire Family Behind the Opioid Crisis Needed PR Help, They Turned to Mike Bloomberg
      • Mike Bloomberg’s Ties to Sackler Family Exposed

        Long celebrated as civic-minded philanthropists, the Sacklers were becoming pariahs. The billionaire family whose company created and pushed the addictive painkiller OxyContin had managed to escape connection with the opioid crisis for years, but now two magazine pieces were portraying them as pain profiteers. Museums that had sought their donations were being asked about giving the money back. Mortimer D.A. Sackler — son of a co-founder of the company, Purdue Pharma, and a member of its board — was openly furious.

        And so he turned to a person he knew and admired in the media industry. A person known as a devoted public health crusader, widely recognized for banning smoking in public places and pushing soda taxes around the country: Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg L.P.

        “I am meeting with Michael Bloomberg tomorrow morning at 10 am to seek his help and guidance on the current issues we are facing,” Sackler wrote to Purdue’s top executives in December 2017. “I plan to discuss the following with him: 1. Current narrative vs the truth. 2. What advice does he have on how best to deal with it? 3. Does he have a journalist that he would recommend who could get the FULL story out there”?

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Won’t Allow Movie Villains to Use iPhones
        • TurboTax’s Bid to Buy Free Tax Prep Competitor Might Violate Antitrust Law, Experts Say

          TurboTax, the long-standing dominant player in the tax preparation software market, has recently faced a nascent threat to its lucrative business: A company that specializes in pitching its users financial products has entered the fray with a completely free tax prep service.

          This week, TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit, unveiled a solution to this problem: spending $7.1 billion to buy the rapidly growing upstart, Credit Karma, before it could become a major competitor.

        • Nokia to Weigh Strategic Options as Profit Pressure Mounts [Ed: Microsoft killed Nokia]

          The December announcement that Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa would step down stirred speculation about deeper changes at the company. The firm is in a fierce rivalry with Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies Co., as the three dominant players seek to benefit from phone carriers’ investments in next-generation mobile networks.

        • ‘Developers have lost hope Microsoft will do the right thing’… Redmond urged to make WinUI cross-platform

          Microsoft’s roadmap for developing Windows applications is opposed by some programmers who want to see a cross-platform solution, rather than just being Windows-only.

          Spanish developer José Nieto this week raised an issue on GitHub, stating that WinUI, which Microsoft is positioning as “the native UI platform for Windows 10,” should target not only Windows, but also Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and WebAssembly – this last so it would also run in a web browser.

          This would go against the normal pattern, where a native UI platform is able to take advantage of all the features of the operating system, fits in seamlessly with its look and feel, and is optimized for performance. Supporting cross-platform is a burden that requires compromises.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Debian (libimobiledevice, libusbmuxd, and pure-ftpd), Fedora (caddy, firejail, golang-github-gorilla-websocket, golang-vitess, hugo, mingw-libpng, php, and proftpd), openSUSE (chromium, enigmail, ipmitool, libsolv, libzypp, zypper, weechat, and yast2-rmt), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), and SUSE (java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, mariadb, mariadb-100, openssl, php5, python, rsyslog, and texlive-filesystem).

          • Keeper – A Robust, Security-Centric Password Manager [Ed: This 'article' from FOSSmint (not FOSS) is referral SPAM. Proprietary software promoted for a fee. This -- yes, this -- is what kills journalism.]

            We’ve covered several password managers over the years with popular names like RememBear, Buttercup, Pass, and Enpass, and I am happy about the positive feedback from readers over the years.

            Today, I would like to introduce you to a strong password generator and security-centric manager application and it goes by the convenient name of Keeper.

            Keeper is a top-rated freemium password manager designed to provide personal users, families, students, and businesses with a reliable application for generating strong passwords as well as storing them while ensuring protection from cyberthreats and password-related data breaches.

          • WireGuard – A Fast, Modern and Secure VPN Tunnel for Linux

            WireGuard is a modern, secure, cross-platform and general-purpose VPN implementation that uses state-of-the-art cryptography. It aims to be speedy, simpler, leaner and more functional than IPsec and it intends to be more performant than OpenVPN.

            It is designed for use in various circumstances and can be deployed on embedded interfaces, fully loaded backbone routers, and supercomputers alike; and runs on Linux, Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, and Android operating systems.

            It presents an extremely basic yet powerful interface that aims to be simple, as easy to configure and deploy as SSH. Its key features include a simple network interface, crypto key routing, built-in roaming and container support.

            Note that at the time of writing, it is under heavy development: some of its parts are working toward a stable 1.0 release, while others are already there (working fine).

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

            • Modern Computers Might Stop Working on January 19, 2038

              Nearly every computer in the history of computers keep time using a 32-bit integer, counting forward from 00:00:00 UTC on the 1st of January 1970, referred to as the epoch. This instant of time was set as the standard for modern computing systems, but there’s a major problem. Seven seconds after 3:14 am UTC on the 19th of January 2038, the 32-bit integer storing this time data will run out of positions.

              The problem is similar to the Y2K issue where a 2-digit value could no longer be used to encode the years 2000 or later, but different in that this 32-bit bug is related to Unix-like systems and the Unix time format.

              These similarities to the Y2K bug have widely lead to the 2038 problem being known as the Unix Millennium Bug.

              [...]

              Embedded systems like those in cars and appliances are designed to last the lifecycle of the device without a software update. Connected electronics can be quickly fixed with a software update when the time comes, but these embedded systems will likely wreak the most havoc in 2038 since most won’t be updated.

              One option is to change the data storage system of the 32-bit integer to an unsigned 32-bit integer. This would theoretically allow for date storage all the way to 2106, but any system that used a date prior to 1970 would run into issues accessing this data.

              If we increased the data storage to 64-bit, we would run into compatibility storage issues between older systems that only use 32-bit data storage.

              There’s no current universal solution to the problem and even the most widely accepted fixes still have bugs in certain usage areas. There is positive news at the end of this.

            • Leap Day: Facebook, Snapchat, Apple could offer a chance to go wild

              The Y2038 bug is predicted to hit older machines in around 18 years time, when the number of seconds becomes too long for some systems to handle. Leap seconds, used to keep the days synced up with the Earth’s rotation, have also caused havoc for airlines running on Unix time.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The RNC Stopped Paying a Data Firm After A Serious Breach. Then It Paid A Mysterious LLC With the Same Address.

              Last fall the Republican National Committee paid $900,000 for “data services” to a Delaware-registered limited liability corporation that had existed for only three weeks.

              The company receiving the money has no online presence and has not been used by other campaigns or committees. But there is one clue about the company, Howler Insights LLC, in paperwork the RNC filed with the Federal Election Commission. Howler’s Arlington, Virginia, address and suite number are the same as a conservative data firm whose work for the RNC was placed on hold nearly three years ago after a massive data breach.

            • FBI And DOJ Personnel Confirm Agents Frequently Fudge Facts When Seeking FISA Warrants

              The fallout from the FBI’s highly-questionable Carter Page investigation continues. The problems first came to light in an Inspector General’s report which found the FBI did a lot of creative writing to continue its surveillance of Page, even after information came to light indicating the former Trump adviser was not operating on behalf of a foreign power.

            • FCC To Dole Out Some Dainty Wrist Slaps For Wireless Carrier Location Data Scandals

              As you know by now, all four major wireless carriers have been selling access to user location data for the better part of the last decade to pretty much any nitwit with a nickel. Journalists subsequently exposed how nobody was really policing the use of this data, resulting in it being abused by law enforcement, people pretending to be law enforcement, and even stalkers. Worse perhaps, wireless carriers were even selling access to even more sensitive 911 emergency location data, something that’s very clearly prohibited.

            • Documents Show Clearview Is Selling Facial Recognition Tech To Retailers, Fitness Centers, And Human Rights Violators

              Clearview — the latest (and most troubling) entrant into the facial recognition tech sweepstakes — says it’s product is just for law enforcement. And law enforcement has seemingly welcomed the web-scraped facial recognition database with open arms. Clearview’s marketing documents claim the company works with over 900 law enforcement agencies in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

            • Domestic phone surveillance program from the Patriot Act may finally see the grave

              The Patriot Act was passed in the protectionist aftermath of 9/11, where the government decided to spy on its own citizens phone records under the guise of protecting against terrorism. When the Patriot Act was set to expire in 2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act which restored but barely modified several key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act. Now that the USA Freedom Act is up for renewal, and data on just how ineffective the mass surveillance programs were in the first place, Congress may finally decide to end this heinous surveillance program. The USA Freedom Act is set to expire on the ides of March (March 15th), and there is currently a bill in the House to reauthorize it which is imaginatively titled: USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S., Taliban Set to Sign Afghanistan Peace Deal

        America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end.

      • A Difficult Peace

        Nearly a thousand of us were gathered in Chicago beneath the alarming edifice of Chicago’s “Trump Tower.” Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani had been brutally murdered the day before in Iraq, with several of his associates; and the welcome surprise of Iran’s relatively measured response was yet a few days off. A region-wide conflagration seemed just on the verge of engulfing perhaps millions of lives, and consuming, as well, much of the species’ remaining time and attention needed to face our direst threats: with the new war we could fear continued paralysis in the face of an unfolding climate collapse, a terrifying new Cold War (now with hypersonic missiles), and a global far-right resurgence driven by shocking inequality and violence.

      • It’s Time to Debate Pentagon Spending

        Despite hopes to the contrary, the Pentagon’s new, $740 billion-plus budget will waste scarce tax dollars while making America less safe. With the presidential primaries accelerating, it’s time for the candidates to address this urgent issue.

      • Analysis of the 2019 Bolivia Election: No Evidence of Irregular Trends or Fraud

        Disclosure: In December 2019, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) contracted with the authors to see if the numerical and statistical results of CEPR’s November 2019 study could be independently verified. Any analysis and interpretation of findings in this report express the sole views of the authors, researchers at MIT Election Data and ScienceLab.

      • Immunity for Killings by Immigration Police

        The American immigration police state continues to grow more tyrannical with each passing day. The latest example involves the U.S. Supreme Court, which has just issued a ruling in a case that effectively gives the Border Patrol a license to kill Mexican citizens. And guess which two magic words the Court used to justify its decision: “national security,” the two buzz words that the federal judiciary has used to justify every single dark-side, sordid, unconstitutional power exercised by the U.S. national-security establishment, such as state-sponsored assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, kangaroo military tribunals, and other totalitarian-like powers.

      • Supreme Court Says It’s OK For Border Patrol Agents To Kill Mexican Citizens As Long As They Die In Mexico

        Border Patrol agents kill a lot of people, most of them citizens of another country. For years, agents have been able to open fire on people in moving vehicles and [checks Congressional report] people throwing rocks at them. New guidelines were handed down by the agency in 2014 following an outside investigation of the Border Patrol’s use of force. The investigation contained many recommendations that could have resulted in fewer killings, but the Border Patrol rejected the conclusions and the suggested fixes.

      • The Space Force Becomes a Weapons System, Arms Companies Profit

        As the world gets used to what the US military calls “Full Spectrum Dominance,” the complex uplinks/downlinks, spurious RADAR returns, cyber glitches, and misinterpretations of big data bring the world closer to its ends, especially as US systems–including possibly nuclear–are orbited or put into the loop of the new Space Force.

      • Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace

        There were 4,627 such incidents last year – an all-time high – the Greek ministry told EUobserver on Wednesday. There were also 3,705 violations in 2018 and 3,317 in 2017, it said.

        Greece usually scrambles its own jets to escort Turkish ones out again.

        The incidents are not likely to lead to a military clash, but they contribute to bad will in the region.

      • Turkey will no longer stop Syrian migrant flow to Europe: Turkish official

        Turkey has decided to no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land and sea, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Thursday, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Syria’s Idlib where nearly a million have been displaced.

      • Russia sends two armed frigates through Bosporus following deadly Syrian airstrike against Turkey and rising tensions

        The Russian naval frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Grigorovich departed from Sevastopol for the Mediterranean Sea on the morning of February 28. Both were carrying Kalibr-NK missile complexes. At around midday, the two ships passed through the Bosporus in Turkey, the Daily Sabah reported.

      • Turkey Mobilizes for War With Syria and Russia as Nearly 3 Dozen Turkish Troops Killed in Airstrike
      • Recruiting by radical Islamists still happening in Gothenburg’s poorer areas

        Swedish Radio spoke with several people in the suburb of Angered who say they have seen groups try to undermine the work of public authorities and replace their power with their own.

      • Church In Swedish “No-Go Zone” Set On Fire

        As we previously highlighted, another church in a migrant-heavy area of Sweden was bombed on two separate occasions, with police acknowledging there was “a motive against the church.”

      • Islamists in Nigeria are destroying Christian communities

        They recounted how the terrorists had captured them at their “checkpoint” within earshot of a state police outpost. One of the young women was sharp enough to keep her phone on and concealed. It allowed the local authorities to locate them. Yet government troops who came within visual distance of the girls chose not to rescue them.

        So, the women’s unbreakable pastor took the situation into his own hands. He began to communicate with the terrorists. The ransom demanded was a fortune for any individual in his modest town. So he sold virtually all his possessions, as did other church members, to pay the thousand dollars required to save their lives.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange forced into ‘glass box’ in extradition hearing in London

        Managing Editor at Shadowproof in London Kevin Gosztola says Julian Assange has been “sitting in a glass box all week” and has been “isolated” during his extradition hearing. The case in London has been pushed back until May 18, when it’s scheduled to resume for another three weeks. Managing Editor at Shadowproof in London Kevin Gosztola told Sky News the judge “refused to allow him out of the glass box in the back of the courtroom”. Mr Gosztola said his defence team believe Assange has “not being treated well when security guards are handling him” and “he’s afraid he’s been ears dropped upon”.

      • The only questions that should matter in the Assange extradition battle

        Even in my bleakest moments I’m glad I’m not Julian Assange. Seven years trapped inside the embassy opposite Harrods, with fake news in the air and police in the bushes. (Yes, I was there. I saw them). That alone would send me mad.

        Follow that with 10 months’ solitary in what former British diplomat Craig Murray calls Britain’s Lubyanka, the ultra-grim high-security Belmarsh Prison. There, Assange has been subject to such harassment, arbitrariness, strip searches and abuse that both the UN Special Rapporteur and a group of more than 60 British doctors were impelled to protest his “torture” and his fellow inmates petitioned for his release from solitary. And now a bizarre hearing-cum-trial-by-public-opinion ending in possible extradition, a potential 175-year penalty and likely death in a harsh foreign jail. Why? For telling the truth.

        [...]

        The courtroom offers only 16 public seats. To get one, you must queue in the miserable cold and dark for two hours before court opens at eight. Murray – a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan (2002-2004) who was himself hounded as a whistleblower after revealing mass political imprisonment and torture there – has done just that, in order to deliver a blow-by-blow eyewitness account of the hearing.

        Assange, who has been strip-searched and repeatedly handcuffed like some violent criminal, is not expected to speak during the four-week hearing. He sits alone at the back, quarantined inside a bulletproof glass case that impedes his view and hearing of proceedings and prevents any communication with his legal team. His private documents are confiscated, including privileged communications with his lawyer.

        Murray’s accounts contains some astonishing observations. On day one, he says, the US prosecutor, James Lewis QC, explicitly addressed his opening remarks “not to the court but to the media”. This is unprecedented. In this address, says Murray, Lewis explicitly denied that the espionage charges against Assange also threatened mainstream media like The Guardian and The New York Times. Later under questioning from the magistrate, Murray says, Lewis changed his mind and admitted that yes, they would be affected, but this part of his remarks was not offered to the media (who might well find such assertions alarming).

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Does This Economy Work for Black Americans?

        It could be easy to miss with the headlines focused on other things, but this February — like every February — was Black History Month. Though it’s a time to celebrate the achievements of black Americans, it’s also a time to look at the challenges facing the community.

      • A State Senator Had Thousands of Dollars in Ticket Debt. Now She’s Fighting to Make Sure Others Won’t.

        If you’re reading this, you probably know I’ve reported extensively on Chicago’s system of ticketing and debt collection, how it’s disproportionately hurt black drivers and prompted tens of thousands of bankruptcies. The reporting, which eventually became a collaboration with our friends at WBEZ Chicago, has led to significant reforms, including some debt relief from the city, more affordable payment plans and a state law ending license suspensions over unpaid parking tickets.

        Well, here’s another potential reform to add to the list: A few weeks ago, Illinois state Sen. Celina Villanueva, a Chicago Democrat, introduced legislation to end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid red-light and speed camera tickets. Five unpaid camera tickets can trigger a suspension. (Note that this really isn’t a road safety issue as you can get 100 camera tickets but not risk losing your driving privileges if you can afford to pay them.) State officials told me this week that more than 13,000 drivers currently have their licenses suspended because of unpaid camera tickets.

      • The UN, Homeostasis and China

        Vacuums do not last long in nature. In biology, homeostasis represents the body’s attempt to reach equilibrium. In a void, elements will flow towards spaces of less density until an equilibrium is reached. In political systems, the same phenomenon may hold true.

      • Struggling for Shelter: Resistance to California’s Housing Crisis Grows

        In an age of worsening income and wealth inequality, a supply of affordable shelter for workers and their families is low while demand for it is high, the conditions for price-gouging. Just ask Dominique Walker, 34, of Moms 4 Housing, one of the unhoused women who occupied a vacant home in West Oakland that Wedgewood Property Management, a real estate investment company, owned.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Levada Center: 25 percent of Russians favor constitutional changes; 65 percent don’t understand them

        A new survey conducted by the independent Levada Center and published by Open Media indicates that one quarter (25 percent) of Russians are willing to vote for the major constitutional changes proposed by President Vladimir Putin in January. Another 37 percent of respondents said they would participate in the nationwide vote on the measures but were not yet sure whether they would vote in favor.

      • ‘Good News for Democracy’: Wisconsin Appeals Court Rejects Voter Purge Targeting More Than 200,000 People

        “A win over voter suppression is a win for the people of Wisconsin.”

      • Breakthroughs Against the Rightwing Menace in Germany

        In Germany, much as in the USA, political poles are getting more sharply defined than ever. Will the results be good or bad?

      • Boris Johnson, Not Donald Trump, is the Real Blue-Collar Conservative

        Call him an upper-class Etonian twit if you like, but the reality is that Boris Johnson, not Donald Trump, might be the 21st century’s first genuine blue-collar conservative. Since becoming prime minister, Johnson has represented a profound break from the prevailing market fundamentalist ideology of the past 40 years in terms of both his rhetoric and, more importantly, his actions. His policies evoke a 1970s-style economic corporatism (much derided by Margaret Thatcher) or, in more historic terms, a reversion to a kinder, gentler form of “one nation conservatism.” In the words of UK-born, U.S.-residing pundit Andrew Sullivan, the core of Johnson’s ideology is an appeal to “the working poor and aspiring middle classes, [by being] tough on immigration and crime, but much more generous in spending on hospitals and schools and science.”

      • ‘An Astonishing Rate of Corruption’: Trump Has Amassed 3,000 Conflicts of Interest Since Taking Office

        Government watchdog CREW revealed that the president racks up the equivalent of two conflicts of interest per day.

      • Dispelling the Darkness

        It was always easier to pitch politics low and to the gut, but the cyberspace platforms have made it easier in a way that the writers of the Federalist Papers couldn’t possibly imagine. The unfettered nature of cyberspace almost makes it impossible to distinguish lies and bullshit, aptly distinguished by philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, from true representations.

      • Dark Money Posing as Women’s Groups May Have Played Key Role in Electing Trump

        Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) and its sister organization Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) may have played a “pivotal role” in electing Donald Trump through a sophisticated electioneering effort in Wisconsin, a report from Truth North Research (TNR) reveals.

      • Corporate Media Aren’t Observers of the Electoral Process. They’re Participants.

        Janine Jackson: From debates that encouraged sparring over substance, to evidence-free declarations about electability or momentum, to the insistence — bordering on gaslighting — of the fringiness of ideas that in fact enjoy broad support, corporate media’s election coverage would be disappointing at any time. With all that’s at stake in 2020, it’s a letdown we can ill afford — and a reason, of course, to support independent journalism. Joining us now for a look at the state of reporting on the election is Jim Naureckas. He’s editor of FAIR.org and our newsletter Extra!. He’s right here in studio. Welcome back to “CounterSpin,” Jim Naureckas.

      • How Netflix And “Manning Marable” Killed Malcolm X (The Third Time)

        At the outset, it is impossible to deny the vital role that the volume A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marrable’s Malcolm X (2012, Black Classics Press), edited by Drs. Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, played in the formation of this article.

      • As Primaries Heat Up, Centrist Candidates Forget Their Campaign Finance Pledges

        At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you.” Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

      • Class War, the DNC, and the Fight for Our Lives

        The ruling class needs to know that we’re coming for them. And this fight doesn’t stop at the ballot box. Our futures depend on it.

      • ‘Want Putin gone? Vote for the Constitution!’ How Kremlin talking points on Putin’s constitutional changes are reportedly targeting Russians across the political spectrum

        The Dossier Center, an investigative journalism project by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has reportedly discovered a guide prepared by the Putin administration for local agitators and media sources to use when discussing the Russian president’s proposed constitutional changes. MBK Media, which is also associated with Khodorkovsky, published excerpts from the talking points. Other sources have not yet verified the authenticity of the document.

      • If Bernie Sanders Is Unelectable, Then What The Hell Are The Rest Of You?

        The New York Times complained in a recent column that Bernie Sanders has not expanded the democratic party in the primaries so far. Apparently the paper wanted him to reach more voters, likely only of the Republican variety. They blasted him as a hypocrite. The press is increasingly hysterical and ridiculous. Ever since the Sanders campaign gained serious momentum, the mainstream liberal press has gotten just as comical as Fox News and the tabloids. It is now clearer than ever that these publications are just here to entertain, never to inform.

      • Bernie Sanders and the Socialism Question

        Wherever Bernie Sanders’ campaign goes from here, the left critique of establishment politics is getting empirical backing through popular support for his candidacy. The establishment’s response— incredulity that the little people have the temerity to question their betters, is combined with a posture of victimhood, that blameless elites are being demonized by neo-collectivist malcontents who are too stupid to appreciate the blessing that four decades of neoliberalism has bestowed on them.

      • Election 2020: Those Meddling Kids …

        According to selected members of the “US intelligence community” (“selected” for their loyalty to, and willingness to promote the line of, the Democratic Party establishment) Vladimir Putin and the Russian government just love them some Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Can’t get enough of ’em. If November is a Trump/Sanders shoot-out, the Kremlin wins either way.

      • The Ruling Class Will Stop at Nothing

        Since Bernie Sanders’ win in the Nevada primaries there have been remarkable, yet totally expected spasms within the American ruling class. They are justifiably fearful since they have enjoyed decades of unfettered capitalism in the form of neoliberal economics that have lined their coffers. And they see Sanders as the biggest threat to that amassed wealth. Now, to be clear, the senator from Vermont is not a socialist by any stretch. He has consistently voted in favor of military actions and for sanctions against nations like Nicaragua and Venezuela, and for budgets which increase American imperialism among other things. Things which are antithetical to the basic tenets of socialism. And he defines himself as a democratic socialist more in line with the policies of countries like Norway or Sweden. Besides Eugene V. Debs, Sanders ideologies are the closest to socialism any presidential candidate has ever come in the US, at least from either dominant political party.

      • It’s Not Bernie But the So-Called “Moderates” That the Democratic Establishment Should Be Freaking Out About

        The best way for Democrats to defeat Trump’s fake anti-establishment populism is with the real thing, coupled with an agenda of systemic reform. This is what Bernie Sanders offers.

      • Socialism Without Anti-Imperialism: A Different Flavor of Tyranny

        Well dearest motherfuckers, socialism is back and it only took about a century, or at least so it appears. Nearly half the country has polled as being down with Debs. In spite of the worst efforts of his party’s trenchant neoliberal leadership, Bernie Sanders, who splays his socialist ID loud and proud, is now the undeniable frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic Primaries and even his moderate competition are aping his modus operandi. For the first time in ever, formerly far left positions like single-payer and free tuition have become so mainstream that they’re downright boring. Even beyond America’s official “left-wing” party, the socialist renaissance is in full bloom. At over 50,000 members, the once flimsy Democratic Socialists of America is now the largest American socialist organization since the height of the Labor Movement. More young people self-identify as proud socialists than ever before. So why the fuck am I so bummed?

      • ‘Uncharted Waters’: DC Lobbyists Panic Over Possibility of Sanders Win

        “Senator Sanders is breaking the mold in presidential politics with every gain he makes in the primary process.”

      • Sanders Viewed as Best Candidate to Beat Trump by Democrats and Independents Who Watched Latest Debates: Poll

        “Most of the available empirical evidence show[s] Mr. Sanders defeating President Trump in the national popular vote and in the critical Midwestern states that tipped the Electoral College in 2016.”

      • ‘Russians in America’: Russian immigrants and visitors in the U.S. discuss the 2020 Democratic primaries

        The Democratic Party’s primaries are underway in the United States, where the country’s increasingly left-leaning political party is flirting with democratic socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as its nominee. Additionally, recent reports citing U.S. national intelligence that Russian operatives are again trying to interfere in the American presidential election have revived the media’s interest in “RussiaGate” discourse that finally faded only last year with the release of the Mueller Report.

      • No Thinking Please, We’re Red-Baiting

        The red-baiting of Bernie Sanders is in full swing. From Democrats. Yes, the silly season is upon us as Senator Sanders was roundly condemned because he believes literacy campaigns are good things.

      • Robert Reich: Bernie Sanders Is Not George McGovern
      • DC Lobbyists Panic Over Possibility of Sanders Win

        Federal government lobbyists told The Hill Friday that they are increasingly concerned that a Bernie Sanders presidency could be “uncharted waters” for their clients given the Vermont senator’s history of antipathy toward big business and the role of corporate power in U.S. politics.

      • Bernie Sanders Was Right About the Cuban Literacy Campaign

        The corporate media have long been looking for ways to discredit Bernie Sanders, and they settled on a surprising statement he made in the 1980s during his tenure as mayor of Burlington when he said, “We have a lot to learn from Cuba.”

      • California Poll Shows Sanders With Double the Support of Closest Rival Just Days Ahead of Super Tuesday

        “If this latest poll holds, Sanders would win over 10% of the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.”

      • The So-Called Party of the People: From Nevada to South Carolina

        My thesis on the Democratic Party’s corporate-imperialist establishment had been consistent for years: it would rather lose to the right-wing party, even to an increasingly apocalyptic and fascistic right, than to the progressive, moderately social-democratic and environmentalist left wing of its own party. That was the basic story of 2016 – a tragedy the bourgeois Democratic Party leadership is trying to re-enact in 2020.

      • Carolina and Super Tuesday on My Mind

        The fifth of a periodic series on the early primaries and caucuses, this was written before the vote in South Carolina.

      • A Real Super Tuesday Calls for a Strong Progressive Media

        Progressive outlets have become more important than ever if we want to thwart the Democratic Party establishment and its aligned media outlets.

      • VoteVets for Buttigieg:  Who’s Really Keeping Us in the Dark About Campaign Funding?

        In a Democratic primary field that once featured four military veterans, only two are still marching toward the White House.

      • Pete Buttigieg: The Energizer Bunny of Hegemony

        Pete Buttigieg’s father, Joseph Anthony Buttigieg II, who died in early 2019, was a prominent scholar of the works of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist who opposed Mussolini’s fascist regime. In 1926, the prosecutor at Gramsci’s trial declared, “For twenty years, we must stop this brain from functioning.” Yet Gramsci continued thinking and writing in prison, and Joseph Buttigieg cotranslated and coedited the three-volume English edition of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks.

      • How Democracy Ends

        In this fast-paced century, rife with technological innovation, we’ve grown accustomed to the impermanence of things. Whatever is here now will likely someday vanish, possibly sooner than we imagine. Movies and music that once played on our VCRs and stereos have given way to infinite choices in the cloud. Cash currency is fast becoming a thing of the past. Cars will soon enough be self-driving. Stores where you could touch and feel your purchases now lie empty as online shopping sucks up our retail attention.

      • Bloomberg Wants to Woo Black Voters, But We Remember His Reign of Terror

        The Democratic primary race for president has taken an interesting and disturbing turn as we approach the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday. It’s nothing new to say that money runs politics. Still, we have now reached a new level where self-funded billionaires are distorting what’s left of a faulty U.S. democratic system. A process that historically and currently deters full participation in the electoral process for people of color, women, the poor and the working class is now also directly and primarily funded by the richest individuals in the land — candidates who can use their unrestricted funds to further their unaccountability to the general voting populace and to rework their image as needed.

      • ‘The Democratic Party Has a Problem’: Bloomberg Hires Super Tuesday State Democratic Vice Chairs

        “It boggles my mind that this doesn’t seem to break any rules.”

      • Progressive Groups Launch #NeverBloomberg Campaign, Demanding Top Democrats Oppose Former New York Mayor’s Run

        The Working Families Party and the Center for Popular Democracy are among the groups intending to march on Bloomberg’s New York townhouse on Saturday.

      • Bloomberg’s Billionaire BS

        We’ve all seen them. They are on television, on Instagram and every other social media platform. Like the flu virus, they have infected almost every facet of the public square. As the date for the Super Tuesday nears, their numbers seem like they will overwhelm the airwaves. Every day, another infected person acknowledges that they are leaning towards voting for Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire whose love of money seems to be superseded only by his desire for power. His viral advertisements are infecting people’s ability to think and further destroying the joke of an electoral system so many US voters hold onto despite its acknowledged crookedness; despite the fact of its being rigged against most of us. Did Obama (who sold out to that establishment many moons ago) actually give his permission for Mike (as he calls himself now) to use his image and words in those television ads? At this point it doesn’t matter. They’ve been seen by millions and paid for with Bloomberg’s billions.

      • Bloomberg: What Is He Good For?

        After winning big in Nevada and withstanding the efforts of Democratic “moderates” to throw him off track at last Tuesday’s South Carolina “debate,” Bernie Sanders is now enjoying what George H.W. Bush called “the big Mo.” He has the wind at his back.

      • Roaming Charges: Knives Out

        + In response to criticism from Democratic Party centrists that Sanders didn’t do enough to help Hillary in 2016, the Sandernistas are touting the fact that Sanders did 3 times as many campaign events for Hillary as Hillary did for Obama in 2008. I guess that’s one way to look at it. The other is: why the hell was Bernie campaigning for Hillary, the walking distillation of every neoliberal policy he purports to loathe, at all?

      • Bernie Sanders Is the Unity Candidate

        Despite the desperate smears from center-right opponents claiming he is “divisive,” the reality is that Bernie Sanders’ policies are all about unity: common needs, mutual care, and a shared future.

      • ‘Sanders Rose to the Top’: Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Endorses Bernie After Citywide People’s Caucus

        “Sen. Sanders has demonstrated consistency in his support of policies that align with the goals, concerns, and principles of our communities.”

      • Media Stoop to ‘Russian Assistance’ to Explain Sanders’ Rise

        For over three years, Russia has been an issue of great concern, if not panic, in our media. Back in 2018, FAIR (7/27/18) warned that if Bernie Sanders or another progressive movement picked up steam, corporate media would claim that “any challenge to the establishment is likely a Kremlin-funded astroturf effort.” For establishment Democrats, we wrote:

      • Carol Anderson on Voter Suppression
      • DNC tells campaigns to be wary of contact from fake Sanders team account

        The chief security officer for the DNC, Bob Lord, said in an email obtained by CyberScoop that adversaries could use the fake personas to set up phone calls or meetings with presidential campaign staffers.

        “They may impersonate people in the hopes that you will download suspicious files, or click on a link to a phishing site. Sometimes they seek to set up a call or an in-person meeting with the intent to record and publish the interaction,” Lord wrote Wednesday.

        It wasn’t clear if the actor or actors behind the impersonation successfully interacted with staffers at the campaigns they contacted.

      • France dissolves group run by rapper for defending terrorism

        A statement from the Interior Ministry said the association called “Killuminateam — soldiers on the path of Allah” spread its message under the cover of helping the needy.

        Its “main activity was organizing actions in public to make calls to hate and violence,” the ministry statement said. It added that the association used the internet and videos laden with content reflecting “a conspiratorial, anti-Semitic (and), anti-Christian nature” and “defending terrorism.” Macron ordered via a decree that the association be dissolved.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Steven Biss Loses Another Wacky SLAPP Suit; Judge Scolds, But Does Not Sanction, Him

        Steven Biss has lost again. A week after losing one of his many, many lawsuits representing Congressman Devin Nunes, and also facing possible sanctions in another case, a judge has dismissed yet another one of his SLAPP suits. Once again, as is often the case with Biss, the lawsuit was nonsense, included aspects that were much more performative than legally sound, and was somehow tied to various conspiracy theories and right wing wackiness. As we highlighted last week, it’s noteworthy how many of Biss’s clients seem to have connections to one another, and this case is no different.

      • Watchdog Group Asks Congressional Ethics Office To Investigate How Devin Nunes Is Paying For His Many SLAPP Suits

        A bunch of folks keep asking just how Devin Nunes is paying for all of his various lawsuits against news organizations, journalists, political operatives, critics, and, most famously, a satirical internet cow. And now, a watchdog group, the Campaign Legal Center, has sent quite a letter, asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Nunes is violating any ethics rules in how these cases are financed.

      • 8chan Founder, Who Has Denounced The Site, Now Facing ‘Criminal Cyberlibel’ Charges From Current Owner

        Fredrick “Hotwheels” Brennan founded 8chan in 2013 after he and a group of other fairly naive souls felt that 4chan (yes, 4chan) had become too unfriendly to “free speech” because it had started to block some harassment and abuse on the site. It’s always amazing to me the people who insist that internet platforms should allow all speech, without recognizing that what they are asking for is inevitably a cesspool of garbage. Brennan eventually realized as much, relinquished control over the site to Jim Watkins, and even called for the site to be shut down and criticized Watkins. Back in November, Watkins responded by filing a criminal “cyberlibel complaint” in the Philippines. The latest news, from the Filipino site Rappler, is that warrant has been issued for Brennan’s arrest.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The U.S. Military’s #MeToo Reckoning That Wasn’t

        “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Everyone who enters the gate at West Point Military Academy must memorize and recite these words on their first day. Failure to follow that protocol, including the “nontoleration clause,” can mean expulsion. Even insufficient adherence to the spirit of said value system can earn one pariah status at the academy. Those who graduate after four years of academics, military training and “character-building” are expected to live by and imbue in their fellow soldiers the seven Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. In most official documents, these terms are literally capitalized.

      • Stop Calling Harmful Bigotry “Religious Freedom”

        The Supreme Court is considering a case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, that once again pits LGBTQ rights against so-called religious liberty. In this case, one of the plaintiffs, Catholic Social Services, is arguing that it has the right to discriminate against same sex couples when placing children in foster care.

      • Reflections on “Black Excellence”

        Black History Month came and went with little celebration due to coverage of the impeachment trial and 2020 presidential primaries.

      • Police Torture in Chicago

        The Chicago police department has a problem. They say it’s fixed, but local African American residents can’t be blamed for being skeptical. The problem is torture. And of course the Chicago PD is not one bad apple in the nation’s police departments, because when it comes to police brutality, the whole barrel is rotten. Chicago is just an extreme case.

      • Julian Bond Was a Radical Long Before MLK

        Though not a household name like his peers Martin Luther King Jr. or John Lewis, Julian Bond was a legendary civil rights leader who co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). These two organizations have played crucial roles in black history, as Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer notes in the latest installment of his podcast, “Scheer Intelligence.”

      • Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

        Every white American should—but won’t—read Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

      • Children Are Freezing to Death in Syria as Humanitarian Crisis Intensifies

        In Syria, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by Russia-backed Syrian forces in rebel-held Idlib in a major escalation on Thursday. Turkey has vowed to respond in kind, as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres calls for an immediate ceasefire, saying “the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour.” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke by phone on Friday to discuss the crisis, as NATO urged rapid deescalation. The all-out offensive by the Syrian government is the single largest displacement in a nine-year war that has forced 13 million to flee and left hundreds of thousands dead. Since December alone, some 900,000 people, at least half of them children, have been displaced from northwestern Syria. As the humanitarian catastrophe deepens, aid workers are describing scenes of chaos and devastation on the ground, with families scrambling for shelter as temperatures fall below freezing. We speak with Avril Benoît, the executive director of MSF USA, or Doctors Without Borders USA.

      • Thousands Are Taking the Streets to Protest Suspension of Dominican Elections

        Thousands in the Dominican Republic took to the streets of the capital Santo Domingo Thursday to protest the abrupt suspension of local elections earlier this month and to commemorate the country’s Independence Day. Protests have been ongoing since February 16, after the government suspended the municipal elections four hours after voting began, alleging there were “technical glitches” in the electronic ballot machines used. The machines were previously used in October 2019, and they cost the Dominican government $19 million. The Dominican people believe the alleged technical glitch is just an attempt by the ruling party, the Dominican Liberation Party, to hold onto power as they’ve lost support. Protesters are now demanding an independent investigation into what happened in the local elections, as well as for the resignation of Dominican election board officials. Dozens of solidarity protests have emerged around the world, from Spain and France to New Jersey and here in New York City. We get an update from Amanda Alcántara, Dominican-American journalist and digital media editor at Latino USA.

      • Court Puts Breaks on Move to Make Asylum Seekers Wait in Mexico

        Dealing a significant blow to a signature Trump administration immigration policy, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that the government can no longer make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

      • Trump’s New “Public Charge” Is a Radical and Grotesque Attack on Immigrant Communities and US Democracy

        While Trump wages this political power grab, the regulation going into effect this week will devastate countless families, deterring immigrants and citizens from seeking critical services—even though their tax dollars support these very programs.

      • Witnessing the Hell a Migrant Can Face

        At Obock, Djibouti, 2,000 migrants gather each day along the waters of the Gulf of Aden; they look for boats to get them to Yemen. Over the past two years, more migrants from Africa have used the “Eastern Route” rather than go across the Mediterranean Sea; according to the UN’s migration agency—International Organization for Migration—this Eastern Route is now the “busiest maritime migration path on earth.” Roughly 11,500 people got on boats at places like Obock and Bosasso, Somalia, to go into Yemen, and then overland to Saudi Arabia, where they hope to get employment.

      • The Modi/Trump Anti-Muslim Alliance

        If he was envious it didn’t show.  Envy would have been unseemly given the joyfulness of the occasion.  It happened when the trump took advantage of a 36-hour gap in his busy White House schedule to hurry off to India to celebrate his presidency in the presence of, the trump had said before leaving, 10 million Indians at the world’s largest cricket stadium.  (According to reporters present at the event, it turned out nine million of the attendees the trump said would be in attendance were otherwise occupied, so they had to miss the event.  The remaining million loved it, although many of them left before the trump had finished bloviating.)

      • Who Will Douse Delhi’s Flames?

        The dead are not spared. A part of Delhi, the national capital of India, has been reduced to ashes. They’ve desecrated a cemetery, mangled vehicles, broken homes, injured people, killed people – 39, as I write this. North East Delhi is a lower middle-class area, the residents are mostly small shopkeepers and labourers.

      • Trump Visits Modi and Delhi Erupts in Anti-Muslim Riots

        The photo of the U.S. President and the First Lady standing in front of the iconic Taj Mahal is as expected of a visit to India. It is also emblematic of Muslim rule from the late 12th century until the 18th when the Mughal Empire disintegrated, eventually enabling the British to cobble together the pieces.

      • 69 killed in 79 days since Parliament passed Citizenship Amendment Act

        The CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to undocumented members of six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi — who entered India before December 31, 2014. Though the Act does not mention “persecuted minorities,” the term was included in the statement of objects when the Bill was introduced in the Parliament.

      • Greece’s Migrant Crisis: “A Powder Keg Ready to Explode”

        “Welcome in Greece are only those we choose. Those who are not welcome will be returned. We will permanently shut the door to illegal human traffickers, to those who want to enter even though they are not entitled to asylum.” — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

        Greek officials have said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally controls the migration flows to Greece and turns them on and off to extract more money and other political concessions from the European Union.

      • Lessons from London: You can’t fix jihad

        Unlike other categories of criminals, determined devotees of offensive jihad cannot be dissuaded to end the fight. Rather, that determination can only come from within, as demonstrated by Walid Shoebat, Jesse Morton and other former jihadis testifying about their abandonment of the ideology. In criminological jargon, “pull factors,” such as financial incentives, amnesty and employment opportunities, are far less likely to influence jihadis than “push factors,” such as disillusionment and loss of faith in an ideology. Shoebat describes the “self-detoxification program” he undertook after trying unsuccessfully to convince his wife of the inherent evil of Judaism. The problem is that no one has figured out how to engineer the right “push factor” to compel a jihadi to begin a “self-detoxification.”

    • Monopolies

      • Taxi Drivers Stage New Protest Against Uber in Amsterdam

        The Parool also spoke to a driver that also accused Uber of slaving wages, as he only managed to pull in five euros per hour. He said he had to continue working with the platform because he used the service as a means to lease the vehicle.

      • Cannabis companies reveal trade secret conundrums

        In-house and private practice sources say the need to protect confidential information can clash with state public record laws and a history of freely sharing information in the industry

        Cannabis companies in the US need to stay abreast of regulatory developments when taking advantage of trade secret laws, especially while the industry is still in its infancy, say lawyers.

      • Book review: Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law, Further Intersections of Public and Private Law

        This book review is kindly provided by Vicente Zafrilla Díaz-Marta, who is a PhD Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in the framework of EIPIN Innovation Society program funded by the European Commission (H2020- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action) and member of the Spanish IP blog lvcentinvs.es. Here’s the review:

        [...]

        Part III focuses in the frequently oversighted interaction between “Copyright and Standards” Pamela Samuelson and Kathryn Hashimoto analyse in Chapter 5 the protectability of standards – understood as systems – by means of copyright – from a US perspective. The authors argue that codes and “other systematic organizations of information” are not eligible for copyright protection if “dictated by rules or functionality”. In addition, they understand that both the scenes a faire and merger doctrines can render the standards unprotectable. Finally, the chapter focuses on the need of ensuring access to standards which are adopted as laws and on the policy considerations which should be considered to discard the incentives-based arguments that support granting copyright protection to standards.

        In Chapter 6 “Integrating Technical Standards into Federal Regulations: Incorporation by Reference”, deals with the “incorporation by reference” of standards into regulations in the US. Daniel S. Sheffner approaches the topic from different angles, including its genesis, its legal basis and the problems derived from the conflict between copyright protection – still an open question – and the public-access requirement. The Chapter finishes with an overview of the solutions that public and private stakeholders have proposed to address the public access problem.

        Björn Lundqvist offers a comprehensive EU perspective to the interaction copyright-standards by analysing the CJUE´s James Elliot case in Chapter 7 “Public Law, European Constitutionalism and Copyright in Standards” which left open the question on whether there is an actual delegation of the European Commission to the SDOs which might affect to (harmonised) standards’ copyright protection. The author complements the analysis by reflecting upon the consequences of the James Elliot case for standards from a competition law perspective and, ultimately, from a free trade (internal market) perspective – with a special reference to the Fra.bo case.

      • ‘Don’t patronise us’: in-house reveal external counsel bugbears

        External counsel are set to become more ingrained in businesses, and conversations may become more informal or text-based, but we are not there yet, in-house lawyers say as they share their frustrations with certain aspects of the current working relationship.

      • The Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal applies “Abraxis” in rejecting Supplementary Protection Certificate

        According to the SPC application, the first marketing authorization for the product at hand is from 2013 for the pharmaceutical Botox. There is, however, an even earlier marketing authorization from 2011. According to Allergan, the fact that there are two marketing authorizations for the same basic patent should not be prohibit both being granted an SPC, provided that the scope of the two marketing authorizations is not overlapping.

        The Patent and Market Court of Appeal ruled that, according to Article 3(d), the 2013 marketing authorization may not be considered the first marketing authorization, pointing to established CJEU case-law, such as in MIT (C-431/04, EU:C:2006:291), here and Yissum (C-202/05, EU:C:2007:214), here. Nevertheless, according to the Court, one also has to examine whether the 2013 marketing authorization could be an acceptable first marketing authorization in accordance withf the exception introduced in the CJEU ruling in the Neurim case (C-130/11, ECLI:EU:C:2012:489).

        In that case, the CJEU provided that the earlier marketing authorization for the same substance for its use as a sheep reproduction regulation would not constitute “a first marketing authorization” for the use of the same substance against human insomnia. The Neurim case has thus opened up the possibility to receive an SPC for a second medical indication. That said, in the 2019 Abraxis case ( C-443/17, EU:C:2019:238), the CJEU limited the scope of the Neurim exception to a minimum (see this Kat’s post on the Abraxis case).

      • Patents

        • Nothing to see here, Lilly wins in kicking out Genentech’s Talz progeny patent (for now)

          When it comes to the validity of European patents, the national courts of the EPC member states apply the same law as the EPO. None-the-less, UK judges sometimes come to different conclusions to that of the EPO. As a consequence, a patent granted and maintained by the EPO may very well be revoked by the UK (England and Wales) court. Potential infringers may seek legal certainty that any patent granted by the EPO covering their product would not be valid by seeking an Arrow declaration. However, what if you have already knocked out a patent in the UK courts and the EPO then grants a virtually identical divisional patent? Does a patentee have the right to take two bites at the cherry? This was the question considered in Lilly v Genentech [2020] EWHC 261 (Pat).

          The case relates to Taltz, Eli Lilly’s biologic drug for psoriasis. Taltz is Eli Lilly’s marketed anti-IL-17A/F monoclonal antibody ixekizumab. Genentech owns a family of European patents claiming IL-17A/F antibodies and their use for the treatment of psoriasis. Last year, in a dispute between Lilly and Genentech, Mr Justice Arnold (as then was) in the UK High Court found one of these patents (EP1641822) invalid. In particular, the patent claim directed to the IL-17A/F antibody was found to be obvious. The use of the antibody to treat psoriasis was found to lack plausibility at the priority date, applying the principles of Warner-Lamber v Actavis ([2018] UKSC 56). The UK High Court decision has been appealed. However, the patent in question has also subsequently been revoked by the EPO Boards of Appeal, with the effect that the EP(UK) patent is considered never to have existed.

          [...]

          Genentech argued that it would be an injustice to prevent them from pursuing the case that the divisional patent was valid and infringed. The appeal for the parent case lost all of its value following the decision of the EPO Board of Appeal to revoke the European patent. However, Genentech argued that the fact that they had been given leave to appeal the UK High Court decision demonstrated that “they must have had a good prospect of success” (para. 63). Notably, the ground on which the EPO had revoked the patent, added matter, was dismissed by Mr Justice Arnold in the UK High Court – a reminder that the EPO approach to added matter may not be fully aligned with that of the UK.

          The judge had some sympathy with Genentech’s argument that it would be injustice to prevent them pursuing the case. However, the judge also found that any potential for injustice was outweighed by the length and expensive of a re-run of the trial: “[t]his cannot be in the public interest and would be an injustice to Lilly” (para. 64). The judge also felt that it was in the hands of the Court of Appeal whether the appeal should continue [Merpel: This is unlikely to be of any comfort to Genentech, given that the parent patent “no longer exists” following revocation by the EPO]. The judge therefore considered whether the criteria for estoppel (i.e. preventing the arguments from being heard again) were satisfied for each of the grounds under which validity was challenged.

        • Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The case arose over infringement of Arctic Cat’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,793,545 and 6,568,969 by Bombardier, the patents directed to steering systems in personal watercraft (PWC) such as jet skis. Arctic Cat ceased selling PWC in favor of a licensing agreement with Honda. This licensing agreement had contained a provision requiring Honda to mark all licensed products sold with appropriate patent numbers, but this provision was not included in the final agreement between the parties. It was undisputed that Arctic Cat failed to monitor whether Honda was properly marking but not when Honda stopped neglecting this responsibility and began to mark; Arctic Cat asserted September 6, 2013 as the latest date when Honda sold unmarked items while Bombardier alleged Honda sold unmarked PWCs as late as 2018.

          A jury found the asserted patents to be infringed and not invalid, and awarded damages calculated from October 16, 2008 (a date 6 years before Arctic Cat filed suit and a little less than five years before Arctic Cat agreed Honda stopped selling unmarked items). The jury also found that Bombardier’s infringement was willful. In an earlier appeal, Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc., 876 F.3d 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the jury’s willfulness determination by vacating and remanding on the marking issue for putting the burden on Bombardier to show that unmarked articles did not practice the claimed invention. Rather, according to that panel, “once an alleged infringer identifies products that it believes are unmarked patented articles subject to the notice requirements of § 287, the patentee bears the burden of proving that the identified products do not practice the claimed invention.” On remand (the subject of this appeal), Arctic Cat moved for summary judgment that it was entitled to “pre-complaint” damages, and that § 287 “did not apply after the time that it alleges Honda stopped selling unmarked products.” “More ambitiously,” as characterized by the panel opinion, Arctic Cat asserted that the jury’s willfulness determination constituted notice and hence it was entitled to the entire period when Bombardier was selling PWCs that infringed the patents in suit under § 286, which constituted a time period when Honda was undisputedly selling unmarked items. The District Court disagreed and limited the damages awarded not to include damages for pre-complaint sales.

        • Another Example of a Repeating Fact Pattern Implicating Privilege Waiver

          Of course, patent prosecution and litigation involves a lot of confidential information. As a result, protective orders, prosecution bars, and clawback arrangements are part and parcel of most patent suits. Perhaps because confidential and privileged information is more frequently involved than in some other forms of litigation, waiver issues are also common.

          [...]

          That is not a universal approach, however. In addition, where an email account, or computer, is shared by people who are not married (such as roommates), a greater risk of privilege waiver exists. Finally, many employers monitor employee email, and, so, for example, if an employee e-mails a lawyer from a work computer, it may be that privilege is waived. To be clear, this can happen even where the dispute is between the employee and some third party, not between employee and employer.

        • NZNP Finance Ltd. v. Actavis Laboratories UT, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The panel majority had affirmed the determination by the District Court for the District of New Jersey that claim 49 was indefinite because of inconsistencies in the meaning of “better drying time.” The ’838 patent specification discloses that the claimed formulation can be used as an anti-inflammatory, or analgesic. The specification also discloses that the advantages of the claimed formulation are better drying time, higher viscosity, increased transdermal flux, greater pharmacokinetic absorption, and favorable stability.

          [...]

          Noting that it is not necessary to recite the utility of a claimed compound (e.g., as an anti-inflammatory) in the claims, nor is it necessary to recite in the claims how that utility is measured, the dissent concludes that “aspects of the utility or its measurement are not relevant to indefiniteness of the claims.” The dissent then asks “since how one measures anti-inflammatory activity does not create an indefiniteness issue, why should measuring better drying time?” The dissent also wonders “whether, if this patent did not recite the methods by which better drying time was measured, any indefiniteness of the ‘consisting essentially of’ language would have arisen at all.” Because “under the rule this opinion purports to adopt, any uncertainty concerning advantages, utility, or methods of determining such could . . . be translated into indefiniteness of claims,” Judge Lourie dissented from the Federal Circuit’s decision not to rehear the case en banc.

        • The Rare Beast: Consisting Essentially Of

          In a recent post, I noted the “trap” for patent prosecutors who use the transitional phrase “consisting essentially of.” That phrase has been traditionally interpreted to indicate that an infringing apparatus (or method) would include all of those elements and may also include other elements that “do not materially affect the basic and novel properties of the invention.” The more popular and broader “comprising” transition captures as infringement an apparatus that practices all of the claim elements, regardless of what additional elements are also being practiced by the accused. The courts have also locked-down the meaning of the narrower “closed” transition “consisting of” to only find infringement when the accused apparatus practices the claim limitations and nothing more.

          [...]

          Comprising is obviously much more common — 98% of patents in my cohort include “comprising.” 12% of patents recite the phrase “consisting of” however, the vast majority of those are signaling a Markush group rather than an initial transition. (Note – again here, I looked for both the “ing” and “s” form of the terms). These results are shown in the chart below.

        • Equivalents at the Supreme Court

          The doctrine of equivalents [DoE] is fairly complicated by itself because of the element-by-element function-way-result test and the limit on vitiation of claim elements. DOE is further complicated by the prosecution history estoppel [PHE] that creates a presumption against equivalents associated with narrowing claim amendments made during prosecution for a “substantial reason related to patentability.” In Festo, the Supreme Court explained that courts should presume estoppel based upon a narrowing amendment. However, the patentee may avoid the estoppel by providing evidence that the “rationale underlying the [narrowing] amendment … bear[s] no more than a tangential relation to the equivalent in question.” Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., 535 U.S. 722, 740 (2002) (TAN). In prior posts, I called this expansion [DoE]; retraction [PHE]; re-expansion [TAN] process DoePHETAN. The complication comes from the courts who – as I previously explained “wanted to empower patentees with the doctrine of equivalents but then became afraid that they had gone too far” and perhaps given too much power to a jury.

          The petitions here are powerful and their parallelism may create interest from the court. Unfortunately, neither call for simplifying this process but rather ask for more detailing — What is the meaning of “tangential?”; At point must the “rationale” be declared?

        • Federal Circuit Confirms “Consisting Essentially Of” Trap for Patent Applicants

          In an 8-4 Federal Circuit has denied HZNP’s petition for en banc rehearing over a vigorous dissent from Judge Lourie (joined by Judges Newman, O’Malley, and Stoll).

          The focus of the petition is the “reasonable certainty” indefiniteness standard in relation to the un-expressed elements of an invention claimed using the transitional phrase “consisting essentially of.” In its original October 2019 holding, the Federal Circuit explained that the “consisting essential of” transition indicates that the claim requires the listed elements and is also “open to unlisted ingredients that do not materially affect the basic and novel properties of the invention.” In that framework, the “basic and novel properties of the invention” become a claim limitation that itself must be definite.

          HZNP’s claim at issue here is directed to a pain-treatment ointment “consisting essentially of” 2% diclofenac sodium; 40% DMSO; etc. (Sold as PENNSAID). The specification indicated that “better drying time” was one of the improvements provided by the invention. The specification provided two methods of evaluating better drying time. However, those methods were ruled inconsistent and without a standard for PHOSITA to evaluate drying time. Since the novel feature was indefinite, the court found that the claim itself was indefinite.

          [...]

          The question I would ask is whether we should require disclosure of the basic and novel properties of the invention as part of every patent specification — perhaps as part of the written description requirement. The dissent appears to assume that these are a requirement of the utility doctrine — but notes that utility is such an easy test that it is not even challenged unless “not credible.”

        • How do you determine the novelty of a second (non-medical) use claim? (T 1395/15)

          Here on IPKat we are used to discussing the patentability of second-medical use inventions. But what about non-medical second uses? The recently published Board of Appeal decision T 1385/15 related to the patentability of such a second use. According to case law from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), a second use of a known product is novel if the new use comprises a novel functional effect. In T 1385/15, the Board of Appeal considered how the novelty of such second use claims should be assessed. In particular, does a novelty destroying disclosure for a second use have to disclose both the use and the functional effect? In a case pertinent for our times, the case concerned mechanical disinfection to kill microbes.

          [...]

          The Board of Appeal acknowledged that G 6/88 does not explicitly state that the use and the technical effect of the known product must be disclosed in the same document to be novelty destroying for a second use claim. However, the Board of Appeal noted that G 6/88 does state that the lack of novelty can only be recognised if all technical features of the claimed invention have been made available to the public in conjunction with one another. The Board of Appeal in T 1385/15 understood from this that G 6/88 acknowledged the guiding principle of novelty that features from separate discloses can not be combined in a novelty attack.

          The Board of Appeal thus concluded that the approach taken by the Opposition Division had been incorrect. The disclosure of the use of the surfacants in the first prior art document could not be combined in a novelty attack with the disclosure in the second document that surfacants possessed the functional feature of being able to kill micro-organisms.

          However, this was not the end of the matter. The Board of Appeal also believed the Opposition Division had been wrong to identify the functional feature in the claim as being the ability of the specified surfacants to kill micro-organisms. The Board of Appeal understood G 6/88 as not necessarily requiring the functional effect as being isolated from the use. The functional technical effect of the claim should therefore be understood, the Board of Appeal argued, as being the ability of the specified surfacants to kill micro-organisms when the surfacants were used in mechanical disinfection. Such a feature was not disclosed in the second document. The second document only disclosed the anti-microbial properties of the surfacants, and made no mention of mechanical disinfection.

        • Improper Listing of Insulin-Pen Patents in the Orange Book

          This class-action antitrust decision from the 1st Circuit reversed a lower court dismissal — holding that consumers had alleged sufficient injury based upon Sanofi’s improper listing of patents in the FDA Orange Book (Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations).

          [...]

          Here, the listed patent at issue is US Patent 8,556,864 which covers the drive mechanism for Sanofi’s SoloSTAR Insulin Pen. The Orange Book listing is important because it can be used to trigger a 30-month stay of FDA approval of a competitor’s product. The drive mechanism is apparently part of the SoloSTAR pen thus it appears that a generic knock-off competitor would infringe the patent. But, the appellate panel still held that it was improperly listed in the orange book since the patent does not claim the drug or a method of using the drug. T

        • Delhi HC Issues Notice on Petition Challenging Price Control Exemptions for Newly Patented Drugs

          The Delhi High Court recently issued notice on a petition by All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) that challenged the Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013 and Drug (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019. The specific averments were concerning Paragraph 32, which is the list of exemptions, of DPCO 2013 and the amendment to it by the 2019 Order. Para. 32 of DPCO 2013 creates an exemption from price control for new drugs patented under the India Patents Act, 1970, thereby creating an unprecedented link between the Patents Act and drug prices. This post summarizes the petition and discusses the impact of price control mechanisms for patented drugs.

          [...]

          Per the petition, under DPCO 2019, a ‘new drug’ is given an exemption from price control for 5 years “from the date of commencement of its commercial marketing”. For this, a ‘new drug’ has the same meaning as under Rule 122E of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which says “a new drug shall continue to be considered as new drug for a period of four years from the date of its first approval…”. A contradiction in the language of the two clauses becomes immediately apparent. Additionally, the 2019 Order only changes Paragraph 32(i) of DPCO 2013, while leaving 32(ii) (new process) and 32(iii)’s (new delivery system) exemption to start from the “date of commencement of its commercial production in the country” and “the date of its market approval in India” respectively.

          Addressing the confusion amongst the said clauses, the petition shows, it is possible to see that the difference between “the date of its first approval” (Rule 122E) and “the commencement of its commercial marketing” (Para. 32 (i) DPCO 2019) can be used to extend the benefit of a ‘new drug’ tag for anywhere between 1 to 9 years. If the date of approval and commercial marketing are the same, then DPCO 2019’s 5-year protection is one year more than Rule 122E’s 4-year consideration. If a manufacturer decides to commercially market a ‘new drug’ after the 4-year period under Rule 122E is over, then DPCO 2019’s 5-year exemption would start after this period, thereby extending the ‘new drug’ tag to a total of 9 years.

          What the change means? The latest List of ‘new drugs’ for the year 2019 has as many as 26 exemptions, the 2018 list too has the same number and the 2014 list has a whopping 63 exemptions. On average, since DPCO 2013 at least 26 exemptions have been given each year for drugs meant to treat an array of ailments from conjunctivitis to arthritis.

          DPCO 2019 removes the term ‘product patent’ from Para. 32(i) of DPCO 2013. This change extends the exemption to ‘a new drug patented’ under Patents Act 1970. The language of this is broad enough to include any kind of patent including devices, dosages, forms, compositions and process patents as long as it relates to a new drug. Given the Indian Patent Office’s high error rate in granting pharmaceutical patents, automatic exemptions for registered patents must be seen as detrimental as it could very well lead to the ever-greening of patents and continuous extension of the exemption.

          The policy push for promotion of indigenous research and production is undone by the removal of this exact requirement from Para. 32(i). Even drugs produced aboard can now avail the exemption by registering a patent in India. Further, to extend the exemption, the ‘commercial marketing’ of such a drug can take place in India much after it has been sold in other markets.

          Further, given the lack of substantial definitions and guidelines regarding the terms ‘commercial marketing’ and ‘commercial production’, the ambiguity is exacerbated. The difference amongst clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of Para 32, post DPCO 2019, is termed as discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable in the petition.

        • Software Patents

          • Alleged Troll Sues Uber Using Newly Offloaded IBM Patents

            An alleged patent troll has accused Uber of infringing four patents that IBM sold off just before joining an organization aimed at fighting such companies.

            About two weeks before joining the LOT Network in January, IBM sold off hundreds of patents to Daedalus Group LLC, which were then sold to another entity that sold them to Quartz Auto Technologies LLC, which asserted them on Feb. 18 against Uber Technologies Inc.

            The 104-page complaint filed in the Western District of Texas accuses Uber of infringing four location-based technology patents with its ride-hailing application.

            The three companies in the patent ownership chain after IBM…

          • Judge Holte: Motion to Dismiss Denied – Pathway for avoiding motions-to-dismiss

            Former law professor Ryan Holte is now Judge Ryan Holte, appointed by Donald Trump and sitting on the United States Court of Federal Claims (15 year term). Welcome to the bench Judge Holte. The Court of Federal Claims handles money-demands against the U.S. Government — including allegations that the U.S. Gov’t has infringed privately owned patents.

            One of Holte’s first substantive patent decisions comes in Wanker v. U.S., 18-1660, 2020 WL 521896, at *1 (Fed. Cl. Jan. 31, 2020). The plaintiff, William Wanker, PhD. accused the U.S. Gov’t of infringing four of his patents: U.S. patents: 7,302,429; 8,126,779; 8,204,797; and 9,595,041. All four asserted patents relate to “ranking products” using computers and the internet and the accused infringing activity is use of the Gov’t’s Past Performance Information Retrieval System (“PPIRS”).

            The U.S. Gov’t filed its motion to dismiss — arguing that the patents are all invalid as a matter of law under Section 101. Judge Holte has denied the motion — holding that the complaint included sufficient “concrete, factual allegations as to why the claimed combination of elements was not well-understood, routine, or conventional.” In walking through the complaint, Judge Holte disregarded some of the pleadings as mere conclusory statements of law. For instance, the complaint alleged that the invention is a “significant technological improvement . . . not well understood, routine, or conventional activity at the time of the invention.”

            [...]

            The allegations made by the patentee here are specific to his inventions, but any patentee could make parallel allegations in their complaints. As such, this decision appears to provide something of a roadmap for patentees in drafting a complaint sufficient to avoid 12(b)(6). I’ll note that I still find it strange that the complaint was required to provide allegations sufficient to preemptively overcome an affirmative defense of invalidity — but Judge Holte is bound by precedent on that point.

            As a recent professor, it is not surprising that Judge Holte cites to several of his former colleagues as part of his analysis.

          • First days of IPCom: the battle with Nokia begins

            Bernhard Frohwitter knows exactly what he’s doing. The Munich lawyer is an old hand in patent law. Over the past 30 years, he’s fought countless patent battles. Since January 2008, Frohwitter has been waging war on Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia.

            Frohwitter’s company IPCom has sued Nokia for eleven counts of patent infringement. The cases concern patents for mandatory components of the GSM mobile communications standard. Phone manufacturers require these components for SIM cards, sending pictures via MMS or voice coding.

            IPCom is allegedly demanding €12 billion. Even for a global company like Nokia, this is a monumental sum. Unsurprisingly, the mobile phone manufacturer will not take this lying down.

            [...]

            After a while, Frohwitter breaks away from his small circle of lawyers and heads for the opposing team. A lawyer of a similar age approaches him. It’s Wolfgang von Meibom. The two have faced off in court many times over the years.

            Both are the heads of law firms which enjoy a good reputation in patent law. Frohwitter founded his own practice in Munich in 1998, before founding IPCom in 2007. The company’s capital stock consists of patents, which Frohwitter purchased from Robert Bosch GmbH with considerable financial backing from the private equity company Fortress. Von Meibom is the head of law firm Bird & Bird in Germany. Nokia is one of the firm’s most important clients.

          • $2,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on SISVEL Patent

            On February 28, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest with a $2,000 cash prize for prior art submissions for US 8,490,123. The ’123 patent generally relates to an invention that can “generate a user profile and recommendations on the basis of the user’s previously created playlists and properties derived from them.” The patent is owned by SISVEL SPA, a well-known NPE, and has been asserted in district court litigation against Rhapsody and Spotify. To protect innovation and deter future frivolous assertions, Unified is offering a $2,000 cash prize for the best prior art on this patent.

      • Trademarks

        • 2019 IP Law Year In Review – Trademarks

          Trademark jurisprudence in 2019 may be best summarized in two words: questions and answers. Decisions handed down at the district court level have teed up key questions that are poised to be answered by the United States Supreme Court in the 2020 term—such as the protectability of certain “.com” trademarks, as well as the standard for obtaining particular damages in trademark infringement disputes. For brand owners and trademark practitioners, 2019 will also go down as a year that provided answers to many important questions. For example, on numerous occasions in 2019, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board answered questions as to whether certain designs or designations have the capability to function as a source-identifying trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) answered questions relating to the cannabis industry and how the 2018 Farm Bill would be applied in the review of US trademark applications listing goods or services for CBD products. And, the Supreme Court answered an important question for trademark licensees regarding their rights when a trademark licensor goes bankrupt. This report provides a summary of 2019′s most important questions and answers when it comes to trademark law, and serves as a useful guide for navigating trademark prosecution and enforcement efforts into the year ahead.

        • Trade Mark Opposition Decisions in China are Now Public Online

          China is pretty late in adopting this specific administrative initiative compared to many of its counterparts. The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (UKIPO), for example, has published opposition decisions on its website since 1998; and as early as 2005, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) began publishing opposition decisions on its website.

          The delay might be somewhat excusable considering that the workload for its preparation must have been enormous in terms of, inter alia, the huge quantity of oppositions filed. In 2019, CTMO received 144,000 trade mark oppositions, which was a far higher number of cases than those received in the aforementioned offices and in the EUIPO. *

        • SPC rules on registration of single-colour position marks

          French high-end footwear brand Christian Louboutin is celebrating victory over a favourable decision handed down by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in a trade mark administrative proceeding that could help pave the way for the registration of its signature red sole trade mark in China. ZHU Zhigang of the MARQUES China Team reports

          [...]

          The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) upheld the refusal, quoting Article 11.1(3) of the PRC Trademark Law: “…other signs that lack distinctiveness…shall not be registered as trademarks”. In its decision, the TRAB characterized the mark as a “device mark”, a logo, and ruled that this device representing a shoe is not distinctive per se and that it has not acquired distinctiveness through commercial use. The TRAB did not accept the concept of dotted lines not being part of the trade mark.

        • Canada IP office chief wants collaboration and better AI use

          In an exclusive interview with Managing IP, CEO Johanne Belisle delves into global treaties, the struggles with AI and eliminating the need to prove trademark use

        • No Trademark for THE JOINT

          In its decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a TTAB decision refusing to register THE JOINT either for nightclub services (Class 41) or a bar (Class 43). JC Hospitality owns the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada — location of “the JOINT” which has been in operation since 1995.

      • Copyrights

        • The rights of actors and audiovisual performers; a new era for the film and TV industry after the entry into force of the Beijing Treaty in 28th of April 2020?

          The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, signed in 2012 (read here), is about to enter into force (April 28, 2020) after the ratification by Indonesia on January 28, 2020. The objective of the Treaty is to ameliorate the working conditions for performing actors and other audiovisual performers, this by modernizing and updating for the digital era the rights contained in the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961) as well as complementing the provisions in the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

          The Beijing Treaty confers five kinds of exclusive economic rights in audiovisual performances, namely, reproduction, distribution, rental, making available and broadcasting, and communicating to the public.

          With regards to live performances, performers receive three kinds of economic rights, broadcasting (with the exception of rebroadcasting), communication to the public (except when the performance is a broadcast performance) and the right of fixation of the performance.

        • Regulatory divergence post Brexit: Copyright law as an indicator for what is to come

          Article 22 also gives authors and performers a new right to revoke a licence or transfer of rights where there is a lack of exploitation. These new contractual regulations could be considered a challenge to common law principles of freedom of contract, but they lack teeth. While they have been widely welcomed by creators, routes to enforcement remain unclear. Again, there is no obvious alternative policy path.

          The third group of measures is much more controversial. They are introduced in the Directive under the innocuous sounding label of “Measures to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright”. The headline intervention is a change to the liability regime of platforms that host user-uploaded content. Article 17 (formerly 13) creates a new category of ‘online content sharing service provider’ that will no longer benefit from the ‘safe harbour’ of the e-Commerce Directive, a core piece of internet legislation adopted in the year 2000. The e-Commerce Directive exempts platforms from liability for unlawful content found on their services (if removed “expeditiously” following notice).

          In the polarised debate of the Copyright Directive, Article 17 was pushed as a decisive industrial policy measure that would enable the music industry to improve licensing deals and revenue sharing offered by Google’s YouTube service. In an effective trope coined by the UK music industry, Article 17 was to close the “value gap” between European creators and US technology giants. Opponents characterised the measure as a “censorship law” that would lead to the default use of upload filters and the disappearance of “memes” (because they re-use identifiable copyrighted materials).

        • From Bella and Gigi Hadid and Goop to Virgil Abloh and Marc Jacobs: A Running List of Paparazzi Copyright Suits

          With the general rise in social media usage and the decline in conventional advertising formats has come a surge in Instagram-centric ad efforts. This push to meet consumers where they are, i.e., on Instagram, and other social media platforms, has meant that the jobs of influential figures – whether it be fashion bloggers, editors and runway models or reality television stars and more traditional Hollywood celebrities – have expanded to include building and maintaining sizable social media followings in order to leverage those followings for big-money advertising partnerships.

          IMG Models’ Luiz Mattos, the power agent behind the likes of supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid, actress Priyanka Chopra, and longtime Victoria’s Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio, put it best when he told Vogue Business that “these days, models’ jobs don’t end when they leave the studio or the runway … Your job is not only to be in front of the camera. When you finish shooting a campaign and you’re posting on social, you need to have something to say.”

        • BGH: uploading a free-trial version of Microsoft Office is also making available to the public

          The dispute originated due to the commercial activities of the defendant, an online trader, on its webshop and on eBay, where it would offer relatively cheap product keys for software programs, including a volume licensing version of Microsoft Office. After completing their purchase, customers would receive an email containing a product key, presented as a licence for use, along with a link to download the software from a portal located on the defendant’s website. Alternatively, customers could opt for a 30 day free trial version of the same software, which Microsoft also offered on its own website.

          Microsoft brought an action against the defendant, claiming a violation of its exclusive rights to make available to the public, (§ 69c (4) UhrG, implementing Art. 3 (1) Infosoc Directive), and to authorise reproduction (§ 69c (1) UhrG, implementing Art. 4 (1)a Software Directive). The court of appeal did not accept the latter claim, holding that the distribution of product keys could not per se amount to an act of reproduction of the software, but merely to unfair competition (as previously ruled in Green-IT BGH 19.03.2015).

          The BGH was therefore left to rule only on whether making the free trial version of the Office package available for download constituted an infringement of Microsoft’s right of making available to the public (§ 69c (4) in conjunction with §19a UhrG).

        • Man Who Sold Pirate IPTV Must Pay £521,000 or Face Five More Years in Prison

          A man who was sentenced in 2018 to 4.5 years in prison for selling pirate IPTV devices to pubs and clubs has been ordered to pay £520,000 to the public purse. Failure to come up with the funds will result in John Dodds having his prison sentence extended by an additional five years. The Premier League, which brought the action, welcomed the judgment.

        • Switzerland Urges U.S. to Remove it From its ‘Pirate Watchlist’

          On April 1st, Switzerland’s new copyright law will go into effect. The new legislation incorporates many recommendations from copyright holders, including a “stay-down” provision. Not all wishes were granted, however, as site-blocking is off-limits and downloading will remain legal. The country hopes that the changes will nonetheless warrant a removal from the U.S. pirate watchlist.

        • Dutch Music Sales Soar to Nearly €207 Million

          Revenue from streaming sources equaled 161.7 million euros, a 23-percent gain on a year earlier. Over 12 percent of revenue was earned from CD and DVD sales, which fell nearly 16 percent to 25.2 million euros. Vinyl sales were relatively flat at 15.4 million euros, with downloads dropping over 21 percent to a bit over 4 million euros.

          The new figures were released on Thursday music industry lobbying firm NVPI Audio. It covers most music sales, excluding live performances and licensing.

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part III: Imagining an FSF Award Going to Anti-Stallman People

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Speech and Free software

Summary: The next FSF award may be given to Richard Stallman himself; but it might also be given to a person largely responsible for ‘ousting’ Stallman, which would be catastrophic

IN PART ONE, part two and the introduction along with recent posts from Alex [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] we can see that there’s definitely what some can describe as a “coup” — typically a political term. It is an armed and sometimes violent takeover, rarely unarmed or amicable (there’s a recent example in Bolivia).

“…we can see that there’s definitely what some can describe as a “coup” — typically a political term.”Alex is apparently (now or very recently) being accused of "inciting violence" or something along those lines — an implicit charge that tends to be made by gross exaggerations (as apparently happened at the OSI some days ago as well). We’re well familiar with such tactics. Remember that some joke from Linus Torvalds (about the physical size of Greg K-H) was spun as physical threat. Nothing could be further from the truth and we saw the European Patent Office (EPO) making similar accusations against the workers’ union.

But let’s leave all that aside and instead focus on today’s part and its key message. It’s about a committee that shall soon decide if Stallman can receive an award from the FSF now that he's formally eligible.

“Remember that some joke from Linus Torvalds (about the physical size of Greg K-H) was spun as physical threat.”This brings us back to LibrePlanet, which we mentioned yesterday (how it had attempted to control Stallman’s speech, based on numerous sources of ours). “I was told the program had been chosen to avoid being divisive with respect to Stallman,” we once heard. “Then the program was published, and people who presided over statements demanding the FSF to expel Stallman or celebrating his resignation are there, but someone who stood for Stallman isn’t.”

This is a bigger deal than it may sound.

“As a reminder, Bradley Kuhn whilst on the board pushed for Stallman to resign or be ousted.”Stallman, we’re told, “who got alone more nominations than all other nominees together for the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software, has not been passed on to the award committee, because he was a board member for part of the year, but Bradley Kuhn, who remained a board member for a larger part of the year, was passed on to the committee and might/could well get the award if the board doesn’t take a stand to make things right. What an ugly and unfair mess!”

As a reminder, Bradley Kuhn whilst on the board pushed for Stallman to resign or be ousted. It was on his firm’s Web site. Yes, we call it “firm” because that’s what it is. And we learned from reliable sources that Kuhn was the author. It was a strongly-worded statement against Stallman.

If the FSF gives an award to an anti-Stallman person, what further damage can be caused to the FSF? Like they’re rewarding someone for ousting their very founder!

How OSI Co-Founder Got Banned From the OSI’s Mailing Lists (a Month After the Other Co-Founder Resigned in Protest in Those Mailing Lists, Bemoaning Attacks on Software Freedom)

Posted in OSI at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This post is not an endorsement of the message; its purpose is to show what was censored and let people decide for themselves if that merited a ban

 

Date: Wed, Feb 26, 2020 1:09 PM
From: Eric S. Raymond esr@thyrsus.com

Gil Yehuda via License-discuss <license-discuss at lists.opensource.org>:
> Personally I'm confused about the details of the ESD, but that's OK, if I
> wanted to, I'd join the working group and learn more about it.

Here is everything you need to know about the ESD:

* Its originator is a toxic loonytoon who believes "show me the code"
   meritocracy is at best outmoded and in general a sinister supremacist
   plot by straight white cisgender males.

 * The actual goal of the movement behind the ESD is to install political
   officers on every open-source project, passing on what constitutes
   "ethical" and banishing contributors for wrongthink.  Even off-project 
   wrongthink.

 * They have already had an alarming degree of success at this through
   the institution of "Codes of Conduct" on many projects.  This *has*
   led to the expulsion of productive contributors for un-PCness; it's
   not just a problem in theory.

* The "Persona Non Grata" clause is best understood as an attempt to
  paralyze resistance to such political ratfucking by subverting the
  freedom-centered principles of OSI.  It is very unlikely to be the
  last such attempt.

Make no mistake; we are under attack. If we do not recognize the
nature of the attack and reject it, we risk watching the best features
of the open-source subculture be smothered by identity politics and
vulgar Marxism.

-- 
                 Eric S. Raymond

Someone from Verizon then complained. Maybe the OSI just wanted to secure its coffers. OSI deleted the message, which can be judged on its own (e.g. whether it is/was threatening). There may be other messages, but we cannot tell for sure due to the censorship.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 28, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:35 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

02.28.20

Alexandre Oliva Against Bullying and Violence

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president

Previously:

I was ready to come to a close of this series, but an urgent request I got takes priority over the last planned post in the series, now postponed.

I’ve got word of threats of violence and other ongoing forms of bullying against the FSF and LibrePlanet, presumed to be in reaction to my posts.

If you are involved and you think you are doing these things on Richard’s behalf, or mine, or the good old FSF’s, please bear the following in mind. And if you know or suspect someone else who might be engaging in such actions, please pass it on to them.

A main driver of my behavior, including my commitment to and involvement with software freedom, and my writing this series, are my very strong inner sense of justice, and a crushingly demanding conscience.

I can understand the anger sparked by the claims made against my friend. Abuse alone is wrong; abusing the defenseless is outrageously wrong. Our urges to empathize with victims and fight wrongs are great, admirable traits.

However, an eye for an eye is not the path to blind justice, and history is full of outrageous, false and very effective accusations, for personal and political reasons.

I found what was done to my friend very, very wrong. It made me very angry and disappointed in humankind to witness the bullying, the violence, the humiliation, and the life-wrecking changes imposed on my friend, based on twisted, exaggerated and outright false hearsay, that even conflicted with the little available hard evidence that accompanied it. The lack of empathy, understanding and tolerance for his handicaps, including the inability to take hints, the difficulty to read emotions, and the neural wiring that drives to hair-splitting, further aggravated it.

I can thus understand your anger, as you read myself and others state quite damning facts. Though I’m somewhat reassured by the confirmations I got, I’m not at all happy to watch mob justice unfold again. Though facts I’ve witnessed myself are strong evidence to me, to you they’re no more than hearsay.

Bullying is not cool. Violence, even if driven by hearsay-provoked anger, no matter how outrageous the trigger is, is not justice, be the target friend or foe.

It’s rather mob justice, that civilization efforts have for centuries attempted to replace with science- and evidence-based, painfully slow but thoughtful, rational, unbiased and proper justice.

It’s often unsatisfying, for sometimes you can’t prove what you deeply believe, and occasionally a deep belief or plausible suspicion may turn out to be wrong. Aside from evident speculation, I know what I wrote is true. But you don’t, even if you have no reason to doubt me. Even if you have plenty of reasons to believe me!

Let’s show how political pressure can be done in a more civil way, and how justice can be pursued in a more civilized way, shall we?

So blong…


Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

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This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Links 28/2/2020: Qt 5.15 Beta, UBports/Unity8 Now Lomiri, GCC 8.4 Release Candidate

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Regain your focus: Manage your push notifications in Linux

      I have been working in a professional IT environment of a large organization for over 20 years and during that time I have seen a lot of different visions and opinions on individual and collective productivity. What I have noticed in all those years is how many people think that you are a bad-ass professional if you can do an insane amount of tasks simultaneously. But let’s be honest, doing many things at the same time is not the same as doing things right. But gradually, cracks start to appear in the common opinion that it is always good to multitask. More and more studies show that multitasking undermines focus. And focus is necessary to not waste valuable time due to finding back your concentration as a result of an attention switch. Focus makes sure that you can deliver some high-quality results instead of just many, but probably mediocre results. In this article I want to delve deeper into the backgrounds behind focus, productivity, the impact of notifications on your productivity, and the things that you should consider in allowing and managing your push notifications under Linux.

      [...]

      In the introduction I already indicated that nowadays we are increasingly questioning the importance of being good at multitasking, and that perhaps single-tasking is much better. There is, however, a nuance, since multitasking can be fine in itself, as long as all the tasks you want to perform don’t require an equal amount of brain activity and attention. For example, if you like to listen to music during your study time, it is better to listen to instrumental music instead of music in which lyrics play the leading role. With spoken text, you unconsciously interpret and shift your attention from your main task to the music, so you constantly need to refocus back again to your main task. But if you still want to listen to music with vocals, then it is advisable to only listen to music that you have known for years instead of listening to songs with song texts that you have never heard before. New texts subconsciously require more of your attention than texts that you have already known for years. Multitasking is therefore only great when it comes to a combination of simple activities alongside your main task, such as making simple sketches, creating doodles, playing with an elastic band, or chewing your pencil, during a colleague’s presentation or while reading an advice report or listening to a teacher. These doodles and fiddling with a piece of rubber do not require brain effort, so you can keep all your real focus on the main task. But constantly looking at your messages on your mobile phone while listening to a presentation of your colleague, will lead to a loss of focus and loss of information, and of course this is not the nicest and most respectful thing to do in front of a presenting colleague.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • South Korea Government Considers Move to Linux Desktop

        The South Korean Government is on the verge of migrating from Windows 7 to Linux on the desktop. This began back in May 2019, when South Korea’s Interior Ministry announced the plans to look into making the switch.

        Since that initial date, the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Planning announced the government is now exploring migrating over three million Windows 7 desktops over to Linux. According to Choi Jang-hyuk (head of the Ministry of Strategy and Finance), South Korea will resolve their dependency on Microsoft while reducing the budget by migrating to an open source operating system.

    • Server

      • Bring your ideas to the world with kubectl plugins

        kubectl is the most critical tool to interact with Kubernetes and has to address multiple user personas, each with their own needs and opinions. One way to make kubectl do what you need is to build new functionality into kubectl.

        Challenges with building commands into kubectl

        However, that’s easier said than done. Being such an important cornerstone of Kubernetes, any meaningful change to kubectl needs to undergo a Kubernetes Enhancement Proposal (KEP) where the intended change is discussed beforehand.

        When it comes to implementation, you’ll find that kubectl is an ingenious and complex piece of engineering. It might take a long time to get used to the processes and style of the codebase to get done what you want to achieve. Next comes the review process which may go through several rounds until it meets all the requirements of the Kubernetes maintainers – after all, they need to take over ownership of this feature and maintain it from the day it’s merged.

        When everything goes well, you can finally rejoice. Your code will be shipped with the next Kubernetes release. Well, that could mean you need to wait another 3 months to ship your idea in kubectl if you are unlucky.

        So this was the happy path where everything goes well. But there are good reasons why your new functionality may never make it into kubectl. For one, kubectl has a particular look and feel and violating that style will not be acceptable by the maintainers. For example, an interactive command that produces output with colors would be inconsistent with the rest of kubectl. Also, when it comes to tools or commands useful only to a minuscule proportion of users, the maintainers may simply reject your proposal as kubectl needs to address common needs.

        But this doesn’t mean you can’t ship your ideas to kubectl users.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-02-27 | Linux Headlines

        The Raspberry Pi Foundation has a birthday surprise, Subversion hits the 20-year mark, CouchDB ratchets up its security with version 3, and the Smithsonian Institution makes a big donation to the public domain.

      • Brunch with Brent: Brandon Bruce | Jupiter Extras 59

        Brent sits down with Brandon Bruce, Director of Customer Support at Linux Academy. We explore the world of support, how his former role as professional chef informs his “Kitchen Brigade” approach to building a support team, analytics data’s ability to reveal surprising user experience patterns, and more.

      • \o/ | User Error 86

        Whether open source needs to be a complete experience, a deep need for conflict, preferred social media, and our favorite emoji.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Panfrost Open-Source Arm Mali GPU Driver Gets Experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 Support

          Panfrost is the open-source driver being developed for Arm Midgard and Bitfrost GPUs. The first versions focused on support for OpenGL ES 2.0, but the more recent OpenGL ES 3.0 enables faster and more realistic rendering.

          The goods news is that Panfros support for experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 has landed in Mesa according to a recent post on Collabora blog.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 Released With More Features For Open-Source, Cross-Platform Automated Benchmarking

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available as one of our largest updates in recent years for our open-source, cross-platform automated benchmarking framework. Almost wanting to rebrand it as Phoronix Test Suite 10, sticking to conventional versioning the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 release brings numerous result viewer improvements, a lot of polishing to the PDF result exporting, various Microsoft Windows support improvements, new statistics capabilities, some useful new sub-commands, and much more as the latest quarterly feature release.

      • Linux 5.6 Tests On AMD EPYC 7742 vs. Intel Xeon 8280 2P With 100+ Benchmarks

        The latest benchmarks for your viewing pleasure are looking at the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 performance up against the dual AMD EPYC 7742 CPUs while using the in-development Linux 5.6 kernel as the first time trying out these highest-end server processors on this new kernel debuting as stable in about one month’s time.

    • Applications

      • The 15 Best Biology Tools for Linux to Use in 2020

        Biology, also known as life science, is one of the core branches of knowledge. It deals with the vital processes of living organisms. The history of research and development in this field is quite ancient. With the development of computer technology, men have created some real progress in this field. From conquering fatal diseases to solving the mystery of a living organism, the computer is a great companion for the biologists. There are many open-source biology tools available out there. Linux is a very customizable open-source operating system that is preferred by many researchers. So if you are a biologist or an amateur biology enthusiast looking for some Linux biology software, you might want to check out these biology tools for Linux PC to get the most out of your study or research.

      • Top 20 must-have apps for your Ubuntu PC

        Here are the best apps that are must-have once your setup your Ubuntu PC. Each of the apps below is hand-picked, considering the versatility, ease of use, features, and consistent updates.

        OK, this one is going to be a long one, so grab a cup of coffee and scroll through the best apps that we think are must-have for your Ubuntu PC. We have hand-picked each one of these considering the most common categories that suit an average Linux user.

        For example, we recommend a versatile app for the image editing category, an intuitive GUI based video editor for all your multimedia editing needs, and so on.

      • 10 Best Free Linux Speech Recognition Tools – Open Source Software

        Speech is an increasingly popular method of interacting with electronic devices such as computers, phones, tablets, and televisions. Speech is probabilistic, and speech engines are never 100% accurate. But technological advances have meant speech recognition engines offer better accuracy in understanding speech. The better the accuracy, the more likely customers will engage with this method of control. And, according to a study by Stanford University, the University of Washington and Chinese search giant Baidu, smartphone speech is three times quicker than typing a search query into a screen interface.

        The speech recognition market is estimated to be worth about $10 billion a year in the next four years. Witness the rise of intelligent personal assistants, such as Siri for Apple, Cortana for Microsoft, and Mycroft for Linux. The assistants use voice queries and a natural language user interface to attempt to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions without the requirement of keyboard input. And the popularity of speech to control devices is testament to dedicated products that have dropped in large quantities such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Speech recognition is also used in smart watches, household appliances, and in-car assistants. In-car applications have lots of mileage (excuse the pun). Some of the in-car applications include navigation, asking for weather forecasts, finding out the traffic situation ahead, and controlling elements of the car, such as the sunroof, windows, and music player.

      • PyIDM – An Open Source Alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager)

        pyIDM is a free, open-source alternative to IDM (Internet Download Manager), used to download general files and videos from youtube as well as other streaming websites. It is developed using Python (requires Python 3.6+) and relies only on open source tools and libraries such as pycurl, youtube_dl, FFmpeg, and pysimplegui.

        It features multiple-connections, a speed engine (and it offers high download speeds based on libcurl); resume uncompleted downloads, support for fragmented video streams, support for encrypted/non-encrypted HLS (HTTP Live Streaming) media streams.

        Besides, it also supports scheduling downloads, re-using an existing connection to a remote server, and HTTP proxy support. And it allows users to control options such as selecting a theme (there are 140 themes available), set proxy, selecting segment size, speed limit, maximum concurrent downloads and maximum connections per download.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Awesome looking pixel-art arcade adventure ‘Battle Axe’ fully funded and coming to Linux

        Battle Axe inspired by titles like Gauntlet, Golden Axe, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara and more looks quite incredible and the good news is their Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign was fully funded.

        In fact, they got quite a bit more funding than their initial £40,000 goal. The campaign ended on around £73,918 which means two interesting goals were hit. It’s going to have a New Game+ mode with a fresh challenge once you finished, plus an endless mode to see how long you can survive.

      • Cyberpunk grid-based dungeon crawler ‘Conglomerate 451′ is out with Linux support

        True to their word which is great to see, RuneHeads and 1C Entertainment really pushed the button to fully release Conglomerate 451 and Linux support is live.

        Set in 2099, in a future where corporations are involved in organised gang warfare, Conglomerate city is being overrun and now it’s your job to clear it up and take out the trash. Using newly approved clones, you will build up a team to eradicate crime and restore order at any cost.

      • Metro Exodus to get a release date for Linux “soon” say 4A Games

        Recently, Metro Exodus ended its Epic Store exclusivity and Deep Silver (the publisher) confirmed it was heading to Linux. In a recent Reddit AMA (Ask me anything), the developer 4A Games mentioned the Linux port too.

      • Snaliens, a brain-twisting family-friendly puzzle game is out now

        The Snaliens are separated and marooned on an unknown planet after some kind of mechanical problem with their spaceship, so it’s up to you to reunite them in this puzzle game.

        A simple premise, with simple game mechanics. Each level puts you into a new puzzle, with you needing to direct the Snalien to the exit. However, there’s plenty of things in your way and you need to push certain blocks around to make a path, activate switches and more.

      • Extreme sports game ‘Descenders’ is free to play all weekend, plus a sale and update

        Descenders, an extreme sports downhill freeriding game from RageSquid and No More Robots just got another sweet update and you can now try it free for the weekend.

        The update adds in a new Bike Park section to the game, with a bunch of hand-craft maps and a very popular community-made Stoker Bike Park by ‘Spe’. Additionally, they’re going to be directly adding in more maps created by Spe into the game ‘on a regular basis’. You can find a lot more extra content for Descenders on mod.io, the cross-platform modding site (like Steam Workshop for all platforms).

      • OBS Studio gains another big sponsor with Facebook

        Do you make videos? Livestream? Well, you probably know of or use the cross-platform open source OBS Studio and how it’s basically the go-to for such things and they just gained another huge sponsor.

        Facebook join Twitch in being a top-level “Premiere Tier” sponsor, meaning they give a higher sum than $50,000 (which is the minimum for Diamond Tier, which is down a level). In a new blog post on the official OBS site, they mentioned how they’re now looking to grow their team thanks to the level of funding they have been getting. Ending on a personal note, developer Hugh Bailey (“Jim”) mentioned how thankful they are for the support from “sponsors, contributors, volunteers, and especially all of our users” as without them all it wouldn’t be where it is.

      • With ‘next generation 4CPT vehicle physics’ the racing game DRAG finally has a Steam page

        Remember DRAG? An exciting sounding racing game with “next generation 4CPT vehicle physics (4-way contact point traction technology)” we covered here two years ago. Well, it’s finally nearing a release.

        It just recently gained a Steam page to make it more official and they’ve confirmed it’s going to be entering Early Access sometime this year.

      • The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place is a free ‘examination of the violence of erasure’

        Studio Oleomingus, a tiny two-person studio based out of India have released another short free 3D story adventure. Previous works include a Museum of Dubious Splendors and In the Pause Between the Ringing, two more free 3D exploration games and they will eventually be releasing a full-length experience with Under a Porcelain Sun.

        With their latest, The Indifferent Wonder of an Edible Place, they’re getting a bit political. Like with a Museum of Dubious Splendors, it’s somewhat based on the written works of Mir UmarHassan, the fabled Gujarati poet and in this case it’s a sort-of adaption of a satirical poem they wrote titled “The Building Eaters of Matsyapur”. The game uses a blend of descriptive text and surrealist visuals to ponder the violence of erasure and the profound grief of having to survive on the margins of history.

      • Blendo Games have open sourced their strategic space adventure ‘Flotilla’

        To celebrate Flotilla turning 10 years old, Blendo Games announced today that it’s been made open source.

        Flotilla is a mixture of a space exploration adventure, with turn-based tactical combat and branching events when you do the exploring. It only gained Linux support last year, when Ethan Lee ported it from XNA to the FNA project.

      • Lair of the Clockwork God gains an unofficial Linux build for testing

        Announced today on Twitter, they mentioned this is not officially supported yet and they’re looking for some help in testing. Just do note though, that this is one of those no promises deals so if you go and buy it specifically for Linux—you know what you’re getting into. If you do own it and want to test, they’re asking for the feedback in their Discord.

      • Stellaris: Federations releases on March 17 with a new trailer

        Today, Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio announced the huge Stellaris: Federations expansion will be releasing on March 17.

        Giving a much needed boost to the diplomacy systems in this grand-scale space strategy game, “players can build up the internal cohesion of their Federations and unlock powerful rewards for all members” and it sounds like it’s going to make the meta game later in Stellaris much more interesting

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.15 Beta1 Released

          I am happy to announce to you Qt 5.15 is moved to Beta phase and we have released Qt 5.15 Beta1 today.

          As earlier our plan is to publish new Beta N releases regularly until Qt 5.15 is ready for RC. Current estimate for Qt 5.15 RC is ~ end of April, see details from Qt 5.15 releasing wiki.

          Please take a tour now & test Beta1 packages. As usual you can get Qt 5.15 Beta1 by using Qt online installer (for new installations) or by using maintenance tool from your existing Qt online installation. Separate Beta1 source packages are also available in qt account and in download.qt.io

        • Qt 5.15 Reaches Beta

          The Qt Company has released their first beta of the forthcoming Qt 5.15 tool-kit.

          Out today is the first of several betas until the release candidate phase is ready, which the company hopes will be ready by late April, and the stable release in turn in May.

          The brief Qt 5.15 beta announcement can be read on qt.io.

    • Distributions

      • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 142 is available for testing

        Only days after finally releasing our new DNS stack in IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141, we are ready to publish the next update for testing: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 142.

        This update comes with many features that massively improve the security and hardening of the IPFire operating system. We have also removed some more components of the systems that are no longer needed to shrink the size of the operating system on disk.

        We have a huge backlog of changes that are ready for testing in a wider audience. Hopefully we will be able to deliver those to you in a swift series of Core Updates. Please help us testing, or if you prefer, send us a donation so that we can keep working on these things.

      • IPFire 2.25 Core Update 142 Testing Version Available for Download!

        PFire 2.25 Core Update 142 Released: IPFire is also a Linux distribution and it is mainly used as a web-based interface for operational management. IPFire Linux aimed to provide the high level of security and easy equipping. The developers of IPFire releasing the updates frequently to keep the IPFire OS safe and secure. IPFire Distro comes with PAKFire custom package manager.
        Yesterday, Michael Tremer said that the latest version IPFire 2.25 Core update testing version has been released and available for download.

      • Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine

        You are here: Home / Games / Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine
        Solus Linux Creator Ikey Doherty Enters the Game Dev Business With a New Open Source Game Engine
        Last updated February 28, 2020 By John Paul Leave a Comment

        Ikey Doherty, the creator and former lead dev of Solus, is back with a new project. His new company, Lispy Snake, Ltd, uses open source technology to create games, with a focus on Linux support.

        I asked Ikey some questions about his new project. Here are his answers.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • DRM Plugin crashes after openSUSE Tumbleweed update

          A few days ago openSUSE users started complaining about DRM Plugin crashes in Firefox after running a Tumbleweed update.

          Netflix requires the DRM plugin in Firefox to be able to play encrypted videos. The plugin would crash due to a bug in Firefox 73. While this bug affected not just openSUSE users, but everyone using Firefox 73, it became apparent to TW users as v73 landed in the Tumbleweed repo.

        • How Melissa Di Donato Is Going To Reinvent SUSE

          SUSE is one of the oldest open source companies and the first to market Linux for the enterprise. Even though it has undergone several acquisitions and a merger, it remains a strong player in the business. It has maintained its integrity and core values around open source. It continues to rely on its tried-and-tested Linux business and European markets, and generally shies away from making big moves taking big risks.

          Until now.

          SUSE appointed Melissa Di Donato as its first female CEO. She is making some serious changes to the company, from building a diverse and inclusive culture to betting on emerging technologies and taking risks.

          Soon after taking the helm last year, Di Donato spent the first few months traveling around the globe to meet SUSE teams and customers and get a better sense of the perception of the market about the company.

          Just like Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, Di Donato didn’t come to the company from an open source background. She had spent the last 25 years of her career as a SUSE customer, so she did have an outsider’s perspective of the company.

          “I am not interested in what SUSE was when I joined. I am more interested in what we want to become,” she said.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro Linux 19.0 MATE Edition Is Out Now with MATE 1.24 Desktop

          Released earlier this week, Manjaro Linux 19.0 shipped with the official flavors, including Xfce, GNOME, KDE Plasma, and Architect. Now, users can download and use the latest release of the Arch Linux-based distribution with the MATE desktop environment too.

          Manjaro Linux 19.0 MATE Edition comes with the same under-the-hood components and changes included in the main editions, such as the Linux 5.4 LTS kernel, Pamac 9.3 package management system with Flatpak and Snap support, as well as improved and polished tools.

          On top of that, the MATE edition brings all the features of the latest MATE 1.24 desktop environment, such as support for NVMe drives, improved support for HiDPI/4K displays, support for mouse acceleration profiles, as well as embedded color profiles and Wayland support for Eye of MATE.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora’s gaggle of desktops

          There are 38 different desktops or window managers in Fedora 31. You could try a different one every day for a month, and still have some left over. Some have very few features. Some have so many features they are called a desktop environment. This article can’t go into detail on each, but it’s interesting to see the whole list in one place.

          To be on this list, the desktop must show up on the desktop manager’s selection list. If the desktop has more than one entry in the desktop manager list, they are counted just as that one desktop. An example is “GNOME”, “GNOME Classic” and “GNOME (Wayland).” These all show up on the desktop manager list, but they are still just GNOME.

        • The Fedora Project’s One Sentence Vision

          Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller recently talked about his vision for the Fedora Project over the next decade and it to become an “operating system factory”, among other advancements he hopes to see out of the project in the 2020s. A one-sentence vision for Fedora is now drafted as their vision statement.

        • Let’s keep writing a new vision statement for Fedora

          If you compare it to the first draft, you’ll notice we shortened it to one sentence. We kept the parts we felt were most important: everyone benefiting from free & open source software and the attributes of the communities that make it.

          The word benefit is important here. It’s not enough that the software is there, waiting to be used. It has to be accessible and usable. This was much longer in our first draft, so shortening it here seems right.

          We also cut out the sentence about Fedora being a reference for everyone who shares this vision. We still want to be that, but that’s implied by the fact that we have this vision in the first place. Why bother expressing a vision that we wouldn’t want to be an influential part of? And frankly, it’s hard to get the wording right, especially in a way that works across languages and cultures.

        • Enable Git Commit Message Syntax Highlighting in Vim on Fedora

          When setting up new machines, I’m often frustrated by lack of syntax highlighting for git commit messages in vim. On my main workstation, vim uses comforting yellow letters for the first line of my commit message to let me know I’m good on line length, or red background to let me know my first line is too long, and after the first line it automatically inserts a new line break whenever I’ve typed past 72 characters. It’s pretty nice. I can never remember how I get it working in the end, and I spent too long today trying to figure it out yet again. Eventually I realized there was another difference besides the missing syntax highlighting: I couldn’t see the current line or column number, and I couldn’t see the mode indicator either. Now you might be able to guess my mistake: git was not using /usr/bin/vim at all! Because Fedora doesn’t have a default $EDITOR, git defaults to using /usr/bin/vi, which is basically sad trap vim. Solution:

        • Executive Q&A: Stephen Leonard, GM of IBM’s Cognitive Systems

          There is no single path that business executives travel. The best managers have significant talent that is then honed to a fine edge by training, experience and a willingness to take up new challenges. Employers contribute hugely to the process, of course, and it is difficult to think of a company that does a better job of recognizing, training and advancing new leaders than IBM.

          I recently had a chance to interview Stephen Leonard, General Manager of IBM’s Cognitive Systems where he is responsible for the development, sales and marketing of the company’s Power Systems solutions, as well as offerings for cloud computing platforms and data centers. Our discussion covered a wide range of issues and events that have colored Leonard’s 30+ years with IBM.

        • IBM Sterling enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems

          A deep understanding of customers’ wants and needs are key to driving supply-chain efficiencies and enhanced customer experiences. An intelligent call center solution equips customer care representatives (CSRs) with deep insights in a natural language-based conversation interface to solve complex customer queries.

          On a typical day, a CSR opens multiple tabs/applications to address a single query, spending an enormous amount of time on a customer call, thereby impacting the customer experience. This is especially detrimental during peak business hours, when it is important to resolve issues quickly since there is typically a backlog of waiting calls. Wouldn’t it impress the customer if the CSR proactively asked, “Are you calling about the accessories that you bought yesterday?”, along with a warning that the order may be delayed. Informing the customer and providing a discount voucher or a different added benefit results in a much happier customer.

          The heart of this improved customer experience is the IBM Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson™, which infuses conversational AI capabilities into the IBM Sterling Call Center and enables intelligent orchestration of customer transactions across back-end record systems. It also surfaces recommendations and best next steps based to enable quick and easy decision-making for the CSRs. The Sterling Supply Chain Business Assistant With Watson appears as a pop-up over the IBM Sterling Call Center application and can be embedded into any other application. Sample insights are shown below.

        • Scaling Persistent Volume Claims with Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2

          For choosing a storage solution for dynamic provisioning of persistent volume claims (PVC) in OpenShift Container Platform, the time it takes to bind and prepare a PVC for the use with application pods is a crucial factor.

          For Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 we performed a series of tests investigating how OCP v4.2 behaves from a scalability point of view. We wanted to know how fast application pods are starting when PVCs are from different storage classes provided, and to get get numbers which can be used when making decisions when choosing storage solution for OCP application pods.

          The test results presented in this document are recommended values for OpenShift Container Storage v4.2 and do not show the real limits for Openshift Container Storage v4.2, which are higher. We will conduct more scalability tests for future OpenShift Container Storage releases.

          For future OpenShift Container Storage releases we plan to target configurations for cases when more pods are running on the OpenShift Container Platform cluster and are actively requesting PVCs originating from Openshift Container Storage.

          In this document we describe test processes and results gathered during PVC scale test execution with Openshift Container Storage v4.2 showing why OpenShift Container Storage is the supreme storage solution for use cases where pod density and PVC allocation speed are key, as e.g. in CI/CD environments.

        • Red Hat Extends Partner Offerings to Drive Open Hybrid Cloud Innovation

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced enhancements to its partner offerings centered around open hybrid cloud innovation and in support of the growing demand for cloud-native solutions within the Red Hat ecosystem. Using the proven innovations of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4 as the foundation, Red Hat Partner Connect is expanding its certification programs and support services to better equip partners for an IT world built on hybrid and multicloud deployments.

          Red Hat Partner Connect provides many partnership opportunities, including certification offerings and enablement for software, hardware, services and cloud service providers that develop products and services for Red Hat hybrid cloud platforms. The program offers partners a set of tools and alignment opportunities to automate, accelerate and streamline modern application development for the world’s leading enterprise Linux platform in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform, Red Hat OpenShift. Certified partner products deliver interoperable, supported solutions to customers. Marketing and sales related benefits are also available to partners completing certification programs.

        • Which container platforms are right for your cloud-native strategy?
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Touch Mobile OS Drops “8” From Its Desktop Environment Unity8

          The market for Linux-based mobile operating systems isn’t that crowded; UBports is one of the stakeholders in the same market that develops and takes care of Ubuntu-based OS, Ubuntu Touch, for smartphones.

          Slowly but surely, Ubuntu Touch is gaining popularity with more platform support. Hence, the UBPorts team discussed their name clash of the “Unity8” desktop environment with the most popular game engine brand “Unity.” As a result, UBPorts renamed “Unit8” to “Lomiri.”

        • UBports: Unity8 Becomes Lomiri, the Linux Environment for Ubuntu Touch

          Unity8 is dead, long live Lomiri! UBports, the maker of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system for Ubuntu Phone devices is unveiling today the new name of the Unity8 project as Lomiri.

          Based on Unity8, Lomiri promises to continue the great work left by Canonical and add new features and improvements to provide Linux phone users with a slick and user-friendly interface for their mobile devices.

          So why the name change you may ask? Well, according to UBports, there are several reasons for the Unity8 renaming. First, many people were apparently confused about the Unity name, confusing it with the Unity 2D/3D game engine.

        • UBPorts Unity8 Convergence Environment Becomes Lomiri

          Back in April 2017, Canonical decided to refocus Ubuntu development for the Cloud and IoT, dropping their mobile/desktop convergence efforts. So Unity8 environment was dropped in favor of GNOME desktop environment, which to this date is still used in recent versions of Ubuntu Desktop operating system.

          As a reminder, Unity8 was both suitable for desktop PCs, as well as smartphones and tablets through Ubuntu Touch. But at the time, it was working fairly well, even found in devices such as BQ Aquaris M10 tablets. Since the code was open source, UBPorts developer community was formed and a few months later they released their first image for supported phones such as OnePlus One, FairPhone 2, or Optimus L90.

        • Unity 8 Desktop Renamed To Lomiri

          The Unity 8 desktop environment that continues to be developed by the UBports open-source community for use on UBports’ Ubuntu Touch and ultimately back on the Linux desktop as well have renamed the project.

          The Unity 8 environment was renamed to Lomiri. Renaming Unity 8 was done to avoid confusion with the Unity Tech 2D/3D game engine leading to confused users on both sides. The other issue was with Unity 8 being packaged up for other Linux distributions like Debian and Fedora, some packagers didn’t want “ubuntu” appearing in any package strings for different Unity 8 dependencies.

          So to avoid confusion, the UBports team decided to rename Unity 8 to Lomiri, pronounced as low-mee-ree.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Default Wallpaper Revealed

          Now, it’s fair to say that the forthcoming release of Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ is shaping up to be fairly fantastic (and feature-filled). But every great Ubuntu release needs an equally great wallpaper to go alongside it.

          And with the ‘Disco Dingo’ and the ‘Eoan Ermine’ mascots making suitably strong impressions on their debuts last year, the flashy ‘Focal Fossa’ has some feverish expectations to live up to…

          So without any further ado here it is; feast your eyes on the funky, fresh new feline-themed wallpaper below. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it makes a mighty fine first impression!

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpapers Revealed[Latest]

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Released: Canonical released the default wallpapers of the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS codenamed Focal Fossa which is scheduled for release on April 2020. The new wallpaper follows the same trend as the earlier versions, Eoan Ermine and Bionic Beaver. Check out: Terminology behind the Codename of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        • Experimental feature: snap refresh awareness and update inhibition

          We’d like to follow up on last week’s article about parallel installs for classic snaps with another bleeding-edge topic. Today, we will discuss snap refreshes. By design, snaps come with automatic updates, and by default, the update (refresh) frequency check is four times a day. Whenever new application versions are published, they soon become available and propagate to all end-user systems.

          Normally, the process is transparent and seamless, but there could be exceptions. For instance, if you have an app open and running, an update could be disruptive in the middle of your work. Some developers have asked for an option to inhibit refreshes of snaps while they are running, and this is now a new, experimental feature that you can enable and test on your system.

          [...]

          The app refresh capability offers snaps users another level of control in the overall user experience. Automatic updates are geared toward security, but users can defer updates for up to 60 days, and now, they also have the ability to gracefully update applications with minimal disruption to their normal usage patterns and workflows.

          We very much welcome your feedback and suggestions, especially with new and upcoming features. The refresh awareness option is a good example of where the developer feedback has been valuable and useful in making the snap ecosystem even friendlier and more robust. If you have any ideas on this topic – or any other, please join our forum for a discussion.

        • How Domotz streamlined provisioning of IoT devices

          Learn how Ubuntu Core and snaps gives Domotz a competitive advantage

          As the number of IoT devices scale, the challenges of provisioning and keeping them up to date in the field increases. Domotz, who manufacture an all-in-one, network monitoring and management device for enterprise IoT networks, found themselves with this challenge that was further compounded by their rapid software release cadence.

          One of the most crucial and difficult aspects for Domotz to solve was the delivery of automatic updates to the tens of thousands of devices deployed. Domotz turned to snaps and Ubuntu Core to meet their exacting requirements.

          I absolutely believe that Ubuntu Core and snaps give us a competitive advantage. We are the only company in the IoT network management space that can guarantee a secure, always-up-to-date device for our customers’ on-premises deployments.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 technologists on careers in tech for minorities

        In honor of Black History Month, I’ve garnered the opinions of a few of my favorite technology professionals and open source contributors. These four individuals are paving the way for the next generation alongside the work they’re doing in the technology industry. Learn what Black History Month means to them, what influences their career, resources for minorities wanting to break into tech, and more.

      • Purges

        • What is a safe space?

          When foreign people come along with a different, but no less valid, Code of Conduct, zealots start screaming out for the comfort of their safe space. That is how we get the hysteria that precipitated the Hanau shooting and the lynching of Polish workers in the UK in the name of Brexit.

          The Third Reich may have been the ultimate example of the search for a safe space: a safe space for the white Aryan race. Nazis really believed they were creating a safe space. Germans allowed the Nazis to rule, in the belief that they were supporting a safe space.

          The golden rule of a safe space is that it is only safe for some. As George Orwell puts it, All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

          Tolerance and safe spaces are mutually exclusive.

        • The right to be rude

          The historian Robert Conquest once wrote: “The behavior of any bureaucratic organization can best be understood by assuming that it is controlled by a secret cabal of its enemies.”

          Today I learned that the Open Source Initiative has reached that point of bureaucratization. I was kicked off their lists for being too rhetorically forceful in opposing certain recent attempts to subvert OSD clauses 5 and 6. This despite the fact that I had vocal support from multiple list members who thanked me for being willing to speak out.

          It shouldn’t be news to anyone that there is an effort afoot to change – I would say corrupt – the fundamental premises of the open souce culture. Instead of meritocracy and “show me the code”, we are now urged to behave so that no-one will ever feel uncomfortable.

          The effect – the intended effect, I should say, is to diminish the prestige and autonomy of people who do the work – write the code – in favor of self-appointed tone-policers. In the process, the freedom to speak necessary truths even when the manner in which they are expressed is unpleasant is being gradually strangled.

          And that is bad for us. Very bad. Both directly – it damages our self-correction process – and in its second-order effects. The habit of institutional tone policing, even when well-intentioned, too easily slides into the active censorship of disfavored views.

        • Access an independent, uncensored version of Planet Debian

          Please update your bookmarks and RSS subscriptions to use the new links / feeds below.

          A number of differences of opinion have emerged in the Debian Community recently.

          People have expressed concern about blogs silently being removed from Planet Debian and other Planet sites in the free software universe.

          These actions hide the great work that some Debian Developers are doing and undermines our mutual commitment to transparency in the Debian Social Contract.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Hoping To Combat ISP Snooping, Mozilla Enables Encrypted DNS

            Historically, like much of the internet, DNS hasn’t been all that secure. That’s why Mozilla last year announced it would begin testing something called “DNS over HTTPS,” a significant security upgrade to DNS that encrypts and obscures your domain requests, making it more difficult (though not impossible) to see which websites a user is visiting. Obviously, this puts a bit of a wrinkle in government, telecom, or other organizational efforts to use DNS records to block and filter content, or track and sell user activity.

      • Events

        • Linux Security Summit North America 2020: CFP and Registration

          Note that the conference this year has moved from August to June (24-26). The location is Austin, TX, and we are co-located with the Open Source Summit as usual.

          We’ll be holding a 3-day event again, after the success of last year’s expansion, which provides time for tutorials and ad-hoc break out sessions. Please note that if you intend to submit a tutorial, you should be a core developer of the project or otherwise recognized leader in the field, per this guidance from the CFP…

        • Learn about Fulfilling Your Organization’s Business Needs at SUSECON 2020!

          SUSECON 2020 is a unique opportunity to educate yourself about all the most important developments in enterprise open source technology, in one location, during more than 160 sessions, over five days. Register now – you don’t want to miss this opportunity!

        • Prepare for the Future With Roadmap Presentations at SUSECON 2020

          SUSECON 2020 is one of the best opportunities of the year to immerse yourself in SUSE technologies and get answers your questions about open source and SUSE solutions. This is the one time each year that we bring all our technology superstars together to talk about the future. Click here to register – you don’t want to miss it!
          By attending SUSECON 2020, you will have the opportunity to learn about forthcoming SUSE solutions to help your organization accomplish its business goals.

        • Canonical at the 9th OSM Hackfest, Madrid

          To all telecommunications service providers, global system integrators, research institutions, OSM community members and innovators all over the world: heads-up! The 9th OSM Hackfest starts in two weeks and Canonical as always will be there. We will lead hackfest sessions, answer any questions you may have and help drive the evolution of the OSM project. The event will be hosted by Telefonica in Madrid, Spain from 9th to 13th of March.

          NOTE: seats are limited, so don’t wait for any longer and register today.

          OSM (open source MANO) is an open-source project that enables telcos with MANO (management and orchestration) capabilities for VNFs (virtual network functions). It is hosted by ETSI and supported by 14 global telecommunications service providers with 137 organisations involved in total. Starting from release SEVEN, OSM now supports the possibility of deploying CNF (container network function) workloads on Kubernetes.

        • BSides SF 2020 CTF: Infrastructure Engineering and Lessons Learned

          Last weekend, I had the pleasure of running the BSides San Francisco CTF along with friends and co-conspirators c0rg1, symmetric and iagox86. This is something like the 4th or 5th year in a row that I’ve been involved in this, and every year, we try to do a better job than the year before, but we also try to do new things and push the boundaries. I’m going to review some of the infrastructure we used, challenges we faced, and lessons we learned for next year.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice-Based Collabora Office Is Now Available on Android and iOS

          Collabora Office moves from the big screen of desktop computers to the smaller screen of mobile devices. Apps are now available for free on Android and iOS (iPhone and iPad), putting a powerful and feature-full LibreOffice backed office suite on users’ pockets.

          Promising full control over your documents and top privacy settings, Collabora Office for Android and iOS offers rich editing features, copy and paste of rich content, offline editing support, easy-to-use slide sorting for presentations, and easy handling of spreadsheets and tables.

          Collabora Office for Android and iOS also integrates with third-party storage services like Nextcloud, ownCloud, Seafile, OneDrive or Dropbox, but it gives users the liberty to store their documents locally on the device too.

      • Programming/Development

        • A beginner’s guide to everything DevOps

          While there is no single definition, I consider DevOps to be a process framework that ensures collaboration between development and operations teams to deploy code to production environments faster in a repeatable and automated way. We will spend the rest of this article unpacking that statement.

          The word “DevOps” is an amalgamation of the words “development” and “operations.” DevOps helps increase the speed of delivering applications and services. It allows organizations to serve their customers efficiently and become more competitive in the market. In simple terms, DevOps is an alignment between development and IT operations with better communication and collaboration.

          DevOps assumes a culture where collaboration among the development, operations, and business teams is considered a critical aspect of the journey. It’s not solely about the tools, as DevOps in an organization creates continuous value for customers. Tools are one of its pillars, alongside people and processes. DevOps increases organizations’ capability to deliver high-quality solutions at a swift pace. It automates all processes, from build to deployment, of an application or a product.

        • How to solve the DevOps vs. ITSM culture clash

          Since its advent, DevOps has been pitted against IT service management (ITSM) and its ITIL framework. Some say “ITIL is under siege,” some ask you to choose sides, while others frame them as complementary. What is true is that both DevOps and ITSM have fans and detractors, and each method can influence software delivery and overall corporate culture.

        • JFrog Launches JFrog Multi-Cloud Universal DevOps Platform

          DevOps technology company JFrog has announced its new hybrid, multi-cloud, universal DevOps platform called the JFrog Platform that drives continuous software releases from any source to any destination. By delivering tools in an all-in-one solution, the JFrog Platform aims to empower organizations, developers and DevOps engineers to meet increased delivery requirements.

          For the uninitiated, JFrog is the creator of Artifactory, the heart of the Universal DevOps platform for automating, managing, securing, distributing, and monitoring all types of technologies.

        • New Caddyfile and more

          The new Caddyfile enables experimental HTTP3 support. Also I’ve added a few redirects to my new domain. All www prefix requests get redirected to their version without www prefix. My old domain nullday.de redirects now to my new domain shibumi.dev. Also I had to add connect-src ‘self’ to my CSP, because Google Lighthouse seems to have problems with defalt-src ‘none’. If just default-src ‘none’ is being set, Google Lighthouse can’t access your robot.txt. This seems to be an issue in the Google Lighthouse implementation, the Google Search Bot is not affected.

        • Content Addressed Vocabulary

          How can systems communicate and share meaning? Communication within systems is preceded by a form of meta-communication; we must have a sense that we mean the same things by the terms we use before we can even use them.

          This is challenging enough for humans who must share meaning, but we can resolve ambiguities with context clues from a surrounding narrative. Machines, in general, need a context more explicitly laid out for them, with as little ambiguity as possible.

          Standards authors of open-world systems have long struggled with such systems and have come up with some reasonable systems; unfortunately these also suffer from several pitfalls. With minimal (or sometimes none at all) adjustment to our tooling, I propose a change in how we manage ontologies.

        • GCC 8.4 Release Candidate available from gcc.gnu.org
          The first release candidate for GCC 8.4 is available from
          
          https://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/snapshots/8.4.0-RC-20200226/
          
           ftp://gcc.gnu.org/pub/gcc/snapshots/8.4.0-RC-20200226/
          
          and shortly its mirrors.  It has been generated from git commit
          r8-10091-gf80c40f93f9e8781b14f1a8301467f117fd24051.
          
          I have so far bootstrapped and tested the release candidate on
          x86_64-linux and i686-linux.  Please test it and report any issues to
          bugzilla.
          
          If all goes well, I'd like to release 8.4 on Wednesday, March 4th.
          
        • GCC 8.4 RC Compiler Released For Testing

          GCC 8.4 will hopefully be released next week but for now a release candidate is available for testing the latest bug fixes in the mature GCC8 series.

          GCC 8.4 is aiming for release next week as potentially the last of the GCC8 series while GCC 9.3 is also coming soon. GCC 8.4 represents all of the relevant bug fixes over the past year for back-porting to users still on GCC 8. GCC 10 (in the form of version GCC 10.1) meanwhile as the next feature release should be out in the next month or two.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Forth

          Forth is an imperative stack-based programming language, and a member of the class of extensible interactive languages. It was created by Charles Moore in 1970 to control telescopes in observatories using small computers. Because of its roots, Forth stresses efficiency, compactness, flexible and efficient hardware/software interaction.

          Forth has a number of properties that contrast it from many other programming languages. In particular, Forth has no inherent keywords and is extensible. It is both a low level and high level language. It has the interesting property of being able to compile itself into a new compiler, debug itself and to experiment in real time as the system is built. Forth is an extremely flexible language, with high portability, compact source and object code, and a language that is easy to learn, program and debug. It has an incremental compiler, an interpreter and a very fast edit-compile-test cycle. Forth uses a stack to pass data between words, and it uses the raw memory for more permanent storage. It also lets coders write their own control structures.

          Forth has often being deployed in embedded systems due to the compactness of object code. Forth is also used in boot loaders such as Open Firmware (developed by Sun Microsystems) as well as scientific fields such as astronomy, mathematics, oceanography and electrical engineering.

        • The RedMonk Programming Language Rankings: January 2020 [Ed: Redmonk uses to assess programming languages use only projects that Microsoft (a Redmonk client) controls. Some 'research', eh?]
        • Python

          • Adding Metadata to PDFs

            For both Django Crash Course and the forthcoming Two Scoops of Django 3.x, we’re using a new process to render the PDFs. Unfortunately, until just a few days ago that process didn’t include the cover. Instead, covers were inserted manually using Adobe Acrobat.

            [...]

            The lesson I learned writing this little utility is that as useful as Google and Stack Overflow might be, sometimes you need to explore reference manuals. Which, if you ask me, is a lot of fun. :-)

          • A Week At A Time – Building SaaS #46

            In this episode, we worked on a weekly view for the Django app. We made navigation that would let users click from one week to the next, then fixed up the view to pull time from that particular week.

            The first thing that I did was focus on the UI required to navigate to a new weekly view in the app. We mocked out the UI and talked briefly about the flexbox layout that is available to modern browsers.

            From the UI mock up, I changed the view code to include a previous_week_date and next_week_date in the view context so we could change the links to show real dates.

            From there, we needed a destination URL. I create a new path in the URLconf that connected the weekly URL to the existing app view that shows the week data.

            After wiring things together, I was able to extract the week date from the URL and make the view pull from the specified day and show that in the UI.

            Finally, we chatted about the tricky offset calculation that needs to happen to pull the right course tasks, but I ended the stream at that stage because the logic changes for that problem are tedious and very specific to my particular app.

          • Python 3.6.9 : Google give a new tool for python users.

            Today I discovered a real surprise gift made by the team from Google for the evolution of programmers.

            I say this because not everyone can afford hardware resources.

          • Learn Python Dictionary Data Structure – Part 3

            In this Part 3 of Python Data Structure series, we will be discussing what is a dictionary, how it differs from other data structure in python, how to create, delete dictionary objects and methods of dictionary objects.

        • Rust

          • Announcing Rust 1.41.1

            The Rust team has published a new point release of Rust, 1.41.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

            If you have a previous version of Rust installed via rustup, getting Rust 1.41.1 is as easy as:

            rustup update stable
            If you don’t have it already, you can get rustup from the appropriate page on our website.

          • This Week in Rust 327
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Zip Files: History, Explanation and Implementation

        I have been curious about data compression and the Zip file format in particular for a long time. At some point I decided to address that by learning how it works and writing my own Zip program. The implementation turned into an exciting programming exercise; there is great pleasure to be had from creating a well oiled machine that takes data apart, jumbles its bits into a more efficient representation, and puts it all back together again. Hopefully it is interesting to read about too.

        This article explains how the Zip file format and its compression scheme work in great detail: LZ77 compression, Huffman coding, Deflate and all. It tells some of the history, and provides a reasonably efficient example implementation written from scratch in C. The source code is available in hwzip-1.0.zip.

        I am very grateful to Ange Albertini, Gynvael Coldwind, Fabian Giesen, Jonas Skeppstedt (web), Primiano Tucci, and Nico Weber who provided valuable feedback on draft versions of this material.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • It’s not too late to save Brazil’s universities and its democracy

        A new report by Scholars at Risk, Free to Think 2019, analyses attacks on higher education in Brazil, and troublingly, shows that they are part of a global phenomenon. Over the past year, for example, authorities in Sudan and Algeria have cracked down on student expression to quash nascent pro-democracy movements, while thousands of academics in Turkey have continued to endure politicised prosecutions for challenging those in power.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • House Democrats and Healthcare Experts Explain Why Medicare for All ‘Is a Racial Justice Necessity’

        “Our healthcare system determines who is worthy and unworthy of healthcare. And people of color are often deemed unworthy. That stops now.”

      • Ahead of South Carolina Primary, Grassroots “I’m a Medicare for All Voter” Campaign Faces Down Big-Dollar Industry Ad Blitz

        “One of the things that we’ve found as we’ve gone around in South Carolina and elsewhere, talking to working people of all sorts, is that people do understand that nobody loves their insurance company.”

      • Trump Endorsed a Risky Antidepressant for Veterans. Lawmakers Want to Know if His Mar-a-Lago Pals Had a Stakeenergy

        House Democrats are expanding their investigation of outside influence at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, examining whether a push to use a new antidepressant from Johnson & Johnson was advanced by a group of unofficial advisers who convened at Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump’s private club.

        The chairmen of the House veterans affairs and oversight committees sent letters last week asking for emails and financial records from the three advisers, Marvel Entertainment chairman Ike Perlmutter, physician Bruce Moskowitz and lawyer Marc Sherman. The Democrats are seeking, among other documents, any communications the men had with Johnson & Johnson and financial records showing whether they had any stake in the company.

      • Tell Us About the Health Care Industry’s Markups and Middlemen

        Americans call the high cost of health care their number one financial concern. But few understand the extent to which red tape, markups and middlemen needlessly drive up the expense — in large part because these costs are purposely hidden, or intentionally complicated.

        That’s where you come in. I need health care insiders to help me identify these little-known cost-boosters — and who may be profiting from them.

      • No, eliminating religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates will not endanger immunosuppressed children

        In response to low vaccine uptake, more and more states have been considering passing laws that would eliminate all exemptions to school vaccine mandates other than medical exemptions. It started in California in the wake of the Disneyland measles outbreak five years ago. Led by Senator Richard Pan, the California legislature passed SB 277, which eliminated all personal belief and religious exemptions to school vaccine mandates and allowed only medical exemptions. It worked. Last year, that law was strengthened with SB 276 and SB 714. Last year, as a result of several measles outbreaks, other states have been considering eliminating nonmedical exemptions, be they religious or personal belief exemptions. For example, New York banned religious exemptions last year, and out-of-state antivaxxers have descended upon Trenton because the New Jersey state legislature is also considering eliminating religious exemptions. To oppose this bill (and others like it) mothers like Liz Rovegno are claiming that children like her son Keanu would die if they were “forced” to be vaccinated. It’s a message that could sound convincing to legislators.

      • PetNet ‘Smart’ Pet Feeders Go Offline For A Week, Customer Service Completely Breaks Down

        The “smart” internet of things era was supposed to usher forth a new era of convenience. Instead, it somehow keeps managing to advertise how dumber technology is often the smarter option, and you’re not being particularly innovative if your product actually makes life harder. From “smart” door locks that are easily hackable to hackable “smart” TVs that are so smart they spy on you, there’s near daily examples showing how connecting old tech to the internet and calling it innovation–is itself not particularly innovative.

      • Virus Anxiety Triggers Biggest 1-Day Market Drop Since 2011

        Worldwide markets plummeted again Thursday, deepening a weeklong rout triggered by growing anxiety that the coronavirus will wreak havoc on the global economy. The sweeping selloff gave U.S. stocks their worst one-day drop since 2011.

      • Countries Take Harsh Steps as They Struggle to Contain Virus
      • Trump Officials Are Cynically Spreading Lies About the Coronavirus

        President Donald Trump and Larry Kudlow, the director of Trump’s National Economic Council, aren’t doctors, but they play them on TV. As the coronavirus epidemic spirals into a pandemic, causing a plunge in the U.S. stock market, Trump and Kudlow, a former CNBC TV host, are cynically spreading disinformation about the contagion.

      • Climate Crisis Is Increasing the Spread of Infectious Diseases Like Coronavirus

        Sonia Shah is an investigative science journalist and author of Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. Her new book is titled The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move and will be published in June. She says the climate crisis is making outbreaks of infectious diseases more common, with the destruction of natural animal habitats and the changes in migration bringing humans and animals into ever-closer contact and making new pathogens more likely. Her latest article, published in The Nation, is titled “Think Exotic Animals Are to Blame for the Coronavirus? Think Again.”

      • How Can the US Confront Coronavirus With 28 Million People Uninsured?

        As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, we don’t yet know either the full scale of the unfolding global health disaster or the cumulative impact economically. But over the past week, as virus hotspots have emerged in South Korea, in Iran, in Italy and elsewhere, and as more and more countries find cases of the disease, we’re beginning to get a sense of the magnitude of what is unfolding.

      • Key Missteps at the CDC Have Set Back Its Ability to Detect the Potential Spread of Coronavirus

        As the highly infectious coronavirus jumped from China to country after country in January and February, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lost valuable weeks that could have been used to track its possible spread in the United States because it insisted upon devising its own test.

        The federal agency shunned the World Health Organization test guidelines used by other countries and set out to create a more complicated test of its own that could identify a range of similar viruses. But when it was sent to labs across the country in the first week of February, it didn’t work as expected. The CDC test correctly identified COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. But in all but a handful of state labs, it falsely flagged the presence of the other viruses in harmless samples.

      • Moscow mayor says coronavirus isolation measures for Chinese citizens are not discriminatory

        Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin argued in a letter to the Chinese ambassador in Moscow that the city’s coronavirus prevention measures are not discriminatory because they apply to all foreign citizens arriving in the Russian capital, not only Chinese citizens.

      • Looming Coronavirus Threat in US Bolsters Case for Medicare for All and Universal Paid Sick Leave

        “Doubters may claim that our nation can’t afford Medicare for All, but it’s increasingly likely that we are about to discover just how costly our current system really is.”

      • Ocasio-Cortez Says Putting Pence in Charge of Coronavirus Effort ‘Irresponsible’ Because He ‘Literally Does Not Believe in Science’

        “This decision could cost people their lives. Pence’s past decisions already have.”

      • Pence At CPAC: All Right Now
      • There Is No Reason To Panic Because We Have Done Very Very Good On This Coronavirus Thing Which Anyway Is Just the Flu Also Dems Are Bad and Go USA!
      • ‘An Outrage’: HHS Chief Azar Refuses to Vow Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All, Not Just the Rich

        “This is what happens when you put a Big Pharma CEO who doubled the price of insulin in charge of regulating Big Pharma.”

      • America’s bad paid sick leave policy could make the coronavirus outbreak worse

        The Covid-19 illness, caused by the coronavirus, is here and likely here to stay for a while. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning people to be prepared for major disruptions in their daily lives. That could mean staying home for days if they get sick.

        But that is easier said than done for millions of American workers. Employees in the service industry especially, like food workers or personal care assistants, are much less likely than their peers in more lucrative fields to have paid time off if they get sick. But they also make less money in general, meaning a lost day of work hurts their families’ budgets more. That gives them a strong motivation to go into work — even if they’re not feeling well.

        And because these workers come in close contact with the rest of humanity, they are a potent vector for spreading contagions, particularly those as infectious as coronaviruses. It’s a recipe for making a bad outbreak even worse, all because America hasn’t decided to guarantee paid sick leave for all workers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Defender ATP coming to Linux

          Last week, we reported that Microsoft plans to add Linux support for Chromium-based Edge. This week, Microsoft announced that it will be bringing another of its services to Linux: Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection, which the company describes as follows:

        • A billion Wi-Fi devices suffer from a newly discovered security fla

          More than a billion internet-connected devices—including Apple’s iPhone and Amazon’s Echo—are affected by a security vulnerability that could allow [attackers] to spy on traffic sent over Wi-Fi.

        • New ‘Haken’ Malware Found On Eight Apps In Google Play Store

          Eight apps – mostly camera utilities and children’s games – were discovered spreading a new malware strain that steals data and signs victims up for expensive premium services.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • What does it take to commit to 100% open source?

              While experts in the database market in particular agree that open source is becoming the norm, the question remains, just how open is this sector’s open-source software? Can software providers realistically succeed with a company that’s 100% open source? Furthermore, would a proprietary infrastructure software provider with a freemium tier be able to achieve the same benefits as those committing to open source?

              The short answer is, yes — a proprietary infrastructure software company with a freemium tier could theoretically achieve the same benefits as companies going fully open source. However, it’s important to recognize that it would take a freemium model company a significantly longer period of time for its software to mature to the same level as that of an open-source company. Also, the loss of collaborative development and slower feedback loops would likely lead to a higher probability of the software never achieving market traction and ultimately fading away into oblivion.

            • Mirantis: Balancing Open Source With Guardrails

              Mirantis, an open infrastructure company that rose to popularity with its OpenStack offering, is now moving into the Kubernetes space very aggressively. Last year, the company acquired the Docker Enterprise business from Docker. This week, it announced that they were hiring the Kubernetes experts from the Finnish company Kontena and established a Mirantis office in Finland, expanding the company’s footprint in Europe. Mirantis already has a significant presence in Europe due to large customers such as Bosch and Volkswagen.

        • Security

          • Linux 4.4.215 / 4.9.215 / 4.14.172 / 5.5.7 Kernels Bringing Intel KVM Security Fix

            A few days back we reported on a security vulnerability within Intel’s KVM virtualization code for the Linux kernel. That vulnerability stems from unfinished kernel code and was fixed for Linux 5.6 Git and is now being back-ported to the 4.4 / 4.9 / 4.14 / 5.5 supported kernels.

            Back on Monday when the CVE-2020-2732 patches first came to light, little was publicly known about the issue but that it stemmed from incomplete code in the vmx_check_intercept functionality in not checking all possible intercepts and in turn could end up emulating instructions that should be disabled by the hypervisor.

          • Let’s Encrypt Has Issued a Billion Certificates

            We issued our billionth certificate on February 27, 2020. We’re going to use this big round number as an opportunity to reflect on what has changed for us, and for the Internet, leading up to this event. In particular, we want to talk about what has happened since the last time we talked about a big round number of certificates – one hundred million.

            One thing that’s different now is that the Web is much more encrypted than it was. In June of 2017 approximately 58% of page loads used HTTPS globally, 64% in the United States. Today 81% of page loads use HTTPS globally, and we’re at 91% in the United States! This is an incredible achievement. That’s a lot more privacy and security for everybody.

            Another thing that’s different is that our organization has grown a bit, but not by much! In June of 2017 we were serving approximately 46M websites, and we did so with 11 full time staff and an annual budget of $2.61M. Today we serve nearly 192M websites with 13 full time staff and an annual budget of approximately $3.35M. This means we’re serving more than 4x the websites with only two additional staff and a 28% increase in budget. The additional staff and budget did more than just improve our ability to scale though – we’ve made improvements across the board to provide even more secure and reliable service.

            Nothing drives adoption like ease of use, and the foundation for ease of use in the certificate space is our ACME protocol. ACME allows for extensive automation, which means computers can do most of the work. It was also standardized as RFC 8555 in 2019, which allows the Web community to confidently build an even richer ecosystem of software around it. Today, thanks to our incredible community, there is an ACME client for just about every deployment environment. Certbot is one of our favorites, and they’ve been working hard to make it even easier for people to use.

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

            • The “Cloud Snooper” malware that sneaks into your Linux servers [Ed: Sophos citing itself, hyping up the threat is installing malicious software on one's own server]

              SophosLabs has just published a detailed report about a malware attack dubbed Cloud Snooper.

              The reason for the name is not so much that the attack is cloud-specific (the technique could be used against pretty much any server, wherever it’s hosted), but that it’s a sneaky way for cybercrooks to open up your server to the cloud, in ways you very definitely don’t want, “from the inside out”.

              The Cloud Snooper report covers a whole raft of related malware samples that our researchers found deployed in combination.

            • OpenSMTPD Email Server Vulnerability Threatens Many Linux and BSD Systems [Ed: It is this package, not the operating systems (GNU/Linux rarely uses this)]

              A critical vulnerability has been discovered in the OpenBSD email server OpenSMTPD. Exploiting the flaw could allow remote code execution attacks. The seriousness of the vulnerability poses a threat to the integrity of OpenBSD and Linux systems.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • State Court Says It Isn’t Theft To Remove An Unmarked Law Enforcement Tracking Device From Your Car

              If you’ve ever wondered how far the government will go to justify its illegal actions, here’s one for you.

            • State Actors Are Increasingly Targeting Journalists With Surveillance Malware

              Columbia Journalism Review is reporting it has witnessed more malware attacks targeting journalists. An article by Financial Times cyber security head Ahana Datta details attempts to compromise a Middle East correspondent’s phone via WhatsApp.

            • First Success Against Facial Recognition in France

              Earlier this month, the Administrative Court of Marseille heard our case against facial recognition systems controlling access to two high schools in Nice and Marseille. These systems were authorised in December by the PACA Region as “experimental”. Yesterday, the Court annulled this decision.

            • Schools Are Pushing the Boundaries of Surveillance Technologies

              A school district in New York recently adopted facial recognition technology to monitor students, and it is now one of a growing number of schools across the country conducting mass privacy violations of kids in the name of “safety.” The invasive use of surveillance technologies in schools has grown exponentially, often without oversight or recourse for concerned students or their parents.

              Not only that, but schools are experimenting with the very same surveillance technologies that totalitarian governments use to surveil and abuse the rights of their citizens everywhere: online, offline, and on their phones. What does that mean? We are surveilling our students as if they were dissidents under an authoritarian regime.

            • WhatsApp security flaw: Over 60,000 groups still accessible online

              WhatsApp links that lead to closed groups can be found with a simple Google search — a major security flaw revealed by DW last week. Following social media outrage, the links were removed from Google’s search results.

              Despite the removal, however, publicly-available internet archives are still storing the information, as security researcher Lav Kumar has found out. He gathered and organized over 60,000 unique links, which can still be found on multiple websites.

              Of the 1,000 randomly selected links DW tested, 427 were active chat links. Even without actively joining a group, its title, description, image and creator’s phone number are available for all. However, upon entering a group, it is possible to also see the phone numbers of up to 256 participants, as well as other information, and adding these numbers to one’s contacts can reveal their names in the app.

            • Newly Declassified Study Demonstrates Uselessness of NSA’s Phone Metadata Program

              This program is legal due to the USA FREEDOM Act, which expires on March 15. Congress is currently debating whether to extend the authority, even though the NSA says it’s not using it now.

            • N.S.A. Phone Program Cost $100 Million, but Produced Only Two Unique Leads

              A National Security Agency system that analyzed logs of Americans’ domestic phone calls and text messages cost $100 million from 2015 to 2019, but yielded only a single significant investigation, according to a newly declassified study.

              Moreover, only twice during that four-year period did the program generate unique information that the F.B.I. did not already possess, said the study, which was produced by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and briefed to Congress on Tuesday.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Return to Bahrain: Nine Years After the Uprisings, the Nation’s Human Rights Record Has Worsened

        It’s been nine years since Bahrain’s February 2011 uprising. Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in cities and towns across the country to protest the ruling Al Khalifa family’s tight grip on power, discrimination against the country’s majority Shia population, and arrests of political critics.

      • If Venezuelan Embassy Protectors Are Retried, Jury Should Hear About US Crimes

        On February 28, federal prosecutors will announce whether they plan to retry four people who spent 37 days in the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2019 to protect it from an illegal invasion by the U.S. government. The first trial of Adrienne Pine, Margaret Flowers, Kevin Zeese and David Paul, who were charged with “interfering with the protective functions” of the State Department, ended in a hung jury on February 14.

      • ‘The OAS Has a Lot to Answer For’: New MIT Study Disputes Key Claim That Paved Way for Right-Wing Coup in Bolivia

        The Organization of American States “greatly misled the media and the public about what happened in Bolivia’s elections.”

      • US: Revisit Landmines Decision

        The United States should reverse its decision to allow the US to use landmines anywhere in the world in perpetuity, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch issued a question-and-answer document reviewing the landmine policy changes.

        A January 31, 2020 memo by Defense Secretary Mark Esper reverses a 2014 ban on US production and acquisition of antipersonnel landmines, as well as their use outside of a future conflict on the Korean Peninsula. The policy decision nullifies years of steps by the US to align its policy and practice with the 1997 treaty banning antipersonnel landmines.  Related ContentDownload the full Q&A

      • ‘Meduza’ answers questions about its investigation into alleged murder committed by multiple Network case defendants

        On Friday, February 21, Meduza published the original Russian-language version of an article about homicide allegations against certain defendants named in the Penza Network case. Alexey Poltavets, a leftist activist who knows many of the defendants and is now living abroad, confessed to Meduza that he participated in this crime. Other evidence and case materials studied by Meduza do not contradict Poltavets’s claims. These very serious accusations, which Russian law enforcement should obviously investigate, do not in any way negate the civic campaign in support of the Network case defendants, who were tortured into confessing to bogus terrorism charges. Meduza’s story nevertheless upset many activists and caused a controversy within Russia’s journalistic community. In the text below, we respond to the main questions about our investigative report.

      • Defendant in controversial terrorism case says murder allegations reported by ‘Meduza’ are ‘insane’

        Dmitry Pchelintsev, a defendant in the Penza Network case, has stated in a letter to MBK Media journalist Zoya Svetova that he has no connection to the information presented in a recent investigative report by Meduza about his alleged role in drug dealing and a potential homicide.

        “To say that I’m shocked would be an understatement,” Pchelintsev wrote in his letter. “I have absolutely no connections to Ekaterina Levchenko and Artyom Dorofeyev. I’m not even sure that I understand who we’re talking about, because I haven’t seen their photographs. I can only guess that I saw Artyom when I was working as a waiter, but we didn’t speak to each other. I have no information about their disappearance, except for the story that circulated as rumors.”

      • Reexamining Russia’s ‘Network’ case

        Meduza’s investigative report about murder allegations against suspects in the Penza Network case is one of the most difficult stories we have ever published. 

      • ‘This is not something to memorialize’ It’s the five-year anniversary of Boris Nemtsov’s assassination. Here’s how the Kremlin responded.

        Ekho Moskvy: Today is the five-year anniversary of the murder of Boris Nemtsov. First of all, I would like to ask — does the Kremlin find it necessary to perpetuate the memory of Boris Nemtsov?

      • Bernie Finally Puts a Number on Cutting Military Spending

        Bernie Sanders’ campaign has published a fact sheet on how everything he proposes can be paid for. On that fact sheet we find this line in a list of items that collectively will pay for a Green New Deal:

      • ‘Screaming red siren’: Trump’s replacement of spy chief after Russia briefing stirs outcry

        U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers Feb. 13 that Russia is mounting an effort to possibly steer the 2020 election in favor of Trump. After the hearing, the president reprimanded Joseph Maguire, the former acting director of national intelligence, and replaced him days later.

        Democrats accused Trump of dumping Maguire is to shield the fact Russia may have intervened in the 2020 election to benefit him.

      • Trump in Modi’s India

        I’ve been in New Delhi for over a week, attending a conference organized by the Muslim-majority Jamia Millia Islamia University. Jamia has been a focal-point of protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) which came into law in December last year.

      • Jammu and Kashmir Cannot be Reduced to Rubble

        While I have been highly critical of the extended detentions of former heads of government, former legislators, and a former civil services officer under the Public Safety Act (PSC), I cannot forget the 200 Kashmiri men being held in jails outside the Valley.

      • India, US officially sign $2.6 bn deal for Seahawk helicopter, Navy calls it ‘force multiplier’

        India and the United States formally signed a deal for the procurement of 24 Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk for the Indian Navy on Tuesday. The Cabinet Committee on Security had cleared the acquisition of 24 MH-60 ‘Romeo’ Seahawk helicopters multi-role helicopters on 21st February. Moreover, a deal to procure six Boeing AH-64E Apache helicopters were also a part of the deal signed between the two countries. The Apache attack choppers will be procured by the Army as a plan modernizing the force. India will be paying $ 3 billion for these two choppers for its Navy and Army.

      • Pompeo Says ‘Crimea Is Ukraine’ On Anniversary Of Russia’s Seizure

        Pompeo’s remarks came hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy issued a decree designating February 26 a memorial day to mark Russia’s annexation of Crimea — an annexation not recognized by the international community and which has led to a series of sanctions against Moscow.

      • Paris police attacker reportedly ran web search on killing ‘infidels’ before rampage

        A police employee who fatally stabbed four colleagues in the force’s Paris headquarters ran an online search for “how to kill infidels” an hour before he rampaged through the building, a judicial source said on Wednesday.

        Data on the cell phone of Mickael Harpon, a 45-year-old IT worker who converted to Islam a decade before last October’s attack, supported suspicions his motive was terrorism-related, the judicial source and a police source told Reuters.

      • CAIR: Councilman who said Muslims should obey law must resign

        The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on an Indiana councilman to step down after he shared on Facebook a post that said Muslims should obey U.S. law.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ABC’s David Wright told the truth about network news and Trump — and paid the price

        The truth-teller was David Wright, an Emmy Award-winning ABC News correspondent who’s been with the network since 2000. And unfortunately for him — and the truth — when his bosses at ABC saw the video, they suspended him and reassigned him away from political coverage.

        An anonymous statement from ABC News explained: “Any action that damages our reputation for fairness and impartiality or gives the appearance of compromising it harms ABC News and the individuals involved.”

        It’s the latest example of a major media organization getting played by the right — overreacting out of panic to critiques from people who do not have journalism’s best interests at heart.

      • Your Man in the Public Gallery – The Assange Hearing Day 3

        We now come to the consideration of yesterday’s legal arguments on the extradition request itself. Fortunately, these are basically fairly simple to summarise, because although we had five hours of legal disquisition, it largely consisted of both sides competing in citing scores of “authorities”, e.g. dead judges, to endorse their point of view, and thus repeating the same points continually with little value from exegesis of the innumerable quotes.

        As prefigured yesterday by magistrate Baraitser, the prosecution is arguing that Article 4.1 of the UK/US extradition treaty has no force in law.

        [...]

        The UK and US Governments say that the court enforces domestic law, not international law, and therefore the treaty has no standing. This argument has been made to the court in written form to which I do not have access. But from discussion in court it was plain that the prosecution argue that the Extradition Act of 2003, under which the court is operating, makes no exception for political offences. All previous Extradition Acts had excluded extradition for political offences, so it must be the intention of the sovereign parliament that political offenders can now be extradited.

      • Trump wants to ‘make an example’ of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, court told

        On Monday, Fitzgerald told the court that Rohrabacher had approached Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy and discussed a “preemptive pardon.”

        The former congressman was accompanied on the visit by controversial conservative blogger Charles “Chuck” Johnson. The pair made it clear that they were acting on behalf of the President, who had approved of the meeting, Fitzgerald said.

      • Julian Assange Against the Imperium

        The second day of extradition hearings against Julian Assange and by virtue of that, WikiLeaks, saw Mark Summers QC deliver a formidable serve for the defence at Woolwich Crown Court. “It’s difficult to conceive of a clearer example of an extradition request that boldly and blatantly misstates the facts as they are known to be to the US government.” The targets were, respectively, allegations by the US Department of Justice that Assange attempted to conceal Chelsea Manning’s identity for nefarious purposes and second, that WikiLeaks was reckless as to the potential consequences of harm in releasing unredacted State Department cables in 2011.

      • Prosecution in Assange Extradition Hearing: US-UK Treaty Does Not Apply To Wikileaks’ Publisher

        As his defense team argues U.S. effort to get their hands on Assange is clearly political in nature, the defendant complains to court he is being prevented from meeting privately to consult with his lawyers.

      • Attempts to Extradite Assange Threaten Press Freedom – Validated Independent News

        The 2003 extradition treaty between the US and UK declared extraditions to be unlawful on the basis of “political offense.” This term itself does not have a concrete definition—however espionage is frequently associated with “offenses directed against state power.”

      • Judge: Julian Assange Must Remain In Glass Box During Extradition Proceedings

        Editor’s Note

      • Judge Andrew Napolitano: Prosecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange violates First Amendment

        “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” — First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

        In the oral argument of the famous U.S. Supreme Court cases known collectively as the Pentagon Papers Case, the late Justice William O. Douglas asked a government lawyer if the Department of Justice views the “no law” language in the First Amendment to mean literally no law. The setting was an appeal of the Nixon administration’s temporarily successful efforts to bar The New York Times and The Washington Post from publishing documents stolen from the Department of Defense by Daniel Ellsberg.

        The documents were a history of the Vietnam War, which revealed that President Lyndon B. Johnson and his secretaries of defense and state and the military’s top brass materially misrepresented the status of the war to the American people. Stated differently, they regularly, consistently and systematically lied to the public and the news media.

        [...]

        After his administration lost the case and the Times and the Post published the documents, Nixon attempted to distinguish his presidency and administration of the war from LBJ’s, but he did not challenge the truthfulness of the publications.

        Regrettably, the Trump administration is pretending the Pentagon Papers Case does not exist. It is manifesting that pretense in its criminal pursuit of international gadfly and journalist Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

        Sometime in 2010, Assange and his colleagues began receiving classified U.S. Department of Defense materials from an Army intelligence officer now known as Chelsea Manning.

        Manning committed numerous crimes, for which she pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. Her sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama, whose Department of Justice publicly declined to prosecute Assange in deference to the once universal acceptance of the Pentagon Papers Case and the numerous court rulings that have followed it.

        The Trump DOJ, however, sought and obtained two indictments of Assange, who is now charged with 17 counts of espionage and faces 175 years in prison. Assange is currently being held in a maximum-security prison outside of London. The U.S. has sought his extradition at a proceeding that began in a British courtroom this week.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • This Is All So Very Normal (Video)
      • To Reduce Inequality in the Election Process, All States Should Allow Voting At Home

        Letting people fill out ballots at their kitchen table and pop them in the mail reduces economic barriers to participation for low-income Americans.

      • VA Secretary Under Investigation After Complaint He Looked for Dirt on a House Staffer Who Said She’d Been Assaulted

        The inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating allegations that Secretary Robert Wilkie sought damaging information to discredit a congressional staffer who said she was sexually assaulted in a VA hospital.

        The allegations, first reported by ProPublica, were raised in an anonymous complaint to the committee that the staffer works for. A former senior official and another person familiar with the matter, who both spoke to ProPublica on the condition of anonymity, described meetings between Wilkie and his senior staff in which he discussed information he had collected about the staffer’s past and suggested using it to discredit her.

      • WaPo Backing Limited Impeachment Was Constitutional Disaster

        FAIR (11/26/19, 2/4/20) has covered how one flagship ResistanceTM newspaper, the New York Times, trivialized the importance of the impeachment process as a check on authoritarianism by covering it as a partisan competition, littered with false equivalences, and underplaying the danger Donald Trump and the rest of the Republican Party poses to whatever tatters of democracy the US has left. Instead of raising critical questions about impeachment that would inform their audience of the ways the Democratic Party could function as an effective opposition party, the Times merely regurgitated uncritical “he said, she said” statements, without making the effort to determine whether one side had greater credibility.

      • The Unfounding Father: Donald Trump and the End of American Democracy

        Not with a bang, ladies and gentleman, but with a pathetic whimper.

      • Top DNC Committee Is Packed With Fossil Fuel and Bank Lobbyists

        It’s likely that going into the Democratic National Convention in July, none of the presidential candidates will have the outright majority of pledged delegates needed to secure the nomination on the first ballot. If that’s the case, Democratic National Committee members and other unelected superdelegates will be allowed to vote on a second ballot to choose the nominee.

      • Our Democratic Institutions Are Dying as Presidential Power Grows

        In this fast-paced century, rife with technological innovation, we’ve grown accustomed to the impermanence of things. Whatever is here now will likely someday vanish, possibly sooner than we imagine. Movies and music that once played on our VCRs and stereos have given way to infinite choices in the cloud. Cash currency is fast becoming a thing of the past. Cars will soon enough be self-driving. Stores where you could touch and feel your purchases now lie empty as online shopping sucks up our retail attention.

      • A Real Super Tuesday Calls for a Strong Progressive Media

        The corporate media has cast itself as a bulwark against the erosion of our democracy under Donald Trump. The president has declared the media the “enemy of the people” and routinely rails at the critical coverage of his administration, dismissing it as “fake news.” Democracy depends on a free and independent press that can hold power accountable, but sadly, the corporate media does not meet that standard.

      • No, Google Isn’t Hiding Elizabeth Warren’s Emails To Promote Mayor Pete

        Content moderation at scale is impossible. This time, it’s email content moderation. This week a new publication called The Markup launched. It’s a super smart group of folks who are doing deep data-driven investigative reporting of companies in and around the tech space — and I’m very excited to see what they do. I was going to write about the project overall and its goals, but instead I’m going to write about one of its first stories, done in partnership with the Guardian, entitled Swinging the Vote?, and which looks at Gmail’s filtering system, specifically as it regards political emails from Presidential candidates.

      • Bloomberg’s Game

        There are two things I feel compelled to say about Mike Bloomberg and his candidacy.

      • The Important Word in “Democratic Socialism” is Democratic

        After the Nevada caucuses, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner in the Democratic presidential race.

      • Why Bernie Sanders Is Winning

        If you want to have a successful campaign, it helps to be extremely authentic as you run on ideas and policies that are very popular with a majority of people.

      • Bernie Sanders Has Redefined What’s Possible in American Politics

        The movement surrounding Sanders has never been just about getting one man elected to the White House. It’s about building a movement of millions that can long outlive and outperform any single electoral campaign.

      • Bernie’s Very Welcome Assault on Our Cliché of Greatness

        Sanders is giving voice to ideas and realities that have long been declared taboo in American political discourse. One might even called it historic.

      • ‘You’ll See Rebellion’: Sanders Supporters Denounce Open Threats by Superdelegates to Steal Nomination

        “The Democrats might be able to stop Sanders, but in doing so they would destroy their party’s own electoral prospects.”

      • “The Public Doesn’t Really Decide”: MSNBC Guest Under Fire for Saying Voters Won’t Choose Dem Nominee

        Anton Gunn, a longtime South Carolina political operative, is on the board of anti-Bernie Sanders group the Democratic Majority for Israel.

      • The Democratic Establishment is Freaking Out About Bernie. It should Calm Down.

        Instead of the Democratic establishment worrying that Sanders is unelectable, maybe it should worry that a so-called “moderate” Democrat might be nominated instead.  

      • Sanders Says Trump ‘Taking a Page From His Dictator Friends Around the World’ With NYT Libel Lawsuit

        The 2020 Democratic frontrunner said the president is “trying to dismantle the right to a free press in the First Amendment by suing the New York Times for publishing an opinion column about his dangerous relationship with Russia.”

      • GOP Plotting Resolution to Condemn… Teaching Children and Adults to Read

        “I’ve had it with people speaking for our Cuban-American community and simply using us as a political football to hurt Sanders,” said one critic of the recent smear effort.

      • Democratic Socialism: From Fromm to Sanders

        The derisive children’s sandbox terms used by media pundits, Democratic and Republican stooges and the One Percent to describe Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a millionaire himself, would be comedic if it were not so sad. The words used to denigrate Sanders would be instantly recognized by Fromm since they were used in 1955 in the same fashion during the first Cold War.

      • Democrats Are Willing to Blow Up the Party to Stop Sanders

        It was a moment that was destined to go viral. During a town hall in Charleston, S.C., on Wednesday, Jason Pietramala, an account manager at a software company and a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., posed the following question to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.: “During the Nevada debate, you and every other candidate on the stage, except for Bernie … indicated that the candidate with the plurality of delegates should not necessarily be the nominee. This essentially means that the will of the voters could be denied by the superdelegates and the DNC, which is basically undemocratic, and in my opinion is a bunch of baba booey to put it politely. Can you explain why the will of the voters should not matter if no candidate reaches a majority of delegates?”

      • Sanders Supporters Denounce Open Threats by Superdelegates to Steal Nomination

        Nearly 100 Democratic superdelegates told the New York Times in interviews this week that if Sen. Bernie Sanders does not arrive at the party’s 2020 convention in July with a majority of pledged delegates, they are willing to thwart the will of the plurality of primary voters — and potentially risk damaging Democrats’ chances of defeating President Donald Trump — in order to stop Sanders from winning the nomination.

      • Why MSNBC Is Freaking Out Over Bernie Sanders

        Andrew Lack, who became chairman of MSNBC in 2015, is known for his hostility toward progressives. The rise of Donald Trump allowed Lack to move the network to the right while still keeping its liberal audience. The trick was to use Trump’s triumph as an excuse to hire Never Trump conservatives, who could be relied on to criticize the president but strictly from a right-of-center point of view. Some of the already-existing hosts of MSNBC were natural Never Trump voices, notably Joe Scarborough. But the network became increasingly receptive to pundits like William Kristol, Jennifer Rubin, and Max Boot.

      • Hindu Nationalist Violence Rocks Delhi as Trump Visits Modi in India

        In India, the death toll from anti-Muslim violence in Delhi has risen to at least 34, with police accused of turning a blind eye to assaults on Muslims committed by Hindu nationalist mobs. The violence began Sunday, when groups of Hindus attacked peaceful sit-ins of Muslims protesting against Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s new citizenship law, which widely restricts Muslim immigration to India. Modi said nothing as the violence continued for days, instead hosting President Donald Trump on a two-day state visit in which Trump heaped praise on the Indian prime minister. We speak with Neha Dixit, independent Indian journalist, and Priya Gopal, lecturer at the University of Cambridge and author of Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent.

      • India Says US Politicizing Religious Riots in Which 30 Died

        India accused a U.S. government commission of politicizing communal violence in New Delhi that killed at least 30 people and injured more than 200 as President Donald Trump was visiting the country.

        The violent clashes between Hindu and Muslim mobs were the capital’s worst communal riots in decades and saw shops, Muslim shrines and public vehicles go up in flames. Though the rioting had largely subsided, the rising toll was confirmed by hospital officials Thursday.

      • Social Media Disrupted in Togo on Election Day

        Network data from the NetBlocks internet observatory confirm the loss of access to social media platforms via Togo’s leading operator Togo Telecom (Togocom, AS24691) as polls closed on election day, Saturday 22 February 2020.

        Measurement from multiple locations show that the services became were reachable during the day but became unavailable by 17:00 at multiple locations via the state operator.

      • Founder of 8chan Faces Arrest on ‘Cyberlibel’ Charge

        Fredrick Brennan, who founded but later distanced himself from the 8chan message board that has given encouragement and visibility to violent extremists, is facing arrest in the Philippines in a “cyberlibel” case brought by the site’s current owner.

        An arrest warrant was issued Thursday in Pasig City, his lawyer, Alex Acain, told Rappler, a news site in the Philippines. Mr. Brennan is currently in the United States, and it was unclear on Thursday if he planned to return to the Philippines, where he lives.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The Law Doesn’t Care About Your Feelings: 9th Circuit Slams Prager University For Its Silly Lawsuit Against YouTube

        Dennis Prager and his silly propaganda machine, PragerU, push out videos about how “facts don’t care about your feelings” and how “if a baker won’t bake you a cake, find another baker.”

      • Trump Campaign Files Laughably Stupid SLAPP Suit Over A NY Times Opinion Piece

        Welp, Donald Trump promised to “open up libel laws” back when he was first running for President, and his campaign has now decided to test out some moronic theory of defamation in suing the NY Times over an opinion piece. Just to be clear upfront: the lawsuit is bad. It will not succeed and appears to have no intent to succeed. Instead, it appears to be almost entirely performative — including the kind of text you’d normally see on a political website, rather than in a lawsuit filed by a serious lawyer. But, hey, this one is filed by Charles Harder, who has a bit of a history of filing such lawsuits (including against me!).

      • Blurred images: Concerns raised over growing conservatism in public universities

        A picture recently posted on the Instagram account of a student body at the Jakarta State University’s (UNJ) engineering school has raised not only eyebrows but also the question as to whether students in public universities are drifting further to the right.

        The picture, posted by @bemftunj, shows photos of female and male students smiling to the camera— with bold and bright text showing their names and positions in the organization – but while the male students are depicted in sharp focus against a blurred background, their female counterparts are shown in low contrast, thus blending in with the background and creating a somewhat ghost-like appearance.

      • Court orders man who stepped on Quran to be sent to Permai Hospital

        Mohd Zulkifli was charged with defiling the al-Quran by stepping on it with the intention of insulting Islam under Section 295 of the Penal Code, which provides for a maximum jail term of two years or a fine or both if convicted.

        He was also accused of uttering insulting words heard by an individual with the intent to hurt his or her religious convictions under Section 298 of the same code which carries a jail term of up to a year or a fine or both if found guilty.

      • Hillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment

        A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that internet giants like Google and Facebook can censor content on their platforms, rebuking arguments from conservatives who claim the tech companies violate users’ First Amendment rights by removing certain messages or videos.

        With its unanimous opinion, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals became the latest court to dismiss arguments that platforms like YouTube can be sued under the First Amendment for decisions on content moderation.

        But on Wednesday, McKeown wrote, “YouTube does not perform a public function by inviting public discourse on its property. To characterize YouTube as a public forum would be a paradigm shift.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Real Story About Trump’s Latest Attack on the Press

        Wednesday was an ominous day for freedom of the press in this country, and I want to tell you why.

        You may have heard or seen that President Trump filed a libel suit against the New York Times. Perhaps you weren’t surprised: the president is known to frequently disparage the Times even as he reads it obsessively. Borrowing a page from what I’ve referred to before as a Mount Rushmore of totalitarians, Robespierre, Hitler, Stalin and Mao, Trump loves to call the press the “enemy of the people.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • UN Human Rights Chief Slams Trump for Attacks on Environment, Refugees, and Children

        Michelle Bachelet included the U.S. in her report on current human rights violations around the world.

      • ‘Change your name and forget where you came from’ In new portraits of the latest Russian émigré wave, a journalist shares his experience coming out to his Dagestani family and remaking his life in Brooklyn

        Russian photographer Evgeny Feldman, a regular contributor to Meduza, is working to document the lives of the newest wave of Russian émigrés: those who have left the country within the past fifteen years, forming a distinct group from the migrations of the late 20th century. Feldman edits a self-published samizdat magazine whose next issue will tell nine stories from within that rapidly growing community. Meduza is featuring one of those stories, the memories of a Moscow journalist who was raised in a village in Dagestan, one of Russia’s Northern Caucasian republics. After the journalist came out as gay, he faced threats from family members and ultimately moved to New York City to begin a new life.

      • Tunisia: Unfinished Rights Business
      • St. Petersburg government permits Nemtsov march after two refusals

        After twice denying permits for a proposed February 29 protest in honor of assassinated opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, the government of St. Petersburg has granted permission for activists to hold a memorial march instead.

      • ‘This Is a Nightmare’: Trump Accused of Weaponizing DOJ With New Task Force Focused on Stripping US Citizenship

        “Of all the dystopian shit—a department of denaturalization at DOJ might take the biscuit.”

      • How We Stay Blind to the Story of Power

        If one thing drives me to write, especially these posts, it is the urgent need for us to start understanding power. Power is the force that shapes almost everything about our lives and our deaths. There is no more important issue. Understanding power and overcoming it through that understanding is the only path to liberation we can take as individuals, as societies, and as a species.

      • How hard will the robots make us work?

        On conference stages and at campaign rallies, tech executives and politicians warn of a looming automation crisis — one where workers are gradually, then all at once, replaced by intelligent machines. But their warnings mask the fact that an automation crisis has already arrived. The robots are here, they’re working in management, and they’re grinding workers into the ground.

      • The boss who put everyone on 70K

        In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.

      • Kazakhs Bid Farewell To Noted Activist Who Died In Custody, Demand Explanation

        As of February 27, President Toqaev had yet to comment on Aghadil’s death.

        According to police, Aghadil was intoxicated at the time of his arrest and died from heart problems hours later.

        Aghadil’s relatives and colleagues, however, have insisted that Aghadil did not drink alcohol due to health issues and had never complained about his heart.

      • Why Germany can’t quit its racist Native American problem

        These practices “relegate us to a historical myth and is a disavowal of the differences,” among the hundreds of Indigenous nations in North America,” Nephin said. Shea Vassar, a Cherokee writer, agreed, saying “it places us forever is a historical and mythical context.”

        “The biggest issue is the overall simplification of our cultures and the erasure inherent in ‘playing Indian,’ as if we were something mystical like a wizard. It’s not like dressing up like an ancient Roman. We still exist.”

      • Iran forces Christian converts from Islam to declare their faith to obtain ID cards

        The National Census Bureau has narrowed the choices available to new applicants to only the four religions recognised under the Iranian constitution: Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Zoroastrianism.

        This means that Muslim-born converts to Christianity, who may have preferred not to make public their faith in order to avoid hostility or persecution from their family, employers or the authorities, now have to reveal they are Christian, or lie about their faith and tick the box that says Muslim.

      • Swedish Mosque Under Fire For Calling it Sinful for Women to Deny Men ‘Legitimate Intimacy’

        According to the newspaper Göteborgs-Posten, the website includes exerpts from “The New Muslim Guide” written by Fahd Salem Bahammam and published in 26 different languages. The website itself touts “The New Muslim Guide” as a consensus among most Muslim scholars.

        [...]

        Its values, however, sparked a negative reaction from the Swedish public. The advice there doesn’t only express a “reprehensible view of women”, but is also contrary to the law, Sweden’s leading terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp of the National Defence College wrote in an opinion piece. Ranstorp stressed that is not the first time a problematic view of women has been discovered in Swedish mosques.

      • Sweden’s Victimized Children

        Parents are afraid to report the crimes committed by other children against their children… In August 2019, 13-year-old Filip and his family had no other choice than to move from the city of Uppsala after a gang of minors made his life there unbearable. He was abused, robbed and his life was threatened by gangs, with Swedish authorities telling him not to report it to the police as this would make things “worse” for him.

    • Monopolies

      • Up to 91% More Expensive: How Delivery Apps Eat Up Your Budget

        When you order through a delivery app, you pay multiple parties, including the driver and the companies that offer the apps, like Uber Eats and Postmates. In some cases, you pay the restaurants extra fees as well.

        The markups can be downright egregious. Take Panda Express, the fast-food chain. If you ordered a $39 Family Feast value meal using Uber Eats, your tab would be 49 percent higher than if you bought the same meal at the restaurant.

      • Union Coalition Wants Investigation of Amazon Influence on Wages

        A group of unions representing 5.3 million U.S. workers in various industries has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon.com Inc.’s growing economic power.

        The group, which includes the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Communications Workers of America, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Service Employees international Union, filed a petition Thursday calling on the agency to investigate Amazon for a variety of potentially anticompetitive practices, including its “impact on wages.”

      • KOL283 | Webinar: Has Intellectual Property Become Corporate Welfare? (Freedom Hub Working Group)

        “Despite two decades of IP law practice for Big Oil and other clients, Stephan Kinsella earlier had been exposed to the great Murry Rothbard (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murray_Rothbard) and wasn’t convinced the ancient property rights philosophy had room for intangible ideas – that maybe, he was in the middle of a gross example of corporate welfare that was killing entrepreneurship.

        Founder and Director of the Center for the Study of Innovative Freedom, former adjunct professor at South Texas College of Law, and author of “Against Intellectual Property” and “Law in a Libertarian World: Legal Foundations of a Free Society”, Stephan will present “Property Rights versus Intellectual Property”, and apply that lesson to how crony corporations abuse IP to squash competition and suppress innovation – with Big Pharma and the China “IP theft” as examples.”

      • Trademarks

        • Netflix Seeks Cancellation Of “Choose Your Own Adventure” Trademark

          This really should happen more frequently than it does. You will hopefully recall the ongoing drama between Chooseco, the company behind the Choose Your Own Adventure series of books we all remember from the 80s and 90s, and Netflix, producer of the hit series Black Mirror and its recent iteration entitled Bandersnatch. To catch you up, Bandersnatch was an interactive streaming show that billed itself as a “choose your own adventure” show, allowing the viewer to influence the progression of the story via choice. Chooseco sued Netflix over this production, claiming trademark infringement. Chiefly at issue is the appearance of a book mockup in the series, trade dress and marketing surrounding the show, and the fact that a character in the show refers to his own video game creation as a “choose your own adventure” game.

      • Copyrights

        • Pirate IPTV Box Seller Arrested By LAPD, ABS-CBN Files Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits

          Media giant ABS-CBN has filed two US lawsuits worth millions of dollars in damages against two men they accuse of supplying pirate IPTV devices to the public. One of the men was arrested earlier this month by Los Angeles Police Department following an undercover sting operation.

        • Amazon Fire TV Stick is the Preferred Device for Pirate IPTV Subscribers

          New data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine shows that pirate IPTV traffic is growing in the US and Canada. This translates to millions of ‘pirate’ subscriptions. A detailed analysis further reveals that Amazon Fire TV Sticks are the preferred tool to access pirate IPTV.

        • Reforming Copyright with the Shuttleworth Foundation

          From March 1, I am embarking on a new project. With the support of the Shuttleworth Foundation, I will be returning to my home town of Berlin to work full-time on advancing access to knowledge and culture through copyright reform. Read their announcement here or below.

          Many were disappointed after the European Parliament adopted the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, but our fight was not in vain. I will be devoting the next years to defending all the safeguards and improvements we have achieved, in the national implementation and in court.

        • The Scholarly Record At The Internet Archive

          The Internet Archive has been working on a Mellon-funded grant aimed at collecting, preserving and providing persistent access to as much of the open-access academic literature as possible. The motivation is that much of the “long tail” of academic literature comes from smaller publishers whose business model is fragile, and who are at risk of financial failure or takeover by the legacy oligopoly publishers. This is particularly true if their content is open access, since they don’t have subscription income. This “long tail” content is thus at risk of loss or vanishing behind a paywall.

        • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images + Data into the Public Domain Using CC0

          This major initiative uses CC0—Creative Commons’ public domain dedication tool—to make millions of images and data freely available to the public.

Richard Stallman is Now Eligible for the FSF’s Award

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

2020: an opportunity for the FSF to show respect and gratitude to its founder

FSF award

Summary: To counter the impression that FSF leadership distances itself from the FSF’s founder it can publicly display a healthy and cordial relationship with GNU’s chief

THE FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software can finally, after a number of decades, go to the project’s, movement’s and institution’s founder, depending on what the award committee decides. Stallman has already received an impressive number of unique awards, some with monetary components to them. To combat the ‘evil tongues’ which try to dehumanise Stallman and basically cause a lot of trouble the FSF can grant Stallman the ultimate prize. It would, in our assessment, do far more good than harm. Those who are ‘insulted’ or emotionally ‘harmed’ by such a gesture quite likely don’t support Free software at all.

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