Links 4/2/2020: Critical Security Flaws in Azure, 5.5-ck1/MuQSS and Luxembourgish LibreOffice

Posted in News Roundup at 1:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • How to: Run a DOS Web Server (seriously)

        Apache and Nginx are great Web Servers. Linux and FreeBSD are fantastic systems for running them on. But… what if… we wanted to do something a little more off the beaten path? What if… we ran a Web Server… on DOS? Yeah. DOS. It’s doable. Truly it is. And, while DOS may not be the high-up-time, massively scalable Web Server platform of the future… it’s still a heck of a lot of fun to set up.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #323: Sloppy Seconds

        Welcome to the 323rd installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts discuss amateur radio and the fires in Australia, state QSO parties, Brexit and CEPT, new extra pool questions, CERN, Facebook, Jericho, UNICEF and much, much more. Thank you for downloading and listening. We hope you have a fantastic week.

      • Cyber Security Mistakes You’re Probably Making: Duncan McAlynn | Jupiter Extras 52

        Wes and Ell sit down with Duncan McAlynn to discuss what mistakes we might all be making that could be putting our privacy and security at risk.

      • Python Podcast: Build Your Own Personal Data Repository With Nostalgia

        The companies that we entrust our personal data to are using that information to gain extensive insights into our lives and habits while not always making those findings accessible to us. Pascal van Kooten decided that he wanted to have the same capabilities to mine his personal data, so he created the Nostalgia project to integrate his various data sources and query across them. In this episode he shares his motivation for creating the project, how he is using it in his day-to-day, and how he is planning to evolve it in the future. If you’re interested in learning more about yourself and your habits using the personal data that you share with the various services you use then listen now to learn more.

    • Kernel Space

      • At last, the fix no one asked for: Portable home directories merged into systemd

        Systemd inventor Lennart Poettering described the new feature at the All Systems Go event in Berlin, September 2019, as reported here. Poettering said it would improve security as well as being more logical. “It solves a couple of problems we saw with traditional ways to manage home directories, in particular when it comes to encryption,” he said in the release notes for version 245.

        One use case is where a user has a PC running Linux in both their home and office, and is able to carry their home directory with them on a portable storage device. The advent of cloud storage has made this less of a problem than would have been the case a few years back, and a common reaction to the new systemd approach is that the problems it fixes are not pressing and may be outweighed by potential incompatibilities.

      • Linux 5.5-ck1 Released With Latest MuQSS Scheduler

        MuQSS is Con’s CPU scheduler that evolved out of his prior BFS scheduler implementation with a focus on mobile/desktop systems. With the new MultiQueue Skiplist Scheduler v0.198, the principal change is just re-basing it against the Linux 5.5 source tree.

      • linux-5.5-ck1, MuQSS version 0.198 for linux-5.5

        Announcing a new -ck release, 5.5-ck1 with the latest version of the Multiple Queue Skiplist Scheduler, version 0.198. These are patches designed to improve system responsiveness and interactivity with specific emphasis on the desktop, but configurable for any workload.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA driver 440.59 released for Linux

          The first stable driver release of 2020, yesterday NVIDIA put out the 440.59 driver for Linux users.

          It brings in a few new features like support for audio over DisplayPort Multi-Stream which requires Linux Kernel 5.5 at a minimum, PRIME Synchronization support for Linux kernel 5.4 and newer, a default filename when saving the Display Configuration file in nvidia-settings if an existing configuration file is not detected and they also updated the driver to allow NVIDIA High Definition Audio (HDA) controllers to respond to display hotplug events while the HDA is runtime-suspended.

          Some fixes made it in too like solving a bug that could cause the X server to crash while exiting DPMS with HardDPMS enabled and also an issue got fixed “that caused DXVK titles to endlessly loop during shader compilation if no OpSource instruction was present”—which is the same fix from the previous Vulkan Beta driver that was specifically for using vkBasalt with DXVK.

    • Applications

      • Flatseal Review: Managing Permissions for Flatpak Apps Has Never Been Easier

        If you’ve ever wanted a graphical tool to track and manage basic permissions for Flatpak applications, you should know that there’s now Flatseal.

        Flatpak apps are becoming more and more popular these days as they allow you to install certain apps that aren’t available or regularly updated in the software repositories of your GNU/Linux distribution. While they run sandboxed, limited access to the host environment, Flatpak applications require certain permissions.

        Tracking and changing these permissions for all of your installed Flatpak apps could become cumbersome or time consuming. Developed by Martin Abente Lahaye, Flatseal features a simple, straightforward design that does exactly what it says on the tin. It presents users with a list of installed Flatpak apps and basic permissions.

        By default, the application displays all available permissions for all installed Flatpak apps and which permissions each app requested. Users will be able to inspect all available permissions and grant or deny app permissions for each application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Make a Spy Hunter-style scrolling road | Wireframe #31

        Raspberry Pi’s own Mac Bowley shows you how to make the beginnings of a top-down driving game inspired by 1983’s Spy Hunter.

      • Stadia Isn’t Starting Off Well, Even Judging By Player Counts On Free Games

        Since the day of Google’s launch of Stadia, its video game streaming platform that was supposed to be the end of home consoles, the platform arrived to reactions that ranged from “meh” to laughter at how terribly the launch was going. Between that reception and the public backlash from the platform not living up to its promises, a whole lot of folks have cast very narrow eyes at Google’s platform as a whole.

      • MediaTek Helio G80 Mobile Gaming SoC Boasts Higher CPU & GPU Clocks (over Helio G70)

        MediaTek introduced their first mobile processors designed specifically with gaming in mind last year with MediaTek Helio G90 and G90T SoC’s coupling Arm Cortex-A76 and Cortex-A55 cores…

      • Developed in Rust, the open-world and open-source voxel RPG ‘Veloren’ has a big new release

        Veloren, inspired by games such as Cube World, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Dwarf Fortress and Minecraft this new and in-development open-world RPG certainly has a lot to live up to and a lot of promise.

        Mentioned here on GOL a few months ago, the team put out a huge new release recently with Veloren 0.5 bringing in absolutely tons of new and improved features. These include the ability to drop items, clouds, a “proper” SFX system, jumping while underwater, a death+hurt screen, an animated Map and Minimap position indicator, rivers and lakes which follow realistic physical paths, overhauled NPC AI, NPC pathfinding, a waypoint system, Pets now attack enemies and defend their owners, 28 new creatures and an absolute ton more.

      • Try out the latest demo for the upcoming FPS ‘ULTRAKILL’ – it’s pretty wild

        ULTRAKILL, mentioned briefly here on GOL recently is an upcoming retro-inspired FPS that’s about violent machines powered by Blood and there’s a brand new demo.

        Set in a time long after we went exctinct, the only beings left are these robots and the Blood is running out so they’re racing to the depths of Hell in search of more. As you can expect, it’s quite violent and Blood will be spilled everywhere.

      • Fast-paced competitive party game ‘Armed and Gelatinous’ releasing later this year

        Three Flip Studios have announced their local/online competitive multiplayer party game Armed and Gelatinous is releasing with Linux support in Q3 this year.

        Originally funded on Kickstarter and then moving into Early Access on Steam, they decided to stop purchases and get working on the game in a closed-Beta form to ensure it’s properly ready for release. They’re almost ready, with the addition of online multiplayer for the full release to expand the audience.

        Choose one of four colourful blobs and race through space for tacos in Food Fight mode, compete in Dodgeball and Football (Soccer to some) games or enter the Deathmatch of the century. Master weapons including grenade launchers and machine guns in the single player campaign. Absorb firearms, balancing increased damage with increased mass and declining mobility to dominate the competition. Sounds like a huge amount of fun.

      • Might & Delight confirm their TMORPG ‘Book of Travels’ will enter Early Access in October

        Book of Travels has to be one of the most intriguing games releasing all year. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Might & Delight have now confirmed their TMORPG (Tiny Multiplayer Online RPG) will go into Early Access.

        Not heard of Might & Delight? They created Tiny Echo, Meadow, Shelter and more and have created quite a name for themselves for the incredible worlds they made. Book of Travels continues their unique world-building, with an online RPG that focuses on exploration and discovery rather than stats and numbers.

      • KARLSON – an upcoming FPS infused with Parkour, a little slow-motion and something about Milk

        I come across a lot of really weird games, sometimes though they’re the right kind of weird which is the case with KARLSON.

        A first-person shooter with simple visuals, fast-paced action with a little parkour thrown in and slow-motion which makes this a little bit hilarious. It helps that there’s some silly physics going on, you can throw things around and make stuff explode.

      • Pioneer, the classic open-source space sim has a big new release out

        Inspired by the classic Frontier: Elite II, Pioneer is a free and open source space adventure sim. Open-ended exploration, allowing you to do whatever you want and there’s a big release out now.

        The first release in some time too, with the last being in February 2019. Yesterday’s update brings in an initial implementation of atmospheric lift and drag, a manual player face generator, many UI improvements, star rendering optimisation, the ship warning system also now detects missiles, a music upgrade, it’s now using SDL2′s AudioDevice APIs to hopefully give less crashes, more station names added and more.

      • Something Ate My Alien combines digging, puzzle solving and a little platforming – out in April

        Rokabium Games recently announced that Something Ate My Alien will be releasing this April, with Linux support. A strange mixture of digging through tunnels, solving puzzles, upgrading/crafting and a little action-platforming in between with wonderful hand-painted visuals.

      • Hellpoint, dark sci-fi action RPG launching on April 16 with Linux support

        Three years after the Kickstarter campaign, the great looking dark sci-fi action RPG Hellpoint from Cradle Games and tinyBuild is confirmed for launch with Linux support on April 16.

        Hellpoint is an intense, dark sci-fi RPG set on a derelict space station orbiting an ominous supermassive black hole. Taking inspiration from games like Dark Souls and Dead Space and movies like Event Horizon and Hellraiser, Hellpoint is doubling down on co-op multiplayer (with both split-screen and online support) while immersing players in a twisted narrative involving Cosmic Gods, quantum physics, and extinct space civilizations. Sounds awesome, everything I want in a sci-fi game.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • PaperWM, the Tiling Window Manager for GNOME

        Lately, tiling window managers have been gaining popularity even among the regular desktop Linux users. Unfortunately, it can be difficult and time-consuming for a user to install and set up a tiling window manager.

        This is why projects like Regolith and PaperWM has come up to provide tiling window experience with minimal efforts.

        We have already discussed Regolith desktop in details. In this article, we’ll check out PaperWM.

        What is PaperWM?

        According to its GitHub repo, PaperWM is “an experimental Gnome Shell extension providing scrollable tiling of windows and per monitor workspaces. It’s inspired by paper notebooks and tiling window managers.”

        PaperWM puts all of your windows in a row. You can quickly switch between windows very quickly. It’s a little bit like having a long spool of paper in front of you that you can move back and forth.

        This extension supports GNOME Shell 3.28 to 3.34. It also supports both X11 and Wayland. It is written in JavaScript.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Seven questions to steer open source project community development

          In my role as a community architect at Red Hat, I advise a number of project leaders on the ways in which they can develop the audience and community for their projects. In that capacity, I often talk to the leaders of projects with which I am not very familiar. Over time, I have found myself asking the same questions over and over, and I have found them useful, not only to help me understand the projects, but to help the project leaders understand what they are trying to achieve.

          I have asked these questions so often, I have created a template that I use during these conversations, to take notes and share the results with the project leaders afterwards. In this post, I will run through the seven questions I ask, and how the answers to these questions can shape all follow-up recommendations for community development.

        • Tor rpm package repository for Fedora and CentOS/RHEL

          Now we have official Tor RPM repositories for Fedora, CentOS/RHEL. The support documentation is already in place.

          Using this repository, you can get the latest Tor build for your distribution from the upstream project itself. Tor already provides similar packages for Debian/Ubuntu systems.

        • Daniel Berrange: libvirt: split of the monolithic libvirtd daemon

          Anyone who has used libvirt should be familiar with the libvirtd daemon which runs most of the virtualization and secondary drivers that libvirt distributes. Only a few libvirt drivers are stateless and run purely in the library. Internally libvirt has always tried to maintain a fairly modular architecture, with each hypervisor driver being a separated from other drivers. There are also secondary drivers providing storage, network, firewall functionality which are notionally separate from all the virtualization drivers. Over time the separation has broken down with hypervisor drivers directly invoking internal methods from the secondary drivers, but last year there was a major effort to reverse this and re-gain full separation between every driver.

          There are various problems with having a monolithic daemon like libvirtd. From a security POV, it is hard to provide any meaningful protections to libvirtd. The range of functionality it exposes, provides an access level that is more or less equivalent to having a root shell. So although libvirtd runs with a “virtd_t” SELinux context, this should be considered little better than running “unconfined_t“. As well as providing direct local access to the APIs, the libvirtd daemon also has the job of exposing remote access over TCP, most commonly needed when doing live migration. Exposing the drivers directly over TCP is somewhat undesirable given the size of the attack surface they have.

          The biggest problems users have seen are around reliability of the daemon. A bug in any single driver in libvirt can impact on the functionality of all other drivers. As an example, if something goes wrong in the libvirt storage mgmt APIs, this can harm management of any QEMU VMs. Problems can be things like crashes of the daemon due to memory corruption, or more subtle things like main event loop starvation due to long running file handle event callbacks, or accidental resource cleanup such as closing a file descriptor belonging to another thread.

          Libvirt drivers are shipped as loadable modules, and an installation of libvirt does not have to include all drivers. Thus a minimal installation of libvirt is a lot smaller than users typically imagine it is. The existance of the monolithic libvirtd daemon, however, and the fact the many apps pull in broader RPM dependencies than they truly need, results in a perception that libvirt is bloated / heavyweight.

        • Fedora: Call for Projects and Mentors – GSoC 2020

          Google Summer of Code is a global program focused on bringing more student developers into open source software development.
          Students work with an open source organization on a 3 month programming project during their break from school. In the previous year, Fedora had an awesome participation
          and we would like to continue to be mentoring Org this year too.

        • How to use third-party APIs in Operator SDK projects
        • OpenShift 4.3: Deploy Applications with Helm 3
      • Debian Family

        • Migration to a new VPS

          Migration to a new, bigger server is almost done, all the services works from the new one already. Important! A new Sparky repository public key has been generated so manually intervention is required!

        • Debian LTS and ELTS – January 2020

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

          In January, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I was assigned 23.75h for LTS (out of 30 max) and 20h for ELTS (max) of which I did 1.5h.

          I couldn’t work much on ELTS because there are very few sponsors left for oldoldoldstable (sic!), hence not many packages to support, hence not much possible work.

          In a direct communication, one team member expressed that team workflow is to be discussed on a private mailing list because according to them these problems don’t need to be discussed in public and only results count. I have an opposite approach — anything that isn’t strictly confidential / security-sensitive is to be discussed publicly. The Debian Social Contract says “We don’t hide problems” so if we want to address problems in a Debian workflow, this is to be public.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Switching from Windows 7 to Ubuntu Linux is very easy, so why is Canonical making it seem so hard?

          I am a huge proponent of using Linux-based desktop operating systems, and I try to convert people from Windows whenever it makes sense. Why do I do this? Well, Linux distributions, believe it or not, are often easier to use than Microsoft’s operating system. With so many people living in the web browser these days, a Linux installation with Google Chrome is largely all an average user needs. More advanced users can install excellent free software such as LibreOffice or GIMP — if needed. Not to mention, it can be argued that Linux is more secure than Windows. Overall, switching to Linux is a huge win for many.

          Even installing a Linux distro is easy these days. Long gone are the days where the installation required a degree in computer science (except for Arch, maybe). The current Ubuntu installer, for instance, is more straightforward than the one found on Windows 10! So why in the hell is Canonical, the maker of Ubuntu, making it seem so damn hard? You see, the company has put out an installation guide that will make a person curious about switching to Ubuntu to instead run for the hills.

        • How to upgrade from Windows 7 to Ubuntu – Installation

          Installing an operating system is not an easy task. For most people, this is something they will never have done. The vast majority of people buy computers with the operating system already installed, so they never have to manually run through the system setup. The process can be intimidating, but we will try to make it as simple as possible.

          In this article, we’d like to continue the journey we started last week – how to successfully migrate from Windows 7 to Ubuntu. In the first article, we talked about the preparation steps – the differences between Windows and Ubuntu, software parity, hardware support, and data backup ahead of the change. Here, we will show you how to safely install Ubuntu. In the last tutorial of this series, we will tour the Ubuntu desktop, install popular applications, and learn how to use Ubuntu.

        • [Older] Canonical Launches Cloud-Powered Android OS ‘Anbox’

          Industry leaders such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud have made it possible to run Windows 10 and Linux-based open source operating systems on the cloud.

          This functionality has helped many startups and enterprises flourish their businesses without setting up an infrastructure of their own and get the benefit of open source technologies.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • SCaLE 18X Linux Expo March 5-8th 2020

          Next month SCaLE 18X the 18th annual Southern California Linux Expo will take place running from March 5-8th, 2020 at the Pasadena Convention Center. SCaLE 18X expects to host 150 exhibitors this year, along with nearly 130 sessions, tutorials and special events. SCaLE is the largest community-run open-source and free software conference in North America. It is held annually in the greater Los Angeles area. This year’s schedule of events is now available to view over on the official SCaLE 18X website allowing you to plan your visit.

          “Master new cyber security skills at our three-day SCaLE 18x Capture The Flag competition. Whether you’re a beginner who’s never tried a CTF before, an experienced competitor looking for an energizing challenge, or a professional who just wants to have fun, this event is for you. This year we have a new delivery platform and all-new content. We are welcoming back Cal Poly Pomona’s Swift student club and Attivo Networks as our platform hosts.”

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice in Luxembourg: Ready for work

          Michel Weimerskirch, the extension’s maintainer, explains more: “My goal is to provide good quality spell-checking tools for the Luxembourgish language. LibreOffice is available on all major platforms for free, and also has the necessary programming interfaces I needed to even implement a phonological rule that could now be implemented using standard spell checking libraries. Since then, LibreOffice has grown to be even more mature, so that nowadays there is definitely no reason anymore not to use it in a professional environment.”

          Paolo Vecchi, a local LibreOffice supporter – and recently elected as member of the Board of Directors of The Document Foundation – worked with Michel Weimerskirch to publish the new dictionary on the LibreOffice extensions portal, and will coordinate with the local Government and European institutions established in Luxembourg to help them upgrade to the most complete and professional open source office suite.

        • LibreOffice, OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice timeline

          History time! LibreOffice is a successor to OpenOffice(.org) and StarOffice before that. We have new major releases every six months, bringing important new features, security updates and compatibility improvements… (Click to enlarge)

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Amandine ‘cryptie’ Jambert, CNIL & FSFE privacy scandals

            There have recently been concerns raised on various mailing lists about the identity of Cryptie in FSFE.

            For many years, Amandine Jambert has wandered around the free software world using a pseudonym, Cryptie. While anybody else using an alternative name has been accused of trolling, Jambert has had some immunity. Why? As concerns grow about the hidden conflicts of interests and corporate influence in free software organizations and as these organizations use the weight of their reputations to shame and humiliate people, it is more important than ever to identify the controllers of the organizations.

            Thanks to Wright’s investigations, we can now search for information about Cryptie and search for information about Amandine Jambert @ CNIL and find they are the same person.


            There have recently been concerns raised on various mailing lists about the identity of Cryptie in FSFE.

            For many years, Amandine Jambert has wandered around the free software world using a pseudonym, Cryptie. While anybody else using an alternative name has been accused of trolling, Jambert has had some immunity. Why? As concerns grow about the hidden conflicts of interests and corporate influence in free software organizations and as these organizations use the weight of their reputations to shame and humiliate people, it is more important than ever to identify the controllers of the organizations.

            Thanks to Wright’s investigations, we can now search for information about Cryptie and search for information about Amandine Jambert @ CNIL and find they are the same person.

        • GNU Projects

          • WTP: LLVM, WebSocket support for Jenkins, DNNL, GNU C Library, Prometheus

            glibc hits 2.31

            The team behind GNU project’s implementation of the C standard has finished work on version 2.31 and pushed it into the open. To many, one of the most interesting additions contained in the release is a feature test macro enabling features from the draft ISO C2X standard, the next major C release which might be ready for vote in 2021.

            To make the project more accessible to Myanmar users, it now comes with a new locale to support the Mon language. Other goodies include type-generic macros to go along with some functions that round their results to a narrower type, a function enabling join with a terminated thread with a specific clock, and a new mode for the DNS stub resolver.

      • Programming/Development

        • Less Love for FOSS Qt Users

          A Qt account is mandatory to download binary Qt packages. The offline installer is not available to FOSS users any more.

          LTS (long-term support) releases are not available to FOSS users, once the next minor or major release is out.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Logo

          The Logo Programming Language, a dialect of Lisp, was designed as a tool for learning. It features interactivity, modularity, extensibility, with flexibility of data types.

          Logo offers a rich programming environment providing multimedia tools, robotics and network access. Full-featured Logo packages provide hundreds of commands for exploring all sorts of applications, from the simplest turtle graphics to artificial intelligence.

        • Stuck in a loop: 4 signs anxiety may be affecting your work

          After having several more of these conversations over the course of a few weeks—many of them lively and fruitful—I came to one clear conclusion: Although I was getting lots of great input, I wasn’t going to find any kind of consensus about priorities among the leadership team.

          So why was I asking?

          Eventually I realized what was really underlying my desire to seek input: not just a desire to learn from the people I was interviewing, but also a nagging question in my gut. “Am I doing the right thing?”

          One manifestation of anxiety is a worry that we’re doing something wrong, which is also related to imposter syndrome (worry that we’re going to be “found out” as unqualified for or incapable of the work or the role we’ve been given).

          I’ve previously described a positive “anxiety performance loop” that can drive high performance. I can occasionally fall into another kind of anxiety loop, an “inaction loop,” which can lower performance. Figure 1 (below) illustrates it.

        • DevOps vs Agile: What’s the difference?

          Early on, software development didn’t really fit under a particular management umbrella. Then along came waterfall, which spoke to the idea that software development could be defined by the length of time an application took to create or build.

          Back then, it often took long periods of time to create, test, and deploy software because there were no checks and balances during the development process. The results were poor software quality with defects and bugs and unmet timelines. The focus was on long, drawn-out plans for software projects.

        • 300,000 new developer jobs in US in next decade

          The demand for software developers continues to grow. The US is expected to add nearly 300,000 new software developer jobs in the next 10 years, according to HackerRank’s Developer Skills report released on Tuesday.

          Additionally, job seekers from varied educational backgrounds and demographics are now turning to tech. Coding bootcamps are helping to facilitate career changes by making the necessary skills more accessible.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2020.05 Releasalot

            This week saw a lot of releases! First of all, the Rakudo Compiler Release 2020.01 was finished by Alexander Kiryuhin, quickly followed by Claudio Ramirez packaging the release for many, many Linux distributions and JJ Merelo with an Alpine Docker image. Then Fernando Santagata started releasing modules that support the GNU Scientific Library (see the New Modules section). Jonathan Worthington released a new version of Cro as well as a new version of the Comma Community IDE (main new features). And Stefan Seifert released a new version of Inline::Perl5. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg this week. Good to see so much new stuff!

        • Python

          • Learn Python List Data Structure – Part 1

            Data Structure is a collection of data types, the relationship among them and the functions or operations that can be applied on the data. Data type can be string, Integer, Floating value and so on.

            Python comes with built-in data structures as well as users can define their own data structures. The built-in data structure includes LIST, DICTIONARY, TUPLE, and SET. Some of the examples for user-defined data structures are STACK, QUEUES, TREE, HASHMAP, etc…

          • Adding images to PyQt5/PySide2 applications, using QLabel and QPixmap

            Adding images to your application is a common requirement, whether you’re building an image/photo viewer, or just want to add some decoration to your GUI. Unfortunately, because of how this is done in Qt, it can be a little bit tricky to work out at first.

            In this short tutorial, we will look at how you can insert an external image into your PyQt5/Pyside2 application layout, using both code and Qt Designer.

        • Ruby

  • Leftovers

    • Rush Limbaugh Tells Listeners He Has Lung Cancer

      Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said he’s been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer.

    • Mourning in America: Kobe and Me

      When a sports legend dies, the emotional and political aftermath can speak volumes. For some like me, the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant along with his daughter and seven other souls in an LA-area helicopter crash on January 26 feels a bit like losing a close friend. That sounds confused and confusing. Bear with me.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘An Appalling Act of Industrial Vandalism’: Japanese Officials Do PR for Plan to Dump Fukushima Water Into Ocean

        The Japanese government told embassy officials from nearly two dozen countries that releasing the water into the ocean was a “feasible” approach that could be done “with certainty.”

      • In the Name of Medicare for All, This Family Doctor Will Vote for Bernie Sanders

        It is at long last time for the United States to move from providing the world’s most expensive sick care to providing the world’s greatest healthcare.

      • Zimbabwe’s Wetlands Key for Right to Clean Water

        On February 2, Zimbabwe joined global efforts to mark World Wetlands Day with the theme, “Wetlands and Biodiversity.” This comes at a time when environmental groups have raised concerns about the government’s poor protection of wetlands in the country, particularly in the capital, Harare, which faces a major water crisis. More than half of the city’s 4.5 million residents are without access to clean water and are at risk of waterborne diseases like cholera and typhoid.

        Wetlands are important for several reasons. They filter water by breaking down harmful pollutants including chemicals, separate them from the water, and use the chemicals as fertilizer for vegetation growing on the wetland. They are also natural sewage systems, filtering out waste and running clean water into rivers.

      • Facebook will now take down posts that spread coronavirus misinformation

        The news: Facebook has started deleting posts that contain false claims about the coronavirus, especially ones spreading dangerous misinformation about treatment—such as that drinking bleach cures the virus—and incorrect advice about available health resources. 

      • Russia shuts down rail transport with North Korea at North Korean government’s request amid coronavirus outbreak

        On February 3, Russian Railways suspended all passenger services to and from North Korea, the state-owned company’s press service reported.

      • The “Cancer Truther” movement

        I frequently write about the misinformation and disinformation about cancer, chemotherapy, and other modalities used to treat cancer spread by believers in alternative medicine and, in particular, in alternative cancer cures. If there’s one thing that characterizes the disinformation about chemotherapy promoted by cancer quacks, it’s an extreme demonization of chemotherapy as ineffective poison. Of course, chemotherapy is indeed toxic, although lost in the fear mongering is that the toxicity of chemotherapy depends a lot on the specific chemotherapeutic agents used. In other words, some chemotherapy drugs are not that toxic, while others are very toxic, with others ranging somewhere between the two extremes. Yet, to those promoting alternative cancer cures, “chemotherapy” is to describe all chemotherapy, which is always described in the most horrific terms. Recently, I came across an article by Kelsey Osgood entitled “Chemotherapy Truthers Are the New Anti-Vaxxers“.

      • Pesticides Are Killing Off the Andean Condor
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Microsoft patches serious security flaws in Azure

            Security researchers at Check Point have identified two major security flaws in Microsoft Azure that could be exploited by hackers to gain access to sensitive information stored on machines running Azure or to take over Azure servers.

            The first security flaw was discovered in Azure Stack and if exploited, it would enable a hacker to gain access to screenshots and other sensitive information from machines running Azure.

            Azure stack is a cloud computing software solution that was developed by Microsoft to allow enterprises to deliver Azure services from their own data centers. The software giant created Azure Stack as a means of helping organizations embrace hybrid cloud computing on their own terms while still being able to address business and technical considerations.

          • Harvard cancels digital security talk led by spyware-linked lecturer

            The email didn’t give details on why the event had been canceled, but it had to do with an unexpected item on Kayyem’s resumé. She had served as a consultant for NSO Group, a prominent spyware vendor that has been linked to several hacks against journalists in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, and Bahrain.

          • Mysterious New Ransomware Targets Industrial Control Systems [Ed: Windows]

            Over the last month, researchers at security firms including Sentinel One and Dragos have puzzled over a piece of code called Snake or EKANS, which they now believe is specifically designed to target industrial control systems, the software and hardware used in everything from oil refineries to power grids to manufacturing facilities. Much like other ransomware, EKANS encrypts data and displays a note to victims demanding payment to release it; the name comes from a string it plants as a file marker on a victim computer to identify that its files have already been encrypted.

            But EKANS also uses another trick to ratchet up the pain: It’s designed to terminate 64 different software processes on victim computers, including many that are specific to industrial control systems. That allows it to then encrypt the data that those control system programs interact with. While crude compared to other malware purpose-built for industrial sabotage, that targeting can nonetheless break the software used to monitor infrastructure, like an oil firm’s pipelines or a factory’s robots. That could have potentially dangerous consequences, like preventing staff from remotely monitoring or controlling the equipment’s operation.

          • Sudo Linux Bug Allows Hackers To Execute Commands As Root User

            According to the latest report published by The Debian Project, a Sudo vulnerability exists that allows hackers to gain access to root privileges and execute commands.

            The vulnerability exists in the Sudo package (Sudo stands for “superuser do”) which allows users to execute programs and commands with security privileges of a superuser.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Politics of Online Friendship

              It happens to everyone.  You’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and encounter a name you either dislike or admire.  You head over to their page to check out the latest news or analysis, or to laugh at their latest bad take, but something’s off.  The page seems incomplete.  And then you realize why.  You immediately direct message [DM] a trusted partner in private gossip:  “I think that fucker unfriended me.”

            • Facebook Pays $550 Million Settlement In Illinois Facial Recognition Lawsuit, Which Could Pose Problems For Clearview

              Late last week, legally and ethically-dubious facial recognition tech developer Clearview was sued for violating an Illinois law making certain collection and storage of biometric information illegal. I was very dismissive of the lawsuit, stating that scraping of publicly-posted photos couldn’t possibly create an actionable violation of privacy.

            • Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom’s Appeal to Access Illegal Spy Recordings

              The New Zealand Supreme Court has declined Kim Dotcom’s appeal in his bid to access private communications captured illegally by the country’s spy agency. Dotcom will still be entitled to damages for the unlawful intrusion into his private life but he says this matter is not about money. Instead, he seeks to hold the GCSB agency accountable for its illegal behavior, for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

            • The EARN IT Act is the latest clueless attack on encryption, do not fall for it

              The latest attack on encryption is here, and it’s being championed under the cover of – surprise surprise – a necessary step to protect the children. Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Richard Blumenthal are proposing a new bill called the ‘‘Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2019,” abbreviated as the EARN IT Act.

            • An Artist Used 99 Phones to Fake a Google Maps Traffic Jam

              Almost three years ago, artist Simon Weckert noticed something unusual at a May Day demonstration in Berlin: Google Maps showed there was a massive traffic jam, even though there were zero cars on the road. Soon enough, Weckert realized that it was the mass of people, or more specifically their smartphones, that had inadvertently tricked Google into seeing gridlock on an empty street. And then he decided to do it himself.

              “The question was if it might be possible to generate something like this in a much simpler way,” Weckert says. “I don’t need the people. I just need their smartphones.”

              And so Weckert borrowed phones from friends and from rental companies until he had acquired 99 devices, which he piled into a little red wagon. The Google Maps Hack project had begun.

            • Man Uses 99 Smartphones to Fool Google Maps and Create a Fake Traffic Jam: Video

              Google Maps is an invaluable tool for anyone who drives a car in a big city, offering details on traffic snarls or bottlenecks on major roads. A lot of us religiously check Google Maps before going anywhere, to properly plan our routes. Google itself runs ad campaigns encouraging users to do the same. But the system isn’t foolproof and can be deceived, as hilariously demonstrated by a man in Berlin who used 99 smartphones and a hand cart to create ‘fake’ traffic jams in the German capital.

              Simon Weckert, a Berlin-based artist, pulled off the stunt and detailed his findings in a video published on his YouTube channel, as well as on his own blog. In the video, Weckert is shown pulling 99 smartphones with location turned on in a hand cart on city streets, including the street right outside Google’s office in Berlin.

            • Google Maps Hacks

              ” 99 second hand smartphones are transported in a handcart to generate virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. Through this activity, it is possible to turn a green street red which has an impact in the physical world by navigating cars on another route to avoid being stuck in traffic. ”

            • Researchers Find ‘Anonymized’ Data Is Even Less Anonymous Than We Thought

              Dasha Metropolitansky and Kian Attari, two students at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, recently built a tool that combs through vast troves of consumer datasets exposed from breaches for a class paper they’ve yet to publish.

              “The program takes in a list of personally identifiable information, such as a list of emails or usernames, and searches across the leaks for all the credential data it can find for each person,” Attari said in a press release.

              They told Motherboard their tool analyzed thousands of datasets from data scandals ranging from the 2015 hack of Experian, to the hacks and breaches that have plagued services from MyHeritage to porn websites. Despite many of these datasets containing “anonymized” data, the students say that identifying actual users wasn’t all that difficult.

            • Encryption backdoors: the biggest threat to our privacy that no one is talking about

              What is the purpose of having passwords on our phones?

              For most of us, the answer is obvious: to protect our personal information. Our phones, like our online accounts, our email address and even our private chats, hold an increasing quantity of information, covering every aspect of our lives, that we want to keep private.

              This information can range from your banking information to corporate trade secrets and even intimate details about your sexual orientation. People seek privacy to protect themselves from oppressive governments, thieves, abusive partners, bullies or simply because they enjoy the freedom it provides in an increasingly exposed world.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Gaza: Apparently Unlawful Israeli Strikes Kill At Least 11 Civilians

        Two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza during a flare-up in fighting with Palestinian armed groups in November 2019 killed at least 11 civilians, in apparent violations of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today.

        Between November 12 and 14, Palestinian armed groups also fired hundreds of rockets and mortars into Israel, causing shock or light injuries to 78 civilians, according to the United Nations. These attacks also violated the laws of war. Human Rights Watch found that at least two rockets apparently fired by Palestinian armed groups landed in Gaza, one killing a Palestinian man and injuring 16 others, and the other hitting the offices of a local human rights organization, causing damage but no casualties.

      • Bloc of Muslim Nations Warns Trump Israel-Palestine Plan ‘Destroys the Foundations of Peace’

        The Organization of Islamic Cooperation emphasized that “peace and security in the Middle East region, as a strategic option, will only be achieved with the end of the Israeli occupation.”

      • Trump’s Banal “Deal of the Century” is Impossible to Take Seriously

        When the two old political fraudsters emerged at the White House this week with the most deranged, farcical tragi-comedy in Middle East history, it was difficult to know whether to laugh or cry.

      • ‘Saudi Arabia Must Be Held Accountable’: Jamal Khashoggi’s Fiancée to Attend State of the Union as Congressman’s Guest

        Hatice Cengiz’s “courage to sit in the House Chamber Tuesday night should serve as a clarion call to the president,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly.

      • Thailand: Charges Dropped in Activist’s Murder

        Thailand’s attorney general should overturn a departmental decision to drop the most serious charges against four park officials for the abduction and murder of a prominent ethnic Karen activist, Human Rights Watch said today. The officials currently face only minor malfeasance charges for the enforced disappearance and extrajudicial execution of Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen in April 2014.

        “The handling of Billy’s case makes a mockery of Thai government pledges to pursue justice and end the culture of impunity,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “For five years, Thai authorities have failed to prosecute officials who allegedly abducted this prominent rights defender, brutally murdered him, and burned his remains in an oil drum.”

      • Trump Would Make Palestinian Subjugation Permanent

        The fundamental flaw at the heart of Trump’s Palestine/Israel plan, presumptuously titled Peace to Prosperity: A Vision to Improve the Lives of the Palestinian and Israeli People, is that Trump — like his predecessors — believes that the Israelis are the aggrieved party and the Palestinians are the not-fully-human aggressors inherently unworthy of even the minimum trust accorded fellow human beings. You can see this premise throughout Trump’s corrupt blueprint for the future of Israel and Palestine.

      • Corporate Media Reveals Its Naked Contempt for Palestine

        Media coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict over the years has typically portrayed Palestinians as obstinate and imperious negotiating partners who insist on unreasonable preconditions before reaching an agreement (e.g., US News, 6/20/12; Wall Street Journal, 4/28/13; Jerusalem Post, 7/18/17). When Israel’s preconditions are reported, the precondition that the peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians should be mediated by the US is often omitted.

      • A Russian satellite is probably stalking a US spy satellite in orbit

        On January 20, something rather strange happened in orbit. A Russian satellite suddenly maneuvered itself so that it was closely shadowing a US spy satellite. The pair are now less than 186 miles (300 kilometers) apart—a short distance when it comes to space. While we don’t know for sure what’s going on, the Russian satellite’s actions strongly suggest it is there to spy on the US one—and there is very little the US can do about it.

        Neel V. Patel

      • Four FSB special forces officers reportedly killed in Syria

        The Telegram-based investigative news outlet Baza has reported that four officers from the Special Operations Center of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) have been killed near Aleppo, Syria. Baza claimed that a vehicle carrying the officers rode over a land mine, and a group of armed fighters subsequently shot the wounded troops.

      • Flight 752 investigation collapses as Iran and Ukraine clash over compensation, leaked evidence

        The joint investigation between Iran and Ukraine into last month’s downing of a passenger airliner appears to have collapsed amid acrimony over the level of compensation Iran should pay, as well as the leak of a recording that appears to confirm Iranian officials knew immediately that their military had shot Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 out of sky with a missile.

      • Denmark arrests three members of Iranian opposition group on spy charges

        The three members of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz (ASMLA) had already been charged by Danish police for supporting an attack in Iran in 2018.

        “It is the view of PET (The Danish Security and Intelligence Service) that the three people, in the period from 2012 to 2018, have been spying for a Saudi Arabian intelligence service,” PET chief Finn Borch Andersen told reporters.

      • Denmark arrests three members of Iranian opposition group on spy charges

        Denmark said on Monday it had arrested three leading members of an Iranian Arab opposition group on suspicion of spying for Saudi Arabia.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Bolsonaro’s Latest Move Triggers Widespread Dismay

        Alarmed by warnings that his neglect of the need to protect the Amazon could lead to disinvestment and export bans, Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has turned to his usual solution to problems: call in the army.

      • The Public Charge Rule for Immigrants Evokes the Antebellum Slave Codes

        In a 5-4 decision this week, the Supreme Court temporarily lifted a nationwide preliminary injunction that had kept the Trump administration from implementing its rule that vastly expands the reach of the public charge provision in federal immigration law. Immigration officials will now be able to deny lawful permanent resident status (“green cards”) to immigrant spouses and otherwise eligible immigrant family members of US citizens based on their prediction that the immigrant will “become a public charge at any time in the future.” The rule also allows immigration officials to permit entry to someone found likely to become a public charge if the person provides a “public charge bond” of $8,100 or more.

      • The False Choice Democrats Can’t Afford to Fall For

        One year ago, I worked with a group of Australian environmental activists, discussing their diverse projects in regenerative agriculture, as well as other pilot projects. One involved turning Canberra into the first green-energy city. Now, 12 months later, Canberra is in flames. One of my colleagues has lost his home. He posts about what it’s like to live with the heat, dust and risk of fires spreading. At this writing, his city is on alert for out-of-control blazes and possible evacuation orders.

      • On the Big Issues, Bernie Sanders Is the Only One Who Can Save America

        Only Sanders among the candidates understands the urgency of the Crisis of Plutocracy and has a workable plan for dealing with it.

      • ‘Ignorant, Amnesiac’ Trump Ridiculed for New ‘Bernie Sanders Is a Communist’ Attack Line

        “If Donald Trump really thinks Bernie Sanders’ ‘democratic socialism’ is equivalent to Soviet-style communism, then the renowned Wharton School, with which he identifies himself, should consider revoking his degree.”

      • “It’s Okay, Chris”: MSNBC’s Matthews Mocked for Fearing Sanders Nomination

        “The Bernie surge has Chris Matthews on the verge of tears.”

      • Catholic Social Justice Group Calls McConnell-Run Senate’s 2019 Record a ‘Shocking’ and ‘Immoral’ Failure

        “The Senate is broken, and only a change in leadership can fix it.”

      • At a Church and on Capitol Hill, The Battle for Democracy

        In Washington, two events on the same day show the promise of American democracy—and the mortal danger to it.

      • Misleading Categories and Trump’s Swamps

        It is remarkable how the Democratic Presidential candidates allow themselves to be pigeon-holed by the media as “moderate,” “centrist,” “extreme,” “left-wing,” and other abstract fact-deprived nomenclature.

      • The Afghanistan Papers and a Mother’s Question

        We must stop the killing, take the trillions of dollars devoted to endless war and instead invest in our people, invest in our environment, and invest in our future. 

      • The Candidate Who Best Represents Me Is Only One Saying It’s About Us

        When Bernie says it’s not about him, I see my values and fears and hopes represented in a way I never have before.

      • Bossing Grown Folks Around: the Open Letter to the Greens

        Before a single primary vote has been tallied a number of big-shot progressive Democrats are already calling for the Green Party to stand down in an “open letter.”

      • America’s Coronavirus: Containing the Outbreak of Trumpism

        The epicenter of China’s coronavirus outbreak is widely thought to be a wet market in Wuhan. At such markets, seafood, chicken, and other conventional foodstuffs are on sale alongside live animals. You can buy more than just dogs and cats there. Local epicures also shop for more exotic fare like foxes, badgers, civets, and snakes.

      • The Creation Myth of the Buttigieg Campaign

        The deft spin from the Buttigieg apparatus and the huge media hype about him have obscured the significance of his deep-pocketed backers.

      • The Issue Dividing Democratic Candidates Is Hidden in Plain Sight

        Takes came in hot and heavy last weekend after the New York Times editorial board endorsed both Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic presidential nomination, mercifully ending the paper’s self-aggrandizing pseudo-event widely compared to … that’s right … “The Apprentice.”

      • Murdoch’s Flaming Empire
      • Maneuvering Hell for Our Advantage

        When the mainstream media writes about war, even critically, the image that often comes to mind for me is an infant wrapped in plastic. That infant is naked reality, a.k.a., the present moment, suffocating and screaming for its life; the plastic smothering it are the journalistic euphemisms by which murder and terrorism turn into abstract acts of national necessity.

      • 50 Lawmakers Slam Trump’s Misogyny in Scathing Letter

        Impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump are limping to an end in the Senate this week. As Kyle Cheney and Anthony Desiderio write in Politico, Democratic senators have one last chance to make their case against the president, but the “Republican-controlled Senate … has all but decided the president will be acquitted.”

      • Sen. Joni Ernst Warns GOP Could Weaponize Impeachment ‘Immediately’ If Democrat Wins White House

        “For all that talk about ‘overturning the will of the voter,’ Senate GOP seems pretty okay with impeaching a future president… as long as that president is a Democrat.”

      • Lamar Alexander Is Retiring, But He’ll Live in Infamy Forever for Saving Trump

        Good old Lamar! That would be Sen. Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee — known for that exclamation point after his name, his plaid shirts and his quixotic presidential campaigns. Well, Lamar! threw his reputation and legacy into the fetid compost heap of Donald Trump’s presidency last Friday. Alexander is retiring after this term, so I guess Republicans figured he was the most expendable human sacrifice to step into the breach and betray his oath by casting the deciding vote refusing to hear witnesses in the president’s impeachment trial.

      • ‘Not an Exoneration—A Cover-Up’: Nationwide Protests Planned to Denounce GOP Acquittal of Trump

        “We the people do not accept this disgraceful attempt to cover up Donald Trump’s abuse of the powers of the presidency and we will make our voices heard in protests Wednesday and on Election Day.”

      • Alexander Hamilton Would Have Backed Trump’s Impeachment

        Unless you’ve been in a deep coma or a lengthy, drug-induced stupor, you know that the House of Representatives has failed in its bid to remove President Trump from office on two articles of impeachment. The articles charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress arising from his scheme to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. military aid.

      • Despite Impeachment and Family Being Targeted, Joe Biden Still Believes He Can Work With Republicans

        The former vice president made the comments Monday morning in an interview with NBC News.

      • Closing Arguments in Trump Trial Aimed at Voters, History

        Closing arguments Monday in President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial were directed more toward history than to sway the outcome, one final chance to influence public opinion and set the record ahead of his expected acquittal in the Republican-led Senate.

      • Impeachment Has Always Been More Than Impeachment. And It Still Is.

        Trump must be defeated politically.

      • “Don’t Look Away”: Cages Across Des Moines Remind Iowa Caucus-Goers of Trump’s Mass Detention of Migrant Kids

        “The horrors at our border and throughout our immigration system are too often ignored by the public and politicians.”

      • House Oversight Committee to DeVos: Skip Stumping for Trump and Show Up for Testimomy—or Face Subpoena

        “Instead of testifying before Congress, you are now apparently going to Iowa to campaign on behalf of President Trump today and then to Pennsylvania for another campaign event for him on Wednesday.”

      • Democrats Slam Republican Stonewalling in Senate Impeachment Trial

        The Republican-controlled Senate appears poised to acquit President Trump in just the third impeachment trial in U.S. history, with a final vote on the two articles of impeachment scheduled for Wednesday. On Friday, the Senate voted 51 to 49 against calling witnesses to the Senate trial. Just two Republican senators supported calling for witnesses and collecting new evidence: Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine. Without new witnesses, Republicans have cleared the biggest hurdle in their drive to acquit President Trump on the two impeachment charges, which relate to his withholding of military aid to Ukraine in return for that country launching investigations into his political rivals. The final vote in the Senate is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, a day after President Trump gives his State of the Union address. To talk more about the impeachment trial, we are joined by John Nichols of The Nation. He is the author of many books, including The Genius of Impeachment: The Founders’ Cure for Royalism. John Nichols joins us from Des Moines, Iowa, where he is covering the Iowa caucuses.

      • We’re Stuck With a Flawed Primary Process in 2020, But We Can Make 2024 Better

        The combination of a chaotic and incoherent primary schedule and antiquated voting rules makes winning as much the product of dumb luck as anything relating to the quality of candidates and their ability to unify voters.

      • With Medicare for All on the Table, Iowans Are Caucusing for Their Lives

        Democrats in Iowa are voting for their lives as they gather for the presidential caucuses today. Besides beating President Trump, polling shows that health care is the top issue among likely caucus-goers. The vision of a Medicare for All system that provides health insurance to everyone has energized activists and the party’s progressive base.

      • Noam Chomsky: Sanders Threatens the Establishment by Inspiring Popular Movements

        The impeachment trial of Donald Trump for power abuses is winding down, with his acquittal all but ensured when the Senate reconvenes on Wednesday to vote on the articles of impeachment. Yet, his real crimes continue to receive scant attention, and it is Sen. Bernie Sanders who is regarded by the political establishment as the most dangerous politician because of his commitment to a just and equitable social order and a sustainable future. Meanwhile, the conclusion of the Davos meeting in January demonstrated the global elites’ ongoing commitment to unimpeded planetary destruction.

      • ‘Let Iowa Be the Beginning of a New America’: Last Poll Before Caucus Shows Sanders With 7-Point Lead

        “The whole world is looking at Iowa. The whole world is asking whether or not the people in Iowa are prepared to stand up and fight for justice,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      • Echoes of Occupy Wall Street Are Reverberating Through the Iowa Caucus

        In the immediate run-up to the Iowa Caucus, CBS This Morning aired a segment highlighting wealth inequality in the United States. Correspondent Tony Dokoupil invited mall shoppers to estimate how wealth is distributed nationally by arranging pieces of a pumpkin pie across five plates, each representing a fifth of the wealth spectrum. Participants repeatedly — and incorrectly — estimated the middle or upper-middle fifth as owning far more than they actually do. This unscientific sample mirrors what previous studies have found — that most people have no idea how bad wealth inequality in this country is.

      • Last Poll Before Iowa Caucus Shows Sanders With 7-Point Lead

        An Emerson/7 News poll released on the eve of the Iowa caucuses found that Sen. Bernie Sanders, buttressed by strong support from younger voters, is leading the 2020 Democratic presidential field in the state by seven percentage points heading into Monday’s voting.

      • U.S. Looks to Iowa to Help Clarify Democratic Field

        Iowa Democrats anxious for fundamental political change headed toward caucus centers late Monday to decide the opening contest in the 2020 presidential primary season. It could bring new clarity to a field that still features nearly a dozen White House contenders vying for the chance to take on President Donald Trump.

      • Live From Iowa: Caucus Night

        This is the second part of periodic reports from the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire, and perhaps beyond, should the republic last until South Carolina and Nevada. This was written before the voting in Iowa.

      • A Unity of Delusionals

        I am writing this the night before the Iowa caucuses.

      • Iowa Media Back to the Future

        In the first week of February, every four years, coastal correspondents decamp to Iowa to cover the first-in-the nation nominating contest. Face-to-face, caucus by caucus, what the state lacks in demographics, it makes up for in down-home democracy, we’re told. And down-home democracy rests on down-the-street media. That’s why when the Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren, it makes national news. When Bernie Sanders leads in the Register’s celebrated Iowa Poll, it sends shockwaves through the Democratic establishment. But much as we may want to believe that Iowa takes us back in time, it’s not a time capsule. It’s the frontier face of our media future.

      • Amid Iowa Results Debacle, Sanders Campaign Signals Victory by Releasing Portion of Its Internal Caucus Data

        “We recognize that this does not replace the full data from the Iowa Democratic Party, but we believe firmly that our supporters worked too hard for too long to have the results of that work delayed,” said senior campaign advisor Jeff Weaver.

      • ‘We Found Inconsistencies… This Is Not a Hack’: Final Iowa Caucus Results Are… Not Yet Available

        Prolonged wait for the officials results due to “quality checks” that turned up discrepancies in the result totals.

      • ‘My Word Stands’: Sanders Co-Chair Nina Turner Offends MSNBC Pundits by Calling Billionaire Bloomberg an ‘Oligarch’

        “Not sure why this is even a discussion but by any reasonable historical or comparative standard Michael Bloomberg is literally the definition of an oligarch.”

      • Iowa Caucus chaos? New vote-reporting rules could result in more than one candidate declaring victory

        Here’s the deal: Rather than going to a polling station and casting a secret ballot, as voters do in primary elections, caucus voters gather in their precinct and group together based on the candidate they support. Only candidates who garner a certain level of support — typically 15 percent — can gain convention delegates, so backers of candidates bringing up the rear in the “first alignment” at a caucus site can then peel off and declare for someone else, which ultimately results in a “final alignment.”

      • What the Iowa Caucus means for getting Iowa online

        The problem is much bigger than Winterset. In 2016, the FCC estimated more than 24 million Americans lack access to broadband, and even that was probably an underestimate. Two years later, Microsoft ran its own study and found the FCC had vastly underestimated, determining that close to 163 million people were being left out of the push for the faster web. It’s particularly a problem for rural communities, which are ten times more likely to lack broadband access.

        In Iowa, it’s been this way for years. According to the commission’s most recent study, only 77 percent of rural Iowans had access to high-speed fixed broadband (25 Mbps down and three up, per FCC standards). That’s only a 17 percent increase over the past five years. Nearly all homes in the urban areas of the state have access to high-speed internet, but rural areas have been slow to catch up, largely because of the sheer expense of connecting them.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • News organisations walk out as No 10 seek to pick and choose who gets briefings

        They were granted entry into No 10 but a security official then read out a list of names for those who were allowed entry to the briefing – with those from left-of-centre outlets forced to stand on the opposite side of the entrance hall.

        Those banned from the briefing, in a move reminiscent of Donald Trump’s administration which has tried to exclude journalists from critical organisations, included The Daily Mirror, The i, Huffington Post and the Independent.

      • Moscow university tightens political speech rules after protests

        One of Russia’s leading universities has banned its academics and students from identifying their institutional position when making public political statements, in a move seen as a further erosion of academic freedom in the country.

        Critics claimed that Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE), known for its relatively liberal leanings, has clamped down on dissent in response to its students’ involvement in anti-government protests last summer.

      • Don Lemon, this is no laughing matter

        When Trump surrogates’ lackeys attempted to disempower Lemon on the air, he firmly stopped them in his tracks. He still produces his share of gaffes, but overall Lemon has gone a long way towards comeback from 2014, when the Columbia Journalism Review named him one of the worst journalists of that year.

        Recently, however, Lemon went viral for breaking his composure on air, doubling over with guffaws, as Republican strategist Rick Wilson and fellow CNN contributor Wajahat Ali went after Trump’s supporters, a group Wilson describes as the “credulous boomer rube demo.”

      • Twitter briefly took over a parody account and gave it to the school it mocked

        SUNY Geneseo, a liberal arts college in upstate New York, just wanted the parody Twitter account @SUNYGenseeo deactivated. Instead, Twitter handed over the keys to the unofficial account created by a student, a school representative says, giving the school access to delete most of sophomore Isaiah Kelly’s tweets, as first reported by Business Insider.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Court To Cop: We Don’t Need On-Point Precedent To Deny You Immunity For Killing A Dog That Couldn’t Hurt You

        Cops kill dogs. And they do it at a rate even the Justice Department is concerned about it. This comes from pro-cop site PoliceOne, so if there’s any bias in this article, it’s for cops rather than timcushinghatescops.com.

      • Venezuela: Violent Abuses in Illegal Gold Mines

        February 4, 2020 VideoVenezuela: Violent Abuses in Illegal Gold MinesCredible Allegations of Government Involvement, Acquiescence (New York) – Residents of Venezuela’s southern Bolívar state are suffering amputations and other horrific abuses at the hands of armed groups, including Venezuelan groups called “syndicates” in the area and Colombian armed groups operating in the region, both of which exercise control over gold mines, Human Rights Watch said today. The armed groups seem to operate largely with government acquiescence, and in some cases government involvement, to maintain tight social control over local populations.

        Venezuela has reserves of highly valued resources like gold, diamonds, and nickel, as well as coltan and uranium. Although the government has announced efforts to attract partners for legal mining and a crackdown on illegal mining, most gold mining in southern states, including Bolívar, is illegal, with much of the gold smuggled out of the country. The various syndicates that control the mines exert strict control over the populations who live and work there, impose abusive working conditions, and viciously treat those accused of theft and other offenses – in the worst cases, they have dismembered and killed alleged offenders in front of other workers. Launch Gallery

      • How to Help Someone With a Disability: Listen to Them

        I’m 39. I have lived most of my life with a disability.

      • Trump Is Expanding His Racist Travel Ban, This Time Targeting Africans
      • America: Land of Make-Believe

        America, founded on the evils of slavery, genocide and the violent exploitation of the working class, is a country defined by historical amnesia.

      • Defense Department Watchdog Says Retaliation Against Whistleblowers Is The Rule, Not The Exception

        The more things change, the more whistleblowers still don’t have protections worth a shit. President Trump is waging a war on whistleblowers — about the only thing he’s doing that isn’t the polar opposite of his predecessor. For three straight presidencies, government employees seeking to report wrongdoing and misconduct have been shut down, ignored, and retaliated against, despite periodic protections being erected by legislators.

      • Like Clockwork, ICE Stops Sports Fans From Advertising Their Favorite Teams For Less Than Full Price

        Two things that happen, like clockwork, every Super Bowl? Bogus completely fabricated claims that sex trafficking increases whereever the Super Bowl is held, and ICE making bullshit seizures of “counterfeit” sporting goods. This year, both Associated Press and the local Miami Herald ran bogus stories claiming that sex trafficking ramps up around the Super Bowl — a claim that every single year is debunked and unproven. Reason always does a good job debunking those claims. so I’ll just point you there for now.

      • Super Bowl Gluttony

        In a now established Superbowl ritual, media consumers on both sides of the border are getting another big bite of the avocado. For the sixth year in a row, the Mexican Association of Avocado Producers and Exporters (APEAM) rolled out a pricey Superbowl ad, reportedly costing $5 million for 30 seconds of airtime.

      • Beyonce, Jay-Z Remain Seated During the Super Bowl National Anthem

        Newly surfaced footage reveals that Jay-Z and Beyoncé remained seated during Demi Lovato’s National Anthem Performance at Super Bowl LIV.

      • How to Use Our Database to Report on Accused Priests in Your Area

        For two decades, the names of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse or misconduct trickled into the public sphere, largely through court proceedings, vocal survivors and news articles. That changed in 2018 after an explosive Pennsylvania grand jury report prompted scores of church leaders, many for the first time, to release lists containing the identities of clergy members in their jurisdiction against whom there were accusations they deemed credible.

        ProPublica spent more than a year cataloging these lists. We published our database of more than 6,000 names — and a story explaining what information is still missing — in January.

      • We’ve Gotten a Lot of Questions About Our Database of Credibly Accused Priests. Here Are the Answers.

        We published a database in January of Catholic clergy who have been deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse or misconduct by nearly 180 dioceses and religious orders around the country. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have searched the database.

        A number of those people have reached out with questions about the project. Many have shared personal stories as survivors of abuse. And although the officially released lists total more than 5,800 unique names, dozens of people have written in to suggest names of clergy who they believe have been left off. We’re glad to hear from readers, and we wanted to provide answers to several of the most common questions we’ve received.

      • Instacart Workers Win Historic Union Election

        The union victory sends a message to other gig workers around the country who are fed up with working conditions at Silicon Valley tech companies like Instacart—which has faced months of backlash in the form of worker-led strikes, protests, and online boycotts.

        In the days leading up to the election, Instacart enlisted high-level managers to visit the Mariano’s grocery store where the unionizing workers pick and pack groceries for delivery. The managers distributed anti-union literature warning employees that a union would drain paychecks and “exercise a great deal of control” over workers. “I encourage you to look at all of the FACTS and vote “NO” on February 1st,” a senior operations manager for Instacart wrote in one of the memos obtained by Motherboard, dated January 22.

      • Border Patrol Detains Iranian-Born American Soldier at the Border, Seizes Their Phone

        The news comes amid increased U.S. and Iran tensions. A leaked CBP memo published by CNN Thursday shows the agency directed border officers to question travelers of Iranian descent, including American citizens, in the aftermath of the Trump administration’s killing of Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani.

      • Leaked memo shows US border officers were directed to stop Iran-linked travelers

        The memo states that, among others, anyone born in Iran, Lebanon or the Palestinian territories between 1961 and 2001 should be vetted, along with anyone who has connections to those countries and territories. The focus is clearly placed on Iran and some of its potential sympathizers from the region.

        CBP officials have previously denied that there was any directive to question people at the border based on ethnicity after dozens of American citizens of Iranian descent said they were stopped at a port of entry in Blaine, Washington, in early January following the general’s death. Some were detained for hours and reported that they were asked detailed questions about their country of birth as well as religious affiliations and military service. Others alleged their passports and car keys had been taken by officers during questioning.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Smaller Cable Companies Are Giving Up On Cable TV Altogether

        As giants like Amazon, Apple, AT&T, and Comcast rush to dominate the TV market, smaller cable providers are suddenly finding themselves unable to compete. Pay TV margins have been tightening for years, and without the kind of scale enjoyed by companies like AT&T/DirecTV/Time Warner or Comcast/NBC Universal, smaller cable companies have warned for years how they would probably have to ditch the TV business and focus exclusively on broadband.

      • Sinclair Pays Tribune $60 Million To Settle Lawsuit Over Dodgy Merger

        Last year when Sinclair attempted acquire Tribune Broadcasting for a cool $3.9 billion, you might recall the company was accused of some highly unethical behavior in order to get the deal done. Despite the FCC doing its best to neuter most media consolidation protections to help move the deal forward, the union would have still resulted in the merged company violating media ownership limits and dominating local broadcasting in a huge number of new markets.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • Major Japanese hardware vendor joins Open Invention Network

            Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN, explained that’s exactly the point, “While many of our more than 3,100 licensees have either developed for, or have been users of, free and open-source software, Taiyo Yuden joining OIN is significant because it is their customers that are developing and integrating Linux and other OSS software. Their parts enable higher order devices like smartphones to work and Taiyo Yuden recognizes the need for and advantages of patent non-aggression in the core.”

            What the OIN and its members get out of Taiyo Yuden joining is access to the company’s significant patent holdings. Berglet concluded, “We are pleased that the company has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its intellectual property strategy.”

            Shigetoshi Akino, General Manager of Taiyo Yuden’s Intellectual Property Division, added, “Although Taiyo Yuden does not directly incorporate open-source software in our products, our customers do, and it is important for us to support open-source initiatives that are critical to the continued success of our clients. By joining the Open Invention Network, we are demonstrating support for open source through patent non-aggression in Linux and adjacent open source technologies.”

      • Trademarks

        • Government Organizations Shouldn’t Enjoy Trademark Protection

          According to its web site, Shields of Strength “provides fashionable, functional, and durable Christian fitness jewelry and accessories.” Those items include military “dog tags” engraved with quotes from scripture and sometimes the logo of the armed forces branch the customer belongs to.

      • Copyrights

Pseudo Novelty is Coming Home

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 1:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dear systemd.. .Please leave /home/alone/

Summary: The media now discusses the takeover of /home so a meme seems in order…

“Nothing Has Changed,” Team UPC Says About UPC and Brexit

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reinforcing the stigma of lawyers as liars (semi-truths, selective with facts etc.)

Nothing Has Changed, Business as Usual, And don’t worry about Brexit! Love, Team UPC (in recent days)

Summary: Team UPC is downright delusional; it makes for good entertainment (if one can tolerate the lies and document those many years of lies, instead)

THE STATEMENT from the European Patent Office (EPO) about the UPC? Nothing. No comment.

António Campinos did some photo ops a few weeks ago, as did Benoît Battistelli with CIPA/IP Kat. Those two people are more or less the same, sans the perceived temperament.

“António Campinos did some photo ops a few weeks ago, as did Benoît Battistelli with CIPA/IP Kat.”We continue to amuse ourselves reading the responses from Team UPC (if any). The Bristows “UPC blog” has of course been silent (very bad timing for lobbying and damage-limiting lies) and Finnegan’s (Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP’s) Clare A. Cornell together with Anthony C. Tridico published this nonsensical “Brexit Update” saying that “Nothing Has Changed” (that’s the headline in Lexology and in Google News, which Lexology is like a ‘gateway’ for). So Team UPC has published a title that says “Nothing Has Changed…” as if to say, ignore Brexit and start the UPC already. After all, nothing has changed, right? Or as one Bristows employee put it the other day at IP Kat, it’s all "business as usual". Read the full text from Finnegan to behold a classic case of lie by omission. UPC was not mentioned even once!

Wow, how can one omit such a critical topic amid EU departure?

“We continue to amuse ourselves reading the responses from Team UPC (if any).”Same lies by omission came from the VP of the EPO and the EPO’s official statement, as we noted here before (end of the weekend). Aren’t they such amazing spinners?

As Benjamin Henrion put it yesterday: “The German Constitutional Court should also look at the new situation without the UK, as deals with non-EU member states have to follow rules like the AETR caselaw, which was used during the EPLA discussions in 2007 to exclude Switzerland or Turkey…”

The Team UPC lobbyists at Managing IP [sic] also weigh in. They continue to give litigation people false hopes. This think tank is paid for such propaganda campaigns (it helped set up UPC propaganda events) and it is currently using multiple accounts (like “IP [sic] Stars” in this case) to say: “The European Commission has published its negotiating guidelines and position for a future EU-UK deal. Feel free to stretch the meaning of 49 and 50 to cover the UPC!”

They added a screenshot, which I’ve examined before responding with: “49 talks about counterfeiting (like fakes caught at the border) [and] 50 might as well refer to EPO and EUIPO, not UPC (which is strictly an EU system)…”

“The Team UPC lobbyists at Managing IP [sic] also weigh in. They continue to give litigation people false hopes.”Henrion has also pointed out this article from Law 360. Its headline is “What Brexit Will Mean For Intellectual Property Law” and it’s behind a paywall. This almost assures only patent maximalists will read it, so this cites and quotes Team UPC speaking for itself rather than for the UK, i.e. for litigation and patent trolls rather than public interest. Law 360 certainly represents or fronts for the former group. We gave many examples of this bias in the past. Henrion quotes: “The general consensus is that the UPC will be better with the UK in it than outside [...] So I think the general feeling is if the UK is still willing to play a part, there is a willingness on the other side of the table to make that happen.”

When Baldwin says “UK” he means himself, not the UK. It is deliberately misleading.

Last night we also stumbled upon a new article — promoted in Lexology — by Linklaters LLP’s Georgina Kon, Richard Cumbley, Ian Karet, Julian Cunningham-Day, Sonia Cissé, Nemone Franks, Tanguy Van Overstraeten, Dr. Daniel André Pauly, Yohan Liyanage, Kathy Berry, Peter Church and Gargi Rohi.

Linklaters LLP is more realistic than most law firms. It names the barriers (at least two among more) to UPC ratification:

The fate of Europe’s unitary patent court (UPC) and unitary patent system remains uncertain, not only due to Brexit, but also an ongoing challenge to its legitimacy on constitutional grounds brought before the German courts. Regardless, the UK’s continued participation requires both an amendment to the UPC Agreement (to permit a non-EU member to participate) and the UK’s submission to the jurisdiction of the CJEU for the purposes of the unitary patent. For political reasons therefore, the UK’s continued participation seems unlikely. See our dedicated microsite here for further details on this topic.

There are several more barriers which they fail to name.

The IAM propagandists (funded by the EPO’s PR budget and patent trolls) have also used Lexology (their parent company) to promote Arwed Burrichter’s lies (pretending that UPC is inevitable and imminent and merely “on hold”). It’s just another part of that promotional IAM series, from which we cited some examples the other day. Here we go again, the same (template) question:

What single development would most improve the patent protection regime in Europe?

Once adopted, the unitary patent and the UPC will bring significant changes to the patent system in Europe. Under the new system, users will have the choice between the existing European patent (bundle patent) and the new European patent with unitary effect (unitary patent). Each option has its pros and cons and users will need to carefully choose what best suits them. Even if both systems coexist for a while, the UPC is expected to significantly harmonise patent law in Europe, which has long been needed. The adoption of the unitary patent and the UPC are currently on hold pending the outcome of a constitutional complaint before the German Constitutional Court.

Team UPC is 100% pro-UPC dogma; it’s like a “religion” to these people. They don’t seem to care what the public thinks. Or how UPC affects anyone but law firms.

“Team UPC is 100% pro-UPC dogma; it’s like a “religion” to these people.”They use words like community or unity or “harmonise” (this is a lie) to connote litigation without borders. What could be more “harmonious” than mass litigation? IAM followed up with another patent maximalist (also boosted in Lexology, as usual), claiming that “the EPO has been working on accelerating the grant procedures and reducing its backlog”; at what expense? Is the goal just speed or actual accuracy?

“European companies,” Nele D’Halleweyn acknowledges, “especially in the telecoms field, are facing more NPEs with an increasing number of European patents (ie, trolls).”

Here’s the full reply:

Over the past decade, many countries in Europe have taken initiatives to stimulate IP awareness and promote the filing of patent applications. Also, fiscal advantages can be obtained based on patents, further stimulating companies to protect their innovations. On the other hand, the EPO has been working on accelerating the grant procedures and reducing its backlog, the result being that European patents are granted more quickly and in greater numbers. It seems that this will lead to more oppositions and litigation. Moreover, European companies, especially in the telecoms field, are facing more NPEs with an increasing number of European patents (ie, trolls).

So even they are admitting the trolling epidemic (which IAM's editor was quick to dismiss when shown evidence). Remember that IAM is literally funded by patents trolls. These pranksters know who pays their mortgages.

“So even they are admitting the trolling epidemic (which IAM’s editor was quick to dismiss when shown evidence).”Last but not least, watch what the Team UPC boosters from Barker Brettell LLP (we’ve mentioned their lies many times in the past) have had to say: “Eight reasons to file a GB patent application in parallel with an EP application” (just promoted in Lexology).

They mean to say there are 8 reasons to pay them double for the same thing. These patent maximalists amass a fortune from duplication and UPC would enable them to turn one lawsuit into many (or lawsuits in multiple countries). To quote these liars (or lawyers, whatever):

The UK is the fifth largest economy in the world so having a GB patent can be valuable. Getting a patent granted at the UKIPO is generally cheaper, faster and easier than at the EPO. So, for attorneys (particularly non-European attorneys) thinking about filing a direct EP application or entering the EP regional phase, if the UK is a target market for your client, here we explain several benefits to filing a GB application in parallel that may outweigh the extra cost. And don’t worry about Brexit!

“And don’t worry about Brexit!”

They worry about decline in ‘demand’ for EPs (i.e. lawyers’ fees). That’s all they worry about. To hell with them and their self-serving lies.

The EPO Would Declare It a Success Story If It Granted a Million European Patents a Year

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Economies of monopolies, supported by ‘research’ funded by the European Patent Office (EPO)

The EPO considers its granting authority to be a blank cheque

Summary: The EPO is once again suppressing oppositions and/or appeals because these stand in the way of so-called ‘production’ (rubber-stamping monopolies without outside scrutiny)

AS SOON as the week began the EPO again bragged about scholars who were paid by the EPO to produce propaganda — something which I can’t quite recall the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) ever doing with its large budget. It’s just totally inappropriate, but good luck explaining scientific integrity and ethics to António Campinos and his appointer (neither has scientific background, yet they’re happy to promote software patents in Europe and in the US, even in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101). The EPO has become a corrupting force not only in Europe but in the entire world. As we put it months ago, "Patent Maximalists, Orbiting the European Patent Office, Work to ‘Globalise’ a System of Monopolies on Everything" (including code).

“Maybe they can instead bribe some more scholars, provided they guarantee an outcome that refutes even the EPO’s own assessments (patent quality rapidly decreasing).”The collapse of patent quality at the EPO is hardly debatable; even the EPO’s internal assessments have shown this (high-margin declines) and "The EPO’s ‘Solution’ to Being Caught Granting Illegal Patents is to Punish Those Who Show That" (gagging truth itself, suppressing facts).

Maybe they can instead bribe some more scholars, provided they guarantee an outcome that refutes even the EPO’s own assessments (patent quality rapidly decreasing).

Published yesterday (3 February 2020) by Haseltine Lake Kempner LLP in Mondaq was “EPO Announces Changes To Official Fees From 1st April 2020, With A Substantial Increase In Appeal Fee For Most Appellants” (“appeal fee rises by about 20% from €2255 to €2705 for most appellants and corporate clients.” [sic])

This ought to help EPO management hide the collapse in patent quality. Making appeals more expensive again? This was done before and here they go again:

The Administrative Council of the EPO has recently announced a number of amendments to the Rules relating to fees (RFees) which set the fees that are due to the European Patent Office (see CA/D 12/19, soon to be published in the The Official Journal of the EPO).

These changes are due to come into effect from 1st April 2020.


The fee for appeal is the only fee to increase substantially with respect to the previous fees. After 1st April 2020, the appeal fee rises by about 20% from €2255 to €2705 for most appellants and corporate clients. However, this fee for appeal only applies for entities other than (a) small and medium-sized enterprises, (b) natural persons; and (c) non-profit organisations, universities or public research organisations. These entities are still are entitled to a reduced fee; the amount of which has only increased by about 5% (see Table below).

In contrast, fees required by the Office with respect to international applications remain largely unchanged. Search fees in respect of an international search and supplementary international search keep the current fee of €1775, while the fee for the preliminary examination of an international application remains at €1830.

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP’s Jane Evenson and Frances Denney have meanwhile written a so-called ‘guide’ on “Priority Entitlement at the EPO”, then promoted that along with statements such as “Article 87 EPC is based on Article 4A of the Paris Convention” (both are violated by today’s EPO).

Another newly-promoted piece spoke of “priority entitlement” (the original PDF can be surveyed here) in the wake of the famous CRISPR patent invalidation (or affirmation of the opposition). REGIMBEAU’s Nicolas Bouquin and Lucile Vernoux are few among many that brought up the subject lately. Just how many more oppositions would be filed if it wasn’t so expensive?

“Hopefully some EPO examiners will once again speak up about it, perhaps through staff representatives (SUEPO has been rather quiet since the vote for a strike, so it feels like union-busting was effective and media narrative is shaped entirely by EPO management and law firms).”Regarding the CRISPR patent invalidation, we’ve seen lots more late articles like these (some we’ve decided to just ‘shelve’ in Daily Links without further remarks) and we’ve meanwhile found Bristows’ patent extremists in IP Kat pushing for computer-generated parents (that would doom the legitimacy of the patent system as a whole). We’ve been seeing additional articles on this matter, all composed by law firms rather than journalists, and wound up ‘shelving’ these in Daily Links.

It’s worth noting that just about no law firm is complaining about patent quality (anymore). That’s like a weapons manufacturers bemoaning “too much demand” or “too many wars…”

Hopefully some EPO examiners will once again speak up about it, perhaps through staff representatives (SUEPO has been rather quiet since the vote for a strike, so it feels like union-busting was effective and media narrative is shaped entirely by EPO management and law firms).

Links 4/2/2020: TLP 1.3 and Godot Engine MegaGrant

Posted in News Roundup at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Amazon Linux Users Win a Major Migration Reprieve

        Are you running AWS on the original Amazon Linux AMI?

        Good news, you’ve won a major reprieve from plans to end support for the operating system this summer, with the cloud provider bowing to “customer feedback” and agreeing to extend end-of-life to December 31, 2020.

        AWS had planned to phase out support by June, but push-back from customers has seen it extend that date by six months; and add a minimal three-year maintenance support period to June 30, 2023 for good measure.

        Maintenance will be limited: users of the 10-year-old AMI (Amazon Machine Image) will only get critical and important security updates for a reduced set of packages, with no guaranteed support for new AWS features.

        AWS still wants users to migrate to Amazon Linux 2, saying “we strongly encourage you to use it for your new applications.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • VPNs will change forever with the arrival of WireGuard into Linux

        After years of development WireGuard, a revolutionary approach to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) was finally fast-tracked to the Linux kernel. Now, at long last, WireGuard is in Linus Torvald’s code tree. That means WireGuard should appear in the Linux kernel 5.6 release. This may be as early as April 2020.

        This has the potential to change everything about VPNs — not just in Linux, but in the entire VPN world. That’s because essentially all VPN services run off Linux servers. Some VPN services, such as StrongVPN and Mullvad VPN, have already seen the writing on the wall and are moving their software stacks to WireGuard.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 440.59 Graphics Driver Adds PRIME Synchronization Support, More

          Nvidia released today the Nvidia 440.59 long-lived graphics driver for UNIX systems to add a few enhancements and fix various bugs.

          Available for Linux, BSD, and Solaris systems, the Nvidia 440.59 proprietary graphics driver disables frame rate limiting on systems without active displays when HardDPMS is enabled and fixes an X crash on systems with multi-GPU Screen configurations by restricting the maximum number of GPU Screens to one per device.

          Furthermore, it improves the saving of configuration files in nvidia-settings by adding a default filename when no configuration file is detected, and patches another bug that could cause the X server to crash.

        • NVIDIA 440.59 Linux Driver Brings DP MST Audio, PRIME Sync For Linux 5.4+
        • Codeplay Brings SYCL, Intel DPC++ To NVIDIA GPUs

          Codeplay announced last year they were working on an open-source layer for running Intel’s oneAPI and Data Parallel C++ on NVIDIA GPUs and as part of that supporting Khronos’ SYCL on NVIDIA hardware. Today they revealed more details on this achievement and new software layer.

          Codeplay announced today their experimental code for SYCL on NVIDIA GPUs without having to go through OpenCL. Instead, they are going through LLVM and generating the NVPTX to run on the NVIDIA binary GPU drivers.

        • AMD Linux Graphics Driver To Better Handle Power Savings During Compute Workloads

          This should be working for both single and multi-GPU setups and obviously benefits compute-focused systems in particular. Hopefully this BACO for KFD support will get buttoned up in time for the AMD Radeon changes for Linux 5.7.

        • Intel’s Linux Graphics Stack Is Close To Landing A Code-Generator Generator

          Intel’s Linux graphics stack has seen a lot of major changes in recent years besides the addition of their “ANV” Vulkan driver. The Intel Linux OpenGL driver saw their new Gallium3D driver, NIR has come about as the new intermediate representation used across their drivers, and other fundamental changes and improvements. The latest underlying work is introducing a pattern-based code generator for their graphics compiler.

          Longtime open-source Intel Linux developer Ian Romanick spoke at FOSDEM 2020 this weekend in Brussels about the automatic, pattern-based code generation he’s been working on for the Intel Mesa code. This comes after more than a decade of experimenting with the idea before of a code-generator generator only to hit roadblocks.

        • Hikari Is A FreeBSD-Focused X11 Window Manager + Wayland Compositor

          Hikari is a stacking window manager with tiling support that has also work-in-progress code for serving as a Wayland compositor. However, unlike most X11 window managers and Wayland compositors being focused on Linux systems, Hikari is BSD-focused.

          Hikari was presented at this weekend’s Free Open-Source Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) in Brussels as a window manager / compositor initially targeting FreeBSD but is being ported ultimately to other platforms as well: Hikari can also be built for OpenBSD and the Wayland support should work on Linux systems.

    • Benchmarks

      • The $199 Motile M141 With AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Offers Surprisingly Decent Performance

        Last week we published benchmarks of the Motile M141, Walmart’s private-label tech branch, and the M141 being a Ryzen 3 3200U powered laptop that has been retailing for just $199 USD. In those initial benchmarks was an extensive look at the Windows vs. Linux performance while this article today is looking at the performance of this AMD Ryzen 3 laptop against a number of old and new Intel laptops, all tested using a daily snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        Eight laptops I had available were tested for putting the performance of this $199 USD laptop in perspective. Though as one unfortunate item: since running the original article and all the publicity on the Motile M141, Walmart has increased its price at least temporarily to $279 USD. We’ll see if it falls back to $199 in the days ahead but even at $279 is still a decent deal. The laptops I had available for testing in this comparison included…

      • Ubuntu surpassed Windows 10 speed [Ed: Disregard the very weak English, the message is clear.]

        Conducted the trial of the editor of the publication Michael Larabel for the selected device Walmart M141, whose price tag reaches $ 200. The laptop operates on the basis of processor AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, while the graphics is Vega 3. From the device has 4 GB of RAM and a display of 14 inches at a resolution of 1080 p. In as the OS used Windows 10 and Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. In the end, it turned out that in the case of a Linux distribution, the speed of the device was much higher. Only on each of the systems was carried out for 63 test. Ubuntu has shown itself to be better in 60% of cases, and totally bypassed Microsoft product 15%.

    • Applications

      • Useful Tools To Monitor CPU And GPU Temperature In Ubuntu

        Insight: Useful Tools To Monitor CPU And GPU Temperature In Ubuntu

        Let’Ss have a quick look into the list of CPU & GPU temperature monitoring tools for Ubuntu operating systems.

        Sensors is a command-line utility to monitor CPU and GPU temperature in Linux. It helps you to see the readings of all sensor chips including the CPU. Run the following command in Ubuntu to install Sensors.

      • Repology.org – A Package Search Engine for All GNU/Linux Users

        Do you know Repology.org? It is a brilliant package search engine for all GNU/Linux distros. For us, we can find out software packages –in binary and source forms– across various distros’ repositories, even those which do not have package search facilities, and then quickly compare package version with versions available in another distros. In short, we using Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE and whatever distros can search for packages centrally here. For individual software developers, Repology is useful to discover which distros have not yet packaged your software, and to contact the maintainers quickly. For distro maintainers, of course it’s useful to compare your repository against another distros’ repositories. Repology can generate informative badge of package availability (see examples below) we can display onto any website that accept HTML code. This overview covers what Repology is with examples and how to use it for users across GNU/Linux distros in easy ways. I didn’t find any other source on the net that covers it yet so I decided to write this article. I hope this helps you a lot in finding packages and researching more about GNU/Linux. Enjoy!

      • Interactive Wireshark-Based Terminal UI Termshark 2.1 Released With Conversations View, More

        Termshark, an interactive Wireshark-like terminal interface for TShark written in Go, was updated to version 2.1 (2.1.0 followed quickly by 2.1.1 to solve an issue) with new features like a conversation view for the most common conversation types, support for multiple live captures / interfaces on the command line, support for extcap interfaces by default, and more.

        Wireshark is a popular free and open source network protocol analyzer for Linux, macOS, BSD, Solaris and other Unix-like operating systems, and Microsoft Windows. Wireshark has a GUI, and for those wanting to use it from the command line there’s TShark, a terminal oriented version of Wireshark for capturing and displaying packets. TShark doesn’t have an interactive user interface though.

        This is where Termshark comes in. Termshark is an interactive terminal user interface (TUI) for TShark, inspired by the Wireshark user interface.

      • TLP 1.3 Linux Laptop Battery Extender Released

        After being in development for 8 months, TLP 1.3 was released with a new configuration scheme, tlp-stat improvements, and a workaround for laptops reporting incorrect AC or battery status, among others.

        TLP is an advanced power management tool for Linux. The tool comes with a default configuration optimized for battery saving, so it’s very easy to use – just install TLP and you can forget about it. TLP is highly customizable though, so in case you want to change some of its settings you can do that too (this is done by editing the TLP configuration file).

        TLP auto-detects if your laptop runs on battery or AC and applies settings (changes the CPU frequency scaling and governor, sets the WiFi power saving mode, enables or disables integrated radio devices, sets the disk APM and disk spin down timeout, etc.) that optimize the laptop for performance (when on AC) or battery saving (when on battery). A list of features can be found on its website.

      • What Is Nextcloud Hub? Founder Frank Karlitschek Explains

        Nextcloud Hub is the first completely integrated on-premises content collaboration platform on the market, ready for a new generation of users who expect seamless online collaboration capabilities out of the box.

      • CopyQ Clipboard Manager 3.10 Released (How to Install)

        CopyQ clipboard editor released version 3.10.0 a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10.

        CopyQ is a free open-source clipboard editor with editing and scripting features. It monitors system clipboard and saves its content in customized tabs. Saved clipboard can be later copied and pasted directly into any application.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Trese Brothers Games reveal Cyber Knights: Flashpoint – a tactical RPG that looks like a flashy XCOM

        Trese Brothers Games (Star Traders: Frontiers, Templar Battleforce + more) have revealed their next game. Cyber Knights: Flashpoint, a tactical RPG that plunges you and your team of hackers, mercs and thieves into the neon-soaked future of 2231.

        Seeking funding on Kickstarter, they’re a pretty safe bet for Linux support and their previous games have worked well. Looks like plenty of gamers agree in a more broad sense, since the campaign only launched today and they’re closing in on $30,000 against their $50,000 goal.

      • Linux Gaming: Getting to know Lutris, the ultimate Linux game launcher

        If you’ve spent some time gaming on Linux, you’ve probably run into some frustration installing and managing all your different games. Sure, Steam is great, but what if you’ve bought some games of other storefronts, like GOG? And what about your hundred plus gig collection of ROMs (don’t worry, we won’t snitch on you)? And how about games from Windows-only storefronts, like the Epic Games Store, Battle.net, or Origin?

        Enter Lutris, a one-stop launcher and library manager for all your games, regardless of where you’ve bought them from. Unlike Windows, there’s no need to go and download extra emulation software – everything is already baked into Lutris. It’s also incredibly easy to configure run-time options to tweak settings needed to get specific titles running on Linux, use specific graphical settings, or even boost performance. Excited? Let’s get into it.

      • Serpent Is an Open-Source Game Framework Focused on 2D Games

        Ikey Doherty’s new startup Lispy Snake presents Serpent, an open-source game framework for helping indie game developers create 2D games.

      • Serpent (software) [Ed: Project with the same name in Wikipedia (not the same thing)]

        Serpent is a continuous-energy multi-purpose three-dimensional Monte Carlo particle transport code. It is under development at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland since 2004.[1] Serpent was originally known as Probabilistic Scattering Game (PSG) from 2004 to the first pre-release of Serpent 1 in October 2008.[2] The development of Serpent 2 was started in 2010.[3] The active development of Serpent 1 has been discontinued even though Serpent 2 is not officially released yet. Serpent 2 is however available for registered users of Serpent 1.[4]

        Serpent was originally developed to be a simplified neutron transport code for reactor physics applications. Its main focus was on group constant generation with two-dimensional lattice calculations. Burnup calculation capability was included early on. Nowadays Serpent is used in a wide range of applications from the group constant generation[5] to coupled multi-physics applications, fusion neutronics and radiation shielding.[3] In addition to the original neutron transport capabilities, Serpent is able to perform photon transport.[3]

      • Godot Engine was approved for an Epic MegaGrant

        Some good news to share for the free and open source Godot Engine, as the lead developer Juan Linietsky announced during GodotCon that Epic Games have approved them for an Epic MegaGrant.

        This was announced during Linietsky’s talk on porting Godot Engine over to the Vulkan API, which is coming with Godot Engine version 4.0 later this year. Epic Games have approved them for a sum of $250,000 USD which they’ve known for a little while, but they only just got the okay to announce it.

      • Want to make a 3D adventure game? There’s now a full template project for Godot Engine

        Say hello to GOAT (Godot Open Adventure Template), a new open source project template for Godot Engine aimed at helping developers to create 3D adventure games.

        Licensed under the permissive MIT license, this fully featured project template has a ton of features built for it including a simple inventory system, interacting with objects, playing voice recordings with subtitles, and changing game settings. It’s meant for 3D first-person games with a sweet item pick up and inspect feature seen in many other adventure games.

      • The fantastic deck-builder Dicey Dungeons has a big bug-fix update, plus a new modding tool is out

        Dicey Dungeons is easily one of the best indie games released with Linux support last year, a success for the developer and it’s continuing to get better.

        The latest build, version 1.7, had a focus on high priority bugs and other annoying issues to make the game experience smoother to get a solid base for modding and new features. It now supports high DPI monitors, remembers your window size, fixes multiple crash bugs and lockups, sorts out a few UI issues, some enemy behaviours weren’t working correctly which was solved, if you play as the Inventor character you now get Scrap as a level up reward at level 5 preventing an issue getting stuck and loads more bug fixes.

      • Stuck for a new game? Here’s over 50 great games released for Linux in 2019

        I know how it is, you look at your list of games and think “I need something new!” and then you click around Steam, GOG, Humble, itch and more and end up going back to the safety of what you already know. Here to help with that!

        Gathering a list of good games is hard, and it’s always highly subjective. With this list of 50 Linux games released across 2019 I’ve tried to mix in plenty of games I personally might not have enjoyed as much as others, but I know plenty of people that do. That way, it creates a nicely varied list.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • Lightweight Qt Desktop Lumina 1.6 Released with Minor Changes

          We’ve touched on this lightweight Qt-based desktop environment a few times in the past. Its a quirky, modular desktop built around plugins that, while not big on bling, boasts an efficient, productivity-focused design.

          Arguably more popular with users of FreeBSD than Linux (it helps that it’s the default desktop in TrueOS), the Lumina desktop is available in the archives of some Linux distros, including (naturally) Arch.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • How SUSE builds its Enterprise Linux distribution – PART 2

          The common understanding is that an Operating System is composed by a “kernel” and some basic tools around it. This apply to all Operating Systems out there, not just Linux/Unix based ones.
          Speaking about “Linux”, you might not be aware of the “GNU/Linux naming controversy“, where the name “Linux” refers precisely to the “Linux Kernel” and “GNU” refers to the basic components like GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), the GNU C library (glibc), and GNU Core Utilities (coreutils), GNU Bash shell and more. At this point, come to realise that the Linux Kernel and the GNU tools are in a “symbiosis“, and one cannot be used independently of the other. So it is technically more correct to refer to “GNU/Linux Operating System” than a “Linux Operating System”.
          However when the words “Linux system or Linux server” is used, it often includes far more that just “GNU/Linux”. For instance, your preferred web server, database, programming language librairies or Graphical Environment (like GNOME) is not part of the “GNU/Linux” group, and this is where the name “Linux Distribution” makes sense.

        • 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

        • Fedora & root account is locked boot issue – Solution

          Three years ago, I wrote an article that explaining how to recover from a failed boot following a major version upgrade in Fedora. At that time, I was working with Fedora 25, and suddenly, I was no longer able to get to the desktop. The issue turned out to be a buggy initramfs, which is an issue I’ve only encountered once in the past, back in Ubuntu, back in 2009. Since, it’s been quiet.

          Well, the wheel of time has dumped us back at the beginning. The same issue happened again. I had (somewhat) recently upgraded an instance of Fedora 29 to Fedora 30, and lo and behold, I found myself facing the same problem. Almost. I had a black screen, and a message that said: Cannot open access to console, the root account is locked. At this point, trying to do anything didn’t yield any results. I could only reboot. I did try another kernel, and this helped – I got to my desktop. While the issue seems to be similar, I had to go a slightly different way about fixing it.

        • Satellite and Ansible Tower integration part 1: Inventory integration

          Do you use Red Hat Satellite and Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform? As far back as Satellite version 6.3, these products can be integrated together. Once integrated, Ansible Tower will be able to pull a dynamic inventory of hosts from Satellite. In addition, once a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) host is provisioned by Satellite, it can be configured to automatically make a callback to Ansible Tower to run a playbook to configure the new host.

          This post, which is part one of a two-part series, will show how to set up a dynamic inventory in Ansible Tower that pulls a list of hosts from Satellite, and cover examples of how to use this dynamic inventory. The second post in the series will cover how to automatically make a callback to Ansible Tower after newly provisioned hosts are built from Satellite.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Deploying Applications in the OpenShift 4.3 Developer Perspective

          In this article, we will take a look at improvements in the user flows to deploy applications in OpenShift 4.3 Developer Perspective. You can learn more about all the improvements in the OpenShift 4.3 release here. Since the initial launch of the Developer Perspective in the 4.2 release of OpenShift, we’ve had frequent feedback sessions with developers, developer advocates, stakeholders, and other community members to better understand how the experience meets their needs. While, overall, the user interface has been well received, we continue to gather and use the feedback to enhance the flows.

          The +Add item in the left navigation of the Developer Perspective is the entry point for the developers to add an application or service to their OpenShift project. The Add page offers six user flows for adding components from Git, deploying Container Images, adding an item from the Developer Catalog, importing your Dockerfile from a git repo, Importing YAML or adding a Database. Developers can easily create, build and deploy applications in real-time using these user flows.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Creating virtual machines on Kubernetes with OpenShift’s CNV

          Whether you are a new or a seasoned Kubernetes user, or you’re just considering working with Kubernetes, you have probably started exploring the technology and how best to integrate virtual machines with the Kubernetes engine. But which solution fits your needs? Is there a way to leverage both the isolation virtual machines provide and the orchestration platform of the Kubernetes engine? With Red Hat OpenShift, you can do both.

          OpenShift 4.3 offers the ability to run both container-based workloads and virtual machines side by side as workloads on a Kubernetes cluster. Installing the Container-native virtualization operator on OpenShift will allow you to create, run, and manage VMs, as well as provide templates to quickly create the same VM multiple times.

        • Ginni Rometty is out as CEO of IBM, and its cloud boss is replacing her
      • Debian Family

        • Threats, Violence, Suicide, Palestine and Censorship in Debian

          There have been renewed discussions about aggression, violence and suicide messages in Debian recently.

          Since the Debian Project Leader Chris Lamb started denouncing volunteers in 2018, some volunteers have been receiving extraordinarily abusive messages. Some of those messages refer to suicide or encourage volunteers to kill themselves. H

        • What is a Debian Developer

          When I started doing things with Debian in 1997, it was prompted by a visit from another Debian Developer. His generosity with his time, skill and advice have left an impression on me to this day about what it means to be a Debian Developer.

          Virtual Moreland was just starting out with a $100,000 grant to get us moving. Some second-hand servers had been donated to run web sites and mail systems, thin clients to build a training lab. I had been using Slackware Linux for a number of years and anticipated using it for Virtual Moreland.

          Fortunately, I was introduced to another local Debian Developer who pointed out the benefits of the Debian packaging system over Slackware. He brought the latest Debian archive to me on his hard disk so I could get a local mirror up and running more quickly. When I introduce people to Debian today, I hope I can be equally helpful to them.

          That was before Debian had a constitution and before SPI, Inc, a US organisation which has kept many Developers off the books, had seized a Debian trademark. It was before Debian had decided to experiment with a Code of Conduct.

          Today, after more than 20 years, Debian still means much the same thing for me: technical excellence. Giving back to the community. Following the principles laid out in the Debian Social Contract.

          Yet being on the Debian keyring has become a poisoned chalice. After the events of 2018, it is clear that people are both added to the keyring and removed for reasons that are related to politics and control.

          To put it another way, rogue elements of Debian want to flex their muscles and have the power of an employer, without paying us.

        • The Verdict On systemd Is In

          The winning option was to support systemd, but to explore other alternatives. By contrast, officially supporting multiple init systems was the first to be dropped in the multiple rounds of Debian’s complicated Condorcet voting system, no doubt because it would seriously complicate packaging many applications.

          Clearly systemd has reached a level of acceptance that would have been unimaginable when it was first introduced eight or nine years ago. In fact, probably no other application had been so reviled since Mono, the Linux version of Microsoft’s .NET Framework. Critics claimed systemd’s centralized controls violate the Unix philosophy of using one small program for a single, limited purpose. Since systemd was developed by Red Hat, others viewed systemd as part of a ploy to dominate the Linux desktop.

          On the technical side, many considered systemd as an unnecessary overlay of existing functions. Systemd was also condemned as making the entire system easier to crash, and acting on different assumptions from the rest of the system. Others praised elements of systemd like the systemctl command while objecting to the binary logging system. The wide-ranging debate was often venomous, and the venom often spilled over into personal attacks on Lennart Poettering and Kay Sievers, systemd’s original developers, who sometimes responded in kind.

          Today, systemd is regarded differently. Arguments about the true Unix philosophy have proved moot, and the worst case scenarios have not materialized. Probably, too, the fact that most distributions use aliases to integrate systemd keeps non-administers unaware of its omnipresence.

          In proposing the winning option, former Debian Project Leader Martin Michlmayr argued foremost that, “Cross-distribution standards and cooperation are important factors in the choice of core Debian technologies. It is important to recognize that the Linux ecosystem has widely adopted systemd and that the level of integration of systemd technologies in Linux systems will increase with time.” For Michlmayr, the technical benefits of supporting multiple init systems do not justify the efforts required.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (January 2020)

          In January 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 20 hours (of 20 hours planned).

          Due to a reduced need of developers in Freexian’s ELTS project for Debian wheezy, I have moved my activity completely over to the LTS project (and also took the amount of assigned hours with me).

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, January 2020

          I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and worked all 20 hours this month.

          I rebased the Debian package of Linux onto 3.16.80 and send out a request for testing.

          I prepared and, after review, released Linux 3.16.81. I then rebased the Debian package onto that and sent out another request for testing. Finally, I uploaded the package and issued DLA 2068-1.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.04 Has Reached End of Life! Existing Users Must Upgrade to Ubuntu 19.10

          Ubuntu 19.04 was released on 18th April, 2019. Since it was not a long term support (LTS) release, it was supported only for nine months.

          Completing its release cycle, Ubuntu 19.04 reached end of life on 23rd January, 2020.

          Ubuntu 19.04 brought a few visual and performance improvements and paved the way for a sleek and aesthetically pleasant Ubuntu look.

        • Canonical Outs New Kernel Live Patch for Ubuntu 18.04 and 16.04 LTS

          Canonical released today a new Linux kernel live patch (rebootless) for all of its long-term supported (LTS) Ubuntu releases to address various security vulnerabilities already patched last week through regular kernel updates.

          Probably the most important vulnerability addressed by the new kernel live patch for Ubuntu Linux is CVE-2019-14615, a flaw affecting certain Intel graphics processors. This could allow a local attacker to expose sensitive information.

          The new kernel live patch addresses several heap-based buffer overflow vulnerabilities discovered in Linux kernel’s Marvell WiFi-Ex driver (CVE-2019-14895 and CVE-2019-14901) and Marvell Libertas WLAN driver (CVE-2019-14896 and CVE-2019-14897). These flaws could allow physically proximate attackers to cause a system crash or execute arbitrary code.

        • Why you should buy a pre-installed Ubuntu workstation

          When a user buys a certified PC that is pre-installed with Ubuntu, they get peace of mind in knowing Canonical has performed thousands of rigorous tests to ensure all subsystems (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc) just work. This is the case for a range of Dell workstations and proves incredibly popular among developers. A lot of the high-end workstations Dell offers are designed specifically with developers in mind. In those cases, the benefits of pre-installed Ubuntu expand. Ubuntu is the number one operating system for AI development, most popular AI tools and frameworks are built on Ubuntu themselves. But more on that in another blog.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 616

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 616 for the week of January 26 – February 1, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • CERN dumps Facebook Workplace for open source

        In what appears to be part of its ongoing campaign to “take back control” of its computing activities, CERN, the Geneva, Switzerland-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has announced that it is dumping Facebook Workplace and replacing it with open source alternatives.

        This followed its announcement last year that it was moving away from Microsoft commercial software to open source as part of its ambitious Microsoft Alternatives project (MAlt).

        At the time, CERN, which operates the Large Hadron particle collider and is perhaps best known for its discovery in 2012 of the Higgs Boson “God particle”, emphasised that the MAlt project extended beyond Microsoft to all other commercial software including such as Skype for Business in order to “minimise CERN’s exposure to the risks of unsustainable commercial conditions”.

        In a statement issued last week, Kate Kahle who heads the Editorial Content and Development Sections in the CERN communications group and Dr Tim Smith who leads the Collaboration and Information Services group in the CERN IT department, made it clear that CERN regarded the introduction of new account plans for Facebook Workplace users as one of those unsustainable commercial conditions.

      • Events

        • Jonathan Dowland: FOSDEM 2020

          So as already implied I attended FOSDEM 2020, my second FOSDEM. The weather was nicer than last year and I was better prepared for trying to manage the conference, although a helpful analogy I heard this weekend was to think of it more like a festival than a conference: You go for one or two headliners and everything else is a bonus.

          The business reason to be there was to attend (and help out the on-the-day running of) the Free Java dev room. We had the same room as last year, and just like last time, there were queues out the doors right from the first talk. The quality of the talks was very high. Of note was the presence of Microsoft, both with Nikola Grcevski’s interesting talk about selectively stack-allocating some objects to reduce GC time and their contribution towards the Free Java dinner that evening.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Glean: Cargo features – an investigation

            As :chutten outlined in the first TWiG blog post we’re currently prototyping Glean on Desktop. After a couple rounds of review, some adjustements and some learnings from doing Rust on mozilla-central, we were ready to land the first working prototype code earlier this year (Bug 1591564).

            Unfortunately the patch set was backed out nearly immediately 1 for 2 failures. The first one was a “leak” (we missed cleaning up memory in a way to satisfy the rigorous Firefox test suite, that was fixed in another patch). The second one was a build failure on a Windows platform.


            Both approaches are short-term fixes for getting Glean into Firefox and it’s clear that this issue might easily come up in some form soon again for either us or another team. It’s also a major hassle for lots of people outside of Mozilla, for example people working on embedded Rust frequently run into problems with no_std libraries suddenly linking in libstd again.

            Initially I also planned to figure out a way forward for Cargo and come up with a fix for it, but as it turns out: Someone is already doing that!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4 Features QR Code Generator

          The Document Foundation has released LibreOffice 6.4 with new features and performance optimizations, especially when opening and saving spreadsheets and presentations, and also compatibility with DOCX, XLSX and PPTX files.

          The new version includes a QR code generator, which is said to make it easy to add QR codes – that can be read by mobile devices – to documents. Also, Hyperlink context menus have been unified throughout the suite, and now provide the following menu entries: Open Hyperlink, Edit Hyperlink, Copy Hyperlink Location and Remove Hyperlink.

          The new Automatic Redaction feature lets your hide classified or sensitive data in a document based on text or regular expression matches. Besides, the help system provides faster and more precise search results, while many help pages have localized screenshots for a better user experience.

        • LibreOffice hackfest in Brussels, after FOSDEM

          Our post-FOSDEM hackfest is underway!

      • FSF

      • Programming/Development

        • 20 most significant programming languages in history

          This is a preposterous table I just made up after reading Wikipedia’s History of Programming Languages. I was trying to figure out which programming language or environment this article might be refering to. The article talks about some of the Canadian federal government’s computer systems “falling apart” because they are “60 years” old. Everyone cried “COBOL” but I figured there might be other culprits.

        • git post-squash

          I wrote a little git tool that helps in an environment where PRs are merged using squash merges, but you still want to deal with feature branches properly.

        • Libvirt: programming language and document format consolidation

          Since the project’s creation about 14 years ago, libvirt has grown enormously. In that time there has been a lot of code refactoring, but these were always fairly evolutionary changes; there has been little revolutionary change of the overall system architecture or some core technical decisions made early on. This blog post is one of a series examining recent technical decisions that can be considered more revolutionary to libvirt. This was the topic of a talk given at KVM Forum 2019 in Lyon.

          Historical usage

          In common with many projects which have been around for a similar time frame, libvirt has accumulated a variety of different programming languages and document formats, for a variety of tasks.

          The main library is written in C, but around that there is the autotools build system which adds shell, make, autoconf, automake, libtool, m4, and other utilities like sed, awk, etc. Then there are many helper scripts used for code generation or testing which are variously written in shell, perl or python. For documentation, there are man pages written in POD, web docs written in HTML5 with an XSL templating system, and then some docs written in XML which generate HTML, and some docs generated from source code comments. Finally there are domain specific languages such as XDR for the RPC system.

          There are a couple of issues with the situation libvirt finds itself in. The large number of different languages and formats places a broad knowledge burden on new contributors to the project. Some of the current choices are now fairly obscure & declining in popularity, thus not well known by potential project contributors. For example, Markdown and reStructuredText (RST) are more commonly known than Perl’s POD format. Developers are more likely to be competent in Python than in Perl. Some of the languages libvirt uses are simply too hard to deal with, for example it is a struggle to find anyone who can explain m4 or enjoys using it when writing configure scripts for autoconf.

          Ultimately the issues all combine to have a couple of negative effects on the project. They drive away potential new contributors due to their relative obscurity. They reduce the efficiency of existing contributors due to their poor suitability for the tasks they are applied to.

        • Perl / Raku

          • [Perl] Monthly Report – January

            The start of year 2020 didn’t go well as planned. First my Dad was hospitalised and I had to make emergency travel plan to visit India. Luckily he is out of danger and back home. During this whole drama, the Perl Weekly Challenge got less of my attention. Thankfully I had loads of support messages throughout. Some offered to chip in so that I can focus on my Dad’s health. I even missed my turn of editing Perl Weekly newsletter. It never happened ever since I joined the team of editors. Thanks to the chief edit, Gabor Szabo, I survived.

            Another casualty of the January 2020, I missed submitting one Pull Request on everage in the month. I only submitted 22 Pull Requests. I have done this non-stop since October 2017. Sufferings didn’t stop there, I couldn’t get the monthly report published on the 1st Feb as per the tradition. It got delayed by 2 days.

        • Python

          • Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Alessia Marcolini

            This week we welcome Alessia Marcolini (@viperale) as our PyDev of the Week! Alessia is a Python blogger and speaker. You can check out some of her work over on Medium. You can also see some of her coding skills on Github. Let’s spend a few moments getting to know her better!

            Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

            Hello everybody, my name is Alessia and I’m 21. I come from a little town near Verona, a beautiful city in the north of Italy.

            I’ve been living in Trento (Italy) for 2 years and a half now. I moved here to attend university: I’m currently enrolled in the third year of a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.

            In 2017 I started working part time as a Junior Research Assistant in the Bruno Kessler Foundation, too. FBK is a research foundation based in Trento, working on Science, Technology, and Social Sciences. I’m part of the MPBA unit which focuses on novel applications of Deep Learning from complex data: e.g. Precision Medicine, Imaging and Portable Spectroscopy in industry processes, Nowcasting on time-spatial data. I’m currently working on deep learning frameworks to integrate multiple medical imaging modalities and different clinical data to get more precise prognostic/diagnostic functions.

            When not coding, I love dancing and listening to music. I have also been part of a hip hop crew until 2017.

          • What is new in CubicWeb 3.27 ?

            We are pleased to announce the release of CubicWeb 3.27. Many thanks to all the contributors of this release!

            Main changes in this release are listed below. Please note this release drops python2 support.

          • Django security releases issued: 3.0.3, 2.2.10, and 1.11.28

            In accordance with our security release policy, the Django team is issuing Django 3.0.3, Django 2.2.10 and Django 1.11.28. These releases address the security issue detailed below. We encourage all users of Django to upgrade as soon as possible.

          • How I’m testing in 2020

            Once upon a time I wrote a bit about testing, specifically how I was organizing and testing my open-source Django apps. It’s been a while since that post, though, and the calendar has even flipped over to a new penultimate digit in the year number, so it’s worth revisiting to go over what’s changed in how I do things and what’s stayed the same. And since I do maintain a couple things that aren’t Django-related, I’d like to talk about how I test them, too.

            But before I dive in, a reminder: this is a place where I publish my opinions. They’re based on my personal taste and they work for me. If something else works for you, stick with it, and if you prefer something else, that’s OK! Beyond basic stuff like “you should probably have some tests”, there aren’t really a lot of objectively right answers here.

            And now with that disclaimer out of the way, here’s how I’m testing in 2020.

          • Use a Flask Blueprint to Architect Your Applications

            Flask is a very popular web application framework that leaves almost all design and architecture decisions up to the developer. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how a Flask Blueprint, or Blueprint for short, can help you structure your Flask application by grouping its functionality into reusable components.

          • Python Logging with Datadog

            At Mergify, we generate a pretty large amount of logs. Every time an event is received from GitHub for a particular pull request, our engine computes a new state for it. Doing so, it logs some informational statements about what it’s doing — and any error that might happen.

            This information is precious to us. Without proper logging, it’d be utterly impossible for us to debug any issue. As we needed to store and index our logs somewhere, we picked Datadog as our log storage provider.

            Datadog offers real-time indexing of our logs. The ability to search our records that fast is compelling as we’re able to retrieve log about a GitHub repository or a pull request with a single click.

        • Java

          • Camel K standalone Java file: Now with Java language support

            Apache Camel K should be as lightweight as possible. Therefore, the Camel K project provides standalone Java files to describe a Camel integration. The downside to this practice is that existing IDEs cannot provide complete support out of the box.


            As a result, there is no intuitive configuration. However, Red Hat’s Tooling for Apache Camel K offers a new possibility.

            With Tooling for Apache Camel K version 0.11.0, Java language support is now included, and there are only two requirements. First, you need to have the word “camel” in the Java file’s content. Most of the time, this requirement is satisfied by the import package, itself. Second, you must have no project in the workspace. If there are projects, we expect that the classic Maven/Gradle build provides the Java language support. However, these requirements should not be a problem in most cases.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Chef Automate Product Announcement: Identity and Access Management Release

              Chef Automate provides DevOps teams a dashboard for complete operational visibility across large-scale or mission-critical infrastructure. This comprehensive visibility allows developers, operators, and security engineers to collaborate on delivering application and infrastructure changes at the speed of business. Chef Automate provides real-time data across the estate with intelligent access controls, ensuring the right team has the right access.

            • How Much Open Source Does Oracle Use? [Ed: Classic openwashing of classic proprietary software firms. But money can buy lies, too. They call it "perception management".]
          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Microsoft Teams goes down after Microsoft forgot to renew a certificate

              Microsoft Teams went down this morning for nearly three hours after Microsoft forgot to renew a critical security certificate. Users of Microsoft’s Slack competitor were met with error messages attempting to sign into the service on Monday morning, with the app noting it had failed to establish an HTTPS connection to Microsoft’s servers.

              Microsoft confirmed the Teams service was down just after 9AM ET today, and then later revealed the source of the issue. “We’ve determined that an authentication certificate has expired causing users to have issues using the service,” explains Microsoft’s outage notification. Microsoft then started rolling the fix out at 11:20AM ET, and by 12PM ET the service was restored for most affected users. Microsoft confirmed the fix was successfully deployed at 4:27PM ET.

              This was an embarrassing mistake for Microsoft to make for its flagship “Office hub” software, especially as the company started its own TV commercials for Teams recently. It’s also surprising to see Microsoft forget to renew a key certificate for Teams, especially when the company develops software like System Center Operations Manager to monitor for things like certificate expiration.

        • Security

          • Fixed Sudo flaw in macOS gave root-command privileges to all users

            Sudo is an important utility within macOS and other Unix-based systems, including Linux, with it typically used to run administrative commands with the security privileges of a superuser or “root.” It is a well-used element of system maintenance and configuration via the Terminal, and has the potential to cause havoc if misused.

            Found by Apple security employee Joe Vennix, the vulnerability in sudo is a privilege escalation vulnerability, one that has been given the tracking code CVE-2019-18634. At its core, the vulnerability can allow a user that doesn’t typically have permissions to perform tasks that require administrative access to do just that.

            For versions of sudo before 1.8.26, The Hacker News reports a stack-based buffer overflow issue is present, requiring the “pwfeedback” option to be enabled within the sudoers configuration file. The feature provides users with an asterisk when they input a password into Terminal.

          • Sudo Bug Lets Non-Privileged Linux and macOS Users Run Commands as Root

            Joe Vennix of Apple security has found another significant vulnerability in sudo utility that under a specific configuration could allow low privileged users or malicious programs to execute arbitrary commands with administrative (‘root’) privileges on Linux or macOS systems.

            Sudo is one of the most important, powerful, and commonly used utilities that comes as a core command pre-installed on macOS and almost every UNIX or Linux-based operating system.

            Sudo has been designed to let users run apps or commands with the privileges of a different user without switching environments.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (opensmtpd), Debian (firefox-esr, libidn2, libjackson-json-java, prosody-modules, qemu, qtbase-opensource-src, spamassassin, and sudo), Fedora (e2fsprogs, java-1.8.0-openjdk, mingw-openjpeg2, openjpeg2, samba, sox, upx, webkit2gtk3, and xar), Red Hat (git), Scientific Linux (git), Slackware (sudo), SUSE (ceph and rmt-server), and Ubuntu (sudo).

          • TechGenix patch roundup: January non-Microsoft patches

            Popular Linux distros, as usual, have seen a number of security advisories and updates this month. As of October 31, Ubuntu has issued the following fifty-five security advisories since last month’s roundup. Some of these advisories address a large number of vulnerabilities in one advisory. In some cases, there are multiple advisories for the same vulnerabilities. Other commercial Linux vendors issued a similar number of updates.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Coalition Pressures Government Agency To Recommend Ban on Government Use of Facial Recognition

              Over 40 groups have sent a letter to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board asking the agency to recommend that the executive branch put a moratorium on facial recognition. What are your thoughts on this initiative?

              A number of advocacy groups are pressuring the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board — an independent government agency that advises the presidential administration on privacy matters — to recommend that the federal government suspend use of facial recognition while accuracy and privacy issues are addressed.

              Forty groups led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center signed a letter on Monday that called for the agency to stop government use of facial recognition ?pending further review,? citing a recent New York Times report on a massive facial recognition database as one reason why the PCLOB should recommend the suspension to the Secretary of Homeland Security and President Trump. The report found that more than 600 law enforcement agencies across the U.S. were using a database of social media photos built by Clearview AI, a little-known startup.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Press freedom is at risk if we allow Julian Assange’s extradition

        Later this month, a journalist will appear at a London court hearing in which he faces being extradited to the United States to spend the rest of his life in prison. The 18 charges against him are the direct result of his having revealed a host of secrets, many of them related to the US prosecution of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        They included the “collateral murder” video which showed a US helicopter crew shooting 18 people in Baghdad in 2007, including two Reuters war correspondents, Namir Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Among the files were thousands of military dispatches and diplomatic cables that enabled people in scores of countries to perceive the relationships between their governments and the US. They also showed the way in which American diplomats sought to gather personal information about two UN secretary generals.

        Unsurprisingly, the revelations were gratefully published and broadcast by newspapers and media outlets across the world. “Scoop” is far too mundane a term to describe the staggering range of disclosures. By any journalistic standard, it was a breathtaking piece of reporting, which earned the journalist more than a dozen awards.

    • Monopolies

      • US-China phase one trade deal draws curiosity from IP counsel

        China-based in-house counsel at foreign companies in the pharmaceutical and consumer goods sectors, as well as academics, range from being cautiously optimistic to extremely hopeful about the phase one agreement of the US-China trade deal.

      • Patents

        • Access to Prior Art Initiative of the USPTO to Ease Importation of Prior Art References from Parent Cases

          The USPTO is a couple of years into its Access to Prior Art Initiative, which in its first phase was designed to create for the examining corps a single list of references combining those cited in an application (by applicant and examiner) and references from the immediate U.S. parent applications (cited by applicant and examiner, but not third parties). In the first phase, if an application met criteria for inclusion (among other things, only certain Art Units were included), the Office would notify the practitioner that the prior art was automatically imported, reducing the burden o cite that art. The project was intended to then expand to include foreign counterpart and PCT applications.

        • GuestPost: Natural persons have a monopoly on inventiveness – fact or legal fiction?

          Oh, inventorship and AI. As much as Crispr has been preoccupying the IP agendas of IP conferences the last couple of years, inventorship and AI looks to be taking its place. The IPKat has also been a fan of the topic (see Kat posts here). For the AmeriKat’s part, she thinks that, for the time-being, AI inventorship is (for the most part) a non-event, but not everyone agrees. Indeed some issue warnings about not recognizing the role of AI in inventorship.


          Aja Haung was the DeepMind team member who placed stones on the Go board for AlphaGo in its victory over Lee Sedol. However, it is unreasonable to suggest that Haung was the creative mind behind Move 37 because at no point did he exercise choice. Move 37 would have occurred irrespective of whether it was Haung or this author placing the stones.

          Mouse models on the other hand still require scientists to exercise choice either when selecting the antigenic challenge or in determining which antibody therapeutics may be suitable for use in humans. The scientist in making these choices must rely on their experience and intelligence, which is why the scientist rather than the mouse is the named inventor. A useful antibody therapeutic would not exist irrespective of whether a scientist skilled in the art or this author were conducting the experiment.

          I have used AlphaGo as an example because the human operator is an automaton but mouse models do pose an interesting problem; namely making a choice based on a menu of limited options does not appear particularly inventive. Is there a difference between a mouse model and an artificially intelligent system that still requires the human operator to exercise choice?

        • Cost of Accessing PACER

          Today, the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in this case involving the $0.10 per page fee for downloading documents from PACER. The basic argument here is that “PACER fees must be limited to PACER costs.”


          The appeal here is interlocutory based upon the certified question of whether the statute authorizes the US Courts “to charge more in PACER fees than is necessary to recoup the total marginal cost of providing access to records through PACER?” In its briefing, the U.S. Government also argues that the case as a whole lacks jurisdiction under the Little Tucker Act. A large number of amicus briefs were also filed supporting the petition and arguing that this is a very important issue involving transparency and access to the court system.

        • Unenforceability, Preclusion, and Interlocutory Appeals

          The case involves CFL Tech’s U.S. Patent No. 6,172,464 that was previously held unenforceable (back when owned by Ole Nilssen). However, the unenforceability decision came before the law of unenforceability changed in Therasense, Inc. v. Becton, Dickinson & Co., 649 F.3d 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2011) (en banc). Therasense made it harder to find patent unenforceable. Thus, if re-judged under the revised law, the ‘464 patent might actually be enforceable.

          Change of Law: Unenforceability of the patent has been fully litigated and decided and issue preclusion would normally apply. The certified question on appeal is whether the change-of-law exception to issue preclusion applies in this case – citing primarily Dow Chemical Co. v. Nova Chemicals Corp., 803 F.3d 620 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (finding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Nautilus was an “intervening change in law”).

          The CFL Tech district court applied the change-of-law doctrine under Dow and thus found no issue preclusion. However, the district court also noted the case of Morgan v. Dep’t of Energy, 424 F.3d 1271 (Fed. Cir. 2005). In Morgan, the Federal Circuit limited the change-of-law doctrine in cases involving “clarifying” interpretations. Uncertain in its opinion, the district court then certified the question for discretionary interlocutory appeal.

        • Apple’s Success Reversing Patent Cases May Dim CalTech’s Win

          If any company knows how to get rid of a billion-dollar patent-infringement verdict, it’s Apple Inc.

          Apple pledged to appeal Wednesday’s $1.1 billion verdict won by California Institute of Technology, in which it was told to pay $838 million and its chip supplier Broadcom Inc. was hit with $270 million in royalties by a federal jury in Los Angeles. Apple is counting on its past history challenging such verdicts to mean good odds for the future.

          In the past decade, the iPhone maker has evaded a $533 million verdict over controlling digital content, a $506 million judgment over microprocessor technology and a $625.5 million verdict for a way to display documents. In cases Apple hasn’t won, the company keeps fighting — it’s been embroiled in a decade-long fight to avoid paying as much as $1 billion over secure communications to VirnetX Holding Corp.

        • Software Patents

          • Patent case: SIPCO LLC v. Emerson Electric Co., USA

            Based on improper claim construction, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reversed a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board declaring a patent system that monitors and controls remote devices as unpatentable. In reversing the Board’s decision that the patent is unpatentable for anticipation and obviousness in light of prior art, the Federal Circuit concluded that the Board erred in its construction of the claim term “scalable address.” The Federal Circuit construed the language consistently with the protocol described in the specification (SIPCO, LLC v. Emerson Electric Co., December 20, 2019, Moore, K.).

          • After massive IBM transfer, new NPE goes on offensive against Chinese drone maker

            Daedalus accuses DJI of infringing three patents as it starts to assert against lengthy list of unlicensed companies

IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 03, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:20 am by Needs Sunlight



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