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02.09.20

Links 10/2/2020: New Stable Debian and RC of Linux 5.6

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Say Hello To The Docker Hub Index

        Docker Inc. has launched the Docker Hub Index to track activity and innovation happening across the community and ecosystem.

        According to Docker Index, there have been 8 billion pulls from the Docker Hub in the last month alone. This takes the total number of pulls to 30 billion overall. Further, 6 million repositories on Docker Hub are currently being accessed by 5 million users.

        “As the Docker Index data suggests, containers have become a mainstay to how modern, distributed apps are built and shared so they can run anywhere,” shared John Kreisa, senior vice president of marketing, Docker Inc.

      • What’s the source of sluggish career advancement for Linux system administrators?

        I know a lot of Linux sysadmins who work 60, 70, or more hours per week who rarely see the light of day and even more, rarely see a bonus or hear a “thank you.” It’s no wonder there’s massive burnout and job turnover, but now it’s time to get to the heart of the problem and find out why. Career mobility and advancement are two big reasons and I suspect that others feel that same pain. Let’s find out the source of the career advancement question.

      • Microsoft, Google, Amazon – Who’s the Biggest Climate Hypocrite?

        Some of the world’s biggest tech companies want you to know they take climate change seriously. In fact, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google have each developed a plan to address its contributions to climate change. While each company’s plan is unique, none address their problematic contracts that help oil majors use artificial intelligence to extract more oil and gas.

        Here we unpack Amazon, Microsoft, and Google’s sustainability plans. While each company earns hypocrisy points, Amazon is trailing the pack on climate action. And to make matters worse–rather than rise to the challenge, Amazon is currently threatening employees who speak out on its climate plan.

      • While Microsoft Was Making Its Climate Pledge, It Was Sponsoring an Oil Conference

        Last week, Microsoft made a splash when it announced its intention to become a “carbon negative” company—one that pulls more climate-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than it puts in—by 2030. The news drew widespread attention and praise for the tech giant. Reuters declared Microsoft had “set a new ambition among Fortune 500 companies,” and the UN’s executive secretary of climate change called the move “remarkable.”

        A day earlier, the 12th International Conference on Petroleum Technology drew to a close in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. This year, Microsoft received special billing as the event’s “Digital Transformation Partner,” meaning it hosted all of the online sessions according to the Saudi Gazette. The company also had a booth at the conference, and Omar Saleh, Microsoft’s regional director of energy and manufacturing for the Middle East and Africa, participated in a panel discussion titled “The Role of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Developing the Oil and Gas Sector.”

        [...]

        The disconnect is striking because Microsoft’s new climate pledge is, otherwise, pretty impressive. The company’s timeline—which includes shifting to 100 percent renewable energy for its data centers, buildings, and campuses by 2025, and becoming carbon negative by 2030—is in line with what the science says needs to happen to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. To reach net zero and eventually become a carbon negative company, Microsoft has pledged to put $1 billion into so-called negative emissions technologies that pull carbon out of the air. This, too, is significant: Most climate models agree that we’ll need negative emissions tech to bring atmospheric carbon dioxide down to safe levels. The federal government isn’t investing nearly enough in these technologies; Microsoft’s commitment could spur others in the private sector to help fill the gap.

        “Microsoft was one of a number of sponsors for the event,” Microsoft said in a statement. “Microsoft attends and sponsors a number of events spanning many industries.”

      • Kubernetes Operators: 4 facts to know

        As Kubernetes environments grow, so too does the interest in Operators. coreOS first introduced Operators back in 2016, and they got a big boost with the launch of the Operator Framework in March 2018. (Red Hat acquired coreOS in January 2018, expanding the capabilities of the OpenShift container platform.)

        There’s been a noticeable bump in the interest in and implementation of Operators of late, according to Liz Rice, VP of open source engineering at Aqua Security. Rice also chairs the Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s technical oversight committee.

        “At the CNCF, we’re seeing interest in projects related to managing and discovering Kubernetes Operators, as well as observing an explosion in the number of Operators being implemented,” Rice says. “Project maintainers and vendors are building Operators to make it easier for people to use their projects or products within a Kubernetes deployment.”

        This growing menu of Operators means there’s a need for a, well, menu. “This proliferation of Operators has created a gap for directories or discovery mechanisms to help people find and easily install what’s available,” Rice says.

        The relatively new OperatorHub.io is one place where Kubernetes community members can find existing Operators or share their own. (Red Hat launched Operator Hub in conjunction with Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.)

      • Multi-Cloud Adoption to Better Enable the Developer Workforce

        Over the past decade, we started to see a broader shift toward the use of multiple cloud providers by the enterprise. The need to reduce risk, optimize cloud usage, manage costs and the push to open source and cloud vendor-agnostic technologies are providing more options for developers, which will likely lead to an even steeper increase in multi-cloud usage.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • SMLR 320: Rtcwake

        (Tom) Wireguard is in the linux kernel 5.6 https://www.zdnet.com/article/at-long-last-wireguard-vpn-is-on-its-way-into-linux/
        It is a layer 3 secure VPN. Unlike its older rivals, which it’s meant to replace, its code is much cleaner and simple. The result is a fast, easy-to-deploy VPN.
        Linus Torvalds wrote, “I’m 1000% with Jason on this. The crypto/ model is hard to use, inefficient, and completely pointless when you know what your cipher or hash algorithm is, and your CPU just does it well directly.”
        WireGuard works by securely encapsulates IP packets over UDP. It’s authentication and interface design has more to do with Secure Shell (SSH) than other VPNs. You simply configure the WireGuard interface with your private key and your peers’ public keys, and you’re ready to securely talk.

      • GNU World Order 339

        All about troubleshooting audio on Linux.

      • Best Home Theater PC Software

        Best Home Theater PC Software In this video, I go over the best home theater software to load. I’ll be using two pieces of hardware Raspberry Pi and Intel NUC PC. I’ll be loaded two different systems depending on your needs. LibreELEC for those that just need KODI. Recalbox for those that want KODI and Game Emulation!

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 182 – Does open source owe us anything?

        Josh and Kurt talk about open source maintainers and building communities. While an open source maintainer doesn’t owe anyone anything, there are some difficult conversations around holding back a community rather than letting it flourish.

      • Linux Action News 144

        Why we’re disappointed in the CoreOS Container Linux transition, Mycroft goes troll hunting and the complicated story brewing at the GNU Project.

        Plus, a few community fundraisers.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc1
        The rc1 tag has been pushed out, and so the merge window for 5.6 is closed.
        
        This was actually a slightly smaller merge window than usual, but I
        think that what happened is simply that the holiday season impacted
        new development. It impacted the 5.5 rc series less than I had
        expected, but seems to instead have caused 5.6 to have slightly less
        development than normal.
        
        Of course, "slightly less" is just that - we still have more than 10k
        commits (11.5k if you count merges too). So it's not like it's tiny,
        and it's still _way_ too big to post full shortlogs or anything like
        that. So below is my usual "mergelog" that shows my merges and who
        they came from.
        
        And as always, note that my merge log shows who I merged from, which
        is not necessarily at all who developed the code. There's more than
        1400 individual developers in there, and I always feel a bit bad by
        just grouping things by top-level maintainer, but I've never found a
        good way to summarize the merge window development by author (like the
        rc shortlogs are done). So I just keep mentioning this, to make it
        clear that this shows just _one_ side of the credits for getting code
        merged.
        
        Apart from being slightly smaller than usual, the stats all look
        fairly normal. About two thirds of the patch is drivers (and it's all
        over, but gpu and networking dominate as usual), with the rest being
        the usual mix of arch updates, documentation, filesystem updates,
        networking, tooling, and just misc core kernel updates. And none of
        that is in the least surprising or unusual.
        
        >From an actual ABI perspective, I guess the openat2() support by
        Aleksa might be worth mentioning - it's been in development for a long
        time, and went through several revisions on the mailing lists. It's
        seldom we end up adding some new interfaces to really core stuff, but
        this makes it much easier to do some path resolution control in user
        space - particularly for sandboxing, You can ask to do filename lookup
        without following symlinks, for example, or not following mountpoints.
        So it's much easier to write code that says "I have this untrusted
        pathname that I want to open - only open it if it doesn't jump out of
        my sandboxed area".
        
        But otherwise it all looks fairly normal. A couple of new specialty
        filesystems if you're into that kind of thing, you can see the big
        picture in the merge log below.
        
        Go forth and test,
        
        Linus
        
      • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off the Development of Linux Kernel 5.6, First RC Is Out Now

        The development cycle of a Linux kernel series usually takes about seven or eight weeks, depending on how many RC milestones Linus Torvalds decides are necessary or appropriate for a new release to be reliable.

        Therefore, simple math tells us that we should expect the Linux 5.6 kernel series to hit the streets sometime at the end of March, on the 29th, if there’s only seven RCs, or in early April, on the 5th, if there’s eighth RCs.

        Linux 5.6 promises to be a great release that you may want to upgrade to, and that’s mostly because of the integrated support for the WireGuard VPN (Virtual Private Network) protocol.

        Among other interesting changes included in the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel series, we can mention USB4 support, a new Zonefs file system developed by Western Digital and designed to run on zoned block devices, as well as numerous hardware improvements, especially for AMD users.

      • Linux 5.6-rc1 Released For What’s Shaping To Be A Superb Kernel

        Linus Torvalds has just tagged Linux 5.6-rc1 as the first test kernel of the forthcoming Linux 5.6. This is going to be a jam-packed big update debuting as stable at the end of March or early April.

        Linux 5.6 has a bit of everything across the spectrum from WireGuard to USB4 to a lot of new hardware support to the new Zonefs file-system to security enhancements and a whole lot in between. See our original and extensive Linux 5.6 feature overview to learn all about what is coming with this new kernel.

      • Linux 5.6 NFSD Adds Server-To-Server Copy Support

        Following the Linux 5.5 NFS client adding support for server-to-server cross-device offloaded copies, the NFSD side for Linux 5.6 is now enabling its portion of handling server-side copies.

        With Linux 5.6, the NFSD portions are set to land for NFS server-side copy to avoid having to first copy files to a client system if wanting to transfer them to another NFS server. This, obviously, can provide a huge performance gain in making use of this NFSv4.2 COPY operation between servers.

      • Linux 5.6 Kernel Adding Support For 1st Gen Amazon Echo, Many Other Arm Additions

        There is a lot of new Arm SoCs and boards/platforms to be supported by the Linux 5.6 kernel.

        Most notable is the 1st Gen Amazon Echo technically now being supported by the mainline Linux kernel. But the new Arm hardware support includes overall:

        - New SoCs supported are the Atmel/Microchip SAM9X60, ST STM32MP15, ST Ericsson AB8505, Unisoc SC9863A, and QualcommSC7180.

      • Systemd 245 Shipping Soon With Systemd-Homed, Systemd-Repart Partitioner

        Systemd 245 is soon shipping as the first feature update of 2020 and it’s another big one.

        Most notable with systemd 245 is the introduction of systemd-homed for reimagining how Linux home directories are managed and modernizing them. Systemd-homed allows for better handling password and encryption management, better self-containment and migratable, and other improvements. Expect systemd-homed to continue to be expanded upon in future releases. As part of systemd-homed are other new features that are related like the systemd “userdb” bits for supporting rich user and group records in a JSON format.

      • The Linux Kernel Will Be Able To Detect Split-Locks To Then Warn Or Kill Offending Apps

        Not yet mainlined in the Linux kernel but currently queued as part of the x86/cpu changes for next round is the ability for the kernel to detect split locks and either warn the offending applications or kill the processes.

        Split locks are when an atomic instruction operates on data spanning multiple cache lines. Due to the atomic nature, a global bus lock is needed when working on two cache lines and that in turn causes a big performance hit for the overall system performance.

        This Linux kernel support for detecting split locks is contingent upon x86_64 CPUs supporting the capability for generating alignment check exceptions (#AC) on encountering a split lock. For now the necessary MSR appears to be only supported on Intel CPUs.

      • Linus Torvalds Just Made A Big Optimization To Help Code Compilation Times On Big CPUs

        For those using GNU Make in particular as their build system, the parallel build times are about to be a lot faster beginning with Linux 5.6 for large core count systems. This landing just after the AMD Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread CPU launch is one example of systems to benefit from this kernel change when compiling a lot of code and making use of many GNU Make jobs.

        Linus Torvalds himself changed around the kernel’s pipe code to use exclusive waits when reading or writing. While this doesn’t mean much for traditional/common piping of data, the GNU Make job-server is a big benefactor as it relies upon a pipe for limiting the parallelism. This technique though employed by the GNU Make job server is inefficient with today’s high core count CPUs as all of the spawned processes are woken up rather than a single reader to be woken upon a writer’s release.

      • Intel Open-Source Developer Has Been Working On “FGKASLR” For Better Kernel Security

        As another step towards tightening up the Linux kernel security, Intel’s Kristen Carlson Accardi has proposed “FGKASLR” as a significant step forward for better enhancing the Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization.

        The Linux kernel has employed kernel address space layout randomization (KASLR) since 2005 for fending off possible exploits that rely upon jumping to known positions within memory. While KASLR makes memory addresses for the kernel less predictable, attackers could still ultimately determine the base address of the kernel through enough guessing or leaking kernel addresses. But in aiming to make KASLR more effective, Kristen Carlson Accardi has proposed finer grained kernel address space randomization, or FGKASLR for short.

      • Some 5.5 kernel development statistics

        The 5.5 kernel was released on January 26. Over the course of this development cycle, it was occasionally said that the holidays were slowing contributions. At the end, though, 5.5 saw the merging of 14,350 non-merge changesets from 1,885 developers — not exactly a slow-moving cycle. Indeed, 5.5 just barely edged out 5.4 as the kernel with the most developers ever. Read on for our traditional look at where the contributions to 5.5 came from, along with a digression into the stable-update process.

        Just under 590,000 lines of code were added for 5.5, while almost 272,000 were removed, for a net growth of 318,000 lines of code. Of the developers contributing to 5.5, 285 were contributing for the first time.

      • The rapid growth of io_uring

        One year ago, the io_uring subsystem did not exist in the mainline kernel; it showed up in the 5.1 release in May 2019. At its core, io_uring is a mechanism for performing asynchronous I/O, but it has been steadily growing beyond that use case and adding new capabilities. Herein we catch up with the current state of io_uring, where it is headed, and an interesting question or two that will come up along the way.
        Classic Unix I/O is inherently synchronous. As far as an application is concerned, an operation is complete once a system call like read() or write() returns, even if some processing may continue behind its back. There is no way to launch an operation asynchronously and wait for its completion at some future time — a feature that many other operating systems had for many years before Unix was created.

        In the Linux world, this gap was eventually filled with the asynchronous I/O (AIO) subsystem, but that solution has never proved to be entirely satisfactory. AIO requires specific support at the lower levels, so it never worked well outside of a couple of core use cases (direct file I/O and networking). Over the years there have been recurring conversations about better ways to solve the asynchronous-I/O problem. Various proposals with names like fibrils, threadlets, syslets, acall, and work-queue-based AIO have been discussed, but none have made it into the mainline.

      • How to contribute to kernel documentation

        Some years back, I was caught in a weak moment and somehow became the kernel documentation maintainer. More recently, I’ve given a few talks on the state of kernel documentation and the sort of work that needs to be done to make things better. A key part of getting that work done is communicating to potential contributors the tasks that they might helpfully take on — a list that was, naturally, entirely undocumented. To that end, a version of the following document is currently under review and headed for the mainline. Read on to see how you, too, can help to make the kernel’s documentation better.

      • Linux 5.6 Is The Most Exciting Kernel In Years With So Many New Features

        The Linux 5.6 merge window is anticipated to be ending today followed by the Linux 5.6-rc1 test release. This kernel is simply huge: there is so many new and improved features with this particular release that it’s mind-boggling. I’m having difficulty remembering such a time a kernel release was so large.

        The quick summary of Linux 5.6 changes include: WireGuard, USB4, open-source NVIDIA RTX 2000 series support, AMD Pollock enablement, lots of new hardware support, a lot of file-system / storage work, multi-path TCP bits are finally going mainline, Year 2038 work beginning to wrap-up for 32-bit systems, the new AMD TEE driver for tapping the Secure Processor, the first signs of AMD Zen 3, better AMD Zen/Zen2 thermal and power reporting under Linux, at long last having an in-kernel SATA drive temperature for HWMON, and a lot of other kernel infrastructure improvements. In our original monitoring of the kernel mailing list and Git activity, the big highlights for Linux 5.6 that have us excited include…

      • Linux 5.6 Can Boot The Original Amazon Echo, But It’s Not Really Practical

        As first to write about yesterday, Linux 5.6 Arm platform changes now support the original Amazon Echo. While this allows the first-generation Amazon Echo to run with a mainline Linux kernel and is exciting for hobbyists, it’s not really practical at this stage or even in the long-run.

        Amazon Echo devices are already Linux-powered albeit running on Amazon’s own modified Linux kernel. With Linux 5.6, however, the original first-generation Amazon Echo is now supported as the necessary DT changes have been made. This support was made by an independent contributor and not Amazon engineers themselves.

      • Fedora Users Will Soon See Linux 5.5 Made Available As A Stable Update

        Fedora 30 and Fedora 31 users will soon see Linux 5.5 come down as a stable update, but before then you can help if so inclined to test this new kernel revision on Fedora.

        Running this forthcoming week is the Fedora Test Week centered on ensuring Linux 5.5 is in good shape for Fedora users at large. There are Linux 5.5 kernel packages available to test for existing F30/F31 users along with new installation media spins designed for this test day/week.

      • Western Digital Proposes Zonefs File-System For Linux 5.6

        One of the last features to land today for Linux 5.6 ahead of the merge window closure is Western Digital’s Zonefs file-system.

        Zonefs is the Western Digital developed file-system that they presented last year for zoned block devices. Zonefs exposes each zone of a zoned block device as a file, compared to traditional file-systems or how zoned block device support is exposed through the likes of F2FS and friends on host-managed/host-aware SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) disk drives.

      • man-pages-5.05 is released

        I’ve released man-pages-5.05. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.0.0-rc2
          Hi list,
          
          Sorry for the late -rc2, it's my fault. I was out of the office Monday and
          Tuesday and kinda lost track of time :/
          
          Anyway, There's a lot of stuff in here, as is typical for -rc2. We've got a ton
          of intel related fixes from Jason, and then a bunch of stuff touching every bit
          of the tree.
          
          Next week -rc3 will come on Wednesday as planned
          
          Dylan
          
          
          Shortlog
          ========
          
          
          Bas Nieuwenhuizen (1):
                radv: Do not set SX DISABLE bits for RB+ with unused surfaces.
          
          Bernd Kuhls (1):
                util/os_socket: Include unistd.h to fix build error
          
          Boris Brezillon (1):
                panfrost: Fix the damage box clamping logic
          
          Daniel Schürmann (1):
                aco: fix image_atomic_cmp_swap
          
          Danylo Piliaiev (2):
                i965: Do not set front_buffer_dirty if there is no front buffer
                st/mesa: Handle the rest renderbuffer formats from OSMesa
          
          Dylan Baker (6):
                bin/pick-ui: Add a new maintainer script for picking patches
                .pick_status.json: Update to 0d14f41625fa00187f690f283c1eb6a22e354a71
                .pick_status.json: Update to b550b7ef3b8d12f533b67b1a03159a127a3ff34a
                .pick_status.json: Update to 9afdcd64f2c96f3fcc1a28912987f2e8066aa995
                .pick_status.json: Update to 7eaf21cb6f67adbe0e79b80b4feb8c816a98a720
                VERSION: bump to 20.0-rc2
          
          Eric Engestrom (3):
                util/os_socket: fix header unavailable on windows
                freedreno/perfcntrs: fix fd leak
                util/disk_cache: check for write() failure in the zstd path
          
          Erik Faye-Lund (1):
                st/mesa: use uint-result for sampling stencil buffers
          
          Ian Romanick (1):
                intel/fs: Don't count integer instructions as being possibly coissue
          
          Jan Vesely (1):
                clover: Use explicit conversion from llvm::StringRef to std::string
          
          Jason Ekstrand (18):
                genxml: Add a new 3DSTATE_SF field on gen12
                anv,iris: Set 3DSTATE_SF::DerefBlockSize to per-poly on Gen12+
                intel/genxml: Drop SLMEnable from L3CNTLREG on Gen11
                iris: Set SLMEnable based on the L3$ config
                iris: Store the L3$ configs in the screen
                iris: Use the URB size from the L3$ config
                i965: Re-emit l3 state before BLORP executes
                intel: Take a gen_l3_config in gen_get_urb_config
                intel/blorp: Always emit URB config on Gen7+
                iris: Consolodate URB emit
                anv: Emit URB setup earlier
                intel/common: Return the block size from get_urb_config
                intel/blorp: Plumb deref block size through to 3DSTATE_SF
                anv: Plumb deref block size through to 3DSTATE_SF
                iris: Plumb deref block size through to 3DSTATE_SF
                anv: Always fill out the AUX table even if CCS is disabled
                intel/fs: Write the address register with NoMask for MOV_INDIRECT
                anv/blorp: Use the correct size for vkCmdCopyBufferToImage
          
          Krzysztof Raszkowski (1):
                gallium/swr: Fix gcc 4.8.5 compile error
          
          Lionel Landwerlin (1):
                anv: implement gen9 post sync pipe control workaround
          
          Marek Vasut (1):
                etnaviv: Destroy rsc->pending_ctx set in etna_resource_destroy()
          
          Rob Clark (1):
                freedreno: allow ctx->batch to be NULL
          
          Samuel Pitoiset (1):
                aco: fix MUBUF VS input loads when expanding vec3 to vec4 on GFX6
          
          Vinson Lee (1):
                lima: Fix build with GCC 10.
          
          
          
        • Mesa 20.0-RC2 Brings Many Intel Vulkan + OpenGL Gallium3D Driver Fixes

          Following last week’s Mesa 20.0 feature freeze and code branching with the first release candidate, the second release candidate is out today for this quarterly Mesa3D update.

          Mesa 20.0 is the big release that transitions to Intel Gallium3D by default for Broadwell hardware and newer, many RadeonSI and RADV improvements for Navi/GFX10, numerous optimizations to the RADV ACO code-path, RadeonSI NIR by default and thus exposing OpenGL 4.6, and Vulkan 1.2 support for AMD Radeon and Intel.

        • Zink In Mesa For OpenGL Over Vulkan Should Be Back To Supporting OpenGL 3.0 Soon

          Zink, the project going on for almost two years for implementing OpenGL over Vulkan, might soon be exposing OpenGL 3.0 and OpenGL ES 2.0 within mainline Mesa.

          Some OpenGL 3.0 functionality was previously disabled from Zink as part of upstreaming it back for Mesa 19.3, but those GL 3.0 bits could soon be restored. Getting OpenGL 3.0 back into shape, which includes restoring textured buffer objects, instanced rendering, transform feedback, and other features.

        • Hutterer: User-specific XKB configuration – part 1

          Many many moons ago before the Y2K bug was even in its larvae stage, the idea was that you could configure all of those because every UNIX tool had to be more flexible than your yoga teacher. I’m unsure to what extent this was actually ever the case but around 2007-ish the old keyboard driver got deprecated and the evdev driver made it’s grand entrance. And one side-effect of that was that things broke. evdev uses different keycodes, so all those users that copy-pasted unnecessary XKB configuration into their xorg.conf now had broken keys because they were applying the wrong rules. After whacking enough moles that we got in trouble with the RSPCA [Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals] we started hardcoding the “evdev” ruleset everywhere. The xorg.conf option “XKBRules” became a noop and thus stopped breaking users’ setups.

        • Peter Hutterer: User-specific XKB configuration – part 1

          The xkeyboard-config project is the repository for all XKB descriptions, or “keyboard layouts” as the layman would say. But languages are weird and thus xkeyboard-config contains an obscene amount of different layouts. And of course there are additional layouts that are more experimental than common [1].

          The fault, as usual, lies with us (the pronoun, not the layout). XKB is weird and its flexible to the point of driving even bananas bananas but due to some historic accidents it’s largely non-editable. All XKB files are installed in system folders and we all know the 11th commandment was “thou shalt not edit things in /usr/share”. But, luckily, that is all about to change. Or rather: it has changed as of libxkbcommon 0.10.0, released Jan 20 2020.

          xkeyboard-config provides two types of files. The ones that actually set up your keyboard layout and the ones that allow you to keep sane while doing so, despite your best efforts to the contrary.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel’s ‘Clear Linux’ Distro Beats Ubuntu and Windows 10 — on an AMD Laptop

        Not only is it remarkable that a relatively unknown Linux distro is so easily outperforming established operating systems, the fact that Intel is the company behind the distro is particularly ironic. As you can imagine, Clear Linux is optimized for Intel processors, but it seems like it works brilliantly on AMD hardware as well.

    • Applications

      • Want to Preview Fonts using a Terminal? Now You Can!

        A new CLI utility floated to the top of Reddit at the weekend, and it really caught my eye!

        It’s called “Fontpreview” and, as the name will have already told you, it lets you preview fonts installed on your system.

        But what’s different is that it lets you preview fonts at the command line, rather than in a fully-fledged font preview management apps, like the one GNOME is hoping to make.

      • 6 best task managers for Linux

        One of the essential tools in any Linux distribution is a Task Manager. It is a system monitor application that gives you a report of all programs running on your computer and the status of your RAM and CPU usage.

        It also comes in handy when you need to kill/stop freezing processes or applications that are consuming too many system resources. With advanced task-manager tools, you can even change the scheduling priority.

        There are many Linux task manager programs available in the market today. Furthermore, every Linux distribution comes with a preinstalled task manager program depending on the Desktop environment.

      • Jailhouse 0.12 Hypervisor Adds Raspberry Pi 4 Support

        Siemens continues investing in Jailhouse as a Linux-based simplicity-minded partitioning hypervisor catering to bare metal appliances. Jailhouse 0.12 is out today as their first feature update since last summer and comes with numerous hardware support improvements and new features.

        Jailhouse 0.12 comes with better driver support as well as an experimental VirtIO transport model. Siemens developers are discussing with VirtIO and QEMU communities over a new shared memory device model and concurrently is pushing forward with more improvements of their own.

      • VirtualBox Shared Folder Driver Seeks Inclusion In Linux 5.6

        After being added to Linux 5.4 and then being ejected a week later when it was clear not enough testing took place, the VirtualBox Shared Folder “VBOXSF” driver is now trying to make it into Linux 5.6.

        Al Viro sent in the VBOXSF driver on Saturday though as of writing Linus Torvalds hasn’t yet pulled it in. Since its dismissal from Linux 5.4, this VirtualBox driver has seen more testing and fixes.

        The driver is more than three thousand lines of code. As with the other VirtualBox drivers that have been mainlined to the Linux kernel in recent times, it’s not Oracle engineers working on it but sadly other upstream developers seeking to improve the out-of-the-box Linux guest support for this virtualization platform.

      • Announcing git-cinnabar 0.5.4

        Git-cinnabar is a git remote helper to interact with mercurial repositories. It allows to clone, pull and push from/to mercurial remote repositories, using git.

      • Cloud Storage Sync Program Rclone 1.51 Adds SugarSync And Memory Backends, Async Mount Reads

        The latest Rclone 1.51.0 release adds new memory and SugarSync backends, async mount reads which results in a 20% speedup, and much more.

        Rclone is a free and open source command line program for synchronizing files and folders to and from cloud storage services like Amazon Drive and S3, Google Drive / Photos and Cloud Storage, Dropbox, Nextcloud, Microsoft OneDrive, DigitalOcean Spaces, pCloud, Mega, Yandex Disk, and many others (with WebDAV and SFTP also supported). It’s available for Linux, macOS, *BSD, Solaris and Windows.

        The tool features encryption, cache and union (similar to UnionFS) backends, a built-in experimental Web based GUI (added in version 1.49), multi-threaded downloads to local disk, it preserves timestamps on files, and it has partial sync support on a whole file basis. There are some third-party GUI programs that make managing Rclone easier, including Rclone Browser (updated fork) which runs on Linux, macOS and Windows.

      • Cod: New Command Line Autocomplete Daemon For Bash and Zsh That Detects –help Usage

        Cod is a new command line completion daemon written in Go for Bash and Zsh. The tool detects the usage of –help commands to generate autocompletion for commands that don’t support it.

        Command-line completion (tab completion / autocompletion) is a common feature among command-line interpreters, in which the program automatically fills in partially typed commands when pressing the completion key, which is usually Tab. By using it, fewer keystrokes are required to access common commands, and it makes it easy to autocomplete commands / filenames with long or difficult to spell names.

        The elements that can be completed are not only commands and filenames, but also command arguments, and this is what Cod does. It parses the output of –help for a particular command, and based on that it generates autocompletion for Bash or Zsh shells. Some commands already support autocomplete for arguments (for example ls – type ls –fu and press Tab to autocomplete it to ls –full-time), but some don’t and Cod can help in those cases.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.5.4 Brings Various Game Fixes For Direct3D Over Vulkan

        Philip Rebohle has released another update to DXVK 1.5, in time for any weekend gamers wanting to enjoy the latest Direct3D-over-Vulkan experience.

        Today’s DXVK 1.5.4 is quite a small release made up of various fixes and game specific improvements. DXVK 1.5.4 has another Direct3D 9 regression fix hitting multiple titles and then rendering fixes for Anno 1701, EYE Divine Cybermancy, Forgotten Realms: Demon Stone, King’s Bounty, and The Witcher.

      • Proton 5.0 for Steam Play released – it’s a huge update

        CodeWeavers and Valve today released the big one many have been waiting for! Proton 5.0 for Steam Play is now live.

        Looking to get started with Steam Play on Linux? Have no idea what it is? Be sure to check our previous beginners guide for some tips and explanations. We’ll be keeping that up to date with any major changes.

        This is a big jump too, with Proton moving from Wine 4.11 to Wine 5.0 bringing thousands of changes and likely increased compatibility once again. According to what’s been said in the changelog, at least 207 patches from Proton 4.11 were either integrated directly into Wine upstream or aren’t needed now.

      • Proton 5.0-1 Released As Valve’s Basis For Steam Play Now On Wine 5.0, Latest DXVK

        Valve has just released Proton 5.0-1 as a big upgrade to their Wine downstream that powers Steam Play for running Windows games on Linux under Steam.

        Most notable with Proton 5.0-1 is that it has been re-based to Wine 5.0 where as previously it was running on a dated Wine 4.11 derived build. Moving to Wine 5.0 results in more than 3,500 changes being integrated.

        Proton 5.0-1 also now makes use of DXVK for Direct3D 9 game rendering by default rather than the OpenGL-based WineD3D renderer. But should DXVK run into D3D9 issues, there is a new configuration option to toggle the implementation.

    • Games

      • The Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now over – here’s the winners

        The Linux GOTY Award 2019 is now over, there were thousands of votes across many categories and we have the winners in so it’s time to show the top five for each group. All groups are ordered from highest to lowest votes but it’s safe to say they’re all popular.

      • Steam hit another all-time high for concurrent users – as did Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

        Does this seem familiar? You would be right. In the last week, both Steam and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hit new records for users online and they’ve been broken yet again today. Absolute madness.

        Counter-Strike: Global Offensive went from a record of 850,485 set in 2016 to a new record of 876,575 set on Saturday February 8. This was then smashed on Sunday, February 9 as CS:GO hit around 901,681 (SteamDB). Pretty damn good for a first-person shooter that’s been around since 2012.

      • UnderMine gains a female peasant and tons of new content in the latest update

        Action, adventuring, dungeon exploration like found in The Binding of Isaac and a sprinkle of RPG mechanics makes UnderMine a lot of fun to go back to and a huge update is out.

        Since it doesn’t affect the story in any way, they added a female peasant avatar to play as. They say it’s more than just a sprite-swap though, as they’ve given them “a new portrait, new sounds, new names, all custom animations, and is occasionally referred to differently by NPCs”.

      • Served! – an amusing looking top-down racer with a culinary theme

        Enter the world of waiting tables, only this time it’s a racing game. Served! is coming to Linux from developer Chromatic Room later this month.

        Supporting 1-4 players in local multiplayer, there’s 4 different characters to choose from all of which have their own unique attack corresponding to his cuisine to spice the game up. This will be spread across 8 locations that each have their own containing dynamic events with quick rounds.

      • Colourful action RPG with a satirical twist ‘Underhero’ lands on Linux

        Yesterday, a new Humble Choice bundle went up and when looking over what games were supported on Linux it turns out that Underhero only just that same day released their Linux version.

        A side-scrolling RPG adventure, with timing-based combat. Full of colourful visuals, silly characters full of personality, quirky dialogue and a satirical twist aimed at RPG tropes.

      • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive hit a new all-time high player-count

        Even though it’s been around since 2012, the popularity of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive continues as it today hit a new all-time high for players online.

        Not too surprising though, since it went free to play back in 2018 which gave it quite a big boost along with the Danger Zone game mode. The previous player record for CS:GO (according to SteamDB) was set in 2016 at 850,485 with the latest peak hitting 876,575 a few hours ago. It’s not a big jump from the previous record but for a game of this age it’s still quite impressive.

      • Mess with everything in the physics sim ‘Universe Sandbox’ now DRM-free on GOG

        Originally Universe Sandbox 2, Giant Army has since stopped selling the original and the 2 was wiped from the name. A massive space simulation game about screwing with physics, creating and destroying.

        Just recently, they put it up for sale on GOG so if that’s your preferred store you’re in luck. It’s still not finished though, it’s in Early Access (or rather just In Development as GOG say) so it’s not perfected yet.

      • Linux Gaming: Boost your performance with GameMode

        The two biggest issues Linux gamers have had to deal with have been a lack of supported games and the occasional performance issues. While Valve’s Proton has helped mitigate the first one, Linux still sees benchmarks that lag behind Windows. That’s where GameMode comes in.

      • Xbox Chief Says Its Main Competitors Are Now Google, Amazon Rather Than Sony, Nintendo

        There are great rivalries in this world. The United States and Russia. The Yankees and the Red Sox. All of us and our mothers-in-law. And, in the gaming space for over a decade, there has been Microsoft and Sony. Since the Playstation 2 v. Xbox iteration of this, Sony and Microsoft have gone head to head in the console wars, with Nintendo also filling in some more niche-style gaming needs. The last battle in this war, the Playstation 4 v. the Xbox One, quite famously went in Sony’s favor, with Microsoft having a disastrous pre-launch PR nightmare and sales numbers that ultimately saw Sony never once trailing its chief rival.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 5 Best Linux Desktop Environments for 2020

        Searching for the best Linux desktop in 2020 for your computer?

        Well, the desktop is a visual component of the Linux OS that provides a convenient graphical user interface (GUI) with which you can interface with your system and perform different tasks on your operating system.

        A desktop environment ships with features that can be commonly found in other operating systems, such as Windows and Mac. These include toolbars, wallpapers, widgets, and icons. These desktop environments can easily be installed by running a few Linux commands.

        Once a desktop environment is installed, it makes the user experience all the more fun and enjoyable and reduces the monotony of continually working on a boring terminal.

        Switching desktop environments is incredibly simple. You just need to run a few commands on your system and then log out and log in again.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Twitter Client Choqok Has Squawked Back To Life

          I’ve been listening to 2010 era pop punk all day so when I saw an update from Choqok in my RSS reader I legitimately had to double check the date.

          But after years (and I really do mean years) of not putting out so much as a translation update, Qt Twitter client Choqok (hey, I didn’t name it) has amazingly squawked back in to life!

          As of writing this Choqok 1.7.0 is perched patiently in the branches, awaiting packaging. It’s fixed some bugs, dropped some plugins, and (finally) lets folks send tweets with more than 140 characters — how 2017!

          And what fantastic timing for a third-party desktop Twitter client to re-emerge than now, in 2020. Twitter loves developers more than ever, as its ‘please-oh-my-gosh-how-generous-of-you-jack’ API allowances show!

        • New help porting to Go >= 1.12

          What no one? Actually no, we have kdeclose, a bot that will go over all Pull Requests and gracefully close them suggesting people to move the patch over to KDE infrastructure where we are watching.

          The problem is that I’m running that code on Google AppEngine and they are cutting support for the old Go version that it’s using, so I would need someone help me port the code to a newer Go version.

        • #QtWS20 Rock Star Speakers, Super Early Birds & Training

          Great things are happening in 2020 including the release of Qt 6 and a whole new decade of innovations to come.

          We are very thrilled to announce the Rock Star speakers at Qt World Summit 2020 who will share the vision in software development and how to create successful UI/UX in 2020 and beyond:

          Lars Knoll, Chief Maintainer of Qt Project
          Herb Sutter, Leading C++ authority and chair of the ISO C++ standards committee
          Joe Nuxoll, Design Director of Digital Products & Experience, Polaris
          Euan Cameron, CTO of Esri
          Matthew Hungerford, UX Team Lead at Chargepoint

        • gnu linux debian – install qtcreator and qt5-default – qt c hello world – qtcreator no valid kits found
        • Krita Weekly #10

          Honestly, you don’t want to know the number of bugs in our bug tracker at this point. But I assure you these are just our broken unit tests rather than bugs. Recently Boud decided to mark every broken unit test as a bug in the hope that it would have higher chances of getting fixed. Why do we need to fix the broken unit tests? Of course, if all of our unit tests ran properly the chances that a bug would trickle down a release would be lesser.

        • KDE FreeBSD updates (february 2020)

          Some bits and bobs from the KDE FreeBSD team in february 2020.

          We met at the FreeBSD devsummit before FOSDEM, along with other FreeBSD people. Plans were made, schemes were forged, and Groff the Goat was introduced to some new people.

        • Assamese in Calamares

          Calamares welcomes an Assamese translation.

          During conf.kde.in in Delhi in january 2020, I met Wrishiraj Kaushik of SuperX. SuperX is a Linux distribution that is built in Assam.

          We got to talking about translation and he said he’d get right on it. A week later I added Assamese as a language to the “ok” list (that just means there’s a translation, and it’s between 5% and 75% done). Two weeks later, Assamese is now at 100% and part of the “complete” list.

        • Git quality of life
        • [KDE Developer] Sway and the Dock station

          I just moved permanently from awesome to Sway because I can barely see any difference. Really.

          The whole Wayland ecosystem has improved a LOT since last time I used it. That was last year, as I give Wayland a try once a year since 2016.

          However, I had to ditch an useful daemon, dockd. It does automatically disable my laptop screen when I put it in the dock station, but it does relies over xrandr.

        • Windows Store Status

          If you want to help to bring more stuff KDE develops on Windows, we have some meta Phabricator task were you can show up and tell for which parts you want to do work on.

          A guide how to submit stuff later can be found on our blog.

        • Kate – Telemetry / User Feedback

          I encourage you to do the same, if you want to provide us feedback which Kate versions are out in the wild and a bit about how often and long they are used.

          In the future we might add some hint somewhere in the UI to ask once to take a look at the telemetry config page in a non-intrusive way. As we still need to think about how to do this in the least annoying way, at the moment no such hint is given at all.

          I hope our very conservative approach to this shows that we value the privacy of our users and are not branded as “yet another spyware application” or get plenty of “Kate editor spies on users” stories.

        • This week in KDE: Plasma 5.18 in two days

          You only need to wait two more days for Plasma 5.18! We’re working overtime to get it in great shape for the release and already looking forward towards 5.19, which promises to be another very exciting release. Have a look-see…

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 About To Release While Plasma 5.19 Well Under Way
        • KDE Connect Website SoK 2020 Week 3

          First of all sorry for the late overview of week 3. The week had been quite busy with other stuff in life and I was not able to find time to write this blog post till now. Week 3 had only some small work to be done as the project was reaching its final outcome.

        • KDE Connect Website SoK 2020 Week 4

          This is the overview of Week 4. This week marks the end of the SOK Project to develop KDE Connect Website. This week started of by moving the repository to the Websites Section at finally bringing it online officially at here. After the website went live more changes were suggested on the KDE Connect Developer Chats. I was happy to implement these changes as I think they were great opinions.

          I am happy with the final version of the website and I am planning to contribute more to this community in the future. See you in the next Blog Post. Happy KDE’ing!!.

        • Elisa is now published on Windows Store

          Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

          We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

          We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

        • 20.04 releases schedule finalized

          Dependency freeze is in ~five weeks (March12) and Feature Freeze a week after that, make sure you start finishing your stuff!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36’s New Default Background is Seriously Cool

          Have you seen the default background for the upcoming GNOME 3.36 release yet? If not, glance above!

          Admittedly the new GNOME 3.36 wallpaper is not exactly a break with tradition: it’s once again predominately blue, and once again features a variety of geometric shapes, fractal lighting, and abstract arrangement.

          But the steel blue used in the new Adwaita background has a much colder vibe than the purple and pink hues mixed in with the GNOME 3.34 wallpaper.

          GNOME’s Jakub Steiner is the hands behind the latest creation which, as always, is provided in three flavoured variants.

          The blue one above is the default wallpaper (the ‘day’ image) and there’s a morning version (very pink) and a (deeply dark) night version too.

        • GNOME 3.36 Desktop Environment Enters Public Beta Testing

          Kicked off in October 2019, the development cycle of the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment is nearing its end as the development team released today the first beta version for public testing, which is available for everyone willing to try it under the GNOME 3.35.90 umbrella.

          Today’s GNOME 3.36 beta release also marks the API/ABI Freeze, Feature Freeze, and UI Freeze, which means no functionality or UI changes will be made without the approval of the GNOME release team.

        • GNOME 3.36 Beta Released With Many Changes

          Some of the highlights for this GNOME 3.36 beta include:

          - A plethora of GNOME Shell and Mutter improvements made the cut for what will be 3.36. The Mutter and Shell work as usual is leading to a nice evolutionary improvement to the GNOME experience.

        • GNOME 3.36 Is Looking To Be Another Nice Evolutionary Upgrade To The GNOME Desktop

          GNOME 3.36 is due for release in just over one month’s time and is shaping up to be another great release building upon all of the polishing and other evolutionary improvements we’ve seen particularly over the past two or three years.

          The GNOME Shell & Mutter development blog has posted their update concerning progress made in December and January. Besides listing these improvements, there are plenty of screenshots and videos for getting an idea as to the direction of these two key components making up GNOME 3.36.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter See Big Last Minute Improvements With The GNOME 3.36 Beta

          GNOME Shell and Mutter are out with their v3.35.90 releases today for the planned GNOME 3.36 beta.

          The GNOME 3.35.90 milestone also marks the UI freeze and feature freeze, so it’s been a last minute dash getting changes prepared for GNOME 3.36, which is due for release on 11 March.

        • Coding style checks in CI

          For a few weeks now, we’ve had coding style and thinko checks running in CI for GLib, long enough to see that it’s working OK (check out this pipeline!) and is perhaps time to share with others.

          There are two jobs in the checks, both of which run in a new style-check stage of our CI pipeline, which runs before anything else. One job checks the coding style of a merge request, using clang-format. The other job checks for any lines which introduce TODO comments (or similar). These jobs are intended to be fast, but also to not fail the pipeline if they produce warnings. Coding style is subjective, and nobody has yet come up with a mechanical style description which doesn’t have ugly corner cases. So the intention of these jobs is to help remind people of the coding style, to avoid reviewers having to check coding style manually, and hence to only end up thinking about it or discussing it when the CI says the style is wrong.

          The first job, style-check-diff, uses a script to work out the diff from the merge request’s branch point, and then passes that to clang-format-diff.py, a script from LLVM which uses clang-format to reformat only the changed lines in a diff. If any reformatting occurs, that means the merge request differs from the GLib coding style (as described by .clang-format) and should be warned about.

          There are some limitations to clang-format: it can’t completely describe how the GLib coding style aligns function arguments. That’s unfortunate, because GNOME Builder aligns function arguments by default (and it’s nice behaviour). Hopefully somebody will implement support in clang-format for this sometime, so that it can accurately describe the coding style which is used by a large number of GNOME projects.

        • Xamarin forks and whatnots

          Busy days in geewallet world! I just released version 0.4.2.198 which brings some interesting fixes, but I wanted to talk about the internal work that had to be done for each of them, in case you’re interested.

        • GtkSourceView Branched

          I’ve branched GtkSourceView for 4.6 (gtksourceview-4-6) which you should be using instead of master for your application’s Nightly Flatpak builds. I will land the GTK 4 port on master early next week. A message to gnome-announce-list has been sent and will hopefully make it into distribution packagers inbox shortly.

        • Read It Later, yet an other GTK & Rust application

          It’s built with Rust, GTK & libhandy on the UI side. It’s fully adaptive which makes it Linux on pocket ready and also comes with a beautiful icon designed by Tobias Bernard.

        • Arc Menu Update Brings Dash to Dock Integration, New Unity Dash Layout

          A new version of the Arc Menu GNOME extension has been released and it includes a Unity-inspired new feature.

          Arc Menu v41 introduces a revamped “Ubuntu Dash” layout that is clearly inspired by the look of the Unity dash.

          While the layout is not a 1:1 clone, and much of the Dash functionality (e.g., scopes) that made Unity special has not been re-implemented here, it’s a interesting alternative to stock “Start Menu” style.

    • Distributions

      • Flatseal Makes it Easy to Manage Flatpak Permissions

        Heavy users of Flatpak apps will appreciate Flatseal, a new GTK app that makes managing Flatpak permissions a lot easier.

        As a sandboxed app format, Flatpak apps have to request individual permission to access different parts of your system or your configured hardware. e.g., permission to access the network, permission to show notifications, permission to read files in you ~/Downloads folder.

        As of GNOME 3.32 it’s possible to manage Flatpak app permissions on a per-app basis using the “Applications” section in System Settings.

      • Apt Offline 1.8.2

        I am pleased to announce the release of apt-offline version 1.8.2
        This release has many bug fixes along with a long standing issue of signature validation

      • Rebuilding a mirror – software mirroring of Linux distributions for fun

        … and also because sometimes it’s just easier to have a local cache

        I’ve a mirror machine sitting next door: it’s a private mirror of CentOS, Debian, Debian CDs, EPEL [extra packages for Enterprise Linux from Fedora], Ubuntu releases, and Ubuntu CDs. I’ve run this intermittently for a few years for myself: it’s grown recently because I added CentOS and EPEL.

        A 6TB LVM volume is now at about 62% full, so there’s plenty of space.

      • New Releases

        • 4MLinux 31.2 released.

          This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.19.95. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.41, MariaDB 10.4.11, and PHP 7.3.13 (see this post for more details).

          You can update your 4MLinux by executing the “zk update” command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Hack Week 19

          I am excited to announce that SUSE Hack Week 19 kicks off next week, February 10-14, 2020. SUSE Hack Week is a week-long sprint permitting developer’s time off from their day jobs to work on something entirely of their own design or wishes.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/06

          This week I canceled more snapshots than I released – only 2 snapshots have been sent out (0201 and 0205). Feels quite bad, but on the other hand, I’m glad we have openQA protecting you, the openSUSE Tumbleweed users, from those issues. As the -factory mailing list shows this week, despite all the testing, we can’t ever predict all the special cases found on our users’ machines.

        • Highlights of YaST Development Sprint 93

          As you already know, starting in version 15, SUSE Linux follows a modular approach. Apart from the base products, the packages are spread through a set of different modules that the user can enable if needed (Basesystem module, Desktop Applications Module, Server Applications Module, Development Tools Module, you name it).

          In this situation, you may want to install a package, but you do not know which module contains such a package. As YaST only knows the data of those packages included in your registered modules, you will have to do a manual search.

          Fortunately, zypper introduced a new search-packages command some time ago that allows to find out where a given package is. And now it is time to bring this feature to YaST.

          For technical reasons, this online search feature cannot be implemented within the package manager, so it is available via the Extra menu.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Remi Collet: PHP version 7.3.15RC1 and 7.4.3RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.3RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 29-31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.15RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30-31 or remi-php73-test repository for Fedora 29 and Enterprise Linux.

        • Proxies for Copr repositories

          I just enabled the content delivery network (CDN) for Copr repositories. It is provided by CloudFront from AWS. And it is provided for free by Amazon to Fedora.

        • Remi Collet: PHPUnit 9

          RPM of PHPUnit version 9 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 29 and for Enterprise Linux (CentOS, RHEL…).

        • F31-20200206 updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-2020206 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.4.17-200 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1GB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Kernel 5.5

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.5. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. This version has many security fixes included. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, February 10, 2020 through Monday, February 17, 2020. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • Connect Fedora to your Android phone with GSConnect

          Both Apple and Microsoft offer varying levels of integration of their desktop offerings with your mobile devices. Fedora offers a similar if not greater degree of integration with GSConnect. It lets you pair your Android phone with your Fedora desktop and opens up a lot of possibilities. Keep reading to discover more about what it is and how it works.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-06

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week.

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

        • Fedora gathering requirements for a Git forge

          Fedora currently uses Pagure to host many of its Git repositories and to handle things like documentation and bug tracking. But Pagure is maintained by the Red Hat Community Platform Engineering (CPE) team, which is currently straining under the load of managing the infrastructure and tools for Fedora and CentOS, while also maintaining the tools used by the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) team. That has led to a discussion about identifying the requirements for a “Git forge” and possibly moving away from Pagure.

          The conversation started with a post on the Fedora devel mailing list from Leigh Griffin, who is the manager of the CPE team. That message was meant to call attention to a blog post that described the problems that Pagure poses for the CPE team and the path toward finding a solution using the Open Decision Framework (ODF). “We will be seeking input and requirements in an open and transparent manner on the future of a git forge solution which will be run by the CPE team on behalf of the Fedora Community.”

      • Debian Family

        • New Raspbian Release Brings File Manager Improvements, Mesa 19.3.2 For OpenGL ES 3.1

          The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced their first feature update to their Debian-based Raspbian operating system of 2020.

          Today’s new Debian 10 based Raspbian OS brings improvements to its file manager, Orca screen-reader support for improved accessibility, new Python games, volume control improvements, screen blanking can now be more easily configured, and other changes.

        • A new Raspbian update

          The last major release of Raspbian was the Buster version we launched alongside Raspberry Pi 4 last year. There was a minor release a couple of months later, which was mostly just bug-fixes for the first release (hence no blog post), but today’s release has a few changes that we thought it was worth bringing to your attention.

        • As has become traditional – another blog post round about CD release time

          Debian 10.3 update is out – the CDs will begin being built and tested this weekend. Would much rather be in Cambridge, as ever :)

          Also dotting between various machines doing general updates and stuff: this is being written from my newer laptop and is the first update from this one.
          As ever, it should be fun.

        • CD release time post 2 20200208 2152 – lots of install CD/DVD/BD image testing going on

          It’s been a busy day. Lots of installs, a couple of bugs found, mostly going very well. The main 10.3 Debian update has been pushed to the mirror network and I’ve updated two of my machines so far. All good.

          Hofstadter’s Law states that “It always takes longer than you think, even taking account of Hofstadter’s Law” ( the Douglas Hofstadter who wrote Goedel Escher Bach) and these long days always disappear into the memory until the next time.

        • CD release time post 3 20202029 1653 – Release for Oldstable / Squeeze / 9.12 has happened

          Just tidying up on the last of my tests. The release to the mirrors for 9.12 has happened.

          Much sterling work by amacater, Isy, RattusRattus, Sledge and Schweer (in alphabetical order). This one seemed to have turned up fewer bugs.

          Lots of fun, the usual bouts of problems between chair and keyboard and a feeling for me of something worthwhile to share in.

        • Updated Debian 9: 9.12 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the twelth update of its oldstable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

        • Debian Linux 10.3 released and here is how to upgrade it

          The Debian GNU/Linux project has released an updated version of its stable Linux distribution Debian 10 (“buster”). You must upgrade to get corrections for security problem as this version made a few adjustments for the severe issue found in Debian version 10.2. Debian is a Unix-like (Linux distro) operating system and a distribution of Free Software. It is mainly maintained and updated through the work of many users who volunteer their time and effort. The Debian Project was first announced in 1993 by Ian Murdock.

        • Updated Debian 10: 10.3 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the third update of its stable distribution Debian 10 (codename buster). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 10 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old buster media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 “Buster” Images Now Available for Download

          The Debian Project announced the general availability of the third point release for the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, Debian GNU/Linux 10.3, which adds numerous bug fixes and security updates.

          Coming three months after Debian GNU/Linux 10.2, the Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 release is now available as up-to-date install/live media for all supported architectures.

          It’s a point release that only addresses important issues and updates many of the core components to offer users an updated medium for installing Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster.”

          Included are 94 miscellaneous bug fixes and 52 security updates for various packages. Of course, all of these updates have already been pushed to existing users through the stable software repositories.

          Therefore, if you’re using Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” on your personal computer, you don’t have to download the new Debian GNU/Linux 10.3 images. To update your installations, simply run the commands below in a terminal emulator or use your favorite graphical package manger.

        • Debian 10.3 Released With Many Security + Bug Fixes

          Out this weekend are the stable updates Debian 10.3 and Debian 9.12.

          Both Debian 10.3 and 9.12 are pulling in all of the latest bug fixes and security vulnerabilities addressed for its vast package set.

          Some of the work includes an updated ClamAV, a potential stack underflow in e2fsck, updating against the latest Linux 4.19 kernel changes, the latest NVIDIA binary driver update, security fixes to Python 3.7, various systemd fixes, and a variety of other security updates throughout. Nothing in particular stands out too prominently but mostly the routine bug/security issue tackling.

        • Who really exposed Amandine ‘cryptie’ Jambert, CNIL/FSFE?

          There has been a lot of discussion this week about the ethics of revealing and discussing Amandine Jambert’s real identity and connection between her CNIL and FSFE roles. Just as with the Mollamby scandal in Debian, it has been necessary to consider both privacy and public interest in the same equation.

          [...]

          This photo of the FSFE e.V. members was taken outside LinuxHotel, Essen, when they decided to impose more conflict on the free software community. Two of the resignations occurred immediately after this photo. Do these people owe Jambert and the rest of the community an apology?

        • Does debian-private violate the Debian Social Contract?

          There has recently been a lot of attention on the leaking of the first years of debian-private at Christmas 2019.

          There have been many other leaks in recent times too, for example, the revelations about Cryptie/Amandine Jambert, a CNIL employee undercover in FSFE (subscribe for more news like that).

          As professionals, we all know the importance of protecting sensitive data for our employers and clients. When you consider the number of people who have access to debian-private today, it is not exactly a private forum in the first place.

        • Raspbian 4.19 released with updated File Manager, Orca, and more

          The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new Raspbian 4.19 “Buster” update. This is their first release, after a minor one with mainly bug-fixes since their Buster version launched alongside Raspberry Pi last year. This release is chock-full of updates, and they’re not just bug fixes, either.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Elementary OS Wants to Crowdfund a Better Distro-Independent ‘AppCenter for Everyone’

          In 2017 Elementary OS built a pay-what-you-want app store — funded with $10,000 raised on IndieGogo. Now they’re trying to raise another $10,000 for a one-week, in-person sprint in Denver, Colorado, Forbes reports, to upgrade the store while bringing an even grander concept to reality…

        • Devs Push for Unicode 13 Support in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          But the Unicode standard is far more than just a collection of comical faces used to season folks’ social media posts.

          Unicode is “an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts, by which each letter, digit, or symbol is assigned a unique numeric value that applies across different platforms and programs.”

          For instance the character @ is U+0040, the letter ‘U’ is U+0055, the sassy emoji is U+1F485, and so on.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Aims To Enhance The Certified OEM Experience From Its Installer

          When running the Ubuntu installer on a detected “OEM Certified” system the plan is to also enable their respective Ubuntu OEM package archives where additional packages are sometimes offered.

          More details on these Ubuntu Certified OEM plans via this mailing list post. Basically, it’s bundling additional improvements to benefit users running on Ubuntu OEM Certified hardware that may resort to re-installing Ubuntu at a later date and with these changes would dramatically improve their experience while sticking to the generic install media. This will most notably benefit the likes of the Dell XPS Sputnik systems and other certified hardware.

        • The State of Robotics – January 2020

          Last month the TechRepublic came out with an article dubbing ROS the “hottest thing in robotics […] you’ve never heard of.” This feels like an excellent step in the right direction, moving beyond academics and into the mainstream. Of course, if you’re reading this it’s likely you have heard of ROS before, and given the size of the community, we hardly agree with the “you’ve never heard of” part. But more exposure, more adoption, more contributions to ROS, is only going to be a good thing.

          The article also links to another entitled “The 8 Coolest Robots Spotted at CES 2020.” CES, the consumer electronics show, is an annual show for consumer technologies in Las Vegas. It’s a chance for innovators and new technologies to take the stage and prove themselves in the industry. Typically it’s very saturated with lots of new technologies and it’s hard to make a mark, but it’s good to see publicity around consumer robotics coming out. One in particular that caught my attention was MarsCat. A bionic cat, home robot. As of publishing this blog the folks behind MarsCat still have time on their Kickstarter too, in case you’re the backing type.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Open Source Ports of Commercial Game Engines

      Free, open source and cross-platform game engine recreations can be used to play old as well as some of the fairly recent game titles. This article will list some of these game engines that are either built by reverse engineering the original files or made by adapting the freely available source code released by the original developers. Even though there are alot of such projects, this article will only list some of them that allow you to play complete games with minor issues or workarounds. This list by any means, is not exhaustive.

    • Open source vs. proprietary: What’s the difference?

      There’s a lot to be learned from open source projects. After all, managing hundreds of disparate, asynchronous commits and bugs doesn’t happen by accident. Someone or something has to coordinate releases, and keep all the code and project roadmaps organized. It’s a lot like life. You have lots of tasks demanding your attention, and you have to tend to each in turn. To ensure everything gets done before its deadline, you try to stay organized and focused.

      Fortunately, there are applications out there designed to help with that sort of thing, and many apply just as well to real life as they do to software.

      Here are some reasons for choosing open tools when improving personal or project-based organization.

    • Alternative World Resources in Free Software, Internet Decentralization, and Privacy

      I remember a quotation from GNU/Linux FAQ document published by Free Software Foundation “In that alternative world, there would be nothing today like the GNU/Linux system, and probably no free operating system at all” that is very inspiring for me. Because of this statement, I can easily find similar alternative movements around computing and software, especially for those related to user privacy. You will find here resources such as PRISM Break, PrivacyToolsIO, FSF Directory, Libreho.st, Fediverse.Party, and many more with my comments, plus additional links at the end. Here I want to collect the rest of resources I know up to today (Monday 9 February 2020) in one article so I can easily share with you and anybody on the internet. I wish this short article to be useful for everybody in the world.

    • Introducing a cheat sheet for open source software alternatives

      It can be frustrating when a mainstream software tool is proprietary. This is a common problem at work. Many companies default to Slack for chat, Adobe Photoshop for creative editing, and Salesforce for customer relationship management. We are faced with this issue at home, too. Our friends and family are likely to use the most popular social media platforms which tend to be closed source. With tax season coming up here in the United States, we are reminded that the go-to home finance software is proprietary.
      Luckily, we do not need to be bound by the constraints of proprietary software. There are tons of open source software alternatives to meet arguably every demand. If there isn’t one already out there, someone (maybe you!) is bound to create one. One of the many benefits of choosing open source technology is that it is supported by the community. There’s bound to be someone else out there eager to lend a new user a helping hand.

    • The Top 10 Free and Open Source HR Technology Solutions

      Searching for HR technology solutions can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular HR tech tools often provide more than what’s necessary for non-enterprise organizations, with advanced functionality relevant to only the most technically savvy users. Thankfully, there are a number of free and open source HR technology solutions out there. Some of these solutions are offered by vendors looking to eventually sell you on their enterprise product, and others are maintained and operated by a community of developers looking to democratize HR tech.

      Let’s examine free and open source HR technology solutions, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs of the options currently available in the space.

    • Daniel Stenberg: Rockbox services transition

      Remember Rockbox? It is a free software firmware replacement for mp3 players. I co-founded the project back in 2001 together with Björn and Linus. I officially left the project back in 2014.

      The project is still alive today, even of course many of us can’t hardly remember the concept of a separate portable music player and can’t figure out why that’s a good idea when we carry around a powerful phone all days anyway that can do the job – better.

      Already when the project took off, we at Haxx hosted the web site and related services. Heck, if you don’t run your own server to add fun toy projects to, then what kind of lame hacker are you?

      None of us in Haxx no longer participates in the project and we haven’t done so for several years. We host the web site, we run the mailing lists, we take care of the DNS, etc.

      Most of the time it’s no biggie. The server hosts a bunch of other things anyway for other project so what is a few extra services after all?

    • Events

      • [foss-north 2020] CfP

        Just a friendly reminder that the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020 is closing tonight. Make sure to get your talk submission in!

        Also – if your project wants to join the community day – let us know at info -at- foss-north.se. We set up a venue and promote – you bring the contents!

      • Join the Oracle Linux and Virtualization Team in London at Oracle OpenWorld Europe

        The Oracle OpenWorld Global Series continues with our next stop at ExCeL London, February 12–13, 2020. With just 5 days left to register, you’ll want to sign up now for your complementary pass and reserve your place.

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Mozilla Developer Talks Up WGPU As Their WebGPU Implementation In Rust

          Mozilla developer Dzmitry Malyshau has provided an update on WGPU, their implementation of WebGPU built off GFX-RS and Rust for next-gen graphics and compute on the web.

          For supporting W3C’s WebGPU as the future web API for graphics and compute, Mozilla developers have been pursuing WGPU as their Rust-based implementation. WGPU in turn with GFX-RS can then be accelerated by the host using Vulkan, Apple’s Metal, Direct3D 11/12, or potentially even OpenGL in the future.

        • Tantek Çelik: Local First, Undo Redo, JS-Optional, Create Edit Publish

          For a while I have brainstormed designs for a user experience (UX) to create, edit, and publish notes and other types of posts, that is fully undoable (like Gmail’s “Undo Send” yet generalized to all user actions) and redoable, works local first, and lastly, uses progressive enhancement to work without scripts in the extreme fallback case of not being installed, and scripts not loading.

          I’d like to be able to construct an entire post on a mobile device, like a photo post with caption, people tags, location tag etc. all locally, offline, without any need to access a network.

          This is like how old email applications used to work. You could be completely offline, open your email application (there was no need to login to it!), create a message, add attachments, edit it etc., click “Send” and then forget about it. Eventually it synced to the network but you didn’t worry or care about when that step would happen, you just knew it would eventually work without you having to tend to it or watch it.

          I want to approach this from user-experience-first design perspective, rather than a bottom-up protocol/technology/backend first perspective. For one, I don’t know if any existing protocols actually have the necessary features to support such a UX.

        • Mozilla VR Blog: Visual Development in Hello WebXR!

          This is a post that tries to cover many aspects of the visual design of our recently released demo Hello WebXR! (more information in the introductory post), targeting those who can create basic 3D scenes but want to find more tricks and more ways to build things, or simply are curious about how the demo was made visually. Therefore this is not intended to be a detailed tutorial or a dogmatic guide, but just a write-up of our decisions. End of the disclaimer :)

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Trying to build a slightly larger slice of Libreoffice with Meson

        One of the few comments I got on my previous blog post was that building only the sal library is uninteresting because it is so small. So let’s go deeper and build the base platform of LO, which is called Uno. Based on docs and slides from conference presentations, it is roughly the marked area in LO’s full dependency graph.

      • Great Response to the LibreOffice Development Workshop at Free Software Winter Camp 2020

        Every Winter the Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey, hosts a large Free Software Winter Camp. This year it took place from Jan 25 – Jan 28, 2020, covering over 50 different classes with more than 40 different topics, and close to 1500 participants tutored by over 100 instructors. One of those classes was the LibreOffice Development Workshop, sponsored by Collabora Productivity.

        For the four days of intensive training 20 students from all over the country were accepted. While the workshop itself was free, the participants were expected to cover the costs for travel and accommodation. This year 16 students showed for LibreOffice Development Workshop given by Collabora’s Muhammet Kara – a number which was a significant increase compared to the number from the previous year!

      • Which Service is Better for Essay Writing: LibreOffice Writer, Microsoft Word, or Google Docs?

        What to do to all those who are not satisfied with MS Word and Google Docs? Install LibreOffice! This is an editor based on OpenOffice, created in 2011, in terms of performance, it is more stable. The program is free, like its predecessor, and is also available on different operating systems. To work in LibreOffice does not need the Internet. LibreOffice Writer supports document styles. These features will be very convenient for future editors and journalists. You will immediately get used to using headings of levels 1 and 2, frames and quotes. Not quite an ordinary advantage, but LibreOffice can be installed on a flash drive and take the program with you: the editor will start directly from the flash drive. This is convenient if, for example, you want to show your achievements to a teacher, but are afraid that his/her editor will not open your document.

    • CMS

      • Gunnar Wolf: Migrated to Jekyll

        My blog remained with JAWS for four years, but by February 2008, I decided to switch over to Drupal 5; I needed to properly evaluate it in order to use it at work, so I migrated my blog to use Drupal instead. And behold! You can still look at my half-decent and quite long (and specific to my site) JAWS to Drupal 5 migration script!

        The upgrade to Drupal 6 was quite uneventful. I don’t remember (and cannot find) when it happened, but it didn’t scare or scar me forever. But, even when I most embraced Drupal 7 (I adopted the Debian packages in 2013, and have kept it at least up to date with the each time less frequent updates), I never got around to do the 6→7 migration on my personal website. Yes, because I don’t want to migrate a sh!tload of posts by hand… And could not be bothered to produce a script to decently replicate the whole thing.

      • Best Open Source eCommerce Platforms to Build Online Shopping Websites

        In an earlier article, I listed some of the best open-source CMS options available out there. These CMS software, as the name suggests, are more suitable for content focused websites.

        But what if you want to build your own online shopping websites? Thankfully, we have some good open source eCommerce solutions that you can deploy on your own Linux server.

        These eCommerce software are tailored for the sole purpose of giving you a shopping website. So they have essential features like inventory management, product listings, cart, checkout, wishlisting and option to integrate a payment solution.

      • Key Factors to Consider Before Starting an eCommerce Store
    • FSF

      • GNU Projects

        • GDB 9.1 released!
                      GDB 9.1 released!
          
          Release 9.1 of GDB, the GNU Debugger, is now available.  GDB is
          a source-level debugger for Ada, C, C++, Go, Rust, and many other
          languages.  GDB can target (i.e., debug programs running on)
          more than a dozen different processor architectures, and GDB itself
          can run on most popular GNU/Linux, Unix and Microsoft Windows variants.
          GDB is free (libre) software.
          
          You can download GDB from the GNU FTP server in the directory:
          
                  ftp://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/gdb
          
          The vital stats:
          
            Size   md5sum                            Name
            21MiB  f7e9f6236c425097d9e5f18a6ac40655  gdb-9.1.tar.xz
            38MiB  b6f0807334c273c78fd17df0f9b1c13a  gdb-9.1.tar.gz
          
          There is a web page for GDB at:
          
          http://www.gnu.org/software/gdb/
          
          That page includes information about GDB mailing lists (an announcement
          mailing list, developers discussion lists, etc.), details on how to
          access GDB's source repository, locations for development snapshots,
          preformatted documentation, and links to related information around
          the net.  We will put errata notes and host-specific tips for this release
          on-line as any problems come up.  All mailing lists archives are also
          browsable via the web.
          
          GDB 9.1 includes the following changes and enhancements:
          
          * Building GDB and GDBserver now requires GNU make >= 3.82.
          
          * If you choose to build GDB without using the GNU readline version bundled
            with the GDB sources, building GDB new requires GNU readline >= 7.0.
          
          * Removed targets and native configurations:
            - GDB no longer supports debugging the Cell Broadband Engine;
            - GDB no longer supports Solaris 10.
          
          * New TI PRU Simulator (pru-*-elf).
          
          * Python Enhancements:
            - GDB can now be compiled with Python 3 on Windows;
            - Various Python API enhancements;
          
          * Usability enhancements:
            - [experimental] Multithreaded symbol loading for higher performance
              (turned off by default, use 'maint set worker-threads unlimited'
              to turn this feature on);
            - Command names can now use the '.' character;
            - GDB can now place breakpoints on nested functions and subroutines
              in Fortran;
            - GDB now shows the Ada task names at more places, e.g. in task switching
              messages.
            - Styling enhancements to various commands to improve readability.
            - GDB now has a standard infrastructure to support dash-style command
              options ('-OPT').  One benefit is that commands that use it can
              easily support completion of command line arguments. Try "CMD
              -[TAB]" or "help CMD" to find options supported by a command.  Over
              time, we intend to migrate most commands to this infrastructure.
          
          * Enhancements to existing commands:
            - "printf" and "eval" can now print C-style and Ada-style strings
               without calling functions in the program;
            - "info sources" has been enhance to allow only printing files
              whose name match a REGEXP;
            - New value "presence" for the "set print frame-arguments" setting,
              to only indicate the presence of arguments with '...' instead
              of printing the argument names and values;
            - The "focus", "winheight", "+", "-", ">", "<" TUI commands are
              now case sensitive;
            - New options support for the following commands that allow overriding
              a number of relevant global settings (as set by e.g. "set print
              [...]" commands): "print", "compile print", "backtrace", "frame
              apply", "tfaas", "faas";
            - "info types" support for "-q" to disable printing of some header
              information;
            - In settings, "unlimited" can now be abbreviated with "u".
          
          * New commands:
            - "define-prefix" to define user-defined prefix commands;
            - "|" or "pipe" to execute a command and send its output to
              a shell command.
            - "with" to run a given command with a setting temporarily changed
              to a given value;
            - "set may-call-functions" to control whether subprogram can be
              called from GDB;
            - "set print finish [on|off]" to control whether the returned value
              should be printed when using the "finish" command;
            - "set print max-depth" to simplify the printing of deeply nested
              structures;
            - "set print raw-values [on|off]" to turn on and off pretty printers;
            - "set logging debugredirect [on|off]" to control whether to redirect
              debug output to the log file;
            - Various new "set style" commands;
            - "set print frame-info [...]" to control what information to print
              when printing a frame.
            - "set tui compact-source" to enable the "compact" mode for the TUI
              source window;
            - "info modules [...]" to query information about Fortran modules;
            - The "set/show print raw-frame-arguments" commands replace
              the "set/show print raw frame-arguments" (now with a dash instead of
              a space). The latter is now deprecated and may be removed in
              a future release.
          
          * New GDB/MI commands
            - "-complete" to list possible completions;
            - "-catch-throw", "-catch-rethrow", and "-catch-catch", the GDB/MI
              equivalent of the "catch throw", "catch rethrow", and "catch catch"
              commands (respectively);
            - "-symbol-info-functions", "-symbol-info-types", and
              "-symbol-info-variables", the GDB/MI equivalent of the "info functions",
              "info types", and "info variables" commands (respectively);
            - "-symbol-info-modules", "-symbol-info-module-functions",
              and "-symbol-info-module-variables", the GDB/MI equivalent of
              "info modules", "info module functions" and "info module variables".
          
          * Other MI changes
            - The default version of the MI interpreter is now 3 (-i=mi3);
            - The output of information about multi-location breakpoints (which is
              syntactically incorrect in MI 2) has changed in MI 3;
            - Backtraces and frames include a new optional field "addr_flags".
          
          * Several new builtin convenience variables
            - $_gdb_major and $_gdb_minor;
            - $_gdb_setting, $_gdb_setting_str, $_gdb_maint_setting and
              $_gdb_maint_setting_str
            - $_cimag and $_creal
            - $_shell_exitcode and $_shell_exitsignal
          
          * Miscellaneous enhancements:
            - Support for a new configure option "--with-system-gdbinit-dir",
              where system gdbinit files are to be loaded from at startup;
            - 'thread-exited' event is now available in the annotations interface;
            - The TUI SingleKey keymap is now named "SingleKey" (requires
              GNU readline >= 8.0).
          
        • GDB 9.1 Released With Multi-Threaded Symbol Loading, Kills Off Solaris 10

          On the plus side, GDB 9.1 has experimental multi-threaded symbol loading. This multi-threaded symbol loading should yield faster performance on modern multi-core systems and can be controlled via the worker-threads tunable.

          GDB 9.1 also continues improving upon the debugger’s Python API, a number of new commands are present, new built-in convenience variables, and a variety of other improvements to this leading open-source debugger.

        • Andy Wingo: lessons learned from guile, the ancient & spry

          Like just about every year, last week I took the train up to Brussels for FOSDEM, the messy and wonderful carnival of free software and of those that make it. Mostly I go for the hallway track: to see old friends, catch up, scheme about future plans, and refill my hacker culture reserves.

          I usually try to see if I can get a talk or two in, and this year was no exception. First on my mind was the recent release of Guile 3. This was the culmination of a 10-year plan of work and so obviously there are some things to say! But at the same time, I wanted to reflect back a bit and look at the past with a bit of distance.

          So in the end, my one talk was two talks. Let’s start with the first one. (I’m trying a new thing where I share my talks as blog posts. We’ll see how this goes. I know the rendering can be a bit off relative to the slides, but hopefully it’s good enough. If you prefer, you can just watch the video instead!)

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Access/Content

        • 6 open educational resources for learning Spanish

          My goal for 2020 is to improve my Spanish, and I intend to use the open educational resources described below to help me along my long path towards fluency. These suggestions are by no means an exhaustive list of resources for learning Spanish. The items included are all open resources, which means they are either shared under an open license or are in the public domain.

          You should also consider using resources that are not open but are free, such as books in Spanish from your local library, videos on YouTube and similar sites about topics that interest you or that are designed for people learning Spanish, and anything else you can access that will increase your exposure to the Spanish language.

    • Programming/Development

      • My productivity app for the past 12 years has been a single .txt file

        The biggest transition for me when I started college was learning to get organized. There was a point when I couldn’t just remember everything in my head. And having to constantly keep track of things was distracting me from whatever task I was doing at the moment.

        So I tried various forms of todo lists, task trackers, and productivity apps. They were all discouraging because the things to do kept getting longer, and there were too many interrelated things like past meeting notes, calendar appointments, idea lists, and lab notebooks, which were all on different systems.

        I gave up and started just tracking in a single text file and have been using it as my main productivity system for 12 years now. It is so essential to my work now, and has surprisingly scaled with a growing set of responsibilities, that I wanted to share this system. It’s been my secret weapon.

      • Displaying Quotes on a Kiosk — and Javascript Memory Leaks

        When I said “easy” and “no problem”, I was imagining writing a little Python program: get text, scale it to the screen, loop. I figured the only hard part would be the scaling. the quotes aren’t all the same length, but I want them to be easy to read, so I wanted each quote displayed in the largest font that would let the quote fill the screen.

        Indeed, for plaintext it was easy. Using GTK3 in Python, first you set up a PangoCairo layout (Cairo is the way you draw in GTK3, Pango is the font/text rendering library, and a layout is Pango’s term for a bunch of text to be rendered). Start with a really big font size, ask PangoCairo how large the layout would render, and if it’s so big that it doesn’t fit in the available space, reduce the font size and try again. It’s not super elegant, but it’s easy and it’s fast enough. It only took an hour or two for a working script, which you can see at quotekiosk.py.

        But some of the quotes had minor HTML formatting. GtkWebkit was orphaned several years ago and was never available for Python 3; the only Python 3 option I know of for displaying HTML is Qt5′s QtWebEngine, which is essentially a fully functioning browser window.

      • Introducing Zuul for improved CI/CD

        By mid-2013, Nodepool was constantly recycling as many as 100 virtual machines registered with Jenkins as slaves, but this was no longer enough to keep up with the growing workload. Thread contention for global locks in Jenkins thwarted all attempts to push past this threshold, no matter how much processor power and memory was thrown at the master server. The project had offers to donate additional capacity for Jenkins slaves to help relieve the frequent job backlog, but this would require an additional Jenkins master. The efficient division of work between multiple masters needed a new channel of communication for dispatch and coordination of jobs. Zuul’s maintainers identified the Gearman job server protocol as an ideal fit, so they outfitted Zuul with a new geard service and extended Jenkins with a custom Gearman client plugin.

        Now that jobs were spread across a growing assembly of Jenkins masters, there was no longer any single dashboard with a complete view of job activity and results. In order to facilitate this new multi-master world, Zuul grew its own status API and WebUI, as well as a feature to emit metrics through the StatsD protocol. Over the next few years, Zuul steadily subsumed more of the CI features its users relied on, while Jenkins’ place in the system waned accordingly, and it was becoming a liability. OpenStack made an early choice to standardize on the Python programming language; this was reflected in Zuul’s development, yet Jenkins and its plugins were implemented in Java. Zuul’s configuration was maintained in the same YAML serialization format that OpenStack used to template its own Jenkins jobs, while Jenkins kept everything in baroque XML. These differences complicated ongoing maintenance and led to an unnecessarily steep learning curve for new administrators from related communities that had started trying to run Zuuls.

        The time was right for another revolution.

      • Build engines suck. Help GPSD select a new one.

        One of the eternal mysteries of software is why build engines suck so badly.

        Makefiles weren’t terrible as a first try, except for the bizarre decision to make the difference between tabs and spaces critically different so you can screw up your recipe invisibly.

        GNU autotools is a massive, gnarly, hideous pile of cruft with far too many moving parts. Troubleshooting any autotools recipe of nontrivial capacity will make you want to ram your forehead repeatedly into a brick wall until the pain stops.

        Scons, among the first of the new wave of build engines to arise when mature scripting languages make writing them easier, isn’t bad. Except for the part where the development team was unresponsive at the best of times and development has stagnated for years now.

        Waf is also not bad, except for being somewhat cryptic to write and having documentation that would hardly be less comprehensible if it had been written in hieroglyphics.

      • Ruby Team: Ruby Team Sprint 2020 in Paris – Day Three

        Day three of our sprint was dominated by hacking. In the morning an archive wide rebuild against Ruby 2.7 had finished. So the list of packages in need of a fix for the upcoming transition got longer. Still we found/made some time for a key exchange in the afternoon, in which even some local university attendees participated. Further Georg gave a short talk how keysigning works using caff and the current situation of keyservers, specifically keys.openpgp.org and hockeypuck. (The traditional SKS network plans to migrate to this software within this year.)

        Regarding Salsa, Antonio was able to fix gem2deb so our extension packages finally build reprodicibly (Yeah!). The decision to disable the piuparts job on Salsa was discussed again. The tool provides a major functionality in question of preventing “toxic” uploads. But these issues usually occur on quite rare occasions. We think the decision to enable the piuparts job only for critical packages or on a case-by-case base is a sensible approach. But we would of course prefer to not have to make this decision just to go easy on Salsa’s resources.

      • Ruby Team Sprint 2020 in Paris – Day Four

        On day four the transition to Ruby 2.7 and Rails 6 went on. Minor transitions took place too, for example the upload of ruby-faraday 1.0 or the upload of bundler 2.1 featuring the (first) contributions by bundler’s upstream Deivid (yeah!). Further Red Hat’s (and Debian’s) Marc Dequènes (Duck) joined us.

        We are proud to report, that updating and/or uploading the Kali packages is almost done. Most are in NEW or have already been accepted.

        The Release team was contacted to start the Ruby 2.7 transition and we already have a transition page. However, the Python 3.8 one is ongoing (almost finished) and the Release team does not want overlaps. So hopefully we can upload ruby-defaults to Debian Unstable soon.

      • Using Non Default Php Version On Plesk Server Cli

        Plesk is a tool for managing multiple websites with their own settings including PHP. But comes with alot of caveats, especially with configuration.

        Recently I needed to run a PHP a script as 7.2, but the OS Default is 5.6 so plesk kept forcing the script to run as 5.6.

      • arduino-copilot combinators

        My framework for programming Arduinos in Haskell has two major improvements this week. It’s feeling like I’m laying the keystone on this project. It’s all about the combinators now.

      • RProtoBuf 0.4.15: One fix, some updates, depcrecation coming

        A new release 0.4.15 of RProtoBuf just arrived at CRAN. RProtoBuf provides R with bindings for the Google Protocol Buffers (“ProtoBuf”) data encoding and serialization library used and released by Google, and deployed very widely in numerous projects as a language and operating-system agnostic protocol.

        This release contains a small bug fix for repeated messages and groups. While making changes, I used the opportunity to change the unit testing framework to the excellent and lightweight tinytest package permitting, among other things, tests of the installed package, and also simplified the build by using pre-made pdf vignettes. A list of changes follows below

      • RcppArmadillo 0.9.850.1.0

        Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 685 other packages on CRAN.

        A new upstream release 9.850.1 of Armadillo was just released. And as some will undoubtedly notice, Conrad opted for an increment of 50 rather 100. We wrapped this up as version 0.9.850.1.0, having prepared a full (github-only) tarball and the release candidate 9.850.rc1 a few days ago. Both the release candidate and the release got the full reverse depends treatment, and no issues were found.

        Changes in the new release below.

      • SpecFuzz Emerges To Test Code For Spectre-Style Vulnerabilities

        Fuzzing is an important means of finding unintended/invalid behavior within software and now there exists a fuzzer for providing Spectre-type vulnerabilities.

        SpecFuzz is a new tool for uncovering possible Spectre vulnerabilities within source code. When compiling the software under test paired with extra instrumentation is able to uncover possible Spectre Variant One vulnerabilities in source code as a result of mispredictions by simulating speculative execution within this fuzzer.

      • Red Hat Talks Up debuginfod As The New Debug Info Web Server

        Debuginfod is the optional HTTP server that is part of the ELFUTILS package and is for distributing ELF/DWARF debugging information and program source code when requested based upon a build ID of what’s being compiled/debugged. This Red Hat led initiative has already led to Debuginfod support added to the new Binutils 2.34 for being able to query source files and debug information when not present on the local file-system.

      • AMD’s Zen 2 Scheduler Model Gets Partially Fixed Up In LLVM

        Landing in the LLVM compiler infrastructure code-base in January was finally an AMD Zen 2 scheduler model optimized for the latest-generation AMD processors when compiling code with Clang using the -march=znver2 targeting. However, now some important fixes to this scheduler model have landed.

      • LLVM Finally Buttoning Up Its Stack-Clash Protection For x86 CPUs

        It’s been nearly three years since the Stack Clash vulnerability was really tossed into the spotlight while such vulnerabilities have existed longer. Now finally in 2020, the LLVM compiler stack — and years after GCC’s mitigation — is preparing its stack clash protection.

        Since last autumn there has been stack clash protection under review for LLVM. This solution is similar to GCC’s and exposes the same -fstack-clash-protection flag. When this stack clash protection feature is enabled on LLVM x86/x86_64, inline stack probing is used. “Probe stack allocation every PAGE_SIZE during frame lowering or dynamic allocation to make sure the page guard, if any, is touched when touching the stack, in a similar manner to GCC. This extends the existing `probe-stack’ mechanism with a special value `inline-asm’. Technically the former uses function call before stack allocation while this patch provides inlined stack probes and chunk allocation.”

      • Perl

        • To Hardcode, or Not to Hardcode: That Is the (Unit) Test-ion

          So, first of all, let me agree whole-heartedly with Tom’s final statement there: “We tolerate a lot more repetition, and factor it out sparingly.” Absolutely good advice. The only problem is that, as I noted previously on my Other Blog, we humans have a tendency to want to simplify things in general, and rules and “best practices” in particular. I don’t think that Tom was saying “always hardcode everything in your unit tests!” … but I think some people will read it that way nonetheless. I would like to make the argument that this is a more nuanced topic, and hopefully present some reasons why you want to consider this question very carefully.1

          For an example of how hardcoding the right answers for all your unit tests can be taken too far, imagine a system where you need to test several scripts that produce output. One simple way would be to run the scripts and capture the output, then examine that output very carefully, once. Once you’ve verified by hand that the output is good, you save said output to a file. Now all your unit test has to do is run the script, generate new output, diff against the Last Known Good output, and throw a fit if there are any differences. Easy peasy.

        • Increasing Perl’s Visibility

          Perl has some really great community websites. But a drawback to this is that the Perl community is centred around a few domain names, which means that it isn’t as visible as some other languages. Most projects use github for development and CPAN for distribution, and outside those sites, they don’t have much online presence.

          One thing I think might help spread Perl around the web would be if different Perl projects had their own websites.

        • Preallocating scalars

          I’m using the fabulous FFI::Platypus to interface to a C routine which uses caller-allocated buffers to return data. While FFI::Platypus transparently translates Perl arrays to C arrays and back, the buffers are used only to return data, so I only need the C-to-Perl conversion and not the Perl-to-C conversion.

          The first step is to efficiently allocate a buffer of a given size in Perl (the last step, converting the retuned data in the buffer to Perl, is done straightforwardly with unpack).

        • Perl Weekly Challenge 046: Cryptic Message & Is the Room Open?
        • Perl Weekly Challenge 46: Garbled Message and Room Open
      • Python

        • Formatting Strings with the Python Template Class

          Python Templates are used to substitute data into strings. With Templates, we gain a heavily customizable interface for string substitution (or string interpolation).

          Python already offers many ways to substitute strings, including the recently introduced f-Strings. While it is less common to substitute strings with Templates, its power lies in how we can customize our string formatting rules.

          In this article, we’ll format strings with Python’s Template class. We’ll then have a look at how we can change the way our Templates can substitute data into strings.

        • PyCharm 2019.3.3

          Our PyCharm release is now ready! We’ve added some important fixes to make sure we provide you with the best tool we can, so be sure to update to the newest version! You can get it from within PyCharm (Help | Check for Updates), using JetBrains Toolbox, or by downloading the new version from our website.

        • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 2

          We have a new Early Access Program (EAP) version of PyCharm that can be now downloaded from our website.

          Our work to create a better PyCharm 2020.1 continues with new features, usability improvements, and bug fixes making their way into our EAP build. If you want to be the first to try them out, and help us in the process, make sure to use our free EAP versions.

        • Maya Island

          This time we want to give prominence to the people responsible for making this island happen. They are our active users – Phil15 and kurosawa4434. They committed themselves to creating new missions using Simon Tatham’s Portable Puzzle Collection (from which, by the way, you can also download interesting puzzles, or apps, and solve them). Phil15 worked on the tasks and kurosawa4434 created visual designs for them. Guys really contributed a lot to the CheckiO portal and the missions turned out to be so interesting, so we couldn’t help ourselves not to put their creations on the separate island.

        • How to compress the uploaded image before storing it in Django

          We already know how to upload the image file in Django, store it and use it in Django templates. Sometimes images are of large size and we want to compress them to save some space and to reduce the page load time where those images are being used. In this article, we will see how to compress and image before storing it.

        • How to upload an Image file in Django

          If you are looking for a way to upload and use the image on your Django website, then this article is for you. Follow these simple steps to upload an image or any file in your Django application.

        • Fast Forms With UpdateView – Building SaaS #44

          In this episode, we worked on an edit view. We used Django’s generic UpdateView to add the process and test drove the creation of the view to verify things every step of the way.

          We worked on a view to make it possible to edit the CourseTask model that are the actions that a student must complete for a course.

          To complete the form quickly, I took advantage of Django’s ModelForm views. These views are designed to make forms rapidly from existing models.

        • Nikola v8.0.4 is out!

          Nikola is a static site and blog generator, written in Python. It can use Mako and Jinja2 templates, and input in many popular markup formats, such as reStructuredText and Markdown — and can even turn Jupyter Notebooks into blog posts! It also supports image galleries, and is multilingual. Nikola is flexible, and page builds are extremely fast, courtesy of doit (which is rebuilding only what has been changed).

        • How to upgrade to paid account on PythonAnyWhere

          When I started developing Django applications, one constant concern I had was ‘which is the best server for hosting Django applications?’.

          I read multiple articles about hosting the Django app, hosting service providers and server providing Django support. Most of them provide support for python but very few provide support for Django.

          I even purchased hosting space on two servers but thanks to money-back guarantee scheme, my money was returned as I was not satisfied with their service.

        • Overload Functions in Python

          Function overloading is the ability to have multiple functions with the same name but with different signatures/implementations. When an overloaded function fn is called, the runtime first evaluates the arguments/parameters passed to the function call and judging by this invokes the corresponding implementation.

        • Matplotlib tutorial (Plotting Graphs Using pyplot)

          Matplotlib is a library in python that creates 2D graphs to visualize data. Visualization always helps in better analysis of data and enhance the decision-making abilities of the user. In this matplotlib tutorial, we will plot some graphs and change some properties like fonts, labels, ranges, etc,

          First, we will install matplotlib, then we will start plotting some basics graphs. Before that, let’s see some of the graphs that matplotlib can draw.

        • How to resolve a git conflict in poetry.lock

          We use poetry in MDN Kuma. That means there’s a pyproject.toml and a poetry.lock file. To add or remove dependencies, you don’t touch either file in an editor.

        • Plotting earning graph based on the month with Python

          For those of you who have followed the record sales and save data into the database project, this will be the final chapter of this project. In the future, you can follow the project updates on the Github page.

          In this chapter, I have included the combo box which allows the user to select the month he or she wishes to see the graph of sale data!

          There is no need to create another combo box to let the user select the month before he submits the earning into the database. We just need to extract the data from the earning table based on the date which has been automatically inserted during the data submission project.

          Below is the user interface part of the program where only a combo box has been added beside the plot buttons to let the user selects the month he wishes to view the graph of total earning.

        • Talk Python to Me: #250 Capture over 400x C02 as trees with AI and Python
        • Exploring the Mutpy Library and How PyBites Uses it to Verify Test Code

          A while back we launched our Test Bites. In this follow up article Harrison explains the MutPy mutation testing tool in depth and how we use it to verify test code on our platform.

          [...]

          Mutation testing is a way of testing your tests. It should be used after you already have tests that cover your code well.

          In the case of a Test Bite on PyBites, that means you should have 100% code coverage first.

          The way it works is by subtly changing, in various ways, the source code being tested, then rerunning the tests for each change.

          If the tests continue to pass, then the change was not caught. The idea is that if a random change can be made to the code without causing a failure, then either the tests are not specific enough, or they don’t cover enough.

          Thus, mutation testing can help you identify areas where your tests are weak and need improvement. Beyond the improvements to your tests, I believe one of the main benefits is the depth of understanding of the code being tested that you often develop. I’ll talk more about that later.

          Mutation testing has been around for a long time, but because it can be slow, it only recently has started to become more popular. If your tests take a long time to run already, adding mutation testing will increase that time by quite a bit.

        • How to Check if a File is a Valid Image with Python

          Python has many modules in its standard library. One that is often overlooked is imghdr which lets you identify what image type that is contained in a file, byte stream or path-like object.

        • sys.getsizeof is not what you want

          This week at work, an engineer mentioned that they were looking at the sizes of data returned by an API, and it was always coming out the same, which seemed strange. It turned out the data was a dict, and they were looking at the size with sys.getsizeof.

        • Django 3 Tutorial & CRUD Example with MySQL and Bootstrap

          Django 3 is released with full async support! In this tutorial, we’ll see by example how to create a CRUD application from scratch and step by step. We’ll see how to configure a MySQL database, enable the admin interface, and create the django views.

        • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxiv) stackoverflow python report
      • Godot

        • Escoria – point-and-click system for the Godot engine

          Escoria, the point-and-click system for the Godot game engine, is now working again with the latest Godot (3.2).

          Godot is a general-purpose game engine. It comes with an extensive graphic editor with skeleton and animation support, can create all sorts of games and mini-games, making it an interesting choice for point-and-click’s.

  • Leftovers

    • Spreading Righteousness Across the World: an Interview With Julian Marley

      High up in the Hollywood hills overlooking Babylon, on the cusp of Bob Marley’s 75th earthstrong, I interviewed his son, Julian Marley, the day before the Grammy Awards ceremony, where Julian’s fourth album “As I Am” was nominated for Best Reggae Album. What follows is a transcript of the interview, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations.

    • Redemption Songs: One Love, One Heart
    • The Evolution of Pandora

      Greek myth is not fiction. There’s a core of truth in each mythological story. Greeks of very ancient times related those stories that later Greek poets and historians incorporated into their work.

    • The Rodeo Lasts Forever: A Story of “Bacurau” & “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood”

      Paulo Leminksi, one of Brazil’s best and most cherished poets, said he learned everything from American cinema. The ethics of behavior, as he puts it, he learned from the shoot-outs in John Wayne movies. Romance, he says, has to have a beginning, a middle and an end. All the big, important feelings have to be conveyed as explicitly and clearly as possible and things in life have to be technically well-executed, like in American cinema. Leminski said that he had a hard time distinguishing between dreams and American cinema.  His dreams, he continues, have long been given up to American directors. Some nights, it is Hitchcock, on others it is John Ford. Sometimes it is Coppola. And because half of your life you spend dreaming, half of your life is inevitably American cinema. Leminski died at age 44, from cirrhosis, in 1989. One wonders if American Cinema was the thing that killed him in the end. He was so young.

    • I Want to Be a Paperback Writer

      Up until the early part of this century, most drugstores in the United States had full-on newsstands that sold daily newspapers, the Racing Form, and weekly magazines. They also had MAD magazine, comic books, pop music fan mags, crossword puzzles books, and hundreds of paperback titles. Running the gamut from pulp detective fiction to romance and best-selling works, these were usually cheaply priced.

    • How Reading Books Instead Of News Made Me A Better Citizen

      As the 2020 presidential race kicks into high-gear, I find myself telling friends about an important lesson I learned last time primary season rolled around. During the run-up to the 2016 election, as now, vitriol filled the headlines. Rather than well-informed, reading the internet often left me feeling emotionally exhausted, powerless, and alone. So many stories were urgent but not important, and certainly not actionable.

    • Roger Kahn, Elegant ‘Boys of Summer’ Author, Dies at 92

      Roger Kahn, the writer who wove memoir and baseball and touched millions of readers through his romantic account of the Brooklyn Dodgers in “The Boys of Summer,” has died. He was 92.

    • The Man Who Loved Books: Interview With Umberto Eco

      The famed author (The Name of the Rose) and semiologist, Umberto Eco, who so loved books, must have thought it his misfortune to live in a country whose people did not share his thirst for printed books. He was in fact avid for anything in print: books, antique or new, notebooks, manuals, ledgers, logs, while his fellow Italians are among Europe’s worst readers. Yet Eco was a world-acclaimed novelist, whom I had the good fortune of interviewing him for a Dutch magazine precisely in his heyday of fame and fortune: he wrote me a delightful fifteen-pages of answers in a written interview.

    • Four Principles for Building a Culture of Automation

      It’s estimated that 75 percent of an IT professional’s time is spent “keeping the lights on” with the remaining 25 percent focused on innovation that moves their businesses forward. Everyone should want to flip those percentages. After all, both executives and developers want the same thing: to drive innovation that helps improve the bottom line.

      Given this, it’s no wonder there’s been a lot of talk about automation and agility in the enterprise and how organizations can expedite their processes and improve workflows. In fact, individuals and teams may be pretty good at automating their own everyday processes, such as common scripting tasks. But the challenge continues to be applying a culture of automation across the entire enterprise so that the organization can drive towards the common goal of developing applications faster and more efficiently.

    • Science

      • Breathalyzer Manufacturer Under Criminal Investigation For Falsifying Maintenance Records And Calibration Results

        In 2018, a report came out that added even more doubt as to the reliability of breathalyzers. A number of factors — including incorrect calibrations and ambient air temperature — could turn innocent breath into guilty breath. Cops value breathalyzers since they’re easy to deploy and don’t have the warrant impediments of blood tests. But they’re often relying on faulty equipment.

      • NASA: A second, unreported glitch could have wrecked Boeing’s Starliner

        NASA safety officials have revealed that the Boeing Starliner’s failed attempt to dock with the International Space Station last December—the vehicle’s first ever flight into space—was marked by multiple software problems, not just the error that had been previously disclosed. In fact, they say, a second issue put the spacecraft at risk of a “catastrophic” failure.

      • Software that swaps out words can now fool the AI behind Alexa and Siri

        The news: Software called TextFooler can trick natural-language processing (NLP) systems into misunderstanding text just by replacing certain words in a sentence with synonyms. In tests, it was able to drop the accuracy of three state-of-the-art NLP systems dramatically. For example, Google’s powerful BERT neural net was worse by a factor of five to seven at identifying whether reviews on Yelp were positive or negative.

      • A new implant for blind people jacks directly into the brain

        “Allí,” says Bernardeta Gómez in her native Spanish, pointing to a large black line running across a white sheet of cardboard propped at arm’s length in front of her. “There.”

      • Are we in the middle of a new space race for this century?

        Every week, the readers of our space newsletter, The Airlock, send in their questions for space reporter Neel V. Patel to answer. This week: the new space race. 

    • Education

      • American Federation of Teachers: Three Years of Betsy DeVos Has Been Bad for Education

        But in three short years, the damage she’s done is already legendary. Since her confirmation, DeVos has waged a full-blown crusade against the students and communities that her office should be serving. She has used her position as education secretary to pursue her own political agenda — protecting corporate interests at the expense of the very schools, students and educators she was appointed to protect. Her tenure is marked by repeated efforts to take away rights from teachers, protections from students, and resources from public schools; her pattern of malpractice has put the future of public education and higher education at risk.

        Here are a few of the ways we’ve seen DeVos hurt students, educators, and communities during her three years in office so far: [...]

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Trump’s State of the Union Belies His Destructive Policies on Social Security, Prescription Drugs

        For a president who seeks re-election, he clearly is on the wrong side of these life and death issues.

      • A Cruel Attack on the Disabled

        You might have missed it amid the impeachment coverage, but the Trump administration has recently rolled out plans for draconian cuts to everything from Medicaid to school lunches.

      • The EPA’s New Shameful Tactic: Avoid People Poisoned by Coal Ash

        The Trump administration has rolled back requirements for public hearings regarding federal rules, making the fossil fuel industry even less accountable to communities.

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

        Meaningful regulation of the fracking industry is a non sequitur to Sharon Wilson, organizer for Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. She supports her employer’s efforts to encourage tougher industry regulations, but believes that humankind needs to keep oil and gas in the ground if there is any chance of meeting the benchmarks set by the Paris Climate Accord to limit global warming.

      • Organizers Won’t Let Trump Dismantle Medicaid

        Trump’s plan will endanger the people who need health care most—pregnant women, children, young adults aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities.

      • Wastewater flushes away a river of wealth

        Waste not, want not. Especially water. The wastewater that flows through the world’s sewers has value that could be recovered.

      • Advocates Call on EPA to Expand Air Pollution Monitoring of Refineries After 10 Found Emitting High Benzene Levels

        Lt. General Russel Honoré, founder of Louisiana’s Green Army, a grassroots anti-pollution coalition, hailed the report as a great tool for communities that live near refineries to press for the monitoring of additional toxic chemicals. 

      • Refineries Are Spewing Cancer-Causing Benzene as Trump Slashes Enforcement

        On a spring evening in 2018, the sky across the New Orleans metro area lit up with fiery light. Friends and neighbors turned to each other with raised eyebrows, anxiety and dark humor. Did a nuclear bomb go off? Is an asteroid about to fall into Lake Pontchartrain? Is this the end?

      • LIV Free or Die

        The NFL has made it to the ripe old age of 100. The same can be said for only a tiny clutch of its former players. Notwithstanding the league’s PR efforts, it’s a century of increasingly violent gridiron combat, unsafe at any speed. The game’s heroes are ever more likely to donate their brains to science rather than their jerseys to the Hall of Fame in Canton.

      • SnowGlobe Music Festival Sued for Emitting Massive Amounts of Benzene

        The SnowGlobe Music Festival has come under fire for environmental concerns.

      • Do You Make, Test or Market Car Seats or Boosters?

        We’re looking at how booster seats are tested and marketed in America.

        There are no federal side-impact tests required for booster seats, so companies design their own tests and determine what passes and what fails. We want to know what those tests look like and how the companies approach marketing boosters and for which kids.

      • Evenflo, Maker of the “Big Kid” Booster Seat, Put Profits Over Child Safety

        In February 2012, a safety engineer at Evenflo, one of the biggest sellers of children’s booster seats, wanted the company to make a major change to its instructions for parents. He recommended Evenflo stop selling booster seats for children who weigh less than 40 pounds.

        Citing government research, the engineer, Eric Dahle, emailed high-ranking executives to tell them that children lighter than 40 pounds would be safer in car seats that use harnesses to hold their small bodies in place. Making the change would match Canadian regulations and better align with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

      • The Most Important Thing Every Parent Needs to Know About Car Seat Safety

        Of all the important takeaways from ProPublica’s new report on how a company knew its bestselling booster seats left children vulnerable to severe injury or death in side impact crashes, there’s one piece of advice that stood out to reporters Daniela Porat and Patricia Callahan.

        Don’t move your child from a car seat to a booster seat until they have outgrown their harnessed car seat.

      • Kremlin officials begin taking temperature of all participants in Putin events

        Russian executive branch staff have begun measuring the body temperature of every individual who attends public events involving President Vladimir Putin. Anton Zhelnov, a journalist for the independent TV channel Dozhd, first wrote about the procedure on Facebook. He said measurements are carried out by a staff member equipped with a thermographic camera.

      • Trump Was Wrong — Drug Prices Are Still Not Going Down

        During the 2020 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump zeroed in on prescription drug prices, arguing that his administration is “taking on the big pharmaceutical companies.”

      • Trump Administration Reintroduces Catastrophic Reagan-Era Disability Cuts

        You might have missed it amid the impeachment coverage, but the Trump administration has recently rolled out plans for draconian cuts to everything from Medicaid to school lunches.

      • The first US trial of CRISPR gene editing in cancer patients suggests the technique is safe

        The news: Three people with advanced cancer have received injections of immune cells gene-edited using CRISPR without any serious side effects. It’s the first US clinical trial of the technique and the first CRISPR cancer trial anywhere to publish its findings.

      • AAPS sues for its “right” to promote antivaccine misinformation

        I haven’t written about the crank medical group disguised as a “professional association,” the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), in a while. When last I wrote about the AAPS, I was noting that Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was a member and that in the very issue that came out around the time that Price was nominated to head HHS the AAPS was laying down some seriously bizarre antivaccine misinformation. It’s an organization that I’ve been decrying for a very, very long time, dating back at least since 2006, when I first described the official journal of the AAPS, the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS) as “medical ‘science’ as dubious as it gets.” That’s actually a kind assessment, given that recently JPANDS published an article by arguably the most famous living antivaccine activist, Andrew Wakefield, the man whose crappy 1998 Lancet case series launched not only the modern antivaccine movement but also a thousand quack autism treatments (at least). In it, Wakefield predicted a mass extinction due to vaccines. I kid you not. That’s just how antivaccine AAPS is.

      • China’s Drug Patent Grab Makes Coronavirus Scary for Pharma

        The coronavirus outbreak in China is already threatening to undermine the global economy. It may soon create a similar shake-up in the drug industry.

        I’m not talking about pharmaceutical companies’ attempts to develop a vaccine, but about intellectual property. Chinese researchers have applied for a patent on an antiviral drug candidate called remdesevir owned by Gilead Sciences Inc. The drug is being tested in clinical trials in short order, but the company could eventually be cut out.

        If the patent is granted, it will confirm long-standing drugmaker fears about China’s commitment to IP protection, raising concern about the industry’s future in a crucial market. It also could further erode the already weak incentives for pharma to invest in drugs to combat emerging infectious diseases. The risks of seizing the patent may outweigh any benefit.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • The Y2K bug could come back sooner than you think

        The start of the 21st century was a time of excitement and trepidation for the world. One one hand, we sat on the cusp of a future, an entirely new millenium, filled with countless possibilities. On the other hand, there was a small chance that the whole of modern human civilization would come crashing down around us because coders had for years used a shorthand method to denote the current date and our computer systems might not have been able to differentiate between the year 200 and the year 1900. We dodged a bullet when the Y2K bug fizzled out the first time. Will we be as lucky in 2038 when we once again face a similar threat?

      • Proprietary

        • Smart lighting security flaw illuminates risk of IoT

          Philips Hue smart lighting systems are probably among the most widely installed smart home solutions in the world, so plenty of people needs to know about the latest Check Point research, which warns of a major security flaw in them.

          Apparently, it is possible to infiltrate home/office networks using a remote exploit in the ZigBee low-power wireless protocol and Philips Hue smart bulbs and bridge as the access point.

        • Apple’s Outlook Clouded as Coronavirus Extends Production Delays

          Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the largest iPhone maker, officially resumes production Feb. 10, but it is sequestering returning workers for an extra seven to 14 days. On Friday, the company, also known as Foxconn, told employees at its Shenzhen facility not to return to work when the extended Lunar New Year break ends Feb. 10.

        • Apple Fined $27 Million In France for Intentional iPhone Slow Down

          A French regulator has fined Apple over $27 million for the iPhone slow down scandal.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • AMD Contributing MIGraphX/ROCm Back-End To Microsoft’s ONNX Runtime For Machine Learning

              AMD is adding a MIGraphX/ROCm back-end to Microsoft’s ONNX run-time for machine learning inferencing to allow for Radeon GPU acceleration.

              Microsoft’s open-source ONNX Runtime as a cross-platform, high performance scoring engine for machine learning models is finally seeing AMD GPU support. This project has long supported NVIDIA TensorRT and CUDA along with Intel’s APIs around DNNL / nGraph / OpenVINO, and even the ARM Compute Library. But now this Linux / Windows / macOS machine learning run-time will be able to support Radeon Open Compute (ROCm) for Radeon GPU acceleration on Linux.

            • Where top VCs are investing in open source and dev tools (Part 1 of 2)

              Similarly, venture investment in new startups in the space has continued to swell. More investors are taking shots at finding the next big payout, with annual invested capital in open-source and dev tool startups increasing at a roughly 10% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the last five years, according to data from Crunchbase. Furthermore, attractive returns in the space seem to be adding more fuel to the fire, as open-source and dev tool startups saw more than $2 billion invested in the space in 2019 alone, per Crunchbase data.

            • Aiven raises $40M to democratize access to open-source projects through managed cloud services

              The growing ubiquity of open-source software has been a big theme in the evolution of enterprise IT. But behind that facade of popularity lies another kind of truth: Companies may be interested in using more open-source technology, but because there is a learning curve with taking on an open-source project, not all of them have the time, money and expertise to adopt it. Today, a startup out of Finland that has built a platform specifically to target that group of users is announcing a big round of funding, underscoring not just demand for its products, but its growth to date.

            • Google’s LaserTagger Goes Open Source

              Google has open sourced LaserTagger, an AI model to tackle text generation in a less error-prone manner.

              Instead of generating the output text from scratch, LaserTagger produces output by tagging words with predicted edit operations that are then applied to the input words in a separate realization step. According to research team at Google, “This is a less error-prone way of tackling text generation, which can be handled by an easier to train and faster to execute model architecture.”

        • Security

          • Cryptography and elections

            Transparent and verifiable electronic elections are technically feasible, but for a variety of reasons, the techniques used are not actually viable for running most elections—and definitely not for remote voting. That was one of the main takeaways from a keynote at this year’s linux.conf.au given by University of Melbourne Associate Professor Vanessa Teague. She is a cryptographer who, along with her colleagues, has investigated several kinds of e-voting software; as is probably not all that much of a surprise, what they found is buggy implementations. She described some of that work in a talk that was a mix of math with software-company and government missteps; the latter may directly impact many of the Australian locals who were in attendance.

            She began by noting that the “cheerful title” of her talk, “Who cares about democracy?”, was hopefully only a rhetorical question, which elicited some, perhaps slightly nervous, laughter. The cryptographic algorithms and protocols that can provide step-by-step proof that a voter’s intent was correctly gathered and that the vote was counted do exist, but the assumptions that need to be made about user behavior make them too difficult to use for government elections. It is unreasonable to expect that voters will take the fairly onerous actions to actually verify those steps; “it’s too easy to trick people”. These kinds of systems do not “adequately defend against bugs and fraud for serious elections”.

            End-to-end verifiable elections

            The details of these techniques are complicated, she said, but “the principle is really simple”: the system should “provide evidence that it has done the right thing with the data at every stage of the process”. (The YouTube video of the talk shows her slides, which have some pictures that give an overview of the scheme.) Voters should be able to check that it has done so by using their own code—or code provided by organizations they trust. When voters use a machine that they may not trust to vote, they should get some kind of receipt that can be used to verify that their vote has been recorded accurately. That receipt can then be checked on some other device to ensure that the vote stored in the encrypted receipt is, in fact, the choices they wanted to make.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, python-django, and sudo), Debian (libexif and libxmlrpc3-java), Fedora (upx and xar), openSUSE (ucl and upx), Oracle (ipa), Scientific Linux (kernel), SUSE (e2fsprogs, libqt5-qtbase, nginx, pcp, php7, rubygem-rack, systemd, wicked, and xen), and Ubuntu (mariadb-10.1, mariadb-10.3, mesa, pillow, and python-reportlab).

          • hping3 flood ddos

            A denial of Service (DOS) attack is a very simple technique to deny accessibility to services (that’s why it is called “denial of service” attack). This attack consists of overloading the target with oversized packets, or a big quantity of them.

            While this attack is very easy to execute, it does not compromise the information or privacy of the target, it is not a penetrative attack and only aims to prevent access to the target.

            By sending a quantity of packets the target can’t handle attackers prevent the server from serving legitimate users.

            DOS attacks are carried out from a single device, therefore it is easy to stop them by blocking the attacker IP, yet the attacker can change and even spoof (clone) the target IP address but it is not hard for firewalls to deal with such attacks, contrary to what happens with DDOS attacks.

          • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141 is available for testing

            The first exciting big update of the year is ready for testing: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 141! It comes with a totally reworked DNS system which adds many new features like DNS-over-TLS. On top of that, this update fixes many bugs.

          • Git takes baby steps towards swapping out vulnerable SHA-1 hashing algo for SHA-256

            The Git version control system has moved closer towards using SHA-256 rather than the compromised SHA-1 for its hash algorithm, to help to protect code from tampering.

            Whenever code is committed into a Git repository, the software calculates and stores a hash value. When you retrieve the code, the hash is recalculated to ensure that the code is the same. Git also uses these hash values as a database key and to avoid storing the same code twice. If the hash value is the same, the code is presumed to be the same.

            What this means is that the hashing algorithm is at the heart of how Git functions. Git uses SHA-1, but in early 2017 it was shown by a team of Google engineers and others that SHA-1 can be broken, meaning that there is a technique for finding collisions, defined as different data that has the same hash value. We reported on this here.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google Says Clearview’s Site Scraping Is Wrong; Clearview Reminds Google It Scrapes Sites All The Time

              Clearview’s business model has resulted in some mutual finger pointing. The most infamous of facial recognition tech companies outsources its database development. Rather than seeking input from interested parties, it scrapes sites for pictures of faces and whatever personal info accompanies them. The scraped info forms the contents of its facial recognition database, putting law enforcement only a few app clicks away from accessing over 3 billion images.

            • A dark web tycoon pleads guilty. But how was he caught?

              When the enterprising cybercriminal Eric Eoin Marques pleaded guilty in an American court this week, it was meant to bring closure to a seven-year-long international legal struggle centered on his dark web empire. 

              The secretive security agency identified the vulnerability and is taking public credit as part of an effort to “build trust.”

            • India’s Data Protection Bill Threatens Global Cybersecurity

              The response from India, the world’s largest democracy, has been curious, and introduces potential dangers. An emerging engineering powerhouse, India impacts us all, and its cybersecurity or data protection maneuvers deserve our careful attention. On the surface, the proposed Indian Data Protection Act of 2019 appears to emulate new global standards, such as the right to be forgotten. Other requirements, like having to store sensitive data in systems that are located within the subcontinent, may put constraints on certain business practices and are considered more controversial by some.

              One feature of the bill that’s received less inspection but is perhaps most alarming of all is that how it would criminalize illegitimate re-identification of user data. While seemingly prudent, this may soon put our connected world at greater risk.

            • Uber Falters in First Legal Attack on California Gig Worker Law

              Signed by California Governor Gavin Newsom in September, A.B. 5 says workers can generally only be considered contractors if they perform duties outside the usual course of a company’s business. Uber filed its suit Dec. 30, two days before A.B. 5 took effect.

            • Uber’s Hyper-Individualized Prices Are Tearing Us Apart

              Nobody seems to know what, exactly, determines Uber’s hyper-individualized fares, as the app distributes promotions seemingly at random. A few friends and colleagues believe that the less you use the app, the more promotional discounts you get in order to lure you back. This is entirely possible, even likely, although it may also have to do with Uber’s market position in the region, or other factors.

            • Snowden seeks to extend Russian residence permit, lawyer says

              Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden’s Russian residence permit will expire in April 2020 and paperwork is underway to extend it, Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena said at an expert meeting dubbed “Business Risks and Opportunities in 2020″ in Moscow on Friday.

              “I hope that Russia will not extradite him to the US. I saw him just yesterday. His residence permit will expire in April 2020 and we are working to extend it for several years,” the lawyer pointed out.

            • Edward Snowden, NSA leaker [sic], seeking extension of Russian residence permit: Reports

              “At the request of Edward, I am preparing documents for the migration service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation for the extension,” added Mr. Kucherena, the privately owned Interfax outlet reported in Russian.

            • Facebook’s Twitter Account Appears to Have Been Hacked

              Facebook didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment, and the tweet was removed quickly. The group OurMine has been linked to other Twitter [attacks], most recently the official accounts for more than a dozen National Football League teams. The group also took credit for a [crack] of Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey’s account last year. When it [cracks] accounts, OurMine markets its security services.

            • How Attorney General Barr’s War On Encryption Will Harm Our Military

              We’ve highlighted in the past that there are large parts of the federal government that recognize that strong encryption is actually very, very important for national security, and that the framing by Attorney General William Barr, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and even President Trump — that there need to be back doors to encryption for “security” reasons — is utter nonsense. The intelligence community has long recognized the importance of strong encryption. Even many people within the FBI think their bosses’ position on this issue is bonkers. Late last year, we were pleasantly surprised to see the Defense Department step up as well, with a letter to Congress talking about just how important encryption is for national security.

            • Why the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) risks turning into a paper tiger

              Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) has just announced two new GDPR inquiries. One of them concerns Tinder, as a result of “concerns raised by individuals both in Ireland and across the EU”. The other inquiry will examine Google’s processing of location data and the transparency surrounding that processing. The issue is whether consent to share users’ location data was freely given, and whether consumers were tricked into accepting privacy-intrusive settings. Although it’s good news that Google is being investigated here, the European consumer organization BEUC points out that some of its members made an initial complaint to the DPC about this issue back in November 2018:

            • Transparency Report Shows Ancestry.com Rejected A Warrant Demanding Access To Its DNA Database

              Third-party DNA services have become one of law enforcement’s new investigative tools. Companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe have collected massive amounts of DNA data and personal info, and cops have used these databases to solve cold cases and identify suspects they may have overlooked during investigations.

            • Confidentiality

              • Like Spotify for Health Data: Tech Firms Crave App Opportunities

                In that vein, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology proposed that IT creators meet an updated standard for sharing data between health-care organizations, patients, and app developers. Switching to the fourth version of the updated standard, known as Health Level 7 (HL7) Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), will take time and money, making some IT companies wary. Many companies still rely on older versions of the standard for their products.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Wars Without Victories, Weapons Without End

        The expression “self-licking ice cream cone” was first used in 1992 to describe a hidebound bureaucracy at NASA. Yet, as an image, it’s even more apt for America’s military-industrial complex, an institution far vaster than NASA and thoroughly dedicated to working for its own perpetuation and little else.

      • The Impracticality of the US Sanctions Framework for North Korea

        While there have been many US ambassadors to Korea during the 70 or so years since the establishment of the Korean government, few have been talked about as often as Harry Harris, the current ambassador. He has already been at the center of controversy on several occasions due to his outspoken and domineering words and actions, unbecoming for a diplomat. At times this has been attributed to a lack of familiarity with diplomatic methods due to his background in the US CINC Pacific Command. However, this cannot be overlooked so easily because numerous former military figures, including the Secretary of State, have handled diplomatic affairs in the US without any major controversy.

      • Libya is Being Torn Apart By Outsiders

        With the United States walking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—more commonly known as the Iran accord—we all enter into a heightened zone of danger. Trump is threatening a war on Iran through his statements and tweets, and now by his actions, assassinating serving Iranian and Iraqi generals on Iraqi soil. Assassinations are illegal in international law, but then Trump’s understanding of domestic and international law is limited by what he thinks he can get away with. A war in the region now threatens its entire oil and shipping infrastructure, and can also take down the entire global economy in its wake.

      • US Policy Has Facilitated the Paramilitary Takeover of Iraq

        On January 3, around 1:00 am local time, Iranian General Qassim Suleimani was killed by a drone strike on his way from Baghdad International Airport. The assassination was directed by U.S. President Donald Trump, who authorized his death in June, two months after he designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

      • Because Defeating NRA ‘Takes a Movement,’ March for Our Lives Co-Founder Joins Sanders Campaign as Gun Violence Prevention Advisor

        “Gun violence prevention is a winning issue. It’s a life saving issue and this campaign is set out to save lives.”

      • Thailand Mall Shooter Slain After Killing 21, Wounding 42

        Thai officials said a soldier who went on a shooting rampage and killed at least 21 people and injured 42 others has been shot dead inside a mall in northeastern Thailand.

      • Multiple U.S. Casualties Reported in Afghanistan Firefight

        American and Afghan military personnel were fired on while conducting an operation in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province, the U.S. military said Saturday.

      • Met Police’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu admits: We can’t trail all terror suspects because there’s too many

        “But all parts of the system are responsible … and, crucially, that includes communities themselves. We need your help to stop vulnerable people from being drawn down the path that leads to the awful violence we saw on Sunday.”

      • Islamist insurgency in Mozambique escalates attacks, beheadings reported

        People are fleeing a surge of attacks in northern Mozambique where witnesses have described beheadings, mass kidnappings and villages burned to the ground, the United Nations said on Friday.

        Officials said armed groups had stepped up assaults in Cabo Delgado province, the center of an Islamist insurgency that has killed hundreds since it started in 2017.

      • U.S. Embassy issues warning of increased sexual assault risk in Spain

        According to the alert posted on the Embassy’s website, the Spanish Ministry of Interior has reported a steady increase in sexual assaults in the Iberian nation over the past five years.

        That rise includes an uptick in the number of sexual assaults of young U.S. citizens visiting or studying all over Spain.

      • America’s Newest Proxy Battle Could Spark World War 3
      • Prioritize Justice in Central African Republic

        In the Central African Republic a year after the government and 14 armed groups signed a peace accord, civilians remain at significant risk from serious human rights abuses. The deal, commonly known as the Khartoum Accord, was negotiated by the African Union (AU) during 18 months of talks. But brutal attacks on civilians continued even then, a harbinger of how little regard the armed groups would have for the deal.

        Over the course of negotiations, commanders of the armed groups told me that calls for accountability would jeopardize peace. The final document remained vague on steps needed to ensure post-conflict justice and does not mention specific processes, or efforts to promote justice in the country.

      • Syrian Advance Sends Hundreds of Thousands Fleeing in Idlib

        Turkey on Friday sent more troops and tanks to bolster its military presence in northwestern Syria, where President Bashar Assad’s forces have been advancing in a devastating, Russian-backed offensive that has sparked a massive wave of people fleeing in wet and blustery winter weather.

      • Risk of Nuclear War Rises as US Deploys New Nuke for First Time Since Cold War
      • Karl Grossman on the Weaponization of Space

        This week on CounterSpin: Announcing plans for a new branch of the US military in 2018, Vice President Mike Pence said: “It’s not enough to merely have an American presence in space, we must have American dominance in space. And so we will.” If that’s not worrisome enough, the first commander of the now-a-real-thing Space Force is Gen. John Raymond, who explains that

      • We Can’t Take Our Eyes Off Right-Wing Militias as Election Approaches

        Media reports, pundit commentary and social media simply seemed unable to reckon with the reality of the January 20 pro-gun rally at the Virginia state capitol.

      • Media Urge Palestinians to Take Crumbs—Because Democracy Is Not on Offer

        The Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century” is supposedly a plan to solve the question of Palestine. But as Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, points out, the deal doesn’t offer Palestinians a state…

      • Duh, Jared! So who built the PA as a ‘police state’?
      • Moscow jury acquits suspect of murdering gay man coming home from nightclub

        A jury in Moscow has acquitted a suspect charged with murdering a gay man at the Kursky train station. According to the website Mediazona, prosecutors say Anton Berezhnoi used a knife to attack two men returning home from a gay nightclub. One of the victims received light injuries while the other died at the scene.

      • Hurt feelings Ever since Warsaw snubbed him for a WWII commemoration, Vladimir Putin has increasingly blamed the Poles for the USSR’s nonaggression pact with Hitler

        In late 2019, Vladimir Putin repeatedly criticized Poland for its role early in World War II. The Russian president has even promised to write an article ahead of Victory Day’s 75th anniversary where he will lay out his own views about the events of the late 1930s. Several years ago already, Putin stopped publicly condemning the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, wherein Germany and the USSR agreed to carve up Poland, but he’s recently returned to the subject, focusing his attention on the Poles. Meduza has learned that this could be related to the fact that Putin wasn’t invited to Warsaw last year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the war’s start. The people who supply the Russian president with his historical information have a long history of invoking anti-Polish rhetoric, and the Polish state itself actively uses historical memory for political purposes.

      • US Deported 138 Salvadorans Home to Their Death

        At least 138 people deported from the United States to El Salvador since 2013 have been killed, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch, which investigates human rights abuses worldwide.

      • Deported to Death: US Sent 138 Salvadorans Home to Be Killed

        The murders of 138 deportees belie any notion that El Salvador can protect citizens who are under threat.

      • ‘Bombshell’: Iraqi Officials Say ISIS—Not Iran—Likely Behind Rocket Attack Trump Used to Justify Soleimani Assassination

        “Al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. on 9/11 and we went to war with Iraq. If this report is true, ISIS attacked the U.S. and we nearly went to war with Iran.”

      • Southern Thailand Peace Efforts Should Promote Rights

        The Thai government of Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha is signaling a new approach to the armed conflict in Thailand’s southern border provinces by initiating a dialogue with the separatist group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN).

        This is the first public recognition by Thai authorities that the BRN is responsible for the insurgency that has claimed more than 7,000 lives over the past 16 years. It may take months or years for this dialogue to yield tangible results and core issues remain unaddressed by both sides.

      • Can the U.S. and Iran Avoid a Disastrous Collision?

        With the United States walking out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)—more commonly known as the Iran accord—we all enter into a heightened zone of danger. Trump is threatening a war on Iran through his statements and tweets, and now by his actions, assassinating serving Iranian and Iraqi generals on Iraqi soil. Assassinations are illegal in international law, but then Trump’s understanding of domestic and international law is limited by what he thinks he can get away with. A war in the region now threatens its entire oil and shipping infrastructure, and can also take down the entire global economy in its wake.

      • Trump’s Imaginary World, Maduro’s Real World

        Trump gave his State of the Union to his Congress this week. He is the president behind the curtain. But he is not the benevolent, comical, trickster, wanna-be Wizard of the famous story, but a malevolent and armed ogre that threatens his country and the world.

      • ‘It’s fun to watch’ Russian Internet users say they’ve identified a nurse who confessed to unplugging dying veterans, but he denies it

        Federal investigators opened a probe after users on the anonymous online image forum Dvach claimed to have identified someone who confessed to working in a hospital and killing patients. The individual named by the Internet community denies the allegations. 

      • Fugitive American wife Anne Sacoolas who is wanted over the death of Harry Dunn was a CIA spy
    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • [Old] UN Leader Dag Hammarskjold Died in Mysterious Circumstances in 1961. What Really Happened?

        Today, Hammarskjold’s name is emblazoned on several buildings at U.N. headquarters in New York, while his death remains the biggest enigma in the organization’s eventful history. In 2017, the UN commissioned a new investigation of the crash, while the 2019 documentary Cold Case Hammarskjöld explores the long-running theory that Belgian or South African mercenaries may have shot down Hammarskjold’s plane to stop his diplomatic activities in the Congo, possibly even with the backing of U.S. and British intelligence.

      • Paratransit Services in New York City Are Severely Limited and Unpredictable. They Still Cost $614 Million a Year.

        I moved to New York in 2013, and several months later, I found myself watching the clock in my apartment as I waited for a city social worker to arrive. She was late, and I was anxious to get back to my job at a private investigation firm. Twenty minutes later, the social worker arrived.

        “You work?” she asked when I told her I’d scheduled our appointment for my lunch break.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • There’s No “Great American Comeback”

        There’s an image burned into my brain from childhood: the graffitied train tracks along the intersection of Fifth and Patterson in downtown Dayton, Ohio.

      • Government Report Finds Trump’s Trade War Is Harmful to Americans’ Incomes

        President Donald Trump’s trade war is projected to reduce the average family’s real income by $1,277, according to a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

      • Former Wells Fargo CEO Hit With Biggest Fine Ever, It’s Still Not Enough

        It took three years but a leading federal bank regulator has finally gotten tough with probably the most lawless large financial institution in the country.

      • House Passes Bill to Dramatically Strengthen the Power of Unions

        House Democrats just passed an important blueprint for strengthening unions and building worker power. If signed into law, the labor law reforms within the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act would amount to the biggest change to the rules governing employers and workers in generations. Among other major features, it would bolster workers’ ability to unionize, expand organizing rights to more workers and strengthen the right to strike.

      • Living in Inequality, Dying in Despair

        Americans are living a little longer. But we still lag well behind the developed world’s life expectancy norm. As the world’s most unequal developed nation, we shouldn’t be surprised.

      • It’s Time to Shorten the American Work Week

        Americans are one of the most overworked populations in the world. With the average worker clocking 47 hours a week, Americans work more hours per year than almost any other industrialized country — 423 more than German workers, 248 more than workers in the United Kingdom, and 266 more hours a year than French workers, according to the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics. The United States is also the only industrialized country without national parental leave benefits or legally mandated paid vacation. Most European countries require at least 20 days of paid holiday and vacation time — the French actually get an entire month of annual vacation. Can you imagine?

      • Trump Is No Friend to Workers, But That Doesn’t Mean He Won’t Lie About It

        Trump is counting on the working class he’s betraying most aggressively. Can the left get out of affluent suburbia and back to its roots?

      • In Spite of Economic Gains, Wage Growth Is Slowing

        The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the economy added 225,000 jobs in January. With modest upward revisions to the prior two months’ data, this brought the three-month average to 211,000 jobs. While the unemployment rate edged higher to 3.6 percent, the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) rose 0.2 percentage points to 61.2 percent, a new high for the recovery. The EPOP for prime-age workers (ages 25 to 54) rose by 0.2 percentage points to 80.6 percent, also a high for the recovery.

      • House Pushes Back on Postal Service Privatization With Financial Relief Bill

        The House voted on February 5 to remove a financial albatross around the neck of the U.S. Postal Service.

      • The Game is Rigged

        Let’s not beat around the bush. The game is rigged. The fix is in.

      • House Approves Worker Rights Bill in Face of Growing Labor Backlash Against Trickle-Down Policies

        The PRO Act, which offers a pathway to increased power for the working class, passed the House with bipartisan support.

      • Does Capitalism Invariably Breed Fascism?

        What follows is a conversation between professor As`ad AbuKhalil and Sharmini Peries of The Real News Network. Read a transcript of their conversation below or watch the video at the bottom of the post.

      • Forget Trump’s Lies, Here’s the Real Economic State of the Union

        Nothing has trickled down to average workers.

      • Trump Is Lying Through His Teeth About Social Security

        In his State of the Union address, Donald Trump claimed that “we will always protect your Social Security.” But just two weeks ago, Trump said just the opposite. He was in Davos, hobnobbing with Wall Street billionaires. While there, he sat for an interview with CNBC’s Joe Kernen, who asked him if “entitlements” would “ever be on your plate.” “At some point they will be,” Trump replied.

      • Mexico Is Showing the World How to Defeat Neoliberalism

        While U.S. advocates and local politicians struggle to get their first public banks chartered, Mexico’s new president has begun construction on 2,700 branches of a government-owned bank to be completed in 2021, when it will be the largest bank in the country. At a press conference on Jan. 6, he said the neoliberal model had failed; private banks were not serving the poor and people outside the cities, so the government had to step in.

      • Deputy chief of Russian military’s General Staff arrested on charges of embezzling 6.7 billion rubles

        Khalil Arslanov, the deputy head of the Russian military’s General Staff, has been arrested in Moscow, sources told Kommersant and Interfax.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Post-Prayer Breakfast Depression

        Now that we’ve had time to digest the bitter theological hash Trump served-up at the National Prayer Breakfast, it is important to note that he is NOT an aberration. Rather, he is the logical conclusion of the rise of American Evangelical Christianity. That’s why they have embraced him like a vice grip, looking past his many apostasies to see the supernatural hand of God at work … and the celebrified personification of their predatory prosperity gospel in action. But his greed, his selfishness, his judgmental vitriol and his belief in his own divine right to anything and everything is not just an inheritance of recent vintage. It is the garish, grotesque end of an unbroken line of American Protestant theology that justified wholesale theft, bore false witness as it wantonly abrogated treaties and, ultimately, rubber-stamped the brutal ethnic cleansing of American Indians from their homes and their rightful place on this Earth.

      • Sanders Calls Out Buttigieg for Raking in Billionaire Donations

        With just four days to go before the New Hampshire Democratic primary, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Friday sought to contrast his small dollar-fueled campaign with Pete Buttigieg’s reliance on big money by highlighting the former South Bend, Indiana mayor’s dozens of billionaire campaign contributors.

      • A Sobering Diagnosis

        I’m been a judge for more than twenty years and was a trial lawyer for almost fifteen years before I became a judge. After thinking about what was publicly billed as the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress I concluded an essay published on my personal blog two weeks ago with the following words.

      • The 2020 Presidential Election Really is Different

        For the last forty years, presidential politics has been moving undeniably to the right. Each quadrennial contest has featured a pair of establishment figures who are barely different from each other and every time that the party occupying the White House has switched, the change has been for the worse. It’s been two sides of the same patriarchal, white-supremacist, ecocidal coin. What we’ve been witnessing is a creeping corporate coup.

      • American Democracy Is Dying

        “About every other country has suffered a constitutional collapse at some point; our number may well be up quite soon.”

      • After Trump Acquittal, White House Press Secretary Threatens ‘Maybe Some People Should Pay’ for Impeachment

        “They have to know when the White House speaks, those words weigh a ton, and they are giving encouragement to people to do things,” responded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

      • What do Donald Trump and the Houston Astros Have in Common?

        Donald Trump is the United States’ 45th president, a distinguished lineage that goes back to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. The Houston Astros are a major league baseball team and World Series champions in 2017, a distinguished lineage of great teams that goes back to the Yankees of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and the Dodgers of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.

      • Voting With Food and Water

        Standing up to this kind of cruel action—especially when it is ensconced in legality, armed and wearing a uniform—is voting at the deepest level of citizenship.

      • Trump May Not be a Dictator, But He Has a Despot’s Sense of Impunity

        Now that President Trump has been “acquitted” in a sham trial by the Republican-controlled Senate and given unfettered license to act as he pleases, is there a real danger that he will become a dictator?

      • Fascism in America and the Rise of the Great Dictator

        I’m a 64 year old man now but the words of my mother still ring in my mind. My Mother, who lived through the time and horrors of the second world war, told me when I was very young that if I ever was to see something like Hitler and the Nazi movement growing in our society that I had to do something. My mother was a serious woman and she meant what she said. If you see it you must do something.

      • American Burlesque

        “Dandy” is pushing it in this case, but burlesque it surely has been.  The term comes from the Italian, burla, for joke, which best describes this boundlessly stupid, futile, dishonest partisan greased pig chase.

        [...]

        The House–bagboys for Capitalism, which for decades has done nothing for the people and routinely abrogated or violated solemn, specified duties–with its Democratic majority, brought charges so specious, vacuous, and exiguous in content that the contrast between them and the scroll of blatant crimes Trump has brazenly committed is stunning. The kicker, the reason for this cowardice, is that Democrats enabled Trump’s flagrant criminality and they dare not accuse him of all the perfidy in which they joined him.

        So, a cowardly, deceitful gang of whoring pimps accuse a base, diseased, ethical toad of behaving as the creature he is, when their vile complicity with him to rape and rob the world, eviscerate their own country, sully and degrade all nature and, with dazzling imbecilty, alienate the vast community of nations, is provoking ecological Armaggedon and a world war with states that can tear this floundering, lunatic Empire a haemorrhaging new one.

      • What an Example

        Now that the United States Senate has disgraced itself by ignoring the rule of Anglo American law and procedure and that body’s Constitutional role to actually “try all articles of impeachment,” we must ask ourselves how the civil and criminal proceedings in our nation’s federal and state courts may be affected.

      • To Quit or Not to Acquit, That Was the Question

        February 5, 2020. Think of it as “a day which will live in infamy.” It is, of course, the day the Republican majority in the U.S Senate decided to quit the Constitution rather than not to acquit a tyrannical president. Is it not a gross exaggeration to suggest a comparison between what happened in the Senate on that day with what happened at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941? Read on.

      • Identity or Unity: Discourses Matter

        In its January 25 edition, The New York Times reported on late-January anti-abortion marches, a pro-gun rally, and the Women’s March in Washington. For “In 7 Days and 3 Rallies, a Nation’s Divisions on Display,” reporter Sabrina Tavernise interviewed Daryna Yakusha at the Women’s March. Yakusha told the reporter that the Republican Party has become “the party of white nationalists and anti-immigrant people . . . . anti-woman, anti-queer and racist.”

      • Chris Matthews Slammed for Spreading Misinformation About Sanders’ Democratic Socialist Agenda on Post-Debate Panel

        “Because in American media, peddling wild conspiracies about socialism isn’t disqualifying—being a socialist is.”

      • The Vengeful, Lawless, Corporate Toady Trump Explodes

        “The egomaniacal Trump is inebriated with his disgraceful acquittal, convinced of his own innocence, despite the clear evidence of his guilt.”

      • Why are Democratic Candidates Taking Money From Union-Busting Lawyers?

        The Iron Workers Union endorsed Joe Biden last week, citing his dedication to “defend rights and jobs of American workers”, and calling him “a friend to union ironworkers”. The union endorsement marks one of many that Democratic candidates are fighting for by unveiling detailed labor plans and promising to overturn “right-to work laws” that weaken unions. While they seek union endorsements, several of the candidates are also seeking direct contributions from wealthy individuals. And therein lies a largely hidden tension.

      • To March or Not to March: Why are the Streets Nearly Empty?

        I couldn’t get to the January 25th antiwar rally. Viewing photographs of that sparsely attended rally drives home the fact that the antiwar movement is nearly dead in the US. Perhaps it is dead and I cannot bring myself to accept that fact? Only days later, bellicose Trump presented a laughable plan for peace in the Middle East (New York Times, January 28, 2020) that endorsed the land-grabbing policy of Israel that has been a de facto reality on the ground for decades. Only a few weeks before, Trump had ordered the assassination of an Iranian general (Suleimani) and others in drone attacks. Abraham Lincoln said that assassination was “international outlawry” in 1863, but the lessons of history or moral compass of so-called contemporary leaders never gave that pronouncement much attention.

      • America’s fatal flaw: The founders assumed our leaders would have some basic decency

        Decency, in other words, was a bulwark against the corrupt impulses and wicked instincts of men in power. Even Richard Nixon, who had no compunction when persecuting citizen activists or illegally bombing Cambodia, recognized that he was a participant within an important system of laws. Eventually, he was forced to surrender to those laws. Fealty to American order has also motivated unwise and harmful behavior, such as Al Gore agreeing to accept the results of an election under suspicion of fraud for the “good of the country.” The erosion of faith in American institutions and their democratic objectives, Gore and Nixon appeared to believe, would create chaos — a fracturing of the public, and a collapse of the government’s ability to preserve societal stability.

      • Out of the ClickHole, a Light on Alternative Media Ownership Models

        It marks a new entry into the ranks of employee-owned firms and puts a spotlight on a problem facing larger and more serious-minded media enterprises that employee ownership might help solve.

      • Get Out and Vote Sinn Fein

        A quick exhortation to my readers in Ireland to get out to the polling station and vote for Sinn Fein. Irish government has too long consisted of two centre right parties taking turns at the trough of public finance, and Varadkar’s slick disguise of his essential Thatcherism through social liberalism and identity politics is particularly nauseating. Martin’s platform of being a little bit less Thatcherite than Varadkar is scarcely appealing. In a country that is now significantly wealthier per capita than the UK, the levels of poverty and the growth of inequality are inexcusable.

      • A Fascist Coup Attempt in Germany

        While millions this week stared at Iowa and Washington with worried amazement, confusion or anger, Germany, too, had its own messy confusion – which turned into a frightening alarm signal!

      • Questions for the Iowa Caucus Counters

        Who decided there needed to be a “better” way to tabulate the results, and why?

      • Republican and Democratic Parties in Turmoil

        Stumbling into February, both major political parties in the U.S. are in disarray as they face uncertain, unplanned and uncontrollable futures going into a crucial election year.

      • Payback: Trump Ousts Officials Who Testified in Impeachment Inquiry

        Exacting swift punishment against those who crossed him, an emboldened President Donald Trump on Friday ousted two government officials who had delivered damaging testimony against him during his impeachment hearings. The president took retribution just two days after his acquittal by the Senate.

      • Since The National Archives Can’t Keep Up With Incoming Records, Agencies Have Been Given Permission To Rewrite Their Own Histories

        The federal government’s recent past is disappearing alarmingly quickly. And the only thing that can stop this from happening is a collection of legislators who’ve collectively shown for years they just don’t care. The National Archives has been given the monumental task of housing billions of records. It has no more room to store paper documents and has demanded federal agencies only send it digital records going forward.

      • National Archives Is Destroying Records About Victims of Trump’s ICE Policies

        Last month, the National Archives and Records Administration apologized for doctoring a photo of the 2017 Women’s March to remove criticisms of President Trump. The shocking revelation that the agency had altered the image was first reported in The Washington Post. In an exhibit called “Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote,” the National Archives had displayed a large image of the first Women’s March. But signs referencing Trump had been blurred to remove his name — including a poster reading “God Hates Trump” and another reading “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women.” Other signs in the photo referencing female anatomy were also blurred. The National Archives initially stood by its decision to edit the photo, telling The Washington Post that the changes were made “so as not to engage in current political controversy.” For more, we turn to a historian who says this was only the latest example of “a great and growing threat to our nation’s capacity to protect and learn from history.” The National Archives reportedly is allowing millions of documents, including many related to immigrants’ rights, to be expunged. We speak with Matthew Connelly, professor of history at Columbia University and principal investigator at History Lab. His recent piece for The New York Times is headlined “Why You May Never Learn the Truth About ICE.”

      • A Three Point Response to the Attempted Impeachment

        1. A week ago it was most obvious when listening to the accusations and defense that impeachment if accepted by the House of Representatives would have to be blocked by the Republican controlled Senate. If the Senate Republicans joined the Democrats voting for impeachment it would mean at that very moment the President D.J. Trump would have to leave office. It was impossible for Republicans to agree with the impeachment it would have been party suicide.

      • What Next for Bernie?

        Last week’s deluge of dust is finally settling.

      • Enemies of Democracy: Neoliberalism and Authoritarian Finance

        Democracy is supposed to mean rule by people. In the West, it means rule by upper classes via periodic representational charades in which candidates represent corporate interests and occasionally throw crumbs to the public to pre-empt full-scale revolution. But now even establishment institutions are worried about the implications of the lack of genuine democracy in so-called capitalist societies.

      • How Advocates Are Fighting Voter Suppression

        As the 2020 election season gets under way, activists are beginning to push back against voter disenfranchisement across the country.

      • Voter Suppression Could Reach New Heights in 2020 — Unless We Push Back

        Voting rights advocates are battling on multiple fronts this presidential election year to fend off a proliferation of voter suppression maneuvers that largely restrict people of color and younger Americans from casting their ballots.

      • The End of the Corbyn Era

        As the Labour Party chooses its next leader, the future of the Corbyn project hangs in the balance and the field of candidates has already begun to narrow. Party members have to decide who will best stand up for their interests.

      • What Does the Future Hold for US-Bolivia Ties?

        No one disputes that Morales was democratically elected to his term in 2015, yet the Trump Administration strongly supported the military coup that overthrew him.

      • Republicans Have Weakened Congress in Order to Protect Trump

        In the United States, money is synonymous with merit. There is a presumption at the core of capitalism’s narrative that if you are wealthy, you earned it through virtue and “hard work,” not theft or nepotism. This mythology helped fuel the deregulation that led to the financial crisis, and it is also part of President Trump’s rise. Trump’s wealth earned him prestige in the eyes of millions, who in turn handed him the power of the presidency. And Trump’s wealth and power has now led Congress to declare him above the law, as the Republican-led Senate voted to acquit Trump of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

      • Will 2020 Be Another Victory Year for Trump and Brexit?

        In early 2017, Europe’s far-right parliamentary bloc met in Koblenz, Germany, to plot its political future. The meeting of the bloc’s leaders — which included Marine le Pen from France, Matteo Salvini from Italy and Geert Wilders from the Netherlands — took place shortly after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. The group was optimistic about its prospects. “Yesterday a free America, today Koblenz, tomorrow a new Europe,” declared an excited Wilders.

      • Giuliani Says Trump Should Investigate the Bidens After His Senate Trial

        Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday he continues to search for “more information” on former Vice President Joe Biden in Ukraine, even though his shadow foreign policy led to President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

      • 99 Reasons to Impeach (But Ukrainegate Ain’t One)

        Urgh! Ma, do I have to write about impeachment again? Cant I just take the trash down to the curb instead? Yeah, that’s right, dearest motherfuckers, its another goddamn impeachment piece, because apparently the thing about purgatory is that it’s never fucking over. Just when you think you’re about get paroled to the sweet hereafter, John Bolton writes a fucking book and you get another century added to your sentence. By the time it’s through, you’re begging for hell, anything to cut the fucking boredom. Hell is supposed to come this Wednesday but if the anticlimax of the Muller Report didn’t end this circus, something nauseating tells me the Senate’s partisan acquittal won’t either. I usually enjoy writing. It gives me some sense of control over the downright hellish purgatory of day to day life in the prolapsed colon of a herniated empire. Its hard work but it’s usually pretty rewarding. This impeachment shit, though, its like fucking math homework. It doesn’t matter how necessary it is, it still feels fucking pointless.

      • Trump’s ‘Red Meat’ SOTU Speech: US Political Crisis Now Deepens

        On Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Donald Trump delivered a State of the Union speech that revealed his election 2020 strategy, designed to roil and mobilize his political base, and to declare to the Democrats that his political war with them will now escalate further.

      • Quick Thoughts from the Cesspool of London

        I have been in London all week and very busy, largely on the Julian Assange campaign/Wikileaks but also researching a couple of other things. Back to Edinburgh tonight I hope.

      • DNC Calls for a ‘Recanvass’ of Iowa Results After Delays
      • The Iowa Caucuses Are a Mortal Threat to Democracy

        The undemocratic and incompetently run Iowa caucuses remind me of a vampire — hard, if not impossible, to kill. While the process is unrepresentative and undemocratic, national political reporters and Iowa businesspeople will never let it die.

      • Sanders Campaign Found More Than a Dozen “Discrepancies” in Iowa Delegate Data

        Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and CNN came under fire late Thursday for uncritically boosting the latest batch of Iowa Democratic caucus results, which — as documented by news outlets and observers — contained a number of glaring errors that the Iowa Democratic Party has yet to fix.

      • Manufacturing Success: CNN’s Premature Parade for Buttigieg in Iowa

        Four days after the Iowa caucuses took place, no victor has been declared and the vote remains mired in controversy and irregularities. But if you’ve been watching CNN for the last few days, you could be excused for imagining Pete Buttigieg had won.

      • Roaming Charges: When Satan Quotes Scripture

        + The caucus system has been fetishized by the political pundit class for decades as an example of small state “town hall” style democracy in action. In fact, they’re anti-democratic, often controlled by party bosses, where, lacking secret ballots, people bullied into voting with the mob. Less than 10 percent of registered Democrats turn out for these spectacles, far less than 60 percent you’d expect to vote in a primary. In the last few election cycles, however, Obama, Ron Paul and Sanders figured out how to exploit some of the weaknesses of the caucus system to defeat the bosses, which has resulted in the party taking “active measures” against outsider candidates. Will the Iowa debacle will spell the end of these political relics?

      • Democrats Mistakenly Award Iowa Delegates for Bernie Sanders to Deval Patrick

        Results from Monday’s Iowa caucuses continue to trickle in, with 97% of precincts reporting as of Thursday morning. Senator Bernie Sanders and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg are now in a virtual tie. Sanders maintains a lead in the popular vote, but Buttigieg has a slight advantage in what’s known as the “state delegate equivalent” race. Buttigieg has 26.2% of state delegate equivalents, while Sanders is at 26.1%. The New York Times is now predicting Sanders has a greater chance of winning overall, in part because of the Vermont senator’s overwhelming strength in satellite caucuses. Responding to widespread criticism for the inexplicably slow reporting process, Democratic officials have attributed the chaos in Iowa to a newly created app built by a little-known firm called Shadow, which has financial ties to the Democratic establishment as well as the Buttigieg campaign. For more, we speak with Chris Schwartz, chair of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors in Iowa and state co-chair for Bernie 2020.

      • With 97 Percent of Iowa Results in, Sanders Leads Buttigieg in Popular Vote

        A new batch of Iowa Democratic caucus results released in the early hours of Thursday morning showed Sen. Bernie Sanders almost completely wiping out Pete Buttigieg’s narrow lead in state delegate equivalents while extending his popular vote lead over the former South Bend, Indiana mayor to more than 2,500 votes.

      • The Clinton Machine Will Do Anything to Stop Bernie Sanders

        The botched Iowa caucuses have raised many legitimate questions about the Democratic establishment, but to understand the point we’re at now, it’s necessary to think back several years. According to Grayzone journalist and editor Max Blumenthal, Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer’s guest on the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” part of the backlash Bernie Sanders is currently experiencing as he attempts to transform the Democratic Party dates back to Bill Clinton’s presidency.

      • Pete Buttigieg Blasted for Declaring Himself ‘Official’ Victor in Iowa

        Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and CNN came under fire late Thursday for uncritically boosting the latest batch of Iowa Democratic caucus results, which—as documented by news outlets and observers—contained a number of glaring errors that the Iowa Democratic Party has yet to fix.

      • In Wake of Iowa Loss, Super PAC Backing Biden Ramps Up New Hampshire Spending

        If the Iowa caucuses are any indication of a link between fundraising and results, then competition in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on Feb. 11 could be between Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

      • ‘In Law School They Called This Conflict of Interest’: Tlaib Objects to Paid Bloomberg Staffers on DNC Committees

        “Out of tens of millions of qualified people, Tom Perez’s DNC is seating two Bloomberg campaign surrogates on bodies that can propose changes.”

      • A Bloomberg Presidency Would Have Trump-Size Conflicts of Interest

        The Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently waived its donor requirements to allow Michael Bloomberg into the upcoming presidential debates — months after the billionaire former New York City mayor “donated” $300,000 to the DNC — fueling ongoing resentment that the party is selling its democratic process to an oligarch.

      • Shadow Coding: the Iowa Caucus and Carl Jung

        Political observers, media commentators, politicians, citizens. Everybody seemed to have choice words for the 2020 Iowa caucus: Disaster. Meltdown. Debacle.

      • ‘Because I Got 6,000 More Votes’: Bernie Sanders Declares Victory in Iowa Caucus

        “From where I come, when you get 6,000 more votes that’s generally regarded to be the winner.”

      • ‘Beyond Absurd’: DNC Chair Tom Perez Demands ‘Recanvass’ of Iowa Caucus Before Results Fully Reported

        “The timing of this (right as Sanders is likely going to be declared a victor both on delegates and the popular vote) could not possibly be more suspicious.”

      • The Democrats and Iowa

        The Iowa caucuses are over, sort of, and as of this writing, results are finally being announced, incrementally. This delay is causing great amounts of weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. ‘Oh, no!’, the pundits proclaim. “This shows that the Democrats are in disarray, and it’s like handing a gift to President Donald Trump, a mere nine months prior to the next presidential election.”

      • Andrew Yang—That 2020 Hopeful With the ‘Math’ Pin—on Iowa Results: ‘Looks Like Bernie Won’

        In the (almost) final popular vote tallies—with 99.9% of precincts reporting—Sanders leads Buttigieg by 6,114 votes (43,671 to 37,557) in the first alignment, and by 2,631 votes (45,826 to 43,195) and the final alignment.

      • #BernieWonIA Trending as Bernie Supporters Take Messaging Into Their Own Hands Amid Iowa Debacle

        Buttigieg “is not a victim here,” said journalist and commentator Krystal Ball. “Pete got three days of saying he was the winner.”

      • Turkey: Kurdish Mayors’ Removal Violates Voters’ Rights
      • ‘Which Side Are You On?’: Sanders Calls Out Buttigieg for Raking in Billionaire Donations

        “Do you think if you’re collecting money from dozens of dozens of billionaires you’re going to stand up to the drug companies and you’re going to throw their CEOs in jail if they’re acting criminally?”

      • Impeachment is Over, But Don’t Despair

        Hours before the House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump for using the power of his office to sabotage our elections, Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) gave a passionate speech on the House floor emphasizing that his colleagues’ duty with their pending votes was far more than political — it was a moral obligation.

      • Lawyers, Liars, and Trump on Trial

        Just how far can the U.S. Constitution bend?

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Pigs Fly As Charles Harder And Donald Trump Support Anti-SLAPP Laws (When They Protect Trump, Of Course)

        As you probably recall, Donald Trump has repeatedly talked about “opening up our libel laws” and making it easier to sue people for defamation “and win lots of money.” As we pointed out when he first raised this issue, while Trump cannot directly impact libel laws (which are state laws, not federal, and are bounded by the 1st Amendment, which he cannot change), he can have an impact in many other ways — from appointing judges to blocking any attempt at a federal anti-SLAPP law that would protect people from bogus defamation lawsuits.

      • ‘Go get a warrant!’: Wuhan shopkeeper defies police over coronavirus videos

        As the coronavirus epidemic continues to spread across China, a few courageous citizens have braved government censorship to document what is happening. One of them is a man known only as Fangbin, a Wuhan resident who was arrested on February 1 after sharing rare videos of the city’s overcrowded hospitals.

      • Internet shutdown in Iran following reported cyber-attack

        Network data from the NetBlocks [Internet] observatory confirm extensive disruptions to telecommunication networks in Iran on the morning of Saturday, 8 February for a period of over two hours. Authorities have issued a preliminary statement that the [Internet] shutdown is being implemented to repel a cyber-attack on the country’s infrastructure.

      • Utah State Rep Unveils Bill To Force Porn To Come With A Warning Label

        We have talked in the past about the state of Utah’s strange and ongoing war on pornography. The output of this war being waged from the most conservative members of a conservative state government thus far has been attempts to have pornography declared a state emergency, to have a “porn czar” position put in place, and to outright block pornography on smart phones. And now, yet another lawmaker, this time Rep. Brady Brammer, has unveiled a bill that would require pornography to carry a warning label or message warning about the harm to minors that view porn.

      • A crypto project to make internet names censorship-proof is now live

        The Handshake Network, an ambitious public blockchain project whose developers want to reinvent how internet domain names are assigned, has finally launched its main network after months of testing.

      • Kesha Ordered to Pay Over $373,000 Ahead of Dr. Luke Defamation Trial

        Dr. Luke’s defamation lawsuit against Kesha hasn’t yet gone to trial, but a judge has already ordered the singer-songwriter to pay over $373,000 in damages.

      • Free Speech Again Under Attack in Tanzania

        Members of Tanzania’s ruling party have lashed out at a senior opposition politician, Zitto Kabwe, for his criticism of a controversial US$500 million World Bank education loan.

        On January 30, the World Bank board of directors postponed their vote on the loan after Kabwe, a leader of the Alliance for Change (ACT) Wazalendo party, and a group of Tanzanian organizations separately wrote to the bank opposing the loan. They expressed concerns that the loan, which aimed to expand girls’ access to secondary schooling despite the government failing to lift its education ban on pregnant students and adolescent mothers, would contribute to worsening gender inequality and human rights in Tanzania.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women Fight for Dignity and Survival in the Trump-Putin Era

        Last month, as hundreds of thousands of people showed up for the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., a few miles from my home, I was at a karate dojo testing for my first belt. My fellow practitioners, ranging in age from five into their seventies, looked on as I hammered my fist through a two-inch piece of wood. The words of one of the black belts there echoed in my head. “Imagine the board is Trump,” he’d whispered to me, grinning, aware that not everyone in our dojo shared his views. When I split that board, everyone clapped.

      • What Happens When a Person Is Deported?

        A new guide provides resources to help those being returned to their countries of origin.

      • Targeting Gender Nonconforming Youth

        The U.S. has been a battlefield over cultural values for nearly 50 years. In states throughout the country, the religious right — together with local Republicans — have built an influential political movement to impose their moral values. Donald Trump’s appointment of two conservatives to the Supreme Court has emboldened the religious right to press its moralistic campaign against their primary target, abortion, a woman’s right to determine her pregnancy.

      • A Brutal Attack on Justice and Civil Liberties in Imran Khan’s Pakistan

        When Imran Khan became Prime Minister of Pakistan he vowed to eradicate inequality.  As an opposition leader he campaigned on the slogan, Do nahin, aik Pakistan (Not two but one Pakistan) and his party, Tehreek Insaaf, which translates as “The Party of Justice,” promised justice for all.  Yet the very idea of justice has been turned on its head under his watch.

      • Will There Be No Retribution?

        If you’ve missed all the signals, cues and clues that Trump is on a march to clear the road of any obstacles to his autocracy, you need only to refresh your memory of Putin’s rise to see how this is done.

      • Seven ways the coronavirus affects human rights

        The response to an epidemic has the potential to affect the human rights of millions of people. First and foremost is the right to health, but there are several other rights at stake too.

        “Censorship, discrimination and arbitrary detention have no place in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Regional Director at Amnesty International. “Human rights violations hinder, rather than facilitate, responses to public health emergencies, and undercut their efficiency.”

      • Christians in northeast Syria living in fear as Turkish forces, IS group active in region

        Meanwhile, Islamic State (IS) group sleeper cells have been reactivated, targeting the Christian minority – whose members they consider heretics – and forcing US troops to take up positions in the villages in late January 2020.

      • Taliban terrorist behind attack on Malala, escapes Pak Army custody (3rd Lead)

        Top sources in Pakistan confirmed that Ehsanullah has escaped from a safe house, a bungalow on Warsak road in Peshawar, where he was detained along with his wife and two daughters. The house is near the same Army school which was attacked by TTP in 2014, killing around 150 children, sources said. However, there was no security when he fled the house.

      • Afghan Rights Group Investigating Video Of Woman Being Stoned To Death

        Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) says it is investigating video footage that shows an Afghan woman being stoned to death.

        The two-minute clip shows a group of men throwing rocks at a covered woman who is lying in a hole that has been dug in the ground. A crowd of onlookers can be heard shouting “Hit her!” and “Allahu Akbar!”

        The woman’s cries and screams can be heard.

      • Say IDONT: Top 7 things you didn’t know about child marriage

        Child marriage is a tragedy for the individuals it ensnares – often the most vulnerable, impoverished and marginalized girls. But it is also bad for communities and societies as a whole, locking child brides and their families in a cycle of poverty that can persist across generations. Ending child marriage – enabling girls to finish school, delay motherhood, find decent work and fulfil their potential – could generate billions of dollars in earnings and productivity, studies find.

        This year, for Valentine’s Day, UNFPA is calling on the world to prioritize ending child marriage.

        Below are seven little-known facts about child marriage. Better awareness of the problem, its pervasiveness across the world, and its consequences, may help leaders – as well as young people themselves – end the practice once and for all.

      • Gaza Imam indicted for smuggling funds from Malaysia charities to Hamas

        Div also worked with many of the same charities to smuggle funds to Hamas from Malaysia on other occasions, including contact with the Aman Palestine chapter in Gaza itself.

        Neither Div nor the Malaysian charities are currently officially associated with Hamas, but the charities include members of Hamas who use the charities as a front to raise terrorism funds for Gaza’s rulers.

      • South Hill murder prompts dialogue about domestic violence among Muslims in Spokane

        Burke believes Ibhihal’s murder was an honor killing, which is approved in the culture that Burke and other Iraqi’s in the Spokane community come from.

      • Wash. Woman Was Strangled and Set on Fire, and Police Suspect Ex-Husband

        Ibtihal’s friend told police that Darraji, also from Iraq, was allegedly angry about his ex-wife’s lifestyle prior to her gruesome death.

        “Even though they were divorced in their culture the ex-wife’s lifestyle can still bring shame to the ex-husband,” the affidavit states. “Ibtihal had started to occasionally go to ‘night clubs.’ This angered Yasir.”

      • Indonesian acquitted of blasphemy for taking dog into mosque

        Blasphemy is a criminal offense in Indonesia with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Rights groups have long called for abolishment of the law, which is used to persecute Christians and other religious minorities.

        Amnesty International said the case was “unfortunate and absurd.”

      • Northwestern University’s Precarious Role Under Qatar’s Repressive Laws

        When brand-recognition universities, like Northwestern, Yale, or NYU, choose to expand their reach and build campuses in countries that don’t guarantee academic freedom, they can run into problems with repressive laws. 

        This week Northwestern announced that it was moving a talk by members of the band Mashrou’ Leila from its Doha campus to Chicago, citing security concerns. Mashrou’ Leila pushes the Middle-East envelope on issues of gender and sexuality and its lead singer, Hamed Sinno, is openly gay. The band has been censored in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and most recently, Lebanon.

      • Mauritania: Prison Terms for Men Celebrating Birthday

        A Mauritanian court on January 30, 2020, convicted eight men of “committing indecent acts” and “inciting debauchery,” after a video showing them celebrating a birthday party in a restaurant led to their arrest, Human Rights Watch said today. The court sentenced all eight to two years in prison.

        Police arrested the eight men and two other people on January 23, three days after the video circulated on social media. While the Western Nouakchott police commissioner, Mohamed Ould Nejib, acknowledged in a television interview on January 22 that the event was not a same-sex wedding, as had been reported on social media, but a birthday celebration, he stated that the people were arrested for “imitating women.” 

      • From the UN, New Ammo for Egalitarians
      • The Census Is Not Safe From Donald Trump

        When the Supreme Court ruled in June that the Trump administration could not place a citizenship question on the 2020 census, civil rights advocates breathed a sigh of relief.

      • “The Squad” Joins Town Hall With Grassroots Activists on Critical Issues of 2020
      • VA Secretary Looked for Dirt on a House Staffer Who Reported Sexual Assault in a VA Hospital, Complaint Says

        Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie personally sought damaging information about a congressional aide who said she was sexually assaulted in a VA hospital, according to an anonymous complaint to the House committee the woman works for.

        The written complaint was obtained by ProPublica. In addition, a former senior official with direct knowledge of the matter said Wilkie discussed damaging information he collected about the aide and suggested using it to discredit her. Another person said he spoke with other officials who were in those discussions, and they corroborated the former senior official’s and the written complaint’s account. The people interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity, saying they feared retaliation.

      • US Congress Investigates Policy Harming Asylum Seekers

        The United States Congress is investigating the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols program, which forces people seeking asylum in the US to wait in Mexico while their asylum requests are processed.

        The investigation, which began in mid-January 2020, follows a year of research and advocacy by Human Rights Watch and other groups which found that the program, commonly known as “Remain in Mexico,” puts families and individuals at serious risk of harm and undermines due process protections.

      • ‘Victory for Workers!’: House Praised for Passing Landmark PRO Act to Strengthen Unions and Labor Rights

        “Trump claimed to be ‘pro-worker’… If that was anything other than his usual phony rhetoric, Trump will push the Senate to pass the bill and sign it.”

      • Nigeria: Lawyer Says Police Assaulted Her
      • TSA Destroys a Priceless Instrument Belonging to African Musician

        TSA has ripped apart and destroyed a custom-made kora belonging to Ballake Sissoko, a prominent African musician from Mali. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • iPhones Will Get Bigger And More Expensive This Year Thanks To 5G

        While the airwaves are inundated with ads insisting that fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a transformative technology, we’ve noted repeatedly how much of this stuff is little more than hype designed to spur lagging smartphone sales. While faster, more resilient wireless networks will certainly be a good thing, when the standard arrives at scale several years from now, it’s not actually going to transform the world in the way carrier ads would lead you to believe. And, in fact, some things will actually get a bit dumber before 5G fully arrives.

      • The Digital Colonialism Behind .tv and .ly

        Yet the central argument of Niue’s law from 2000—that a country code top-level domain is a “national resource”—continues to underscore debates over [Internet] colonialism. Businesspeople like Semich have been quick to dismiss the idea that countries need to control their assigned domains, but it is worth noting that everyone from the US to Canada to Nigeria has similarly compared their own top-level domains to “national resources,” akin to oil or coal. By now, almost every nation either administers its own top-level domain or approves of the private company, nonprofit, or academic institution that does. Like Niue, the US was not initially granted administrative rights over its top-level extension, but in 2001, the Department of Commerce convinced Postel’s company to hand over administrative privileges.

        It isn’t easy for a tiny nation to do the same. The same power dynamics that let American companies play an outsize role in the mining of cobalt in the Democratic Republic Congo, for instance, have allowed a Swedish foundation to license out a Niuean resource without its consent. “This is something that we should have run, and we were robbed of that,” Hipa said.

      • 5G Could Actually Make The ‘Digital Divide’ Worse

        Since he’s taken office, FCC boss Ajit Pai has repeatedly proclaimed that one of his top priorities is closing the “digital divide,” or making it easier and less expensive for folks to gain access to internet connectivity. Unfortunately, most of his policies have had the exact opposite effect. From rubber stamping competition-eroding mergers to eliminating consumer protections governing broadband, the lion’s share of Pai’s agenda has focused on what telecom giants want — not necessarily what’s actually good for markets, consumers, or the country.

      • ‘RuNet Sovereignty’: How Russia is trying to isolate its Internet segment from the rest of the world, maybe

        The “Agora” human rights group and digital activists at Roskomsvoboda recently released a report on Russian Internet freedom in 2019, where they argue that the state authorities have settled on an Internet policy vector focused on “control, censorship, and isolation.” Late last year, Meduza published a story about how a Federal Protective Service veteran and the descendant of one of Russia’s most celebrated families of missile engineers has been appointed to serve as the director of a powerful new monitoring center inside Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state censor, which is responsible for enforcing legislation that took effect in November 2019 that is ostensibly intended “to ensure the integrity, continuity, stability, resilience, and security of the functioning of the Internet’s Russian national segment.” 

    • Monopolies

      • KOL281 | Death to Tyrants Podcast: This is my appearance on the Death to Tyrants Podcast, Episode 90: Against Intellectual Property

        This week, I feature my interview with Stephan Kinsella, the foremost expert on the topic of “intellectual property”. Can you own an idea? How about a word? A pattern of words? How about a color? Stephan Kinsella is here to explain why intellectual property is illegitimate.

      • Supporting Europe’s innovative SMEs: an interview with the European Intellectual Property Helpdesk

        Q: Can you tell us more about the team now running the European IP Helpdesk?

        A: The current consortium consists of four partners: EURICE GmbH, the University of Alicante, TUM-Tech GmbH and the University of Navarra.

        EURICE provides support for participants in European framework programmes for research and innovation, while TUM-Tech administers access to university and research institution technologies. The university partners both have outstanding IP experts and, in addition, provide IT infrastructure. More information about the partners and their expertise can be found here.

        Each team member provides different expertise and know-how. That makes our team very diverse: it comprises IT developers, web specialists, legal experts, communication managers and graphic designers. In addition to our core team, we collaborate with a number of external IP experts from various fields and backgrounds to address IP issues in specific sectors and business areas, especially for training activities.

      • When cybersquatting renders a contract unenforceable on public policy considerations

        The plaintiff, 3 Corporate Services Pte Ltd (“3CS”), is a Singapore incorporated company that provides management consultancy services and the management of web portals. The defendant, Grabtaxi Holdings Pte Ltd (“Grabtaxi”), is part of a group of companies engaged in the business of providing ride-hailing and logistics services under the name GRAB.

        The case was commenced by 3CS as a straightforward claim in contract. They asserted that Grabtaxi had agreed to pay them a sum of USD250, 000 to purchase the domain name “grab.co.id” (“Domain Name”) and that there was a Letter of Offer that evidenced the agreement. Grabtaxi breached the agreement when they failed to make payment.

        As its primary point in defence, Grabtaxi countered that there was no binding agreement because one of the preconditions in the Letter of Offer was not satisfied. Subsequent to the circulation of the Letter of Offer, Grabtaxi found evidence that 3CS did not own the Domain Name (the Domain Name was owned by another corporate entity, which shared a common shareholder with 3CS).

        In addition, Grabtaxi asserted that 3CS was engaged in cybersquatting and that such conduct is contrary to public policy; consequently, any agreement between Grabtaxi and 3CS was unenforceable. In support, Grabtaxi adduced evidence, including testimony from an expert on what constitutes cybersquatting and registrations of other domain names, such as “amyswinehouse.com.sg” and “gooogle.com.sg” by 3CS or its shareholder, which had no connection to 3CS’s business.

      • Patents

        • CVC Submits Motion No. 2 in Opposition to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 2 to Substitute the Count

          Continuing explication of the motions submitted on January 9th to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Patent Trial and Appeal Board in Interference No. 106155 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) is CVC’s Motion No. 2 in Opposition to the Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 2 to Substitute the Count.

        • Patents That Just. Keep. Going.

          Recently, a set of more than a dozen lawsuits was filed by an NPE. That wouldn’t really be news, most of the time—NPEs filed nearly 2,000 patent lawsuits in 2019. But there’s a few things that are a little different about this case.

          First and foremost, the patent goes back to a patent application filed in 1983—a patent that won’t expire until 2027, nearly 45 years after it was applied for.

          [...]

          Submarine Patents (not the kind that might get a secrecy order)

          This isn’t a concern unique to patents subjected to secrecy orders. There’s still a remnant population of pre-1995 patents out there that get 17 years from the day they grant, being tweaked to try to cover independently invented technologies. These are a species of “submarine” patent—the idea being that they’re filed and lurk, quietly, while the world creates an industry. Then, once issued, they get 17 years of licenses paid by an industry that was built by others using technology they invented on their own.

          These applications are being kept alive by patent owners who filed a tremendous number of continuation applications just before the 1995 transition. One example, Gil Hyatt, filed more than 400 applications just before the deadline, most of which are still being prosecuted. Each one has an average of more than 300 claims. Many of these applications claim to have been invented back in 1970.

          If they issue—on technology that is presumably now long since established—Hyatt would be able to block others from using them, or force them to pay him licensing fees, for the next 17 years.

          Another example, already issued, is U.S. Pat. No. 7,801,304, owned by Personalized Media. Filed in 1995 alongside many other applications, claiming priority to a 1987 application, it didn’t issue until 2010—and won’t expire until 2027. The original patent claimed transmitting a TV signal alongside overlay codes—instructions to a TV station to overlay material over the TV signal according to the overlay code. The modern members of the patent’s family claim things as varied as encryption signals alongside data signals and reprogramming a remote video receiver—and have been used to accuse products ranging from Amazon’s Kindle to Google’s YouTube software of infringing.

          When litigated, Personalized Media’s patents have often been found invalid, whether at a district court or in IPR. But that’s after the expense of litigation or of an IPR. And each one of the patents has to be invalidated individually. Some companies simply settle, rather than face the cost of litigation, even given the weaknesses apparent in Personalized Media’s patents.

          That’s a real cost for innovation.

        • Nintendo patent verdict overturned

          Long-running proceedings against gaming behemoth Nintendo have concluded in the company’s favor after a US federal court found that the Kyoto-based company did not infringe motion-control patents held by iLife Technologies Inc, a Dallas tech company that has developed various medical technologies, including a motion-sensing system designed to monitor babies and prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

        • Patent Claims to Evaluating Body Movement Fail § 101 on Post-Trial Motion: ILife Technologies, Inc. V. Nintendo Of America, Inc.

          Patent claims directed to automating collection and interpretation of sensor data are often suspect under the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Not so often, however, do judges do as the court did in iLife Technologies, Inc. v. Nintendo of America, Inc., C.A. No. No. 3:13-cv-4987-M (Jan 17, 2020), and hold patent claims invalid under § 101 after a trial and eight figure jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff. The accused device, interestingly, was one with which many of us are familiar: the Nintendo Wii.

        • Your Patent License Likely Includes an Implied License to Other Patents

          In a prior lawsuit, Cheetah had asserted the ‘714 patent against Ciena and Fujitsu (See family tree above). That lawsuit settled with a license agreement and covenant not to sue — relevant here because Ciena and Fujitsu supply AT&T with the accused infringing devices. The question on appeal: whether the license agreement includes an implied license to the ‘836 patent.

          [...]

          I’ll pause here to note how the Federal Circuit’s question shifts the focus from the way I presented the case above. Although the license agreement discusses everything in relation to the patent-in-suit (the uncle ‘714 patent), the Federal Circuit concludes that an important relationship is the “grandparent” relationship between the ‘836 patent and the ”925 patent, neither of which were the patent in-suit. That shift to the ‘925 patent is important for two reasons (1) we have prior precedent implying a license to grandchildren patents but not to ‘uncles.’ General Protecht; and (2) the linkage between the ‘836 and the uncle ‘714 patent is tenuous because of the continuation-in-part status, whereas the grandchild lineage is straight continuation all the way down. The conclusion here is easy once the focus shifts to the grandparent-grandchild setup.

        • Constitutionality of Administrative Patent Judges

          In Arthrex, the Federal Circuit held that the appointment process for PTAB judges (Administrative Patent Judges) violates the Appointments Clause of Article II of the U.S. Constitution. According to the court, these Judges are “principal officers” and thus must be appointed by the President of the United States (rather than merely the head of the Commerce Dep’t). I explained in a prior post that the court also “issued a cy-près ruling in an attempt to limit the upset” caused by invalidating the appointments of all these judges. “In particular, the court invalidated a portion of the statute that limited the PTO’s ability to remove APJs from the board. According to the court, that change was enough to reclassify the PTAB Judges as inferior officers that do not need presidential appointment.” That decision is now up for en banc rehearing — with three separate petitions filed.

        • Guest Post by Prof. Holbrook: Whose Law Controls On Sale Prior Art in Foreign Countries?

          The America Invents Act (AIA) effected a sea change in U.S. patent law. One of the most significant changes was to shift the U.S. from a “first to invent” to a “first inventor to file” system for allocating priority. This move is reflected in the restructuring of 35 U.S.C. § 102, the provision that defines prior art for assessing whether an invention is novel and non-obvious.

          Aside from the shift in assessing priority, some contended that, by amending § 102, Congress had rejected long-standing Supreme Court precedent that allowed secret uses and sales of the invention to trigger the statutory bars under the 1952 Patent Act. In Helsinn Health Care S.A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., the Supreme Court, in its first case addressing the AIA’s § 102, rejected this argument.

          The AIA did more than shift the United States to a first-inventor-to-file system, however. The AIA also eliminated geographic limits on prior art. Under the 1952 Patent Act, activities triggering the public use and on-sale bars under then-35 U.S.C. § 102(b) had to take place “in this country.” The elimination the geographic limit greatly expands what qualifies as prior art under the AIA. Moreover, the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the AIA in Helsinn makes that even more sweeping as secret sales activity that may not be accessible to the broader public can now qualify as prior art.

        • Conservative majority of Ninth Circuit panel might favor Qualcomm over FTC

          The worst-case scenario for Qualcomm would have been a panel with a liberal majority (and especially if one or more judges had been Obama appointees). That’s definitely not the case here.

          At the other end of the spectrum, there would have been a majority of Trump appointees, who might have been most receptive to the DOJ’s Antitrust Division’s arguments in support of Qualcomm. That’s not the case either.

          Judge Murphy III, sitting by designation, may understand the automotive industry’s concerns about Qualcomm’s refusal to extend exhaustive licenses to component makers fairly well, as the Detroit area is part of the district where he normally works.

          But other than that, Qualcomm has more reasons to be happy with the composition of the panel than the FTC does. Come Thursday, we may see the appeals court’s inclination.

        • Nokia’s piecemeal injunction strategy against Daimler’s demand of €4.5 billion bond or deposit: what’s Nokia’s objective in auto patent battle?

          This is my third post on Thursday’s Nokia v. Daimler patent infringement trial in Munich. I’ve previously commented on Nokia’s intentional misinterpretation of the Court of Justice of the EU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling and reported on the fact that this blog’s publication of leaked information from secretive mediation talks between Nokia and the automotive industry gave rise to a peripheral controversy in court.

          Toward the end, counsel for Nokia mentioned that Daimler asked for security to the amount of 4.5 billion euros (that’s more than 4.9 billion U.S. dollars) in the event Nokia would seek to enforce a hypothetical injunction while an appeal would be pending. The likelihood of an injunction depends primarily on whether the court will adopt Nokia’s utterly unreasonable misreading of CJEU case law. If the court does side with Nokia on this one, I don’t have the slightest doubt that the appeals court would reverse (and probably faster than it usually does). Another question is whether the case will be stayed as an earlier wireless data communication standard (GSM-based EDGE) apparently came with exactly the selection strategy Nokia later claimed to have invented in connection with 3G/UMTS.

          [...]

          While it’s easy to see how Nokia hopes its tailored injunction strategy may persuade the court to just go ahead and grant an injunction, and dissuade the Commission from intervening, it’s harder to tell from the outside what Nokia really intends to achieve here.

          It wouldn’t make sense for Nokia to obtain an injunction against Daimler cars incorporating TCUs from half a dozen suppliers as long as Daimler has other sources. A follow-on complaint would be a given. And at that point (though I don’t think Nokia could formally win a second case before the appeals court tosses a hypothetical first win), Nokia would likely have to make a multi-billion euro deposit. Last summer its cash reserves amounted to approximately 7 billion euros, but it’s another question how comfortable Nokia’s shareholder would be with half or more of that amount being deposited in a German court’s bank account.

          Nokia would need a German injunction that bites and lasts. A tailored injunction might just be an annoyance to Daimler without forcing a settlement. And even an injunction that can’t be worked around logistically would matter only if it was more than ephemeral.

        • Munich I Regional Court publishes Standard-Essential Patent (SEP) Local Rules

          The Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) has just released its Standard-Essential Patent (SEP) Local Rules (PDF, in German)–formally, just “guidance,” but in practical terms, those will be the rules for litigants to follow. This set of guidelines had been in the works for many months.

        • FOSS Patents’ publication of leaked information on status of mediation effort gave rise to peripheral controversy in Nokia v. Daimler trial

          Almost all of the time, this blog merely reports and comments on key issues facing the technology industry, but doesn’t create or constitute an issue in and of itself. FOSS Patents has been mentioned in some U.S. court filings over the years, and judges (mostly in Germany, but from what I hear also in other parts of the world) have sometimes made reference to FOSS Patents without naming it. But today was the first situation in which two parties (a plaintiff and an intervenor) traded accusations involving FOSS Patents in different ways.

          Various suppliers are intervening on Daimler’s behalf in today’s Nokia v. Daimler standard-essential patent infringement trial in Munich (continuing in a sealed courtroom as I write these lines). One of them is Peiker Acustic (yes, without an “o” before the “u”), a subsidairy of French automotive supplier Valeo. Just like in an October 2019 early first hearing in another Nokia v. Daimler case pending before the Munich I Regional Court, Dr. Benjamin Schroeer (“Schröer” in German) of the Hogan Lovells firm made an impassioned argument for his client’s entitlement to an exhaustive component-level SEP license.

        • In pursuit of injunction against Daimler, Nokia relies on patently absurd interpretation of CJEU’s Huawei v. ZTE ruling

          While Nokia’s in-house and outside counsel are among the very best in the technology industry, the company’s failure in the mobile handset business and the challenges it faces in mobile network infrastructure have resulted in an increased focus on patent monetization, which in turn forces even world-class lawyers to take positions that border on the insane. Nokia’s counsel advanced a misinterpretation of a crystal clear passage of the Huawei v. ZTE opinion by the Court of Justice of the European Union in an effort to gain leverage over Daimler.

        • Federal Circuit Upholds Noninfringement Because of Claim Construction of “Extruded Parison”: Plastic Omnium v. Donghee America

          The Federal Circuit recently upheld a summary judgment of noninfringement based on an undisputed claim construction in Plastic Omnium v. Donghee America.

          The dispute centered on manufacturing plastic fuel tanks by blow molding. Plastic Omnium is a French automotive supplier specializing in plastics. Donghee America is also an automotive supplier that makes plastic parts for Hyundai and Kia. Plastic Omnium accused Donghee’s manufacturing process of infringing its patents, U.S. Patent Nos. 6,814,921 and 6,866,812.

          Donghee’s manufacturing process begins by forcing plastic into a coextrusion head, which extrudes molten plastic with a circular cross-section. Donghee’s product literature labels the plastic at this point a “parison.” The coextrusion head is directly connected to a “flat die” into which the “parison” feeds. Inside the flat die, the plastic is cut and flattened, and the plastic exits the flat die as two flat sheets.

        • Justice Department’s New Position on Patents, Standard Setting, and Injunctions

          A deep split in American innovation policy has arisen between new economy and old economy innovation. In a recent policy statement, the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department takes a position that tilts more toward the old economy. Its December, 2019, policy statement on remedies for Standard Essential Patents issued jointly with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Institute of Standards and Technology reflects this movement.

          The policy statement as a whole contains two noteworthy problems: one is a glaring omission, and the other is a mischaracterization of the scope of antitrust liability. Both positions are strongly relevant to the pending Qualcomm litigation in the Ninth Circuit.

          First, the Statement say nothing about the conduct of patent holders. The Patent Act authorizes patent injunctions “in accordance with the principles of equity.” Under the equitable principle of “unclean hands,” a patentee who is in serious default of its own legal obligations cannot obtain an injunction, at least not until its own bad conduct has been terminated.

          Second, the Statement’s declaration that FRAND disputes do not raise antitrust issues is false. In the first instance FRAND disputes are about contracts. But if a firm’s anticompetitive use of FRAND-encumbered patents meets the power and conduct requirements of the antitrust laws it can be unlawful under them as well.

          Guidelines from the government are very useful when they state the law or an agency’s own enforcement position, or when they clarify ambiguities. But they are not legislation. They do not bind courts, other government agencies, or private plaintiffs, particularly not when they conflict with clearly established

        • More Ford Bronco features possibly outed in new patent applications

          As we draw closer to the new Ford Bronco’s debut this coming spring, the internet continues to work its magic and blow up any scrap of rumor or intrigue on the hotly anticipated SUV. This time, we have potential new information thanks to two new patent applications.

          Car and Driver first reported on Friday on the two patent applications, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office published earlier this month. The first of the two depicts a removable roof frame, which looks awfully reminiscent of the Broncos of yore.

        • Caltech wins a $1.1-billion patent verdict against Apple and Broadcom

          Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. must pay $1.1 billion in damages for infringing Caltech patents on Wi-Fi technology, a federal jury in Los Angeles ordered.

          Apple was ordered to pay $837.8 million while Broadcom was hit with a $270.2-million verdict, according to lawyers for Caltech. The school sued the technology companies over patents related to wireless data transmissions.

        • Software Patents

          • Patent Quality Initiative Statistics – Dispelling PTAB Myths

            The interplay between issued and litigated patents and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has been much discussed, often with dubious claims supporting hyperbolic rhetoric. The truth, however, is usually less dramatic than the lie. The following supported findings should dispel some of the more ridiculous rhetoric being bandied about.

            PTAB challenges have been made against 0.2% of active US patents

            Some have argued that many US patents are being challenged. The data shows otherwise. In fact, only 0.2% of all active US patents have been challenged in front of the PTAB. That does not mean that 99.8% of unchallenged patents are valid, but it does reflect the high cost of petitioning the PTAB and the relative rarity of challenges. See Unified Patents Portal Analytics PTAB and Litigation, available at https://portal.unifiedpatents.com/patents/analytics/ptab-and-litigation.

            [...]

            Almost two-thirds of PTAB challenges are brought by US-based companies

            United States-based companies are the biggest users of—and have benefited the most from—the PTAB. Of the petitions for review by the PTAB filed from 2012 to 2019, 62.7% of them have been filed by petitioners based in the United States. See “New study suggests that US companies have received the greatest benefit from post-AIA proceedings,” Unified Patents, Fig. 1 (Dec. 11, 2019) available at https://www.unifiedpatents.com/insights/2019/12/11/new-study-suggests-that-us-companies-have-received-the-greatest-benefit-from-post-aia-proceedings?rq=foreign.

          • IPCom v Vodafone: The Excuse? Crown Use!

            IPCom’s latest foray into standard essential patent litigation has reached a surprising outcome at first instance; its patent was held valid, essential and infringed in amended form by Recorder Douglas Campbell QC, sitting as a judge of the Patents Court, in a judgment dated 28 January 2020. However, Vodafone succeeded in relying upon the defence of Crown use in respect of several of its uses.

            The patent in issue is a member of the same family as the IPCom patent which has been litigated in the past against Nokia and HTC, but this is the first case in which a member of that patent family has been litigated in the context of 4G rather than 3G, and against a network infrastructure provider rather than a handset provider.
            IPCom’s patent relates to a method for controlling whether a particular mobile device is granted authorisation to access a given telecommunications channel at a given time. All mobile devices are assigned a class number by their SIM card, with ordinary consumer commercial devices being randomly assigned a class between 0 to 9. Further classes numbered 11 to 15 also exist, and each of these classes contains only devices belonging to a certain group of end-users. For example, class 12 contains only devices which belong to the security services, and class 14 contains only devices which belong to the emergency services.

          • Patent-Eligibility Legislative Reform Is Not Coming Soon

            In an interview published by the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association, Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) addressed the question many have asked: is Congress going to fix the § 101 patent-eligibility mess? The answer? Not any time soon: “I don’t see a path forward for producing a bill—much less steering it to passage—in this Congress.”

            In 2017, the IPO put forth a proposed revision to 35 U.S.C. § 101, as did the American Intellectual Property Association, and in 2018 these two leading organizations agreed on a “Joint AIPLA-IPO Proposal on Patent Eligibility.” The basic idea under the AIPLA/IPO proposal is that everything except laws of nature and mental steps would be patent-eligible. This proposal would certainly relax the Mayo/Alice gateway– and presumably would have the benefit of making § 101 jurisprudence simpler and more straightforward to apply.

            But nothing is simple. The “vast majority” Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, says Senator Tillis, “agreed that our current eligibility standard is unworkable,” and negatively impacts American research and development. But there are those who are concerned about the possibility for litigation abuse, and inhibiting fundamental scientific research, that would come from changing the § 101 patent-eligibility standard.

          • The Zombie Apocalypse of Patent Eligibility Reform and a Possible Escape Route [Ed: For the third year in a row Coons failed to promote software patents for the companies (law firms and trolls) that bribed him for it]

            The hopes of anyone in favor of patent reform targeting 35 U.S.C § 101 have been official dashed — or at least put on hold. In an interview with the Intellectual Property Owner’s association (IPO) last week, Senator Thom Tillis (at right), Chair of the Senate’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, indicated that the body would not be completing its work on legislatively addressing patent eligibility.

            Tillis stated that “[g]iven the reasonable concerns that have been expressed about the draft as well as the practical realities of the difficulty of passing legislation, absent stakeholder consensus I don’t see a path forward for producing a bill—much less steering it to passage—in this Congress.” He suggested that the Subcommittee is not against reform, but that it needs to be provided with a clearer plan for next steps. He would “encourage all stakeholders to work with Senator Coons and [him] to develop a consensus driven approach.” Indeed, it seems as if such an approach is a requirement for entry. “If we’re going to get anything done on this issue, everyone will have to compromise,” he said. “Anything less than that is dead on arrival.”

            This is in stark contrast to a joint statement released last year by Senators Tillis and Coons. Just a few months ago, they wrote that “the U.S. patent system with regard to patent eligibility is broken and desperately needs to be repaired,” and “[w]e feel confident that, working together, we can ensure that the United States patent system reclaims its reputation as the gold standard for promoting innovation.”

            But soon after this statement made the rounds, rumblings began about § 101 reform not happening. Conspiratorial theories suggested that lobbyists from powerful and deep-pocketed parties had convinced the senators that it would not be in their best interests to continue their efforts. But Senator Tillis chalks up the difficulties to disagreement and stubborness amongst the stakeholders.

            [...]

            Ultimately, patent eligibility is a binary decision — a claim is valid under § 101 or it is not. On one side are stakeholders that believe the current interpretation of § 101 is so unworkably vague that it fails its public notice function; that is, from reading the statutes and case law, even a reasonably well-educated individual cannot determine whether certain types of inventions fall within the eligible or the ineligible bucket. On the other side are those who consider the law to be just about right because it allows rapid dismissal of potentially specious infringement lawsuits.

          • U.S. Effort to Create 5G Huawei Alternative Potentially Vulnerable to SEP Patent Litigation

            Today’s Wall Street Journal reports on a White House plan to coordinate the development of 5G systems by American companies. The effort is intended to provide a domestic alternative to Huawei for 5G infrastructure hardware.

            But if the FTC loses in an appeal at the 9th Circuit this month, that White House plan might run straight into a brick wall.

            The Problem

            When a company participates in standard-setting, they typically agree that they’ll license any patents that they own that are necessary to create a product that complies with the standard on “FRAND” terms—a fair and reasonable royalty, available to anyone and not discriminating between licensees. These patents—called “standard-essential patents”, or SEPs—are supposed to be available to anyone in order to ensure that a single standard-setting participant can’t pick winners and losers.

            The problem is that some companies have violated their obligation to license anyone who asks. That’s where the FTC came in.

            [...]

            Having a U.S. competitor to Huawei would be good for competition, good for innovation, and good for consumers. Competition would drive down the prices telecom companies pay for infrastructure, allowing them to provide better service to consumers. And it would provide another avenue for innovation in cellular standards—the more companies participating, the more ideas will come in to help ensure that the best technology is incorporated into future revisions of the standard. And having additional U.S. companies participating would help ensure that U.S. values like freedom of expression and from unwarranted surveillance are part of the standard.

            But if Huawei can refuse to license competitors, none of that will happen. The nascent U.S. effort will falter because telecom companies, faced with the potential of billion dollar patent suits if they use unlicensed U.S. hardware, will use Huawei (or Huawei-approved) hardware instead. Without customers, that effort will die.

          • Conventional Component For Accepting Credit Card Payment In Taxicab is Ineligible: Curb Mobility, LLC v. Kaptyn, Inc.

            A court held that patent claims directed to “the longstanding commercial practice of paying for public transit” are abstract ideas, and “the mere assemblage of admittedly known components” does not provide an inventive concept, granting a motion to dismiss based on lack of patent-eligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. Curb Mobility, LLC v. Kaptyn, Inc., et al., No. 18-cv-02416-MMD-EJY (D. Nev. Jan. 21, 2020).

            U.S. Patent No. 6,347,739 is directed to “paying for a taxicab with a credit card.” The court noted that the patent “includes two independent claims, though independent claim 11 is basically independent claim 1- a system claim- written as a method claim.”

          • Insufficient Written Description in Provisional Application Triggers On-Sale Bar of Subsequent Patent

            A provisional patent application must include sufficient description to allow a person having ordinary skill in the art to make an invention as claimed in an asserted patent claiming priority to the provisional application, as recently upheld in Speedfit LLC et al v. Woodway USA, Inc. et al, No. 2-13-cv-01276 (E.D.N.Y. Jan. 9, 2020).

            Plaintiff Speedfit, LLC owns U.S. Patent Nos. 8,308,619 and 8,343,016, directed to a leg-powered treadmill. Speedfit, LLC and Aurel Astilean sued Defendant Woodway USA, Inc. for infringement of these patents. Defendant filed a motion motion for summary judgment of invalidity of the ‘619 and ’016 patents, asserting that Plaintiffs violated the on-sale bar of pre-AIA 35 U.S.C. § 102. The asserted patents have a critical date of October 29, 2009, one year before the filing date of the ‘619 patent. Plaintiffs filed Provisional Patent Application No. 61/280,265 on Nov. 2, 2009, and the asserted patents claim priority to the ‘265 provisional.

          • Emergency Alert System Is Not Patent-Eligible: Tenaha Licensing LLC v. TigerConnect, Inc.

            Patent claims directed to “alert and notification” are ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test, said a Delaware magistrate judge, recommending granting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss a lawsuit alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 8,238,869. Tenaha Licensing LLC v. TigerConnect, Inc., C.A. No. 19-1400-LPS-SRF (D. Del. Jan. 2, 2019). Further, the court recommended granting the motion with prejudice. Any attempt by the plaintiff to amend its complaint would be futile, the court said; the patent specification affirmatively provided intrinsic evidence of patent-eligibility that could not be contradicted by extrinsic evidence.

          • Claims Combing a System and a Method for Using the System are Invalid for Indefiniteness Under § 112

            During a Markman patent claim construction proceeding, the Western District of Texas ruled multiple claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,284,203 invalid for indefiniteness under 35 U.S.C. § 112 because the claims “improperly combine system and method claims.” Visible Connections, LLC v. Zoho Corp., No. 18-CV-859-RP (W.D. Tex. Nov. 26, 2019). The court found the claims indefinite because “the presence of user steps [in the claims at issue] makes it unclear whether infringement occurs when one creates an interface program for real-time application sharing or when the user selects the documents to be shared.”

            [...]

            The court noted that “[a] single claim covering ‘both a system and a method for using that system’ is invalid for indefiniteness because ‘it does not apprise a person of ordinary skill in the art of its scope.’” IPXL Holdings, LLC v Amazon.com, Inc, 430 F.3d 1377, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2005)). Specifically, the court explained that such a claim “may make it ‘unclear whether infringement . . . occurs when one creates an infringing system, or whether infringement occurs when the user actually uses the system in an infringing manner.’” MasterMine Software, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 874 F.3d 1307, 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2017). However, the court also noted that “system claims with ‘permissible functional language used to describe the capabilities of the system,’ rather than the activities of the user, are not invalid for indefiniteness.” Id.

          • No Attorney Fees for § 101 Dismissal: Data Scape Ltd. v. Spotify USA Inc.

            Because Spotify’s motion is based on Data Scape’s litigation conduct, the timeline of events is important. The dispute began with Data Scape filing an earlier suit for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,712,614; 9,380,112; 7,720,929; and 7,617,537, all in the same family. Spotify moved to dismiss the suit under § 101 for ineligible subject matter. Instead of filing a response, Data Scape filed an amended complaint. Spotify followed up with another motion to dismiss on much the same grounds. Three days before a response was due, a different judge in the same district dismissed a case filed by Data Scape against a different defendant, Western Digital, under § 101. The Western Digital court found two patents invalid for ineligible subject matter, the ’112 and ’537 patents. On the due date for a response in this case, Data Scape voluntarily dismissed the case against Spotify. The same day, Data Scape filed a new complaint dropping the ’929 and ’537 patents, still asserting the ’614 and ’112 patents, and adding U.S. Patent No. 10,277,675 (same family). Spotify filed another motion to dismiss, its third, again under § 101. The court granted Spotify’s motion, and the Western Digital court denied Data Scape’s motion to reconsider its dismissal.

          • Patent Claims to Virtual Smartphone for Automobile Fail Alice Test: KCG Technologies, LLC v. CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc.

            The court did not find these claims challenging to analyze; the first sentence of the court’s discussion summarized its finding under part one of the Alice test that “[t]he ’955 patent is drawn to the abstract idea of emulating the features of a smartphone or other handheld device on another screen.” The claims recited only the functionality of emulating a smartphone without, the court stated, describing or claiming “the means by which its desired function is to be achieved or implemented.” At best, claim 1 recites generic computer components used generically.

            The plaintiff argued that the claims solved the purported “fundamental problem” of “technology—the inability to safely access features on the smart phone in an automobile.” But the claims did not describe how this problem was solved. Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., (Fed. Cir. 2016), and McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games America Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2016), on which the plaintiff tried to rely, were easily distinguishable because “[t]he claims of the ’955 patent are not directed to any technological improvements or solutions.”

          • Patent Claims Survive Alice Challenge Despite Being Directed to an Abstract Idea: Cellwitch, Inc. v. Tile, Inc.

            Patent claims directed to [a] “system for monitoring of location of items” have survived a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings arguing that the claims were patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the two-part Mayo/Alice patent-eligibility test. Cellwitch, Inc. v. Tile, Inc., (Case No. 4:19-cv-01315-JSW)(N.D. Cal. Nov. 21, 2019). If you are familiar with Tile – need help finding car keys, anyone? – then you know what the claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,872,655 were about. Indeed, the court found under part one of the Alice test that the claims were directed to the longstanding human practice, and abstract idea, of helping people find lost items.

          • RBC files ‘purchase prediction’ patent as big tech continues to encroach on banking’s turf

            The Royal Bank of Canada is looking to patent several artificial-intelligence inventions, including one that could predict when consumers are about to make major purchases, public filings show.

            Toronto-based RBC, Canada’s biggest bank, has filed several AI-related applications that were made public in December, according to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office’s patent database.

            One patent application describes a computer system that could receive transaction data and create “structured” data in which purchases are identified and labelled. A “recurrent neural network” would then be trained to build a model that could be used to predict the likelihood of a purchase

          • AI inventors: the European Patent Office sets the record straight in the dabus decision

            After a long-awaited oral procedure, the EPO logically indicated that only natural persons could be designated as inventors in a European patent…

          • EPO Rejects Patent Applications With AI Inventor

            The applications relate to a food container with a fractal wall profile (EP18275163) and a pulsed light source having a particular frequency and fractal dimension (EP18275174). The applicant maintained that he had had no personal input to the discovery of the underlying inventions, which were claimed to be entirely the work of a computer system (itself the subject of at least one granted US patent) running a number of neural networks, going by the name of “DABUS”. The applicant’s only personal contribution was to train DABUS with “general knowledge”, with the “inventions” arising from self-perturbations in a first underlying neural network and being identified as novel and having inventive potential by a second “critic” neural network.

            The EPO does not investigate the details of inventorship or entitlement to patent applications, leaving this to national law. However, the two applications were originally filed a) with an explicit indication that the applicant was not the inventor and b) without a separate designation of inventor, thus leading to a formal deficiency notice. In response to that notice, the applicant provided the appropriate EPO form naming DABUS as the inventor, but explicitly indicating that DABUS was a computer system running artificial intelligence. The applicant initially claimed that he had derived the right to the invention through employment of the machine, before later “correcting” that to claim acquisition of the rights as the successor in title.

          • Artificial Intelligence DATA as Patent Inventor?

            Most of us know that DATA, the beloved android from Star Trek, The Next Generation, is an artificial intelligence (AI) life form from the distant future with a high capacity to problem solve and innovate. But, if DATA were present today and invented a new technology, could he be an inventor on a patent for his invention?

            The question of whether AI can legally be an inventor on a patent was recently addressed by the European Patent Office (EPO) and The United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The same question is still being evaluated by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) along with solicitation for comments to the patent community.

          • Remarks by Deputy Director Peter at Trust, But Verify: Informational Challenges Surrounding AI-Enabled Clinical Decision Software [Ed: Fake/software patents disguised by USPTO as "MEDICAL" and "HEY HI" (all the same old tricks, plus a spice of new buzzwords)]s

            Second question: How many of you think that an AI machine that contributes to the conception of a drug discovery process should be allowed to be an inventor on a patent?

            [...]

            It was very exciting to see the range of the responses to our Federal Register Notice. We heard from more than 90 groups, including many U.S. stakeholders. We also heard from a great number of international organizations, including the EPO, the Japan Patent Office (JPO), and Korean trade associations. At the USPTO, we are in the process of reviewing the compelling insights and compiling a report that should be published this spring.

            So, to whom should authorship and rights be granted? The artificial intelligence machine? The person who set the policies that dictate how the machine thinks? The person who set the parameters of the database used to train the AI machine? And what if the AI’s decisions that led to an invention cannot be explained? How can we grant a patent to something if there is little control and minimal understanding of the process, as required by current patent law?

            Also, to receive a patent, the inventors are required to clearly explain the process to make the invention so others can learn from, replicate, and improve on the method and tech. These new AI technologies demand careful consideration in light of current intellectual property laws .It is essential that the United States be at the forefront of strong IP protection for AI technologies to incentivize and accelerate innovation in the U.S. If we fail to do so, other nations will move ahead without us. These are the difficult questions we need to be asking.

          • EPO Publishes Grounds for Refusing AI-Invented Patent Applications

            On 28 January 2020, the European Patent Office (EPO) published its reasons for two recent decisions refusing two European patent applications in which a machine named DABUS—”a type of connectionist artificial intelligence”—was designated as the inventor. The applicant had argued that the machine should be recognized as the inventor and that he, as the owner of the machine, was an assignee of any IP rights created by his machine.

            The EPO did not agree with the applicant’s position and held that an application designating a machine as the inventor did not meet the formal requirements under Art. 81 and Rule 19(1) of the European Patent Convention (EPC). The EPC did not provide for “non-persons, i.e. neither natural nor legal persons” in any role in patent grant proceedings.

          • Crispr/cas9 failed to edit EPO priority entitlement case law

            In a new twist in the CRISPR/Cas9 saga, European patent EP 2 771 468 was revoked in appeal on 16 January 2020 (T 0844/18).

      • Trademarks

        • Commissioner for Trademarks: David Gooder

          The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has appointed David Gooder to be the new Commissioner for Trademarks. As Commissioner, Gooder will be responsible for oversight of all aspects of the USPTO’s Trademarks organization.

          Gooder has worked for more than 25 years on intellectual property (IP) and brand protection challenges facing iconic global brands. Gooder will begin his new role on March 2, 2020.

          “I am delighted to have David Gooder join the leadership team at the USPTO,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu. “The U.S. trademark system is the global standard for excellence. I know that David is going to do a great job maintaining and indeed raising that standard.”

        • Two Centuries of Trademark and Copyright Law: A Citation-Network-Analysis Approach

          The Supreme Court has decided many more patent cases than trademark or copyright cases. This is so not just in the past decade—the focus of the tenth annual Supreme Court IP Review at the Chicago-Kent College of Law, in September 2019, at which I presented this research—but in the past 20 decades. In gathering the entire body of the Court’s i.p. caselaw, for a study with citation-network-analysis tools, I found that patent cases greatly outnumber trademark and copyright cases. Moreover, patent cases, especially patent & antitrust cases, dominate the metrics for the most central cases in the citation network. One can, however, take the Court’s trademark and copyright cases out of the shadow of the patent cases, creating a citation network focused on those areas of i.p. law. This paper does so. Specifically, I focus on the basic citation and co-citation networks embedded in all the Supreme Court trademark and copyright cases that cite out to one or more prior Supreme Court cases in any doctrinal area. These i.p. cases run from Stevens v. Gladding, 58 U.S. (17 How.) 447 (1855), to, most recently, Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, 139 S. Ct. 1652 (2019). The lesson is as clear as it is brief: trademark dominates the jurisprudence through 1972, then copyright dominates from 1973 to the present.

        • Amazon just filed a bunch of international trademarks for ‘Amazon Pharmacy’

          Amazon has filed to trademark “Amazon Pharmacy” in Canada, the U.K. and Australia, signaling a potential move into selling prescription drugs outside of the U.S.

          According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website, Amazon filed for the patent on Jan. 9, 2020. The status is listed as pre-formalized. The trademark also lists other areas that Amazon Pharmacy could move into including surgical, medical dental instruments and pharmaceutical as well as medical and veterinary preparations.

          Similar trademark filings from Jan. 9 also appear on the website for IP Australia and the U.K.’s intellectual property office.

      • Copyrights

        • Google does not communicate to the public by hotlinking

          Mr Wheat hired Monaco Telecom for website assistance and hosting in 2007 relating to his website theirearth.com. After a falling out in late 2008, Mr Wheat transferred his website to Knipp in Germany. Monaco Telecom retained a copy of the site for a few weeks and then deleted it from its server. Mr Wheat claimed that Monaco Telecom broadcast an unauthorised duplicate of theirearth.com and infringed his copyright.

          Add a helping of Google. Mr Wheat claimed that Google deliberately cached Monaco-Telecom’s server to help attribute the website to a Monaco-Telecom and allowed their global search engine to knowingly index and send search results to the illegitimate copy of www.theirearth.com on Monaco-Telecom’s production servers. Both Google and Monaco-Telecom diverted the majority of the website traffic away from the legitimate theirearth.com server in Germany to Monaco-Telecom’s servers.

          [...]

          There had been some confusion about whether or not Google had been served with the claim. Previously, in 9 September 2016, the application had come before Deputy Master Arkush, on paper, and he ordered that the application should be served on Google. He did not make an order granting permission to serve the proceedings out of the jurisdiction on Google, contrary to what the claimant appeared to have believed and told the court at the hearing on 30 January 2017. This error was material because the original grant of permission – in January 2017 – to serve Monaco Telecom out of the jurisdiction was made on the basis that it was a necessary party to the claim. It was very unlikely that permission would have been granted had the court known permission to serve out of the jurisdiction on Google had not been obtained.

        • AG Campos in Brompton Bicycle advises CJEU to rule that ‘exclusively’ functional shapes do not deserve copyright protection

          Is a functional shape eligible for copyright protection under the InfoSoc Directive?

          This, in a nutshell, is the intriguing issue that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been asked to address in Brompton Bicycle, C-833/18.

          As readers might guess, the shape at issue in this case is Brompton’s iconic foldable bike, originally created in 1975 and sold in its current form since 1987:

          [...]

          The Brompton Opinion is correct in several respects but also problematic, at least in one key aspect.

          Let’s start from the good. The considerations concerning rights cumulation and the conclusion re copyright protection of functional shapes are overall in sync with earlier CJEU case law.

          The Opinion is also important because it adopts a functional interpretation of Cofemel, one which could contribute to avoiding that copyright protection is perceived as ‘easy’ to claim now that extra criteria, eg aesthetic appeal, artistic merit, etc, are out of the window.

          However, the Opinion is also concerning insofar as it considers that account could be taken of the intention that the author had when he/she created the work. The AG considered that, whilst external recognition (eg, exhibition in museums or awards) should not be relevant, internal and subjective elements might be. This is concerning for a number of reasons, of which two in particular stand out.

          First, it runs contrary to the Cofemel decision itself: the CJEU said that what is only required is a work that is original. Certainly, the subjective intention of the author should not be taken into account to determine copyright subsistence. What the author thought or wanted to achieve is irrelevant. The assessment should be one based on objective criteria.

        • Rightholders lobby Berlin to tighten liability for tech firms

          Publishers and the TV and film industry lobbied Germany to make online platforms liable for illegal content, newly released documents reveal. The next „battle for the internet“ has begun.

          [...]

          A key question for the new law is liability. The current e-Commerce Directive exempts service providers from liability for illegal content uploaded by users, including copyright infringement, but only if they delete it after being notified.

          The leaked paper said that future regulation could oblige certain types of services to use ‚proactive measures‘ such as upload filters to avoid liability. The new rules could include a centralised EU authority to police services.

          While the new EU Commissioner for digital issues, Thierry Breton, has insisted he will „not touch“ liability rules, Commission officials told the Financial Times that no such changes could be ruled out.

          Possible changes in liability rules face stiff resistance, not just from the affected companies, but also from civil society groups. Advocacy groups such as European Digital Rights fear that liability changes could lead to mandatory filtering, putting a curb on free speech.

          Likewise EDiMA, an lobbying group of digital firms including Google, Facebook and Snapchat has warned such changes could „perversely incentivise“ services to interfere with their users’ fundamental rights.

          Germany is expected to play an important role in lawmaking. The largest EU member state was a key player in the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation, while giving voice to the position of rightholders in debates around the Copyright Directive.

          A leading Commission official tasked with working out the Digital Services Act, Prabhat Agarwal, is a German national. He recently travelled to Berlin to brief German officials on the Act, according to an e-mail released by the German Ministry of Justice.

        • 2nd Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Drake Sampling Fair Use Victory, But Doesn’t Think It’s Useful For Anyone Else

          Two and a half years ago, we wrote about a nice fair use victory for Drake with regards to a track that he had sampled. As we noted in that post, it is stunning how bad courts have been in determining whether or not sampled music is fair use — with a couple of famously preposterous rulings on the book, including one where the judge seemed more focused on giving biblical justifications for his rulings, rather than Constitutional ones. Still, in the age of Blurred Lines-like decisions, and the influx of similar lawsuits over mere inspiration, it seemed unlikely that we’d ever get a clean ruling on whether or not certain types of sampling — such as those that use tiny bits or that alter the sample significantly — were fair use. Yet here we are.

        • Unofficial Coronavirus Papers Archive Serves Up Half a Terabyte of Knowledge

          With the world still grappling with the new coronavirus outbreak, an unofficial paywall-free archive of scientific papers is spreading hope, not disease, to the scientific community. Speaking with TF, the operators of the project reveal that since its launch under a week ago, visitors from all over the world to the 5,300+ study resource have consumed almost half a terabyte of bandwidth.

        • Anti-Piracy Coalition ACE Goes After Clipwatching and Fembed

          The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which includes Hollywood studios as well as the streaming giants Netflix and Amazon, is trying to find out who the operators of Clipwatching and Fembed are. The group sees the sites as video piracy hosting hubs and has obtained a subpoena compelling Cloudflare to hand over personal information of the associated account holders.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, February 08, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:54 am by Needs Sunlight

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