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02.12.20

Links 12/2/2020: KDE Neon 5.18, Tails 4.3 and WordPress 5.4 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • THE RISING OF GNU/LINUX COMPUTERS IN 2020: PURISM LIBREM, KDE SLIMBOOK, PINE64 PINEBOOK, AND KUBUNTU FOCUS

      I have a ‘GNU/Linux Computers’ article in 2019. And in late 2019 until early 2020, I have not found any website summarizing these four awesome laptop brands in one place: Purism Librem, KDE Slimbook, Pine64 Pinebook, and Kubuntu Focus. If you care about free software community and following their social networks like Reddit or Mastodon, you will find these names being discussed a lot lately. So I write this summary that informs you stuffs interesting from them. Why? Because computer that is manufactured for GNU/Linux is important for us GNU/Linux users and community. Enjoy this article!

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • South Korean government planning to move 3.3 million Windows PCs to Linux

        Last year, we reported that South Korean government is considering to migrate its Windows 7-based desktop PCs to Linux. Recently, the South Korean Ministry of Strategy and Planning has revealed its plans on how it will migrate to Linux OS. Overall, South Korean government is planning to migrate 3.3 million Windows PCs to Linux.

        “We will resolve our dependency on a single company while reducing the budget by introducing an open-source operating system,” said Choi Jang-hyuk, a South Korean government government official involved in the planning.

      • “Windows 12 Lite” is not what you think (unless you’re thinking Linux-based Windows 10 knockoff)

        Microsoft has embraced Linux and open source software in recent years. The company acquired github, turned its Calculator app into an open source project, added an optional Linux terminal to Windows 10, and even developed its own Linux kernel.

        But you know what the company’s probably not going to do? Release anew operating system called Windows 12 that’s based on Linux.

        That hasn’t stopped some independent developers with lousy website design skills from doing just that though. Redditor hexsayeed spotted a GNU/Linux distribution called Windows 12 Lite at a computer fair recently.

      • A factory reset of a Microsoft Surface Go reminded me why I love Chromebooks
    • Server

      • 10 things I wish I’d known before becoming a Linux sysadmin

        I love being a Linux system administrator, but there are things about it that I don’t love. No job is perfect, but someone should at least warn the newcomers of the dangers that lie ahead. Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out everything you wanted to know, and probably a little extra, about being a Linux system administrator. These are my experiences and might not reflect the greater system administration universe. I make no claims, promises, or guarantees by presenting these ten things I wish I’d know before becoming a Linux system administrator to you. They are in no particular order.

      • The 15 Best Cloud OS to Use in 2020: The Experts’ Recommendation

        Joli cloud operating system is a multiuser, cross-browser user-friendly Web Desktop Environment. This web operating system comes with a set of interesting applications of web office that makes the system more versatile. It is a multiuser system that can be installed on LAMP ( Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl) and is an independent platform.

      • Google, IBM Join Forces to Take on Cloud Leaders

        After locking horns last year, Google and IBM are now collaborating to catch their larger cloud services competitors.

        Whether the union is a strategic masterstroke or a marriage of convenience, it promises greater flexibility for enterprise customers making the shift to so-called “compute and storage” services in the cloud.

      • Tachyum Running Apache is a Key Milestone for Prodigy Universal Processor Software Stack

        Semiconductor startup Tachyum Inc. today announced that it has completed another critical stage in software development by successfully achieving an Apache web server port to Prodigy Universal Processor Instruction Set Architecture (ISA). This latest milestone by Tachyum’s software team brings the company’s Prodigy Universal Processor one step closer to being customer-ready in anticipation of its commercial launch in 2021.

        After its successful GNU toolchain port and the creation of multiple simulation environments to execute Prodigy’s native ISA in 2018, Tachyum’s software developers concentrated on achieving their first successful Linux kernel port in 2019. After confirming the kernel’s functionality, the team moved on to GNU userland open source applications porting.

      • How High Performance Computing is Powering the Age of Genomic Big Data

        What does bacteria, a blade of grass and the human body have in common? On the surface, very little. But given the title of this blog, you’re probably way ahead of me.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-02-11 | Linux Headlines

        The MATE desktop reaches 1.24 with some major improvements, KDE unveils its first LTS release in two years, The Linux Foundation focuses on ethics in its new training course, and Firefox 73 has a new provider for DNS over HTTPS.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.3

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.3 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

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

      • Linux 5.4.19
      • Linux 4.19.103
      • Making Use Of Btrfs 3-Copy/4-Copy Support For RAID1 With Linux 5.5+

        With the recently released Linux 5.5 and its new features, one of the prominent changes on the storage front was the Btrfs file-system picking up new “RAID1C3″ and “RAID1C4″ modes for allowing either three or four copies of RAID1 data across more drives to potentially allow up to three of four drives to fail in a RAID1 array while still being able to recover that data for this file-system with its native RAID capabilities.

        Now that Linux 5.5 is reaching the likes of Arch Linux, Manjaro Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, and others, Btrfs developer David Sterba of SUSE has written more about the more robust RAID1 handling with Linux 5.5+.

      • Intel’s Cloud-Hypervisor 0.5 Released With Kata Containers Support, Other Features

        Intel’s open-source group continues working on Cloud-Hypervisor as a Rustlang-written hypervisor for modern Linux VMs and building off the shoulders of Google’s CrosVM, Firecracker, and Rust-VMM. Cloud-Hypervisor 0.5 was released on Friday as a big update to this cloud-centered hypervisor.

        First up, Cloud-Hypervisor 0.5 now integrates support for Kata Containers. This hypervisor can now work fully with Kata Containers, formerly Clear Containers, another Intel-led initiative.

      • Welcome to the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference blog

        Planning for the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference is well underway. The planning committee will be posting various informational blurbs here, including information on hotels, microconference acceptance, evening events, scheduling, and so on. Next up will be a “call for microconferences” that should appear soon.

      • BLAKE3 vs BLAKE2 for BTRFS

        Irony isn’t it. The paint of BLAKE2 as BTRFS checksum algorithm hasn’t dried yet, 1-2 weeks to go but there’s a successor to it. Faster, yet still supposed to be strong. For a second or two I considered ripping out all the work and … no not really but I do admit the excitement.

        Speed and strength are competing goals for a hash algorithm. The speed can be evaluated by anyone, not so much for the strength. I am no cryptographer and for that area rely on expertise and opinion of others. That BLAKE was a SHA3 finalist is a good indication, where BLAKE2 is it’s successor, weakened but not weak. BLAKE3 is yet another step trading off strength and speed.

        Regarding BTRFS, BLAKE2 is going to be the faster of strong hashes for now (the other one is SHA256). The argument I have for it now is proof of time. It’s been deployed in many projects (even crypto currencies!), there are optimized implementations, various language ports.

        The look ahead regarding more checksums is to revisit them in about 5 years. Hopefully by that time there will be deployments, real workload performance evaluations and overall user experience that will back future decisions.

      • Bareflank Hypervisor 2.0 Released With UEFI Support, New Memory Manager

        The Bareflank Linux hypervisor that is written in modern C++ and focused on security and serving as a framework/SDK for other hypervisors, finally experienced its big 2.0 release.

        We’ve been looking forward to Bareflank 2.0 and now it’s finally reached stable. Bareflank 2.0 makes use of the CMake build system, the code has been reorganized, there is finally UEFI boot support, and the memory management has been revamped for better performance and the ability to dynamically add memory.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Format Modifiers Coming To Nouveau In Linux 5.7

          The new code now in the Nouveau development tree is the NVIDIA Format Modifiers support. As explained in that earlier article, at the end of 2019 NVIDIA sent out a set of patches for supporting the NVIDIA format modifiers within atomic mode-setting blobs. In turn there are Mesa patches for exposing these format modifiers with the EGL EXT_transition_format_modifier support. The Mesa-side patches have yet to land but presumably will around the time the DRM format modifiers support is mainline in the Linux kernel.

        • Radeon R600 Gallium3D Lands NIR Support In Mesa 20.1

          While not yet suitable for gamers or serious end usage, the Radeon “R600″ Gallium3D driver that supports the Radeon HD 2000 through HD 6000 (pre-GCN) graphics cards now has an experimental NIR back-end.

          Independent developer Gert Wollny has been working on this R600 NIR support, similar to the RadeonSI NIR support that materialized nicely last year and is now used by default as part of RadeonSI’s OpenGL 4.6 enabling with Mesa 20.0. But in the R600g case, it’s NIR support for that vintage graphics driver not seeing much attention these days besides a few rare commits and what is pursued by community developers.

        • AMDGPU Linux Driver Preparing To Better Support Modern HDR/OLED Displays

          It looks like with the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle this spring there should be proper backlight support when using this AMD Radeon kernel graphics driver with modern HDR/OLED displays.

          AMDGPU Display Core “DC” changes posted today allow for dealing with these modern OLED (and HDR) displays. Various displays on the market and forthcoming rely upon changing of the display brightness using the DisplayPort AUX channel rather than the existing means via PWM for managing the display backlight.

        • Add An Overlay With GPU / CPU Usage And Temperature (And More) To Any Vulkan Game With MangoHud

          MangoHud is a modification of the Mesa Vulkan overlay that includes GUI improvements, temperature (GPU and CPU) reporting, and optional logging, which aims to replicate the look and feel of the MSI Afterburner OSD. It works and is consistent across any Vulkan application or game, no matter if the game is using DXVK/VKD3D, Feral3D or Native Vulkan.

    • Benchmarks

      • Making The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Run Even Faster – By Loading Up Intel’s Clear Linux

        One of the interesting takeaways from my pre-launch briefing with AMD on the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X was AMD representatives actually recommending Clear Linux for use on this 64-core / 128-thread HEDT processor and the platform to which they’ve found the best performance. Yet, Clear Linux is an Intel open-source project. In any case, here are benchmarks of how Clear Linux performs against other Linux distributions on the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X within the System76 Thelio Major. And, holy crap, with the Threadripper 3990X on Clear Linux I managed to build the x86_64 default Linux kernel in under 20 seconds!

        The Clear Linux recommendation for the Threadripper 3990X was hardly a surprise to me given my experience with the platform, just a bit surprising AMD representatives acknowledging the Intel open-source software creation during a briefing. We’ve been benchmarking Clear Linux for years and were the ones to initially shine the public spotlight on its impressive performance capabilities — that includes for AMD platforms too with numerous tests on different platforms we’ve performed the past few years. Just recently were our benchmarks looking at how Clear Linux offered the best performance on a $199 AMD laptop while this testing is at the opposite end of the spectrum with the 64-core $3990 USD processor.

    • Applications

      • Guake 3.7.0 Drop-Down Terminal Released With Option To Change Terminal Colors On A Per-Tab Basis, More

        Guake drop-down terminal version 3.7.0 has been released with the ability to set terminal background and foreground color on a per-tab basis, an option to only show the last directory of the current path as the terminal name, and more.

        Guake is a drop-down terminal for GNOME-based desktops with many cool features like split terminal functionality, session save and restore, transparency, 150+ built-in color schemes, and more.

        It’s inspired by the famous Quake console that can be revealed and hidden using a single key. Show Guake using the assigned key (F12 by default), execute the command you want or take a quick look at some long-running command’s output, then press the key again (or set Guake to automatically hide when it loses focus) to hide the terminal so you can go back to what you were doing previously with minimal interference.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Prepare for another run as Dead Cells: The Bad Seed is out

        Fusing elements of a rogue-lite metroidvania and a serious action-platformer, Dead Cells, today has the first paid DLC expansion out with Dead Cells: The Bad Seed. Cutting right to the chase here, The Bad Seed has totally pulled me back in.

      • Mayhem in Single Valley is apparently Stranger Things meets Zelda with radioactive squirrels

        After being teased last year which we picked up on, the action-adventure Mayhem in Single Valley has now seen a full announcement and a publishing partner.

      • The Steam Soundtrack Sale is now live to celebrate the new dedicated Soundtrack feature

        What was originally supposed to launch last month, the Steam Soundtrack Sale is now live as Valve celebrate the new feature of the Steam store and client dedicated to Soundtracks.

        As a brief reminder, for developers who do upgrade their DLC to a Soundtrack it means that people can purchase it and download without needing the whole game. It’s a nice touch and a much better way to do it, might even give developers a boost in sales. Having a dedicated music folder is nice so you don’t need to hunt down inside each game to find the files. Anyway, it’s a massive improvement on the old system and shows how Valve keep improving for the benefit of users.

      • 5 Tips for Better Gaming Performance on Linux

        Linux has been historically known for its less-than-Windows performance in terms of gaming. We have drivers issues, game platforms issues, and performance issues altogether everywhere. Still, having an OK-ish gaming experience on Linux is quite possible. And this is nice for people who do not want to dual-boot both Windows and Linux to do different tasks.

        Most Linux users today either enjoy their games via Steam, which has 25% of its games supporting Linux out-of-the-box and the other 75% possibly supporting it with Proton, or with Wine and complement libraries and software. There are some other gaming platforms on Linux such as GOG and others. We won’t talk about how to install those platforms on Linux now, but instead, in today’s article, we’ll give you some tips on how to enhance your gaming performance regardless of how you are running them.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE neon 5.18

          KDE’s flagship project Plasma has released 5.18 LTS. That means we’ve crunched the code and ran the QA and slid out the packages and installable images.

          Upgrade your KDE neon to get Plasma 5.18. Download the ISOs to install the live images. And to give it a try run the Docker images with neondocker.

        • 5 New Features in KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS

          In this video, we are looking at 5 of the features in KDE Plasma that stand out for me.

        • A year as a KDE developer | The KUnity Setup

          It has been more than a year that I had push rights for all the KDE repositories. So this is an obligatory anniversary post.

          I got introduced to Linux while searching for development environments that came with all sorts of compilers & interpreters by default and I don’t have to manually install those stuff. It was 2012 as far as I remember, Ubuntu 12.04 just came out and it was the first solution suggested by the search engines. Though the unavailability of a proper internet connection meant, that I had to wait a couple more years when one of my friends downloaded a copy of Ubuntu 14.04 for me.

        • FOSDEM and Plasma Mobile Sprint 2020

          This was the 20th anniversary for FOSDEM, I first attended 15 years ago, but this year was the first time I actually managed to present a talk there. The subject was, unsurprisingly, KDE Itinerary. You can find the slides and the video recording on the corresponding FOSDEM talk page.

          KDE had a very busy presence at FOSDEM, Plasma Mobile draw a lot of attention, as did efforts for truly free and user-controlled mobile platforms in general. I’m particularly happy seeing the cross-community collaborations going on in that space.

          FOSDEM is a great place to connect and coordinate with other communities, and by now that’s probably one of the main reasons for me to attend. The collaboration with Nextcloud on integrating itinerary extraction into Nextcloud Hub started there last year for example.

          FOSDEM two years ago saw the first successful flight using a KDE Itinerary rendered boarding pass, this year we had the first ever Thalys ride with a ticket presented in KDE Itinerary. We also made a bit of progress with decoding Thalys binary barcodes, more samples would help a lot here though.

        • Presentations Archive

          Some time ago I ran across remark-cmake, a CMake framework for building remark.js-based presentations. Since I’m a sucker for CMake I started using it, even if my presentations are rarely big-and-complicated enough to warrant a build-system.

          Since then I’ve submitted a few pull-requests to remark-cmake, but also given eight (8) presentations using that framework at four (4) different conferences in four countries on two continents. Current scheduling suggests that one more continent and at least four more talks will be added before summer.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • MATE Desktop 1.24 Release Arrives with a Slew of Improvements

          Not friendly with this particular desktop environment? The MATE desktop was conceived as a direct continuation of the “old” GNOME 2 codebase but, rather like the Cinnamon desktop, has long since matured into its own distinct thing.

          The MATE desktop sits at the heart of many Linux distros, including Ubuntu MATE. And is particularly popular with those who prefer a traditional ‘2 panel’ desktop experience with simple app menus, feature-filled apps, and fewer flashy effects.

        • Clean and linear history with GitLab

          Many GNOME projects still use clean and linear commit history without merge commits even after porting to GitLab. That means that each commit represents one comprehensive feature or bug fix and there are not any side branches. I am not about to discuss the pros and cons of this approach here, you can find many and many posts on this topic on the internet. I would like to explain some common issues for newcomers when using GitLab forks.

          To make some contribution, one has to create a fork of some repository, push desired changes in a new branch and create a merge request to the original project. Please be sure that the “Allows commits from members who can merge to the target branch” checkbox is checked when creating the merge request (or later using the “Edit” button on the top of the page). This is needed to simplify the consequent workflow for the contributor (and maintainers as well). One of the reasons, why this is needed is the fact, that the changes need to be often rebased before they can be merged (to ensure the linear history). Maintainers can’t do this when this feature is not enabled and have to ask contributors to do so. Another reason is that the maintainers can do some changes when the contributor needs help or doesn’t have time to do the changes itself.

        • Robocode and others

          As expressed in a previous post, I prefer to spend my free time with my kids than with technology (for technology I already have my job). However, when there is an exception to that, I do like to do some sort of smaller projects, like “porting” stuff to Flatpak.

          I did my share of Debian and RPM packaging in the past, and honestly I have never enjoyed it (for a number of reasons not really interesting for this post). But “flatpaking” stuff is completely different to me. Maybe it’s my early involvement with it, or maybe it’s my admiration for how its designed, but the feeling when making a Flatpak is of reward, rather than a chore.

        • WebKitGTK 2.28 Seeing Flatpak Sandbox Support, WebGL + WebAudio By Default

          Following this weekend’s GNOME 3.36 beta, WebKitGTK 2.27.90 is available as a snapshot of this GTK-catered version of the WebKit layout engine on its path towards version 2.28.

          With WebKitGTK 2.27.90 there are many new features baking for WebKitGTK 2.28: Flatpak sandboxing support, WebGL and WebAudio are finally enabled by default in WebKitSettings, support for same-site cookies, support for the webkit-font-smoothing CSS property, support for inspecting service workers to the remote inspector, and various other changes.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • One More Linux Distro Tries to Convince Windows Users to Make the Switch

          The team has recently released Freespire 6.0 running the MATE desktop, with the KDE version coming soon.

          “This release is our FOSS solution, with no binary-only drivers or multimedia codecs included and strictly Libre applications. Freespire is released bi-annually and showcases the best that the open-source community has to offer. Our users enjoy a multitude of different desktops – for this release we are releasing the MATE desktop first; KDE comes next, keep an eye out for it,” the Freespire devs explain.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat’s Stratis 2.0.1 Released For This Linux Storage Management Solution

          Red Hat’s Stratis storage project for offering enterprise storage capabilities on Linux to compete with the likes of ZFS and Btrfs while being built atop LVM and XFS saw the first update to its daemon of 2020.

          Stratis 2.0.1 is coming after the 2.0 release in November that brought new D-Bus API usage and other improvements. Stratis 2.0.1 brings improved logging, various D-Bus changes, refactored device discovery, a refactored idempotency implementation, and various other fixes and low-level improvements. There isn’t a whole lot in 2.0.1 with it being a patch release but another step forward for Stratis Storage.

        • Building a Linux desktop, CERN powered by Ceph, and more industry trends

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

        • IBM picks Slack over Microsoft Teams for its 350,000 employees
        • Red Hat Satellite 6.7 Beta now available with better RHEL integration and automation enhancements

          Red Hat is pleased to announce that Red Hat Satellite 6.7 beta is available to current Satellite customers. This release has a focus on new and improved integrations as well as security feature and content management enhancements.

          Red Hat Satellite is a scalable platform to manage patching, provisioning, and subscription management of your Red Hat infrastructure, regardless of where it is running. The Satellite 6.7 beta includes enhancements across reporting, automation, and supportability

          While Satellite 6.7 beta supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 hosts, it is important to note that Satellite 6.7 must be installed on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 host. Support for running Satellite itself on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 host is scheduled for a later release.

      • Debian Family

        • New Alpha Release: Tor 0.4.3.2-alpha

          This is the second stable alpha release in the Tor 0.4.3.x series. It fixes several bugs present in the previous alpha release. Anybody running the previous alpha should upgrade and look for bugs in this one instead.

        • Tails 4.3 is out

          Tails 4.4 is scheduled for March 10.

          Have a look at our roadmap to see where we are heading to.

        • Tails 4.3 Anonymous OS Adds Trezor Cryptocurrency Wallet

          New features in the Tails 4.3 release include a command-line utility that lets users manage their Trezor cryptocurrencies. The trezor package provides the hardware wallet for Trezor cryptocurrencies and it’s installed by default in the new ISO image released today.

          Also included is an updated kernel, Linux 5.4.13, which should improve hardware support for newer devices, the Mozilla Thunderbird 68.4.1 email and news client, as well as VirtualBox Guest Additions 6.1.2, which should improve the support for running Tails in a VirtualBox VM.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Escuelas Linux 6.7 Rings in the New Decade with the Best Free Educational Apps

          Based on Bodhi Linux, an Ubuntu-based distribution that uses its own spin of the Enlightenment 17 desktop environment called Moksha Desktop, Escuelas Linux 6.7 arrives in 2020 with some of the best free educational software.

          These include GCompris 0.97, the best free educational suite for children to learn all sorts of activities, the entire LibreOffice 6.4 office suite with support for both 32-bit and 64-bit systems, as well as Hot Potatoes 7.0, an app for creating interactive resources, and Veyon 4.3 for computer monitoring and classroom management.

          Also included is the brand new Wine 5.0 software to allow users to run various apps or games that are made only for the Microsoft Windows operating system. The Mozilla Firefox 73, Google Chrome 80, and Chromium 79 web browsers are included as well.

        • Amazon EC2 Hibernation for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS now available
        • Canonical Announces Amazon EC2 Hibernation Support for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

          Already available for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) installations, the Hibernation feature lets users pause their Amazon EC2 Instances. These can be later be resumed when needed and the previously saved workspace restored so users can continue from where it was left off.

          Now Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Amazon EC2 users can use the Hibernation feature, which is possible thanks to the latest linux-aws-hwe 4.15.0-1058-aws kernel package that landed recently in the distribution’s stable repositories.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Vivaldi 2.11 Adds New Picture-in-Picture Controls, Improves Accessibility and Themes

          Vivaldi 2.11 is the first release of the popular web browser for power users in the new decade. It’s not a massive update, but it does bring some cool enhancements to make your browsing sessions more enjoyable.

          For starters, there’s now a lot easier to watch videos from your favorite websites in a floating, resizable, and movable window. All you have to do to enable the browser’s Pop-out video (Picture-in-Picture) feature is click on a small video box icon on the center of the video.

          Furthermore, the Pop-out video feature will now display forward and back buttons to let users skip tracks or navigate to a previous video.

        • Chromium

          • Google Chrome 80 Released With WebVR 1.1, Dropping FTP Support

            Now promoted out of beta is the Google Chrome 80 web browser.

            With Google Chrome 80 is now JavaScript support for Gzip/deflate using Streams, cookie security improvements, SVG-based favicons handling, support for JavaScript’s nullish operator, continued FTP deprecation and ultimately dropping support for it, WebVR 1.1 support, and other changes.

          • Stable Channel Update for Desktop

            The Chrome team is delighted to announce the promotion of Chrome 80 to the stable channel for Windows, Mac and Linux. This will roll out over the coming days/weeks.

        • Mozilla

          • Niko Matsakis: Async Interview #6: Eliza Weisman

            Hello! For the latest async interview, I spoke with Eliza Weisman (hawkw, mycoliza on twitter). Eliza first came to my attention as the author of the tracing crate, which is a nifty crate for doing application level tracing. However, she is also a core maintainer of tokio, and she works at Buoyant on the linkerd system. linkerd is one of a small set of large applications that were build using 0.1 futures – i.e., before async-await. This range of experience gives Eliza an interesting “overview” perspective on async-await and Rust more generally.

          • Mozilla Mornings on the EU Digital Services Act: Making responsibly a reality

            On 3 March, Mozilla will host the next installment of Mozilla Mornings – our regular breakfast series that brings together policy experts, policymakers and practitioners for insight and discussion on the latest EU digital policy developments.

            In 2020 Mozilla Mornings is adopting a thematic focus, starting with a three-part series on the upcoming Digital Services Act. This first event on 3 March will focus on how content regulation laws and norms are shifting from mere liability frameworks to more comprehensive responsibility ones, and our panelists will discuss how the DSA should fit within this trend.

          • FAQ for extension support in new Firefox for Android

            There are a lot of Firefox applications on the Google Play store. Which one is the new Firefox for Android?

            The new Firefox for Android experience is currently available for early testing on the Firefox Preview Nightly and Firefox Preview production channels.

            In February 2020, we will change which Firefox applications remain available in the Play store. Once we’ve completed this transition, Firefox Preview Nightly will no longer be available. New feature development will take place on what is currently Firefox Preview.

            We encourage users who are eager to make use of extensions to stay on Firefox Preview. This will ensure you continue to receive updates while still being among the first to see new developments.

            [...]

            GeckoView is Mozilla’s mobile browser engine. It takes Gecko, the engine that powers the desktop version of Firefox, and packages it as a reusable Android library. Rebuilding our Firefox for Android browser with GeckoView means we can leverage our Firefox expertise in creating safe and robust online experiences for mobile.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 Beta 1

          WordPress 5.4 Beta 1 is now available for testing!

          This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend running it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

      • FSF

        • Techdirt Podcast Episode 238: Larry Lessig Defends His ‘Clickbait Defamation’ Lawsuit

          Larry Lessig: Mike. Thanks for having me.

          MM: So Do you want to start out just by explaining your side and sort of why you brought the lawsuit?

          LL: Yeah, sure. Um, let me ask you a question first. Have you ever interviewed Richard Stallman?

          MM: I have not. I have interacted with him a few times, but I’ve never interviewed.

          LL: So, you know, obviously, everybody in tech world knows Richard Stallman. I’ve long been an incredible admirer of Richard Stallman. And the work that he’s done for the free software movement and for freedom generally, and for a while I actually served on the board of the Free Software Foundation. And in that context, in another context are many things that Richard Stallman said that I disagreed with. But, you know, there were just things that he said that I disagree with, like when we were on the board, he thought we should invest all our money in gold. I thought that was really stupid. Turned out he was right. That was really the smart thing to do. But the point was, you know, it was just a disagreement. Okay. So that There was one time when somebody, it was almost like, triggered Richard to start talking about pedophilia. And he started, you know, questioning whether pedophilia was a crime or whether it was a sort of crime that ought to be punished the way it’s punished or we ought to be as uptight as he put it about it. And I remember him saying that and I remember almost the sound of a bad AM radio station, kind of filling my head as I sat there stunned, I couldn’t hear him. And the reason I couldn’t hear him something I talked about in the article, the original original Medium post is that, you know, I myself, was a victim of sex abuse as a child for many years, for three years. It fundamentally affected me it has affected everything I’ve done. I kind of, I could tell you, not this podcast, but I could tell you how every single project I’ve ever done has flowed out of that abuse. Okay, so I say that to say, if you have not been in that position the reason why it was important to me to fight this defamation might not be clear. But the reason is so important for me to fight that defamation, this defamation, is that I am a teacher. And in my classroom, there are women who have been sexually assaulted or sexually abused, there might be men who’ve been abused as a child. And when they look on the New York Times website, and the headline says, Lessig defends taking money from Jeffrey Epstein, they become, they react they will react the way I reacted as I heard Richard Epstein [sic] defending pedophilia, and it will be impossible for them to hear me if they understand me to be that sort person. So, in my experience, and in the context that I work, it was extremely important for me to make sure that this impression that I, in fact, did what the New York Times said I did was not true. Now, you know, the way I tried to do that originally was the way all of us try to deal with this type of problem in the modern digital age. When the headline came out, and the lead came out, I contacted the New York Times and I said, what the hell, you know, this isn’t true. I didn’t actually – I said it more playful, you know, quiet way, I didn’t directly say, please change it. I said, you know, seems that your headline editor got out of control here. Okay. It’d be great if you could fix that. And, to my astonishment, they didn’t fix it. To my astonishment, they continue to allow the headline to present a fact which is just false. In a way that is extremely harmful to me, and especially to me, because especially someone who has experienced this in the way that I have experienced to be placed into that light by them, you know, knowingly given the complaint, both before it was published and also after it was published, you know, constitutes what we call defamation. You open by saying this is a new kind of defamation, there’s nothing new about this. This is knowingly publish, publishing a false and defamatory fact. And, you know, in the internet age, I think the response should be they should take it down. They refuse to and so that’s why it became essential for me to take the next step.

        • “I Love Free Software Day”: Swipe (copy)left on dating apps

          Every year, Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) encourages supporters to celebrate Valentine’s Day as “I Love Free Software Day,” a day for supporters to show their gratitude to the people who enable them to enjoy software freedom, including maintainers, contributors, and other activists. It seems appropriate on this holiday to once again address how seeking love on the Internet is, unfortunately, laden with landmines for your freedom and privacy. But today, I’m also going to make the argument that our community should think seriously about developing a freedom-respecting alternative.

      • Programming/Development

        • Checksumming in filesystems, and why ZFS is doing it right

          Before jumping into ZFS let’s look at how checksumming could be implemented in a simpler manner, and what problems it addresses and which it doesn’t. As an example, we will use NetApp the Write-Anywhere-File-Layout (WAFL) and it’s feature called block checksum (BCS). In BCS the hard drives were formatted with a 520 byte per sector, instead of the standard 512 bytes. Those additional 8 bytes were used for checksumming.

        • Testing your user contract

          When writing the code and exporting methods, ask yourself if the user needs to have access to this method or if you’re only doing it for testing purposes. You can always export more methods, you can’t always take exported methods away.

          When writing tests ask yourself how can the consumer interact with your code and what type of outcome is expected for those interactions and them make sure you have those documented and assertions in your tests.

          Don’t test implementation details of an exported method or UI component. Consider moving those to a different user contract if you feel they need direct testing.

        • Toward _FORTIFY_SOURCE parity between Clang and GCC

          GCC combined with glibc can detect instances of buffer overflow by standard C library functions. When a user passes the -D_FORTIFY_SOURCE={1,2} preprocessor flag and an optimization level greater or equal to -O1, an alternate, fortified implementation of the function is used when calling, say, strcpy. Depending on the function and its inputs, this behavior may result in a compile-time error, or a runtime error triggered upon execution. (For more info on this feature, there’s an excellent blog post here on the subject).

        • Perl / Raku

          • Traditional Perl 5 classes and objects 11.02.20 16:23

            Last summer I read chromatic’s Modern Perl, and was recommended to default to using Moo or Moose to define classes, rather than writing code to bless things into objecthood myself. At the time the project I was working on needed to avoid any dependencies outside of the Perl core, so I made a mental note of the advice, but didn’t learn how to use Moo or Moose. I do remember feeling like I was typing out a lot of boilerplate, and wishing I could use Moo or Moose to reduce that.

            In recent weeks I’ve been working on a Perl distribution which can freely use non-core dependencies from CPAN, and so right from the start I used Moo to define my classes. It seemed like a no-brainer because it’s more declarative; it didn’t seem like there could be any disadvantages.

            At one point, when writing a new class, I got stuck. I needed to call one of the object’s methods immediately after instantiation of the object. BUILDARGS is, roughly, the constructor for Moo/Moose classes, so I started there, but you don’t have access to the new object during BUILDARGS, so you can’t simply call its methods on it. So what I needed to do was change my design around so as to be more conformant to the Moo/Moose view of the world, such that the work of the method call could get done at the right time. I mustn’t have been in a frame of mind for that sort of thinking at the time because what I ended up doing was dropping Moo from the package and writing a constructor which called the method on the new object, after blessing the hash, but before returning a hashref to the caller.

          • What’s new on CPAN – January 2020

            Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

          • MooX::Pression — now much faster

            The test suite for MooX::Pression used to run in 79 seconds on my laptop. Now it’s at 10 seconds.

            And no, I didn’t cut out any tests — I switched from using Keyword::Declare to a combination of Keyword::Simple and PPR. (Keyword::Declare is a wrapper around Keyword::Simple and PPR, but I found out by using them directly, I could massively improve compile-time speed.)

          • Introduction to Python Functions

            While seemingly “simple” to comprehend and use, functions can definitely be a bit of a hurdle to overcome when you’re new to Python or programming in general. In this article I’m going to break down what a function is and how you can use them to be a better coder.

          • tryexceptpass: Episode 3 – Decoupling Database Migrations at Application Startup
          • Deploy a Flask app on AWS EC2

            Flask is a web framework for python, meaning that it provides a simple interface for dynamically generating responses to web requests. Let’s start by launching a Flask server on an Amazon Web Services EC2 instance.

          • 6 Reasons Your Open-Source Data Science Pipeline Needs Attention Now

            Your enterprise data scientists are almost certainly using Anaconda Distribution alongside 20 million other practitioners worldwide. The Anaconda Distribution is a package and environment manager designed for solo data scientists, and it is the most efficient and convenient way to manage thousands of open-source data science packages. Data scientists use it to download open-source Python, R, and Conda packages to analyze, explore, and visualize data and to create machine learning models.

            So the question is, who is managing and governing this open-source pipeline in your organization? Our guess is probably no one – and that’s not good. Here’s why it’s important, and why you need Anaconda Team Edition to do it.

          • Python 3.7.5 : Using the hug framework – part 001.

            Today I will come with another tutorial series about the hug framework.
            The hug framework is on the top 3 performing web frameworks for Python and comes with the cleanest way to create HTTP REST APIs on Python 3.
            The official webpage can be found hug web page with a good area for learn.
            Let’s install this python package.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #407 (Feb. 11, 2020)
          • Playing and Recording Sound in Python

            In this course, you’ll learn how to play and record sound in Python using some of the most popular audio libraries. You’ll learn about the most straightforward methods for playing and recording sound first, and then you’ll learn about some libraries that offer some more functionality in exchange for a few extra lines of code.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Could JPEG2000 Finally Take Off In 2020? It’s A Possibility With High Throughput HTJ2K

        While the standard is now two decades old and has yet to unseat the JPEG image standard in popularity, there is renewed interest in JPEG2000 with High Throughput JPEG 2000 (HTJ2K) and finally seeing increased software support. Collabora’s Aaron Boxer thinks that JPEG2000 could finally be going mainstream.

        Besides there no longer being any known patent/legal risk around JPEG 2000, back in 2018 the High Throughput JPEG 2000 (HTJ2K) work was announced that has all of the JPEG 2000 features but is much faster and still more efficient than traditional JPEGs. Those wishing to learn more about High Throughput JPEG 2000 can do so via HTJ2K.com and this whitepaper.

      • Mozilla lost the browser wars. It still thinks it can save the [Internet].

        Increasingly, Mozilla seems to believe its best chance to save the [Internet] — even if it doesn’t help the bottom line — is to venture outside its own products. Above the browser, above the ad networks, above the tech companies altogether. The only way to fight Google, Facebook and the rest of the seemingly unstoppable tech giants is to change the structure and technology of the [Internet] itself.

  • Leftovers

    • Mergers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • When You Set Out To Block Misinformation, You Can Wind Up Blocking A Hero Like Li Wenliang

        Combating disinformation and misinformation online is an admirable goal. However, we often criticize overly broad attempts to do so, noting that they could lead to censorship of important, accurate, and useful information. Here’s a somewhat tragic case study of that in action. You may have heard late last week about anger in China over the death of doctor Li Wenliang, a physician who had tried to warn people about the new coronavirus well before most others had realized how dangerous it was. Dr. Li eventually caught the virus himself and passed away, sparking tremendous anger online:

      • Robot-assisted high-precision surgery has passed its first test in humans

        A trial of a new high-precision surgical robot used to operate on women with breast cancer found the system is safe. 

      • Bt Cotton: Cultivating Farmer Distress in India

        Later this month, India’s Supreme Court will hold a lengthy hearing on the commercialisation of genetically modified (GM) mustard, which would be the country’s first GM food crop. The court has asked the chair of the Technical Expert Committee to be present and says that the decision on GM mustard cannot be kept pending. The TEC has come out against using genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Indian agriculture.

      • No, there’s no evidence that cell phones give you cancer

        A new review from the FDA says it finds no evidence linking the two, but that research should continue.

      • Asbestos, Ubiquitous and Avoidable, Is a Deadly Threat to Our Kids

        Like cigarettes, asbestos is a time bomb causing disease in victims decades after exposure—in this case lung cancer and mesothelioma.

      • Help Us Understand How the Cost of Diabetes Care Is Threatening Lives

        There are 30 million people with diabetes in the United States. ProPublica is spending the next year examining why care has become inaccessible for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people across the country with the condition. We want to learn more about the consequences of unaffordable treatment.

        To do this reporting, we want to hear from as many diabetes patients and their relatives, researchers, medical professionals, lawmakers and pharmaceutical representatives as we can. We want to understand the obstacles to affordable care.

      • Can CAM help alleviate musculoskeletal symptoms in breast cancer patients from aromatase inhibitors like letrozole?

        Given that my specialty is breast cancer surgery, I know that breast cancer patients tend to be very receptive to “natural” treatments of the sort in “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM), now more “officially” known as “integrative medicine” or, in the case of oncology, “integrative oncology.” Fortunately, the vast majority of patients generally use these treatments alongside their conventional medical care for breast cancer. Unfortunately, I still see maybe once a year a patient who opted to use, for example, naturopathy or traditional Chinese medicine instead of the conventional multimodality treatment consisting of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy (when indicated), Herceptin (for HER2-positive tumors), and hormonal therapy (for estrogen-responsive tumors). It is thus not surprising that the use of alternative medicine and “complementary medicine” are associated with shorter survival among cancer patients. The main argument for the use of “integrative oncology,” though, is not improved survival but allegedly improved symptom control, particularly symptoms that result from side effects of treatment, particularly side effects of chemotherapy and, in breast cancer, hormonal therapy. But is there good evidence that the various unscientific and unproven treatments “integrated” into integrative oncology do this? A recent study suggest that the answer is no, at least for one specific indication, relieving the symptoms due to blocking estrogen activity using a drug called letrozole. Naturally, I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.

      • Fresh water from sunshine can keep thirst at bay

        Seaside communities with plenty of sun can soon have ample fresh water without any need for electricity.

      • How to Yellow-Cake a Tragedy: the NY Times Spreads the Virus of Hatred, Again

        The 2019 Novel Coronavirus, first detected late last year in the hub city of Wuhan, China is a rapidly-spreading viral disease, often characterized by a cluster of acute respiratory symptoms. The virulence of this outbreak has put most of China under a lockdown: over 50 million people have been quarantined in the immediate region; 40,000 people have been infected, and over 900–and counting–have died.  Many neighboring Chinese cities also have restrictions on travel and movement to stem the tide of infection; and across the country, all of China is facing restrictions and hardship.  In the face of this sudden and tragic crisis–and the extraordinary social distancing measures the Chinese government has taken to safeguard public health and prevent infection–the western media has made a highly political choice on how to report about it.

      • People are More Frightened of Coronavirus Than They Need to be, But the Culprit is not Who You Think

        If I was sitting in a restaurant and said in a loud voice that I had probably contracted coronavirus, many other customers might get up and leave. But I would be telling the literal truth: I have had a persistent sniffle for weeks and coronaviruses cause the common cold.

      • This is what happens when you get the coronavirus

        The epidemic of a novel coronavirus spreading from central China has sickened more than 43,000 people and killed more than 1,000, eclipsing the death toll from a related virus, SARS.

        Antonio Regalado

      • China has launched an app so people can check their risk of catching the coronavirus

        The news: China has launched a new “close contact detector” app that lets people check their level of risk for catching the coronavirus. It tells users if they have been near someone who has been confirmed or suspected of having the virus. The app was developed by government departments and the state-owned China Electronics Technology Group, using data collected by health and transport authorities, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua. The coronavirus has now spread from Wuhan in central China to almost every province in the country and around the world. It’s infected over 40,000 people and killed over 1,000, virtually all of them in China.

      • An Erosion of Trust: Coronavirus’ Compounding Effect on Xi Jinping’s Leadership

        China, and in particular the leader of its ruling party, are facing one of their biggest tests, in the form of one of their ‘smallest’ threats – a microscopic virus that threatens to sweep the world. James Devenish explains.

      • Rise in sulfur dioxide could be sign of mass cremations in Wuhan

        On Sunday, images of Windy.com maps started to appear on social media, showing an alarmingly high level of sulfur dioxide being released, with no other city in China showing similar concentrations with the exception of Chongqing. Over the past few weeks, the death toll from the Wuhan virus has continued to mount, and as the true numbers appear to be suppressed, there have been accounts and anecdotal evidence of disproportionate use of crematoria in Wuhan.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Lessons learned maintaining EdgeDeflector for Windows 10

          Three years ago, I released EdgeDeflector; a tiny open-source utility program for Windows 10. It reinforces the default web browser setting in situations when Microsoft ignores its own setting and pushes you to use its Edge browser instead. It’s a tiny software project that I’ve not had to write any new code for in years. However, supporting it has proven a frustrating experience.

          The origin story of EdgeDeflector is a tiny act of rebellion against tech behemoths abusing their market positions. Microsoft uses Windows 10 features like Search, Cortana, and others to force users to open links in its Microsoft Edge web browser. The operating system has a default web browser setting, but Microsoft circumvents this setting in certain parts of its operating system. It doesn’t respect the choices of its consumers to not use its software. EdgeDeflector gave back this control.

          EdgeDeflector was positively received by users and has been downloaded over 300 000 times. 265 000 through the project page on GitHub and 35 000 times from mirrors. It popped up in all the Windows news/fan blogs within a few months of its launch. It still occasionally receives coverage from tech blogs with nothing more original to cover.

        • I opened up Edge to test something and it added BING as a search provider in Firefox. The only thing in there before was DuckDuckGo.
        • City Reviewing Recommendations from Cyberattack Assessment [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Deloitte & Touche has completed its assessment of the incident and provided the City of Pensacola with areas of strength along with opportunities for improvement, which the city will be evaluating and implementing where feasible to increase network security.

        • Project Lurus: Executive Summary [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Timeline of attack

        • Cybersecurity firm says criminals are preying on coronavirus fears to spread malware

          California-based Proofpoint says it has detected a new email campaign that uses Microsoft Word attachments designed to trick recipients into installing a type of malware known as AZORult, malicious software that can steal sensitive information from a user’s computer.

          Proofpoint says criminals have been exploiting a vulnerability in Word to spread AZORult and other malware since at least 2016, including for downloading ransomware that can lock victims out of their systems unless they pay. However, there is currently no evidence that ransomware has been used in this latest scam.

        • Ransomware Hits North Miami Beach Police Department [iophk: Windows TCO]

          No other information regarding the attack has been released and the identity of the intruders, along with the type of ransomware used, remain unknown.

        • Microsoft releases new Windows 10X emulator and tools for developers to create dual-screen apps
        • Microsoft Updates Surface Duo SDK, Introduces macOS and Linux Support [Ed: Hard to think of anyone who would use that...]
        • Audit Indicates Intuit Made $1 Billion By Hiding Free File Program From The Public

          It’s been quite a long and frustrating walk for us in covering the lengths to which Intuit went to hide the free to file tax program. This is the program that it is legally mandated to offer. If you’re not caught up, the IRS struck a deal with the big tax prep companies out there, promising not to offer and expand its own free file programs, but only if companies like Intuit offer their own free file programs. Intuit did as instructed with its TurboTax product, except that the company then went about hiding the website for the free to file program from search engines and the internet, all while dropping the word “free” into as many places on the website for the paid services site it also runs. Then, because evil is an addictive drug, Intuit went ahead and lied to a bunch of customers to avoid refunding their money when it got caught in all this, informed its own employees that it bilked the public for their own good, and was even eventually found to have wrapped itself in the American flag while swindeling active duty soldiers as well.

        • The End Of Ownership: Tesla Software Updates Giveth… And Tesla Software Updates Taketh Away…

          A few years back, we wrote about how Tesla automagically extended the range of Teslas in Florida as a hurricane was approaching. While this sounded good, we warned that this wasn’t a good thing, when you realized it meant that what you bought could magically and secretly be changed without your permission or desire. In the Florida case, it was for a good purpose, but that wouldn’t always be the case. So, it’s little surprise that approximately half of all Techdirt readers decided to send me this story from Jalopnik of how Tesla remotely disabled its Autopilot feature on a 2nd hand Tesla Model S after it had been sold:

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Kubernetes administration policy made easy with brewOPA

                Cloud-native computing — with such technologies as Kubernetes, service-mesh, and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) — is revolutionizing IT. But managing can still be a major pain in the server. That’s where Open Policy Agent (OPA), an open-source Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) project, comes in. But it has its own steep learning curve. Cyral with brewOPA wants to ease their climb and make managing policies across cloud-native platforms much easier.

              • Linux Foundation Training Announces a Free Online Course- Ethics in AI and Big Data

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of a new, free course – Ethics in AI and Big Data. This course is offered through edX, the trusted platform for learning.

                The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us; the physical, digital, and biological worlds are being fused in a way that has a tremendous impact on our global culture and economy. It is no secret that people, machines, data, and processes are increasingly connected in today’s world. While technological advancements like AI bring along promises and opportunities, they also raise concerns about security, user privacy, data misuse, and more. Trust is critical when it comes to AI adoption. People have a tendency to distrust artificial intelligence. It is the responsibility of business and data professionals to change that: add transparency, develop standards and share best practices to build trust, and drive AI adoption. A recent IBM study highlights that globally, 78% of respondents believe “it is very or critically important that they can trust that their AI’s output is fair, safe, and reliable.”

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (checkstyle), Fedora (poppler), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (389-ds:1.4, java-1.7.1-ibm, java-1.8.0-ibm, nss-softokn, and spice-gtk), and Scientific Linux (spice-gtk).

          • The Linux Kernel Now Seeing Patches For AMD SEV-ES “Encrypted State” Support

            While since 2016~2017 AMD has been posting Linux kernel patches for Secure Memory Encryption (SME) and Secure Encrypted Virtualization, coming out this morning is finally the first public patch series wiring up the Linux kernel for SEV-ES as further enhancing virtualization encryption.

            On top of the Secure Encrypted Virtualization support that’s been plumbed into the mainline Linux kernel and related components for a while now, AMD and SUSE developers have sent out the patches today for SEV “Encrypted State” support.

          • Outlaw Hacking Group Updates Toolkit To Mine Monero (XMR) And Kill Off The Competition

            The cybersecurity firm Trend Micro says it has detected the Outlaw hacking group has been upgrading its stealing-from-enterprises data kit for about half a year already.

            Outlaw has been very quiet since June 2019, only to become active again in December, when it started making upgrades to the stealing data kits. It seems now they’re able to target more systems, says a Trend Micro analysis from February 10. They can steal data from the finance and automotive industries.

          • Hackers Group “Outlaw” Back to Business with Updated Kit

            The “Outlaw” hacking group has emerged out of the shadows again, and according to the analysis of Trend Micro researchers, they are using updated exploitation kits. As it becomes evident now, the cybercriminals had paused their activity in order to work on their toolkits, which is crucially important when trying to launch successful attacks. The updates bring better target scanning capabilities, improved evasion techniques, looped file execution via error messages, and detection and removal of previous versions of miners used by the same actors. Right now, the group is tentatively testing their new tools in the wild by targeting new and old targets in the United States and Europe.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Official: Sudan to Hand Over Omar al-Bashir for Genocide Trial

        Sudan’s transitional authorities have agreed to hand over ousted autocrat Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to face trial on charges of war crimes and genocide, a top Sudanese official said Tuesday, in a deal with rebels to surrender all those wanted in connection with the Darfur conflict.

      • Cameroon: Election Violence in Anglophone Regions

        Armed separatists in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions kidnapped over 100 people, burned property, and threatened voters in the period before the February 9, 2020 elections. State security forces did not adequately protect civilians from the threats posed by the separatists but rather committed further abuses against them during the same period.

        “Separatist leaders should issue clear instructions to their fighters to end their crimes against civilians,” said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “The government of Cameroon should ensure that its security forces put civilians first, by stopping their violations, prioritizing civilian protection, and holding abusers accountable.”

      • Russia: Harsh Verdicts in Controversial Terrorism Cases

        Russian military courts handed down guilty verdicts on February 5 and 10, 2020 in three separate, deeply flawed terrorism cases in which the defendants alleged incommunicado detention, torture, and other ill-treatment to extract confessions, Human Rights Watch said today. A total of 18 defendants in the cases were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six to 23 years.

        The trials were also marred by the prosecution and judges’ refusal to rigorously investigate complaints of abuse, and by their reliance on dubious expert analysis and use of anonymous “secret witnesses.” In one of the cases, the very existence of the alleged terrorist organization remains in question.

      • Trump Proposes 25 Percent Drop in Fund Designed to Deter Russia

        The line item shrinking funds for European support is contained within a subsection of the overall budget known as Overseas Contingency Operations or OCO, a flexible account that many critics consider a de facto slush fund for the Pentagon. All other funds within that proposed budget were slashed for the coming year, including support for local Afghan security forces, for Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting the Islamic State group and other international security partnerships.

        Trump unilaterally withheld a portion of the fund specifically designed for support to Ukraine last summer at the same time as a telephone conversation in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate a political rival. The circumstances, which were subject to multiple whistleblower complaints, spurred outrage from Congress that prompted impeachment proceedings.

      • Philippines signals intent to end military agreement with U.S

        Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said in a tweet that Manila’s notice of termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) was received by the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The termination would take effect after 180 days unless both sides agree to keep the pact.

        Locsin signed the notice on the order of Duterte, who has often criticized U.S. security policies while praising those of China and Russia despite the Philippine military’s close historic ties with its American counterpart.

      • Suspected Boko Haram Fighters Kill at Least 30 in Nigeria

        At least 30 people have been killed in Nigeria’s northeastern Borno region after suspected Boko Haram fighters set ablaze several trucks carrying passengers on Sunday night, eyewitnesses and residents told Reuters.

      • Jihadists kill, abduct dozens in Borno

        The decade-long Islamist insurgency has killed 36,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes in northeast Nigeria.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Revealed: how the Murdoch men looted $1.4 billion in salary from public companies

        After doing a painstaking deep dive through 20 years of annual reports produced by News Corp, 21st Century Fox, Fox Corp and BSkyB, michaelwest.com.au is able to produce the definitive account of Murdoch family salary looting of public companies.

        And we call it looting because the Murdochs only have board control over the public companies currently trading as News Corp and Fox Corp through an outrageous gerrymander which sees them control 40% of the votes but only around 17% of the stock.

        It’s a gerrymander that would make former Queensland Premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen blush because more than 60% of the shares on issues are denied a vote.

        This allows the Murdochs to stack their boards with compliant directors who in turn go along with ever worsening pay rips off for the controlling family, which these days only comprises the 88 year old patriarch Rupert and his reactionary eldest son Lachlan. (The women don’t tend to get a look in and the progressive son, James Murdoch, has quit his executive roles inside the family-controlled firms and is now publicly trashing News Corp’s Australian newspapers for pushing endless climate denialism.)

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Uruguay Steps Too Quickly into the Right to be Forgotten Quagmire

        The further the “Right to be Forgotten” (RTBF) online progresses from its original creation by Europe’s Court of Justice, the broader and more damaging its ramifications seem to be. The latest attempt to insert it is a rushed proposal in Uruguay. The complaints of multiple digital rights groups across Latin America show how unwise the Uruguayan proposal is—and how vexing efforts to adopt the right can quickly become.

        The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) started the current rash of RTBF proposals in 2014 by injecting the spirit of the “droit a l’oubli” laws of some of its member countries into pre-existing, European Union-wide, data protection law. The court’s decision in the case was aimed at Google’s search results, though it applied to all search engines, and required them to de-index web pages from search results at the request of individuals when those pages contained personal information that was “out-of-date, inaccurate, or irrelevant.”

      • Denmark defends Hong Kong protester ‘Pillar of Shame’ statue following Chinese pressure

        Officials from the Chinese Embassy in Denmark had attempted to pressure authorities into removing the statue, warning that it would damage relations between the two countries, according to newspaper Jyllands-Posten – citing a note from the City of Copenhagen which authorised the artwork.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Media giant Sanoma buys up rival’s local newspaper empire

        Media giant Sanoma is set to buy the local news outlets owned by rival Alma Media, including 15 newspapers in southern, central and western Finland.

      • Chinese video journalist Chen Qiushi, who covered coronavirus, missing in Wuhan

        Chinese authorities must immediately account for the whereabouts of journalist Chen Qiushi, and ensure that the media can cover the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan without fear of retribution, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

        Chen, a freelance video journalist, traveled to the city of Wuhan in Hubei province from Beijing on January 24 and began filming and reporting on the health crisis in the city, according to his posts on YouTube, where he has 440,000 followers, and Twitter, where he has more than 250,000 followers. His videos reported that local hospitals were short of resources and were struggling to handle the number of patients who needed treatment.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • CBP Employees Obtain New Accountability Shield With ‘Security Agency’ Designation

        Our nation’s border security agencies want to be national security agencies. ICE and CBP both made it clear they expected to be treated as Intelligence Community equals and given a seat at the grown-ups’ surveillance table. They got their wish. Trump’s “extreme vetting” wishes opened the door for the agencies’ access to NSA collections late last year.

      • Meet the ‘Mafia’ That Plunged the Border Patrol Into Crisis

        On a Saturday evening in late September, Deputy Chief Scott Luck gathered with family and friends in the crystal-chandeliered ballroom of the Trump National Golf Club, nestled along the shores of the Potomac River in Virginia, to celebrate his retirement after 33 years in the U.S. Border Patrol.

      • The Smoke
      • Democrats Are Stumped Over How to Undo Republican Takeover of Federal Courts

        With the help of Senate Republicans and the Federalist Society, President Donald Trump is transforming the federal judiciary.

      • Actor Jussie Smollett Faces 6 New Charges in Chicago

        Actor Jussie Smollett was indicted Tuesday for a second time on charges of lying to police about a racist and anti-gay attack he allegedly staged on himself last year in downtown Chicago.

      • Egypt: Rights Activist Detained, Allegedly Tortured
      • About Last Week – and the Accelerated Drives to Extinction and Fascism

        If, as some observers worry, the United States is undergoing an accelerated transition to full authoritarian class rule in the Donald Trump years, then the events of last week may be considered critical by later historians permitted to chronicle what happened.

      • Italy: Halt Abusive Migration Cooperation with Libya
      • South Asia Failing to Address Its Child Rape Problem

        Protests broke out in the Maldives recently after the rape of a 2-year-old girl. She had apparently been attacked by her father, grandfather, and great grandfather, all of whom were arrested. Her 82-year-old great grandfather had previously been investigated over allegations of sexual abuse of children but faced no charges because of his age. Numerous other cases have since surfaced around the island country of authorities failing to prosecute cases of child sexual abuse.

        And this failure is sadly repeated across South Asia. In Afghanistan, after activists documented the widespread sexual assault of schoolboys in Logar province, all the wrong things happened: some of the people who had exposed the crimes were detained and others received death threats, while powerful officials – including police officers – among the alleged perpetrators have yet to be charged with a crime.

      • Readers Say Our Database of Accused Priests Is Incomplete. They’re Not Wrong. Here’s Why.

        Two weeks ago, ProPublica launched the first-ever searchable database of clergy deemed “credibly accused” of sexual abuse and misconduct by the Catholic Church in the United States.

        The database has gotten more than a million views since it was published, and we have received a steady stream of feedback from users. Dozens of them have written to us with questions and concerns. Often, they’ve sent us missing data about individual clergy in our database. Sometimes, they’ve suggested priests they believe belong on our list.

      • Decriminalizing Sex Work Is Popular Among Democrats And Independents

        New polling shows a majority of American voters support decriminalizing sex work.

        A majority of Americans somewhat or strongly support the decriminalization of sex work. Nearly half of voters surveyed supported ending the policing of sex work, according to a January poll administered by Data For Progress and YouGov Blue.

      • Woman sues TSA after she says an officer groped her during a groin search

        The lawsuit was filed last week in US District Court for the Western District of North Carolina alleging civil battery by the United States and unreasonable search by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer. The suit seeks “actual damages for battery, loss of liberty, unconstitutional search and any emotional damages” stemming from claims that the female officer groped the woman’s vulva for self-gratification as well as to “humiliate, dominate, and control” her.

      • “Code is law” .. Technology is the regulator for today.

        The technology leads, and the law follows, or is it vice a versa? Both sides are trying to prove their superiority above the other. Thus the situation has lead to much distance between the two. Both these species use Language (legal and programming) to attain their vision. However, both of them do not understand what the other is speaking. Instead, they stand in awe, disbelief, or scared about each other, their work. Technologists gaged law as a distant, creature, a thing to be afraid.

        The end of the 20th century has marked the beginning of a world, the digital world. This world was designed for accessible communication, sharing of knowledge, and a home for mind. It created a sphere to be treated as equals without being discriminated against on the grounds of race, sex, color, caste, religion. It is a world that “is both everywhere and nowhere.” It is the reality of today. Now we have a parallel digital world to our physical world. The worlds are too conjoined to be separated.

        The early internet was designed to be anonymous, private, stateless, and borderless. In 1992 when Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee seamed the world with the World Wide Web. Nevertheless, the subsequent innovations destroyed the early virtues. Instead, it is now operating to be exact opposite its fundamental ethos. The systems which once promised anonymity and privacy now has become the biggest panopticon world has ever noticed.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • US Broadband Gaps Are Twice As Bad As The Government Claims

        For a country that likes to talk about “being number one” a lot, that’s sure not reflected in the United States’ broadband networks, or the broadband maps we use to determine which areas lack adequate broadband or competition (resulting in high prices and poor service). Our terrible broadband maps are, of course, a feature not a bug; ISPs have routinely lobbied to kill any efforts to improve data collection and analysis, lest somebody actually realize the telecom market is a broken mono/duopoly whose dysfunction reaches into every aspect of tech.

      • Why Is This Happening?: The internet is terrible now, and Tim Wu knows why:
    • Monopolies

      • China IP [sic] Forum: Supreme Court IP [sic] vice president calls for punitive damages focus 11.02.20 08:15

        Wang Chuang, vice president of the IP [sic] court at the Supreme People’s Court, has emphasised the need for all Chinese courts to focus on increasing punitive damages as a priority.

      • Can you fix it? The tension between the right to repair and intellectual property rights – Farming [Ed: Thomas Key pushes that lie that these are "rights" (and monopolies as "property") to make it seem like a "balance" when farmers are forbidden from repairing what they bought]
      • “Making federal buildings beautiful again”: Will there be a White House executive order on acceptable design of federal buildings?

        Since public buildings are funded from public moneys, it will come as no surprise that their design can be wrapped up in politics and bureaucracy. Consider the reports that President Trump is contemplating an executive order, entitled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again”, which will provide that “the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style” for various categories of federal buildings and building projects contracted through the General Services Administration (GSA) and costing more than $50 million.

        Executive orders emanate from the executive (the White House) rather than the legislative branch (Congress), meaning that they are not subject to legislative approval. If a final executive order is issued, the whiff of diktat in favor of neo-classical design (per Hyperallergic.com, emphasizing “symmetry, proportion, and columns … lots of columns”) will be “in”; modernist architectural design in its various forms, epitomized by Brutalism, will be “out”.

      • Patents

        • Nokia loses first German patent infringement case against Daimler: weak patent not essential to LTE

          The devaluation of a dying company’s overrated patent portfolio has begun today. At 9 AM local time, the Mannheim Regional Court announced its final judgment in the first of ten German Nokia v. Daimler patent infringement cases to have been adjudicated. As expected, the court with by far the best technical understanding of cellular standards in the world tosses Nokia’s complaint over EP2286629 on a “method and apparatus to link modulating and coding scheme to amount of resources.” Contrary to Nokia’s assertion, the patent is a far cry from being essential to the 4G/LTE standard.

          Industry insiders know that Nokia, which failed in the mobile handset market because it was more focused on saving costs than delivering a great user experience, had already lost many of its best engineers when most 4G/LTE-related patents were filed. In its official communications, Nokia talks about the tens of billions of euros it invested in research and development in years and, especially, decades past. But the 2010s were the decade when Nokia took a definitive downturn from which it’s not going to recover, short of a Finnish Steve Jobs emerging somewhere.

        • Patent case: Napp Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd v Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, UK

          The Court held that it had no jurisdiction to grant fortification of a cross-undertaking for damages where the injunction had been discharged. Further, the Court held that even if it had jurisdiction to do so, the evidence as to Napp’s financial position did not justify fortification of the cross-undertaking.

        • EIP boosts medtech practice with HGF partner

          He has experience of contentious IP, having represented clients in more than 250 opposition and appeal hearings at the European Patent Office (EPO).

          Heather McCann, partner at EIP, said: “Gareth has an impressive track record and expertise in the life sciences sector, having advised and represented a number of significant pharma companies, in particular with regards to their opposition and appeal strategies before the EPO.”

        • University of California gains ground after EPO backs CRISPR patent

          In a victory for the University of California, the European Patent Office (EPO) has affirmed a CRISPR patent issued to Emmanuelle Charpentier, the University of California, and the University of Vienna.

          The patent, European number EP2800811, covers uses in both cellular and non-cellular settings—including use in bacteria, plants, animals, and cells from vertebrate animals such as humans.

          After three days of hearings into the matter in February, the EPO rejected arguments filed in opposition and allowed the patent to stand, with “very minor” modifications, according to ERS Genomics (the company providing access to CRISPR/Cas9 IP owned by Charpentier).

          The EPO directed that two of the 23 original claims be modified and that two dependent claims were removed.

        • Munich I Regional Court Publishes Guidelines for FRAND Disputes

          Commentary, and a link to the guidelines in the original German, are available on JUVE Patent. An unofficial translation into English is available from Florian Mueller on FOSS Patents. The guidelines relate to the antitrust-based compulsory license defense, which under German and E.U. law means that the patent owner can’t get an injunction if, under the circumstances, it is abusing its dominant position. I may have more to say about the guidelines at some point.

        • USITC investigates Google speakers after Sonos complaint

          The US International Trade Commission will begin an investigation into certain Google audio players and controllers following a complaint from rival smart speaker maker Sonos that the import of such products infringes its patents

        • Software Patents

          • 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.

          • DivX, LLC patent determined to be likely invalid

            On February 10, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against US Patent 8,139,651, owned by DivX, LLC (a subsidiary of well-known NPE Fortress Investment Group) as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ’651 patent, directed to a method for deblocking reconstructed video frames, has been asserted in district court litigation against Netflix and Hulu. Unified is represented by Haynes and Boone in this proceeding.

          • Patents Must Promote, Not Hurt, Innovation

            I disagree with Paul R. Michel and Matthew J. Dowd that our patent laws don’t give adequate and clear protection to inventions (“America’s Innovators Need Clear Patent Laws,” op-ed, Jan. 24).

            They urge the reversal by Congress of Supreme Court rulings that prohibit the granting of patents for “abstract ideas” and “natural phenomena.” Abstract ideas, like mathematical formulas, computer code or simple ideas drawn on paper, and natural phenomena, like the discovery of particular DNA or naturally occurring chemical compounds,…

      • Trademarks

        • Catalan public broadcaster wins TM victory over EUIPO

          The Catalan public broadcaster has won a victory at the EU General Court, which yesterday, February 6, overturned a decision of the European Union Intellectual Property Office in a trademark opposition.

        • How Difficult is it to Successfully Claim a Color as Your Trademark?

          China’s Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, both of which found that the Paris-based footwear brand’s “3-D trademark” for a “high-heeled shoe with a red sole” was ineligible for registration, the Beijing High Court determined that the trademark at issue is, in fact, protectable. The decision hinged on the court’s identification of Louboution’s red sole not a 3-D mark that includes the design of a shoe, but instead, as a single color placed on the bottom of a shoe. Louboutin walked away with a sizable win, and protection in the jurisdiction for its specific use of the color red.

          The Chinese court’s decision followed from an earlier victory for Louboutin in the European Union. In a June 2018 decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”), the highest court in the now-27-member bloc, determined that despite a prior advisory opinion, Louboutin’s red sole is not prohibited from trademark protection, and actually, the color that appears on the Louboutin shoe sole – a specific shade of “Chinese red” – is just that, a color (that identifies a source), and it can be protected.

        • Stronger protection for figleaf trade marks in Italy

          Aperitivo is a famous Milanese tradition of pre-dinner drinks accompanied by often complimentary finger food. It stands for the drink, the food and the social situation itself: you could meet someone at an aperitivo while sipping a glass of wine as an aperitivo.

      • Copyrights

        • Fashion Piracy and Artificial Intelligence – Does the New Creative Environment Come with New Copyright Issues?

          The development of artificial intelligence (AI) creates challenges both for the copyright system and for the fashion industry. Nowadays and especially in the future, creative outputs by fashion designers are being challenged by AI-generated works. This is likely to create new copyright issues for an industry that is already notorious for its complex copyright environment. What is more, the approach that copyright law takes towards AI-generated fashion designs might have an effect on the sustainable development of the fashion industry.

          The key copyright challenge that the fashion industry faces is related to fashion designs passing the originality threshold and hence qualifying for protection. Because the functionality of a garment dictates its design usually at least to some extent, it is rather difficult for fashion designs to pass the originality threshold. In many cases, this reduces the legal risks of copying fashion designs. As long as the modern fashion industry has existed, it has struggled with copying, imitation and knock-offs. Hence, this paper has a particular focus on copyright infringement issues that the fashion industry is likely to face due to the increasing use of AI fashion designers.

        • Movie Companies File Lawsuits in Canada Targeting 3,348 Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

          Two companies behind the movies Angel Has Fallen and Rambo: Last Blood have filed lawsuits in the Federal Court of Toronto targeting 3,248 defendants said to have downloaded and distributed the movies in violation of copyright law. While the defendants’ identities are currently unknown, once discovered they are likely to be hit with demands for cash settlements.

        • Steal This Show S05E05: ‘Russia’s Sandworm’

          Today we bring you the next episode of the Steal This Show podcast, discussing renegade media and the latest decentralization and file-sharing news. In this episode, we talk to Andy Greenberg, book author and senior writer at Wired Magazine.

        • .CA Domain Registry Objects to Pirate Site Blocking Order

          The .CA domain registry CIRA has asked the Federal Court of Appeal to hear its objections against the first Canadian pirate site blocking order. According to the registry, these blockades jeopardize its mission to provide high-quality registry and DNS services, while noting there are more suitable alternatives.

        • Juice WRLD Family Members Getting Dragged Into $15MM Copyright Suit

          Surviving Juice WRLD family members are now being dragged into a massive, $15 million copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Yellowcard prior to the rapper’s death.

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