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02.16.20

Links 16/2/2020: MX Linux 19.1 and MyPaint 2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 3:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Maui Project Wants to Bring Convergent Apps to Linux Desktops and Android

      Maui Project is creating MauiKit, a free and open-source modular front-end framework built with KDE Project’s Kirigami UI framework for creating mobile and convergent apps and Qt Quick Controls 2, a collection of templated controls and tools for building complete user interfaces in Qt Quick.

      MauiKit aims to help application developers build convergent apps that work seamlessly on desktop computers and mobile phones, but a lot faster, using known technologies like C++, QML, and Qt.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • An Alternative to Windows 7

        Probably not that many are familiar with the name of Mark Shuttleworth; more may be aware of his accomplishments. In the mid-1990s he founded Thawte Consulting. The company, specialized in digital certificates and internet security, was later acquired by VeriSign, earning Shuttleworth a substantial amount of money. From 2004, Shuttleworth invested in developing Ubuntu Linux.

        For a long time, the public perception of Linux software has been that is only something IT professionals are able to use, requiring a lot of additional coding and fine-tuning. While this is true for a specific part of the Linux ecosystem, there are many projects designed to bring Linux as close as possible to everyday users. Ubuntu is one of them. So what are the pros and cons of considering Ubuntu Linux as a replacement for Windows 7.

      • Every time Windows 10 Updates, it deletes all saved desktop icons, clears my taskbar, deletes all my saved favorites, passwords, and more!

        Every time my PC updates my desktop wallpaper goes back to default, and all saved icons, favorites, passwords, etc are gone. Every. Single. Time. This is getting tiring and I’m losing so much time at work saving my icons again, paswords, etc. What is going on? Also keeps changing my default printer even when the box is left un-checked, when the computer updates and restarts the box will be checked. Its almost as if the computer is set back to default after every update. Please help. I’ve tried quite a few things to fix and no luck.

      • February Win10 1903 and 1909 cumulative update, KB 4532693, causing desktops to disappear

        Microsoft should be paying you to beta test their buggy patches.

      • Windows 10: Update KB4532693 kills user data/profile

        There are reports that cumulative update KB4532693 for Windows 10 versions 1903 and 1909 dated February 11, 2020, is causing significant issues for some users. Desktop gone, files gone, icons gone and more.

      • Second Windows 10 update is now causing problems by hiding user profiles

        Windows 10 users are reporting that a second Windows update included in this month’s Patch Tuesday is causing problems.

        According to reports, a bug in the KB4532693 update is hiding user profiles and their respective data on some Windows 10 systems.

    • Server

      • How Ceph powers exciting research with Open Source

        As researchers seek scalable, high performance methods for storing data, Ceph is a powerful technology that needs to be at the top of their list. Ceph is an open-source software-defined storage platform. While it’s not often in the spotlight, it’s working hard behind the scenes, playing a crucial role in enabling ambitious, world-renowned projects such as CERN’s particle physics research, Immunity Bio’s cancer research, The Human Brain Project, MeerKat radio telescope, and more. These ventures are propelling the collective understanding of our planet and the human race beyond imaginable realms, and the outcomes will forever change how we perceive our existence and potential. It’s high-time Ceph receives the praise it deserves for powering some of the most exciting research projects on Earth.

      • Kubernetes’ Inevitable Takeover of the Data Center
      • How To Drive Infrastructure Like Uber Does
    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 340

        Thoughts about licensing. Coffee. Then thoughts about Java.

      • This Week in Linux 93: MATE 1.24, KDE Plasma 5.18, Blender, OpenShot, Evernote, MX Linux

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we have monster of a show with new releases from desktop environments like MATE and KDE Plasma to distro news from MX Linux, Ubuntu, Project Trident and Tiny Core. In App News this week, we see new releases from Blender, OpenShot and some interesting news from Evernote. We’ll also talk about some updates from TLP the laptop performance project and Wayland display server protocol. Later in the show, we’ll check out a cool gaming overlay project called MangoHud and we’ll discuss some Legal News related to Mycroft AI and their fight against a “Patent Troll”. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • Reiser5 Updates For Linux 5.5 Along With Reiser4

        The out-of-tree Reiser4 and Reiser5 (Reiser4 v5) patches have been updated against the recently stabilized Linux 5.5 kernel.

        Main Reiser4 developer Edward Shishkin re-based the Reiser4 file-system patch against Linux 5.5.1 along with the experimental Reiser5.

        At the end of 2019 is when Shishkin announced Reiser5 file-system development with introducing the concepts of local volumes capable of parallel scaling out and other key iterations over the current Reiser4 design.

      • Linux 5.7 To See USB Fast Charge Support For Apple iOS Devices

        The Linux 5.7 kernel that will be out in the late spring / early summer is poised to see support for USB fast charging support for Apple iOS devices.

        Currently if charging an Apple iPhone / iPad from a USB port by default it will not draw more than 500mA per specifications. However, iOS devices can draw more power when communicated to do so via Apple’s protocol. With Linux 5.7 a new “apple-mfi-fastcharge” driver will allow this capability of up to 2500mA.

        The apple-mfi-fastcharge driver will allow setting the power supply property via sysfs to “fast” and in turn lets the iOS device draw more power from the USB port, similar to the behavior of MFi certified chargers.

      • Apple Firmware Update For Magic Keyboards Decides To Change The Fn Key

        Linux has supported the Apple Magic Keyboards since 2018 handling the Bluetooth connectivity and also needing some special handling for the numeric keypad. While that normally would be the end of the story, recent firmware updates to the Apple Magic Keyboard have caused problems.

        Newer Apple firmware updates to the Magic Keyboards have caused the function (Fn) keys to be reported differently. So on current Linux kernels when running on an Apple keyboard with updated firmware, the Fn key may not behave correctly.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux Driver Fixes Vulkan Game Crashes, New Extensions

          Not scheduled to go live until Monday but up this weekend is the NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux beta driver that offers a few Vulkan updates.

          The NVIDIA 440.58.01 Linux driver fixes a regression that caused some Vulkan games to crash due to swapchain issues. Affected games include at least F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and DiRT 4. This beta driver also fixes a visual glitching issue when falling out of page-flipping such as alt-tabbing on Linux.

        • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta driver out for Linux fixing some regressions

          NVIDIA continue being quick to advance their Vulkan drivers as today they released an update to their special Beta branch.

          440.58.01 is out which adds in support for two more Vulkan extensions with VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info and VK_EXT_tooling_info which sounds quite useful to help developers track down what might be causing an error.

          For games this release fixes up a Vulkan swapchain recreation crash with F1 2017, Rise of the Tomb Raider and DiRT 4. NVIDIA also solved an issue with visual glitching of Vulkan applications when “falling out of flipping” with an example being when you alt+tab, however they’re still investigating an issue to do with this on the GNOME desktop.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Quick Look At The Blender 2.82 Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs

        With Blender 2.82 having released on Friday, this weekend we’ve begun our benchmarking of this new Blender release as the leading open-source 3D modeling solution currently available. Here are some preliminary v2.81 vs. v2.82 figures on different higher-end Intel and AMD processors.

        This is just a quick look at how we’re seeing the Blender 2.82 performance on a number of distinct systems for comparing the old and new releases as well as a rough look at how these various Intel and AMD processors are comparing.

    • Applications

      • Open Source Graphics App MyPaint 2.0 Released with Major Improvements

        Open source artists should check out the latest release of MyPaint, as it scored a substantial update this weekend.

        The new MyPaint 2.0.0 release succeeds MyPaint 1.2, released back in 2017, and brings a stack of new features and improved tools with it.

        MyPaint is notable for its compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets (and similar devices), including both pressure and tilt-sensitivity, as well as it’s support for both conventional and unconventional brush types. It also has a full-screen ‘distraction free’ mode.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released With New Features For Open-Source Drawing/Painting

        If the likes of GIMP and Krita aren’t satisfying your digital drawing/painting needs, MyPaint 2.0 has finally been released as a big update to this simplicity-minded, cross-platform and open-source program.

        MyPaint 2.0 debuted this weekend as a big update for this open-source artistic software following more than a dozen alpha releases over the past year and as their first big release since 2017.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Open-Source Drawing and Paining App Adds Major New Features

        After more than a year in development, MyPaint 2.0 is finally here and it looks like it’s a major release adding many goodies for passionate digital artists. This version replaces the MyPaint 1.2 series as the latest stable release due to important changes to brush parameters and a whole new layer mode.

        The developers explain that layer mode featured in this release uses a brand new compositing method, making files created with MyPaint 2.0 incompatible with earlier releases. Furthermore, the brush stroke data created in MyPaint 2.0 won’t work properly in previous versions of the software.

      • MyPaint 2.0 is Here With Brushes, Python 3 Support and More Features

        MyPaint is one of the top open source alternatives to Microsoft Paint. It’s a handy little tool that allows you to quickly sketch and draw. While there are more sophisticated open source tools for digital artists like Krita, MyPaint is not too bad for light sketching.

        You can also use it on Wacom touch devices without much trouble.

        MyPaint has a major new release with support for Python 3, new layer mode, new brush parameters among other changes.

      • Free Editing Software RawTherapee Adds Impressive ‘Capture Sharpening’ Feature

        Free Lightroom alternative RawTherapee just released version 5.8. And in addition to the usual compatibility and performance improvements, the open source software has also added an impressive new feature called “Capture Sharpening.”

        According to the release notes, Capture Sharpening specifically addresses detail that is lost to lens blur (AKA diffraction). “It takes place right after demosaicing, and as it works in linear space it is not prone to haloing,” reads the description. “Capture Sharpening in combination with Post-Resize Sharpening allows for detailed and crisp results.”

        People who use RawTherapee as their raw photo editor of choice will tell you that it’s already phenomenal at sharpening, and this only makes it that much better. If you don’t need the cataloging or advanced masking tools available in Darktable, RawTherapee might be your open source Lightroom alternative of choice.

      • Open Source Audio-Video: 8 Replacements for Expensive Applications

        Open source audio-video software offers an alternative to paying for expensive proprietary software. And in many cases, the open source options are as good as or better than the comparable commercial, proprietary solutions. In fact, users site the top reasons why they use open source software as: the features, freedom from vendor lock-in and the quality of the solutions. Price and total cost of ownership weren’t even on the list. In other words, people are using open source because the software is so good, and the fact that it is free is just a side benefit.

        The list of audio-video software below includes a variety of open source software for home users and SMBs. All of these applications can replace commercial products that can carry high prices. Even if buyers choose to purchase support or other services for their open source software, the open source options are generally much more affordable than the comparable proprietary solutions.

      • Record screencast or web cam video with VokoscreenNG an open source program for Windows and Linux

        VokoscreenNG is an open source screen casting program for Windows and Linux. It can be used to record videos from your webcam or the screen content, along with the audio source that you choose.

        [...]

        You can use this to record the content on the screen. You have two options to choose from: fullscreen and area. Fullscreen mode captures everything on the screen and supports monitor selection if you have multiple monitors. Area mode has preset resolutions that you can pick to resize the view-finder to the corresponding size (say 320 x 200 pixels). You can of course drag the arrows on the screen to resize it and use it as free-region selector.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Comedy cosmic horror adventure ‘Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac’ releasing on February 26

        Mixing comedy with cosmic horror might seem a little weird and it is, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac is releasing with Linux support on February 26.

        The first game from French studio La Poule Noire, Edgar – Bokbok in Boulzac has you play as the eccentric outcast Edgar whose best friend is a Chicken. Unfortunately, a sudden disaster forces you out of your shack and towards the bright lights of the big city, Boulzac, where an 800 year old fire rages beneath the surface, and weird things are afoot.

      • Fusing a deck-builder and a narrative adventure ‘Iris and the Giant’ releases February 27 – demo up

        Developer Louis Rigaud and publisher Goblinz Studio have announced their fusion of a deck-builder with a narrative adventure and turn-based battles, Iris and the Giant, is going to release on February 27.

        They say it mixes together “a collectible card game with RPG and roguelike elements”, with you playing a Iris who must brave her fears in her imaginary world. Behind the game’s unique minimalist art style players will explore a touching story of a young woman facing her inner demons and soothing the raging giant inside.

      • Martian city-builder ‘The Farlanders’ has a big new release up with a Happiness system

        Sweet small city-builder The Farlanders is evolving into a bigger game, with a new release now up introducing some fresh game mechanics.

        A game covered here briefly last year, as a promising up-and-coming city-builder that was aiming to do things a little bit differently and that feeling continues with this new build. Version 0.3.0 introduces a Happiness system, there’s new types of terrain and terraforming options, new building types and the game has gone through an overhaul on the balance.

      • Explore a dark mansion in the survival horror ‘Westmark Manor’ releasing this year

        Sometime later this Summer, Westmark Manor will take you on a journey into the occult and the developer Nodbrim Interactive is planning to get it on Linux too.

        It’s a mixture of gameplay elements here with exploration, puzzle solving and survival and it sounds like plenty of inventory management too as you acquire the tools needed to progress through different rooms in a mansion. Two days ago they put up a reveal trailer and while a bit dark (visually), it gives an interesting look into the horrifying things you will get up to in Westmark Manor.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: Plasma bug-fixing and Samba bug-squashing

          Plasma 5.18 has been released! A ton of work went into this release and we’re very proud of it. However I’d like to apologize for it being a bit buggier than we’d have preferred. We’ve gone balls-to-the-wall off the chain bananas fixing the issues you folks are reporting! Almost all of the highest-profile issues are fixed already, to be released with Plasma 5.18.1 in a few days! And we’ve got the less major regressions in our sights too! But still, we know that stability hasn’t always been our strong suit and we’re aiming for a higher standard next time, discussing how we can get there. So thank you for your patience and understanding, and enjoy Plasma 5.18!

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Offers Better Integration With GTK/GNOME Applications

          The KDE community has come out with the new release of the open-source KDE Plasma Desktop environment, which is also the LTS (Long Term Support) version designed to run on GNU/Linux distributions.

          Offering a host of new features, Plasma 5.18 succeeds the aging Plasma 5.12 LTS.

          With the latest version, users can look forward to much better integration with GTK/GNOME applications. It also includes a varied change-log with tweaks affecting almost every part of the desktop experience.

          The developers behind Plasma 5.18 said that this new version of their favorite desktop environment is “easier and more fun” and also allows you to do more tasks faster.

        • Videos From KDE Talks at FOSDEM

          How QML, a language prominently used for designing UI, could be used to create title video clips containing text and/or images. The videos can then be rendered and composited over other videos in the video-editing process. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 project tried to achieve this and is still under active development.

          QML is used primarily for UI development in Qt Applications. It provides an easy way of designing and creating interactive, clean and a modern UI. Kdenlive is a popular non-linear open-source video editor and it currently makes use of XML to describe title clips — clips which contain text or images used to composite over videos. XML requires more processing in the backend as one needs to explicitly write code for, say an animation of the text. Using QML eases this restriction, making the backend more robust and maintainable as rendering in QML makes use of a dedicated Qt Scene Graph. Kdenlive’s Google Summer of Code 2019 student Akhil Gangadharan Kurungadathil tried to achieve this by creating a new rendering backend library and a new MLT QML producer which is still under active development. Owing to the dedicated scene graph while rendering, this could also possibly lead to greater overall performance.

        • KDE Sees Improvements For Samba Shares, Fixing Mouse Input For GTK Apps On XWayland

          While this week marked the release of KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS, KDE developers haven’t let up on their bug fixing activities and other improvements to this open-source desktop environment.

          Some of the highlights for other work this week besides pushing Plasma 5.18.0 out the door includes:

          - Support for creating and pasting files on Samba shares within Dolphin. There is also support for URLs beginning with cifs:// for paths to Samba shares and other KDE Dolphin improvements around Samba mounts, including support for showing the amount of free space on such shares.

        • KDE Plasma Desktop 5.18 Brings Significant Improvements. How to install [PPA]

          KDE Plasma desktop environment announced the release of its latest version 5.18. This is a long term support release (LTS) that provides security updates and support for the next two years – i.e. till 2022 while the regular versions maintained for only 4 months.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Most Beautiful Linux Distributions in 2020

        Here are some drop dead gorgeous Linux distributions that provide an overall pleasant desktop experience out of the box.

      • OSMC Skin update

        While we usually release a single monthly update, we’ve made a number of improvements to the OSMC skin and would like to get these changes out as promptly as possible for feedback.

        [...]

        To get the latest and greatest version of OSMC, simply head to My OSMC -> Updater and check for updates manually on your exising OSMC set up. Of course — if you have updates scheduled automatically you should receive an update notification shortly.

        If you enjoy OSMC, please follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and consider making a donation if you would like to support further development.

        You may also wish to check out our Store, which offers a wide variety of high quality products which will help you get the best of OSMC.

      • New Releases

        • Download Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 now

          Ever find yourself bored with the same ol’ “mainstream” Linux-based operating system such as Ubuntu, Fedora, or Mint? Yeah, I get it. Sometimes you just want to dig a bit deeper and try out something a tad less known. It can be fun to distro-hop and try new things!

          One such excellent Linux distribution is MX Linux. It has become wildly popular in the Linux community lately, but is still largely off the radar of those that aren’t “in the know.” Today, a new version of the operating system, MX Linux 19.1, becomes available for download. The Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and comes pre-loaded with some great software, such as Firefox, LibreOffice, and more.

        • MX-19.1 now available!

          Updated iso images

          –direct download:

          https://sourceforge.net/projects/mx-linux/files/Final/

          Mirrors will populate over time. Other download locations: https://mxlinux.org/download-links/

          Torrents here: https://mxlinux.org/torrent-files/

          We are pleased to offer MX-19.1. for your use.

          MX-19.1 is a refresh of our MX-19 release, consisting of bugfixes and application updates since our original release of MX-19. If you are already running MX-19, there is no need to reinstall. Packages are all available thru the regular update channel.

          Migration notes are here:

          Due to the increasing presence of users with newer hardware (particularly newer AMD or Intel hardware), with this release, in addition to the standard 32 bit and 64 bit isos with 4.19 LTS kernels, we are producing a third iso that we call “Advanced Hardware Support” or AHS (pronounced Oz) for short. AHS is 64 bit and ships with a debian 5.4 kernel, Mesa 19.2 as well as newer xserver drivers and various recompiled apps that will utilize the newer graphics stack. We debuted the AHS repository sometime ago (blog post here), and we thought the time was right for an iso with the AHS repo enabled by default. AHS is a little untested, but the idea is that it will receive updates to the graphics stack over time, so for those that don’t need the newer open source graphics stack, there is little point is using AHS.

        • MX Linux 19.1 Released with New “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO

          MX Linux 19.1 distribution is now available for download with a new “Advanced Hardware Support” ISO image for newer hardware and latest software updates from Debian GNU/Linux.

        • Q4OS 4.0 Gemini, testing

          We are happy to kick off development cycle of the Q4OS 4, the brand new major version codenamed ‘Gemini’. The Debian ‘Bullseye’ development branch underlies Q4OS Gemini, which will be in development until Debian Bullseye becomes stable, and it’s planned to be supported for five years from the official release date. Unlike previous installation media, Q4OS Gemini live media carries the full desktop software bundle, however a user can ask the Desktop profiler tool to strip the target system into one of predefined so called ‘Software profiles’ throughout the installation process.

          Feel free to download and try the new version out, bugs and glitches reporting would be very welcome, live bootable media are immediately available for download from the dedicated Testing releases page.

      • BSD

        • Announcing the NetBSD 9.0 release

          On behalf of the NetBSD project, it is my pleasure to announce the NetBSD 9.0 release.

          This is the seventeenth major release of the NetBSD operating system and brings significant improvements in terms of hardware support, quality assurance, security, along with new features and hundreds of bug fixes. Some highlights: [...]

        • The Call for Talk and presentation proposals for EuroBSDCon 2020 is now open.

          EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place September 17-20 2020 in Vienna, Austria. The tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday to registered participants and the talks are presented to conference attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

          The Call for Talk and Presentation proposals period will close on May 24th, 2020. Prospective speakers will be notified of accepteance or otherwise by June 2nd, 2020.

        • DragonFlyBSD 5.8-RC1 Is Ready With Many Changes From DSynth To Performance Optimizations

          Not only did NetBSD 9.0 make its debut today but DragonFlyBSD 5.8 was branched and its first release candidate made while DragonFlyBSD 5.9 is the version now open on Git master.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform Now Available For IBM Z, LinuxONE

          Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform is now available for IBM Z and IBM LinuxONE. OpenShift brings together the core open source technologies of Linux, containers and Kubernetes, adds additional open source capabilities such developer tools and a registry, and hardens, tests and optimizes the software for enterprise production use.

          As IBM puts it, the availability of OpenShift for Z and LinuxONE is a major milestone for both hybrid multicloud and for enterprise computing.

        • Can IBM’s New Duopoly Produce A Unifying Vision?
        • IBM Watson And The Value Of Open [Ed: Well, Watson is proprietary software. This is cheap, low-grade openwashing. See authors here. Forbes apparently takes IBM money for marketing/propaganda.]

          Not so long ago, back in 2011, IBM’s artificial intelligence technology (later packaged and sold as Watson) triumphed in the game of Jeopardy. Watson played against the two most successful contestants ever to appear on the show. This victory reflected the result of an enormous amount of work done by IBM and others to mine human language for the semantic meaning of words, and allow a machine to answer Jeopardy questions that would have been impossible for any computer just a few years earlier.

        • IBM CTO: Edge Will Implode Without Open Source [Ed: This guy is CTO of IBM proprietary software (Watson). Do as I say, not as I do...?]

          Edge computing devices are proliferating at an astonishing rate, jumping from about 15 billion devices today to about 55 billion by 2022, according to Rob High, VP and CTO of IBM Watson.

        • IBM on the first open source security platform
        • Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 Receives Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification

          Crunchy Data, the leading provider of trusted open source PostgreSQL technology and support, is pleased to announce that Crunchy PostgreSQL for Kubernetes 4.2 has achieved the “auto pilot” capability level as part of Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification. The “auto pilot” capability level designates the highest level of automation associated with Operator technologies, including PostgreSQL cluster self-healing after a failover event and advanced high-availability configurations for workloads sensitive to transaction loss.

        • Minicomputers and The Soul of a New Machine

          The Command Line Heroes podcast is back, and this season it covers the machines that run all the programming languages I covered last season. As the podcast staff puts it:

          “This season, we’ll look at what happens when idealistic teams come together to build visionary machines. Machines made with leaps of faith and a lot of hard, often unrecognized, work in basements and stifling cubicles. Machines that brought teams together and changed us as a society in ways we could only dream of.”

          This first episode looks at the non-fiction book (and engineering classic), The Soul of a New Machine, to look at a critical moment in computing history. It covers the transition from large, hulking mainframes to the intermediate step of the minicomputer, which will eventually lead us to the PC revolution that we’re still living in the wake of.

        • Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 006.

          I try to use the Selinux MLS with Fedora 31 and I wrote on my last article about Fedora 31 : Can be better? part 005.After relabeling the files and start the environment I get multiple errors and I ask an answer at fedoraproject lists: This is an example of the problem of implementing MLS in Fedora and can be remedied because MLS Selinux is old in implementing Selinux.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Best open source cloud-storage services

        Worried about storing your private files with data-hungry tech giants such as Google and Microsoft? Here are three open source alternatives

      • New Open-Source Software SHARPy Launched

        The Aeroelastics Research Group has launched an open-source software tool – SHARPy

        The tool offers dynamic simulation for everything from wind turbines to solar-powered aircraft.

        SHARPy (which stands for Simulation of High-Aspect Ratio aeroplanes in Python) is a dynamic aeroelasticity simulation package. It offers structural, aerodynamic and coupled aeroelastic/flight dynamics analysis, and has particular application for low-speed and very flexible aircraft, and for wind turbines.

      • Iowa Caucus App Fiasco Shows Need for Open Source Transparency

        The Iowa caucuses were thrown into disarray as reports surfaced an opaque app used to tabulate the results and report them to Democratic Party officials was reporting only part of the required data. Although the app had been developed to improve efficiency in communicating the final caucus tallies, it ended up causing significant delays. According to security experts, the incident served to highlight the risks of relying on digital systems and the centralization of information, and a lack of transparency regarding these systems.

      • How to Vet the Engineering Chops of Your Software Vendors

        After witnessing the debacle in Iowa, campaign decision-makers across the country are wondering just how good is the engineering behind the software they purchase for their campaigns? And for good reason: the stakes couldn’t be higher.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: OWASP SAMM

        The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has announced version 2 of the Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM). SAMM is an open-source framework that enables teams and developers to assess, formulate and implement better security strategies that can be integrated into the software development life cycle.

      • Austin Alexander Burridge of Rosemount Compares Open-Source and Proprietary Software Security

        When open-source software developers are made aware of a specific security vulnerability or bug in their software products, they often publish the vulnerability to the community. If there’s a developer who wants to offer a fix, he can build one and publish it as a particular version. If there’s no funding to develop an upgrade, an IT professional is still aware of the problem so that he can create a custom workaround for his company’s unique system until an updated version of the software becomes available.

      • Robust security crucial for adoption of open source

        New Delhi [India], Feb 11 (ANI/NewsVoir): While speaking at the inaugural session of the “3rd Open Source Summit 2020″ recently in New Delhi, Vivek Banzal, Director (CFA), Bharat Sachar Nigam Limited (BSNL) said that it is a challenge to keep pace with the technology, more so when security of data has to be quite robust.

        [...]

        “The Government of India has encouraged the adoption of this technology in the Digital India initiative and this has further encouraged the CIO’s of enterprises and other government organizations to make a move towards Open source technology. The rise of digital transformation in India has pushed the adoption of open source both by enterprises and government,” said Sunil Kumar, Deputy Director-General, National Informatics Centre (NIC), while commenting on the adoption of Open source by the Government to India.

      • Leaders share how agencies bring agility into application development

        Additionally, tapping into open source development communities allows them to overcome some of chronic IT skills gaps many agencies continue to face.

        [...]

        Open source is being used both in civilian and defense agencies. Even though open source code is used for unclassified applications, it does not mean it’s unsecure, assures Michael Kanaan, co-chair of artificial intelligence and machine learning for the U.S. Air Force.

      • The Top 13 Free and Open Source RPA Tools

        Searching for Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software can be a daunting (and expensive) process, one that requires long hours of research and deep pockets. The most popular RPA 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 RPA tools 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 robotic process automation.

        In this article, we will examine free and open source RPA tools, first by providing a brief overview of what to expect and also with short blurbs of the options currently available in the space. This is the most complete and up-to-date directory on the web.

      • The Two Faces of Open Source: ECT News Roundtable, Episode 5

        The open source software movement has evolved dramatically over the past two decades. Many businesses that once considered open source a threat now recognize its value.

        On the other hand, in spite of increased enthusiasm among enterprises, consumer interest by and large has not materialized.

        With large companies increasingly embracing open source, what does it mean to be a part of the free and open source software, or FOSS, “community”?

      • Pimcore’s free, open source digital experience platform – a rock tossed into the CX pond?

        The retail and eCommerce landscapes have changed dramatically over the past decade as customer experience has risen to the forefront of enterprise marketing priorities. Marketers have turned their focus away from price as the key driver of sales to their ability to deliver the most convenient, streamlined and personalized experiences across channels whether online, in-store, or on mobile phones.

        [...]

        Their solution Pimcore, introduced in 2013, is a free open source software platform for managing digital data and customer experiences for any channel, device, or industry.

      • Chef Serves Up Partner Program to Push Open DevOps Model

        Aims to help channel sell 100% open-source portfolio

      • Chef Introduces New Global Partner Program Purpose-Built for 100 Percent Open Source Software

        Chef, the leader in DevOps, today announced a new channel program specifically designed to ensure that partners and customers are able to take maximum advantage of Chef’s 100 percent open source business model. The Chef Partner Program (CPP) creates three tiers of partners — Principal, Senior and Junior — with the highest benefits and incentives applied to those who drive the strongest results for themselves and their mutual enterprise customers using Chef Enterprise Automation Stack.

      • CableLabs, Altran team to take open source to the edge

        Altran and CableLabs have teamed up on “Project Adrenaline,” an open source initiative that aims to help the cable industry build and manage edge networks and smooth the path for apps that can run on them.

        And while Adrenaline is initially focused on cable, the broader aim is to apply the resulting open source platform to multiple industries while still staying aligned with Kubernetes.

      • Events

        • oSLO Conference

          The two projects are celebrating their 15ᵗʰ and 10ᵗʰ anniversary respectively in 2020. To mark the occasion, openSUSE and LibreOffice projects are organizing a joint conference from 13ᵗʰ to 16ᵗʰ October 2020 in Nuremberg, Germany. The conference will take place at Z-bau (Frankenstraße 200). It is the same location where last year’s openSUSE Conference was held.

        • More foss stuff

          First of all – a huge thanks to everyone who submitted to the Call for Papers for foss-north 2020. We have over 70 hours (!!!) of contents to squeeze into two tracks over two days. As always, it will be hard to pick the speakers to create the very best program.

          Other foss-north activities includes starting to populate the community day activities, as well as getting a whole bunch on sponsors onboard. An extra big thanks to Luxoft and Red Hat Ansible for helping us by picking up the Gold Sponsorship packages. Ansible are even running their European Contributor Summit as a part of the foss-north Community Day together with events by KDE, Gnome, FreeBSD, Debian, and a hardware hacking workshop. I’m really looking forward to this – if you want to join in with your own project, workshop, hackaton, etc – just ping me!

      • Web Browsers

        • Data Doctors: Is the Brave browser safe to use?

          If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using; the focus is on getting to a website, not what got you there.

          Google Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

        • Here’s how to know if the Brave browser is safe to use

          A: If you’re like most users, you spend more time using a browser than any other program on your computer or smartphone.

          You probably don’t think about what browser you’re using as the focus is on getting to a website and not what got you there.

          Google’s Chrome is by far the most popular browser, but because it’s a Google product integrated with all their tracking and advertising networks, a lot of people are looking for an alternative.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Academic Writing Tools on GNU/Linux – Free Software Only

          This is my list of GNU/Linux tools for academic, educational, and research purposes which all are free software. I tried to pick up choices as simple as possible here just to represent every basic category and further I hope you could see more alternatives if you want. I also listed several specific tools like GNU Octave and Parallel which are proven to be useful for certain researches. On the other hand, I deliberately did not list LaTeX tools here as I already chosen LibreOffice for that category. I made every proprietary software name italicized here so you can spot them on easier. Happy researching!

        • Building even more of LibreOffice with Meson, now with graphics

          Note that this contains only the main deliverables, i.e. the shared libraries and executables. Unit tests and the like are not converted apart from a few sample tests.

          It was mentioned in an earlier blog post that platform abstraction layers are the trickiest ones to build. This turns out to be the case here also. LO has at least three such frameworks (depending on how you count them). SAL is the very basic layer, UNO is a component model used to, for example, expose functionality to Java. Finally VCL is the GUI toolkit abstraction layer. Now that we have the GUI toolkit and its GTK plugin built we can build a VCL sample application and launch it. It looks like this:

      • CMS

        • XSS vulnerability patched in TinyMCE

          A security update has been released for the popular open source text editor TinyMCE after a researcher discovered a a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability impacting three of its plugins.

      • Education

        • Should You Opt For An Open-Source LMS [Ed: The proprietary software LMS vendors badmouthing Free software as if that means "no support" (which is exactly the opposite of what's true, the support of the lifeline of the developers)]

          In the modern world, organizations are increasingly using learning management systems (LMS) for corporate training. However, with the availability of both open-source LMS and commercial LMS, choosing the more appropriate one for your organization can be challenging.

          Although leading open-source industry pioneers such as Moodle has dominated eLearning over the past few years, many organizations still prefer proprietary LMS over open-source LMS. In this article, we have assessed both these options and jotted down the factors you must consider before making a decision.

      • FINOS

        • Open Source Community Responds to Rapid Adoption of Tech in Financial Services as FINOS Announces New Fintech Members

          The companies include: EPAM Systems, Inc., a product development, digital platform engineering, and digital and product design agency; NearForm, an open source solutions design and delivery company; and CloudBees, a provider of DevOps solutions.

        • Finos welcomes new members

          Finos (Fintech Open Source Foundation), a nonprofit whose mission is to foster adoption of open source, open standards, and collaborative software development practices in financial services, today announces the addition of three established fintechs to its already growing membership roster of prestigious financial institutions, technology companies and global consultancies.

      • FSF

        • [Older] Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

          The Free Software Foundation is giving Microsoft’s move away from proprietary software a helpful hug.

          Can opening Windows 7 to open-source developers, which the foundation promotes, advance Microsoft’s digital transformation?

          The alliance, which is committed to user control of the software that runs electronic devices, is circulating a petition that calls on Microsoft to put the retired operating system into the public domain.

          The Redmond, Washington, tech giant stopped supporting Windows 7 for most users at mid-month.
          Programmers Push Microsoft to Open Windows

        • GNU Projects

          • GnuCash : free and open-source accounting app for Linux

            Are you looking for an accounting app for your business? If you do, try out GnuCash, an open-source, free-to-use financing platform for Linux. It is the ideal solution for small businesses. Nevertheless, you can also use it for your personal use.

            In this article, we will take a closer look at GnuCash, its installation, and what it has to offer.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Grsecurity Breaks its Silence on Defamation Lawsuit

            Open Source Security, Inc. (OSS), makers of grsecurity, have finally broken their silence over their recently concluded defamation lawsuit. In a series of blog posts, OSS details the origins of the claims made against it, the history of controversy of the defendant of the suit, and the effects on the wider Open Source community.

          • Open source licence series – Cockroach Labs: Scaling a sustainable open source business model

            Big cloud vendors have preyed upon open source R&D by providing open source software (OSS) software as-a-service to edge out small competitors. Combine that with the platform benefits of economies of scale and greater opportunities for integration… and you can see how the big cloud providers can drown open source startups.

            That said, companies eclipsing growth-stage and legacy companies looking to store mission-critical data in the cloud are becoming wary of big vendors not investing in their R&D.

          • Open source licence series – OpenStack Foundation: Protecting open source freedoms

            Reduced to its essence, free and open source software is defining a set of freedoms, encoded into software licences.

            The Open Source Initiative (OSI) maintains an open source definition and a list of compatible licences, with the double goal of guaranteeing those essential freedoms and rights… and facilitating adoption by limiting licence proliferation.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open source energy modelling tool shows how to decarbonise Australia

          The future of Australia’s energy mix has spawned innumerable heated arguments over how to balance secure electricity supply with economic and environmental needs, prompting energy consultants ITP to launch an open source modelling tool to settle arguments and provide clarity.

          Inspired by similar open source models in Europe and North America, ITP launched the openCEM model as a free, transparent tool to cut through the complexity of Australia’s energy mix and how it can securely transition away from carbon.

          “ITP felt, as many have felt, that public discussions around renewables were fraught with many assumptions and made with few facts and little expertise,” ITP strategy group manager Oliver Woldring said.

          [..]

          Once openCEM is being used widely by policy makers and investors across Australia, ITP and ThoughtWorks aims to engage other markets across APAC and further afield, about creating tools to model uptakes of renewables into the grids of other countries.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Self-driving car dataset missing labels for pedestrians, cyclists

            A popular self-driving car dataset for training machine-learning systems – one that’s used by thousands of students to build an open-source self-driving car – contains critical errors and omissions, including missing labels for hundreds of images of bicyclists and pedestrians.

            Machine learning models are only as good as the data on which they’re trained. But when researchers at Roboflow, a firm that writes boilerplate computer vision code, hand-checked the 15,000 images in Udacity Dataset 2, they found problems with 4,986 – that’s 33% – of those images.

          • New Project Eyes an Open Platform for Data From mHealth Wearables

            A Massachusetts-based partnership aims to create a common workplace for healthcare providers and researchers using mHealth sensors in wearables and other devices.

            The Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR), launched last September by Nextbridge Health, Shimmer Research and Dr. Vincent van Hees, announced that it is now “actively soliciting” open-source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies. The group wants to create a platform from which researchers and care providers can share digital health source codes and algorithms.

        • Open Access/Content

          • Monash Uni, Red Cross & Red Crescent team up on open-source video program

            Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology (IT), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have announced that they have developed an innovative approach to empower communities around the world through development of a special video program.

            According to a joint statement from Monash, the Red Cross and Red Crescent some of the world’s most isolated and remote communities will now have the ability to share their stories and raise public awareness of the local issues they’re facing “through a unique open-source video program developed by Monash”.

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 10 Adds Late Support For -std=c++20 To Target C++20

          With C++20 now effectively complete, GCC developers have made a rather late change for GCC 10 that is also long overdue and that is introducing the -std=c++20 switch for targeting C++20.

          The GNU Compiler Collection has been working on C++20 support for a while and has much of it ironed out. But up until now -std=c++2a had to be used for specifying this support that was pretty much a given C++2A would be called C++20. With this C++ revision going to publication in the next few months, it will surely be known as C++20 in making it out before the end of the calendar year.

        • The 15 Best Vim Plugins for Programmers and Developers in 2020

          Now, before we dive into the most used and popular Vim plugins, let us first understand what Vim really is. Basically, Vim is just another text editor that we can use to write and edit the text just like Sublime Text, which we commonly use for Windows or Mac, or even Notepad that we use for Windows. Vim allows efficient text editing and it is sometimes even considered as an entire IDE for programmers. Editing existing code for software engineers become very time consuming and mundane. Since Vim is all about efficiency, it allows us to handle repetitive tasks using existing keyboard shortcuts or even customize and create our own.

        • RISC OS Seeing SDL2 Support Brought Up

          A few weeks ago was RISC OS CPU feature detection merged to SDL2 (and also SDL 1.2) while being merged this week was basic support for compiling on RISC OS and support for creating windows on RISC OS when the SDL no frame flag is set. This RISC OS + SDL support is being worked on by Cameron Cawley who has worked on other RISC OS software support from ScummVM to different open-source tools.

        • C++20 Being Wrapped Up, C++23 In Planning

          An ISO C++ Committee meeting just wrapped up in Prague and it was voted to send the draft international standard for C++ out for final approval and publication.

          This means that C++20 is now effectively complete and will be formally published in a few months. Prior to firming up C++20, they improved the context-sensitive recognition of module/import, added new rangified algorithms, added ranges::ssize, and resolved other issues.

        • 25 years of Delphi and no Oracle in sight: Not a Visual Basic killer but hard to kill

          On this day 25 years ago, Borland Software trotted out version 1.0 of the Delphi application development product, making the announcement at the Software Development ’95 event in San Francisco.

          That year, the current version of Windows was 3.11 (or NT 3.5), with Windows 95 in beta. There was high demand for custom business applications and developers had plenty of tools to choose from: Microsoft Visual C++ 1.52 for 16-bit applications, Visual C++ 2.0 for 32-bit, Borland’s Pascal or C++, various database-oriented tools like PowerBuilder or Microsoft Access, and many more.

        • Wind River Launches CD Platform for Embedded Systems

          Glenn Seiler, vice president for open source strategy for Wind River, said the CD platform is based on an open source instance of the Jenkins continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. The company envisions organizations downloading the platform as source code that Wind River will update regularly for use on top of the Wind River Linux platform, he said.

          Wind River is taking advantage of containers, Kubernetes, the Puppet IT automation framework and a repository to ease deployment of its CD platform, added Seiler. The company is committed to providing updates to that platform, which Wind River uses internally, at least every three weeks, said Seiler.

        • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Mint

          Mint is a programming language for the front-end web that aims to solve the common issues of Single Page Applications (SPAs) at a language level.

          It is a compiler and a framework combined to provide great developer experience while allowing users to write safe, readable and maintainable code, according to the developers behind the project.

          The common issues that it attempts to fix are regard reusable components, styling routing, global and local state handling, and synchronous and asynchronous computations that might fail.

          “It was born out of the frustration of the JavaScript language and ecosystem (NPM) and the Elm language and it’s not so open development practices,” Mint said on its website. “Mint aims to combine the developer experience of Elm and the expressiveness of React to create the perfect language for building single-page applications.”

        • Perl / Raku

          • Announcing Zydeco

            Moops had a memorable name, and I think the naming really helped it gain a following. MooX::Pression was just meh. So now it’s Zydeco. Zydeco is a fun word and pretty short to type. It’s a musical genre that blends jazz, blues, and Louisiana French Creole, and it just seemed like a good fit for a module that takes what I feel are some of the coolest features of Perl programming, and blends them together under one syntax.

        • Python

          • Python 3.7.5 : The httpx python package.

            Today I will present a new python packet that can help you in developing web applications.
            This is the next generation HTTP client for Python and is named httpx.
            This python package comes with a nice logo: a butterfly.
            The official webpage can be found at this webpage.
            The development team come with this intro:
            HTTPX is a fully featured HTTP client for Python 3, which provides sync and async APIs, and support for both HTTP/1.1 and HTTP/2.
            I install it on my Fedora 31 distro with the pip3 tool.

          • PyPy and CFFI have moved to Heptapod

            It has been a very busy month, not so much because of deep changes in the JIT of PyPy but more around the development, deployment, and packaging of the project.

          • Your Guide to Reading Excel (xlsx) Files in Python

            In this brief Python tutorial, we are going to learn how to read Excel (xlsx) files using Python. Specifically, we will read xlsx files in Python using the Python module openpyxl. First, we start by the simplest example of reading a xlsx file in Python. Second, we will learn how to read multiple Excel files using Python.

          • CausalNex: An open-source Python library that helps data scientists to infer causation rather than observing correlation

            CausalNex is a Python library that allows data scientists and domain experts to co-develop models that go beyond correlation and consider causal relationships. ‘CasualNex’ provides a practical ‘what if’ library which is deployed to test scenarios using Bayesian Networks (BNs).

        • IDEs

          • software development programming – dev – choosing the right Text Editor Editor / Debugger / GUI IDE

            Of course just as programming languages every IDE was build by users for a specific purpose and it might serve this purpose well while doing additional stuff while.

            There is not a single tool that „does it all“ and it would be completely against the UNIX philosophy of: build small tools that do one task – but do it well – that can be linked/networked together (most common interface: pipe text streams)

        • Java

          • Programming languages: Java developers flock to Kotlin and ditch Oracle JDK for OpenJDK [Ed: CBS tabloid ZDNet does puff pieces for Snyk now. A Microsoft-connected attack dog -- one which badmouths FOSS and now pretends to have a 'study' (self-promotion stunt) on programming trends...]

            The vast majority of developers who use a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) language still use Java, but a sizable chunk of the population is shifting to Kotlin, a JVM-compatible language developed by JetBrains, which Google is encouraging developers to use for Android development.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Ethernity Networks and TietoEVRY boost 5G performance with new open-source concept

        “As communications service providers continue to race toward initial 5G rollouts, they are recognizing that they cannot achieve the required benchmarks to enable true 5G performance without significant data plane acceleration,” said CEO David Levi

      • How Open Source Software Can Transform the Potential of Mobile Connectivity?

        Almost every industry has mobile connectivity at its heart to ensure the betterment of the digital economy. But to reach the Industry 4.0, open-source software is required to achieve an evolved mobile connectivity. Users across the country crave for data, which is blazing-fast in remote areas and only advanced mobile connectivity can meet their demands.

        For the better sharing of data, millions of IoT devices in India need strong mobile connectivity. IoT devices must share data over mobile networks. It is believed that by 2025 enterprises will be generating 60 percent of all data. Data will be the driving force for the economic growth and being at the heart of the Industry 4.0, the growth of industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and more will make the mobile networks grow.

      • Improving 5G Network Security

        DARPA created the Open, Programmable, Secure 5G (OPS-5G) program to tackle many of the security challenges facing future wireless networks. OPS-5G will explore the development of a portable, standards-compliant network stack for 5G mobile networks that is open source, and secure by design. The program seeks to enable a “plug-and-play” approach to various network software and hardware components, which reduces reliance on untrusted technology sources. The goal of OPS-5G is to develop open source software and systems that can enable more secure 5G as well as future generations of networks beyond 5G.

      • Cloud native in NFVI: why it’s smart business for 5G growth
      • DARPA plans 4 year open source 5G program to address US security fears
      • DARPA Solicits Open Source 5G Tech Proposals

        DARPA’s Open, Programmable, Secure 5G initiative also calls for appoaches to secure modern wireless networks with the use of open source technology as well as increase the adaptability and support customization of such infrastructure, the agency said in a SAM notice posted Jan. 30.

      • DARPA’s plan for a US-friendly 5G network
  • Leftovers

    • Detailed tests of search engines: Google, Startpage, Bing, DuckDuckGo, metaGer, Ecosia, Swisscows, Searx, Qwant, Yandex, and Mojeek

      Since my last in-depth comparison review of alternative search engines in 2014, a lot has changed, and a lot has stayed the same. Google is appearing as a loan-verb in more and more languages due to its continued dominance in the search engine market. But at the same time, Google is being increasingly demonized by privacy focused users. An even more more interesting development is the trend of complaints that Google’s algorithm is producing results that are less relevant and more indicative of artificial stupidity than artificial intelligence. I belong in this latter camp, as I am more of a pragmatist than a privacy pundit. I simply want the best search results with minimal effort and no nonsense. Back in my 2014 article, I was hopeful that DuckDuckGo was quickly becoming a viable and attractive alternative to Google. While DuckDuckGo continues to be the darling of privacy conscious users and is enjoying more popularity than ever, I am concerned that its core search infrastructure and algorithms have largely stagnated. Since my last article, many other alternatives have cropped up, bringing some very interesting features and concepts, but it still remains to be seen if they offer acceptable results in the fundamentally important area of relevant search results. This comparison sets out to analyze and compare the current batch of alternatives in 2020.

    • Waterfox web browser sold to System1

      It appears that the Waterfox web browser has been sold to System1 recently, the same company that bought the Startpage search engine some time ago. To be precise, Startpage was bought by Privacy One Group Ltd which System1 owns. System1 is an advertising company that tries to “make advertising better and safer, while respecting consumer privacy”.

      Update: Alex Kontos, the creator of Waterfox, published a blog post on the official site explaining the change. End

      Privacy expert Liz McIntyre, who was involved with Startpage prior to the ownership change, noticed in October 2019 that System1 was looking to hire a web browser developer. She decided to keep an eye on potential web browser sales as it was likely that System1 was interested in buying an established web browser with a user base instead of building one from scratch.

      [...]

      There are apparent similarities between the Startpage and Waterfox deals. A level of secrecy surrounds these deals which leads to all sorts of speculations. Kontos mentioned on Reddit that transparency is important to him and it will be interesting to see if all important details of the deal are revealed in the upcoming blog post.

      It is too early to come to a final conclusion but if history repeats itself, answers won’t be provided to some of the most pressing questions.

    • Waterfox has joined System1

      I started Waterfox when I was 16. It was a way for me to understand how large software projects worked and the Mozilla documentation was a great introduction. Well written, easy to follow and (from what I remember) not many missing pieces as to how to do things. From there, I decided to share my exploits over at overclock.net. After that a lot of things changed. Waterfox amassed a large following because it was easy access to a 64-Bit build of Firefox. From there, I took it upon myself to take it a step further and make Waterfox fast in any way possible – that was my introduction to toolchains and masochism (Intel’s C++ compiler… what more can I say).

      [...]

      For the first time in nearly a decade, I no longer felt like Atlas with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I no longer had to panic when I thought something might be wrong with Waterfox, and I took time off. I made sure to keep security patches and pull requests going – but I gave myself proper time off for the first time in 9 years.

      To the paranoid – a conspiracy. To everyone else, a (well earned?) rest.

      We finalised in the middle of December, it was Christmas. Since nothing was changing in regards to Waterfox, apart from all the money now going to System1 instead of being split. For the last month I’ve been in California getting to know the team and DevOps have been busy setting up CI (an oft requested feature from Waterfox users) to be able to keep up with the new 4 week release cycle. I also wanted to wait until we got our first full-time team member so I could introduce everything at once, but alas here we are. Next month I’ll do the introduction and the exciting (from an Engineering perspective) things in store for Waterfox.

    • Science

      • The reality of the lizard people

        How humans form and maintain insane beliefs when there are plenty of objective reasons to know better is, I fear, a topic of continuing fascination to me. If only because when contagious and totalizing forms of insanity like Marxism or supernaturalist religions motivate the behavior of mobs they pose a significant threat to my survival.

        The lizard-people theory isn’t in that class of danger, but I think cases like it and (for example) flat-Earthism are worth analysis precisely because they’re so implausible and still manage to attract adherents. Extremes like this can be revealing about mechanisms that are harder to see closer to the ordinary.

        And indeed when I was mulling over lizard-people theory a few years ago I think I really did get a significant insight about the psychology of belief and what lizard-people conspiracy theory actually means.

        Many years ago I read a penetrating analysis of UFOlogy arguing that the reports of people who believed themselves UFO contactees or witnesses were expressing the same sorts of psychological drama that in past centuries would gave been coded as religious experiences – eruptions of nigh-incomprehensible powers into the mundane world.

      • Tech tools to make research more open and inclusive

        Doris Taylor knows the sting of being set apart as different. As a young, lesbian woman starting her career in regenerative-medicine research in the late 1980s, she was often excluded from faculty functions and private meetings on the golf course. “You want to be differentiated when doing great science, but not because of who you are,” she says.

        [...]

        Group leaders say that these tools can help to flatten power differentials between lab members and keep people connected and communicating on common, and importantly, even ground. The tools are familiar, and even ubiquitous — Slack, Skype and WhatsApp (Taylor’s tool of choice), for example. But when deployed strategically, these apps can promote a more level playing field to benefit colleagues from disadvantaged and under-represented backgrounds, those with disabilities, or those who might work and think differently.

        That’s not to say technology is a silver bullet — building an inclusive environment requires a sustained commitment from lab leaders and members, on multiple levels and using many techniques. And no amount of technology can erase bullying, discrimination and other bad behaviours from the workplace. But these tools are helping many inclusive-minded group leaders to transform research from an isolated pursuit into a more open, collective exercise.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Google Code and Openwash

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • UN Publishes List of Companies Profiting from Israel’s Illegal Settlements in Palestine

        Prominent international critics have called Israel’s Jews-only settlements, as well as segregated roads and other infrastructure, a form of apartheid.

      • Esper Says Taliban Deal Is Promising but Not Without Risk

        U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Saturday that a truce agreement between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan is not without risk but “looks very promising.”

      • Erdogan raises Kashmir issue in Pakistan Parliament

        Reacting to his remarks in the UN, India said it “deeply regrets” the statement of Turkey on the Kashmir issue, and termed it an internal matter.

        External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar called upon Turkey to have a proper understanding of the situation in Kashmir before making further comments.

        India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Reacting to India’s move, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

        India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

    • Environment

      • No relief from increasing pollution

        Unplanned developmental activities are the root cause of the problem, asserts Dr T V Ramachandra of the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. He blames the governmental agencies for it, saying they don’t assess the carrying capacity of infrastructure (road, drains, drinking water, etc) when permitting large establishments to come up in the locality. This, he says, has led to congestion and increased pollution levels. “The city’s landscape is saturated with paved surfaces to an extent of 81 per cent. Cities with poor public transport are contributing to the overall pollution levels. For instance, vehicles are responsible for 54 per cent of the pollution in Hyderabad; in Bengaluru, it is 43 per cent. While a majority of pollutants come from two-wheelers, 40 per cent is from single drive cars,” Ramachandra tells Metrolife.

      • Australia’s climate crisis has been building for years but no one listened

        Scientists had warned for more than a decade that an extreme bushfire season was coming — and that the climate crisis was to blame.

        While natural climate drivers created a perfect storm of hot and dry conditions this year, the sheer scale and intensity of the recent fires have led some experts to claim the world has now reached a turning point.

        “I think the size and the intensity of these fires, coupled with the drought, have really just pushed Australia into a place that doesn’t feel like home anymore.” said Linden Ashcroft, lecturer in climate science and science communication at Melbourne University’s School of Earth Science. “It doesn’t feel safe anymore.”

      • Kevin Rudd says Australia complacent on climate change

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, saying Australia continues to be complacent on climate change. “Regrettably the Australian climate action story is reversed from the international climate story I’ve referred too….successive conservative governments have sought to carve out ways for Australia to get away with doing very little at all,” he says.

      • Rudd charts path towards reducing emissions

        Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd addresses attendees during CEDA’s 2020 Economic and Political Overview (EPO) in Sydney, talking about his “ten simple points” for governments in Australia to observe in meeting the challenge of climate change and reducing emissions. Among the recommendations is committing in legislation to net zero emissions by 2050, establishing a carbon price and making greater use of gas domestically. (AAP Video/Michael Wade)

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Slide for Reddit kicked from Play Store as age rating issue spirals into bogus content policy violation

        Slide for Reddit is a reasonably popular third-party, cross-platform, open-source Reddit client. In my humble opinion, it’s the best one out there (don’t @ me), but fans of the app may have noticed that it disappeared from the Play Store in the last couple of days. It turns out, the developer ran into a small problem with the app’s rating, which, thanks to Google’s stereotypically terrible developer support, quickly exploded into a full-blown suspension of the developer’s account.

        The issue started on Thursday when the app was removed from the Play Store due to an age rating problem: The app’s metadata listed the target audience as “17+” rather than “18+.” That’s a small distinction, but an important (and fair) one according to Play Store policies, although even the first-party Reddit app is simply rated 17+.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Now Exploring AVIF For Image Compression

        Following Netflix’s AV1 adoption with collaborating with Intel on the SVT-AV1 encoder, now using AV1 streaming for Android users, and others around this advanced royalty-free video codec, Netflix is now exploring AVIF as their next-gen image format.

        [...]

        Netflix acknowledges the significant need for next-gen image coding that has better compression efficiency and more features than JPEG. Netflix believes AVIF has the potential albeit they aren’t yet ready to transition to AVIF today.

        In their testing they are finding good results out of AVIF compared to JPEG and other image formats. For those wanting to go through a long and interesting technical read, on the Netflix Tech Blog they have example screenshots and results comparing their AVIF results to other formats.

      • Netflix begins streaming AV1 content on its Android mobile app

        Netflix today announced that it is beginning to stream videos compressed using the AV1 codec, on its Android mobile app. AV1 is a next-generation, royalty-free video codec that provides compression efficiency that is improved by 20%. This codec, developed to replace VP9, was built by the Alliance for Open Media, of which Netflix, Google, Amazon Prime Video, and more big-name content providers are a part of.

    • Monopolies

      • INTA to relocate the 2020 Annual Meeting from Singapore to a venue in the United States

        As you know, INTA has been continuously monitoring the coronavirus outbreak in relation to the Association’s 2020 Annual Meeting, April 25–29, in Singapore. The health and safety of Annual Meeting registrants is our main priority. We are announcing today that we are working to reschedule INTA’s Annual Meeting in Singapore until 2022 (date in 2022 to be announced). In addition, we will be relocating the 2020 Annual Meeting to a date in May or June and a venue in the United States. We will provide an update as soon as we confirm details.

        This decision follows the evolving developments, continuing uncertainty, and global concerns regarding the coronavirus, as well as guidance from the Singapore Ministry of Health to event organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events. It comes after much thoughtful discussion with our internal team and consultation with outside counsel, and in agreement with INTA’s President, Officers, and Counsel. We firmly believe that we are making the most judicious decision, so as not to jeopardize the health and safety of registrants, staff, and the public.

        [...]

        Thank you for your patience as we worked through this challenging situation. We appreciate that our members and other stakeholders value the Annual Meeting, and we look forward to welcoming you to the 2020 Annual Meeting in the United States and to future gatherings. For further updates, please watch for communications from us or visit our website, www.inta.org.

      • Patents

        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights
        • BREXIT’s Projected Impact on Intellectual Property Rights

          The European patent system allows applicants either to file for a regional patent through the European Patent Office (EPO) or to file for national patents at the patent office within each country. This patent system exists independent of the EU, and Brexit will not impact patents granted through the EPO and national patent offices.

        • Unity of invention requirements: Russia versus Eurasia

          According to Russian and Eurasian patent regulations, an application must relate to one invention or a group of inventions. In the latter case, all of the inventions in the group must be linked so as to form a single general inventive concept, which meets the unity of invention requirement. However, there are differences between the Russia Patent and Trademark Office (Rospatent) and the Eurasian Patent Organisation’s rules for determining whether claims meet this requirement.

          Whether a set of claims fulfils the requirement of unity of invention is based on its contents, with special attention paid to independent claims. If one independent claim comprises alternatives, an assessment also must be carried out.

          With both organisations, in the event of a lack of unity, the applicant is invited to respond within three months of notification. They are then asked to select which group of inventions is to be examined or to amend the claims to comply with the requirement. If the applicant does not respond, the examination is carried out for the claims belonging to the group of inventions that is listed first in the claims. The applicant can file one or more divisional applications for the remaining groups of inventions.

        • Opposition fails for key CRISPR patent in Europe

          ERS Genomics announced on February 10 that the European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld an important CRISPR patent, rejecting opposition filed by anonymous parties.

          The EPO has rejected arguments filed in opposition to European patent No. EP2800811, titled “Methods and Compositions for RNA-Directed Target DNA Modification and for RNA-Directed Modulation of Transcription,” jointly held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, the regents of the University of California, and the University of Vienna.

        • Lightbridge Receives Notification of Patent Grant from the European Patent Office for its Innovative Fuel Assembly Design

          Lightbridge Corporation (“Lightbridge,” or the “Company”) (LTBR), an advanced nuclear fuel technology company, today announced that it has received a Decision to Grant from the European Patent Office (EPO) for Patent #3195324 related to a Lightbridge metallic fuel assembly design for use in CANDU-type reactors. According to the World Nuclear Association, there are 48 CANDU-type pressurized heavy water reactors currently in use around the world.

          Seth Grae, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge Corporation, commented, “We are excited to see the continued progress for the Company’s intellectual property strategy to protect our innovative technology, while significantly expanding our market opportunities globally. The addition of this new piece of intellectual property underscores the strength of our proprietary technology, which is designed to enhance the operating safety and efficiency of existing reactors as well as new reactors.”

        • Software Patents

          • USPTO Patent Quality Chat Webinar Series

            The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will be offering the next webinar in its Patent Quality Chat webinar series from 12:00 to 1:00 pm (ET) on February 19, 2020. The latest webinar, entitled “Application readiness: Assessing incoming applications,” will address how the USPTO is studying the shared responsibility of patent examination quality in the area of incoming applications.

          • Webinar on USPTO Pilot Programs

            McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP will be offering a live webinar entitled “Navigating USPTO Pilot Programs” on March 11, 2020 from 10:00 am to 11:15 am (CT). In this presentation, MBHB attorneys Lawrence Aaronson and Brett Scott will present a survey of various USPTO pilot programs, some less known than others, but all useful in the right circumstances, and discuss the ins and outs of each program and present some practical prosecution tips and insights.

          • TAIYO YUDEN Joins the Open Invention Network Community

            Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history, and TAIYO YUDEN CO., LTD (TAIYO YUDEN) announced today that TAIYO YUDEN has joined as a community member. As a global leader in the development of advanced capacitors, inductors, functional modules and bulk acoustic wave (BAW) filters, TAIYO YUDEN provides the key components and modules that enables the growth of the mobile devices & communications, computing, personal electronics and Internet-of-Things (IoT) industries.

            “Open source has enabled the rapid development of platforms that continue to reshape the human experience. These innovations have transformed industries and created opportunities that were previously unimagined. TAIYO YUDEN provides the key electronic components and systems that integrate the backbone for these platforms, driving advances in the communications, computing and automotive sectors, among many others,” said Keith Bergelt, CEO of OIN. “Given TAIYO YUDEN’s significant patent holdings, we are pleased that the company has recognized the importance of participating in OIN as part of its intellectual property strategy.”

      • Copyrights

        • [Older] Red Hat fights for software freedom by filing a brief with the US Supreme Court

          The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal of a lower court decision: Oracle v. Google. Red Hat, one of the leaders of the open source community, has emphasized to the USSC that software interfaces should not become subject to copyright protection and are not copyrightable by design. Read the complete amicus brief filed by Red Hat and IBM.

          [...]

          As we state clearly in the opening statement of our brief, Red Hat — as a leader in the open source community — emphasised to the USSC the critical importance of maintaining the long-standing view that software interfaces should not be subject to copyright protection.

          Because computer programs achieve compatibility and interoperability with each other through specifically defined interfaces, the concern is that if copyright protection were to exist in such interfaces, the open source community could face significant barriers in the creation and implementation of new software modules to replace existing modules. This consequence may chill the innovation that is generated by open source software community development.

          Our brief also recognises that computer interfaces being uncopyrightable does not jeopardise copyright protection in software programs generally. Red Hat fully supports software programmers developing value and differentiating themselves in the marketplace via implementation code. In fact, the more freely that computer interfaces are available, the more of a market may exist for particular implementations using an existing computer interface.

        • New Wave Of Nintendo Anti-Piracy Complaints Helps Microsoft Too

          Nintendo has launched a new wave of DMCA complaints at Google in an effort to make piracy-enabling devices harder to find. In common with previous efforts, the gaming giant is making strategic use of DMCA anti-circumvention notices, to permanently delete listings from search results. Perhaps inadvertently, Nintendo also appears to be helping Microsoft too.

        • BPI Joins RIAA’s Takedown Battle Against YouTube Downloaders

          UK music group BPI has joined the RIAA in its effort to wipe YouTube download and ripping sites from Google’s search results. Using language inspired by its US counterpart, BPI repeatedly argues that Mpgun.com violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provision. While the search engine has complied with the requests, the site remains easy to find.

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