Links 19/2/2020: KDE Plasma 5.18.1, GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 and WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 11:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • A $99 Chromebook is so much better with Gallium Linux installed

        Chromebooks have been around for a while now. For the most part, they’ve been relegated to schools who need cheap laptop computers that can open a web browser and connect to the internet. For a long time, that’s really the only thing Chromebooks were good for. Luckily, web-based apps have evolved a lot over the past 25 years and we’ve got some really great functionality that can be accessed all via just a web browser.

        Today, some of the more-expensive Chromebooks have added support for running Android apps as well as some Linux programs via a virtualized Crostini container. Chrome OS is, after all, based on a Linux kernel, but usually greatly dumbed-down from all of the other powerful capabilities of Linux. Those Chromebooks are in the $500+ price range though (here’s a list), which seems kind of ridiculous for something who’s main function is to open a web browser and load web pages. Why not just get a Windows or macOS powered computer at that point?

        I recently bought a $99 refurbished HP Chromebook 11 with the intention of taking it apart and converting it to a Gallium OS Linux laptop. My teenage god daughter accidentally spilled water on her really nice HP convertible Windows 10 tablet/laptop PC and of course the warranty doesn’t cover that. So she also needed something for school. She refers to Chromebooks as “Jitterbug laptops” which is a reference to those overly basic mobile phones that only have 3 buttons so that you can only call 3 people. The Chromebooks she’s used at school are similarly limited in her mind, and I’d say she would be correct. The majority of Chromebooks can basically only run Google’s Chrome web browser. Gallium Linux, on the other hand, not only gives you the power of a real computer, but also provides some heightened capabilities for technological freedom.

      • [Older] Linux-Based Windows 12 Lite Is Three Times Faster Than Windows 10

        Since its advent in 2015, Windows 10 has been affected by countless problems and bugs. Sadly, the updates meant to fix the flaws in this operating system work the other way round. If you’ve had enough of Windows 10 and wish to switch to a different operating system, then the Linux-based Windows 12 Lite might impress you.

        A Redditor recently discovered Windows 12 Lite discs being sold at a local computer fair. It is worth noting that Microsoft didn’t officially launch Windows 12 Lite. In fact, Microsoft in no way is associated with this newly discovered operating system.

    • Server

      • Surviving a security audit with enterprise Linux

        As a system administrator, you may have already experienced the joy(?) of having your systems audited by a security or risk management professional. Security tools used by auditors generally scan systems and produce a report for the auditor highlighting vulnerabilities found on the scanned system, which the auditor then presents to the team that manages the systems. The expectation is that the administration and management team will resolve the reported vulnerabilities. However, for enterprise Linux distributions, the auditor’s recommended remediations may not be the best choice for the organization to apply.

      • [Red Hat] My sysadmin career story

        Some of you might be curious about how sysadmins start their careers. Well, I cannot speak for all of us but at least I can share my career story with you.

        Born in the late 1980s, long before I started my career, I’ve had a serious interest in technology and personal computers. My first personal computer was the famous Commodore C64 and I got it at the age of eight. I loved playing games on it, loaded from Datasette. And as the years passed, I collected a lot of other peripheral devices like the floppy 1541 disk drive, two of the advanced model 1541-II, and a bubble inkjet printer. And, I started to learn my first programming language, BASIC, to write calendar applications and an inventory for my VHS collection. But, enough about the good old days.

        My professional career started not so long ago, in 2003. It was an in-firm training in a small system house that lasted three years. In this time, I learned all the things needed to become a “Fachinformatiker Systemintegration,” which is kind of a qualified IT specialist. I learned how to choose the right hardware parts to build a desktop or server system, to install operating systems, and to configure the hardware and software accordingly. Also, I learned how to manage my first small projects for our customers.

      • Building (Small) Oracle Linux Images For The Cloud

        Oracle Linux Image Tools is a sample project to build small or customized Oracle Linux Cloud images in a repeatable way.

        It provides a bash modular framework which uses HashiCorp Packer to build images in Oracle VM VirtualBox. Images are then converted to an appropriate format depending on the Cloud provider.

        This article shows you how to build the sample images from this repository and how to use the framework to build custom images.

        The framework is based around two concepts: Distribution and Cloud modules.

        A Distribution module is responsible for the installation and configuration of Oracle Linux as well as the packages needed for your project. The sample ol7-slim distribution provides an Oracle Linux 7 image with a minimalist set of packages (about 250 packages – smaller than an Oracle Linux 7 Minimal Install).

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #326: Ni Hao, Moto

        Hello and welcome to the 326th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short-topic format show, the hosts discuss a major win for Motorola, the FCC and 5.9GHz, operating practices in Australia, iText, FreshRSS, GridTracker and much more. Thank you for listening and please, if you can, donate to our Hamvention 2020 Fund.

      • Ask Lunduke – Feb 17, 2020 – Slackware and Pre-Internet Podcasts

        Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode is available via Podcast RSS feed, LBRY, Patreon, and YouTube. Links on the left. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: Why does closed source software exist? How can we fix WHOIS? Would a Star Trek Land be more popular than Disney’s Star Wars Land?

      • Another Look at My Homelab (More Detail)

        You asked for more detail on my Homelab, so here it is. In this video, I go over a bit more detail on how my Homelab is organized, so you can get an idea on how everything is connected together.

      • Long Term Rolling | LINUX Unplugged 341

        We question the very nature of Linux development, and debate if a new approach is needed.

        Plus an easy way to snapshot any workstation, some great feedback, and an extra nerdy command-line pick.

      • 2020-02-18 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat moves up Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, Mozilla releases significant changes to its WebThings Gateway, and O’Reilly publishes analytics for its online learning platform.

      • Podcast.__init__: APIs, Sustainable Open Source and The Async Web With Tom Christie

        Tom Christie is probably best known as the creator of Django REST Framework, but his contributions to the state the web in Python extend well beyond that. In this episode he shares his story of getting involved in web development, his work on various projects to power the asynchronous web in Python, and his efforts to make his open source contributions sustainable. This was an excellent conversation about the state of asynchronous frameworks for Python and the challenges of making a career out of open source.

    • Kernel Space

      • Why Not WireGuard

        The latest thing that is getting a lot of attention is WireGuard – the new shooting star in terms of VPN. But is it as great as it sounds? I would like to discuss some thoughts, have a look at the implementation and tell you why WireGuard is not a solution that will replace IPsec or OpenVPN.

        In this article I would like to debunk the myths. It is a long read. If you are in need of a tea of coffee, now is the time to make it. Thanks to Peter for proof-reading my chaotic thoughts.

        I do not want to discredit the developers of WireGuard for their efforts or for their ideas. It is a working piece of technology, but I personally think that it is being presented as something entirely different – as a replacement for IPsec and OpenVPN which it simply is not.

        As a side-note, I think that the media is responsible for this and not the WireGuard project itself.

        There has not been much positive news around the Linux kernel recently. They have reported of crushing processor vulnerabilities that have been mitigated in software, Linus Torvalds using too harsh language and just boring developer things. The scheduler or a zero-copy network stack are not very approachable topics for a glossy magazine. WireGuard is.

      • Intel ConnMan 1.38 Released With WireGuard Support

        Intel’s open-source ConnMan software for managing Internet connections on Linux particularly for embedded systems has seen a new release.

        ConnMan 1.38 is the new release that was issued on Friday and is the first release of this Linux connection manager in nearly one year.

        One of the big additions with ConnMan 1.38 is now supporting WireGuard, which is good news with mainline WireGuard kernel support on the way with Linux 5.6.

      • Kees Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        Linux kernel v5.4 was released in late November. The holidays got the best of me, but better late than never!

      • Cook: security things in Linux v5.4

        A bit belatedly, Kees Cook looks at some security-relevant changes in Linux 5.4 in a blog post.

      • Linux 5.7 Picking Up Support For A High-End USB-C Audio Interface

        More high-end audio gear is finally transitioning from Firewire to USB-C and one of these new high-end audio interfaces will be supported by the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring.

        The PreSonus Studio 1810c a ~$400 USD USB-C audio interface for connecting professional audio gear should be working with Linux 5.7.

      • D-Bus Broker 22 Released With Option To Use Newer Kernel Features

        With BUS1 not looking like it will come to fruition anytime soon as an in-kernel IPC mechanism and the kernel module for it not being touched since last March, the same developers continue pushing ahead with Dbus-Broker as the user-space implementation focused on D-Bus compatibility while being higher performing and more reliable than D-Bus itself.

        Out today is Dbus-Broker 22 and in fact their first release since last May. David Rheinsberg of Red Hat released this new version of the Linux D-Bus Message Broker with several prominent changes.

      • Intel Continues Optimizing Linux Memory Placement For Optane DC Persistent Memory

        With a new patch series for the Linux kernel, memory access performance by one measurement can improve by 116% on a dual socket Intel server with Optane DC Persistent Memory.

        Intel open-source developer Huang Ying is seeking feedback on a patch series that allows optimized memory placement in memory-tiered systems, principally those with Optane DC Persistent Memory. Due to persistent memory characteristics being different from conventional DRAM, the patch series works to ensure that hot pages are placed on a DRAM node and migrating hot pages that may get placed in a persistent memory node over to DRAM via NUMA migration. Similarly, cold pages can be migrated to the persistent memory and off the DRAM with related patches published by Intel. The patches do automatically determine the threshold for hot pages.

      • Linux Looking To Sunset The Calxeda ARM Server Support

        It’s already been six years since the collapse of Calxeda as the first promising ARM server company. With that, the Linux kernel upstream developers are looking at dropping the Calxeda platform support.

        Calxeda ARM servers never reached widespread deployment for these 32-bit ARM servers but mostly were used by various Linux distributions for building ARMv7 packages at the time and other software companies. Seeing any Calxeda server still in production in 2020 is quite rare and if so is probably running an older software stack, so kernel developers are looking at dropping this support to avoid the maintenance burden moving forward.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD says Windows 10 Pro and Linux are just fine for Threadripper 3990X

        AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3990X is a beast. It’s one of the most powerful CPUs ever created and it can achieve feats no other CPU before it could, like the ability to run Crysis without a dedicated GPU. Up until now, however, logic dictated that Windows 10 Pro simply wasn’t sufficient for AMD’s powerhouse CPU, and Linux was off the cards if you wanted to get the most out of AMD’s monster CPU.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 M3 Released With More Improvements For Benchmark Result Analysis

        The third and likely last test release of Phoronix Test Suite 9.4-Vestby is now available for your cross-platform, open-source benchmarking needs.

        Earlier in the Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 cycle there was improved error reporting on cases of unmet dependencies/libraries, new drive temperature reporting support with Linux 5.6+ kernels, and a number of result viewer enhancements. The result viewer work includes the ability to individually annotate individual benchmark result graphs with your own commentary, support for deleting individual benchmark results from within the result viewer, editing of result file meta-data from the modern result viewer, and other enhancements.

    • Applications

      • Getting started with OpenTaxSolver

        OpenTaxSolver is an open source application for US taxpayers to calculate their state and federal income tax returns. Before I get into the software, I want to share some of the information I learned when researching this article. I spent about five hours a day for a week looking into open source options for doing your taxes, and I learned about a lot more than just tax software.

        The Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Use of federal tax information (FTI) in open source software webpage offers a large amount of information, and it’s especially relevant to anyone who may want to start their own open source tax software project.

      • Rclone Browser (Fork) 1.8.0 Gets Proxy Support, Option To Create Public Link

        Rclone Browser (fork), a Qt5 GUI for Rclone, was updated to version 1.8.0, getting proxy support, an option to display the complete directory tree for a remote, and the ability to create a public link to easily share files, among others.

        Rclone Browser is a cross-platform (Windows, macOS and Linux) Qt5 GUI for Rclone, a command line tool to synchronize (and mount) files from remote cloud storage services like Google Drive, OneDrive, Nextcloud, Dropbox, Amazon Drive and S3, Mega, and others.

        This GUI can be used to simplify operations like copying a file from one cloud storage to another or to the local drive, mount cloud storages on your system with a click, and browsing the contents of various cloud storage remotes in a tabbed interface.

      • 10 Grafana features you need to know for effective monitoring

        The Grafana project started in 2013 when Torkel Ödegaard decided to fork Kibana and turn it into a time-series and graph-focused dashboarding tool. His guiding vision: to make everything look more clean and elegant, with fewer things distracting you from the data.

        More than 500,000 active installations later, Grafana dashboards are ubiquitous and instantly recognizable. (Even during a SpaceX launch!)

        Whether you’re a recent adopter or an experienced power user, you may not be familiar with all of the features that Grafana Labs—the company formed to accelerate the adoption of the Grafana project and to build a sustainable business around it—and the Grafana community at large have developed over the past 6+ years.

      • Komikku is a GTK Manga App for Linux

        If you read a lot of manga and you use the Ubuntu desktop check out Komikku, a relatively new Manga reader app for Linux written in Python and GTK.

        Now, usually when I highlight a GTK app on this blog you’d assume that I’m talking about a desktop app. But with GTK apps now running on mobile (like the Librem 5, for instance) a new breed of Linux software is emerging, built with mobile first use cases in mind.

        And Komikku is one such app.

        Alex, aka BabyWogue, aka the Linux YouTube guy who uses a robot voice and anime wallpaper in every video, recently shared a concise video overview of Komikku (it’s how I heard about it in the first place) and how it runs on …a desktop…

      • BingWall is —Yes, a Bing Wallpaper App for Ubuntu

        A lot of folks love using Bing’s image of the day as their desktop wallpaper — a task that the app featured below makes very easy on Ubuntu.

        Now, this idea isn’t new; I think it’s written about every Bing wallpaper app ever created at one time or another, from cron job to scripts to GNOME Shelll extensions and more.

        And on paper BingWall looks no different: once installed it lets you download Bing’s featured photo and set it as the desktop background on your Linux desktop.

        So far, so same-y.

      • MyPaint 2.0 released featuring Linear Compositing and Layers

        Over the weekend, the MyPaint developers quietly released version 2.0 of their popular free and open-source raster graphics editor. For those new to MyPaint, let me quickly introduce in brief.

        MyPaint originally released in March 2005 and is comparable in functionality and quality to other popular graphics editors such as Corel Painter, Adobe Photoshop, GIMP, Krita, Paint.NET, Microsoft Paint, and others.

        It is a popular choice for digital artists since the FOSS application focuses more on painting than it does with post-processing or image manipulation, as many others do. These artists are also partial to MyPaint because of its support for unconventional and conventional brush types, full screen “distraction-free” mode, and compatibility with Wacom graphics tablets and other similar devices.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 is out with Slay the Spire, Armello and more

        In need of a few new games? The Humble Digital Tabletop Bundle 2 just launched today with a pretty damn good selection of Linux games on offer.

      • With deck-building and real-time action ‘One Step From Eden’ launches on March 26

        Announced today, One Step From Eden from developer Thomas Moon Kang is going to be releasing on March 26 and they’ve managed to pull in Humble Bundle as their publisher.

        It’s going to join a long list of crowdfunded games available on Linux and I’m personally excited about this. Blending multiple genres together with inspiration coming from Mega Man Battle Network, One Step from Eden is a roguelike deck-builder fused with a super-fast action game as you and enemies throw abilities across the screen. Check out their brand new trailer:

      • Mad Experiments: Escape Room – an upcoming co-op escape room puzzler has a demo out

        PlayTogether Studio have announced their multiplayer escape room puzzle game, Mad Experiments: Escape Room, is going to releasing in April and you can try an early build now.

        You can try it solo and online with up to 6 people total, however there’s no matchmaking you need the name of a hosted room so gather a few friends if you wish to try the co-op. The developer said that “The rooms are filled with riddles, clues, and mysteries to uncover. Almost every items can be interacted with and examined in details, explore!”.

      • Cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler ‘Conglomerate 451′ looks like it may come to Linux

        RuneHeads and 1C Entertainment may soon launch a new Linux game, with the cyberpunk RPG dungeon crawler Conglomerate 451.

        Currently in Early Access and due to fully launch in a few days, on the official Steam forum they developer mentioned in a reply posted in a Linux request topic that they’re “99.9% yes” and they “need to fix a couple of issues”. So not only are they planning it, they’ve actually been working on it.

      • Cyber Knights: Flashpoint from Trese Brothers is becoming a big Kickstarter success

        Trese Brothers Games (Star Traders: Frontiers) have a bit of a hit on their hands here, as Cyber Knights: Flashpoint is smashing through goals on Kickstarter.

        With an original goal of $50,000 they managed to get funded in less than 12 hours. That’s pretty incredible and good for Linux gaming fans too, since Trese Brothers continue to support Linux with Cyber Knights just like they did with Star Traders: Frontiers and Templar Battleforce.

      • Open-world turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ coming to Linux in ‘the near future’

        While the free Stoneshard: Prologue is already available on Linux, the Early Access build of the proper game Stoneshard is currently not.

        It was supposed to launch at the same time as Windows on Steam, however they’ve been encountering some issues blocking the Linux version. They have mentioned this a few times on their Steam forum so thankfully they’ve been keeping people informed. I

      • Try out the Alpha testing build of the obstacle course racer Turbo Boom! – coming to Steam

        Race around tracks, avoid obstacles and attempt to get the best time in the racing game Turbo Boom! that’s coming to Steam.

        Turbo Boom! reminds me of some classic racers, giving you a simple setup that has you drive as fast and accurately as you can. You will be avoiding all sorts of obstacles like spikes, boxes and things that quite literally make you go—boom. It’s a high-score chaser as you fight for positions on a leaderboard against friends and the world.

      • Twin-stick multiplayer party game ‘Trailer Trashers’ looks absolutely mad

        Releasing on Steam on March 10, Trailer Trashers has up to four people in local multiplayer go crazy as you bounce bullets around various cramped arenas.

        There’s going to be five game modes like last person standing, team death-match, shotgun soccer and more. They made a little joke about an ‘imaginary friend mode’ so possibly some AI in there if you don’t manage to get someone to play with. However, with Steam Remote Play local-only games aren’t such a problem they once were.

      • Shotgun Farmers has a ‘Very Berry’ update with a new ‘Strawbowry’ weapon

        Continuing to be possibly the most unique first-person shooter on Steam in terms of weaponry, Shotgun Farmers has a pretty fun new update out.

        In Shotgun Farmers, all the weapons are inspired by fruit and vegetables. Not just inspired in the name and style, if your bullets miss your enemy and hit the ground they grow a new weapon right there. It’s amusing! A very sweet game that continues getting better, it really deserves more attention.

      • First-person adventure-exploration ‘Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon’ coming to Linux

        That’s quite a mouthful isn’t it, Almost Epic Adventures: Neverlooted Dungeon is a first-person adventure and exploration game from Wild Mage Games and the first trailer is up.

        Wild Mage Games were originally working on Almost Epic Adventures: The Goblin’s Week, however that’s currently on pause due to a lack of current resources so instead of cutting it up they decided to go with an intermediate project focusing on ‘trapped dungeon exploration’ with Neverlooted Dungeon.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Gpg4KDE & GPG4win Approved for Transmission & Processing of National Classified Information

          Something that may have slipped you by: Back in November, the German Federal Office for Information Security approved Gpg4KDE and Gpg4win for the transmission and processing of national classified information.

          Gpg4KDE is the encryption system that you use each time you encrypt and sign messages in KMail. Gpg4win, used for encrypting and signing emails on Windows, is built upon KDE’s certificate manager Kleopatra. The German Government has now ranked both secure enough to be used when transmitting messages with VS-ONLY FOR SERVICE USE (VS-NfD), EU RESTRICTED and NATO RESTRICTED levels of confidentiality.

          In view of the recent Rubicon/Crypto AG/CIA scandal, this is further evidence that FLOSS encryption technology is the only reliable encryption technology.

        • Season of KDE Final Report

          SoK has finally ended yesterday and it’s been a great learning experience for me. In these last 40 days, it really made me lot more comfortable and confident as an open source contributor :).

        • KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Gets First Point Release, Update Now

          The latest KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series already got its first point release today as the KDE Plasma 5.18.1 packages have started appearing on the official mirrors.

          KDE Plasma 5.18.1 is here just one week after the release of the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment series, which the KDE Project will support for the next two years. This is aa maintenance update bringing many bug fixes for better stability, security and reliability.

          Highlights of this first point release include support for accessing the new global edit mode to those who upgraded from KDE Plasma 5.17 or a previous release and had their widgets locked. It’s also now possible to save the changes made to the default font configuration in the System Settings Fonts page.

          Support for Electron (menubar colors issue) and Chromium (missing cursors issue) based apps using the Breeze GTK3 theme has been improved as well, and KDE Plasma is now capable of detecting more AMD GPUs with GFX9 (Vega) chips.

        • Plasma 5.18.1
      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.35.91 released!
          GNOME 3.35.91 is now available! This is the second beta release of GNOME 3.36.
          Please note: we are now in string freeze, so be kind to translators and stop changing strings.
          The corresponding flatpak runtimes have been published to Flathub. If you'd like to target the GNOME 3.36 platform, you can test your application against the 3.36beta branch of the Flathub Beta repository.
          You can also try the experimental VM image, available here for a limited time only:
          It needs a UEFI bios and a VirtIO GPU to run.
          If you want to compile GNOME 3.35.91 yourself, you can use the
          official BuildStream project snapshot:
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          The source packages are available here:
          This release is a snapshot of development code. Although it is
          buildable and usable, it is primarily intended for testing and hacking
          purposes. GNOME uses odd minor version numbers to indicate development
          For more information about 3.36, the full schedule, the official module
          lists and the proposed module lists, please see our 3.35 wiki page:
          Happy Tuesday,
        • GNOME 3.36 Beta 2 Released With Initial Setup Parental Controls, Lock-Screen USB Disable

          GNOME 3.35.91 is out today as the second beta ahead of next month’s GNOME 3.36 desktop release.

          The 3.35.91 release is the last stop before the GNOME 3.36 release candidate at month’s end and then GNOME 3.36.0 should be debuting on 11 March. While past the UI and feature freeze since the 3.35.90 beta earlier this month, there are still some prominent changes to note with today’s second beta:

        • GNOME 3.36 Desktop Gets Second Beta Release Ahead of March 11 Launch

          GNOME Project’s Michael Catanzaro just announced a few moments ago the availability of the second beta release of the upcoming GNOME 3.36 desktop environment.

          With only three weeks left until the final release on March 11th, the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment received today a new beta version, GNOME 3.35.91, which can be downloaded and installed on various GNU/Linux distributions using the official Flatpak runtimes from Flathub, the official BuildStream project snapshot, the experimental VM image, or the source packages.

          The development cycle of GNOME 3.36 is almost over and String Freeze stage is now in effect. There will be one more milestone published before the final release next month, GNOME 3.35.92 a.k.a. GNOME 3.36 Release Candidate (RC), which is expected at the end of the month on February 29th.

        • Login and unlock in GNOME Shell 3.36

          The upcoming GNOME 3.36 release includes a major update to the system login and unlock experience. The new design has been anticipated for a long time, and we’re excited that it has finally arrived!

          GNOME’s existing login and unlock design has been largely unaltered since it was first introduced in GNOME 3.6, back in September 2012. That’s seven and a half years ago! It’s therefore no surprise that we’ve wanted to update the design for some time.

          The initial round of design work for the new lock screen took place in 2017, at the GNOME UX hackfest in London. There, the GNOME design team, along with GNOME Shell developers, reviewed the goals and requirements, as well as the issues with the existing design, including the main areas of feedback that we’ve had.

        • First Look: What to Expect in GNOME 3.36, Including New Lock Screen

          Well, in this post I round up the multitude of improvements, changes and features that GNOME 3.36 plans to ship with to distil them in to an easily scannable list — so be aware that spoilers follow!

          Do keep in mind that GNOME 3.36 is still in development at the time of writing. Some features highlighted below may change subtly (or substantially) prior to release, or maybe even miss the release entirely.

        • GNOME Shares Sneak Peek at Login and Lock Screens in GNOME 3.36

          GNOME 3.36 is shaping up to be a great update for the open source desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distribution by default, including Ubuntu and Fedora. One of the new features in the upcoming release is revamped lock and login screens.

          GNOME’s Allan Day shared today a sneak peek at the new design of the login and lock screen in GNOME 3.36, which have not seen a major update since the release of GNOME 3.6 in September 2012.

          The new login and lock screens, which you can see in action below, aim to reduce friction and make the login and unlock experience less frustrating for users.

        • MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable

          Last week, Martin Wimpress (from Ubuntu MATE) and I did a 2.5-day packaging sprint and after that I bundle-uploaded all MATE 1.24 related components to Debian unstable. Thus, MATE 1.24 landed in Debian unstable only four days after the upstream release. I think this was the fastest version bump of MATE in Debian ever.

          Packages should have been built by now for most of the 22 architectures supported by Debian. The current/latest build status can be viewed on the DDPO page of the Debian+Ubuntu MATE Packaging Team [1].

          Please also refer to the MATE 1.24 upstream release notes for details on what’s new and what’s changed [2].

        • Change in Light Levels

          It’s the small things that make a smartphone feel nice to use. With the constant flow of updates, improvements to usability keep finding their way into PureOS. One of the recent improvements is how the screen adjusts brightness. This improvement will help tune screen brightness to more convenient levels.

        • Evince chosen as the Librem 5 Document Viewer

          The default Librem 5 applications define the out of the box experience. Our team has been hard at work adding essential apps that people expect from a smartphone. The latest is the popular FOSS document viewer Evince which we adapted using our powerful convergence library libhandy.

          We have put a lot of design and development into the idea of convergence – the ability to run applications on desktop and mobile without maintaining separate code basess or many additional views. libhandy has already been successfully used to adpat or build all the current Librem 5 apps including GNOME Settings, Epiphany, Calls, Chats and more. What makes libhandy so powerful for designers and developers is its simplicity. Just swap out your widget inheritance to use libhandy and add breakpoint logic.

        • Easy Librem 5 App Development: Scale the Screen

          The Librem 5 phone has a 720×1440 screen, but that is a relatively high concentration of pixels when applied to a 5.7″ screen running traditional desktop applications and would not only leave you squinting at a lot of the text, it would make it difficult to press buttons and select items in menus. As we document in our design contraints page, we scale the desktop 2x to a resolution of 360×720 and once you take the top and bottom navigation bars into account you end up with a portrait resolution of 360×648 or a landscape resolution of 720×288.

          While our native applications take these constraints into account, and we continue to adapt new applications to work well on a phone screen, there are still plenty of applications that run on the Librem 5, they just don’t yet fit. For instance, here’s Wireshark looking great on the Librem 5 in landscape mode when scaled to 1.25x:

    • Distributions

      • 10 top reasons to switch to Manjaro Linux

        Most new Linux users are exposed to big names like Ubuntu, Arch, Debian, and Mint. There are a lot of other distros that are good in their way. Manjaro is one of those distributions that we’re going to discuss today. It’s an open-source, Arch Linux-based operating system.

        Arch Linux is known to be fast, powerful, and lightweight, providing users with the latest cutting-edge application and tools. Manjaro surpasses this reputation and offers even more benefits, especially an intuitive user interface.

        If you’re a Linux user wondering whether to switch to Manjaro or stick to your current distribution, there are ten main reasons why you should switch to Manjaro Linux.

      • Living Lively with LiveCD

        LiveCD is the ability to run full operating system without installing it to computer beforehand. You can run GNU/Linux LiveCD with CD, DVD, or USB Flash, or even external Hard Disk Drive. To make it easier to understand for everybody, Windows is not LiveCD, but GNU/Linux is. I live with LiveCD everyday, many of UbuntuBuzz’s articles I actually wrote in LiveCD mode, and many reviews I could made by using it. LiveCD is a feature known and popular from GNU/Linux. The first distro to introduce it was KNOPPIX. And Ubuntu made it very popular thanks to Canonical’s ShipIt program that sent Ubuntu CDs to people in this world (including me) so many people benefited from Ubuntu LiveCDs. To you I share my story with LiveCD and things I learned from my story. I wish this writing benefits you as well. Enjoy!

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Open Build Service: More Responsive Than Ever Before!

          We want to change this. And with the new UI technology we introduced last year, we have the chance to do so! :clap: So in the last couple of weeks, we have focused on improving the user experience following a mobile-first approach (start the design of the page on a small screen, which has more restrictions, then expand the page features to create a tablet or desktop version).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat finds enterprise users are adopting open-source software at a rapid pace

          Enterprise customers believe open-source software is great. In a just-released Red Hat 2020 enterprise user report, the Linux and cloud folks from Raleigh found 95% of almost 1,000 enterprise IT leaders thought open-source is “strategically important to their organization’s overall enterprise infrastructure software strategy. Of course they do. As Red Monk analyst Stephen O’Grady said in 2005, “So you took over the enterprise: What now?”, open-source software and development approaches had already reached a tipping point. There’s nothing surprising that an overwhelming majority of CIOs, CTOs, and other high-level IT managers in 2020 see an open-source future. ”

        • Metrics and traces correlation in Kiali

          Metrics, traces, and logs might be the Three Pillars of Observability, as you’ve certainly already heard. This mantra helps us focus our mindset around observability, but it is not a religion. “There is so much more data that can help us have insight into our running systems,” said Frederic Branczyk at KubeCon last year.

          These three kind of signals do have their specificities, but they also have common denominators that we can generalize. They could all appear on a virtual timeline and they all originate from a workload, so they are timed and sourced, which is a good start for enabling correlation. If there’s anything as important as knowing the signals that a system can emit, it’s knowing the relationships between those signals and being able to correlate one with another, even when they’re not strictly of the same nature. Ultimately, we can postulate that any sort of signal that is timed and sourced is a good candidate for correlation as well, even if we don’t have hard links between them.

          This fact is, of course, not something new. Correlation has always been possible, but the true stake is to make it easier, and hence cheaper. What makes correlation easier today? I can see at least one pattern that helps, and that we see more and more in monitoring systems: An automatic and consistent sourcing of incoming signals.

          When you use Prometheus in Kubernetes, the Kubernetes service discovery might be enabled and configured for label mapping. As the name suggests, this mechanism maps pods’ existing labels to Prometheus labels, or in other words, it forwards source context into metrics (hence, allowing filters and aggregations based on that information). This setup participates in automatic and consistent sourcing. Loki, for instance, has the same for logs. If you can define a context for metrics search and reuse that same context for logs search, then guess what you have? Easier correlation.

        • Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce Image Demoted While Fedora Workstation AArch64 Gets Promoted

          Issues with Fedora’s 32-bit ARM Xfce desktop spin will no longer be treated as a release blocker for the Linux distribution but instead the Fedora Workstation for 64-bit ARM (AArch64) will be considered a blocking issue.

          At Monday’s Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee meeting, the FESCo members agreed that Fedora Workstation on 64-bit ARM will basically take the place of the 32-bit ARM Fedora Xfce image in terms of release priority. That Fedora 32-bit ARM Xfce spin can stick around, but it’s no longer going to hold up Fedora releases should there be any significant bugs specific to it. Promoting the Fedora Workstation AArch64 image is a win as well acknowledging the good support today for ARMv8 hardware by the distribution.

        • Red Hat tips its Fedora at CoreOS Container Linux stans: Hop onto something else, folks, cos this one’s on a boat to Valhalla

          Red Hat is set to fling a flaming arrow at Red Hat CoreOS Container Linux*, the software firm said as it laid out the details of the end of life timeline for the distro it acquired in January 2018.

          CoreOS Container Linux is designed as a lightweight operating system optimised for hosting containers. It supports various cluster architectures, and features an automated update system. The container runtime can be either Docker or rkt (Rocket), an alternative which was developed by the CoreOS team.

          When Red Hat acquired CoreOS, it said that Container Linux was “complementary to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Red Hat Enterprise Linux Atomic Host and Red Hat’s integrated container runtime and platform management capabilities.” The company also said it would integrate Tectonic, the CoreOS Kubernetes project, and Quay, the CoreOS container registry, with its own OpenShift Kubernetes suite.

        • OpenShift 4.3: Console Customization: YAML Samples

          Out of the box, OpenShift 4 provides a few examples for users. With this new extension mechanism users can now add their own YAML sample for all users on the Cluster. Let us look at how we can manually add a YAML example to the cluster. First we need to navigate to the Custom Resource Definition navigation item and search for YAML…

        • Red Hat Satellite Ask Me Anything Q&A from January 15, 2020

          This post covers the questions and answers during the January 2020 Satellite Ask Me Anything (AMA) calls.

          For anyone not familiar, the Satellite AMAs are an “ask me anything” (AMA) style event where we invite Red Hat customers to bring all of their questions about Red Hat Satellite, drop them in the chat, and members of the Satellite product team answers as many of them live as we can during the AMA and we then follow up with a blog post detailing the questions and answers.

        • Red Hat named to Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for 2nd year in a row

          If you ask Red Hatters why they love working for Red Hat, you’ll hear a common theme. The culture and the people. I frequently hear from new Red Hatters that it just feels different to work here. It’s clear our associates are passionate about being apart of something bigger than themselves, a movement. As a result, Red Hat has been ranked No. 48 on Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For! This is our second consecutive year making the list and it’s most gratifying that in a year full of exciting change, one thing has remained constant. Red Hat is still Red Hat and it is a great place to work!

          Thinking back on this year and all that we’ve experienced, I’m grateful that we have put a great deal of attention and focus on continuing Red Hat’s culture because of the value it brings to our associates, customers, partners and the industry as a whole. We are all committed to preserving our way of working and this latest recognition is a testament to this effort. As we move forward, we are laser focused on maintaining what we do and how we do it—the open source way.

      • Debian Family

        • SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue Editions Are Out Now

          Released last week on February 10th, SparkyLinux 2020.02 brought updated components from the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” software repositories. It shipped with Xfce, MATE, LXQt, Openbox (MinimalGUI), and MinimalCLI (text-mode) editions.

          Now, the SparkyLinux 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia and Rescue special editions are available for download as well. They’re also based on the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” repos, but include special software components.

          While the GameOver edition comes preloaded with numerous games, the Multimedia edition contains a collections of utilities for audio, graphics, and video creation, and the Rescue edition brings useful tools for system maintenance and repair.

        • The Debian-based MX Linux 19.1 is Out – Download Link

          MX Linux is a midweight operating system by Linux. It’s based on Debian stable and it uses core antiX components, but it also has some additional software created by the MX community. While it made plenty of users happy and with their lives improved, MX Linux is now at its 19.1 version and ready to be downloaded.

          MX Linux 19.1 has become available for download since yesterday, February 16. And it’s worth giving it a try since the Debian-based distro uses the Xfce desktop environment and it’s pre-loaded with great software: LibreOffice, a video and music player, Firefox, and more.

        • 4 Ways to Kill Unresponsive Applications in Debian 10

          It is often annoying when a program stops working and you cannot even close it. Rebooting the system is not always the appropriate way and we search for ways to get rid of unresponsive programs, easily and quickly. In this article, we will learn about those ways including both GUI and the command line to kill the unresponsive applications in a Debian system.

          We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Debian 10 system. Some of the methods described here have been run on the command line Terminal application. To open the Terminal in Debian OS, go to the Activities tab in the top left corner of your desktop. Then in the search bar, type the keyword terminal. When the search result appears, click on the Terminal icon.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical Makes It Easier to Download Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi

          Canonical’s Design and Web team have recently updated the official Ubuntu website to make it easier for users to find the right Ubuntu image for their tiny Raspberry Pi computers.

          In December 2019, Canonical published a support roadmap for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer on their Ubuntu Server operating system and pledged to fully support Ubuntu on all Raspberry Pi boards.

          With the release of Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS earlier this month, Canonical has also refreshed the Raspberry Pi page on the ubuntu.com website to help users find the right Ubuntu version for their Raspberry Pi boards.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Design and Web team summary – 14 February 2020

          The Web and Design team at Canonical looks after most of our main websites, the brand, our Vanilla CSS framework and several of our products with web front-ends. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work over our last two-week iteration.

        • OpenStack Charms 20.02 – CephFS backend for Manila and more

          The OpenStack Charms 20.02 release introduces support for Ceph File System (CephFS) to be used as storage backed for Manila. CephFS is a POSIX-compliant file system providing a file storage layer on top of Ceph. Manila is an OpenStack project providing shared filesystem services for tenants.

          Previous releases of OpenStack Charms included manila charm with a generic plugin that could be used to configure the NFS-based backend for Manila. Although this solution was suitable for testing and development, it was not intended for production environments.

          The CephFS backend for Manila brings the OpenStack shared filesystem service to the enterprise level. This comes through enabling tenants to benefit from all the best features provided by Ceph, such as high availability, fault tolerance, scalability and security.

          In order to deploy or extend Charmed OpenStack with CephFS backed for Manila, users have to use additional charms (ceph-fs, manila and manila-ganesha). These have been introduced and stabilised in this release. Please refer to the official documentation for information on how to integrate new charms with the existing deployment.

        • Canonical Releases OpenStack Charms 20.02 with CephFS Support, More

          OpenStack Charms 20.02 is available now with CephFS backend for Manila, Policy Overrides for more charms, updated OVN and MySQL 8 previews, and much more.

        • Ceph storage on Ubuntu: An overview

          Ceph is a compelling open-source alternative to proprietary software defined storage solutions from traditional vendors, with a vibrant community collaborating on the technology. Ubuntu was an early supporter of Ceph and its community. That support continues today as Canonical maintains premier member status and serves on the governing board of the Ceph Foundation.

          With many global enterprises and telco operators running Ceph on Ubuntu, organisations are able to combine block and object storage at scale while tapping into the economic and upstream benefits of open source.

          Why use Ceph?

          Ceph is unique because it makes data available in multiple ways: as a POSIX compliant filesystem through CephFS, as block storage volumes via the RBD driver and for object store, compatible with both S3 and Swift protocols, using the RADOS gateway.

          A common use case for Ceph is to provide block and object store to OpenStack clouds via Cinder and as a Swift replacement. Kubernetes has similarly adopted Ceph as a popular way for physical volumes (PV) as a Container Storage Interface (CSI) plugin.

          Even as a stand-alone, Ceph is a compelling open-source storage alternative to closed-source, proprietary solutions as it reduces OpEx costs organisations commonly accrue with storage from licensing, upgrades and potential vendor lock-in fees.

        • MAAS 2.7 released

          Following on from MAAS 2.6.2, we are happy to announce that MAAS 2.7 is now available. This release features some critical bug fixes, along with some exciting new features.

          For some time, our users have been asking for the capability to deploy CentOS 8 images in MAAS. With the advent of MAAS 2.7, that is now possible. The Images page in the MAAS 2.8 UI offers the option to select and download CentOS 8. It is important to note that users of previous versions may see CentOS 8 as an available option, but cannot download or deploy it.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 73.0.1 Released With Fixes for Linux, Windows Crashes

            Mozilla has released Firefox 73.0.1 today, February 18th, 2020, to the Stable desktop channel for Windows, macOS, and Linux with crash fixes for users of Windows and Linux devices.

            This release also fixes a loss of browser functionality in certain circumstances and RBC Royal Bank website connectivity problems.

            Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop users can upgrade to Firefox 73.0.1 by going to Options -> Help -> About Firefox and the browser will automatically check for the new update and install it when available.

          • Firefox 73.0.1 Fixes Linux Crashes When Playing Encrypted Content

            Firefox 73.0.1 arrives a week after the launch of Firefox 73.0 to address a few issues reported by users. These include fixes for a bug that made Firefox to crash on some Linux users when playing encrypted content and an issue which forced Firefox to close unexpectedly when the user exits the Print Preview mode.

            Some users also reported intermittent blank page issues when attempting to log in to the RBC Royal Bank website, so this is now fixed as well in the Firefox 73.0.1 release. Also addressed are a couple of issues reported by users on Windows systems, which shouldn’t affect Linux users.

          • Mozilla GFX: Challenge: Snitch on the glitch! Help the Graphics team track down an interesting WebRender bug…

            For the past little while, we have been tracking some interesting WebRender bugs that people are reporting in release. Despite best efforts, we have been unable to determine clear steps to reproduce these issues and have been unable to find a fix for them. Today we are announcing a special challenge to the community – help us track down steps to reproduce (a.k.a STR) for this bug and you will win some special, limited edition Firefox Graphics team swag! Read on for more details if you are interested in participating.

          • Mike Hoye: Dexterity In Depth

            I’m exactly one microphone and one ridiculous haircut away from turning into Management Shingy when I get rolling on stuff like this, because it’s just so clear to me how much this stuff matters and how little sense I might be making at the same time. Is your issue tracker automatically flagging your structural blind spots? Do your QA and UX team run your next reorg? Why not?

            This all started life as a rant on Mastodon, so bear with me here. There are two empirically-established facts that organizations making software need to internalize.

            The first is that by wide margin the most significant predictive indicator that there will be a future bug in a piece of software is the relative orgchart distance of the people working on it. People who are working on a shared codebase in the same room but report to different VPs are wildly more likely to introduce errors into a codebase than two people who are on opposite sides of the planet and speak different first languages but report to the same manager.

            The second is that the number one predictor that a bug will be resolved is if it is triaged correctly – filed in the right issue tracker, against the right component, assigned to the right people – on the first try.

            It’s fascinating that neither of the strongest predictive indicators of the most important parts of a bug’s lifecycle – birth and death – actually take place on the developers’ desk, but it’s true. In terms of predictive power, nothing else in the software lifecycle comes close.

          • WebThings Gateway Goes Global

            Today, we’re releasing version 0.11 of the WebThings Gateway. For those of you running a previous version of our Raspberry Pi build, you should have already received the update. You can check in your UI by navigating to Settings ➡ Add-ons.

          • Thank You, Ronaldo Lemos

            Ronaldo Lemos joined the Mozilla Foundation board almost six years ago. Today he is stepping down in order to turn his attention to the growing Agora! social movement in Brazil.

            Over the past six years, Ronaldo has helped Mozilla and our allies advance the cause of a healthy internet in countless ways. Ronaldo played a particularly important role on policy issues including the approval of the Marco Civil in Brazil and shaping debates around net neutrality and data protection. More broadly, he brought his experience as an academic, lawyer and active commentator in the fields of intellectual property, technology and culture to Mozilla at a time when we needed to step up on these topics in an opinionated way.

            As a board member, Ronaldo also played a critical role in the development of Mozilla Foundation’s movement building strategy. As the Foundation evolved it’s programs over the past few years, he brought to bear extensive experience with social movements in general — and with the open internet movement in particular. This was an invaluable contribution.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 Beta 2

          WordPress 5.4 Beta 2 is now available!

          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

        • Charity Navigator awards the FSF coveted four-star rating for the seventh time in a row

          Recently, we got some terrific news: Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of US-based nonprofit charities, awarded the Free Software Foundation (FSF) a four-star rating, the highest available. According to the confirmation letter from Charity Navigator president Michael Thatcher, this rating demonstrates the FSF’s “strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency.” A four-star charity, according to their ratings, “exceeds industry standards and outperforms most charities in its cause.”

          This is our seventh time in a row receiving the coveted four-star rating! Only 7% of the charities that Charity Navigator evaluates have gotten this many in a row, and they assess over 9,000 charities a year. As Thatcher’s letter says, “This exceptional designation from Charity Navigator sets the Free Software Foundation apart from its peers and demonstrates to the public its trustworthiness.” Even better: our overall score went from 96.66 out of 100% last year, up to 98.55 this cycle.

        • Licensing / Legal

      • Programming/Development

        • Slightly Better Iterative Spline Decomposition

          My colleague Bart Massey (who is a CS professor at Portland State University) reviewed my iterative spline algorithm article and had an insightful comment — we don’t just want any spline decomposition which is flat enough, what we really want is a decomposition for which every line segment is barely within the specified flatness value.

          My initial approach was to keep halving the length of the spline segment until it was flat enough. This definitely generates a decomposition which is flat enough everywhere, but some of the segments will be shorter than they need to be, by as much as a factor of two.

        • LLVM’s Go Front-End Was Finally Dropped From The Official Source Tree

          Most probably didn’t even realize LLVM had a Go language front-end, but this past week it was dropped from the official source mono repository.

          This LLVM Go front-end “LLGO” hasn’t been maintained in several years and never really took off… Most probably aren’t even aware of this Go compiler support for LLVM. So the code has been suffering, it was stuck at Go version 1.5 well behind the latest upstream, it likely has build errors, and there are other nuisances with the code like having an entire copy of Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” novel. For those wondering why an entire novel was part of the source tree, it amounted to serving as a compression test case.

        • [llvm-dev] [10.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 2 is here
          Hello everyone,
          Release Candidate 2 was tagged earlier today as llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2. It
          includes 98 commits since the previous release candidate.
          Source code and docs are available at
          https://prereleases.llvm.org/10.0.0/#rc2 and
          Pre-built binaries will be added as they become available.
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of
          Release testers: please run the test script, share your results, and
          upload binaries.
          I'm hoping we can now start tying up the loose ends, fixing the
          blocking bugs, and getting the branch ready for shipping as a stable
          release soon.
        • LLVM 10.0′s Release Is Very Close With RC2 Available

          The release of LLVM 10.0 is now upon us with the second and last planned release candidate issued at the end of last week.

          Ongoing LLVM release manager Hans Wennborg tagged LLVM 10.0 RC2 on Thursday with just under one hundred commits since the original release candidate. Since LLVM 10.0 RC1 in January has been a lot of bug fixing and things appear to be settling down for seeing LLVM 10.0 on time or thereabouts with its scheduled release date of 26 February.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Haskell

          Haskell is a standardized, general-purpose, polymorphically statically typed, lazy, purely functional language, very different from many programming languages. It enables developers to produce software that’s clear, concise, and correct.

          This is a mature programming language with the first version defined in 1990. It has a strong, static type system based on Hindley–Milner type inference. The main implementation of Haskell is the Glasgow Haskell Compiler (GHC), an open source native code compiler. Recent innovations include static polymorphic typing, higher-order functions, user-definable algebraic data types, a module system, and more. It has built-in concurrency and parallelism, debuggers, profilers, rich libraries and an active community, with thousands of open source libraries and tools.

          Haskell offers many advantages to programmers. It helps rapid application development with shorter, clearer code, and higher reliability. It’s suitable for a variety of applications, and often used in academia and industry.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2020.07 Irky Reblessing

            Arne Sommer has blogged about a recent breaking change with regards to reblessing objects: Raku and the (Re)blessed Child and Exploring Rebless with Raku. In it, they express frustration with working code suddenly not working anymore. As always, there are two sides to the story, and Arne shows them both.

        • Python

          • PyCon India 2019 :: Late Report

            Personally, I think the venue choice this year was great again, as we were able to accommodate 20+ sponsor stalls while still not overloading the halls and having ample space to conduct multiple tracks of the conference scheduled for the attendees.


            Apart from these, there also are some monetary benefits to volunteering at a conference- registration fee for volunteers is generally waived off at paid-ticket based conferences and some quite generous conferences also have accommodation options for volunteers during the conference days, free of cost.
            Also, organizers usually have free goodies to give away to the volunteers at the end of the conference.

            The volunteers met at the convention centre a day before the conference to prepare the goodies bags for the attendees. These bags simply consisted of a schedule page, a pen, a notebook and a couple of PyCon India stickers- one for you, and one for sharing with your pal.

          • Python 3.8.2rc2 is now available for testing

            Python 3.8.2rc2 is the second release candidate of the second maintenance release of Python 3.8. Go get it here:

          • Productivity Mondays – 5 tips that will boost your performance

            The following things are relatively easy to do, but also easy not to do. Do them consistently and they can change your career and life.

          • Roberto Alsina: Learning Serverless in GCP

            Usually, when I want to learn how to use a tool, the thing that works best for me is to try to build something using it. Watching someone build something instead is the second best thing.

            So, join me while I build a little thing using “serverless” Google Cloud Platform, Python and some other bits and pieces.

          • Uniquely Managing Test Execution Resources using WebSockets

            Executing tests for simple applications is complicated. You have to think about the users, how they interact with it, how those interactions propagate through different components, as well as how to handle error situations gracefully. But things get even more complicated when you start looking at more extensive systems, like those with multiple external dependencies.

            Dependencies come in various forms, including third-party modules, cloud services, compute resources, networks, and others.

          • Python Tools for Record Linking and Fuzzy Matching

            Record linking and fuzzy matching are terms used to describe the process of joining two data sets together that do not have a common unique identifier. Examples include trying to join files based on people’s names or merging data that only have organization’s name and address.

            This problem is a common business challenge and difficult to solve in a systematic way – especially when the data sets are large. A naive approach using Excel and vlookup statements can work but requires a lot of human intervention. Fortunately, python provides two libraries that are useful for these types of problems and can support complex matching algorithms with a relatively simple API.

            The first one is called fuzzymatcher and provides a simple interface to link two pandas DataFrames together using probabilistic record linkage. The second option is the appropriately named Python Record Linkage Toolkit which provides a robust set of tools to automate record linkage and perform data deduplication.

            This article will discuss how to use these two tools to match two different data sets based on name and address information. In addition, the techniques used to do matching can be applied to data deduplication and will be briefly discussed.

          • Integrating MongoDB with Python Using PyMongo

            In this post, we will dive into MongoDB as a data store from a Python perspective. To that end, we’ll write a simple script to showcase what we can achieve and any benefits we can reap from it.

            Web applications, like many other software applications, are powered by data. The organization and storage of this data are important as they dictate how we interact with the various applications at our disposal. The kind of data handled can also have an influence on how we undertake this process.

            Databases allow us to organize and store this data, while also controlling how we store, access, and secure the information.

          • EuroPython 2020: Presenting our conference logo for Dublin

            The logo is inspired by the colors and symbols often associated with Ireland: the shamrock and the Celtic harp. It was again created by our designer Jessica Peña Moro from Simétriko, who had already helped us in previous years with the conference design.

          • Finding the Perfect Python Code Editor

            Find your perfect Python development setup with this review of Python IDEs and code editors. Writing Python using IDLE or the Python REPL is great for simple things, but not ideal for larger programming projects. With this course you’ll get an overview of the most common Python coding environments to help you make an informed decision.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #408 (Feb. 18, 2020)
          • Airflow By Example (II)
          • PyCon: The Hatchery Returns with Nine Events!

            Since its start in 2018, the PyCon US Hatchery Program has become a fundamental part of how PyCon as a conference adapts to best serve the Python community as it grows and changes with time. In keeping with that focus on innovation, the Hatchery Program itself has continued to evolve.

            Initially we wanted to gauge community interest for this type of program, and in 2018 we launched our first trial program to learn more about what kind of events the community might propose. At the end of that inaugural program, we accepted the PyCon Charlas as our first Hatchery event and it has grown into a permanent track offered at PyCon US.

          • Using “python -m” in Wing 7.2

            Wing version 7.2 has been released, and the next couple Wing Tips look at some of its new features. We’ve already looked at reformatting with Black and YAPF and Wing 7.2′s expanded support for virtualenv.

            Now let’s look at how to set up debugging modules that need to be launched with python -m. This command line option for Python allows searching the Python Path for the name of a module or package, and then loading and executing it. This capability was introduced way back in Python 2.4, and then extended in Python 2.5 through PEP 338 . However, it only came into widespread use relatively recently, for example to launch venv, black, or other command line tools that are shipped as Python packages.

          • New Python Programmer? Learn These Concepts First.

            As a novice Python developer, the world is your oyster with regards to the type of applications that you can create. Despite its age (30 years—an eternity in tech-world terms), Python remains a dominant programming language, with companies using it for all kinds of services, platforms, and applications.

            For example, Python lets you create web applications via Django or other frameworks such as Flask. Perhaps you want to create games instead? For that, learn Pygame for 2D games (or Panda3D for 3D). Or maybe you’re more enterprise-minded, and want to create useful utilities (such as automatically cataloguing e-books); in that case, Python works well with frameworks and software such as Calibre.

        • Terminal

          • Changing TTY prompt, font and colors

            Changing colors and font in a virtual terminal isn’t easy (see below). Changing colors and font in a terminal emulator, on the other hand, is just a matter of adjusting preferences in a GUI dialog. Last year, for example, I changed the color scheme in my terminal emulator.

  • Leftovers

    • Stephen Michael Kellat: Trying A Minimum Working Example

      When you make assertions in a channel like the Ubuntu Podcast’s Telegram chatter channel they sometimes have to be backed up. Recently I made reference to how you could utilize Markdown within a LaTeX document. I should take a moment to discuss a way to use LuaLaTeX to make your Markdown documents look nice. We’re going to build a “Minimum Working Example” to illustrate things.

      First, I will refer to a package on the Comprehensive TeX Archive Network simply named markdown. That handles processing Markdown input. In its documentation you find that you can actually input a separate Markdown-formatted file into the macros provided which will convert them into appropriate LaTeX code and add that programmatically into your document. LaTeX is a Turing-complete programming language after all.

    • Stuart Langridge: On the Birmingham tech scene

      You see, it doesn’t appear that the Tech Week team did much in the way of actually trying to find out whether there was a tech scene before declaring that there probably wasn’t one. If they had then they’d have probably discovered the Birmingham.io calendar which contains all the stuff that’s going on, and can be subscribed to via Google. They’d probably have spoken to the existing language-specific meetups in the city before possibly doing their own instead of rather than in conjunction with. They’d have probably discovered the Brum tech Slack which has 800-odd people in it, or2 CovHack or HackTheMidlands or FusionMeetup or devopsdays or CodeYourFuture_ or yougotthisconf or Tech Wednesday or Django Girls or OWASP or Open Code or any one of a ton of other things that are going on every week.

      Birmingham, as anyone who’s decided to be here knows, is a bit special. A person involved in tech in Birmingham is pretty likely to be able to get a similar job in London, and yet they haven’t done so. Why is that? Because Brum’s different. Things are less frantic, here, is why. We’re all in this together. London may have kings and queens: we’re the city of a thousand different trades, all on the same level, all working hand in hand. All collaborating. It’s a grass roots thing, you see. Nobody’s in charge. The calendar mentioned above is open source exactly so that there’s not one person in charge of it and anyone else can pick it up and run with it if we disappear, so the work that’s already gone into it isn’t wasted.


      And so there’s a certain amount of resistance, on my side of the fence, to kingmakers. To people who look at the scene, all working together happily, and then say: you people need organising for your own good, because there needs to be someone in charge here. There needs to be hierarchy, otherwise how will journalists know who to ask for opinions? It’s difficult to understand an organisation which doesn’t have any organisation. W. L. Gore and Patagonia and Valve are companies that work a similar way, without direct hierarchy, in a way that the management theorist Frédéric Laloux calls a “teal organisation” and others call “open allocation”, and they baffle people the world over too; half the managers and consultants in the world look at them and say, but that can’t work, if you don’t have bosses, nobody will do anything. But it works for them. And it seems to me to be a peculiarly Brum approach to things. If we were in this for the fame and the glory we’d have gone down to London where everyone’s terribly serious and in a rush all the time. Everyone works with everyone else; BrumPHP talks about BrumJS, Fusion talks about School of Code; one meetup directs people to others that they’ll find interesting; if the devopsdays team want a speaker about JavaScript they’ll ping BrumJS to ask about who’d be good. That’s collaboration. Everyone does their bit, and tries to elevate everyone else at the same time.

    • Education

      • Donald Trump’s Plan for America: Make it Ignorant

        On February 10th, the White House released its budget for the fiscal year 2021. It broadly showcases the values promoted by Donald Trump and the vision he has for the future of the United States of America. Budgets are the practical extension of genuine commitments. Politicians, as a group, are famous for making promises that they do not deliver on. Empty promises are often rhetorical flourishes meant to generate votes.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • [Attackers] are demanding nude photos to unlock files in a new ransomware scheme targeting women

          The malware doesn’t appear to be the first to demand explicit images: In 2017, security firm Kaspersky reported another type of ransomware that demanded nude photos in exchange for unlocking access to infected computers. In other cases, scammers on dating apps have requested nude photos from would-be suitors, then held them for ransom by threatening to leak the photos.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux

          ScreenRec has been widely recognized as one of the best free screen recording software available. Previously, only Windows users could benefit from its cloud storage, private link sharing, and upscale security features. Now, however, ScreenRec has joined the ranks of free Linux screen recorders.

          When the team over at StreamingVideoProvider first released ScreenRec in 2018, there was stiff competition in the face of giants like Windows Game Recorder, OBS, and even Camtasia. Yet, its creator, the CEO of StreamingVideoProvider Deyan Shkodrov, knew he had something worthwhile because ScreenRec had drastically improved the efficiency of collaboration between him and his team.

        • ScreenRec – The Fastest Growing Free Screen Recorder For Business Announces New Version For Linux
        • Veeam Availability Suite v10 Enhances NAS Backup, DR and Security
        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (systemd and thunderbird), Debian (clamav, libgd2, php7.3, spamassassin, and webkit2gtk), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and sway), Mageia (firefox, kernel-linus, mutt, python-pillow, sphinx, thunderbird, and webkit2), openSUSE (firefox, nextcloud, and thunderbird), Oracle (firefox and ksh), Red Hat (curl, java-1.7.0-openjdk, kernel, and ruby), Scientific Linux (firefox and ksh), SUSE (sudo and xen), and Ubuntu (clamav, php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3, postgresql-10, postgresql-11, and webkit2gtk).

          • The Linux Foundation and Harvard’s Lab for Innovation Science Release Census for Open Source Software Security

            The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII), a project that helps support best practices and the security of critical open source software projects, and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH), today announced the release of ‘Vulnerabilities in the Core,’ a Preliminary Report and Census II of Open Source Software.`

            This Census II analysis and report represent important steps towards understanding and addressing structural and security complexities in the modern day supply chain where open source is pervasive, but not always understood. Census II identifies the most commonly used free and open source software (FOSS) components in production applications and begins to examine them for potential vulnerabilities, which can inform actions to sustain the long-term security and health of FOSS. Census I (2015) identified which software packages in the Debian Linux distribution were the most critical to the kernel’s operation and security.

            “The Census II report addresses some of the most important questions facing us as we try to understand the complexity and interdependence among open source software packages and components in the global supply chain,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “The report begins to give us an inventory of the most important shared software and potential vulnerabilities and is the first step to understand more about these projects so that we can create tools and standards that results in trust and transparency in software.”

          • The Linux Foundation identifies most important open-source software components and their problems

            Red Hat recently reported open-source software now dominates the enterprise. Actually, it does more than that. Another older study found open-source software makes up 80% to 90% of all software. You may not know that, because many of these programs are built on deeply buried open-source components. Now, The Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative (CII) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) have revealed — in “Vulnerabilities in the Core, a preliminary report and Census II of open-source software” — the most frequently used components and the vulnerabilities they share.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Anwesha Das: The scary digital world

              Some years ago, my husband and I were looking for houses to rent. We both were in different cities and were having a telephone conversation. We had three or four phone calls to discuss this. After that, I opened my laptop and turned on my then browser, Google. Advertisements started popping up. Showing the adds of houses for rent at the very same location, the same budget I was looking for. A chill went down my bone. How did this particular website knows that we are looking for a house?


              Why would someone want to track me? I have nothing to hide.

              This is the general response we get when we initiate the discussion of and about privacy. To which Glen Greenworld has a great reply, ‘if you do not have to hide anything, please write down all your email ids, not just the work ones, the respectable ones but all, along with the passwords to me.’ Though people have nothing to hide no one has ever got back to him :)

              Everyone needs privacy. We flourish our being and can be true to ourselves when we do not have the fear and knowledge of being watched by someone. Everyone cares about privacy. If they did not have, there would be no password on their accounts, no locker, no keys.

            • Facebook works as it is supposed to work: The real scandal behind all the privacy scandals.

              Facebook was never known for its great protection of privacy. But since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there has been one scandal after the other. However, the real scandal behind all these scandals: Facebook simply is not designed to protect your privacy – and it never will be.

            • Alarming ‘Hidden’ Cyber Attack Leaves Millions Of Windows And Linux Systems Vulnerable [Ed: Misleading headline from decades-long Microsoft booster. This isn't an OS level issue.]

              Vulnerabilities that can be hidden away out of sight are amongst the most-coveted by cyber-criminals and spooks alike. That’s why zero-day vulnerabilities are deemed so valuable, and cause so much high-level concern when they are exposed. It’s also why the CIA secretly purchased an encryption equipment provider to be able to hide backdoors in the products and spy upon more than 100 governments.

              While we are almost accustomed to reading government warnings about vulnerabilities in the Windows operating system, Linux cybersecurity threat warnings are less common. Which is partly why this report on the hidden exploit threat within both Linux and Windows systems caught my eye. The Eclypsium researchers concentrated on unsigned firmware as this is a known attack vector, which can have devastating implications, yet one in which vendors have appeared to be slow taking seriously enough. The unsigned firmware in question was found in peripherals used in computers from Dell, Lenovo and HP as well as other major manufacturers. They also demonstrated a successful attack using a network interface card with, you guessed it, unsigned firmware that is used by the big three server manufacturers. “Despite previous in-the-wild attacks,” the report said, “peripheral manufacturers have been slow to adopt the practice of signing firmware, leaving millions of Windows and Linux systems at risk of firmware attacks that can exfiltrate data, disrupt operations and deliver ransomware.”

              The truth is that, as far as cybersecurity is concerned, much of the defensive effort is focused on the operating system and applications. Hardly surprising, given these are the most visible attack surfaces. By not adding firmware into the threat prevention model, however, organizations are leaving a gaping hole just waiting to be filled by threat actors. “This could lead to implanted backdoors, network traffic sniffing, data exfiltration, and more,” says Katie Teitler, a senior analyst at TAG Cyber. “Unfortunately, though, firmware vulnerabilities can be harder to detect and more difficult to patch,” she says, “best practice is to deploy automated scanning for vulnerabilities and misconfigurations at the component level, and continuously monitor for new issues or exploits.”

            • The Week in Internet News: CIA Had Encryption Backdoor for Decades

              The U.S. CIA secretly had an ownership stake in Swiss encryption company Crypto AG for decades and was able to read encrypted messages sent using the company’s technology, the Washington Post reports. West German intelligence agencies worked with the CIA. Forbes columnist Jody Westby called for a congressional investigation.

            • Insights from Avast/Jumpshot data: Pitfalls of data anonymization

              There has been a surprising development after my previous article on the topic, Avast having announced that they will terminate Jumpshot and stop selling users’ data. That’s not the end of the story however, with the Czech Office for Personal Data Protection starting an investigation into Avast’s practices. I’m very curious to see whether this investigation will confirm Avast’s claims that they were always fully compliant with the GDPR requirements. For my part, I now got a glimpse of what the Jumpshot data actually looks like. And I learned that I massively overestimated Avast’s success when anonymizing this data.


              The data I saw was an example that Jumpshot provided to potential customers: an excerpt of real data for one week of 2019. Each record included an exact timestamp (milliseconds precision), a persistent user identifier, the platform used (desktop or mobile, which browser), the approximate geographic location (country, city and ZIP code derived from the user’s IP address), a guess for user’s gender and age group.

              What it didn’t contain was “every click, on every site.” This data sample didn’t belong to the “All Clicks Feed” which has received much media attention. Instead, it was the “Limited Insights Pro Feed” which is supposed to merely cover user’s shopping behavior: which products they looked at, what they added to the cart and whether they completed the order. All of that limited to shopping sites and grouped by country (Germany, UK and USA) as well as product category such as Shoes or Men’s Clothing.

              This doesn’t sound like there would be all too much personal data? But there is, thanks to a “referrer” field being there. This one is supposed to indicate how the user came to the shopping site, e.g. from a Google search page or by clicking an ad on another website. Given the detailed information collected by Avast, determining this referrer website should have been easy – yet Avast somehow failed this task. And so the supposed referrer is typically a completely unrelated random web page that this user visited, and sometimes not even a page but an image or JSON data.

              If you extract a list of these referrers (which I did), you see news that people read, their web mail sessions, search queries completely unrelated to shopping, and of course porn. You get a glimpse into what porn sites are most popular, what people watch there and even what they search for. For each user, the “limited insights” actually contain a tiny slice of their entire browsing behavior. Over the course of a week this exposed way too much information on some users however, and Jumpshot customers watching users over longer periods of time could learn a lot about each user even without the “All Clicks Feed.”

            • Byos Cautions RSA Conference 2020 Attendees, Travelers and General Public to “Dirty Half-Dozen” Public Wi-Fi Risks

              Byos, Inc., an endpoint security company focused on concept of Endpoint Microsegmentation through Hardware-Enforced Isolation, recommends caution for attendees of major conferences and events such as the RSA Conference 2020, a leading cybersecurity conference in San Francisco, February 24-28, and travelers in general risks of Free Wi-Fi. Many attendees will access the Internet via multiple free Wi-Fi connection points from Hotels, Airports, Coffee Shops and the Conference itself, and every free Wi-Fi access presents security risks for users that Byos calls “The Dirty Half-Dozen.”


              The Dirty Half-Dozen risks are:

              Scanning, enumerating, and fingerprinting
              Evil-Twin Wi-Fi
              Lateral network infections
              DNS hijacking

    • Defence/Aggression

      • We Talk About One U.S.-Backed Coup. Hondurans Talk About Three.

        Tracing U.S. complicity in the ongoing human rights crisis in Honduras.

      • How the UN’s Middle East Peace Plan Was Trounced by Its Own Members

        Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has delivered a dramatic condemnation of the U.S.-drafted Middle East peace plan. No country, except Israel, has approved of the proposals at any public forum.

      • Bloomberg Defied a Flight Ban to Show Support for Israel, Defended the Country Shelling a School and Killing Sleeping Children

        Bloomberg: “Unfortunately, if there are innocents getting killed at the same time it’s not Israel’s fault.”

      • UN Condemns ‘Shocking’ and ‘Terrible’ US-Backed Saudi Coalition Bombing That Killed 31 Yemeni Civilians

        “Those who continue to sell arms to the warring parties must realize that by supplying weapons for this war, they contribute to making atrocities like today’s all too common.”

      • US-Backed Saudi Airstrike Kills 31 Civilians in Yemen

        In Yemen, 31 people were killed in U.S.-backed Saudi airstrikes over the weekend, including women and children. The strikes in the northern al-Jawf province came just hours after the Houthis said they had shot down a Saudi fighter jet in the same area. The United Nations called the drone strike “shocking.” The deadly strike follows a recent uptick in violence in northern Yemen and comes as the war there hits a five-year mark. More than 100,000 have died, and far more have been displaced, since the conflict began in 2015. On Sunday, the United Nations said the Houthis and U.S.-backed Saudi and United Arab Emirates coalition had agreed to a major prisoner swap, the first of its kind in the long-running war. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar, activist, and an assistant professor at Michigan State University.

      • Assad Predicts Victory After Gains in Northern Syria

        Syrian President Bashar Assad congratulated his forces Monday for recent gains in northwestern Syria that led to his troops consolidating control over Aleppo province, pledging to press ahead with a military campaign to achieve complete victory “sooner or later.”

      • Virginia Lawmakers Reject Assault Weapon Ban

        RICHMOND, Va.  — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s push to ban the sale of assault weapons failed on Monday after some of his fellow Democrats balked at the proposal.

      • Saudi Arabia urges Germany to lift arms export ban

        The Saudi foreign minister has told a German news agency that the current export ban went against “the good relations” between the countries. Yet he also warned that Saudi Arabia is far from dependent on German arms.

      • Niger says 25 soldiers killed in latest attack blamed on jihadist militants

        The region has been in crisis since 2012 when ethnic Tuareg rebels and loosely-aligned jihadists seized the northern two-thirds of Mali, forcing France to intervene the following year to beat them back. The jihadists have since regrouped and expanded their range of influence.

      • Islamist Militant Krekar to Be Extradited From Norway to Italy

        Krekar failed to avert extradition in the Norwegian courts, and the Justice Ministry on Wednesday gave its approval.

        An appeal to the full cabinet is possible, but on past evidence is unlikely to succeed.

        Krekar has been arrested several times during his years in Norway, once for threats against Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

        Though deemed a threat to Norway’s national security, Krekar was not deported back to Iraq because authorities there could not vouch for his safety.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • NSA Whistleblower Reality Winner Asks Trump To Commute Her Prison Sentence

        NSA whistleblower Reality Winner submitted a petition for a commutation of her prison sentence. “The continued imprisonment of Reality Leigh Winner serves no social or preventative purpose,” the petition declares. “Her continued incarceration is costly, unnecessary to protect the public, burdensome to her health and well-being, and not commensurate with the severity of her offense.” Billie Winner-Davis, her mother, said, “I am so very happy about the filing today. For me, this means we are finally able to officially ask for Reality’s immediate release from prison.” She emphasized, “Keeping Reality in prison serves no purpose. She is not a threat or a danger and has already served so much time behind bars. She has accepted responsibility and has paid a very high price. It’s time to bring her home.”  Winner pled guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act when she disclosed an NSA report to The Intercept.

    • Environment

      • Climate research struggles to find funding

        Climate research is the poor relation of the academic world. Since 1990 it’s won less than 5% of the research funds available.

      • “This Thing Isn’t Over Yet”: Officials Warn Flooding in Mississippi and Tennessee to Continue

        More rain is expected through Tuesday, leading officials to sound the alarm. 

      • ‘Done Playing by the Rules,’ 20 Sunrise Activists Arrested at Capitol Protest Demanding Lawmakers Back Green New Deal

        Over 150 middle- and high-schoolers gathered to demand senators “stand up or step aside” on the climate crisis.

      • A False Solution: Why Carbon Markets Don’t Work for Agriculture

        “Carbon markets will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. All they will do is create another way for polluters to profit from their lack of environmental concern.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Exploring the Secrets of Marsh Happiness

          NOAA research reserve scientists and partners recently published a study that examines the secret to marsh happiness. The team learned that “happy” marshes shared similar characteristics, whereas “unhappy” marshes deteriorate in diverse ways. By understanding how marshes can deteriorate so differently, coastal managers can make wiser conservation decisions.

          Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study ground-truthed previous resilience findings from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and U.S. Geological Survey. Many partners contributed, and the authors included scientists from the Elkhorn Slough and Narragansett Bay Research Reserves.

          According to the study, “happy,” or persistent, marshes all shared common traits. What healthy marshes shared most of all was vegetation distributed on the higher end across low-to-high landscape elevations. The single most important measurement in assessing a “happy” tidal marsh is whether a sizeable proportion of its vegetation is at a high elevation in relation to current water levels. Another feature of “happy” marshes is a low percentage of unvegetated versus vegetated area in the marsh landscape.

          Characterizing an “unhappy,” deteriorating tidal marsh is more complex because marshes can fall apart in many different ways. One finding contradicted a previous assumption: namely, that gains in marsh elevation and sediment indicate greater resilience. The authors say marshes with these characteristics performed inconsistently and often signaled the muddy mess that degrading marshes can become, not marsh health.

    • Finance

      • “Democratic Socialism” – Bring it on Corporate Socialists!

        Crooked Donald Trump, the erstwhile failed gambling czar and corporate welfare king, is assailing Bernie Sanders for his “radical socialism.” How ludicrous given Trump’s three-year giveaway of taxpayer assets and authorities to giant corporations – a perfect portrait of crony capitalism.

      • Trump’s Budget Would Slash Support for Low-Income Students

        As the presidential election campaign picks up, almost every top candidate has released a plan for higher education that addresses college affordability and student debt issues. But there’s only one candidate who’s already in the White House — Donald Trump — and last week he released his plan in the form of a proposed education budget for fiscal year 2021.

      • Buttigieg Is a Wall Street Democrat Beholden to Corporate Interests

        Given his history, it is no surprise that Wall Street, Big Tech, Big Pharma, health insurers, real estate developers and private equity have decided to invest millions of dollars into Buttigieg’s campaign.

      • EU budget to introduce rule-of-law condition

        EU states, such as Hungary or Poland, who backslide on the rule of law could lose funds in future according to a compromise text agreed on Monday and seen by the Reuters news agency. “A general regime of conditionality will be introduced to tackle manifest generalised deficiencies in the good governance of Member State authorities as regards respect for the rule of law,” the draft said.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Sinn Fein’s Victory is Ireland’s ‘Brexit Moment’ When Left-Out Voters Turn on the Elite

        “People wanted to kick the government and Sinn Fein provided the shoe to do the kicking,” says Christy Parker, a journalist from the beautiful but de-industrialised town of Youghal in county Cork. He speaks of the “chasm” between the elite benefiting from Ireland’s impressive economic progress and the large part of the population that has been left behind.

      • The Wall: Separating Democracy From Voters

        The mainstream media imposes some serious certainties on the 2020 presidential election that drive me into a furious despair…

      • The Democrats’ New Chapter

        Now that the impeachment of President Donald Trump hasn’t reached the Democrats’ expected goal, it is time for them to change gears facing the coming presidential elections. Until now, the Democrats have let the Republicans take the initiative, using techniques not always politically correct, or right, and in the process losing elections that they should never have lost.

      • Iran Says US Must Fix Its Own ‘Nontransparent’ and Undemocratic Elections Before Lecturing Others

        The U.S. election system “ignores the vote of the majority of people,” said Abbas Mousavi, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry.

      • Time to Retire the “He Can’t Beat Trump” Trope

        Now that polls show Bernie Sanders the clear front-runner in this race, leading the pack by 8 points and ready to win New Hampshire, it’s time to clear up one of the main Corporate Media myths about him: that “he can’t beat Trump.”

      • The Escalating Class War Against Bernie Sanders

        In American politics, hell hath no fury like corporate power scorned.

      • Another Five Lessons for Democrats to Defeat Trump in 2020

        As part of my last two essays on how Democrats can beat President Donald J. Trump, click here and here, I’ve added another five lessons. As an independent, as noted in my last essay, I’ve consistently been critical (to the present) of Democrats and Republicans in the areas of race, class, place, immigration, etc., as documented in my most recent book on defending Latina/o immigrants. Also, since I’m offering these perils of wisdom to the Democrats on a pro bono basis, don’t blow it!

      • ‘When the 99% Stand Together, We Can Transform Society’: More Than 11,000 Rally for Sanders in Colorado

        “This is a campaign by the working class, of the working class, and for the working class,” Sanders told the crowd in Denver.

      • NEPA is Our National Defense System

        The current attack on our land didn’t originate in Russia or China; it began in Washington D.C., in January, when President Trump proposed dismantling NEPA

      • You Tube’s Trump Predicament

        It must have been a bit of a downer for the trump.  It came just three days before his acquittal of charges of misconduct that had been brought in the House and were being tried in the Senate where his acquittal by  jellyfish-like  Republicans in the United States Senate was assured.  It came just the day before he was to make his  “trumpfant” State of the Union speech in which he would brag about his accomplishments and non-accomplishments with equal ease.  It came just 2 months after YouTube made it clear that it would not ban the trump’s misleading ads on YouTube about Joe Biden.

      • After Trump Impeachment Acquittal, Dems to Largely End Investigations of President

        “House Dems did literally the narrowest possible impeachment they could. The overwhelming majority of Trump’s corruption remains uninvestigated.”

      • Trump Shoots Romney at Prayer Breakfast; GOP Shrugs

        President Donald Trump pulled out a handgun at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning and shot Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, fatally wounding him. A day earlier, Romney had become the first senator in history to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial.

      • Bloomberg Fought Efforts to Protect Black Homeowners From Predatory Lenders

        Soon after Michael Bloomberg took office in 2002, 40 of the 51 members of the New York City Council sponsored legislation aimed at curbing the growth of predatory lending practices by banks. According to the Daily News, “thousands of homeowners” had been taking on “subprime mortgages that have hidden charges, fees and conditions that are essentially designed to force homeowners into foreclosure.”

      • After ‘Former GOP Oligarch’ Bloomberg Airs Ad Criticizing Online Vulgarity, Progressives Point to Former Mayor’s Long Record of Bigotry

        “Speaking for myself, I’d rather be insulted on Twitter by random, anonymous users (something that has happened often from non-Sanders-supporters) than subjected to stop-and-frisk, workplace harassment, indiscriminate Israeli bombing, mass surveillance, and other Bloomberg policies.”

      • Michael Bloomberg’s Racism Goes Well Beyond Stop-and-Frisk

        Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is using his billions to pay for his presidential campaign ads, blanketing television, radio and social media feeds across the country. As pundits, including CNN’s Brian Stelter, suggest, this national visibility blitz may have boosted Bloomberg’s standing in national polls; it rose to 15% in a Quinnipiac survey last week. With that polling boost however, comes an increase in media and voter scrutiny — of his mayoral policy record, his business decisions as head of Bloomberg LP and his long history of speeches and media appearances.

      • More Than 1,100 Former Justice Department Officials Want William Barr to Resign

        More than 1,100 former US Department of Justice officials called on Attorney General William P. Barr on Sunday to step down after he intervened last week to lower the Justice Department’s sentencing recommendation for President Trump’s longtime friend and political crony Roger J. Stone Jr.

      • Why Trump Justice is an Oxymoron

        Unlike Nixon, Trump won’t resign. He has too many enablers — not just a shameful attorney general but also shameless congressional Republicans — who place a lower priority on justice than on satisfying the most vindictive and paranoid occupant of the White House since Richard Milhous Nixon.

      • Trump and His Predecessors
      • Nearly 90% of Tory adverts misleading, compared to none for Labour

        A global organisation that tackles disinformation online analysed every ad promoted by the three main political parties on Facebook in the first four days of December.

        It found 5,592 adverts ran by the Tories (88%) featured claims which had already been flagged up by independent fact-checking organisations as being either not correct or not fully correct.

        At the same time, the group found Labour didn’t run a single advert that had a misleading claim.

        The Liberal Democrats had run hundreds of potentially misleading ads – namely to do with unlabelled graphs or failing to indicate source data for quoted statistics.

        By holding back on advertising during the beginning of the election campaign, and then flooding social media with thousands of highly personalised and misleading adverts, the Tories seem to be adopting a similar tactic in this election campaign to the one ran by Vote Leave in the 2016 EU referendum campaign.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Anti-BDS Laws Violate Our Freedom

        Americans’ free-speech and other rights are being violated by state laws aimed at stifling the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Movement against Israel’s illegal rule of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, both conquered over half a century ago. Twenty-eight states have enacted anti-BDS laws or executive orders that prohibit state agencies and state-financed entities, such as colleges, from doing business with any person or firm that hasn’t pledged never to boycott Israeli goods.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange Must Be Freed, Not Betrayed: John Pilger

        The roll call of those who have not only failed Julian Assange, but actively worked to silence him, is a long one, and a very ‘Australian’ one. John Pilger explains.

      • Extradition of Assange Would Set a Dangerous Precedent

        The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison. On February 24, a court in the U.K. will hold a hearing to determine whether to grant Trump’s request. The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.

      • On The Eve Of Julian Assange’s Extradition Hearing, Doctors Renew Calls For His Freedom

        More than 100 doctors and psychologists from 18 different nations have renewed calls for the release of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange from Belmarsh Prison in the UK.

      • Police pepper-spray anti-virus clinic protesters

        Police repeatedly deployed pepper spray against protesters in Kowloon Bay on Sunday night during a demonstration against the government’s decision to set up a coronavirus clinic in the area.

        Several reporters, including two RTHK video journalists, were struck by pepper spray even as they were complying with police demands to retreat.

      • Governments of the world just ramped up spying on reporters

        ONE DAY LAST SUMMER, I noticed that one of our Middle East correspondents was visiting the Financial Times newsroom. I’m head of cyber security at the paper, and I have found that foreign correspondents are often at the tip of the spear for strange and interesting threats. So I stopped to chat.

        The correspondent, who I will not name for reasons that will soon become clear, mentioned that in recent weeks they had been receiving mysterious WhatsApp calls. The numbers were unrecognized. Afterward, their phone battery had drained quickly. And they were sometimes unable to end other calls, because the screen seemed to freeze.

        They had been working on an investigation into surveillance on journalists and human rights activists in a particular Middle Eastern nation, and had been in contact with sources the government was hostile to. We decided the reporter was safer with a separate device for this story.

        The next morning, as I took a similar turn around the newsroom, four other correspondents reported that they, too, had had the same issue. All were either on the same desk or helping out on the same story. It is vastly unlikely that five phones would face such a specific issue at the same time by chance. This was no ordinary bug.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Just Mercy” and Justice Don’t Exist in Alabama

        The chance of there being “just mercy” for Nathaniel Woods—facing lethal injection on March 5 for the killing of three Birmingham police officers—is as good as the chance Alabama will ever reform its dismal, no-justice-to-be-found-anywhere legal system; it ain’t gonna happen.

      • Trump Wants to Inflict Severe Pain on Disabled Community Just Because He Can

        The “need” to strip benefits from poor and working people to help maintain the lifestyles of the Mar-a-Lago set is one of the fundamental principles of Donald Trump and the Republican Party. The rich always “need” more tax cuts, so when budget deficits get in the way, those at the middle and bottom are just going to have to sacrifice.

      • Lessons From Ministering on the Border

        I recently spent three weeks at the border between El Paso, Texas and Juárez, Mexico. The experience strengthened my resolve, as a person of faith and Sister of Mercy, to share more about how the situation there concerns all of us in the United States.

      • EU: Press Vietnam on Human Rights Reforms
      • Rick James Accused of Rape — 15 Years After His Death

        A woman who claims to have been raped by Rick James in 1979 is suing his estate for damages.

      • UK Government Has Our Human Rights In Its Sights

        Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly-announced Cabinet “reshuffle” provides fresh evidence that his government has the courts – and our human rights – firmly in its sights.

        The government’s new Attorney General Suella Braverman, its top legal adviser, is on record recently arguing that the courts’ ability to hold the government to account should be restrained, and expressing her criticism of human rights.

      • Aww Look: Nazis Getting Married
      • Should We All Be in the Streets? Let’s Talk About Protest.

        Kelly Hayes talks with L.A. Kauffman, a longtime grassroots organizer and author of the book Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism, about the history of protest movements and what the current political moment demands of us.

      • Burkina Faso: Church attack kills dozens

        Attacks targeting Christians and churches have become more frequent in Burkina Faso’s northern provinces. The West African nation is one of the poorest countries in the world and is one of several countries in the Sahel region dealing with extremist violence.

        Since 2015, around 750 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and around 600,000 have fled their homes.

      • Outcry over reports of mass assault at New Delhi women’s college

        “Men stood in gangs and ogled at women, groped them, tried to feel them up, pushed them, and touched them throughout the concert,” the statement read.

        “People formed human chains to move from one area to another. After the concert was over, the men followed women, catcalled them, and forced them to reveal their names and Instagram IDs.”

      • Books helped me get through a life sentence. Exploitative fees rob others of benefit.

        Last year, West Virginia contracted with a company, Global Tel Link (GTL), to provide free tablets to prisoners. These kinds of initiatives are rapidly becoming more popular, as states grapple with the legacy of four decades of tough-on-crime policies and renewed public calls for more rehabilitative prisons.

        And it sounds great. Until inmates realize the company charges users every time they use the tablets, including 25 cents a page for emails and 3 cents a minute to read e-books. By that calculation, most inmates would end up paying about $15 for each novel or autobiography they attempt to read. To people who have little to no money, that’s not a benefit. That’s exploitation. The only beneficiary, aside from Global Tel Link, is West Virginia, which receives 5% of the profits.

        GTL isn’t alone in profiting off of prisoners. Exploitation of prisoners for profit is cropping up more and more across the criminal justice landscape.

      • I hate to complain, but I haven’t had water in a year. A Detroit story.

        Housework is hard, though, without running water — and Akins owns one of the roughly 9,500 homes in Detroit that city records indicate remain without water after the city disconnected them for nonpayment last year.

        So every day since April, the 56-year-old with lung disease said she fills up jugs from a neighbor’s home to bathe, cook and drink, while praying regularly for relief.

        “I can’t keep living like this,” Akins told Bridge Magazine last week from the living room of her house on the city’s west side. “I hate to complain, but nobody should live without water for this long. I’ve been lugging water for so long, my arms are ready to fall off.”

      • Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan faces two new rape charges in France

        On Thursday, as Ramadan appeared before investigating magistrates in Paris, more charges were added relating to two other women who were identified by investigators from photos found on his computer.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T is blocking Tutanota. This shows why we must fight for net neutrality.

        Starting on January 25th 2020, we have had constant complaints from AT&T mobile users who were unable to access their encrypted Tutanota mailbox. While AT&T seemed willing to fix this when we reached out to them, the issue is still not solved and reports from users keep coming in.


        A similar outage happened in March 2018 when Comcast temporarily blocked access to Tutanota due to a technical issue. Back then a Comcast employee connected with us via Twitter and was able to fix the issue within one day.

        The AT&T outage of Tutanota in some US regions is now ongoing for weeks.

      • Arista Networks Acquires SDN Pioneer Big Switch Networks

        Financial terms of the deal have not been publicly disclosed. As part of the acquisition, Arista is bringing in approximately 75 Big Switch employees, most of whom are from the company’s engineering division. Big Switch was founded in 2010 by by Guido Appenzeller and Kyle Forster and had raised approximately $119.5 million in venture funding.

        In a 2012 video interview with EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet Forster explained the genesis of the company and its mission, which at the time revolved around the open source OpenFlow protocol for SDN. The company expanded its focus and offerings over the years and now has two core offerings with the Big Monitoring Fabric and Big Cloud Fabric.

        Big Switch has also grown thanks in no small part to its strategic partnerships, including one with Dell Technologies.

    • Monopolies

      • [Guest post] New empirical research on Intellectual Property Litigation and Platform Regulation

        Litigation is the theme for the first part of the event, with the presentation of quantitative studies on intellectual property litigation in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, High Court of England and Wales, and Court of Justice of the European Union. Dr Sheona Burrow and Dr Elena Cooper (University of Glasgow) negotiated exclusive access to all Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Small Claims Track Court (IPEC STC) files for its first three years of operation (1 October 2012 to 31 December 2015). They explore the types of remedies commonly granted by the Court, the sums awarded and the most pertinent arguments when assembling a case. An underpinning paper was published in the journal Legal Studies: Photographic Copyright and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court in Historical Perspective.

        Dr Georg von Graevenitz (Queen Mary, University of London) and Dr Luke McDonagh (City University) developed a dataset containing details of all court cases on copyright heard at the High Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court during 2009-2015. With the support of judges at the Chancery Division – including the High Court and IPEC – the researchers used a method (capturing information on judges, parties, claims, defences, and outcomes including appeals) that had already delivered detailed data on patent cases. See Christian Helmers, Yassine Lefouili & Luke McDonagh, Evaluation of the Reforms of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court 2010-2013 (UKIPO 2015). The new research shows that copyright is the most litigated right in the High Court (with an average of around 300 claims per annum, ahead of trade marks, patents or designs). The majority of copyright cases are taken by collecting societies PPL/PRS and FA Premier League and are settled quickly, before a court hearing.

      • EUIPO extends deadlines for Chinese parties over COVID-19 “exceptional occurrence”

        In the decision, Archambeau cited EU Regulation 2017/1001 on EU trademarks, which allows for extensions in the event of an “exceptional occurrence”.

        Archambeau said the COVID-19 epidemic, designated by the World Health Organization as a public health emergency, had disrupted “proper communication between the parties and the EUIPO”.

        The move comes as the European Patent Office (EPO) reportedly mulls postponing some oral hearings amid the coronavirus outbreak.

        “We are in close contact with our user community and will provide information whenever this becomes necessary. Such steps could also involve postponement of oral proceedings if a party is adversely affected by the outbreak,” said EPO spokesperson Luis Berenguer.

        The EPO said it would have such powers under the rules of the European Patent Convention (EPC).

      • Patents

        • European patent upheld for foundational CRISPR-Cas9 intellectual property
        • Pre-Possessory Interests in Patent Law

          A newly canonical case in property law texts is Popov v. Hayashi, 2002 WL 31833731 (Cal. Super. Dec. 18, 2002). The case involves a Barry Bonds record-setting home run baseball. Alex Popov almost caught the ball, but as it entered his glove he was immediately engulfed by the crowd of fans who were deemed an “out of control mob, engaged in violent, illegal behavior.” The ball came-out and Patrick Hayeshi (who was also knocked to the ground) picked up the ball and took possession. There was no credible evidence that Hayeshi took part in any of the violent or illegal behavior. Because of the oddity of fandom, the $6 ball was boosted to an expected value $1.5 million based upon its record-setting experience. (It was eventually sold at auction for ~$500k because of Bonds’ drop from fame).


          Id. In the end, the two co-owners sold the ball. The case would have come out differently if Hayashi was seen as a wrongdoer (Popov would get full ownership) or if Popov had dropped the ball without being wrongfully jostled (Hayashi would get full ownership). The halfsies outcome is somewhat unusual in property law but was made easier because both parties announced they wanted to sell the ball — it was much easier to split the money rather than share possession of the ball itself.

        • Patent case: Tomra Sorting Ltd. vs. Kiremko B.V., Netherlands

          The provisions judge determined that there was a serious chance that the patent of Tomra on a self-sealing pressure release apparatus was invalid and thus did not grant a preliminary injunction to prevent marketing by Kiremko of their Strata Invicta system.

        • Valencia Court of Appeal applies the “doctrine of equivalents” in jamonero dispute

          In Odiorne v. Winkley (1814), Harvard professor Joseph Story, then sitting as a Judge at a Circuit Court of the District of Massacusetts, upon being called to decide whether a machine infringed a patent wrote, in the context of that case, that “The material question, therefore, is not whether the same elements of motion, or the same component parts are used, but whether the given effect is produced substantially by the same mode of operation, and the same combinations of powers, in both machines. Mere colorable differences, or slight improvements, cannot shake the right of the original inventor.” The latter sentence laid down one of the seeds of what would become later known as the “doctrine of equivalents”, a doctrine with which courts around the world have been struggling since then.

          On of the latest contributions to this debate from the Spanish Courts has come from the Valencia Court of Appeal, which in a judgment of 2 July 2019 applied the “doctrine of equivalents” to a case dealing with jamoneros. Readers who do not speak Spanish might be wondering what a jamonero is. It is a device used to hold a pig’s leg to safely cut the ham (“jamón“), that wonder of the Iberian Peninsula that has arrived to this day thanks to the formidable efforts of an agricultural engineer called Miguel Odriozola Pietas, who saved a bunch of Iberian pigs from a sure death in a country where people were starving during the Spanish Civil War.

        • Nokia’s first suit against Daimler dismissed

          Mannheim Regional Court has issued the first verdict in the connected cars dispute between Nokia and Daimler. The court yesterday dismissed Nokia’s suit against the car manufacturer. Nine other lawsuits are still pending. The next hearing is on 17 March in Mannheim.


          Daimler works with Quinn Emanuel partner Marcus Grosch, having also retained the US firm’s frontman for the Broadcom case. Quinn Emanuel usually handles such lawsuits without the assistance of patent attorneys.

          Düsseldorf IP boutique Arnold Ruess is representing Nokia in the main trial against Daimler. Once again, the boutique is cooperating closely with in-house IP head, Clemens-August Heusch.

          Arnold Ruess has worked for Nokia for some time, for example in the dispute with Blackberry, settled at the end of 2018. In addition, Nokia retains Bird & Bird for infringement suits in Germany, while Hoyng ROKH Monegier has also been active for the company.

          For the lawsuits against Daimler, Nokia has retained three patent attorney firms. Samson & Partner and Cohausz & Florack regularly advise the Finnish company, but David Molnia from Munich patent attorney firm df-mp appeared publicly alongside Nokia for the first time.

          A Freshfields’ Düsseldorf team around Frank-Erich Hufnagel is advising Continental.

        • Eli Lilly claims another victory in Taltz patent battle

          The English High Court has invalidated key claims of a patent owned by Roche subsidiary Genentech, following a lawsuit filed by US rival Eli Lilly.

          Genentech had argued that Eli Lilly’s autoimmune drug Taltz (ixekizumab) infringed the patent.

          The decision was issued by deputy High Court judge Roger Wyand last Friday, February 14.

          The patent at issue in the case was European Patent (UK) No. 2784084 B, a divisional of another Genentech patent (1641822), which had already been invalidated by both the English court and the European Patent Office (EPO).

          Justice Richard Arnold of the English High Court had previously invalidated the parent ‘822 patent in March 2019, as part of a separate action brought by Eli Lilly.

          In that judgment, Arnold remarked that the case had been “one

        • Software Patents

          • KCG Technologies LLC patent determined to be likely invalid

            On February 14, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against US Patent 9,671,955, ntegrity/Availability by KCG Technologies LLC, an NPE. The ‘955 patent, generally directed to a virtual smart phones used in in-vehicle systems, has been asserted against CarMax in district court.

          • De-Coding Indian Intellectual Property Law

            Patents for Computer Related Inventions (CRIs) or “Software Patents” have, unfortunately, been an evergreen issue in India, with much confusion, lobbying, changes, misunderstandings, and anything else one could imagine, playing its role at some point or the other. As Shamnad had once written – its indeed confusingly confounding! Readers may recall a recent post which discussed the Ferid Allani order. As Sandeep Rathod helpfully pointed out in the comments on that post – that patent application has once again been rejected by the Patent Office. I had intended on writing a follow up post, but in the course of researching on that, I was diverted when I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a single source that I could find, outlining the rickety road that CRIs have taken in India. So, here is my attempt at outlining the major pit-stops and potholes that CRIs have had the misfortune of bumbling along, in India. Wherever possible, I’ve tried providing a copy of the relevant documents as well. Comments and corrections, if any, are welcome. (At almost 3000 words, this is double the length of our usual posts. However splitting it into two parts didn’t seem to make sense, given that this is an attempt to put all this information in one place)


            The 2004 Patents (Amendment) Ordinance and its repeal – Rejecting the dilution of S.3(k) exclusion

            Dec 27, 2004 saw the promulgation of an ordinance (PDF here) to amend the Patent Act. The ordinance proposed splitting 3(k) into two sub-sections, which would’ve effectively diluted the exclusion:

            “(k) a computer programme per se other than its technical application to industry or a combination with hardware;
            (ka) a mathematical method or a business method or algorithms;”

            The same day, the then Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, issued what seems to be an official statement (PDF here) saying, “In IT, the trend is to have software in combination with or embedded in hardware – such as in computers or cell phones or a variety of other gadgets. Software as such has no patent protection (the protection available is by way of copyright); but the changing technological environment has made it necessary to provide for patents when software has technical applications in industry in combination with hardware. This has been a demand of NASSCOM.” ….(and later)… “We have introduced a provision for patenting of software that is embedded in hardware”

            A plain reading of the ordinance, along with the explanatory statement by the Minister, seems to indicate that there is already a split in understanding the proposed provision. On one hand, the language of the proposed amendment essentially says, there are to be no patents for computer programes as such, but patents can be granted if the subject matter is a computer programme’s technical application to industry, or a combination of software and hardware. Whereas the Minister’s statement indicates that patents can only be provided when there is technical application in combination with hardware. The minister also indicates that NASSCOM had asked for this.

            The phrases ‘in combination with hardware‘ and ‘embedded in hardware‘ seem straightforward – i.e., software alone is not patentable, but software in combination with hardware, or software embedded in hardware would be patentable (subject to the usual novelty, non-obviousness and utility standards). Certainly the drawing of specific boundaries may be a bit more difficult, but conceptually the idea seems clear. However, the meaning of the phrase ‘technical application to industry‘ seems unclear. Personally, I would imagine that any computer programme is capable of being described as having technical application. Or to phrase it in the negative: are there any computer programmes that can be posited to have absolutely no technical application to industry? I guess it would be possible if one were to narrowly construe the words ‘technical’, ‘application’, and ‘industry’.

            In any case – this ordinance was repealed a few months later, on 4th April, 2005, by the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005. Therefore the language of S.3(k) went back to “a mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;”. Further, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha debate records show that the discussions were held on the topic of disapproval of the 2004 Ordinance, in combination with the discussions on the Amendment Act 2005. This, along with a return to the previous language, would indicate a clear intention of the Parliament to prevent this type of dilution of the Section 3(k) exclusion. Interestingly, in his Press note on the Patent Amendment Bill (just before it was passed as an Act), Mr Kamal Nath stated, “It is proposed to omit the clarification relating to patenting of software related inventions introduced by the Ordinance as Section 3(k) and 3 (ka). The clarification was objected to on the ground that this may give rise to monopoly of multinationals.”

          • Around the IP Blogs

            Spicy IP has published a thorough summary of the Indian position regarding patents for computer-related inventions here, including a number of useful reference documents.

          • Processing Checks and Patent Eligibility

            In the underlying litigation, the district court denied the defendant’s summary judgment motion on eligibility. Similarly, the USPTO PTAB had refused to institute a covered-business-method review on eligibility — explaining that the method of processing paper checks includes nothing “that would indicate that it is directed to an abstract idea at all.” On appeal, however, the Federal Circuit reversed — holding that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of crediting a merchant’s account as early as possible while electronically processing a check.

          • A Step-by-Step Approach to Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Reform [Ed: The patent zealots who profit from litigation are still trying to magically legalise fake patents such as algorithm patents in spite of SCOTUS determinations]

            There is a belief in some quarters that the most significant barrier to patent subject matter eligibility reform is an implacable opposition by companies in the high tech sector because those companies are convinced that the recent Supreme Court precedent (Bilski/Mayo/Alice) as interpreted by the Federal Circuit has resulted in a diminution in lawsuits by so-called “patent trolls,” non-practicing entities who accumulate patents to be asserted against these companies. Sitting in yet another patent conference, surrounded by some of the most erudite members of the patent community (judges and former judges, PTO officials current and past, distinguished patent lawyers and company IP counsel), discussing the current (parlous) state of affairs regarding patent subject matter eligibility and the inability (Federal Circuit, Congress) or unwillingness (Supreme Court) to find a solution, it is impossible not to think that the way the issue has been addressed is, at best, insufficient. If indeed the issue cannot be resolved politically between the high tech and biotech/pharma shareholders, then it seems evident that this issue — the attachment to the status quo by the high tech community because it serves their interests — must be resolved before any solution to the problem for all other technologies becomes possible.


            ill was, as eloquently expressed by Senator Frist, because “innovations in surgical and medical procedures do not require the midwifery of patent law.” As enacted, the bill reflects a carefully crafted (“narrowly tailored”) balance between the concerns of the medical community and the patent community at large, particularly the biotechnology community. For example, “biotechnology patents” are expressly excluded from the exemption; such patents are defined (under 35 U.S.C. § 103(b)) as “a process of genetically altering of inducing a single or multi-celled organism” or “cell fusion procedures yielding a cell line that expresses a specific protein” or “methods of using a product produced” by the above processes. Also not exempt are individuals involved in the commercialization of “a machine, manufacture, or composition of matter” related to a medical activity.

      • Trademarks

        • Turkish Appeal Court rules in cow trade mark case

          In a case concerning trade mark and copyright law, the Turkish Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of a figure intensively cannot prevent the use of similar figures, as long as they are not identical.

        • Precedential No. 4: TTAB Affirms 2(a) False Association and 2(c) Consent Refusals of TRUMP-IT Logo for Utility Knives

          The Board affirmed two refusals to register each of the word+design marks shown below, for “utility knives,” finding that the marks create a false association with President Trump under Section 2(a), and further finding that because President Trump did not consent to use of his name, the marks also violated Section 2(c). The Board pointed out that it has no authority to rule on the constitutionality of the Trademark Act, but it considered and rejected applicant’s claim that Sections 2(a) and 2(c) are unconstitutional. In re ADCO Industries – Technologies, L.P., Serial Nos. 87545258 and 87545533 (February 12, 2020) [precedential] (Opinion by Judge Marc A. Bergsman).

      • Copyrights

        • China IP Forum: Pitfalls to monitor as Chinese tech firms expand globally

          In-house counsel at China Literature, SenseTime and iQiyi say copyright infringement and export control rules are keeping them awake at night

        • A copyright Snafu in the making?

          Are A&R scouts in the music industry next in the growing list of humans whose jobs are shortly to be appropriated by machine learning? Snafu Records seems to think so.

          Snafu, which is backed by various music industry bigwigs, claims to have developed an algorithm that finds new music which is off the beaten track, and which will sell.

          Sounds great. How does it work?

          As would be expected in the case of a proprietary algorithm, public details are scant. We are told that Snafu’s search software scours the far corners of the Internet (on YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.) for around 150,000 tracks per week (i.e. far more than a team of humans could). The tracks are ranked by an algorithm according to listener engagement (taking into account factors such as user comments and listener growth) and the quality of the music itself (to which we will return). A weekly shortlist of 15 to 20 songs is then reviewed by (human) record executives, and Snafu then aims to sign the best artists to contracts. The fledgling artists who are contracted receive marketing support in exchange for a share of their streaming revenues.

        • Cloudflare Blocks Access to Pirate Site For “Legal Reasons”, Displays Rare 451 Error

          CDN company Cloudflare is displaying an extremely rare ‘Error 451′ to German visitors who attempt to access a music piracy site. The message currently affecting DDL-Music.to states that the site has been rendered “Unavailable for Legal Reasons’. Contrary to Cloudflare’s own error code guide, no explanatory legal demand specifics have been published.

        • U.S. Copyright Groups Want South Africa to Ensure that 5G Doesn’t Boost Piracy

          The IIPA, which represents the MPA, RIAA, and other entertainment industry groups, sees South Africa as a major threat to its members. The group now recommends putting the country on the US Trade Representative’s Priority Watch List. Among other things, it is worried that the implementation of 4G and 5G in the country could increase piracy.

        • Time for a DMCA Overhaul? Congressional Hearings Commence

          Congress may be turning its attention to a DMCA overhaul as part of a bipartisan effort to reign in the influence and reach of leading tech companies and social media platforms. 

Is Linux Foundation a Microsoft Branch Now?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sign up with Microsoft today for better experience with the Linux Foundation (LF)?

Linux Foundation

Summary: The so-called ‘Linux’ Foundation (LF) nowadays helps Microsoft cement its monopoly — the very opposite of what ages ago it said the LF would do

SHOWN above is this page published an hour ago along with this one (same thing here, similar form). It’s yet another example of a disturbing pattern.

Last year: give us your MICROSOFT (LinkedIn) account to apply for a job!

This year: give us your MICROSOFT (GitHub) account to download the report!

Follow the money to find that in both cases Microsoft pays for it.

“Follow the money to find that in both cases Microsoft pays for it.”So they want people who apply for a job at the Linux Foundation to supply their LinkedIn account and treat nothing but Microsoft’s GitHub as though it matters or exists. Just as Microsoft would like

As a little bit of background, the press release, published at the same time, speaks of a new study, originally published here by the Core Infrastructure Initiative and in another LF site (deleted since, then reinstated later in the day).

If the LF wants to earn respect, then it must ask itself whether it’s appropriate to reinforce Microsoft monopoly. Anything to appease those sponsors ("members") with their annual fees, right?

Are Songs Property? And Maths Also Property? Artificial Monopolies Are Not Property…

Posted in Deception, Patents at 7:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published 6 days ago (on 12 February 2020)

Summary: Patent maximalists continue to face stronger arguments from their sceptics, who rightly allege that words are being intentionally misused and numbers fabricated so as to distort underlying facts

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not deal with copyrights. That’s a separate office in the US, so the USPTO wants software developers to pursue patents, not the copyrights they already have anyway. A year ago Iancu gave the green light for examiners to more or less ignore parts of or caselaw around 35 U.S.C. § 101. Buzzwords help. Now they call algorithms and maths “property”…

“Monopoly is not property,” I told Henrion after he had said/recited that: “If intellectual property is like property, we should levy a tax on it…” (that’s a video, which we’ve added at the top)

“Now they call algorithms and maths “property”…”“The misnomers were promoted into the mainstream by plutocrats and their lawyers so as to say that “COMPETING” is “THEFT”,” I continued. He said that around the time he saw — and citing a post from last year — “Shadow writing [of] legislation” (the key bit is: “He is Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property Owners Association Section 101 Task Force and was one of the principle authors of the IPO’s proposed Section 101 legislation [] The Federal Circuit has shown significantly greater hostility to software patents than the district courts, finding ineligible subject matter in 85% of the litigated software patents.”)

Watchtroll has basically just published “Six Years After Alice: 61.8% of U.S. Patents Issued in 2019 Were ‘Software-Related’—up 21.6% from 2018″ (they wrongly try to imply that Alice somehow invalidates almost two-thirds of new patents). These sorts of distortions aren’t too uncommon.

“The CCIA’s main lobbyist against software patents has just responded to someone who cited an old article from the anti-Alice blog named after Bilski.”Many misleading numbers (lies) came from an IBM lobbyist and former employee, David Kappos. His lies — soon to be cited by Koch-backed lobbyists — contributed to the perception that past USPTO Directors are selling influence. This makes Obama look like a Trump in the sense that both appointed patent maximalists for this position (albeit to Obama’s credit he later put Michelle Lee in charge).

The CCIA’s main lobbyist against software patents has just responded to someone who cited an old article from the anti-Alice blog named after Bilski. “I hope his case analysis is more accurate than his prosecution analysis data,” he said, “which has significant errors (compounded by misuse by others who do things like describe a 101/102/112 rejected patent being abandoned as due to Alice.)”

We’ve already mentioned how the numbers have been deliberately distorted and then used to craft lies told repeatedly to politicians.

“We’ve already mentioned how the numbers have been deliberately distorted and then used to craft lies told repeatedly to politicians.”This is the kind of thing we’ve come to expect mostly from the European Patent Office (EPO) and its lobbyists in Brussels.

On Monday the EPO tweeted: “patent fact: Notice of opposition to a European patent must be filed within nine months of the patent’s grant being mentioned in the European Patent Bulletin.”

And “also prepare LOADS of money (even more in recent years) to merely stop something that should not have happened in the first place due to EPO maladministration” was my reply. Many software patents in Europe are disguised as “device” or “HEY HI” (AI) and the price of objecting is being raised, as we noted twice earlier this month.

Battistelli Blocked Techrights at EPO (Banned for More Than 5 Years), So CEIPI Won’t Respect Access to Information Either

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Welcome to China, I cannot read their pro-UPC tweets

CEIPI blocks me
Corruption can increase and perception of corruption decrease (only the latter is typically being measured) when there’s heavy censorship

Summary: The use of censorship to confront people who talk about (not even expose) corruption isn’t novel; but the adoption of this approach in Europe (not just places like Russia and China) is definitely noteworthy

THE ‘nice’ and ‘gentle’ and ‘kind’ and ‘soft’ António Campinos continues blocking us, in effect maintaining a thug‘s legacy. Don’t ever forget how he did the same at EUIPO. Nothing has actually changed at the European Patent Office (EPO) except the way the managers control the media — if not using bribes then intimidation. Apparently everything has to be ‘under control’ — not only the staff representatives but also the media. It’s appalling. It’s horrible if not horrifying that this goes on in ‘civilised’ Europe. Corruption is swept under the rug to give the false impression that all is well, enabling profound fraud to persist. Remember the Diesel scandals? How many years did those responsible manage to cruise under the radar?

Longtime readers certainly know that we used to focus on the EPO only when it concerned software patents in Europe (“as such”). 6 years ago things took a turn for the worse and media (or blogs) started talking about serious scandals. And sure, some of those who talked about it have since then been removed. Money talks and those who speak (or talk) about corruption can be ousted by those with the money. As the old saying goes, “follow the money…”

“6 years ago things took a turn for the worse and media (or blogs) started talking about serious scandals.”Ask WIPO whistleblowers what happened to them and how media responded to revelations. It mirrors much of what we’ve seen in the EPO and IP Kat, which used to write about EPO corruption (different people), has just published this ad for WIPO. IP Kat has in many ways become the opposite of what it used to be. WIPO does not even care about its own employees. It can only ever pretend to respect tribes and such… (this is what IP Kat helps convey with this ad)

Anyway, someone told us that today there will be an “important PR to kill the UPC as-is”. We recently wrote about a bunch of delusional pieces about the UPC — a subject overlooked or distorted by so-called ‘news’ sites (press releases for the rich with vested interests).

WIPO — and sometimes by extension the UN — promotes “HEY HI” (AI) hype constantly in order to defend bogus software patents (Watchtroll published as recently as yesterday an article entitled “WIPO and U.S. Copyright Office Team Up to Talk Copyright in the Age of AI”) and days ago an EPO mouthpiece (that’s what it became in recent years), World Intellectual Property [sic] Review (WIPR), advertised an event designed to help EPO with software patents propaganda under the guise of “HEY HI” (AI).

“We recently wrote about a bunch of delusional pieces about the UPC — a subject overlooked or distorted by so-called ‘news’ sites (press releases for the rich with vested interests).”Edward Pearcey wrote: “AI-powered machines and software are still reliant on human beings for their existence and development because, for now, we still need to write the code and manufacture the parts.”

This is their typical new trick. Fake/software patents are disguised by the USPTO’s Deputy Director as “MEDICAL” and “HEY HI” as recently as days ago (all the same old tricks, plus a spice of new buzzwords).

There’s also this bit/question: “How many of you think that an AI machine that contributes to the conception of a drug discovery process should be allowed to be an inventor on a patent?”

“Incidentally, our reach to people is being suppressed by those who wish to limit access to different/opposing views.”We’ve recently relegated many items about EPO — notably repetitive things about CRISPR, DABUS and Brexit — to Daily Links. Not much substance in these anymore; just shameless self-promotional spam from law firms.

The Web site “Life Sciences Intellectual Property [sic] Review,” for instance, not only does lobbying for patents on life and nature; it turns out (we’ve checked) it’s also a ‘spam farm’ with ridiculous statements/recruitment fluff of law firms. Why does Google News syndicate such stuff? Ridiculous. Cruft.

“Shortly after responding to this (maybe two minutes) not only did I find that I had been blocked; Twitter apparently blocked all subsequent tweets (about entirely different subjects!) for about an hour.”Incidentally, our reach to people is being suppressed by those who wish to limit access to different/opposing views. CEIPI — which is run by the person who hopes to control UPC (Battistelli) — is still pushing this dead thing (UPC won’t be happening). Earlier today I asked, “is CEIPI a law school or organised crime?” Its affiliation with Battistelli at the top does not help, nor does this new tweet which says: “Enrolment is open for the 2020 edition of the #CEIPI #Training Program on the #UnifiedPatentCourt which will take place in Strasbourg on March 13-14 & April 17-18.”

Shortly after responding to this (maybe two minutes) not only did I find that I had been blocked; Twitter apparently blocked all subsequent tweets (about entirely different subjects!) for about an hour. They must have reported me or something…

So the institution which is run by Battistelli (and was prior to that run by Campinos) has just blocked me in Twitter…

“Not even the EPO’s Twitter account, which I responded to many times for years, resorted to this.”Do I receive a badge of honour or something?

Not even the EPO’s Twitter account, which I responded to many times for years, resorted to this.

Welcome to Europe. It’s almost like China. Maybe soon they’ll also try to abduct me from my home. For ‘causing unrest’ or something along those lines… (in China the pretexts are always intentionally vague and voices are being ‘removed’ or ‘disappeared’ while the regime comes up with plausible-sounding excuses that don’t convince the incredulous public)

IRC Proceedings: Monday, February 17, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:34 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 18/2/2020: Linux 5.6 RC2, Wine 5.2, GNU Social Contract and Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • South Korea’s Government Aims to Drop Windows in Favor of Linux

      It is interesting to see different governments handle their computer-based needs. In South Korea, Microsoft Windows will be removed from government computers fairly soon. Instead, the operating system will be Linux, albeit it is unclear which distribution will be used.

      A total of 3.3. million devices will be upgraded by year’s end.

      The main objective of this switch is to handle the lack of support for Windows 7.

      Rather than paying a hefty fee for licenses to upgrade, switching to Linux makes a lot more sense.

    • OnMSFT.com – What we use [Ed: "On Microsoft" is actually... not on Microsoft. It's on GNU/Linux.]

      OnMSFT runs Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx…

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microsoft Warning Issued For Millions Of Windows 10 Users

        Proactive users can also download the Windows Update troubleshooter, which will allow you to hide problematic updates and prevent them from reinstalling. As things stand, it is fast becoming essential software for all Windows 10 users.

        This week Microsoft demonstrated the future of Windows updates. The advances target a new generation of dual-screen devices and are not meant for the millions of existing Windows 10 PCs and laptops. Meanwhile, long-overdue Windows 10 update improvements were suddenly shelved.

        Microsoft, it is time to prioritize the present.

      • This $200 Laptop Is Like a Chromebook You Can Hack

        For some reason, despite the fact that our devices can seemingly do anything with an impressive level of polish, there are folks who want to learn from the tech they use.

        They want a challenge—and an adventure. I think I’ve learned over the last year or two that I’m one of those people. I primarily like using Hackintoshes despite the fact that the machines are intended for Windows, and I will mess with old pieces of computing history just to see if they uncover new ways of thinking about things.

        So when I heard about the Pinebook Pro, I was in. Here was a laptop built on the same ARM architecture primarily used for smartphones and internet-of-things devices, and designed to run Linux. Is it for everyone?

        Maybe not. But, if you love an adventure, you should be excited about what it represents.

      • Thanks to Linux, I just installed a pro-level video editor on my Chromebook

        We’re constantly looking around for new tricks to make our Chromebooks even more capable than they’ve already become over the past couple of years. Every day, there are fewer use-cases where a Windows or Mac device is a necessity and we truly believe that Chrome OS will eventually offer comparable alternatives to that narrowing space. If there is one product, in particular, that Chrome OS will need to figure out, it’s video editing. Sure, there are great online products like WeVideo for lightweight projects and you can even find some pretty good video editing platforms in the Google Play Store but what we’re talking about is serious, high-octane editing that’s worthy of a Hollywood studio. (Well, a low-budget studio maybe.)

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 145

        The week was packed with major project releases, we go through each of them and tell you what stands out.

        Plus an update from Essential, and NetBSD’s first big ask in ten years.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 183 – The great working from home experiment

        Josh and Kurt talk about a huge working from home experiment because of the the Coronavirus. We also discuss some of the advice going on around the outbreak, as well as how humans are incredibly good at ignoring good advice, often to their own peril. Also an airplane wheel falls off.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 83

        Joe has been playing with a PinePhone for a week and gives an honest appraisal. Plus Will’s simple solution to his Mac woes, switching to Linux and a community crowdfunder in the news, and a packed KDE Korner.

      • 2020-02-17 | Linux Headlines

        Two separate VPN companies have recently open-sourced client software, and updates to some beloved projects.

      • Change Desktop Environments on Linux

        Let’s go over what it takes to switch your desktop on Linux change it from KDE, GNOME, XFCE, MATE, Cinnamon, LXQt, etc.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc2
        More than halt the rc2 patch is actually Documentaiton updates,
        because the kvm docs got turned into RST.
        Another notable chunk is just tooling updates, which is about 50/50
        perf updates (much of it due to header file syncing) and - again - kvm
        But if you ignore those parts, and look at only the actual kernel code
        updates, things look a bit calmer. The bulk ends up being network
        driver updates (intel "ice" driver - E800 series - stands out) with
        GPU updates a close second (i915, amd, panfrost). There's a few other
        driver updates in there too, but they are mostly hidden in the noise
        compared to the network and gpu subsystems: rdma, sound, acpi, block,
        gpio etc.
        Outside of drivers, there's the usual smattering of changes all over.
        Filesystems (nfs, ext4, ceph, cifs, btrfs), architecture updates (x86,
        arm), and some core code (scheduling, tracing, networking, io_uring).
        The shortlog is appended, you can get a feel for the details by scanning it.
        Go forth and test,
      • Linux 5.6-rc2 Released – Led By Documentation + Tooling Updates
      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc2

        The 5.6-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

      • Fwupd 1.3.8 Brings More Improvements For Firmware Updating On Linux Systems

        Red Hat’s Richard Hughes has released Fwupd 1.3.8 as the latest version of this Linux utility for performing firmware updates of various system components.

        With the meteoric rise of Fwupd and LVFS, more Fwupd releases are having to deal with quirks and other peculiarities of different hardware components seeing Fwupd support and v1.3.8 is no different. Fwupd 1.3.8 adds a plug-in to support updating the power delivery controllers by Fresco Logic, a fix for Synaptics multi-stream transport devices, various EFI fixes/improvements, more parent devices are detected for different Lenovo USB hubs, support for GNUEFI file locations, and other fixes.

      • Linux 5.7 Staging Will Be ~28.7k Lines Of Code Lighter Thanks To Nuking WUSB + UWB

        With the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle in two months there is some “spring cleaning” within the staging area that is leading to almost twenty-nine thousand lines of code being removed thanks to removing a deprecated feature.

        Last year we reported on Linux deprecating Wireless USB and Ultra Wideband subsystems. That WUSB and UWB code was demoted after being orphaned without a code maintainer for years with Wireless USB really not being popular in an era of Bluetooth and WiFi advancements. With no one having expressed concern or stepping up to maintain the code since deprecating WUSB and UWB, the code is now set to be removed with Linux 5.7.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nouveau Gallium3D Finally Seeing Mesa Shader Disk Cache For Faster Game Load Times

          While the open-source Intel and Radeon OpenGL drivers within Mesa have long employed an on-disk shader cache to help with game load times by being able to load previously compiled shaders from disk, the Nouveau “NVC0″ Gallium3D driver is on the heels of finally seeing similar support.

          Nouveau saw a TGSI shader cache a few years ago while now it’s finally seeing support for caching the compiled shaders.

        • LavaLauncher 1.6 Released As A Simple Dock/Launcher For Wayland

          If you have been looking for a simple dock/launcher that natively supports Wayland, LavaLauncher 1.6 is available as one such solution.

          LavaLauncher is a simple Wayland-only launcher that allows placing the dynamically sized bar against any screen edge. Unlike most launchers, LavaLauncher doesn’t rely upon .desktop files but allows specifying a path to an arbitrary image and the associated shell command to run, allowing for it to be quite extensible than just showing .desktop files for launch applications.

        • Lima Gallium3D Driver Picks Up Multi-Submit Optimization In Mesa 20.1

          Lima in Mesa 20.1-devel now can handle multi-submit support for greater efficiency in handling of multiple OpenGL frame-buffer objects (FBOs). This should allow for greater efficiency/performance in the likes of the X.Org Server or Wayland compositors and avoiding flush-reload costs when switching between FBOs. No hard numbers, however, were provided for the multi-submit benefits to expect.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Makes A Few More Improvements For GCN 1.0/1.1 Hardware

          Valve open-source driver developer Samuel Pitoiset has contributed some improvements to Mesa 20.1′s Radeon Vulkan “RADV” driver benefiting GCN 1.0/1.1 graphics cards.

          These original GCN graphics cards are compatible with the RADV driver but require first switching the kernel driver from the default Radeon DRM driver over to the AMDGPU driver, normally via the radeon.si_support=0 radeon.cik_support=0 amdgpu.si_support=1 amdgpu.cik_support=1 kernel flags. After doing so, RADV has tended to work well with these aging GCN graphics cards — especially more recently with the RADV ACO back-end now working back to GCN 1.0 for offering better performance.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 vs. Eight Linux Distributions On The Threadripper 3970X

        When taking the geometric mean of all these benchmark results, the Windows 10 Professional performance was the same as Windows 10 Enterprise for this Threadripper 3970X testing, unlike the Enterprise advantage we’ve seen on the larger Threadripper 3990X. The slowest of the eight Linux distributions tested was the Ubuntu 20.04 development snapshot, but that still came out to be 9.5% faster than Windows 10. The fastest Linux distribution was Clear Linux on the Threadripper 3970X with a 19% over Windows in these cross-platform benchmarks. Following Clear Linux with a strong showing was the new rolling-release CentOS Stream.

      • AMD Says Reviews Are Wrong – Windows 10 Pro (and Linux) Is Good Enough for Threadripper 3990X

        As a result, higher editions of Windows 10 like Windows 10 Pro for Workstations and Windows 10 for Enterprise seemed to be the answer along with Linux.

    • Applications

      • Linux Candy: xcowsay – displays a cow on your desktop with message

        Who loves eye candy? Don’t be shy — you can raise both hands!!

        Linux Candy is a series of articles covering interesting eye candy software. We’re only featuring open-source software in this series.

        If you spend all day embroiled in data science, learning a new programming language, sit in countless meetings wishing you were anywhere else, you’ll need some light relief at the end of the day. And what better way by making your desktop environment a bit more fun.

        You might have heard of cowsay, software that generates ASCII pictures of a cow with a message. cowsay isn’t limited to cow depictions, it also shows other animals, including Tux the Penguin.

        For this article, we’re looking at a different take on cowsay. It goes by the name xcowsay. This program displays a cute graphical cow and speech bubble. The program was first started over 12 years ago, but it’s still under active development, with a new release published only last week.

      • Release Roundup: MyPaint 2.0.0, Blender 2.82, cheat 3.6.0, Gammy 0.9.56 and Drawing 0.4.11

        3 years after the previous stable release, MyPaint 2.0.0 was released over the weekend with a new layer mode and a different composition method by default. Also, the application was ported to Python3, although it still works with Python2 too.

        MyPaint is a free, open source drawing and painting program available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The application features infinite canvas, configurable brushes, graphics tablet support, and a distraction-free fullscreen mode, on top of a simple GTK+ 3 interface. It uses Open Raster as its default file format, but it also supports saving images to PNG or JPEG.

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released with New Layer Mode, Linear Compositing

        MyPaint 2.0, free open-source raster graphics editor for digital painters, was finally released after more than a year of development.

        MyPaint 2.0 is a new major release that features a new layer mode and uses linear compositing by default.

      • Best Wallpaper Slideshow Apps for Linux

        Many Linux users love to customize and personalize their desktop environment. Linux offers plenty of choices to customize almost every part of the desktop including automatic switching of desktop background at periodic intervals. This article will list some wallpaper slideshow apps that can find and apply desktop backgrounds automatically based on your interests.

      • Second Shortwave Beta

        Today I can finally announce the second Shortwave Beta release! I planned to release it earlier, but unfortunately the last few weeks were a bit busy for me.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 5.2 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        - More compatible codepage mapping tables.
        - Support for using the null display driver as a real driver.
        - Better UTF-8 support in the Resource and Message Compilers.
        - Fixes for using ucrtbase as C runtime.
        - Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations…

      • Wine 5.2 With Better Handling For The Null Display Driver, UTF-8 Support
      • The Wine 5.2 development release is out
      • Wine 5.2 Released with Better Support for Multiple Steam Games

        The Wine 5.2 development release is here with another set of bug fixes towards the next major release of the open-source compatibility layer for running Windows apps on Linux and UNIX systems.

        The bi-weekly development cycle continues after Wine 5.1, and Wine 5.2 fixes more crashes and other issues that may block users from using certain Windows apps and games on their GNU/Linux distributions. However, you should keep in mind that this is an unstable release that may not work as expected.


        Also improved is support for multiple Steam games that failed to install the DirectX runtime prerequisite, which resulted in an install loop on startup. Wine 5.2 also implements GPU information for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 3GB graphics card.

        Furthermore, Wine 5.2 improves support for several Windows apps, including Affinity Photo 1.7.2 (Trial), Arturia MIDI Control Center, Cadence Allegro Professional 16.6, Free PDF to Word Doc Converter, Lotus Approach, Mozilla Firefox 72.0.*, OllyDbg 2.x, PDF-XChange Viewer 2.5.213, SumatraPDF 3.1.2, and Verbum 8.

    • Games

      • Do a little quiet ocean exploration in the new ‘Aquamarine’ demo

        Now fully funded on Kickstarter with 8 days to go, Aquamarine has a demo out so you can have a go at this quiet survival adventure about perception and discovery in an alien ocean.

        A small-scale, story-driven game inspired largely by the psychedelic sci-fi of the ’70s and ’80s, Aquamarine combines old-school roguelikes and the survival genre with the exploration and puzzle solving of classic point-and-click adventures.

      • Humble Store has a big sale going on some top indie games

        Another week, another sale begins. Humble Store are running a third edition of their Indie Hits Sale with some really popular titles with big discounts.

      • Paradox have updated their handy launcher – should help Linux gamers too

        Paradox have released a new version of their game launcher, the screen that appears when you load most of their modern games to give a few little handy features.

        Not to be confused with the standalone Paradox Launcher you can download from their store (Paradox need a better naming scheme…), this is the application you see when you load up Stellaris, Cities: Skylines, Prison Architect and so on. Today “2020.2 – The Palindromic Version” was released.

      • The latest update and brand new trailer for ‘Vintage Story’ look fantastic

        With a survival experience that’s so crammed full of features you’re likely to get lost for weeks, Vintage Story has always looked pretty good. Recently though? They turned it up a notch or two.

        Version 1.12 went out this month as a major update focused on adding more visual flair including new animations, more reflective surfaces, a new personal-damage overlay effect, a rework of clouds (and they sure do look pretty), cold regions will see an aurora borealis effect, armour stands, performance improvements and various other tweaks to really make it something quite special.

      • If you think you were done with RimWorld think again – the 1.1 update is in Beta

        Adding in a ton of new content, adjustments and fixed – RimWorld 1.1 is now available in Beta to suck you back into building a colony. While RimWorld was done and released in full back in 2018, they’re clearly not done with it.

        One big improvement will be for players that have high resolution monitors, as the UI should now look good even at 4K. There’s a new Quests tab to give you info on available, active and previous quests as well to help you not get lost. Modding sees improvements too with “a new data-driven quests generation and management system” so apparently modders can add or change quests “without programming” and there’s also improvements done to clean up the mod management interface.

      • Open source modern Caesar III game engine ‘Julius’ has a fresh release up

        Get ready to build a city with the classic Caesar III, as the developer behind the open source game engine Julius tagged a big new release.

        Some nice new features were added this time with a new full-city screenshot feature set to Ctrl+F12, it will be a big file of course but it’s such a fun feature. A good way to show off all that time you spent. You can also now enable a monthly auto-save, to ensure no lost progress.

      • Unique deck-builder ‘Faeria’ has a huge patch out with gamepad support

        A few bits of interesting news to talk about for Faeria, a deck-builder with a unique board-building mechanic as it just got a huge update.

        One of the major new systems introduced is a player reporting mechanic, so you can report naughty people. You will find this as an option in-game in the friends list, as recent players appear there. There’s also new music, a dynamic music system was added so during battles music will change depending on what’s happening too which is quite cool and spices it up a little. There’s also in-game leaderboards, new special PvP maps, in-game DLC display and controller support.

      • Bee-themed management sim ‘Hive Time’ has a new amusing trailer

        Released back in December, Hive Time is the rather sweet Bee hive building and management sim from our contributor Cheeseness and it has a new trailer out.

        Telling a short tale of a busy hive while introducing a worker Bee named Penelope, it’s actually quite an amusing little trailer that would have sold me on the game if I wasn’t already enjoying it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • SD Times news digest: Visual Studio Code CMake Tools extension, Snowflakes’ $479 million funding, and KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5

          KDevelop 5.5 has been released with improved C++, PHP, and Python language support.

          It also brings together improvements in stability, performance, and future maintainability.

          The full list of additions and changes in the new release is available here.

          KDE Frameworks 5.67.0

          The new release includes over 70 addon libraries to Qt, which provide commonly-needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms.

          The new version also allows users to port away from many Qt 5.15 deprecated methods, migrate config from KConfig to KConfigXt to allow KCM to use it. It also allows users to create Breeze style Kate icons that are based on a new design by Tyson Tan.

        • Cutelyst 2.10.0 and SimpleMail v2 released!

          Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web framework and SimpleMailQt just got new releases.

          Cutelyst received many important bugfixes and if you are compiling it with View::Email it also requires SimpleMail 2, the latter got an Async API which is on production for a few months, allowing for a non-blocking send mail experience.

        • Okular is an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS

          Wouldn’t it be nice if you had one program to view them all? That’s exactly what Okular does. It’s an open source universal document viewer for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program is made by KDE, a name Linux users should be familiar with, among other creations they are the ones behind the popular Kubuntu (Ubuntu + KDE Software) distro.

          Let’s begin touring the interface. The sidepanel on the left can be used to jump to the Contents, Thumbnails, Reviews and Bookmarks sections. Select one of the options and the list of corresponding items are displayed in the panel to the right of the sidebar.

          The Contents option lists each section/chapter in a document, along with the sub-items, page numbers, etc. The Thumbnail mode pane displays a preview of each page in the document, you can scroll through it and click to go to the selected page. The Reviews pane contain the annotations that have been made on the document. If you don’t have any, you can add some by hitting the F6 key or from the Tools menu > Review. Bookmarks are custom links that you have added, i.e., if you bookmark a page it will be displayed in the side-panel for future reference. Hit Ctrl + B to bookmark a page.

        • FOSDEM & Plasma Mobile Sprint

          Last week I decided to take KDE Itinerary for a test tour. Between the train rides there was also time for some KDE stuff.


          After writing an exam on Friday afternoon I took a train to Frankfurt. I did so not to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the area around Frankfurt central station at night but to be able to catch an early train towards Bruxelles for my first time at FOSDEM.

          It has been a great experience to meet so many people interested in what KDE does at the KDE booth. It also was awesome to meet all the folks that are working hard on making Linux on the phone become a thing.

        • Plasma 5.18 LTS review – The good, the bad … and yeah

          Here we go. The KDE team has released the latest version of Plasma, numbered 5.18. This also happens to be a Long Term Support (LTS) release, which in Plasma parlance means two years of support. Since I’m an avid user, and even have Plasma deployed in my production setup via Kubuntu 18.04 running on a Slimbook Pro2, it’s time to set scopes on the future, and see what gives.

          I did my testing on Lenovo G50, which happens to be my hardware scapegoat de jour. Also, I have KDE neon installed there, Developer Edition (Stable), so I get to see all the little changes and fixes and whatnot almost as soon as they are introduced. This means I had a chance to sample Plasma 5.18 since the earliest build, and now that we have the official release, I must share me experience. Avanti.

        • GCompris an educational suite for the youngest in the family

          GCompris is an educational suite that offers more than 100 activities for children from 2 to 10 years old. Some activities are game-oriented, but still educational. Here is a list of activity categories with some examples:

          Discovering the computer: keyboard, mouse, touch screen…
          Reading: letters, words, reading practice, typing text…

        • Season of KDE

          Since my last blog, I got really busy with my college and got less time to work on the website. I took some screenshots whenever I got the time and planned the work to be done.

          After 40 about days of coding, taking screenshots, writing documentation, the caligra website is ready, Well almost ready. The only thing that remains is the component selector in the navbar. The task of adding the selector is not that difficult, the difficult part was to add it to the KDE Jekyll theme so that it could be used by all websites old and new.

          I have managed to complete the task and submitted a merge request on the jekyll theme repository. My mentor will check it and hopefully it gets merged soon.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Revival of Getting Things GNOME: survey results and first status update

          Ever since my previous blogging frenzy where I laid bare the secret to my productivity, formulated my typology of workers, and published a survey to evaluate the revival potential for Getting Things GNOME, I’m sure y’all have been dying to know what were the outcomes of that survey, and how the GTG project is doing.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Calculate Linux 20

          Calculate Linux released version 20 at the end of 2019 with major updates and is based off Gentoo. Calculate Linux Desktop (CLD) includes a wizard to configure a connection to Calculate Directory Server. According to their download page, “Calculate Linux Desktop is listed in the Russian Software Register.” To sum that up, CLD is a distro from Russia, based off Gentoo, and designed to connect to a Calculate Directory Server. What is a Calculate Directory Server? Well according to their website, “Calculate Directory Server (CDS) is an advanced, LDAP-based authentication server designed to be a domain controller for business networks.”

        • Linux distro review: Intel’s own Clear Linux OS

          Intel’s Clear Linux distribution has been getting a lot of attention lately, due to its incongruously high benchmark performance. Although the distribution was created and is managed by Intel, even AMD recommends running benchmarks of its new CPUs under Clear Linux in order to get the highest scores.

          Recently at Phoronix, Michael Larabel tested a Threadripper 3990X system using nine different Linux distros, one of which was Clear Linux—and Intel’s distribution got three times as many first-place results as any other distro tested. When attempting to conglomerate all test results into a single geometric mean, Larabel found that the distribution’s results were, on average, 14% faster than the slowest distributions tested (CentOS 8 and Ubuntu 18.04.3).

          There’s not much question that Clear Linux is your best bet if you want to turn in the best possible benchmark numbers. The question not addressed here is, what’s it like to run Clear Linux as a daily driver? We were curious, so we took it for a spin.

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19.1 released with bugfixes and updated apps

          Popular Linux distro MX Linux received a point update 19.1 over the weekend with a plethora of application updates and bugfixes. This is the first update to the MX Linux 19 “Patito Feo” series. The release is the first with the antiX repository disabled.

        • Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” Enters Development Based on Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye”

          For a long time, Q4OS has tried to keep the spirit of the old-school KDE 3.5 desktop environment series alive by shipping with the awesome Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) by default. But the current stable series, Q4OS 3.x “Centaurus”, also includes the more modern KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment alongside TDE to give users more options for tailoring their PCs to their needs.

          Based on the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series, Q4OS 4.0 “Gemini” is now in development and uses the KDE Plasma 5.14.5 desktop environment by default. Therefore, it is using software packages from the Debian Testing repositories.

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 9.0 released

          Significant new features include Arm64 support, better virtualization support, kernel address-space layout randomization, and more; see the release notes for details.

        • OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys

          OpenSSH is, by far, the single most popular tool for logging into remote servers and desktops. SSH logins are generally considered fairly safe, but not 100%. If you’re not satisfied with the out the box security offered by OpenSSH, you can always opt to go with SSH key authentication. If that’s not enough, there’s always 2 Factor Authentication, which would then require you to enter a PIN generated by an application such as OTPClient or Authy.

          As of OpenSSH 8.2, there’s a newly supported option, FIDO/U2F security keys. What this means is that you can now use 2FA hardware keys (such as the Yubi Key) to authenticate your SSH login attempt.

          2FA is often considered the easiest method of adding an additional layer of security to SSH logins. However, for many, Hardware Keys are considered the single most secure means of preventing hackers from brute-forcing your SSH passwords. To make things easy, the OpenSSH developers have made it possible to generate a FIDO token-backed key using the ssh-keygen command. So anyone used to creating SSH keys shouldn’t have any problem getting up to speed with integrating hardware keys into SSH.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Want to be an innovative company? Adopt enterprise open source

          Nearly all IT professionals (95%) agree that enterprise open source is important, with 75% of professionals citing it as “extremely important,” a Red Hat report found. Enterprise open source isn’t just a trend, but a growing movement, as 77% of respondents expect their organizations to increase open source use in the next 12 months.

          “Historically, open source was seen [mainly] in web infrastructure,” said Gordon Haff, Red Hat technology evangelist. “What you’re seeing today is how open source is becoming a space where companies and individuals come together to collaborate in new areas of technology.”

        • Fedora 32 Gnome 3.36 Test Day 2020-02-20

          Thursday, 2020-02-20 is the Fedora 32 Gnome Test Day! As part of changes Gnome 3.36 in Fedora 32, we need your help to test if everything runs smoothly!

        • The State of Enterprise Open Source 2020: Enterprise open source use rises, proprietary software declines

          Last year we set out to determine how IT leaders think about open source, why they choose it and what they intend to do with it in the future. The result was The 2019 State of Enterprise Open Source: A Red Hat Report, and the findings were clear and confirmed what we see happening in the industry. Enterprise open source has become a default choice of IT departments around the world and organizations are using open source in categories that have historically been more associated with proprietary technology.

          Headed into the second year of the survey, we had a new directive in mind. We wanted to dive deeper into how IT leaders’ intentions and usage have changed. We surveyed 950 IT leaders in four regions. Respondents had to have some familiarity with enterprise open source and have at least 1% Linux installed at their organization. Respondents were not necessarily Red Hat customers and were unaware that Red Hat was the sponsor of this survey. This allowed us to get a more honest and broad view of the true state of enterprise open source.

        • Manage application programming interfaces to drive new revenue for service providers

          Telecommunications service providers have valuable assets that can be exposed, secured, and monetized via API-centric agile integration. They can derive additional value from new assets, developed internally or through partners and third parties and integrated in a similar way with OSS and BSS systems.

          Service providers can open new revenue paths if they enhance the value they deliver to customers and to their partner- and developer-ecosystems. APIs can help them accomplish this goal. Services that providers can potentially offer with APIs include direct carrier billing, mobile health services, augmented reality, geofencing, IoT applications, and more. Mobile connectivity, for example, is key to powering IoT applications and devices, giving service providers an inside track to provide APIs to access network information for IoT services. In mobile health, APIs can serve as the link between the customer and healthcare partners through the user’s smartphone.

          Embracing this API-centric approach, service providers can realize increased agility by treating OSS/BSS building blocks as components that can be reused again and again. They may also innovate faster by giving partners controlled access to data and services, expand their ecosystem by improving partner and third-party collaboration, and generate more revenue through new direct and indirect channels.

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

          Special editions of Sparky 2020.02 “Po Tolo” of the (semi-)rolling line: GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue have been released. It is based on the testing branch of Debian “Bullseye”.

          GameOver Edition features a very large number of preinstalled games, useful tools and scripts. It’s targeted to gamers.

          Multimedia Edition features a large set of tools for creating and editing graphics, audio, video and HTML pages.

          The live system of Rescue Edition contains a large set of tools for scanning and fixing files, partitions and operating systems installed on hard drives.

        • SnowCamp 2020

          This is just a late reminder that there are still some seats available for SnowCamp, taking place at the end of this week and during the whole weekend somewhere in the Italian mountains.

          I believe it will be a really nice opportunity to hack on Debian things and thus I’d hope that there won’t be empty seats, though atm this is the case.

        • Ben Armstrong: Introducing Dronefly, a Discord bot for naturalists

          In the past few years, since first leaving Debian as a free software developer in 2016, I’ve taken up some new hobbies, or more accurately, renewed my interest in some old ones.

          During that hiatus, I also quietly un-retired from Debian, anticipating there would be some way to contribute to the project in these new areas of interest. That’s still an idea looking for the right opportunity to present itself, not to mention the available time to get involved again.

          With age comes an increasing clamor of complaints from your body when you have a sedentary job in front of a screen, and hobbies that rarely take you away from it. You can’t just plunk down in front of a screen and do computer stuff non-stop & just bounce back again at the start of each new day. So in the past several years, getting outside more started to improve my well-being and address those complaints. That revived an old interest in me: nature photography. That, in turn, landed me at iNaturalist, re-ignited my childhood love of learning about the natural world, & hooked me on a regular habit of making observations & uploading them to iNat ever since.

          Second, back in the late nineties, I wrote a little library loans renewal reminder project in Python. Python was a pleasure to work with, but that project never took off and soon was forgotten. Now once again, decades later, Python is a delight to be writing in, with its focus on writing readable code & backed by a strong culture of education.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Private Internet Access Open Sources its Android VPN App

        Private Internet Access (PIA) has announced its decision to open-source its Android VPN app, including the dependencies of the software. As they point out, this was made in the context of proving their commitment to privacy and transparency, so they are releasing the code for the FOSS community to review. The repositories containing the source code to the app will be rolled out gradually over the next couple of weeks, starting with the Android OpenVPN repository today. This is in line with the company’s 2018 plan to open source all of its VPN clients, and follows a similar action that they took for the desktop client (both PC and Apple), and also for the Chrome and Firefox extensions.

        Three weeks ago, ProtonVPN made a similar move by open-sourcing its software and calling the Free Software community to look deeper into their code. This definitely builds a trust relationship with the users, and also helps the vendor’s spot any privacy or security vulnerabilities that may have slipped through the cracks. Sure, appointing firms to conduct audits is a way to find and iron out any issues, but the FOSS community is large, and the benefits of having hundreds or even thousands look deeply into your code are undeniable.

      • Open Source DevOps Vendor Chef Launches Its First Channel Program
      • Intel Compute Runtime 20.06.15619 Enables E2E Compression

        Version 20.06.15619 of the open-source Intel Compute Runtime was released on Friday as powering the company’s modern Linux graphics hardware compute stack.

        Notable with this latest Intel Compute Runtime snapshot is E2E compression being enabled for Linux, or engine-to-engine compression. The E2E compression provides a means of lossless compression between hardware engines/blocks for helping to save bandwidth and supplementary to the other compression means for graphics/compute. This Intel compute E2E support is enabled with this release for Tigerlake Gen12/Xe graphics hardware.

      • OPNFV Taps CNTT to Power Its Evolution

        The most recent OPNFV platform release could be the last that adheres to the organization’s legacy mindset with future releases more tied into work around the burgeoning Common NFVi Telco Taskforce (CNTT).

        Heather Kirksey, VP of community and ecosystem development at the Linux Foundation, explained in a phone interview with SDxCentral that a lot of the updates in the OPNFV Iruya release were targeted at CNTT. She added that targeting will spill into upcoming releases from both CNTT and OPNFV.

        Kirksey cited a recent LF Networking (LFN) forum in Prague, Czech Republic, that tied together developers from the OPNFV, CNTT, and the ONAP community. That forum resulted in OPNFV taking feedback from CNTT.

      • Adoption of Open Source Technologies is Increasing in Financial Data Management – But what are the Challenges?

        Moreover, adopting open source typically means deploying cloud native apps and migrating workloads to public or private cloud built on open source infrastructure. Open source often provides foundational technology, including languages, libraries and database technologies that can provide a rich foundation to quickly develop applications. That, coupled with an increase in the uptake of managed services options, is making open source still more attractive to financial services businesses – and is further driving innovation within these organizations.

      • NearForm launches Open Source Software R&D hub in Tramore

        NearForm, the premier software development and world-leading Open Source Technology company, headquartered in Tramore Ireland, has officially launched its R&D hub, NearForm Research, to further build on its existing commitment and contributions to the growth in Open Source Software. The move follows the company’s long-standing active involvement in the creation of advanced Open Source software and its importance to the global enterprise market and associated economic growth.

      • NearForm launches software R&D hub in Tramore

        “We are thrilled to be able to make this an official program within NearForm. We can now combine our experience in developing software solutions for some of the world’s leading brands with our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the languages and tools,” said head of NearForm Research, James Snell.

      • How Open-Source is the LoRaWAN IoT Community?

        One of the more positive movements in society has been the growth of organizations serving their industry of interest by creating an open-source development environment. From sports to science, grass-roots groups, clubs, and societies have sprung up to serve their target application spaces. In the embedded electronic design industry, one of those areas of interest is the LoRaWAN community, presented as an open-source development environment serving an unlicensed band of the RF spectrum.

        Members of this community range from hobbyists to tier-one manufacturers. Members of the group share LoRaWAN network technologies and protocols to advance development while ensuring security, interoperability, and compatibility. The LoRaWAN community and its flagship organizations like the LoRa Alliance are helping make LoRaWAN one of the core infrastructures in the next generation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

      • The Open Source for All Initiative: Investing in Underrepresented Minorities in Tech

        This Dot Labs, a development consultancy known for its work in providing opportunities to underrepresented minorities in tech, and StackBlitz is an online IDE used by millions of developers every month & adopted by open source projects such as Angular (Google), RxJS (Microsoft), and many others, have teamed up this February in the Open Source for All Initiative to provide $20,000 of opportunities to those who need their first foot in the door.

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s in the latest Firefox update? Firefox 73 adds to usability and accessibility options

            Mozilla this week released Firefox 73, a minor upgrade whose most notable addition was a new default setting for page zooming.

            Software engineers working on the open-source browser also patched six vulnerabilities, half of them labeled “High,” Mozilla’s second-most-serious threat rating. As usual, some of the flaws might be used by criminals.

            “We presume that with enough effort some of these could have been exploited to run arbitrary code,” the firm wrote of two of the bugs.

            Firefox 73 can be downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux from Mozilla’s site. Because Firefox updates in the background, most users need only relaunch the browser to get the latest version. To manually update on Windows, pull up the menu under the three horizontal bars at the upper right, then click the help icon (the question mark within a circle). Choose “About Firefox.” (On macOS, “About Firefox” can be found under the “Firefox” menu.) The resulting page shows that the browser is either up to date or describes the refresh process.

            Mozilla last upgraded the browser on Jan. 7, or five weeks ago.

          • Mozilla Reps in 2020 Berlin All Hands

            14 Reps were invited to participate in this year’s All Hands in Berlin.

            At the All-Hands Reps learned some easy German words (Innovationsprozess-swischenstands-schreihungsskizze), did some art (see here X artistic endeavor during a group activity), and learned about cultural differences in communication.

          • Waterfox: Firefox Fork With Legacy Add-ons Options

            In this week’s open source software highlight, we take a look at a Firefox-based browser that supports legacy extensions that Firefox no longer supports while potentially providing fast user experience.

            When it comes to web browsers, Google Chrome leads the market share. Mozilla Firefox is there still providing hopes for a mainstream web browser that respects your privacy.

            Firefox has improved a lot lately and one of the side-effects of the improvements is removal of add-ons. If your favorite add-on disappeared in last few months/years, you have a good new in the form of Witerfox.

      • Web

        • Open-source URL shortener ‘YOURLS’ gets updated with Bitly-like random keyword plugin

          YOURLS, which is short for Your Own URL Shortener, is open-source software that allows anyone to host their own URL shortener. It’s similar to Bitly, except you control everything. It works with any hosting provider that supports PHP and MySQL, and is easy to set up and use. For example, Coywolf uses YOURLS on a cheap shared hosting plan at Pair Networks and uses the domain coywolf.io.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Education

        • Transforming the traditional classroom with Open Education

          The Tamarind Tree school in Dahanu, India, encourages self-learning through open educational resources and open technology

          At Tamarind Tree, the traditional classroom and traditional teacher role do not exist. Using open source software and open educational resources, the school has developed an entire digital ecosystem, with their LMS built on Moodle “My Big Campus” in the centre.

          Each day, students access the learning content and go through activities independently, nurturing their curiosity and self-assurance. In this setting, the role of the teacher is not as someone who delivers content, but more like a facilitator who mentors the children during their learning journey. As well as guiding the children through what they’re learning, when a teacher detects that a student is having difficulties with a topic or concept, or requires help, they will schedule one-on-one meetings where they both research and learn together.

      • FSF

        • Open-Source Group Sends Microsoft Blank Hard Drive to Copy Windows 7 Source Code

          The Free Software Foundation publicly requested Microsoft to open-source Windows 7 shortly after the 2009 operating system reached the end of support on January 14, and now the group is ready for the next move.

          Last week, the FSF mailed Microsoft a blank hard drive which the company should use for copying Windows 7 source code and then sending it back to the organization.

        • Open Source Group Wants Windows 7 Source Code In A Blank Hard drive

          Just when Microsoft ended the support for Windows 7, Free Software Foundation filed a petition demanding Windows 7 to be open source. Now, the open-source community went a little further by making another bold move.

          Reportedly, the FSF mailed a blank upcycled hard drive to Microsoft. The foundation wants Microsoft to send back the hard drive, but after copying Windows 7 source code in it, along with license notice.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Social Contract version 1.0

            just a public heads-up on progress on the GNU Social Contract. Following our initially announced timeline, we had put online the first draft at the end of January. The goal of the document is to formulate a common core set of values for the GNU Project, on which we can jointly build to form a stronger community. It is both an agreement among us, GNU contributors, and a pledge to the broader free software community. Additionally, we think it can be a first step towards formalising a transparent and collective governance of the GNU Project.

          • GCC 8.4 Status Report (2020-02-17)
            It has been almost a year since GCC 8.3 has been released and GCC 8.4
            release should have been released already, so we should concentrate on
            getting it out soon.  Unfortunately we have two P1s, one of them is
            waiting for reporter's input, so we might as well just ignore it unless
            the input is provided, but the other, C++ FE one, looks something that
            should be fixed.  If we get rid of the P1s, I'd like to create
            8.4-rc1 on Wednesday, Feb 26th and release 8.4 the week afterwards.
            If you have any queued backports, please commit them to 8 branch
            (and 9 branch too, we'd like to release 9.3 soon too).
            Quality Data
            Priority          #   Change from last report
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            P1                2   +   2
            P2              284   +  75
            P3               38   +   4
            P4              151   -  11
            P5               22   -   2
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            Total P1-P3     324   +  81
            Total           497   +  68
            Previous Report
          • GCC 8.4 + GCC 9.3 Compilers Coming Soon

            GCC 8.4 is already past due for release while Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek is trying to get its release organized in the coming weeks along with GCC 9.3. It’s been nearly one year since GCC 8.3 and thus many fixes in tow for GCC 8.4. But two “P1″ regressions of the highest priority are left to be addressed or demoted before the 8.4 release can happen. Jakub is hoping to create a release candidate of GCC 8.4 on 26 February and to then officially release the GCC 8.4 stable compiler the first week of March. A similar GCC 9.3 release is also expected soon for those on this current GCC 9 stable series.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • What Does Open Mean to You?
        • Open source approach needed in climate change innovation; technology and finance critical to achieving SDGs: Prakash Javadekar
        • US unveils 15MW ‘open source’ wind turbine after global project

          The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) after collaboration with global researchers has released a reference offshore wind turbine design with a 15MW nameplate capacity for both fixed-bottom and floating applications.

          The reference wind turbine (RWT) – a complete open-source turbine system with supporting models for simulation and design – makes it possible to evaluate the performance and cost of modifications before prototype development, said the partners.

        • Open-source 15MW digital turbine launched
        • Open Data

          • Roboflow: Popular autonomous vehicle data set contains critical flaws

            A machine learning model’s performance is only as good as the quality of the data set on which it’s trained, and in the domain of self-driving vehicles, it’s critical this performance isn’t adversely impacted by errors. A troubling report from computer vision startup Roboflow alleges that exactly this scenario occurred — according to founder Brad Dwyer, crucial bits of data were omitted from a corpus used to train self-driving car models.

            Dwyer writes that Udacity Dataset 2, which contains 15,000 images captured while driving in Mountain View and neighboring cities during daylight, has omissions. Thousands of unlabeled vehicles, hundreds of unlabeled pedestrians, and dozens of unlabeled cyclists are present in roughly 5,000 of the samples, or 33% (217 lack any annotations at all but actually contain cars, trucks, street lights, or pedestrians). Worse are the instances of phantom annotations and duplicated bounding boxes (where “bounding box” refers to objects of interest), in addition to “drastically” oversized bounding boxes.

          • The Open Wearables Initiative expands founding team; begins soliciting algorithms and datasets for wearable and connected health technologies

            Shimmer Research, a global leader in wearable technology for research applications, today announced that the Open Wearables Initiative (OWEAR) is now actively soliciting open source software and datasets from wearable sensors and other connected health technologies at http://www.owear.org. OWEAR is a collaboration designed to promote the effective use of high-quality, sensor-generated measures of health in clinical research through the open sharing and benchmarking of algorithms and datasets. OWEAR has also expanded its Working Group to include executives from four major global pharmaceutical companies, a major clinical research organization (CRO), Sage Bionetworks and the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe).

        • Open Access/Content

          • Beaufort County Community College saves students over $50,000 on new textbooks

            New textbooks, called Open-Source Textbooks, are saving students more than $50,000 per semester at Beaufort County Community College (BCCC).

            Open-Source Textbooks are licensed under an open copyright license and made available online to be freely used by students and teachers.

            Some professors at BCCC are using Open-Source Textbooks to decrease the cost of student’s education and help them stretch financial aid or scholarships.

            Professors seek out Open-Source Textbooks from a curated online library developed by academics from all over the country, then add additional material.

          • Plan S does the wrong things to the wrong people

            UK researchers may worry about the effects of leaving the European Union on their research, but a bigger peril may be the united front that the UK continues to present with other EU countries over open access.

            The aim of the dozen or so mostly European funding agencies that have signed up to Plan S is to turbocharge the transition to full open access. UK Research and Innovation is very much on board with this and, last week, launched a consultation on its own open access policy that, it says, “aligns with the ambition of Plan S”.

            In its original formulation, Plan S would have required work funded by any of its signatories to be made immediately open access from this year.

          • Humanities scholars warn over UKRI’s plan for open-access books

            Proposals that would require academic monographs to be made freely available within 12 months of publication could harm the careers of UK arts and humanities scholars by stopping them from publishing, critics have warned.

            Under proposals published on 13 February, UK Research and Innovation will require all scholarly monographs, book chapters and edited collections by authors who are supported by its funds to be made open access from January 2024, unless a contract has been signed before this date that prevents adherence to the policy.

            The proposed change is most likely to affect those working in the arts and humanities, where the longer-form publishing format is more common; in the 2014 research excellence framework (REF), books and book chapters accounted for 53 per cent of submissions in history and two-thirds in Classics, according to a British Academy position paper published in May 2018.

      • Programming/Development

        • Gitea 1.11.0: Open source self-hosting Git solution gets a new update

          Gitea helps you set up your own self-hosted Git service with the use of lightweight Go code. The latest version, 1.11.0, includes a long list of updates, bug fixes, and improvements, including changing the markdown rendering to goldmark, and a new contrib command. Is self-hosting the right solution for you? See how Gitea compares to other Git hosting solutions.

        • NBD: A popular HTTP-fetching npm code library used by 48,000 other modules retires, no more updates coming

          After eleven months of planning, the npm-distributed request module has been deprecated, meaning the popular JavaScript code library for making HTTP requests is no longer supported and won’t receive further updates.

          The almost 48,000 other npm modules that include request as a dependency won’t see any immediate effect, other than a deprecation warning from the npm command line client. But the maintainers of those modules should consider revising their code so it uses an alternative library for handling HTTP interactions.

          Request, now at version 2.88.2 and still downloaded almost 17m times a week, was created in 2009 by Mikeal Rogers, who presently handles community operations at open source biz Protocol Labs.

        • Still Increasing the Power of Hybrid IT Through Open Source

          Broadcom (perhaps still better known as CA) used this year’s Arcati Mainframe Yearbook to highlight the mainframe development revolution and the growth in open source tools.

          They said that tools, like the green screens of ISPF and the Eclipse desktop IDE, enhanced with proprietary plugins have served mainframe application developers well over the years. However, there are changes in the larger world of development that are creating the conditions for a revolution in mainframe tooling.

        • Tangle EE project joins Eclipse Foundation to bring distributed ledger apps to enterprise

          As the number of IoT devices proliferate, and machines conduct transactions with machines without humans involved, it becomes increasingly necessary to have a permissionless system that facilitates this kind of communication in a secure way.

          Enter the IOTA Foundation, a Berlin-based open-source distributed ledger technology (DLT) project, which has hooked up with the Eclipse Foundation to bring IOTA DLT to the enterprise via the Tangle EE project. For starters, this involves forming a working group.

        • Eclipse Partners with IOTA on Open Source Distributed Ledger Tech
        • What to know about software development security — why it’s still so hard and how to tackle it

          The right software security practices can prevent many future security problems, and there is an increasingly realisation that software development security needs a cradle-to-grave approach, not just focusing on solving problems once they become apparent.

          There is still a long way to go and no-one can claim this is easy to address: the increasing complexity of modern software development environments, not to mention the sheer volume of code and other digital assets being created, often in continuous, fast-paced environments, exacerbates the challenge.


          Coding standards are particularly relevant for some of the more complex programming languages — C++ in particular — which while introducing unprecedented scope for innovation and flexibility, also allow for more interpretation, which can lead even the most skilled developer to inadvertently introduce an error. Again, automation is key, especially for huge codebases and complicated embedded software projects, so static code analysis is increasingly introduced to reduce manual effort and associated risks.

        • Electron 8 – First Release As OpenJS Foundation Incubator

          At the end of last year Electron joined the OpenJS Foundation as an incubator project. The release of Electron 8, less than two months later, is an indication that it is thriving in its new home.

          Initially developed for GitHub’s Atom editor, Electron is a cross-platform desktop application development tool based on Node.js and Chromium enabling apps to be packaged for Mac, Windows, and Linux. Both Atom and Electron were open sourced in 2014.

          News that Electron was joining the OpenJS Foundation was announced in December 2019 at the Node+JS Interactive conference held in Montreal.

        • Modularity for Maintenance

          One of the best things about maintaining open source in the modern era is that there are so many wonderful, free tools to let machines take care of the busy-work associated with collaboration, code-hosting, continuous integration, code quality maintenance, and so on.


          But… let’s say you1 maintain a few dozen Python projects. Being a good maintainer, you’ve started splitting up your big monolithic packages into smaller ones, so your utility modules can be commonly shared as widely as possible rather than re-implemented once for each big frameworks. This is great!

          However, every one of those numbered list items above is now a task per project that you have to repeat from scratch. So imagine a matrix with all of those down one side and dozens of projects across the top – the full Cartesian product of these little administrative tasks is a tedious and exhausting pile of work.

          If you’re lucky enough to start every project close to perfect already, you can skip some of this work, but that partially just front-loads the tedium; plus, projects tend to start quite simple, then gradually escalate in complexity, so it’s helpful to be able to apply these incremental improvements one at a time, as your project gets bigger.

        • Goodbye Joyent

          But as any software veteran knows, projects often don’t survive the whims of management. No one is fired for picking Linux (these days), but they might be for picking something else. I already experienced this once before, as a core developer of the Riak database. We were rigorous, paying homage to the theoretics of distributed systems, but with a focus on bringing that theory to the masses. So much so that our last CEO said we had to stop doing so much “computer science”. He meant it as an insult, but we wore it as a badge of honor. But hey, MongoDB had a sweet API and BJSON, who cares if it lost your data occasionally [1]. I understand that people like to stick with what is popular. I respect that decision — it is theirs to make. But I’ll never be a part of that crowd. I want to use software that speaks to me, software that solves the problems I have, software guided by similar values to my own. For me, no project does this more than SmartOS and the illumos kernel. It is my Shawshank Redemption in a sea of MCU.

        • Continuous integration with GDB Buildbot

          Continuous integration is a hot topic these days, and the GNU Project Debugger is keeping up with the trend. Who better to serve as a role model for tracking and exterminating bugs than a debugger?

          The GDB Buildbot started as a pet project back in 2014 but is now an integral part of the development process. It provides an infrastructure to test new commits pushed to the official repository, as well as a service (which we call try builds) for developers to submit their proposed changes. In this article, I share the story of our Buildbot instance, where we are right now in terms of functionality, and the plans (and challenges) for the future.


          Back in 2014, the GDB project did not have a continuous integration tool. Developers kindly provided testsuite results and reported regressions in the code, often using their own machines. However, these developers had limited resources and could not test various architectures simultaneously. Compilation failures were often not caught in systems that are not widely used. Ultimately, this issue caused delays and annoyances during the release process (or in the worst cases) after GDB was released.

          In an attempt to mitigate this problem, the GDB Buildbot was set up. Only GNU/Linux running on Intel/AMD 32 and 64-bit was supported at the beginning, but the community quickly started to contribute toward support other machines and architectures. The initial setup compiled and tested the code using common configure flags, but developers still needed to consult the web page in order to know the results.

          Over time, the instance has been improved and new features were added, including email notifications whenever a commit introduced a compilation failure, and email notifications to the gdb-testers mailing list containing the results of each testsuite run.

          Perhaps one of the most useful features was the try build system.

        • Automating unit tests in test-driven development

          DevOps is a software engineering discipline focused on minimizing the lead time to achieve a desired business impact. While business stakeholders and sponsors have ideas on how to optimize business operations, those ideas need to be validated in the field. This means business automation (i.e., software products) must be placed in front of end users and paying customers. Only then will the business confirm whether the initial idea for improvement was fruitful or not.

          Software engineering is a budding discipline, and it can get difficult to ship products that are defect-free. For that reason, DevOps resorts to maximizing automation. Any repeatable chore, such as testing implemented changes to the source code, should be automated by DevOps engineers.

          This article looks at how to automate unit tests. These tests are focused on what I like to call “programming in the small.” Much more important test automation (the so-called “programming in the large”) must use a different discipline—integration testing. But that’s a topic for another article.

        • Create web user interfaces with Qt WebAssembly instead of JavaScript

          When I first heard about WebAssembly and the possibility of creating web user interfaces with Qt, just like I would in ordinary C++, I decided to take a deeper look at the technology.

          My open source project Pythonic is completely Python-based (PyQt), and I use C++ at work; therefore, this minimal, straightforward WebAssembly tutorial uses Python on the backend and C++ Qt WebAssembly for the frontend. It is aimed at programmers who, like me, are not familiar with web development.

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 47: Roman Calculator and Gapful Numbers

            These are some answers to the Week 47 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (February 9, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

            I have really very little time to complete this blog post in time for the deadline. My explanations will be minimal, sorry about that.

        • Python

          • A review of Processing books

            Processing is the free and open Java development environment that targets artists who are intrigued by generative code. In essence it is the Java language with a friendly development interface and built-in libraries to get you started.

            There are plenty of ways to learn Processing, including the tutorials on the organisation’s website, and the built-in examples that come with the distribution. But if you prefer a printed book, keep reading. This article will review nine available publications, so you can make an informed purchase decision.

            For the sake of completeness I will also append information on two books I haven’t had a chance to read.

          • The Digital Cat: Dissecting a Web stack

            Having recently worked with young web developers who were exposed for the first time to proper production infrastructure, I received many questions about the various components that one can find in the architecture of a “Web service”. These questions clearly expressed the confusion (and sometimes the frustration) of developers who understand how to create endpoints in a high-level language such as Node.js or Python, but were never introduced to the complexity of what happens between the user’s browser and their framework of choice. Most of the times they don’t know why the framework itself is there in the first place.

            The challenge is clear if we just list (in random order), some of the words we use when we discuss (Python) Web development: HTTP, cookies, web server, Websockets, FTP, multi-threaded, reverse proxy, Django, nginx, static files, POST, certificates, framework, Flask, SSL, GET, WSGI, session management, TLS, load balancing, Apache.

            In this post, I want to review all the words mentioned above (and a couple more) trying to build a production-ready web service from the ground up. I hope this might help young developers to get the whole picture and to make sense of these “obscure” names that senior developers like me tend to drop in everyday conversations (sometimes arguably out of turn).

          • Restoring intuition over multi-dimensional space

            We would not be human if we did not curse things. As beings that are confined in a three-dimensional world, we tend to blame space whenever we have a problem to visualize data that extend to more than three dimensions. From scientific books and journal papers to simple blog articles and comments the term: “curse of dimensionality” is being repeated like a mantra, almost convincing us that any object, whose nature extends to something more than just “3D” is out of reach to our brains.

            This article is going to discuss neither data visualization nor seek to conform to the common opinion that highly-dimensional space is incomprehensible.

            Quite opposite: the highly-dimensional space is not incomprehensible. It is just weird and less intuitive. Fortunately, take advantage of some mathematical tools and use them as a “free ticket” to gain more intuition. More precisely, we will present three “routes” we can use to get a better feeling on how things play out in “ND space.”


            In this article, we have looked into three aspects of the multidimensionality of space. As we couldn’t visualize it (we didn’t even try…), we took advantage of some mathematical mechanisms to gain a bit more insight into the strange behavior of this world. Although not backed with any ultimate proofs, we hope that the mathematical reasoning just presented can spark some inspiration, intuition, and imagination, which is something that is often needed when having to cope with N-dimensions.

          • Airflow By Example

            Apache Airflow is a very interesting, popular and free tool to create, manage and monitor workflows, for example if you want to do ETL (Extract / Transform / Load) on data.

            This sort of enterprise software often may seem complicated or overly unrelated to our everyday experience as developers but … is it, really? How about if I just want to watch some TV shows? And experiment with some enterprise-level software at the same time?

            Let’s do that by learning how to use Airflow to watch TV.

          • The Spyder Development Community and Quansight Labs Announce the Release of Spyder 4

            The Spyder Project and Quansight Labs announced the release of Spyder 4, the latest version of the most popular open source Scientific Python development environment. Spyder 4 boasts new features that users have been eagerly awaiting.

            Spyder 4 provides users an enhanced coding experience like general purpose editors and IDEs, while strengthening its specialized focus on scientific programming in Python.

          • Refactoring and asking for forgiveness

            Recently, I had a great interaction with one of my coworkers that I think is worth sharing, with the hope you may learn a bit about refactoring and python.

            My colleague came to me to help him think through a problem that surfaced with a change to a project. The code in question sends a file to a remote storage service.

          • A Guide to the Newer Python String Format Techniques

            In the previous tutorial in this introductory series, you learned how to format string data using the string modulo operator. The string modulo operator is useful, and it’s good for you to be familiar with it because you’re likely to encounter it in older Python code. However, there are two newer ways that you can use Python to format strings that are arguably more preferable.

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Kickstarter is Live!

            I am excited to announce that my newest book, Python 101, 2nd Edition is launching on Kickstarter today!

          • February PyLadies Pune workshop

            It was the time for “learning Python with harware” in February, 2020 with PyLadies in Pune. Coding in Python becomes fun when one can see the changes it makes in the hardware.

            Selecting a place for work is always a difficult task as any organizer. College Of Engineering Pune (COEP) has always been supportive of PyLadies Pune. When I approached Abhijit for the venue he readily agreed. My sincere gratitude to him, Women Engineers Group and the FOSSMeet Pune team enough for that.

            Once I reached the venue it was already a full house and still people were coming in. We had more than 55 students of 1st to 3rd year, attending the workshop. The first year students already knew Python. Around 12-14 people were writing Python for the first time.

            The workshop started with the very basics of the language on the terminal.


            We started with blinking the first LED of the board. When the students lit their first LED the smile and light in their eyes were precious :). Following that we spend some time with the simple codes. We tried our hands on different modules of Circuit Python. We took the help from the tutorial provided in Adafruit website. The students were enjoying and indulged into creativity. So I decided to give them problem statements instead of showing them code. I was happy to see how fast they were solving it and experimenting with different patterns, colours.

          • PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick

            This week we welcome Martin Fitzpatrick (@mfitzp) as our PyDev of the Week! Martin is the author of “Create Simple GUI Applications with Python and Qt 5” and the creator of the LearnPyQt website. You can also check out his personal site or see what he’s up to by visiting his Github profile. Let’s spend some time getting to know Martin better!

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan 1.2.133 Released With VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info

        It’s been nearly one month since the release of Vulkan 1.2.132 and that came shortly after the big Vulkan 1.2 milestone, but out today is now Vulkan 1.2.133.

        Vulkan 1.2.133 has various clarifications to the documentation, adds a vendor ID for Codeplay, VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_vote / VK_EXT_shader_subgroup_ballot are deprecated, and other clarifications/corrections to the text.

      • Work on IoT Device Communication Standardization Begins

        Most people working with industrial automation equipment are familiar with OPC UA for machine and device communications. More recently, industry has been getting up to speed with MQTT and its complimentary role for industrial device communications.

        While OPC UA has long been an industry standard, work is now beginning on a broad standardization of MQTT communications via Sparkplug, the open source software specification that enables applications, sensors, devices or gateways to integrate data within an MQTT communications infrastructure. Sparkplug defines MQTT topics namespace, payload, and session state management.


        This work will address the issue of MQTT ‘s undefined topics structure and data types—a key differentiator from OPC UA which “provides a framework for standard and custom datatypes, a defined (hierarchical) namespace and a definition for request/response style communication patterns,” as noted by Jen Reiman in ctron’s blog post about OPC UA implementation with the Eclipse Foundation’s Milo (an open source communication stack for developing OPC UA clients and servers).

        Founding members of the Sparkplug Working Group include Chevron, Canary Labs, Cirrus Link Solutions, HiveMQ, Inductive Automation, and ORing.

  • Leftovers

    • Trump Effort to Keep U.S. Tech Out of China Alarms American Firms

      The administration wants to protect national security by restricting the flow of technology to China. But technology companies worry it could undermine them instead.

    • Science

      • Vats and Propagators: towards a global brain

        We have been living the last couple of decades with networks that are capable of communicating ideas. However, by and large it is left to the humans to reason about these ideas that are propagated. Most machines that operate on the network merely execute the will of humans that have carefully constructed them. Recently neural network based machine learning has gotten much better, but merely resembles intuition, not reasoning. (The human brain succeeds by combining both, and a successful system likely will too.) Could we ever achieve a network that itself reasons? And can it be secure enough not to tear itself apart?


        However (and, granted, I haven’t completed it) I think there is one thing that is inaccurately described in Radul’s thesis and Sussman’s explanations, but which I think actually is no problem at all if we apply the vat model of computation (as in E, Agoric, Goblins): how distributed can these cells and propagators be? Section 2.1 of Radul’s thesis explains propagators as asynchronous and completely autonomous, as if cells and their propagators could live anywhere on the computer network with no change in effectiveness. I think this is only partially true. The reference implementation actually does not fully explore this because it uses a single-threaded event loop that processes events until there are no more to process, during which it may encounter a contradiction and raise it. However I believe that the ability to “stop the presses” as it were is one of the nicest features of propagators and actually should not be lost… if we introduced asynchronous events coming in, there may be multiple events that come in at the same time and which try making changes to the propagator network in parallel. Thankfully a nice answer comes in form of a the vat model: it should be possible to have a propagator network within a single vat. Spritely Goblins’ implementation of the vat model is transactional, so this means that if we try to introduce a contradiction, we could roll back immediately. This is the right behavior. As it turns out, this is very close to the propagator system in the way it’s implemented in the reference implementation… I think the reference implementation did something more or less right while trying to do the simplest thing. Combined with a proper ocap vat model this should work great.

        Thus, I believe that a propagator system (here I mean a propagator network, meaning a network of propagator-connected cells) should actually be vat-local. But wait, we talked about network (as in internet) based reasoning, and here I am advocating locality! What gives?

        The right answer seems to me that propagator networks should be able to be hooked together, but a change to a vat-contained propagator system can trigger message passing to another vat-contained propagator system, which can even happen over a computer network such as the internet. We will have to treat propagator systems and changes to them as vat-local, but they can still communicate with other propagator systems. (This is a good idea anyway; if you communicate an idea with me and it’s inconsistent with my worldview, it should be important for me to be able to realize that and use that as an opportunity to correct our misunderstandings between each other.)

      • The Scientific Paper Is Outdated

        For the sake of research, their careers, and their mental health, scientists should spend more time developing software.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages From Virus

        Limited component supply coming out of China is affecting output at a Nintendo assembly partner’s factory in Vietnam, which the gaming giant primarily uses to build consoles for the U.S., said the people, asking not to be named because the details are private. A shortage of components this month would affect Switch units scheduled for arrival in April, after existing inventory and current shipments of the console have sold through.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Insurers Are Bankrupting Patients by Charging Unexpectedly for Preapproved Care

        The more than $34,000 in medical bills that contributed to Darla and Andy Markley’s bankruptcy and loss of their home in Beloit, Wisconsin, grew out of what felt like a broken promise.

      • US-Linked South African “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” Spread Harmful Misinformation

        A senior South African health official has today vowed action as #openDemocracy reveals how vulnerable women and girls are being fed misinformation in US-backed “crisis pregnancy centres” across the world.

      • Medicare for All Would Save $450 Billion and Prevent 68,000 Deaths Every Year

        Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday applauded a new study published today by a team of epidemiologists in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet, which found that Medicare for All will save Americans $450 billion and prevent 68,000 unnecessary deaths each and every year.

      • “Sleep! The fastest way to burn out is to not sleep enough.” With Mitch Russo & John Newton

        As part of my series about the “5 Lessons I Learned When I Created My App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Newton, CTO and founder at Alfresco. John has had one of the longest and most influential careers in content management. In 1990, John co-founded, designed and led the development of Documentum®, the leader in content management acquired by EMC®. For the next ten years, he invented many of the concepts widely used in the industry today. In addition, he built Documentum’s marketing and professional services organizations in Europe. John has also been an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Benchmark Capital. John was one of the founding engineers at Ingres® where he helped develop the world’s first commercial relational database. John graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley.

      • No, Open Source Data Does Not Show China Burning People – But Supply Chains are Being Roiled

        Coronavirus impact is being felt deeply across tech supply chains

        A drive towards open source data is one of the most compelling business stories of recent years – with enterprises drawing on everything from sentiment in Reddit posts to competitor’s prices, using a range of content-scraping, web-crawling and defence-dodging digital tools.

        (Computer Business Review’s editor recently attended an event at which vendors, lawyers, and end-users batted about the risks, limitations, and rewards of such data, which is not always obtained ethically: industry interest in alternative data, it was clear, is heightened…)

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Hover a mouse over a link – just don’t trust the results

        This appears to be a link to a good website. When the mouse hovers over this link, it will appear that it goes to www.somegoodplace.com. Click it. I dare you :-)

        The link really goes to guce.advertising.com. JavaScript is used to dynamically change the link just as it is clicked. Pretty cool, eh?

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft’s Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

          Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There’s quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux.

          Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As ‘in review’ and ‘in discussion’ suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Chief Architect OpenLogic, Perforce: Free Software Is Not A Matter Of Price

              There’s something of a storm brewing in open source. The movement that originated as something of an altruistic rebuttal to the dominance of proprietary software was at first spurned, later eyed with suspicious intrigue… and then ultimately embraced by those who initially thought of it as a cancerous discoloration on the face of enterprise commercial software.

              The storm channeling across the open [source] seas has come about as a result of the commercial sector now working to engage openly and visibly with major open source projects. The core mantra of open source remains one of free software for everyone in the community, but with an encouragement to ‘contribute back’ to the project in hand in the form of submitted code ‘commits’ or other forms of community involvement such as language translation, hosting special interest groups and so on.

              But not everybody is willing to chant the full set of verses in the open mantra.

            • Profesia – Lynx Group SpA Company – Expands Partnership with WSO2 to Become the Distributor for WSO2 in Italy
            • ZF joins Open Manufacturing Platform
            • Cloud forecast: cloud-based products open up CFD possibilities

              While large companies may have the budget to be tied into such licensing schemes, many small firms do not. A solution is cloud-based CFD. Indeed, Robin Knowles, founder of consultancy CFD Engine, undertakes simulation work for clients using just a laptop that operates the open-source CFD software, OpenFoam, which by its nature is free, with all his CFD workflow pushed to Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. “I don’t do anything locally, everything is in the cloud,” he said.

              Within the CFD market there’s a fairly strong open-source capability with the most widely used open-source CFD software package being OpenFoam. This product has been verified and validated by many users. However, the key drawbacks, according to Knowles, are a steep learning curve and, unlike commercial CFD codes, OpenFoam’s user support is patchy, so making it tricky for new users to get to grips with. And, while it is possible to do a full end-to-end workflow using just open-source tools, it isn’t an accessible route for all users.

              It’s in this gap in the market that new CFD cloud companies have popped up. The likes of SimScale, which was founded in 2012 in Munich with the intention of offering cloud-based simulation. Although still based on OpenFoam, the appeal is the ability to access the tool through a web browser and then being able to perform highly complex CFD simulations on SimScale’s cloud-based HPC platform.

            • Key management network Torus exits beta, open-sources its codebase
            • InterSystems iKnow now available as an open source solution

              Open source availability enables existing InterSystems partners and customers, as well as other organizations and academics, to capitalize on the bottom-up approach that delivers deeper insights with NLP provided by InterSystems iKnow.

            • New data security startup Open Raven just launched out of stealth to tackle the next big security challenge: helping companies find where their data actually is and preventing the next big data breach
            • Open Raven’s modern data security platform brings visibility and control to enterprise data protection

              With an open source core to be available under the Apache 2.0 license, the platform helps customers understand, manage and ensure the security of data from a single location – at a time when teams are overwhelmed and data breaches are hitting record numbers.

            • Zmanda Aims to Make Enterprise Backup Affordable with 4.0 Software Release

              Zmanda, a leader in open source enterprise backup solutions, announced that a new software release is coming in the Spring of 2020. In the upcoming release, Zmanda has made security, reliability, and affordability its key focus. The 4.0 release will mean that IT teams no longer have to choose between affordability and feature-rich backup solutions. They can now have both.

            • GeoScienceWorld’s Lithosphere to Run On Phenom, an Open System Built by Hindawi

              Hindawi’s open source scholarly infrastructure platform, Phenom, will now power the newly relaunched Lithosphere – the society-run, open access community journal for geosciences. The contract between GeoScienceWorld (GSW) and Hindawi was signed in late 2019 with Lithosphere opening for submissions on January 13th 2020.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Tel Aviv exchange partners with BTP for blockchain securities lending

                The Hyperledger Global Forum takes place in March in Phoenix, featuring numerous industry luminaries. Register by 18 February for a discount.

              • LF Energy, Alliander Announce GXF to Tackle Interoperability on Power Grid

                LF Energy announced its new project, Grid eXchange Fabric (GXF). GXF is a scalable and technology-agnostic industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control and manage smart devices on the grid. Formerly known as Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP), GXF was created by leading Dutch distribution system operator Alliander and is the first project contributed by the company to the open-source community since joining LF Energy last October as a Premier Member.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • SAMM v2 – OWASP releases revamped security assurance framework

            A revamped version of OWASP’s Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM) adds automation along with maturity measurements to the open source security-related framework.

            OWASP SAMM v2 – released on Tuesday after three years of refinement – is geared towards helping organizations that develop software to travel down the path towards becoming more secure.

            The approach is based on a community-led open source framework that “allows teams and developers to assess, formulate, and implement strategies for better security which can be easily integrated into an existing organizational software development lifecycle”.


            The OWASP SAMM community includes security knowledgeable volunteers from both businesses and educational organizations. The global community works to create “freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies”.

          • Smack: Some more busy nights and 12 bytes of IV

            Anu brought up the fact that the OMEMO XEP is not totally clear on the length of initialization vectors used for message encryption. Historically most clients use 16 bytes length, while normally you would want to use 12. Apparently some AES-GCM libraries on iOS only support 12 bytes length, so using 12 bytes is definitely desirable. Most OMEMO implementations already support receiving 12 bytes as well as 16 bytes IV.

          • Google pulls 500 malicious Chrome extensions after researcher tip-off

            Google has abruptly pulled over 500 Chrome extensions from its Web Store that researchers discovered were stealing browsing data and executing click fraud and malvertising after installing themselves on the computers of millions of users.

            Depending on which way you look at it, that’s either a good result because they’re no longer free to infect users, or an example of how easy it is for malicious extensions to sneak on the Web Store and stay there for years without Google noticing.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (evince, postgresql-9.4, and thunderbird), Fedora (ksh and libxml2), openSUSE (hostapd and nextcloud), Red Hat (chromium-browser, firefox, flash-plugin, and ksh), and SUSE (firefox and thunderbird).

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

            • Cyber-gangs using SSH identities to sell on the black market [Ed: How to associate secure shell, SSH, with "black market", skull and bones, just because of machines that are already cracked because of something totally unrelated]

              Malware campaigns equipped with the capability to exploit powerful, hidden backdoors are becoming commoditised, researchers from Venafi have warned.

              The research shows several high-profile hacker campaigns are integrating the misuse of SSH machine identities capabilities into their attacks.

              Now, any attacker with access to the dark web can gain access to the same techniques that took down the Ukrainian power grid against every business and government agency.

              Malware can target common SSH machine identities used to access and automate Windows, Linux and MacOS in the enterprise and out to the cloud.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • The 16 best bikes for beginning commuters

          To demystify the process, we spoke with bike store owners, retailers, and bike commuting advocates. They explained what features to look for in commuter-specific bikes and how much you should be ready to spend. While a top-of-the-line, aerodynamic racing bike can set you back a few grand, the experts we spoke to agreed that you can find a dependable commuting bike in the $350–$750 range. But be wary of anything much cheaper, as they’ll likely have lower-quality parts that will wear out more quickly. Read on for their 16 picks for the best commuter bikes (most are available in men’s and women’s versions) on the market. Because these bikes are all so different, and each rider will have their own specific needs, we organized the suggestions by category — hybrid, upright, and folding — as opposed to choosing one best overall model.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Wildfires Threaten North American Water Supplies

          As rain offers a welcome relief to fire-scorched Australia, concerns over flash floods and freshwater contamination cast a shadow on the joy. Already, massive fish kills have been reported due to heavy ash and sediment in local stream.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • It’s Happening Here…

        Messages of resistance in two little books, one a movie script.

      • More Than 1,100 Former US Department of Justice Officials Tell William Barr: Resign Now!

        ‘Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words’

      • Democrats Need to Cut the Realism and Start Dreaming — and Fighting — Big

        Even as Bernie Sanders, the most radically progressive candidate for the Democratic primary, secured early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and the face of the moderate Democratic establishment faded toward the back, an ugly spirit of defeatism has crept into the political zeitgeist around the progressive platform.

      • Israel’s Gantz Vows to Form Government Without Netanyahu

        Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the predominantly Arab parties in Parliament.

      • EU to Launch Grand Plan on AI, Tech In Challenge to U.S, China

        Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for digital affairs, is trying to reassure anxious Europeans that she can handle concerns Europe is becoming irrelevant while Asian and American companies dominate high-tech markets.

        The strategy “will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence” in Europe, but “it will not be the same” as in the U.S. and China, Vestager said in a press briefing to journalists ahead of the announcement. Based on what she knows about their practices, Chinese AI might not meet European standards, she said.

      • Trump’s Budget Puts Down Stakes in Greenland

        The newly planned consulate underscores how the United States is looking to boost its presence in the Arctic, where climate change is rapidly melting ice and opening new access to potential maritime trade routes and lucrative untapped mineral and energy reserves. For the Trump administration, one of the top concerns is how China and Russia will take advantage of the changing Arctic conditions.

      • The Company Behind the Iowa Caucus App Debacle has a Deeply Troubling Plan to Manipulate Voters

        Treating citizens as mere pawns in a game run by propaganda shops

      • How EMILY’s List and Center for American Progress Sold Out to Bloomberg

        Billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg was hit with two damaging front-page headlines Saturday.

      • Stop and Frisk Gets Renewed Attention in Bloomberg Candidacy

        David Ourlicht was a college student, walking down a street near campus, when he became one of millions of New Yorkers swept up in the era of stop and frisk.

      • Is being a billionaire a disqualifier for office?

        What I have yet to see is the talking heads debating whether great wealth, on the scale of the fortunes of Bloomberg and Trump, should disqualify one from holding our nation’s highest public office.

      • MIT researchers identify security vulnerabilities in voting app

        Now, MIT researchers are raising another concern: They say they have uncovered security vulnerabilities in a mobile voting application that was used during the 2018 midterm elections in West Virginia. Their security analysis of the application, called Voatz, pinpoints a number of weaknesses, including the opportunity for hackers to alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted. Additionally, the researchers found that Voatz’s use of a third-party vendor for voter identification and verification poses potential privacy issues for users.

        The findings are described in a new technical paper by Michael Specter, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, and James Koppel, also a graduate student in EECS. The research was conducted under the guidance of Daniel Weitzner, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and founding director of the Internet Policy Research Initiative.

      • Blockchain voting app is dangerously vulnerable, researchers say

        Most troubling, researchers say that an attacker who compromised the servers that manage the Voatz API might even be able to alter ballots as they arrive, an alarming threat that distributed ledgers should theoretically protect against.

        “Given the severity of failings discussed in this paper, the lack of transparency, the risks to voter privacy, and the trivial nature of the attacks, we suggest that any near-future plans to use this app for high-stakes elections be abandoned,” the researchers conclude.

      • Voatz smartphone voting app has significant security flaws, MIT researchers say

        While supporters have touted its ability to enfranchise Americans with disabilities and those serving overseas — both groups with dismal voting turnout — the company has largely been quiet about addressing security concerns. While it has undergone several private independent security audits, those results have never been made public, and academic consensus has said that the technology to securely conduct online elections doesn’t yet exist.

      • Voting on Your Phone: New Elections App Ignites Security Debate

        “The choice here is not about turnout,” the report says, “but about an adversary controlling the election result and a loss of voter privacy.”

        With security already a dominant theme of the 2020 elections, last week’s debacle at the Democratic caucuses in Iowa — an app used to report results failed to, well, report results — has raised new questions about the role technology should play in American elections and prompted calls for it to be scaled back.

      • [Attackes] Can Seize Control of Ballots Cast Using the Voatz Voting App, Researchers Say

        Security researchers have found key flaws in a mobile voting app that some states plan to use in the 2020 election that can allow [attackers] to launch both client- and server-side attacks that can easily manipulate or even delete someone’s vote, as well as prevent a reliable audit from taking place after the fact, they said.

      • Voting App Flaws Could Have Let [Attackers] Manipulate Results

        The group found different types of vulnerabilities depending on what level of access an attacker has to a voter’s device or to the Voatz servers and application programming interface. If a hacker manages to get root access to your smartphone, they could bypass Voatz’s defenses to grab your data, including the PIN you use to access Voatz’s servers. They could also control your vote, block it from sending, or see how you voted. If an attacker has access to Voatz’s systems, they could uncover data meant to be locked down by the platform’s blockchain scheme, allowing them to alter votes or link votes to specific individuals even though the system is supposed to be anonymous and immutable. The researchers even found weaknesses in how the app sends votes to the company’s servers that could be exploited if a user voted on an insecure Wi-Fi network or on a connection provided by an untrustworthy internet service provider.

      • Republicans Have Made It Clear They Will Let Trump Become a Dictator. Will We?

        We are heading into election season led by a president consumed with personal vendettas and convinced that he is surrounded by conspirators. Paranoid and narcissistic, he is firing anyone who stands in his way, demanding ever more craven demonstrations of loyalty from his courtiers. In Tennessee, legislators are debating a resolution to declare CNN and The Washington Post fake news because of their critical coverage of Trump.

        Trump himself attacks the press on a daily basis, spending the wee hours of the morning tweeting insults and ignoring major developments that require his attention.

      • Trump’s Acquittal Has Ushered in a New Era of McCarthyist Purges

        Last week, Donald Trump had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who had testified before Congress about his Ukraine phone call — fired and frog-marched out of the White House. Not content with this act of revenge against Vindman, the president fired his brother, an administration legal counsel, as well. Later that day, Trump also announced the firing of Gordon Sondland, his ambassador to the European Union who had likewise testified about the pressure campaign on the Ukraine.

      • Can we stop tiptoeing around the fact that Trump is behaving like a dictator?

        Folks, let’s not mince words: This is the kind of stuff we read about happening in dictatorships like Russia and North Korea and Iran. And yes, it’s the kind of rule by strong-arm fiat that was practiced by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Advertisement:

        Before this week, I would have thought it an exaggeration to compare Trump’s frequent rallies to the infamous Nuremberg rallies Hitler held during the1930s. No longer. Trump’s rallies are unnervingly close to those held in Nuremberg. The MAGA hat has become a kind of Trumpian Nazi helmet. The denunciations of hated minorities are the same. As is his insane bellowing before a crowd screaming its slavish obeisance.

        Let’s just stop for a moment and consider the angry chants of “Lock her up,” first directed at Hillary Clinton, now at Nancy Pelosi. What do Trump’s cheering crowds want his Democratic opponents locked up for? Neither of those women has faced criminal charges, much less been convicted of any crime. Neither is even under investigation for corruption or alleged criminal behavior. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and his rally crowds. This stuff has been going on for so long, it’s clear that they actually do want them locked up. When Trump stands before his screaming fans, raising his arms and smiling, it’s obvious he does, too. To call for the imprisonment of political opponents without trial is not playing with rhetoric for effect. It’s not political gimmickry. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. Let’s say out loud what it is: It’s pure fascism, plain and simple.

      • Megachurch Mess

        Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey helped create a four-season television series – “Greenleaf” – about a black megachurch where worshipers whoop, sway, dance, wave arms, squeal, shout and shell out truckloads of money.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence

        A Times examination of Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic and political spending in the years leading up to his presidential bid illustrates how he developed a national infrastructure of influence, image-making and unspoken suasion that has helped transform a former Republican mayor of New York City into a plausible contender for the Democratic nomination. If anything, his claim — and his support among anxious moderates — has grown stronger with the ascent of the “democratic socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders in early voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        Since leaving City Hall at the end of 2013, Mr. Bloomberg has become the single most important political donor to the Democratic Party and its causes. His personal fortune, built on a financial information and news company, is estimated at over $60 billion. It fuels an advocacy network that has directed policy in dozens of states and cities; mobilized movements to take on gun violence and climate change; rewritten election laws and health regulations; and elected scores of politicians to offices as modest as the school board and as lofty as the Senate.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Kashmir journalist forced into manual labour

        He then tried to file his stories on a landline phone: he would call and read them aloud to someone on the other side who could type it out. But, as he found out, his stories didn’t earn him enough money to cover the cost of travelling for hours in search of a working landline.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • James Baldwin Won the Battle, but William F. Buckley Won the War

        On Feb. 18, 1965, three days before the assassination of Malcolm X, a few weeks before the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and six months before the Watts riots, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. debated before the Cambridge Union Society at Cambridge University.

      • New Film Showcases How the Rainbow Coalition’s Struggle for Justice Lives On

        One of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s most famous quotes is: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” Unfortunately, as the new documentary The First Rainbow Coalition demonstrates, the movement can be set back decades when a revolutionary of Hampton’s magnitude is killed. That struggle will continue for as long as people are subjected to racial discrimination, eco-apartheid, oppressive policing, displacement, a lack of affordable housing, jobs, health care, and other basic needs resulting from inequitable laws and government policies.

      • Proposed Alaska Legislation Would Recognize Existence of Tribes

        A bill before the Alaska House Tribal Affairs Committee is simple: “The state recognizes all tribes in the state that are federally recognized …”

      • Australia: Enact New Law to Sanction Rights Abusers


        In this Feb. 13, 2019, file photo Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses media at Parliament House in Canberra.

      • Sri Lanka: Families of ‘Disappeared’ Threatened

        Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies have intensified surveillance and threats against families of victims of enforced disappearance and activists supporting them since Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president in November 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council to strengthen efforts to locate the “disappeared” and bring those responsible to justice.

        Activists working in six locations in the northern and eastern parts of the country on behalf of relatives of the forcibly disappeared told Human Rights Watch that there has been a significant increase in government surveillance and intimidation. One activist said that prior to a recent victims’ meeting, “every one of the mothers got at least six telephone calls from different intelligence agencies asking, ‘Where is the meeting?’ ‘Who is organizing the meeting?’ ‘What is being said?’” Another activist said, “We can’t do any visible programs.… We’ve stopped everything.”

      • 1 in 10 Americans uses stalkerware to track partners and exes, poll finds

        There’s a booming market for apps that track your phone without your knowledge, siphoning off call and text records, photos and more to send to the person who secretly installed the spy app. It’s called stalkerware, and according to a poll released on Wednesday by antivirus provider NortonLifeLock, one in 10 Americans admits to using it on their partner’s or ex’s devices.

      • ‘I Cannot Remain Silent’

        Scholars in China predicted a year ago in an article in the journal Viruses that it was “highly likely” that there would be coronavirus outbreaks, calling it an “urgent issue.” Once the outbreak occurred, other Chinese scientists rapidly identified the virus and sequenced its DNA, posting it on Jan. 10 on a virology website for all to see. That was extraordinarily good and fast work.

        Meanwhile, the Communist Party instinctively organized a cover-up, ordering the police to crack down on eight doctors accused of trying to alert others to the risks. National television programs repeatedly denounced the doctors as rumormongers.

      • VKontakte vs. Facebook: From Open White Supremacy To Stealth

        In March of 2019, Facebook banned white nationalist and white separatist statements from its platform. White supremacism had been forbidden for some time, but last year’s Christchurch massacre seems to have convinced the social network that a more aggresively anti-racist approach was necessary. This ban is not comprehensive, and there are numerous holes in enforcement. This article is about one such hole: the vibrant community of American racists who “hide their power level” just enough to avoid being banned, while subtly pushing their views on friends and family.

        These white supremacists are not particularly coy about their tactics. They plot out in the open, on VKontakte (commonly abbreviated as VK), a Facebook-like popular Russian social medial platform that has much looser moderation. Here’s Kevin Beair, Exalted Cyclops for the Keystone States chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, explaining how “public outreach” for the racist cause can be done on Facebook…


        This claim is wildly innaccurate: 82% of white American murder victims are murdered by other white Americans. But the idea that black-on-white violence is an epidemic is enormously powerful to racists. It was this belief that inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine black people at a Charleston church.

        We know that Kevin Beair considers this myth to be well-worth spreading in his efforts to “red-pill” people on Facebook. Unfortunately for us, Kevin’s actual Facebook account remains hidden for the time being. But many of his colleagues have been less careful and, by monitoring their activity on both VK and Facebook, we can put together a catalogue of their attempts to mainstream racial extremism on the world’s largest social network.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Here’s Where the Internet Actually Lives

        Seventy percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through all of that fiber. That’s why Ashburn is known as Data Center Alley. The Silicon Valley of the east. The cloud capital of the world. Pretty much any email sent or received anywhere around the globe passes through this town. If you’ve got something stored in the cloud, it’s probably in one of the 100-plus data centers located in Loudoun County.

    • Monopolies

      • Treat us like something between a telco and a newspaper, says Facebook’s Zuckerberg

        Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Zuckerberg said Facebook had improved its work countering online election interference, and expanded on his previous calls for regulation of social media firms.

      • Airbnb Has Devoured London. Here’s the Data to Prove It

        In Camden and Westminster, two of the London boroughs worst affected by the rise of short-term rentals, up to seven percent of the total housing stock is advertised on Airbnb. Data compiled by Camden council reveals that of the 7,100 whole properties listed on platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com in 2019, a staggering 48 percent exceeded the 90-day legal limit. Camden council currently has 6,000 families on its housing waiting list.

      • As Airbnb grows in Cuba, locals suffer the emotional burden of entitled tourists

        The proliferation of rooms caused by the rise of Airbnb also led to emotional labor-related externalities borne by the impacted communities. The landscape of the community had changed; many homes had completed unauthorized renovations and the influx of tourists had changed the social dynamics of the area. “Center Havana has never been one of the nicer parts of the city, we have been marginalized for ages, but now with this [Airbnb rooms], we have tourists wanting to live the authentic Cuban experience. When I’m walking around or going to the market, they look at me as if I was a character of an amusement park like I’m a toy and part of their playground,” complained Judith, a 45-year-old resident of the area.

        Airbnb was Disney-fying parts of Havana that were not meant to be for tourists. Locals emphasized that, where the area had felt like home because they walk freely and mind their own business, they now felt pressure to talk or take pictures with visitors. Judith continued:

        “When I go to the market, I’m stopped at least three times by tourists wanting directions, pictures with me, or if I can help them buy something. This annoys me, but I put on a smile and try to help, otherwise these foreigners will say that Cubans are rude. ”

      • Hospira Requests En Banc Review of Ruling Regarding Safe Harbor

        On January 15, 2020, Hospira filed a petition for rehearing en banc asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a prior panel’s analysis of the Safe Harbor provision and reverse the finding of infringement. In December 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s decision denying Hospira’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and upholding the jury’s verdict that Hospira infringed Amgen’s patent and that some batches of drug substance for Hospira’s erythropoietin biosimilar drug product were not covered by the Safe Harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1).


        First, relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., 545 U.S. 193, 206 (2005), Hospira argued that the panel’s analysis ignores the Supreme Court’s admonition that “all uses” reasonably related to obtaining FDA approval are exempted and that the Safe Harbor provision’s application is broader than just information required for approval. According to Hospira, it is not reasonable to expect an applicant to submit the minimum amount of data required to the FDA. Hospira argued that its accused batches were all used to generate data for the FDA as data from every accused batch was used to revise release specifications in response to the CRL.

      • Patents

        • [Old] Anish Kapoor Has Caused Another Color Controversy

          *”Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information, and belief this material will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.”

        • Life Sciences Court Report

          Synopsis: Allergan asserts infringement of the ’202 and ’896 patents. Allergen develops, manufacturers, and distributes dermal filler products including JUVEDÉRM® Ultra XC, JUVEDÉRM® Ultra Plus XC, and JUVEDÉRM® VOLUMA® XC. Prollenium makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, and/or imports into the United States Revanesse® Versa+TM, a dermal filler. Allergen asserts that Revanesse® Versa+TM infringes one of more claims of the ’202 and ’896 patents.

        • Software Patents

          • Why AI systems should be recognized as inventors

            Existing intellectual property laws don’t allow AI systems to be recognized as inventors, which threatens the integrity of the patent system and the potential to develop life-changing innovations.

            Current legislation only allows humans to be recognized as inventors, which could make AI-generated innovations unpatentable. This would deprive the owners of the AI of the legal protections they need for the inventions that their systems create.

            The Artificial Inventor Project team has been testing the limitations of these rules by filing patent applications that designate a machine as the inventor— the first time that an AI’s role as an inventor had ever been disclosed in a patent application. They made the applications on behalf of Dr Stephen Thaler, the creator of a system called DABUS, which was listed as the inventor of a food container that robots can easily grasp and a flashing warning light designed to attract attention during emergencies.

            The European Patent Office (EPO) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) both rejected the application, on the grounds that the inventor designated in the application had to be a human being — and not a machine.

          • 3 Malaysia MPEG-2 Patents left

            With February 13th passing it would appear there are only 3 Malaysia patents left:

            MY 128994 (possible expiration of 30 Mar 2022)
            MY 141626-A (possible expiration of 31 May 2025)
            MY-163465-A (possible expiration of 15 Sep 2032)

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Troll Drops Lawsuits When it Gets the ‘Wrong’ Judge

          Strike 3 Holdings is one of the most active copyright litigants in the U.S. In recent years, the company has identified thousands of suspected pirates through court-ordered subpoenas. However, it doesn’t appear to like all judges equally. Several cases that were assigned to a rather critical judge in Florida were dropped like a hot potato.

        • Don’t Use the Word ‘Did’ or a Dumb Anti-Piracy Company Will Delete You From Google

          In 2018, the owner of Two-Bit History, a site dedicated to computer history, wrote a successful article about mathematician Ada Lovelace, who some credit as being the first computer programmer. Sadly, if you search Google for that article today you won’t find it. Some idiotic anti-piracy company had it deleted because it dared to use the word ‘did’.

        • UMG Discloses List of Masters Destroyed In Universal Studios Fire

          In a recent court filing from the ongoing lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG), additional light was shed on the extent of the damage caused by the 2008 Universal Studios fire.

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