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02.18.20

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!
          Hi,
          
          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:
          
          https://gitlab.gnome.org/GNOME/gnome-build-meta/-/jobs/598561/artifacts/file/image/disk.qcow2
          
          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:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.35.91/gnome-3.35.91.tar.xz
          
          The list of updated modules and changes is available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/NEWS
          
          The source packages are available here:
          
          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.35/3.35.91/sources/
          
          WARNING!
          --------
          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
          status.
          
          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:
          
          https://www.gnome.org/start/unstable
          
          Happy Tuesday,
          
          Michael
          
        • 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
          
          https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/releases/tag/llvmorg-10.0.0-rc2
          
          Pre-built binaries will be added as they become available.
          
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of
          
          https://llvm.org/pr44555
          
          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.
          
          Thanks,
          Hans
          
        • 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
              Eavesdropping
              Evil-Twin Wi-Fi
              Exploits
              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. 

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