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02.18.20

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

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

  • GNU/Linux

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

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

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

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

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

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

      OnMSFT runs Ubuntu 18.04 and Nginx…

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microsoft Warning Issued For Millions Of Windows 10 Users

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

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

        Microsoft, it is time to prioritize the present.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 145

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

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

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

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

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 83

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

      • 2020-02-17 | Linux Headlines

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

      • Change Desktop Environments on Linux

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

    • Kernel Space

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

        The 5.6-rc2 kernel prepatch is out for testing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Graphics Stack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Benchmarks

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

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

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

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

    • Applications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • MyPaint 2.0 Released with New Layer Mode, Linear Compositing

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

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

      • Best Wallpaper Slideshow Apps for Linux

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

      • Second Shortwave Beta

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

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        The Wine development release 5.2 is now available.

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

        The source is available from the following locations…

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

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

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

        [...]

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

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

    • Games

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

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

          KDevelop 5.5

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

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

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

          KDE Frameworks 5.67.0

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

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

        • Cutelyst 2.10.0 and SimpleMail v2 released!

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • FOSDEM & Plasma Mobile Sprint

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

          FOSDEM

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

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

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

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

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

        • GCompris an educational suite for the youngest in the family

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

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

        • Season of KDE

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

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

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

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

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

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

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Calculate Linux 20

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

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

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

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

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

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19.1 released with bugfixes and updated apps

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

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

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

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

      • BSD

        • NetBSD 9.0 released

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

        • OpenSSH Now Supports FIDO/U2F Security Keys

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

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

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

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Arch Family

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Debian Family

        • Sparky 2020.02 Special Editions

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

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

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

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

        • SnowCamp 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Private Internet Access Open Sources its Android VPN App

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

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

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

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

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

      • OPNFV Taps CNTT to Power Its Evolution

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • NearForm launches software R&D hub in Tramore

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

      • How Open-Source is the LoRaWAN IoT Community?

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

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

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

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

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Mozilla Reps in 2020 Berlin All Hands

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

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

          • Waterfox: Firefox Fork With Legacy Add-ons Options

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

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

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

      • Web

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

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

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Education

        • Transforming the traditional classroom with Open Education

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

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

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

      • FSF

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Social Contract version 1.0

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

          • GCC 8.4 Status Report (2020-02-17)
            Status
            ======
            
            It has been almost a year since GCC 8.3 has been released and GCC 8.4
            release should have been released already, so we should concentrate on
            getting it out soon.  Unfortunately we have two P1s, one of them is
            waiting for reporter's input, so we might as well just ignore it unless
            the input is provided, but the other, C++ FE one, looks something that
            should be fixed.  If we get rid of the P1s, I'd like to create
            8.4-rc1 on Wednesday, Feb 26th and release 8.4 the week afterwards.
            If you have any queued backports, please commit them to 8 branch
            (and 9 branch too, we'd like to release 9.3 soon too).
            
            
            Quality Data
            ============
            
            Priority          #   Change from last report
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            P1                2   +   2
            P2              284   +  75
            P3               38   +   4
            P4              151   -  11
            P5               22   -   2
            --------        ---   -----------------------
            Total P1-P3     324   +  81
            Total           497   +  68
            
            
            Previous Report
            ===============
            
            https://gcc.gnu.org/ml/gcc/2019-02/msg00122.html
            
            
          • GCC 8.4 + GCC 9.3 Compilers Coming Soon

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

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

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

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

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

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

          • Roboflow: Popular autonomous vehicle data set contains critical flaws

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

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

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

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

        • Open Access/Content

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

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

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

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

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

          • Plan S does the wrong things to the wrong people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Programming/Development

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Still Increasing the Power of Hybrid IT Through Open Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          [...]

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

        • Electron 8 – First Release As OpenJS Foundation Incubator

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

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

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

        • Modularity for Maintenance

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

          [...]

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

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

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

        • Goodbye Joyent

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

        • Continuous integration with GDB Buildbot

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

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

          [...]

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

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

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

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

        • Automating unit tests in test-driven development

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

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

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

        • Create web user interfaces with Qt WebAssembly instead of JavaScript

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

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

        • Perl / Raku

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 47: Roman Calculator and Gapful Numbers

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

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

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

        • Python

          • A review of Processing books

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

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

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

          • The Digital Cat: Dissecting a Web stack

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

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

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

          • Restoring intuition over multi-dimensional space

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

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

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

            [...]

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

          • Airflow By Example

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Refactoring and asking for forgiveness

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

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

          • A Guide to the Newer Python String Format Techniques

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

          • Python 101 2nd Edition Kickstarter is Live!

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

          • February PyLadies Pune workshop

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

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

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

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

            [...]

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

          • PyDev of the Week: Martin Fitzpatrick

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

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan 1.2.133 Released With VK_KHR_shader_non_semantic_info

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

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

      • Work on IoT Device Communication Standardization Begins

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

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

        [...]

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

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

  • Leftovers

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

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

    • Science

      • Vats and Propagators: towards a global brain

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

        [...]

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

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

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

      • The Scientific Paper Is Outdated

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

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • Nintendo Is Likely to Suffer Global Switch Shortages From Virus

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

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Insurers Are Bankrupting Patients by Charging Unexpectedly for Preapproved Care

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Coronavirus impact is being felt deeply across tech supply chains

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

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

    • Integrity/Availability

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

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

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

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft’s Edge roadmap reveals history sync coming this summer, Linux support coming

          Recently, Microsoft updated its public roadmap for its still-new Edge browser, which is based on Chromium. There’s quite a bit on there, from minor fixes to major things like support for Linux.

          Two specific things are new. The ability to navigate a PDF via a table of contents is now under review, and the tab preview feature from Edge Legacy is now in discussion. As ‘in review’ and ‘in discussion’ suggest, neither is a commitment to actually building out the features.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Chief Architect OpenLogic, Perforce: Free Software Is Not A Matter Of Price

              There’s something of a storm brewing in open source. The movement that originated as something of an altruistic rebuttal to the dominance of proprietary software was at first spurned, later eyed with suspicious intrigue… and then ultimately embraced by those who initially thought of it as a cancerous discoloration on the face of enterprise commercial software.

              The storm channeling across the open [source] seas has come about as a result of the commercial sector now working to engage openly and visibly with major open source projects. The core mantra of open source remains one of free software for everyone in the community, but with an encouragement to ‘contribute back’ to the project in hand in the form of submitted code ‘commits’ or other forms of community involvement such as language translation, hosting special interest groups and so on.

              But not everybody is willing to chant the full set of verses in the open mantra.

            • Profesia – Lynx Group SpA Company – Expands Partnership with WSO2 to Become the Distributor for WSO2 in Italy
            • ZF joins Open Manufacturing Platform
            • Cloud forecast: cloud-based products open up CFD possibilities

              While large companies may have the budget to be tied into such licensing schemes, many small firms do not. A solution is cloud-based CFD. Indeed, Robin Knowles, founder of consultancy CFD Engine, undertakes simulation work for clients using just a laptop that operates the open-source CFD software, OpenFoam, which by its nature is free, with all his CFD workflow pushed to Amazon’s cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. “I don’t do anything locally, everything is in the cloud,” he said.

              Within the CFD market there’s a fairly strong open-source capability with the most widely used open-source CFD software package being OpenFoam. This product has been verified and validated by many users. However, the key drawbacks, according to Knowles, are a steep learning curve and, unlike commercial CFD codes, OpenFoam’s user support is patchy, so making it tricky for new users to get to grips with. And, while it is possible to do a full end-to-end workflow using just open-source tools, it isn’t an accessible route for all users.

              It’s in this gap in the market that new CFD cloud companies have popped up. The likes of SimScale, which was founded in 2012 in Munich with the intention of offering cloud-based simulation. Although still based on OpenFoam, the appeal is the ability to access the tool through a web browser and then being able to perform highly complex CFD simulations on SimScale’s cloud-based HPC platform.

            • Key management network Torus exits beta, open-sources its codebase
            • InterSystems iKnow now available as an open source solution

              Open source availability enables existing InterSystems partners and customers, as well as other organizations and academics, to capitalize on the bottom-up approach that delivers deeper insights with NLP provided by InterSystems iKnow.

            • New data security startup Open Raven just launched out of stealth to tackle the next big security challenge: helping companies find where their data actually is and preventing the next big data breach
            • Open Raven’s modern data security platform brings visibility and control to enterprise data protection

              With an open source core to be available under the Apache 2.0 license, the platform helps customers understand, manage and ensure the security of data from a single location – at a time when teams are overwhelmed and data breaches are hitting record numbers.

            • Zmanda Aims to Make Enterprise Backup Affordable with 4.0 Software Release

              Zmanda, a leader in open source enterprise backup solutions, announced that a new software release is coming in the Spring of 2020. In the upcoming release, Zmanda has made security, reliability, and affordability its key focus. The 4.0 release will mean that IT teams no longer have to choose between affordability and feature-rich backup solutions. They can now have both.

            • GeoScienceWorld’s Lithosphere to Run On Phenom, an Open System Built by Hindawi

              Hindawi’s open source scholarly infrastructure platform, Phenom, will now power the newly relaunched Lithosphere – the society-run, open access community journal for geosciences. The contract between GeoScienceWorld (GSW) and Hindawi was signed in late 2019 with Lithosphere opening for submissions on January 13th 2020.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Tel Aviv exchange partners with BTP for blockchain securities lending

                The Hyperledger Global Forum takes place in March in Phoenix, featuring numerous industry luminaries. Register by 18 February for a discount.

              • LF Energy, Alliander Announce GXF to Tackle Interoperability on Power Grid

                LF Energy announced its new project, Grid eXchange Fabric (GXF). GXF is a scalable and technology-agnostic industrial Internet of Things (IoT) platform that allows grid operators to securely collect data and monitor, control and manage smart devices on the grid. Formerly known as Open Smart Grid Platform (OSGP), GXF was created by leading Dutch distribution system operator Alliander and is the first project contributed by the company to the open-source community since joining LF Energy last October as a Premier Member.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • SAMM v2 – OWASP releases revamped security assurance framework

            A revamped version of OWASP’s Software Assurance Maturity Model (SAMM) adds automation along with maturity measurements to the open source security-related framework.

            OWASP SAMM v2 – released on Tuesday after three years of refinement – is geared towards helping organizations that develop software to travel down the path towards becoming more secure.

            The approach is based on a community-led open source framework that “allows teams and developers to assess, formulate, and implement strategies for better security which can be easily integrated into an existing organizational software development lifecycle”.

            [...]

            The OWASP SAMM community includes security knowledgeable volunteers from both businesses and educational organizations. The global community works to create “freely-available articles, methodologies, documentation, tools, and technologies”.

          • Smack: Some more busy nights and 12 bytes of IV

            Anu brought up the fact that the OMEMO XEP is not totally clear on the length of initialization vectors used for message encryption. Historically most clients use 16 bytes length, while normally you would want to use 12. Apparently some AES-GCM libraries on iOS only support 12 bytes length, so using 12 bytes is definitely desirable. Most OMEMO implementations already support receiving 12 bytes as well as 16 bytes IV.

          • Google pulls 500 malicious Chrome extensions after researcher tip-off

            Google has abruptly pulled over 500 Chrome extensions from its Web Store that researchers discovered were stealing browsing data and executing click fraud and malvertising after installing themselves on the computers of millions of users.

            Depending on which way you look at it, that’s either a good result because they’re no longer free to infect users, or an example of how easy it is for malicious extensions to sneak on the Web Store and stay there for years without Google noticing.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (evince, postgresql-9.4, and thunderbird), Fedora (ksh and libxml2), openSUSE (hostapd and nextcloud), Red Hat (chromium-browser, firefox, flash-plugin, and ksh), and SUSE (firefox and thunderbird).

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • Cyber-gangs using SSH identities to sell on the black market [Ed: How to associate secure shell, SSH, with "black market", skull and bones, just because of machines that are already cracked because of something totally unrelated]

              Malware campaigns equipped with the capability to exploit powerful, hidden backdoors are becoming commoditised, researchers from Venafi have warned.

              The research shows several high-profile hacker campaigns are integrating the misuse of SSH machine identities capabilities into their attacks.

              Now, any attacker with access to the dark web can gain access to the same techniques that took down the Ukrainian power grid against every business and government agency.

              Malware can target common SSH machine identities used to access and automate Windows, Linux and MacOS in the enterprise and out to the cloud.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • The 16 best bikes for beginning commuters

          To demystify the process, we spoke with bike store owners, retailers, and bike commuting advocates. They explained what features to look for in commuter-specific bikes and how much you should be ready to spend. While a top-of-the-line, aerodynamic racing bike can set you back a few grand, the experts we spoke to agreed that you can find a dependable commuting bike in the $350–$750 range. But be wary of anything much cheaper, as they’ll likely have lower-quality parts that will wear out more quickly. Read on for their 16 picks for the best commuter bikes (most are available in men’s and women’s versions) on the market. Because these bikes are all so different, and each rider will have their own specific needs, we organized the suggestions by category — hybrid, upright, and folding — as opposed to choosing one best overall model.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Wildfires Threaten North American Water Supplies

          As rain offers a welcome relief to fire-scorched Australia, concerns over flash floods and freshwater contamination cast a shadow on the joy. Already, massive fish kills have been reported due to heavy ash and sediment in local stream.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • It’s Happening Here…

        Messages of resistance in two little books, one a movie script.

      • More Than 1,100 Former US Department of Justice Officials Tell William Barr: Resign Now!

        ‘Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words’

      • Democrats Need to Cut the Realism and Start Dreaming — and Fighting — Big

        Even as Bernie Sanders, the most radically progressive candidate for the Democratic primary, secured early wins in Iowa and New Hampshire and the face of the moderate Democratic establishment faded toward the back, an ugly spirit of defeatism has crept into the political zeitgeist around the progressive platform.

      • Israel’s Gantz Vows to Form Government Without Netanyahu

        Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz is vowing to form a government that will include neither the indicted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor the predominantly Arab parties in Parliament.

      • EU to Launch Grand Plan on AI, Tech In Challenge to U.S, China

        Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for digital affairs, is trying to reassure anxious Europeans that she can handle concerns Europe is becoming irrelevant while Asian and American companies dominate high-tech markets.

        The strategy “will produce and deploy much more artificial intelligence” in Europe, but “it will not be the same” as in the U.S. and China, Vestager said in a press briefing to journalists ahead of the announcement. Based on what she knows about their practices, Chinese AI might not meet European standards, she said.

      • Trump’s Budget Puts Down Stakes in Greenland

        The newly planned consulate underscores how the United States is looking to boost its presence in the Arctic, where climate change is rapidly melting ice and opening new access to potential maritime trade routes and lucrative untapped mineral and energy reserves. For the Trump administration, one of the top concerns is how China and Russia will take advantage of the changing Arctic conditions.

      • The Company Behind the Iowa Caucus App Debacle has a Deeply Troubling Plan to Manipulate Voters

        Treating citizens as mere pawns in a game run by propaganda shops

      • How EMILY’s List and Center for American Progress Sold Out to Bloomberg

        Billionaire Republican-turned-Democrat Presidential Candidate Michael Bloomberg was hit with two damaging front-page headlines Saturday.

      • Stop and Frisk Gets Renewed Attention in Bloomberg Candidacy

        David Ourlicht was a college student, walking down a street near campus, when he became one of millions of New Yorkers swept up in the era of stop and frisk.

      • Is being a billionaire a disqualifier for office?

        What I have yet to see is the talking heads debating whether great wealth, on the scale of the fortunes of Bloomberg and Trump, should disqualify one from holding our nation’s highest public office.

      • MIT researchers identify security vulnerabilities in voting app

        Now, MIT researchers are raising another concern: They say they have uncovered security vulnerabilities in a mobile voting application that was used during the 2018 midterm elections in West Virginia. Their security analysis of the application, called Voatz, pinpoints a number of weaknesses, including the opportunity for hackers to alter, stop, or expose how an individual user has voted. Additionally, the researchers found that Voatz’s use of a third-party vendor for voter identification and verification poses potential privacy issues for users.

        The findings are described in a new technical paper by Michael Specter, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) and a member of MIT’s Internet Policy Research Initiative, and James Koppel, also a graduate student in EECS. The research was conducted under the guidance of Daniel Weitzner, a principal research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and founding director of the Internet Policy Research Initiative.

      • Blockchain voting app is dangerously vulnerable, researchers say

        Most troubling, researchers say that an attacker who compromised the servers that manage the Voatz API might even be able to alter ballots as they arrive, an alarming threat that distributed ledgers should theoretically protect against.

        “Given the severity of failings discussed in this paper, the lack of transparency, the risks to voter privacy, and the trivial nature of the attacks, we suggest that any near-future plans to use this app for high-stakes elections be abandoned,” the researchers conclude.

      • Voatz smartphone voting app has significant security flaws, MIT researchers say

        While supporters have touted its ability to enfranchise Americans with disabilities and those serving overseas — both groups with dismal voting turnout — the company has largely been quiet about addressing security concerns. While it has undergone several private independent security audits, those results have never been made public, and academic consensus has said that the technology to securely conduct online elections doesn’t yet exist.

      • Voting on Your Phone: New Elections App Ignites Security Debate

        “The choice here is not about turnout,” the report says, “but about an adversary controlling the election result and a loss of voter privacy.”

        With security already a dominant theme of the 2020 elections, last week’s debacle at the Democratic caucuses in Iowa — an app used to report results failed to, well, report results — has raised new questions about the role technology should play in American elections and prompted calls for it to be scaled back.

      • [Attackes] Can Seize Control of Ballots Cast Using the Voatz Voting App, Researchers Say

        Security researchers have found key flaws in a mobile voting app that some states plan to use in the 2020 election that can allow [attackers] to launch both client- and server-side attacks that can easily manipulate or even delete someone’s vote, as well as prevent a reliable audit from taking place after the fact, they said.

      • Voting App Flaws Could Have Let [Attackers] Manipulate Results

        The group found different types of vulnerabilities depending on what level of access an attacker has to a voter’s device or to the Voatz servers and application programming interface. If a hacker manages to get root access to your smartphone, they could bypass Voatz’s defenses to grab your data, including the PIN you use to access Voatz’s servers. They could also control your vote, block it from sending, or see how you voted. If an attacker has access to Voatz’s systems, they could uncover data meant to be locked down by the platform’s blockchain scheme, allowing them to alter votes or link votes to specific individuals even though the system is supposed to be anonymous and immutable. The researchers even found weaknesses in how the app sends votes to the company’s servers that could be exploited if a user voted on an insecure Wi-Fi network or on a connection provided by an untrustworthy internet service provider.

      • Republicans Have Made It Clear They Will Let Trump Become a Dictator. Will We?

        We are heading into election season led by a president consumed with personal vendettas and convinced that he is surrounded by conspirators. Paranoid and narcissistic, he is firing anyone who stands in his way, demanding ever more craven demonstrations of loyalty from his courtiers. In Tennessee, legislators are debating a resolution to declare CNN and The Washington Post fake news because of their critical coverage of Trump.

        Trump himself attacks the press on a daily basis, spending the wee hours of the morning tweeting insults and ignoring major developments that require his attention.

      • Trump’s Acquittal Has Ushered in a New Era of McCarthyist Purges

        Last week, Donald Trump had Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman — who had testified before Congress about his Ukraine phone call — fired and frog-marched out of the White House. Not content with this act of revenge against Vindman, the president fired his brother, an administration legal counsel, as well. Later that day, Trump also announced the firing of Gordon Sondland, his ambassador to the European Union who had likewise testified about the pressure campaign on the Ukraine.

      • Can we stop tiptoeing around the fact that Trump is behaving like a dictator?

        Folks, let’s not mince words: This is the kind of stuff we read about happening in dictatorships like Russia and North Korea and Iran. And yes, it’s the kind of rule by strong-arm fiat that was practiced by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. Advertisement:

        Before this week, I would have thought it an exaggeration to compare Trump’s frequent rallies to the infamous Nuremberg rallies Hitler held during the1930s. No longer. Trump’s rallies are unnervingly close to those held in Nuremberg. The MAGA hat has become a kind of Trumpian Nazi helmet. The denunciations of hated minorities are the same. As is his insane bellowing before a crowd screaming its slavish obeisance.

        Let’s just stop for a moment and consider the angry chants of “Lock her up,” first directed at Hillary Clinton, now at Nancy Pelosi. What do Trump’s cheering crowds want his Democratic opponents locked up for? Neither of those women has faced criminal charges, much less been convicted of any crime. Neither is even under investigation for corruption or alleged criminal behavior. But that doesn’t matter to Trump and his rally crowds. This stuff has been going on for so long, it’s clear that they actually do want them locked up. When Trump stands before his screaming fans, raising his arms and smiling, it’s obvious he does, too. To call for the imprisonment of political opponents without trial is not playing with rhetoric for effect. It’s not political gimmickry. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. Let’s say out loud what it is: It’s pure fascism, plain and simple.

      • Megachurch Mess

        Billionaire media mogul Oprah Winfrey helped create a four-season television series – “Greenleaf” – about a black megachurch where worshipers whoop, sway, dance, wave arms, squeal, shout and shell out truckloads of money.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence

        A Times examination of Mr. Bloomberg’s philanthropic and political spending in the years leading up to his presidential bid illustrates how he developed a national infrastructure of influence, image-making and unspoken suasion that has helped transform a former Republican mayor of New York City into a plausible contender for the Democratic nomination. If anything, his claim — and his support among anxious moderates — has grown stronger with the ascent of the “democratic socialist” Senator Bernie Sanders in early voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.

        Since leaving City Hall at the end of 2013, Mr. Bloomberg has become the single most important political donor to the Democratic Party and its causes. His personal fortune, built on a financial information and news company, is estimated at over $60 billion. It fuels an advocacy network that has directed policy in dozens of states and cities; mobilized movements to take on gun violence and climate change; rewritten election laws and health regulations; and elected scores of politicians to offices as modest as the school board and as lofty as the Senate.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Kashmir journalist forced into manual labour

        He then tried to file his stories on a landline phone: he would call and read them aloud to someone on the other side who could type it out. But, as he found out, his stories didn’t earn him enough money to cover the cost of travelling for hours in search of a working landline.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • James Baldwin Won the Battle, but William F. Buckley Won the War

        On Feb. 18, 1965, three days before the assassination of Malcolm X, a few weeks before the Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and six months before the Watts riots, James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. debated before the Cambridge Union Society at Cambridge University.

      • New Film Showcases How the Rainbow Coalition’s Struggle for Justice Lives On

        One of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton’s most famous quotes is: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” Unfortunately, as the new documentary The First Rainbow Coalition demonstrates, the movement can be set back decades when a revolutionary of Hampton’s magnitude is killed. That struggle will continue for as long as people are subjected to racial discrimination, eco-apartheid, oppressive policing, displacement, a lack of affordable housing, jobs, health care, and other basic needs resulting from inequitable laws and government policies.

      • Proposed Alaska Legislation Would Recognize Existence of Tribes

        A bill before the Alaska House Tribal Affairs Committee is simple: “The state recognizes all tribes in the state that are federally recognized …”

      • Australia: Enact New Law to Sanction Rights Abusers

        Expand

        In this Feb. 13, 2019, file photo Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses media at Parliament House in Canberra.

      • Sri Lanka: Families of ‘Disappeared’ Threatened

        Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies have intensified surveillance and threats against families of victims of enforced disappearance and activists supporting them since Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president in November 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The Sri Lankan government should fulfill its commitments to the United Nations Human Rights Council to strengthen efforts to locate the “disappeared” and bring those responsible to justice.

        Activists working in six locations in the northern and eastern parts of the country on behalf of relatives of the forcibly disappeared told Human Rights Watch that there has been a significant increase in government surveillance and intimidation. One activist said that prior to a recent victims’ meeting, “every one of the mothers got at least six telephone calls from different intelligence agencies asking, ‘Where is the meeting?’ ‘Who is organizing the meeting?’ ‘What is being said?’” Another activist said, “We can’t do any visible programs.… We’ve stopped everything.”

      • 1 in 10 Americans uses stalkerware to track partners and exes, poll finds

        There’s a booming market for apps that track your phone without your knowledge, siphoning off call and text records, photos and more to send to the person who secretly installed the spy app. It’s called stalkerware, and according to a poll released on Wednesday by antivirus provider NortonLifeLock, one in 10 Americans admits to using it on their partner’s or ex’s devices.

      • ‘I Cannot Remain Silent’

        Scholars in China predicted a year ago in an article in the journal Viruses that it was “highly likely” that there would be coronavirus outbreaks, calling it an “urgent issue.” Once the outbreak occurred, other Chinese scientists rapidly identified the virus and sequenced its DNA, posting it on Jan. 10 on a virology website for all to see. That was extraordinarily good and fast work.

        Meanwhile, the Communist Party instinctively organized a cover-up, ordering the police to crack down on eight doctors accused of trying to alert others to the risks. National television programs repeatedly denounced the doctors as rumormongers.

      • VKontakte vs. Facebook: From Open White Supremacy To Stealth

        In March of 2019, Facebook banned white nationalist and white separatist statements from its platform. White supremacism had been forbidden for some time, but last year’s Christchurch massacre seems to have convinced the social network that a more aggresively anti-racist approach was necessary. This ban is not comprehensive, and there are numerous holes in enforcement. This article is about one such hole: the vibrant community of American racists who “hide their power level” just enough to avoid being banned, while subtly pushing their views on friends and family.

        These white supremacists are not particularly coy about their tactics. They plot out in the open, on VKontakte (commonly abbreviated as VK), a Facebook-like popular Russian social medial platform that has much looser moderation. Here’s Kevin Beair, Exalted Cyclops for the Keystone States chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, explaining how “public outreach” for the racist cause can be done on Facebook…

        [...]

        This claim is wildly innaccurate: 82% of white American murder victims are murdered by other white Americans. But the idea that black-on-white violence is an epidemic is enormously powerful to racists. It was this belief that inspired Dylann Roof to murder nine black people at a Charleston church.

        We know that Kevin Beair considers this myth to be well-worth spreading in his efforts to “red-pill” people on Facebook. Unfortunately for us, Kevin’s actual Facebook account remains hidden for the time being. But many of his colleagues have been less careful and, by monitoring their activity on both VK and Facebook, we can put together a catalogue of their attempts to mainstream racial extremism on the world’s largest social network.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Here’s Where the Internet Actually Lives

        Seventy percent of the world’s internet traffic passes through all of that fiber. That’s why Ashburn is known as Data Center Alley. The Silicon Valley of the east. The cloud capital of the world. Pretty much any email sent or received anywhere around the globe passes through this town. If you’ve got something stored in the cloud, it’s probably in one of the 100-plus data centers located in Loudoun County.

    • Monopolies

      • Treat us like something between a telco and a newspaper, says Facebook’s Zuckerberg

        Speaking at the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Zuckerberg said Facebook had improved its work countering online election interference, and expanded on his previous calls for regulation of social media firms.

      • Airbnb Has Devoured London. Here’s the Data to Prove It

        In Camden and Westminster, two of the London boroughs worst affected by the rise of short-term rentals, up to seven percent of the total housing stock is advertised on Airbnb. Data compiled by Camden council reveals that of the 7,100 whole properties listed on platforms such as Airbnb and Booking.com in 2019, a staggering 48 percent exceeded the 90-day legal limit. Camden council currently has 6,000 families on its housing waiting list.

      • As Airbnb grows in Cuba, locals suffer the emotional burden of entitled tourists

        The proliferation of rooms caused by the rise of Airbnb also led to emotional labor-related externalities borne by the impacted communities. The landscape of the community had changed; many homes had completed unauthorized renovations and the influx of tourists had changed the social dynamics of the area. “Center Havana has never been one of the nicer parts of the city, we have been marginalized for ages, but now with this [Airbnb rooms], we have tourists wanting to live the authentic Cuban experience. When I’m walking around or going to the market, they look at me as if I was a character of an amusement park like I’m a toy and part of their playground,” complained Judith, a 45-year-old resident of the area.

        Airbnb was Disney-fying parts of Havana that were not meant to be for tourists. Locals emphasized that, where the area had felt like home because they walk freely and mind their own business, they now felt pressure to talk or take pictures with visitors. Judith continued:

        “When I go to the market, I’m stopped at least three times by tourists wanting directions, pictures with me, or if I can help them buy something. This annoys me, but I put on a smile and try to help, otherwise these foreigners will say that Cubans are rude. ”

      • Hospira Requests En Banc Review of Ruling Regarding Safe Harbor

        On January 15, 2020, Hospira filed a petition for rehearing en banc asking the full Federal Circuit to reconsider a prior panel’s analysis of the Safe Harbor provision and reverse the finding of infringement. In December 2019, the Federal Circuit affirmed the District of Delaware’s decision denying Hospira’s motion for judgment as a matter of law and upholding the jury’s verdict that Hospira infringed Amgen’s patent and that some batches of drug substance for Hospira’s erythropoietin biosimilar drug product were not covered by the Safe Harbor provision of 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1).

        [...]

        First, relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in Merck KGaA v. Integra Lifesciences I, Ltd., 545 U.S. 193, 206 (2005), Hospira argued that the panel’s analysis ignores the Supreme Court’s admonition that “all uses” reasonably related to obtaining FDA approval are exempted and that the Safe Harbor provision’s application is broader than just information required for approval. According to Hospira, it is not reasonable to expect an applicant to submit the minimum amount of data required to the FDA. Hospira argued that its accused batches were all used to generate data for the FDA as data from every accused batch was used to revise release specifications in response to the CRL.

      • Patents

        • [Old] Anish Kapoor Has Caused Another Color Controversy

          *”Note: By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information, and belief this material will not make its way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.”

        • Life Sciences Court Report

          Synopsis: Allergan asserts infringement of the ’202 and ’896 patents. Allergen develops, manufacturers, and distributes dermal filler products including JUVEDÉRM® Ultra XC, JUVEDÉRM® Ultra Plus XC, and JUVEDÉRM® VOLUMA® XC. Prollenium makes, uses, sells, offers to sell, and/or imports into the United States Revanesse® Versa+TM, a dermal filler. Allergen asserts that Revanesse® Versa+TM infringes one of more claims of the ’202 and ’896 patents.

        • Software Patents

          • Why AI systems should be recognized as inventors

            Existing intellectual property laws don’t allow AI systems to be recognized as inventors, which threatens the integrity of the patent system and the potential to develop life-changing innovations.

            Current legislation only allows humans to be recognized as inventors, which could make AI-generated innovations unpatentable. This would deprive the owners of the AI of the legal protections they need for the inventions that their systems create.

            The Artificial Inventor Project team has been testing the limitations of these rules by filing patent applications that designate a machine as the inventor— the first time that an AI’s role as an inventor had ever been disclosed in a patent application. They made the applications on behalf of Dr Stephen Thaler, the creator of a system called DABUS, which was listed as the inventor of a food container that robots can easily grasp and a flashing warning light designed to attract attention during emergencies.

            The European Patent Office (EPO) and the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) both rejected the application, on the grounds that the inventor designated in the application had to be a human being — and not a machine.

          • 3 Malaysia MPEG-2 Patents left

            With February 13th passing it would appear there are only 3 Malaysia patents left:

            MY 128994 (possible expiration of 30 Mar 2022)
            MY 141626-A (possible expiration of 31 May 2025)
            MY-163465-A (possible expiration of 15 Sep 2032)

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright Troll Drops Lawsuits When it Gets the ‘Wrong’ Judge

          Strike 3 Holdings is one of the most active copyright litigants in the U.S. In recent years, the company has identified thousands of suspected pirates through court-ordered subpoenas. However, it doesn’t appear to like all judges equally. Several cases that were assigned to a rather critical judge in Florida were dropped like a hot potato.

        • Don’t Use the Word ‘Did’ or a Dumb Anti-Piracy Company Will Delete You From Google

          In 2018, the owner of Two-Bit History, a site dedicated to computer history, wrote a successful article about mathematician Ada Lovelace, who some credit as being the first computer programmer. Sadly, if you search Google for that article today you won’t find it. Some idiotic anti-piracy company had it deleted because it dared to use the word ‘did’.

        • UMG Discloses List of Masters Destroyed In Universal Studios Fire

          In a recent court filing from the ongoing lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG), additional light was shed on the extent of the damage caused by the 2008 Universal Studios fire.

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