Alexandre Oliva in Defense of the FSF

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 10:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Original blog post by the FSF's interim co-president


Here’s another unplanned post before the planned closing one, prompted by attempts to portray my series of posts as attacks on the FSF.

My posts, and actions, are rather in defense of the FSF from:

  • pressure, external and internal, to swerve it off the course set and recently reaffirmed by its directing body;
  • actions that defy the given guidance; and
  • misinformation and maneuvers that have succeeded in containing the reaction for some time.

Had there been decisions to change course, properly communicated to staff, members and to the public at large, it might make sense to paint me as a disgruntled internal attacker. But no such things happened.

What happened were plans and actions kept from objecting parties and, once information got across, misinformation and intimidation to block reactions, to enable continued action in deviation from the guidance and thus from the authority delegated by the board.

I have no reason to doubt a large majority of staff believed to be following given guidance and acting in good faith, just kept in the dark and misinformed like members and most (all?) of the board.

But the communication walls and misinformation, the blatant bias in so-called mistakes, and most of all the stalling and refusal to take corrective actions made for a very clear pattern of subversion of authority to turn the RMS-founded FSF into an RMS-less, post-RMS FSF.

Yet some still insist it’s neither a coup nor an attack on the FSF.

So blong…

Copyright 2007-2020 Alexandre Oliva

Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this entire document worldwide without royalty, provided the copyright notice, the document’s official URL, and this permission notice are preserved.

The following licensing terms also apply to all documents and postings in this blog that don’t contain a copyright notice of their own, or that contain a notice equivalent to the one above, and whose copyright can be reasonably assumed to be held by Alexandre Oliva.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons License BY-SA (Attribution ShareAlike) 3.0 Unported. To see a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.

Links 29/2/2020: KaOS 2020.02, New Wine Release

Posted in News Roundup at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Android-x86 project lets you run Android 9 Pie on a desktop, laptop, or table

        The team at the Android-x86 project Abba released their latest version of an Android based desktop operating system, offering an open source platform that can run Android 9 Pie on a desktop, laptop, or tablet with an Intel or AMD processor. Today the team announced the public release of Android-x86 9.0, the first stable release for Android-x86 9.0 (pie-x86). The prebuilt images are now available to download from Foss Hub and OSDN, check out the links below.

        The latest release includes support for 32-bit and 64-bit x86 processors, hardware-accelerated graphics with support for OpenGL ES 3.x on Intel, AMD, and NVIDIA GPUs, as well as experimental Vulkan graphics support, together with an optional Taskbar launcher, although you can also use the default Android-style launcher if you prefer. Other supported areas within the Android desktop operating system include WiFi, Bluetooth, Ethernet, camera, audio, and multitouch input.

      • Android-x86 9.0 Offering Android Pie Experience on Computer Released
      • Android is NOT Linux

        Android is NOT Linux Let’s go over why Android is nothing like Linux. While it may use a Linux Kernel it is a completely different beast altogether.

      • The Chrome Cast 50: Linux on Chromebooks and the future of Chrome OS tablets

        This week on The Chrome Cast, we’re exploring a couple seemingly-unconnected ideas that actually tie into one another quite well. First up is the heightened interest in Linux apps on Chrome OS. While we’ve been tracking along with the development of Crostini since before it was actually a thing, it’s been a while since we’ve really dug into what Chromebooks are capable of with Linux. As part of that renewed effort, we’ve launched Command Line, where we are focusing more on what users can do and get done with Linux apps on their Chromebook.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-02-28 | Linux Headlines

        The Open Source Initiative kicks a co-founder from its mailing lists, OBS faces backlash for receiving support from Facebook Gaming, and Collabora launches its version of LibreOffice for mobile.

      • Destination Linux 162: Ikey Doherty Interview, Stuart Langridge Guest Host

        Topics covered in this episode:

        Keeping Kids Safe Online


        Ikey Doherty of Lispy Snake (formerly of Solus)

        Other Topics:
        GNOME 3.36 Preview
        ISP’s Claim Privacy Law Violates “Free Speech”

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 440.64 Driver Released with Initial Support for Linux Kernel 5.6

          Nvidia 440.64 comes about a month after the previous release, Nvidia 440.59, which added PRIME synchronization support for Linux kernel 5.4 LTS and later, as well as support for audio over DisplayPort Multi-Stream, and support for Nvidia High Definition Audio (HDA) controllers.

          This new version released today is only a small update that only introduces support for the Nvidia GeForce MX330 and Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPUs, as well as initial support for the upcoming Linux 5.6 kernel series by fixing some compilation bugs that prevented the Nvidia kernel module from building correctly.

        • NVIDIA 440.64 Driver Released With MX330/MX350 Support, Linux 5.6 Compatibility
        • New NVIDIA Driver 440.64 Released With Linux Kernel 5.6 Support

          Weeks ago, Linus Torvalds closed the merge window for Kernel 5.6 with a bulk of changes such as GeForce RTX 2000 Turing support and fixed the Year 2038 problem.

          To enable high-quality display and faster performance, NVIDIA announced a new driver 440.64 with initial support for Linux Kernel 5.6 and other GPUs.

        • Initial Batch Of Radeon Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 5.7

          AMD Linux kernel graphics driver maintainer Alex Deucher has submitted the company’s first batch of graphics driver updates to DRM-Next that in turn is for inclusion with the upcoming Linux 5.7 cycle.

          One of the big ticket items this round is a rework of the virtual memory code in preparation for finally having the HMM support in order. That is the Linux kernel’s Heterogeneous Memory Management support and is important for compute in particular with Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) and other functionality. AMDGPU preparations around HMM have been ongoing for some time and with Linux 5.7 is nearing that milestone but as of this pull request hasn’t yet crossed it.

        • RadeonSI + Gallium3D Video Code Fix Up 4:2:2 Support, YUY2

          Stemming from incorrect rendering with VA-API and UYVY422 content with AMD Radeon graphics on Linux, a number of fixes were merged today for improving the Gallium3D video code.

          AMD’s Pierre-Eric Pelloux-Prayer added YUY2 support to Gallium3D’s video acceleration state tracker along with 4:2:2 support. With these patches now merged for Mesa 20.1, the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver should be playing correctly for GPU video decoding of UYVY content with the VA-API state tracker. These improvements appear to have been tested so far with GStreamer.

        • Radeon ROCm 3.1 Released With RAS For Vega 7nm, SLURM Support

          A new version of the Radeon Open Compute “ROCm” stack is available today but it still doesn’t deliver on Navi support.

          Radeon Open Compute 3.1 is the new release that now versions its default installation directory structure, adds RAS support for 7nm Vega, and also introduces SLURM support.

          The Reliability, Accessibility, and Serviceability capabilities are for HBM ECC memory error handling, GFX/MMHUB ECC errors, and PCIe uncorrectable errors. The RAS behavior should these uncorrectable errors happen is to perform a GPU reset using BACO. This 7nm Vega work is presumably under the microscope still for the Vega-based “Arcturus” compute accelerator coming this year.

        • RADV Vulkan Driver Begins Wiring Up Support For Radeon’s SQ Thread Trace Block

          On top of the Mesa “RADV” Vulkan driver’s recent support for using the Radeon GPU Profiler with this open-source driver, RADV is now adding support for the SQTT hardware block on Radeon GPUs for expanding the profiling metrics it is able to expose.

          The SQ Thread Trace block on modern Radeon GPUs collects thread trace data from timings to wave occupancy to other metrics on a per-draw/per-dispatch basis.

        • SHADERed 1.3 Released For This HLSL/GLSL Shader Editor – Adds Shader Debugger

          SHAREDed is an open-source, cross-platform solution for creating and testing HLSL and GLSL shaders. This “shader IDE” is out this week with SHADERed 1.3 that presents new capabilities.

          SHADERed 1.3 introduces shader debugging capabilities, a plug-in API, support for multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA), support for the #include keyword within shaders, and a wide variety of UI/UX improvements along with different fixes.

        • X.Org/FreeDesktop.org Is Looking For Sponsors Or May Have To Cut Continuous Integration Hosting

          The cost of cloud hosting — or in particular hosting their own GitLab instance and running continuous integration (CI) support for FreeDesktop.org projects — is putting financial strain on the X.Org Foundation.

          The X.Org Foundation estimates their annual hosting expenses this year to top out at 75k USD and at 90k USD for 2021. The gitlab.freedesktop.org hosting is done within the Google Cloud. This cost doesn’t include that of any continuous integration runners but just the expenditures from storing and serving build artifacts and images from the cloud to external runners.

        • LLVMpipe Tessellation Shader Support Is Now Working – Runs Unigine Heaven

          The LLVMpipe CPU-based software rasterizer OpenGL driver within Mesa’s Gallium3D now has working tessellation shader support (ARB_tessellation_shader) and can even run Unigine Heaven demo properly, just don’t expect good performance.

    • Applications

      • Introducing Jcat

        Jcat is a gzipped JSON file of detached signatures. Because it’s gzipped it’s easy to compress and decompress in basically any language, and because it’s JSON it’s dead simple to parse and generate in any framework. There is a little overhead of some metadata (e.g. signing ID, creation time, etc) and but it’s all the kind of thing you can just edit in vim if you needed to. There’s also support for storing binary stuff like DER certificates (base64 to the rescue…), but if possible I’d like it to be all readable in a text editor. The jcat command line tool can import existing detached signatures into the Jcat file, and can also verify the existing .jcat file against all the files in a directory or archive. You can include multiple signatures for the same file (using the AppStream ID as the key) and of course sign multiple files using all the cryptographic engines you need. There’s also rudimentary support for actually creating signatures in the jcat command line client too, although it’s WIP for the GNUTLS engine and completely missing for GPGME at the moment.

        This new thing also lets us fix another glaring issue in fwupd. Some companies can’t use PKCS-7, and some can’t use GPG for equally bad and nonsensical reasons – at the moment you need to specify the remote keyring when enabling a remote as we need to know if we need to download the metadata.xml.gz.asc or the .p7b version. Using a .jcat file allows to to not care, and just download one detached thing that can be used no matter how you’ve compiled your system. By adding SHA-256 as an additional not-to-be-used-for-trust engine, Jcat also lets you verify the download of your metadata and cabinet files even when you don’t have GPG or PKCS-7 available, which I know at least one company does on an IOT project. Jcat allows us to move the scary cryptographic verification code out of fwupd and makes the update-your-firmware codebase easier to maintain without worrying about potential landmines.

      • Jcat: A New Alternative To Microsoft Catalog Files

        Prolific open-source developer Richard Hughes of Red Hat who has been responsible for the creation of PackageKit, the ColorHug colorimeter hardware, GNOME Software, and for the past number of years focused on the Fwupd firmware updating utility and Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) has a new open-source project.

        Brought on by his LVFS development work, Hughes began developing Jcat as a new open-source project providing an alternative to Microsoft Catalog files. Due to Microsoft still not having documented the Catalog file format that hosts security catalog information and with that the inability to reliably generate Catalog files from Linux, Richard Hughes began developing Jcat. Jcat and Microsoft Catalog files are focused on holding arbitrary signatures for external files. This is of importance for LVFS for ensuring BIOS/firmware files are not tampered with and in fact originated from the LVFS platform.

      • Revive your RSS feed with Newsboat in the Linux terminal

        Psst. Word on the web is that RSS died in 2013. That’s when Google pulled the plug on Google Reader.

        Don’t believe everything that you hear. RSS is alive. It’s well. It’s still a great way to choose the information you want to read without algorithms making the decision for you. All you need is the right feed reader.

        Back in January, Opensource.com Correspondent Kevin Sonney introduced a nifty terminal RSS reader called Newsboat. In his article, Kevin scratched Newsboat’s surface. I figured it was time to take a deeper dive into what Newsboat can do.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Expect: tweaks in curl

        One of the persistent myths about HTTP is that it is “a simple protocol”.



        HTTP/1.1 is designed for being sent over TCP (and possibly also TLS) in a serial manner. Setting up a new connection is costly, both in terms of CPU but especially in time – requiring a number of round-trips. (I’ll detail further down how HTTP/2 fixes all these issues in a much better way.)

        HTTP/1.1 provides a number of ways to allow it to perform all its duties without having to shut down the connection. One such an example is the ability to tell a client early on that it needs to provide authentication credentials before the clients sends of a large payload. In order to maintain the TCP connection, a client can’t stop sending a HTTP payload prematurely! When the request body has started to get transmitted, the only way to stop it before the end of data is to cut off the connection and create a new one – wasting time and CPU…

        “We want a 100 to continue”

        A client can include a header in its outgoing request to ask the server to first acknowledge that everything is fine and that it can continue to send the “payload” – or it can return status codes that informs the client that there are other things it needs to fulfill in order to have the request succeed. Most such cases typically that involves authentication.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement

        he Wine development release 5.3 is now available.

        What’s new in this release (see below for details):
        – More work towards Ucrtbase runtime support.
        – Full support for Unicode normalization.
        – Improvements in Shell Folders handling.
        – Various bug fixes.

        The source is available from the following locations:



        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:


        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation

        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.

        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.

      • Wine 5.3 Released, How to Install it in Ubuntu 18.04/19.10

        Wine 5.3 was released one days ago as the latest development release of the compatibility layer allows to run Windows apps on Linux and Mac OS. The official apt repository has made the packages for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10, and their derivatives.

      • Wine 5.3 Released With Various Improvements

        Wine 5.3 is out as the latest bi-weekly development snapshot on the road to Wine 6.0 next year.

        Notable this release is work coming together on Ucrtbase run-time support, which is the UCRT library used by Microsoft Visual C++ for compiler-independent components like the standard C library and various extensions. The Ucrtbase run-time support isn’t yet wired up in full but it’s getting there.

      • Compatibility layer Wine 5.3 is out with Unicode improvements and a number of bug fixes

        Hey, got any…grapes? Another development release for the compatibility layer Wine is out today, following their regular release cycle we have Wine 5.3.

      • Wine 5.3 Released!! Comes with Many Essential Improvements & Bug Fixes!

        Wine 5.3 Version Released: You can run the windows based application on Linux systems using the Wine application. Alexandre Julliard said that the latest version Wine 5.3 is released and available for download. The new wine has many essential improvements and bug fixes. He also mentioned that the Wine 6.0 will hit roads on upcoming year.

      • Wine-Staging 5.3 Fixes Online Play For Some Recent Games

        The lone albeit significant change for Wine-Staging 5.3 is implementing BCryptSecretAgreement and BCryptDeriveKey functionality that is used by various games as part of their online connectivity handling. This online play is known to fix the games For Honor, STEEP, Far Cry 5, and certainly others as well. These missing BCrypt functions have been known for affecting games since last summer and now the work is queued in Wine-Staging and hopefully will be working their way to upstream Wine in the near future. Upstream Wine 5.3 also has another networking fix for ironing out Far Cry 5′s online gaming support.

      • DXVK 1.5.5 Released With Many Game Fixes

        DXVK 1.5.5 is out this weekend as a big update to this Direct3D-over-Vulkan translation layer widely used by Linux gamers in running Windows games with decent speed.

        DXVK 1.5.5 is a big update contrary to its version number in bringing many game-specific improvements and other fixes. There is also expanded Direct3D support.

      • Direct3D to Vulkan translation layer ‘DXVK’ version 1.5.5 is out with lots of bug fixes

        Developer Philip Rebohle today announced the release of DXVK 1.5.5, bringing with it plenty of bug fixes for this impressive Direct3D to Vulkan translation layer.

        On the games side, quite a number had specific issues addressed with this release. You should find less issues running: Book of Demons, Close Combat, Cross Racing Championship, Dungeons and Dragons: Temple of Elemental Evil, Elite Dangerous, Evil Genius, F1 2019, Hyperdimension Neptunia U Action Unleashed, Just Cause 1, Lumino City, Saint’s Row III / IV, Shade Wrath of Angels, Sins of a Solar Empire, Rocket League and Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines which should see improved performance.

        Another tweak was done for Skyrim, this time fixing both crashes and incorrect rendering with the “d3d9.evictManagedOnUnlock” option, they say this is “useful for Skyrim with a large number of mods as an alternative to ENBoost”.

    • Games

      • AI War 2 gains a massive feature expansion with The Spire Rises

        War, war never changes. Except when it’s against a super smart AI that has you completely outgunned, and things just got a lot more interesting with AI War 2: The Spire Rises.

        Arcen Games released their massive grand-scale strategy game AI War 2 in October last year and it was a lot of fun. Since then, they’ve continued improving the base game with constant updates. It has a Very Positive user rating on Steam and it’s well deserved.

      • A Linux version of the RPG ‘Soul Saga’ is currently in progress as it enters Early Access

        After a successful crowdfunding campaign way back in 2013, the RPG from developer Disastercake ‘Soul Saga’ just recently entered Early Access.


        Not seen or heard of it before? You will be forgiven considering the campaign was a number of years ago. The developer says it’s a “uniquely challenging RPG with airship exploration, guild management, free-roaming exploration, and a world that is literally destroyed as time goes on!” and you can see the brand new Early Access trailer below:

      • Get ready for more retro FPS goodness as ‘Core Decay’ is coming to Linux

        The first-person shooter genre is alive and well, especially for retro inspired titles and we have another on the way that looks quite awesome with Core Decay.

        In Core Decay you will explore derelict facilities, uncover a vast conspiracy, install cybernetic upgrades as you gain levels, and find a wealth of unique weapons and powerups in an old-school shooter inspired by the classics of the late 90s. Use an arsenal of 8 unique, upgradeable weapons as you battle both security robotics and the remnants of experiments gone horribly wrong.

      • Linux Game Publishing Brought Back Online For Archival Purposes

        In 2020 we certainly didn’t expect the Linux Gaming Publishing website to appear back online, years after their single server failed and ultimately faded away as one of the promising Linux game porters built up following the collapse of Loki Software.


        Expecting a Vulkan progress report? Not this month! As Godot 3.2 was released by the end of January, February was purely dedicated to do large core refactoring in preparation for Godot 4.0. This is required to unblock other contributors and their areas.


        Godot offered PoolArray as a type of variable, which was useful for storing large arrays in a compact way. They were designed for 32 bits CPUs with small address space, to allow packing memory and avoiding memory fragmentation.

        Given pretty much all mainstream platforms are now 64 bits, this optimization is no longer required (64 bits operating systems have efficient memory allocation for large objects, putting them on opposite ends of the address space, which reduces memory fragmentation to the point of making it not a problem).

        Having tightly packed arrays available to the user still makes sense, because regular script array ([]) elements are 24 bytes (containing a Variant). Having packed versions (including bytes) is desired, so they are renamed to “PackedArrays”.

        This change also improves performance in all operations related to large memory allocations, as locking/unlocking is no longer required. As a side effect, put_pixel/get_pixel in images no longer requires locking either.

      • Godot Game Engine Working Towards Native Wayland Support, EGL

        On top of all the Godot happenings for its Vulkan rendering support, the code-base for Godot 4.0 is also being cleaned up and among the other improvements being worked on are Wayland and EGL support.

        Godot lead developer Juan Linietsky provided a first update on the state of Godot’s code refactoring. Besides a lot of low-level code improvements, looking ahead to March is working on an implementation for Wayland and Linux+EGL support. That EGL support in turn will also benefit Raspberry Pi handling as one of the big benefactors.

      • MoonQuest (Available now on PC, macOS, and Linux for $19.99 USD)
      • Very sweet 3rd person city-building adventure ‘Dwarrows’ is out now

        With colourful visuals, super happy music and a family-friendly atmosphere, Dwarrows has officially launched with Linux support today powered by Unreal Engine from Lithic Entertainment. Note: Key provided to us by the developer.

        Another title successfully launched after crowdfunding, with their Kickstarter being a success back in 2016 (see more projects here). Lithic managed to gather about fifteen thousand Canadian Dollars, and after the wait is it worth it? Well, it’s certainly nothing like I expected and that’s a really good thing—it’s quite wonderful. Not serious at all and full of charm.

      • DWARROWS RELEASES TODAY for Windows, Mac, and Linux
      • Valve reveals SteamVR 1.10 with a brand new Dashboard

        Valve continue rapidly iterating on SteamVR, as they attempt to push the limits of what VR can do both on the hardware and software side with SteamVR 1.10 out now. Not a Beta release either, a proper new version.

        Quite a big update too, giving a huge revamp to the Dashboard that Valve claim “gets you into your games quickly”. It has a new curved design that’s closer for increased clarity, and presents a recent games list for jumping in right away. Looks pretty nice too.

      • Diving into the world of Ring Fit Adventure

        Continuing with my Ring Fit Adventure adventure1, these are the first full two weeks of working out with Ring Fit Adventure.

        My plan is to work our every work day, but this weekend I could not stop myself from trying out a few more mini-games. On the other hand, I skipped two days, but felt bad and missed the routine.

        Anyway, onwards with the adventure²!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 6 awesome XFCE desktop themes to install

        XFCE is one of Linux’s “boring” desktops. It doesn’t have any fancy effects, it doesn’t use a lot of system resources, and the default themes are nothing to write home about. XFCE’s primary purpose is to get the job done and stay out of the way.

        While many love that XFCE has no frills, and stays out of the way, it’s hard not to want to make the desktop look a little more modern. For this reason, we’ve created a list of 6 awesome XFCE desktop themes to install!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Displaying Problems inline in KDevelop

          In 2018 the KTextEditor framework which powers the editor of KDevelop gained support for displaying inline notes enabling to show information inside the editor without interfering with the editing process. One of the prototypes shown during the development of the interface for displaying such notes was showing detetcted problems like compiler warnings and errors in the affected line. Being a KDevelop user for quite some time now I was excited about that feature when I read the blog post linked earlier. Unfortunately, it didn’t get implemented straight away and I forgot about it – until recently when the inline note cababilities were brought up on IRC. I though to myself: “How hard can it be?” And thanks to the incredible work done when implementing the InlineNote and related interfaces into KTextEditor and the extensible structure of KDevelop it wasn’t hard at all! The work needing to be done was basically plugging the two systems together and deciding how the notes should look like.

          The feature as implemented will show a short description of a detected problem next to the line that contains it in a color and with a fitting icon depending on the severity of the problem. I think this is a huge productivity booster because you can see what’s wrong at a glance without the need to do anything and can fix it right away. If you want a more detailed explanation of the problem, you can hover over the location of the problem marked by the curly underline as before or over the inline note. By default inline notes will be shown in lines that contain warnings and erorrs, but you can change it so they’re visible for hints too or only for errors. Of course, if you are not as excited as me you about such a feature, you can also disable them entirely.

        • 5 GNU/Linux Distros to Try KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS Right Now

          Released on February 11th, 2020, KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS brings lots of goodies for fans of the popular desktop environment including a new global edit mode for customizing the desktop, better integration of GTK apps, and improved notifications system that now shows when a connected Bluetooth device is low on battery power.

          Also new in KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS is support for Nvidia GPU stats in KSysGuard, a new Emoji selector, a new system tray widget for enabling the Night Color feature, as well as an optional User Feedback page in System Settings for those who want to help KDE improve future release of the Plasma desktop.

        • Porting to Qt 5.14 on Android

          During the last weeks we have been trying to migrate KDE’s Android applications to Qt 5.14. For a minor version Qt 5.14 comes with a surprising amount of rather invasive changes that require quite a few adjustments in our build infrastructure, frameworks and applications. Here’s the current state of the migration, hopefully providing some hints for others facing the same problem.

          Eskil and Bogdan have described what changed in Qt 5.14 already, and why. Working towards supporting multi-arch AAB packages and improving startup performance and resource consumption certainly makes sense.

          However, this is unfortunately sorely lacking more information on how to adapt applications to those changes. Given the invasiveness, I’d expect that hardly anything beyond a simple QMake based app will be able to upgrade without some porting work. Some of Qt’s own modules being broken in Qt 5.14.0 hints at this as well.

        • KF6 Progress Report: February Edition

          It’s been two months since my previous KF6 progress report. Clearly an update is long overdue, it’s time to make it happen!

          An actual Qt 6 is not published yet and we didn’t branch for KF6 yet either. Still as can be seen on the KF6 Workboard there are plenty of tasks in our backlog which can be acted upon now. No need to wait to participate, all the work done now will make the transition to KF6 easier later on anyway.

        • This month in KDE Web: January-February 2020

          This is the first post in a monthly series about improvements to the KDE websites. I plan to publish it every last Saturday of the month. Since a lot happened in January and I didn’t mention it anywhere, I will also mention those things in this post.

        • January and February in KDE PIM

          Following the post about what happened in KDE PIM in November and December by Volker, let’s look into what the KDE PIM community has been up to in the first two months of the new year. In total 23 contributors have made 740 changes.

        • Qt Wayland’s Maintainer Is Leaving The Company

          While the Qt5 tool-kit on Wayland is in fairly good shape in recent times, the Qt Wayland module that provides the Wayland platform abstraction and helpers for assembly Qt-based Wayland compositors could run the risk of regressing.

          The future of QtWayland was brought up on the Qt mailing list this week with QtWayland developer Johan Helsing leaving The Qt Company. The hope is there will be no reduced work on Qt Wayland support especially with several companies relying upon it as well as the community, but it was Johan that carried out much of the heavy lifting for this toolkit on Wayland.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME launches a new GTK site, the Linux Foundation on security vulnerabilities, OSI board elections, and more open source news

          Developers of apps will be delighted with the facelift to the GTK website. The new site integrates a complete set of documentation for anyone developing applications to run in a GNOME desktop environment. One of the major successes is its extensive documentation in multiple programming languages, letting developers have more choice than ever according to the site. The whole site is available on GitLab and you can see the recent commits that led to the new look.

        • GNOME 3.36 Lands Scaled/Transformed Hardware Cursors Support

          Landing just in time for GNOME 3.36 is a merge request that has been open for nearly one year on improving Mutter’s hardware cursor handling.

          Hitting Mutter today ahead of GNOME 3.36 is support for scaling and transforming cursor images with Cairo and using hardware cursors on rotated or fractionally scaled displays.

        • Felipe Borges: Ten Years Contributing to GNOME!

          I rarely celebrate recurring dates but this is a nice rounded number that serves as the perfect excuse for me to publish this letter of appreciation to our community.

          For me, it all started with a hardware vendor trying to cheap their desktop machine’s price by putting Linux on it. Initially, we didn’t have internet at home, so I spent a significant amount of time just exploring the OS and toggling every knob I could find in the UI. The first issues I encountered were missing translations. Googling for that lead me to discover the wonders of Free and Open Source Software. I could contribute that missing translation!

          Playing with computers wasn’t always my hobby. I had an offline childhood, despite being a 90’s kid. A career in anything computer-related was unthinkable given our economic reality at the time. My parents are low paid public servants, so I was inclined to find myself a job in the public sector too. I had strong feelings about teaching, just like my mom, but computers… well, they are addictive!

          When I was sixteen years old I made my first contributions to the Brazilian Portuguese translation team in GNOME. This was also when I started reading Planet GNOME. Your neckless floating heads were god-like figures to me. I couldn’t understand 90% of the topics discussed due to my limited English and technical skills at the time, but I basically just kept on reading everything. Really. IRC logs, mailing lists, blog aggregators, social media timelines… everything scrolled all the way to the bottom. This is indeed overwhelming, but it has helped me put everything together and ~kind of~ grasp what software development looked like.

    • Distributions

      • Zorin Grid will make managing large Linux rollouts simple

        Zorin OS is one of those Linux distributions that never ceases to amaze. It offers a user interface that can be configured to look and feel very much like other operating systems, and targets users new to Linux. Although it succeeds quite well with that target audience, the platform has a feature arriving sometime in Summer 2020 that is sure to turn admin heads.

        That feature is Zorin Grid.

        This new feature will enable businesses, schools, and other organizations to easily manage all of their computers from a single point of entry. With Zorin Grid you’ll be able to set up, manage, and secure an entire rollout of Zorin OS-powered computers.

      • Reviews

        • Netrunner Linux Still Goes Its Own Way at ‘Twenty’

          The Netrunner distro used to be a bleeding-edge choice among KDE options. With little that’s new and must-have, this release takes the edge off the bleeding.

          I wasn’t nudged away from my preferred competing KDE distro — the new Feren OS Plasma edition.

          While Netrunner 20.01 provides a fairly solid integration of classic KDE desktop performance, this release is a departure, in that it is not a step or two ahead of most other KDE-integrated Linux OSes. I

          Netrunner attracts two types of typical users. One fancies a more friendly desktop environment. The second wants the freedom to tweak more extensively than other desktop environments allow.

          Hardware requirements include a minimum CPU of 1.6 GHz Intel Atom N270 or greater and at least 1 GB of RAM with at least 10 GB hard drive space. Also, the computer should have Intel GMA 945 graphics card support with 128+ MB of video memory.

          Netrunner is a unique distro with its own spin on the K Plasma desktop environment. Seasoned Linux users who like to fiddle and tweak an OS into their own platform will love how this distro integrates the KDE Plasma desktop. Newcomers can be quite content using the out-of-the-box settings.

      • New Releases

        • KaOS 2020.02

          This means opting for a fully functional Plasma Desktop with a filemanager, texteditor and simple web-browser, but no further applications. So there won’t be a music player, image viewer, office suite and so on. You as a user can decide once the system is installed what to add when the minimal install was chosen.

          That brings us to the next new feature. To help with selecting what to add to your new install, the first run wizard Croeso has the option added to install packages from six commonly used groups. For example, one group will give a choice of four different web-browsers to add, so it is now very simple to add Chrome or Firefox. Since KaOS has never installed an email client by default, there naturally is now a group for that too.


          KaOS repositories no longer provide Qt 4. It is a good four years ago that development for Qt 4 stopped, late 2015 all support including security fixes ended. Any application that has not made the transition to Qt 5 in all this time can no longer be supported in KaOS. Either they actually are no longer maintained or their development is ignoring the implications of building on a possible insecure toolkit.

          Included is a KaOS specific tool to write ISO files to USB. Not only does IsoWriter write to USB it also gives the option to recover your USB stick after using it for an ISO, something that regular dd copy or the previously used Imagewriter were not able to do. New in this version is the ability to verify the integrity of the written USB flash drive in comparison to the downloaded ISO file. This can be done in Dolphin too, right-click the ISO file, select Actions then select Verify ISO Write

          Since LibreOffice 6.2, it is now possible to supply this as a pure Qt5/kf5 application. LibreOffice has thus replaced Calligra as the default Office Application for KaOS.

          KaOS’ creation Croeso (Welsh for welcome) for helping with configuring a new install is included. It will run on the newly installed system and offers to adjust some 15 commonly used settings, includes a custom Wallpaper selector, distribution info and the option to select packages to install from six different groups. It is written in QML and fits well with the Welcome application used in the Live system. The latter includes an Installation Guide.

        • KaOS 2020.02 Released: One Of The Best KDE Linux Distros For Desktop

          Being one of the best and non-derivative KDE focussed Linux distros, KaOS has launched the new version KaOS 2020.02 with major new features after a span of six years.

          KaOS is an open-source rolling distro built from scratch. It ships with Linux kernel and best-fit package manager, Pacman.

        • KaOS 2020.02 Released with KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS and Linux 5.5, New Features

          The development team behind KaOS, a KDE-focused, desktop-oriented independent GNU/Linux distribution, released today KaOS 2020.02 as February 2020’s live ISO snapshot with all the latest software updates and technologies, as well as new features.

          KaOS 2020.02 is here almost two months after January 2020’s snapshot and brings many of the recently released GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software, starting with the KDE Plasma 5.18 LTS desktop environment.

          In fact, KaOS 2020.02 includes all the latest KDE software, such as the Plasma 5.18.1 update, February 2020’s Applications update, and Frameworks 5.67.0, all compiled against the Qt 5.14.1 open-source and cross-platform application framework.

        • EndeavourOS: Refining the upcoming release

          Before our big net-installer release in December, we’ve informed you that our release cycle in 2020 would be bi-monthly instead of the previous monthly release.

          Development-wise, a lot has changed in the past two months. We are excited to announce that the help from our community members working actively to improve the ISO and our infrastructure has increased.

          There are some great projects going on that we’re developing in collaboration with the community such as GFX boot, to choose between an Nvidia, AMD or regular boot for the ISO, translations for our Welcome app and setting up our mirror. There’s also a “How to setup EndeavourOS on a home server”-manual in the making.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Screenshots Tour

          This is screenshots of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS which is due to be released on April 23, 2020.The Ubuntu 20.04 codename is “Focal Fossa”. This is LTS Release and Every LTS release is supported for 5 years on the desktop and server.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Moving to the new News [Ed: News outsourced to Microsoft then]

          In an effort to make contributing to openSUSE easier, openSUSE News has moved from being a WordPress application to a Jekyll static site developed directly on Github. Now you too can write an article, or a series of articles, by sending pull requests to the openSUSE/news-o-o repository.

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/09

          During this week we released 4 snapshots (0220, 0222, 0224 and 0226) – an average week from that perspective, yet there have been some interesting and well-awaited updates in these snapshots:

          zsh 5.8
          Mesa 19.3.4 & Mesa 20.0
          libcap 2.32
          GNOME 3.34.4
          KDE Plasma 5.18.1
          LLVM 6 has been removed from the repository
          ncurses 6.2
          Linux kernel 5.5.5
          Mozilla Firefox 73.0.1: it will now launch in Wayland mode inside a Wayland session
          MariaDB 10.4.12

        • Citrix Workspace on openSUSE Tumbleweed

          Some companies offer their employees to access their corporate computer work space remotely using a remote desktop connection. The company Citrix provides software for such a connection. To connect, the employees need the software Citrix Workspace on their terminal devices. The company provides on their download page also files for Linux including openSUSE. Unfortunately, their version 1912 from 12 December 2019 did not just work on my openSUSE Tumbleweed 64bit computer (and earlier versions I tried neither).

        • New IP addresses for build.opensuse.org

          People using this Open Build Service instance should normally not notice – but if you were crazy enough to add the old IP addresses to some firewall rules or configuration files, please make sure that you update your configuration accordingly.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat’s SPICE 0.14.3 Remote Display System Now Supports Microsoft Windows

          The Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environments (SPICE) is an important part of the Linux desktop virtualization stack and supported by the likes of KVM/QEMU, Xspice, and oVirt. With today’s SPICE 0.14.3 now comes support for supporting Microsoft Windows guests.

        • We’re headed for edge computing

          Every week seems to bring a new report on how edge computing is going to take over the world. But the question remains—will the edge computing phenomenon take over the world as predicted and, if so, how can businesses benefit from it?

          In this and future posts, we’ll demystify edge computing, examine its motivations, and explore best practices in creating scalable edge deployments and the role of open source at the edge. We’ll also look at 5G and its impact on the telco industry, remote office/branch office, IoT, and other use cases.

        • SAP and Red Hat collaborate to provide AI/ML on Data Hub
        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: OpenShift Multi-Cloud Object Gateway Deep Dive with Eran Tamir (Red Hat)

          In this briefing, Red Hat’s Eran Tamir gives a deep dive on OpenShift Multi-Cloud Object Gateway which is a new data federation service introduced in OpenShift Container Storage 4.2. The technology is based on the NooBaa project, which was acquired by Red Hat in November 2018, and open sourced recently. The Multi-Cloud Object Gateway has an object interface with an S3 compatible API. The service is deployed automatically as part of OpenShift Container Storage 4.2 and provides the same functionality regardless of its hosting environment. Simplicity, Single experience anywhere

        • Open way and open source: enabling transparency and accelerating the enterprise

          What’s “obvious” to one person is often not obvious at all to another. If your university math professor writes a bunch of equations on the blackboard and says, “the proof is trivial,” you’d probably drop the class for fear of failing. When you work on a project, sharing as much as possible, with few assumptions about what is “obvious,” you help others succeed. And when one person succeeds, the team succeeds.

          Almost every project starts with a Proof-of-Concept (PoC), usually followed by a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Everything starts very simply, but projects grow as the team finds value in the product or service and a need to scale out. As a project grows, the team needs to assign responsibility for different groups of people. This is the right way of growing, and the separation of responsibilities is 100% necessary. However, as groups start working on discrete functions, they can lose sight of the project vision as a whole. This misalignment, as with the executives in the parable, goes undetected because the teams aren’t transparent, instead diligently pursuing the idea they believe represents everyone’s vision.

          The solution to this is that each individual needs to be as proactive as possible when it comes to sharing their knowledge and work with the rest of the team. This can be done by sharing documentation, periodic presentations, and mentorship. Agile methods can definitely help, but no Agile or other software development lifecycle or business process can fix the siloed problem if people do not want to share. By realizing that helping others can help everyone, a successful team is born. Enabling transparency in an open way is critical to every project.

        • Fedora program update: 2020-09

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Community News: Who spread false accusations of harassment and abuse?

          In Debian, these words are being used to describe any uncomfortable questions about money. For example, if a volunteer asks about the secret $300,000 donation from Google, they are accused of harassing the leader.


          The rogue developers who misuse the words harassment and abuse in these situations are guilty of character assassination and they are also stealing from the experiences of people who really have been harassed and abused, including some Debian volunteers.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 “Debbie” Beta Version Released

          For the uninitiated, Linux Mint develops two Linux distros based on Ubuntu and Debian. Hence, Debian based LMDE 4 includes all new features of Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 19.3 such as boot-repair, language settings, new boot menus, and system reports.

        • Debian Edu on TV (NDR broadcast station, Germany)

          One of my Debian Edu customers has recently been on German television…

        • Freedb is closing its service

          Freedb, which is a free version of Cddb, and is used by the asunder cd-ripper (which I am the Debian maintainer of), is closing down it’s services March 31st.

        • Sparky news 2020/02

          The 2nd monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • migration to a new, bigger vps done; make sure to install a new public key of Sparky repository -> https://sparkylinux.org/migration-to-a-new-vps/
          • Sparky 5.10.1 of the stable line released
          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.5.7 & 5.6-rc3
          • added to our repos: Android Messages Desktop, MystiQ Video Converter
          • Nemomen keep translating Sparky Wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • Sparky 2020.02 and 2020.02.1 of the rolling line released
          • Sparky Special Editions 2020.02 GameOver, Multimedia & Rescue released

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Lomiri: Ubuntu for smartphones gets a new desktop environment (Unity8 rebranded)

          When Canonical abandoned its Ubuntu for smartphones project, an independent group of developers called called UBPorts picked up the pieces of open source code and carried on.

          Over the last few years, the UBPorts version of Ubuntu Touch has started to diverge from the OS Canonical left behind by adding support for new devices and features.

        • Remember Unity8 from Ubuntu? UBports is Renaming it to Lomiri

          Ever since Ubuntu abandoned the Unity project, UBports continued the maintenance and development of Unity. On February 27th 2020, UBports announced that they are giving Unity8 a new branding in the form of Lomiri.UBports announced that the Unity8 desktop environment would be renamed as Lomiri. They gave three reasons for this fairly drastic announcement.

          First, they want to avoid confusion with the Unity game engine. Quite a few people confused the two. UBports noted that they are frequently receiving questions regarding “how to import 3D models and meshes into our shell”. When you search “Unity” in your favorite search

        • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Driver Now Supports Linux Mint 19.3

          HPLIP 3.20.2 is out with support for new HP laser printers, including HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1201n, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1200nw, HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202nw, HP Neverstop Laser 1000n, HP Neverstop Laser 1001nw, HP Laser NS MFP 1005n, and HP Laser NS 1020n.

          Additionally, the new version supports several HP ScanJet scanners, including the HP ScanJet Pro 2000 s2, HP ScanJet Pro 3000 s4, HP ScanJet Pro N4000 snw1, HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow 5000 s5, and HP ScanJet Enterprise Flow N7000 snw1.

          But, what’s probably more important for Linux users is that the HP Linux Imaging and Printing 3.20.2 driver adds support for the Linux Mint 19.3 “Tricia” distribution. So if you’re running Linux Mint 19.3 and have a HP printer or scanner, you’ll have to install HPLIP 3.20.2 to make it work.

        • Mike Gabriel: Lomiri – Operating Environment for Everywhere

          I was honoured to witness the process of the long outstanding name change +/- in real time over the last couple of days / weeks. I was touched by the gentleness of the discussion and the weighing of pros and cons, this name and that name; also by the jokes being injected into the discussions.

          Dalton Durst, release manager on the UBports [2] team, explains in depth [1] about the reasoning and necessities behind the name change. Please (esp. if you feel sad or irritated by the name change), read the official announcement and detailled explanation. If you need time to adjust, Dalton’s explanations will help.

        • Xubuntu 20.04 community wallpaper contest

          We’re on our way to the 20.04 LTS release and it’s time for another community wallpaper contest!

        • Xubuntu 20.04 LTS Wallpaper Contest Is Now Open for Submissions

          The Xubuntu team announced today that it is organizing a wallpaper contest to celebrate the upcoming Xubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system release.

          With less than two months before the release of Xubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), the Xubuntu community interested in contributing beautiful artwork to the upcoming operating system release is invited to submit their artwork to the official wallpaper contest.

          The Xubuntu 20.04 LTS wallpaper content is aimed at the Xubuntu community, of course, but anyone who wishes to see its artwork displayed in front of hundreds of thousands of users who will install the Focal Fossa release after April 2020 are invited to contribute.

          However, there are a few rules to follow before diving in. First, you can only submit a total of five pieces of artwork, so make sure you submit only the best of the best and that their quality is top notch.

        • “Focal Fossa Wallpaper Shoots Laser From it’s Eyes” Said by Martin Wimpress

          Martin Wimpress, recently updated a status in his twitter account about Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. He says, “she’s called Felicity and shoots lasers from her eyes“. Here “she” referred to “Focal Fossa“. The latest Ubuntu 20.04 wallpaper has been revealed few hours before. The new wallpaper is awesome and got welcomed by the Ubuntu users all around the world.

        • Ubuntu Switches to a Snap’d Software Store for 20.04

          The upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 release will ship with a Snap version of Ubuntu Software app by default.

          But while Ubuntu’s default software management tool will become pre-seeded Snap app starting in 20.04 existing Snap builds of Calculator, Characters, and Logs will be reverted to their repo versions.

          As noted on Ubuntu Discourse, the ubuntu-desktop and ubuntu-minimal meta-packages now pull in the Ubuntu Software Snap app in place of the regular apt/repo version.

          To be clear: this is not a new app store. It is the same Ubuntu Software store as currently shipped, and is still based on GNOME Software. It just packaged as a Snap application.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox Preview for Android – Interesting

            After I’ve published my recent series of Firefox articles, mostly the review of versions 71 & 72, and the important essay on why you should be using it as your primary browser, I got a bunch of emails from readers suggesting I take Firefox Preview for a spin. This seems to be the next-gen edition of Firefox for Android, designed to be faster, lighter and more appealing, and hopefully endear a bunch of hearts to Mozilla’s effort.

            While I’m not too keen on anything touch, I still want to be able to have a hassle-free, stupidity-free browsing experience anywhere, including the mobile, so I set about testing Firefox Preview. As the test device, I used my Motorola Moto G6 phone, which ought to be fairly representative of the kind of results we should be seeing. Let us begin, then.

          • William Lachance: This week in Glean (special guest post): mozregression telemetry (part 1)

            As I mentioned last time I talked about mozregression, I have been thinking about adding some telemetry to the system to better understand the usage of this tool, to justify some part of Mozilla spending some cycles maintaining and improving it (assuming my intuition that this tool is heavily used is confirmed).

            Coincidentally, the Telemetry client team has been working on a new library for measuring these types of things in a principled way called Glean, which even has python bindings! Using this has the potential in saving a lot of work: not only does Glean provide a framework for submitting data, our backend systems are automatically set up to process data submitted via into Glean into BigQuery tables, which can then easily be queried using tools like sql.telemetry.mozilla.org.

            I thought it might be useful to go through some of what I’ve been exploring, in case others at Mozilla are interested in instrumenting their pet internal tools or projects. If this effort is successful, I’ll distill these notes into a tutorial in the Glean documentation.

          • Desktop Firefox in Your Pocket with the Librem 5

            The first part tells Firefox to use the Wayland display stack instead of X11, which has fullscreen support with keyboard input. Finally –no-remote is a workaround to a Firefox bug. which has already been fixed and will find its way into Debian, as well as the PureOS and the Librem 5 soon.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Collabora brings smooth editing to Android and iOS

          Today we are releasing Collabora Office for Android and iOS which will allow you to edit documents directly on your phone or tablet, guaranteeing your privacy and putting you in full control of your data and documents. This release fully integrates the iOS and Android apps into our Collabora Office product family. They are now a supported part of our business suite and come with every Collabora Office Enterprise subscription. Take a look: it’s a great app: feature rich, providing smooth editing, a polished user experience and lots of design goodness.

        • Call for Papers, Registration Opens for openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference

          Planning for the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference has begun and members of the open-source communities can now register for the conference. The Call for Papers is open and people can submit their talks until July 21.

        • Navigator imprevements by Jim Raykowski

          Jim Raikowski, one from LibreOffice’s developers, has made many very nice Navigator improvements for Writer and Calc.

      • FSF

        • Environmental activist Shannon Dosemagen joins FSF conference keynote lineup

          Shannon Dosemagen is the second confirmed keynote speaker for the LibrePlanet conference. Dosemagen is the co-founder and current executive director of Public Lab, a nonprofit organization creating local environmental science solutions following the free software philosophy, and winner of the FSF’s Award for Projects of Social Benefit. Shannon Dosemagen is an environmental health advocate and a community science champion, and is enthusiastic about free systems and technology that support the creation of a more just and equitable future. She is a previous Fellow at both the Harvard Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, and the Loyola University Environmental Communications Institute. During 2020, she will be a Fellow with the Shuttleworth Foundation, working on new concept.

          At LibrePlanet, Dosemagen will discuss her experience democratizing science to address environmental problem-solving. Her experiences and frustrations doing this work are very familiar to the free software community: “The work I do on the environment and health is being increasingly challenged by environmental deregulation and lack of cooperation. We’re also seeing heightened pressure to drastically alter how society functions in an effort to curb the climate crisis. This is a profound moment, and critical to address at an event aptly themed ‘Free the Future.’”

          “Shannon’s work is very important, and is a testament to the success of community collaboration,” says Zoë Kooyman, the FSF’s program manager. “Public Lab’s work towards free hardware solutions is a strong indicator of what the four freedoms can achieve, and how they can work towards a better future outside of software. Shannon is an experienced speaker and organizer, and we are proud to have her keynote at LibrePlanet.”

        • FSFE

          • Security scandal around WhatsApp shows the need for decentralised messengers and digital sovereignty

            The recent security scandal around WhatsApp and access to the content of private groups shows that there is an urgent need for action with regard to secure communication.
            Links to private chat groups in the proprietary WhatsApp messenger can be used to show the communication and private data of group members, even if you are not a member. The links could be found on various search engines. Even if they are removed from search results, links still work and give access to private group communication. Among these groups are also administrations like civil servants of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. This case shows again that digital sovereignty is crucial for states and administrations. The security breach was first reported by Deutsche Welle.

            In order to establish trustworthy and secure communication, governments need to strengthen interoperable Free Software solutions using Open Standards and enable decentralisation. This helps administrations as well as individuals to protect their privacy and empowers them to have control of the technology they use. The software is already in place and was used by most of the internet users before Google and Facebook joined the market: XMPP! This open protocol, also known as Jabber, has been developed by the Free Software community since 1999. Thanks to Open Standards it is possible to communicate with people who use a completely different client software and XMPP server. You are even able to communicate with other services like ICQ or AIM – some might remember. XMPP has also been used by tech enterprises like Facebook and Google for their chat systems, but both eventually switched to isolated proprietary solutions, so XMPP has been forgotten by many users.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU mailing lists censor United Nations report on Cybertorture and RMS

            A volunteer posted the following to gnu-misc-discuss. The message never appeared.

            Nils Melzer is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This is his web site at the United Nations.

            Melzer described the equivalence of cybertorture and psychological torture, such as the shaming of RMS, to the effects of physical torture. This is a serious issue for all organizations that shame their volunteers, such as the FSF and Debian.

          • GIMP 2.10.18 Released- Free and Open Source Image Editor

            GIMP 2.10.18 Released: Wilber from GIMP recently announced the release of GIMP 2.10.18 and added that GIMP 2.10.16 release is skipped because of a critical bug. The latest version of GIMP comes with a lot of highlighted featured and is the most advanced version ever. GIMP is a free, open-source, cross-platform image editor and the latest version of GIMP can be downloaded for GNU/Linux, Windows, macOS, and more.

          • GNU Health HMIS patchset 3.6.3 released with coronavirus COVID-19 coding information

            GNU Health 3.6.3 patchset has been released !

      • Programming/Development

        • Semantic versioning and containers

          How does that translates to containers?

          Imagine the following scenario: a developer deploys a containerized application that requires a Redi database. The developer deploys the latest version of the redis container (eg: redis:4.0.5), ensures his application works fine and then moves to do other things.

          After some weeks a security issue/bug is found inside of Redis and a new patched release takes place. Suddenly the deployed container is outdated. How can the developer be aware a new v4 release of Redis is available? Wouldn’t be even better to have some automated tool taking care of this upgrade?

          After some more weeks a new minor release of Redis is released (eg: 4.1.0). Is it safe to automatically update to a new minor release of Redis, is the developer application going to work as expected?

          Some container images have special tags like v4 or v4.1 and the developer could just leverage them to kinda pinpoint the redis container to a more delimited set of versions. However using these tags reduces reproducibility and debuggability.

        • Keeping your fast code fast

          One of the projects I completed before the end of the cycle is a memory allocation tracker for Sysprof. It’s basically a modern port of the Memprof code from 20 years ago, but tied into Sysprof and using fancier techniques to move data quickly between processes. It uses an LD_PRELOAD to override many of the weak memory symbols in glibc such as malloc() and free(). When those functions are reached, a stack trace is captured directly into a mmap()‘d ring buffer shared by Sysprof. We create a new one of these per-thread so that no locking is necessary between threads. Sysprof will mux all the data together for us.

          Below is a quick example running gtk4-widget-factory. We show similar callgraphs as we do when doing CPU profiling, but ordered by the amount of memory allocated. This simple tool and less than 20 minutes of effort found many allocations we could completely avoid across both GTK and Clutter.

        • Convert Float to Time in JavaScript (Hours and Minutes)

          How to Convert a given float number to hours and minutes. What is the JavaScript function we should use to convert float to time in JavaScript? Here, we share the easiest solution to convert a given number to time (hours and minutes).
          In this tutorial, you will see how to convert float numbers to time (hours and minutes) in JavaScript. There are a number of ways to convert float to time. However, we use the Math.floor() and Math.round() function from the Javascript Math object.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxvii) stackoverflow python report
          • Double-checked locking with Django ORM

            This post is about how we can implement this pattern in Django, using the ORM and database level locking features. The pattern applies if you are not using Django, or indeed any ORM, but I have only checked it for Django, and in fact only really verified it works as expected using PostgreSQL.

          • Implicit multiplication in Python – part 1

            What if we could do something half-way between what Python currently allow and what mathematicians would write by transforming something that is currently a SyntaxError into valid Python code?

          • Zope May Sprint

            Earl Zope has settled down for a good while in Python 3 wonderland. He made friends with the inhabitants and other immigrants. He enjoys his new live.

            The sunset of his original homelands took place as predicted by the beginning of January 2020. As Earl Zope was well prepared this was no longer a frightening date for him.

            But even living in Python 3 wonderland is not only joy and relaxing. The Python 3 wonderland changes in a more rapid speed than the Python 2 land ever had before: Each year a new policy has to be fulfilled (aka new Python version release). Additionally it is time to drop the last connections to the old Python 2 land to ease the transformation in Python 3 wonderland to make developers and consumers happy.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • PCI Express 6.0 Reaches Version 0.5 Ahead Of Finalization Next Year

        Following the PCI Express 6.0 announcement from last summer that called for 64 GT/s transfer rates, version 0.5 of the PCIe 6.0 specification is now out for evaluation.

        PCI Express 6.0 v0.5 is a “first draft” specification so that PCI-SIG members can review it and provide any feedback before delivering a complete draft in the months ahead and the v1.0 final draft in 2021.

  • Leftovers

    • Spies, Lies and Videotapes

      A while back, I noticed a brief reference in the N.Y. Times to a French spy thriller titled “The Bureau” that sounded intriguing. The Times reviewer described it as “a workplace drama with an arthouse aesthetic, set at an unusually exciting office: the D.G.S.E. (France’s equivalent of the C.I.A.).” It added that you might want to pass on it if you’re looking for James Bond-style chase scenes or can’t stand being confused.

    • The Beef with Kobe

      Great teams have great benches. So strong was the musical squad assembled for Kobe Bryant’s send-off at Los Angeles’s Staples Center on Monday, that even Hall of Famer Jennifer Lopez didn’t rate any playing time. All the megastar got was a couple of call-and-response notes in the massed sing-along to Beyoncé’s XO, claimed by that singer to be Bryant’s all-time favorite song. Beyoncé called the tune, not JayLo.

    • From turtles in the sky to mechanical buildings, a digital artist imagines cyberpunk Petersburg on Instagram

      Vadim Solovyov is a digital artist from St. Petersburg, and his aesthetic obsession is pseudorealism. On Instagram, Solovyov creates CGI images and videos depicting a cyberpunk version of his hometown. Each piece combines the familiar with the alien: pre-fabricated apartment buildings walk around the city on mechanical legs, futuristic flying trains extend over skyscrapers, and robot snowplows grapple with malfunctioning parts.

    • Help Us Save the Internet: EFF Seeks a Tech Projects Director

      There’s a very rare opportunity available right now for an engineering director to join EFF’s leadership team, and we’re asking our community to help us find the perfect candidate.

      We’re doing an open hire for our Technology Projects Director role. The role will lead a 16-person team that uses its creativity and skill to create a more secure, private, and censorship-resistant Internet. In addition, this director position joins our senior leadership team, helping EFF figure out what positions to take, what projects to invest resources in, and the strategic direction of the organization. That’s because EFF believes that technical expertise should be embedded at every level of our organizational decision-making.

    • Science

      • Science and the Turf Wars of Consciousness

        Who’s to say what consciousness is? Nobody knows. Only a few good wo/men seem to give a shit at any given moment. The poet T.S. Eliot famously noted that humankind cannot stand too much reality and that we are distracted from distraction by distraction. As Jack Nicholson once growled at us, like a Gitmo poster boy, tortured souls sandwiched between our knocking knees, “You can’t handle the truth.” And now with the glaring prospect of four more years of Trump ahead of us — violence guaranteed — understanding consciousness seems to be the last thing on most people’s minds. We long ago lost our sense of conscience; consciousness could not be far behind. And yet.

    • Education

      • Teachers Demonstrate How to Save America’s Public Services

        In the early morning of February 26, a chill hung in the air as a line of teachers and school support staffers clad in bright red union hats, jackets or some combination thereof stood on a busy street corner outside of Highland Park Middle School in St. Paul, Minnesota.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Forever-Chemicals Tap Water

        Throughout the history of Western Civilization there are times, but only on rare occasions, when people en masse feel compelled to run into the streets, similar to the storming of the Bastille 1789, screaming at the top of their lungs: “Stop the Madness!”

      • Water Conflicts Will Intensify. Can We Predict the Worst Problems Before Conditions Boil Over?
      • Whistleblower Accuses Trump of ‘Corrupt’ Effort to ‘Cover Up’ Possible Exposure of Federal Workers to Coronavirus

        “The utter ineptitude of this administration is infuriating. They are going to get people killed.”

      • Corona and Flu in Beijing: a Report From the Chinese Capital
      • We Want to Talk to People Working or Living on the Front Lines of Coronavirus. Help Us Report.

        ProPublica has put together a reporting team to investigate the government’s response to the new coronavirus, which is officially known as COVID-19.

        Are you a public health worker or front line medical provider? Do you work for or with a government agency that’s involved in the effort to protect the public? Have you or your family personally been affected? Show us what we should be covering, or serve as an expert to make sure we’re on track.

      • Mick Mulvaney Suggests Media Attention on Coronavirus Merely a Ploy to Tank Trump

        “As Mulvaney spews this disinformation for political reasons, he highlights the grave danger of politicizing the response to an emergency for the benefit of a corrupt president.”

      • Warren Accuses Trump of ‘Bungling Every Aspect of This Crisis’ as WHO Elevates Coronavirus Threat to Highest Level

        “This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready,” said a top World Health Organization official. “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready.”

      • A Message for Trump: Coronavirus Threat Is About Public Health—Not the Stock Market or Your Reelection

        The gangerous cynicism of the Trump administration’s response to the growing crisis.

      • “I Don’t Think That You are Telling Us the Truth”: House Democrats Grill Pompeo on Iran and Coronavirus

        “You can’t hide behind classification on this one because you can’t classify something that doesn’t exist.”

      • Pence Hates Science. Tasking Him With Coronavirus Response Could Cost Lives.

        The world has been watching the encroachment of the coronavirus closely ever since it emerged from Wuhan, China. Tens of thousands have been infected in 56 countries and counting, some of them lethally, and the virus appears to have a talent for evading even the most authoritarian quarantines. Supply lines out of China began to tremble, and then to quake, and then to break, until the global economy itself has begun to shake.

      • Cult-Like Ignorance is Death: Trump and the Coronavirus

        Trump’s lies, his disparagement of science and scientists, his claim that non-political civil servants are part of the deep state, his lack of credibility, his penchant for political opportunism over the needs of the nation, his pathological embrace of hyperbole, his delight in creating confusion, and his mistaking loyalty for public service puts the nation in grave danger in light of the growing pandemic. He has gutted the health services, slashed much needed revenue for public goods through tax giveaways to the ultra-rich, ousted, Tim Ziemer, one of the most trusted leaders in public health, and appointed a religious fanatic Mike Pence, to head the attack on the corona virus crisis. This is a politician who defunded Planned Parenthood, and once claimed that smoking does not kill people. Pence is not merely incompetent, given the policies he sanctioned during the opioid and HIV crisis while he was governor, he is also a walking testimony to the rise of religious fanaticism and fundamentalism and its move from the margins to the centers of power.

      • Virus Outbreak Has Earmarks of a Global Economic Crisis

        The coronavirus outbreak began to look more like a worldwide economic crisis Friday as anxiety about the disease emptied shops and amusement parks, canceled events, cut trade and travel and dragged already slumping financial markets even lower.

      • UC-Irvine update: Quackademic medicine continues its takeover

        I haven’t written about this particular atrocity against science and reason for over two years. Indeed, I had (mostly) forgotten about it. However, there was an update just this week that showed up in my Google Alerts for all things quackery. Also, Jan Bellamy took note as well, unfortunately before me. (I kid, I kid.) I’m referring to the University of California, Irvine (UC-Irvine). Regular readers might recall that, back in 2017, it was announced that Susan and Henry Samueli, a billionaire couple, were donating $200 million to UC-Irvine for the express purpose of…well, let me quote again UC-Irvine’s press release about the gift given that it’s been well over two years, the better to refresh your memory:

      • Michigan adopts new PFAS standards over industry, farmer objections

        It’s the first time in the state’s history it has set its own enforceable maximum contaminant levels that regulate chemicals in public water. Usually, that process is handled at the federal level. But the Environmental Protection Agency has been slow to move on setting a nationwide standard, and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer directed the state Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy last year to make state-level rules on an expedited timeline.

      • Billionaire Family Behind Opioid Crisis Turned to Bloomberg for PR Help
      • When the Billionaire Family Behind the Opioid Crisis Needed PR Help, They Turned to Mike Bloomberg
      • Mike Bloomberg’s Ties to Sackler Family Exposed

        Long celebrated as civic-minded philanthropists, the Sacklers were becoming pariahs. The billionaire family whose company created and pushed the addictive painkiller OxyContin had managed to escape connection with the opioid crisis for years, but now two magazine pieces were portraying them as pain profiteers. Museums that had sought their donations were being asked about giving the money back. Mortimer D.A. Sackler — son of a co-founder of the company, Purdue Pharma, and a member of its board — was openly furious.

        And so he turned to a person he knew and admired in the media industry. A person known as a devoted public health crusader, widely recognized for banning smoking in public places and pushing soda taxes around the country: Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg L.P.

        “I am meeting with Michael Bloomberg tomorrow morning at 10 am to seek his help and guidance on the current issues we are facing,” Sackler wrote to Purdue’s top executives in December 2017. “I plan to discuss the following with him: 1. Current narrative vs the truth. 2. What advice does he have on how best to deal with it? 3. Does he have a journalist that he would recommend who could get the FULL story out there”?

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Won’t Allow Movie Villains to Use iPhones
        • TurboTax’s Bid to Buy Free Tax Prep Competitor Might Violate Antitrust Law, Experts Say

          TurboTax, the long-standing dominant player in the tax preparation software market, has recently faced a nascent threat to its lucrative business: A company that specializes in pitching its users financial products has entered the fray with a completely free tax prep service.

          This week, TurboTax’s parent company, Intuit, unveiled a solution to this problem: spending $7.1 billion to buy the rapidly growing upstart, Credit Karma, before it could become a major competitor.

        • Nokia to Weigh Strategic Options as Profit Pressure Mounts [Ed: Microsoft killed Nokia]

          The December announcement that Nokia Chairman Risto Siilasmaa would step down stirred speculation about deeper changes at the company. The firm is in a fierce rivalry with Ericsson and China’s Huawei Technologies Co., as the three dominant players seek to benefit from phone carriers’ investments in next-generation mobile networks.

        • ‘Developers have lost hope Microsoft will do the right thing’… Redmond urged to make WinUI cross-platform

          Microsoft’s roadmap for developing Windows applications is opposed by some programmers who want to see a cross-platform solution, rather than just being Windows-only.

          Spanish developer José Nieto this week raised an issue on GitHub, stating that WinUI, which Microsoft is positioning as “the native UI platform for Windows 10,” should target not only Windows, but also Linux, Mac, iOS, Android and WebAssembly – this last so it would also run in a web browser.

          This would go against the normal pattern, where a native UI platform is able to take advantage of all the features of the operating system, fits in seamlessly with its look and feel, and is optimized for performance. Supporting cross-platform is a burden that requires compromises.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Debian (libimobiledevice, libusbmuxd, and pure-ftpd), Fedora (caddy, firejail, golang-github-gorilla-websocket, golang-vitess, hugo, mingw-libpng, php, and proftpd), openSUSE (chromium, enigmail, ipmitool, libsolv, libzypp, zypper, weechat, and yast2-rmt), Oracle (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Red Hat (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), Scientific Linux (java-1.7.0-openjdk and ppp), and SUSE (java-1_8_0-ibm, kernel, mariadb, mariadb-100, openssl, php5, python, rsyslog, and texlive-filesystem).

          • Keeper – A Robust, Security-Centric Password Manager [Ed: This 'article' from FOSSmint (not FOSS) is referral SPAM. Proprietary software promoted for a fee. This -- yes, this -- is what kills journalism.]

            We’ve covered several password managers over the years with popular names like RememBear, Buttercup, Pass, and Enpass, and I am happy about the positive feedback from readers over the years.

            Today, I would like to introduce you to a strong password generator and security-centric manager application and it goes by the convenient name of Keeper.

            Keeper is a top-rated freemium password manager designed to provide personal users, families, students, and businesses with a reliable application for generating strong passwords as well as storing them while ensuring protection from cyberthreats and password-related data breaches.

          • WireGuard – A Fast, Modern and Secure VPN Tunnel for Linux

            WireGuard is a modern, secure, cross-platform and general-purpose VPN implementation that uses state-of-the-art cryptography. It aims to be speedy, simpler, leaner and more functional than IPsec and it intends to be more performant than OpenVPN.

            It is designed for use in various circumstances and can be deployed on embedded interfaces, fully loaded backbone routers, and supercomputers alike; and runs on Linux, Windows, macOS, BSD, iOS, and Android operating systems.

            It presents an extremely basic yet powerful interface that aims to be simple, as easy to configure and deploy as SSH. Its key features include a simple network interface, crypto key routing, built-in roaming and container support.

            Note that at the time of writing, it is under heavy development: some of its parts are working toward a stable 1.0 release, while others are already there (working fine).

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

            • Modern Computers Might Stop Working on January 19, 2038

              Nearly every computer in the history of computers keep time using a 32-bit integer, counting forward from 00:00:00 UTC on the 1st of January 1970, referred to as the epoch. This instant of time was set as the standard for modern computing systems, but there’s a major problem. Seven seconds after 3:14 am UTC on the 19th of January 2038, the 32-bit integer storing this time data will run out of positions.

              The problem is similar to the Y2K issue where a 2-digit value could no longer be used to encode the years 2000 or later, but different in that this 32-bit bug is related to Unix-like systems and the Unix time format.

              These similarities to the Y2K bug have widely lead to the 2038 problem being known as the Unix Millennium Bug.


              Embedded systems like those in cars and appliances are designed to last the lifecycle of the device without a software update. Connected electronics can be quickly fixed with a software update when the time comes, but these embedded systems will likely wreak the most havoc in 2038 since most won’t be updated.

              One option is to change the data storage system of the 32-bit integer to an unsigned 32-bit integer. This would theoretically allow for date storage all the way to 2106, but any system that used a date prior to 1970 would run into issues accessing this data.

              If we increased the data storage to 64-bit, we would run into compatibility storage issues between older systems that only use 32-bit data storage.

              There’s no current universal solution to the problem and even the most widely accepted fixes still have bugs in certain usage areas. There is positive news at the end of this.

            • Leap Day: Facebook, Snapchat, Apple could offer a chance to go wild

              The Y2038 bug is predicted to hit older machines in around 18 years time, when the number of seconds becomes too long for some systems to handle. Leap seconds, used to keep the days synced up with the Earth’s rotation, have also caused havoc for airlines running on Unix time.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The RNC Stopped Paying a Data Firm After A Serious Breach. Then It Paid A Mysterious LLC With the Same Address.

              Last fall the Republican National Committee paid $900,000 for “data services” to a Delaware-registered limited liability corporation that had existed for only three weeks.

              The company receiving the money has no online presence and has not been used by other campaigns or committees. But there is one clue about the company, Howler Insights LLC, in paperwork the RNC filed with the Federal Election Commission. Howler’s Arlington, Virginia, address and suite number are the same as a conservative data firm whose work for the RNC was placed on hold nearly three years ago after a massive data breach.

            • FBI And DOJ Personnel Confirm Agents Frequently Fudge Facts When Seeking FISA Warrants

              The fallout from the FBI’s highly-questionable Carter Page investigation continues. The problems first came to light in an Inspector General’s report which found the FBI did a lot of creative writing to continue its surveillance of Page, even after information came to light indicating the former Trump adviser was not operating on behalf of a foreign power.

            • FCC To Dole Out Some Dainty Wrist Slaps For Wireless Carrier Location Data Scandals

              As you know by now, all four major wireless carriers have been selling access to user location data for the better part of the last decade to pretty much any nitwit with a nickel. Journalists subsequently exposed how nobody was really policing the use of this data, resulting in it being abused by law enforcement, people pretending to be law enforcement, and even stalkers. Worse perhaps, wireless carriers were even selling access to even more sensitive 911 emergency location data, something that’s very clearly prohibited.

            • Documents Show Clearview Is Selling Facial Recognition Tech To Retailers, Fitness Centers, And Human Rights Violators

              Clearview — the latest (and most troubling) entrant into the facial recognition tech sweepstakes — says it’s product is just for law enforcement. And law enforcement has seemingly welcomed the web-scraped facial recognition database with open arms. Clearview’s marketing documents claim the company works with over 900 law enforcement agencies in the United States and elsewhere in the world.

            • Domestic phone surveillance program from the Patriot Act may finally see the grave

              The Patriot Act was passed in the protectionist aftermath of 9/11, where the government decided to spy on its own citizens phone records under the guise of protecting against terrorism. When the Patriot Act was set to expire in 2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act which restored but barely modified several key surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act. Now that the USA Freedom Act is up for renewal, and data on just how ineffective the mass surveillance programs were in the first place, Congress may finally decide to end this heinous surveillance program. The USA Freedom Act is set to expire on the ides of March (March 15th), and there is currently a bill in the House to reauthorize it which is imaginatively titled: USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S., Taliban Set to Sign Afghanistan Peace Deal

        America’s longest war may finally be nearing an end.

      • A Difficult Peace

        Nearly a thousand of us were gathered in Chicago beneath the alarming edifice of Chicago’s “Trump Tower.” Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani had been brutally murdered the day before in Iraq, with several of his associates; and the welcome surprise of Iran’s relatively measured response was yet a few days off. A region-wide conflagration seemed just on the verge of engulfing perhaps millions of lives, and consuming, as well, much of the species’ remaining time and attention needed to face our direst threats: with the new war we could fear continued paralysis in the face of an unfolding climate collapse, a terrifying new Cold War (now with hypersonic missiles), and a global far-right resurgence driven by shocking inequality and violence.

      • It’s Time to Debate Pentagon Spending

        Despite hopes to the contrary, the Pentagon’s new, $740 billion-plus budget will waste scarce tax dollars while making America less safe. With the presidential primaries accelerating, it’s time for the candidates to address this urgent issue.

      • Analysis of the 2019 Bolivia Election: No Evidence of Irregular Trends or Fraud

        Disclosure: In December 2019, the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) contracted with the authors to see if the numerical and statistical results of CEPR’s November 2019 study could be independently verified. Any analysis and interpretation of findings in this report express the sole views of the authors, researchers at MIT Election Data and ScienceLab.

      • Immunity for Killings by Immigration Police

        The American immigration police state continues to grow more tyrannical with each passing day. The latest example involves the U.S. Supreme Court, which has just issued a ruling in a case that effectively gives the Border Patrol a license to kill Mexican citizens. And guess which two magic words the Court used to justify its decision: “national security,” the two buzz words that the federal judiciary has used to justify every single dark-side, sordid, unconstitutional power exercised by the U.S. national-security establishment, such as state-sponsored assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, kangaroo military tribunals, and other totalitarian-like powers.

      • Supreme Court Says It’s OK For Border Patrol Agents To Kill Mexican Citizens As Long As They Die In Mexico

        Border Patrol agents kill a lot of people, most of them citizens of another country. For years, agents have been able to open fire on people in moving vehicles and [checks Congressional report] people throwing rocks at them. New guidelines were handed down by the agency in 2014 following an outside investigation of the Border Patrol’s use of force. The investigation contained many recommendations that could have resulted in fewer killings, but the Border Patrol rejected the conclusions and the suggested fixes.

      • The Space Force Becomes a Weapons System, Arms Companies Profit

        As the world gets used to what the US military calls “Full Spectrum Dominance,” the complex uplinks/downlinks, spurious RADAR returns, cyber glitches, and misinterpretations of big data bring the world closer to its ends, especially as US systems–including possibly nuclear–are orbited or put into the loop of the new Space Force.

      • Turkish jets keep violating Greek airspace

        There were 4,627 such incidents last year – an all-time high – the Greek ministry told EUobserver on Wednesday. There were also 3,705 violations in 2018 and 3,317 in 2017, it said.

        Greece usually scrambles its own jets to escort Turkish ones out again.

        The incidents are not likely to lead to a military clash, but they contribute to bad will in the region.

      • Turkey will no longer stop Syrian migrant flow to Europe: Turkish official

        Turkey has decided to no longer stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land and sea, a senior Turkish official told Reuters on Thursday, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of refugees from Syria’s Idlib where nearly a million have been displaced.

      • Russia sends two armed frigates through Bosporus following deadly Syrian airstrike against Turkey and rising tensions

        The Russian naval frigates Admiral Makarov and Admiral Grigorovich departed from Sevastopol for the Mediterranean Sea on the morning of February 28. Both were carrying Kalibr-NK missile complexes. At around midday, the two ships passed through the Bosporus in Turkey, the Daily Sabah reported.

      • Turkey Mobilizes for War With Syria and Russia as Nearly 3 Dozen Turkish Troops Killed in Airstrike
      • Recruiting by radical Islamists still happening in Gothenburg’s poorer areas

        Swedish Radio spoke with several people in the suburb of Angered who say they have seen groups try to undermine the work of public authorities and replace their power with their own.

      • Church In Swedish “No-Go Zone” Set On Fire

        As we previously highlighted, another church in a migrant-heavy area of Sweden was bombed on two separate occasions, with police acknowledging there was “a motive against the church.”

      • Islamists in Nigeria are destroying Christian communities

        They recounted how the terrorists had captured them at their “checkpoint” within earshot of a state police outpost. One of the young women was sharp enough to keep her phone on and concealed. It allowed the local authorities to locate them. Yet government troops who came within visual distance of the girls chose not to rescue them.

        So, the women’s unbreakable pastor took the situation into his own hands. He began to communicate with the terrorists. The ransom demanded was a fortune for any individual in his modest town. So he sold virtually all his possessions, as did other church members, to pay the thousand dollars required to save their lives.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Assange forced into ‘glass box’ in extradition hearing in London

        Managing Editor at Shadowproof in London Kevin Gosztola says Julian Assange has been “sitting in a glass box all week” and has been “isolated” during his extradition hearing. The case in London has been pushed back until May 18, when it’s scheduled to resume for another three weeks. Managing Editor at Shadowproof in London Kevin Gosztola told Sky News the judge “refused to allow him out of the glass box in the back of the courtroom”. Mr Gosztola said his defence team believe Assange has “not being treated well when security guards are handling him” and “he’s afraid he’s been ears dropped upon”.

      • The only questions that should matter in the Assange extradition battle

        Even in my bleakest moments I’m glad I’m not Julian Assange. Seven years trapped inside the embassy opposite Harrods, with fake news in the air and police in the bushes. (Yes, I was there. I saw them). That alone would send me mad.

        Follow that with 10 months’ solitary in what former British diplomat Craig Murray calls Britain’s Lubyanka, the ultra-grim high-security Belmarsh Prison. There, Assange has been subject to such harassment, arbitrariness, strip searches and abuse that both the UN Special Rapporteur and a group of more than 60 British doctors were impelled to protest his “torture” and his fellow inmates petitioned for his release from solitary. And now a bizarre hearing-cum-trial-by-public-opinion ending in possible extradition, a potential 175-year penalty and likely death in a harsh foreign jail. Why? For telling the truth.


        The courtroom offers only 16 public seats. To get one, you must queue in the miserable cold and dark for two hours before court opens at eight. Murray – a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan (2002-2004) who was himself hounded as a whistleblower after revealing mass political imprisonment and torture there – has done just that, in order to deliver a blow-by-blow eyewitness account of the hearing.

        Assange, who has been strip-searched and repeatedly handcuffed like some violent criminal, is not expected to speak during the four-week hearing. He sits alone at the back, quarantined inside a bulletproof glass case that impedes his view and hearing of proceedings and prevents any communication with his legal team. His private documents are confiscated, including privileged communications with his lawyer.

        Murray’s accounts contains some astonishing observations. On day one, he says, the US prosecutor, James Lewis QC, explicitly addressed his opening remarks “not to the court but to the media”. This is unprecedented. In this address, says Murray, Lewis explicitly denied that the espionage charges against Assange also threatened mainstream media like The Guardian and The New York Times. Later under questioning from the magistrate, Murray says, Lewis changed his mind and admitted that yes, they would be affected, but this part of his remarks was not offered to the media (who might well find such assertions alarming).

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Does This Economy Work for Black Americans?

        It could be easy to miss with the headlines focused on other things, but this February — like every February — was Black History Month. Though it’s a time to celebrate the achievements of black Americans, it’s also a time to look at the challenges facing the community.

      • A State Senator Had Thousands of Dollars in Ticket Debt. Now She’s Fighting to Make Sure Others Won’t.

        If you’re reading this, you probably know I’ve reported extensively on Chicago’s system of ticketing and debt collection, how it’s disproportionately hurt black drivers and prompted tens of thousands of bankruptcies. The reporting, which eventually became a collaboration with our friends at WBEZ Chicago, has led to significant reforms, including some debt relief from the city, more affordable payment plans and a state law ending license suspensions over unpaid parking tickets.

        Well, here’s another potential reform to add to the list: A few weeks ago, Illinois state Sen. Celina Villanueva, a Chicago Democrat, introduced legislation to end driver’s license suspensions for unpaid red-light and speed camera tickets. Five unpaid camera tickets can trigger a suspension. (Note that this really isn’t a road safety issue as you can get 100 camera tickets but not risk losing your driving privileges if you can afford to pay them.) State officials told me this week that more than 13,000 drivers currently have their licenses suspended because of unpaid camera tickets.

      • The UN, Homeostasis and China

        Vacuums do not last long in nature. In biology, homeostasis represents the body’s attempt to reach equilibrium. In a void, elements will flow towards spaces of less density until an equilibrium is reached. In political systems, the same phenomenon may hold true.

      • Struggling for Shelter: Resistance to California’s Housing Crisis Grows

        In an age of worsening income and wealth inequality, a supply of affordable shelter for workers and their families is low while demand for it is high, the conditions for price-gouging. Just ask Dominique Walker, 34, of Moms 4 Housing, one of the unhoused women who occupied a vacant home in West Oakland that Wedgewood Property Management, a real estate investment company, owned.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Levada Center: 25 percent of Russians favor constitutional changes; 65 percent don’t understand them

        A new survey conducted by the independent Levada Center and published by Open Media indicates that one quarter (25 percent) of Russians are willing to vote for the major constitutional changes proposed by President Vladimir Putin in January. Another 37 percent of respondents said they would participate in the nationwide vote on the measures but were not yet sure whether they would vote in favor.

      • ‘Good News for Democracy’: Wisconsin Appeals Court Rejects Voter Purge Targeting More Than 200,000 People

        “A win over voter suppression is a win for the people of Wisconsin.”

      • Breakthroughs Against the Rightwing Menace in Germany

        In Germany, much as in the USA, political poles are getting more sharply defined than ever. Will the results be good or bad?

      • Boris Johnson, Not Donald Trump, is the Real Blue-Collar Conservative

        Call him an upper-class Etonian twit if you like, but the reality is that Boris Johnson, not Donald Trump, might be the 21st century’s first genuine blue-collar conservative. Since becoming prime minister, Johnson has represented a profound break from the prevailing market fundamentalist ideology of the past 40 years in terms of both his rhetoric and, more importantly, his actions. His policies evoke a 1970s-style economic corporatism (much derided by Margaret Thatcher) or, in more historic terms, a reversion to a kinder, gentler form of “one nation conservatism.” In the words of UK-born, U.S.-residing pundit Andrew Sullivan, the core of Johnson’s ideology is an appeal to “the working poor and aspiring middle classes, [by being] tough on immigration and crime, but much more generous in spending on hospitals and schools and science.”

      • ‘An Astonishing Rate of Corruption’: Trump Has Amassed 3,000 Conflicts of Interest Since Taking Office

        Government watchdog CREW revealed that the president racks up the equivalent of two conflicts of interest per day.

      • Dispelling the Darkness

        It was always easier to pitch politics low and to the gut, but the cyberspace platforms have made it easier in a way that the writers of the Federalist Papers couldn’t possibly imagine. The unfettered nature of cyberspace almost makes it impossible to distinguish lies and bullshit, aptly distinguished by philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt, from true representations.

      • Dark Money Posing as Women’s Groups May Have Played Key Role in Electing Trump

        Independent Women’s Voice (IWV) and its sister organization Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) may have played a “pivotal role” in electing Donald Trump through a sophisticated electioneering effort in Wisconsin, a report from Truth North Research (TNR) reveals.

      • Corporate Media Aren’t Observers of the Electoral Process. They’re Participants.

        Janine Jackson: From debates that encouraged sparring over substance, to evidence-free declarations about electability or momentum, to the insistence — bordering on gaslighting — of the fringiness of ideas that in fact enjoy broad support, corporate media’s election coverage would be disappointing at any time. With all that’s at stake in 2020, it’s a letdown we can ill afford — and a reason, of course, to support independent journalism. Joining us now for a look at the state of reporting on the election is Jim Naureckas. He’s editor of FAIR.org and our newsletter Extra!. He’s right here in studio. Welcome back to “CounterSpin,” Jim Naureckas.

      • How Netflix And “Manning Marable” Killed Malcolm X (The Third Time)

        At the outset, it is impossible to deny the vital role that the volume A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marrable’s Malcolm X (2012, Black Classics Press), edited by Drs. Jared Ball and Todd Steven Burroughs, played in the formation of this article.

      • As Primaries Heat Up, Centrist Candidates Forget Their Campaign Finance Pledges

        At this time last year, newly declared Democratic primary candidates were racing to outdo each other with escalating promises to shun big money support. Contenders vowed not to take corporate PAC money, to reject lobbyists’ dollars, to discourage super PACs, and to tell fossil fuel executives, “no, thank you.” Now, however, many seem to be in a wholly different sort of race: to put the most distance between themselves and their prior principled stands.

      • Class War, the DNC, and the Fight for Our Lives

        The ruling class needs to know that we’re coming for them. And this fight doesn’t stop at the ballot box. Our futures depend on it.

      • ‘Want Putin gone? Vote for the Constitution!’ How Kremlin talking points on Putin’s constitutional changes are reportedly targeting Russians across the political spectrum

        The Dossier Center, an investigative journalism project by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, has reportedly discovered a guide prepared by the Putin administration for local agitators and media sources to use when discussing the Russian president’s proposed constitutional changes. MBK Media, which is also associated with Khodorkovsky, published excerpts from the talking points. Other sources have not yet verified the authenticity of the document.

      • If Bernie Sanders Is Unelectable, Then What The Hell Are The Rest Of You?

        The New York Times complained in a recent column that Bernie Sanders has not expanded the democratic party in the primaries so far. Apparently the paper wanted him to reach more voters, likely only of the Republican variety. They blasted him as a hypocrite. The press is increasingly hysterical and ridiculous. Ever since the Sanders campaign gained serious momentum, the mainstream liberal press has gotten just as comical as Fox News and the tabloids. It is now clearer than ever that these publications are just here to entertain, never to inform.

      • Bernie Sanders and the Socialism Question

        Wherever Bernie Sanders’ campaign goes from here, the left critique of establishment politics is getting empirical backing through popular support for his candidacy. The establishment’s response— incredulity that the little people have the temerity to question their betters, is combined with a posture of victimhood, that blameless elites are being demonized by neo-collectivist malcontents who are too stupid to appreciate the blessing that four decades of neoliberalism has bestowed on them.

      • Election 2020: Those Meddling Kids …

        According to selected members of the “US intelligence community” (“selected” for their loyalty to, and willingness to promote the line of, the Democratic Party establishment) Vladimir Putin and the Russian government just love them some Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Can’t get enough of ’em. If November is a Trump/Sanders shoot-out, the Kremlin wins either way.

      • The Ruling Class Will Stop at Nothing

        Since Bernie Sanders’ win in the Nevada primaries there have been remarkable, yet totally expected spasms within the American ruling class. They are justifiably fearful since they have enjoyed decades of unfettered capitalism in the form of neoliberal economics that have lined their coffers. And they see Sanders as the biggest threat to that amassed wealth. Now, to be clear, the senator from Vermont is not a socialist by any stretch. He has consistently voted in favor of military actions and for sanctions against nations like Nicaragua and Venezuela, and for budgets which increase American imperialism among other things. Things which are antithetical to the basic tenets of socialism. And he defines himself as a democratic socialist more in line with the policies of countries like Norway or Sweden. Besides Eugene V. Debs, Sanders ideologies are the closest to socialism any presidential candidate has ever come in the US, at least from either dominant political party.

      • It’s Not Bernie But the So-Called “Moderates” That the Democratic Establishment Should Be Freaking Out About

        The best way for Democrats to defeat Trump’s fake anti-establishment populism is with the real thing, coupled with an agenda of systemic reform. This is what Bernie Sanders offers.

      • Socialism Without Anti-Imperialism: A Different Flavor of Tyranny

        Well dearest motherfuckers, socialism is back and it only took about a century, or at least so it appears. Nearly half the country has polled as being down with Debs. In spite of the worst efforts of his party’s trenchant neoliberal leadership, Bernie Sanders, who splays his socialist ID loud and proud, is now the undeniable frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic Primaries and even his moderate competition are aping his modus operandi. For the first time in ever, formerly far left positions like single-payer and free tuition have become so mainstream that they’re downright boring. Even beyond America’s official “left-wing” party, the socialist renaissance is in full bloom. At over 50,000 members, the once flimsy Democratic Socialists of America is now the largest American socialist organization since the height of the Labor Movement. More young people self-identify as proud socialists than ever before. So why the fuck am I so bummed?

      • ‘Uncharted Waters’: DC Lobbyists Panic Over Possibility of Sanders Win

        “Senator Sanders is breaking the mold in presidential politics with every gain he makes in the primary process.”

      • Sanders Viewed as Best Candidate to Beat Trump by Democrats and Independents Who Watched Latest Debates: Poll

        “Most of the available empirical evidence show[s] Mr. Sanders defeating President Trump in the national popular vote and in the critical Midwestern states that tipped the Electoral College in 2016.”

      • ‘Russians in America’: Russian immigrants and visitors in the U.S. discuss the 2020 Democratic primaries

        The Democratic Party’s primaries are underway in the United States, where the country’s increasingly left-leaning political party is flirting with democratic socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as its nominee. Additionally, recent reports citing U.S. national intelligence that Russian operatives are again trying to interfere in the American presidential election have revived the media’s interest in “RussiaGate” discourse that finally faded only last year with the release of the Mueller Report.

      • No Thinking Please, We’re Red-Baiting

        The red-baiting of Bernie Sanders is in full swing. From Democrats. Yes, the silly season is upon us as Senator Sanders was roundly condemned because he believes literacy campaigns are good things.

      • Robert Reich: Bernie Sanders Is Not George McGovern
      • DC Lobbyists Panic Over Possibility of Sanders Win

        Federal government lobbyists told The Hill Friday that they are increasingly concerned that a Bernie Sanders presidency could be “uncharted waters” for their clients given the Vermont senator’s history of antipathy toward big business and the role of corporate power in U.S. politics.

      • Bernie Sanders Was Right About the Cuban Literacy Campaign

        The corporate media have long been looking for ways to discredit Bernie Sanders, and they settled on a surprising statement he made in the 1980s during his tenure as mayor of Burlington when he said, “We have a lot to learn from Cuba.”

      • California Poll Shows Sanders With Double the Support of Closest Rival Just Days Ahead of Super Tuesday

        “If this latest poll holds, Sanders would win over 10% of the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination.”

      • The So-Called Party of the People: From Nevada to South Carolina

        My thesis on the Democratic Party’s corporate-imperialist establishment had been consistent for years: it would rather lose to the right-wing party, even to an increasingly apocalyptic and fascistic right, than to the progressive, moderately social-democratic and environmentalist left wing of its own party. That was the basic story of 2016 – a tragedy the bourgeois Democratic Party leadership is trying to re-enact in 2020.

      • Carolina and Super Tuesday on My Mind

        The fifth of a periodic series on the early primaries and caucuses, this was written before the vote in South Carolina.

      • A Real Super Tuesday Calls for a Strong Progressive Media

        Progressive outlets have become more important than ever if we want to thwart the Democratic Party establishment and its aligned media outlets.

      • VoteVets for Buttigieg:  Who’s Really Keeping Us in the Dark About Campaign Funding?

        In a Democratic primary field that once featured four military veterans, only two are still marching toward the White House.

      • Pete Buttigieg: The Energizer Bunny of Hegemony

        Pete Buttigieg’s father, Joseph Anthony Buttigieg II, who died in early 2019, was a prominent scholar of the works of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist who opposed Mussolini’s fascist regime. In 1926, the prosecutor at Gramsci’s trial declared, “For twenty years, we must stop this brain from functioning.” Yet Gramsci continued thinking and writing in prison, and Joseph Buttigieg cotranslated and coedited the three-volume English edition of Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks.

      • How Democracy Ends

        In this fast-paced century, rife with technological innovation, we’ve grown accustomed to the impermanence of things. Whatever is here now will likely someday vanish, possibly sooner than we imagine. Movies and music that once played on our VCRs and stereos have given way to infinite choices in the cloud. Cash currency is fast becoming a thing of the past. Cars will soon enough be self-driving. Stores where you could touch and feel your purchases now lie empty as online shopping sucks up our retail attention.

      • Bloomberg Wants to Woo Black Voters, But We Remember His Reign of Terror

        The Democratic primary race for president has taken an interesting and disturbing turn as we approach the South Carolina primary and Super Tuesday. It’s nothing new to say that money runs politics. Still, we have now reached a new level where self-funded billionaires are distorting what’s left of a faulty U.S. democratic system. A process that historically and currently deters full participation in the electoral process for people of color, women, the poor and the working class is now also directly and primarily funded by the richest individuals in the land — candidates who can use their unrestricted funds to further their unaccountability to the general voting populace and to rework their image as needed.

      • ‘The Democratic Party Has a Problem’: Bloomberg Hires Super Tuesday State Democratic Vice Chairs

        “It boggles my mind that this doesn’t seem to break any rules.”

      • Progressive Groups Launch #NeverBloomberg Campaign, Demanding Top Democrats Oppose Former New York Mayor’s Run

        The Working Families Party and the Center for Popular Democracy are among the groups intending to march on Bloomberg’s New York townhouse on Saturday.

      • Bloomberg’s Billionaire BS

        We’ve all seen them. They are on television, on Instagram and every other social media platform. Like the flu virus, they have infected almost every facet of the public square. As the date for the Super Tuesday nears, their numbers seem like they will overwhelm the airwaves. Every day, another infected person acknowledges that they are leaning towards voting for Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire whose love of money seems to be superseded only by his desire for power. His viral advertisements are infecting people’s ability to think and further destroying the joke of an electoral system so many US voters hold onto despite its acknowledged crookedness; despite the fact of its being rigged against most of us. Did Obama (who sold out to that establishment many moons ago) actually give his permission for Mike (as he calls himself now) to use his image and words in those television ads? At this point it doesn’t matter. They’ve been seen by millions and paid for with Bloomberg’s billions.

      • Bloomberg: What Is He Good For?

        After winning big in Nevada and withstanding the efforts of Democratic “moderates” to throw him off track at last Tuesday’s South Carolina “debate,” Bernie Sanders is now enjoying what George H.W. Bush called “the big Mo.” He has the wind at his back.

      • Roaming Charges: Knives Out

        + In response to criticism from Democratic Party centrists that Sanders didn’t do enough to help Hillary in 2016, the Sandernistas are touting the fact that Sanders did 3 times as many campaign events for Hillary as Hillary did for Obama in 2008. I guess that’s one way to look at it. The other is: why the hell was Bernie campaigning for Hillary, the walking distillation of every neoliberal policy he purports to loathe, at all?

      • Bernie Sanders Is the Unity Candidate

        Despite the desperate smears from center-right opponents claiming he is “divisive,” the reality is that Bernie Sanders’ policies are all about unity: common needs, mutual care, and a shared future.

      • ‘Sanders Rose to the Top’: Jackson, Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba Endorses Bernie After Citywide People’s Caucus

        “Sen. Sanders has demonstrated consistency in his support of policies that align with the goals, concerns, and principles of our communities.”

      • Media Stoop to ‘Russian Assistance’ to Explain Sanders’ Rise

        For over three years, Russia has been an issue of great concern, if not panic, in our media. Back in 2018, FAIR (7/27/18) warned that if Bernie Sanders or another progressive movement picked up steam, corporate media would claim that “any challenge to the establishment is likely a Kremlin-funded astroturf effort.” For establishment Democrats, we wrote:

      • Carol Anderson on Voter Suppression
      • DNC tells campaigns to be wary of contact from fake Sanders team account

        The chief security officer for the DNC, Bob Lord, said in an email obtained by CyberScoop that adversaries could use the fake personas to set up phone calls or meetings with presidential campaign staffers.

        “They may impersonate people in the hopes that you will download suspicious files, or click on a link to a phishing site. Sometimes they seek to set up a call or an in-person meeting with the intent to record and publish the interaction,” Lord wrote Wednesday.

        It wasn’t clear if the actor or actors behind the impersonation successfully interacted with staffers at the campaigns they contacted.

      • France dissolves group run by rapper for defending terrorism

        A statement from the Interior Ministry said the association called “Killuminateam — soldiers on the path of Allah” spread its message under the cover of helping the needy.

        Its “main activity was organizing actions in public to make calls to hate and violence,” the ministry statement said. It added that the association used the internet and videos laden with content reflecting “a conspiratorial, anti-Semitic (and), anti-Christian nature” and “defending terrorism.” Macron ordered via a decree that the association be dissolved.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Steven Biss Loses Another Wacky SLAPP Suit; Judge Scolds, But Does Not Sanction, Him

        Steven Biss has lost again. A week after losing one of his many, many lawsuits representing Congressman Devin Nunes, and also facing possible sanctions in another case, a judge has dismissed yet another one of his SLAPP suits. Once again, as is often the case with Biss, the lawsuit was nonsense, included aspects that were much more performative than legally sound, and was somehow tied to various conspiracy theories and right wing wackiness. As we highlighted last week, it’s noteworthy how many of Biss’s clients seem to have connections to one another, and this case is no different.

      • Watchdog Group Asks Congressional Ethics Office To Investigate How Devin Nunes Is Paying For His Many SLAPP Suits

        A bunch of folks keep asking just how Devin Nunes is paying for all of his various lawsuits against news organizations, journalists, political operatives, critics, and, most famously, a satirical internet cow. And now, a watchdog group, the Campaign Legal Center, has sent quite a letter, asking the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether Nunes is violating any ethics rules in how these cases are financed.

      • 8chan Founder, Who Has Denounced The Site, Now Facing ‘Criminal Cyberlibel’ Charges From Current Owner

        Fredrick “Hotwheels” Brennan founded 8chan in 2013 after he and a group of other fairly naive souls felt that 4chan (yes, 4chan) had become too unfriendly to “free speech” because it had started to block some harassment and abuse on the site. It’s always amazing to me the people who insist that internet platforms should allow all speech, without recognizing that what they are asking for is inevitably a cesspool of garbage. Brennan eventually realized as much, relinquished control over the site to Jim Watkins, and even called for the site to be shut down and criticized Watkins. Back in November, Watkins responded by filing a criminal “cyberlibel complaint” in the Philippines. The latest news, from the Filipino site Rappler, is that warrant has been issued for Brennan’s arrest.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The U.S. Military’s #MeToo Reckoning That Wasn’t

        “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.” Everyone who enters the gate at West Point Military Academy must memorize and recite these words on their first day. Failure to follow that protocol, including the “nontoleration clause,” can mean expulsion. Even insufficient adherence to the spirit of said value system can earn one pariah status at the academy. Those who graduate after four years of academics, military training and “character-building” are expected to live by and imbue in their fellow soldiers the seven Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. In most official documents, these terms are literally capitalized.

      • Stop Calling Harmful Bigotry “Religious Freedom”

        The Supreme Court is considering a case, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, that once again pits LGBTQ rights against so-called religious liberty. In this case, one of the plaintiffs, Catholic Social Services, is arguing that it has the right to discriminate against same sex couples when placing children in foster care.

      • Reflections on “Black Excellence”

        Black History Month came and went with little celebration due to coverage of the impeachment trial and 2020 presidential primaries.

      • Police Torture in Chicago

        The Chicago police department has a problem. They say it’s fixed, but local African American residents can’t be blamed for being skeptical. The problem is torture. And of course the Chicago PD is not one bad apple in the nation’s police departments, because when it comes to police brutality, the whole barrel is rotten. Chicago is just an extreme case.

      • Julian Bond Was a Radical Long Before MLK

        Though not a household name like his peers Martin Luther King Jr. or John Lewis, Julian Bond was a legendary civil rights leader who co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year, and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). These two organizations have played crucial roles in black history, as Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer notes in the latest installment of his podcast, “Scheer Intelligence.”

      • Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

        Every white American should—but won’t—read Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism.

      • Children Are Freezing to Death in Syria as Humanitarian Crisis Intensifies

        In Syria, 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by Russia-backed Syrian forces in rebel-held Idlib in a major escalation on Thursday. Turkey has vowed to respond in kind, as U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres calls for an immediate ceasefire, saying “the risk of even greater escalation grows by the hour.” Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly spoke by phone on Friday to discuss the crisis, as NATO urged rapid deescalation. The all-out offensive by the Syrian government is the single largest displacement in a nine-year war that has forced 13 million to flee and left hundreds of thousands dead. Since December alone, some 900,000 people, at least half of them children, have been displaced from northwestern Syria. As the humanitarian catastrophe deepens, aid workers are describing scenes of chaos and devastation on the ground, with families scrambling for shelter as temperatures fall below freezing. We speak with Avril Benoît, the executive director of MSF USA, or Doctors Without Borders USA.

      • Thousands Are Taking the Streets to Protest Suspension of Dominican Elections

        Thousands in the Dominican Republic took to the streets of the capital Santo Domingo Thursday to protest the abrupt suspension of local elections earlier this month and to commemorate the country’s Independence Day. Protests have been ongoing since February 16, after the government suspended the municipal elections four hours after voting began, alleging there were “technical glitches” in the electronic ballot machines used. The machines were previously used in October 2019, and they cost the Dominican government $19 million. The Dominican people believe the alleged technical glitch is just an attempt by the ruling party, the Dominican Liberation Party, to hold onto power as they’ve lost support. Protesters are now demanding an independent investigation into what happened in the local elections, as well as for the resignation of Dominican election board officials. Dozens of solidarity protests have emerged around the world, from Spain and France to New Jersey and here in New York City. We get an update from Amanda Alcántara, Dominican-American journalist and digital media editor at Latino USA.

      • Court Puts Breaks on Move to Make Asylum Seekers Wait in Mexico

        Dealing a significant blow to a signature Trump administration immigration policy, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that the government can no longer make asylum-seekers wait in Mexico while their cases wind through U.S. immigration courts.

      • Trump’s New “Public Charge” Is a Radical and Grotesque Attack on Immigrant Communities and US Democracy

        While Trump wages this political power grab, the regulation going into effect this week will devastate countless families, deterring immigrants and citizens from seeking critical services—even though their tax dollars support these very programs.

      • Witnessing the Hell a Migrant Can Face

        At Obock, Djibouti, 2,000 migrants gather each day along the waters of the Gulf of Aden; they look for boats to get them to Yemen. Over the past two years, more migrants from Africa have used the “Eastern Route” rather than go across the Mediterranean Sea; according to the UN’s migration agency—International Organization for Migration—this Eastern Route is now the “busiest maritime migration path on earth.” Roughly 11,500 people got on boats at places like Obock and Bosasso, Somalia, to go into Yemen, and then overland to Saudi Arabia, where they hope to get employment.

      • The Modi/Trump Anti-Muslim Alliance

        If he was envious it didn’t show.  Envy would have been unseemly given the joyfulness of the occasion.  It happened when the trump took advantage of a 36-hour gap in his busy White House schedule to hurry off to India to celebrate his presidency in the presence of, the trump had said before leaving, 10 million Indians at the world’s largest cricket stadium.  (According to reporters present at the event, it turned out nine million of the attendees the trump said would be in attendance were otherwise occupied, so they had to miss the event.  The remaining million loved it, although many of them left before the trump had finished bloviating.)

      • Who Will Douse Delhi’s Flames?

        The dead are not spared. A part of Delhi, the national capital of India, has been reduced to ashes. They’ve desecrated a cemetery, mangled vehicles, broken homes, injured people, killed people – 39, as I write this. North East Delhi is a lower middle-class area, the residents are mostly small shopkeepers and labourers.

      • Trump Visits Modi and Delhi Erupts in Anti-Muslim Riots

        The photo of the U.S. President and the First Lady standing in front of the iconic Taj Mahal is as expected of a visit to India. It is also emblematic of Muslim rule from the late 12th century until the 18th when the Mughal Empire disintegrated, eventually enabling the British to cobble together the pieces.

      • 69 killed in 79 days since Parliament passed Citizenship Amendment Act

        The CAA has the provision to grant citizenship to undocumented members of six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi — who entered India before December 31, 2014. Though the Act does not mention “persecuted minorities,” the term was included in the statement of objects when the Bill was introduced in the Parliament.

      • Greece’s Migrant Crisis: “A Powder Keg Ready to Explode”

        “Welcome in Greece are only those we choose. Those who are not welcome will be returned. We will permanently shut the door to illegal human traffickers, to those who want to enter even though they are not entitled to asylum.” — Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

        Greek officials have said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally controls the migration flows to Greece and turns them on and off to extract more money and other political concessions from the European Union.

      • Lessons from London: You can’t fix jihad

        Unlike other categories of criminals, determined devotees of offensive jihad cannot be dissuaded to end the fight. Rather, that determination can only come from within, as demonstrated by Walid Shoebat, Jesse Morton and other former jihadis testifying about their abandonment of the ideology. In criminological jargon, “pull factors,” such as financial incentives, amnesty and employment opportunities, are far less likely to influence jihadis than “push factors,” such as disillusionment and loss of faith in an ideology. Shoebat describes the “self-detoxification program” he undertook after trying unsuccessfully to convince his wife of the inherent evil of Judaism. The problem is that no one has figured out how to engineer the right “push factor” to compel a jihadi to begin a “self-detoxification.”

    • Monopolies

      • Taxi Drivers Stage New Protest Against Uber in Amsterdam

        The Parool also spoke to a driver that also accused Uber of slaving wages, as he only managed to pull in five euros per hour. He said he had to continue working with the platform because he used the service as a means to lease the vehicle.

      • Cannabis companies reveal trade secret conundrums

        In-house and private practice sources say the need to protect confidential information can clash with state public record laws and a history of freely sharing information in the industry

        Cannabis companies in the US need to stay abreast of regulatory developments when taking advantage of trade secret laws, especially while the industry is still in its infancy, say lawyers.

      • Book review: Cambridge Handbook of Technical Standardization Law, Further Intersections of Public and Private Law

        This book review is kindly provided by Vicente Zafrilla Díaz-Marta, who is a PhD Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in the framework of EIPIN Innovation Society program funded by the European Commission (H2020- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action) and member of the Spanish IP blog lvcentinvs.es. Here’s the review:


        Part III focuses in the frequently oversighted interaction between “Copyright and Standards” Pamela Samuelson and Kathryn Hashimoto analyse in Chapter 5 the protectability of standards – understood as systems – by means of copyright – from a US perspective. The authors argue that codes and “other systematic organizations of information” are not eligible for copyright protection if “dictated by rules or functionality”. In addition, they understand that both the scenes a faire and merger doctrines can render the standards unprotectable. Finally, the chapter focuses on the need of ensuring access to standards which are adopted as laws and on the policy considerations which should be considered to discard the incentives-based arguments that support granting copyright protection to standards.

        In Chapter 6 “Integrating Technical Standards into Federal Regulations: Incorporation by Reference”, deals with the “incorporation by reference” of standards into regulations in the US. Daniel S. Sheffner approaches the topic from different angles, including its genesis, its legal basis and the problems derived from the conflict between copyright protection – still an open question – and the public-access requirement. The Chapter finishes with an overview of the solutions that public and private stakeholders have proposed to address the public access problem.

        Björn Lundqvist offers a comprehensive EU perspective to the interaction copyright-standards by analysing the CJUE´s James Elliot case in Chapter 7 “Public Law, European Constitutionalism and Copyright in Standards” which left open the question on whether there is an actual delegation of the European Commission to the SDOs which might affect to (harmonised) standards’ copyright protection. The author complements the analysis by reflecting upon the consequences of the James Elliot case for standards from a competition law perspective and, ultimately, from a free trade (internal market) perspective – with a special reference to the Fra.bo case.

      • ‘Don’t patronise us’: in-house reveal external counsel bugbears

        External counsel are set to become more ingrained in businesses, and conversations may become more informal or text-based, but we are not there yet, in-house lawyers say as they share their frustrations with certain aspects of the current working relationship.

      • The Swedish Patent and Market Court of Appeal applies “Abraxis” in rejecting Supplementary Protection Certificate

        According to the SPC application, the first marketing authorization for the product at hand is from 2013 for the pharmaceutical Botox. There is, however, an even earlier marketing authorization from 2011. According to Allergan, the fact that there are two marketing authorizations for the same basic patent should not be prohibit both being granted an SPC, provided that the scope of the two marketing authorizations is not overlapping.

        The Patent and Market Court of Appeal ruled that, according to Article 3(d), the 2013 marketing authorization may not be considered the first marketing authorization, pointing to established CJEU case-law, such as in MIT (C-431/04, EU:C:2006:291), here and Yissum (C-202/05, EU:C:2007:214), here. Nevertheless, according to the Court, one also has to examine whether the 2013 marketing authorization could be an acceptable first marketing authorization in accordance withf the exception introduced in the CJEU ruling in the Neurim case (C-130/11, ECLI:EU:C:2012:489).

        In that case, the CJEU provided that the earlier marketing authorization for the same substance for its use as a sheep reproduction regulation would not constitute “a first marketing authorization” for the use of the same substance against human insomnia. The Neurim case has thus opened up the possibility to receive an SPC for a second medical indication. That said, in the 2019 Abraxis case ( C-443/17, EU:C:2019:238), the CJEU limited the scope of the Neurim exception to a minimum (see this Kat’s post on the Abraxis case).

      • Patents

        • Nothing to see here, Lilly wins in kicking out Genentech’s Talz progeny patent (for now)

          When it comes to the validity of European patents, the national courts of the EPC member states apply the same law as the EPO. None-the-less, UK judges sometimes come to different conclusions to that of the EPO. As a consequence, a patent granted and maintained by the EPO may very well be revoked by the UK (England and Wales) court. Potential infringers may seek legal certainty that any patent granted by the EPO covering their product would not be valid by seeking an Arrow declaration. However, what if you have already knocked out a patent in the UK courts and the EPO then grants a virtually identical divisional patent? Does a patentee have the right to take two bites at the cherry? This was the question considered in Lilly v Genentech [2020] EWHC 261 (Pat).

          The case relates to Taltz, Eli Lilly’s biologic drug for psoriasis. Taltz is Eli Lilly’s marketed anti-IL-17A/F monoclonal antibody ixekizumab. Genentech owns a family of European patents claiming IL-17A/F antibodies and their use for the treatment of psoriasis. Last year, in a dispute between Lilly and Genentech, Mr Justice Arnold (as then was) in the UK High Court found one of these patents (EP1641822) invalid. In particular, the patent claim directed to the IL-17A/F antibody was found to be obvious. The use of the antibody to treat psoriasis was found to lack plausibility at the priority date, applying the principles of Warner-Lamber v Actavis ([2018] UKSC 56). The UK High Court decision has been appealed. However, the patent in question has also subsequently been revoked by the EPO Boards of Appeal, with the effect that the EP(UK) patent is considered never to have existed.


          Genentech argued that it would be an injustice to prevent them from pursuing the case that the divisional patent was valid and infringed. The appeal for the parent case lost all of its value following the decision of the EPO Board of Appeal to revoke the European patent. However, Genentech argued that the fact that they had been given leave to appeal the UK High Court decision demonstrated that “they must have had a good prospect of success” (para. 63). Notably, the ground on which the EPO had revoked the patent, added matter, was dismissed by Mr Justice Arnold in the UK High Court – a reminder that the EPO approach to added matter may not be fully aligned with that of the UK.

          The judge had some sympathy with Genentech’s argument that it would be injustice to prevent them pursuing the case. However, the judge also found that any potential for injustice was outweighed by the length and expensive of a re-run of the trial: “[t]his cannot be in the public interest and would be an injustice to Lilly” (para. 64). The judge also felt that it was in the hands of the Court of Appeal whether the appeal should continue [Merpel: This is unlikely to be of any comfort to Genentech, given that the parent patent “no longer exists” following revocation by the EPO]. The judge therefore considered whether the criteria for estoppel (i.e. preventing the arguments from being heard again) were satisfied for each of the grounds under which validity was challenged.

        • Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The case arose over infringement of Arctic Cat’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,793,545 and 6,568,969 by Bombardier, the patents directed to steering systems in personal watercraft (PWC) such as jet skis. Arctic Cat ceased selling PWC in favor of a licensing agreement with Honda. This licensing agreement had contained a provision requiring Honda to mark all licensed products sold with appropriate patent numbers, but this provision was not included in the final agreement between the parties. It was undisputed that Arctic Cat failed to monitor whether Honda was properly marking but not when Honda stopped neglecting this responsibility and began to mark; Arctic Cat asserted September 6, 2013 as the latest date when Honda sold unmarked items while Bombardier alleged Honda sold unmarked PWCs as late as 2018.

          A jury found the asserted patents to be infringed and not invalid, and awarded damages calculated from October 16, 2008 (a date 6 years before Arctic Cat filed suit and a little less than five years before Arctic Cat agreed Honda stopped selling unmarked items). The jury also found that Bombardier’s infringement was willful. In an earlier appeal, Arctic Cat Inc. v. Bombardier Recreational Prods. Inc., 876 F.3d 1350 (Fed. Cir. 2017), the Federal Circuit affirmed the jury’s willfulness determination by vacating and remanding on the marking issue for putting the burden on Bombardier to show that unmarked articles did not practice the claimed invention. Rather, according to that panel, “once an alleged infringer identifies products that it believes are unmarked patented articles subject to the notice requirements of § 287, the patentee bears the burden of proving that the identified products do not practice the claimed invention.” On remand (the subject of this appeal), Arctic Cat moved for summary judgment that it was entitled to “pre-complaint” damages, and that § 287 “did not apply after the time that it alleges Honda stopped selling unmarked products.” “More ambitiously,” as characterized by the panel opinion, Arctic Cat asserted that the jury’s willfulness determination constituted notice and hence it was entitled to the entire period when Bombardier was selling PWCs that infringed the patents in suit under § 286, which constituted a time period when Honda was undisputedly selling unmarked items. The District Court disagreed and limited the damages awarded not to include damages for pre-complaint sales.

        • Another Example of a Repeating Fact Pattern Implicating Privilege Waiver

          Of course, patent prosecution and litigation involves a lot of confidential information. As a result, protective orders, prosecution bars, and clawback arrangements are part and parcel of most patent suits. Perhaps because confidential and privileged information is more frequently involved than in some other forms of litigation, waiver issues are also common.


          That is not a universal approach, however. In addition, where an email account, or computer, is shared by people who are not married (such as roommates), a greater risk of privilege waiver exists. Finally, many employers monitor employee email, and, so, for example, if an employee e-mails a lawyer from a work computer, it may be that privilege is waived. To be clear, this can happen even where the dispute is between the employee and some third party, not between employee and employer.

        • NZNP Finance Ltd. v. Actavis Laboratories UT, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The panel majority had affirmed the determination by the District Court for the District of New Jersey that claim 49 was indefinite because of inconsistencies in the meaning of “better drying time.” The ’838 patent specification discloses that the claimed formulation can be used as an anti-inflammatory, or analgesic. The specification also discloses that the advantages of the claimed formulation are better drying time, higher viscosity, increased transdermal flux, greater pharmacokinetic absorption, and favorable stability.


          Noting that it is not necessary to recite the utility of a claimed compound (e.g., as an anti-inflammatory) in the claims, nor is it necessary to recite in the claims how that utility is measured, the dissent concludes that “aspects of the utility or its measurement are not relevant to indefiniteness of the claims.” The dissent then asks “since how one measures anti-inflammatory activity does not create an indefiniteness issue, why should measuring better drying time?” The dissent also wonders “whether, if this patent did not recite the methods by which better drying time was measured, any indefiniteness of the ‘consisting essentially of’ language would have arisen at all.” Because “under the rule this opinion purports to adopt, any uncertainty concerning advantages, utility, or methods of determining such could . . . be translated into indefiniteness of claims,” Judge Lourie dissented from the Federal Circuit’s decision not to rehear the case en banc.

        • The Rare Beast: Consisting Essentially Of

          In a recent post, I noted the “trap” for patent prosecutors who use the transitional phrase “consisting essentially of.” That phrase has been traditionally interpreted to indicate that an infringing apparatus (or method) would include all of those elements and may also include other elements that “do not materially affect the basic and novel properties of the invention.” The more popular and broader “comprising” transition captures as infringement an apparatus that practices all of the claim elements, regardless of what additional elements are also being practiced by the accused. The courts have also locked-down the meaning of the narrower “closed” transition “consisting of” to only find infringement when the accused apparatus practices the claim limitations and nothing more.


          Comprising is obviously much more common — 98% of patents in my cohort include “comprising.” 12% of patents recite the phrase “consisting of” however, the vast majority of those are signaling a Markush group rather than an initial transition. (Note – again here, I looked for both the “ing” and “s” form of the terms). These results are shown in the chart below.

        • Equivalents at the Supreme Court

          The doctrine of equivalents [DoE] is fairly complicated by itself because of the element-by-element function-way-result test and the limit on vitiation of claim elements. DOE is further complicated by the prosecution history estoppel [PHE] that creates a presumption against equivalents associated with narrowing claim amendments made during prosecution for a “substantial reason related to patentability.” In Festo, the Supreme Court explained that courts should presume estoppel based upon a narrowing amendment. However, the patentee may avoid the estoppel by providing evidence that the “rationale underlying the [narrowing] amendment … bear[s] no more than a tangential relation to the equivalent in question.” Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., 535 U.S. 722, 740 (2002) (TAN). In prior posts, I called this expansion [DoE]; retraction [PHE]; re-expansion [TAN] process DoePHETAN. The complication comes from the courts who – as I previously explained “wanted to empower patentees with the doctrine of equivalents but then became afraid that they had gone too far” and perhaps given too much power to a jury.

          The petitions here are powerful and their parallelism may create interest from the court. Unfortunately, neither call for simplifying this process but rather ask for more detailing — What is the meaning of “tangential?”; At point must the “rationale” be declared?

        • Federal Circuit Confirms “Consisting Essentially Of” Trap for Patent Applicants

          In an 8-4 Federal Circuit has denied HZNP’s petition for en banc rehearing over a vigorous dissent from Judge Lourie (joined by Judges Newman, O’Malley, and Stoll).

          The focus of the petition is the “reasonable certainty” indefiniteness standard in relation to the un-expressed elements of an invention claimed using the transitional phrase “consisting essentially of.” In its original October 2019 holding, the Federal Circuit explained that the “consisting essential of” transition indicates that the claim requires the listed elements and is also “open to unlisted ingredients that do not materially affect the basic and novel properties of the invention.” In that framework, the “basic and novel properties of the invention” become a claim limitation that itself must be definite.

          HZNP’s claim at issue here is directed to a pain-treatment ointment “consisting essentially of” 2% diclofenac sodium; 40% DMSO; etc. (Sold as PENNSAID). The specification indicated that “better drying time” was one of the improvements provided by the invention. The specification provided two methods of evaluating better drying time. However, those methods were ruled inconsistent and without a standard for PHOSITA to evaluate drying time. Since the novel feature was indefinite, the court found that the claim itself was indefinite.


          The question I would ask is whether we should require disclosure of the basic and novel properties of the invention as part of every patent specification — perhaps as part of the written description requirement. The dissent appears to assume that these are a requirement of the utility doctrine — but notes that utility is such an easy test that it is not even challenged unless “not credible.”

        • How do you determine the novelty of a second (non-medical) use claim? (T 1395/15)

          Here on IPKat we are used to discussing the patentability of second-medical use inventions. But what about non-medical second uses? The recently published Board of Appeal decision T 1385/15 related to the patentability of such a second use. According to case law from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), a second use of a known product is novel if the new use comprises a novel functional effect. In T 1385/15, the Board of Appeal considered how the novelty of such second use claims should be assessed. In particular, does a novelty destroying disclosure for a second use have to disclose both the use and the functional effect? In a case pertinent for our times, the case concerned mechanical disinfection to kill microbes.


          The Board of Appeal acknowledged that G 6/88 does not explicitly state that the use and the technical effect of the known product must be disclosed in the same document to be novelty destroying for a second use claim. However, the Board of Appeal noted that G 6/88 does state that the lack of novelty can only be recognised if all technical features of the claimed invention have been made available to the public in conjunction with one another. The Board of Appeal in T 1385/15 understood from this that G 6/88 acknowledged the guiding principle of novelty that features from separate discloses can not be combined in a novelty attack.

          The Board of Appeal thus concluded that the approach taken by the Opposition Division had been incorrect. The disclosure of the use of the surfacants in the first prior art document could not be combined in a novelty attack with the disclosure in the second document that surfacants possessed the functional feature of being able to kill micro-organisms.

          However, this was not the end of the matter. The Board of Appeal also believed the Opposition Division had been wrong to identify the functional feature in the claim as being the ability of the specified surfacants to kill micro-organisms. The Board of Appeal understood G 6/88 as not necessarily requiring the functional effect as being isolated from the use. The functional technical effect of the claim should therefore be understood, the Board of Appeal argued, as being the ability of the specified surfacants to kill micro-organisms when the surfacants were used in mechanical disinfection. Such a feature was not disclosed in the second document. The second document only disclosed the anti-microbial properties of the surfacants, and made no mention of mechanical disinfection.

        • Improper Listing of Insulin-Pen Patents in the Orange Book

          This class-action antitrust decision from the 1st Circuit reversed a lower court dismissal — holding that consumers had alleged sufficient injury based upon Sanofi’s improper listing of patents in the FDA Orange Book (Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations).


          Here, the listed patent at issue is US Patent 8,556,864 which covers the drive mechanism for Sanofi’s SoloSTAR Insulin Pen. The Orange Book listing is important because it can be used to trigger a 30-month stay of FDA approval of a competitor’s product. The drive mechanism is apparently part of the SoloSTAR pen thus it appears that a generic knock-off competitor would infringe the patent. But, the appellate panel still held that it was improperly listed in the orange book since the patent does not claim the drug or a method of using the drug. T

        • Delhi HC Issues Notice on Petition Challenging Price Control Exemptions for Newly Patented Drugs

          The Delhi High Court recently issued notice on a petition by All India Drug Action Network (AIDAN) that challenged the Drug (Prices Control) Order 2013 and Drug (Prices Control) Amendment Order, 2019. The specific averments were concerning Paragraph 32, which is the list of exemptions, of DPCO 2013 and the amendment to it by the 2019 Order. Para. 32 of DPCO 2013 creates an exemption from price control for new drugs patented under the India Patents Act, 1970, thereby creating an unprecedented link between the Patents Act and drug prices. This post summarizes the petition and discusses the impact of price control mechanisms for patented drugs.


          Per the petition, under DPCO 2019, a ‘new drug’ is given an exemption from price control for 5 years “from the date of commencement of its commercial marketing”. For this, a ‘new drug’ has the same meaning as under Rule 122E of the Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, which says “a new drug shall continue to be considered as new drug for a period of four years from the date of its first approval…”. A contradiction in the language of the two clauses becomes immediately apparent. Additionally, the 2019 Order only changes Paragraph 32(i) of DPCO 2013, while leaving 32(ii) (new process) and 32(iii)’s (new delivery system) exemption to start from the “date of commencement of its commercial production in the country” and “the date of its market approval in India” respectively.

          Addressing the confusion amongst the said clauses, the petition shows, it is possible to see that the difference between “the date of its first approval” (Rule 122E) and “the commencement of its commercial marketing” (Para. 32 (i) DPCO 2019) can be used to extend the benefit of a ‘new drug’ tag for anywhere between 1 to 9 years. If the date of approval and commercial marketing are the same, then DPCO 2019’s 5-year protection is one year more than Rule 122E’s 4-year consideration. If a manufacturer decides to commercially market a ‘new drug’ after the 4-year period under Rule 122E is over, then DPCO 2019’s 5-year exemption would start after this period, thereby extending the ‘new drug’ tag to a total of 9 years.

          What the change means? The latest List of ‘new drugs’ for the year 2019 has as many as 26 exemptions, the 2018 list too has the same number and the 2014 list has a whopping 63 exemptions. On average, since DPCO 2013 at least 26 exemptions have been given each year for drugs meant to treat an array of ailments from conjunctivitis to arthritis.

          DPCO 2019 removes the term ‘product patent’ from Para. 32(i) of DPCO 2013. This change extends the exemption to ‘a new drug patented’ under Patents Act 1970. The language of this is broad enough to include any kind of patent including devices, dosages, forms, compositions and process patents as long as it relates to a new drug. Given the Indian Patent Office’s high error rate in granting pharmaceutical patents, automatic exemptions for registered patents must be seen as detrimental as it could very well lead to the ever-greening of patents and continuous extension of the exemption.

          The policy push for promotion of indigenous research and production is undone by the removal of this exact requirement from Para. 32(i). Even drugs produced aboard can now avail the exemption by registering a patent in India. Further, to extend the exemption, the ‘commercial marketing’ of such a drug can take place in India much after it has been sold in other markets.

          Further, given the lack of substantial definitions and guidelines regarding the terms ‘commercial marketing’ and ‘commercial production’, the ambiguity is exacerbated. The difference amongst clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of Para 32, post DPCO 2019, is termed as discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable in the petition.

        • Software Patents

          • Alleged Troll Sues Uber Using Newly Offloaded IBM Patents

            An alleged patent troll has accused Uber of infringing four patents that IBM sold off just before joining an organization aimed at fighting such companies.

            About two weeks before joining the LOT Network in January, IBM sold off hundreds of patents to Daedalus Group LLC, which were then sold to another entity that sold them to Quartz Auto Technologies LLC, which asserted them on Feb. 18 against Uber Technologies Inc.

            The 104-page complaint filed in the Western District of Texas accuses Uber of infringing four location-based technology patents with its ride-hailing application.

            The three companies in the patent ownership chain after IBM…

          • Judge Holte: Motion to Dismiss Denied – Pathway for avoiding motions-to-dismiss

            Former law professor Ryan Holte is now Judge Ryan Holte, appointed by Donald Trump and sitting on the United States Court of Federal Claims (15 year term). Welcome to the bench Judge Holte. The Court of Federal Claims handles money-demands against the U.S. Government — including allegations that the U.S. Gov’t has infringed privately owned patents.

            One of Holte’s first substantive patent decisions comes in Wanker v. U.S., 18-1660, 2020 WL 521896, at *1 (Fed. Cl. Jan. 31, 2020). The plaintiff, William Wanker, PhD. accused the U.S. Gov’t of infringing four of his patents: U.S. patents: 7,302,429; 8,126,779; 8,204,797; and 9,595,041. All four asserted patents relate to “ranking products” using computers and the internet and the accused infringing activity is use of the Gov’t’s Past Performance Information Retrieval System (“PPIRS”).

            The U.S. Gov’t filed its motion to dismiss — arguing that the patents are all invalid as a matter of law under Section 101. Judge Holte has denied the motion — holding that the complaint included sufficient “concrete, factual allegations as to why the claimed combination of elements was not well-understood, routine, or conventional.” In walking through the complaint, Judge Holte disregarded some of the pleadings as mere conclusory statements of law. For instance, the complaint alleged that the invention is a “significant technological improvement . . . not well understood, routine, or conventional activity at the time of the invention.”


            The allegations made by the patentee here are specific to his inventions, but any patentee could make parallel allegations in their complaints. As such, this decision appears to provide something of a roadmap for patentees in drafting a complaint sufficient to avoid 12(b)(6). I’ll note that I still find it strange that the complaint was required to provide allegations sufficient to preemptively overcome an affirmative defense of invalidity — but Judge Holte is bound by precedent on that point.

            As a recent professor, it is not surprising that Judge Holte cites to several of his former colleagues as part of his analysis.

          • First days of IPCom: the battle with Nokia begins

            Bernhard Frohwitter knows exactly what he’s doing. The Munich lawyer is an old hand in patent law. Over the past 30 years, he’s fought countless patent battles. Since January 2008, Frohwitter has been waging war on Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia.

            Frohwitter’s company IPCom has sued Nokia for eleven counts of patent infringement. The cases concern patents for mandatory components of the GSM mobile communications standard. Phone manufacturers require these components for SIM cards, sending pictures via MMS or voice coding.

            IPCom is allegedly demanding €12 billion. Even for a global company like Nokia, this is a monumental sum. Unsurprisingly, the mobile phone manufacturer will not take this lying down.


            After a while, Frohwitter breaks away from his small circle of lawyers and heads for the opposing team. A lawyer of a similar age approaches him. It’s Wolfgang von Meibom. The two have faced off in court many times over the years.

            Both are the heads of law firms which enjoy a good reputation in patent law. Frohwitter founded his own practice in Munich in 1998, before founding IPCom in 2007. The company’s capital stock consists of patents, which Frohwitter purchased from Robert Bosch GmbH with considerable financial backing from the private equity company Fortress. Von Meibom is the head of law firm Bird & Bird in Germany. Nokia is one of the firm’s most important clients.

          • $2,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on SISVEL Patent

            On February 28, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest with a $2,000 cash prize for prior art submissions for US 8,490,123. The ’123 patent generally relates to an invention that can “generate a user profile and recommendations on the basis of the user’s previously created playlists and properties derived from them.” The patent is owned by SISVEL SPA, a well-known NPE, and has been asserted in district court litigation against Rhapsody and Spotify. To protect innovation and deter future frivolous assertions, Unified is offering a $2,000 cash prize for the best prior art on this patent.

      • Trademarks

        • 2019 IP Law Year In Review – Trademarks

          Trademark jurisprudence in 2019 may be best summarized in two words: questions and answers. Decisions handed down at the district court level have teed up key questions that are poised to be answered by the United States Supreme Court in the 2020 term—such as the protectability of certain “.com” trademarks, as well as the standard for obtaining particular damages in trademark infringement disputes. For brand owners and trademark practitioners, 2019 will also go down as a year that provided answers to many important questions. For example, on numerous occasions in 2019, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board answered questions as to whether certain designs or designations have the capability to function as a source-identifying trademark. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) answered questions relating to the cannabis industry and how the 2018 Farm Bill would be applied in the review of US trademark applications listing goods or services for CBD products. And, the Supreme Court answered an important question for trademark licensees regarding their rights when a trademark licensor goes bankrupt. This report provides a summary of 2019′s most important questions and answers when it comes to trademark law, and serves as a useful guide for navigating trademark prosecution and enforcement efforts into the year ahead.

        • Trade Mark Opposition Decisions in China are Now Public Online

          China is pretty late in adopting this specific administrative initiative compared to many of its counterparts. The Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (UKIPO), for example, has published opposition decisions on its website since 1998; and as early as 2005, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) began publishing opposition decisions on its website.

          The delay might be somewhat excusable considering that the workload for its preparation must have been enormous in terms of, inter alia, the huge quantity of oppositions filed. In 2019, CTMO received 144,000 trade mark oppositions, which was a far higher number of cases than those received in the aforementioned offices and in the EUIPO. *

        • SPC rules on registration of single-colour position marks

          French high-end footwear brand Christian Louboutin is celebrating victory over a favourable decision handed down by the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) in a trade mark administrative proceeding that could help pave the way for the registration of its signature red sole trade mark in China. ZHU Zhigang of the MARQUES China Team reports


          The Trademark Review and Adjudication Board (TRAB) upheld the refusal, quoting Article 11.1(3) of the PRC Trademark Law: “…other signs that lack distinctiveness…shall not be registered as trademarks”. In its decision, the TRAB characterized the mark as a “device mark”, a logo, and ruled that this device representing a shoe is not distinctive per se and that it has not acquired distinctiveness through commercial use. The TRAB did not accept the concept of dotted lines not being part of the trade mark.

        • Canada IP office chief wants collaboration and better AI use

          In an exclusive interview with Managing IP, CEO Johanne Belisle delves into global treaties, the struggles with AI and eliminating the need to prove trademark use

        • No Trademark for THE JOINT

          In its decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a TTAB decision refusing to register THE JOINT either for nightclub services (Class 41) or a bar (Class 43). JC Hospitality owns the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada — location of “the JOINT” which has been in operation since 1995.

      • Copyrights

        • The rights of actors and audiovisual performers; a new era for the film and TV industry after the entry into force of the Beijing Treaty in 28th of April 2020?

          The Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances, signed in 2012 (read here), is about to enter into force (April 28, 2020) after the ratification by Indonesia on January 28, 2020. The objective of the Treaty is to ameliorate the working conditions for performing actors and other audiovisual performers, this by modernizing and updating for the digital era the rights contained in the Rome Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations (1961) as well as complementing the provisions in the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT).

          The Beijing Treaty confers five kinds of exclusive economic rights in audiovisual performances, namely, reproduction, distribution, rental, making available and broadcasting, and communicating to the public.

          With regards to live performances, performers receive three kinds of economic rights, broadcasting (with the exception of rebroadcasting), communication to the public (except when the performance is a broadcast performance) and the right of fixation of the performance.

        • Regulatory divergence post Brexit: Copyright law as an indicator for what is to come

          Article 22 also gives authors and performers a new right to revoke a licence or transfer of rights where there is a lack of exploitation. These new contractual regulations could be considered a challenge to common law principles of freedom of contract, but they lack teeth. While they have been widely welcomed by creators, routes to enforcement remain unclear. Again, there is no obvious alternative policy path.

          The third group of measures is much more controversial. They are introduced in the Directive under the innocuous sounding label of “Measures to achieve a well-functioning marketplace for copyright”. The headline intervention is a change to the liability regime of platforms that host user-uploaded content. Article 17 (formerly 13) creates a new category of ‘online content sharing service provider’ that will no longer benefit from the ‘safe harbour’ of the e-Commerce Directive, a core piece of internet legislation adopted in the year 2000. The e-Commerce Directive exempts platforms from liability for unlawful content found on their services (if removed “expeditiously” following notice).

          In the polarised debate of the Copyright Directive, Article 17 was pushed as a decisive industrial policy measure that would enable the music industry to improve licensing deals and revenue sharing offered by Google’s YouTube service. In an effective trope coined by the UK music industry, Article 17 was to close the “value gap” between European creators and US technology giants. Opponents characterised the measure as a “censorship law” that would lead to the default use of upload filters and the disappearance of “memes” (because they re-use identifiable copyrighted materials).

        • From Bella and Gigi Hadid and Goop to Virgil Abloh and Marc Jacobs: A Running List of Paparazzi Copyright Suits

          With the general rise in social media usage and the decline in conventional advertising formats has come a surge in Instagram-centric ad efforts. This push to meet consumers where they are, i.e., on Instagram, and other social media platforms, has meant that the jobs of influential figures – whether it be fashion bloggers, editors and runway models or reality television stars and more traditional Hollywood celebrities – have expanded to include building and maintaining sizable social media followings in order to leverage those followings for big-money advertising partnerships.

          IMG Models’ Luiz Mattos, the power agent behind the likes of supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid, actress Priyanka Chopra, and longtime Victoria’s Secret angel Alessandra Ambrosio, put it best when he told Vogue Business that “these days, models’ jobs don’t end when they leave the studio or the runway … Your job is not only to be in front of the camera. When you finish shooting a campaign and you’re posting on social, you need to have something to say.”

        • BGH: uploading a free-trial version of Microsoft Office is also making available to the public

          The dispute originated due to the commercial activities of the defendant, an online trader, on its webshop and on eBay, where it would offer relatively cheap product keys for software programs, including a volume licensing version of Microsoft Office. After completing their purchase, customers would receive an email containing a product key, presented as a licence for use, along with a link to download the software from a portal located on the defendant’s website. Alternatively, customers could opt for a 30 day free trial version of the same software, which Microsoft also offered on its own website.

          Microsoft brought an action against the defendant, claiming a violation of its exclusive rights to make available to the public, (§ 69c (4) UhrG, implementing Art. 3 (1) Infosoc Directive), and to authorise reproduction (§ 69c (1) UhrG, implementing Art. 4 (1)a Software Directive). The court of appeal did not accept the latter claim, holding that the distribution of product keys could not per se amount to an act of reproduction of the software, but merely to unfair competition (as previously ruled in Green-IT BGH 19.03.2015).

          The BGH was therefore left to rule only on whether making the free trial version of the Office package available for download constituted an infringement of Microsoft’s right of making available to the public (§ 69c (4) in conjunction with §19a UhrG).

        • Man Who Sold Pirate IPTV Must Pay £521,000 or Face Five More Years in Prison

          A man who was sentenced in 2018 to 4.5 years in prison for selling pirate IPTV devices to pubs and clubs has been ordered to pay £520,000 to the public purse. Failure to come up with the funds will result in John Dodds having his prison sentence extended by an additional five years. The Premier League, which brought the action, welcomed the judgment.

        • Switzerland Urges U.S. to Remove it From its ‘Pirate Watchlist’

          On April 1st, Switzerland’s new copyright law will go into effect. The new legislation incorporates many recommendations from copyright holders, including a “stay-down” provision. Not all wishes were granted, however, as site-blocking is off-limits and downloading will remain legal. The country hopes that the changes will nonetheless warrant a removal from the U.S. pirate watchlist.

        • Dutch Music Sales Soar to Nearly €207 Million

          Revenue from streaming sources equaled 161.7 million euros, a 23-percent gain on a year earlier. Over 12 percent of revenue was earned from CD and DVD sales, which fell nearly 16 percent to 25.2 million euros. Vinyl sales were relatively flat at 15.4 million euros, with downloads dropping over 21 percent to a bit over 4 million euros.

          The new figures were released on Thursday music industry lobbying firm NVPI Audio. It covers most music sales, excluding live performances and licensing.

Inside the Free Software Foundation (FSF) – Part III: Imagining an FSF Award Going to Anti-Stallman People

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Free Speech and Free software

Summary: The next FSF award may be given to Richard Stallman himself; but it might also be given to a person largely responsible for ‘ousting’ Stallman, which would be catastrophic

IN PART ONE, part two and the introduction along with recent posts from Alex [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] we can see that there’s definitely what some can describe as a “coup” — typically a political term. It is an armed and sometimes violent takeover, rarely unarmed or amicable (there’s a recent example in Bolivia).

“…we can see that there’s definitely what some can describe as a “coup” — typically a political term.”Alex is apparently (now or very recently) being accused of "inciting violence" or something along those lines — an implicit charge that tends to be made by gross exaggerations (as apparently happened at the OSI some days ago as well). We’re well familiar with such tactics. Remember that some joke from Linus Torvalds (about the physical size of Greg K-H) was spun as physical threat. Nothing could be further from the truth and we saw the European Patent Office (EPO) making similar accusations against the workers’ union.

But let’s leave all that aside and instead focus on today’s part and its key message. It’s about a committee that shall soon decide if Stallman can receive an award from the FSF now that he's formally eligible.

“Remember that some joke from Linus Torvalds (about the physical size of Greg K-H) was spun as physical threat.”This brings us back to LibrePlanet, which we mentioned yesterday (how it had attempted to control Stallman’s speech, based on numerous sources of ours). “I was told the program had been chosen to avoid being divisive with respect to Stallman,” we once heard. “Then the program was published, and people who presided over statements demanding the FSF to expel Stallman or celebrating his resignation are there, but someone who stood for Stallman isn’t.”

This is a bigger deal than it may sound.

“As a reminder, Bradley Kuhn whilst on the board pushed for Stallman to resign or be ousted.”Stallman, we’re told, “who got alone more nominations than all other nominees together for the FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software, has not been passed on to the award committee, because he was a board member for part of the year, but Bradley Kuhn, who remained a board member for a larger part of the year, was passed on to the committee and might/could well get the award if the board doesn’t take a stand to make things right. What an ugly and unfair mess!”

As a reminder, Bradley Kuhn whilst on the board pushed for Stallman to resign or be ousted. It was on his firm’s Web site. Yes, we call it “firm” because that’s what it is. And we learned from reliable sources that Kuhn was the author. It was a strongly-worded statement against Stallman.

If the FSF gives an award to an anti-Stallman person, what further damage can be caused to the FSF? Like they’re rewarding someone for ousting their very founder!

How OSI Co-Founder Got Banned From the OSI’s Mailing Lists (a Month After the Other Co-Founder Resigned in Protest in Those Mailing Lists, Bemoaning Attacks on Software Freedom)

Posted in OSI at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: This post is not an endorsement of the message; its purpose is to show what was censored and let people decide for themselves if that merited a ban


Date: Wed, Feb 26, 2020 1:09 PM
From: Eric S. Raymond esr@thyrsus.com

Gil Yehuda via License-discuss <license-discuss at lists.opensource.org>:
> Personally I'm confused about the details of the ESD, but that's OK, if I
> wanted to, I'd join the working group and learn more about it.

Here is everything you need to know about the ESD:

* Its originator is a toxic loonytoon who believes "show me the code"
   meritocracy is at best outmoded and in general a sinister supremacist
   plot by straight white cisgender males.

 * The actual goal of the movement behind the ESD is to install political
   officers on every open-source project, passing on what constitutes
   "ethical" and banishing contributors for wrongthink.  Even off-project 

 * They have already had an alarming degree of success at this through
   the institution of "Codes of Conduct" on many projects.  This *has*
   led to the expulsion of productive contributors for un-PCness; it's
   not just a problem in theory.

* The "Persona Non Grata" clause is best understood as an attempt to
  paralyze resistance to such political ratfucking by subverting the
  freedom-centered principles of OSI.  It is very unlikely to be the
  last such attempt.

Make no mistake; we are under attack. If we do not recognize the
nature of the attack and reject it, we risk watching the best features
of the open-source subculture be smothered by identity politics and
vulgar Marxism.

                 Eric S. Raymond

Someone from Verizon then complained. Maybe the OSI just wanted to secure its coffers. OSI deleted the message, which can be judged on its own (e.g. whether it is/was threatening). There may be other messages, but we cannot tell for sure due to the censorship.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, February 28, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:35 am by Needs Sunlight



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