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03.03.20

Open for (Not at) Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Context: Reminder: At Linux Foundation in 2020 Three Board Members, Including the Vice Chair and Director at Large, Are Current or Past Microsoft Employees

Trojan for LF

Summary: The Linux Foundation is so open… even to those who sabotage its goals

Inverted Narratives: UPC Thugs Are Being Framed as Poor Victims and Patent Trolls Claim to be the Target of Violence

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The collapse of the UPC served to reveal corruption in the media that covers patents (it’s lobbying, not journalism)

Inverted text colour

Summary: UPC is dead. Team UPC isn’t dead, at least not yet. We’re supposed to think that the biggest abusers of the system face life-threatening risks and the real zealots are their victims. This only harms trust in the media.

THE UPC proponents and Team UPC/lobbyists must be really desperate at this point. They spent half a decade (if not more) of their lives advocating zombies. Ignore their latest propaganda. Benjamin Henrion keeps mocking some of it.

“It’s a shame that all of his articles vanished — articles that covered (sometimes exclusively) the views of EPO staff representatives and their associates.”World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR) has just found a polite way to say “UPC is dead” (“Future of UPC as uncertain as ever, say lawyers”) and of course it didn’t bother speaking to non-lawyers. As if only lawyers exist in this world…

Now that IPProPatents has collapsed (ippropatents.com is still only an empty directory listing, just like weeks ago) Barney Dixon, a reasonably good writer who gave SUEPO a voice, is writing elsewhere. It’s a shame that all of his articles vanished — articles that covered (sometimes exclusively) the views of EPO staff representatives and their associates. Here is his new article in which the UPC is mentioned further down along with the question: “This begs the question: why did it ratify the [UPC] agreement in the first place?”

The IP industry is an important part of the UK economy. It could suffer deeply post-Brexit, as legal firms redomicile in the EU and the UK loses its place as a English speaking gateway into Europe.

Even the areas in which the UK has attempted to maintain closer relations with the EU – such as a long-mooted Unified Patent Court – have been met with confusion and indecision. First the UK ratified the agreements relating to the unitary patent and the Unified Patent Court, but has just recently said it is now pulling out of them.

This begs the question: why did it ratify the agreement in the first place?

It seems everyone is equally confused. And the reason they are confused is obvious – because the UK government does not seem to know what it wants, or even if these issues exist in the first place.

Barney Dixon says about the UPC (and other things) that the government “recently said it is now pulling out of them.”

Notice how EPO management or even the ‘preparatory’ ‘committee’ and its people have said nothing about it (yet). This shows they’re uncaring about truth, eager only to break laws, treaties, and constitutions. When the facts don’t suit them they simply hide or tell lies.

As for the media? It has been very much participating with full complicity. Irish Legal News, for example, currently spreads the lie that industry wanted the UPC. It’s the legal zealots, who aren’t even an industry, that wanted and lobbied for it. These people even crafted it.

“As for the media? It has been very much participating with full complicity.”The article barely says anything at all and the headline is intentionally misleading. The headline is basically a Big Lie and the rest of this article is just a massive copy-paste job of Team UPC, not actual reporting (e.g. “Graham Burnett-Hall, partner at London-based IP specialists Marks & Clerk, said: “Previously there was a degree of optimism about the likelihood of participation in the Unified Patent Court, even if we decided to leave the EU, but this announcement has made it clear that will not happen.””)

We’ve also just noticed a massive understatement from Law 360.

So-called ‘news’ sites of the litigation giants never ever speak to even one opponent of the UPC… even though those are the large majority of the people out there. This is corrupt journalism disguised as professionalism. It’s like think tanks. Here’s what they wrote outside the paywall, barely supporting the headline:

The U.K.’s announcement last week that it will not participate in the European Union’s Unified Patent Court system is another major blow to the long-gestating project, a setback that may lead companies to question its viability and casts doubt on whether it will ever launch.

After years of saying it would seek to remain part of the UPC even after its departure from the EU, the U.K. government did an about-face Thursday, pulling out of the system and saying that because the court would apply EU law, participating “is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent, self-governing nation.”

Who at this point seriously thinks that the UPC stands a chance? It’s just delusional.

“Who at this point seriously thinks that the UPC stands a chance? It’s just delusional.”The UPC was without a doubt promoted by firms whose main clients are aggressors and trolls. Evan Langdon at Watchtroll currently ‘perfumes’ patent trolls as “PAEs”, but we know their modus operandi and the damage caused by them. As a new example, consider this victim that makes Free software and was sued by a troll this year. We’ve mentioned it in our latest Daily Links, quoting a rather polite message which stated: “The ability to issue useless patents has created an entire industry. There is now a whole class of “inventors” who file obvious patents with the sole purpose of suing real entrepreneurs once the technology is inevitably perfected. These “inventors” have no plans to create a product. They are simply trolls hiding under a bridge waiting for real entrepreneurs to cross. All they want is to collect a toll by gaming America’s flawed patent system.”

Guess how Law 360 covered it. Right from the headline it’s casting the victim of the troll as “Inciting Death Threats Against IP Atty”. This so-called ‘IP’ attorney is a patent troll and the site is shamelessly promoting a false narrative wherein patent trolls pretend to be the victims and the victims are “aggressors” — a common theme these days in the Free software world.

“Welcome to the world of inverted narratives — a world where victims of trolls are murderers, trolls and their lobbyists are poor/impoverished victims, challenged bogus patents — in-suit — are merely being “attacked” (we wrote a lot about this spin over the years), aggressors are “protecting” and so on.”Such is the effect of lawyers controlling the media which covers patent issues. Basically, someone out there sent a threatening (and anonymous) message and this is somewhat creatively being blamed on a polite blog post that describes the lawsuit.

Welcome to the world of inverted narratives — a world where victims of trolls are murderers, trolls and their lobbyists are poor/impoverished victims, challenged bogus patents — in-suit — are merely being “attacked” (we wrote a lot about this spin over the years), aggressors are “protecting” and so on.

EPO Outsourcing Policy and Patent Scope to Litigation Giants

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scientists and lawmakers don’t seem to matter anymore; the EPO bypasses the law to generate income for (and through) parasitic elements

Federico Butler's photo

Summary: The EPO wishes to carry on violating the EPC when the sole goal is granting as many patents as possible, causing as many lawsuits and out-of-court shakedowns as possible (even when baseless patents are leveraged)

THE advocacy of software patents in Europe comes directly from the European Patent Office (EPO).

As we last noted a few days ago, the EPO is shamelessly promoting illegal patents that are algorithm monopolies and yesterday it wrote: “Calling all patent attorneys and IP lawyers dealing with #videogaming! Join us for this free-of-charge #webinar on the challenges of IP protection in this field…”

They’re promoting software patents there.

“In line with our strategic plan,” wrote the assistant of António Campinos yesterday, “we want to increase your involvement in the development of our Guidelines – today we opened a public consultation and we look forward to receiving your feedback…”

“You could at least try to comply with the EPC,” I responded. “Calling software patents “HEY HI” (AI) contributes to the notion that EPO seeks nothing but patent maximalism rather than compliance and legal certainty…”

The cited post (warning: epo.org link) is this new statement which reads:

The EPO today launched a public consultation on its Guidelines and invites interested parties to provide input. You can submit your comments in any one of the EPO’s three official languages via an online form. The deadline for submissions is 15 April 2020.

The Guidelines for Examination in the European Patent Office (“EPC Guidelines”) and the Guidelines for Search and Examination at the European Patent Office as PCT Authority (“PCT-EPO Guidelines”) give instructions on the practices and procedures to be followed in the examination of European and international applications and patents in accordance with the European Patent Convention and the Patent Cooperation Treaty and their Implementing Regulations.

The Guidelines are a vital resource for illustrating the law and practice in proceedings before the EPO and are widely consulted by external parties. They are revised annually to keep them aligned with the latest legal and procedural developments.

Guess who’s going to send the lion’s share of feedback. Yes, the litigation ‘industry’. Why don’t they base the guidelines on the actual laws? Prolific litigation firms just want more and more patents.

The Linux Foundation is Sometimes Against Linux and Its Official Blog Posts Come From Microsoft Veterans This Month (Nowadays It’s Not Even Shocking)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Imagine a cancer charity declaring that it’s not really about tackling cancer but seeking coexistence with it

Summary: The Linux Foundation became what it fought in a matter of a few years; it seems like a lost cause at this point and it actively harms Linux in a variety of ways

L

EARNING to “embrace” (back) those who attack Linux seems to have become an implicit goal. Whose? Something called “Linux” — the entity which pays the salary of the creator of Linux (and he gets no say on that matter). Confusing, isn’t it? It refuses to accept that threats to Linux exist and instead it would have us believe that the GPL, the licence of Linux, is the threat.

My articles about Linux Foundation issues make Torvalds and others who are employed there angry and not because they’re false but because they’re true. It makes those who are closely involved rather angry — realising that their employer oftentimes does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do or what it promised it would do. This is why insiders/whistleblowers bring information out. A lot of what we’ve covered this past year was exclusive because we get tips and pointers.

Is Linux Foundation still helping Linux?

Last month it commissioned a ‘study’ for Microsoft satellites, generating dozens of negative articles (some as recent as days ago) and promoting GitHub, which is proprietary and Microsoft-controlled. Whose foundation is this? As somebody put it a few days ago: “Big Open Source is a wing of Big Tech.”

Remember that at least three executives at the Foundation work for Microsoft or worked for Microsoft at very high-level positions. It’s like Microsoft managers are also Linux Foundation managers. Confusing, isn’t it?

“It makes those who are closely involved rather angry — realising that their employer oftentimes does the opposite of what it’s supposed to do or what it promised it would do.”To make matters worse, last night we noticed that a former Microsoft employee, who loves bashing Richard Stallman, now writes the official blog posts for the Linux Foundation and calls a kernel “operating system” (forget about GNU, it never existed). It’s like the Foundation rapidly became a Microsoft subsidiary (one year after official OSI blog posts came from Microsoft staff).

The blog post says “It’s not just the Linux operating system” and it’s accompanied — a co-author — by another person who is very high level at the Foundation and came from the same employer as the principal author.

A decade ago Amanda McPherson was lashing out at the idea that something other than Linux was promoted, but she has since then left or was ousted (we mentioned this before), only to be replaced by dubious people with history in surveillance and Microsoft.

This really troubles me a lot.

A year ago when we started a long series of articles (February 2019) I still believed that the Foundation could be salvaged. I no longer think so. It feels like it’s too late now. Microsoft has far too many seats, Linux.com turned into a farce, and Microsoft people now speak as though they own Linux.

“A year ago when we started a long series of articles (February 2019) I still believed that the Foundation could be salvaged.”Microsoft is not in this foundation to help Linux but to help proprietary GitHub and surveillance in Azure while Microsoft lawyers sue with patents (Foxconn less than a year ago) and Microsoft developers add patent traps to Linux. As recently as yesterday, a former Microsoft employee wrote on behalf of the Linux Foundation that the Foundation is no longer about Linux. Read as… it’s now perfectly OK with promoting also Windows, provided it has some “Open” things somewhere? Look at Linux.com. It certainly feels that way. Look what the Foundation’s staff uses in the backend, the frontend, their desktops and laptops. No, it’s not GNU/Linux (not even “Linux” as they like to call it).

The proprietary software of Microsoft, Apple etc. is routinely being promoted, with employees of such companies in all the important boards. They literally buy their seats there.

Torvalds must, in our humble assessment, take the trademark and elope very fast. He did that before with OSDL; it’s time to do that again.

Links 3/3/2020: DragonFlyBSD 5.8, Kubeflow 1.0, Dust3D 1.0.0 RC, Blender LTS and 3.0 Plans

Posted in News Roundup at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Exploring the Kubuntu Focus laptop

        If you’re a gamer, a developer, or a Linux power user who appreciates powerful hardware, you might be ready for the Focus – a high-end Linux laptop built and tested for Kubuntu.

        The Kubuntu Focus [1] is a high-performance laptop outfitted and optimized for maximum compatibility with Kubuntu and its KDE desktop. The Focus, which is produced by the Kubuntu Council, Tuxedo Computers, and MindShareManagement Inc., is the brainchild of MindShareManagement CEO Mike Mikowski. I first heard about this initiative through my role as Councilor for the Kubuntu project. Mike had approached the council via former council member Ovidiu-Florin Bogdan, with whom I co-host the Kubuntu Kafe live stream meetup and podcast.

        The idea of the Focus is to provide a highly polished, high-performance laptop computer targeting workflows for web designers, developers, and professional creators. The goal is to offer a “Power out of the Box” experience beyond that of the PC and MacBook.

      • Chrome OS 80 improves tablet mode, adds APK sideloading, and updates Linux environment

        Chrome OS updates always arrive a little later than Chrome browser updates, but Chrome OS 80 has been cooking in the oven for an especially long period of time — v81 of the browser is due soon. Still, good things come to those who wait, and Chrome OS 80 has a few noteworthy improvements.

        Beyond all of the changes in version 80 of the browser, Chrome OS 80 includes a significant update for anyone using Linux containers. If you’re setting up a Linux environment for the first time on your Chromebook, it will now use Debian 10 ‘Buster’ instead of Debian 9 ‘Stretch’ (Debian releases are named after characters from Pixar’s Toy Story films). That means you’ll get newer packages by default, but there’s no way right now to upgrade an existing container to Debian 10 — you’ll have to wipe your Linux environment and set it up again after updating to Chrome OS 80.

      • Pocket PC Cosmo Communicator Gets Linux Support

        The Cosmo Communicator, which has been launched up to now years, has a Q keyboard and a pc with a number of working programs. This help, which is the results of the corporate’s cooperation with the Linux group, permits customers to run extra purposes.

        Final yr, an organization referred to as Planet Computer systems introduced its transportable pocket pc, which it stated would help different working programs, together with Linux. This pocket pc, impressed by the Psion Sequence 5 PDA, launched in 1990, was launched to run Linux and Android, but it surely was not precisely that.

        Till now, the hand-held pc, which lacked twin working programs, used Android as its default working system and didn’t supply the chance to change to Linux. With the current improve in curiosity in Linux-based smartphones, Planet Computer systems fulfilled its promise, albeit a bit late, and supplied Linux help for Cosmo Communicator.

    • Server

      • Kubeflow 1.0 launches

        Kubeflow is an open source artificial intelligence / machine learning (AI/ML) tool that helps improve deployment, portability and management of AI/ML models. This tool allows users to quickly create, train and tune neural networks within Kubernetes for dynamic resource provisioning. It helps data scientists and AI/ML developers who want to easily setup a project or pipeline by unifying all the required tools under one installation. Kubeflow works well with TensorFlow and other modern AI/ML frameworks such as PyTorch, MXNet and Chainer allowing users to enhance their existing code and setup.

      • Kubeflow 1.0: An open source journey towards end-to-end enterprise machine learning
      • 2 Years at Weaveworks

        I also started contributing upstream in Kubernetes. This was a great experience learning from all the great folks who make Cluster Addons (Justin, Jeff, Leigh, Evan and so many others), a sub-project of SIG Cluster Lifecycle happen.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 84

        Is it time to give up on the Linux desktop and concentrate on open source apps? Plus a conundrum for Félim, Raspberry Pi and GTK in the news, and KDE Korner.

      • This Week in Linux 95: Manjaro 19, Raspberry Pi, UBports’ Lomiri, Arch Linux, IPFire, Shotcut, OBS

        On this speiail I’m Sick edition of This Week in Linux, We got a lot of Distro News for Manjaro 19, IPFire (firewall), and Arch Linux announces a new project leader. UBports announce that Unity8 has been rebranded to “Lomiri” and we got an awesome announcement from Raspberry Pi because the baseline $35 version has had the RAM doubled to 2GB. We’ve got a lot of App News this week to cover starting with Shotcut (video editor), the FSF is going to Launch Code a new Hosting Service, Facebook becomes a Premiere Sponsor of OBS project, and Waterfox has been acquired by System1 so we’ll talk about that. Finally, we’ll close out the show with news regarding the Azure Sphere project from Microsoft. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • LHS Episode #328: KiCad Deep Dive

        Hello and welcome to the 328th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this Episode, the hosts interview Barry Buelow, W0IY, about his experience in engineering, circuit design, PCB design, schematics and the benefits of using the Open Sourcea tool KiCad for drawing, modeling and manufacturing hardware projects. Thanks for listening. We hope you find the information useful and entertaining.

      • 2020-03-02 | Linux Headlines

        Why the Brave browser is worth another look, the brand new IRC client that’s getting attention, and the position that opened up at the EFF.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics/Linux: AMD, Intel and NVIDIA

        • RADV SQTT Profiling Support Expanded To Support GFX10/Navi

          Last week we saw the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver add SQ Thread Trace support for this hardware block found on AMD GPUs. The SQTT block is used for performance profiling and now the RADV support has been extended to handle GFX10/Navi.

          With the SQ Thread Trace support that came out last week, it was limited to supporting GFX9/Vega. But Valve’s Samuel Pitoiset who has been leading this RADV profiling effort got the GFX10/Navi support squared away and merged this Monday morning.

        • Intel’s Linux Media Driver Preparing For 20.1 Release, Game Streaming Optimizations

          Intel’s open-source team working on their media driver for VA-API Linux video acceleration on HD/UHD/Iris Graphics is preparing for its first release of 2020.

          Succeeding the Intel Media Driver Q4-19 release from December is now a Media Driver 20.1 version in the works.

        • DMA-BUF Explicit Sync Improvements Being Discussed To Help Vulkan, Other Modern Users

          Intel’s lead developer of the ANV Vulkan Linux driver started a discussion last week about adding an API to DMA-BUF for importing/exporting of sync files as part of allowing for explicit synchronization capabilities in better handling of modern APIs from user-space.

        • NVIDIA GTC Conference Turns Into Online Event Over Coronavirus Concerns

          The latest setback from Coronavirus / COVID-19 concerns is NVIDIA’s flagship GTC conference no longer happening in San Jose later this month.

          While NVIDIA decided to cancel the in-person GPU Tech Conference, they are making GTC 2020 an online event. While refunding fees for those who bought tickets for GTC 2020, NVIDIA is now making it an online event including a livestream for Jensen Huang’s keynote that had been schedule.

        • NVIDIA Engineer Shows Off New Linux Patches For Proactive Memory Compaction

          Veteran Linux engineer Nitin Gupta of NVIDIA has unveiled his latest patches on the work he got started on last year: proactive memory compaction for Linux motivated by the latency issues brought on by he current on-demand compaction when an application requests a lot of hugepages.

          Gupta began publishing the proactive compaction work for the Linux kernel towards the end of 2019. The work is particularly aimed at applications requesting lots of memory as hugepages but has other benefits as well for systems with fragmented RAM.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking The Performance Overhead To The Linux Kernel Runtime Guard

        Following recent discussions about Openwall’s Linux Kernel Runtime Guard (LKRG) and the Whonix spin on LKRG for Debian systems and more, here are some benchmarks showing the performance overhead to this run-time integrity checking of the Linux kernel that aims to fend off security vulnerability exploits.

        Based on Openwall’s LKRG, the Whonix LKRG packages make it very easy to deploy this run-time guard as a DKMS module to existing Debian/ubuntu Linux systems and more. Interestingly though the Whonix page mentions, “No benchmarks have yet been performed, but it appears the performance penalty is around 2.5% for fully enabled LKRG.” So, of course, I tested it out for myself.

    • Applications

      • Blender LTS and 3.0

        The first proposal is to do one Long Term Support (LTS) release every year. This release would be supported for two years with important bug fixes and updates for new hardware, while strictly maintaining compatibility.

        A good reason to do an LTS now is the focus on fixes and patches of the past months. The next release (2.83) although big, will be relatively less experimental, thus a good candidate to keep supporting for a while.

        LTS versions also will help to ensure that a project that started with an LTS version can be completed with the same version in a reasonable amount of time. Nice for studios with large projects, but also for add-on maintenance.

      • Blender 2.83 To Be An LTS Release, Blender 3.0 Next Summer

        Given the explosive growth of the Blender 3D modeling software in recent times and with receiving more sponsors/supporters and more organizations beginning to make use of this cross-platform, open-source software, the Blender release team has put out their plans for the next few years.

        Blender is going to begin carrying out long-term support releases in catering towards organizations preferring LTS releases and other corporate requirements for software usages. The first long-term release will be the next one, Blender 2.83 LTS, due out this May. Blender LTS releases will come once a year and be supported for a period of two years.

        Following Blender 2.83 LTS this spring, Blender 2.90 will in turn come this summer with new particle nodes handling and other features. While next year attention will turn to Blender 3.0.

      • Shotcut Video Editor Adds More Export Options, New Audio Pitch Filter

        A new version of the open source video editor Shotcut is available to download, and in this post I share some of the changes it includes.

        For those unaware Shotcut is a free, cross-platform non-linear video editor built using the MLT framework and leveraging the power of FFMepg.

        The latest stable release is Shotcut 20.02.17 (yes, the version number is a date) which adds a notable new feature: low resolution preview scaling.

        Although rather grand-sounding, this change allows editors to preview video in the on-screen display in a resolution that’s lower than the one they plan to export in.

        Previewing video in a lower resolution offers a number of performance enhancements as the computer isn’t having to work quite as hard.

      • Nikita version 0.5 released – updated free software archive API server

        Today, after many months of development, a new release of Nikita Noark 5 core project was finally announced on the project mailing list. The Nikita free software solution is an implementation of the Norwegian archive standard Noark 5 used by government offices in Norway.

      • GVls 0.14.0 Released

        GNOME Vala Language Server, GVls, 0.14.0 has been released!

        GVls has been integrated with GNOME Builder and now is its default Vala Language Server!

      • Dust3D 1.0.0-rc.1 Released Today with New Improved Features!

        ust3D 1.0.0-rc.1 Released Today: Dust3D is a 3D modelling application, which is mainly used to create anime characters for games and movies. This application has more than 1000+ default anime 3D model characters and it can be used to create the games instantly. Yesterday, the team released the latest version of Dust3D model software 1.0.0-rc.1 version. This new version have many new essential features, updates and bug fixes.

      • Delta Chat – Telegram / Whatsapp Like Messenger over Email

        Delta Chat is a free open-source Telegram or Whatsapp like messenger that works on Linux, Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android.

        Delta Chat doesn’t have its own servers but uses the most massive and diverse open messaging system ever: the existing e-mail server network.

      • Getting started with lightweight alternatives to GNU Emacs

        work on a lot of servers, and sometimes I find a host that hasn’t installed GNU Emacs. There’s usually a GNU Nano installation to keep me from resorting to Vi, but I’m not used to Nano the way I am Emacs, and I inevitably run into complications when I try to save my document (C-x in Nano stands for Exit, and C-s locks Konsole).

        While it would be nice to have GNU Emacs available everywhere, it’s a lot of program for making a simple update to a config file. My need for a small and lightweight emacs is what took me down the path of discovering MicroEmacs, Jove, and Zile—tiny, self-contained emacsen that you can put on a thumb drive, an SD card, and nearly any server, so you’ll never be without an emacs editor.

      • RedNotebook 2.18

        RedNotebook is a modern desktop journal. It lets you format, tag and search your entries. You can also add pictures, links and customizable templates, spell check your notes, and export to plain text, HTML, Latex or PDF. RedNotebook is Free Software under the GPL.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Steam Survey Updated For February 2020 With Latest Linux Figures

        After hitting 0.9% in January for the Steam on Linux marketshare that was a high for at least the past year, the Linux gaming percentage dropped slightly for February.

        According to the latest Steam Survey monthly numbers published today, Steam on Linux occupied 0.83% of their customers over the past month, or a drop of 0.07%. Granted, all usual caveats apply and especially this is a percentage indicator and not the overall number of Linux gamers making use of Valve’s digital distribution platform.

      • BadLads is an open-world multiplayer RP city sim coming to Linux this year

        Inspired by RP (role playing) mods for other games, BadLads from Latvian developer Chemical Heads Studios looks like it could be pretty amusing low-poly version of GTA Online.

        In BadLads, everyone start out as a normal Citizen but you get to choose a path to rise through the ranks. It’s not just a plain Good or Bad side either, the array of “Jobs” you can take vary a lot. You can be a Paramedic to get called when players have a shoot-out, attempt to become President, join the Police or a Gang and really mess up the city.

      • BeamNG.drive needs a developer to port it to Linux and other systems

        BeamNG.drive, a very popular and highly rated soft-body physics vehicle simulator looks like it may come to Linux – if they can find a dedicated developer to join their team.

        Quite interesting to see, since it has nearly thirty thousand user reviews on Steam and there’s a few thousand playing it right now—just to give you an idea of just how popular it is. From all those users, it’s sat at a “Very Positive” rating with the most recent being “Overwhelmingly Positive” so it’s doing well.

      • Knightin’+, a Zelda-lite dungeon crawler arrives DRM-free on GOG

        Knightin’+ from Muzt Die Studios, a Zelda-lite dungeon crawling adventure has now officially arrived on DRM-free store GOG.com.

        If you feel a certain longing for some of the classics, Knightin’+ might be exactly what you need. A no-fuss dungeon crawler with plenty of combat and small puzzles to overcome.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile, 2020 is starting strong

          Earlier this month I attended FOSDEM and the Plasma Mobile Sprint right after. Both of these events were especially important for our mobile venture. First, seeing how people are asking us to provide a good experience also in their pockets, then seeing how many people and energy is being put into making it happen.

          Now what’s to coming from my end?

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • This Month in Mutter & GNOME Shell | February 2020

          GNOME Shell’s CSS engine now supports auto. Â The icon grid spring animation was optimized to reduce the number of relayouts, which reduces CPU usage. Another batch of cleanups, refactorings, and fixes to GNOME Shell’s SCSS files landed.

          Thanks to the ongoing efforts of extending and improving Sysprof, various bottlenecks and misbehaviors were identified in GNOME Shell and Mutter, and subsequently fixed. In particular, GNOME Shell now avoids doing I/O operations in the main thread when saving notification data on disk, and the local timezone is now cached, which avoids reading the contents of /etc/localtime more than necessary. As a consequence, GNOME Shell should behave better under heavy I/O loads on the host system.

          The blur effect that is used by the new lock screen received further optimizations, and should be quick enough to not have any noticeable performance impact.

          Animations are now disabled on various circumstances, such as when using a software renderer, when sharing screen with VNC streams, and when asked to by remote desktop sessions.

        • GNOME Shell To Ship New App For Managing Extensions

          GNOME 3.36 will begin shipping a new application as part of the GNOME Shell to manage desktop extensions.

          The new “Extensions” app is intended to be the primary means of managing GNOME Shell extensions moving forward. This application also allows globally disabling extensions and modifying other extension behavior.

          The new Extensions app was talked about as part of the GNOME Shell and Mutter improvements during February.

    • Linux Magazine (Paywall)

      • Welcome

        This column is about IT, not about politics. The names of politicians sometimes come up in this space – mostly because of something they did that is related to IT, but it is never my goal to descend into the political fray.

        Dear Reader,

        This column is about IT, not about politics. The names of politicians sometimes come up in this space – mostly because of something they did that is related to IT, but it is never my goal to descend into the political fray. In fact, I honestly believe the whole reason the political fray exists is because it is much easier to reduce everything to politics than it is to deal directly with the perplexing and often unsolvable issues that politicians face: social responsibility, economics, national security, personal liberty. A collection of opinions on these perplexing topics is often encapsulated into a convenient bundle plan that is associated with a particular politician, and when you say you like that politician, you imply some level of comfort with that politician’s opinion bundle. Seems like it rarely ever gets much deeper than that.

        On February 13, a federal judge issued an injunction to stop work on the massive Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) cloud project for the US Department of Defense (DoD). Amazon had brought the suit in an attempt to prevent the $10 billion project from going to the contract winner, Microsoft. In the USA, a flurry of lawsuit threats often follows the awarding of a gigantic government contract. A common legal theory behind many of these post-award legal maneuvers is that the contract was awarded in “bad faith,” meaning that the government agency was acting with animus toward one of the losing bidders. These lawsuits hardly ever work, because bad faith is very difficult to prove, and the legal standard is that it must be proved convincingly – mere inference or innuendo are not enough, and even incompetence or negligence isn’t a compelling argument. You really have to show that the government acted with malice. So usually it doesn’t work. However, legal experts say the judge wouldn’t have issued the injunction unless the case had at least some likelihood of succeeding in court. Amazon Web Services had to put a $42 million deposit, which they will forfeit if it is proven that the injunction to stop the project was wrongly issued.

      • Scraping the web for data
      • Early Distributions
      • Chat freely with Jami
      • Cast to TV Gnome Shell Extension
      • An easy-to-use media server for your home network
      • FOSSPicks
      • A digital picture frame with weather forecast
      • Draw and paint in Linux
      • Updates on technologies, trends, and tools
      • Introducing sorting algorithms in Go
      • This month in Linux Voice.
      • An inexpensive open source 3D printer
    • Distributions

      • Drauger OS Linux Aims to Bring Console Gaming Experience on the Desktop

        Built on top of low latency Liquorix Linux kernel, Draguer OS strives to give you an at-par gaming experience on Linux desktop.

      • BSD

        • DragonFlyBSD 5.8 Released For This Popular + Performant BSD Operating System

          DragonFlyBSD 5.8 is another big step forward for the operating system and their first release of 2020. DragonFlyBSD 5.8 brings performance improvements to TMPFS, updated Intel and Linux DRM graphics drivers including for AMD Radeon hardware, FSCK support for their modern HAMMER2 file-system, DSynth is getting into order, AMD Zen 2 support improvements, and other work.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Kubernetes operators: Embedding operational expertise side by side with containerized applications

          Traditionally, when new software was deployed, we also deployed a real, human Sysadmin to care and feed the application. This care and feeding included tasks like installation, upgrades, backups, & restores, troubleshooting, and return to service. If a service failed, we paged this Sysadmin, they logged into a server, would troubleshoot the application, and fix what was broken. To track this work, they would document their progress in a ticketing system.

          As we moved into the world of containers (about six years ago at the time of this writing), we updated the packaging format of the application, but we continued to deploy a real human Sysadmin to care and feed the application. This simplified installation, and upgrades, but did little for data backups/restores and break/fix work.

          With the advent of the Kubernetes Operator pattern, we deploy the software application in a container and we also deploy a robot Sysadmin in the same environment to care and feed the application. We refer to these robot Sysadmins as Operators. Not only can they perform installation, upgrades, backups, and restores, but they can also perform more complex tasks like recovering a database when the tables become corrupted. This takes us into another world of automation and reliability.

        • Building a No-Code Blockchain App with IBM Blockchain Platform and Joget on OpenShift

          This is a guest post by Julian Khoo, VP Product Development and Co-Founder at Joget Inc. Julian leads the development of the open source Joget no-code/low-code application platform.

        • Maximizing value from Red Hat Learning

          The range of Red Hat courses is impressive. Red Hat provides course material on a wide range of topics from deep-diving into low-level Linux practices, such as performance tuning, through cloud computing up to digital transformation path with Kubernetes, strong automation, and much more with the Red Hat Learning Subscription.

          In this post, we’ll explore how to make the most of the benefits you can get from the Red Hat Learning platform. If you are looking at how to get every last ounce of knowledge out of Red Hat, you’ve come to the right place.

        • Red Hat Partner Connect Expands Its Certification Programs

          Red Hat has enhanced its partner offerings centered around open hybrid cloud innovation and in support of the growing demand for cloud-native solutions within the Red Hat ecosystem.

          Using Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 and Red Hat OpenShift 4 as the foundation, Red Hat Partner Connect is expanding its certification programs and support services to better equip partners for an IT world built on hybrid and multicloud deployments.

          Red Hat Partner Connect provides many partnership opportunities, including certification offerings and enablement for software, hardware, services and cloud service providers that develop products and services for Red Hat hybrid cloud platforms.

        • Collections signal major shift in Ansible ecosystem, and more Ansible news

          Over the eight years since its inception, Ansible has become wildly successful. The core maintainers know that the workload to keep accepting modules has outgrown the model, so there are large changes afoot. If you get time to read only one thing in this edition of Ansible around the web, make it Jeff Geerling’s post on collections. Otherwise, there’s a tasty selection of articles on complex environments and how to lay out Ansible to service them, SAP HANA, and building RPMs. Enjoy!

          If you spot an interesting Ansible story on your travels, please send us the link via Mark on Twitter, and the Ansible Community team will curate the best submissions.

        • IBM, David Clark Launch 2020 Call For Code Challenge
        • Fedora Update 2020 Weeks 6–9

          It’s been around a month since the last packaging update post, and a thing of major note is that Fedora 32 was branched from Rawhide last week. This means one extra branch on which builds must be made, but for now it’s mostly in sync with Rawhide. Fedora 32 is also in Beta Freeze, so updates don’t really flow out right now either.

          Leading up the Branch point, I went on a little run to try and get in as many updates as possible. I generally prioritized breaking changes so those would get in without breaking our Updates policy. So I caught up on a backlog of all my R packages, plus several other packages in the Go SIG. This involved writing a bit of Python scripting to build and submit quickly, which I’m hoping to turn around into something more automated eventually.

        • Help us name the Fedora IoT Edition

          As part of the Fedora 32 release, Fedora IoT is being promoted to an Edition. Before we do that, we want to give it a name. We need your help for this. Submit your name ideas on the wiki by 15 March and then we’ll all vote as a community.

      • Debian Family

        • RcppAnnoy 0.0.15

          A few days ago, a new release 0.0.15 of RcppAnnoy got onto CRAN while I was traveling / attending the wonderful celebRtion 2020 for the 20th anniversary of the R 1.0.0 release.

          RcppAnnoy is the Rcpp-based R integration of the nifty Annoy library by Erik Bernhardsson. Annoy is a small and lightweight C++ template header library for very fast approximate nearest neighbours—originally developed to drive the famous Spotify music discovery algorithm.

          This releases makes great strides towards avoiding long-standing SAN/UBSAN issues. Upstream author Erik has been most helpful, as has been the feedback and input from two downstream users of RcppAnnoy, namely Aaron and James. This 0.0.15 release addresses one key, and longstanding, SAN/UBSAN issue. It is actually rather tricky as the code, for efficiency reason, bounces at the edge of what can be done. But a small rearrangement suppresses one such message which is good. We also got a hint from CRAN (thanks for that as always) to re-read one section of Writing R Extensions to make alloca more portable so that Solaris does not have to cry, and Bill Venables kindly helped with a small correction to the docs.

        • Buster in the AWS Marketplace

          When buster was first released back in early July of last year, the cloud team was in the process of setting up some new accounts with AWS to be used for AMI publication. For various reasons, the accounts we used for pre-buster releases were considered unsuitable for use long term, and the buster release was considered to be a good logical point to make the switch. Unfortunately, issues within the bureaucracy of both SPI/Debian and AWS delayed the complete switch to the new accounts. We have been publishing buster AMIs using a new account since September of 2019, but we have not been able to list them with the AWS Marketplace. This has reduced the visibility and discoverability of the AMIs and lead to numerous questions on the mailing lists and other forums.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” Is Now Officially Available in the AWS Marketplace

          Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” was released in July 2019 and AMI (Amazon Machine Image) images have been published for those who wanted to use the universal operating system on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) cloud computing service since September of last year.

          While the Debian Project was publishing AMIs, the operating system wasn’t officially listed in the AWS Marketplace and that not only reduced its visibility, but it also created a lot of confusion for many users who wanted to use Debian Buster in the Amazon cloud.

          But the wait is finally over! As of March 2nd, 2020, the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system is now officially available in the AWS Marketplace. You can access it here and you’re encouraged not only to use it directly from there but also to leave ratings or reviews.

        • Debian LTS and ELTS – February 2020

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

          In February, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I was assigned 20h for LTS (out of 30 max) and 8h for ELTS (max) of which I did 7h.

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software activities for 2020-02

          This month started off in Belgium for FOSDEM on 1-2 February. I attended FOSDEM in Brussels and wrote a separate blog entry for that.

          The month ended with Belgians at Tammy and Wouter’s wedding. On Thursday we had Wouter’s bachelors and then over the weekend I stayed over at their wedding venue. I thought that other Debianites might be interested so I’m sharing some photos here with permission from Wouter. It was the only wedding I’ve been at where nearly everyone had questions about Debian!

          I first met Wouter on the bus during the daytrip on DebConf12 in Nicaragua, back then I’ve eagerly followed the Debianites on Planet Debian for a while so it was like meeting someone famous. Little did I know that 8 years later, I’d be at his wedding back in my part of the world.

          If you went to DebConf16 in South Africa, you might remember Tammy, who have done a lot of work for DC16 including most of the artwork, bunch of website work, design on the badges, bags, etc and also did a lot of organisation for the day trips. Tammy and Wouter met while Tammy was reviewing the artwork in the video loops for the DebConf videos, and then things developed from there.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Voting Opens in Ubuntu Studio 20.04 Wallpaper Contest

          Ubuntu Studio has launched an online poll to help select a set of winning wallpapers for it to ship in its upcoming release.

          In all, some 17 community-sourced wallpapers have made it through the final of the Ubuntu Studio 20.04 wallpaper contest. Now comes the hard part: picking 10 overall winners to ship in the install image.

          The gallery below offers a preview all 17 finalists. A diverse selection of backgrounds made it through to the penultimate stage, with a mix of (obligatory) nature shots, illustrations, and logo-adorned images on offer.

        • Wallpaper Contest – VOTE HERE!

          We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who submitted a wallpaper for the Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS wallpaper contest. We had 41 submissions, out of which we have narrowed it down to 17 of the best.

          Out of these 17, the top 10 will be selected to be a part of Ubuntu Studio 20.04’s wallpaper selection. Please note that none of these will be selected to be the default desktop wallpaper as that’s already being done by a long-time member of the Ubuntu Studio development team.

          The gallery is shown below. Below that is a straw poll. Vote for your favorites that you’d like to see included in Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS. Please limit your votes to 10 images.

          Voting ends on Friday, March 6th at 5:00pm (17:00), US Pacific Time

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 620

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 620 for the week of February 23 – 29, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Makes Picking The Right Graphics Driver Less Confusing

          Phrases like “metapackage” and “X.org X server” aren’t exactly easy for the average user to understand, right? So Canonical is going to simplify the language in the “Software and Updates” Drivers tab, while adding more detail to each potential graphics driver choice.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #51

            Bonjour, bonjour! Another long overdue episode of your favourite Mozilla gfx team newsletter is here. A few weeks ago, Jessie published a call to help us find steps to reproduce a mysterious glitch. Thanks a ton to everyone who helped out with this one! Glenn landed a fix to an issue that we suspect might be the cause of the issues. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you are still running into this particular glitch with Firefox Nightly and WebRender enabled.

            Other than that there are a number of pretty exciting things going on in WebRender. One of them is Lee and Jeff’s work on a software backend for WebRender. In order to eventually move all Firefox users to WebRender, we need a backend that can accomodate for very old GPUs and very buggy drivers. Ideally this backend would use most of WebRender’s current code and infrastructure to avoid having too much new code (and bugs!) to maintain with our limited resources. One of the avenues that was investigated is using a software emulation layer for OpenGL such as Swift Shader or llvm-pipe as a black box to run our GPU code on the CPU. We unfortunately couldn’t get good enough performance this way so Lee is now experimenting with automatically translating our shaders into SIMD-optimized CPU code while compiling Firefox instead, with SIMD optimizations. These “software shaders” are then run into a simple custom rasterizer that only supports the few OpenGL features that we need and take advantage of the restricted featureset to run as fast as possible. This is still very much experimental but initial results are promising.

          • Jan-Erik Rediger: Two-year Moziversary

            Woops, looks like I missed my Two Year Moziversary! 2 years ago, in March 2018, I joined Mozilla as a Firefox Telemetry Engineer. Last year I blogged about what happened in my first year.

            One year later I am still in the same team, but other things changed. Our team grew (hello Bea & Mike!), and shrank (bye Georg!), lots of other changes at Mozilla happened as well.

            However one thing stayed during the whole year: Glean.
            Culminating in the very first Glean-written-in-Rust release, but not slowing down after, the Glean project is changing how we do telemetry in Mozilla products.

            Glean is now being used in multiple products across mobile and desktop operating systems (Firefox Preview, Lockwise for Android, Lockwise for iOS, Project FOG). We’ve seen over 2000 commits on that project, published 16 releases and posted 14 This Week in Glean blogposts.

          • Are you registered to vote?

            Left, right, or center. Blue, red, or green. Whatever your flavor, it’s your right to decide the direction of your community, state and country. The first step is to check your voter registration status so you can actually vote.

          • Firefox: How Mozilla wants to fight against Google’s dominance

            There was a time when it looked like nothing could stop the rise of Firefox. But then Chrome appeared on the scene and Google grabbed the browser market for itself. The consequences for Firefox: The global market share has dropped to single digits, while the Mozilla browser never managed to get any relevant position on smartphones.

            As Mozillas Chief Technical Officer (CTO) Dave Camp is responsible for the development of Firefox. In an interview with DER STANDARD he talks about what’s coming up for Firefox and why Mozilla is mostly focusing on privacy right now and why the company wants to continue to use its own rendering engine. The questions were asked by Andreas Proschofsky.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Disaster tolerance with Apache Cassandra

          The size and scope of today’s Internet companies require more than your average SQL. Apache Cassandra is one of the NoSQL systems filling the need for high availability at scale.

          Apache Cassandra is an open source NoSQL distributed database that stores and manages large volumes of data on standard servers. Cloud providers use Cassandra for configurations with many data centers spread across global networks.

        • CouchDB Adds Live Shard Splitting

          There’s a major new release of Apache CouchDB, with improvements including live shard splitting, user-defined partitioned databases for faster querying, and an automatic view index warmer.

          Apache CouchDB is an open source NoSQL document database that stores data in a schema-free JSON format. CouchDB uses its own replication protocol to keep JSON documents synchronized. CouchDB was originally developed by Damien Katz, and was then adopted as a successful Apache project. CouchDB comes with a developer-friendly query language, and optionally MapReduce for simple, efficient, and comprehensive data retrieval.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Our new extensions and templates page is getting ready!

          Our Extensions and Templates Website has worked well over the years. It is one of the key and most frequented websites of the LibreOffice project, as it enables users to enhance the functionality of LibreOffice with add-ons and plug-ins, while providing an easy way for authors to improve LibreOffice.

          We’d like to express a special thanks to Andreas Mantke for implementing, designing and maintaining it in first place! It was his initiative to come up with such a website and he has spent countless hours over the past years to maintain the site to the benefit of our community. Kudos and thank you so much for your help and dedication!

          As we look forward, we’ve been thinking about how to progress, while building on some of the other technologies we use.

        • Sukapura is a new LibreOffice icon theme

          Rizal Muttaqin has added a new icon theme into LibreOffice. Its name is Sukapura. That icon theme will be a default theme for a new LibreOffice installation in macOS. It looks very nice for me.
          The Sukapura icon theme will available in future LibreOffice 7.0 release.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Interruptible poke

            Poke has loops. It also does IO (yeah, right :D). On one hand, this means that Poke programs that never finish are definitely possible (here is one: while (1) {}) and, on the other, a Poke program acting on an enormous amount of data may take a long time to finish, depending on what it does. Maybe hours, maybe even days?

          • GNU Spotlight with Mike Gerwitz: 22 new GNU releases in February!

            binutils-2.34
            bison-3.5.2
            datamash-1.6
            ed-1.16
            gdb-9.1
            glibc-2.31
            gnuhealth-3.6.3
            guile-debbugs-0.0.3
            gwl-0.2.0
            hyperbole-7.1.0
            jacal-1c6
            libmicrohttpd-0.9.70
            libtasn1-4.16.0
            nano-4.8
            ncurses-6.2
            octave-5.2.0
            parallel-20200222
            scm-5f3
            screen-4.8.0
            shepherd-0.7.0
            slib-3b6
            wb-2b4

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.9 Released With More AVX-512 Tuning, Arm Neoverse N1 Support

          OpenBLAS 0.3.8 was released shy of a month ago for this popular Basic Linear Algebra Subprograms implementation while now has been succeeded by OpenBLAS 0.3.9.

          OpenBLAS 0.3.9 continues optimizing for x86_64 and other CPU architectures. On the x86_64 front there are a few long-standing error/bug fixes, fixed the CPU detection code for Goldmont+ and Ice Lake, fixed Skylake-X compilation on MinGW, and continued AVX work. The latest on the Advanced Vector Extensions front is improving the AVX-512 GEMM3M code, a AVX-512 kernel for STRMM, and improving the AVX2 GEMM kernel performance.

        • Custom client-side window decorations in Qt 5.15

          This is just a quick update about a new feature in Qt 5.15 that I’m really excited
          about.

          Traditionally, window decorations have been a pretty boring thing. Title bar,
          border, minimize, maximize, resize and quit… and that’s it.

          In recent times, however, applications more and more tend to include
          application specific UI and theming in their decorations. Just a couple of screenshots to
          explain what I’m talking about:

        • Blockchain jobs: Here are the top vacancies in Accenture, IBM and others [Ed: So now Microsoft alone is used to infer what jobs are in demand? No other vacancies counted? Microsoft already (mis)uses GitHub to pretend all projects not controlled by Microsoft neither exist nor count. That is a major propaganda tool.]]

          A LinkedIn report titled…

        • Jussi Pakkanen: Meson manual sales numbers and a profitability estimate

          The Meson Manual has been available for purchase for about two months now. This is a sufficient amount of time to be able to estimate total sales amounts and the like. As one of the goals of the project was to see if this could be a reasonable way to compensate FOSS maintainers for their work, let’s go through the numbers in detail.

          [...]

          So was it worth it?

          It depends? As a personal endeavor writing, publishing and selling a full book is very satisfying and rewarding (even though writing it was at times incredibly tedious). But financially? No way. The break-even point seems to be about 10× the current sales. If 100× sales were possible, it might be sufficient amount for more people to take the risk and try to make a living this way. With these sales figures it’s just not worth it.

        • February Recap / Brain Dump

          I outlined a dozen or so blog posts in last month’s roadmap, and I ended up finishing seven of them.

          The last one was discussed on Hacker News three weeks ago. The discussion covered many of the remaining blog topics, like which features I’ve cut from Oil, and opportunities for a better interactive hsell.

          So rather than write five more posts, this post summarizes important comments in that thread.

          I also explain some recent progress in translation to C++, and summarize two releases I’ve made in the last month.

        • How open source is transforming retail

          Companies today need to know that they are entitled to transparency and collaboration from their software solutions. Vendor lock-in models, with expensive exit fees, are of another time and likely to hamper a forward-looking business aiming to future-proof its services. In contrast, best-of-breed enterprise solutions produced by the vibrant open source community ensure that companies can take control of the code they run their business on, to maintain freedom and flexibility as they innovate and grow. It’s for this very reason—along with cost savings—that Amazon backed the DENT open-source project.

          In the fast-changing world of e-commerce, companies taking advantage of open-source software can future-proof their sales channels, by securing lower costs and being in a position to get products to market more quickly. It can also help retailers differentiate their product offerings.

          There is immense value to be found in open source technology for retailers. By utilising public source code, brands can ensure their services are more powerful and more flexible than ever before.

        • Ask Lunduke – Mar 2, 2020 – The UNIX Wars

          Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode of Ask Lunduke is available two ways: At Patreon to all Patrons of The Lunduke Journal. At LBRY, for a small cost in LBC. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: What if AT&T didn’t go after the Berkeley and the BSD project in the late 80s?

        • Perl / Raku

          • Demonstrating PERL with Tic-Tac-Toe, Part 2

            The astute observer may have noticed that PERL is misspelled. In a March 1, 1999 interview with Linux Journal, Larry Wall explained that he originally intended to include the letter “A” from the word “And” in the title “Practical Extraction And Report Language” such that the acronym would correctly spell the word PEARL. However, before he released PERL, Larry heard that another programming language had already taken that name. To resolve the name collision, he dropped the “A”. The acronym is still valid because title case and acronyms allow articles, short prepositions and conjunctions to be omitted (compare for example the acronym LASER).

            Name collisions happen when distinct commands or variables with the same name are merged into a single namespace. Because Unix commands share a common namespace, two commands cannot have the same name.

            The same problem exists for the names of global variables and subroutines within programs written in languages like PERL. This is an especially significant problem when programmers try to collaborate on large software projects or otherwise incorporate code written by other programmers into their own code base.

            Starting with version 5, PERL supports packages. Packages allow PERL code to be modularized with unique namespaces so that the global variables and functions of the modularized code will not collide with the variables and functions of another script or module.

            Shortly after its release, PERL5 software developers all over the world began writing software modules to extend PERL’s core functionality. Because many of those developers (currently about 15,000) have made their work freely available on the Comprehensive Perl Archive Network (CPAN), you can easily extend the functionality of PERL on your PC so that you can perform very advanced and complex tasks with just a few commands.

          • 2020.09 A Quick One From Bubenreuth

            Yours truly is on the road to the 22nd German Perl/Raku Workshop 2020 in Erlangen, Germany. The program starts on Tuesday evening with a Pre-event Social. The program has the following presentations with Raku content:

        • Python

          • Python Bindings: Calling C or C++ From Python

            Are you a Python developer with a C or C++ library you’d like to use from Python? If so, then Python bindings allow you to call functions and pass data from Python to C or C++, letting you take advantage of the strengths of both languages. Throughout this tutorial, you’ll see an overview of some of the tools you can use to create Python bindings.

          • True constants in Python – part 1
          • True constants in Python – part 2, and a challenge
          • Pycon March 2 Update on COVID-19

            The coronavirus (also known as COVID-19) is a new virus that causes respiratory illness in people and can spread from person-to-person. Since PyCon US 2020 is scheduled in April, we want to give our community an update on our status and more information about our policy for attendees pertaining to COVID-19.

            As of March 2, PyCon 2020 in Pittsburgh, PA is scheduled to happen.

            The staff and board directors are actively watching the situation closely, as it continues to change rapidly. We plan to reassess the situation weekly and more frequently as we get closer to the event. This includes checking in with our Pittsburgh team for updates including from vendors and local authorities.

          • Why You Must Migrate to Python 3 Now

            Support for Python 2 should have stopped at the beginning of 2020. However, it has become clear that the last major 2.7.x release will be in April 2020. After that, all development will cease for Python 2. This means there will be no security updates.
            Many package maintainers have migrated to Python 3. Some still support Python 2, while others already dropped support. After April 2020, most packages will gradually stop supporting it.
            Python 3.0 was released on December 3, 2008. So yeah, we’ve all had plenty of time to migrate. If you still haven’t, you should make it a top priority right now. At the max, you should be running Python 3 before the end of 2020. Otherwise, you will be at risk of vulnerabilities, non-functioning software, etc.

          • The Python Programming Language Is More Popular Than Ever [Ed: Conde Nast bases its analysis of programming trends on Microsoft analysts who only assess Microsoft data! Poor journalism!]

            RedMonk usually doesn’t make much of small rankings changes…

  • Leftovers

    • Nokia Corporation Pekka Lundmark Appointed President And Ceo Of Nokia; Rajeev Suri To Step Down After More Than A Decade As P…

      Nokia’s Board of Directors has appointed Pekka Lundmark as President and Chief Executive Officer of Nokia. Lundmark is expected to start in his new role on September 1, 2020.

      Lundmark is currently President and CEO of Fortum, a leading energy company based in Espoo, Finland, where he consistently delivered robust total shareholder returns, successfully renewed the company’s strategy, and positioned it to be a strong player in the transforming global energy sector. Prior to Fortum, Lundmark served as President and CEO of Konecranes, a global material-handling technology leader, and from 1990-2000 he held multiple executive positions at Nokia, including Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at Nokia Networks. Lundmark holds a Master of Science degree from Helsinki University of Technology. He will be based in Espoo, Finland.

    • Rajeev Suri to step down after more than a decade as President, CEO of Nokia; Pekka Lundmark to take charge

      Suri will leave his current position on August 31, 2020, and continue to serve as an advisor to the Nokia Board until January 1, 2021. During his tenure as CEO of Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks, Suri led a significant consolidation of the telecommunications infrastructure sector; a fundamental turnaround of Nokia Siemens Networks including the disposal of multiple non-core assets; massive growth in the company’s highly profitable patent-licensing business; the integration of Alcatel-Lucent; and successful diversification into new software and enterprise markets. Under his leadership, Nokia became one of the top two players in telecommunications infrastructure, rising from a number four position, with the scope and scale for long-term success.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Vaccines didn’t cause the obesity epidemic, RFK Jr.’s lies not withstanding

        Those of us who have been following the antivaccine movement and the sorts of claims that its members are seldom surprised by what antivaxxers blame on vaccines. Basically, antivaxxers blame everything on vaccines: autism, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), cancer, and more diseases and health conditions than I can easily list here. We’ve discussed at one time or another nearly all of these claims and why they’re bogus. However, there’s one claim that I don’t recall having discussed here before. So I have to thank antivaccine leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and his antivaccine group Children’s Health Defense for providing me with the opportunity to do so by publishing a post last month, “Weighing Down Childhood: Are Vaccines and Glyphosate Contributing to Childhood Obesity?” Here’s a hint: Betteridge’s law of headlines definitely applies here, no matter how much RFK Jr. and whoever wrote this pile of antivaccine pseudoscience wants to lead you to believe otherwise.

      • Accurate Virus Reporting Is a Minefield for the Media

        Covering the coronavirus story requires careful navigation and constant attention.

      • The Viral Blame Game: Xenophobia, Attribution and Coronavirus

        Moralising the way diseases and viruses are transferred is a very human, and particularly nasty trait. “We don’t need this kind of riff-raff on our shores,” screamed The New York Times in 1892 in response to Russian Jewish immigrants arriving at Ellis Island by boat. (The occupants hosted lice which, in turn, led to typhus.)

      • Cop Shops Around The Nation Think It’s Hilarious To Crack Jokes About Coronavirus-Contaminated Drugs

        At a time when people are getting hit with a lot of misinformation, and trust in law enforcement is at an all-time low, why in world would you do something like this?

      • Coronavirus Death Toll Rises in Iran Amid US Sanctions and Government Negligence

        The official coronavirus death toll in Iran, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, has risen to at least 54 — the highest number of fatalities outside of China, where the outbreak began. Experts say the real number of people who died from the disease may be as high as 200. This comes after Iran’s deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, posted a video on social media last week acknowledging he contracted coronavirus. Just one day before, he seemed ill at a press conference, where he downplayed the spread of coronavirus in the city of Qom and said mass quarantines were unnecessary. Iranian authorities announced new efforts to combat the coronavirus on Sunday, calling on people not to use public transportation, and closing schools, universities and cultural centers. The World Health Organization has declared the outbreak an international health emergency. We speak with Dr. Kamiar Alaei, Iranian global health policy expert and co-founder and co-president of the Institute for International Health and Education. He is a visiting professor at the University of Oxford.

      • America Faces an Epidemic of Retirement Insecurity

        The Dow Jones Industrial Average just dropped nearly 1,200 points in a single day because of the coronavirus’s impact on global trade, leaving many Americans sick with worry.

      • Iran’s Coronavirus Outbreak Bizarrely Resembles the Black Death

        When the very first coronavirus reports emerged, I had a suspicion that Iran would be a target of the world’s anger. The spread of Covid-19 to the Middle East was as inevitable as history because the Muslim pilgrim routes have always acted as a channel for pestilence. But however honest or dishonest Iran’s response to the virus has been, contemporary hatred for Shia Islam in Sunni Muslim lands and the anti-Iranian bias of the western world was going to turn poor old Persia into a plague pariah.

      • ‘Deadly Consequences’: Critics Sound Alarm as Trump Prioritizes Politics Over Public Safety in Coronavirus Response

        “It’s no surprise that the president has viewed the emerging coronavirus pandemic through the lens of what would damage or benefit him politically.”

      • ‘Why Are We Being Charged?’ Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing Spark Calls for Government to Cover All Costs

        “Huge surprise medical bills [are] going to make sure people with symptoms don’t get tested. That is bad for everyone.”

      • Senate May Try To Sneak A Clean Reauth Of Surveillance Powers Into A Must-Pass Coronovirus Bill

        The USA Freedom Act is up for renewal, bringing with it the usual arguments for preserving the surveillance status quo. But this administration is a little bit different. President Trump remains convinced a Deep State conspiracy exists that is actively trying to unseat him. The FBI added some fuel to the conspiratorial fire by intentionally misleading the FISA court during its investigation of former Trump adviser, Carter Page. The FBI’s omission of evidence it had indicating Page wasn’t acting as an agent of a foreign power allowed it to continue its surveillance without legal justification.

      • Russian returning home from Italy diagnosed with coronavirus in sixth confirmed case

        Russia’s consumer welfare agency, Rospotrebnadzor, has announced that a Russian citizen returning from a vacation in Italy was diagnosed with the coronavirus COVID-19.

      • Coronavirus Testing Costs Spark Calls for Full Government Coverage
      • As coronavirus worsens, companies renew focus on collaboration, remote work

        Remote work has significantly increased in China as a result of restricted movement; in a conference call last week, Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, advised U.S. companies to start making similar preparations.

      • Twitter is latest tech company to ban employee travel due to coronavirus

        Twitter joins the ranks of Amazon and Google to halt nonessential employee travel due to the coronavirus threat.

        This means the company is also pulling out of SXSW, where Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was scheduled to give a keynote address, according to CNET’s Erin Carson. In past years, Twitter has hosted speakers and events at its “Twitter House” at SXSW in Austin, Texas, which takes place in mid-March.

      • Saying Government-Funded Healthcare’s Too Costly is Nuts…Unless You Think the US Uniquely Can’t Do It

        The new corporate media and conservative Democratic argument against front-runner Bernie Sanders’ eminently logical proposal for creating a single-payer government health insurance program that he calls “Medicare for All” is that it would destroy the huge health insurance industry and put 1.8 million insurance industry employees out on the street.

        That is about the stupidest argument for not making an urgent reform of an outrageous pirate-capitalist system I can imagine!

        To get a sense of how crazy this argument is, let’s look back at the history of capitalist development. When the steam engine was invented and ships started using motors instead of being drawn through canals by mule or sailed across the sea by wind-power (a labor-intensive process), did anyone worry about all the mule-drivers or sailors being put out of work by the technology shift? When the automobile was invented, did anyone worry about the collapse of the horse-breeding business, which at the time was huge, or the collapse of the passenger rail and trolly industries? When oil was discovered and refineries began cracking crude into useable oil, gasoline and kerosene, did anyone worry about the rapid collapse of the whaling industry? When electronics and the internet made operators redundant, did anyone worry about an army of unemployed switching and information-assistance operators? No, of course not! All of this “creative destruction” was viewed as progress. Losers from such shifts were expected to suck it up and find new employment.

        Currently we are realizing that the coal, oil and gas industries are threatening to destroy the earth, so nations (excepting the US) are working to shut down those industries as quickly as possible, replacing the with clean energy alternatives like solar and wind power. It would be ludicrous to say (as the Trump administration, and some conservative Democrats do), “Well, we can’t save civilization and indeed the entire biosphere of the earth because energy workers will lose their jobs.”

      • Freiburg Researchers Publish Coronavirus Data Analyses On Galaxy

        Researchers from the University of Freiburg, together with those from universities in Belgium, Australia and the USA, have announced that they have reviewed the previously available data on sequences of the novel coronavirus and published their analyses on the open source platform Galaxy. With this, scientists will be able to analyze new COVID-19 datasets on public servers within hours after their release through the same workflows used to analyze the current data.

        Dr. Wolfgang Maier and Dr. Björn Grüning from the University of Freiburg hope that this will facilitate the exchange of data between authorities, institutes and laboratories dealing with the virus. The Freiburg researchers have documented their approach and results on the bioRxiv portal.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Some Election-Related Websites Still Run on Vulnerable Software Older Than Many High Schoolers

        The Richmond, Virginia, website that tells people where to vote and publishes election results runs on a 17-year-old operating system. Software used by election-related sites in Johnston County, North Carolina, and the town of Barnstable, Massachusetts, had reached its expiration date, making security updates no longer available.

        These aging systems reflect a larger problem: A ProPublica investigation found that at least 50 election-related websites in counties and towns voting on Super Tuesday — accounting for nearly 2 million voters — were particularly vulnerable to cyberattack. The sites, where people can find out how to register to vote, where to cast ballots and who won the election, had security issues such as outdated software, poor encryption and systems encumbered with unneeded computer programs. None of the localities contacted by ProPublica said that their sites had been disrupted by cyberattacks.

      • Proprietary

        • Running Azure IoT Edge on Yocto Linux | Internet of Things Show [Ed: Microsoft turning "Linux" into Microsoft surveillance tool]
        • DH2i DxEnterprise for SDP-Enhanced Microsoft SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) on Linux Now Available in AWS Marketplace [Ed: You look for “Linux” news and get Microsoft proprietary software instead ]
        • Microsoft Defender ATP is Coming to Linux [Ed: Just googlebombing the "Linux" brand with Microsoft's proprietary software]
        • Apple agrees to $500 million settlement for throttling older iPhones
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Linux Foundation: It’s not just the Linux operating system

                The Linux Foundation permits its projects to concentrate on the daily business of software development, while also allowing the administrative overhead to be managed by seasoned professionals that can provide the necessary legal and financial oversight at scale.
                The growth of the Linux Foundation over the past two decades, and most recently, the last seven years, can be attributed to the diversity of value-added support programs that make it unique among organizations enabling technical collaboration. Whether a collaboration covers software, hardware designs, standards, or open data, the Linux Foundation has developed templates, models, and best practices to support an open community model.
                The Linux Foundation’s adherence to core principles of neutrality, transparent governance, intellectual property clarity, and its fostering of a vibrant commercial support ecosystem has enabled it to work with some of the most innovative communities developing technology the entire world depends on every day. That’s an amazing opportunity and responsibility — we hope you will consider working with us on your next open community project.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium and webkit2gtk), Debian (collabtive, dojo, firebird2.5, gst-plugins-base0.10, libapache2-mod-auth-openidc, openjdk-7, php5, python-bleach, and rrdtool), Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, kernel-tools, mingw-openjpeg2, and openjpeg2), Mageia (hiredis, kernel, rsync, wireshark, and zsh), openSUSE (cacti, cacti-spine, libexif, proftpd, python-azure-agent, python3, and webkit2gtk3), Oracle (ppp), SUSE (permissions), and Ubuntu (libarchive).

          • PSA: jQuery is bad for the security of your project

            For some time I thought that jQuery was a thing of the past, only being used in old projects for legacy reasons. I mean, there are now so much better frameworks, why would anyone stick with jQuery and its numerous shortcomings? Then some colleagues told me that they weren’t aware of jQuery’s security downsides. And I recently discovered two big vulnerabilities in antivirus software 1 2 which existed partly due to excessive use of jQuery. So here is your official public service announcement: jQuery is bad for the security of your project.

            By that I don’t mean that jQuery is inherently insecure. You can build a secure project on top of jQuery, if you are sufficiently aware of the potential issues and take care. However, the framework doesn’t make it easy. It’s not secure by default, it rather invites programming practices which are insecure. You have to constantly keep that in mind and correct for it. And if don’t pay attention just once you will end up with a security vulnerability.

            [...]

            You might have noticed a pattern above which affects many jQuery functions: the same function will perform different operations depending on the parameters it receives. You give it something and the function will figure out what you meant it to do. The jQuery() function will accept among other things a selector of the element to be located and HTML code of an element to be created. How does it decide which one of these fundamentally different operations to perform, with the parameter being a string both times? The initial logic was: if there is something looking like an HTML tag in the contents it must be HTML code, otherwise it’s a selector.

            And there you have the issue: often websites want to find an element by selector but use untrusted data for parts of that selector. So attackers can inject HTML code into the selector and trick jQuery into substituting the safe “find element” operation by a dangerous “create a new element.” A side-effect of the latter would be execution of malicious JavaScript code, a typical client-side XSS vulnerability.

            It took until jQuery 1.9 (released in 2013) for this issue to be addressed. In order to be interpreted as HTML code, a string has to start with < now. Given incompatible changes, it took websites years to migrate to safer jQuery versions. In particular, the Addons.Mozilla.Org website still had some vulnerabilities in 2015 going back to this 1 2.

            The root issue that the same function performs both safe and dangerous operations remains part of jQuery however, likely due to backwards compatibility constrains. It can still cause issues even now. Attackers would have to manipulate the start of a selector which is less likely, but it is still something that application developers have to keep in mind (and they almost never do). This danger prompted me to advise disabling jQuery.parseHTML some years ago.

          • FuzzBench: Google Gets Into Fuzzer Benchmarking

            Google’s latest work on the code fuzzing front for improving code security is FuzzBench, a benchmark for fuzzers.

            Google has made many contributions to code fuzzing and improving open-source security from continually fuzzing the Linux kernel to acquiring GraphicsFuzz to developing OSS-Fuzz. By Google’s own numbers, they say they have found tens of thousands of bugs thanks to code fuzzers.

          • FuzzBench: Fuzzer Benchmarking as a Service

            Fuzzing is an important bug finding technique. At Google, we’ve found tens of thousands of bugs (1, 2) with fuzzers like libFuzzer and AFL. There are numerous research papers that either improve upon these tools (e.g. MOpt-AFL, AFLFast, etc) or introduce new techniques (e.g. Driller, QSYM, etc) for bug finding. However, it is hard to know how well these new tools and techniques generalize on a large set of real world programs. Though research normally includes evaluations, these often have shortcomings—they don’t use a large and diverse set of real world benchmarks, use few trials, use short trials, or lack statistical tests to illustrate if findings are significant. This is understandable since full scale experiments can be prohibitively expensive for researchers. For example, a 24-hour, 10-trial, 10 fuzzer, 20 benchmark experiment would require 2,000 CPUs to complete in a day.

          • Wi-Fi kit spilling data with bad crypto – Huawei, eh? No, it’s Cisco. US giant patches Krook spy-hole bug in network gear

            It looks like Switchzilla is moving swiftly to clear up the Krook bug discovered by ESET.

            Just hours after the researchers delivered their findings in a report, Cisco gave its own advisory on the Wi-Fi data snooping flaw.

            “Multiple Cisco wireless products are affected by this vulnerability,” the advisory stated.

            “Cisco will release software updates that address this vulnerability. There are no workarounds that address this vulnerability.”

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • New study quantifies how much Americans value their private information: about $3.50

              A new study by the Technology Policy Institute (TPI) has identified how much money a Facebook user would want to be paid in exchange for having their contact information shared by Facebook: $3.50 per month. Across the pond, German users indicated that they would require $8 per month for the privacy violation of having their contact information and ad preferences sold. It isn’t too surprising to see that European Facebook users value their internet privacy more. After all, that’s why there’s a GDPR in Europe whereas North America is still floundering about enacting privacy protections at a state by state level. The President of TPI, Scott Wallsten, commented about the geoically based differences in findings to Reuters:

            • Hundreds of New Yorkers Demand a Ban on NYPD Face Surveillance

              Over two hundred New York City residents—including workers, parents, students, business owners, and technologists—have signed a petition calling to end government use of face surveillance in New York City. This morning, EFF and a coalition of over a dozen civil liberties groups delivered that petition to New York’s City Council.

              In the letter accompanying the petition, the groups commend the City Council members (more than thirty of them) that have signed on as cosponsors of the long overdue, and much needed, POST Act. The push continues to convince City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to allow the POST Act to be presented for a vote, and the groups insist on prompt action against the persistent threat that government use of face surveillance presents to New Yorker’s privacy and safety.

            • Clearview Is Handing Out Access To Dozens Of UK Entities, Setting Up Accounts For Congressional Reps

              Clearview continues to make itself unpopular with the general public even as it increases its user base. Supposedly, it has worked with over 900 law enforcement agencies at this point, although it’s unclear how many are actually using the software and how many have just been given trial logins.

            • A deluge of data is giving rise to a new economy

              Finally, the geopolitics of data will not be simple, either. Online giants in particular have assumed that the data economy will be a global affair, with the digital stuff flowing to where processing is best done for technical and cost reasons. Yet governments are increasingly asserting their “digital sovereignty”, demanding that data not leave their country of origin.

              This special report will tackle these topics in turn. It will conclude by discussing what is perhaps the biggest conundrum of the mirror world: the risk is that the wealth it creates will be even more unequally distributed than in its terrestrial twin.

            • Tech Companies Are Helping Bosses Monitor Everything You Do at Work

              There’s nothing special about Sapience; it joins a crowded field of tech companies peddling their wares to corporations determined to increase profitability and worker productivity. Teramind, StaffCop, and ActivTrak are just a few of the companies selling software to employers that allows them to track when workers are completing their TPS reports and when they’re scrolling through their Twitter feeds.

              Twenty-first-century scientific managers promise complete control over digital workspaces. Computers can be loaded up with hidden software designed to monitor workers’ application, web, and network usage. Live feeds, timed screenshots, and screen capture with playback are bundled with advanced keystroke logging (which capture everything from IM chats to passwords) and keyword alerts to quickly flag “deviant” behavior.

              Office jobs are already ripe for surveillance, but digital advances over the past decade have given bosses unprecedented scope to track and control the productivity of workers in all sectors.

            • Confidentiality

              • Project Rubicon: The NSA Secretly Sold Flawed Encryption For Decades

                There have been a few moments in the past few years, when a conspiracy theory is suddenly demonstrated to be based in fact. Once upon a time, it was an absurd suggestion that the NSA had data taps in AT&T buildings across the country. Just like Snowden’s revelations confirmed those conspiracy theories, a news in February confirmed some theories about Crypto AG, a Swiss cryptography vendor.

                The whole story reads like a cold-war era spy thriller, and like many of those novels, it all starts with World War II. As a result of a family investment, Boris Hagelin found himself at the helm of Aktiebolaget Cryptograph, later renamed to Crypto AG (1952), a Swedish company that built and sold cipher machines that competed with the famous Enigma machine. At the start of the war, Hagelin decided that Sweden was not the place to be, and moved to the United States. This was a fortuitous move, as it allowed Hagelin to market his company’s C-38 cipher machine to the US military. That device was designated the M-209 by the army, and became the standard in-the-field encryption machine.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Venezuela Embassy Protectors on Trial

        US Government Suppresses Information on Illegal Regime Change Activities

      • ‘They come, they shoot, they burn’: How escalating horror in the Sahel has left more than a million displaced

        Communities scattered throughout the vast stretches of the arid Sahel have lived in fragile harmony for generations. But when the jihadists came down from the Sahara, everything changed. The extremists played off ethnic divisions and set villages against each other.

        It has created one of the world’s fastest-growing humanitarian crises. Last year, more than 5,000 people were killed across Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The number of people forced to flee their homes increased fourfold to 1.1 million.

        The crisis can be traced back to the jihadists’ invasion of northern Mali in 2012. French troops drove them back into the desert in 2013, but the fighters and guns slowly spread southwards into central Mali and across the border into Burkina Faso.

      • The United States Wants Peace. The Taliban Wants an Emirate.

        Meanwhile, some of the Taliban representatives in Doha inadvertently gave credence to fears of eventual backsliding of Afghan political freedoms. Ahmadullah Wasiq, a former Taliban fighter who flew in from Kandahar, spoke in positive terms with Foreign Policy about the education received by his daughters at an Islamic madrassa. He also professed to see nothing wrong with child marriage—including older men marrying girls under 14 years old—as long it has not been “forced” on the child.

        There were, of course, no women in the 100-plus group of Taliban representatives that attended the signing ceremony. There was just one cleanshaven man, a Taliban lobbyist in the West who refused to reveal his identity, saying he wanted to be able to speak his mind without upsetting the bosses. “We are a very disciplined force,” he said. “The Taliban is not and will never be ready for elections or women’s rights as in the West.”

      • Our history sinks before our eyes

        However, the fate of this place seems to be sealed. For the place is sinking, despite worldwide protests of civil society in the economically nonsensical and only for war purpose oriented Ilisu dam. With its dam system, Turkey is putting pressure on its neighboring countries, especially Iraq and Northern Syria, on the one hand, and on the other hand, the ways of the Kurdish freedom movement are intended to be cut off. Quite incidentally, more than 80,000 people have also been displaced from their land. In the meantime, only the roofs of the houses and the trees in the gardens of the displaced persons from this fertile region are still sticking out of the ground.

      • ‘Erdogan Is Turning Libya Into a Terrorist Base’ Mesmari Warns

        On Feb. 22, Erdogan admitted that his country had sent Syrian mercenaries “after they were promised the Turkish citizenship and salaries of up to US$2,000 per month, to fight alongside militias loyal to the GNA,” as reported by local outlet AdressLibya.

        “Mercenaries in Libya is Erdogan’s card to blackmail Europe,” explained the Arab Post and added that “the Turkish president has turned to rely on mercenaries to plunge Libya into chaos and spread violence.”

    • Environment

      • High Tide Bulletin: Spring 2020

        The rising and falling of the sea is a phenomenon upon which we can always depend. Tides are the regular rise and fall of the sea surface caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun and their position relative to the earth. There are some factors that cause the tides to be higher than what is “normally” seen from day to day. This bulletin tells you when you may experience higher than normal high tides for the period of time between March and May 2020.

      • How DuPont may avoid paying to clean up a toxic ‘forever chemical’

        Known as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily in the body, PFAS increasingly have been linked to conditions experienced by Andrews, 65, as well as birth defects, cancer, obesity and diabetes. People have been exposed to the chemicals by direct contact and from polluted ground and surface water and soil. Potential liabilities associated with the chemicals — both environmental cleanup and ongoing healthcare costs — have been estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

        Now, however, there’s a risk that Andrews and other people with illnesses linked to the chemicals could end up with no compensation for their health problems. That’s because a major manufacturer, DuPont, recently unloaded its PFAS obligations to smaller companies that do not have the money to pay for them.

      • Hunger threat as tropical fish seek cooler waters

        As climate heating drives tropical fish to seek survival elsewhere, humans will be left without the protein they need.

      • Guests Robert Manning, Arnie Gundersen, and Andrew Kodama Discuss Climate Change and a Possible Low-Emissions Economy – The Project Censored Show

        Mickey and Chase host an hour dedicated to climate change, and how the world can move toward a low-emissions economy. This week’s guests are climate organizer Robert Manning, nuclear-energy expert Arnie Gundersen, and Andrew Kodama, director of the Mt Diablo Peace & Justice Center.

      • Indigenous Rights Are Human Rights! RCMP Out of Wet’suwet’en!

        In the dark early morning on February 6, 2020, the RCMP violently raided Wet’suwet’en territory in Northern British Columbia, Canada.

      • Energy

        • NZ blacklists fossil fuels from super

          Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said the changes reflect the NZ government’s stance on climate change.

          “This reflects the government’s commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change and transitioning to a low-emissions economy,” he said.

          “It also makes sense for the funds themselves given that there is a risk of investing in stranded assets as the world moves to reduce emissions.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Sentenced Publisher Exposes Sweden’s Flawed China Strategy

        A court in Ningbo, China has sentenced the Swedish publisher Gui Minhai to 10 years for allegedly “providing intelligence” to foreigners. This comes five years after Gui was forcibly disappeared in Thailand in October 2015, only to reappear the following year on Chinese state television “confessing” to a dubious drunk driving charge. He was then prohibited from leaving China in 2017, and in 2018 was forcibly snatched from the custody of Swedish diplomats by Chinese authorities. Adding insult to this most recent injury, Chinese authorities also stated that Gui chose to restore his Chinese citizenship while in state custody in 2018.

        This latest twist to Gui’s case can only be read one way: that no matter how many times Sweden demands access to its own citizen, Beijing has laid claim to him. Stockholm’s response to Gui’s sentence – that Gui is a Swedish citizen who should be released – is exactly what it’s been saying since his initial disappearance in 2015.

      • China expelled WSJ journalists because it cannot bear criticism

        The Mead piece was likely a handy excuse. The three expelled WSJ journalists, Chao Deng, Josh Chin and Philip Wen, had produced coverage on the situation of the Uighurs in Xinjiang and on the handling of the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the announcement of the expulsion came one day after the U.S. listed five Chinese media outlets as operatives of the state.

      • [Older] RSF condemns Pakistan’s latest bid to censor social media

        Pressing ahead with its brazen attempts to bring the Internet to heel, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government adopted the new rules – called the Citizens Protection (Against Online Harm) Rules, 2020 – in a secret memo dated 28 January.

        According to these rules, a copy of which was leaked last week, the “national coordinator” will be appointed by the ministry of information technology and telecommunication and, by way of “regulating” online social media, will be empowered to arbitrarily demand the removal or blocking of any content deemed to be “harmful,” and the deactivation of user data encryption.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • The Armoured Glass Box is an Instrument of Torture

        In Thursday’s separate hearing on allowing Assange out of the armoured box to sit with his legal team, I witnessed directly that Baraitser’s ruling against Assange was brought by her into court BEFORE she heard defence counsel put the arguments, and delivered by her entirely unchanged.

      • Chris Hedges: Assange’s Trial Echoes Stalinist Tactics

        In the latest episode of “On Contact,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges examines the trial of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange and the dangers it poses to our civil liberties. While Assange has been indicted on 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act, guest Joe Lauria of Consortium News argues that he’s really being prosecuted for sedition. “He’s not stealing documents to give to an enemy government for money, unless the public is the enemy,” he says. “They’re going after a guy who was threatening their interests.

        At the beginning of the segment, Hedges points out that much of the evidence in the case was accumulated by Undercover Global — a private security firm under investigation in Spain for providing the CIA with audio and visual recordings of Assange with his lawyers and others during his stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. “All of the surveillance material is in the hands of U.S. prosecutors in London currently attempting to extradite Assange to the United States, mocking the very concept of the rule of law. The prosecution and British judge have tried and condemned Assange in advance — a process no different from what we do in Guantanamo Bay or what Joseph Stalin did in the Lubyanka.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Judge Vacates Activist’s Sentence, But Keeps Him Behind Bars
      • South Korea: Stand With North Korean Victims

        Expand

        South Korean President Moon Jae In delivers a speech in Seoul on March 1, 2020, in a ceremony to mark the 101st anniversary of the founding of a Korean independence movement against Japanese colonial rule. 

      • The Problem With Telling Sick Workers to Stay Home

        They’re also concentrated in the service industry or gig economy, in which workers have contact, directly or indirectly, with large numbers of people. These are the workers who are stocking the shelves of America’s stores, preparing and serving food in its restaurants, driving its Ubers, and manning its checkout counters. Their jobs tend to fall outside the bounds of paid-leave laws, even in states or cities that have them. Gershon emphasizes that having what feels like a head cold or mild flu—which COVID-19 will feel like to most healthy people—often isn’t considered a good reason to miss a shift by those who hold these workers’ livelihood in their hands.

        Even if a person in one of these jobs is severely ill—coughing, sneezing, blowing her nose, and propelling droplets of virus-containing bodily fluids into the air and onto the surfaces around her—asking for time off means missing an hourly wage that might be necessary to pay rent or buy groceries. And even asking can be a risk in jobs with few labor protections, because in many states, there’s nothing to stop a company from firing you for being too much trouble. So workers with no good options end up going into work, interacting with customers, swiping the debit cards that go back into their wallets, making the sandwiches they eat for lunch, unpacking the boxes of cereal they take home for their kids, or driving them home from happy hour.

      • West Papua: Five urgent issues for Indonesia’s president to address

        This backsliding is serious enough that Australian leaders should ask Jokowi some hard questions during his Canberra visit.

        Here are five current human rights concerns: [...]

      • The Unbroken Spirit of Benny Wenda

        The path that led Benny to the United Kingdom began long before he was even born. Until 1961, West Papua was a Dutch colonial territory. On 1 December 1961, West Papua declared its independence from the Netherlands. Indonesia, however, had claimed West Papua as part of its territory. Following the declaration of independence, it invaded and occupied West Papua. In 1969, it secured United Nations recognition for its claim via a rigged referendum process—the “Act of Free Choice”—where 1,026 tribal leaders, supposedly representing 800,000 Papuans, were forced under severe duress to accept integration into Indonesia. Since then, West Papua has been under de facto Indonesian military rule, and those who resist have experienced surveillance, harassment, imprisonment, and violence.

        Many Papuans have resisted Indonesian rule, some taking on more active roles in pushing for independence through groups such as the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), a coalition of three major pro-independence organisations.

        Today, the chairmanship of the ULMWP rests on the shoulders of Benny Wenda. In August 2018, New Naratif met with him to learn more about his motivations, his aims, and his persistence in the face of incredible odds.>

      • Scandinavian Airlines: Get Woke, Cry Wolf

        While Reuters claims SAS was simply “debunking myths about Scandinavia,” the ad does no such thing. In fact, it gets a number of facts about the region wrong. For instance, the ad mentions parental leave, and features a Swedish dad with a baby carrier whispering “Thank you Switzerland.” Yet, Sweden was the first country in the world to introduce paid paternity leave, in 1974. Many Swedes take great pride in this fact, since paternity leave is seen as a symbol of Swedish gender equality.

        Switzerland, which is much more conservative than progressive Sweden, did introduce maternity leave first, but it was the last country in western Europe to offer fathers paternity leave. It did so five months ago, 45 years after Sweden.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • “They Chose Advocacy over Candor”

          The district court ruled against the patentee CleanTech — holding the four asserted patents unenforceable due to inequitable conduct during prosecution. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed — particularly calling out the Cantor Colburn firm for its role.

          [...]

          As the district court explained things: The inventors made a mistake by offering to sell the invention at that early date but compounded the mistake by taking “affirmative steps to hide that fact from their lawyers, then, later the PTO when they learned that it would prevent them from profiting.” The district court also found that Cantor Colburn had acted inappropriately — either by purposeful evasion or by failing to seek out relevant information. They “chose advocacy over candor.”

        • Software Patents

          • Troll Hunter – Mycroft’s Position on Patent Trolls

            Mycroft has recently been targeted by a patent troll seeking to extract a toll. I don’t often ask this, but I’d like for everyone in our community who believes that patent trolls are bad for open source to re-post, link, tweet and share this post.

            [...]

            The ability to issue useless patents has created an entire industry. There is now a whole class of “inventors” who file obvious patents with the sole purpose of suing real entrepreneurs once the technology is inevitably perfected. These “inventors” have no plans to create a product. They are simply trolls hiding under a bridge waiting for real entrepreneurs to cross. All they want is to collect a toll by gaming America’s flawed patent system.

            [...]

            Which brings us back to our patent troll who is seeking a toll from Mycroft. Tod Tumey of Tumey LLP based out of Texas ( a venue famous for hosting patent trolls ) contacted us with a “Highly Confidential” letter offering to license his “client’s” “valuable” voice patents to Mycroft AI Inc. When we didn’t respond ( don’t feed the trolls! ) he filed suit in East Texas.

          • AI Co. Accused Of Inciting Death Threats Against IP Atty [Ed: Law 360 promoting false narrative wherein patent trolls pretend to be the victims and the victims are "aggressors"]

            An attorney involved in a patent lawsuit against AI startup Mycroft AI Inc. says that he has received death threats from anonymous sources after Mycroft’s CEO recently published a blog post that the attorney says threatened him with “physical violence and a gruesome death.”

            In a Feb. 18 lawsuit filed in Missouri federal court, Texas-based Voice Tech LLC accused Mycroft of willfully infringing two patents relating to voice command technology based on recent actions by Mycroft CEO Joshua Montgomery in an earlier case.

      • Copyrights

        • Record Labels Blast Cox’s Attempt to Overturn $1 Billion Piracy Verdict

          Cox Communications previously asked the court to overturn or lower the $1 billion piracy liability verdict a Virginia jury issued late last year. Responding to this request the opposing record labels now blast the ISP, using its internal documentation against the company, quoting the head of the abuse department saying “f the dmca!!!”

        • YesPornPlease and VShare.io Go Offline Following Massive Copyright Lawsuit

          YesPornPlease, an adult-focused video site that was until recently servicing more than 100 million visitors per month, has disappeared following the filing of a lawsuit in the United States. The complaint, filed by Mindgeek-owned MG Premium, also targets hosting site VShare.io, demanding a broad injunction and potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

        • Senator Thom Tillis Pushed Awful Patent Reform Idea Last Year; Now Looks To Top It With Awful Copyright Reform This Year

          Last year, Senator Tom Tillis was pushing a completely ridiculous patent reform bill that would have enabled massive patent trolling, by expanding what would count as patent-eligible subject matter. After his bill was released — and basically everyone who wasn’t a patent troll explained what a disaster it would be for American innovation, Tillis quietly let the matter drop.

        • I Wish More Countries ‘Stole’ Our Movies

          A significant part of the appeal for copyright maximalism is respect for the artist as a singular, uncompromising force for expressing their values in an otherwise crass, materialistic world. This view is traditionally identified with the artists’ rights attitude featured in the continental tradition, but has gained prominence in the Anglosphere.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 02, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:07 am by Needs Sunlight

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