Links 9/3/2020: Linux 5.6 RC5, SparkyLinux 2020.03 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Op-Ed: Windows 7 users ignoring Win 10 upgrade, Linux strikes back

        The end of support for Windows 7 has had almost no effect at all on users. Win 10’s many issues and the constant, baffling, problems with updates have effectively killed all interest. Meanwhile, Linux has come up with a cure-all, maybe, possibly.
        More surprising is that Win 7, like XP, is still core tech for many people. Almost nobody moved from Win 7, less than 1% of users. Some people did upgrade prior to the January 14, 2020 cut-off date, but not much movement has been seen since.
        Seems the new operating systems don’t appeal to people for various reasons. It’s understandable that businesses, in particular, wouldn’t be too keen on upgrading whole networks of office computers. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and there can be IT issues with related business software.

    • Server

      • First Major Release of Kubeflow Machine Learning Toolkit for Kubernetes Ships
      • Kubeflow 1.0 Advances AI Adoption on Kubernetes Platforms

        An open source set of Kubeflow tools designed to make it easier to build and deploy machine learning models on Kubernetes clusters has formally reached a 1.0 milestone.


        Elements of Kubeflow that have been included in the 1.0 release include a user interface, Jupyter notebook controller and web application, Tensorflow Operator (TFJob) and PyTorch Operator for distributed training, kfctl for deployment and upgrades, and a profile controller and UI for multiuser management. There is also an Operator framework designed to make it easier to deploy, manage and update Kubeflow on Kubernetes clusters.

      • Kubeflow 1.0 brings cloud-native machine learning to Kubernetes

        Kubeflow became open source software in December of 2017 at Kubecon USA. Now, in March of 2020, the first major release has arrived. Kubeflow 1.0 graduates several applications that help develop, build, train, and deploy models on Kubernetes.

        Kubeflow is a machine learning toolkit designed to make deploying scalable ML workflows on Kubernetes easier. It includes a custom TensorFlow training job operator and services for creating and deploying Jupyter notebooks and focuses on leveraging cloud assets.

        Let’s take a look at what the 1.0 milestone includes and what else Kubeflow has under the hood.

      • Open source machine learning platform Kubeflow reaches version 1.0

        Kubeflow, the freely available machine learning platform cofounded by developers at Google, Cisco, IBM, Red Hat, CoreOS, and CaiCloud, made its debut at the annual Kubecon conference in 2017. Three years later, Kubeflow has reached version 1.0 — its first major release — as the project grows to hundreds of contributors over 30 participating organizations. Companies including US Bank, Chase, GoJek, Amazon Web Services, Bloomberg, Uber, Shopify, GitHub, Canonical, Intel, Alibaba Cloud, TuSimple, Dell, Shell, Arrikto, and Volvo are among those using it in production.

        Project coauthors Jeremy Lewi, Josh Bottum, Elvira Dzhuraeva, David Aronchick, Amy Unruh, Animesh Singh, and Ellis Bigelow announced the news in a Medium post this morning. “Kubeflow’s goal is to make it easy for machine learning engineers and data scientists to leverage cloud assets (public or on-premise) for [machine learning] workloads,” they wrote. “With Kubeflow, there is no need for data scientists to learn new concepts or platforms to deploy their applications, or to deal with ingress, networking certificates, etc.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 148

        Let’s Encrypt is forced to revoke customer certificates, the big change coming to FreeNAS, and the trick to running Android on an iPhone.

        Plus our concerns about Debian’s future, and the unfixable Intel flaw announced this week.

      • GNU World Order 343

        Licensing, and how non-open corporations are inadvertently flattering open source.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 186 – Endpoint security with Tony Meehan

        Josh and Kurt talk to Tony Meehan from Elastic (formerly Endgame) about endpoint detection, response, protection, and even SIEM. Tony has a great history coming from the NSA and has a number of great stories to help understand the topics.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc5
        I was hoping I'd have been home already and do this leisurely from my
        usual setup, but due to flight cancellations and travel trouble, I'm
        instead doing the rc5 from 28,000 feet. But at least I'm on my way
        home, and next rc should be normal.
        That said, everything looks mostly fine. I say "mostly", because while
        nothing in particular looks worrisome, this rc5 is bigger than I'd
        have liked. In fact, it's not only bigger than rc4 was, but it's
        bigger than we historically are at this point.
        That's never a great sign, but who knows, it might be just timing. The
        previous rc was smaller than usual, so it might have been just pent-up
        patches from that. I won't really start worrying unless the trent
        continues for next week too...
        Apart from the size, things look fairly normal. About 60% drivers
        (GPU, dmaengine, phy, sound, rdma, backlight..), with the rest being a
        mix of arch updates, documentation, perf tooling and "misc core code"
        (filesystems, kernel, vm).
        The shortlog is appended for people who want to skim the details.
        Please do continue testing,
      • Linux 5.6-rc5 Kernel Released

        Linus Torvalds has unveiled the fifth weekly release candidate to the forthcoming Linux 5.6 kernel.

        Linux 5.6 is a very exciting release as outlined in our Linux 5.6 feature overview from new hardware support, WireGuard was merged, initial USB4 support, Year 2038 work getting into good shape, many AMD improvements, and other activity as outlined in the aforelinked article. For as much exciting work as there is in Linux 5.6, so far it seems to be panning out well.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc5

        Linus has put out a high-altitude 5.6-rc5 prepatch release. “That said, everything looks mostly fine. I say ‘mostly’, because while nothing in particular looks worrisome, this rc5 is bigger than I’d have liked. In fact, it’s not only bigger than rc4 was, but it’s bigger than we historically are at this point.”

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Radeon “SISCHED” Support Has Been Retired

          Not many AMD Radeon Linux gamers have been using the “sisched” SI machine instruction scheduler in recent times. This non-default scheduler hasn’t been well maintained. Additionally, when on the RADV Vulkan driver, using the Valve-backed compiler back-end has been far superior. As such, SISCHED has now been gutted out of Mesa.

    • Benchmarks

      • Basemark GPU 1.2 Brings Linux Support – Wins For NVIDIA, Woes For Mesa

        Last week Basemark launched their Basemark GPU 1.2 benchmark that now includes Linux support alongside all other major supported desktop and mobile operating systems. We’ve been testing out this Linux version with OpenGL and Vulkan support on both AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce hardware.

        Basemark GPU 1.2 for Linux supports OpenGL 4.5 and Vulkan while for other capable platforms is also Metal 2 and Direct3D 12. Basemark GPU 1.2 is available as a free download for users at Basemark.com though for automation functionality and other features a professional license is needed. Basemark kindly provided us with a reviewer’s copy for testing. Their Linux build is both as a traditional x86_64 binary and even a Flatpak version.

    • Applications

      • MetaInfo Creator – Easily Creating AppStream Metadata For Software

        While the cross-distribution AppStream specification standardizes the software component metadata for use by Linux software centers/stores, it turns out many open-source developers aren’t interested in or time limited by learning the spec and maintaining the metadata. As such, Matthias Klumpp has now developed the MetaInfo Creator for easily creating this important cross-distro metadata for packages.

        From recent conferences, Klumpp was surprised to learn many developers aren’t interested or limited by time in having to write metadata. So the MetaInfo Creator was born as a web-based solution for quickly and easily guiding developers on generating this meta-data that can be consumed by the likes of KDE Discover and GNOME Software.

      • 5 of the Best Wallpaper Changers for Linux

        If you find yourself changing your wallpaper often as a way to enliven the desktop and make it feel more dynamic, you can make use of an automatic wallpaper changer. These programs allow you to preselect a bunch of images and have them automatically rotate as your desktop wallpaper. Let’s check out some of the best wallpaper changers for Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • See console-exclusive Dante’s Inferno running in the RPCS3 emulator

        Remember Dante’s Inferno? No, not the 14th century Italian poem. The 2010 console-exclusive God of War knockoff where you shoot crucifixes made of light at demons and have a boss fight with Cleopatra, who gives birth to monsters via her nipples. It was an odd one.

        Dante’s Inferno is the latest game to be declared fully playable and glitch-free in the open-source PS3 emulator RPCS3. “Issues with Physics made it impossible to finish some stages normally” before now, and there were some problems with cutscene audio stuttering and generally stability, but that’s all solved and it’s looking lovely in 4K. I mean, as lovely as Hell is ever going to look.

      • Battle through a dying Earth in the FPS ‘Core Decay’ – Steam page now up

        Core Decay is one of those incredible looking retro-inspired shooters we covered recently, and it’s now listed on Steam for you to go give it a wishlist.

      • Be the captain in a stylish Naval adventure with ‘Abandon Ship’ now up on GOG

        Abandon Ship focuses on ‘Age of Sail’ ships in a Fantasy setting, with an art style inspired by classic Naval Oil Paintings and it is awesome when in motion.

      • Diablo on Linux levels up again with a new devilutionX release

        Diablo on Linux. Sound familiar? Well, we only just recently talked about Freeablo and now devilutionX has a brand new release made available for this classic.

        As a reminder, devilutionX is the updated version of Devilution which is a reverse engineered (and in a legal grey area) version of Diablo. The aim is to update it for modern systems, giving more people the opportunity to enjoy the classic RPG Diablo.

      • Jumpala could be the next generation of competitive platformers and it’s fun already

        Indie developers never cease to amaze me on what they can do with simple settings and Jumpala is another surprise that I’ve been enjoying.

        You’ve played traditional running and jumping platformers, platform brawlers and all sorts. How about a competitive platformer where you’re constantly bouncing between tiny platforms to turn them your colour and get the highest score? Like something out of Splatoon on the Switch or a one of the game modes in Move or Die where you paint your colour. Welcome to Jumpala.

      • Monster Sanctuary’s latest update adds a whole new area and creatures to collect

        Monster Sanctuary is such a sweet game, another that has its own spin on the creature capture/collection genre with platforming, puzzles and metroidvania-styled exploration.

        I’m a big fan, and I like how you’re not necessarily capturing wild monsters like savages. Instead you collect eggs and hatch them into your little friends, it’s nice. The fourth big Early Access update is out now, adding in a whole new story arc and area to explore with eight more unique creatures lurking around.

      • Ocean’s Heart, a sweet-looking upcoming action RPG that emphasizes exploration

        Ocean’s Heart from developer Max Mraz is looking great! A sweet action RPG with a Zelda-like theme and it’s coming to Linux. I had a little chat with the developer about it.

        This is the title that helped me to find Solarus, the cross-platform free and open source game engine as Ocean’s Heart is one of the games being made with it.

        Speaking to the developer, Max Mraz, they explained Ocean’s Heart as an “action RPG that emphasizes exploration, and supports that experience with detailed pixel art, rabbit-hole sidequests, and expansive optional and secret areas.”

      • Supernatural horror adventure ‘ASYLUM’ still on track for this year and for Linux too

        ASYLUM is really looking good, and quite freaky. Senscape just released a big update post on how the progress is going, after Epic Games recently gave them a Mega Grant.

        While they’ve been clear it was still releasing on Steam, and Linux too, many were a little nervous about it. However, once again they’ve said “the Epic grant comes with no strings attached” and “So let me stress this again: ASYLUM is still coming to Steam and GOG on launch date”.

        Linux was mentioned again too “Moreover, we have feature parity —both in terms of performance and stability— across all announced platforms: Windows, macOS and Linux.”. They’ve had a bit of trouble there too, as it sounds like Unreal Engine still has plenty of issues but they’ve pushed through them and their attention to it is certainly going to be welcome.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Interview with TrishLaWitch

          One day, the free software I used asked for money for some functions, due to the success of many downloads. It was a great disappointment. I had to find other free software on the Net. I found GIMP and Krita and after trying them, my choice was definitely Krita.

    • Distributions

      • SECO Unveils 3.5″ Ryzen Embedded SBC, Docker-Compatible EDGEHOG OS Linux Distribution

        Separately from the hardware announcement, SECO has launched a Yocto-based, Docker-compatible Linux distribution called EDGEHOG OS and supporting containers, OTA updates, and remote management.

      • New Releases

        • Zorin OS 15.2 New Release: Best Windows/Mac Alternative Linux Distro

          If you ever think to switch your operating system, Zorin OS is one of the best Linux based distros available. Since the release of Zorin OS 15 series, it has received over 900,000 downloads, surging from 550,000 after first point release.

          Continuing the enhancements in the successful series, the Zorin team has come up with a new point version Zorin OS 15.2. The latest release improves Zorin’s internal modules and software to make it faster and more secure.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS and TrueNAS are merging (open source operating systems for network-attached-storage)

          FreeNAS is a free and open source operating system designed for network-attached storage (NAS) devices. For much of the past decade, the project has been led by the folks at iXsystems, which has also produced an enterprise version of the software called TrueNAS.

          Now iXsystems has announced that FreeNAS and TrueNAS are merging. Moving forward there will be a single operating system called TrueNAS rather than two different, but closely related operating systems.

        • Open source operating systems FreeNAS and TrueNAS are merging

          iXsystems has announced that its two open source operating systems for network attached storage are unifying. Moving forward, FreeNAS and TrueNAS will merge into TrueNAS Open Storage.

          Despite the unification, there will still be two versions of the operating system available: TrueNAS CORE and TrueNAS Enterprise. Both are billed as enterprise-quality software, but TrueNAS Enterprise requires a license and offers an extended set of features, while TrueNAS CORE is free.

        • FreeNAS is now TrueNAS Core

          iXsystems, the company behind the development of FreeNAS, the free software network attached storage distribution, has announced that the popular NAS distribution will now be known as TrueNAS Core. And that was was formerly known as TrueNAS will now be called TrueNAS Enterprise. It’s a renaming and a unification at the same time. With the popularity of cloud storage services, I thought distributions like FreeNAS would be going the way of the dodo, but apparently not.

        • So what happened to PC-BSD?

          Remember PC-BSD? As a desktop, FreeBSD-based operating system, It’s effectively dead.

          Here’s a summary of what happened.

          For a long time, PC-BSD was the lone, usable, for most users, BSD distribution targeted at desktop users, with KDE as the desktop environment of choice. And it remained that way until 2017 when the developers started their own desktop environment called Lumina. The first iterations were terrible. At some point there was a server-oriented implementation called TrueOS. By 2018, the direction of the project had changed, with the merging of both projects under the TrueOS brand. By the end of that year, the desktop end of the project under the TrueOS name was effectively dead, and by early 2019, the first edition of the project under the Project Trident name was released, still with Lumina as the desktop environment.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • OpenMandriva Lx 4.1 “Mercury”

          OpenMandriva Lx, which I will call OpenMandriva from here on, is an independent Linux distro. The project’s roots go back to Mandriva Linux, which was a distro produced by Mandriva S.A. The company went under in 2011 but, as is typical for Linux, new distros rose from the ashes, including Mageia and OpenMandriva.

          Unlike Mandriva, OpenMandriva is very much a community project. The distro’s aim is to provide a free alternative to Windows and macOS and the distro relies on donations to cover expenses. It also appears to be a struggling project. I started my trial on the 4th February, and for pretty much the whole day the OpenMandriva website was down. I sometimes got a “Site under construction” message, while at other times I got a “gateway time-out” error. The next day the home page was showing a “Congratulations, you installed Discourse” message, and after that the site was again either “under construction” or throwing errors. As OpenMandriva 4.1 was released on the 2nd February the timing of the website troubles was unfortunate.


          While the website was down I was able to grab an OpenMandriva ISO image from SourceForge. There are two ISOs: plasma.x86_64 and plasma.znver1. The latter image is optimised for current AMD processors (Ryzen, ThreadRipper and EPYC).

          I later learned that SourceForge is the only location from where you can download the latest OpenMandriva version. OpenMandriva’s download page does list various mirrors but none of them includes an image for the latest release. There is also a link to torrents, but there is again no torrent for version 4.1.

        • Nvidia drivers available for testing

          Colin (Colin Close) 8 March 2020 16:18 #1
          To those of you who have nVidia hardware there are revised drivers in the cooker non-free repository.

          A new naming scheme has been adopted for these drivers.
          There are two versions of the current drivers nvidia-390 and nvidia-440.

          The 390 series supports “Legacy” cards back as far as the GTX-480.
          The 440 series supports from the GeForce GT 640.

          For full lists of supported GPU’s see the included README docs.

          The installation of these drivers should be automatic to a greater or lesser extent. The modesetting driver is now enabled.

      • Arch Family

        • ArchLinux (Re-)Installation

          My current install is getting old (5+ years) and I thought it might be a good idea to start from scratch.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora program update: 2020-10

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The Beta Freeze is underway. The Fedora 32 Beta Go/No-Go and Release Readiness meetings are next week. Update your team’s release readiness status in the wiki.

        • Fedora package spring cleaning

          So it’s meteorological spring, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, and I’m preparing to move house for the first time in almost a decade so of course it’s time to procrastinate and have a spring clean of the packages I maintain!

          A number of these I’ve maintained longer than I’ve been in my current flat and like a lot of the contents of my flat I’m not sure why I still have them! A bunch of them I packaged when MeeGo was the coolest thing to run on your Netbook and before GNOME-3 was stable and packaged and I wanted to run MeeGo on Fedora on my ASUS EeePC 901! Then a bunch I’ve acquired over the years because various things I was interested in depended on them. There’s others I actually have no idea why I own them! Anyway, with my day job doing “Device Edge” or “IoT” and with less spare non work time (why yes, apparently I do have a life outside of Fedora, who knew!) I decided it’s high time I relinquished the maintainership of these packages and let someone else love them or allow them to sail off into the sunset of their, probably long overdue, retirement!

        • Infosys and IBM Collaborate to Help Businesses Accelerate Digital Transformation With IBM Public Cloud
        • Red Hat Reports on Enterprise Open Source Use Rises, Proprietary Software Declines

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

        • Key Criteria for Leveraging Federated Kubernetes, Open and Closed

          Moreover, both Kubernetes and Kubefed are open source standards, as are providers that support Kubefed, such as RedHat. This means that they are decoupled from some company that may or may not advance your business priorities.

        • Istio and the Race for Service Mesh Dominance

          A review of industry studies of the service mesh indicates that Istio has an early lead as a preferred control plane. However, service meshes usually also have a data plane component as well as other value-added functionality. The mix-and-matching of these often open-source components into bundled solutions is an ongoing process and may impact the eventual winners and losers in this space.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian Coup Explained

          We’ve recently seen hard evidence of Debian’s harassment culture and methods used to silence people who speak up.

          On Sunday, a Debian Developer took some time out of his weekend and created a new package. Instead of thanking him, the Debian Project Leader (DPL), Sam Hartman, launched a ferocious attack in the bug tracking system, alleging the developer is inferior to other developers. Hartman provides no evidence. Hartman attacked the same volunteer who asked people to stop harassing him after his father died.

          In another rambling email, Hartman claims to be tearing up the constitution and declaring an absolute, god-given right to humiliate and shame people at will.

          Just last week, Debian announced full censorship of mailing lists. Censorship and control of the media prevent leaders from being held to account. These conditions enable rogue leaders to indulge themselves.

        • Ulrike Uhlig: Implementing feedback into our work culture

          Feedback is not about being right or wrong, it’s first of all about being able to see how another person has experienced a situation. Active listening is a tool that helps with understanding. It might seem easy, but needs quite some practice — and a safe space. One part of active listening is to restate what you hear the other person say (by mirroring, or paraphrasing), to make sure you understood, and make sure they know you understood what they were trying to say. You can practise this: in a circle of three people, have one person tell how they experienced a (possibly conflictual) situation, have one person do the active listening, and the third person observing in order to give feedback to the active listener about how they did. Then switch roles, for example clockwise, until everyone has had every role.


          How do we get from German Christmas folklore, protestant work ethics, and the deeply rooted principles of disciplining and punishing to a feedback culture on eye level? It sounds a bit like going from the dark ages to a really cool science fiction utopia with universal peace, telepathy, and magic between all sentient beings on all inhabited planets in the cosmos — at least that’s how I imagined it as a child, just like some of my heroes did: the cosmonaut girl who saves Earth, the boy who talks to space flowers that give him the capacity to fly, and the little onion who fights for justice (the Italian author was so popular on our side of the iron curtain that a soviet astronomer named a minor planet after him. His wife meanwhile immortalized Karl Marx.) — and some romantic part of me hangs on to these ideas.

          Feedback is not always easy to hear — and to give.

        • SparkyLinux 2020.03 Released with Latest Debian Bullseye Updates

          Based on the Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” software repositories as of March 7th, 2020, the SparkyLinux 2020.03 release comes a month after SparkyLinux 2020.02 and includes all the security patches and software updates released upstream for an up-to-date live/installation media.

          On top of that, SparkyLinux 2020.03 ships with the latest Calamares 3.2.20 graphical installer, which adds support for storing the used global storage filesystems, improves logging, and adds support for Alpine Linux’s apk package manager.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • ProtonVPN apps now open source and audited

        Proton Technologies AG, the Swiss company that develops the ProtonMail and ProtonVPN services, has announced that the ProtonVPN apps are now open source and audited. As a paying user of ProtonMail, I have free access to the ProtonVPN service, so that announcement is good news for me. It shows that the company is making the right decisions and moving in the right direction.

      • Open-source evangelist

        Most young graduates expect that when they enter the job market, they will be able to find positions in the field they’ve spent four years studying. Ben Henshall was one of them.

        Armed with a freshly minted degree in information technology, the native of Western Australia interviewed for a tech position but didn’t get it. Instead he took a detour into sales and marketing, which has turned out to be a very fulfilling journey.

        Two decades after that initial change in career direction, he leads the Southeast Asian operations of Red Hat, the open-source software multinational that has been going from strength to strength in recent years.

      • Sandboxes work best when they’re open

        Open source is ideal to use in sandbox environments and experimentation, often leap-frogging existing legacy technology stacks. Its wide acceptance and growing ease of use helps firms to drive strategic decision-making and deliver their operational goals.

      • Oracle’s Open-Source Battle Is a ‘Big’ Red Flag for Shareholders

        The company has spent the 21st century fighting open source, the idea that software should be a shared endeavor whose benefits go mainly to customers. This made it late to the cloud, the most profitable trend of the last decade, because the cloud is based on open-source software.

        Now Oracle stands on the brink of a great victory, the breaking of open-source tech in court. In Oracle vs. Google, to be heard March 24, it will tell the Supreme Court that instructions on using software, called application program interfaces (APIs), can be as protected by copyright as software itself. In effect it’s saying open-source licenses can be rendered moot by corporate fiat.

        It’s likely to win the argument. President Donald Trump’s administration supports it, thanks in part to generous political contributions from Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.

      • Open Hardware Monitor 0.9.2

        The Open Hardware Monitor is a free open source software that monitors temperature sensors, fan speeds, voltages, load and clock speeds of a computer.

      • PeaZip 7.1.1

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

      • Open-source software analyzes economics of biofuels, bioproducts

        Perennial grasses can be converted into everything from ethanol to bioplastics, but it’s unclear which bioproducts hold the greatest potential.

        BioSTEAM, a new open-source simulation software package in Python developed by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, gives scientists, engineers, biotechnology companies, and funding agencies a fast, flexible tool to analyze the economics of producing different biofuels and bioproducts—in a matter of seconds.

        BioSTEAM—Biorefinery Simulation and Techno-Economic Analysis Modules—allows researchers to quickly compare and prioritize strategies for converting biomass to fuels and products. It also generates data that can be used to evaluate the environmental impact of biorefineries, including greenhouse gas emissions, paving the way for a sustainable bioeconomy.

        The project by lead developer Yoel Cortes-Pena, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and his advisor, Associate Professor Jeremy Guest, was published in the latest issue of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering. Both researchers are part of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI), a U.S. Department of Energy-funded Bioenergy Research Center.

      • Audio: Shah Selbe on how open source technology is creating new opportunities for conservation

        On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we speak with Shah Selbe, an engineer and technologist who founded Conservify, a conservation tech lab that uses open-source technologies to empower local communities and solve some of the most pressing conservation challenges of our time.

      • Open source tool fun way to help remind people to wash hands

        Push the button for the hand sanitizer, watch a virus get squashed. Jonathan Muma reports that a new audio/visual reminder to help people wash their hands could be coming to a city near you.

      • Open Networking Foundation launches Aether platform for 5G edge cloud as a service

        The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) has announced the introduction of Aether, the first open source platform to deliver Enterprise 5G/LTE edge cloud as a service.

        The platform offers mobile connectivity and edge cloud services for distributed enterprise networks, all provisioned and managed from a centralised cloud. According to ONF, Aether is easy to deploy, highly scalable and is designed for rapid edge service onboarding in multi-cloud environment. The platform also removes the costs and complexities of deploying private mobile networks, making available the power of advanced 4G/5G networking to all enterprises.

        The project has been backed, as with other ONF projects, by the foundation’s operator partners, including AT&T, China Unicom, and Deutsche Telekom. Jochen Appel, VP fixed and mobile platforms at Deutsche Telekom, said that the company was ‘eagerly looking forward’ to the project, and that Aether was ‘yet another example where ONF has demonstrated the power to rapidly build new solutions by building on top of existing open source platforms.’

      • ONF’s Stratum open switch OS available on TIP’s Cassini open hardware

        The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) announced its Stratum open source switch operating system (OS) software is now available on Cassini optical transport hardware from the Telecom Infra Project (TIP). The ONF said it is the first open source operating system for Cassini, which is a network switching platform with integrated optical transponders.

        Stratum is part of ONF’s Unified, Programmable and Automated Network (UPAN) Exemplar Platform, which is working on the next generation of SDN for ONF’s membership. Stratum is a silicon-independent switch operating system for software-defined networks that runs on a variety of switching silicon and various white box switch platforms.

      • KITE code could power new quantum developments

        A research collaboration led by the University of York’s Department of Physics has created open-source software to assist in the creation of quantum materials which could in turn vastly increase the world’s computing power.

        Throughout the world the increased use of data centres and cloud computing are consuming growing amounts of energy – quantum materials could help tackle this problem, say the researchers.

        Quantum materials – materials which exploit unconventional quantum effects arising from the collective behaviour of electrons – could perform tasks previously thought impossible, such as harvesting energy from the complete solar spectrum or processing vast amounts of data with low heat dissipation.

      • Purdue University Launches Open Source, All-in-One Network Forensics Toolkit
      • Events

        • FOSS BootCamp to Kick-off Monday

          The Ministry of Technology and Communications, in cooperation with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and Middle East College, will organize the first free and open source software BootCamp from 9th to 11st March, under the theme of “4IR & Emerging Technologies, DevOps Tools, Digital Content Development”, with the participation of over 250 programmers and IT professionals from Oman, GCC and Meena Region.

          The main objective of FOSS BootCamp program is to enrich local FOSS resources experience in the field of Free and Open Source Software in Oman & GCC FOSS community among undergraduate students, Job seekers, employees & IT enthusiasts.

        • Next Monday, FOSS BootCamp Kicks offS
        • LISA2019 Linux Systems Performance

          Systems performance is an effective discipline for performance analysis and tuning, and can help you find performance wins for your applications and the kernel. However, most of us are not performance or kernel engineers, and have limited time to study this topic. To serve this need I summarized Linux systems performance in 40 minutes at USENIX LISA 2019, touring six important areas: observability tools, methodologies, benchmarking, profiling, tracing, and tuning.

        • Webinar: Introducing Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z

          Organizations aim to innovate faster and deploy applications more efficiently through cloud-native development — and they expect these applications to protect their data, scale smoothly, and be always available. Now you can meet all of these expectations by combining the leading container and Kubernetes application platform with the leading enterprise computing platform: Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Z.

        • foss-north 2020 Training Day

          Let’s talk about the foss-north 2020 training day! Every year we invite interesting speakers for the conference. Some of them are also teachers, and some of them are willing to hold a heavily discounted open enrollment training the day after the conference.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Basilisk: A Firefox Fork For The Classic Looks and Classic Extensions

            Even though it is better to stick with the regular web browsers like Firefox or Chromium available for Linux – it doesn’t hurt to know about other browsers. Recently, I stumbled upon a Firefox fork, Basilisk web browser that features the classic Firefox user interface along with legacy add-ons support (just like Waterfox).

            If you are in the dire need of using a legacy extensions or miss the classic look and feel of Firefox, the Basilisk web browser can save your day. The web browser is being maintained by the team behind Pale Moon browser (which is another Firefox fork I will be looking at next).

            If you’re looking for open-source Chrome alternatives, you may have a quick look at what Basilisk offers.

          • Humble New Tab Page is an elegant new tab replacement extension for Firefox and Chrome

            There are many new tab replacements available for Firefox and Chrome. One of my favorites is Group Speed Dial.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Writer: Find and Replace with Powerful Formatting and Pattern Matching

          Advantage of word processor in computing compared to typewriter machine in real life is that user can find a word far more quicker in a long text document. User can find anything by just one touch and find further by touching once again. Not only that, the most excellent advantage is that the word found can be replaced in entire document as user wishes. In LibreOffice Writer, these two advantages are available in Find & Replace feature (shortcut: Ctrl+H). You can find a word, a phrase, a sentence, even a pattern of text matched you wish. Later, you have two more options, first as words found all selected you can reformat them, and second you can replace them. This article will help you practice that with Writer. Happy learning!

      • CMS

        • Sessions Announced for Top Open Source Conference

          The Drupal Association, an international nonprofit organization, announces a rigorous DrupalCon Minneapolis lineup of sessions, all of which will be presented at DrupalCon Minneapolis on May 20-21. DrupalCon is a gathering of 3000 of the top minds in Open Source technology. The recurring event features dozens of curated sessions and panels from some of the most influential people and contributors within the Drupal community and beyond, as well as countless opportunities for networking, contributing to Drupal itself, informal conversations, introductions and more.

        • TYPO3 v10.3 Feature Freeze, Drupal Seeks Sponsors, More Open Source News

          The final sprint release of TYPO3 version 10.3 is now available. This is the “feature freeze” version — meaning no new features will be developed — until the long term service (LTS) release in April. The TYPO3 community will now shift its focus to testing, polishing, and refining the v10 LTS release. Here are some of the key changes.

      • Education

        • Build great distance learning and collaborative experiences with open source technology

          Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus, many schools around the world remain closed and millions of people are being restricted from leaving their homes. In several countries, governments have mandated that schools should remain closed until March and April 2020.

          Because of this, millions of students worldwide are not able to attend school or University. In view of this situation, many educational organisations worldwide are relying on remote teaching and moving lessons to online environments. Through learning platforms, conferencing tools and virtual classrooms, Universities and schools are providing online tuition so learners can continue their studies without interruption.


          Certainly, not only schools are seeing their operations affected by the Coronavirus outbreak. As thousands of companies worldwide are encouraging remote work to safeguard their employees’ health, tools like MoodleCloud and BBB combined can help shift business and operations towards digital, as well as keep remote teams connected. And, of course, our LMS designed specifically for organisational learning, Moodle Workplace, offers a great range of functionalities for online learning and communication within companies.

        • Lakshminarasimha Jayaram Haravu

          A long-time resident of Hyderabad, Lakshminarasimha started his career as a school teacher in Mumbai and had developed country’s first open-source library management system.

      • FSF

        • Blockchain/Bitcoin

          • Controversial New Open Source License for Decentralized Apps – Protects Users’ Data and Cryptographic Keys
          • Controversial New Open Source License for Decentralized Apps – Protects Users’ Data and Cryptographic Keys

            A controversial new open source license designed for use with decentralized applications was recently approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). The Cryptographic Autonomy License (CAL) claims to be the first open source license specifically designed to protect end users’ rights and ownership of data and control of their cryptographic keys.

            The use of open source software (OSS) for blockchain applications is common, and we addressed some of the associated legal issues in our white paper “10 Things to Know About The Intersection of Blockchain Technology, Open Source Software, and Patents.” The CAL includes many provisions that are commonly found in other open source licenses (e.g., it requires making the source code available for any modifications to the underlying work). However, it also includes a number of unique provisions and many subtle nuances to more common provisions.

          • Dorsey’s Square Crypto puts more cash toward Bitcoin grants

            Square Crypto is making it easier for developers to work on free, open-source projects that improve Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.

          • How Blockchain Can Be Used to Promote Gender Equality

            Denelle Dixon is the CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the development and growth of Stellar, an open-source blockchain network that connects the world’s financial infrastructure. Previously, she was the COO of Mozilla, and served as general counsel and legal advisor in private equity and technology.

          • Bitcoin Startup Casa Names New CEO as Node Service Goes Open-Source

            Bitcoin startup Casa is charging into 2020 with a brand new look – by winding down its {hardware} product and shuffling its entrance workplace.

            CEO Jeremy Welch is stepping down from the function with present head of product Nick Neuman taking the helm. CTO Jameson Lopp will stay in his present place however will be a part of the board together with Neuman.

            Welch’s choice to step away from his place was linked to non-public issues and never the agency’s product choices, Welch and Neuman stated.

          • IRISnet open-sources its enterprise blockchain product for Cosmos

            Combining the advanced Cosmos technology stack with years of experience in providing industry solutions, Bianjie has delivered a slew of exciting features in IRITA, including: flexible digital asset modeling, practical on/off-chain interoperability, privacy-preserving data access authorization, pluggable cryptographic algorithms, this comes with the efficient consensus engine and advanced cross-chain capability that come with Cosmos.

            IRITA can be used to build next-generation distributed business applications for various scenarios, such as supply chain financing, digital asset exchange, healthcare data exchange, etc.

          • How an Open Blockchain Project Scored a Rare Endorsement From China

            Conflux, a Beijing-based startup, has achieved a rare feat: winning official Chinese government support for a public, permissionless blockchain.

            When President Xi Jinping urged his countrymen to “seize the opportunity” afforded by blockchain technology last year, he wasn’t encouraging them to trade cryptocurrencies or launch initial coin offerings (ICOs). On the contrary, the government has been cracking down on ICOs and exchanges since the salad days of 2017.

          • Marshall Islands to Power World’s First National Digital Currency with Algorand and SFB Technologies

            Algorand is the inventor of an open-source, pure proof-of-stake blockchain protocol that enables the development of scalable blockchain-native solutions for real-world use cases. SFB Technologies, the appointed organizer for the Marshallese sovereign initiative, chose the Algorand protocol for its speed, scalability, security and its ability to effectively implement required compliance controls and the transaction finality needed for a national currency.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Voters struggled with LA’s fancy new voting machines on Super Tuesday

          Jennifer Cohn, an attorney and election integrity advocate, aggregated at least 100 social media or news reports related to the new voting system. They’re all bad.


          It’s all supposed to be high tech, but the system has been showing some low-tech flaws since it debuted earlier this year. In late February, during California’s early voting period, CBS reported that some of the new voting machines were going unused because of issues with equipment, and that about 30 out of 229 total locations didn’t open on time because of issues with the tech.

        • On Super Tuesday, America’s voting technology will be under intense scrutiny

          While election technology will continue to evolve to meet new threats, Heikki Nousiainen, CTO of the open-source technology company Aiven, said that companies hoping to safeguard the process will always have to split the difference between verifying a vote and protecting the voter’s anonymity. He suggested that an open-source model could help achieve this.

        • Boulder makes strides toward online petitions for 2021 election

          Council, on the whole, agreed that open-source may not be the way to go for elections-related systems. (Open-source software was not a criteria in the Request for Proposals.)

          “With elections stuff, you want to move slowly and include a lot of security,” said councilman Aaron Brockett, a software industry professional “I think we’re on the right path.”

          Two council members, Adam Swetlik and Rachel Friend, wanted to issue a new RFP, due to what they saw as a lack of transparency during the lass process. City leaders convened what Carr called a “courtesy” meeting of the disbanded Campaign Finance/Elections Working Group to update them on the process and gather input.

        • Boulder Council minority skeptical of online petitioning system’s development process

          MapLight produced two “open source” systems, in which the programming code for the petitioning software can be accessed by the public and scrutinized and updated, but those were built outside the formal city bidding process. When MapLight responded to the city’s request, the offer was not for free development, according to a city staff memo to the council.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Open Data Sources for AI in Industry

            When starting a new project to enhance the capabilities of a production facility with Artificial Intelligence, the common question is: “Is it feasible?” Artificial intelligence in an industrial context requires a lot of data to train the underlying algorithms. Systems in operation are generating data. But often these data are encapsulated, or the databases are not connected. They may not be available for the team with the mission to bring AI to the corporation, where it’s own data is not available for building such kind of systems. And on time and budget restraints, the development team is confronted with the question of how to get the training data.

          • Smithsonian 3D Scans NASA Space Shuttle Discovery And Makes It Open Source

            The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, known as NASA, is well-loved, by millions of people. Their Facebook page is approaching 22 million fans; Twitter has over 35 million followers. If you are a fan, you probably know they have a number of different mobile apps to let you keep up with their latest and greatest projects, including NASA Selfies, Spacecraft AR (Augmented Reality), and some 3D deep space exploration.

          • Someone just uploaded open-source nuclear power plant blueprints to the web

            There’s no getting around it: The news that someone has posted open-source blueprints for a functional nuclear power plant online sounds like the evil scheme of a James Bond villain. In fact, it could turn out to be a game-changer for affordable, clean, sustainable nuclear energy.

            Created by Energy Impact Center, a research institute with the mission to decarbonize the global economy by 2040, the so-called OPEN100 project aims to be a one-stop-shop for everything needed for new power plant construction. That includes resources ranging from a web interface for visualizing plant and component design to detailed construction plans. It is the culmination of two years of research, including more than 1,500 interviews with experts and more than 100 site visits across 15 countries. The open-source format is intended to allow startups, engineering firms, global utilities, and capital markets to work together around a common goal.

          • Coming Soon: Open-Source Blueprints for a Tiny Nuclear Reactor

            The Energy Impact Center (EIC) is an energy nonprofit that engineer Bret Kugelmass founded in 2017. The organization’s goals are similar to other groups working toward carbon neutrality or negativity, except Kugelmass has decided “cheap nuclear” is the only avenue he wants to pursue. By doing that, he’s essentially operating a startup model, and for his technology to take hold, a new paradigm for nuclear power plants will have to be installed.

          • The World’s First Open-Source Nuclear Reactor Blueprint Is Coming Online

            Nuclear power’s role in combating climate change is a contentious topic, but a Silicon Valley entrepreneur thinks he can sway the debate by releasing open-source designs for a small-scale reactor that could be built in two years for just $300 million.

            The argument for making nuclear power part of our response to climate change is compelling: the fuel is abundant, it releases no greenhouse gas emissions during operations, and it’s capable of producing huge amounts of energy.

          • Launch: Open-source blueprint for the design of nuclear power plants

            Washington-based non-profit research institute, Energy Impact Center, launched the OPEN100 project, the world’s first open-source blueprint for the design, construction and financing of nuclear power plants.

            Bret Kugelmass, a robotics pioneer and former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, founded the Energy Impact Center (EIC) in 2017 to apply start-up-style urgency and design-thinking principles to global societal problems.

          • Here’s How to Build Your Own Nuclear Power Plant

            A new site claims to offer a guide to building an entire nuclear power plant, from the reactor vessels to the Homer Simpson-esque control panels.

            “We only just launched and in the last two weeks we’ve been flooded with inbound interest from individual engineers, industrial partners, and even international developers,” said Bret Kugelmass, managing director of the nonprofit Energy Impact Center, which created the open source designs in a new interview with Digital Trends.

        • Open Access/Content

          • USG awards $30,000 to UNG and Kennesaw State to write open-source textbook

            The University System of Georgia recently awarded faculty members at the University of North Georgia (UNG) and Kennesaw State University with an Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) Textbook Transformation Grant.

            The $30,000 grant will allow five faculty members to create no-cost or low-cost course materials similar to a textbook for geographic information science (GIS) courses at the two schools. Currently, the textbook costs $85 to $99, according to the proposal. The total projected savings per academic year is more than $31,000.

            Dr. Amber Ignatius, assistant professor of geography and geospatial science in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA) at UNG, said the grant targeted the introductory GIS course at both schools because of its broad reach. More than 350 students enroll in the course in one academic year, according to the proposal.

          • Oregon Tech turns to open source materials to save students textbook costs
          • Oregon Tech faculty turn to open source materials to save students more than $400,000 in textbook costs

            Faculty at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” have been making focused efforts over the last two years to reduce some of the costs associated with textbook materials. Through working with the Open Educational Resources (OER) program, it has saved Oregon Tech students more than $400,000 in textbook costs.

            Open educational resources, according to University librarian, John Schoppert, “are freely accessible, high-quality coursework materials made accessible to students to alleviate the high costs of mainstream publisher textbooks. Addressing textbook affordability is critical to student success and retention, and Oregon Tech is focused on addressing that barrier,” he said.

      • Programming/Development

        • Teaser—JavaScript: The First 20 Years

          In 2020, the World Wide Web is ubiquitous with over a billion websites accessible from billions of Web-connected devices. Each of those devices runs a Web browser or similar program which is able to process and display pages from those sites. The majority of those pages embed or load source code written in the JavaScript programming language. In 2020, JavaScript is arguably the world’s most broadly deployed programming language. According to a Stack Overflow [2018] survey it is used by 71.5% of professional developers making it the world’s most widely used programming language.

          This paper primarily tells the story of the creation, design, and evolution of the JavaScript language over the period of 1995–2015. But the story is not only about the technical details of the language. It is also the story of how people and organizations competed and collaborated to shape the JavaScript language which dominates the Web of 2020.

          This is a long and complicated story. To make it more approachable, this paper is divided into four major parts—each of which covers a major phase of JavaScript’s development and evolution. Between each of the parts there is a short interlude that provides context on how software developers were reacting to and using JavaScript.

          In 1995, the Web and Web browsers were new technologies bursting onto the world, and Netscape Communications Corporation was leading Web browser development. JavaScript was initially designed and implemented in May 1995 at Netscape by Brendan Eich, one of the authors of this paper. It was intended to be a simple, easy to use, dynamic language that enabled snippets of code to be included in the definitions of Web pages. The code snippets were interpreted by a browser as it rendered the page, enabling the page to dynamically customize its presentation and respond to user interactions.

        • Neutralino takes aim at Electron and NW.js

          Experimental framework for building cross-platform apps with JavaScript promises a lightweight footprint and freedom from Node.js

        • RcppAnnoy 0.0.16

          It remains in limbo at CRAN for no apparent reason. No change appears to be imminent either as the CRAN maintainers continue to play a passive-aggressive game of no communication for any reason. Which is a genuine shame as everbody involved in the package, i.e. Erik (upstream) and myself but also Aaron (downstream) worked pretty hard and well last weekend (while I was traveling / attending the wonderful celebRtion 2020 conference for the 20th anniversary of the R 1.0.0) to iron out all remaining issues. Installation is pretty flawless and silent as all compiler warnings have been takeb care of even under -pedantic on a recent version, and the last remaining UBSAN issue is also fixed.

        • The New Compiler Features Of LLVM 10.0 / Clang 10.0

          After running behind schedule from the planned release last month and an extra release candidate being warranted, LLVM 10.0 should be releasing this coming weeks along with its sub-projects — most notably, the Clang 10.0 C/C++ compiler. Here is a look at the big ticket items of LLVM/Clang 10.0.

          The release of LLVM/Clang 10.0 is expected in the coming days while GCC 10 will be releasing in the next few weeks. As for the changes with this half-year update to this innovative compiler infrastructure, LLVM 10.0 highlights include:

          - For Intel AVX-512 CPUs, -mprefer-vector-width=256 is now the default behavior for limiting the use of 512-bit registers due to the AVX-512 downclocking that can occur. This matches the behavior of GCC now while those wanting the previous behavior can pass -mprefer-vector-width=512 if wanting to increase the use of 512-bit registers but with possible performance implications from the AVX-512 frequency impact.

        • Joget Inc. Announces the General Availability of Next Generation Open Source Digital Transformation Platform – Joget DX
        • 7 Programming Languages That Will Die In A Few Years [Ed: Really bad list with loads of FUD and myths]

          Programming languages are a crucial medium of connecting humans to machines. The world is moving toward the most advanced technologies, and this is only possible because of programming languages. These languages help in harnessing the power of computing in all human endeavour.

          However, in this article, we list down seven programming languages, in no particular order, which people think will die in a few years.

        • New programming language rankings: Python now as popular as Java, as TypeScript climbs [Ed: The Microsoft propagandists now cite a Microsoft-funded ‘analyst’, using Microsoft data (GitHub), to tell us which programming languages are popular. Frames Microsoft as “up” (it controls the whole platform).]
        • Perl / Raku

          • The Weekly Challenge #050

            I had great fun working with Merge Intervals task this week. I didn’t know it was going to be more harder to solve than Noble number task. Keeping in mind the sample data provided with the task, I came up with solution very quickly. I was very happy with the result.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge: Merge Inrervals and Noble Numbers

            These are some answers to the Week 50 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

        • Python

          • PyDev of the Week: Tommy Falgout

            This week we welcome Tommy Falgout (@lastcoolname) as our PyDev of the Week! Tommy works on the Robo-Clippy project. You can see what else he is up to by checking out his website. Let’s take a few moments to get to know Tommy better!

            Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

            I grew up in the bayous of Louisiana, and while everyone else was interested in 4-wheeling and hunting, I gravitated towards computers and spent hours on my Commodore 64. Early on, I knew what it meant to be an outcast.

            As I matured, my hobbies became numerous and varied, but all focused around my passion of building. For 5 years hosted and competed in Dallas/Fort Worth’s annual trebuchet competition: Slingfest, and was even featured on an episode of Dude Perfect on Nickelodeon as a Trebuchet expert (complete with my own IMDB page!). I also volunteer at a local Makerspace in Plano, TX (TheLab.ms), built a LEGO Robotic Clippy and competed in the Red Bull Soapbox Derby race. After a few exciting near-misses from bodily harm, I’ve settled down and recently taken up crochet and hobby electronics.

          • Weighted K-Means Clustering example – artificial countries

            One of fields where WKMC algorithm can be applied is demographics. Imagine a situation, in which you would like to see how people group or would group if all administation divisions or historical conflicts disappeared or ethnical, national or tribal identity would not matter? How would then people go about creating communities?

          • enum_switch: a enum-based switch thing for Python

            I am doing a series of videos (spanish only!) about “modern Python”, showing the modern replacements for things that are … dense in their original forms.

            So, I showed Poetry as an alternative to writing your setup.py and Click as a way to do things easier than argparse, and Pathlib instead of os.path and then I wanted to show Enums. Which are not so new since they have been there since Python 3.4 but I feel they are not used widely enough.

            And then I noticed that they help do a “safer” version of the classical Python version of C’s switch / case where you can be sure of not leaving any values unhandled.

          • The Best Resources for Developers to Learn Finance

            Software developers should understand the basics of finance not only to manage their own money but also to understand how businesses’ software projects are funded.

            Understanding how other people who work in accounting, finance and project management think about business and finance in particular can help you make better architectural decisions when trying to build maintainable systems. Code is only one aspect of a large software project so working with others and viewing the world through their discipline will help you immensely as you advance your career.

          • Global variables in python

            In Python, there has only an object data type for all global variables. No matter that is a string or number, a python programmer does not need to declare the data type of that variable before using it because each variable in Python is an object variable.

          • How to build a CSS pre-processor (like SASS) from scratch

            If you are in web development, maybe you’ve heard of Sass, Less, Pug, Stylus etc. All these are pre-processors. In this tutorial we’re going to build nothing less than a functional css pre-processor from scratch with variables and functions. This type of new language is called source-to-source compiled. If you are thrilled, i hope not to disappoint you.

          • 12 Best Udemy Advanced Python Courses in 2020

            Python is an open-source general-purpose high-level interpreted programming language most popularly used for web development, and data science. And with Python skills being at an all-time request, there isn’t a better time to master it.

            The previous Python-related course we published was a list of the Best Udemy Courses for Python Beginners in 2020 with selections based on the user ratings and number of enrollments.

            Today’s list builds on your progress from any of those courses and ushers you into the world of advanced Python programming.

          • How To Analyze Wikipedia Data Tables Using Python Pandas
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Zaloha.sh – A Simple Local Directory Synchronizer Script for Linux

            and simple shell script used to synchronize two local directories: a source directory and a backup directory. It employs standard Linux/Unix tools such as find, sort, awk, mkdir, rmdir, cp and rm to support its underlying functionality.

            Zaloha obtains information about the directories and files via the find command. Both directories must be available locally i.e mounted to the local file system. It also features reverse-synchronization, and can optionally compare files byte by byte. Besides, it asks users to confirm actions before they are executed.

            In this article, you will learn how to install and use zaloha.sh to synchronize two local directories in Linux.

        • R

          • Complexity Theory: Public benefit companies

            On Jan. 29, RStudio, an integrated development environment for the programming language R, announced that it had become a public benefit corporation (PBC). The RStudio mission, it wrote, has always been to provide high-quality, open-source software for data science, scientific research and technical communication. However, before it became a PBC, this was not formalized in RStudio’s charter. RStudio wrote in a public announcement that by becoming a PBC, “we have codified our open-source mission into our charter, which means that our corporate decisions must both align with this mission, as well as balance the interests of community, customers, employees, and shareholders.”

        • Java

          • Shenandoah GC in JDK 14, Part 2: Concurrent roots and class unloading

            The first part of this miniseries about Shenandoah GC in JDK 14 covered self-fixing barriers. This article discusses concurrent roots processing and concurrent class unloading, both of which aim to reduce GC pause time by moving GC work from the pause to a concurrent phase.


            The reason we need to pre-evacuate and update all GC roots during the pause is to ensure the strong invariant. Any object that is read from or stored to must be in to-space.

            Here is the important caveat: Loading the objects out of GC roots does not employ load reference barriers. So, the application has to see the correct copy of the object, and we have to perform the evacs and updates before unblocking from the pause. In this problem statement lies a relatively simple solution: Ensure that loads from relevant GC roots are guarded by a Load Reference Barrier (LRB) that we call “native LRB,” and move the actual updating of those roots to the concurrent phase.

            The so-called “weak” roots are special, though. During marking, we might determine that certain GC roots are no longer reachable. An example of this issue is weak JNI handles. Once the weak JNI handle is declared dead (during final mark), it should not be accidentally resurrected—for example, by inserting the reference to its presumed-dead object back into the heap.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • New High Quality GPU Compression Codec Going Open-Source In The Coming Days

        Compression experts Rich Geldreich and Stephanie Hurlburt with their Binomial consulting firm are about to release a high-quality open-source compression codec for GPUs.

        Hurlburt began teasing this new open-source project over the weekend. She tweeted out that a high quality open-source codec will be opened up in the coming days for “high quality GPU performant images” and “we’re sending you literally 15+ years ahead in time.” While it may seem like a marketing gimmick and building up hype, we have continued to be amazed at the work done by Geldreich in terms of compression codecs and other software work over the years, so we are genuinely excited and eager to learn more.

      • HTTPS Obsolescence

        It’s a shame that a perfectly good piece of hardware is now partially unusable. From a hardware perspective, this tablet works great and suits all my needs. However, manufacturers have product “lifespans” that don’t align with consumers’ reality. There is a right to repair movement that I think applies here. The ability to root and update this tablet would restore nearly all of its original value and functionality to me. There isn’t a root available for this tablet (because it’s so old). And trying to create one for myself would probably consume so much time that it would be more economically efficient for me to just by a new one. This of course goes to benefit manufacturers.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Isaac Asimov, the candy store kid who dreamed up robots

        Despite (or possibly because of) his father’s objections, Isaac began secretly reading every pulp science fiction magazine that appeared in the store, handling each one so carefully that Asimov Senior never knew they had been opened. Isaac finally managed to convince his father that one of Gernsbeck’s magazines, Science Wonder Stories, had educational value—after all, the word “science” was in the title, wasn’t it?15

        Isaac sold his first short story when he was still an eighteen-year-old high school student, naively showing up at the offices of Amazing Stories to personally deliver it to the editor, John W. Campbell. Campbell rejected the story (eventually published by a rival Gernsbeck publication, Astounding) but encouraged Isaac to send him more. Over time, Campbell published a slew of stories that established Isaac, while still a university student, as a handsomely paid writer of science fiction.

      • Search for alien life: SETI@home’s crowdsourced quest winds down after 21 years

        The project has announced that SETI@home will “go into hibernation” on March 31, ending an internet-based computing initiative that for two decades captured the imagination of tech enthusiasts curious about the possibility of finding intelligent alien life through radio signals from far-flung reaches of the galaxy.

    • Education

      • Translating national goals into global impact

        The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals have provided a widely recognised and meaningful framework for policymakers, investors, academics and activists to orientate their mission and purpose towards addressing global challenges. However, while the challenges – and ambitions to meet them – might be universally applicable, restrictive political, socio-economic and geographic boundaries exist that can obstruct the necessary translation of research into political application with real impact.

        At the inaugural THE Southern African Universities Impact Forum, leaders and subject experts from higher education institutions across the region will convene to share research, ideas and solutions to address and confront the key issues that affect the ability of higher education institutions to create a positive impact on society, with a special focus on SDG2 – zero hunger.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • White House Rewrites EPA Assessment of Chemical Linked to Fetal Heart Damage

        John DeSesso was on a mission when he entered the halls of the Environmental Protection Agency in late September. Inside the ornate limestone building not far from the White House, he met with a dozen EPA scientists and officials.

      • PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Found in Tap Water Linked to Cancer Risks

        For the first time, scientists reviewed 26 types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and found that they all display at least one characteristic of cancer-causing chemicals that can alter crucial bodily functions. The new study comes on the heels of alarming laboratory tests that detected many of these “forever chemicals” in tap water sampled across the country and suggest that fluorinated compounds in the PFAS family have contaminated virtually every major source of drinking water in the United States.

      • Italy Quarantines More Than a Quarter of Country to Slow Virus Spread

        Italy took a page from China’s playbook Sunday, locking down around 16 million people — more than a quarter of its population — for nearly a month to halt the relentless march of the new coronavirus across Europe.

      • There’s A More Disturbing Diagnosis Emerging With The Coronavirus

        Beating up people who panic buy toilet paper is no more productive than the act itself, and completely ignores the pre-existing inequalities deliberately built into society, writes Darren Lewin-Hill.

      • Trump Overruled Health Officials Who Wanted to Warn the Elderly Not to Fly

        The White House ordered the removal of language from a federal health coronavirus plan that recommended warning elderly and physically vulnerable Americans not to fly on commercial airlines.

        The reason for the change is unknown, according to the AP’s source who had direct knowledge of the original plan submitted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The White House denied the report. The press secretary for Vice President Mike Pence, Katie Miller, took to Twitter on Saturday and wrote, “Nope, not true. AP reporting off one unnamed individual.” Miller also tweeted that the “story is complete fiction. It was never a recommendation to the Task Force.”

      • Trump’s Coronavirus Press Event Was Even Worse Than It Looked

        During a visit to the Atlanta headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday, President Donald Trump spoke with the press. Alongside CDC director Robert Redfield and Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, Trump fielded questions about the federal response to Covid-19, the disease that has so far infected more than 100,000 people around the world and killed more than 3,500—including at least 19 in the United States.

        As a reporter, in general I’m not supposed to say something like this, but: The president’s statements to the press were terrifying. That press availability was a repudiation of good science and good crisis management from inside one of the world’s most respected scientific institutions. It was full of Dear Leader-ish compliments, non-sequitorial defenses of unrelated matters, attacks on an American governor, and—most importantly—misinformation about the virus and the US response. That’s particularly painful coming from inside the CDC, a longtime powerhouse in global public health now reduced to being a backdrop for grubby politics. During a public health crisis, clear and true information from leaders is the only way to avoid dangerous panic. Yet here we are.

      • Apple’s Cook Offers Work From Home This Week to Many Global Employees

        Cupertino, California-based Apple is uniquely impacted by Covid-19 given its global presence and supply chain based in China. The spread of the virus forced Apple last month to remove its guidance of at least $63 billion in revenue for the March quarter. The company has already seen supply constraints for iPhones and iPad Pros due to the virus and analysts believe further product delays are possible.

        The company was forced to temporarily shutter all 42 of its retail stores in mainland China, but nearly all locations have since re-opened. Still, the company has restricted travel to areas including China, South Korea, and Italy, Bloomberg News has reported.

      • Tim Cook encouraging remote work at Apple global offices due to coronavirus

        In addition to Seattle, the list includes Apple’s corporate offices in the Santa Clara Valley and Elk Grove areas of California, as well as offices in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and the UK, according to Bloomberg.

        Hourly workers at affected Apple offices around the world will “continue to receive pay in alignment with business as usual operations,” the memo states.

      • What you need to know about coronavirus and pets

        Hong Kong authorities this week urged residents not to kiss their pets after a dog was diagnosed with a weak case of coronavirus. The pomeranian that was infected belonged to a person with a known cases of the virus and was not showing any symptoms.

        There is still no evidence that COVID-19 can make pets sick, authorities said.

        Amid a worldwide outbreak that has so far sickened at least 13 people in Los Angeles County, how worried should you be about pets getting caught up in the coronavirus epidemic? Experts say not very much.

        The World Health Organization told pet owners not to be overly concerned having said there was no evidence that pets such as dogs and cats can be infected. But what experts know about the virus and how it spreads, as with most pathogens, is still somewhat guess work.

        Although the coronavirus likely originated in bats, the chances of it passing between pets and humans is extremely rare but not impossible, said Dr. Loren Miller, an epidemiologist and physician investigator at The Lundquist Institute.

      • U.S. virus death toll hits 11; feds investigate nursing home
      • ‘Saturday Night Live’ Brings In Elizabeth Warren As Kate McKinnon Blames Coronavirus Crisis On “Insane” Liberals

        Kate McKinnon kicked things off as conservative Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who complained that the coronavirus crisis is a hoax designed to discredit President Trump.

        “The left continues to wage its deceitful, dishonest, and frankly gay smear campaign against President Trump,” McKinnon’s Ingraham said before tossing to a video of liberals “driving to Whole Foods to buy the last bottle of organic Purell.”

        The clip of that anxious liberal was actually a Fast & Furious scene showing Vin Diesel driving off a skyscraper.

      • Dustin Kirkland: Working from Home — Lessons Learned Over 20 Years and Shopping List

        I’ve been a full-time, work-from-home employee for the vast majority of the last 20 years, and 100% since 2008.

        In this post, I’m going to share a few of the benefits and best practices that I’ve discovered over the years, and I’ll share with you a shopping list of hardware and products that I have come to love or depend on, over the years.

        I worked in a variety of different roles — software engineer, engineering manager, product manager, and executive (CTO, VP Product, Chief Product Officer) — and with a couple of differet companies, big and small (IBM, Google, Canonical, Gazzang, and Apex). In fact, I was one of IBM’s early work-from-home interns, as a college student in 2000, when my summer internship manager allowed me to continue working when I went back to campus, and I used the ATT Global Network dial-up VPN client to “upload” my code to IBM’s servers.

        If there’s anything positive to be gained out of the COVID-19 virus life changes, I hope that working from home will become much more widely accepted and broadly practiced around the world, in jobs and industries where it’s possible. Moreover, I hope that other jobs and industries will get even more creative and flexible with remote work arrangements, while maintaining work-life-balance, corporate security, and employee productivity.

        In many cases, we would all have a healthier workplace, if anyone generally stayed home when they were feeling even just a bit unwell. Over these next few weeks, I hope that many other people discover the joy, freedom, and productivity working from home provides. Here are a few things that I’ve learned over the years, and some of the tools that I’ve acquired…

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Reset Your Computer Once a Year for a Happier Life

          That said, make absolutely sure that you’ve got everything that you need backed up before you get started. Where are your important photos, videos, and documents? Can you reinstall all of the software you rely on from the web? Are all your browser passwords and other data synced somewhere safe?

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Diversity and Inclusion Major Themes at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 [Ed: Accenture, the company that helps Microsoft attack GNU/Linux, pays the Linux Foundation to paint itself as exceedingly nice and tolerant]

                Hyperledger Global Forum 2020 took place March 3-6 in Phoenix, Arizona, bringing together hundreds of attendees from the Hyperledger community. While enterprise blockchains, open-source projects, and other subject matters were discussed, diversity and inclusion served as the underlying theme of the conference.

              • Walmart, 7 Others Join Open-Source Hyperledger Consortium

                Launched in 2016, Hyperledger is an open-source distributed ledger technology (DLT) consortium that aims to “advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.” The project is, arguably, one of the most prominent endeavors in the blockchain space that is focused on mainstream adoption of the emerging technology.
                Hyperledger’s members comprise of some of the most well-known technology and financial firms in the world. Now, per sources close to the matter, retail giant Walmart has joined the DLT consortium, along with seven other companies. Some of these companies include the likes of Aiou Technology, a subsidiary of DLT network IOST, Clear, a B2B smart contracts company, and Swiss DLT services firm Tangem, among others.

              • Walmart joins open-source Hyperledger consortium

                According to a recent press release, Hyperledger has announced the addition of eight new members, including Walmart. Hyperledger is an open-source consortium that aims to “advance cross-industry blockchain technologies.” The other well-known firms to have joined the DLT consortium include Aiou Technology, Clear – a B2B smart contracts company and Swiss DLT services firm Tangem.

              • Walmart joins open-source Hyperledger consortium
              • Walmart Joins Hyperledger Along With Seven Other New Members

                On March 3rd, Hyperledger, an open-source project created to advance blockchain technologies, announced eight new members, notably Clear, Conduent and Walmart.

              • Hyperledger Announces Eight New Members, including Clear, Conduent and Walmart, at Hyperledger Global Forum 2020
              • The secret to Kubernetes’ success

                It’s hard to believe Kubernetes didn’t hit 1.0 until mid-2015 (a year after its first commit), given that the container orchestration platform is now in production at 78 percent of enterprises surveyed by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). That’s crazy fast adoption.

              • New Open Source App: Data Science Education

                An open source project shepherded by the Linux Foundation aims to accelerate data science curricula while benefitting from the contributions of students and teachers. OpenDS4All is funded by IBM (NYSE: IBM) and is being developed by the University of Pennsylvania. The effort would give educators free access to information needed to develop data science coursework. In return, successful approaches would be folded back into what project promoters call “constantly evolving and improving” curricula.

                A starter “curriculum kit” includes a set of open source building blocks that could be used to launch data science programs. Based on the Python programming language, the tools and frameworks include code, documentation and data sets, organizers said.

              • OpenDS4AII is now an open source project to facilitate data science programs

                ODPi, a nonprofit The Linux Foundation project, announced that OpenDS4All is now an ODPi Live Project, accelerating the creation of data science curricula at academic institutions.

                This project was initiated and funded by IBM, built by the University of Pennsylvania, and brought to life under the governance of the Linux Foundation.

                OpenDS4All is a curriculum kit comprised of a set of open source building blocks for schools to supplement, strengthen, or start-up their data science programs.

              • The Elements And Benefits Of Open-Source Compliance

                The goal of the Linux Foundation’s[1] OpenChain Project, and the specification[2] it maintains, is to promote predictability and uniformity in the management of open source. The project also aims to create consistency in how critical open-source compliance information is collected and retained so that it may be properly communicated to others.

                The specification is gaining momentum and will likely be adopted by the International Organization for Standardization by mid-2020. With open-source use on the rise and more and more demanding proof of compliance becoming mainstream, this is a perfect time to reevaluate how you address compliance.

        • Security

          • NetSupport Manager RAT Spread via Bogus NortonLifeLock Docs

            If a recipient opens the document via Microsoft Office Outlook, a prompt appears that asks users to “enable content” to open the document – clicking “yes” executes macros.

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • EARN IT is a direct attack on end-to-end encryption

              Yesterday a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators introduced a new bill called the EARN IT act. On its face, the bill seems like a bit of inside baseball having to do with legal liability for information service providers. In reality, it represents a sophisticated and direct governmental attack on the right of Americans to communicate privately.

              I can’t stress how dangerous this bill is, though others have tried. In this post I’m going to try to do my best to explain why it scares me.

            • Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect.

              On Jan. 31, Kenyon filed a motion in Alachua County civil court to render the warrant “null and void” and to block the release of any further information about McCoy, identifying him only as “John Doe.” At that point, Google had not turned over any data that identified McCoy but would have done so if Kenyon hadn’t intervened. Kenyon argued that the warrant was unconstitutional because it allowed police to conduct sweeping searches of phone data from untold numbers of people in order to find a single suspect.

              That approach, Kenyon said, flipped on its head the traditional method of seeking a search warrant, in which police target a person they already suspect.

              “This geofence warrant effectively blindly casts a net backwards in time hoping to ensnare a burglar,” Kenyon wrote. “This concept is akin to the plotline in many a science fiction film featuring a dystopian, fascist government.”

            • Before Clearview Became a Police Tool, It Was a Secret Plaything of the Rich

              When Clearview was seeking its Series A round of funding, which was completed in 2019, the start-up contacted a number of venture capital firms, including Sequoia Capital and Khosla Ventures. Access to the app was offered as a perk, according to people familiar with the company’s fund-raising attempts.

            • Facebook to ban ads for medical masks

              Facebook has temporarily banned advertisements for medical face masks as the coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., the social media giant announced Friday.

              The ban includes advertisements on the social media platform and its subsidiaries such as Instagram, and listings on Facebook Marketplace.

              Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern said that the platform’s ban seeks to curb those who are trying to take advantage of the virus outbreak.

            • Burn the EARN IT Act

              I want to talk about malignant incompetence on the part of our elected officials, and this isn’t even about the pandemic. Rather, it’s about the spectacularly misguided, counterproductive, expensive, and overbearing approach to end-to-end encryption by the USA along with Australia, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand — the so-called “Five Eyes.”

              Consider the TSA Lock program. (Bear with me; this is important.) It’s an initiative to ensure all luggage locks can be opened by universal keys, held by the TSA and other aviation security agencies, so that any luggage can be searched at any time. The cited purpose is to prevent terrorism, which of course we all want. Unfortunately, the TSA master keys have been publicly leaked, such that anyone could make copies.

              Suddenly that whole program sounds completely insane, doesn’t it? Suddenly this isn’t a trade-off at all. Clearly people with anything to hide, such as terrorists, drug smugglers, etc., would immediately switch to using the invulnerable luggage, and the rest of the TSA Lock mandate would become a gratuitous invasion of personal privacy.

              Suddenly the program’s chief impact would be the imposition of significant and unnecessary risks, such as leaked master keys, rogue TSA agents, and misuse by tyrannical governments, on the entire flying public who don’t go to the inconvenience of using invulnerable luggage. Suddenly the program brings no benefit whatsoever. Suddenly it is a poster child for malevolent government overreach, negligence, and authoritarianism.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Freelancers Shouldn’t Betray Other Gig Workers By Allying with Anti-Union Opponents of AB5

        AB5 certainly needs tweaking, and jettisoning the arbitrary 35 article cap for writers is a good place to start. But it’s another thing entirely to sidle up to Big Tech, Republican politicians, and firms like PLF, and to defend our work using the capitalist ethos of “individualism.”

      • Private Utility Monopolies Serve Shareholder Profits. Let’s Make Power Public.

        Consider a hypothetical corporation that has a monopoly over millions of people, providing a service that is indispensable to its customers. If it raises prices, customers have no choice but to pay those prices. Recognizing this, the government imposes some regulation. It cannot set arbitrarily high prices, but it negotiates with the government to obtain prices that guarantee a steady profit rate.

      • The Brave Browser is Brilliant, But probably not for the reasons you think…

        Is it just the hype around the lofty vision that Brave espouses in its marketing material? The idea of an ad network that respects privacy and pays both content publishers and consumers of that content is certainly appealing, right up there in too-good-to-be-true territory. Or maybe the kind of user who seeks out third party ad-blocking web browsers is also inclined to get excited and perceive value in a new crypto currency just for the sake of having a new crypto currency? I don’t know. I do know that if I were in Brave’s position–taking ad revenue from advertisers, not paying any of that to the publishers of the content over which I display the ads, and controlling a whole secondary crypto economy which serves as yet another potential source of revenue–well, let’s just say my Cheshire Cat grin would probably start hurting my face muscles after a while.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • It’s Time to Close the Loopholes That Are Harming the 2020 Election

        Super Tuesday voting last week was marred by long lines more appropriate for a theme park than a 21st century democracy. In Texas and California, primary voters in multiple polling places had to wait in lines as long as three to seven hours before casting their vote. And yet again, the long lines appear to have been especially concentrated in precincts serving communities of color and students.

      • Media Malfunction as Sanders Notes Positive Aspects of Latin American Socialism

        A far more urgent task for reporters covering the U.S. election cycle would be asking candidates how they plan to combat U.S. authoritarianism at home and abroad, and questioning why the accomplishments of Latin American socialism aren’t possible in the United States.

      • Green New Deal Champion Romanoff Claims Victory Over Ex-Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper in Senate Caucuses

        “In a state where politicians have put the profits of oil and gas CEOs above our health and safety,” said one Sunrise Movement organizer, “Colorado proved that Hickenlooper’s record supporting the fracking industry is politically toxic and voters are ready for change.”

      • Saudis’ Arrest of 2 Princes Called a Warning to Royal Family

        Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was shown in state media Sunday in apparent good health and working, just days after the arrest of two senior princes triggered speculation about a possible coup attempt or a sudden deterioration in the king’s health.

      • Everyone got Super Tuesday wrong. The three biggest surprises:

        Perhaps Trump is so loathsome that whoever emerges as the Democratic candidate will attract enough votes to consign Trump to the trash bin of history regardless of their limitations. But we would be foolish to count on that.


        The eventual nominee will have to bridge the divide between these factions within the party. Bernie must find a way to tailor his populist message in a way that will appeal to older voters, and black voters in particular. Even with strong policies on racial justice and equality, Bernie’s message still has not resonated with black voters. If he wants to be the nominee, something must change.

        And the only way Biden can win the presidency is if he reaches out to young, progressive Democrats, and inspires them. This poses a huge lift: Biden’s establishment message of maintaining the status quo is as uninspiring as it gets for young voters who have only ever experienced the worst of our politics and the economy. In 2016, the Democrats’ presidential nominee had a similar message and similar problems with young voters. We cannot afford a repeat of a centrist candidate who stands for more of the same.

        Perhaps Trump is so loathsome that whoever emerges as the Democratic candidate will attract enough votes to consign Trump to the trash bin of history regardless of their limitations. But we would be foolish to count on that.

      • Bernie Beats Trump (and Biden) on Trade

        There is simply no question that Sanders’s approach to trade prioritizes workers and the environment, and not corporate convenience.

      • Bernie Sanders Is Trying to Save the Democratic Party From Itself

        The movement that has grown around Sen. Bernie Sanders has become a political force to reckon with in the 2020 presidential election. Part of its strength is the many intersections it has with other progressive movements, some of which have been around for many years, others which stemmed from his 2016 primary campaign against Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ campaign has been endorsed by or includes members from Black Lives Matter and the Sunrise Movement, among many others, and from its inception was made up of activists.

      • Hey Fellow Warren Supporters, Let’s Rally Around Bernie Sanders

        For all the strife we saw between Warren and Sanders during the campaign, the fact remains that the two have much more in common than not.

      • Coalition Urges Everyone to Join Movement Supporting Sanders to Secure a ‘Feminist Future’

        “For the nurses, teachers, cooks, domestic workers, bus drivers, farmers, librarians, organizers, caretakers, writers, sex workers, shamans, and waitresses: there’s another America waiting for us and we are ready to greet her. “

      • ‘Our Needs Are Not Moderate’: Civil Rights Leader Rev. Jesse Jackson Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

        “The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path.”

      • Kamala Harris Endorses Joe Biden; Jesse Jackson Backs Bernie Sanders

        Kamala Harris endorsed Joe Biden on Sunday and said she would “do everything in my power” to help elect him, becoming the latest dropout from the Democratic race for president to line up behind the former vice president in his battle with Bernie Sanders for the nomination.

      • Oil prices crash as the Saudi-Russia alliance collapses

        The Saudis had wanted to slash production, but Russia refused. The Saudis promptly cut prices and announced they would increase production from next month, in effect declaring a price war against Russia and America—and threatening other higher-cost producers the world over. The price of Brent crude, the global benchmark, fell from about $50 to $45 on March 6th. And as markets re-opened on March 9th, it crashed by another 30%, to $31 a barrel.

      • Afghanistan: Rival ‘presidents’ plan rival inaugurations

        “It’s impossible to have two presidents in one country,” one Afghan man told news agency AFP. “Instead of [both] holding oath-taking ceremonies they should talk to each other to find a solution.”

      • Russia’s Defiance Sets the Stage for Oil Price ‘Bloodbath’

        Saudi Arabia and other big oil exporters that make up OPEC had agreed on Thursday to further cut their oil output by 1.5 million barrels a day, a desperate attempt to shore up the price of oil as the new coronavirus wreaks havoc on the global economy. But that agreement was conditional on the support of Russia—which ultimately balked, ending the two-day OPEC meeting in Vienna with no new agreement and sending crude prices into freefall.

      • Sanders: ‘I never expected in my life, as an American, to see a swastika at a major political rally’

        “The idea that there was a swastika, a symbol of everything that this country stands against … is unspeakable,” Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that around 400,000 Americans died “fighting that symbol, fighting Nazism.”

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • As Australians, we must support Assange’s struggle

        We humans have a terrible tendency to shoot the messenger. Someone tells us something uncomfortable about what powerful people are doing and we want to blame the person. Maybe this is why the smearing against Assange worked so well. But it’s becoming increasingly harder to evade the evidence, piling up for anyone with the guts to look, that we here in Australia are living inside a monster not composed of democracy, and that we feed it with our continued manufactured consent.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • They Really, Really Don’t Want Black People to Vote, Do They?

        Six hours is time enough to steal a democracy. But it’s time enough to save one, too.

      • Voices From America’s Brutal Prisons

        In 2017, Oprah Winfrey visited Pelican Bay State Prison in California for “60 Minutes” and openly empathized with an inmate’s predicament. It was a departure from the standard primetime interviews with an inmate in which the journalist extracts lurid details about crimes. (Dr. Phil once asked a man convicted of murdering his mother with a sledgehammer what it sounded like.)

      • New Census Algorithm Grossly Miscounts People of Color in the Name of “Privacy”

        The Census Bureau is rolling out a new algorithm intended to protect respondents’ privacy — but experts warn the change will significantly miscount minority communities and rural areas.

      • Police raided innocent family’s home after time zone mix up

        The “serious error” occurred when officers confused Greenwich Mean Time with British Summer Time, as they tried to track who was uploading and sharing indecent images on public WiFi, a report from the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) said.

        The mix-up put the information in the investigation out by one hour and led to the warrant mistakenly being carried out at the address.

      • A note reveals exactly why the Julian Assange extradition case is based on lies

        Indeed, far from risking lives, as alleged, there seems to be clear evidence via the video – with that revealing note – that Assange went to great lengths to protect them.

      • Mexican Women Plan Historic Strike Against Femicides

        On 10 February, two Mexican newspapers published leaked photos of the mutilated body of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman who was murdered and skinned from head to toe by her boyfriend.

      • Mexican Women Are Going on Strike on May 9 to Protest the Femicide Epidemic

        These murders represent only a tiny fraction of the violence suffered by women in Mexico, where it is estimated that 10 women were killed every day, on average, in 2019. Frustrated with government inaction and social apathy, Brujas del Mar, a feminist collective based in the port city of Veracruz, shared an image calling for a national women’s strike with the hashtag #UnDíaSinNosotras, or #ADayWithoutUs. The strike will happen on March 9, a day after nationwide marches on International Women’s Day.

      • What I Learned From the Women Fighting to Save Our Planet

        Creating change meant fixing a problem, and fixing a problem meant facing the complexities of environmental policy and political drama.

      • Protests and Celebrations Mark Women’s Day, Despite Threats

        From the streets of Manila to the plazas of Santiago, Chile, people around the world marked International Women’s Day on Sunday with calls to end exploitation and increase equality.

      • Celebrating Climate Women on International Women’s Day

        In the midst of multi-layered injustices including institutionalized patriarchy, colonization, racism, and economic inequality, women continually lead the way.

      • International Women’s Day Honors Its Activist Roots

        Given the course of natural and manufactured events, it’s easy to get the sense that there have been more setbacks recently than there have been encouraging developments for women around the world. While it’s important to stay focused on the many issues — domestic and state-sponsored violence, human trafficking, income inequality, climate change, transphobia, homophobia and reproductive rights — that require urgent global attention to make International Women’s Day a true celebration rather than an annual observation, it’s also useful to watch for signs of progress in whichever form they take.

      • Jehovah’s Witness Body Uses DMCA to Subpoena YouTube For ‘Apostate’ Identity

        The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, the supervising body and publisher for the Jehovah’s Witness religious group, is using the DMCA to obtain the identity of a self-proclaimed ‘apostate’. In a filing at a New York court, the group demanded that Google should hand over the identity of a person who allegedly uploaded videos of sermons to YouTube without permission.

    • Monopolies

      • [Guest Post] CREATe/BIICL conference report: Mapping Platform Regulation in the UK
      • [Guest Post] CREATe/BIICL conference report 2: new empirical research on IP litigation

        The event kicked off with an empirical look at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) Small Claims track, presented by Dr Sheona Burrow. As – in the grand scheme of things – a young and innovative court, it is valuable to get an insight into how the IPEC Small Claims court is used. For instance, just over half of the claimants came from a creative industry, but there is a satisfying spread which shows that it is not just the “creative industries” making use of the small claims track.

        The court is true to its “small claims” title, with the average claim valued at around £3.5k. Dr Burrow did, however, identify a spike in the values towards the upper threshold of the limit for the track, now set at £10k. This reveals that claimants, particularly in trade mark claims, appear to be deliberately claiming for this figure in damages to bring them “under the wire” into the small claims track.

        Although the procedure in the IPEC is typically more streamlined and straightforward than in higher courts, in over 40% of cases issued there was some evidence that one of the parties did not understand court procedure. This leads to other procedural hiccups or anomalies such as undefended claims floundering and failing to get summary judgment in the claimant’s favour.

      • Patents

        • USPTO Issues Clarification Regarding Petitions Based on Unintentional Delay

          Last week, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice in the Federal Register (85 Fed. Reg. 12222), in which the Office clarified its practice with respect to those situations where the Office will require additional information about whether a delay in seeking the revival of an abandoned application, acceptance of a delayed maintenance fee payment, or acceptance of a delayed priority or benefit claim was unintentional. In particular, for petitions decided on or after March 2, 2020, the Office will require additional information when a petition to revive an abandoned application is filed more than two years after the date the application became abandoned, a petition to accept a delayed maintenance fee payment is filed more than two years after the date the patent expired for nonpayment, or a petition to accept a delayed priority or benefit claim is filed more than two years after the date the priority or benefit claim was due.

        • Timing and political affiliations may favor FTC in en banc review of panel decision in Qualcomm case

          his is the third post today on FTC v. Qualcomm. I previously discussed the scenario of a remand of the contract law part of the case to the district court (summary judgment on chipset licensing) and the difficulties that judges with a non-expansive approach to antitrust law have with the broad “No License-No Chips” part of the FTC’s case.

          There are various possibilities and permutations as to what could happen next. But for the reasons outlined in the two previous posts, a remand of the contract law part is somewhat (though not overwhelmingly) probable, and a reversal of the “No License-No Chips” part fairly likely, as far as the panel that heard the case last month is concerned.

          The FTC has five commissioners: three Republicans and two Democrats. The Democratic minority supports this case; the Republican majority doesn’t, but Chairman Simons recused himself, so the “red” commissioners can’t outvote the “blue” ones. There’s a stalemate. The Democrats can block a settlement, or a decision to drop the case–but they can just keep defending the pending case.

        • FTC’s “No License-No Chips” theory in Qualcomm case may have been too aggressive to be affirmed

          For the technology industry, the question of whether rival chipset makers are entitled to a FRAND license to Qualcomm’s cellular standard-essential patents (SEPs) is the commercially most relevant part of the case. I just wrote about it in the previous post (the first one of a series of three posts on FTC v. Qualcomm as a follow-up to last month’s appellate hearing). But chipset-level licensing has become a question of contract law, with or without a potential antitrust add-on. From a pure antitrust point of view, “No License-No Chips” is the centerpiece of FTC v. Qualcomm. Exclusive dealing, which allegedly delayed Intel’s entry into the premium LTE chipset market, is more of a historic thing than something that would make much of a difference for the future (which is why I’m not even going to discuss it here).

          “No License-No Chips” is Qualcomm’s practice of separately collecting patent royalties on its chip. If Qualcomm just sold its chips without previously signing a patent license agreement, its patent rights would be exhausted. Normally, tech products are sold and the price covers the intellectual property involved. But Qualcomm has always done it differently in the cellular baseband market (though not in other business areas), and very successfully so.

          Trial testimony was consistent and clear: many companies bowed to Qualcomm’s royalty demands only because they needed Qualcomm’s chips. Then they were stuck with license agreements that also applied to any devices they’d ship with baseband chips made by other companies than Qualcomm.

          The FTC argued–and Judge Lucy H. Koh agreed–that this resulted in a surcharge: patent royalties were inflated by shifting a part of the monopoly chipset price to Qualcomm’s licensing division.

          Reasonable people can disagree on whether this practice constitutes an illegal practice of the “raising rivals’ costs” (RRC) kind as the FTC alleged and Judge Koh held.

        • Software Patents

          • Computer as a Tool: Abstract Idea

            The PTAB sided with the patent challenger DISH – cancelling the challenged claims of Customedia’s US Patents 8,719,090 and 9,053,494. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed – holding that the “claims are ineligible under § 101.”

            The invention here relates to facilitating advertising via multimedia system. The Federal Circuit provided the following example synopsis: “a cable set-top box with built-in storage sections that may be leased or sold to advertisers.” The claims also include a remote server that provides the advertising data.

      • Copyrights

        • A Flashy New AI Tool Could Be a Producer’s Dream and a Copyright Nightmare

          Imagine being able to hear exactly what’s under the hood of any piece of recorded music. You upload a file and a few minutes later, a song like “Born to Run” splits apart to reveal its secrets. Each player’s mastery is laid bare: There’s Bruce Springsteen’s isolated vocal take, every murmur and cry heard clearly; Garry Tallent’s propulsive bassline; Clarence Clemons’ fired-up saxophone solo; and that memorable sprinkling of glockenspiel, courtesy of Danny Federici.

        • Cloudflare Geo-Blocks 22 Pirate Sites in Italy Following Court Order

          Cloudflare reports that it is currently blocking 22 domain names in Italy, following a court order. A court determined that the websites in question are facilitating copyright infringement and ordered the CDN provider to take action. While the geo-blockades were implemented months ago, Cloudflare first addressed the action in its transparency report this week.

António Campinos Sponging Off the EPO

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Giving staff pensions? Building fortresses for the management

Summary: Almost a billion euros available for buildings that are not needed and fortresses built in secret for management while gambling, but no money to properly pay the EPO's actual staff?

JURI Committee (the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs) Buries the Unitary Patent (UPC) for Good

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Programme (old): Local [PDF] | Original [PDF]

Briefing: Local [PDF] | Original [PDF]

Report: Local [PDF] | Original [PDF]

EP and EPO

Summary: Based on the words of the European Parliament’s own relevant committee, the UPC/A (agreement) is virtually voided and cannot go on; they need to scrap it and maybe restart the whole process (if they want something similar to it, excluding the UK)

THE European Patent Office (EPO) has not formally spoken about the death of the UPC. Instead, Battistelli‘s “little helper” — another liar — did so in interviews with the media and UPC lobbying outlets. He decided to travel to London to tell a bunch of lies following the UK’s formal refusal to participate (which in turn means that the UPC/A and the British ratification become moot). Battistelli’s UPC hopes are now dead.

We’ve previously covered that, in chronological order, here:

Posted at around 1AM on 9 March 2020 (almost Sunday night) in Mondaq was a sobering article by Herbert Smith Freehills. It’s sobering because it mentions JURI aside from the delusional nonsense from EPOnia (channelled through IAM and Managing IP, London-based platforms of lies from António Campinos leveraged last week; guess who’s funding these!) and the UPC Preparatory Committee, which became de facto obsolete/redundant, as we’ve noted several times before.

“Battistelli’s UPC hopes are now dead.”JURI (or the JURI Committee) says it quite clearly. It’s not too hard to grasp. It’s not the first time JURI speaks about the subject, but highlighted below are key arguments:

Despite positivity from the EPO and UPC preparatory committee on the speed with which the Unitary Patent package (the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent system) can be implemented once a favourable decision is given by the German courts on the constitutional complaint, there remains much to do to get the UPC started, not least a decision on whether the UK can remain part of the system post-transition.

The “EU Patent and Brexit” report commissioned by the European Parliament reviews the positions of the UK Government, the European Parliament, the CJEU and the European Council on options for the UPC at the end of the Brexit transition period and whether the UK can remain a member – in the process revealing that there is still much to resolve.


The optimism of a speedy implementation of the UPC does not appear to be reflected in the “EU Patent and Brexit” report requested by the JURI Committee (the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs) published in November 2019. This report reviews the various options for the UPC when the UK functionally leaves the EU at the end of the Brexit transition period, and whether the UK can stay a member of the UPC by digesting the positions of the UK Government, the European Council, the European Parliament and the CJEU.

In its analysis the report finds that: “The recent ratification of the UPCA has proved that the UK intends to stay within the framework of a European Patent system that goes beyond the EPC, even after Brexit. In certain ways this sends a somewhat mixed message, as the UK wishes to leave the Single Market of the EU and the jurisdiction of the CJEU. On the other hand, it seems not per se legally impossible that the UK can stay within the UPCA, even when not an EU Member State”. However, it goes on to say that this intention of the UK is countered by the UK Government’s statement that “the end of the jurisdiction of the CJEU in the UK was one of the main intentions of the whole Brexit process”.

When considering the consequences of its analysis, it reaches the following conclusions:

First, that “[m]aintaining the UK within the UPCA would need innovative legal solutions, as the UPC is an international court applying EU law -and the reason for Brexit was all about not applying EU law any more. All EU actors are of the opinion that the CJEU would have the final say about interpretation of existing EU Law, that the primacy of EU law has to be respected and that the CJEU is the ultimate guardian of EU intellectual property law. On the other hand, the jurisprudence of the CJEU is not expressly excluding the possibility to allow a non-EU Member State forming part of the UPCA”.

Secondly that “As any UPCA contracting state has the right to nominate judges, any British judge would decide about the interpretation and application of EU (patent) law. It would be only logical that the UK authorities accept the primacy of EU law when it comes to judgements which have been issued by UPC sections with the participation of UK judges, especially from the London specialised section”.

It seems that the issues raised in the report need to be dealt with before implementation can occur.

Interestingly, the report also suggests that to move the London Section of the UPC’s Central Division somewhere else would, in the European Council’s opinion, not be a purely administrative decision (as was the case with moving the European Medicines Agency), but would require the unanimous amendment of the UPC Agreement and thus the agreement of all signatories including the UK.

The European Parliament is quite clear. Put another way, or more concisely, UPC is dead. No UK? Then they have to start all over again. It doesn’t even matter what happens in Germany.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 08, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:59 am by Needs Sunlight



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