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03.14.20

Links 14/3/2020: AryaLinux 2.4, Fedora 32 Beta Soon, Firefox OS Successor Emerges With KaiOS

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Windows 10 sucks – can Linux save us all?

        So, what happened? Why is Windows 10 now such a mess? Recently, Microsoft has released update after update that appear to break more things than they fix. Then, when Microsoft scrambles to release a fix for those new problems, it seems like it introduces even more.

        Many of those new problems even result in the notorious Blue Screen of Death. This error screen was once so widespread in earlier versions of Windows, it became iconic. Thought you’d finally seen the last of it with Windows 10? Well, it’s back. With a vengeance.

        Now, Windows 10 has such a big install base, that even with plenty of reports of problems, for the majority of users, Windows 10 still works fine. And that’s a lot of people.

        However, even if you’ve not been affected by a dodgy Windows 10 update, the steady stream of news about people who have been affected, and are now staring despondently at a blue screen, can’t help but lessen your confidence in Windows 10. Sure, it works for you now. But is it just a matter of time before Microsoft breaks your PC?

        [...]

        One of the easiest ways to ditch Windows 10 is to get a new MacBook or Mac, which runs macOS, or a Chromebook, which runs Chrome OS.

        That, of course, is a pricey option. However, if you want to keep your exciting PC or laptop and move away from Windows, then it’s time to seriously consider Linux.

        Linux is an open-source operating system, and it’s incredibly popular. It’s free to download and install (apart from some versions that are for enterprise users) and it runs on any PC that can run Windows 10. In fact, due to it being more lightweight than Windows 10, you should find it runs better than Windows 10.

        Perhaps best of all, Linux comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Called distributions, or distros, these different spins of Linux are aimed at different people. There are hardcore distros for Linux experts, as well as beginner distros, and ones that are built for running on old and underpowered hardware.

        If you’re new to Linux, then Ubuntu and Mint are the distros to check out, as they are extremely easy to use. Mint in particular is good for Windows migrants as it has a user interface that’s very similar to Windows 10, so you’ll feel right at home.

        Thanks to the popularity of Linux, many programs (and an increasing number of games) you use in Windows 10 will have Linux versions. And if not, there are plenty of excellent alternatives. While Microsoft Office doesn’t run on Linux, LibreOffice is a great (free) alternative, for example.

        There’s also projects like WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) which let you run Windows 10 apps within Linux.

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Tiger Lake Gen12/Xe Graphics Driver Support Considered Stable With Linux 5.7

          Over the past year we have seen a steady flow of Intel Tiger Lake “Gen12″ graphics enablement for the Linux kernel, their first generation also adopting the Xe Graphics branding as part of their discrete GPU initiative. With the Linux 5.7 kernel this spring will be the first release where the Gen12 graphics support is there by default as a sign of stability.

          While a lot of Tiger Lake enablement work on the graphics side has flown into recent kernel releases, it hasn’t been exposed by default. Only if running i915.force_probe= as a Linux kernel parameter has that Gen12 graphics support been exposed. But with Linux 5.7, that flag will no longer be needed.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 5.4 Released With Additions Around Tasklist, XACT Audio

        Hot off yesterday’s release of Wine 5.4 with Unicode 13 and text drawing for D3DX9, Wine-Staging 5.4 is now available with more than 850 patches on top of it.

        Wine-Staging did see some of its patches upstreamed for Wine 5.4, including the D3DX9 text rendering support, but there is also new experimental/testing functionality to find with Wine-Staging 5.4.

      • Wine 5.4 out now with better support for text drawing and Direct2D

        Straight from the WineHQ, we got to know that the newest Wine 5.4 development release is finally here, and it comes with many new features and bug fixes.

        If Wine doesn’t sound familiar, allow FOSSLinux to introduce you to this handy software. Much to our surprise, Wine isn’t a software that keeps you up to date with the latest happenings in the alcohol industry.

        Instead, the makers think of WINE as being short for ‘Wine Is Not an Emulator.’ What Wine does is provide users with a compatibility layer on which you can run Windows software on operating systems based on Linux, BSD, and macOS. The fact that this software relies on upon quickly producing POSIX calls from Windows API calls is what makes it more efficient in terms of performance and memory and sets it apart from other emulators in the game.

        So, if we’ve got you invested in Wine, it’s about time we see what this update has in store for us.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How To Try Out GNOME 3.36 “Gresik” Quickly? (Released 11 March 2020)

          The community beloved computer desktop environment GNOME released version 3.36 with codename Gresik (a city in Indonesia) at Wednesday, 11 March 2020. GNOME is the user interface of Ubuntu nowadays and also user interface of many other operating systems. The software is already available at its official website www.gnome.org but we know we need to upgrade our operating system in order to use it. The problem is either our OS does not provide 3.36 yet or we do not want to upgrade. In fact, most OSes are not fast in providing latest GNOME including Ubuntu itself. On the other hand, we as the users often want to try it out only and do not want any change in our system. There is a solution –a quick way– to try out 3.36 easily without changing our OS. It is by downloading a distro with it built-in and run its LiveCD session. This way we can review all its features in safely and happily. What are OSes available today with 3.36? How to get it? How to run the LiveCD? Those are the purposes of this simple tutorial.

        • GNOME 3.36 | Releases Notes, New Features, and Fixes

          GNOME 3.36 | Releases Notes, New Features, and Fixes GNOME just released an update that was 6 months in the making that will go live in Ubuntu 20.04 and Fedora 32.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • AryaLinux 2.4 Release notes

          Listed below are some of the changes that have made it to this release of AryaLinux. Apart from package updates and upgrades, there are several things that make this release different from our other releases.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • [Test-Announce] Fedora 32 Beta is GO

          The Fedora 31 Beta RC1.2 compose[1] is GO and will be shipped live on Tuesday, 17 March 2020.

          For more information please check the Go/No-Go meeting minutes [2] or log [3].

          Thank you to everyone who has and still is working on this release!

        • [Official] Fedora 32 Beta will be Released by Next Week 17th March 2020!

          Fedora 32 Beta Version: Fedora is one of the Linux Distro developed by the team Fedora Project which is officially funded by Red Hat Enterprises. It uses DNF and RPM package management. Fedora uses Security-Enhanced Linux by basic and so it is now more secure and safe to use. Recently, Ben Cotton announced that the latest version of Fedora 32 beta will be launched by next week of 17th March 2020.

        • Fedora 32 Beta To Be Released Next Week

          Fedora 32 Beta was deemed unready for release on Thursday during the initial Go/No-Go meeting but after reconvening twenty-four hours later the remaining blocker bugs were addressed.

          As such, the beta release of Fedora 32 is now on track for releasing next Tuesday, 17 March, now that the prominent bugs have been addressed per the mailing list.

      • Debian Family

        • Daniel Pocock is an asshole and trolling the Debian project

          Daniel Pocock has been kicked out of the Debian project, the FSFE and many other social groups due to constant abuse and harassment community members had to endure from him.

          There have also been allegations of misconduct and embezzlement.

        • Censored: Question for Debian Project Leader candidates 2020
        • Andrej Shadura: Daniel Pocock is harassing Debian

          If you see this blog post, it means you’re reading Daniel Pocock’s website impersonating the Debian Planet. In case you don’t know yet, he’s been harassing and abusing the Debian project and its members in public for more than a year now, doing similar activities in private before and also in other communities, such as FSFE. He’s been sending abusive emails to the project members, forging emails from other people, creating shadow mailing lists and now also a feed aggregator.

          Unfortunately, any attempts to talk him into stopping didn’t bring any results.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 2020 OSI Election Results

        Congratulations to Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Josh Simmons who were both elected to the OSI board’s two individual member seats, and to Italo Vignoli, nominated by Associazione LibreItalia, who was elected to the one open affiliate member seat. The newly elected Directors will take their seats on the Board, March 20, 2020,

        The OSI thanks all of those who participated in the 2020 board elections by casting a ballot. We also want to extend our sincerest gratitude to all of those who stood for election. Each year the field of candidates who run for the OSI Board of Directors includes a who’s who of open source software leadership. The 2020 nominees were again, remarkable: experts from a variety of fields and technologies with diverse skills and experience gained from working across the open source community. The OSI is honored to include each of the candidates in our 2020 election.

        We would also like to recognize and thank Molly de Blanc and Simon Phipps who are leaving the OSI board. Both Molly and Simon are former OSI board presidents, who have led significant efforts to advance not only the mission of the OSI, but the organization as well. We hope the entire open source software community will join us in thanking them for the service and their leadership. The OSI and the open source software movement are better off because of their contributions and commitment, and we thank them.

      • Events

        • LinuxFest Northwest 2020 cancelled by Wuhan Corona Virus

          I received word that LinuxFest Northwest – originally scheduled for April 25th and 26th in Bellingham, WA – has been cancelled due to the Wuhan Corona Virus. This is the official announcement just sent over by conference organizers: “With an abundance of precaution and care for the well-being of all LinuxFest presenters, sponsors, attendees, volunteers, and their loved ones, we have unanimously elected to not hold LFNW in-person at Bellingham Technical College this year.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox OS Successor: Mozilla and KaiOS announce partnership

            Firefox OS, formerly known as Boot2Gecko, was Mozilla’s attempt at establishing a mobile operating system. First designed as an open alternative to the rising Android and iOS operating systems, then with a focus on connected devices instead.

            Mozilla announced the end of commercial development of Firefox OS in 2016 and to release the code as an open source project.

            KaiOS Technologies picked up the source and used it as a central component for the company’s KaiOS operating system. The company had some success with the operating system as it is used on “more than 120 million devices” in “over 100 countries” according to KaiOS Technologies. KaiOS focuses on feature-phones, a market that Mozilla did not really entered when it worked on Firefox OS.

      • Programming/Development

        • Top App Programming Language Would More Impact In Upcoming Years [Ed: What a joke; we’re led to think that all programming can be assessed based on one single Web site that Microsoft bought as if nothing exists outside it]

          In this article, we discuss top app programming language would more impact In upcoming years. Number of mobile app technologies that are widely used for a specific platform or for cross-platform app development. One of the most comprehensive code repositories today GitHub create a year in Review report that shares interesting statistics about the programmer community.

          As a mobile app development company, this report is beneficial as it informs you about the current status of popular app programming languages. While JavaScript, PHP, C, C#, C++, etc., are still in use, there are some promising ones coming up on the horizon.

        • Python

          • Documentation as a way to build Community

            As a long time user and participant in open source communities, I’ve always known that documentation is far from being a solved problem. At least, that’s the impression we get from many developers: “writing docs is boring”; “it’s a chore, nobody likes to do it”. I have come to realize I’m one of those rare people who likes to write both code and documentation.

            Nobody will argue against documentation. It is clear that for an open-source software project, documentation is the public face of the project. The docs influence how people interact with the software and with the community. It sets the tone about inclusiveness, how people communicate and what users and contributors can do. Looking at the results of a “NumPy Tutorial” search on any search engine also gives an idea of the demand for this kind of content – it is possible to find documentation about how to read the NumPy documentation!

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxix) stackoverflow python report
  • Leftovers

    • The Beagle in Me, the Child in Snoopy

      At the local pet shop, the owner, a gruff older man, tells me, “Oh, you got a beagle? You’re fucked!” And he laughs and laughs. “Dumb as a bag of rocks. Dumber than than the stone you walk on. You’ll never train him. And they’re runners. Trust me, you’re gonna be spending more time looking for him than with him.”

    • Marching with the Maoists

      When I was a teenager living in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland my friends and I used to smoke little handmade cigarettes from India. They were called bidis and were made of leaves from the kendu tree that grows in India. The leaves were rolled tightly into a small cigarette that was then tied with a piece of thread and dried. The bidi packages were triangular in shape and contained twenty or so cigarettes. They were harsh but no more so than one of the French tobacco cigarettes we also used to smoke. If I remember correctly, the bidi cigarettes cost two Deutschmarks per pack. This was around the same price as tobacco cigarettes at the time. The reason I mention these bidi cigarettes is because of their connection to the Naxalite Maoist revolutionaries that operate in the central and eastern forests of India where the cigarettes are harvested.

    • “Now, Voyager” in Reverse

      Recent events in the 2020 democrat campaigns for president have led my mind back to memories of the film “Now, Voyager” from 1942. The film is about an “ugly duckling”s transformation and personal liberation from an oppressive, patriarchy-enforcing, matriarch who only thinks in terms of consolidating greater power over others. While the film has a number of now sentimental, dated and, at times laughable, social manners (the focus on cigarette usage especially), its main message of personal evolution from self-loathing through caring and integrity into responsible behavior is what makes it cogent to current events.

    • Mountains of Sound: the Music of McCoy Tyner

      What resounds in many admiring ears and in the many panegyrics that followed in the wake of piano master McCoy Tyner’s death last weekend at the age of eighty-one is the colossal sound he pulled from his instrument: his left hand—with wrist high to get more leverage—thundering octaves that catapulted up from that low bass toward the middle of the keyboard to grab jagged chords. The right hand joined in either with simultaneous hammer blows of its own or to  draw out fiery skeins of barbed, frenetic melody: a dance of life or death or both. Like John Coltrane, musical and spiritual leader of the famed quartet of which Tyner was a vital cohesive force during his tenure in the group over the first half of the 1960s, the pianist could unleash avalanches of sound or provide the spreading terrain over which the saxophonist unleashed his torrents.

    • Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse

      As modern civilization’s shelf life expires, more scholars have turned their attention to the decline and fall of civilizations past.  Their studies have generated rival explanations of why societies collapse and civilizations die.  Meanwhile, a lucrative market has emerged for post-apocalyptic novels, movies, TV shows, and video games for those who enjoy the vicarious thrill of dark, futuristic disaster and mayhem from the comfort of their cozy couch.  Of course, surviving the real thing will become a much different story.

    • Exclusive: ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’ at the Museum of the Bible are all forgeries

      In a report spanning more than 200 pages, a team of researchers led by art fraud investigator Colette Loll found that while the pieces are probably made of ancient leather, they were inked in modern times and modified to resemble real Dead Sea Scrolls. “These fragments were manipulated with the intent to deceive,” Loll says.

      The new findings don’t cast doubt on the 100,000 real Dead Sea Scroll fragments, most of which lie in the Shrine of the Book, part of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. However, the report’s findings raise grave questions about the “post-2002” Dead Sea Scroll fragments, a group of some 70 snippets of biblical text that entered the antiquities market in the 2000s. Even before the new report, some scholars believed that most to all of the post-2002 fragments were modern fakes.

    • Science

      • Boomerang of Peace

        In my files, there is a photo of my grandfather, George Harold Burchett, with Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space. It was taken on 9 July 1961 in Moscow, in the reception room of the State Committee for Cultural Relations, three months after Gagarin’s historic flight into outer space.

      • We Need More Lunatics

        The Moon with Venus, as observed in New Mexico, Dec. 2019 (Photo by the author) Back in February, on the day I knew the full moon would be rising, I sat down outside facing east, a few minutes before sunset, to watch the show. Here in southwestern New Mexico, the afternoon had been sunny and dry with a high in the low 70s, so the temperature, though cooling down, was still very pleasant.

        [...]

        What does our culture—a techno-industrial society in the Abrahamic religious tradition—have to say to us about the moon? Almost nothing. We have a nursery rhyme about a musically-inclined feline and a bovine with impressive leaping abilities. We have rumors that people act more violent during a full moon but is that just an urban myth? (Science says it is, for what it’s worth.) We use the word “lunatic” (from “luna,” Latin for “moon”) to describe insanity, but more on that later. Basically, and I would say to our detriment, we have reduced the moon to a symbol or cartoon, as if it literally were made of paper, in a sky of canvas over a sea of cardboard.

        But the moon is a real thing and it’s important. Its cycles and many of their effects are well-known. At one point in human history, everyone was in tune with its rhythm because we all lived outside and were directly, personally affected, as were the other life forms around us with whom we communed.

        The studies of Astrology and Astronomy were once one and the same. People who observed and recorded the movements of the heavenly bodies also described apparent correlations between these movements and the actions and attributes of earthly bodies. In the splitting of this discipline into two, both pursuits lost something.

        I lived on the West Coast for nearly two decades and so I met quite a number of astrologically minded people but too few had a practical knowledge of the night skies. They knew the Moon was in Cancer because that’s what their charts told them, but lacked the training to figure it out through their own observations. As for those individuals of more skeptical bent, who attempt to sever the Universe of its intrinsic interconnectedness, I must ask why they insist on manufacturing cold loneliness when the raw materials of life are so much better suited to warm conviviality? Too often, the “rationalists” breed estrangement, which is so dangerous in a time when we need to reknit our relationships to the rest of creation.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Pharma Discovers “Geriatric ADHD”

        Pharma has already discovered the huge profits in labeling school children, toddlers and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Now, according to some reports, it has discovered “geriatric ADHD.”

      • In Ancient Greek Thought, Plagues Follow on Bad Leadership

        In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins “Oedipus Tyrannos” with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It’s his own bad leadership.)

      • Avoid Contagion
      • Who’s Ready to Die for Trump’s Ego?

        My granddaughter’s school has planned a trip to Thailand.

      • Union Workers Are More Likely to Have Paid Sick Days and Health Insurance

        COVID-19 sheds light on inequalities among the poorest and least-empowered workers.

      • ‘Unconscionable’: Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Trump Moves to Take Food Stamps From Over a Million People

        “Really it’s a cruel rule, taking food out of the mouths of hungry individuals.”

      • Cruelty ‘Off the Charts’ as Trump Blocks States From Expanding Medicaid in Response to Coronavirus

        “Not even a global pandemic will stop dead-eyed right-wing extremists from trying to eviscerate the social safety net.”

      • Endangering Public, Trump Lies Mount as Coronavirus Spreads Across United States

        “It turns out it has serious consequences when in the middle of a serious public health emergency the president just lies about it over and over and over again.”

      • COVID-19 pandemic: An opportunity for quackery

        This week, the COVID-19 pandemic started to shift into high gear in the US. The stock market tanked worse than any time since the crash of 1987, so much so that, given its losses over the last several days, it’s now firmly in bear market territory. My two favorite meeting, which have the bad timing/fortune to be in the spring (Society of Surgical Oncology and Society of Surgical Oncology) have been cancelled, with more likely to come, such as the American Society of Breast Surgeons meeting. Major League Baseball has delayed the start of its season; the NCAA has canceled March Madness; and the NBA has shut down its season for at least 30 days. Broadway is going dark, and numerous television shows are dispensing with their live studio audiences during taping for at least a few weeks. These are interesting times we live in. Meanwhile, under the “leadership” of an arrogant incompetent orange ignoramus with a massive ego that requires constant sycophancy and stroking, who spouts misinformation on an hourly basis and will never, ever try to relieve his black hole density ignorance with actual information that experts have been desperately trying to dangle in front of him to get his interest by coupling it with “Dear Leader”-style overblown praise of his awesomeness, the COVID-19 pandemic appears, by every measure, ready to explode out of control. (I can hear you all thinking, “Tell us what you really think about Donald Trump, Orac.” I can also sense you thinking, “That’s a hell of a long sentence!” It’s not a run-on sentence, though, even though it feels like one. That’s just me. If it bugs you, you don’t have to read this blog.)

      • Trump’s DOA TV Address and an Alternative Fiscal Stimulus Program

        Tonight, March 11, Trump gave a TV address to the Nation that was to be his program for mobilizing the country to address the growing spread of the Covid-19 virus and its increasing negative impact on the US economy.  The proposals landed with a thud. Even the financial markets gasped and went into a tailspin. The Dow Jones stock futures market immediately went into a tailspin, falling 1250 points again even before the markets reopen tomorrow morning, Thursday March 12.

      • Paul Krugman, COVID-19, and Broken Windows

        The jury is still out on which of two things — COVID-19 or the panic over COVID-19 — will cost more lives and do more damage to the global economy. My money’s still on the latter. In the meantime, I’ve developed a surefire, Groundhog Day type test for whether the emergency is over:

      • COVID-19 Side Effects: Reality and Clarity

        The fragility of our American system is about to be laid bare.

      • What Is Covid-19 Trying to Teach Us?

        Some people see the world as an infinite number of prize fights, each with one winner and one loser. For them life is an unending series of these zero-sum games. Unfortunately, one of these people is the President of the United States.

      • Conflicting Reports About Brazil President Bolsonaro Intensify Alarm Over Trump’s Possible Exposure to Coronavirus

        “If Trump really hasn’t been tested since this, it’s extreme medial recklessness and political irresponsibility. If he has, then it’s a scandalous that we don’t know the results.”

      • Despite Coronavirus Threat, Americans for Prosperity Still Leads Fight Against Medicaid Expansion

        Coronavirus or not, AFP’s opposition to health care for the poor and working poor remains resolute.

      • Amid Coronavirus, Trump Moves to Take Food Stamps From Over a Million People

        The Trump administration made clear this week that it has no plans to scrap — or, at the very least, delay — a rule change that could strip federal food assistance from over a million people in the United States as the coronavirus spreads across the nation, heightening the need for measures to protect the most vulnerable from the economic fallout.

      • ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to Public Health: Leading Progressive Group Demands Trump Resign Over Coronavirus Failure

        “In a time when protecting the nation’s public health demands clear, truthful, and compassionate leadership, Trump has offered exactly the opposite.”

      • To Help Stem Coronavirus, Lift Sanctions on Iran

        Among those in Iran who have been unable to get critical medications have been patients with leukemia, epidermolysis bullosa, epilepsy, and chronic eye injuries from exposure to chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war. Now coronavirus is added to that list.

      • We’re Urged to Wash Our Hands. But for Some It’s Not That Simple.

        The World Health Organization has now confirmed that the coronavirus outbreak is a pandemic. The fast-spreading disease has been in the United States for weeks now, with more than 1,000 confirmed cases and at least 31 related deaths. The widening consensus is that aggressive measures will be required to lessen its impact.

      • Trump Failure to Declare Coronavirus National Emergency ‘Beyond Reckless and Irresponsible’: Expert

        “This is an active and deliberate choice that the president is making.”

      • A Smirk, A Snort, And A ‘Scotty From Marketing’ Fact-Free Coronavirus Live Address To The Nation

        We have no reason to believe the Morrison Government’s handling of the unfolding coronavirus disaster will be any better than its handling of the recent climate emergency. Particularly not after the Prime Minister’s live address to the nation, dripping with spin and a smothered laugh off camera. Chris Graham explains.

      • On My Stint in Coronavirus Quarantine

        Am I the next Typhoid Mary?

      • Matt Gaetz—GOP Lawmaker Who Opposed Paid Sick Leave and Mocked Coronavirus Warnings—Now Under Quarantine Using Paid Sick Leave

        As a member of Congress, Gaetz earns $174,000 per year regardless of whether he comes to work—while millions of Americans must choose between working while ill or forgoing their paychecks.

      • Sanders Says Coronavirus ‘A Red Flag for Current Dysfunctional and Wasteful Healthcare System’

        “We are only as safe as the least insured person in America.”

      • The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

        A federal directive that’s supposed to speed up the response to a pandemic is actually slowing down the government’s rollout of coronavirus tests.

      • US Lags on Coronavirus Testing and Medical Experts Warn “No One Is Immune”

        It has been seven weeks since the first case of the new coronavirus was reported in the United States. President Trump is claiming, “Anybody that needs a test gets a test,” but this is simply untrue. There have been just 11,000 tests so far throughout the United States since the coronavirus outbreak began, compared to nearly 20,000 tests for coronavirus every day in South Korea alone. We spend the hour looking at how the Trump administration has failed to account for what may be thousands of infections because of ongoing problems with access to testing, and how other countries have responded. We also discuss measures people must take to limit their exposure and protect their communities. We speak with Justin Lessler, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is the senior author on a new study that suggests the median incubation period for the new coronavirus is about five days. We are also joined by Dr. Steven Goodman, associate dean at Stanford Medical School, where he is professor of epidemiology and population health and medicine. He is also Amy Goodman’s brother. Both schools are now holding classes online over concerns about the outbreak.

      • ‘Coronavirus Isn’t Stopping Us!’: Youth Activists Adapt to Global Pandemic With Digital #ClimateStrikeOnline

        “In the face of a crisis we act according to science and fact.”

      • Coronavirus Prevention That Works For Working People

        It should not take a terrifying national emergency for us to wake up to the realization that we all pay the price when we treat people like they don’t matter.

      • Washing our Hands of Trump and Powerlessness

        It’s time to wash our hands of Donald Trump. The coronavirus pandemic is quickly becoming Trump’s Hurricane Katrina, because the federal government bungled the early stages of the disaster so badly. The CDC initially sent out faulty test kits, limited tests to overseas travelers, and blocked other labs from testing. All that practical incompetence can and should be held against Trump.

      • The Fed’s Baffling Response to the Coronavirus Explained

        When the World Health Organization announced on February 24th that it was time to prepare for a global pandemic, the stock market plummeted. Over the following week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by more than 3,500 points or over 10%. In an attempt to contain the damage, on March 3rd the Federal Reserve slashed the fed funds rate from 1.5% to 1.0%, in their first emergency rate move and biggest one-time cut since the 2008 financial crisis. But rather than reassuring investors, the move fueled another panic sell-off.

      • House Democrats Propose Sending Checks of Up to $6,000 to Help Ease Workers’ Pain During Coronavirus Pandemic

        “As more folks are staying in and taking necessary steps to avoid spread of the coronavirus, more Americans will struggle to cover basic needs like rent, groceries, and medicines.”

      • Release People From Jail To Prevent A Coronavirus Catastrophe Behind Bars

        Written by Jose Saldana, Komrade Z*, and Nadja Guyot

        COVID-19, the novel coronavirus spreading across the globe, exposes the dangers of the U.S.’s eroded and underfunded safety net.

      • As US Faces Nationwide Social Distancing, Coronavirus Threat Renews Demand for Universal Broadband Access

        “Schools are closing and classes are migrating online. But not every student has internet at home.”

      • ‘Grotesque Level of Greed’: Owned by World’s Richest Man Jeff Bezos, Whole Foods Wants Workers to Pay for Colleagues’ Sick Leave During Coronavirus Pandemic

        “Absolute bullshit. With the amount Jeff Bezos makes in one day, he could shut stores down and pay employees to stay safe.”

      • ‘No, I Don’t Take Responsibility At All,’ Says Trump, About Coronavirus Testing Lag

        There you have it.

      • As Coronavirus Grips US, Critics Remember Susan Collins’ Insistence Pandemic Flu Funding Be Cut From 2009 Stimulus Package

        “Senator Collins went out of her way to stop funds from going to pandemic preparedness, and now Mainers are concerned because of Collins’ history of opposing funding for situations exactly like this.”

      • Some Towns Still Haven’t Halted Utility Shut-offs for Unpaid Water Bills During Coronavirus, Even as Federal Lawmakers Demand It

        Access to running water for hand-washing is essential to slowing the spread of the coronavirus, but in Washington state, some utilities serving the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic have not committed to halting water shut-offs for customers with delinquent accounts.

        Seattle and some other cities in King County have suspended shut-offs, but other communities have only committed to being flexible with customers who are behind on payments. In Kirkland, where several coronavirus cases have been tied to a nursing facility, the city has not instituted a moratorium on water shut-offs, though the city said officials are discussing such a step.

      • Kremlin spokesman says Putin is safe from coronavirus, but don’t expect to see his medical records

        Putin administration spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the Kremlin is taking all necessary steps to protect the president from seasonal and other diseases. On Friday, the press secretary fielded questions from journalists about whether the administration is pursuing additional measures, after reports a day earlier that one of the lawmakers who attended the president’s speech on Tuesday had violated Russia’s rules on self-quarantine, following his return from an undisclosed trip to France.

      • Coronavirus Offerings and Job Losses

        It was predicted, warned against and is happening. Universities fattened by the Chinese student market are now in a state of financial shock, cutting losses, trimming courses and doing what over managed institutions do best: remove working productive staff while preserving the gouty managerial class. COVID-19 was but a catalyst for something that was already deep seated, a doomsday scenario for universities with management structures keen to make a killing from one traditional source. There were other incentives to do so, of course: falling government investment in education, an increased interest in finding sources of private income.

      • Trump Is Treating Coronavirus Like a PR Problem, Not a Health Crisis

        On March 4, Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz made headlines for a stunt on the House floor in which he wore a gas mask to make light of coronavirus fears. Three days later, one of his constituents died of the infection. On March 9, Gaetz announced he was going into isolation after being exposed to the virus at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

      • Russia’s number of confirmed coronavirus infections reaches 45

        In the past 24 hours, Russia has recorded another 11 new cases of coronavirus infection. A federal task force announced that all the new patients are Russian citizens. Five of the cases were reported in Moscow, three in St. Petersburg, one in the region outside St. Petersburg, one in the region outside Moscow, and another in Russia’s Perm region.

      • Major Russian companies take mostly minor measures against coronavirus as St. Petersburg bans large events

        As Russia’s confirmed COVID-19 case count continues to hover in the mid-double digits, large companies and cities outside Moscow are beginning to take precautions. St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov announced that from March 16 to April 30, all events involving more than 1,000 people will be banned. The surrounding Leningrad region, meanwhile, banned events of over 300 people following its first confirmed case: a woman from Kudrovo who had recently visited Italy.

      • The FDA Is Forcing the CDC to Waste Time Double Testing Some Coronavirus Cases

        A federal directive that’s supposed to speed up the response to a pandemic is actually slowing down the government’s rollout of coronavirus tests.

      • Coronavirus Telecommuting To Further Highlight Shoddy US Telecom Market

        To be clear, there are going to be layers of life and death dysfunction that the Coronavirus shines a bright spotlight on, most notable being a shaky US healthcare system and incompetent government leadership. But the outbreak and response is also going to shine a bright light on the broken US telecom market, and the millions of Americans that won’t be able to effectively telecommute in a crisis.

      • Coronavirus Reveals the Cracks in Globalization

        The coronavirus will eventually pass, but the same cannot be said for the Panglossian phenomenon known as “globalization.” Stripped of the romantic notion of a global village, the ugly process we’ve experienced over the past 40 years has been a case of governmental institutions being eclipsed by multinational corporations, acting to maximize profit in support of shareholders. To billions of us, it has resembled a looting process, of our social wealth, and political meaning. Governments that wanted to stay on top would have to learn to master soft power to learn to be relevant in a globalized world, mostly acting to smooth transactions and otherwise stay out of the way.

      • Coronavirus and the Digital Divide

        The New York Times‘ Farhad Manjoo (3/11/20) tried wistfully to imagine US companies and politicians taking seriously the coronavirus lesson of the need for a real social safety net and worker protections. Journalists could also themselves keep focus on enduring fissures that a public health crisis throws into relief. For example, as more schools move classes online, we could talk about the minimally 12 million, disproportionately African-American and Latinx students who don’t have internet access at home.

      • At ‘Shock Doctrine Press Conference,’ Trump Bails Out Oil Industry, Not US Families, as Coronavirus Crisis Intensifies

        “Trump has once again put the interests of oil and gas executives ahead of the interests of people and communities.”

      • Dismissing Heightened Coronavirus Risks, State Officials Plan To Hold March 17 Primaries

        In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Louisiana became the first state to delay their primary, which was scheduled for April 4. The Wyoming Democratic Party also canceled the “in-person portion of their upcoming vote” on the same date. Yet, despite health risks, state officials in four states intend to proceed with their primaries on March 17. Arizona, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio are in states of emergencies. The potential of contracting the virus is heightened if voters stand in lines at polling places. Polling place workers may potentially be exposed to the virus. Voter turnout may be significantly lower as a result of fears.Nevertheless, Secretary of State Kathy Hobbs of Arizona, Secretary of State Laurel Lee of Florida, Elections Board Chairman Charles Scholz (IL), and Secretary of State Frank LaRose Of Ohio put out a statement insisting Americans have “participated in elections during challenging times in the past,” and they would be able to do so on Tuesday. “Unlike concerts, sporting events, or other mass gatherings, where large groups of people travel long distances to congregate in a confined space for an extended period of time, polling locations see people from a nearby community coming into and out of the building for a short duration,” the political representatives declared. The officials added, “Guidance from voting machine manufacturers on how best to sanitize machines, guidance from CDC on best practices for hand washing, and guidance from our respective state health officials is being provided to every polling location.”  “Our priority is ensuring that people are healthy and safe,” the Wyoming Democratic Party stated. “Holding public events right now would put that in jeopardy so this is the responsible course of action.” (Wyoming holds a caucus.) Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin delayed the primary until June 20. “Safe and secure elections also mean safety to the people of Louisiana,”

      • Russia restricts air travel to the EU, allowing only charter flights and planes headed to capital cities

        Effective on March 16, Russia is imposing new restrictions on air travel to countries inside the European Union, as part of the expanding effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. According to an announcement from Russia’s federal task force, air travel will now be limited to flights destined only for the capital cities of EU nations, though the new rules do not apply to charter flights, according to the news agency Interfax.

      • Emergency Medical Responders Have Lacked Guidance and Are Stretched for Supplies and Personnel to Combat Coronavirus

        After the first confirmed coronavirus case on U.S. soil, 800 miles to his north, the chief of a Northern California fire department gathered his executive team in mid-February to prepare for the inevitable landing of the virus in his community.

        They planned to screen patients carefully and have their first responders gear up in gowns, masks and goggles if they believed one could be infected. Yet even though the outbreak was already spreading nationwide, Rocklin Fire Department Chief William Hack decided to hold off on putting the high-level response into action until the first case showed up in the county.

      • Service Workers Are Worried About Paying Rent, Getting Sick From Coronavirus

        We interact with service industry workers daily: baristas at coffee shops, waitstaff at restaurants, manicurists at nail salons, the checkout guy at the local bodega, the Uber driver in whose car we ride, and so on. These are people who provide services we rely on in our everyday routines, and a majority of these workers do not have the luxury of preparing for the affects of a coronavirus outbreak on their jobs and incomes.

        Teen Vogue spoke with four young service workers in major urban areas at risk for coronavirus spread — New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and the greater Boston area — to learn how the disease is impacting their daily routines and livelihoods.

      • Fox Business Host Trish Regan on Hiatus After Virus Comments

        Regan, the host of “Trish Regan Primetime,” said Democrats and the “liberal media” were using the coronavirus to “destroy the president.” She blamed the stock market declines on Donald Trump’s rivals, calling it “another attempt to impeach the president.” While she spoke, the headline “Coronavirus Impeachment Scam” appeared next to her.

      • Chinese Billionaire to Donate Coronavirus Test Kits, Face Masks to U.S.

        Chinese billionaire Jack Ma has pledged to donate 500,000 coronavirus test kits and 1 million face masks to the United States in the face of the global pandemic.

      • Twitter and Facebook Must Not Allow Trump’s Covid-19 Lies

        But now we are in a different phase: The verbiage from the Orange Man in the White House has regularly involved misleading assurances about a lethal pandemic. If heeded, those words have the potential to increase people’s chances of being exposed to a disease that may kill them.

        I don’t suggest that the president be censored, which is the explicit line that both Dorsey and Zuckerberg are unwilling to to cross. But instead of hitting us with their usual justification for inaction—“You don’t want us to decide what content is OK!”—they should be asking themselves, “When do we need to inform our users that content is dangerous, no matter who says it?”

      • Coronavirus Will Change How We Shop, Travel and Work for Years

        The great depression spurred a “waste not want not” attitude that defined consumer patterns for decades. Hyperinflation in the Weimar Republic still haunts German policy.

        The Asia financial crisis left the region hoarding the world’s biggest collection of foreign exchange. More recently, the 2008 global financial crisis drove a wedge through mature democracies that still reverberates, with workers suffering measly pay gains in the decade since.

      • ‘It’s a scary thing’: Wild stay cautious amid coronavirus crisis

        There was about six feet of space separating Wild interim coach Dean Evason from members of the media following Wednesday’s practice at TRIA Rink.

        It was a similar setup during interviews for veteran center Eric Staal and dynamic winger Kevin Fiala.

        Such is life now that sports leagues across the country have started to adapt new regulations as a way to combat the coronavirus crisis.

        “It’s hard to not see it,” Evason said. “Whenever we turn on the TV, radio, newspaper, whatever, we see it. It’s a scary thing, obviously, in our world today. We are just going to follow protocol and whatever is asked of us.”

      • Minnesota nursing homes begin to restrict — and ban — visitors over coronavirus

        Following guidance from the federal government and recommendations from a national industry group, nursing homes in Minnesota and across the nation on Tuesday began taking unprecedented measures to limit, discourage, and outright ban visitors from nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospice centers and many assisted-living facilities as a result of the serious risk the spreading coronavirus poses to the elderly.

        “It’s the largest sort of lockdown I’ve ever seen,” said Doug Beardsley, vice president of member services for Care Providers of Minnesota. The group represents about 160 nursing homes and hundreds of assisted living centers across the state. Beardsley noted it’s not a true lockdown — residents’ movements are not affected — but his statement underscores the seriousness of the situation.

      • Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest

        It was a routine game of schoolyard tag — except the children had dubbed this version “coronavirus.” The kids ran around and tagged one another, but instead of being “it,” they “caught” the virus.

        Children like the ones a reporter saw playing recently at a school in Washington, D.C., are becoming more aware of the coronavirus — though they may not fully understand it or know how seriously to take it — as it begins to affect their daily lives with school closures and event cancellations, restrictions on travel, and the NBA nixing the rest of its season.

        Many parents are now deciding how to talk to their children about the virus. Some said they are checking in daily, while others worry talking about it could make their kids more anxious or fearful.

      • Minnesota’s second coronavirus patient was in contact with up to 20 people before testing positive

        As many as 20 Minnesotans could have been in contact with the state’s second coronavirus patient before the person knew they were infected with COVID-19.

        Minnesota Department of Health officials are working to identify everyone a Carver County resident was in contact with before testing positive Sunday for the coronavirus. Officials say any of those contacts who are at serious risk of developing the virus will be asked to isolate themselves for two weeks, the incubation period of the virus.

        “We worked last night, late into the night, to contact some of those individuals and continued working on that this morning,” said Kathy Como-Sabetti, state senior epidemiologist.

      • Life under quarantine: After visiting China during coronavirus outbreak, Fargo woman’s ordeal didn’t end when she got home

        The last time my wife, Annie Gao, took her temperature, she sighed with relief.

        Ninety-seven point seven degrees. After two weeks of monitoring herself in isolation at home in Fargo, she had no fever, no coronavirus symptoms.

        Excited for the final call from the North Dakota Department of Health to verify she could go back to work and resume her normal life, she spoke about what her life’s been like for the past six weeks — under lockdown in China and then 14 days of isolation at home, which ended Thursday, March 5.

      • Flu and coronavirus: Similar symptoms, different fears

        Is it the flu, a cold or the new coronavirus? Patients and doctors alike are parsing signs of illness to figure out who needs what tests or care and how worried they should be.

        “You have three different major viruses floating around at the same time,” causing somewhat similar symptoms — but different levels of concern, said Dr. Gary LeRoy, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pentagon Reconsiders Microsoft Contract After Amazon Protest

          U.S. government lawyers said in a court filing this week that the Defense Department “wishes to reconsider its award decision” and take another look at how it evaluated technical aspects of the companies’ proposals to run the $10 billion computing project.

          The filing doesn’t address Amazon’s broader argument that the bidding was improperly influenced by President Donald Trump’s dislike of Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos. Bezos owns The Washington Post, a news outlet with which Trump has often clashed.

        • [Attackers] are making malware-infected coronavirus maps to harvest personal information

          A journalist with expertise on cybercrime reported on Thursday that [attackers] are trying to take advantage of the public’s concern about the COVID-19 pandemic to infect users’ computers with malware.

        • Live Coronavirus Map Used to Spread Malware

          Cybercriminals constantly latch on to news items that captivate the public’s attention, but usually they do so by sensationalizing the topic or spreading misinformation about it. Recently, however, cybercrooks have started disseminating real-time, accurate information about global infection rates tied to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic in a bid to infect computers with malicious software.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Police forces around the world continue to push for routine – and real-time – facial recognition capabilities

              Facial recognition crops up on this blog more than most technologies. That’s in part because the underlying AI is advancing rapidly, boosting the ability of low-cost systems to match faces to those in databases. The Clearview saga is a good example of this, where an unheard-of startup has put together what is claimed to be an extremely powerful system. More details are emerging about Clearview’s client list, thanks to a leak, reported here by BuzzFeed:

            • New ¿Where Is My Data? Report: Five Years of Holding ISPs Accountable in Colombia

              Five years have passed since Colombian digital rights NGO Fundación Karisma launched its first annual ¿Dónde Están Mis Datos? assessing telecommunication companies’ commitment to transparency and user privacy. Since then, we’ve seen major telecom companies providing more transparency about how and when they divulge their users’ data to the government. This project is part of a region-wide initiative akin to EFF’s Who Has Your Back? by Latin American and Spanish NGOs. So far, nine countries have joined this project kicked off in 2015 with Karisma’s first report.

              When Karisma started the reports in 2015, none of the ISPs published any transparency report or any aggregate data about the number of data requests they received from governments. Five years later, the country’s main ISPs, such as Telefónica-Movistar and Claro, periodically disclose government transparency reports. This is a big win for transparency and users’ rights. Companies’ privacy policies have also shown progress over the years, with more useful information being better provided to users on data retention, collection, and processing.

            • The EARN-IT Act

              Prepare for another attack on encryption in the U.S. The EARN-IT Act purports to be about protecting children from predation, but it’s really about forcing the tech companies to break their encryption schemes: [...]

            • ACLU Sues Over U.S. Airport Facial-Recognition Technology

              The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over its use of facial recognition technology in airports, decrying the government’s “extraordinarily dangerous path” to normalize facial surveillance as well as its secrecy in making specific details of the plan public.

              The ACLU’s lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in New York, is seeking more transparency from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (UCBP) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) about how it’s using information collected by the scanning technology as well as how it’s working with partner organizations in terms of the effort.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Incident on King Street Remembered a Quarter of a Millennium Later

        It’s generally true what they say about public history — that it’s easily trivialized and forgotten, so that we can soon start over again, and make the same mistakes next time, with more brio and technology-driven enthusiasm. And don’t even get me started on personal memory. Ever since postmodernism came along and said that just because the Foo shits on you doesn’t mean you have to wear it. We don’t really know what happened, or what hit us. We’re like the dinosaurs that way. Fuck, if I can remember where I left the keys, let alone my dignity. And I tell myself: if memory doesn’t flatter, what good is it?

      • ‘It’s Not Doing a Service to Anyone but Defense Contractors’
      • Will the Afghanistan Peace Deal Work?

        There are two likely outcomes of the recently signed U.S. peace deal with Afghanistan’s Taliban. One is that a withdrawal of U.S. forces will bring a short-term reduction in violence. The second is that the U.S. will leave behind a political mess so severe that violence prevails for the foreseeable future.

      • As Coronavirus Pandemic Sweeps the Globe, Trump Authorizes New Bombing Campaign in the Middle East

        “This moment is the last three decades of U.S. foreign policy in miniature: spare nothing for war and military dominance and find little to spare for true threats like climate change and pandemic disease.”

      • As Trump Stumbles in War on Coronavirus at Home, He Bombs Shiites in Shiite-Ruled Iraq

        The Trump administration is now more or less forcibly occupying Iraq against the will of its elected representatives, and is waging a low intensity war on a section of the Iraqi military with which the US is supposed to be allied.

      • Did Trump Cave to the Taliban?

        Now that eleventh-hour U.S. concession threatens to blow up the peace talks, which are stalled. On Wednesday the Taliban rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s offer to release 1,500 prisoners ahead of talks, saying they wanted all 5,000 freed before negotiations could start.

        To some critics of the U.S.-Taliban deal, like Malinowski, the concession was emblematic of a deeply flawed agreement that could ultimately cede Afghanistan back to the Taliban after 18 years of immense American expense and bloodshed—a defeat that could be a model for anti-American insurgencies around the world.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Oil Industry Front Group Launches Latest Attack on Electric Vehicle Tax Credit in Senate Energy Bill

          Through a series of digital ads, the group, which receives a substantial share of its donations from an oil refinery trade group, is calling on Senate Republicans to squash a proposed amendment expanding the number of vehicles eligible for the credit.

        • Bill de Blasio, Climate Troll

          Those tweets, from a bicycle commuter and local journalist, respectively, are New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in a nutshell. While encouraging Coronavirus-concerned commuters to cycle to work, he not only fails to carve out special lanes on streets and bridges, he also lets NYPD conduct its customary cyclist-summonsing traps as if nothing has changed.

        • Climate Victims Violent? Klare’s Paean to the American Military

          Michael Klare’s new book, All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, is an uncritical paean to the American military. He credits the Pentagon with taking climate science seriously. But he does not question, bring contradictory evidence, or analyze the military’s self-appointed role as global manager of climate-related human disorder. Klare’s work is detailed and comprehensive and merits a close reading. I will briefly summarize the book, address omissions, and conclude with a psychoanalytic perspective

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Following House Approval, US Has a Chance to Ban the Cruel Shark Fin Trade

          Every year, fins from as many as 73 million sharks circulate throughout the world in a complex international market. They are the key ingredient in shark fin soup, a luxury dish considered a status symbol in some Asian cuisines.

        • We Need Environmental Lawyers and Law

          I suspect most people think democracy is being able to vote, or being “free” to engage in extreme behaviour without considering its consequences,  or being able to dispense everything from uninformed blather to outright false claims on social media.  I don’t consider it any of those.

        • An Emerging Threat to Conservation: Fear of Nature
        • Science says rats can be kind. Here’s why that matters.

          Researchers at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and the University of Amsterdam found that some rats display an unwillingness to harm their fellow rats, even when it benefits them to do so. This unwillingness, the researchers found, correlates to a similar biological mechanism in humans, suggesting that this innate pacifism emerged among mammals more than a million centuries ago.

        • The Last Giraffes on Earth

          The team of people who have drugged, tripped, and tackled the giraffe is a mix of scientists, veterinarians, and rangers who study giraffes in the few parts of the world where the animals still live. Giraffes are so beloved and familiar that it’s tempting to think their numbers are solid and their future secure. Neither is true. Giraffe populations have decreased by 30 percent over the past three decades. Only 111,000 individuals remain. There are at least four African elephants for every giraffe. To safeguard a future for giraffes, researchers need basic information about how far they roam. GPS trackers can offer answers, but to get a tracker on a giraffe, one must first take it down.

    • Finance

      • Malm’s “Fossil Capital”

        Capital is Karl Marx’s theory of capitalism. Capitalism is a mode of production, a historical social system (as were primitive communism, the slave states of Greece and Rome and feudalism). After primitive communism, society divided into social classes. Class societies are composed of (1) an economy, based on the relationship of the owners of the means of production to the direct producers (e.g. slave-owner to slave, feudal lord to peasant, capitalist to wage-worker); (2) a reproductive unit (e.g. clan, nuclear family); and (3) a state, which maintains the system in interests of the ruling class. Historical Materialism is Marx’s theory about the origin and development of modes of production. Let us begin with a sketch of that theory.

      • Julio López Varona on Puerto Rico’s Disaster Capitalism

        This week on CounterSpin: Recent media coverage of Puerto Rico has focused on the impact of earthquakes on communities that have already been through displacement and blackouts and shortages. But elite media seem keen to keep it a Mother Nature story—the New York Times keeps asking why Puerto Rico can’t “catch a break”—and government corruption is listed alongside hurricanes as things that sort of “happened to” the US territory. But Puerto Rico’s debt crisis is a “human” story, too (in cause as well as impact) — and dry, business-page stories pondering why a ballyhooed plan to address the island’s bankruptcy has been rejected are, so far, a missed opportunity to talk about Puerto Rico as a living lesson about climate disaster capitalism, the failure and cruelty of austerity, and the need for new ways forward. We’ll talk about that with Julio López Varona, co-director of Community Dignity Campaigns at Center for Popular Democracy.

      • Fighting Insecure Housing: Q&A with Dominique Walker

        Dominique Walker, 34, of the grassroots activist group Moms 4 Housing, is a mother and one of the unhoused women and children who last November began to occupy a vacant home in West Oakland that Wedgewood Property Management, a real estate investment company, owned. A video of Oakland police who arrived in an armored vehicle, dressed in SWAT attire, and forcibly evicted M4H from that abode in January went viral across the US and around the world. A native of Oakland, Walker has two young children and is a full-time organizer of the Black Housing Union, a chapter of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. Below is an edited version of our phone interview in late February.

      • Funding Boost in Food Aid for Seniors Still Falls Short of Growing Need

        Advocates for senior citizens hailed the bipartisan passage of a federal bill that calls for boosting money for nutrition programs so that fewer older adults go hungry. But the proposed funding still wouldn’t keep up with America’s fast-growing senior population.

      • Who Could Have Gotten Deserters from Trump’s Three Armies . . . and from Mine?

        Taking US national politics too seriously can make you hopelessly stupid, hopelessly cynical, or hopelessly suicidal.

      • The Fed, the Virus, and Inequality

        Whether you’re invested in the stock market or not, you’ve likely noticed that it’s been on a roller coaster lately. The White House and most of the D.C. Beltway crowd tend to equate the performance of the stock market with that of the broader economy. To President Trump’s extreme chagrin, $3.18 trillion in stock market value vaporized during the last week of February. Stock markets around the world also fell dramatically. When all was said and done, $6 trillion had been at least temporarily erased from them. It was the worst week for the markets since the financial crisis of 2008 and it would only get worse from there.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Kremlin lies to kids Putin’s spokesman refuses to change language on the administration’s website for children that says presidents are prohibited from running for a third consecutive term

        Meduza: In connection with [Valentina] Tereshkova’s amendment, Internet users have been actively quoting an excerpt from the children’s version of the Kremlin’s website that says, “The president is forbidden from cheating or violating the Constitution. Even if all citizens are completely enraptured by their president, you cannot elect him three times in a row.” Do the website’s administrators plan to update these assertions to avoid misleading Russia’s children?

      • The RNC Gave Big Contracts to Companies Linked to Its Chairwoman’s Husband and Political Backers

        The Republican National Committee has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to contractors closely connected to the organization’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

        One contract went to her husband’s insurance company. Two others went to businesses whose executives recently donated to Ronna for Chair, a largely inactive political action committee that McDaniel controls. She had set it up in 2015, when she successfully ran for chair of the Republican Party in Michigan, her home state.

      • You Don’t Need Putin to Undermine American Democracy

        With the 2020 election heating up, there is a stiff wind methodically weaving through this fierce desert of geriatric combat, something evil and relentless, sending haunted tumbleweeds rocking back and forth over fractured highways. No, I’m not talking about the winds of March, dearest motherfuckers. I’m talking about something far more sinister blowing our way. I’m talking about the return of the invisible Russian meddling menace. If you peer through the blinds, things may appear woefully normal at this glorified nursing home we call a primary, but we have it on the good authority of anonymous intelligence sources and retired sleazeballs like John Brennan and James Comey that it’s anything but, and our corporate media takes them at their word.

      • Warren Isn’t A Snake, She’s Just Misreading Hegel

        Bernie Bros, but especially sisters and non-binary siblings who dare to stand up to the billionaire class are being accused of calling former Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren a snake. The mainstream media is horrified by this “uncivil” behavior but apparently not horrified by Ms. Warren’s decision to go to an oil super PAC in her desperation to beat Bernie, Biden and the bumbling bros at the top. Give this to Ms. Warren: she was the smartest candidate in the race. This hurt her. In fact, it killed her campaign. Bernie uses the same 10 sentences, Biden has dementia and Trump’s messaging is only coherent in 140 character segments.

      • Class Conflict is Stronger than Clan Conflict

        The Democratic party elites have shown that they prefer Trump to Sanders. That is, they prefer the real risk of a second Trump mandate to the real risk of a Sanders presidency.

      • Please, Jill Biden, Please

        I noticed disturbing signs. Then I’d look for positive signs to dispute those disturbing ones.

      • Dear Berners: Dementia Joe is How Much “Your” Party HATES You

        “You Have Owners”

      • A Machine to Beat President Trump

        As different as night from day yet there’s one way that Bernie Sanders and President Trump are alike, and Joe Biden is different from both.

      • The Democratic Establishment’s Drive to Derail Sanders Will Backfire Again

        It’s repulsive, though unsurprising, that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg ended his campaign to help Joe Biden take out Bernie Sanders just before Super Tuesday. After winning Iowa on February 3rd, only slightly losing New Hampshire and going on to lose South Carolina, top Democratic donors pressured Buttigieg to drop out to consolidate the moderate vote behind Biden. Like an obedient, moneyed tool, Buttigieg “behaved,” as multi-billionaire candidate Michael Bloomberg accurately put it, by ending his campaign. With the momentum from his win in South Carolina and Amy Klobuchar and Buttigieg endorsements, Biden emerged from Super Tuesday with a decisive lead over Sanders.

      • The Generational Divide Between Biden and Sanders

        Bernie Sanders’ revolution has fallen short of its electoral aspirations not because of Sanders’ concepts—some of which is supported by voters in both parties—but because Sanders has faced the generational divide in voting behavior.

      • Can Biden Beat Trump?
      • Bernie’s Mistakes

        Establishment media is ridiculing Bernie Sanders for stating some simple truths: establishment media was out to get him, the DNC was out to get him and young voters who support him haven’t been good about showing up at the polls.

      • Krugman Disses Sanders and Embraces Biden While Distorting the Obama Record

        Paul Krugman, a past winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, wrote a recent New York Times column with the title “Bernie Sanders is Going for Broke.” He criticizes Sanders for his politics which are characterized as a “go-for-broke maximalism” “without compromise” described as:

      • Biden’s Victory: A Blessing in Disguise?

        It has been years since I last saw the great Alain Resnais film “La Guerre Est Finie” (The War Is Over, 1966), starring Yves Montand and Ingrid Thulin, in which, decades after the anti-fascists lost, a Communist veteran of the Spanish Civil War, still fighting the good fight, confronts the moral and political ambiguities of his situation. In that film, if I recall correctly, there is a saying attributed to Lenin, that I have never been able to track down, but which has stuck in my mind ever since: that patience and irony are the virtues of a Bolshevik.

      • ‘Constitutional Gymnastics’: Russia’s strange initiative to keep Vladimir Putin in office for years to come

        We’ve known it was coming since January when Vladimir Putin warned the nation, but now it’s moving at full throttle and threatens to inflict untold damage. No, it’s not the coronavirus — it’s the other calamity currently unfolding in Russia: a massive campaign to rewrite the Constitution so that Vladimir Putin’s presidency might continue until 2036.

      • Bill Gates Steps Down From Microsoft Board

        Gates was Microsoft’s CEO until 2000 and since then has gradually scaled back his involvement in the company he started with Paul Allen in 1975. He transitioned out of a day-to-day role in Microsoft in 2008 and served as chairman of the board until 2014.

      • Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board

        With the departure of Gates from Microsoft Board, it will now consist of 12 members, the company said.

        Gates also stepped down from the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, where he has served since 2004.

      • Bill Gates Has Left the Board Room

        On March 13, 1976, Microsoft became a public company. Its founder and CEO, a 26-year-old Bill Gates, took a seat on its board of directors. Forty-four years later—exactly to the day—Gates is stepping down.

        Gates explained the move on Friday in a brief LinkedIn post, in which he also said he was leaving the board of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate led by his longtime friend Warren Buffett. [...]

      • Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board

        Microsoft announced separately on Friday that Gates stepped down from its board.

      • China Bought the West Time. The West Squandered It.

        China’s leaders did fumble at the very start, yet in short order they acted far more decisively than many democratically elected leaders have to date. Authoritarian or not, they also want the public’s approval. Chinese leaders may not face voters, but they, too, care about legitimacy, and that hinges on performance for them as well.

      • Sarah Palin’s ‘Masked Singer’ performance on Fox perfectly encapsulated our absurdist reality

        This absurdist moment is the perfect encapsulation for our absurdist reality. Yet another reality show is hunting for eyeballs by riding the name recognition of right-wing political figures. Taking conservative figures and turning them into harmless softies works for everyone, from the networks who get ratings to the politicians who get their controversial stances wiped from the collective memory of viewers. And it’s sadly effective.

      • Our Full Report on the Voatz Mobile Voting Platform

        Trail of Bits has performed the first-ever “white-box” security assessment of the platform, with access to the Voatz Core Server and backend software. Our assessment confirmed the issues flagged in previous reports by MIT and others, discovered more, and made recommendations to fix issues and prevent bugs from compromising voting security. Trail of Bits was uniquely qualified for this assessment, employing industry-leading blockchain security, cryptographic, DARPA research, and reverse engineering teams, and having previously assessed other mobile blockchain voting platforms.

        Our security review resulted in seventy-nine (79) findings. A third of the findings are high severity, another third medium severity, and the remainder a combination of low, undetermined, and informational severity.

      • What Youth Activists Can Do to Keep Fighting for a Progressive Future

        What I have realized over the past few days is that regardless of what happens next in this race, we must move forward, not back. Bernie is still in this race and pushing Biden left on the issues, and youth should join him in that fight. Bernie’s ideas are popular, even among Biden voters. In Missouri, voters favored “a complete overhaul” of our economy over “small changes.” Voters across the country are supportive of a “government plan for all instead of private insurance.” In Super Tuesday states, socialism was viewed favorably not just in California, but also in Tennessee and Texas. To capitalize on these ideological victories, it’s crucial that young voters mobilize our communities to the polls. We must show Democrats that we are a powerful asset, and present a unified front as a generation. If Biden becomes the nominee, we must demand that he integrate progressive policies into his platform and pick a progressive running mate to earn our votes and help him win where Hillary Clinton lost. If he’s elected, having shown up for him in the general gives youth leverage to further hold him accountable in office, using tactics like moral protest to demand the future that we deserve.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Burning The Ladder: Match.com Supports Burning Section 230 To The Ground, Despite Relying On It To Exist

        Here’s one I didn’t quite expect to see. Match.com — the dating website owned by IAC, which owns basically every other major dating site, including OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Tinder, Hinge, and a bunch of others as well — has announced that it will support the idiotic EARN IT Act, that would utterly destroy Section 230 and the ability of websites to host user generated content. Match’s publicly stated reasons for this are… bizarre. It doesn’t actually explain why it supports it. It just says it does, that protecting children is important, and then some mumbo jumbo about the kids online these days — none of which touches on what the bill would actually do.

      • Speaking Freely: Ada Palmer

        Ada Palmer is a Renaissance historian whose work lies at the intersection of ideas and historical change. She is currently on research leave from the University of Chicago, where she teaches early modern European history. She is also a writer of fiction; her 2016 novel, Too Like the Lightning, was a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Novel.

        Ada’s research encompasses many topics, including the history of censorship. In 2018, she worked with EFF’s own Cory Doctorow on a project that looked at censorship and information control in information revolutions.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Photographs of Thomas Moore and Quench

        In A national crime, John Milloy provides us with two sharply contrasting photographs of Thomas Moore, a First Nation schoolboy. These photographs capture poignantly the massive resocialization project, launched in the late nineteenth century, to “move Aboriginal communities from their “’savage’ state to that of ‘civilization’ and thus to make in Canada but one community—a non-Aboriginal one.”

      • ‘A faction’s a faction, but I have my conscience, too’ Why a Tatar legislator from the bloc representing Russia’s ruling party voted no on the new constitutional amendments

        On March 12, the State Council of Tatarstan voted in favor of major changes to the Russian Constitution, falling into step with other regional parliaments whose approval was needed to move toward a nationwide vote on the amendments. In every region, legislators voted for the changes almost unanimously — even on a nationwide scale, there were only a few negative votes. One of them was the singular “no” among Tatarstan’s deputies: Rkail Zaidullin, a member of the United Russia faction (but not the associated party, which is politically dominant in Russia). Zaidullin said he specifically objected to the clause in the proposed amendments that calls ethnically Russian people foundational to the Russian state. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev spoke with the legislator and asked him to elaborate on his views.

      • “Two Sides” of Trump’s India Visit!

        President Donald Trump’s brief visit (Feb 24-25), his first to India, has left many questions unanswered for both sides, United States as well as India. Of course, there is no denying that Trump would not have travelled all the way to visit just one country if he did not foresee some gains. The same may be said for Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi having gone overboard in making preparations to welcome him. A mega-mega show was organized for him in Modi’s home state, Gujarat. It seems, Trump loved each minute of it as in his view no other leader had been welcomed in the same manner as he had been. On his part, Modi must have been quite delighted by Trump appearing to be fairly pleased by his brief visit. But this is one side of the story.

      • Police Department Shells Out $50,000 To Man After His Camera Catches Cops Fabricating Criminal Charges Against Him

        The Connecticut State Police have agreed to pay $50,000 to a man its officers subjected to a bunch of Constitutional violations on their way to issuing tickets to him for violations he never committed.

      • Activists Are Reclaiming Jails as Community-Operated Social Service Facilities

        Jails have emerged as a key focal point of the struggle against mass incarceration. Several trends are in motion at the same time. In jurisdictions like New York and Los Angeles, grassroots-led struggles have closed facilities and blocked others from being built. By contrast, in many rural areas, local authorities are manipulating the opioid crisis and bail reform into a jail-building platform.

      • Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Crown Prince MBS

        This week, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s 34-year-old de facto ruler, was on a tear. He arrested members of his own royal family and initiated an oil price war with Russia that has sent the price of oil—and the world’s stock markets—plummeting. Behind the headlines, however, another critical event will take place in Saudi Arabia starting March 18: women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested almost two years ago for advocating the right to drive, is due in court. The diabolical MBS wants the world to believe he is the Arab world’s liberal reformer and took credit for eventually granting women the right to drive, but he is also the one who had al-Hathloul and nine other women thrown in prison, charging them as foreign agents and spies. The imprisonment of these peaceful women activists exposes the brutal nature of MBS’s regime and the duplicity of the Western democracies that continue to support him.

      • Florida PD’s Reverse Warrant Leads To Innocent Man Being Targeted In A Robbery Investigation

        Riding your bike while sending out geolocation data is the hot new crime.

      • The Boy I Love is [Not] in the Gallery – The Alex Salmond Trial Day 4

        I am reporting today on the Salmond trial over 24 hours delayed. As I am not permitted media access and the public is excluded from the gallery during accusers’ evidence, I need to gather information in order to be able to give a different perspective from the mainstream media. It is very hard to do that in real time.

      • Child marriage in Pakistan: 60-year-old and 5 times divorcee man marries 12-year-old girl

        A 60-year-old man in Pakistan’sSindh province has been arrested for allegedly forcing a minor to marry him. The accused, identified as Zain-Ul-Abdin Lashari, is a five-time divorcee and reportedly forced the 12-year-old girl to marry him. He was taken into custody by the Child Protection Police. The incident was shared on Twitter by a Pakistani child rights activist and actor Nadia Jamil, who requested the Government of Pakistan (GoP) to take cognizance of the matter and act against the man. “….Where is the Child Marriage Restraint Act? This is where I humbly request the people, the media and the GoP to recognise, No man has the right 2 take over a child or woman’s body, life like this,” she said.

      • Baristas at Slack Say They’ve Won 90 Days of Severance

        A group of five baristas who operate the espresso machines at Slack’s corporate headquarters in San Francisco learned on March 6 that they were losing their contracted positions just prior to a decision by the company to move to remote operations to curb the spread of COVID-19.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Intermediary Liability: The Hidden Gem

        There is a law in the United States that consists of twenty-six words: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Otherwise known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), it has been characterized as the law that “created the Internet.”

        Only part of this statement is true. Section 230 did not actually create the Internet because the Internet was created through the collaboration of a diverse set of people around the world. What is true, however, is that the intermediary liability regime has undergirded the Internet as we know it. It has been responsible for three primary features of the Internet: [...]

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Sonos Backs Off Plan To Brick Older, Still Functioning Speakers

        Back in January, Sonos took some well earned heat for a new product “recycle mode” that effectively bricked older smart speakers the company was no longer interested in supporting. They’re now backtracking from the effort after significant backlash.

    • Monopolies

      • China Forgoes Late Fees for Patent Annuities Over COVID-19 Worries
      • Singaporean Defeats Chinese Candidate to Head U.N. Patent Office

        A Singaporean beat a Chinese candidate in the race to lead the world patent office, heading off Beijing’s bid for a fifth U.N. leadership role, much to the satisfaction of the United States.

        Daren Tang defeated fellow legal expert Wang Binying in a closed-door vote by dozens of countries to become director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which shapes global rules for intellectual property.

        Intellectual property has been at the heart of a trade war between Washington and Beijing. The United States, along with many other Western countries, had backed Tang for the job and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last month that Washington was following the patent office vote “very, very closely”.

        Tang was chosen in a vote of WIPO’s coordinating committee, a group of 83 countries chaired by France which said the breakdown was 55 for Tang and 28 for the Chinese candidate.

      • Conference Report: CIPIL 2020 (Part 2)

        The last strand of discussion turned back to the conference topic, including whether ‘good for our health’ means ‘achieving fair returns for pharmaceutical companies’. A suggestion of FRAND-style provisions was not especially popular in the room, and one audience perspective from a non-pharma patent attorney was that changing the patent system to better-accommodate pharmaceutical products risks unacceptably distorting the system for all other inventions. Another suggestion was that an entirely parallel pharmaceutical patent system should be created – with the conclusion being that while a variety of possible solutions are available, simply convincing industry, practitioners and government of any need for change is one of the biggest hurdles.

      • Some Additional Commentary on the December 2019 USPTO/DOJ/NIST Policy Statement on Injunctions and SEPs

        Shortly before Christmas, the USPTO, the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology issued a new Policy Statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. The new statement replaced the USDOJ/USPTO 2013 Policy Statement on Remedies for the Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. I blogged about the new policy statement a couple of times in January (here and here), first calling attention to a critical analysis I published in Law360 titled Gov’t Policy Statement on SEP Remedies Should be Cabined, and second to an analysis published by Michael Carrier on Bloomberg News titled New Statement on Standard-Essential Patents Relies on Omissions, Strawmen, Generalities. Here are a couple more recent analyses, both of which make some excellent points…

      • Patents

        • Quick and Dirty Patents

          The scope and timing of patents determine the size of economic rewards to inventors. We provide causal evidence on the effects of scope and timing on startups and externalities on their rivals, by leveraging the quasi-random assignment of patent applications to examiners. Using unique data on all first-time applications filed at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office since 2001, we find that patent grant delays are harmful to the inventor, in terms of reduced growth in employment and sales and a reduced quantity and quality of follow-on innovation. In addition, delays are harmful to both the inventor and its rivals in terms of access to external capital. Broader scope, on the other hand, tends to benefit the inventor (in terms of follow-on innovation) while harming rivals (in terms of growth and follow-on innovation). Our findings suggest that “quick” patents maximize both inventor rewards and positive externalities to rivals. “Dirty” patents may benefit inventors but also impose large negative externalities on rivals.

        • Inter Partes Review Estoppel: Restoring The Principles Of Res Judicata [Ed: Akron School of Law [sic] attacks PTAB IPR as a process. IOW, it goes against the principle that likely fake patents granted hurriedly for cash (greed) by USPTO examiners should be revisited for their legitimacy]

          Inter partes review estoppel has violated the principles of traditional res judicata since its inception. For the first several years of its life, IPR estoppel served to preserve a petitioner’s ability to harass patent owners and repetitively attempt to invalidate patents. Following SAS in 2018, IPR estoppel began to reverse course. The courts that once were allowing patent owner abuse are now limiting it with a broad application of IPR estoppel. However, this broad application of IPR estoppel is a soft claim preclusion that allows many exceptions behind the principles of res judicata. Furthermore, the PTAB allows petitioners to file numerous IPR petitions and does not enforce estoppel until a final written decision is issued to which the petitioner is a real party in interest. This practice likewise allows the harassment of patent owners and violates the principles of res judicata.

          To resolve the inter partes review estoppel problems, Congress must reintroduce the principles of res judicata with exceptions only where patent litigation absolutely requires it. Such an analysis leads to the conclusion that by enacting only the petitioner standing requirement and the estoppel provisions of the STRONGER Patents Act of 2019, IPR estoppel would achieve a balance equitable to patent owners and petitioners alike. These two provisions do well to support the principles of res judicata, grant adequate leeway where patent litigation requires it, yet still provide claim preclusion strong enough to avoid abuse. The doctrine of res judicata does not need reinventing for 21st century patent litigation—it merely needs reintegration.

        • Patenting Fast and Slow: Examiner and Applicant Use of Prior Art

          Previous studies have shown that an applicant’s ability to obtain a patent is inexorably linked to the random assignment of a patent examiner. However, not all patent examiners are created equal. Some patent examiners allow patent applications quickly within just one or two Office Actions resulting in only a few months of substantive patent prosecution. In contrast, other patent examiners constantly reject patents applications, which can result in unnecessarily delaying prosecution and years of substantive patent prosecution. This study focuses on how different examiners use prior art rejections to prolong or compact prosecution.

          Prior art rejections are one of the most important hurdles to obtaining a patent. Specifically, the use of prior art rejections directly impacts the time and effort it takes to obtain a patent. Overcoming anticipation and obviousness rejections are usually the most important and difficult obstacles to overcome before obtaining a patent. This empirical study focuses on how different types of examiners (i.e., fast/high volume versus slow/low volume) use prior art rejections to either compact or delay prosecution. Since patent examination is dependent on both examiner and applicant behavior, this study also evaluates how applicants respond to these prior art rejections to also prolong or compress prosecution. Unlike many studies, this is the first paper that evaluates patent quality based on both individual examiner characteristics as well as applicant behavior at the patent prosecution level.

          In sum, high volume, average volume and low volume examiners issued a patent in approximately 1.64 years, 3.07 years, and 5.85 years respectively. Thus, high volume examiners issue patents almost twice as quickly as average volume examiners and more than three times as fast as low volume examiners. This large difference in time can represent a huge investment in both capital and time for the applicant as well as the PTO.

          Additionally, this study finds that low volume examiners reject applications based mainly on obviousness, issuing over four times as many obviousness rejections per office action compared to high volume examiners. Furthermore, low volume examiners issue five times as many 102(a)/(g)/(e) rejections and two times as many 102(b) rejections. And applicants most commonly make a “missing element” argument to traverse a slow examiner’s 102(a)/(g)/(e) rejection at three times the rate of a fast examiner. This type of traversal strategy relies on the examiner’s misunderstanding of either the art or the claimed invention. Similarly, applicants also use the “missing elements” argument to traverse a slow examiner’s 103 rejection at five times the rate of a fast examiner. Finally, applicants are also three times more likely to use a “teaching away” or “unexpected results” argument to traverse a slow examiner compared to a fast examiner. Both of these arguments can again rely on either the examiner’s misunderstanding of the prior art or a misunderstanding of the claimed invention.

          This study demonstrates that different types of examiners use different strategies to maximize their “counts.” Specifically, low volume examiners will generally reject applications creating lengthy prosecution histories while forcing the applicant to narrow claims, while showing a misunderstanding of either the prior art and/or the claimed invention. In contrast, high volume examiners will usually only make one rejection then allow the case, thus creating a small prosecution history with only small amendments to the claims.

          Keywords: patents, patent examiner, patent prosecution, prior art, prior art rejections, patent quality, applicant response, applicant behavior, PTO

        • Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC v. Casper Sleep Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last month, in Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC v. Casper Sleep Inc., the Federal Circuit vacated a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York granting summary judgment of non-infringement to Defendant-Cross-Appellant Casper Sleep Inc. and remanded with instructions to enforce a settlement agreement between Casper and Plaintiffs-Appellants Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC and Dreamwell, Ltd. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s denial of Casper’s motion for fees and costs.

          Serta, which owns U.S. Patent Nos. 7,036,173; 7,424,763; and 8,918,935, filed suit against Casper for infringement of certain claims of those patents. In response, Casper filed three motions for summary judgment of non-infringement. While those motions were pending, Serta and Casper executed a settlement agreement, which required Casper to pay $300,000 within ten days of the agreement, cease the manufacture of certain products within 27 days of the agreement, and substantially discontinue marketing of those products with 58 days of the agreement. The agreement also required the parties to dismiss all claims and counterclaims and release each other from all liabilities within five days of Casper’s payment, and file a joint motion to stay the case pending final settlement (which the parties filed on the same day the settlement agreement was executed).

          [...]

          Casper countered with two Seventh Circuit decisions that supported its argument that the case was not mooted by the settlement agreement. However, the Federal Circuit responded by stating that “[t]hose cases are not binding on us, are questionable on the merits, and in any event, are distinguishable since one involved a settlement agreement that was not yet binding, and the other potentially required further action by the court” (citations omitted). The panel therefore concluded “that a binding settlement agreement generally moots the action even if the agreement requires future performance,” and vacated the District Court’s entry of judgment and summary judgment order because the settlement agreement rendered moot the underlying infringement case.

        • Court Orders Hearing in Uniloc’s Patent Case Against Apple to be Conducted by Phone, Citing COVID-19 Risks

          The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, citing public health efforts to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission, ordered that an April hearing in the Uniloc v. Apple patent case be conducted by phone rather than in person and denied EFF’s request to allow the public to watch the proceeding by video.EFF urged the court earlier this week to make public a video of the hearing, in which patent troll Uniloc will have to explain for the first time in open court why it should be allowed to seal from public view documents in the case explaining how it operates. Uniloc has sued hundreds of companies alleging patent infringement and has sought excessive, unjustified sealing of documents that keep the public, small businesses, and patent reform advocates in the dark about whether it actually owns the patents at issue.We are gratified that the court responded quickly to our request, and respect the court’s decision to take safety precautions amid the COVID-19 outbreak.We continue to believe that courts should honor the public’s right to access the work of the judiciary by livestreaming hearings on their websites—which many federal courts and almost all state supreme courts are already doing. Simple video technology enables courts to ensure that less-resourced individuals and businesses that face patent claims, not just highly-paid lawyers and their corporate clients, have access to facts and information revealed in court.These events also demonstrate the public benefits that come when courts make it a part of their general practice to use video technology to make appellate arguments accessible to the public. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which provides video access by default, has given attorneys the option of participating in upcoming oral arguments via video. That means the parties will still have the chance to participate fully in the hearing and the public the chance to access it fully. We hope that other courts will see the public benefits that come from maximizing the public’s access as a matter of course.

        • How to interpret expressions stating a purpose in a patent claim

          Opposition proceedings are currently pending at the EPO, and the parties have been summoned for oral proceedings on 31 March 2020. One of the two opponents is F.J. Aschwanden, i.e. the plaintiff in the present case. The second opponent is Jordahl H-Bau AG. The latter has submitted the judgment to the EPO with letter of 18 February 2020.

          The FPC may suspend proceedings, and in particular defer the judgment, where a final decision has not yet been taken in EPO opposition proceedings; Art. 128 lit. b PatA. The decision holds that the timeline is decisive. If a legally binding decision is to be expected soon by the EPO, it is justified in order to avoid contradictory decisions to suspend the national proceedings, or the judgment only. However, if it is likely to take longer for the EPO to reach a final decision, the constitutional right to an assessment within a reasonable period of time will prevail.

        • CalTech and Trolls

          • Apple Fails to Defeat CalTech Wi-Fi Patent at Federal Circuit

            The Federal Circuit rejected Apple Inc.‘s bid to overturn a patent board decision upholding the California Institute of Technology’s patent for wireless data transmissions.

            The Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled in favor of CalTech in 2018 after reviewing U.S. Patent No. 7,116,710 while CalTech’s parallel infringement case proceeded in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

            The infringement suit, involving this patent and two others, resulted in a $1.1 billion jury verdict against Apple and component-maker Broadcom Inc. in January. The companies plan to appeal the verdict.

            CalTech alleged Apple’s devices used Broadcom components…

          • Crown use defence successful in telecom patent infringement case

            In its ruling of 28 January 2020 (2020) EWHC 132 (Pat) (read here), Justice Douglas Campbell QC of the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled in favor of the crown use defence in a case of alleged infringement of patent EP (UK) 2,579,666 B1, entitled “Allocation of access rights for a telecommunications channel to subscriber stations of telecommunications network,” filed by IPCom GMBH against Vodafone Group PLC. The patent was one of a group belonging to IPCom that concern a 3G (UMTS) mobile phone standard. IPCom alleged infringement by Vodafone’s 3G systems of this patent as well as patent EP 2 378 735.

          • Proportionality and FRAND in France – Paris appeal court upholds anti-anti-suit injunction but first instance court refuses PI in IPCom v. Lenovo

            IPCom is one of Europe’s most active – and infamous – patent assertion companies and is currently involved in litigation against various parties in Germany, the UK, and France. The litigation resulted in a string of interesting decisions: in the UK, the High Court held that one of IPCom’s patents was valid and infringed by Vodafone, but held that it might invoke the Crown use defence [here, Katpost forthcoming]; in France, IPCom was awarded an anti-anti suit injunction last November [Katpost here]. And in Germany, IPCom is allegedly requesting a staggering EUR 12 billion in damages for past infringement by Nokia [here].

            Now, two further decisions have been handed down by the French courts in the proceedings between IPCom and Lenovo. The anti-anti-suit injunction granted last November was upheld on appeal [here, in French], while in separate proceedings a preliminary injunction (PI) was denied because the court considered it disproportionate [here, also in French]. Both decisions are quite thought-provoking and deserving of a closer look [with thanks to PatentMyFrench for first posting about the decisions and uploading them!].

          • Sisvel vs. Haier judgment could see FRAND standardised in Germany

            This month, the German Federal Court of Justice will hear Sisvel vs. Haier, one of the most important FRAND cases in Europe. The decision could see Germany become the first country to standardise its jurisdiction on a crucial issue for the mobile phone industry. Patent experts across Europe are eagerly awaiting the standardisation of SEP and FRAND law.

      • Trademarks

        • CJEU upholds Burlington Arcade’s grounds of appeal against Burlington trade mark applications

          Last week marked the end of a lengthy battle between Tulliallan Burlington (‘Tulliallan’), proprietor of the high class shopping arcade in central London, ‘Burlington Arcade’, and German Fashion GmbH (‘BF’). The dispute arose in response to the latter’s application for registration of the word mark ‘Burlington’ and other figurative marks as EU trade marks, with proceedings examined by the Opposition Division, EUIPO Fourth Board of Appeal, General Court, before finally culminating in the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) in Joined Cases C-155/18 P to C-158/18 P (and after an Opinion of Advocate General (‘AG’) Hogan).

          Despite the AG Opinion recommending that the decision be referred back to the General Court, the CJEU decided to give the final say in the case (as *spoilers* it quashed the decision of the General Court and annulled the decision of the Fourth Board of Appeal). This conclusion was based on errors in law made by the General Court in relation to the assessment of infringement of Article 8(5) of Regulation 207/2009 (the first ground of appeal submitted by Tulliallan) and infringement of Article 8(1)(b) of the same Regulation (the third ground of appeal).

        • TTABlog Test: Is “MONFRÈRE FASHION” Confusable With “MY BROTHER” for Clothing?

          The USPTO refused to register the mark MONFRÈRE FASHION for “Denim jackets; Denim jeans; Denim pants; Jeans; Men’s and women’s jackets, coats, trousers, vests; Pants; Shirts; Coats of denim; Denims; Jacket,” finding a likelihood of confusion with the registered mark MY BROTHER for t-shirts. The application included a statement that he English translation of ‘MON FRÈRE’ in the mark is ‘MY BROTHER.’” Applicant argued, however, that consumers would not “stop and translate” the mark, and therefore that the marks are not confusingly similar. How do you think this came out? In re Monfrere, Serial No. 88004556 (March 2, 2020) [not precedential] (Opinion by Judge Michael B. Adlin).

        • 10 Years After Tiffany v. eBay, A New Bill Aiming to Hold Online Platforms Liable for Counterfeits is Introduced

          A new bill presented to the U.S. House of Representatives this week aims to hold e-commerce platform operators, such as Amazon or eBay, liable for the sale of counterfeit or otherwise infringing products on their sweeping marketplace websites. Entitled the “Stopping Harmful Offers on Platforms by Screening Against Fakes in E-Commerce” – or SHOP SAFE – Act of 2020, the newly-unveiled legislation “incentivizes platforms to engage in a set of best practices to curb the presence of counterfeits on their sites.”

          Primarily, the bipartisan bill – which follows from an executive order from President Donald Trump early this year that called for cracking down on U.S. companies that import or facilitate the import of counterfeit or pirated goods – will establish trademark liability for online marketplace platforms when a third-party sells a counterfeit product “that poses a risk to consumer health or safety and that platform does not follow certain best practices.” Those best practices will include “vetting sellers to ensure their legitimacy, removing counterfeit listings, and removing sellers who repeatedly sell counterfeits,” according to a release from the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary.

          [...]

          As reported by Finnegan, another “significant factor weighing in the court’s analysis was its finding that a substantial number of authentic Tiffany goods were sold on eBay, including some that were sold in lots of five or more. Thus, requiring eBay to prospectively ban all listings of Tiffany merchandise being offered for sale in lots of five or more would stifle the legitimate secondary market for Tiffany products on eBay.”

          In siding with eBay, the court refused to shift the brand owner’s trademark enforcement burden to eBay, and in 2010, the Supreme Court opted not to take on the case, despite Tiffany & Co.’s argument that it presented “an extremely important question about allocating trademark rights and burdens in the modern Internet economy.”

          It is against this background – and in light of the increasingly market-dominating businesses of the likes of Amazon, which generated $42.75 billion in sales on from third-party marketplace in 2018 – that the SHOP SAFE Act is being introduced.

        • A British Comedian Legally Changed His Name to Hugo Boss to Protest Brand’s Aggressive Trademark Enforcement

          A British comedian is not amused with Hugo Boss’ penchant for aggressively policing unauthorized uses of its trademark-protected “Boss” name. In response to what he characterizes as the multi-billion dollar German fashion brand’s pattern of sending “cease and desist letters to a number of small businesses and charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar … costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding,” Joe Lycett has legally changed his name to Hugo Boss.

          Sharing a signed “deed pool,” the formal documentation that reflects a legal name change in the United Kingdom, on social media over the weekend, 31-year old Lycett stated, “It’s clear that Hugo Boss HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them, this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss.” He followed up the initial announcement by asserting that he “will be launching a brand new product as Hugo Boss,” which he says will be revealed as part of his part-comedy, part-consumer education television show, Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back.

        • Who’s the (Hugo) Boss?

          In August last year, clothing giant Hugo Boss demanded that small Welsh Brewery Boss Brewing “cease and desist” using the names “Boss Black” and “Boss Boss” for two of its beers. A costly trademark action followed, leaving Boss Brewing with a legal bill of almost £10,000. According to Hugo Boss, the action was initiated “… to avoid conflict and potential misunderstanding regarding the brands BOSS and BOSS Black, which had been used by the brewery but are (longstanding) trademarks of our company”. Ultimately, the brewery, which employees just 25 people, renamed its beers and agreed to stop selling its “Boss” clothing – an issue of particular contention for the German brand. Brewery owner Sarah John said at the time that “This has been a horrible experience, and so stressful”.

          This action, the latest in a number of trademark assertions made by Hugo Boss against smaller companies, angered many, including, it seems, British comedian Joe Lycett, who, in a protest against the fashion giant, has now legally changed his name, by UK Deed Poll, to “Hugo Boss”, saying, “So Hugo Boss (who turn over approx $2.7 billion a year) have sent cease & desist letters to a number of small businesses and charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar, including a small brewery in Swansea costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding. It’s clear that Hugo Boss HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss. All future statements from me are not from Joe Lycett but from Hugo Boss.”

      • Copyrights

        • Injunctions against Playing Copyright Protected Music/Songs During Celebrations/Parties

          The recent orders of the Madras High Court in Phonographic Performance Ltd. v. the Accord Metropolitan and Ors. and Indian Performing Right Society Ltd v. K Murali and Ors., as well as those of the Bombay High Court in six connected matters (Phonographic Performance Ltd v. Hotel Hilton & Ors and 5 others similar matters) were widely reported in media. All the Plaintiff associations obtained interim injunctions against hotels/pubs/event organizers from playing any of the copyrighted works they claim to manage in Christmas/New Year parties. The orders cover to both live bands as well as playing the sound recordings through music systems.

          Unfortunately, the orders did not really carry much reasoning other than ticking the boxes in a summary manner. Further research led me to a lengthier article which is expected to be published with the Journal of Intellectual Property Studies (Volume II Issue II) (expected April 2020). However, with the permission of the journal, I wanted to summarize my conclusions here.

        • The broader teachings of the CJEU ‘Fack Ju Göhte’ decision: trade marks, freedom of expression, and … other IP rights

          In late February, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its long-awaited [the Opinion of Advocate General (AG) Bobek, on which see here, had been released in July 2019] judgment in Constantin Film, C-240/18 P, aka the Fack Ju Göhte case concerning the interpretation of the morality absolute ground in EU trade mark (EUTM) law.

          The decision is both interesting and important for a number of reasons, including trade mark law, the role of freedom of expression, and also … copyright.

          Let’s see, first, what happened and, then, what the implications of the ruling are.

          [...]

          This aspect is one of the most ambiguous aspects of the decision.

          The Court failed to elaborate on both (1) the legal grounds a copyright holder could use to object to a parody of this kind (the three-step test? the unharmonized moral right of integrity if the rightholder is also the author?) and (2) how the assessment is to be conducted.

          The judgment in Constantin Film appears to offer a valuable interpretative aid with regard to (2), also because this part of the Deckmyn decision implicitly endorses the Opinion of AG Cruz Villalón in that case [Katposts here and here].

          The AG had reasoned that, although a parody cannot be forbidden just because the author of the parodied work does not approve of it, parodies that transmit a message that is radically contrary to the deepest, fundamental, values of the society upon which the European public space is built should be prohibited [at [82]].

          It appears that the type of assessment recommended by AG Cruz Villalón – and implicitly endorsed by the CJEU although without any particular elaboration – is substantially identical to that adopted (with greater elaboration) by the CJEU in Constantin Film.

          As such, the latter might also serve to appreciate whether and to what extent a ‘disparaging’ parody is to be considered protected by the relevant copyright exception or, instead, an infringement.

        • [Guest post] One Database to Rule Them All? The Musical Works Database under the Music Modernization Act

          Lawmakers in the U.S. recently passed the ambitious Music Modernization Act (MMA) promising, among other aims, to create a new compulsory blanket licensing system for mechanical rights in certain digital exploitations (online streaming and digital permanent downloads). Importantly, the Act has far-reaching effects not confined to U.S. musicians and works, but applies to all songs written that are exploited digitally in the U.S. market. Though there are many interesting aspects of the Act, this post will focus on Title I, and particularly its provisions for the development of a new, publicly-available database for musical works information.

        • Spotify Hits Windows Software That Downloads Tracks & Removes DRM

          A law firm acting for Spotify has taken down a piece of Windows software that allows users to download and remove DRM from music tracks while skipping ads. XSpotify, which also carries an ad-blocking feature, is described as a tool that “steals” Spotify encryption keys in contravention of the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA.

        • Descenders ‘Rewards’ Pirating Gamers With a Fitting Flag

          RageSquid, the studio behind the downhill biking game “Descenders” has come up with a unique feature for players who pirated the game. To “reward” the efforts of release groups such as SKIDROW and CODEX, it has pimped their bikes with an unremovable pirate flag. Although some may see it as an unwanted mark, RageSquid stresses that it’s totally fine with piracy.

        • We’re a Fully Remote Nonprofit; Here’s Some Advice on Working From Home

          Fortunately, however, our daily operations haven’t been disrupted to the same extent as other organizations because CC has been a global, fully remote nonprofit since 2015. Our staff is spread across Europe, North America, and South America; and although this working environment presents incredible benefits, like flexibility and rich cultural exchanges, it also presents unique challenges. For example, staff on the west coast of North America are often just waking up as staff in Europe are signing off! 

        • LinkedIn Appeals Important CFAA Ruling Regarding Scraping Public Info Just As Concerns Raised About Clearview

          Last fall we were happy to see the 9th Circuit rule against LinkedIn in its CFAA case against HiQ. If you don’t recall, the CFAA is the “anti-hacking” law that has been widely abused over the years to try to shut down perfectly reasonable activity. At issue is whether “scraping” information violates a terms of service, and thus, the CFAA. A few years back, the same court ruled in favor of Facebook against Power Ventures, saying that even though Power’s users gave permission to Power and handed over their login credentials, Power was violating the CFAA in scraping Facebook, because the information was behind a registration wall — and because Facebook had sent a cease-and-desist.

        • As Congress Explore New Awful Copyright Plans, Maximalists Look To Rewrite The History Of SOPA/PIPA

          As we noted, there’s an effort underway, lead by Senator Thom Tillis’ office, to rewrite copyright laws in a manner that is even “friendlier” to Hollywood — which is kind of insane, given just how far the laws have been bent to favor Hollywood over the years, and against the public. Of course, for the past decade or so, significant updates to copyright law have mostly been a kind of third rail issue in Congress (with a few notable exceptions), as the memory of the SOPA/PIPA protests still lingers. However, with this new approach brewing, it seems that some wish to rewrite that history.

EQE From the Back Door

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can't get diploma... ...Unless

Summary: Those with money and connections in the underworld which is IP’s “high society” can get the diploma they need with minimal effort

EPO Corruption Under António Campinos: Part 3 – How to Become a European Patent Attorney Without Passing the EQE

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The leadership of António Campinos is clearly no better than Battistelli‘s

Topic IP and EPO application form
Application form for entry on the EPO’s list of professional representatives

Summary: “EQE” and the rest of this system brought into complete and utter disrepute by notorious Vice-Presidents of the EPO

There are those who would consider the qualification as a European patent attorney to be a licence to print money.

Whether that is correct or not, the fact is that for most people holding the qualification, it’s a hard-earned “privilege” requiring many hours of study to pass the European Qualifying Examination (EQE).

According to Article 134 (2) (c) EPC, passing the EQE is a mandatory requirement to obtain entry on the EPO‘s list of professional representatives.

There is one exception to this, the so-called “grandfather clause” of Article 134 (3) EPC.

The “grandfather clause” applies to persons entitled to act as representative in patent matters before the national intellectual property office of a new signatory to the EPC. During a transitional period of one year following the entry into force of the EPC in that state, such persons are exempted from the requirement to pass the EQE in order to obtain entry on the EPO’s list of professional representatives.

So for example, when Croatia officially became a contracting state of the EPC on 1 January 2008, a qualified Croatian patent attorney could apply for entry onto the EPO’s list of professional representatives for a period of one year from that date without the requirement to have passed the EQE. In Croatia, the time-window for availing of the grandfather clause closed on 1 January 2009.

But let’s get back to Topić IP d.o.o. and its founder and managing partner, the redoubtable Željko Topić.

Techrights readers may recall that Željko’s term as EPO Vice-President came to an end in December 2018.

Soon afterwards, in January 2019, some eagle-eyed readers of the Official Gazette of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV) noticed a new entry in the national registers for trademark and patent representatives maintained by the DZIV. [PDF]

Topic IP fraud
January 2019: Topić resurfaced in Croatia as a registered representative for trademarks and patents

Not long afterwards in March 2019, the EPO Official Journal [PDF] recorded that Željko Topić had obtained entry on the EPO’s list of professional representatives. The initial entry was made using his home address of Zamenhofa no. 23 in Zagreb.

Topic IP EPO
March 2019: Topić obtains entry on the EPO’s list of representatives

A couple of months later in June 2019, the entry was amended by replacing his home address with the business address of Topić IP d.o.o. at Kordunska no. 2 in Zagreb. [PDF]

Topic IP (Croatia) amendment
June 2019: Entry amended to use the business address of Topić IP d.o.o.

The latter entry can be confirmed by consulting the EPO’s online database (warning: epo.org link) of registered professional representatives.

Topic online DB - Croatia
Entry for Željko Topić in the EPO’s online database of professional representatives

Well, that’s nice isn’t it? Željko clearly deserves congratulations for finding time to pass the EQE despite his busy schedule as EPO Vice-President during the years 2012 to 2018.

The only problem here is that when the EPO’s database of successful EQE candidates (warning: epo.org link) is consulted it only throws up four names for Croatia… and the name of Željko Topić is not among them.

Croatia EQE
The EPO’s database of successful EQE candidates only returns four names for Croatia

So it looks like Željko never actually passed the EQE.

If this is the case, it’s difficult to see how he could have been considered eligible for entry on the EPO’s list of professional representatives. Let’s not forget that the “grandfather clause” for Croatia expired a decade earlier back in 2009.

So how exactly did Željko Topić “MBA” end up on the EPO’s list of professional representatives?

At the moment nobody seems to have an answer to this little conundrum.

But as we shall see in the next instalment, there is a person who might be able to provide some enlightenment on that score, namely Dr Christoph Ernst, the former head of the German delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council and, since January 2019, the EPO’s Vice-President in charge of International and Legal Affairs.

Cancel Culture and the Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Guest article by Ted MacReilly and figosdev

Bad food culture

Summary: Roasting leaders and luminaries as a strategy of choice

THE cancellation of Richard Stallman has yet to end. He remains stifled, the public remains lied to, the liars (unlike their victims) are not held accountable, and the Free software movement is still weakened.

Along with other people who contribute to Techrights, we predicted some of this, months prior to it happening. How? The easiest way to predict the future is to notice ongoing patterns and processes that repeat. Then look for the beginnings of those patterns in the present.

At worst, this is slippery slope fallacy. But argument from fallacy is itself a fallacy, and just because something is a slippery slope doesn’t mean that its conclusion is false — only that it wrongly assumes the conclusion is necessarily true.

A lot of the time, things that are moving in a certain direction continue to move in that direction — one of the most famous laws of physics says more or less the same. Sometimes a force acts upon something and it changes, but there is a great deal of inertia in many things.

Stallman’s cancellation isn’t complete, and was already happening when it was predicted in June. Recently, someone online referred to a future point when Torvalds is fully cancelled. The truth is that he is already “cancelled enough” that he likely can’t and likely won’t stop any of the bad things that will happen to the Linux kernel from happening. The torch isn’t passed, but it’s now out of his hands. It’s too late, and he’s either tired, apathetic or afraid.

No one is likely to fork the Linux kernel, because if they do, it will be someone who cares about software freedom — and if you ask around the community of people who care about software freedom, there is nobody who will fork it. Alexandre Oliva, being the author of linux-libre, should probably know.

If someone was capable of making a truly libre fork of Linux to counter the increasingly corporate, increasingly DRM-infested, increasingly unlikely-to-remain-copylefted (as Microsoft, via the former Linux Foundation will be in charge of license enforcement) — Oliva would probably know them, or at least know of them. These people (probably) don’t exist. It’s wonderful that sometimes the most likely future isn’t the one we get. In that, there is always a little bit of hope — but it’s no cause for Hubris.

You can also look at what the developers most tuned into the future of freedom are doing. They’re shifting towards BSD — probably not because BSD is better for everybody, but because it’s less work to liberate it. If there isn’t anybody to fork Linux, and there doesn’t seem to be — then less work means it is more likely to happen. It isn’t necessarily ideal, but that doesn’t make it a dumb idea. Of course, it’s a possibility that after destroying Linux, they will turn to BSD. Hopefully by that time, people will be ready for the struggle.

The Handbook for Destroying the Free Software Movement could have been called “The History of destroying Free software.” Except it isn’t just history, it is going on right now at least as much as it was described 20 years ago. The tactics were already polished up by IBM — a company with a history as over-the-top toxic as anybody who might get cancelled today — when Microsoft adopted them and adapted them to fighting against Free software. Their “loves Linux” campaign is no different than the love bombing campaigns narcissists use to lure victims for sustained campaigns of abuse. These are also often called “charm offensives”.

They talk of patent pools (chapter 7 of the handbook is about the patent war, which has never ended) but continue to act as if they own Android — by continuing to demand royalties (rent seeking) and holding onto written agreements that they “own” the software we’ve created, with companies who merely redistribute it. Both narcissists and large corporations expend enormous energy trying to sustain their own monopolies, and recruit other narcissists (and smaller corporations) to attack anybody who stands against their abuse.

This has been used against both Richard Stallman and Alexandre Oliva. It has been used against Linus Torvalds and Eric S. Raymond. It has been used by the government — or the corporations that run it — against Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. The lines between clinical narcissism, cult tactics and corporate monopolies are minor and technical. First they exploit, then they use bullying, lies and other abuse to “defend” the exploitation from anybody who stands up to it.

The handbook touches on how open source was weaponised early on against software freedom. It touches on how to isolate activists from their cause — something that continues to happen more and more. It talks about how marketing and propaganda can be used to polish corporate turds and undermine, then gradually control grassroots-developed software, and take over communities.

And none of it is really new, or obsolete. It just keeps going. The premises of the book have only gotten worse in the 8 or so months since it was written — more people cancelled, and suddenly every key project needs “new governance policies.” Here are a few quotes about that, from last June:

“Being closer to corporations, Open Source has more corporate culture in its processes. While the ‘Open source way’ may look better for letting everyone be a contributor, it carries with it extra requirements and additional reasons to exclude projects from consideration or people from projects.”

“Open Source brings organizational overhead and corporate culture into every project- you can be the leader of your own project and do what you want to with it, but now you shouldn’t- every project should have a community, a code of conduct that may ultimately threaten the structure of the leadership in the distant future, and a dedicated website.”

“Fortunately, Open Source brings all this overhead to a project in a way that makes it easier to steer or influence (or purchase) the direction of a project. And since for 20 years, companies like Microsoft have sought to buy, charge royalties for, influence or eliminate the work done by competitors, Open Source gives us (and even fights for) the foot in the door that we need to do so.”

This is all about ownership — as a synonym for control of the software we created specifically to be independent of monopolies. Their goal: as with clinical narcissists, is to make us dependent on them, their decisions, their infrastructure. We fought so hard to be able to do our own thing, just to hand the reins back to IBM and Microsoft.

We predicted the sale of Red Hat — the cancellation of Stallman — some of us even predicted USB drives and (compressed audio) music libraries. And it’s really like predicting what a puzzle will look like, when most of the pieces are already in place. You can learn to do it too — look at the picture, find the spot where the next step is missing, and guess what is most likely to fit the rest. You can’t always be right, but be grateful for that — we live in a world that seems to want very badly to kick off a new dark age, when the goal of intellectuals and advocates of freedom is to keep the enlightenment from dying.

Computing is increasingly the basis for modern communication, book publishing, education, entertainment, finding new medicines, discovering the universe outside our solar system — not to mention the advocacy we do for every political cause you can imagine. The more these monopolies control our computing, they more they control everything else. Society can’t afford that — the human race itself (these days) may not be able to afford that.

Depending on whether it is controlled by as many everyday (grassroots, not astroturfed) people as possible — which Free software supports, but “open source” sells off to the highest bidder (No? Who owns GitHub? Who owns Red Hat?) computing becomes either great power in all our hands — or great power against all of us. With the realisation that every company wants to put “AI”, facial-recognition and always-on microphones around us everywhere we go (our phones, our cars, our homes — even hotels, stores and restaurants) our lives are more like those of cattle with every year of “progress” that technology makes.

Being Luddites won’t likely help much. To actually prevent this shift in the human existence from continuing, we would have to go to space to take out all the cubesats. We live in a futuristic world where robots are flying around, murdering innocent Yemeni children — civilians. We are already surrounded and our lives are inundated with this technology in our personal lives, and on the land, in the sea and the sky. There is nowhere left to run, and becoming Amish won’t take down the network that we are enmeshed with.

Our only freedom will come from transforming (and yes, to a sane and relatively small degree, limiting) this vast array of human technology so that it exists on our own terms — to have the technology that we consent to, rather than have our technology act as a blank cheque for the largest corporations to do practically whatever they want with us. Because they’re already doing it, and for years they’ve worked to control even the activism we devoted decades to — to wriggle free from their stifling electronic grasp.

To regain control of what we built to be free of theirs, they’ve had to use social manipulation, political and marketing tactics to wrest our own communities and our own organisations from us. What once were sponsors are now board members and project leaders. The United States certainly has its share of political problems; though to do real justice to the level of absurdity that has taken over the Free software world, the USA would have to elect the Queen of England as its president — or simply join the United Kingdom.

The remnants of the Free software movement are whatever the monopolies are comfortable with — minus our founders, minus anybody who might make real trouble for them. We fought for independence, we gave people the vote — and the people were manipulated into voting for suppression and being controlled. There is no way to undo that but to struggle for a new era of digital independence. While the unwashed masses cry out that everything is alright, we know that doesn’t ring true. And we know their tactics, because history proves those rarely change.

The handbook was written by recalling, off the cuff, all the dirtiest deeds, all the smarmiest lies, all the little rewrites of what actually happened — Torvalds actually made a kernel. We gave him an operating system and let idiots pretend it was his own. Why was that stupid? Because the operating system actually stood for something.

What did Linus stand for? You’re looking at it today — the takeover and surrender of software freedom to corporations. That’s all “open source” is now. Watch him wearing the t-shirt, in “Revolution OS” — nearly 20 years later we still pretend that Linus ever gave a damn about our digital freedom at all. Oh sure, he’s better than Greg. That’s why they cancelled him — they knew he would choose a better successor. They knew he at least cared about not breaking userspace — that was the area where Linus showed integrity: as an engineer.

But as a person? He conflated our having integrity, of actually standing for something, with extremism. That was extremely self-serving, dishonest, and a complete scumbag move. Linus, you’re a sellout — and you always were. But we could count on Torvalds to bash most of the bad companies. Microsoft does that too — before buying them.

Cancelling Torvalds is still a bad idea though; it helps the monopolies more than it hurts Torvalds. His career (the part of it we care about at least) is practically over, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he were happy with that. Whatever he hoped to achieve, has more or less happened already. Like George Harrison after the breakup of the Beatles, Torvalds can do pretty much whatever he wants — except what he was doing before. And with him out of the way, the takeover you still assist by attributing GNU to corporate sellouts and other dubious individuals, can continue without worrying about who might stand up to it.

Isn’t it amazing that we all found good reasons to get rid of everyone in that category — all in the space of a year?

It wasn’t difficult to tie recent happenings — up to June 2019 — to quotes from the Halloween documents from 1998. The tactics are the same, but the lies to justify the tactics have evolved.

Managing a brand is a matter of storytelling. When people say “I’ve heard that one already”, corporations just tell another one. The special effects get better, the lines get updated here and there, but the differences between the old story and the new are superficial.

Our job is to be free. Their job is to control. If we let them manage our struggle against them, what do you actually think will happen?

Slippery slope? It’s more like a very long, straight drop. Welcome to hell, Free software advocates.

Now what?

Since cancel culture is at the centre of this change of ownership — indeed it is the excuse for the change — what follows are some insights from of all places, Youtube. Many of these insights about cancel culture predate Stallman’s cancellation. Since he has more integrity than Torvalds, and more integrity then Raymond, his cancellation is the one to worry about most. Though every unfair cancellation gives our would-be masters more control, and that’s why we should still fight for Torvalds and Raymond regardless of what we think of them as individuals.

It’s not even about “the enemy of my enemy” — it’s simply about the objectives of control vs the objectives of freedom. If you want to fight the corporate cults, you have to understand the corporate cults. That’s why the handbook was (really) written, and why cancel culture is a topic every Free software advocate needs to understand, now.

But first, the EFF recently posted a wonderful and relevant interview with Ada Palmer. Palmer talks about how censorship amounts to falsifying history — and how acts of censorship serve to remind (and help convince) people who is really “in charge.” In this sense, censorship is an act of colonialism.

You are encouraged, by the way, to refer to colonialism — the occupation and control of a human culture by an outside (colonising) force, as colonialism or as exploitation, rather than “tribalism”. The latter puts both the great occupying forces, and the people who rightfully stand against them, on equal ground — reducing each to petty or arbitrary disputes.

That miscommunication only assists the colonisers and diminishes those who are fighting against occupation. Open source has openly instigated this miscommunication and miscategorisation for many years, acting as if the unwillingness of Free software to abandon its own mission for their book of love letters to Microsoft and Apple is due to nothing more significant than a petulant and childish attitude.

Heading for Youtube, Ayishat Akanbi talks about why cancel culture is mob culture.

Emily Katherine delivers a 15-minute, extremely intelligent rant-slash-thesis on the psychology of cancel culture, including its effects.

Dave Chappelle, in Sticks and Stones, does an impression of cancel culture — the twist? As far as he’s concerned, cancel culture is all of us: “the audience.” He’s probably right.

Hafeez highlights the narcissism and arrogance of cancel culture.

While Viva Frei explains (definitely start at 5:28 if you want to get to what he’s really talking about) that cancel culture induces fear in innocent and intelligent people, and how it is stifling, suppressive and incredibly demanding.

A couple of worthwhile quotes:

“I believe that the likelihood of coming to the right decisions in the face of suppression [suppressed opposing opinions] are in fact decreased.” (11:13)

“The free exchange of ideas is the most valuable intellectual currency” — said during the talk, this quote is displayed again at the end of the video.

Christina Red explains that cancel culture lacks nuance, and suppresses activism — which as we have said several times, is exactly what monopolies are using it for.

Finally, Andrew Yang says that cancel culture is “excessively punitive and vindictive” and goes on to imply that a diverse community is unlikely to agree on everything. The community he is referring to is the Asian-American community; which he says is very diverse — thus unlikely to all agree with him.

The notion that true diversity will naturally result in diversity of opinion is perhaps central to arguments against the legitimacy of cancel culture. If you censor opinions to protect Asian-Americans like Yang, or to protect women like Christina Red, how do you ensure you won’t ultimately censor the same people you are trying to protect? In practice, this is not a baseless concern.

Cancel culture is one of those ideologies that is so extreme, that applying it fairly will ultimately hurt every person it claims to protect — either directly or indirectly. When authoritarians seek control, they usually lie and convince each person “this will only affect those who deserve it.” Yet it controls who you are allowed to listen to, what you are allowed to attend, who you are allowed to be friends with — and sometimes who you are even allowed to quote.

It seeks to control our ideas, or communication, our association. And it is being used a little too successfully against our freedom. If you’re still falling for this absolute cult tactic — take a step back, and rethink this.

How long until you’re cancelled too? Do you really believe this corporate culture will still tolerate you, the moment you cease to entertain its authority over your own quest for knowledge and a better society? There’s simply no evidence of that at all.

The organisations that are bringing this monopolistic control tactic into their governance, are ending any freedom you have to develop the software — unless you can create your own version, like the Linux fork that probably won’t exist.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

IRC Proceedings: Friday, March 13, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:04 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 14/3/2020: Best GNU/Linux Laptops, Wine 5.4 Release, GNU Mailutils Reaches 3.9 and LLVM 10.0 RC4; Bill Gates Leaves Microsoft

Posted in News Roundup at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Best Linux laptops of 2020: the top open-source notebooks

        For some people, going with the best Linux laptops is the way to go, contrary to popular opinion that Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS are the only options for a notebook operating system. With this guide, we’re going to dive into the best laptops that are specifically built for the open-source operating system.

        There aren’t any mainstream notebook vendors, beyond Dell at least, that offer Linux as a base OS option on a new laptop. This leaves us with other smaller manufacturers, which can carve out a niche for themselves with the best Linux laptops.

      • Chrome OS 82 tests a Material Theme redesign of the Files app and a revamped Linux terminal with tab support

        Chrome OS has evolved a lot over the last several years, and Google is not stopping any time soon with the changes to attract both regular users and developers. In Chrome OS 82, Google is testing two major UI changes to the Files app and the Terminal app. First, the Google Material Theme redesign looks to be finally coming to the oft-forgotten Files application. Second, the Linux terminal is getting a fresh design and some much-needed settings.

        Let’s start with the Files app. Google has slowly added features to the default Chrome OS file manager over the years. It’s something you probably use a lot without thinking of it too much. Some of the major changes we’ve covered over the last few years include the ability to make Google Drive folders available for offline use, show Android app files, and add top-level folders other than “Downloads.” In Chrome OS 82, the Files app is getting a full-blown redesign in accordance with Google’s Material Theme design scheme. In summary, the top blue bar has been removed in favor of a more simplified white interface. We see the familiar Material Theme blue highlight in the sidebar and the fonts and icons have all been slightly altered as well. However, the functionality of the app itself hasn’t been changed in any major way. You can see how the design has changed for yourself in the before/after screenshots embedded below, courtesy of ChromeUnboxed.

    • Server

      • The Last Hurrah Before The Server Recession

        Excepting some potholes here and there and a few times when the hyperscalers and cloud builders tapped the brakes, it has been one hell of a run in the last decade for servers. But thanks to the coronavirus outbreak and some structural issues with sections of the global economy – let’s stop pretending economies are national things anymore, because they clearly are not – this could be peak server for at least a few quarters. Maybe a few years.

        We started The Next Platform in 2015, but our experience in the systems market goes back to the aftermath of the 1987 stock market crash that eventually caused a recession in the late 1980s and early 1990s that really didn’t get resolved until the dot-com boom came along and injected a whole lot of hope and cash into the tech sector and then into every other sector that needed to become an “e-business.” When we think about transition points in IT, we think that the Great Recession was the point in time when a lot of different industries pivoted. And thus our financial analysis usually goes back to the Great Recession (when we are able to get numbers back that far) because we want to see how what is going on now compared to the difficult time we were going through then.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-13 | Linux Headlines

        The Django project moves to a new governance structure, Tor Browser’s latest release includes a JavaScript execution bug, GitLab finally paywalls its build and test pipeline for external repositories, and WhiteSource issues a report on the increase in open source code vulnerabilities.

      • Windows is More Secure than Linux [Ed: Based on deliberately false counts, comparing apples tom oranges]

        Windows is More Secure than Linux I recently ran into a Softpedia and TechRadar article making this claim or pointing out that Debian Linux had more vulnerabilities than Windows. It’s time to review the article and give you the facts…

      • AksError | User Error 87

        Apps that make us feel old, emotional songs, using actual paper, evolution of language, IRC channels we never look at, and more.

      • Brunch with Brent: Elizabeth K. Joseph | Jupiter Extras 63

        Brent sits down with Elizabeth K. Joseph, Developer Advocate at IBM Z, former Ubuntu Community Council member, and contributor to Ubuntu, Debian, Xubuntu, and others. We discuss her new passion for mainframes, her early contributions to open source projects, the niche opportunities in Z DevOps on mainframes, and more.

      • Python Bytes: #172 Floating high above the web with Helium
    • Kernel Space

      • Fwupd+LVFS Begins Rolling Out Firmware Update Support For NVMe SSDs

        Moving forward it will hopefully become easier updating NVMe solid-state drive device firmware under Linux.

        Fwupd/LVFS lead developer Richard Hughes of Red Hat shared today that he’s been tackling NVMe firmware update support in cooperation with Lenovo. This isn’t terribly surprising as he has requested NVMe drive/sysfs information in the past from interested users. It’s been a challenge though as the NVMe firmware updating ambitions date back to at least 2018.

        Hughes noted that public today are firmware updates for drives from Samsung, Western Digital, SK Hynix, SSSTC, Kioxia, and Union Memory hardware.

      • Linux CFS Improvement Forthcoming To Help With Faster Spreading Of CPU Utilization

        A rather simple improvement to the Linux CFS scheduler’s load balancing code appears to have measurable benefits with helping to more quickly spread the task utilization across the system.

        Linaro’s Vincent Guittot spotted a rather simple but impactful optimization in the kernel’s scheduler code. When running the CFS load balancing, it until now hasn’t been checking that there are pending tasks to pull as otherwise the load balance will just fail and thus further delay the possible spreading of the system load.

      • LG V60 ThinQ kernel source code is now available

        The LG V60 ThinQ couldn’t appear at MWC 2020 as the company skipped the event due to COVID-19 fears. Thanks to a number of leaks, we had a pretty clear idea about the flagship much before the slated release. LG finally decided to unveil the V60 ThinQ through an online-only event. The phone features a Dual Screen accessory like the previously launched LG V50 ThinQ and LG G8X ThinQ. The factory-installed UX skin, aka LG UX 9.0, is based on Android 10.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD sprucing up its Linux driver

          AMD has plans to improve its Linux AMDGPU driver and is advertising for a new lead Linux kernel developer.

          The position will be based at AMD’s campus in Austin, Texas, and the lead developer will focus on designing and maintaining the graphics driver for Linux.

        • New Linux Patch Will Significantly Boost Ice Lake GPU Performance
        • Intel Delivers On A Promise: Linux Patch Improves iGPU Performance Per Watt By 43%

          Intel’s open-source driver team has managed to improve the performance of Intel’s iGPUs by 15% while increasing performance per watt by 43% at the same time (via Phoronix). The post was published by Francisco Jerez that leads the open-source driver team. Intel had previously promised to turn its attention to open-source drivers as well and it looks like its delivering on at least one deliverable.

        • Ice Lake GPU underperforming? Put it in powersave mode. Wait, what?

          This is particularly likely to become a problem in games, where the GPU portions of the processor get a much bigger workout than the x86 CPU itself. If you unnecessarily boost CPU frequency, you waste your TDP budget dealing with unnecessary waste heat from the CPU—which may in turn require throttling the GPU, since you’ve already eaten through your thermal overhead.

          The new patchset, which attempts to better target frequency scaling to real-world bottlenecks, is Jerez’s second attempt to address the problem, and he’s looking for additional testing to confirm his own results.

        • FFmpeg Squaring Away Vulkan Support For Its Next Release

          2020 could be the year we see the Vulkan API seeing more adoption on the desktop outside of games. We are already looking forward to LibreOffice 7.0 with Vulkan rendering support coming out later this summer while the next FFmpeg release also has Vulkan support lined up.

          For the past several months we’ve been seeing various Vulkan efforts around FFmpeg for this widely-used multimedia library. More Vulkan code was merged yesterday and goes along with a number of recent filters being added that are accelerated by the Vulkan API.

        • Intel Linux Driver Getting Skylake/Gen9 Port Sync To Fix 5K Tiled Display Issues

          A four year old Intel Linux display driver bug around corruption issues when trying to drive tiled displays (namely 5K+ setups with dual DisplayPort connections) on Intel “Gen9″ graphics hardware for Skylake up until Icelake could soon be marked as resolved.

          Longtime Intel Linux developer Ville Syrjala sent out a set of 13 patches today for adding port synchronization support for Skylake+ (Gen9). Intel developers have port sync already in place and working for Icelake/Gen11 hardware while for years this capability has been missing from Gen9 although supported by the hardware itself.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q1.3 Brings New Extensions, Performance Tuning

          There have not been many AMDVLK open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver releases this quarter, but out today in any case is AMDVLK 2020.Q1.3 as their newest update to this official open-source Vulkan driver derived in part from shared sources with the AMD Vulkan Windows driver.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q1.3 brings new Vulkan extensions including EXT_post_depth_coverage, EXT_texel_buffer_alignment, and KHR_non_semantic_info. Vulkan 1.2.133 is the API version now exposed.

        • AMDGPU Driver Sees More Fixes For Linux 5.7 Development

          Feature work of Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) graphics driver work for Linux 5.7 is winding down now that Linux 5.6 is almost to its sixth release candidate this weekend, but sent in this week by AMD were a few more AMDGPU items though mostly amounting to fixes for their graphics driver.

          Sent in as part of the latest AMDGPU haul for targeting Linux 5.7 are SR-IOV fixes, Navi and Renoir power management fixes, various display fixes, HDCP fixes, a fix for detecting AMD Pollock hardware, and various other fixes and clean-ups.

    • Applications

      • ffmpegfs Is A FUSE-Based Filesystem For Transcoding Video And Audio On The Fly When Opened

        ffmpegfs is a free and open source FUSE-based read-only transcoding filesystem which converts audio and video formats on the fly when opened and read. It supports many formats, including MP4, WebM, OGG, MP3, OPUS, MOV, ProRes (a MOV container for Apple Prores video & PCM audio) and WAV, among others.

        This is useful in case you have many files in your media collection that can’t be directly played by some hardware or software (e.g. DaVinci Resolve, which has limited codecs support in the free Linux version) – instead of transcoding the whole media collection you could use ffmpegfs to transcode the files on the fly, when they are accessed / played. You may also use this to easily transcode files: just drop some files in the folder that you’ve used as an input directory for ffmpegfs, then copy the files from the ffmpegfs output folder and the resulted files will be transcoded to the format you’ve specified for ffmpegfs.

      • 5 Best Free Linux System Cleaning Tools

        There are lots of ways of improving the performance of your computer. We investigated a number of solutions in our feature entitled Ubuntu Tips – Boot Faster which concentrated on shortening the time taken for a machine to boot. These included disabling services that are not needed, concurrent booting, and reprofiling the boot sequence. The article also gave tips on optimizing the general system performance including ways to make more efficient use of memory, improving hard disk performance, and by using a lightweight desktop environment. These can all have a marked effect on minimizing the boot process. However, having a machine that is quick to boot is only one area that needs to be tackled if a computer is going to remain responsive.

        Many readers will have witnessed their computer system becoming progressively slower in use over time. This particularly affects Windows so much so that over time it can feel like the machine is running at half speed. This is in part due to users continually installing more applications, and not performing system maintenance. Other factors include ineffective uninstallation routines, Microsoft’s propensity for almost daily patches and security updates, hard drives full of temporary files, a bloated registry, and poorly configured antivirus software. These types of issues also affect Linux albeit to a lesser degree. Nevertheless, if a Linux machine is to remain in pristine condition, there is a genuine need for users to run software that vacuums up the detritus, wiping clean applications, deleting cookies, shredding temporary files, removing logs, and other types of system maintenance.

      • Best Download Managers for Linux

        Download managers provide a convenient way to download files without relying on web browsers’ built-in download mechanisms. Usually people look for batch download support, pausing and resuming ability and multi-connection download support while choosing a download manager. Multiple connections to the same file can speed up downloads specially when a file server throttles downloads. Do note that some file servers block pause and resume functionality and have mechanisms to prevent multi-connection downloads. This article will cover command line and graphical download manager apps for Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.4 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Unicode data updated to Unicode version 13.
          - Builtin programs use the new UCRTBase C runtime.
          - More correct support for Internationalized Domain Names.
          - Support for painting rounded rectangles in Direct2D.
          - Text drawing in D3DX9.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.4.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.4.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.4 Released With Unicode 13 Support, Text Drawing For D3DX9 To Fix 10 Year Old Bug

        Wine 5.4 is out as the newest bi-weekly development release and it comes with a number of improvements.

      • Wine 5.4 is out improving Direct2D, Unicode 13 and a real old D3DX9 issue is solved

        That last one is interesting, as it checks off a bug that was opened back in 2010, with many games having no text rendering. However, it might not be perfected across all games yet as the commit mentions how it’s only a “very basic ID3DXFont_DrawText implementation”. The commit itself from a CodeWeavers staffer, is also based upon some coded provided years ago by someone else. Every little helps though of course.

        Over 30 more bugs were marked as solved this release, although the usual applies: some were actually fixed in previous Wine releases, only now being noticed. Bug fixes include issues solved for: NieR: Automata, Divinity Original Sin 2, Final Fantasy V and plenty more too including a few bugs that affected numerous games and applications.

    • Games

      • A look over what’s on sale this weekend for Linux gaming fans

        Is it Friday already? Apparently it is. If you’re stuck in across this weekend, we’ve rounded up some of the best deals going on for Linux gamers. First up, a reminder: AMD currently have a big sale going on some Ryzen processors, see here for more on that one. For the rest, I’ll highlight a few and link to the full sale on each store.

      • Preview: Check out our footage from ‘Resolutiion’ – it’s got some serious style

        After playing it, I have a great many questions that need answers and I am thoroughly looking forward to the full game where some of that will hopefully be answered. Perhaps my biggest question right now is: where the hell did that giant kitty come from and why is it tunnelling through the desert?

      • Intel’s Clear Linux to gain better support for third-party, proprietary software (like Chrome and Steam)

        Clear Linux OS is a desktop and server operating system optimized for computers with Intel processors — and since it’s developed by Intel, it’s not surprising that Intel-powered systems running Clear Linux score higher in benchmarks than those with just about any other GNU/Linux distribution. It also runs well on systems with AMD processors.

      • Intel’s Clear Linux Has Code In Place To Begin Handling Proprietary Packages Like Chrome & Steam

        One of the most frequent critiques of Intel’s Clear Linux distribution has been its lackluster support in dealing with proprietary/third-party packages like the Google Chrome web browser and Valve’s Steam gaming client. Since last summer, Clear Linux has been working on their third-party packaging support with their unique “bundles” system, but not much has been heard on the matter since.

        A Clear Linux user this week finally brought up the topic again of this third-party/proprietary package (bundle) handling for Clear Linux. The response from Intel Fellow Arjan van de Ven is that the code is actually now in place albeit lacks documentation and testing.

      • Wheely World is an unusual top-down scrolling racer available on itch.io for Linux

        Quite a surprise too, honestly, I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it is from the screenshots. A video and static shots for a game like this, just don’t do it enough justice you really have to play it. A simple idea, the world scrolls up and you have to drive and boost your way around obstacles. There’s an Endless Runner mode to chase that high score or total mayhem in the Royale Mode with tons of other vehicles all cramped into the scrolling ever-changing map.

      • GOverlay, the open source Linux app for managing overlays is progressing quickly

        GOverlay, the open source Linux application which currently works to help you really easily configure MangoHud (more on that here) has progressed quickly since the initial release.

        With today’s 0.2 release the developer, Benjamim Góis, is calling it a “Beta” as they feel it has come along enough for more people to try it out. Lots of enhancements have been made too including a quick check-all button to turn all options on, an initial implementation of a HUD preview, an explanation of the Vsync options when you hover, a notification when the config is saved and more.

      • Deep Space Battle Simulator has two teams face off in a big space battle now on Linux

        Deep Space Battle Simulator, an Early Access first-person online team-based game about two capital-ships facing off is now available on Linux. It’s quite fresh, only becoming available on March 6.

        It’s a little like a small competitive version of PULSAR: Lost Colony, with you all running around controlling different stations on the ship. You start by customizing your capital ship with different turrets, small fighters and upgrades. Then once it begins, all hell breaks loose as both teams have full control over their ship. All in first-person (unless you’re the pilot) so you can run from one section to the next, grab a gun and take down any boarding party from the enemy team.

      • Have you played Slayaway Camp? A killer-puzzle game that’s genuinely good fun

        Slayaway Camp might not be a new game but it’s something I only jumped into recently and it’s a really great puzzle game. In it you control Skullface, a psychotic slasher bent on slaughtering people at camp.

        Not the nicest of settings for a puzzle game, it’s a little (okay a lot) violent with decapitating, squashing, axe-to-the-face and all sorts of bloody murder going on. You can tweak the amount of gore and such but it’s honestly pretty amusing with the blocky graphical style. The developer says it’s actually a “diabolical logic game that also happens to be a bloody tribute to eighties trash horror” and it fits that quite nicely.

      • If you think you know pain you haven’t played Devader – check out their new trailer

        Devader is one of my favourites released last year that flew under the radar of most. A twin-stick shooter with action that takes place in a single map, with enemies so varied it will make your head spin.

        In my post about the original release, I mentioned how it’s one not to be missed and it truly is. I’ve played my fair share of top-down twin-stick shoot ‘em ups over the years, coming from the Sega Mega Drive, Amiga and so on but nothing quite compares to the overall chaos in Devader.

      • Ridiculously fun party-platformer ‘Ultimate Chicken Horse’ has a big update and sale on now

        Ultimate Chicken Horse, an amusing name and a very funny game to play with others locally and online. A big update and sale just went live for this party-platformer where you build the level as you play.

        Joining the roster this time is a new character, a Snake on a skateboard. There’s also two brand new levels, 4 new blocks (beehives, cannons, flamethrowers, and one-way gates) and they also did some adjustments to other features throughout the game to improve the flow. The Free Play Mode has more paintbrush sizes, a new Randomize” button on the modifiers page can give you some extra chaos, a Czech localization is now available and plenty of bug fixing.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Mobile update week 11 of 2020

          In contrast to our usual bi-weekly blog format, this post wraps up only the most important changes that happened while no post was released. We are sorry for the lack of news in this period of time, but the good news is that as you will see in this post, the long break was not caused by a lack of content, but by a lack of time to write the post.

        • Krita Weekly #12 | 4.2.9 beta released

          So, a lot has been going around these days, 2020 hasn’t been the best year so far. Nevertheless don’t panic, maintain proper hygiene and you should be fine for the most part.

          A couple of days back 4.2.9 beta was released, here a blog post detailing the release can be found. Tons of bug fixes and a bunch of new features are there, which leaves me nothing to write about them in the weekly.

          In the other news, we have been able to hire Emmet and Eoin to work on the animation subsystem part-time. Previously both have contributed to the code and also joined the rest of us in the last two yearly sprints. Here is the task that is being laid upon to be worked. And they also have started a survey for the folks interested in animation for Krita. The feedback would be helpful for us to decide which parts of the animation system need more attention.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Linux-based “PinePhone” And “PineTab” Running The Latest GNOME 3.36

          The mobile OS support capability of PinePhone and PineTab is increasing day by day. And to enhance its beauty and run things fluently, it already supports various desktop environments such as KDE neon, Plasma mobile, and GNOME.

          In addition, you can now enjoy more features introduced in the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment, which runs pretty well on both PinePhone and PineTab. The latest GNOME brings highly-polished design and performance improvements to smoothen the user experience.

        • Building and testing GTK

          Since GNOME’s collective move to GitLab, GTK has taken advantage of the features provided by that platform—especially when it comes to its continuous integration pipeline.

          In days of old, the only way to check that our changes to the toolkit were correct was to wait until the Continuous build bot would notify us of any breakage on the main development branches. While this was better than nothing, it didn’t allow us to prevent breakage during the development phase of anything—from features to bug fixes, from documentation improvements to adding new tests.

        • gedit – 36 things to do and maybe planning a crowdfunding

          GNOME 3.36 has been released. And gedit 3.36 too!

          In the small corner of the Universe where I live, when we say “36” it actually means “a lot”. When we have 36 things to do today, or when we cannot do 36 things at the same time. In the case of gedit, there are also 36 things to do, as you can imagine.

          I now have more time that I can devote to GNOME, especially gedit. But I’m partly living on my savings.

        • End of GNOME Outreachy 2019

          The outreachy program ended the past week and we’ve done great improvements during this four months of work. I’m very happy with the result and with the work of the two interns and also the GNOME co-mentors that make this possible.

          If we’re lucky the interns will continue contributing in the future and we can see the GNOME community growing in developers and diversity.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Zorin OS 15.2 Now Available

          The latest iteration of Zorin OS has arrived. Version 15.2 is now available, which focuses on software bugs, security, and expanded hardware compatibility. This newest version might also serve as the last release until the developers of Zorin OS unleash their upcoming Zorin Grid, which gives admins the ability to manage massive desktop rollouts from a web-based dashboard.

          Since the last release of Zorin OS (Summer of 2019), the OS has been downloaded over 900,000 times and has been included in numerous “best of” lists for desktop distributions. So this latest version should be seen as yet another step forward for the open source operating system.

        • Clonezilla Live 2.6.5-21 released based on Linux 5.4

          This update has shaken Clonezilla Live to its very core as the software is now based on Linux Kernel 5.4.19-1 and Debian Sid repository. Apart from that, there have also been changes in the language files, courtesy of the efforts of various developers.

          For further facilitating its users, the developers have also worked on ocs-restore-mdisks as the last action can now be separated before it ends through the newly-integrated option -a|–last-action.

          Other than that, there have also been several package additions in Clonezilla live, which include iotop, mtr-tiny, tmux, scrub, and nvme-cli. Plus, you can find some new Bluetooth packages such as bluetooth, bluez, and bluez-tools. It is now also possible for users to mount S3/swift cloud storage with the addition of the s3ql package.

          On the other hand, a few packages were also removed for improving the software, some of which include cloudfuse and archivemount, as they haven’t been maintained for quite some time and require the outdated fuse v2.

          Now let’s come to the changes that can be noticed by the users. First of all, users won’t have to interact with the obscure keyboard-configuration in singularity-debian-ocs.def all thanks to a workaround. Secondly, you’re also going to find fewer bugs in this release.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Dominic “dmaphy” Hopf: Rex 1.8.2 available in Fedora

          There is a new version of the friendly automation framework named Rex available in Fedoras updates-testing repositories. If you’re into DevOps and automation and need some alternatives to Ansible, Puppet or Salt, this one probably is for you.

        • Fedora 32 Wallpaper Submission – Story

          This was takeing on 2019-11-19 in my home city of Adelaide, South Australia. I had traveled to see some friends over Christmas. We went to Mount Osmond to take some photos, and I took this as we walked up to the lookout.

          The next day, this area was a high risk location for a possible bushfire – and many bushfires have since devastated many regions of Australia, affecting many people that I know.

          I really find that the Australian landscape is so different to Europe or Asia – many tones of subtle reds, browns, and more. A dry and dusty look. The palette is such a contrast to the lush greens of Europe. Australia is a really beautiful country, in a very distinct and striking manner.

        • Submit a supplemental wallpaper for Fedora 32

          Attention Fedora community members: Fedora is seeking submissions for supplemental wallpapers to be included with the Fedora 32 release. Whether you’re an active contributor, or have been looking for a easy way to get started contributing, submitting a wallpaper is a great way to help. Read on for more details.

        • Video: OpenShift is Kubernetes

          Our very own Burr Sutter has produced a video explaining how Kubernetes and OpenShift relate to one another, and why OpenShift is Kubernetes, not a fork there of.

        • Master the Mainframe: Announcing our 2019 winners

          2019 marked the 15th year of the world’s largest mainframe competition for students — and it was our biggest year yet. This year’s contest saw registrations grow to 25,516 participants — up 40% from 18,175 in 2018 — and participation from almost 4,000 schools. We also experienced a 123% increase in the number of students finishing all three parts since last year. New for 2019, we made a donation through #ShareTheMeal to the UN World Food Programme for every student finishing Part 1, which resulted in 7,032 children being fed for a day.

          The contest drew participants from 154 total countries, up 37.5% from last year, with India, the United States, Brazil, the UK, Nigeria, Germany, Canada, and Argentina topping the list. The strong global participation in the contest confirms that students are increasingly intrigued by the technology and the significant role the mainframe plays as the IT backbone of 60 percent of the Fortune 100, 44 of the top 50 banks, 8 out of the top 10 insurers, and 8 of the top 10 telcos.

        • Optimize supply-chain routes to ensure on-time deliveries by predicting potential weather events

          Today, every business is different. But in many ways, businesses that exist within various industries are affected differently by weather. Weather conditions are getting more unpredictable, impacting almost every sector — energy, agriculture, transportation, insurance, aviation, and many more. Managing global supply chains in these situations can be a tricky and risky endeavor. Extreme weather, epidemics, and other unexpected events can disrupt the delivery of products and services, which may affect your delivery schedules and bring your assembly lines to a grinding halt due to lack of raw materials. This is because businesses lack control of these unpredictable supply-chain scenarios.

          IBM Sterling Supply Chain Insights With Watson® can help businesses turn these disruptions into opportunities for growth and profit. It provides visibility across your supply chain to help you manage constant change. It helps you quickly detect potential disruptions and collaborate with colleagues and IBM Watson to resolve issues. Supply-chain managers can synthesize insights by combining location-specific data from social media and The Weather Company to help predict and mitigate the effect of unexpected events.

        • What Red Hat is doing to address coronavirus (COVID-19)

          As the new coronavirus, COVID-19, evolves, we continue to prioritize the health and well-being of both Red Hat associates and the communities where we live and work. In the spirit of transparency, we thought it would be useful if we shared measures Red Hat is taking as a company:

        • Machine learning gives banks an on-ramp for more intelligent applications

          Data can be a key to differentiating one financial institution’s products from another institution’s. Data has solidified its place as core to building offerings that target individual customer needs, and not just as a cohort member to a segment. But financial services organizations may have to up their data game to further the smart, innovative solutions and services that their customers expect.

          In recent years, digital interactions have improved with the adoption of practices such as agile development. Stringing together each incremental change faster has created levels of responsiveness that are now being applied in new business contexts.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.4 Released with Important Security Fixes, App Updates

          First and foremost, it’s the security side of this new Tails update.

          As the developing team explains, many of the security issues discovered in Tails 4.3 have been corrected in this version, including vulnerabilities that affected OS components and pre-installed apps like TOR Browser and Mozilla Thunderbird. You can find a list of the patched vulnerabilities in the box after the jump, along with links to read more information about each of them.

        • DPL elections 2020: nomination censored

          Many people wondered what all the fuss has been about banning and censoring people from Debian in recent years. The answer? Dirty politics. Nominations for Debian Project Leader were announced on Saturday, 7 March and the next day, outgoing leader Sam Hartman attacked another would-be candidate with false accusations of trolling.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint With Ubuntu Icons

          As continuation to the previous tutorial, here is the other way around Ubuntu with Mint icon themes. Unlike Ubuntu’s, this icon theme called Mint-Y is one but divided into different color sub-theme such as Mint-Y-Dark and so on. This tutorial will explain in simple ways where and what to download and how to install and switch the icon theme. Enjoy customization!

        • OSM-MR#8 Hackfest: the highlights

          The Canonical team is getting back from the OSM-MR#8 Hackfest with a lot of excitement and a fresh view on the OSM (Open Source MANO) project. Although due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 complication around the world the leadership group re-organised the Hackfest in the last moment to be fully remote, many people joined and we’ve seen a lot of new faces. We are now looking forward to hosting all of you in London, during the week of 1-5 of June.

        • What is “Support”?

          The first one is related to development and maintenance. This is where the Ubuntu Studio development team comes in. That scope is rather limited since most of the software included in Ubuntu Studio isn’t maintained or packaged by the development team, but rather other teams within Debian and Ubuntu. This includes the lowlatency kernel, which is maintained by the Ubuntu Kernel Team, and the desktop environment, which is maintained by the Xubuntu team.

          This support also deals with the length of time of the maintenance and upkeep of said components. For LTS releases it’s 3 years; for standard releases it’s 9 months.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source alternative for multi-factor authentication: privacyIDEA

        Two-factor authentication, or multi-factor authentication, is not a topic only for nerds anymore. Many services on the internet provide it, and many end-users demand it. While the average end-user might only realize that his preferred web site either offers MFA or it does not, there is more to it behind the scene.

        The two-factor market is changing, and changing rapidly. New authentication methods arise, classical vendors are merging, and products have disappeared.

      • Data Sharing and Open Source Software Help Combat Covid-19

        On February 27, a teenager in the Seattle area was diagnosed with Covid-19. Shortly after, researchers at the Seattle Flu Study shared genomic data about his strain of the virus with other researchers on an “open science” site. Armed with that data, researchers involved with a second open science project determined that the teenager’s strain was a direct descendent of a strain of Covid-19 found in an unrelated patient in the Seattle area on January 20. The discovery was a key link in concluding that the virus had been spreading in the Seattle area for weeks.

        The way researchers connected those dots highlights the role of open science projects in tracking the evolution of Covid-19 and other diseases. Sharing data and working collaboratively across the web, scientists are quickly analyzing genetic samples, helping to shape the public response. But the rush to interpret the data also creates new risks.

        Viruses like Covid-19 spread by making copies of themselves. Each time they replicate, there’s a chance that an error will be made, making the latest copy slightly different from the previous one. Emma Hodcroft, a postdoctoral quantitative genetics researcher at the University of Basel in Switzerland, likens these errors, known as mutations, to typos in the virus’s DNA.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird 68.6.0 Released with Huge Bug Fixes and Enhanced Features!

            Thunderbird 68.6.0 Released Now: Mozilla announced the release of the latest version of Mail Thunderbird 68.6.0. Mozila Thunderbird is an open-source e-mail client, which is used to send and receive emails through secured portal. Thunderbird email client can be seen more commonly on all Linux based operating system. The latest version of Thunderbird is flooded with new features and bug fixes.

          • Tor Browser 9.5a7 Released Today! More Speed & Bugs Fixed

            Tor Browser 9.5a7 Released: Tor is one of the best and most secured browser which allows you to browse the internet by hiding your personal information and data. With Tor browser, you will be able to surf to the website which are not available on the surface web. Yes, you can access the dark & deep websites using Tor browser. You can find more information about Tor browser from their official website.

            The developer teams of the Tor browser announced that the Tor Browser 9.5a7 has been released. You can download the latest version of the tor browser 9.5a7 from their official website!

          • Niko Matsakis: Async Interview #7: Withoutboats

            Hello everyone! I’m happy to be posting a transcript of my async interview with withoutboats. This particularly interview took place way back on January 14th, but the intervening months have been a bit crazy and I didn’t get around to writing it up till now.

          • Mozilla does not respect user requests to stop tracking telemetry data

            A Firefox system add-on called telemetry-coverage may still be sending your IP address data to Mozilla even if you explicitly turn off telemetry data – which has privacy implications most people aren’t aware of as Mozilla stores telemetry data with a unique identifier tied to your specific Firefox client. All Firefox clients come with preinstalled system add-ons that function just like add-ons that a user would install themselves from the Add-ons store, except they’re there by default. A Mozilla employee commented on the SuperUser forum attempting to defend this action…

      • FSF

        • LibrePlanet: Livestreaming

          Hey, a bit of a last minute news: the famous yearly conference organized by the Free Software Foundation LibrePlanet (Boston, U.S.A.) was canceled due to the continuing COVID-19 outbreak. But not canceled totally: the staff reorganized the event into a virtual conference and livestream event. So, I proposed a Krita demo and now I’m on the schedule for a 40min Digital painting livestream demo tomorrow just after the keynote. I’ll comment the demo with tips, and I’ll demo features and possibilities of this great software. Don’t expect a finished piece in 40min, but I’m sure we can get a cute speedpainting and a pleasant walk through Krita together.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Mailutils Version 3.9

            Version 3.9 of GNU mailutils is available for download.
            This is a bug-fix release. Please see the NEWS file entry for a detailed list of changes.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • 10 Open-Source Datasets For Text Classification

            One of the popular fields of research, text classification is the method of analysing textual data to gain meaningful information. According to sources, the global text analytics market is expected to post a CAGR of more than 20% during the period 2020-2024. Text classification can be used in a number of applications such as automating CRM tasks, improving web browsing, e-commerce, among others.

            Check out 10 open-source datasets, which can be used for text classification. The Amazon Review dataset, for instance, consists of a few million Amazon customer reviews (input text) and star ratings (output labels) for learning how to train fastText for sentiment analysis. The size of the dataset is 493MB.

      • Programming/Development

        • 50 Frequently Asked JavaScript Interview Questions and Answers [2020]

          JavaScript has proved itself as a versatile and scalable scripting language all over time. It is one of the most popular scripting languages in the web development industry. It offers more reliability; it is easy to run and execute. It opens up special opportunities for developers. This is the reason why millions of developers (almost 94 percent of all websites are made of JavaScript) tend to use this language.

          An entry-level developer with basic knowledge of JavaScript can earn $70-80,000 per year. JavaScript can be really a blessing for your career, and long time work skills in this language can make you one of the highest-paid employees of the year. Hence, no wonder why you should look for Jobs that offer a position as JavaScript developers. You might be a rookie or a professional, to get yourself on board, it is important to be ready for the JavaScript Interview Questions as well.

        • “rpminfo” php extension
        • Possible issues with debugging and inspecting compiler-optimized binaries

          Developers think of their programs as a serial sequence of operations running as written in the original source code. However, program source code is just a specification for computations. The compiler analyzes the source code and determines if changes to the specified operations will yield the same visible results but be more efficient. It will eliminate operations that are ultimately not visible, and rearrange operations to extract more parallelism and hide latency. These differences between the original program’s source code and the optimized binary that actually runs might be visible when inspecting the execution of the optimized binary via tools like GDB and SystemTap.

          [...]

          The binary code for a particular line of source code might be removed by the compiler because it has no effect on the later results. This removal might happen when the compiler data and control flow analysis for the function determines that while the code on the line is on a control flow path that could be executed, the values computed are never used. The debugging information that maps the instructions back to source code would have no entries for those eliminated lines. GDB and SystemTap would not be able to inspect the state of the program at those exact source code lines because they no longer exist in the binary.

        • [llvm-dev] [10.0.0 Release] Release Candidate 4 is here
          Hello everyone,
          
          Release Candidate 4 was tagged earlier today as llvmorg-10.0.0-rc4 on
          the release branch at b406eab8880. It contains 12 commits since the
          previous release candidate.
          
          If no new problems arise, this is what the final release will look like.
          
          Source code and docs are available at
          https://prereleases.llvm.org/10.0.0/#rc4 and
          
          https://github.com/llvm/llvm-project/releases/tag/llvmorg-10.0.0-rc4
          
          Pre-built binaries will be added as they become ready.
          
          Please file bug reports for any issues you find as blockers of
          
          https://llvm.org/pr44555
          
          Release testers, please run the test script, share your results, and
          upload binaries.
          
          Thanks,
          Hans
          
        • LLVM 10.0 RC4 Released Due To Last Minute Fixes

          LLVM 10.0-RC3 was released last week as what was supposed to be the last release candidate of the cycle after being challenged by delays already. However, last minute issues with RC3 has led to LLVM 10.0-RC4 coming out today.

          LLVM 10.0-RC4 brings with it another dozen patches on top of RC3. LLVM 10.0-RC4 has some clean-ups to the release notes and a few other last minute fixes. The brief RC4 announcement can be read on llvm-dev.

        • AMD AOMP 0.7-7 Released For Radeon OpenMP Offloading

          Announced at the end of last year was Radeon Open Compute 3.0 with the new “AOMP” compiler. Today a new version of AOMP has been released for OpenMP offloading support to AMD Radeon GPUs.

          AOMP is the newest of several downstreams of LLVM/Clang maintained by AMD. AOMP tracks upstream LLVM / Clang but with changes for supporting OpenMP API offloading support to Radeon GPUs as part of the ROCm driver stack. While focused on Radeon OpenMP support, AMD does leave the HIP / CUDA / OpenCL support within the AOMP Clang build.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RInside 0.2.16

          A new release 0.2.16 of RInside arrived on CRAN and in Debian today. This comes almost exactly one year after the previous release 0.2.15. RInside provides a set of convenience classes which facilitate embedding of R inside of C++ applications and programs, using the classes and functions provided by Rcpp.

          This release brings one new feature, contributed by Lance Bachmeier (with some additional post-processing by me). It adds the ability to embed and call R from C programs and applications. The interface is more limited as we do not get Rcpp for automagic conversion. But this offers the door to a number of applications supporting plain C interface, and the new examples directory for example shows one for ruby. We may add others.

        • Perl / Raku

          • KBOS methods

            After scopes, types and signatures we got all the prerequisites to talk about the syntax and semantics of KBOS methods. Unless you want to contribute to Kephra or write a plugin, you may never use them, but please join me in the thought experiment – maybe we get a littler smarter.

            General Rules of Syntax

            KBOS is outspokenly declerative. The keyword class starts a class, attribute an attribute definition and you could even guess what method name (…) {….} stands for. In front of method may appear several combinable keywords. Lets call them method modifier for now, because Raku does that too. If one of them is present, writing method is optional.

          • What’s new on CPAN – February 2020

            Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

        • Python

          • PyCharm 2020.1 EAP 7

            We have a new Early Access Program (EAP) version of PyCharm that can now be downloaded from our website

            This EAP has a lot of important bug fixes, some new features, and a few usability improvements. All of which makes PyCharm that much better to work with.

          • Moshe Zadka: Or else:

            The underappreciated else keyword in Python has three distinct uses.

          • Thinking psycopg3

            Psycopg is the database adapter used by most Python programs needing to work with the PostgreSQL database manager. In this blog post, psycopg maintainer Daniele Varrazzo looks forward to the next major version.

          • PyData COVID-19 Response

            The safety and well-being of our community are extremely important to us. We have therefore decided to postpone all PyData conferences scheduled to take place until the end of June:
            PyData Miami
            PyData London
            PyData Amsterdam

          • Encapsulation in Python

            Encapsulation is an essential aspect of Object Oriented Programming.

            Let’s explain encapsulation in plain words: information hiding. This means delimiting of the internal interface and attribute from the external world.

            The benefit of information hiding is reducing system complexity and increasing robustness.

            Why? Because encapsulation limits the interdependencies of different software components. Suppose we create a module. Our users could only interact with us through public APIs; they don’t care about the internals of this module. Even when the details of internals implementation changed, the user’s code doesn’t need a corresponding change.

            To implement encapsulation, we need to learn how to define and use private attribute and a private function.

          • Functional strategies in Python

            I got into a debate about Python’s support for functional programming (FP) with a friend. One of the challenging parts was listening to him say, “Python is broken” a number of times.

            Python is not broken. It’s just not a great language for writing pure functional programs. Python seemed broken to my friend in exactly the same way that a hammer seems broken to someone trying to turn a screw with it.

            I understand his frustration. Once you have fully embraced the FP mindset, it is difficult to understand why people would write programs any other way.

            I have not fully embraced the FP mindset. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t apply some FP lessons to my Python programs.

            In discussions about how FP and Python relate, I think too much attention is paid to the tactics. For example, some people say, “no need for map/­filter/­lambda, use list comprehensions.” Not only does this put off FP people because they’re being told to abandon the tools they are used to, but it gives the impression that list com­pre­hensions are somehow at odds with FP constructs, or are exact replacements.

          • How to use shared in-browser consoles to cooperate while working remotely.

            One of the challenges of remote work is when you need to work together on one thing.

            Our in-browser consoles are one of the core features of our service. Almost since the beginning, PythonAnywhere has been able to share consoles — you entered the name of another user or an email address, and they got an email telling them how to log in and view your Python (or Bash, or IPython) console. If you use an email, the person you invite doesn’t have to be PythonAnywhere registered user.

          • Python Vs JavaScript: Which One Should You Use For A Project?

            Are you confused which web app development technology is the right fit for you: JavaScript or Python? Do you want to know the real difference between these two most popular tools for web development? You have landed at the right place. In this blog, we will talk about various pros and cons of choosing these two languages as well as JavaScript vs Python performance and JavaScript vs Python speed and learning curve. In addition, we will compare these two languages on various parameters. So, let’s start:

        • Java

          • New Relic – the State of Java Report

            New Relic has released a new JVM report based on an analysis of data reported by customer JVMs running in production across the globe. Unlike other self-reported surveys, the data produced here is from JVMs that are running in production. As would be expected, the resulting data set consists of New Relic customers, but it paints a picture of what is being used in production as opposed to what developers are working and testing against.

            In particular, the report highlights that the majority of JVMs that are running in production are doing so with LTS releases of Java; and only a fraction over 11% are running on Java 11. The majority of JVMs (over 85%) are running on Java 8, with Java 7 following behind with a few percent. Non-LTS releases are responsible for just over 1% of reported machines running. In addition, the report highlights that JVM users are often slow to upgrade in production; there are more versions of Java running before 7 than on either 9 or 10 (which are both EOL) or 12 and 13 (which are both EOL or about to become EOL). The report also highlights that a number of JVMs are running on outdated versions of Java 8, some of which are known to have security vulnerabilities.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Intel Compute Runtime 20.10.16087 Released With oneAPI Level Zero Support

        Intel Compute Runtime 20.10.16087 was released today as their latest weekly-ish tagged update to this open-source compute runtime for empowering their graphics hardware on Linux with OpenCL and oneAPI support.

        This oneAPI/OpenCL run-time for Intel HD/Iris through Xe Graphics continues evolving nicely as evident by their ongoing Git activity. With this week’s update it pulls in all of the latest GMMlib, Intel Graphics Compiler (IGC), and other code making up this release. Going back to Broadwell remains production-quality OpenCL 2.1 support while the Tiger Lake Gen12/Xe support remains under an “early support” flag.

  • Leftovers

    • Happy National Tired and Grouchy Week

      On Sunday, March 8, millions of Americans woke up an hour early, having set their clocks ahead by an hour the night before, and dug in for a week or so of bleary-eyed, irritable attempts to tweak their bodies’ natural sleeping and waking rhythms. This fatuous semi-annual “spring forward, fall back” ritual, called “Daylight Saving Time,” ranks high on my personal list of “dumbest ideas in the history of mankind.”

    • Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft board to focus on philanthropy [Ed: disclosure missing. Bill Gates repeatedly pays the BBC]

      Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is stepping down from the company’s board to spend more time on philanthropic activities.
      He says he wants to focus on global health and development, education and tackling climate change.
      One of the world’s richest men, Mr Gates, 65, has also left the board of Warren Buffett’s massive holding company, Berkshire Hathaway.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Why Tech Might Actually Be The Solution To Capitalism’s Addiction Problem
      • Preschool Program Funding for Children with Disabilities in Decline – Validated Independent News

        Developmental preschool programs, which serve children between the ages of three and five, have been shown to prepare many students with disabilities to enter kindergarten “without the need for any special education services, or needing only services to improve speech,” Jackie Mader reported. Nevertheless, while the number of children served by developmental preschool programs more than doubled from the early 1990s to 2017, crucial federal funding for these programs has decreased by as much as forty percent per pupil.

      • Coronavirus: Spain to declare emergency as deaths pass 100

        Spain’s prime minister says a state of emergency will come into effect there on Saturday amid a steep rise in coronavirus deaths.

        Pedro Sánchez warned that very hard weeks lay ahead but he vowed the government would do everything necessary to combat the crisis.
        Earlier, the number of deaths in Spain increased by some 50% in a day to reach 120. Infections jumped to 4,200.
        Mr Sanchez said the figure could top 10,000 next week.

      • Coronavirus: English local elections postponed for a year

        The government has announced that May’s local and mayoral elections in England will be postponed for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

      • How South Korea is handling the coronavirus outbreak better than other countries

        There are nearly 8,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea, with the first case reported on Jan. 20. On Friday, the country reported more recovered cases than new cases for the first time. One of the main reasons South Korea is handling the coronavirus outbreak well is that testing is widely available.

        People in South Korea can get swabbed for testing in drive-thru clinics, which can reduce the burden on hospitals and reduce risk for health workers. A biotech company in the country developed a test within three weeks, according to CNN.

        Individuals who would like to be tested for the virus and get the backing of a doctor can request one, making it easy and accessible. There’s a network of 96 laboratories that process the samples, with testing being a major priority.

        “Detecting patients at an early stage is very important,” South Korea’s health minister Park Neunghoo told CNN.

      • Coronavirus: Mass gatherings could be banned in UK from next week

        Mass gatherings could be banned in the UK from as early as next weekend amid the outbreak of coronavirus.
        A government source said ministers are drawing up plans for the move – to ease pressure on emergency services.
        Scores of major sporting and cultural events have already been cancelled across the country in response to the pandemic.
        In total, 11 people have died with the virus in the UK, while the number of confirmed cases rose to 798 on Friday.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation open sources disaster-relief IoT firmware: Project OWL

                Project OWL (Organization, Whereabouts, and Logistics) creates a mesh network of Internet of Things (IoT) devices called DuckLinks. These Wi-Fi-enabled devices can be deployed or activated in disaster areas to quickly re-establish connectivity and improve communication between first responders and civilians in need.

                In OWL, a central portal connects to solar- and battery-powered, water-resistant DuckLinks. These create a Local Area Network (LAN). In turn, these power up a Wi-Fi captive portal using low-frequency Long-range Radio (LoRa) for Internet connectivity. LoRA has a greater range, about 10km, than cellular networks.

                LoRa also avoids the danger of having its bandwidth throttled by cellular carriers. That, by the way, actually happened in 2018 in Northern California’s Mendocino Complex Fire when Verizon slowed the first responders’ internet.

                DuckLinks then provides an emergency mesh network to all Wi-Fi enabled devices in range. This can be used both by people needing help and first responders trying to get a grip on the situation with data analytics. Armed with this information, they can then formulate an action plan.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox, golang-golang-x-crypto, kernel, mbedtls, ppp, and python-django), Debian (slirp and yubikey-val), Fedora (firefox, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, mbedtls, monit, seamonkey, sympa, and zsh), Gentoo (chromium, e2fsprogs, firefox, groovy, postgresql, rabbitmq-c, ruby, and vim), Mageia (ppp), openSUSE (kernel), and SUSE (glibc, kernel, openstack-manila, php5, and squid).

          • 10 Essential Settings to Secure Your Google Account

            After reading the title you might be wondering, “isn’t my Google account already secure?”. Well, yes it is. But on a bad day for you, it is possible for smart bad guys to circumnavigate the default security measures that Google has put on your accounts and that is why it is important to not just manually review those settings but to also implement some more and take specific precautions to reinforce your security.

            Google has a dedicated page listing all the settings and recommendations that will help you to keep your account safe. These settings and recommendations page includes a list of security issues found in your account, 2-factor authentication, recovery phone details, 3rd-party apps with account access, a list of less secure app access, and information about your connected devices.

          • Marc-Etienne Léveillé on Linux malware

            Marc-Etienne Léveillé, senior malware researcher for ESET, talks with CyberScoop Editor-in-Chief Greg Otto about all the different Linux malware he sees being used. Both sophisticated actors and amateur hackers are going after various flaws in the operating system. ”

            We have seen very, very advanced stuff,” Léveillé told CyberScoop at the 2020 RSA Conference. “And we have seen very like low-hanging fruit, like commodity malware. But the most sophisticated Linux malware we’ve studied is called an open SSH backdoor and credential stealer. What it does a very clever way, it tries not to modify the system as less as possible.”

          • Intel Developer’s Patch To Let SECCOMP Processes Like Web Browsers Opt Out Of Spectre V4

            Currently the Linux kernel SECCOMP secure computing mode force-enables Spectre protections, which comes with obvious performance implications. When force-enabled, however, processes can’t opt-out of the protection if they are not at risk to the likes of Spectre V4 “Speculative Store Bypass” issues. But a simple change being proposed would let such processes opt out if desired.

            Longtime Intel Linux developer Andi Kleen has proposed the change to allow overriding SECCOMP’s speculation disable behavior. Rather than force disabling the speculation control, it still would happen by default but not “forced” — which in turn would let processes opt-out of the behavior due to that semantic change. The PR_SET_SPECULATION prctl can then be used for toggling SSBD and IB behavior.

          • Mitigating new LVI Intel security vulnerability will have big impact on CPU performance

            Implementing full mitigations to address the load value injection (LVI) security vulnerability affecting Intel processors could significantly reduce processor performance and radically slow them down.

            The vulnerability, indexed as CVE-2020-0551, was publically disclosed earlier this week when Intel rolled out a patch to address the flaw.

            The chipmaker said that LVI vulnerability impacts some processors utilising speculative execution feature and could allow an attacker to steal sensitive data from vulnerable systems, via a side channel with local access.

          • Load Value Injection Vulnerability Discovered for Some Intel CPUs, Mitigations can Significantly Degrade Performance

            It has been over two years since the original revelations of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in various CPUs but especially Intel processors. These vulnerabilities went after how speculative execution could allow a CPU to access information in an unsecure way, potentially allowing it to leak to an attacker. Though the mitigations, both software and hardware, have been implemented for a while now, it turns out switching things around a bit can get around some of them. University researchers at several universities and Bitdefender independently realized an attack could be made that instead of trying to get information out of a CPU, it could insert information into it. The code can be detected and then all operations be rolled back, but for a time an application will run with the injected code. Intel was notified of the discovery in April 2019 by the researchers and the discovery was kept under embargo until this week. Bitdefender made its discovery in February 2020.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • ‘The Public Has a Right to Know’: ACLU Sues DHS to Expose Secretive Use of Facial Recognition Technology

              “This unregulated surveillance technology threatens to fundamentally alter our free society and is in urgent need of democratic oversight.”

            • Bizarre: Democrats In Congress Agree To Give Trump More Of The Spying Powers He Complains Were Abused Against Him

              If ever there were a time to end Constitutionally questionable FISA surveillance powers it should be now. Democrats have been, quite rightly, concerned about an out of control Trump administration, abusing the powers of government to target his enemies and critics. Republicans have been screaming from the heavens, quite rightly, about the FBI’s abuse of the FISA process to conduct surveillance on members of the Trump Campaign. And all this is coming at a time when the crown jewel of the program — the phone metadata surveillance — has been shown to have been a huge, wasteful mess that has been effectively useless.

            • Senators Pretend That EARN IT Act Wouldn’t Be Used To Undermine Encryption; They’re Wrong

              On Wednesday, the Senate held a hearing about the EARN IT Act, the bill that is designed to undermine the internet and encryption in one single move — all in the name of “protecting the children” (something that it simply will not do). Pretty much the entire thing was infuriating, but I wanted to focus on one key aspect. Senators supporting the bill, including sponsor Richard Blumenthal — who has been attacking the internet since well before he was in the Senate and was just the Attorney General of Connecticut — kept trying to insist the bill had nothing to do with encryption and wouldn’t be used to undermine encryption. In response to a letter from Facebook, Blumenthal kept insisting that the bill is not about encryption, and also insisting (incorrectly) that if the internet companies just nerded harder, they could keep encryption while still giving law enforcement access.

            • FBI Director Chris Wray Pitches Weakened Encryption At A Cyber Security Conference

              On May 29, 2018, the FBI promised to deliver an updated count of encrypted devices in its possession. As James Comey and his replacement, Chris Wray, continued to advocate for weakened encryption, the number of phones the FBI couldn’t get into swelled from 880 in 2016 to over 7,800 by the time the FBI realized its phone-counting method was broken.

            • 152 House Democrats Join GOP to Reauthorize ‘Abusive Government Surveillance Powers’

              “Nothing says bipartisanship like extending provisions of the PATRIOT Act.”

            • The EARN IT Bill Is the Government’s Plan to Scan Every Message Online

              Imagine an Internet where the law required every message sent to be read by government-approved scanning software. Companies that handle such messages wouldn’t be allowed to securely encrypt them, or they’d lose legal protections that allow them to operate.

              Take Action

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Nature of the Military That Fights America’s Forever Wars

        Bizarrely enough, the spate of phone calls from recruiters began a couple of years ago. The first ones came from the Army, next the Marines, and then other branches of the military. I’m decades past enlistment age. I’ve been publicly antiwar for most of that time and come from a family that was last involved with a military when my grandfather ran out the back door to avoid Russian army recruiters at the front door and kept running until he reached America.

      • Arrests R Us: Six-Year-Old Cuffed And Tossed Into A Cop Car For ‘Throwing A Tantrum’ At School

        America’s least valuable renewable resource is school resource officers. At some point, we — as a nation — apparently agreed school disciplinary issues should be turned over to law enforcement officers. To be sure, this decision was made without our input, for the most part. Most people agree it’s ridiculous to turn rote violations of school policy over to men and women trained in the apprehension and investigation of actual, real crimes like homicide, drug distribution, and any number of day-to-day activities carried out while black.

      • US Reportedly Bombs Iran-Backed Militias Just as House Passes Resolution to Prevent Unauthorized War

        “Yet again, U.S. and Iranian-backed forces appear to be exchanging fire in Iraq, despite the American people’s desires to avoid yet another war of choice in the Middle East.”

      • Time to Think About Hiroshima and Nagasaki Again

        In 2018 the Trump administration published its Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), the highlight of which was the option of using low-yield nuclear weapons even in response to a non-nuclear attack.

      • Turkey’s Failed Gamble in Syria

        Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest gamble in Syria’s civil war appears to have come up snake eyes. Instead of halting the Damascus government’s siege of the last rebel held province, Idlib, Turkey has backed off, and Ankara’s Syrian adventure is fueling growing domestic resistance to the powerful autocrat.

      • The Killing and Raping Game in Kenya and the Despots Who Run It

        Politics in Kenya is dominated by rapacious elites consumed with the looting of state resources, using violence to avoid any possible accountability. Elections serve as key points of entry and consolidation in this system for both ruling and competing elites, and are manifestations of corruption, fraud, and repression. Both President Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy William Ruto, were indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, for organising and supporting the huge violence that occurred during elections in 2007-2008: the case collapsed as witnesses absconded or died.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Transitioning ‘Ontologically:’ Liberating Liberals from Unconscious Class-shame

        In the novel Redburn (1849), based upon his own first voyage as a sailor while still a boy, Herman Melville describes the scenes on shipboard during an epidemic, and its devastations especially among the 500 emigrants packed into the “foul den” of the steerage. He also describes, disapprovingly, the reactions to the threat of contamination among“first class”cabin passengers, whose fear caused many of them to turn in desperation to prayer, “who had seldom prayed before.”

      • As GOP Rejects Economic Relief for Working People, Fed’s $1.5 Trillion Stock Market Injection Would Cover ‘Almost All Student Loan Debt in the US’

        “We need to care for working people as much as we care for the stock market.”

      • Inequality in a Globalized World Makes Pandemics and Financial Crises Inevitable

        Whether you’re invested in the stock market or not, you’ve likely noticed that it’s been on a roller coaster lately. The White House and most of the D.C. Beltway crowd tend to equate the performance of the stock market with that of the broader economy. To President Trump’s extreme chagrin, $3.18 trillion in stock market value vaporized during the last week of February. Stock markets around the world also fell dramatically. When all was said and done, $6 trillion had been at least temporarily erased from them. It was the worst week for the markets since the financial crisis of 2008 and it would only get worse from there.

      • Let employees work from home, IT sector union says

        The Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU) has called on employers in the sector to allow their employees to work from home amid the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa.

        The union said on Friday that it has written a letter to employers “raising the alarm of the possible spread of the deadly coronavirus” and warning they should “think differently from the current culture of reporting to office needlessly”.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Youth Coalition Demands ‘Serious Discussion’ of Key Progressive Issues at Democratic Presidential Debate

        “In the last few democratic debates, there has been little to no discussion on the defining issues that face our generation like immigration, climate change, gun control, and mass incarceration.”

      • Is America Prepared For A Presidential Election Crisis?

        If we are smart, we will take appropriate measures before the next crisis.

      • Trump’s Brand Is Chaos

        “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.”

      • Who’s Ready to Die for Trump’s Ego?

        Putting politics ahead of science is a prescription for disaster when you face a pandemic.

      • Resisting US Blockade, Cuba Embraces Change, Builds Socialism

        Like the sun, the U.S. blockade of Cuba will not disappear soon. Unlike the sun, the blockade has receded from public attention in the United States.  It has continued, mostly unchanged, for almost 60 years. Here we explore the matter of change.

      • The Final Chapter Has Still Not Been Written: Remembering The 2004 Coup in Haiti

        On February 29, 2004, the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti was overthrown by a violent coup.  This was the second U.S.-sponsored coup against a popularly elected Aristide government, the first one taking place in 1991 after he had served only eight months in office.

      • Extraordinary Democratic Delusions and the Madness of the Crowd

        Just when I am starting to think that the New York Review of Books is not irredeemably idiotic on political issues, they publish an article that is so conspicuously incoherent and outrageously out of touch with the political climate in the U.S. that it is destined to be anthologized in perpetuity in collections with “Clueless” in the title. The article, “The Party Cannot Hold,” by Michael Tomasky is about the current state of the Democratic party.

      • We Need a President Who Cares If We Live or Die. Instead We Have Trump.

        We have a bad national habit of allowing a low bar to be set for our leaders, especially when we already know their flaws. A bad politician in a debate, for example, can be said to have done well if they didn’t accidentally light their podium on fire; by thwarting their own dim-bulb arsonist tendencies, they “outperformed expectations.”

      • Elite Media Dismiss Voter Suppression on Grounds That It’s ‘Complicated’

        Some voters—disproportionately black and brown ones—waited in line for several hours on Super Tuesday to cast their ballots in the Democratic primary, and media paid attention. But their love for a good visual doesn’t always correspond with a love for connecting the dots, and so most of the coverage downplayed any suggestion that there might be voter suppression going on in 2020.

      • Battle Royale in Montana Senate Race

        If reporting from CNN and the New York Times is right, Montana’s Democrat Gov. Steve Bullock has decided to reverse his earlier decision and jump in the race to challenge Montana’s Republican Sen. Steve Daines. Given the fact that it pretty much looked like Daines was going to have a cakewalk back to the Senate fueled by the $5 million already in his war chest, Bullock’s move is very good news for Democrats hoping to take back a majority in the Senate.

      • Selling ‘Vedomosti’ Sources say two media entrepreneurs with tangled political histories are buying Russia’s leading business newspaper

        Meduza has learned that media manager Demyan Kudryavtsev and his business partners have found potential buyers for the newspaper Vedomosti, one of Russia’s leading business-oriented publications. On Wednesday, March 11, the newspaper’s owners signed an agreement expressing their intention to sell. According to Meduza’s sources, ownership of Vedomosti may pass to Alexey Golubovich, the founder of the investment company Arbat Capital, and to Nikolai Zyatkov, the former editor-in-chief of Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts) and current president of the tabloid publisher Nasha Versiya (Our Take).

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • US Cable Companies Lost 5 Million Paying Customers Last Year Alone

        For most of the last decade, cable and broadcast industry executives insisted that “cord cutting” (users cancelling traditional TV and moving to antennas or streaming) either wasn’t real or was only something losers did. Many of the analysts and viewer tracking firms (like Nielsen) — which have a financial stake in telling cable and broadcast executives what they wanted to hear — were quick to happily parrot these denials.

      • New York State Legislator Introduces a Very Bad “Net Neutrality” Bill

        In 2018, California established the gold standard of what states should be doing on net neutrality by passing a model law for other states to copy. So, naturally, that makes the job of any legislator truly interested in protecting net neutrality pretty easy: just copy and paste. But that did not happen in New York’s state legislature this week. State Senator Kevin Parker, the Senate Telecommunications Chairman, has instead introduced S. 8020; legislation that not only ignores critical net neutrality issues such as zero rating, but it would legalize paid prioritization by Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

        Wireless ISPs eager to shape user traffic and give an anti-competitive advantage to their own content offerings engage in zero rating—the practice of exempting content chosen by ISPs from counting toward an account’s data cap. The Federal Communications Commission in the final days before the repeal effort of net neutrality began taking extraordinary steps to shut down investigations into ISP practices and rescind government findings that the zero-rating practices of AT&T had, in fact, violated the 2015 Open Internet Order.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Keeping Your Settlement Secret from the Court?

          While this legal question is important, a big issue in the case for me is the cooperation between the parties to get the court to decide an issue after the case had been settled.

          In 2018 Diem sued BigCommerce for patent infringement, BigCommerce responded with a motion for summary judgment of non-infringement based upon a joint infringement argument. The parties “settled” the case prior to the court’s determination of the MSJ. “Settled” is in quotation-marks because the agreement was not a complete settlement but rather a conditional agreement creating what I call a side-bet. Under the agreement – If the MSJ is denied and the court finds that a the infringement contentions included a joint infringement claim then BigCommerce gets $30k; otherwise case dismissed with no payment. I put together the following flow-chart for how the settlement agreement works. Note that the agreement also includes a contractual requirement to for BigCommerce to resubmit its summary judgment motion if the joint infringement contention issue isn’t addressed in court’s first determination.

        • Patent case: E. Mishan v Hozelock Limited, United Kingdom

          The Patents Court found Emson’s patents for an expandable garden hose obvious in light of a piece of prior art relating to a self-elongating hose for supplying oxygen to an oxygen mask for aviation crew. In its judgment, the Court considered in detail the law on public prior use, in particular whether separate instances of experimentation could be put together via mosaicing and (obiter) what amounts to a public prior use.

        • Patent case: Fahrradkomponentenmontiervorrichtung, Germany

          Prior art that requires fundamental reconfiguration of the disclosed solution to end up with something falling under the scope of protection of a claim cannot normally render the claimed subject matter obvious.

        • USPTO cancels in-person meetings

          From The PTO: Until further notice, examiner and examining attorney interviews, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) oral hearings, and other similar in-person meetings with parties and stakeholders scheduled to take place at USPTO offices on or after Friday, March 13, 2020 will be conducted remotely by video or telephone. Parties will receive further instructions on how to participate by video or telephone in advance of the interview, hearing, or meeting.

        • Software Patents

          • Former Refrigerator Manufacturer Says Companies Using Open Source, Royalty-Free Video Technology Must Pay To License 2,000 Patents

            Video streaming is a key part of today’s Internet world. According to research from Sandvine, it represents 60.6% of total downstream volume worldwide. The centrality of video to the Internet experience makes video codecs one of the hottest technologies. The most popular format today is H.264, used by 91% of video developers. But H.264 is getting long in the tooth — its history goes back two decades. An upgrade is long overdue. There’s a successor, H.265, also known as High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC. However, the use of H.265 has been held back by patent licensing issues. As Wikipedia explains in painful detail, there are two main patent pools demanding payment from companies that use HEVC in their devices. For one of the pools, the patent list is 164 pages long. Partly in response to this licensing mess, and HEVC’s high per-device cost, the Alliance for Open Media was formed in September 2015:

      • Copyrights

        • Windows Users Stream More Pirated Video than Others

          New research published by researchers from the Technology Policy Institute suggests that the more pirated video people watch online, the less legal video content they stream on average. Interestingly, the same data also reveal that, on average, Windows users pirate more video than those who use other operating systems.

        • Red Dead Redemption: Damned Enhancement Modder Counters Take-Two Lawsuit

          The developer behind the Red Dead Redemption: Damned Enhancement Project is fighting back against a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by Take-Two. Among other things, Johnathan Wyckoff states that he believes he was working within the rules published by Take-Two, which state that the company will not generally take legal action against non-commercial single player projects.

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