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03.16.20

Links 16/3/2020: Linux 5.6 RC6, Devuan 3 Beowulf Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The $199 Pinebook Pro Gets Even Better With New Manjaro KDE Version

        The Manjaro team has done great work creating KDE, Xfce and i3 variants of the OS for the Pinebook Pro, but Pine64 says the KDE Edition is “arguably the most end-user friendly and polished.”

        One of the highlights? Here, KDE Plasma is utilizing the open source Panfrost GPU driver for OpenGL desktop and app acceleration, apparently to great effect. Ericinski tells me it’s quite performant given the system’s specs. KODI is working out of the box, 1080p movies play well in Firefox, and games like Quake 3 and OpenArena are running at full 1080p/60FPS.

      • Linux Laptop Pinebook Pro Ships Manjaro KDE As Default OS — Pre Order Date Announced

        We’ve already reported that you can now run Manjaro Linux on Pine64’s PinePhone and PineTab. Here comes another big news from Pine64, which has now teamed up with Manjaro to release its next iteration of the Linux laptop “Pinebook Pro.”

        Manjaro recently released a new version v19.0 with more polished multiple Desktop Environments such as Xfce, KDE, and GNOME. Due to the high popularity of Manjaro among the Pine64 community, Pinebook Pro will now ship with the latest Manjaro KDE as a default operating system.

    • Server

      • AWS’s New Open Source OS “Bottlerocket”: A Baby RHEL Competitor?

        AWS has released a new open source, Linux-based open source operating system (OS) designed specifically for running containers in the cloud.

        (Containers are units of software that package up code and its dependencies so applications can run across most computing environments).

        The cloud heavyweight, which claims that 80 percent of all cloud-based containers are running on AWS, already offers its Amazon Linux OS, but this is restricted to running solely in AWS. (It competes with Ubuntu, Windows, and others).

        The new OS, dubbed “Bottlerocket”, has been designed firmly with those running containers in mind however. Written mostly in Rust, it can be used for running containers on virtual machines or bare metal hosts.

        It integrates with existing container orchestrators, e.g. Kubernetes, and supports images that conform to the Open Container Initiative (OCI) image format. Bottlerocket is being released under a dual (take your pick) Apache 2.0 or MIT licence.

      • Docker disguises itself as a development pipeline service as it stalks the IT world for its elusive target – profit

        On Tuesday, Docker will reveal how it hopes to make some serious money, which has been something of a mystery ever since the VC-fueled biz took shape in 2010 under the name dotCloud.

        In recent years, after popularizing but not proportionally profiting from software containers, Docker sold itself as an enterprise business. Then last November, it sold its enterprise business to Mirantis, leaving its corporate husk somewhat lacking in revenue options.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6-rc6
        Another week, another rc.
        
        Things look normal - all the stats look like they usually do at this point.
        
        The full patch is about 60% driver changes (gpu, networking, s390
        stand out, but there's noise all over), with the rest being tooling
        (mainly perf), networking, arch updates (mainly x86, but some arc,
        mips and s390 too), and misc core updates.
        
        Diffstat looks normal, and the number of commits is right in the
        middle of the usual range too. And I don't think any of the commits
        look all that strange either - it's all pretty small.
        
        So please test,
        
                    Linus
        
      • Linux 5.6-rc6 Released With The Kernel Coming In At Just The Right Size

        Linus Torvalds just released Linux 5.6-rc6 and the code metrics are looking good for this stage of the kernel cycle.

        Linus noted all the stats look like they usually should for the sixth weekly release candidate. Around 60% of the changes this week were regression/fixing on the driver side while the remainder were tooling/perf subsystem, arch updates, and other areas. The overall Git commit count for the week is also on target.

        So if this keeps up, Linux 5.6 could be releasing on time at the end of March as opposed to getting pulled out a week or more by extra release candidates.

      • Linux 5.7 Netfilter To See AVX2 Optimizations For Big Performance Boost – Can Be Up To ~420%

        Linux 5.7′s Netfilter framework is set to see better performance on modern Intel and AMD systems thanks to AVX2 optimizations.

        Queued on Sunday in nf-next as the Netfilter staging grounds are AVX2 optimizations to provide great speed benefits.

        Red Hat’s Stefano Brivio has provided an AVX2-optimized nft_set_pipapo implementation. AVX2 works out well for optimizing the packet lookup routines of the Netfilter Pile Packet Policies.

      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Driver Isn’t Yet Queued For Linux 5.7

        While a lot of feature work has been building up for Linux 5.7 in various subsystem development repositories ahead of the merge window in a few weeks, one of the big driver additions many users have been clamoring for isn’t yet queued. The AMD Sensor Fusion Hub open-source driver for Linux appears stalled pending more reviews from upstream developers.

        Back in January AMD published the long awaited Sensor Fusion Hub support for Linux that AMD Linux laptop customers have been after since 2018. The Sensor Fusion Hub (SFH) driver is needed for supporting various laptop sensors like the accelerometer and gyroscope. The amd-sfh-hid driver is similar to Intel’s Sensor Hub that has seen Linux support from the start for supporting the sensors on various Intel-powered laptops.

    • Applications

      • Shortwave Internet Radio Player Sees Its First Stable Release (1.0)

        Shortwave, the Gradio successor, had its first stable (1.0) release over the weekend after almost two years of development.

        Shortwave is a GTK Internet radio player written in Rust, created to replace Gradio (which is dead now). Being a GNOME-based application, it uses header bars, as well as libhandy to have its interface adapt to all screen sizes (it’s compatible with Librem 5 by the way). Dark mode is also available.

      • Internet Radio Player Shortwave 1.0 Released (Howto Install)

        Shortwave, an internet radio player desktop application for Linux, released its first stable version 1.0 today. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

        Shortwave is a new desktop radio app for Linux built with Rust. It provides access to a station database with over 25,000 stations.

      • Elephant is an open source, cross platform note taking application

        Jotting down notes is a great way to remember things to do, and can help increase your productivity. We have reviewed a handful of note taking applications here like Notes, QOwnNotes, Tomboy-ng to name a few.

      • Essential things to know about container networking

        Containers have emerged over the past several years to provide an efficient method of storing and delivering applications reliably across different computing environments. By containerizing an application platform and its dependencies, differences in OS distributions and underlying infrastructures are abstracted away.

        Networking has emerged as a critical element within the container ecosystem, providing connectivity between containers running on the same host as well as on different hosts, says Michael Letourneau, an IT architect at Liberty Mutual Insurance. “Putting an application into a container automatically drives the need for network connectivity for that container,” says Letourneau, whose primary focus is on building and operating Liberty Mutual’s container platform.

      • Persepolis Download Manager is an open source and cross platform download manager

        Today we’ll be taking a look at another one called Persepolis Download Manager, which is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. The program uses Aria2c (open source command-line download tool) and serves as a GUI for it.

      • nomacs 3.14

        nomacs is a free image viewer, which supports multiple platforms. You can use it for viewing all common image formats including RAW and psd images. nomacs features semi-transparent widgets that display additional information such as thumbnails, metadata or histogram.

      • Whatever – Lightweight Evernote App for Linux

        Whatever is a lightweight and unofficial Evernote client for Linux. There are several Evernote alternatives for Linux, but Whatever seems to provide every single feature that comes with Evernote. You can still perform tasks with the web version of Evernote; however, having a desktop client would be awesome.

      • Create Stunning Pixel Art With Free and Open Source Editor Pixelorama

        Pixelorama is a tool created by young game developers at Orama Interactive. They have developed a few 2D games and a couple of them use pixel art.

        While Orama is primarily into game development, the developers are also creating utility tools that help them (and others) create those games.

        The free and open source sprite editor, Pixelorama is such a utility tool. It’s built on top of Godot Engine and is perfect for creating pixel art.

      • Gnirehtet reverse tethering app lets your Android phone use your PC’s internet connection

        Most recent Android smartphones have a built-in tethering feature that allows you to share your phone’s internet connection with a laptop, tablet, or other devices (although not all wireless carriers let you use this feature, and many charge extra for it).

        But what if you want to share your PC’s internet connection with your phone? That’s where reverse tethering comes in.

        While there are a number of ways to do this, gnirehtet is one of the more versatile options I’ve seen… albeit one that’s kind of hard to pronounce.

      • BlueZ 5.54 Linux Bluetooth Stack Released With Just-Works Repairing Policy, EATT Support

        Marcel Holtmann of Intel’s open-source Linux team released BlueZ 5.54 this morning as the latest version of this widely-used user-space Linux Bluetooth stack.

        BlueZ 5.54 adds new policy support for Just-Works repairing. The Bluetooth Just-Works pairing is for when hitting a button on the smartphone/computer and Bluetooth device to initiate pairing without entering of keys. The policy support is around Just-Works repairing for after the fact when there is an incoming JW pairing by the paired device. This policy support offers via the configuration file for BlueZ of never / confirm / always. Never is the default mode for BlueZ 5.54′s Just-Work repairing ability.

      • KeePass vs LastPass: Will Open Source Win in 2020?

        Since the beginning of time — in our case, the beginning of the internet — people have been arguing about open source versus commercial software. Commercial products come with the benefit of usually being more accessible, while open-source software can feel like you need a degree in computer science. We’re going to compare two such products in this KeePass vs LastPass matchup.

        These two tools sit among the best password managers around, able to keep your passwords secure across multiple devices. However, they cater to far different audiences, with LastPass focusing on usability and KeePass on functionality.

        We’re going to compare the two across a series of rounds, covering their security, pricing, ease of use, support and more. That said, we recommend that you read our LastPass review and KeePass review to get a better understanding of how these tools perform against the larger password manager market.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Indie fighting game “Them’s Fightin’ Herds” releasing in April, Linux coming later

        Them’s Fightin’ Herds has been in Early Access for a while, and they confirmed a Linux port during their original crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo and now a release date has been set in an announcement.

        For Windows, it’s going to leave Early Access on April 2nd with the first chapter of their Story Mode which actually sounds like quite a lot of fun. If you weren’t aware, Them’s Fightin’ Herds has a cast design done by acclaimed cartoon producer Lauren Faust (known for My Little Pony).

      • Village-building god sim strategy ‘Rise to Ruins’ passes 1.5 million dollars net revenue

        One of my favourite pixel-art indie games, Rise to Ruins, has now officially passed the 1.5 million dollar net revenue mark showing that indie games can really sell well.

        Writing about it and showing it off on Twitter, the developer Raymond Doerr announced it across the weekend. Some clarifications were also posted, as the $1.5M is before Valve takes their 30% cut so it’s more likely around 1,050,000 (one million, fifty thousand). However, you also then have to take into account income tax and so on. So, the true figure after ends up quite a bit lower but it still shows how an indie developer can do well overall.

      • Primal Light is an action-platformer that has some seriously good art – releasing on July 9

        Primal Light, built with the free and open source Godot Engine, is an action-platformer with pixel artwork that looks divine like some of the classics on Amiga and it’s releasing on July 9. Linux support is also confirmed to be available right away.

      • A Short Hike | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Native

        A Short Hike running natively through Linux

      • AMD looks to court Linux gamers by making its GPU driver even better

        AMD is hiring a new Lead Linux Kernel Developer to work on its AMDGPU driver for Linux.

        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.

        [...]

        AMD’s open source unified Linux graphics driver is already well-liked within the community, and we’ve seen a good deal of positive feedback as to its stability and compatibility – which as you may know, represents something of a contrast compared to the situation with Windows.

        Meanwhile Nvidia’s Linux driver is a proprietary affair, and not ideal for everyone (such as those with older GPUs, for example), while open source alternatives like Nouveau are in a rougher state, and hampered by a lack of documentation as we’ve discussed in the past (although Nvidia does seem to be making efforts to remedy this).

      • Rocket League’s Last Update for Mac and Linux Releases March 10

        Rocket League developer Psyonix detailed what is coming in the March update for the game, which will also be the final update for the Mac and Linux versions.

        The update for all platforms changes a few default settings for the camera and controls, adds three Dynamic Range Presets for the game’s HDR Audio, and features the ability to trade in five Blueprints of the same series and rarity for a higher rarity blueprint in return.

        The March update also disables all online features for the Mac and Linux versions, such as matchmaking and in-game purchases.

      • Wrath: Aeon of Ruin engine source code released – a quick look

        The developers of Wrath: Aeon of Ruin, an FPS game built on the Darkplaces engine, have seemingly been a bit sneaky and released the source code to their engine fork with little fanfare on GitHub.

        The source code release was to be expected, since Wrath’s engine is based on Darkplaces, itself a fork of the Quake engine under the GPL license. Under the GPL, derivative works must also be licensed as GPL and the source code must be provided to anyone that asks. Originally the source code was to be released publicly after the Early Access period had ended but it was probably easier to make a public repository now rather than address individual source code requests.

      • Carrion: When Is The Horror Game Releasing, Which Monsters Can You Play

        In Mac, it requires minimum OSX 10.12+ and in Linux, Ubuntu 18.04+. All the Operating Systems require a 64-bit processor.

      • If you’re self-isolating and in need, here’s a bunch of awesome free Linux games

        It’s a scary time, with more restrictions being announced regularly across the world to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Here’s a list of some really great free games for Linux if you find yourself stuck with self-isolation and low on funds.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Seeing System Tray Improvements, Much Faster Shadowed Rectangles

          The Coronavirus doesn’t appear to be impacting KDE development speed at all as it’s been another week seeing a ton of feature activity for this open-source desktop.

          Some of the KDE achievements for the past week include:

          - Lots of polishing to the KDE Plasma system tray so it is visually more attractive and also more functional. The hope is to have the system tray improvements squared up for Plasma 5.19.

        • KDE Frameworks 5.68 Release Brought Many Fixes

          Flying under our radar until now was that KDE Frameworks 5.68 was released last week as the monthly update to this collection of KDE-minded libraries complementing the Qt tool-kit.

        • Open Source KDE Plasma Mobile Adds New Apps And Improvements

          Apart from the hardware specifications and performance of smartphones, user interfaces also play a significant role in attracting the user’s attention. Hence, it becomes crucial for mobile platforms to work more on the visual aspect of the software.

          Plasma Mobile is one such software system that supports open-source apps on top of Linux as well as Android mobile platforms. Though it is still under heavy development, the recent changes add major new features and enhancements in applications.

        • 20.04 releases branches created

          Make sure you commit anything you want to end up in the 20.04 releases to them

          We’re already past the dependency freeze.

          The Feature Freeze and Beta is this Thursday 19 of March.

          More interesting dates
          April 2: 20.04 RC (20.03.90) Tagging and Release
          April 16: 20.04 Tagging
          April 23: 20.04 Release

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Geary 3.36 Released with Redesigned Mail Composer, Expansive ‘Undo’ Support

          A new version of Geary, the GTK-based email client for Linux desktops, is now available to download.

          Geary 3.36 is said to offer “a number of enhancements, bug fixes, and server compatibility improvements” over the previous release, which launched back in September 2019.

          This popular open source app can handle IMAP and SMTP mails accounts, and works well with web mail providers like Gmail, including fast account set-up.

          Among the new features is all-new email composer. This now boasts a responsive design (handy with GNOME on phones) plus support for both drag and drop and copy and paste images in RTF emails; an emoji input picker; and better missing attachment detection.

        • GNOME’s Mutter Finally Wires Up Middle Button Click Emulation

          Coming just past the GNOME 3.36.0 release is the merging of a year-old patch-set to tie in middle mouse button click emulation with libinput for Mutter.

          For at least a year have been requests for supporting middle button emulation on GNOME in its native back-end that is used under Wayland (and similar bug reports / feature requests longer). While libinput has the middle button click emulation code, it hasn’t been tied into Mutter. But now that support is merged.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Linux Distros for Security Testing

        Linux is often talked about when it comes to security. With this OS, you can choose from a multitude of distributions (distros) to lock down your computer or device, but that’s just for starters. Many Linux distros come with tools to help you perform penetration tests and security audits.

        The following article lists just a few Linux distros for security testing. Many are based on Debian or Ubuntu with some added built-in custom tools.

      • Reviews

        • Review: Manjaro Linux 19.0

          Manjaro Linux is one of those distributions I have tried many times over the years but was always unable to keep for any length of time due to this or that issue cropping up. Either package management was limited, it wouldn’t boot up after the install, or even straight away. Whatever the issues I don’t exactly recall, because the last time I tested it must have been around 2014 or even 2013, which would have made this Manjaro 0.8.x. Has it really been around this long already? My, I’m getting quite long in the tooth. Manjaro 19.0 looks really interesting and it’s brand new. I’m sure lots has changed so, in somebody else’s words, test we must.

          Many of the people behind Manjaro are the same that are, or at least were, behind the Chakra distribution, a KDE-centric distribution I really liked and found interesting back in the day but which appears quite dormant. Developers moved on. I recall getting an e-mail once about this new project they were going to start called Manjaro and asking if I wanted to do an early review but unfortunately time didn’t permit back then. And when I did it appeared not mature yet so it seemed better not to write anything. But an incremental number 19 seems plenty mature. Enough of the babble, let’s go.

          The release announcement for 19.0 informs us that it comes in three desktop variants with GNOME 3.34, Xfce 14.4 or with KDE Plasma 5.17. Cutting edge stuff. Also with something called Architect which as it turns out is included in all editions as a shortcut on the desktop, similar to the install button, and allows us to customize installations. Architect can also be downloaded on its own and is basically a net-install image to install the latest available packages and set up and configure Manjaro in every detail using the command line, custom setup tool included. We’ll be looking at this in more detail later.

          I opted to download the KDE edition via a torrent which is clocked at 2,892MB (about 2.8GB) but which took up 3.0GB on my hard drive. I guess it depends on what cluster size one has used for formatting.

          The release announcement includes a 43 minute long video walking us through all the editions which is a really nice introduction to features and looks and can help decide which edition is for you.

          This release is underpinned by the latest LTS Linux kernel 5.4 to have the most up to date drivers available. Looks-wise Manjaro has updated Xfce with their own new theme called Matcha, the Plasma desktop has received a fully integrated look with a comprehensive and all-encompassing set of themes called Breath2 in light and dark variants. And yes, it looks slick if that is your style but personally I’m not one for the abstract wallpapers and flat looks in fashion nowadays. Not a biggie, can be changed.

          It is quite evident though, even at this stage, from looking at the website that Manjaro has a lot of resources behind it and a lot of people must be committing time to this, so it’s certainly not a project in danger of withering away over night in case people are concerned about long-term viability and support for their installs. Plus, Manjaro is of course based on Arch Linux which has been around since the early 2000s. Packages from the official Arch Linux repositories and user contributed packages and build scripts should be working fine. Like Arch Linux, Manjaro is also a rolling release distribution that should not require a reinstall if everything goes well. The team behind Manjaro go to some lengths to make sure it does, by tweaking and moderating changes from upstream and channeling packages through their own repositories.

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS and TrueNAS merge

          iXsystems the development team behind the FreeNAS is a free and open source operating system designed for network-attached storage (NAS) devices who also create TrueNAS the enterprise version, have announced that they will be merging the two operating systems.

          TrueNAS will be the name going forward and two different versions will be made available the TrueNAS CORE: open source edition (CORE stands for Community Supported, Open Source, Rapid Development, and Early availability) and the TrueNAS Enterprise: commercial version with enterprise management and support.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Slackware Family

        • Updated packages in the past weeks: Plasma5, gcc_multilib, openjdk7 and more

          I do regular updates of packages in my repository. I focus on the software that is popular, or relevant to Slackware. For the software with a high visibility I usually write a blog post to alert people to the new stuff.
          During the last couple of weeks I have not been writing so much about updates due to personal circumstances, some of it has to do with the Corona outbreak.

          I was also affected the death of Erik Jan Tromp (Slackware’s alphageek) early March just after I visited him for a final time in his apartment in Leeuwarden.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Devuan Family

        • Beowulf Beta is here!

          The Devuan 3 Beowulf Beta release is now ready for review. The installer isos, desktop-live and minimal-live isos can be downloaded from: https://files.devuan.org/devuan_beowulf/

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Studio 20.04 Wallpaper Contest Result Announced!

          Ubuntu Studio Wallpaper Contest Result Announced: The team Ubuntu Studio Project recently announced the Wallpaper contest for Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS version on February 01, 2020. They mentioned that 41 entries of Fan made Ubuntu Studio Wallpapers has been received. Users are allowed to vote on the fan made wallpapers to choose the winner. After a month, now the Ubuntu studio team announced that out of 41 entries 10 wallpapers has been chosen. It will get featured on the coming Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS version.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Remote presence tools for social distancing

        As a technologist, I’ve been wondering how I can help people with the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. With the world entering the “exponential stage” (e.g. Canada, the USA and basically all of Europe), everyone should take precautions and limit practice Social Distancing (and not dumbfuckery). But this doesn’t mean we should dig ourselves in a hole in our basement: we can still talk to each other on the internet, and there are great, and free, tools available to do this. As part of my work as a sysadmin, I’ve had to answer questions about this a few times and I figured it was useful to share this more publicly.

      • New WhatsApp Alternative “Session” Works Without Your Phone Number

        Session is technically a fork of another quite popular private messenger Signal. It is available for Android, iOS as well as PC.

      • Top 10 Open Source Automation Testing Tools for 2020

        Modern web testing tools are used for testing the functionality, security, usability, and accessibility of websites and applications. Of late, web testing has evolved to cover connected devices with IoT testing expected to become a $1.3 billion industry by 2021. With open source being the key disruptive factor, we list down top 10 open source web testing tools for 2020 based on key features, use cases and developer adoption that every QA engineer and tester should know.

      • Web performance testing: 18 free open-source tools to consider

        The reason for this major outage, according to the folks at Robinhood, was that their system struggled with unprecedented load and crashed. How many users and how much long-term revenue do you think Robinhood lost because of bad performance?

      • Google’s Neural Tangents library gives ‘unprecedented’ insights into AI models’ behavior

        Google today made available Neural Tangents, an open source software library written in JAX, a system for high-performance machine learning research. It’s intended to help build AI models of variable width simultaneously, which Google says could allow “unprecedented” insight into the models’ behavior and “help … open the black box” of machine learning.

      • Google launches TensorFlow for quantum computers

        Quantum computers aren’t quite mainstream yet, but when they arrive they’ll need algorithms. TFQ fills that Gap by making it possible for developers to create hybrid AI algorithms that use both classical computing techniques and quantum computer circuit simulations.

      • Google launches TensorFlow Quantum, a machine learning framework for training quantum models

        Google today announced the launch of TensorFlow Quantum, bringing together machine learning and quantum computing initiatives at the company. The framework can construct quantum datasets, prototype hybrid quantum and classic machine learning models, support quantum circuit simulators, and train discriminative and generative quantum models.

      • Google is making it easier to develop quantum machine-learning apps

        Google is releasing free open-source software that will make it easier to build quantum machine-learning applications. TensorFlow Quantum is an add-on to Google’s popular TensorFlow toolkit, which has helped give machine learning a big boost since its launch in 2015.

      • RPCS3 Latest Version Brings Significant Performance Improvements For Red Dead Redemption, God of War: Ascension and More

        The latest version of the PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 brings significant performance improvements for multiple titles, such as Red Dead Redemption and God of War: Ascension.

        The development team shared a new video today, highlighting the improvements included in the latest version of the emulator. According to the team, the performance boost has been obtained by reworking the Vulkan render passes.

      • Seti@home is on Pause. Unfortunately, it’s not Because They’ve Discovered Aliens

        In May of 1999, the Berkeley SETI Research Center launched a citizen-science program that would make the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) open to the public. The brainchild of computer scientist David Gedye, this program would rely on large numbers of internet-connected computers to sort through the volumes of data collected by institutions participating in SETI efforts.

      • [Older] Funding Open Source

        Late last year we received an email from a group of people at Indeed. Sentry had been nominated to be a recipient of Indeed’s FOSS Contributor Fund. Since we recently raised a fairly hefty sum in venture capital, we instead offered to redistribute the award, and Sentry would also contribute to the funds.

      • Film review: Its a Free World… (2007)

        An unemployable young woman, Angie, decides to become a recruiter. She is building a community of migrants from eastern Europe to do work for her.

        You don’t have to look too closely to see the rhetoric of gangmasters shining through. There is an irony to it: somebody who can’t hold down a job setting up a dodgy recruitment business, while people who don’t code take over free software organizations.

        [...]

        How many times a week do developers hear requests like that? Is it really fitting for the president of the OSI board to use a keynote speech at FrOSCon to encourage people to work, without pay, on her pet project?

      • Application monitoring: Open-source or vendor tools? [Ed: new euphemism for proprietary software: "vendor tools"]
      • Dormann Library to host talk on open source software

        Kepich began using the open source software program Linux after the operating systems on his computers became out of date and unsupported but he did not want to stop using them. He will discuss what open source software is and how people can use it.

      • Iowa Caucus app fiasco shows need for open source transparency
      • Events

        • Cloud And Open Source Can Reinvent Tech Conferences In The COVID-19 (And Carbon-Negative) Era

          It is a time of significant change, which none of us can predict. First reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is beginning to change personal and work lives around the world. Considered by the World Health Organization to be less lethal but more contagious than its cousin SARS-CoVid, COVID-19 is making its presence felt in ways that we can see, and in many ways that we can’t, yet.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chrome 80 Against Firefox 74/75 Performance On Linux

          Complementing the Firefox 73 vs. 74 vs. 75 Beta benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux from AMD Ryzen this week, here are those numbers side-by-side with the Google Chrome 80 web-browser for putting the performance into more perspective.

          On the same Ryzen 9 3950X system with Ubuntu are the numbers for Firefox 73/74/75 both out-of-the-box and with WebRender force-enabled compared to Chrome 80 stable.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • LMS/Education

        • Learning Technologies to acquire Moodle specialist, Open LMS

          Learning Technologies Group PLC (LON:LTG) is to acquire Open LMS, a big name in the world of Moodle, an open-source learning management system (LMS).

          Learning Technologies (LTG) is to pay US$31.7mln in cash to acquire Open LMS from Blackboard Inc. The acquisition will be funded from the group’s existing cash and bank facilities.

        • Blackboard Shifts Away From the Open Source Business By Selling Its Moodle Based Business

          Blackboard Inc. announced this week the sale of its Open LMS, a Moodle-based platform formerly known as Moodlerooms.

          The buyer is a London-based corporate education company Learning Technologies Group (LTG) for $31.7 million. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter.

          “The transaction enables Blackboard to further simplify its business and accelerate momentum in helping clients move to its Software as a Service (SaaS) deployment of Learn and Ultra,” said Bill Ballhaus, CEO at Blackboard.

        • Blackboard to Sell Open LMS Product (Formerly Moodlerooms) for $31.7 Million

          Blackboard, a Reston, Va.-based provider of learning management software for K-12, higher ed, government and businesses, has agreed to sell its Open LMS business to Learning Technologies Group, or LTG, a London-based conglomerate of workplace learning software services.

          LTG will pay $31.7 million for all intellectual property and assets related to the Open LMS, formerly called Moodlerooms and currently considered the largest commercial Moodle provider worldwide, according to a statement Tuesday. The deal is expected to close during the second quarter.

        • Blackboard to sell open-source LMS platform for $32M

          Open LMS is a software-as-a-service platform based on Moodle, an open-source LMS. By offloading the unit, Blackboard is shifting away from the open-source LMS market it once sought to serve.

          Meanwhile, for LTG, the acquisition is “a significant step” toward growing its position in the Moodle marketplace, the company said in a statement.

      • CMS

      • FSF

        • LibrePlanet 2020 online: Second day of the conference closes on a high note

          This followed on the heels of the previous day’s presentation of the Free Software Awards to Let’s Encrypt, Jim Meyering, and Clarissa Lima Borges, along with Free Software Foundation (FSF) executive director John Sullivan’s announcement of a new FSF-sponsored working group to document and address the problem of proprietary communication tools. Just like the first day, the FSF coordinated with remote speakers and viewers from around the world via a fully free streaming setup which, while not without its technical challenges, proved that putting on a high quality conference using only free software is indeed possible. And in a look into the future of LibrePlanet itself, FSF program manager Zoë Kooyman announced the FSF’s plans to create a LibrePlanet Community Council, which could provide input on matters at the heart of the conference’s organization.

          Appropriate to the conference theme of “Free[ing] the Future,” Shannon Dosemagen kicked off day two of the conference with her talk “For us, by us: Free technology, community science, and the pursuit of environmental problem solving.” In a prerecorded talk delivered to the conference, she speculated about free software’s ability to lend assistance to community science efforts aiming to address environmental concerns. Drawing from her work with Public Lab, a recipient of the 2017 Free Software Award for Projects of Social Benefit, Dosemagen used the 2010 BP oil disaster as a lens to view the progress of free technology for environmental monitoring. She then joined the conference remotely via Jitsi to take questions from a large audience in the LibrePlanet IRC channel on Freenode.

        • GNU Projects

          • The best free photo editor 2020

            The photo editing toolkit is breathtaking, and features layers, masks, curves, and levels. You can eliminate flaws easily with the excellent clone stamp and healing tools, create custom brushes, apply perspective changes, and apply changes to isolated areas with smart selection tools.

            GIMP is an open source free photo editor, and its community of users and developers have created a huge collection of plugins to extend its utility even further. Many of these come pre-installed, and you can download more from the official glossary. If that’s not enough, you can even install Photoshop plugins.

      • Public Services/Government

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • EEZ Bench Box 3 modular, open-source test and measurement chassis

          Developers, electronic enthusiasts and makers searching for a modular, open source test and measurement chassis may be interested in the EEZ Bench Box 3 created by Envox. The modular system expands on the previous systems and offers users a “new category of modular Test and Measurement (T&M) equipment” say its creators. Check out the video below to learn more.

        • Wikifactory Promoting Open Source Fabrication Projects for the First World Engineering Day

          Global 3D Printing Day is celebrated on the 3rd of December, while International Women in Engineering Day was launched three years ago on June 23rd. But earlier this week, the first World Engineering Day was officially launched by UNESCO.

        • Korea: The 3D Printable Open-Source Anthropomorphic Robot Hand System (HRI)

          Hyeonjun Park and Donghan Kim of Kyung Hee University in Korea are innovating within the robotics realm, detailing their efforts in the recently published ‘An open-source anthropomorphic robot hand system: HRI hand.’

          The HRI hand system is open source and affordable, allowing users to 3D print the system for around $500. Developed with a five-finger structure, the authors created the hand with collaborative robotics in mind. This is an idea that continues to grow in manufacturing, allowing robots to partner in completing tasks with human industrial workers. End-effectors are becoming more widely used too, used for gripping and assembly ‘beyond the simple pick-and-place operation of parts.’

        • An open-source drug discovery platform enables ultra-large virtual screens

          On average, an approved drug today costs $2-3 billion and takes over ten years to develop1. In part, this is due to expensive and time-consuming wet-lab experiments, poor initial hit compounds, and the high attrition rates in the (pre-)clinical phases. Structure-based virtual screening (SBVS) has the potential to mitigate these problems. With SBVS, the quality of the hits improves with the number of compounds screened2. However, despite the fact that large compound databases exist, the ability to carry out large-scale SBVSs on computer clusters in an accessible, efficient, and flexible manner has remained elusive. Here we designed VirtualFlow, a highly automated and versatile open-source platform with perfect scaling behaviour that is able to prepare and efficiently screen ultra-large ligand libraries of compounds. VirtualFlow is able to use a variety of the most powerful docking programs. Using VirtualFlow, we have prepared the largest and freely available ready-to-dock ligand library available, with over 1.4 billion commercially available molecules. To demonstrate the power of VirtualFlow, we screened over 1 billion compounds and discovered a small molecule inhibitor (iKeap1) that engages KEAP1 with nanomolar affinity (Kd = 114 nM) and disrupts the interaction between KEAP1 and the transcription factor NRF2. We also identified a set of structurally diverse molecules that bind to KEAP1 with submicromolar affinity. This illustrates the potential of VirtualFlow to access vast regions of the chemical space and identify binders with high affinity for target proteins.

        • Open Data

          • Open-source data sharing is helping researchers understand COVID-19

            The coronavirus pandemic is on everyone’s minds. Meanwhile, researchers around the globe are working day and night to find ways to contain and hopefully cure it. Although traditional methods like modeling and statistics are certainly helpful, a newer tool is also making an impact.

            Scientists are utilizing “open science” platforms that share genomic data to help identify connections and new strains of the novel coronavirus. Already, the use of this strategy helped uncover the fact that COVID-19 had been running rampant in Seattle for weeks longer than researchers thought.

          • Deep learning helps group study contagion pattern of COVID-19

            It has discovered, by collecting and releasing collated data related to the path COVID-19 has taken, the ability to track and predict the spread of the virus, in real time via an open source platform, which could be instrumental in containment and future outbreak control.

            While the epidemiology of the disease has already identified the genome responsible for the virus, the patterns by which the virus spreads are still wholly unknown. This is where open source data collection and release can step in and contribute to research and development of solutions, faster than ever before.

            USCHAG CEO, Scott George said: “Lack of information is often the catalyst for mass panic when it comes to fast spreading disease. We see some very applicable ways to help contain and educate through data that can be collated on the quantum level, that when released, has the ability to definitively slow or even stop the spread of these super bugs and viruses before they reach pandemic proportions.”

          • COVID-19 + People + Technology x Open Source Data = Solutions
          • COVID-19 + People + Technology x Open Source Data = Solutions

            U.S. Consumer Healthcare Advocacy Group, a company that uses deep learning algorithms to advocate on behalf of consumers within the health and wellness space has started to study the contagion pattern of COVID-19. They have discovered, by collecting and releasing collated data related to the path COVID-19 has taken, the ability to track and predict the spread of the virus, in real time via an open source platform, which could be instrumental in containment and future outbreak control.

            While the epidemiology of the disease has already identified the genome responsible for the virus, the patterns by which the virus spreads are still wholly unknown. This is where open source data collection and release can step in and contribute to research and development of solutions, faster than ever before.

          • How open source is helping to fight Covid-19

            An open-source project, Netstrain, which harnesses scientific and public health information about the genetic data of known infection-causing pathogens, is being used to track the transmission of the coronavirus, Covid-19.

            And another open source project, #OpenCovid19Initiatve, has been set up to develop and share open source methodologies that will enable the safe testing for the presence of Covid-19 (scientific name SARS-CoV-2) using multiple approaches.

            By mapping the genetic mutations of the Covid-19 virus, the Netstrain software tool, which is also used to track such common viruses as mumps, measles and tuberculosis, is able to track the Covid-19 virus movement around the world. It can determine whether all people in the world with coronavirus have been infected by the same strain of the virus, and if not, where new cases of the virus are coming from.

          • Italian hospital saves Covid-19 patients lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices

            Many have been asking what the implications of the current Covid-19 pandemic are going to be on additive manufacturing as an industry. The relationship between coronavirus and 3D printing is not entirely clear, mostly because we are very far from understanding what the long…

      • Programming/Development

        • Golang project structures for independent teams: A better way to go

          Working in small and independent teams can be tricky for engineers. In my experience as an engineer at Curve, a fast growth scale-up in the fintech sector, I’ve often found that different teams tend to use completely different approaches. This can make moving teams and cross-team communications a challenge.

          At Curve, we use Golang (or Go for short) for programming. Go is an open-source programming language that makes it easy to build simple, reliable and efficient software.

          Working with open source language across multiple teams can present its own unique set of challenges. For instance, lots of problems can arise from differences in structure and conforming to different standards. Trying to maintain high code quality standards while also ensuring every project follows best practices can be tough.

        • numpysane and broadcasting in C

          Since the beginning, the numpysane library provided a broadcast_define() function to decorate existing Python routines to give them broadcasting awareness. This was very useful, but slow. I just did lots of typing, and now I have a flavor of this in C (the numpysane_pywrap module; new in numpysane 0.22). As expected, you get fast C loops! And similar to the rest of this library, this is a port of something in PDL: PDL::PP.

        • Eclipse Foundation Survey: IoT Is Real and Adoption Is Growing
        • IoT Adoption Continues to Grow at a Slow and Steady Pace

          The Eclipse Foundation, which focuses on the Internet of Things (IoT), has released its first annual IoT Commercial Adoption survey. The survey aims to understand the IoT industry landscape by identifying the requirements, priorities, and challenges faced by enterprises. Especially those organizations that deploy and use commercial IoT solutions, including those based on open source technologies.

        • Survey: Less than 40% of companies are deploying IoT

          The commercial adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) is real and growing, though not as fast as the hype might suggest, according to the new survey issued this week by Eclipse Foundation, an open source organisation focusing on IoT.

        • Survey Says: Slow and Steady IoT Adoption Continues
        • The Eclipse Foundation Releases IoT Commercial Adoption Survey Results

          The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source foundations focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), today announced the release of its first annual IoT Commercial Adoption survey. One of the first of its kind, this survey’s objective was to gain a better understanding of the IoT industry landscape by identifying the requirements, priorities, and challenges faced by organizations that are deploying and using commercial IoT solutions, including those based on open source technologies. This survey is distinct and separate from the IoT Developer Survey, the industry’s most influential survey from the development front lines, which the Eclipse Foundation has conducted for the last six years.

        • Perl / Raku

        • Python

          • WebRTC: a working example

            Recently I had to use WebRTC for a simple project. The technology itself has many advantages and is being developed as an open standard, without the need for any plugins. However, I was quite new to WebRTC and had some problems getting my head around the basic concepts, as well as creating a working solution. There are many tutorials available, but most of them are incomplete, obsolete, or forced me to use some third party services (e.g. Google Firebase), that only made the whole process more complicated to setup and more difficult to understand.

            I decided to put together the information from all those resources and create a simple, working example of a WebRTC application. It does not require any third party services, unless you want to use it over a public network (in which case owning a server would really help). I hope it will provide a good starting point for everyone who is interested in exploring WebRTC.

            This is not going to be a full tutorial of the WebRTC technology. You can find plenty of tutorials and detailed explanations all over the internet, for example here. You can also check the WebRTC API, if you want more information. This post is just going to show you one possible working example of WebRTC and explain how it works.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • CommScope, AT&T to demo O-RAN, ONAP at digital forum

        CommScope is putting on a Digital Forum next week in lieu of what it would have shown at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Among its demonstrations, it will show how it is enabling the management of small cells under the Linux Foundation’s Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP). CommScope has developed this in partnership with AT&T, Intel and others in the industry.

      • Broadband Forum updates open-source access node code for SDN management

        The Broadband Forum has published Release 3.0 of its Open Broadband – Broadband Access Abstraction (OB-BAA) open-source project, designed to ease migration to interoperable cloud-based access networks.

        The OB-BAA code distributions allow operators to use their traditional management systems alongside SDN-enabled management and control systems. Release 3.0 provides capabilities to manage SNMP-based access nodes via the vendor’s adapters, thus accelerating migration to SDN-based automation platforms.

        This new release also adds service assurance capabilities for collecting performance monitoring data and translating the data into standardized YANG data models, including storage of the data in a common data lake, the Broadband Forum said. The BAA layer also provides an IP Flow Information Export (IPFIX) data collector for use with access nodes that support Broadband Forum’s TR-383 standard for PM data collection.

  • Leftovers

    • Do Good Fences Make Good Neighbors
    • World Signs Off!
    • So It’s A Joke Not A Hoax: John Cornyn Is Nero Redux
    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

    • De Blasio Stays Firm on Keeping N.Y.C. Schools Open as Outbreak Spreads

      Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated on Friday that New York City’s public schools would remain open as long as possible.

      The mayor stood firm on that point even as attendance plunged, three school buildings closed for the day after coronavirus cases were reported and the calls for schools to close from other officials and unions grew.

    • Sorry, but Working From Home Is Overrated

      Among the coronavirus’s many effects is a boom in people like me: office workers, shooed away from the office, trying to acclimate to a work-from-home lifestyle.

    • Coronavirus in NY: De Blasio defends keeping schools open amid pandemic
    • China, pushing conspiracy theory, accuses US Army of bringing coronavirus to Wuhan

      A spokesman for the Chinese government on Thursday promoted a conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was brought to the city of Wuhan by the U.S. military.

      “It might be US Army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan,” said Zhao Lijian, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Business Insider reported.

      The comment, an alternate explanation Beijing is pushing amid global criticism of the country’s failure to mitigate the virus, comes as the Chinese government has increasingly disputed widespread international reporting that the virus was first detected in Wuhan.

      The conspiracy theory, which has recently gained steam in China, instead suggests the virus was brought to the country in 2019 by U.S. athletes participating in the Military World Games that were held in Wuhan.

    • Europe battens down the hatches over coronavirus

      The US government has come under fire for its response to the coronavirus, particularly because it has tested far fewer people than other affected countries.

      And no-one knows for sure exactly how many people have been tested in the US – not even the government.

      One project by The Atlantic estimates that about 14,000 people have been tested in the US so far. Meanwhile, US lawmakers said on Thursday that fewer than 10,000 people had been tested.

      By contrast, South Korea has tested more than 210,000 people, while the UK has tested 32,771 people.

    • Coronavirus: ‘Please stay at home’

      Police use drones to enforce movement restrictions in Spain’s fight against the coronavirus infection.

    • Canadian PM Trudeau’s wife tests positive for coronavirus

      There are no plans at present for Mr Trudeau to be tested for coronavirus.

    • Starting tomorrow, federal officials in Russia want universities nationwide to move to remote learning

      Russia’s Science and Higher Education Ministry is calling on universities nationwide to move all class instruction to online and remote learning, according to orders issued by Minister Valery Falkov. The ministry wants in-person classes suspended by Monday, March 16.

      Within the next three days, the Science and Higher Education Ministry is expected to release a list of online courses that will be made available to university students for free.

      [...]

      According to the latest data, as of March 15, Russia has confirmed 63 cases of coronavirus. Nearly all these individuals recently returned from foreign countries where the disease has spread out of control, though Russia has also started witnessing COVID-19 cases apparently caused by local transmission.

    • Tyson Fury: Ukad set to open new investigation into farmer’s meat claims

      UK Anti-Doping is set to investigate a farmer’s claim he was told to lie in support of a high-profile case involving world champion Tyson Fury.

      Fury and his cousin Hughie tested positive for a banned steroid in February 2015, blaming the result on eating uncastrated wild boar.

      A farmer said he was offered £25,000 to say he sold the meat to ‘Team Fury’ – but promoter Frank Warren called this claim “a load of rubbish”.

      Ukad has refused to comment.

    • New York City to Close Schools, Restaurants and Bars: Live Updates

      New York City’s public school system, the nation’s largest with 1.1 million students, will begin to largely shut down this week, in what is the city’s most aggressive and disruptive effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

      “I’m very, very concerned that we see a rapid spread of this disease, and it’s time to take more dramatic measures,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said late Sunday afternoon. “This is a decision I have taken with no joy and a lot of pain.”

      The mayor also announced on Sunday night that he would order all bars and restaurants to close, limiting them to takeout and food delivery.

    • Coronavirus: seven ways collective intelligence is tackling the pandemic

      Tackling the emergence of a new global pandemic is a complex task. But collective intelligence is now being used around the world by communities and governments to respond.

      At its simplest, collective intelligence is the enhanced capacity created when distributed groups of people work together, often with the help of technology, to mobilise more information, ideas and insights to solve a problem.

      Advances in digital technologies have transformed what can be achieved through collective intelligence in recent years – connecting more of us, augmenting human intelligence with machine intelligence, and helping us to generate new insights from novel sources of data. It is particularly suited to addressing fast-evolving, complex global problems such as disease outbreaks.

    • Australian schools stay open amid coronavirus but NSW brings in social distancing

      Schools will remain open nationally despite escalating government restrictions on other aspects of life such as travel due to the spread of the coronavirus, but new social distancing measures have been announced for schools in New South Wales.

      The secretary of the NSW department of education, Mark Scott, said excursions, assemblies, travel, concerts and other events would be cancelled to limit exposure.

      “Schools have been a focus of the community and the government as the impacts of the coronavirus have developed globally,” Scott said.

    • Coronavirus: Eight charts on how it has shaken economies

      China makes up a third of manufacturing globally, and is the world’s largest exporter of goods.
      But activity has decreased in the so-called “workshop of the world” as factories pause their operations to try to contain the spread of Covid-19.

    • Government official: Coronavirus vaccine trial starts Monday

      The first participant in a clinical trial for a vaccine to protect against the new coronavirus will receive an experimental dose on Monday, according to a government official.

      The National Institutes of Health is funding the trial, which is taking place at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. The official who disclosed plans for the first participant spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been publicly announced.

    • A Lockdown, Paris-Style: ‘We Can’t Live Without Bread’

      Parisians took the French government’s partial lockdown measures in stride on Sunday, half shrugging off the coronavirus threat and only limiting their normal weekend’s activities: shopping at open-air markets, strolling in parks and lining up outside bakeries and butchers.

      It could have been a typical, sun-filled, pre-spring Sunday, with thousands taking advantage of the good weather in Paris. Yet perceptible elements were missing. There was no low buzz from those centers of national conviviality, the cafes and restaurants, now closed by official order. And the streets were largely empty of traffic.

  • Integrity/Availability

    • Proprietary

      • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Openwashing

          • Netflix Open Sources Crisis Management Orchestration Tool

            Netflix announced the release of Dispatch, their crisis management orchestration framework. Dispatch integrates with existing tools such as Jira, PagerDuty, and Slack to streamline the crisis management process. Dispatch includes integration endpoints for adding in support for additional tooling.

          • Network Automation: Commercial or Open Source? [Ed: Loaded and misleading question because proprietary and commercial aren't the same thing; they insinuate that Free software cannot be used commercially or treated as a form of commerce]
          • Open Source-ish! What Defines Open Source and Why it Really Matters in Investments and Acquisitions [Ed: How lawyers see things]
          • Open Source-ish! What Defines Open Source and Why it Really Matters in Investments and Acquisitions

            The number of different open source licenses is growing and the variation in their terms and complexity is increasing. A number of licenses that appear to be, or are commonly referred to as “open source” do not actually meet the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition of “open source.” Thus, they do not appear on the OSI list of approved open source licenses. We like to say that these licenses are open source-ish! The lack of standard definition of “open source” can lead to potential legal issues and business problems, particularly in connection with investments or acquisitions in companies that use software covered by such licenses. This is relevant to both companies that use open source software (OSS) and potential investors in or acquirors of those companies.

            [...]

            To the greatest extent permitted by, but not in contravention of, applicable law, Affirmer hereby overtly, fully, permanently, irrevocably and unconditionally waives, abandons, and surrenders all of Affirmer’s Copyright and Related Rights and associated claims and causes of action, whether now known or unknown (including existing as well as future claims and causes of action), in the Work (i) in all territories worldwide, (ii) for the maximum duration provided by applicable law or treaty (including future time extensions), (iii) in any current or future medium and for any number of copies, and (iv) for any purpose whatsoever, including without limitation commercial, advertising or promotional purposes (the “Waiver”). Affirmer makes the Waiver for the benefit of each member of the public at large and to the detriment of Affirmer’s heirs and successors, fully intending that such Waiver shall not be subject to revocation, rescission, cancellation, termination, or any other legal or equitable action to disrupt the quiet enjoyment of the Work by the public as contemplated by Affirmer’s express Statement of Purpose.

            This license permits users to copy the licensed software, modify it, and share it with others for free.

            If you were investing in or buying a company that developed software covered by this license, and you asked for all software covered by an open source license, wouldn’t you want that software to be identified? Depending on how the diligence request defines “open source” (e.g., if “open source” was defined using only the OSI definition), software covered by this license may not be identified.

          • DuckDuckGo’s Tracker Radar database to be an open-source tool for blocking web trackers [Ed: DuckDuckGo is proprietary software and this is openwashing]
          • Open source Arabic Bible fuels new translation work

            Arabic is the fifth-most spoken language in the world, and it’s the official language in most Middle Eastern countries. The “umbrella” Arabic language breaks down further into dialects that vary by country and sometimes community, which complicates Bible translation work.

          • Supercharged Performance for Open Source Databases
        • Privatisation/Privateering

          • Linux Foundation

            • Call to open source developers to help fight climate change

              Software developers and innovators across the globe can use open source-powered technology to fight climate change, the single most pressing issue facing the world today.

              That’s the view of the organisers and sponsors of the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge.

              A five-year, $30 million global initiative, Call for Code was created two years ago by the David Clark Cause in partnership with IBM to encourage developers to use their skills and mastery of the latest technologies, and to create new ones, to develop practical open source applications that will drive positive and long-lasting change across the world.

            • Linux announces open source project to aid disaster relief

              Project OWL IoT device firmware is a cloud-based analytics tool that aims to help facilitate organisation, whereabouts and logistics for disaster response.

            • Aqua Security: More Platforms Add Trivy Container Scanning Tool

              Currently available under a royalty-free Apache 2 license, Trivy will be included as the default scanner in Harbor, an open source container image registry project under the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), as well as the registry from Docker Inc. and the Mirantis Docker Enterprise platform, which was previously owned by Docker Inc.

            • Cole Crawford Re-elected to the LF Edge Governing Board for 2nd Term

              Vapor IO, creators of the Kinetic Edge™ platform, the first nationwide platform for edge colocation, networking and exchange services, today announced that Cole Crawford, founder and CEO of Vapor IO, will continue on as an LF Edge General Member Board Representative for 2020. LF Edge is an umbrella organization within The Linux Foundation working to establish open, interoperable frameworks for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud or operating system.

            • Q&A: Utilities need to address climate change with open source

              Dr. Shuli Goodman, the Executive Director of LF Energy, a non-profit organization bringing the energy industry together to jointly develop technology solutions to climate change, discusses with Digital Journal the challenges the energy industry faces to supply the clean energy we need to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and how using open source technologies allows energy companies to share ideas and reduce costs to develop the green technology needed more quickly.

            • Open Source will speed technological innovation and enable the energy transition

              Growing and supporting renewable energy through a truly collaborative open-source initiative is the objective of LF Energy. LF Energy is a nonprofit, vendor-neutral initiative from The Linux Foundation with an action plan to modernize electrical systems worldwide through open frameworks, reference architectures, and a support ecosystem of complementary projects.

              “Our mission is to accelerate the energy transition by hosting, building, facilitating and enabling the distributive computing paradigm as it relates to distributed energy resources. That is everything from control infrastructure to the foundations for new markets, micro-transactions, the edge devices, the whole thing,” said Shuli Goodman, executive director of LF Energy.

        • Entrapment

      • Security

        • How Visa built its own container security solution

          Instead of deploying a combination of commercial solutions and spending resources on getting them to work for its environment, Visa’s security team went back to basics and created its own continuous monitoring solution that handles security policy enforcement, incident detection and remediation, a project that earned the company a CSO50 Award for security excellence. Called MASHUP (Micro-services based Adaptive Security Hardening and Usage Platform), the solution takes advantage of the native capabilities that already exist on container orchestration platforms such as cgroups, filesystem access controls, and SELinux policies, and it is primarily built on top of open-source tools and libraries.

        • Hackers Use Fake HIV Test Results As Lure to Infect Computers and Steal Data

          Previously, experts found evidence that online crooks were using the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a phishing lure, attempting to exploit fears surrounding the ongoing outbreak.

        • Threat Dragon: OWASP launches desktop version of popular threat modeling tool

          The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) has released an installable desktop variant of Threat Dragon, its popular threat modeling application.

          The free and open source Threat Dragon tool includes system diagramming and a rule engine to automatically determine and rank security threats, suggest mitigations, and implement countermeasures.

          The newly launched desktop version is based on Electron. There are installers available for both Windows and macOS, as well as RPM and Debian packages for Linux. Models are stored on the local file system.

          There’s also a web application, with model files stored in GitHub – other storage is planned for the future – and OWASP says it is currently maintaining a working prototype in sync with the master code branch.

        • Open-source options offer increased SOC tool interoperability

          Anecdotal evidence of security operations center (SOC) tool overload is overwhelming — at CSO we hear complaints from industry sources about this problem all the time — but the 2019 SANS SOC Survey attempted to quantify the problem. For most survey respondents, there were roughly equal numbers of SOC analysts as there were full-time employees tasked with maintaining the SOC security tools. That’s on top of the expense of purchasing those security tools in the first place.

          [...]

          Since October, 25 organisations have joined the OCA, and the alliance hopes to continue to grow to encompass all the major cybersecurity vendors today. Other members include Indegy, CrowdStrike, Fortinet and ReversingLabs.

          “What we’re trying to do as an industry, if we can align around a common data model and a common set of APIs, then that problem [a lack of interoperable security tools] becomes a much smaller problem than it is today,” Chris Smith, principal engineer at McAfee, tells CSO.

          STIX (Structured Threat Information eXpression) is useful “if you’re threat hunting and you want to query all your other tools for evidence of a certain artefact use STIXShifter to ask that question in a vendor-neutral platform agnostic language,” the GitHub rep said.

          “STIXShifter would be the technology that enables a company to search for an indicator of compromise across multiple tools, data repositories,” Jason Keirstead, chief architect, IBM Security Threat Management, tells CSO. (IBM contributed STIXShifter to the project.) “If that search turns up a compromised device, OpenDXL Ontology would be the mechanism that would be used to issue alerts/notifications across other tools in order to begin remediation.”

        • Warning: Are You Using One Of These 20 Dangerous Smartphone PINs?

          But some PIN codes are much more secure than others, and you might be surprised to find out which are the most easy to guess. You would assume, for example, that a longer PIN code was better, but six digit numbers provide little more security than four digit ones, according to a study by researchers from Ruhr University, the Max Planck Institute for Security and Privacy in Bochum, Germany and George Washington University in the U.S.

        • Binance Adds Open-Source Implementation for Edwards-Curve Digital Signature

          By putting consistent efforts, the development team of Binance is excited for the implementation of a powerful new technology. Binance announces the open-source implementation of a TSS library for Edwards-Curve Digital Signature Algorithm-(ECDSA) which aims to extend support for different blockchains like Cardano, NANO, Stellar Lumens, Waves, and Libra.

          Binance announced the implementation of an open-source Threshold Signature Scheme (TSS) library three months ago, which is considered to be a major step taken by Binance that will further contribute to the development of open-source blockchain. The library is reconcilable with ECDSA-based blockchains, which comprises of Binance Chain, Bitcoin, and Ethereum networks, which is already used to build token swap bridges and more.

        • Enterprise Linux Red Hat Fixed 85% of Critical Flaws Within 7 Days: Report

          But, it is also interesting to note that the security team fixed 41% of critical vulnerabilities within 1 day of the issue becoming public. On average, critical advisories are issued within a week.

          Not only that, but 566 RHSAs also addressed the record-breaking 340 important CVEs along with 18% already available within one business day.

          Overall, Red Hat Enterprise Linux commits to providing a more stable product with a quick response to the risk. Having strong ties and relationships with other communities, it also resolves the issues in third-party software.

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • Worried about privacy? Here are the best FOSS apps as alternatives

            Google and other manufacturers have recently been subject to a lot of criticism mainly due to the way they utilize user’s data. Unwanted collection of data, targeted ads, customized search results are all a part of this.

            With the growing concerns for privacy on the rise, FOSS apps have become quite popular. They are open source apps that have their source code made public which ensures that no shady behavior is going on in the background.

          • Don’t be fooled, experts warn, America’s anti-child-abuse EARN IT Act could burn encryption to the ground
          • Phones Could Track the Spread of Covid-19. Is It a Good Idea?

            If you’d had lunch with someone who later got sick, FluPhone would let you know. Besides slowing the spread of the flu, the app promised to help health authorities monitor and model the spread of influenza. FluApp made headlines and the front page of the BBC website at the time. But in the end fewer than 1 percent of people in Cambridge signed up to use it.

            As the deadly Covid-19 respiratory virus stalks the US, some techies suggest using smartphones to track and report transmissions. The idea raises many questions, including how well such a system would actually work, whether it might sow unnecessary alarm or confusion, and whether such tools might enable unwanted corporate or government surveillance.

            The creators of FluPhone, Jon Crowcroft and Eiko Yoneki, certainly believe an app like theirs could help fight the coronavirus.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • One Year On, A Search For Meaning From The Christchurch Massacre

      If you search the phrase ‘Multiculturalism is’ on Google, the result you get back is something worth celebrating… if you’re a white supremacist who likes to slaughter Muslims. One year on from New Zealand’s worst modern-day massacre, Kawsar Ali delves into the dark world of the Internet, and its response to an unspeakable crime.

    • No End in Sight to the Oil Price War Between Russia and Saudi Arabia

      One week ago, as Saudi Arabia and other big OPEC countries and Russia gathered in Vienna to plan production cuts that could put a floor under falling prices due to the outbreak of coronavirus, crude was trading at more than $50 a barrel. That’s when Moscow decided to blow up a three-year-old pact to manage global oil supplies, refusing to sign on to Saudi Arabia’s proposed cuts, sending the price of oil sharply down.

      Riyadh responded not with unilateral cuts of its own but in the opposite direction: It slashed selling prices for its oil and later announced plans to massively increase oil output, further driving down the price of oil that was already plunging due to the disease outbreak and its toll on the global economy. Oil trades today around $33 a barrel.

      For Russia and Saudi Arabia, both more or less dependent on oil sales to fund their national budgets, it was—and still is—a dangerous game of chicken.

    • Jan Vertonghen: Family of Spurs defender held at knifepoint during burglary

      Jan Vertonghen’s family was held at knifepoint as four armed men burgled his home while he was on Champions League duty with Tottenham on Tuesday.

      Police confirmed men wearing balaclavas forced their way into the house while his wife and children were inside.

      The 32-year-old Belgium defender was in Germany for the second leg of Spurs’ last-16 defeat against RB Leipzig.

    • Islamic State: US military says RAF airstrikes may have killed civilians

      There is “credible” evidence British airstrikes against the Islamic State group have killed civilians in Iraq and Syria, the US military has said.
      The Ministry of Defence has continued to deny American reports that some RAF airstrikes against IS have harmed civilians.
      The RAF has deployed 4,409 bombs and missiles in the five-year war with IS.
      The MoD’s approach to identifying civilian casualties has been described as “not fit for purpose”.
      Airwars, a group which has been monitoring the bombing campaign and its impact on civilians, has obtained details of 11 airstrikes carried out by European nations in which at least 40 civilians were killed.

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Rate cuts: US goes to almost zero and launches huge stimulus programme

      The US has cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a $700bn stimulus programme in a bid to protect the economy from the effect of coronavirus.

      It is part of a co-ordinated action announced on Sunday in the UK, Japan, eurozone, Canada, and Switzerland.

      In a news conference Fed chairman Jerome Powell said the pandemic was having a “profound” impact on the economy.

      US President Donald Trump said the emergency action “makes me very happy”.

      The Fed has cut rates to a target range of 0% to 0.25%, and said it would it begin buying bonds – quantitative easing – a move that pumps money directly into the economy.

    • Human Rights Foundation Accepts Fully Open Source Bitcoin Donations

      The Human Rights Foundation has just announced that it will be accepting Bitcoin donations via BTC Pay Server. Unlike other payment processing services, BTC Pay Server is an entirely open source project than can’t censor transactions.

      Previously, Bitcoin payment processing companies have been the subject of controversy. With a middleman facilitating transactions, using Bitcoin with such a service might forfeit both the peer-to-peer and censorship resistance of payments.

    • Digital Monetary System Tagion Claims Open Source User-driven Networks Are The Future Of Liquidity In Crypto Assets And Fiat Digitalisation

      Tagion, a monetary and open banking protocol, has launched its much-anticipated devnet allowing individuals and companies to test a new developer kit and wallet application with everything needed to begin the process of transferring tags.

    • Celo Foundation to develop open-source platform for payments and more

      The Celo Foundation, the group behind the Celo blockchain project, has announced the Alliance for Prosperity.

      The alliance has 50 founding members across a range of industries, including blockchain and cryptocurrency, finance, venture capital, payment companies, charities and telecommunications. They have committed to develop the Celo blockchain as a decentralised and open-source platform.

      The platform supports stablecoins, dubbed Celo dollars, which are designed to make financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. The platform can be used to build mobile applications, including cash transfers, peer-to-peer lending, international remittances and digital wallets.

    • AVA Labs open-sources codebase for decentralized finance blockchain platform

      The codebase for the distributed ledger blockchain platform developed by AVA Labs Inc., a financial blockchain infrastructure development startup, officially became open source today and was released to the global community.

      AVA’s vision for its blockchain platform is to become the “AWS of finance,” referring to the cloud computing leader Amazon Web Services Inc. It intends to provide blockchain technology for building decentralized financial applications, or DeFi apps.

    • Blockchain can empower women financially, former Mozilla COO says

      In an op-ed for Coindesk, Denelle Dixon, CEO and Executive Director of the Stellar Development Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports development and growth of Stellar, an open-source blockchain network that connects world’s financial infrastructure, shared her thoughts about the power of the technology in bridging the financial gap for women. Dixon was the former COO of Mozilla, a free and open-source web browser. She also serves as the general counsel and legal advisor in private equity and technology.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Money For Nothing: 16-Days Travel, $95k For Tony Abbott’s Special Indigenous Affairs ‘Envoy Role’

      Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott charged taxpayers more than $95,000 for just over two weeks of travel to Indigenous communities while ‘Special Envoy for Indigenous Affairs’, parliamentary expenditure records reveal.

    • ‘Multiculturalism Is ‘Bad, A Disaster, Cancer’: So Suggests Google Australia

      Many Australians don’t think our nation has a problem with racism and white supremacy, but the world’s largest online search engine certainly does. Chris Graham reports.

    • Biden’s Racism Is More Veiled Than Trump’s — But No Less Real

      When it comes to race, Joe Biden’s record and rhetoric reflect the broader hypocrisy of U.S. politics. While Biden rightly criticizes Donald Trump’s racism, he then praises himself for his own ability to work with overt white supremacist Dixiecrat Democrats in the 1970s. It’s important to recognize the problematic nature of Biden’s history of working with Southern Democratic racist senators. We must acknowledge the more subtle forms of racism at work in the Democratic Party even as an overt racist sits in the Oval Office.

    • Super PACs Are Pouring Millions Into Backing Joe Biden

      Outside groups are pouring millions into backing former Vice President Joe Biden as he gains momentum with successive wins in the Democratic primaries.

    • Coronavirus, the Frozen Primary and a Reset to 2016: How Bernie’s Political Revolution Can Still Get Back on Track

      Bernie’s original sin was to commit himself wholeheartedly to the Democratic party, after endorsing Hillary Clinton and refusing to run as an independent in 2016. Having joined the leadership ranks, he was compelled to be a participant in their counterproductive distractions, namely Russiagate, Mueller and impeachment, while simultaneously gearing up for a 2020 campaign based on the purity of ideas. He unilaterally disarmed himself against the most devious strategies deployed against him, with the DNC tipping the scales so heavily for its favored establishment candidate, aided by voter suppression even more blatant and widespread than in 2016.

  • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • The Foilies 2020

      “The Ringer,” the first track on Eminem’s 2018 album, Kamikaze, includes a line that piqued Buzzfeed reporter Jason Leopold’s curiosity: the rapper claimed the Secret Service visited him due to some controversial lyrics about Ivanka Trump. To find out if it was true, Leopold filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the federal law that allows anyone to demand access to government records. 

      After a year of delays, the Secret Service provided Leopold 40 pages about the interview with the real Slim Shady, including a note that he was “exhibiting inappropriate behavior.”

    • Reject Using My Unjust Conviction Against Julian Assange

      In 2015 I was wrongfully convicted of, and imprisoned for, violating the U.S. Espionage Act. Now, while there is no question that I stand in solidarity with WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange in a British court as he fights extradition, little did I know that my presence is also there as fodder to support extradition. If I am going to be used in such a way, there should at least be a modicum of truth to my inclusion. I found nothing reasonable about being persecuted and sentenced to prison under the Espionage Act.

      On the first day of the recent extradition proceedings in London, James Lewis QC, representing the U.S. government, attempted to counter arguments about the potential prison sentence Assange faces if convicted of violating the Espionage Act by stating that individuals such as myself serve as “benchmarks” for what Assange is facing. To Lewis and the U.S. government, my 42-month sentence or the range of 40-60 months is “reasonable.” Such use of my experience fighting the Espionage Act in order to quell concerns about Assange’s potential sentence is misleading without providing context.

      [...]

      In a final moment of clarity after a long delay before sentencing, Judge Leonie Brinkema commented that the sentencing guidelines were “way off” and chose 42 months as my sentence. That “reasonableness” was most likely not out of any benevolence on her part. It might have been that Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to the court requesting fairness, or maybe she was moved by the fact that I was convicted by a government-leaning jury on absolutely no evidence. The prosecutor was visibly livid as he obviously was hoping for a much, much longer sentence. His continual questioning, if not pleading of the judge to explain the sentence was finally silenced when the judge stated, “That’s it.” I fear that Assange will face a less reasonable court and sentence.

      And Lewis failed to mention how conditions in U.S. prisons will be a part of that benchmark. The U.S. prison system is one of deplorable living conditions, disregard for human life, and perpetual punishment. And given Assange’s health, he will be lucky to receive adequate care. While I was in a U.S. prison, it took the intervention of a U.S. Senator for me to receive the health care that quite possibly saved my life. Should not this reality be part of Lewis’ benchmark?

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • A Giant Step Forward for Women in Australian Soccer
    • Port of Last Call

      For decades, Hong Kong — cosmopolitan, in possession of a free economy, and strategically situated — served as China’s face to the West. It is no surprise then, that when the British handed it over to China in 1997, many believed that the city’s unique status would enable Hong Kongers to continue enjoying, for the next 50 years, freedoms and rights not available on the mainland, under the “one country, two systems” framework. Moreover, there was a widespread expectation that these rights would be expanded in due time and that Hong Kongers would eventually be accorded the right to elect their own chief executive and other rights of a democratic civil society before Hong Kong’s special status expires in 2047.

    • Under Trump, a Decade of Anti-Abortion Momentum May Overturn “Roe”

      Anti-abortion advocates have gained momentum in the last decade while perfecting their tactics in an effort to turn over the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. With the appointment of Donald Trump to the highest office in the land in 2016, those fringe advocates are now gaining key positions in government to enact their policies. But not all is lost, say Jessica Mason Pieklo and Robin Marty, authors of The End of Roe v. Wade: Inside the Right’s Plan to Destroy Legal Abortion. This pivotal abortion rights moment can tip the scales in favor of reproductive choice if we mobilize effectively.

    • The 2020 Census Must Not Make the Mistake Again of Undercounting Native People

      Native Americans living on reservations and in traditional villages were the most undercounted people in the 2010 U.S. Census. This year, tribal leaders throughout the U.S. are urging American Indians and Alaska Natives to be seen and counted in the 2020 U.S. Census.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Patent Offices and Federal Courts

        On Wednesday, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared that the COVID-19 outbreak “can be characterized as a pandemic,” cautioning that the WHO has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries. In its latest situation report, the WHO indicates that as of March 15, there have been 153,517 cases in 143 countries. The Director-General also stated on Wednesday that “[t]his is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” The WHO’s declaration on Wednesday – and global developments concerning the COVID-19 pandemic since then – raises the question of how the pandemic has been affecting patent offices and the courts.

      • AIA Patents Update

        The chart above should be no surprise. Most pending applications before the PTO are now post-AIA patent applications. These are applications that were filed on or after March 16, 2013 and don’t claim priority to any prior patent filing

      • USPTO facilities closed to the public

        All USPTO offices will be closed to the public beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 until further notice. Employees, contractors, and those with access badges will continue to use the USPTO facilities and USPTO operations will continue without interruption.

      • Distorted picture of stakeholder positions on German patent injunction reform: submissions to Federal Ministry of Justice

        Leading litigators agree that the first draft of a German patent reform bill put forward by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) would change either nothing at all or, at best, extremely little about access to patent injunctions. This blog already said within a couple of hours of the dissemination of the document.

        Stakeholders had until March 10 (last Tuesday) to provide feedback to the ministry. Throughout the course of the week, the ministry uploaded those documents whose submitters had not requested confidential treatment.

    • Copyrights

      • Study on the implications of a 25-year reversion/termination right in Canada

        Currently, the Canadian government is considering implementing two legislative proposals concerning a 25-year reversion right for authors. Section 14(1) of the Canadian Copyright Act currently provides that the copyright in a work reverts automatically to the author’s estate twenty-five years after the author’s death. The operation of the present reversion right is unrelated to the date of initial publication of the work or the date of assignment of the work; as a result, the right often vests long after publication.

        Two committees, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (INDU) and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (CHPC), have concluded that authors or their estates should be granted a non-assignable, non-waivable right to regain control over a copyright at an earlier moment, that is twenty-five years after the author’s initial assignment of rights in the work

      • Has Skidmore v Led Zeppelin changed US music copyright infringement rules for better or worse?

        The US 9th Circuit Court of Appeal [in a 73 page judgement!] has upheld the verdict that Led Zeppelin’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ did not infringe the copyright of the song ‘Taurus’. The case on Appeal involved a number of copyright issues, including the standards for infringement, the interplay between the 1909 and 1976 Copyright Acts, the scope of copyright in music copyright and overturning the inverse ratio rule.

        [...]

        Skidmore argued that the jury should have been provided with selection and arrangement instructions – relating to an infringement claim based on original selection and arrangement of unprotected elements. However, both Skidmore’s counsel and his expert confirmed the separateness of the five elements by calling them “five categories of similarities”. The Ninth Circuit stated that Skidmore misunderstood what the copyright law means by a “combination,” “compilation,” and “selection and arrangement” of unprotectable elements. They clarified that the word “combination” cannot mean any “set” of artistic building blocks. As such, failure to properly invoke a selection and arrangement argument destroyed Skidmore’s request for a selection and arrangement instruction for the jury. He is not entitled to an instruction based on a legal theory that was not presented to the jury.

        Circuit Judge Ikuta partially dissented on this point and said that “this substantive ruling weakens copyright protection for musicians by robbing them of the ability to protect a unique way of combining musical elements.”

        Skidmore’s lawyer, Francis Malofiy, thinks that this case is “a big win for the multi-billion dollar industry against the creatives…. They won on a technicality. But they absolutely stole that piece of work.” This Kat happens to respectively disagree, this not a David and Gollath situation, its more of a civil war because the music industry and the creators are on both sides of these copyright infringement cases. She believes that this case has provided clarity for future copyright infringement cases of musical works and has the potential to curb the rate of cases in the music sector.

      • ‘Copyright Troll’ Uses Social Media Info Against Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

        People put all sorts of information on social media nowadays. While most of it is relatively harmless, it can also be used against them in the future. The information doesn’t only allow neighbors and potential employers to spy on them, copyright trolls also use social media postings to support their cases against suspected pirates.

      • ‘Pirate’ iTunes Download Site and Three Others Targeted By the RIAA

        The RIAA has obtained a DMCA subpoena against Cloudflare in an effort to unmask the operators of several ‘pirate’ music platforms including one offering iTunes content. The subpoena requires the CDN company to hand over names, addresses and account information of people allegedly behind infringement of tracks by Justin Timberlake, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Selena Gomez and more.

Series Index: “Doyen” for a Yen

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Series about the Croatian “doyen” Željko Topić, who skips the exams and just gets the awards (licence to print money)

I am Željko Topić. Oh really? Where's your 'MBA'? Well, I'm a doyen of Intellectual Property in the region. OK, come in, come in...

EPO Corruption Under António Campinos: Epilogue

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 3:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Topic IP EPO
Extract from the EPO Official Journal for March 2019

Summary: Corruption prevails at the European Patent Office, Europe’s second-largest institution, and named here are those liable or capable of clarification/rectification

IN the latest EPO mini-series we have looked at how not long after he departed from his job as EPO Vice-President in December 2018, Željko Topić “MBA”, the self-styled “doyen of Intellectual Property in the region”, suddenly and mysteriously resurfaced on the EPO’s list of professional representatives in March 2019.

How exactly Topić achieved a place on this list is something of a riddle because there is no record that he ever passed the EQE which is a mandatory prerequisite for entry on the list.

So far nobody has been able to come up with a credible explanation as to how this could have happened.

The really interesting question here is whether it was all just a simple clerical error or whether “Team Campinos” actively colluded with Topić to facilitate his inclusion on the list despite the fact that he lacks the requisite formal qualifications.

“How exactly Topić achieved a place on this list is something of a riddle because there is no record that he ever passed the EQE which is a mandatory prerequisite for entry on the list.”It is worth pointing out here that it is not within the gift of the EPO President to make such an exemption for any individual.

Under the terms of Article 134 (7) EPC, the President may grant exemption from “the requirement of paragraphs 2(a) or 3(a) in special circumstances” and from “the requirement of paragraph 3(c), second sentence, if the applicant furnishes proof that he has acquired the requisite qualification in another way”.

In plain English, the first of these “exemptions” relates to the requirement that the candidate for inclusion on the list should be a national of an EPO contracting state. So for example if a US citizen passes the EQE, he can be included on the list of professional representatives if the President grants an exemption.

“So the buck stops with Mr Ernst to clarify the matter.”The second of the “exemptions” relates to the application of the “grandfather clause” in the case of persons in a new contracting state who are normally required to have acted as a professional representative in that state for at least five years if entitlement to represent before the national office is not conditional upon special professional qualifications.

The bottom line here is that none of the “exemptions” listed under Article 134 (7) EPC have any relevance to the case of Željko Topić because the EPO President has no discernible authority to grant any individual an exemption in respect of the EQE requirement of Article 134 (2) (c).

The only thing that we can be reasonably sure about here is that Topić’s application for entry on the list must have passed through the hands of EPO Directorate 5.2.3 which falls under the responsibility of Christoph Ernst as the Vice President of International and Legal Affairs.

So the buck stops with Mr Ernst to clarify the matter.

Of course it should not be forgotten that there are other people out there who could be expected to take an interest in a suspected irregularity in the list of professional representatives.

“This means that as of March 2019, Željko Topić has officially been a member of epi.”Article 134a EPC (warning: epo.org link) establishes an “Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office” which generally operates under the moniker of epi.

According to pargraph (2) of Article 134a EPC, any person entered on the list of professional representatives “shall be a member of the Institute”.

This means that as of March 2019, Željko Topić has officially been a member of epi.

One would have thought that the epi might have had some concerns about this mysterious addition to its membership and that it would be interested in clarifying Mr Topić’s entitlement to be entered onto the list of professional representatives.

However, when we recall the role played by Tony Tangena of the epi in covering the controversy surrounding Topić’s appointment as EPO Vice-President and his close collaboration with Raimund Lutz in that affair, we advise our readers not to hold their breath on that one…

In the meantime some cynical EPO insiders have been heard to remark that if Battistelli was still in charge at the EPO he would quickly respond by organising an official whitewash using the EPO’s investigative unit.

“…according to inside sources the investigative unit has become a pale shadow of its former self.”But Battistelli is long gone at the helm of the EPO and according to inside sources the investigative unit has become a pale shadow of its former self.

This time the ball is in the court of António the Unsteady. So let’s wait and see how he deals with it – just as soon as he has had time to sober up, that is…

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, March 15, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:32 am by Needs Sunlight

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