Links 17/3/2020: Microsoft Swallows Npm, Debian Installer Bullseye Reaches Alpha 2

Posted in News Roundup at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Purism Announces Discounts For Librem Linux Laptops

        The Librem 15 is now available with a $200 discount for the standard $1,599 configuration, while the Librem 13 can be yours with a $150 price cut, which means you must pay just $1,249 instead of the typical $1,399 price.

        Of course, Purism used this occasion to praise the Librem laptops, highlighting that these devices are “the ultimate private and secure laptops” because they come with hardware kill switches for radios, mic, and the camera, Librem Key support, Pure OS, and Pureboot to replace binary firmware.

      • The Librem Laptop Sale

        Get $200 off a Librem 15 and $150 off a Librem 13. Don’t miss out, order now and we’ll ship your laptop when they restock soon.

      • macOS vs. Ubuntu

        Linux or Mac? It is one of those hot Coca-Cola vs. Pepsi debates, but it’s an important one as your work, and your overall computer experience depends much on what type of work you do and what OS do you use for that work.

        First, let’s start by explaining a little bit about the Operating System (OS). OS is a piece of software that essentially runs your computer. It manages and controls your system hardware and provides some essential features.

        What type of OS might be the best one for you depends on you, e.g., if you are an average user who uses the computer to kill time and play games, Windows is the best OS for you as it is optimized for gaming. But if your lively hood depends on your PC or you have some sensitive information on your PC, then Windows is the worst OS for you. Similarly, macOS is optimized for web designing, video editing, and music-making as the software for these tasks optimized for macOS. Linux is excellent for programming as many IDEs, and text editors were designed for Linux. Now before we start to discuss macOS and Ubuntu, let’s have a brief look at their histories.

    • Server

      • Microsoft’s GitHub agrees to buy code-distribution start-up Npm

        Microsoft’s GitHub subsidiary on Monday said it has agreed to buy Npm, a company that operates an online service for distributing packages of open-source software written in the popular JavaScript programming language and offers software that companies can use for their proprietary code as well.

      • With npm Acquisition, Microsoft is Set to Own the Largest Software Registry in the World [Ed: Microsoft is trying to buy the competition and having bribed all the groups that represent it (OSI, LF etc.) they won’t say a thing to stop this]

        Microsoft has been betting big on open source for past few years. Apart from open sourcing a few things here and there, Microsoft is contributing a lot to Linux kernel (for its Azure cloud platform).

        To further strengthen its position in the open source world, Microsoft acquired the popular open source code hosting platform GitHub for $7.5 billion.

        Now Microsoft owned GitHub has acquired npm ( short for Node Package Manager). npm is the world’s largest software registry with more than 1.3 million packages that have 75 billion downloads a month.

      • GitHub Acquires Open Source Company npm.inc

        Despite its popularity and massive user base, the company struggled with monetization from open source.

      • Telstra Ventures leads $65m investment in ‘new Linux’

        The physical world might be near lockdown, but Telstra Ventures remains bullish on the virtual, leading a $US40 million ($65 million) investment in a company which helps enterprises manage software applications.

        The $900 million venture capital manager, which is part-owned by Telstra, but run independently, invested in Rancher Labs after the telco became a customer of the Californian scale-up’s service, which manages exposure to a platform called Kubernetes.


        Rancher Labs was launched in the same year as Kubernetes after its co-founder, Sheng Liang, recognised the potential of its container-orchestration capabilities, as well as the help most enterprises would need in managing them.

        “Just as Linux became the standard computing platform for the data centre, cloud and devices in the 2000s, we fundamentally believe Kubernetes is fast becoming the ubiquitous enterprise computing platform for multi-cloud, heterogenous IT environments in the 2020s,” Mr Liang said.

      • Microsoft Teams goes down — just as everyone starts working from home

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • This Week in Linux 97: Firefox, Darktable, Manjaro on Pinebook Pro, AMD & Intel Security Issues

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’re going to be talking about some new releases from Firefox and Darktable. We’ve got a bunch of Distro News this week related to Manjaro, Mabox Linux, LibreELEC, Clonezilla, NuTyX, and Arya Linux. Then we’re going to talk about what the Open Source community is doing to help fight the COVID-19 virus. Later in the show, we’ll look at the security issues found for AMD and Intel hardware. Then we’ll finish out the show with some great deals in the latest Humble Bundles. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 85

        We try and lighten the mood with a silly new segment. Meanwhile in the news Microsoft makes another open source move, bad news for VR on Linux, and more.

      • 2020-03-16 | Linux Headlines

        Manjaro KDE is now the default OS on the Pinebook Pro, GitHub announces the acquisition of npm, Google has a new library aimed at simplifying infinite-width neural networks, and the winners of this year’s Free Software Awards.

      • Getting A Handle On Portable C Extensions With hpy

        One of the driving factors of Python’s success is the ability for developers to integrate with performant languages such as C and C++. The challenge is that the interface for those extensions is specific to the main implementation of the language. This contributes to difficulties in building alternative runtimes that can support important packages such as NumPy. To address this situation a team of developers are working to create the hpy project, a new interface for extension developers that is standardized and provides a uniform target for multiple runtimes. In this episode Antonio Cuni discusses the motivations for creating hpy, how it benefits the whole ecosystem, and ways to contribute to the effort. This is an exciting development that has the potential to unlock a new wave of innovation in the ways that you can run your Python code.

      • Behind the Scenes: LINUX Unplugged | Jupiter Extras 64

        We share what goes into making LINUX Unplugged special, and have a laugh at some of our bad ideas from show past.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 4.19.110
        I'm announcing the release of the 4.19.110 kernel.
        This fixes a problem in 4.19.109 in the KVM subsystem. If you use KVM,
        you are strongly encouraged to upgrade. If not, no big deal, you can
        ignore this release.
        The updated 4.19.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-4.19.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
      • Kernel prepatch 5.6-rc6

        The 5.6-rc6 kernel prepatch has been released. “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.”

      • Linux Kernel’s Floppy Disk Code Is Seeing Improvements In 2020

        While many would argue it’s past due for the Linux kernel’s floppy disk code to be gutted from the mainline code-base, instead it’s seeing improvements in 2020 ahead of the Linux 5.7 kernel… The same kernel where Intel stabilized Tiger Lake graphics, AMD preparing Zen 3 support, a new exFAT driver, and a multitude of other modern improvements is also now seeing floppy work.

        This isn’t just a couple one-liner patches either for Linux’s floppy code but is 586 lines of new code and 613 deletions. So if you are engaging in self-isolation and happy to run across some floppy disks, fear not as the Linux kernel is still ready to read them.

      • Intel Volleys First Patches As Part Of Linux Bring-Up For Keem Bay

        Intel has begun piping the Linux support for Keem Bay.

        Keem Bay is Intel’s next-generation Movidius VPU they disclosed last November. Keem Bay is supposed to bring a 10x improvement to inference performance and intended for various edge computing scenarios.

      • ASpeed AST2500/AST2600 XDMA Engine Support Pending For Linux

        Kernel patches pending that might see mainlining for the upcoming Linux 5.7 window provide ASpeed XDMA engine support for the plethora of AST2500 BMCs found on server platforms and the forthcoming AST2600-based platforms.

        Going back to last year was the ASpeed AST2600 bring-up in its initial form for this SoC. One of the ASpeed Linux kernel patch series worked on since then has been the XDMA engine support for both the new AST2600 and the prevalent AST2500.

      • Linux 5.7 Positioned To Retire ARM 32-bit KVM Virtualization Support

        The upcoming Linux 5.7 kernel is preparing to bid farewell to KVM virtualization support on 32-bit ARM architectures.

        We’ve known this execution date was coming for a while and with this next kernel release they are set to drop 32-bit ARM support for the Kernel-based Virtual Machine. But dropping of this support is unlikely to be missed: 32-bit ARM never took off in the cloud with the lack of any ARM server platform at the time being widely deployed for a number of reasons. The few ARM server setups where KVM at one time or another was used have since transitioned to newer and much more powerful 64-bit ARM platforms, such as within build farms. In any recent times, the 32-bit ARM KVM support perhaps was only used by anyone tinkering with it on an aging ARM SBC but without any serious use-case for 32-bit ARM KVM.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD Looking to Improve the Linux Graphics Game

          AMD has hired a Linux kernel developer that could help to improve the gaming experience for Linux users.

          In a move that might surprise a lot of people, AMD has hired a Linux kernel developer to work on it’s AMDGPU Linux driver. The announcement of the position was posted on the AMD job board, but has already been taken down (which probably indicates they’ve hired a developer for the job).

        • AMD’s EPYC Rome up to 5x Faster on Linux Netfilter With AVX2 Implementation

          AVX2 instruction set optimizations for Intel and AMD processors for the Linux 5.7′s Netfilter framework promise to bring large performance improvements of over 5x.

          According to Phoronix, the AVX2 support “works out well for optimizing the packet lookup routines of the Netfilter Pile Packet Policies”. In a benchmark test, packets were injected onto the in-going device path. The AMD EPYC 7402 (Rome) server was significantly faster, with improvements ranging “from +26% to +420% with many of the tests being above the +100% range”.

    • Benchmarks

      • Mesa 20.1-dev RADV vs. RADV+ACO vs. AMDVLK vs. AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan Radeon Linux Gaming Performance

        Here is an up-to-date look at how the very latest Mesa 20.1 Git performance is for the Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver both out-of-the-box and when enabling the Valve-backed ACO compiler back-end alternative to AMDGPU LLVM. Plus there are benchmarks of the latest AMDVLK open-source AMD Vulkan driver and also when using AMDGPU-PRO’s Vulkan packages that still rely upon AMD’s proprietary shader compiler.

    • Applications

      • youtube-viewer – lightweight application that searches and streams videos from YouTube

        A common complaint about YouTube is that to watch the material you need to use a web browser. Fortunately, some funky developers have created applications that allow you to bypass the web-only barrier of YouTube.

        youtube-viewer is a lightweight application for searching and streaming videos from YouTube. youtube-viewer is free and open source software.

        The project hosts a command-line interface to YouTube which is creatively called youtube-viewer. And if you prefer a graphical interface, there’s also a GTK+ interface. Again, the developer has called on all of his creative juices, imaginatively naming the application gtk-youtube-viewer.

      • The 10 Best Linux Astrology Software Available in 2020

        Some people think that astrology and astronomy are the same things. Astronomy is pure science, which means the study of celestial objects in a scientific way. It is part and parcel of modern Physics. On the other hand, astrology is one of the ancient branches of knowledge which works on the effects of celestial objects in the life of people. It is considered a pseudoscience because it doesn’t exactly follow the methods of science. Once there was a time when the calculations of the movements of celestial objects were performed manually. Nowadays, computer software is used by astrologers. Again there are some hobbyist astrologers who are interested in astrology who want to use computers rather than the traditional way. Just like other platforms, there is quite a few Linux astrology software available on the internet.

      • Víctor Jáquez: Review of the Igalia Multimedia team Activities (2019/H2)

        This blog post is a review of the various activities the Igalia Multimedia team was involved along the second half of 2019.

        Here are the previous 2018/H2 and 2019/H1 reports.


        Succinctly, GstWPE is a GStreamer plugin which allows to render web-pages as a video stream where it frames are GL textures.

        Phil, its main author, wrote a blog post explaning at detail what is GstWPE and its possible use-cases. He wrote a demo too, which grabs and previews a live stream from a webcam session and blends it with an overlay from wpesrc, which displays HTML content. This composited live stream can be broadcasted through YouTube or Twitch.

      • Gammy is an adaptive brightness application for Windows and Linux

        But what about overly bright applications during the day? They can still be a nuisance, and changing to night mode isn’t exactly a good solution. Gammy is an open source software that can help you in such scenarios. This portable application supports adaptive brightness that makes bright on-screen content easy on the eyes.

        Run it and you’ll see it starts on the system tray. The second you run it, you’ll notice that your brightness has automatically been dimmed (if your display’s brightness was set to a high level). Double click the tray icon and an interface pops-up. This is an always on top window, so you can use different programs and observe how the brightness changes.

        The interface has a bunch of sliders which you use to set the minimum and maximum brightness levels, so the program doesn’t dim the screen or increase brightness too much. The offset percentage is the setting that Gammy uses to calculate the brightness, if it’s higher the brightness will be as well.

        The Temperature setting is used to define the color temperature levels, similar to that in F.lux and other screen dimming applications. The maximum temperature is 6500K and goes down to 2000K. Enable the “auto” option to let Gammy automatically adjust the brightness at a time that you select. To set the time click on the three-dot button next to the option, and you’ll be able to set the Start and End time.

      • Perform Common PDF Editing Operations With PDF Mix Tool 0.5, Now With Single File Mode

        PDF Mix Tool, an application that allows performing some common PDF editing operations on Linux, was updated recently with “single file” mode which allows editing single PDF page layout, extracting or deleting pages, and more.

        Until the latest 0.5 version, PDF Mix Tool allowed merging two or more PDF files, specifying a page set for each of them, rotate pages, and composite multiple PDF pages into a single page.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess is like a wild sci-fi Desert Strike

        Desert Strike, oh hell yes, that’s a game I put tons of hours into on the Sega Mega Drive. Now Pizza Bear Games have taken that same helicopter action and put a wild sci-fi spin on it with Megacopter: Blades of the Goddess.

        It’s also taking ideas from Jungle/Urban Strike, Choplifter and 80s/90s TV shows like Airwolf and Knight Rider too. No exact release date on this one other than sometime this year but I’m totally pumped by this.

      • Stellaris: Federations and the huge free ‘Verne’ content update are out

        Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio have today released the Stellaris: Federations expansion along with the free 2.6.0 ‘Verne’ content update for everyone.

        The biggest addition, is obviously, the rework of Federations. You can form new types of Federations, each with unique passive effects, and level them up to unlock perks. Customize them further through the new Federation Laws. Check out the shiny release trailer:

      • Sweet puzzle game ‘Pipe Push Paradise’ is free to claim for a week over on itch

        Continuing to hunt around for special deals to help anyone during the Coronavirus, the next up is the puzzle game Pipe Push Paradise which you can claim free for the next week.

        Developed by Corey Martin, they announced this on their Twitter and since they’re doing it through itch.io you get to keep it after you claim it.

        The “story” is quite amusing: you arrive on an island with “a hero’s calling”, as the island’s plumber (your uncle) isn’t available and so you’re tasked with getting the water running again because apparently it runs in the family as the island’s inhabitants “could all really use a shower”. You will be pushing, flipping and rolling pipes across the island. It’s thoroughly challenging too, while simple in style and presentation it’s a devil when it comes to the actual puzzles.

      • Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition announced for release on March 24

        1C Entertainment and Snowhound Games have announced that Deep Sky Derelicts is getting a Definitive Edition on March 24 that will bundle the DLC and upgrade the base game for everyone.

        From the press release: “Experience Deep Sky Derelicts in its ultimate, definitive edition, which combines the overhauled base game with its two DLCs: New Prospects and Station Life. Both additions bring new gameplay features, character upgrades, home base improvements, monsters, missions and much more!”

      • Vaporum: Lockdown delayed into later this year as the game has grown

        Vaporum: Lockdown is a prequel to the 3D real-time dungeon crawler Vaporum that was pretty great, and it’s now delayed but it’s not all bad news.

        They’re now saying it’s moved from Q1 to sometime in Q2 this year, meaning it should be out before the end of June. Not exactly a long delay but they have a good enough reason: it’s got bigger. They said it’s grown into a “fully fledged, standalone game that expands on everything that made Vaporum good, and also brings a lot of new, fresh ideas” which is costing more time. Another reason is the Coronavirus, as their studio has been in their own “lockdown” since earlier in March with all of them now working from home.

      • Deep fantasy RPG-strategy hybrid ‘Vagrus – The Riven Realms’ has hit another funding milestone

        Vagrus – The Riven Realms continues smashing through their Open Access funding goals on Fig, this special hybrid of Crowdfunding and Early Access together seems to be paying off. This is where you can fund it, get access right away and all money goes towards specific features.

      • vkBasalt the Vulkan post processing layer for Linux has a new release up

        Need to add some fancy effects to your Linux games? vkBasalt can help with that and a brand new release is now up. Quite a small tidying up release this time with 0.3.1 going out yesterday.

        Small in number of features perhaps but still a very useful update, especially now with a key to turn effects on and off during runtime which is incredibly cool to see in action. This also makes taking comparison screenshots now super-simple to do. Also in this release is the ability to control the amount of debug output, an updated reshade shader compiler and if a game uses the newer “vkGetDeviceQueue2″ it fixes some potential issues.

      • Proton GE 5.4 released for Steam Play on Linux with Warframe gamepad fixes

        Proton GE, the custom-built fork of Proton for Steam Play that adds in numerous extra tweaks and fixes has another release now available.

        Confused? Wine is a compatibility layer that can help to run Windows apps/games on Linux. Valve have their own version called Proton which is included with the Steam Client on Linux with Steam Play, and Proton GE is a special version of it built by user “GloriousEggroll”. Why use it? You might find certain games need adjustments not currently in the official Proton.

      • 3dSen NES emulator gives classics some 3D depth and it’s pretty awesome

        3dSen, an upcoming Emulator currently in development is now going through some Beta testing. Unlike some other Emulators, it doesn’t just support old games, it aims to redefine them.

        Allowing you to play the classics with an entirely new twist, in 3D with some depth to them and the results are pretty astonishing. The growing list of supported games is impressive, considering it needs a lot of tweaking to get them all right. It supports Linux too, and it’s made with Unity so it works quite well already.

      • The GOG Spring Sale is on – giving away the ‘Witcher Goodies Collection’ for 48 hours

        DRM-free store GOG has launched a huge Spring Sale with thousand of games going real cheap. They’ve also put the Witcher Goodies Collection on a 48 hour giveaway which has art, books, soundtracks and such (no games in it).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • How To Try Out KDE Plasma 5.18 Quickly (Released 11 February 2020)

          The best way to test latest Plasma version 5.18 is by using KDE Neon operating system which is indeed designed to convey latest KDE Software to humanity. However, there are other distros out there to bring same thing if you would love an alternative. I mentioned below where and what to download, how to make bootable and run it, and finally several links to read. As a longtime KDE user I really welcome this latest release. Enjoy Plasma Desktop!

        • OpenType, Harfbuzz, Qt : Not exactly a love story

          As far as ideas go there are a couple of approaches one is to follow the way Scribus does, which offloads the rendering to something like cairo which could handle this in a much better way. That would also require us to develop a couple of intermediate data structures that could hold the info, but that is not the biggest challenge. The problem here is the text editor dialog cause then you got relay what is being displayed on the canvas to the text editor dialog. And there you have to draw the cursor. Unfortunately drawing the cursor will be the biggest challenge here.

          The other way is to write a new Text Engine and hook it up into Qt’s API, which is to follow the following interface of QTextLayout if I going the right way. That way we won’t have to worry about the text editor widget stuff. But I haven’t explored this route that much and probably unaware of the challenges.

          As a basis for both, I do have a basic proof of concept ready, which could be taken for a ride from here. It uses libraqm which a thin wrapper over HarfBuzz, FriBidi and FreeType.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • On March 16th, 2020 Emma DE3 Debian 10 Buster the foxy distro!

          On March 16th 2020, the Emmabuntüs Collective is happy to announce the release of the new Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 3 1.01 (32 and 64 bits), based on Debian 10.3 Buster distribution and featuring the XFCE desktop environment.

          This distribution was originally designed to facilitate the reconditioning of computers donated to humanitarian organizations, starting with the Emmaüs communities (which is where the distribution’s name obviously comes from), to promote the discovery of GNU/Linux by beginners, as well as to extend the lifespan of computer hardware in order to reduce the waste induced by the over-consumption of raw materials .

          This new version of our distribution is based on the Emmabuntüs DE2 under Debian 10 Buster, with some noticeable improvements which were implemented during the development of the Alpha, RC and final versions : ISO file size significantly reduced, streamlining and consistency of the embedded software, better handling of the light/dark theme, added supports the installation in UEFI Secure boot mode (1), the simplified installation via Calamares in live mode, etc. This update version brings improvements in terms of ergonomics, startup time in live mode, screen tearing correction, and the addition of OpenBoard and Minetest software.

        • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition Has a New Release Based on Debian 10.3
      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • In These Uncertain Times, We Are Here to Help

          As COVID-19 continues to impact the world, SUSE is committed to your success no matter the circumstances.

          During this time, we have established a Business Continuity Committee and have in place the right infrastructure and processes to stay up and running for you. Our Global Services teams are on standby to assist you, as always, via chat, email or phone. We are transforming our flagship event, SUSECON 2020, to a purely virtual one – so you can still access keynote content and digital resources.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora 33 Looking To Further Tighten Its Crypto Settings

          For the Fedora 33 release later this year, Red Hat is looking at further enhancing and strengthening the cryptography settings/configuration of the OS.

        • Fedora Looking To Transition The RPM Database From Berkeley DB To SQLite

          As a move ultimately for Red Hat Enterprise Linux as well, Red Hat developers working on Fedora are planning to transition the RPM database (RPMDB) away from the long-standing Berkeley DB to using SQLite.

          Since Oracle’s acquisition of Berkeley DB developer Sleepycat Software in 2006, Berkeley DB’s 6.0 release and newer has been under an AGPL license and commercial license rather than their previous free software license. That dual license change has kept RPMDB back on Berkeley DB even while the latest upstream of Berkeley DB is version 18.1.

        • Fedora community and the COVID-19 crisis

          Congratulations to the Fedora community for the upcoming on-time release of Fedora 32 Beta. While we’ve gotten better at hitting our schedule over the years, it’s always nice to celebrate a little bit each time we do. But that may not be what’s on your mind this week. Like you, I’ve been thinking a lot about the global COVID-19 pandemic. During the Beta period, many of us were unaffected by this outbreak, but as the effects intensify around the world, the month between now and the final release will be different.

          “Friends” is the first of our Four Foundations for a reason: Fedora is a community. The most important Fedora concerns right now are your health and safety. Many of you are asked to work from home, to practice social distancing, or even to remain under quarantine. For some of you, this will mean more time to contribute to your favorite open source projects. For others, you have additional stress as partners, kids, and others in your life require additional care. For all of us, the uncertainty weighs on our minds.

          I want to make one thing very clear: do not feel bad if you cannot contribute to the level you want to. We always appreciate what you do for the Fedora community, but your health — both physical and mental — is more important than shipping a release. As of right now, we’re planning to continue on schedule, but we understand that the situation is changing rapidly. We’re working on contingency plans and the option of delaying the Fedora 32 release remains on the table.

        • Changes in zip extension version 1.18

          The zip extension version 1.18.0 has been released.

        • OpenShift Commons Briefing: Deep Dive on the OpenShift Logging-Stack – Gabriel Stein (Red Hat)

          Just deployed the EFK Logging-Stack on top of OpenShift and now you cannot see all the logs on Kibana?

          Suddenly the infra nodes start to hang and it is running out of resources? In this OpenShift Commons Briefing, Red Hat’s Gabriel Ferraz Stein shows us how to check the installation from the EFK Logging-Stack, how to to better capacity planning to not run out of resources and also effectively work with Red Hat Support Services to solve the Logging-Stack issues.

        • CNF and VNF certification with Red Hat and Intel

          Today, Red Hat announced the creation of a cloud-based onboarding service and testbed for network functions, supporting both virtualized and containerized network functions. This effort, in collaboration with Intel, is intended to reflect realistic networking scenarios and provide a true representation of a standards-based (high volume server hardware and open source software) and replicable platform for cloud native network functions (CNF) and virtual network functions (VNF) deployments.

          The primary goals are to reduce deployment time and complexity, minimize risks of incompatibility, ensuring application performance is as expected and address customer issues surrounding automation and troubleshooting much earlier in the integration process. The plan is to achieve this by running suites of automated test cases developed and maintained to be in line with industry standards.

        • 2020 is the year of integration

          SDTimes has declared 2020 the year of integration and is featuring an article with Red Hat’s Sameer Parulkar focusing on API-first design, agile integration, and distributed architectures. This approach is something that Red Hat has been championing since 2017—as technologies and applications have evolved, integration architecture has had to evolve to keep pace.

          But it’s worth taking a step back and asking—why is this the year of integration? Why now?

          The SDTimes article provides some hints on why integration (a first-tech bubble technology concept) is so critical now. They list a host of digital transformation-related initiatives, such as IoT, streaming data, data warehousing, containers, and cloud. All of those both produce and consume massive quantities of data and rely on strong interconnectivity to be effective.

          Conceptually, things like IoT and microservices aren’t new—but they have hit levels of maturity and adoption in the last few years that were simply not possible a decade ago. These technologies are the core of digital transformation initiatives. As both business and IT managers have focused more on digital initiatives, they are encountering an ever-growing need to be able to view, manage, and connect data associated with the new transformation projects. That’s the high-level view of integration.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.4 released

          Version 4.4 of The Amnesic Incognito Live System (or Tails) has been released. It has fixed a bunch of security vulnerabilities in Tails 4.3; users are advised to “upgrade as soon as possible”. Tails 4.4 brings new versions of the Tor Browser (9.0.6), Thunderbird (68.5.0), and the Linux kernel (5.4.19). It also fixes some problems with WiFi. Tails is a Linux distribution that runs from removable media; it is focused on privacy, security, and anonymity.

        • Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 available for download

          At the time of writing, the Linux Mint project is still to announce the release of Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 4 but if you check out mirror services, you can grab the new version right now. The new update brings improvements that were shipped with Linux Mint 19.3 such as Cinnamon 4.4, new default software, a boot repair tool, and more.

          According to the ISO status page, the 32- and 64-bit LMDE 4 images were approved for stable release in that last several hours. While no announcement has been made, you can download them by heading to the Linux Mint mirrors page, selecting a mirror, heading into the debian folder and looking for LMDE 4. If you cannot see the ISO in the mirror you chose, just look on another mirror and you should find a download link.

        • Debian Community News: Debian Community News is proud to be independent

          If you monitor the Twitter feed of Donald Trump, you will get a lot of information about how he runs the USA but can you trust it? A range of independent news outlets in Washington and the rest of the world provide a more diverse range of opinions. It’s called Freedom of the Press. If you believe in Software Freedom and the Debian Free Software Guidelines, we hope you will understand the importance of a Free Press goes hand-in-hand with that.

          Debian and other free software organizations have official blogs. If you are giving your time and money to these organizations, or if you are trusting the Debian OS to run your mission critical infrastructure, do you need a more comprehensive view of the free software landscape?


          LWN has recently run an article attacking a long standing volunteer who resigned from his post at a time of grief. They didn’t make any effort whatsoever to contact the volunteer for comment before running their article. This violation of his family’s privacy and failure to seek all sides of the story are a serious violation of the ethical standards of journalism. LWN feels that cutting and pasting troll messages and fake news to make articles is good business. We can’t help wondering why their subscribers have to pay for fake news when there are far more amusing sources of fake news that we can all access free of charge.

        • Official communication channels for Debian

          From time to time, we get questions in Debian about our official channels of communication and questions about the Debian status of who may own similarly named websites.

          The main Debian website www.debian.org is our primary medium of communication. Those seeking information about current events and development progress in the community may be interested in the Debian News section of the Debian website. For less formal announcements, we have the official Debian blog Bits from Debian, and the Debian micronews service for shorter news items.

        • Debian Installer Bullseye Alpha 2 release

          The Debian Installer team is pleased to announce the second release candidate of the installer for Debian 11 Bullseye.

        • Debian Installer Bullseye Alpha 2 Released With Linux 5.4 + New Device Support

          While the Debian 11 “Bullseye” code freeze isn’t for another year, the second alpha release of the Debian Installer to ultimately provide the installation process is now available.

          Debian Installer Bullseye Alpha 2 was released today and succeeds the inaugural alpha from last December.

        • AcademiX : Debian-based Linux distro designed for education

          AcademiX is a Debian-based Linux distribution developed explicitly for education purposes. It comes bundled with free, open-source teaching and learning software to use for primary education to the university level.

          Since the AcademiX is primarily meant for educational purposes, it lacks most of the sophisticated features and tools present in a typical Linux distro. However, you can still install them via its powerful Mate Terminal.

          Before getting down to features, let us look at how you can download and install this unique OS.

        • Norbert Preining: Brave broken (on Debian?)

          I have been using the Brave browser now for many months without any problem, in particular I use the -dev version, which is rather on the edge of development. Unfortunately, either due to Linux kernel changes (I am using the latest stable kernel, at the moment 5.5.9) or due to Brave changes, the browser has become completely unusable: CPU spikes consistently to 100% and more, and the dev browser tries to upload crash reports every 5sec.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Blog: Design and Web team summary – 16 March 2020

          The Web and design team spent the last week in an in-person sprint in Frankfurt. We have a number of members of the team that are remote so it is always great to all get together and go for dinners and coffees together. This takes us out of our usual work so this was a limited iteration but we still delivered some great work. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 622

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 622 for the week of March 8 – 14, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • New Ubuntu Linux Security Updates Arrive for All Supported Releases

          The new Linux kernel security updates address a KVM hypervisor flaw (CVE-2020-2732) discovered Paulo Bonzini, which could allow an attacker to expose sensitive information. This flaw is affecting all Ubuntu releases and supported kernels, including Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 14.04 ESM, as well as Linux kernel 5.3, 5.0, 4.15, and 4.4.

          Another KVM vulnerability (CVE-2019-3016) was fixed, affecting the Linux 5.3 and 5.0 kernels of Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. This flaw cloud allow an attacker in a guest virtual machine to expose sensitive information by reading memory from another guest VM.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ulrike Uhlig: Deconstructing the term «control freak»

        When we work with other people, our own effectiveness might get in the way of other people’s effectiveness, or vice versa. Indeed, it happens – not only in work contexts – that people find themselves in setups in which mutual responsibilities and autonomies conflict with one another because one person is dependent on the other for making decisions or moving things forward as they see fit. (There is generally a relation of dependency between two conflicting parties that is worth looking at.) Add to this the fact that, when delegating a task, some people have a hard time also delegating the responsibility and autonomy needed to resolve the task. They lack trust that another person can also do the work, or want that person to do the work exactly in the same way they would do it. (In some cases this can be related to Founder’s Syndrome and can result in organizations staying stuck with one or a small group of founders holding knowledge and power, and preventing the organization from growing. Page 11 in the booklet “Working with conflict in our groups” describes how such an informal hierarchy can come into being in grassroot groups.)

        The (perfectly valid) need behind this type of control freaking could be to make sure that a group of people builds a successful product, releases a fact-checked documentary, or creates a publication without mistakes. But controlling other people’s effectiveness as a strategy to satisfy this need can create a non-cooperative climate in which people do not meet each other on eye level, but are dependent on each other, experience a lack autonomy, a break of boundaries, or sometimes feel authority to be overexerted.

      • How Have Codes of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policies Worked Out?

        All the same, the success was enough to make extreme conservatives nervous. Eric S. Raymond, for instance, claimed that such efforts were part of a conspiracy of woman to seduce male leaders in FOSS, then accuse them of sexual harassment and replace them. However, in the unlikely event that such a conspiracy ever existed, it was obviously inept and the claim can be safely ignored.

        Such paranoia aside, how were anti-harassment policies received?

        The majority of projects and conferences quickly adopted them. No doubt virtue-signalling was a factor, as well as a wish to avoid legal complications. However, enough instances of sexism and harassment had surfaced that many saw a need to do something.

        In addition to merely having a policy, organizations soon learned that showing the willingness to act when a policy was violated was as important as the policy itself. The conventional wisdom was that a policy would prevent violations, and signal to women in particular that the project or conference was a place where they could feel safe.

        Soon after such policies became common, I recall several women in FOSS making decisions about attending conferences or contributing to projects according to the policies each organization adopted. In this sense, policies did seem to work as intended, at least in the short run.

      • Open source alternatives to Grammarly for word processing

        Grammarly is popular among many teachers, students, business people, and others who need to write or process a lot of words on a regular basis. It’s a useful tool, but you’re required to register and log in to use it, and I rarely keep website login data in my cache.

        I process words pretty often for writing technical and creative pieces, and ducking out of my text editor to open a web browser, much less to visit a site that requires me to log in, is usually too much a bother for me. Fortunately, with a few open source utilities, I can avoid this distraction.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Document Freedom in 2020

          In the age of the cloud, most people think they don’t have “real” files any more, as these have been replaced by pointers in an online system. They don’t realise they have lost their freedom until they download the file to edit it on their laptop. At that point, they realize that without buying a proprietary office suite they are unable to access their very own contents, as these are hostage of a proprietary file format. Something that wouln’t have happened if they had chosen the standard Open Document Format (ODF), which can be fully implemented by any software vendor without special permission, and without having to reverse engineer an obfuscated pseudo-standard format owned by a single company.

          Back in 2012, European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: “Open standards create competition, lead to innovation, and save money,” while announcing the publication of a new policy to help public authorities avoid dependence on a single ICT supplier. At the time, following the recommendations of the new approach against lock-in could save the EU’s public sector more than € 1.1 billion a year.

        • Community Member Monday: Tomoyuki Kubota

          I live in Tsurumi Ward, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Though it’s not as advanced as central Tokyo, Yokohama is one of the major cities near Tokyo, so it’s relatively easy to reach big stores.

          One of my hobbies is, of course, reading the source code of LibreOffice via OpenGrok (for symbol-based searches) or via GitHub (sometimes, for text based search), to try to find out the cause of trouble I sometimes see on someone’s tweets when I search for the term “LibreOffice” on Twitter.

          Sometimes I watch videos on www.nicovideo.jp, mainly Voiceroid and CEVIO commedy drama series made by others, and videos on the games I played in my childhood with Super Nintendo, such as Romancing SaGa 2, Kirby’s Dream Course (known as Kirby Bowl in Japan) etc. Sometimes, I enjoy watching videos on Human Resource Machine played by newbies’ to computer programming!

      • FSF

        • FSF: 2019 Free Software Awards

          The Free Software Foundation has announced the recipients of the 2019 Free Software Awards. A new category was added this year; the Award for Outstanding New Free Software Contributor went to Clarissa Lima Borges, “a talented young Brazilian software engineering student whose Outreachy internship work focused on usability testing for various GNOME applications”. The Project of social benefit award went to Let’s Encrypt, and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software was given to Jim Meyering, “a prolific free software programmer, maintainer, and writer”.

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Ask Lunduke – Mar 16, 2020 – GPL’d code in a book?

            Ask Lunduke is a weekly podcast where the community can ask any question they like… and I (attempt to) answer them. This episode of Ask Lunduke is available two ways: At Patreon to all Patrons of The Lunduke Journal. At LBRY, for a small cost in LBC. Topics on Ask Lunduke this week: If you had to give up all of my computing devices… which would you miss the most?

      • Programming/Development

        • GNU Debugger Lands Microsoft Windows Support Improvement

          The GNU Debugger (GDB) is seeing the start of improvements to enhance its Microsoft Windows debugging experience.

          GDB debugging for Windows executables is not new, but up until now it has used the Cygwin OS ABI for everything on the platform — including for the likes of MinGW produced binaries.

        • Text processing in the shell

          One of the things that makes the shell an invaluable tool is the amount of available text processing commands, and the ability to easily pipe them into each other to build complex text processing workflows. These commands can make it trivial to perform text and data analysis, convert data between different formats, filter lines, etc.

          When working with text data, the philosophy is to break any complex problem you have into a set of smaller ones, and to solve each of them with a specialized tool.

          The examples in that chapter might seem a little contrived at first, but this is also by design. Each of these tools were designed to solve one small problem. They however become extremely powerful when combined.

        • Recreate Flappy Bird’s flight mechanic | Wireframe #29

          From last year’s issue 29 of Wireframe magazine: learn how to create your own version of the simple yet addictive side-scroller Flappy Bird. Raspberry Pi’s Rik Cross shows you how.

        • Perl / Raku

          • 2020.11 Farewell Good Friend

            On Saturday 14 March, it became known that our well-loved Jeff has died in a snorkelling accident during or shortly after the JoCoCruise 2020. The Perl and Raku communities learned a lot from Jeff Goff, from his many areas of interest: Mathematics, programming, making music, glass blowing, game playing, origami, taking care of parrots, Parrot, terrible movies and food, to name but a few. Or just from hanging out with the stories he would tell.

          • Write Codes, not Op – on Indention

            As I heard from many posts on those online communities, Perl had been described as “hard to read”/”write once, modify never”/”oversophisticated”… These did not match my personal experience. Recently I have discovered that there is a Perl style guideline on the official site!

          • On my technical Background – a beginner’s story

            For me, solitaires (games) always attract me. Programming has been felt like a solitaire . (Some people must disagree with me on this line. They are lucky. And I also want myself can grow as strong as a contributor to the opensource programming community.) Testing. Possible modifications. I learnt LOGO programming language in the primary school. As I can remember, while I was in junior high school, I lost my sleep one night just because of thinking using LOGO to write a Chinese Chess program! (The workload would be too much… LOGO is derived from LISP, I know. Ha.)

            I met Perl in 2006, while I was an unnoticed junior high schooler and had no support on my interest. Due to a sense of unorthodoxness, and, at that time, Python was not as hot as it has been now, I borrowed a book on Perl and had a little bit appreciation on this programming language… I thought of writing a program on Othello(aka “Reversi”, but “Othello” is commercially copyrighted)… However, I had no support on computing at that time. I programmed “Hello World” and nothing else. Two years later, I had to be familiar with Pascal as it was the standard language in local public exam; in addition, it is one of the standard languages for local competitive programming. (Besides handling the infamous heavy loading of academic study for adolescents in East Asia, I was VERY into those competitive math/programming/Physics Olympiad.) Of couse I knew that Pascal had been already excluded in practical business. After 3-years relationship with Pascal, coincidentally I have to get into the university , I digged into my major physics and its close friend math, and abandoned programming.

            I came back to programming because of a practical reason: career, initially. (I had thought of becoming a research scientist; however my plans were naive… … This is a long and twisted story with self-loath and will be bored you all.) But programming (especially on Perl?) becomes one of my hobbies now.

        • Python

          • PyDev of the Week: Jessica Garson

            This week we welcome Jessica Garson (@jessicagarson) as our PyDev of the Week!

          • Public key cryptography: RSA keys [Ed: New update]

            I bet you created at least once an RSA key pair, usually because you needed to connect to GitHub and you wanted to avoid typing your password every time. You diligently followed the documentation on how to create SSH keys and after a couple of minutes your setup was complete.

            But do you know what you actually did?

            Do you know what the ~/.ssh/id_rsa file really contains? Why did ssh create two files with such a different format? Did you notice that one file begins with ssh-rsa, while the other begins with —–BEGIN RSA PRIVATE KEY—–? Have you noticed that sometimes the header of the second file misses the RSA part and just says BEGIN PRIVATE KEY?

            I believe that a minimum level of knowledge regarding the various formats of RSA keys is mandatory for every developer nowadays, not to mention the importance of understanding them deeply if you want to pursue a career in the infrastructure management world.

          • Default Arguments in Python Functions

            Functions in Python are used to implement logic that you want to execute repeatedly at different places in your code. You can pass data to these functions via function arguments. In addition to passing arguments to functions via a function call, you can also set default argument values in Python functions. These default values are assigned to function arguments if you do not explicitly pass a parameter value to the given argument. Parameters are the values actually passed to function arguments.

          • How to Do a Binary Search in Python

            Binary search is a classic algorithm in computer science. It often comes up in programming contests and technical interviews. Implementing binary search turns out to be a challenging task, even when you understand the concept. Unless you’re curious or have a specific assignment, you should always leverage existing libraries to do a binary search in Python or any other language.

          • Python 3.5.2 : Detect motion and save images with opencv.

            This script is simple to use it with a webcam or to parse a video file.
            The main goal of this script is to see the difference in various frames of a video or webcam output.
            The first frame of our video file will contain no motion and just background and then is compute the absolute difference.
            There is no need to process the large, raw images straight from the video stream and this is the reason I convert the image to grayscale.
            Some text is put on the window to show us the status string to indicate it is detection.

          • Python 101 2nd Edition

            My Kickstarter for the 2nd Edition of Python 101 is ending in less than two days. If you want a signed copy or to purchase one of my other books for a discount, you should check out the Kickstarter as I have lots of good deals on there.

          • Against service layers in Django

            Recently I’ve seen posts and questions pop up in a few places about a sort of “enterprise” Django style guide that’s been getting attention. There are a number of things I disagree with in that guide, but the big one, and the one people have mostly been asking about, is the recommendation to add a “service layer” to Django applications. The short version of my opinion on this is: it’s probably not what you want in Django apps.

          • Get started using treq to make async calls in Python

            The Twisted Requests (treq) package is an HTTP client built on the popular Twisted library that is used for asynchronous requests. Async libraries offer the ability to do large amounts of network requests in parallel with relatively little CPU impact. This can be useful in HTTP clients that need to make several requests before they have all the information they need. In this article, we’ll work through an example of making async calls to explore using treq.

          • Coding Starter Kit Humble Bundle

            I am very excited to share that “Doing Math with Python” is part of No Starch Press’s Coding Starter Humble Bundle. Of course, you get No Starch Press’s other excellent coding books as part of the bundle.

          • 5 Examples of Python While Loop

            Even though the for loop achieves the same thing with fewer lines of code, you might want to know how a “while” loop works.

            Of course, if you know any other programming languages, it will be very easy to understand the concept of loops in Python.

            In this article, I shall highlight a few important examples to help you know what a while loop is and how it works.

        • Rust

          • Rust team polishes matches! and subslice patterns in 1.42 release

            The team behind programming language Rust has prepped version 1.42 for download, providing devs with expanded support for matching on parts of a slice and a stabilised macro for pattern matching.

            The now available release allows developers to use the slice pattern syntax with subslices, which can be useful for matching purposes. Subslice patterns are introduced via .. which is meant to denote “a variable-length gap, matching as many elements as possible not matched by the patterns before and after the ..”.

            Users who were looking for a simple form of pattern matching in Rust will be pleased to learn that the matches! macro is now stable enough to use. It accepts an expression and a pattern as well as features like | patterns and if guards, and returns true if the two are a match. Other than that the new version comes with stabilised iterations of the CondVar::wait_while, CondVar::wait_timeout_while, DebugMap::key, DebugMap::value, ManuallyDrop::take, ptr::slice_from_raw_parts_mut, and ptr::slice_from_raw_parts API.

  • Leftovers

    • Spiritual: How McCoy Tyner Lives On

      It isn’t quite true that McCoy Tyner, who died earlier this month, was the last survivor of the John Coltrane Quartet. Reggie Workman, who for a while held the string bass chair that Jimmy Garrison would claim until Trane’s death, is alive and well, 82 years young, living, teaching and gigging in and around New York City.

      There are many reasons to acknowledge Workman. One is that he played on and contributed mightily to what, in my view, stands, nearly sixty years on, as jazz music’s most stirring and emblematic performance: “Spiritual,” from Nov. 3, 1961, recorded near the end of the Coltrane band’s two-week residence at New York’s famed Village Vanguard night club.

      The same can be said of McCoy Tyner’s piano playing on “Spiritual.” Indeed, the two of them, Workman and Tyner, don’t merely propel Coltrane, playing tenor and soprano saxophone, and Eric Dolphy, playing bass clarinet, to majestic heights. Each note by them, each chord, is, in its own right, dazzling and profound.

    • Martian TP
    • Remembering Clayton Christensen: how has “disruptive innovation” fared?

      If asked to choose one concept that captured the zeitgeist of the high-tech boom at the dawn of the 21st century, it was “disruptive innovation”. Its basic premise was that an industry leader is most vulnerable to competition when the company does everything “right” but lurking in the shadows is a start-up that will ultimately pose a substantial, even existential threat.

      This counterintuitive notion, which grabbed the strategic jugular of corporate leaders, had been developed in a 1997 book (“The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail”) by Clayton Christensen, a professor at the Harvard Business School, who passed away at the end of January at the age of 67. George Gilder, a leading economic commentator, immediately called “[i]t the most profound and useful business book ever written about innovation”.

    • Science

      • An embarrassing paean to reiki in The Atlantic

        I subscribed to The Atlantic for many years, having been introduced to through my mother’s subscription while I was in high school and college and then subscribing to it myself after I had moved away from southeast Michigan. That all stopped in 2009 when I noticed that the magazine had taken a distinctive turn away from medical evidence in the form of articles spreading misinformation about the H1N1 pandemic, promoting the “integration” of quackery, mysticism, and pseudoscience into medicine, revisionist history of the “evolution” of “integrative medicine,” and even apologetics for chelation therapy. I guess that’s not enough pseudoscience for The Atlantic, though, because over the weekend I became aware that apparently the editors of the magazine are all in for reiki, as demonstrated by a recently published article by Jordan Kisner:

      • Mary Rothschild and How Digital Devices Affect Developing Brains of Young Children – The Project Censored Show
      • Cryptography Pioneer Seeks Secure Elections the Low-Tech Way

        Ronald Rivest sports a white beard, smiles with his eyes and bestows his tech gifts on the people of the world. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor is the “R” in RSA, which means that he, along with Adi Shamir (the “S”) and Leonard Adleman (the “A”), gave us one of the first public key cryptosystems. It’s still common today: Nearly all internet-based commercial transactions rely on this algorithm, for which the trio was awarded the 2002 A.M. Turing Award, essentially the Nobel Prize of computing. In recent decades, Rivest has continued to work on making it computationally hard for adversaries to break a system, though he now focuses on ensuring that votes in democratic elections are cast as intended, collected as cast and tallied as collected. Elections, he has discovered, have stricter requirements than nearly any other security application, including internet-based commerce.

    • Hardware

      • AMD Ryzen 9 4900H Mobile Processor Announced For Top-End Laptop Performance

        AMD today announced the Ryzen 9 4900H as their new top-end Zen 2 mobile processor for notebooks.

        The AMD Ryzen 9 4900H is an eight-core / sixteen thread part with a 3.3GHz base frequency and 4.4GHz boost clock. This Renoir processor comes with a 45 Watt TDP given its 8c/16t setup and high clock frequencies.

      • Put Your PC To Work Fighting Against Coronavirus

        Graphics cards are obviously a useful tool for gaming, video editing and even cryptocurrency mining. But did you know you can “donate” your AMD Radeon or Nvidia GPU’s spare compute cycles to researching and potentially fighting against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic?

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘A Kind of Triumph of Spirit’: Locked Down Italians Singing From Balconies Inspire Hope Across World

        “This is why so many people through many centuries fall in love with Italy.”

      • Modern Love
      • Social Distancing Comes With Social Side Effects—Here’s How to Stay Connected

        Building a foundation of healthy coping, maintaining awareness of the side effects of our necessary societal changes, and staying connected to our values and to each other, are imperative. 

      • Norway University Calls On Students to Return Home From Countries With ‘Poorly Developed Health Systems’—Such as the US

        “Norway is correct… the U.S. is a poorly developed country.”

      • The Democrats’ Coronavirus Divide

        Sanders is right about the need for radical change; Biden offers a woman VP and a return to ‘normalcy.’

      • Pelosi’s Coronavirus Compromise Has Left Even Tom Cotton Saying This Bill ‘Doesn’t Go Far Enough and Fast Enough’

        “They’re obviously cynical phonies but this is what happens when the most powerful Democrat in the country is a conservative deficit scold who constantly nickel and dimes emergency relief bills during a mass crisis.”

      • Putin reportedly plans to address the nation and postpone Russia’s constitutional plebiscite, though the Kremlin currently denies it

        Vladimir Putin is reportedly planning to address the nation and announce that he is postponing a nationwide vote on major constitutional amendments, due to safety concerns about the spread of coronavirus. A source close to the presidential administration confirmed that the speech is expected in the coming days. In the West, U.S. President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron have already delivered national addresses.

      • ‘Every Chance That We Could Be Italy,’ Warns US Surgeon General of Coronavirus Spread as Trump Downplays Threat

        “Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates? Or do we want to go the direction of Italy?”

      • America Doesn’t Have a Public Health System

        While we’re at it, let’s admit something more basic. The system would be failing even under a halfway competent president. The dirty little secret, which will soon become apparent to all, is that there is no real public health system in the United States.

      • Belarus criticizes Russia’s decision to close border over coronavirus concerns

        Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko criticized Moscow’s decision on Monday to close the border between the two countries, saying that Russia’s panic about coronavirus is aggravating economic disruptions. 

      • Coronavirus Pandemic: Science Sidelined in Trump Rose Garden Fiasco

        Without scientific evidence to rally the American people, the White House was reduced to showcasing corporate cheerleaders.

      • Advocates Argue ‘Unprecedented Crisis’ of Coronavirus Pandemic Proves Need for National Ban on Water Shutoffs

        “It is of the utmost importance for residents across this country to have running water to wash their hands to protect their health, the health of their families, and the health of their communities.”

      • Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What’s Included and Who Got Left Out

        While the bill deseves to be signed by Trump as soon as it hits his desk, would it have been better if the Democrats in the House had passed a more robust piece of legislation?

      • New Polling Shows Widespread US Public Support for Paid Sick Leave, Medicare for All to Fight Coronavirus

        “Humane policies are popular policies.”

      • Trump to Governors: ‘Try Getting It Yourselves’ If You Need Life-Saving Equipment to Fight Coronavirus

        “This is what happens when federal government is hollowed out over decades.”

      • Millions of Federal Workers Still Waiting on Work-From-Home Order During Coronavirus Pandemic

        The Trump administration has yet to issue clear guidance to federal employees nationwide on whether they can work at home as the coronavirus pandemic escalates.

        The result has been an ad hoc mix of policies that varies by agency and has left many workers across the country with conflicting instructions about when and how they should report to their offices and if they can telework. The civilian federal workforce consists of about 2 million people, not counting the United States Postal Service, with about 15% based in the Washington, D.C., area.

      • My Life in the Plague

        I spend most of my days and nights in a relatively small room, about 20 feet by 20 feet with about 8 feet headroom. I refer to it as my “cell” and like to say I have entered “the monastic phase” of my life. I sleep in my cell and write and read in my cell. I have just moved here after living in a much larger space, and also after having lived for the past twenty years by myself. I was alone but not lonely. Now I share space with the 84-year-old woman who owns the place and who has her bedroom on the opposite side of the house. We met in the kitchen and the living room, occasionally eat together and share a common bathroom. The rent is good: $475 a month, including utilities, plus there’s free WIFI.

      • Racist AF
      • Moscow extends coronavirus measures to ban outdoor events, close schools, and isolate all U.S. and European arrivals

        The Moscow government has banned all mass public events from March 16 through April 10. The updated ban was announced on Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s website.

      • Public Health Experts: Single-Payer Systems Coping With Coronavirus More Effectively Than For-Profit Model

        “Having a healthcare system that’s a public strategic asset rather than a business run for profit allows for a degree of coordination and optimal use of resources.”

      • ‘They Are Saving Our Lives’: Demand Grows for Grocery Store Employees, Other Frontline Workers to Receive Hazard Pay Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

        “Crewmembers are terrified, knowing their job is putting them on the frontlines of a global pandemic.”

      • Can a Pandemic Shake the Faith of Trump’s Followers? Don’t Count on It.

        It feels as though the United States entered a new phase in the coronavirus crisis over the weekend. Although President Trump continued to tout his bungling response to the pandemic as a heroic success, the virus just keeps coming. Based on what we hear from all the experts, this is really just the beginning.

      • Trump’s Coronavirus Lies: Deception and Incompetence in Service of Authoritarianism

        After weeks of deceiving the public, President Donald Trump finally delivered two addresses to the nation last week that acknowledged what half the country already knew – that coronavirus represents a serious public health crisis. The World Health Organization’s declaration of a global pandemic made it increasingly difficult for Trump to play dumb, as did the reality that investors on Wall Street understand that the volatility and instability associated with the virus’s spread represents a danger to economies and markets across the globe.

      • After Discovering a Sailor With Coronavirus, the U.S. Navy Crowded Dozens Into One Room

        It wasn’t a surprise when the U.S. Navy announced Sunday that the fast-spreading coronavirus had made its way on board one of its ships, infecting a sailor on the USS Boxer, docked in San Diego.

        But what happened next raises questions about how the Navy will respond to the virus within the tight quarters of its seabound vessels.

      • ‘Basic Human Decency’ Wins as Judge Blocks ‘Cruel to Its Core’ Trump Effort to Strip Food Assistance From 700,000 People Amid COVID-19 Crisis

        Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. stressed the importance of such programs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Russia confirms 30 new coronavirus cases, bringing total number of known infections to 93

        On March 16, Russian health officials announced that they recorded 30 new cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the country’s number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to 93.

      • “A Time to Rethink America”: Sanders Sets Tone at Coronavirus Debate

        The final Democratic presidential debate of 2020 was a dispiriting affair for reasons that went far beyond the politics of it. The specter of COVID-19 lent a stark gloominess to the occasion, as did the seeming emptiness of the room itself: three CNN moderators, two men and the cameras. I never thought I’d miss a debate audience, but the energy was gone from that room, and the brightly lit set could not make up for it.

      • Here’s Russia’s plan for facing the coronavirus crisis and preventing new infections, point by point

        On March 16, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced his cabinet’s plans for battling the global pandemic of COVID-19. The proposal is scheduled to be revealed in full on March 18, but media sources like Vedomosti and Kommersant have already uncovered a number of the measures it contains. The federal executive branch has now confirmed some of those steps, particularly those related to business and the economy.

      • Sanders Goes Full FDR in COVID-19 Speech

        Bernie Sanders just gave the speech of his life — one that everyone planning to vote in the Democratic primaries ahead should watch before making an decision between Sanders and Joe Biden. In fact, look at the Sanders video, and then read about the press conference Biden held and his anemic proposed response Biden offered to the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Coronavirus Bill Includes Sick Leave, But Not for Gig Workers

        Leaving out this growing and critical category of workers will only exacerbate the risk of Covid-19 for all of us.

      • Profit Motives Are Fueling Mask Shortages at Hospitals

        Masks, gloves and other equipment are crucial as health care workers face the COVID-19 outbreak. There is a strategic national stockpile that the U.S. government controls — but no one knows what, beyond that stockpile, is available in the private sector.

      • Sharks Become Real When They Circle Your Lifeboat

        So, hunker down. Slow down the spread long enough to make immunization by natural or medical means effective. Reflect on what’s really important. Reconsider buying another gas-guzzler even if it’s just to avoid filling stations. Live long and prosper any way you can.

      • Our Government Has Failed Us in This Crisis. How Do We Protect Our Communities?

        Kelly Hayes discusses mutual aid during the COVID-19 crisis and talks with Pilar Weiss about how bail funds empty cages.

      • Russia closes border with Belarus and announces economic relief measures

        In an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Moscow has decided to suspend the flow of people across the border with Belarus, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced on Monday. He also unveiled 300 billion rubles ($4 billion) in federal subsidies to prop up Russia’s economy.

      • Universities all across Russia are going online. Here are just a few of them.
      • Russian government closes borders to almost all foreign citizens amid COVID-19 outbreak

        Russia’s executive cabinet has drafted an order that would temporarily block all foreign citizens from entering Russia. The ban would include Belarusian citizens. Its timing is not yet clear.

      • Getting Viral: Why COVID-19 is Such a Threat to the 60+ Plus Population and Why the Response May Make It Worse

        The demographics, virology, and public health dimensions of, and earlier parallels to, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic suggest that the current approach to the outbreak in the U.S. and Europe (other than the U.K.) might be on a wrong and dangerous track. In the U.S., this is partly due to Donald Trump’s self-serving blunders, but not entirely. While there are no perfect responses in the current environment (the availability of a vaccine would change everything), the following facts need to be considered.

      • Coronavirus Panic Buying Puts Grocery Workers and Shoppers at Risk of Infection

        I grew up in Miami, where swarming the grocery store before a hurricane was a near-annual ritual. We packed our carts and waited in long lines, but there was certainty, at least in that very moment, that we were safe. The storm had not yet arrived. It was still on the TV screen, a disc spinning slowly in the ocean, behind a cone of uncertainty that meant we might not get hit at all.

        Now, we’re shopping in the middle of a hurricane we cannot see. The incubation period for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, is two to 14 days. Experts have predicted some hospitals could start becoming overwhelmed by next week. This means a good number of those future patients are possibly infected right now, unaware, the virus incubating in their bodies and spreading.

      • Fear Can Spread From Person to Person Faster Than the Coronavirus – but There Are Ways to Slow It Down

        As cases of COVID-19 proliferate, there’s a pandemic of fear unfolding alongside the pandemic of the coronavirus.

      • Calls Grow to Delay In-Person Primary Voting and Move to Mail-In Ballots as Coronavirus Sweeps Across US

        “We should delay these elections until people’s legitimate fears are allayed.”

      • Trump Administration Seeks Exclusive Rights to Potential Coronavirus Vaccine

        German lawmakers and government officials voiced outrage at reporting Sunday that the Trump administration is seeking to secure exclusive rights to a potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by the German firm CureVac as the pandemic spreads and takes lives across the globe.

      • ‘Depraved’: Trump Reportedly Offered German Firm ‘Large Sum’ for Exclusive Rights to Coronavirus Vaccine

        “Trump wanted not only to control any new vaccine but also to make sure that it would only be available on a for-profit basis.”

      • Black Plague, Spanish Flu, Smallpox: All Hold Lessons for Coronavirus

        Pandemics are nothing new in history, and their long record across the ages and continents has much to teach us about how best to handle the current outbreak, writes California State University professor Ibrahim Al-Marashi in a fascinating piece at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

      • The Coronavirus Shows It is Time to Remove the For-Profit Infection from U.S. Health Care

        We have allowed the profit motive to drive our U.S. health care system, and it has driven us straight into a ditch.

      • Techdirt In The Time Of Covid-19

        First off, I hope that everyone reading this, and their friends, families, loved ones, etc, are staying safe — and I urge you to stay safe as well, which means staying home as much as possible. I did want to at least put up a post noting that these are unique and unprecedented times, and I honestly have no idea what this will mean for Techdirt over the next few weeks or months. We may very well be posting less. I don’t know if our posting focus will change. I have some posts on the way that touch on the pandemic situation, and plenty that don’t, and while I want to continue covering other things, it feels like we’re in a moment where pretty much the only thing that is going to matter for the near future is how we deal with the pandemic.

      • Senate Leadership Is Pushing Through a Dangerous Surveillance Bill as Americans Are Focused on Covid-19

        If McConnell’s push through the Senate succeeds, it would renew the government’s power to warrantlessly acquire billions of data points on every person in the United States. These are terrifying powers to hand to President Trump.

      • SoftBank Owned Patent Troll, Using Monkey Selfie Law Firm, Sues To Block Covid-19 Testing, Using Theranos Patents

        Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to begin this story or how to fit all the insanity into the title. It’s a story involving patents, patent trolling, Covid-19, Theranos, and even the company that brought us all WeWork: SoftBank. Oh, and also Irell & Manella, the same law firm that once claimed it could represent a monkey in a copyright infringement dispute. You see, Irell & Manella has now filed one of the most utterly bullshit patent infringement lawsuits you’ll ever see. They are representing “Labrador Diagnostics LLC” a patent troll which does not seem to exist other than to file this lawsuit, and which claims to hold the rights to two patents (US Patents 8,283,155 and 10,533,994) which, you’ll note, were originally granted to Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos — the firm that shut down in scandal over medical testing equipment that appears to have been oversold and never actually worked. Holmes is still facing federal charges of wire fraud over the whole Theranos debacle.

      • Meet the Climate Science Deniers Who Downplayed COVID-19 Risks

        The very next day, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) published an article titled, “Coronavirus in the U.S.: How Bad Will It Be?”

      • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Michael Eric Dyson Debate Sanders vs. Biden

        Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders faced off in their first one-on-one debate Sunday night in the midst of an unprecedented national crisis, with 3,600 reported COVID-19 cases, 61 deaths so far, 33 states closing schools and mass shutdowns in major cities. The rivals clashed on how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare for All, the climate crisis, Joe Biden’s record and whether or not the U.S. needs a revolution. We play highlights from the debate and get responses from scholars Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Michael Eric Dyson. Taylor is assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton who has endorsed Sanders, and Dyson is a Georgetown University professor, political analyst and author who has endorsed Biden.

      • Lessons from Coronavirus: The Party’s Over

        I’m going to spend the rest of the month, probably, writing a series of essays about Coronavirus. Crises as great as these always contain messages, lessons. About past failures and future possibilities. And during these next few weeks of quarantine’s quiet anxiety, perhaps there will be time to reflect on just such things.
        Here is the first lesson that Coronavirus is sending us. And us, in these essays, is usually going to mean something like “all of us, the human species, human beings as a whole.”
        The party’s over. Coronavirus is a warning about the kind of age we face: one of mounting catastrophe. There is a series of catastrophes on the way — so large that no human generation has ever faced such an age before — and we have mostly buried our heads in the sand about it all. I don’t blame us: it’s not easy to face that. And yet.
        Coronavirus warns us: the age of catastrophe is here, it is going to affect us all, no country or society will remain unscathed — and to survive it, the how we think, live, behave, and believe is all going to have change, pretty radically. It’s going to change one way, or the other: through our own agency — or by force, when catastrophe strikes, just as now, our cities and nations shutting down.
        What kinds of catastrophes do I mean? I often say that this century presents us with five Big Problems. Climate change, mass extinction, ecological collapse, economic stagnation, and social regress. They’re the Big Five. And while it’s easy for me write them down, and for you to read the words that describe them, none of that does justice to them. Each one of the world’s Big Five problems is a thing with the force and fury to wreck our worlds by itself, making Coronavirus look small and tepid. We face five larger catastrophes than Coronavirus at once as a human race.
        My point isn’t to scare or frighten you. It isn’t even to shake you out of your complacency. I don’t know if you’re complacent. My point is much humbler and simpler. Simply to discuss. And to bear witness, perhaps. Perhaps even to testify on behalf of the world we have ignored. That is what I mean by “the party’s over” — so let me explain.
        Consider climate change. Coronavirus is going to last a few months, probably — and then recur, in smaller peak, over time. Climate change? It’s going to last decades. It’s going to be permanent. And if you think societies and cities shutting down for a few weeks or months because of a pandemic is a big deal — you’re right. But now imagine what happens when they become uninhabitable. When they sink. When. Their protections and safeguards fail. When nobody can afford the risks of it all anymore. Perhaps you’re beginning to see what I mean.
        We have about a decade to have any real hope of stopping catastrophic levels of climate change — the levels that really do sink cities and flood nations and cause megastorms and megafires and all kinds of other effects we barely have considered yet. But here we are — we’re going to spend a year or two grinding our wheels against the boulder of Coronavirus. In that time, we will make no progress whatsoever on climate change. Bang! One catastrophe made another more likely.

      • Trump Administration Offered “Large Sums” to Secure Exclusive Rights to a Coronavirus Vaccine
      • Steinar H. Gunderson: WFH tip: Xpra

        Norway is going into lockdown over Covid-19. Everybody is encouraged to WFH if possible, all organized sports (indoors and outdoors) is prohibited, schools and univerisities are closed…

        Like many others, I live in quasi-quarantine. I organize my life around new routines, which give life structure: Work. Sleep. Run. Talk to friends and family online. I wonder, what will become of those who don’t have these knobs on which to hang their safety nets? What happens when you’re actually sick and have nothing to do except watch a steady stream of news, from which you can pick the worst available at any time?

      • David Humphrey: Teaching in the time of Corona

        It seems crazy to give background or provide links to what’s going on, but for my future self, here is the context of the current situation. On Thursday March 12, the Ontario government announced the closure of all publicly funded schools (K-12) in the province. This measure was part of a series of closures that were cascading across the US and Canada. The effect was that suddenly every teacher, parent, student, and all their family members were now part of the story. What was happening on Twitter, at airports, or “somewhere else” had now landed with a thud on everyone’s doorstep.

        What we didn’t hear on Thursday was any news about post-secondary institutions. If K-12 had to close, how could we possibly keep colleges and universities open? Our classes are much larger, and our faculty and student populations much more mobile. It made no sense, and many of my colleagues were upset.

        I went to work on Friday in order to give two previously scheduled tests. As I was handing out the test papers, an email came to my laptop. Our college’s president was announcing an end of all in-person classes, and move to “online.”

      • Certain views about Covid-19’s global trajectory are anti-poor and anti-human

        I have seen Facebook posts about healthy individuals in cities under lockdown or with severe movement restrictions volunteering to go fetch medicine or to go buy groceries for neighbours who are in risk groups that make them dangerously susceptible to infection, and susceptible in particular to severe versions of the virus’s effect.

        I have already seen, here in South Africa, stories about people volunteering to look after their neighbours’ children, now that schools are being closed, but breadwinners must still go to work. The value of ubuntu, often casually trotted out in speech but less often expressed in behaviour, comes alive in examples of social cohesion and solidarity.

      • Coronavirus vaccine test opens with 1st doses given

        U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday — leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

        With a careful jab in a healthy volunteer’s arm, scientists at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Research Institute in Seattle begin an anxiously awaited first-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed in record time after the new virus exploded from China and fanned across the globe.

        “We’re team coronavirus now,” Kaiser Permanente study leader Dr. Lisa Jackson said on the eve of the experiment. “Everyone wants to do what they can in this emergency.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Cybersecurity Firm Hired By Voatz To Audit Its System Finds Voatz Is Full Of Vulnerabilities

          Mobile voting app Voatz is still a mess. Two years ago, West Virginia decided to give the app a spin to allow some voters to vote from home during the midterm elections. Nobody in the security world thought this was a good idea. The only people who did feel this was a safe, secure way to collect votes were state legislators and Voatz itself. Some early poking and prodding by security researchers immediately found problems with Voatz’s handling of votes, including out-of-date SSH and unproven facial recognition tech that was supposed to verify voters by matching their selfies to their government IDs.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Will Wall Street Get In The Way Of Jack Dorsey’s Lofty Plans To Turn Twitter Into A Protocol?

              A year ago, I was at a round table discussion, where someone was doing one of the standard rants we’ve all heard, about how big internet companies were evil because they were focused on profits over the health of their user base, etc. I pointed out that while this narrative had taken hold among many people outside of these internet companies, it didn’t seem to reflect what I was hearing from those within those companies — especially as they were investing heavily in “trust & safety” teams, including both hiring people and building technology, that would provide better overall experiences on the platform. Instead, I suggested, their complaint seemed to be more with Wall Street investors, and the short term profits that it demanded from many public companies. There are the Jeff Bezos/Amazon exceptions — where he basically told Wall Street to go put their head in a bucket for many years while he re-invested in the business as they demanded profits — but for the most part, public companies are put on a short leash, not so much by management expectations, but the demands of investors.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation prepares for disaster, new anti-tracking data set, Mozilla goes back to mobile OSes, and more open source news

                When a disaster happens, it’s vital to keep communications links up and running. One way to do that is with mesh networks. The Linux Foundation has unveiled Project OWL to “help build mesh network nodes for global emergency communications networks.”

                Short for Organisation, Whereabouts, and Logistics, OWL is firmware for Internet of Things (IoT) devices that “can quickly turn a cheap wireless device into a ‘DuckLink’, a mesh network node”. Those devices can connect to other, similar devices around them. OWL also provides an analytics tool that responders can use for “coordinating resources, learning about weather patterns, and communicating with civilians who would otherwise be cut off.”

        • Security

          • How Red Hat tackles security

            Red Hat historically has had the best record of all the Linux companies in finding and fixing Linux and open-source security bugs. Here’s how the Raleigh, NC-based company does it. First, Red Hat Product Security is in charge of both finding and fixing security holes. It doesn’t do this alone. The team works with other Linux and open-source companies and developers. Security in the Linux world isn’t done in secret, but with the full cooperation of all involved programmers.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (graphicsmagick, qemu, and slurm-llnl), Fedora (ansible, couchdb, mediawiki, and python3-typed_ast), Gentoo (atftp, curl, file, gdb, git, gst-plugins-base, icu, libarchive, libgcrypt, libjpeg-turbo, libssh, libvirt, musl, nfdump, ppp, python, ruby-openid, runc, sqlite, squid, sudo, SVG Salamander, systemd, thunderbird, tiff, and webkit-gtk), Mageia (firefox, kernel, and thunderbird), openSUSE (firefox, librsvg, php7, and tomcat), Red Hat (firefox), Slackware (thunderbird), and SUSE (firefox, kernel, salt, and wireshark).

          • How a zero-trust approach can protect your cloud resources
          • Dutch Researcher Claims Google’s US$100,000 Bug Bounty

            In August 2020, Google introduced an annual bug bounty or vulnerability reward program (VRP) for its Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Sighting under-representation of research on the GCP, Google kept a bounty prize of US$100,000 to generate interest among bounty hunters. They seem to have succeeded in their endeavor, as a Dutch researcher by the name of Wouter ter Maat has been announced as the winner of 2019 GCP VRP prize for his findings of Google Cloud Shell vulnerabilities.

          • Costly Identity Theft: Sim Swapping stealing identity attack on mobile phone companies (staff) – Spanish and Romanian police arrested 26 individuals theft over €3.5 mill $3.9 mill by hijacking people’s phone numbers via SIM swapping
          • RHEL 6 and CentOS 6 Get Important Kernel Security Update

            Red Hat Product Security team informs of a new, important Linux kernel security update for all supported Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 products to address a buffer overflow issue (CVE-2019-17133) found in the generic WiFi ESSID handling implementation. This could allow a system to join a wireless network with an ESSID longer than 32 characters, which could crash the machine.

            The second vulnerability (CVE-2019-17055) patched in this kernel update was found in Linux kernel’s AF_ISDN protocol implementation, which could allow unprivileged users to create a raw socket to control the availability of an existing ISDN circuit. The only mitigation for this flaw is blacklisting the kernel module from being loaded.

          • TSA Admits Liquid Ban Is Security Theater

            Interesting context:

            The TSA can declare this rule change because the limit was always arbitrary, just one of the countless rituals of security theater to which air passengers are subjected every day. Flights are no more dangerous today, with the hand sanitizer, than yesterday, and if the TSA allowed you to bring 12 ounces of shampoo on a flight tomorrow, flights would be no more dangerous then. The limit was bullshit. The ease with which the TSA can toss it aside makes that clear.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Moscow court upholds 4-million-ruble fine against Twitter for refusing to localize Russian users’ data

              A Moscow court has upheld a 4-million-ruble ($53,360) fine against Twitter, which was penalized last month for refusing to store Russian users’ data on servers located inside Russia in accordance with an anti-terrorism law enacted in 2015. Citing procedural violations, Twitter tried to challenge a lower court’s ruling, but the company’s appeals case was rejected. The same lower court imposed an identical fine on Facebook, which has not challenged the decision.

            • With Nation Focused on Coronavirus, Rights Groups Warn Senate Against Handing Trump ‘Terrifying’ Spy Powers

              “It’s unthinkable to extend these spying powers to the same agencies that have so often sidestepped safeguards and ignored Americans’ fundamental privacy rights.”

            • Clearview Was A Toy For Billionaires Before It Became A Toy For Cops

              Clearview’s claims that its controversial facial recognition program is only for use by law enforcement agencies continues to be exposed as a lie. Documents obtained by BuzzFeed showed the company has sold its tech to a variety of private companies, including major retailers like Kohl’s and Walmart.

            • To Track Coronavirus, Israel Moves to Tap Secret Trove of Cellphone Data

              Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has authorized the country’s internal security agency to tap into a vast and previously undisclosed trove of cellphone data to retrace the movements of people who have contracted the coronavirus and identify others who should be quarantined because their paths crossed.

              The unprecedented move to use data secretly gathered to combat terrorism for public health efforts was authorized on Sunday by Mr. Netanyahu’s holdover cabinet. It must still be approved by Parliament’s Secret Services Subcommittee.

              The subcommittee met Monday afternoon but ended its discussions after 4 p.m. — when a new Parliament was to be sworn in — without holding a vote, essentially stopping the approval process.

              The existence of the data trove and the legislative framework under which it is amassed and used have not previously been reported. The plan to apply it to fighting the virus, alluded to only vaguely by Mr. Netanyahu, has not yet been debated by lawmakers or revealed to the public.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Algerian Revolution: the Struggle for Decolonization Continues
      • ‘Maximum-Pressure March’: US Hybrid War on Venezuela Heats Up

        This is not the first time that the Trump administration has amplified its regime change efforts in response to negotiations between the Venezuelan government and the opposition. 

      • The Unaccountable Nation

        Exceptionalism, triumphalism, chauvinism. These characteristics define most empires, including, like it or not, these United States. The sequence matters. A people and national government that fancies itself exceptional — an example for the rest of the world — is apt to assert itself militarily, economically, and culturally around the globe. If that self-righteous state happens to possess prodigious power, as the U.S. has since the Second World War, then any perceived success will lead to a sense of triumphalism, and thus put into motion a feedback loop whereby national “achievement” justifies and validates that conception of exceptionalism.

    • Environment

      • California Is Fighting Trump for Clean Air

        Fifty years ago, when the Nixon administration and Congress were working to strengthen the Clean Air Act, they looked to California to see how it could be done. In tackling the Los Angeles area’s awful smog, state officials had already established emissions standards for vehicles, mandating the use of cutting-edge technology like crankcases that recirculate exhaust into the emissions system rather than simply spew it into the air. Later, they introduced catalytic converters and lights that warn drivers when their engines are malfunctioning and thus overpolluting. By 1967, when then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed the act creating the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the Golden State had an infrastructure for environmental regulation second to none.

      • Energy

        • I Committed Civil Disobedience By Blocking Oil Trains in Portland, Oregon—and Won

          When all legal methods of change have been tried and proven ineffective—a mass movement of non-cooperation that shuts down business-as-usual is the only choice that we have left.

        • In Conflict of Interest, Interior Secretary Met With Halliburton Lobbyists

          When Ryan Zinke was forced to resign from the Interior Department in December 2018, it was a conflict-of-interest scandal involving the chairman of oilfield services giant Halliburton that ultimately cost him his job. A foundation created by Zinke entered a real estate transaction with Halliburton’s David Lesar, prompting an inspector general investigation and pressure from the White House for Zinke to step down.

        • Exxon Now Wants to Write the Rules for Regulating Methane Emissions

          And while the oil giant has been responsible for massive methane releases, Exxon has now proposed a new regulatory framework for cutting emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas that it hopes regulators and industry will adopt. As Exxon put it, the goal is to achieve “cost-effective and reasonable methane-emission regulations.”

        • Power company in service changes over coronavirus

          In recognition of health risks linked to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Guyana Power and Light Inc. with effect from yesterday has initiated temporary modifications to various categories of its service delivery.

        • Guyana utility company GPL suspends disconnections due to coronavirus

          As the country takes precautions in the face of health risks associated with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), the Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) with effect from today, Monday, March 16, 2020 has suspended several services including disconnection, meter reading, field investigations and residential and commercial meter installations.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Apple Analysts See Higher Risk After Closing Retail Stores

        Apple Inc. shares tumbled on Monday and could fall further as the company’s decision to close all of its retail stores outside China due to the coronavirus “marks an escalation in the impact of COVID-19 on both Apple and our coverage more broadly,” according to Credit Suisse.

        The stock declined as much as 14% in their biggest one-day intraday percentage drop since May 2010, though it last traded down 8.3%. At current levels, the stock has lost more than a fifth of its value from a record hit just last month.

        Despite the scale of the recent sell-off, “uncertainty remains too high for us to step in at these levels,” wrote Credit Suisse analyst Matthew Cabral, who reiterated a neutral rating and $290 price target. He cited “both the possibility of closures extending beyond two weeks,” and the risk of a broader slowdown in consumer spending as factors behind his cautious near-term view.

      • ‘Coronavirus Collapse’: Dow Drops Record-Smashing 3,000 Points as Outbreak Panics Markets

        “The market is at the mercy of the virus.”

      • Brussels Behind The Scenes

        Following the advice of the Belgian government to close all restaurants, bars, cafés and discos until April 3, as well as postpone a range of sporting events, many of us in Brussels have resorted to home working.

        Colleagues of mine have been quick to extend the arm of communication, lamenting over the perceived threats to our mental quietude resulting from being with oneself solely, for a prolonged period of time. Have we become so susceptible to the inexorable stillness at the core of our everyday existence? Can we no longer be alone?

        Solitude has historically been resigned to the domain of religious hermeticism, but the experience, as part of social and political theory, has been debated over for millennia. Aristotle, despite later in his life drawing attention to the contemplative benefits of solitude, believed that human communities were inherently social animals who contributed to the pursuance of ‘good’ through their involvement with the polis (the state), and for those who wished not to be a part of this craft, were said to be “no part of the state.”

        This social reading on the negative ramifications of isolation was a powerful notion and has since had a considerable impact on Western thought, with the 17th century English Philosopher Francis Bacon famously appropriating Aristotelian thought and describing all those with an ‘aversion’ towards society a ‘savage beast.’


        The ‘industry’ of policymaking in this city relies on a dizzying cacophony of lobbying events, policy briefings, cocktail parties, swanky banquet dinners, and flaccid promotional gatherings, laced with half-dead smiles and a pervasive sense of duplicity, as if the whole community working in the EU quarter is engaged in an insatiable assembly of exploitation over one another.

        Should such a trade be poached from the hands of those working here, policymaking and political strategy become the enterprise of officials confined to their private domains. How and if this has an impact on the nature and essence of political thought remains to be seen.

        However, it’s important for us to consider the differences in devising political strategy and policy as part of a mixed and collaborative group and doing so alone. Digital tools of course have their merits in bridging the gap left by the withdrawal of the social domain of experience, but they lack the human investment conveyed by our expressive features, so startlingly evident in the common light of day.

        The EU is a wild and unruly orchestra at the best of times, but it has nevertheless remained a peopled ensemble. The Union, across all the institutions, is at its weakest when working in silos. The capacity of COVID-19 to enact a radical change on the working culture of those in Brussels, and potentially the politics of the EU, will soon become harshly palpable.

      • In Florida retirement hub, more worry about stock market collapse than getting sick from coronavirus

        Across the Villages, a sprawling retirement community with more than 115,000 residents in the vital political battleground of Florida, reactions to the growing coronavirus crisis are invariably colored by a voter’s partisan views.

        To Democrat Andrew Walker, Republican President Donald Trump’s handling of the outbreak proves he is unfit for the White House. To Republican Bruce Casher, Trump’s Democratic foes are blowing the global pandemic out of proportion to take him down.

        But what brings both sides together are concerns about the plunging stock market and slowing economic growth caused by the virus – a potential danger sign for Trump ahead of a November re-election fight in which Florida and older voters will play a key role.

      • How to survive and thrive while working from home
      • Coronavirus: US stocks see worst fall since 1987

        The Dow Jones index closed 12.9% down after President Donald Trump said the economy “may be” heading for recession.


        All the main European share indexes fell sharply, though they later regained some ground. France’s Cac 40 index fell more than 5.7% and Germany’s Dax dropped more than 5.3%.

        Earlier in Asia, Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed down 2.5% and the Shanghai Composite in China ended the day 3.3% lower.

        Oil prices, which have been shaken by a price war between exporters, fell again. Brent crude dropped by more than 10% to less than $32 a barrel while West Texas International crude fell more than 8% to less than $30 a barrel.


        Alongside the Fed, five other central banks – the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Canada, and the Swiss National Bank – also announced measures to make it easier to provide dollars to their financial institutions facing stress in credit markets.

        The move was designed to bring down the price banks and companies pay for US dollars, which has surged in recent weeks.

        Andrew Sentance – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, which sets interest rates – told the BBC’s Today programme that banks were acting to ensure enough credit was flowing.

        “There was some criticism around the financial crisis that central banks didn’t move quickly enough,” he said. “I see this as a partly precautionary action for central banks to show that they are doing as much as possible to keep the wheels of the economy turning.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Nobel Oblige

        It’s hard not to feel sympathy for him.  It is so coveted, yet so elusive. And all his efforts to get it seem to be thwarted by events beyond his control.  As he observed at a rally in Toledo in January of this year, “I’m going to tell you about the Nobel Peace Prize.  I’ll tell you about that.  I  made a deal, I saved a country, and I just heard that the head of that country is now getting the Nobel Peace Prize for saving the country.  I said, “What, did I have something to do with it? Yeah but you know that’s all that matters. . . .I saved a big war.  I’ve saved a couple of them.”  In making those remarks the trump was thinking of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.  He is the youngest head of government in Africa having assumed office in April 2018.

      • Russia’s Constitutional Court finds in favor of new amendments proposed by Putin

        Russia’s Constitutional Court has issued a ruling determining that the series of radical changes to the country’s Constitution developed by executive and legislative officials in recent weeks do not contradict any of the current Constitution’s unalterable clauses.

      • What Role Did Sexism Play in Warren’s Failed Presidential Bid?

        Sexism no doubt played a role in limiting Warren’s chances for the nomination, but her failure to win broader support is more significantly attributable to other key factors.

      • Trump as Political Hit Man

        Donald Trump filed his paperwork to run for reelection only hours after his inauguration in January 2017, setting a presidential record, the first of his many dubious achievements. For a man who relished the adulation and bombast of campaigning, it should have surprised no one that he charged out of the starting gate so quickly for 2020 as well. After all, he’d already spent much of the December before his inauguration on a ”thank you” tour of the swing states that had unexpectedly supported him on Election Day — Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin — and visited Florida for a rally only a couple of weeks after he took the oath of office. In much the same way that Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky once embraced “permanent revolution,” Donald Trump embarked on a “permanent campaign.”

      • Tom Turnipseed: Race Treason and the Promise of Left Populism

        “I’ve always been a populist,” Tom Turnipseed, once told me. “I just had the wrong idea of who I should be fighting for.” The political career of Turnipseed, who died last week at the age of 83, is an extraordinary one. He was the national director of Alabama Governor and segregationist George Wallace’s 1968 national presidential campaign before having a radical change of heart that committed him to antiracist, anti-corporate and ecological struggles for the rest of his life.

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

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

      • Is the DNC Once Again Orchestrating the Defeat of a Socialist Candidate?

        In 1944, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) ensured that socialist Henry Wallace would not succeed Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) as president. Is history repeating itself in 2020?

      • Who Wants a Revolution? No One Who Owns a Major Media Outlet

        Just a few weeks ago, early Bernie Sanders primary victories had media scrambling to turn winning into losing (FAIR.org, 2/24/20) and to find ways to discredit his rise (FAIR.org, 2/28/20, 3/6/20; Slate, 3/6/20). With a sudden turnaround in the race after Super Tuesday that finds Joe Biden in the lead both in polls and delegates, media have been quick to spin the reversal as a rejection of progressive politics.

      • To Defeat Corporate Hate, Bernie Bros Must Channel Martin Luther King

        Yes, I have been obsessed with understanding Bernie Sanders this year. Although increasingly I have become fascinated with the infamous Bernie Bro. The Bernie Bro is thought-provoking because of this simple paradox. On the one hand, the Bernie Bro is obsessed with personal attacks against him, yet on the other hand he says personality shouldn’t matter at all. If that’s the case, why be concerned so much with the personal? Why be so obsessed with Elizabeth Warren, or the mainstream media? He says his character doesn’t matter because of the class struggle, but why then get so burdened by the characters of others?

      • Socialists for Biden and the Power of Corporate Media

        While behind in the race for delegates, Bernie Sanders’ policy agenda—from Medicare for All to big tax increases on the wealthy—is remarkably popular with Democratic primary voters.

      • What If They Held a Revolution and No One Came?

        Bernie Sanders wanted a revolution but it appears that no one read the memo announcing it.

      • 52 pages for 12 more years How Russia’s Constitutional Court justified letting Putin stick around and a whole lot more

        Russia’s Constitutional Court took all of two days to review the country’s proposed constitutional amendments and deem them legitimate. The Court’s judges also approved the procedure prescribed in the amendment bill for its own adoption, a process that has no precedent in Russian law or jurisdiction. In their ruling, the judges explained why they found that the “fundamental,” or unalterable, sections of Russia’s current constitution do not contradict a wide range of new measures, including “zeroing out” the presidential term count for Vladimir Putin. The judges also argued that banning same-sex marriage in the Constitution is not discriminatory, and neither is a preamble calling ethnically Russian people the foundation of the Russian state. The Court’s decision was not unexpected: 11 of its 15 judges are Putin appointees, including current Chief Judge Valery Zorkin. Denis Dmitriev summarized the key points of the ruling.

      • We’ve Reported on Elections for Years. Here’s How Reporters Can Hold Officials Accountable.

        As part of our Electionland project, we work with journalists around the country to provide reporting resources about voting rights, election security and election-related misinformation. We’ve put together a series of tips and ideas about how local reporters can tackle election reporting well ahead of the general election.

        Elections in the U.S. are massive, decentralized, sometimes-idiosyncratic endeavors run independently by 10,000 county and municipal voting jurisdictions across the country. So the first thing you as a local reporter can do is to familiarize yourself with how elections are run in your state, county or town — and by whom.

      • The Battle for the Saudi Royal Crown

        The fear caused by the coronavirus outbreak is greater than that provoked by a serious war because everybody is in the front line and everybody knows that they are a potential casualty. The best parallel is the terror felt by people facing occupation by a hostile foreign army; even if, in the present case, the invader comes in the form of a minuscule virus.

      • Like It or Not, Donald Trump Won the Biden-Sanders Debate

        As I was writing this column late Sunday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced an emergency action to close all bars, nightclubs, restaurants and gyms to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that is ravaging my hometown and, quite literally, the planet as a whole. The mayor’s pronouncement reflects the grim reality that the quality of life in Los Angeles and the world beyond has declined drastically in a very short period of time, and there is no telling when it will improve.

      • Biden Adviser Compares Sanders at Debate to the ‘Kind of Protester Who Often Shows Up at Campaign Events’

        “Let this sink in. Understand that all of us in the Sanders campaign are seen as nothing but trespassers on their party property and they absolutely cannot wait to call the cops.”

      • A step-by-step guide to Vladimir Putin’s address on the future of the Russian government

        In his annual address to the Federal Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a radical series of constitutional reforms. His proposals would expand the role of the State Council (which the Russian Constitution in its current form does not mention) as well as those of the parliament and the prime minster. The president also proposed further limiting Russian citizens’ abilities to seek human rights protections through international courts and agreements. Putin’s own role in the federal government’s newly planned structure is still unclear, but it appears likely that his path will parallel that of Kazakhstan’s Nursultan Nazarbayev, who left the presidency in March 2019 while retaining much of the influence he held in that role.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • I 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.

      • Applauding Release of Prisoners in Ohio Due to Coronavirus Threat, ACLU Calls on Officials Nationwide to Do the Same

        “In normal circumstances, ICE has proven time and again that it is unable to protect the health and safety of detained people. These are not normal circumstances.”

      • Julian Assange’s mother calls for his immediate release from prison over coronavirus fears

        The mother of imprisoned WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has appealed for his immediate release from Belmarsh Prison over fears he could catch coronavirus while behind bars.

        Christine Assange’s plea came after a leading prison boss warned last week that the worsening Covid-19 epidemic will kill inmates throughout the UK, describing the conditions inside jails as a fertile breeding ground for the virus.

        Coronavirus cases have surged throughout the UK in recent days, with 14 more deaths confirmed on Sunday. More than 1,500 people nationwide have tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began, but officials say the true figure of people with the disease is likely to be far higher.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • If Someone Says You’ve Hurt Them, Believe Them

        Six years ago, I messed up.

        In 2014 I started grad school. I went to the first school event for new students and told another student an anecdote about my study abroad in China in 2000. I told the story exactly as I always had — and I used a bad Chinese accent and broken English to imitate a man I met in Beijing.

        I want to say unequivocally, I was wrong. Also, I truly did not know I was wrong. If I had known, of course I would have never done it.

        So why did I think it was okay? Because my entire life’s experience up to that point had taught me that it was.

        I assumed that if it wasn’t okay, then my Chinese friends would have told me so. I assumed that if it wasn’t okay, John Hughes wouldn’t have made fun of Long Duk Dong, the Chinese exchange student character, in the film Sixteen Candles.

        This was before comic Hari Kondabolu made a movie called The Problem With Apu explaining why The Simpsons’ Kwik-E Mart owner is hurtful to South Asians. I assumed Apu was fine because the white people I grew up with thought he was funny — and my Indian and Pakistani friends never said anything either.

        So, how did I react when a fellow student called me to task for my tasteless impression? Unfortunately, the wrong way.

        I didn’t listen. I felt attacked. I told her that I had lots of Chinese friends and a degree in East Asian studies and blah blah blah, I did nothing wrong.

        In my head, I wasn’t trying to make fun of the man in China. I was trying to recount the incident as it happened, the same way I use a British accent when I tell stories about my time in London. I think that’s why I didn’t listen.

      • 13 Events, No Witnesses: The Prosecution Concludes the Case Against Alex Salmond

        Today the prosecution concluded its case against Alex Salmond. The most important point was that, now the final prosecution witness has been called, we can conclusively say that the Crown did not produce a single eye witness to any of the 13 alleged incidents. This is even though many of them occurred in public; at a photo opportunity in Stirling Castle, in restaurants, in a vehicle with other occupants. It is strange that a behaviour allegedly so continuous and so compulsive was simultaneously so invisible – that is invisible to anybody who was not either a member of Nicola Sturgeon’s very closed inner circle – which describes six of the nine accusers – or a senior Scottish government civil servant, which describes the other three. It is the very narrow and connected milieu of the accusers which distinguishes this case from the comparisons the media had everywhere drawn with the monstrous Weinstein.

      • The Long Arm of the American Nazi Party Reaches the 2020 Illinois Primary

        Republicans voting on Tuesday in Illinois’s 3rd congressional district primary will get to decide if they want Art Jones, a lifelong white supremacist, to be their candidate. The state’s GOP is actively campaigning against him. They are still embarrassed that Jones was their 2018 candidate, after the party had forgotten to field a primary opponent to ensure that he wasn’t their candidate in the general election in a strongly Democratic district. And later that year, despite ample publicity of his views, Jones received 57,000 votes (26 percent) in the general election.

      • U.S. Embassy Urges Russian Authorities To Investigate Ponomaryov’s Beating

        Ponomaryov said later that he was punched in the face while in police custody and brought to a hospital with symptoms of a concussion. Medical personnel later concluded that Ponomaryov did not have a concussion.

      • Caste kills more in India than coronavirus

        If we collect data nationwide, we will find more people dying of “honour killings” than on the border or of an epidemic. These days, parents match the financial status of the bride and groom before agreeing to a marriage. But when it comes to marrying dalits, women are deserted and men murdered.

      • COVID-19 Will Devastate the Economic Fortunes of Those Who Are Already Struggling

        Even at the best of times, the vendors who sell phone cases, watches, rice cookers, humidifiers, and sunglasses at Pacific Mall operate on thin profit margins. The same is true of small businesses all over Toronto, whose owners often struggle to pay last month’s rent with this week’s cash flow. Shut down these undercapitalized operations for a month of effective quarantine—let alone two, or three, or six—and the economic prognosis becomes terminal. Their former customers will simply join the growing herd who, even before COVID-19, were moving to Amazon and other online retailers. No matter how long the acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic lasts, our response to this pandemic will change our world by turbocharging the migration to digital and long-distance commerce, thereby pushing uncountable small businesses (and many large ones) into bankruptcy and stripping their employees of jobs.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Comcast’s Broadband Market Domination Continues To Grow

        We’ve noted for years how as US telcos have given up on upgrading their aging DSL lines, they’ve effectively helped cement a bigger monopoly for cable giants like Comcast and Spectrum in countless markets nationwide. A recent study estimated that 40 million Americans can’t get broadband at all — double FCC estimates. And FCC data indicates that in 44% of US markets, users have the choice of only one ISP at speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. More often than not, your only option for “real” broadband is probably going to be Comcast.

      • Why Is South Korea a Global Broadband Leader?

        A universal fiber network that was completed years ago. Millions of 5G users. Some of the world’s fastest and cheapest broadband connections. South Korea has all of these, while other nations that have the same resources lag behind. How did South Korea become a global leader in the first place? EFF did a deep dive into this question and has produced the following report. The key takeaway: government policies that focus on expanding access to telecommunications infrastructure were essential to success.

        Following the Korean War, a string of major efforts in the 1970s and 1980s rebuilt the nation’s infrastructure. Telecommunications received a special emphasis because the nation still lacked a universal telephone system. Recognizing the need to develop technology to expedite the rollout of its telecom sector, the government of Korea invested nearly one percent of its GDP (60 million U.S. dollars) in research and development of electronic switching devices, eventually leading to the launch of the TDX electronic switching device. Just two years after the launch of the TDX in 1985, the nation reached universal status in telecommunications. This was after only having one in three South Koreans connected just seven years prior.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • Can Coronavirus Force Policy Types to Think Clearly About Intellectual Property?

        It will be hard to decide the most Trumpian moment in his dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, but my nomination is Trump’s meeting with executives from several pharmaceutical companies, where he discussed developing a vaccine. According to Trump, he asked them to “speed it up,” and they said that they would.

      • Dependency, Distress and No Durable Agronomic Benefits: The Story of Bt Cotton in India

        In the early 2000s, genetically modified (GM) Bt insecticidal cotton was being heavily promoted in India on the basis that it would cut pesticide use dramatically, boost yields and contribute to the financial well-being of farmers. Private sector Bt cotton hybrids now cover over 90% of the area under cotton.

      • Fair dealing and online learning in the time of coronavirus in South Africa

        As universities across the world respond to the coronavirus outbreak by moving classes online, there have been concerns that IP law (particularly, copyright law) may pose a challenge to online teaching and learning.

        Several university library copyright specialists across the US have issued a Public Statement on “Fair Use & Emergency Remote Teaching & Research”. The Statement offers comfort for teachers and learners in jurisdictions where the fair use exception holds sway. Questions have been asked regarding jurisdictions where the fair dealing exception is applicable: whether given its specificity, the fair dealing exception will offer the flexibility necessary to sufficiently support the permissible use of copyright-protected educational materials online. The fair dealing exception applies in countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, the UK and Canada. Interpretations of the scope of the fair dealing exceptions differ across jurisdictions.


        “Fair dealing” is not defined under the Act. The fair dealing provision is similar to the fair dealing exception in other jurisdictions such as Nigeria (Second Schedule to the Copyright Act) and the UK. However, unlike Nigeria’s fair dealing exception that applies to all categories of protected works, the South African fair dealing provision applies only to literary and musical works.

        The fair dealing exceptions contemplated by s 12(1) of the Copyright Act have not been subject of judicial interpretation until the case of Moneyweb (Pty) Limited v Media 24 Limited and Another decided in 2016. In that case, the High Court (Gauteng Local Division) held as follows (paraphrased):

      • Patents

        • Relief Available to Patent and Trademark Applicants, Patentees and Trademark Owners Affected by the Coronavirus Outbreak

          The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) considers the effects of the Coronavirus outbreak that began in approximately January 2020 to be an “extraordinary situation” within the meaning of 37 CPR 1.183 and 37 CPR 2.146 for affected patent and trademark applicants, patentees, reexamination parties, and trademark owners.

          Patent applicants will be able to file a petition to revive and the PTO will waive the fee for those “who were unable to timely reply to an Office communication due to the effects of the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in the application being held abandoned or the reexamination prosecution terminated or limited.”

        • Supreme Court Postpones Oral Arguments

          The Federal Circuit’s next oral arguments are in April and so the court can delay any particular decision on the issue. If you have a case before a district court judge or PTAB, check with your judges and clerks to understand timelines going forward.

        • Mannheim Regional Court vacates two Nokia v. Daimler patent trials scheduled for tomorrow, one of them due to coronavirus

          More than six months ago, the Mannheim Regional Court’s press office informed me of four Nokia v. Daimler trial dates, including one that had been scheduled for tomorrow (March 17, 2020). In that one (case no. 2 O 36/19), Nokia is asserting EP2145404 on a “method and apparatus for providing control channels for broadcast and paging services.”

          About three months ago, it looked like March 17 was going to be really busy, as the court moved another Nokia v. Daimler trial (ase no. 2 O 37/19) from December 10 to that date. The patent-in-suit in that one is EP1273199 on a “method and arrangement for maintaining synchronization in association with resetting a communication connection.”

        • FireNet Technologies patent challenged as likely invalid

          On March 13, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,892,600, owned and asserted by FireNet Technologies, LLC, an IP Investments affiliate and well-known NPE. The ’600 patent, generally directed to a proxy firewall system for protecting devices within a network, has been asserted in 5 district court cases against such companies as Kemp Technologies, Fortinet, and Citrix.

        • EPO

          • EUIPO and EPO push deadlines as COVID-19 spreads

            The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) has extended its deadlines until May 1 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe.

            The decision, announced today by EUIPO executive director Christian Archambeau, applies to all time limits falling within March 9 and April 30.

            The EUIPO had previously extended deadlines for Chinese parties.

            The spread of COVID-19 across Europe and North America has either brought much of the IP community’s work to a halt or forced it online.

            Yesterday, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted a reprieve to parties with an extension of all deadlines until April 17.

            The deadline could be extended further if “the dislocation extends beyond” April 17, the office said.

            The EPO extension came on the same day as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced it was closing all of its offices to the public “until further notice”.

            “USPTO offices will remain open for employees, contractors, and those with access badges. Unless otherwise notified, USPTO operations will continue without interruption. Patent and trademark application deadlines and other deadlines are not extended,” a statement said.

          • BREAKING: EPO and EUIPO extend deadlines in response to COVID-19 pandemic

            The EPO announced that all deadlines are extended until 17 April 2020. The announcement takes the form of a Notice in the Official Journal which can be read in full here. Rule 134(2) EPC provides that if a deadline expires on “a day on which there is a general dislocation in the delivery or transmission of mail in a Contracting State, the period shall extend to the first day following the end of the internal of dislocation for parties which are resident in the State”. If the State is one in which the EPO is located, the provision applies to all parties and their representatives.

          • Huawei tops EPO patent filers list for 2019

            The EPO says it received a record 181,000 applications in 2019, with the top five countries of origin being the US, Germany, Japan, China and France.

            Huawei tops the applicant ranking, ahead of Samsung, LG, United Technologies and Siemens.

      • Copyrights

        • Best Free Movie & TV Show Streaming Sites in 2020

          There used to be a time where I was forced to either hit the cinema to watch movies or to buy them at the store. Not saying that I regretted those times but I am sure grateful that I have more choices now with credit to the convenience of watching movies right from the comfort of my couch.

          There are many streaming websites these days where one can watch cool movies but not all of them are trustworthy and some of them don’t have the legal clearance for the content they display.

          Today’s article presents you with a list of the most credible online sources where you can stream and download (in some cases) movies and TV shows of different genres and in different qualities from different time periods.

          This list does not include the obvious options like YouTube or Amazon especially since they don’t always have the latest movies and TV shows you might be interested in watching.

        • As Police Investigate Share-Online Operators, Uploaders & Users Could Be Next

          In October 2019, Share-Online.biz, Germany’s largest file-hosting site, was shut down following police raids around Europe. As the investigation into the platform’s operators continues, a cybercrime police representative now says that hunting down former content uploaders and regular downloaders at the site remains a “realistic scenario.”

        • Coronavirus Lockdown Boosts Interest in Pirate Sites and Services

          In response to the coronavirus threat, Italy has issued a countrywide lockdown, forcing many people to stay indoors. This policy has led to an increase in Internet traffic, including a spike in interest for pirate sites. At the same time, the coronavirus continues to raise interest in the movie Contagion, which reappeared in the weekly list of ten most pirated films after nearly a decade.

        • Announcing the CC Catalog API, Version 1.0

          Integrating the API into your application will give your users access to the largest collection of openly licensed images ever released on the internet.

Biggest Threats to Software Freedom (Which Almost Nobody Talks About)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Destroying the movement by buying it piece-wise, then using patent traps inside it to assert that it’s indebted to ‘generous’ Microsoft

...and then we pay LF, then OSI, then OIN... Don't forget to grab the repos (Github) and then NPM... You think it wasn't planned already?... Wait, how do we bribe or destroy the FSF?

Summary: The assault on Free software carries on, as various building blocks are hijacked by Microsoft (to spy, censor and generally control) whilst illegal software patents are being advanced using meaningless buzzwords that any programmer would laugh at

THE world of software development — not necessarily just Free/libre software — hardly speaks of the dangers associated with GitHub.

In quick succession Microsoft attacks many pillars of software and its supply/development chain. This is overlooked by those who are bribed by Microsoft to “stay in line”. The Linux Foundation now actively promotes GitHub, which is proprietary software designed to entrap users of Git. Look at the Board of the Linux Foundation; Microsoft is all over it (and top management of the Linux Foundation too).

Today, as of this morning, many people spoke about Microsoft’s move against NPM, which is an act of all-out aggression. Make no mistake about it. Also see who’s behind it. Those are people who have attacked the Free software world for decades. Conde Nast (which ‘ousted’ Torvalds for a month) welcomed this with a number of very recent puff pieces, pretending that a land grab by a proprietary software behemoth is a gesture of “love”. Microsoft loves Open Source? No. Microsoft is attacking it. While smiling at us.

We’re going to leave that aside at the moment and instead return to it in a separate, dedicated article.

We also remain concerned about total apathy towards the patent aspect. When did OSI and Linux Foundation (both in Microsoft’s pocket) last speak about it?

The European Patent Office (EPO) under today’s leadership illegally grants patents that (GNU/)Linux would certainly be in infringement of. And those patents aren’t even legal patents!!!

Where’s the outrage?

Upcoming ‘events’ promoting illegal software patents in Europe are again being advertised today. This new press release says: “An intensive update on patent protection for software-related inventions covering all the major developments in European patent law in particular GUI inventions and mixed’ inventions with both patentable and non-patentable subject matter…”

“We also remain concerned about total apathy towards the patent aspect. When did OSI and Linux Foundation (both in Microsoft’s pocket) last speak about it?”Also, behind IAM‘s paywall this week there’s this scoop about Microsoft’s patent blackmail and extortion chief moving to Marconi. To quote IAM on Twitter: “Another big hire for Marconi as it adds former Microsoft patent chief…”

Microsoft’s patent chief is a thug, but Microsoft is also IAM’s financial backer, so they will not ‘insult’ this Mafia, will they? Money talks, says the famous idiom. Microsoft buys a lot of “talk” and the “talking points” are passed on.

One can imagine what will happen next. HTIA (best known for advocacy of Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs)) has meanwhile published this letter and tweet, stating: “The single most important thing the USPTO should do in the context of AI is improve the technical training given to examiners who plan to examine AI-related technologies.” Read more in our joint comments on patenting AI inventions…”

We’ve looked into the underlying ‘letter’ [PDF] and found it rather void of substance if not dreary. They suggest some amendments, but they play along with the buzzwords and the accompanying hype.

“Microsoft buys a lot of “talk” and the “talking points” are passed on.”The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) likes finding tricks to work around restrictions on software patents (limitations such as 35 U.S.C. § 101/Section 101/Alice) and just calling everything “HEY HI!!” (AI) is one of the more popular tricks these days. Out of nowhere they suddenly use these buzzwords all the time.

Suffice to say, the USPTO merely does here what the EPO did before it. They try to make it acceptable for patent offices to grant patents that courts later reject.

“The EPO Board of Appeal lacks independence; there are ongoing and outstanding complains about it. Already, as of months ago, Campinos threatens those same judges to permit software patents.”How about patents granted in defiance of Mayo (the other high-profile SCOTUS decision alluding to naturally-recurring things in nature).

Perhaps not minding the underlying law, Emma Longland (HGF) has just published this piece about the EPO granting likely illegal European Patents on life, as the EPO is totally out of control and even its own judges are besieged by António Campinos and his boss. To quote:

The much-watched validity dispute over the Broad Institute’s patent for fundamental CRISPR-Cas9 technology – recently revoked by the EPO Board of Appeal – is not the only CRISPR-related IP issue to watch out for in Europe this year, explains HGF’s Dr Emma Longland.

The EPO Board of Appeal’s recent revocation of the CRISPR-Cas9 patent, EP2771468 – belonging to the Broad Institute, Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – has garnered a great deal of attention since January. However, IP professionals interested in keeping up to speed with the technology’s patent landscape should also pay attention to several other important CRISPR applications going through the EPO opposition and appeals process this year.

The Broad Institute and its collaborators were among the innovators working on CRISPR gene editing during its early development in 2012 and 2013. Thanks to a strategy of accelerating the prosecution of their related patent applications at the EPO, they were the first to get granted foundational CRISPR patents in Europe. And several patents other than EP2771468 are now at various stages of the opposition and appeal process.

The EPO Board of Appeal lacks independence; there are ongoing and outstanding complaints about it. Already, as of months ago, Campinos threatens those same judges to permit software patents. This is a gross abuse of the EPC.

Free software is in a bad position as long as this carries on. There are already several troll lawsuits against it (GNOME, Mycroft etc.) based upon ridiculous software patents. What did OIN do about it? It's shocking. OIN works for Microsoft now. As for IBM with a Red Hat CEO as President? It is still suing companies using software patents, so we know nothing has changed.

New Article by Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna on UPC Lies Regarding SMEs

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published 2 days before the bogus ‘debate’

Summary: Another detailed rebuttal or response to the so-called ‘benefits’ SMEs would experience in a system designed to destroy them

II WAS EXACTLY ONE week ago that we wrote about the farce mislabeled a "debate" — basically a loaded or stacked panel of patent zealots looking to make a buck — or a quid — from lots of frivolous patent litigation. We were happy to see detailed debunkings in some blog comments. This “debate” serves to discredit our political system — for once again allowing these obviously misleading propaganda agents to spew out their lies over video streaming (and nobody present to speak for 99% of us). We should note that IP Kat is still censoring/deleting comments that its ‘Team UPC’ folks do not like (including my comments). These people actively participate in the EPO‘s attempt to suppress discussion about its profound corruption. Do not lose sight of the fact that all the people who covered EPO scandals have left the blog IP Kat. It’s not the same site/blog anymore (except the name). They actively protect and promote Team Campinos/Battistelli. Some of their authors promote software patents in Europe in spite of the EPC.

“Do not lose sight of the fact that all the people who covered EPO scandals have left the blog IP Kat.”We’ve meanwhile spotted the above paper — a detailed rebuttal to Team UPC’s lies which were told more than a week ago, culminating in that so-called ‘debate’. Here’s the abstract in HTML form (originals: English [PDF] | German [PDF])

As is well known, the political side has always presented as a core motive of the European patent reform to facilitate access to patents and their enforcement in court for small and medium-sized enterprises (“SME”) in particular. As repeatedly pointed out, these were merely words to help the reform through the Parliamentary procedure. No practically effective measures to support SMEs have been implemented to date. Documents made available under the German Federal Freedom of Information Act reveal the sometimes astonishing views expressed by members of the Preparatory Committee of the Unified Patent Court and its so-called “Expert Panel” in the discussion of measures for the support of SMEs. Especially the representatives of major industry and their legal advisers on the “Expert Panel” have campaigned against effective measures in favour of SMEs and have prevailed on several aspects.

The full paper (English and German, links above) is quite a few pages long; if someone out there wants all the gory details…

A “Homemade” Software Movement

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 3:17 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest article by figosdev

Homemade lemon cut

Summary: We are routinely encouraged to give up our identity — our software and our goals and even our communities get rebranded, as it were

If you are happy with the trajectory of Free software over the past year to 5 years, this article isn’t for you. If you think the Web isn’t bloated, broken and overly corporate — this article probably isn’t for you.

But if you are one of the many people I know who don’t feel great about the route Free software has taken, then here are some things to think about.

“If you think the Web isn’t bloated, broken and overly corporate — this article probably isn’t for you.”This article is inspired by Web browsers; They have a simple task when you think about it — they get files and either download or parse them. The more complex they are to parse, the more complex the browser becomes.

We have all kinds of complex plugins — whether they’re the old sort that stick a corporate blob in the middle of a page, or whether you can simply load a pdf with pdf.js, the functionality of the browser continues to pile on — and if you want to fork it, you have to compile the thing. But more than that, you just have this insanely complex application to fork.

I don’t think its necessary to rid ourselves of corporate software — it’s not at all as simple as that — corporations still control hardware, keeping up with any sort of compatibility will probably rely on working with them. Ridding ourselves of corporate software isn’t the goal here.

“I think we are routinely encouraged to give up our identity — our software and our goals and even our communities get rebranded, as it were.”Over time, we’ve given up too much of our identity, values and goals to someone else. Call it the developer cloud — because it’s just someone else’s company. Cooperation is great, but this is more about giving up the identity or goals of a project to something that has nothing to do with our software, or the reasons some of us create it — or like using it.

I think we are routinely encouraged to give up our identity — our software and our goals and even our communities get rebranded, as it were. We retain the same logos but everything else gets tweaked and fit to a more commercial purpose; sometimes to a purpose more aligned with a single company or organisation. Again, if you’re happy with that happening, you’ve got very little to complain about. But what about the rest of us? We get painted as impossible to please, but we were happy not that long ago.

Maybe 80% of the people using the software built up over the years are happy. 80% is my rough estimate of how much of our software is not now controlled by GitHub. If you can prove that it’s lower, please do! I’ve measured a few important repositories, and the ratio of about 4/5 keeps coming up. I’m pretty sure this article is going to speak to far fewer than 1 in 5 people. But it still matters — just maybe not to you.

When I think of software, I don’t think of the “Steve Jobs” point in its evolution; where some CEO takes it and makes it famous — and different. And shiny. And helicopter-parented by a company. I think of software in the stage where a few people are working together to create it, when its potential is still limitless.

“When I think of software, I don’t think of the “Steve Jobs” point in its evolution; where some CEO takes it and makes it famous — and different.”Some tools do gain sponsors and continue to evolve of the years — curl for example, has a long, interesting story. Given the enormous sponsorship it received recently, it’s probably going to be wrested away eventually. Like so many things, it’s on Microsoft’s GitHub; and has received so much money that the author didn’t know what to do with it.

It’s almost as if someone attached a note that said “Good luck — now you’ll have to make a foundation around this, whether you want one or not”. Will that foundation be like the one built for (then against) Linus Torvalds? Who can say? But if your project gets so much money that you don’t know what to do — pretty soon, you’re likely to meet people who are going to be helping you make decisions. And eventually, the decisions you make together may take you away from your own work, and your own work away from you.

Most of us don’t have to worry about that of course — curl is already famous. I am actually thinking about using it for a project that helped inspire this article. But now that so much of our software is mired within a single, ravenous leviathan, I thought it would be a good idea to make curl optional. My favourite feature (over GNU wget) is that curl can do the Gopher protocol. That used to be a feature of Mozilla too — then they removed it when somebody created a plugin. Then they probably dropped support for the plugin. Its the sort of thing that Mozilla does.

“There was a time when you could write a small Web browser.”And the Web! There was a time when you could write a small Web browser. Why can’t you now? Because so few of its features are really “optional” anymore. Gopher support? Yes. That’s optional. DRM? Aha… The web was vested with a yearning for freedom, but at one point Sir Tim decided that DRM was something we could tolerate. Sure, in the future of the Web, snippets of text could be as locked down as that damned ebook reader from Amazon. That’s not the Web anybody I know wants.

There are people trying to bring back Gopher, because it has less nonsense than the Web. They’re not going to replace the Web of course — but the biggest feature of Gopher (besides how easy it is to write your own client for the protocol) is that there is no DRM in the standard.

I’m aware of how few people are going to fall in love with Gopher. And personally, having given Gopher a good run (I even ran a server for a while) even I want more than that out of my online experience.

“I don’t like how ridiculous NoScript is getting (its design used the be very straightforward and text based) and I want it to be easier to create “plugins.””I know I have to use a Web browser — unfortunately. But what could homemade software do to make me happier? It could give me something that I could use for both Gopher, and other online access, that would make it so I don’t need the Web for as much of what I do online.

Yes, I use JavaScript. I also use NoScript, so for a lot of the stuff I do online, I don’t even want JavaScript. I don’t like how ridiculous NoScript is getting (its design used the be very straightforward and text based) and I want it to be easier to create “plugins.”

It’s not impossible to bolt JavaScript capabilities on to a new browser project. But none of the tools out there interest me really. All of them depend on me taking very complex pieces and trying to put them together in a complex way, only for the authors to abandon them or for them to change in some way that makes them useless to me.

Imagine that you have a glass, and a soft drink. Whatever the soft drink, it’s your favourite one. One day they stop selling bottles of your soft drink — now you still have a glass, but you can’t get the drink in a bottle anymore. You can only get glasses of your drink with ice.

“We aren’t ever going to make a browser “at home” that duplicates the functionality of Mozilla — and we don’t even want to.”You say “no ice” but the person isn’t listening. You bring a bottle but you have to funnel the drink into the bottle, and the ice tries to go everywhere when you do. Sure, you can eventually come up with a perfect solution to this problem — that doesn’t change the fact that last week, you simply bought a bottle. Then you poured it into the glass you wanted. Ice was not a problem.

To have to solve this problem again and again, keeping track of your new invention to deal with ice in a glass seems kind of ridiculous, when you never had to do that before. If you’re really the only person who hated this, that would be one thing. But you keep meeting people who also hate it, and point out that yes, these people are being unreasonable. We all know that they were never obligated to offer their drink in a bottle in the first place — and you have the recipe! You can just make your own.

But the fact that you’re now being called a “whiner” when you bring this up, and “a vocal minority” when one of the original goals of the drink was in fact to be available in a bottle — and none of this changed until the bottlers started receiving large donations from the people making the ice. Man, this just feels rotten.

“They just bundle too many things together — which leaves us relatively helpless.”But getting back to the browser. We aren’t ever going to make a browser “at home” that duplicates the functionality of Mozilla — and we don’t even want to.

But it would be fun to create software again, without a mandatory, top-heavy (and ever increasingly profit-driven, not really community-based but hijacked, co-opted community) process to decide whether you should be able to get a drink without ice, or in a bottle, or whether your browser must actually implement DRM to have that stupid, but coveted logo that says its compliant with whatever Sir Tim thinks is a good idea. Piss off, Sir Tim. Take your damned DRM and shove it.

The Web is far too important to just walk away. But we can make clients that parse the parts of it we want — clients that let us write plugins the way we want to — clients that are fully programmable and let us more easily filter whatever we like (yes, that’s going to turn into a legal problem sometimes, in some countries — as some plugin authors have revealed. But at least we don’t have to rely on some guy from Mozilla to maintain NoScript for this.)

“It’s increasingly impossible to change.”They just bundle too many things together — which leaves us relatively helpless. We have a community, but it’s run by corporate sponsors. We have the source code, we have the four freedoms, but the new design is increasingly difficult to study. It’s increasingly impossible to change. And there’s not much point in sharing software that we suddenly hate to use.

They won, but we can’t prove they won.

But it’s also a trick, an illusion of a sort. Because we rely on so much of what they now control, we can’t just walk away from what they have rebranded and reconfigured to make it increasingly not ours — and increasingly theirs instead.

Instead of forking our software, they’ve forked the user — and the user is us.

If we want control of our computing back, we will have to take it back piece by piece. Install their stupid client that uses more resources than the rest of our operating system (and application software) combined — but use it only for that JavaScript-only webmail, or even for that horrid video streaming platform. Maybe you can find or create a different client for that federated social network you use that doesn’t require a Web browser.

And instead of doing everything with a browser, maybe you can have a client that only loads what you want — that filters everything you want to filter — and that separates stuff to plugins when you want it to.

“All homemade software should be Free software, but not all Free software needs to be homemade software.”If it’s homemade, it’s going to have fewer features. But if it’s made for a small community — and the next time some corporation stops by and starts to take over your software, you can just pick it up — just like the Document Foundation did — and say “alright people, there are a few of us that aren’t going to let this happen. We’re leaving — feel free to join us.”

And that’s that. At least it means that your version of the software will stay true to its goals. And not the goals of some company you want nothing to do with, who would successfully hijack your project (like so many others) if you stayed. Only for the new version to drop features you love, add features you hate that aren’t trivial to remove — and for your project to move to Microsoft GitHub.

No, it’s better that those of us who want to — do something, even if it’s just a little bit. Even if it’s just a few of us.

Alexandre Oliva did this article very recently and I think it stands alright on its own. For some people, maybe this article adds to it.

“Not every bicycle needs to become a thorium-reactor-powered, 18-wheeler ice cream van. Most of the web didn’t need to become that either.”All homemade software should be Free software, but not all Free software needs to be homemade software. With that said, a Free software ecosystem where all software is as corporate as it is these days — sucks, frankly. Its more difficult to love than what we had a few years ago. Part of that is because we are sentimental and don’t want to change. But its also because the way we got here is largely dishonest, narcissistic and very, very corporate.

We should implement some of these features in smaller, simpler software. Let’s have some easy-to-maintain, easier-to-fork software tools again. Not every bicycle needs to become a thorium-reactor-powered, 18-wheeler ice cream van. Most of the web didn’t need to become that either. And hi to John Goerzen — forg is still nifty. Debian was nifty for many years as well.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

IRC Proceedings: Monday, March 16, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:41 am by Needs Sunlight



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