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03.22.20

Links 22/3/2020: RetroArch Emulator 1.8.5 Released and AMD Laptops With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 7:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux: No need to be afraid of the penguin

      According to recent statistics, almost 88% of computers worldwide run Windows while the figure for Linux is around 2%. One of the main reasons is that Windows is often preinstalled on computers and many users know the system already.

    • AMD

      • New Ryzen Laptop May Released With Manjaro Linux! Conform News!

        Ryzen Laptop will be released with Manjaro Linux: It is believed that New Ryzen Laptop may be released with Manjaro Linux Operating System. Manjaro Linux released a teaser about this collaboration on their official twitter page.

        A few hours before, Team Manjaro Linux updated a tweet on their official twitter web page about the collaboration of Manjaro Linux with Ryzen Gaming Laptops. You can find the official tweet below.

      • System76 May Offer AMD Ryzen Laptops When They Begin Their Own Manufacturing

        System76 is preparing to begin shipping their new Lemur Pro laptop in early April. This will be their most open laptop yet albeit still based on Intel. But it looks like when they move on with their ambitious plans to begin manufacturing their own devices, we may finally see a System76 AMD-powered laptop.

        The new Lemur Pro is arriving in early April and talks up ten hours of video playback time, light Internet activity for 16 hours, or Vim coding for 21 hours off their expanded battery. The new laptop features Intel 10th Gen Core i5/i7 CPU options, a 14.1-inch 1080p display, up to 40GB of DDR4 memory, dual M.2 SSDs, and USB 3.1 Type-C + USB 3.0 Type A.

      • AMD Plumbing Linux Support For Reading The CPU’s Protected Processor Identification Number (PPIN)

        Going back to Ivy Bridge processors, Intel has supported “PPIN” as the Protected Processor Identification Number as a globally unique identification number set in the factory. It turns out recent AMD CPUs are also supporting PPIN and that reading their value is about to be supported on Linux.

        The Protected Processor Identification Number (PPIN) is effectively a unique serial number for each processor. One of the intended use-cases for PPIN is in large data centers and multi-socket servers to be able to more easily identify a particular CPU, especially in case of problems. At least in Intel’s case, Intel can also translate a customer’s PPIN number back into the fab and production run of that particular CPU along with any other internal data in isolating any issues. Intel has supported reading the PPIN under Linux for years and plumbed it into the MCE (Machine Check Exception) code for allowing server administrators to potentially more easily identify a particular CPU in the event of problems as well as tracking CPU inventory.

      • AMD Begins Focusing On Bug Fixes For Linux 5.7 Graphics Driver Code

        Passing the point that new feature code is generally permitted into DRM-Next for in turn hitting the next mainline kernel merge window, AMD’s open-source graphics driver developers have been turning their attention to bug fixes for all the new feature code set for Linux 5.7.

    • Intel

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux Action News 150

        Why Debian is facing one of its most critical moments yet, Microsoft and GitHub buy npm, and our thoughts on Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 “Debbie.”

        Plus, why “Works with Chromebook” might be great for Linux, and using your GPU to fight the Coronavirus.

      • KDE Installation and Configuration on Arch Linux

        KDE Installation and Configuration on Arch Linux Check the Time Stamps for what you need from this stream. I went over a full arch install with KDE and the general customizations that I make.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.11

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.11 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.5.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.5.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.4.27
      • Linux 4.19.112
      • Linux 4.14.174
      • Linux 4.9.217
      • Linux 4.4.217
      • Linus Torvalds Just Made A Big Optimization To Help Code Compilation Times On Big CPUs

        For those using GNU Make in particular as their build system, the parallel build times are about to be a lot faster beginning with Linux 5.6 for large core count systems. This landing just after the AMD Threadripper 3990X 64-core / 128-thread CPU launch is one example of systems to benefit from this kernel change when compiling a lot of code and making use of many GNU Make jobs.

        Linus Torvalds himself changed around the kernel’s pipe code to use exclusive waits when reading or writing. While this doesn’t mean much for traditional/common piping of data, the GNU Make job-server is a big benefactor as it relies upon a pipe for limiting the parallelism. This technique though employed by the GNU Make job server is inefficient with today’s high core count CPUs as all of the spawned processes are woken up rather than a single reader to be woken upon a writer’s release.

      • GNU Make 4.3 Speeds Up Linux Kernel Builds, Debugger/Profiler Fork Released

        Linus Torvalds himself “changed around the kernel’s pipe code to use exclusive waits when reading or writing,” reports Phoronix.

        “While this doesn’t mean much for traditional/common piping of data, the GNU Make job-server is a big benefactor as it relies upon a pipe for limiting the parallelism” — especially on high-core-count CPUs.

      • Google Engineers Have Been Working On An AMD SB-TSI Temperature Driver

        Google open-source engineers have been working on a temperature driver for AMD’s SoC SB-TSI emulated temperature sensor for the Linux kernel.

        The SB-TSI (Sideband Temperature Sensor Interface) is a SMBus compatible interface for reading the AMD SoC temperature interface connected to a BMC. The driver was posted this week by Google’s Kun Yi who is part of the Google Platforms Infrastructure Server Software team, which doesn’t come as much surprise considering the AMD EPYC successes in the data center.

      • Linux fsinfo() System Call Continues Maturing For Exposing More File-System + Mount Info

        There has been a lot of interesting work happening in the Linux storage space in recent time like IO_uring, the countless file-system innovations, and other features — including one addition that’s now up to its nineteenth revision and is for providing more VFS/file-system and mount topology information.

        David Howells of Red Hat has been working on the fsinfo() system call for the Linux kernel in exposing more VFS and mount information to user-space along with notification support when the mount topology changes.

      • Former Linux Developer Hans Reiser To Remain Locked Up

        Hard to believe that former Linux developer Hans Reiser was already eligible for parole, but it was denied this month. The former developer responsible for creating the once-promising ReiserFS and Reiser4 file-systems will remain locked up for at least three more years.

        Reiser was convicted in 2008 of first-degree murder of his wife at which point kernel developers were understandably even more reluctant of looking at including the Reiser4 file-system in the mainline Linux kernel and already distributions like SUSE were working to move away from the older ReiserFS.

      • Graphics Stack

        • OpenGL Threading “GLTHREAD” Seeing Improvements For Mesa 20.1

          Well known open-source AMD RadeonSI Gallium3D driver developer Marek Olšák has been focusing recently on improvements to glthread for OpenGL threading that is generally able to offer better performance.

          The Mesa GLTHREAD functionality for OpenGL threading still relies on per-game/application whitelisting but the impact can be significant for many titles. For some games enabling GLTHREAD can mean around a ~30% improvement in frame rates.

        • Mesa 20.1 So Far Contains Two PCI IDs So Far For Intel Xe Graphics Plus 9 Other Tiger Lake IDs

          In recent days we have seen Intel refining their list of PCI IDs for the next-gen and highly anticipated “Gen12″ graphics within the open-source Linux Mesa 20.1 driver stack.

          Intel has been adding a few more PCI IDs as part of their Gen12/Tigerlake listing and most notably changing the first product strings to reflect “Xe Graphics”.

    • Benchmarks

      • 9 Best Free Linux Benchmark Tools

        A benchmark is the act of running computer programs in order to assess the performance of computer hardware and software applications. Hardware benchmarking assesses many different attributes such as the performance of the processor, memory, graphics card, hard disk, and the network. There are two different types of benchmarks: synthetic and application. Synthetic benchmark stress a component, such as continuously writing and reading data. Application benchmarks measure the performance of real-world applications, such as databases and servers.

        The use of benchmark software enables system testers and users to obtain an objective and independent way of assessing the performance of hardware. By making changes to the system, users can determine whether there has been an improvement in the performance of that hardware. The results from benchmark software can help make important decisions about any necessary changes to the hardware to identify any bottlenecks in the system. However, it should be borne in mind that benchmarks are not always precise and can be open to manipulation by hardware developers who can design hardware to do particularly well in specific tests which are not replicated generally.

      • Blender 2.82 Performance With The NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 Laptop Performance

        For those looking to work on Blender 3D modeling from a laptop, having a NVIDIA RTX graphics processor can do wonders with the OptiX back-end for dramatically speeding up render times. Here is a look at how the different back-ends compare when running the HP ZBook 17 G6 mobile workstation with Quadro RTX 5000 graphics.

        The HP ZBook 17 G6 is offers the most impressive mobile workstation performance we’ve seen out a laptop thanks to its eight core / sixteen thread Intel Xeon E-2286M processor and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 5000 graphics.

    • Applications

      • 6 Best Web Photo Gallery Solutions

        There are many web services that allow users to upload pictures to a hosting site. The image host stores the images on its servers, and shows the individual different types of code to allow others to view that image. Popular examples include Flickr, Instagram, Imgur, Photobucket, SmugMug and Snapfish.

        Most of these solutions provide free storage space, with more features available if you are willing to pay for a premium account. However, there are problems with these solutions. Leaving aside privacy and ownership issues, these services typically do not provide good integration with other platforms. There is a simple alternative which gives you more control and flexibility – self-hosted open source gallery software.

        Anyone with a large photo collection will know that cataloging and finding a specific picture can be very time consuming. The purpose of this article is to identify Linux software that helps to host, organize, describe and share your collection by using a number of different techniques including tagging and albums. Good software makes the task of deciding which photos to keep and which to delete less time consuming.

        To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 6 of the most useful open source web photo gallery software. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to host and share their photos. We give our strongest recommendation to Piwigo, Coppermine and Zenphoto but each of the solutions has something to offer.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Steam Play Proton 5.0-5 is out with updated OpenVR, Vulkan and fixes

        Valve published Proton 5.0-5 for Steam Play which includes some helpful additions and bug fixes, should help you play those Windows-only games while quarantined.

      • Proton 5.0-5 Brings Support For Newer Vulkan Extensions, Fixes Game Crashes

        As another update to their Wine-based Proton 5.0 series for powering Steam Play, Valve has been readying their next update for enhancing the experience of running Windows games on Linux under Steam.

        Proton 5.0-5 was being tidied up last night and includes fixes for recent game crashes, takes care of a network error for at least one game, supports the latest OpenVR SDKs, and has support for new Vulkan extensions used by some recent games.

    • Games

      • RetroArch Emulator 1.8.5 Released with Stability Improvements

        RetroArch, free and open-source front-end for emulators, game engines, released version 1.8.5 one day ago as the latest stable version.

        RetroArch 1.8.5 brings Cheevos improvements, including support for extended Sega CD memory, queue multiple popups, prevent buffer overflow when encountering an unknown macro, don’t block Sameboy core as it only exposes some memory, etc.

        The new release also adds Menu Scroll Acceleration option, new timedate styles, DPI-based scaling, ‘Nord’ and ‘Gruvbox Dark’ Ozone themes, ‘Flux’ RGUI theme, and many other UI improvements.

        Also it adds ‘Arcade DAT Filter’ option for scanner, supports for scanning Korea, Asia PS1 discs, and PSP Korean. And it adds disk control interface API extension, and brings stability improvements for 3DS, Linux, and video widgets etc. See CHANGELOG for details.

      • Here’s another quick pick of some games currently free for you to pass the time with

        It’s not possible to get sick of hearing about free games is it? I hope not, as I have another few here for you to help you pass the time with if you’re stuck somewhere.

      • Lonely Mountains : Downhill | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Lonely Mountains : Downhill running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Game is playable, I’d give high Silver / Low gold, as its fully playable, but has some major stuttering which occurs every 10-20 seconds.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: new features start rolling in

          KDE developers have started pumping out some seriously excellent new features for Plasma and apps releases this week, with more stuff on the way soon! In addition, many bugs were fixed, and the UI polish continued apace. Take a look!

        • KDE Developers Still Managing Interesting Improvements Amid The World Happenings

          KDE development is moving full-speed ahead amid the various lock-downs and other happenings around the world stemming from the novel coronavirus. This week saw a lot of interesting improvements for the open-source desktop.

        • Last week in Kube

          The flatpak now employs a patch so the pinentry tool just uses libsecret as cache, which means if you run gnome-keyring you get password-less logins (and if somebody is going to finish ksecretservice that would of course work too). I have also looked into getting access to the host gpg-agent (which seems like the better solution), but that effort is currently stuck due to a missing feature in bubblewrap and because it’s not entirely clear if this will really be the way to go forward. Feel free to weigh in.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • How does GNOME themes work

          The GNOME themes file is essentially a CSS file, done, you can stop reading. There are a few more details you may want to hear about. The theme files describe what your desktop looks like but that is not all. It also contains the artwork needed for it to work. You make all your configuration in the CSS file of your theme. A caveat is that much of the look comes from the GTK 2.0 and GTK 3.0 themes. Another issue is that the standard setup does not allow your own themes, you need to download the User Theme extension to use your own theme. The reason is that the theme files delivered with your distribution are compiled from gresource files. This integrates the themes closer to the development process but has the drawback that making your own requires more programming skills. Documentation is also scarce, for users that is. Development documentation is plentiful.

        • GObject Class Private Data

          It can be very handy to store things you might do as meta programming in your GObjectClass‘s private data (See G_TPYE_CLASS_GET_PRIVATE()).

          Doing so is perfectly fine, but you need to be aware of how GTypeInstance initialization works. Each of your parent classes instance init functions are called before your subclasses instance init (and in order of the type hierarchy). What might seem non-obvious though is that the GTypeInstance.g_class pointer is updated as each successive _init() function is called.

    • Distributions

      • 7 Unusual Linux Distributions To Try While Quarantined

        This Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading all over the world and forcing people to remain in their homes in fear of reaching them. At the first few days, one will be happy to stay in home after long continuous months of work, but you’ll probably get bored after the first week.

        Luckily, there are many activities and things to do with Linux and the open source world if you are bored. The most entertaining one could be trying “special” Linux distributions in the wild in order to see what they offer.

        To help you spend your time during the quarantine, we’ve prepared a list of 7 unusual Linux distributions that you can have fun with. We’e also added URLs to online in-browser testing pages so that you can try them before you actually download them to your PC. Enjoy!

      • BSD

        • TrueNAS 12.0 CORE Supporting ZFS Async Copy-On-Write

          TrueNAS 12.0 CORE, which up until the new TrueNAS / FreeNAS branding unification would have been called FreeNAS, will in its next release support ZFS async copy-on-write functionality.

          iXsystems’ Kris Moore announced last week that the ZFS asynchronous copy-on-write support has landed in the TrueNAS CORE 12.0 snapshots.

        • os108 9.0 Released As One Of The Few Desktop Operating Systems Based On NetBSD

          The os108 project is one of the few (or only?) distributions based on NetBSD currently providing a MATE-based desktop experience atop this BSD. The os108 9.0 release is now available that re-bases against the recent NetBSD 9.0 release while continuing to provide its out-of-the-box desktop goodness.

          NetBSD 9.0 debuted a month ago with complete 64-bit ARM support (along with Arm ServerReady support and the like), updated graphics drivers, NVMM virtualization, Kernel ASLR support, native command queuing (NCQ) for SATA drives, and a variety of other performance and security enhancements along with better supporting current hardware.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Are cloud platforms breaking down organizational barriers in the digitalization of banking?

          What if all your cloud plans and transformation efforts are technically brilliant, but fail spectacularly because your organization couldn’t adapt and excel at using them? Culture is an important part of the transformation of the bank, but it’s the hardest to get right and often overlooked.

          For a number of banks, the question of whether cloud platforms are breaking down organizational barriers is a mixed bag. Advancements in build and deployment automation have made it easier to create and deliver software more quickly and with less organizational friction, and cloud platforms have changed the way software is built and delivered.

          However, breaking down outdated software delivery practices and processes, and improving overall productivity remains a nagging issue for banks, and creating a culture focused on automation is not an easy task. Too often banks enthusiastically depoy new technology platforms with the promise of increased efficiency and productivity, only to be disillusioned by the fact that many of the same old problems still remain.

      • Debian Family

        • Meet DebianDog – Puppy sized Debian Linux

          Recently I stumbled upon an intriguing Linux project. This project aims to create small live CDs for Debian and Debian-based systems, similar to the Puppy Linux project. Let’s take a look at DebianDog.

          As it says on the tin, DebianDog “is a small Debian Live CD shaped to look like Puppy and act like Puppy. Debian structure and Debian behaviour are untouched and Debian documentation is 100% valid for DebianDog. You have access to all Debian repositories using apt-get or synaptic.”

        • Debian Testing Is Enabling WireGuard Within Their Linux Kernel Build

          Debian is the latest Linux distribution flipping on WireGuard within their kernel builds.

          WireGuard is one of many prominent additions to the Linux 5.6 kernel. After being in development for years and being available as an out-of-tree DKMS module, Linux 5.6 and moving forward now have the code mainlined. The likes of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS are also shipping with WireGuard back-ported to their kernel.

          Adding to the momentum for this open-source secure VPN tunnel, WireGuard is now enabled within Debian testing’s kernel build. Up to now the WireGuard module was not being built as part of their kernel configuration. But now it’s flipped on within their Kconfig that landed in Debian’s Linux kernel tree overnight.

        • LMDE 4 “Debbie” released, adds support to SecureBoot, NVMe

          The newest update to the Linux Mint Debian Edition is finally here. Before we get to discussing the latest improvements in LMDE 4, let’s shed some light on what this software is all about.

          The LMDE project aims to reduce Linux Mint’s dependency on Ubuntu by giving the users a similar user experience. In simpler terms, this version of Linux Mint isn’t based on Ubuntu but looks very similar to the original version that is.

          The Mint team also pays close attention to this project since it helps to make sure that their developed software runs even without Ubuntu. So, if you want to have a taste of Linux Mint that’s based on Debian and doesn’t have anything to do with Ubuntu, then you should consider having a look at LMDE.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Android Developer Ports Ubuntu Touch to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7

          If you’ve been following the development scene of Generic System Image (GSI) ports and Project Treble, you probably might be familiar with a developer named Erfan Abdi. The developer has now managed to port Ubuntu Touch to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7.

        • Canonical Says Ubuntu Support Unaffected by the Coronavirus Outbreak

          First and foremost, Canonical says it’s now working 100 percent remotely “and can sustain that posture indefinitely.” Not only that some employees were already working remotely, but additional staff is now requested to stay home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

          “With remote colleagues by default, and a policy of flexible office work, Canonical was well placed for the adjustments needed globally to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have given our teams space and time to ensure those vulnerable close to them are shielded as possible, and to enable them to make any needed childcare arrangements,” Canonical says.

        • Check Out Ubuntu France’s Fantastic Focal Fossa Tee

          The fabulously fervent folks in the Ubuntu France community have fashioned Ubuntu’s latest mascot animal into a first-rate new t-shirt design.

          Not that that particular activity is new; the Ubuntu France team has created custom artwork to ‘showcase’ the past few Ubuntu releases — as you may well know if you follow this site over on Twitter:

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How Open-Source Projects Are Driving Innovation In Tech

        I got a chance to deeply understand the world of OSS (Open Source Software) while I was at Docker, which is one of the most popular and used open source projects. I have to confess that I fell in love with this method of writing and consuming software.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • [Older] Firefox 74 rolls out: Facebook Container, DNS-over-HTTPS, and more

            Mozilla updated the Firefox Browser for desktop users yesterday, so if you’re using Windows, macOS, or Linux/Unix you might want to check out the new release. Labeled 74.0, the latest Firefox release comes with quite a few highly-anticipated features, such as DNS-over-HTTPS and Facebook Container.

            Provided by Cloudflare and enabled by default for Firefox users in the US, DNS-over-HTTPS sends the domain names typed by the user to compatible DNS servers using an encrypted HTTPS connection instead of plain text, so third parties are now unable to see what websites are being accessed. Those who have something against Cloudflare can also choose to use NextDNS.

            Firefox users outside the US should enable the aforementioned feature manually by going to the menu button, and then to Preferences > General > Network Settings > Settings.. and finally click the checkbox next to Enable DNS over HTTPS. When it comes to encrypting HTTPS connections, Firefox 74 only supports TLS 1.2 and above (previous versions also supported TLS 1.0 and TLS 1.1).

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • automake-1.16.2 released
            This is to announce automake-1.16.2, a stable release.
            
            There have been 38 commits by 12 people in the two years
            (almost to the day) since 1.16.1.  Special thanks to Karl Berry
            for doing a lot of the recent work preparing for this release.
            
            See the NEWS below for a brief summary.
            
            Thanks to everyone who has contributed!
            The following people contributed changes to this release:
            
              Bruno Haible (1)
              Gavin Smith (1)
              Giuseppe Scrivano (1)
              Jim Meyering (5)
              Karl Berry (12)
              Libor Bukata (1)
              Lukas Fleischer (2)
              Mathieu Lirzin (8)
              Paul Eggert (4)
              Paul Hardy (1)
              Paul Osmialowski (1)
              Vincent Lefevre (1)
            
            Jim [on behalf of the automake maintainers]
            ==================================================================
            
            Here is the GNU automake home page:
            
            http://gnu.org/s/automake/
            
            For a summary of changes and contributors, see:
            
            http://git.sv.gnu.org/gitweb/?p=automake.git;a=shortlog;h=v1.16.2
            
            or run this command from a git-cloned automake directory:
              git shortlog v1.16.1..v1.16.2
            
            Here are the compressed sources:
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.2.tar.xz (1.5MB)
              https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.2.tar.gz (2.3MB)
            
            Here are the GPG detached signatures[*]:
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.2.tar.xz.sig
            
            
            https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/automake/automake-1.16.2.tar.gz.sig
            
            Use a mirror for higher download bandwidth:
            
            https://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            [*] Use a .sig file to verify that the corresponding file (without the
            .sig suffix) is intact.  First, be sure to download both the .sig file
            and the corresponding tarball.  Then, run a command like this:
            
              gpg --verify automake-1.16.2.tar.xz.sig
            
            If that command fails because you don't have the required public key,
            then run this command to import it:
            
              gpg --keyserver keys.gnupg.net --recv-keys 7FD9FCCB000BEEEE
            
            and rerun the 'gpg --verify' command.
            
            ==================================================================
            NEWS
            
            * New features added
            
              - add zstd support and the automake option, dist-zstd.
            
            * Miscellaneous changes
            
              - automake no longer requires a @setfilename in each .texi file
            
            * Bugs fixed
            
              - When cleaning the compiled python files, '\n' is not used anymore in the
                substitution text of 'sed' transformations.  This is done to preserve
                compatibility with the 'sed' implementation provided by macOS which
                considers '\n' as the 'n' character instead of a newline.
                (automake bug#31222)
            
              - For make tags, lisp_LISP is followed by the necessary space when
                used with CONFIG_HEADERS.
                (automake bug#38139)
            
              - The automake test txinfo-vtexi4.sh no longer fails when localtime
                and UTC cross a day boundary.
            
              - Emacsen older than version 25, which require use of
                byte-compile-dest-file, are supported again.
            
          • GNU Automake 1.16.2 Released With Zstd Support

            GNU Automake 1.16.2 is out this weekend as the first update to this important piece of the GNU build system in two years. While such length of time has passed, Automake 1.16.2 is only made up of just over three dozen commits.

            Of the 38 commits making up Automake 1.16.2, there are mostly bug fixes along with one new feature. The new feature to Automake 1.16.2 is Zstd support.

          • GNU Parallel 20200322 (‘Corona’) released [stable]

            GNU Parallel 20200322 (‘Corona’) [stable] has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftpmirror.gnu.org/parallel/

            No new functionality was introduced so this is a good candidate for a stable release.

            GNU Parallel is 10 years old next year on 2020-04-22. You are here by invited to a reception on Friday 2020-04-17.

          • GNU Chinese Translators Team – News: Welcome our new member – Nios34
          • GnuPG 2.2.20 released
            Hello!
            
            We are pleased to announce the availability of a new GnuPG release:
            version 2.2.20.  This is maintenace release fixing a minor security
            problem and adding a new OpenPGP feature.  See below for details.
            
            
            About GnuPG
            ===========
            
            The GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG, GPG) is a complete and free implementation
            of the OpenPGP and S/MIME standards.
            
            GnuPG allows to encrypt and sign data and communication, features a
            versatile key management system as well as access modules for public key
            directories.  GnuPG itself is a command line tool with features for easy
            integration with other applications.  The separate library GPGME provides
            a uniform API to use the GnuPG engine by software written in common
            programming languages.  A wealth of frontend applications and libraries
            making use of GnuPG are available.  As an universal crypto engine GnuPG
            provides support for S/MIME and Secure Shell in addition to OpenPGP.
            
            GnuPG is Free Software (meaning that it respects your freedom).  It can
            be freely used, modified and distributed under the terms of the GNU
            General Public License.
            
            
            Noteworthy changes in version 2.2.20
            ====================================
            
              * Protect the error counter against overflow to guarantee that the
                tools can't be tricked into returning success after an error.
            
              * gpg: Make really sure that --verify-files always returns an error.
            
              * gpg: Fix key listing --with-secret if a pattern is given.  [#4061]
            
              * gpg: Fix detection of certain keys used as default-key.  [#4810]
            
              * gpg: Fix default-key selection when a card is available.  [#4850]
            
              * gpg: Fix key expiration and key usage for keys created with a
                creation date of zero.  [#4670]
            
              * gpgsm: Fix import of some CR,LF terminated certificates.  [#4847]
            
              * gpg: New options --include-key-block and --auto-key-import to
                allow encrypted replies after an initial signed message.  [#4856]
            
              * gpg: Allow the use of a fingerprint with --trusted-key. [#4855]
            
              * gpg: New property "fpr" for use by --export-filter.
            
              * scdaemon: Disable the pinpad if a KDF DO is used.  [#4832]
            
              * dirmngr: Improve finding OCSP certificates.  [#4536]
            
              * Avoid build problems with LTO or gcc-10. [#4831]
            
              Release-info: https://dev.gnupg.org/T4860
            
            
            Getting the Software
            ====================
            
            Please follow the instructions found at <https://gnupg.org/download/> or
            read on:
            
            GnuPG 2.2.20 may be downloaded from one of the GnuPG mirror sites or
            direct from its primary FTP server.  The list of mirrors can be found at
            <https://gnupg.org/download/mirrors.html>.  Note that GnuPG is not
            available at ftp.gnu.org.
            
            The GnuPG source code compressed using BZIP2 and its OpenPGP signature
            are available here:
            
             https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/gnupg/gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2 (6627k)
            
            https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/gnupg/gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2.sig
            
            An installer for Windows without any graphical frontend except for a
            very minimal Pinentry tool is available here:
            
             https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/binary/gnupg-w32-2.2.20_20200320.exe (4144k)
            
            https://gnupg.org/ftp/gcrypt/binary/gnupg-w32-2.2.20_20200320.exe.sig
            
            The source used to build the Windows installer can be found in the same
            directory with a ".tar.xz" suffix.
            
            A new version of GnuPG's full installer for Windows (aka Gpg4win)
            featuring several frontends and plugins will be released shortly.
            
            
            Checking the Integrity
            ======================
            
            In order to check that the version of GnuPG which you are going to
            install is an original and unmodified one, you can do it in one of
            the following ways:
            
             * If you already have a version of GnuPG installed, you can simply
               verify the supplied signature.  For example to verify the signature
               of the file gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2 you would use this command:
            
                 gpg --verify gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2.sig gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2
            
               This checks whether the signature file matches the source file.
               You should see a message indicating that the signature is good and
               made by one or more of the release signing keys.  Make sure that
               this is a valid key, either by matching the shown fingerprint
               against a trustworthy list of valid release signing keys or by
               checking that the key has been signed by trustworthy other keys.
               See the end of this mail for information on the signing keys.
            
             * If you are not able to use an existing version of GnuPG, you have
               to verify the SHA-1 checksum.  On Unix systems the command to do
               this is either "sha1sum" or "shasum".  Assuming you downloaded the
               file gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2, you run the command like this:
            
                 sha1sum gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2
            
               and check that the output matches the next line:
            
            d5290f0781df5dc83302127d6065fb59b35e53d7  gnupg-2.2.20.tar.bz2
            a8b47222875b31661f79c1e7414657b02b44da78  gnupg-w32-2.2.20_20200320.tar.xz
            e6547a9bd2cdca3264ccb36d64f755ba6c8da2ba  gnupg-w32-2.2.20_20200320.exe
            
            
            Internationalization
            ====================
            
            This version of GnuPG has support for 26 languages with Chinese
            (traditional and simplified), Czech, French, German, Japanese,
            Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Ukrainian being almost completely
            translated.
            
            
            Documentation and Support
            =========================
            
            If you used GnuPG in the past you should read the description of
            changes and new features at doc/whats-new-in-2.1.txt or online at
            
            https://gnupg.org/faq/whats-new-in-2.1.html
            
            The file gnupg.info has the complete reference manual of the system.
            Separate man pages are included as well but they miss some of the
            details available only in thee manual.  The manual is also available
            online at
            
            https://gnupg.org/documentation/manuals/gnupg/
            
            or can be downloaded as PDF at
            
              https://gnupg.org/documentation/manuals/gnupg.pdf .
            
            You may also want to search the GnuPG mailing list archives or ask on
            the gnupg-users mailing list for advise on how to solve problems.  Most
            of the new features are around for several years and thus enough public
            experience is available.  https://wiki.gnupg.org has user contributed
            information around GnuPG and relate software.
            
            In case of build problems specific to this release please first check
            https://dev.gnupg.org/T4860 for updated information.
            
            Please consult the archive of the gnupg-users mailing list before
            reporting a bug: <https://gnupg.org/documentation/mailing-lists.html>.
            We suggest to send bug reports for a new release to this list in favor
            of filing a bug at <https://bugs.gnupg.org>.  If you need commercial
            support go to <https://gnupg.com> or <https://gnupg.org/service.html>.
            
            If you are a developer and you need a certain feature for your project,
            please do not hesitate to bring it to the gnupg-devel mailing list for
            discussion.
            
            
            Thanks
            ======
            
            Maintenance and development of GnuPG is mostly financed by donations.
            The GnuPG project currently employs two full-time developers and one
            contractor.  They all work exclusively on GnuPG and closely related
            software like Libgcrypt, GPGME and Gpg4win.
            
            We have to thank all the people who helped the GnuPG project, be it
            testing, coding, translating, suggesting, auditing, administering the
            servers, spreading the word, and answering questions on the mailing
            lists.
            
            Many thanks to our numerous financial supporters, both corporate and
            individuals.  Without you it would not be possible to keep GnuPG in a
            good shape and to address all the small and larger requests made by our
            users.  Thanks.
            
            
            Happy hacking,
            
               Your GnuPG hackers
            
            
            
            p.s.
            This is an announcement only mailing list.  Please send replies only to
            the gnupg-users'at'gnupg.org mailing list.
            
            p.p.s
            List of Release Signing Keys:
            To guarantee that a downloaded GnuPG version has not been tampered by
            malicious entities we provide signature files for all tarballs and
            binary versions.  The keys are also signed by the long term keys of
            their respective owners.  Current releases are signed by one or more
            of these three keys:
            
              rsa2048 2011-01-12 [expires: 2021-12-31]
              Key fingerprint = D869 2123 C406 5DEA 5E0F  3AB5 249B 39D2 4F25 E3B6
              Werner Koch (dist sig)
            
              rsa2048 2014-10-29 [expires: 2020-10-30]
              Key fingerprint = 031E C253 6E58 0D8E A286  A9F2 2071 B08A 33BD 3F06
              NIIBE Yutaka (GnuPG Release Key) <gniibe 'at' fsij.org>
            
              rsa3072 2017-03-17 [expires: 2027-03-15]
              Key fingerprint = 5B80 C575 4298 F0CB 55D8  ED6A BCEF 7E29 4B09 2E28
              Andre Heinecke (Release Signing Key)
            
            The keys are available at <https://gnupg.org/signature_key.html> and
            in any recently released GnuPG tarball in the file g10/distsigkey.gpg .
            Note that this mail has been signed by a different key.
            
          • GNU PG 2.2.20 Released Today! What New in GNU PG 2.2.20?

            GNU PG 2.2.20 Released: GNU PG (Privacy Guard) is a free and open-source application developed to implement the Standard OpenPGP. GNU PG is an encrypted software program and it uses symmetric-key cryptography for speed, and public-key cryptography for ease of secure key exchange. It is developed by the team GNU Project and it is authored by Werner Koch.

      • Programming/Development

        • Simple NodeJS Application

          In the last couple of years, the world has undergone some fascinating technological changes. Each day, something new is developed that offers an improvement over its predecessor and gives us access to a whole new dimension. One certain region that has seen a significant improvement in its features and popularity is the web development sector, particularly NodeJS, which has become many developers’ first choice for back-end development.

        • Facebook Planning To Ramp Up Investment In LLVM, Hire More Compiler Engineers

          Facebook is looking to hire more compiler engineers as they ramp up their investment in LLVM and its sub-projects like the Clang C/C++ compiler and LLD linker.

          Additionally, Facebook is planning to increase their upstream contributions to the LLVM-based Swift programming language.

        • 8 Things You Need To Learn Before Develop a PHP Website

          In this article, you will see 8 things that you need to learn before develop a PHP Website. How many times have you wondered about creating a website? And how many times did you give up on the idea because of lack of skills or inability to pay to a web development or a web design agency? Is it that impossible? We believe not and that is why we have a simple guideline on how to develop your very first PHP code website.

        • source

          Most programming languages permit programmers to specify external files to be included within their programs. This is often used to add “boilerplate” code to programs for such things as defining standard constants and referencing external library function definitions.

          Bash (along with ksh and zsh) has a builtin command, source, that implements this feature. We looked at source briefly when we worked with the .profile and .bashrc files used to establish the shell environment.

          In this adventure, we will look at source again and discover the ways it can make our scripts more powerful and easier to maintain.

          [...]

          By using source, we can greatly reduce the effort needed to maintain our bash scripts particularly when we are deploying them across multiple machines. It also allows us to effectively reuse code with function libraries that all of our scripts can share. Finally, we can use source to build much more capable shell environments for our day to day command line use.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • PyCharm vs Sublime Comparison

            With such a rapid increase in the evolution of technology, this has led to the appearance of so many different tools and frameworks that have made development so much easier. However, every software project has demands that differ from each other and hence it is necessary to choose such a tool that meets the needs and requirements of the project and allows the team to develop and manage the project in an efficient manner. This is where Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software and Text Editors come into the picture.
            An IDE is a programming tool that specializes in certain languages and provides several utilities to work with. It is the complete package where you can not only write the program but also compile it and debug it. Text Editors, on the other hand, adapt a broader approach as in, there usually isn’t any restriction in the programming language and let you create and modify the contents of all types of files. With a plethora of options out there, comparisons between these two become inevitable as one needs to be aware of which one might bring the best out of you.

            When it comes to selecting IDEs or text editors from such a huge variety of options, PyCharm and Sublime Text are some of the most popular alternatives. Today we’ll be looking at their strengths and weaknesses and what really sets them apart from one another.

          • Python vs NodeJS Comparison

            With technology evolving at such a fast rate, it has now become necessary to choose the right set of tools to work with. Each software project has multiple demands and specifications that it needs to meet and so in order to meet those requirements, it is important to choose a programming language that allows you to develop and manage the project in an efficient manner.

            With so many programming languages and frameworks to choose from, comparisons between them has become inevitable as you need to be aware which one offers the best services. When it comes to back-end development, Python and NodeJS both are among the most popular alternatives to choose from. Today we’ll be looking at their strengths and weaknesses and what really sets them apart from one another.

          • Twisted Matrix Labs: Twisted 20.3.0 Released

            On behalf of Twisted Matrix Laboratories, I am honoured to announce the release of Twisted 20.3!

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxx) stackoverflow python report
          • Install Python Packages From GitHub On Linux

            Sometimes, a particular python package or script that you wanted to install may not available in Python Package Index (PyPI). Even if that package is available in PyPI, the new feature of that package may not be available. So, you can’t install it using Pip package manager on your Linux box. In such cases, you can easily install those packages directly from its official GitHub repository. This brief guide explains how to install Python packages from GitHub on Linux and other Unix-like distributions.

        • Rust

          • Even Apple Is Interested In Migrating Their C Code To Rust

            Even Apple is on the bandwagon of transitioning select C code-bases of theirs over to Rust as well as expanding the code they are writing in Rust.

            This C to Rust transition for Apple appears to be at least initially focused on their server-side Linux-based platforms. Apple recently posted a software engineer job opening for working on such a task and is within the Apple Cloud Traffic Team.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Updated Basis Universal Yields High Quality Compression, 3~4x Smaller Than JPEG/PNG

        Google and Binomial announced a high quality update to the Basis Universal texture compression format suited for web use-cases. The new high quality Basis Universal codec aims to support the modern high quality format of today’s GPUs while having transcoding support for falling back to older GPUs. Images compressed with the new format are three to four times smaller than sending a JPEG or PNG file. The quality of this updated Basis Universal implementation is much greater than what previously has been available while still seeing widespread adoption by the likes of Godot and other game engines and software packages.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘We Need to Act Now and Act Fast’: Nurses, Health Workers Warn of Protective Gear Shortage as Coronavirus Crisis Grows

        “This is a nationwide problem.”

      • New York Gov. Cuomo’s Panel Proposes Medicaid Cuts Amid Coronavirus Crisis

        A panel appointed by New York governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled on Thursday its plan to reduce the state’s Medicaid spending by some $400 million over the next year. The plan will now go to the state legislature for consideration. Remarkably, the proposal is being put forward in the middle of a healthcare crisis that threatens the very lives of the many vulnerable New Yorkers who depend upon such services as Medicaid.

      • For America’s Urgent Health and Safety, Trump Needs to Resign!

        Trump is unable to accept the ferocious reality of this pandemic.

      • We Can’t Let COVID-19 Drive Us Into Authoritarianism

        As the COVID-19 pandemic turns the global political and economic order on its head, two vastly different futures appear possible. At one end of the spectrum, societies facing the toll of the virus may collapse into authoritarianism. But at the other end of the spectrum, we have the possibility of learning the lessons of this disaster — another colossal market failure enhanced by a neoliberal assault and now Trump’s wrecking ball.

      • Russia confirms 53 new coronavirus cases, bringing total number of known infections to 306

        On March 21, Russian health officials announced that they recorded 53 new cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, bringing the country’s number of confirmed COVID-19 infections to 306.

      • Pangolins And Pandemics: The Real Source Of This Crisis Is Human, Not Animal

        Our dysfunctional relationships with animals and the broader environment are creating the conditions for disease like COVID-19. We can only expect more to come, writes Associate Professor Thom van Dooren.

      • A Medical Worker Describes Terrifying Lung Failure From COVID-19 — Even in His Young Patients

        As of Friday, Louisiana was reporting 479 confirmed cases of COVID-19, one of the highest numbers in the country. Ten people had died. The majority of cases are in New Orleans, which now has one confirmed case for every 1,000 residents. New Orleans had held Mardi Gras celebrations just two weeks before its first patient, with more than a million revelers on its streets.

        I spoke to a respiratory therapist there, whose job is to ensure that patients are breathing well. He works in a medium-sized city hospital’s intensive care unit. (We are withholding his name and employer, as he fears retaliation.) Before the virus came to New Orleans, his days were pretty relaxed, nebulizing patients with asthma, adjusting oxygen tubes that run through the nose or, in the most severe cases, setting up and managing ventilators. His patients were usually older, with chronic health conditions and bad lungs.

      • Total Cost of Her COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

        A few days later, Askini got the bills for her testing and treatment: $34,927.43. “I was pretty sticker-shocked,” she says. “I personally don’t know anybody who has that kind of money.”

        Like 27 million other Americans, Askini was uninsured when she first entered the hospital. She and her husband had been planning to move to Washington, D.C. this month so she could take a new job, but she hadn’t started yet. Now that those plans are on hold, Askini applied for Medicaid and is hoping the program will retroactively cover her bills. If not, she’ll be on the hook.

        She’ll be in good company. Public health experts predict that tens of thousands and possibly millions of people across the United States will likely need to be hospitalized for COVID-19 in the foreseeable future. And Congress has yet to address the problem. On March 18, it passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which covers testing costs going forward, but it doesn’t do anything to address the cost of treatment.

      • Nearly 1 Billion People Confined to Homes Globally Due to Coronavirus

        Accurate figures are difficult to come by, however, as many of those who die suffer from other illnesses and infection rates are uncertain because of a lack of testing in many countries.

        In a sign of the shifting center of the crisis, China has sent medical supplies to European nations struggling to cope with the pandemic, including Greece which received 500,000 medical masks from Beijing Saturday.

        The shadow of the virus is lengthening across Africa and the Middle East too.

      • Infectious Disease Experts Don’t Know How Bad The Coronavirus Is Going To Get, Either

        Expert consensus forecasts give you what a model does — a forecast that gives a measure of its uncertainty — without being overly reliant on just one way of thinking about a problem. In this instance, each expert has their own assumptions about how likely the virus is to spread or to be fatal, as well as assumptions about the ways humans might try to mitigate its damage.

        Here’s what the researchers collectively had to say in the March 16-17 survey.

      • 10 service opportunities from home

        Researchers need computing time to help fight the coronavirus and other diseases. Folding@home is a project that allows ordinary people to donate their spare computing power to simulate molecular interactions; helping push medical science forward by revealing weaknesses in viral structures. Folding@home is available for Windows, MacOS and GNU/Linux.

      • Help GamingOnLinux beat Coronavirus, join us on Folding@home
      • Packed Bondi Beach sparks outrage from many amid coronavirus crisis

        Images of Sydney’s Bondi Beach packed with tourists have left many fuming as the government’s tough new social distancing regulations come into force.

        A number of photos shared to Twitter show the popular tourist spot, which sees an average of 2.6 million visitors per annum, filled with beach-goers.

        On Friday, the government introduced drastic new restrictions non-essential indoor gatherings in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

      • Lorenzo Sanz: Former Real Madrid president dies after contracting coronavirus

        Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died on Saturday after being hospitalised with coronavirus.

        Sanz, 76, was president at the Bernabeu from 1995-2000, a period in which Real won the Champions League twice.

        “My father has just died,” wrote Sanz’s son Lorenzo Sanz Duran on Twitter.

        “He did not deserve this end in this manner. One of the best, most courageous and hard working people I have seen in my life. His family and Real Madrid were his passion.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Freight forwarding firm Henning Harders hit by Windows ransomware

          Australian freight forwarding and logistics firm Henning Harders has been hit by Windows ransomware, with the company saying that customer data may have been accessed, but that there was no evidence to show such data had been misused.

        • Security News This Week: Ransomware Groups Promise Not to Hit Hospitals Amid Pandemic [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Well, this is… nice? It’s definitely something. BleepingComputer reached out to the operators of multiple strains of ransomware, asking if they had plans to stop hitting hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. Two of them actually wrote back to say yes, absolutely, they’ll take it easy on the health care industry (except pharmaceutical companies) until the Covid-19 situation improves. Please take this with gigantic boulders of salt, especially given that ransomware attackers historically love to go after hospitals. And even if the proprietors of DoppelPaymer and Maze—the two who responded to BleepingComputer–do keep to their word, lots of prolific ransomware remains in play. In fact, hackers hit a Czech hospital earlier this week.

        • De-Googling My Life – 2 Years On

          I first started De-Googling my life back in September 2017. It’s now been nearly 2.5 years since I completed that process, so I thought it was time for an update.

        • Security

          • Google Engineer Shows “SESES” For Mitigating LVI + Side-Channel Attacks – Code Runs ~7% Original Speed

            Disclosed last week was the Load Value Injection attack affecting Intel CPUs and requiring new mitigations. While the GNU Assembler mitigation options were quickly added, on the LLVM toolchain side the developers there continue evaluating the proposed LVI mitigation along with another option that looks to mitigate more than just LVI. The “SESES” proposal looks more broadly at mitigating CPU side-channel vulnerabilities but with shattering performance hits.

            As we outlined when benchmarking the GNU Assembler mitigations for LVI, the software mitigation impact can be quite significant. The assembler work is adding an LFENCE barrier instruction around loads, indirect branches, and RET instructions. The tests on Kabylake found that the mitigated performance overall was about 22% that of the performance without the LVI mitigations.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Governments Haven’t Shown Location Surveillance Would Help Contain COVID-19

              Governments around the world are demanding new dragnet location surveillance powers to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. But before the public allows their governments to implement such systems, governments must explain to the public how these systems would be effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19. There’s no questioning the need for far-reaching public health measures to meet this urgent challenge, but those measures must be scientifically rigorous, and based on the expertise of public health professionals.

              Governments have not yet met that standard, nor even shown that extraordinary location surveillance powers would make a significant contribution to containing COVID-19. Unless they can, there’s no justification for their intrusions on privacy and free speech, or the disparate impact these intrusions would have on vulnerable groups. Indeed, governments have not even been transparent about their plans and rationales.

            • Facebook is nearing a settlement with its content moderators in a class action lawsuit

              Facebook is close to reaching a settlement with a group of content moderators who developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suffered other harms while working to remove disturbing content from the social network. In a court filing this week, lawyers for the plaintiffs said the parties had reached a tentative agreement with Facebook on February 7th.

              In September 2018, a former Facebook moderator named Selena Scola sued Facebook in San Mateo County Superior Court, alleging that she developed PTSD after being placed in a role that required her to regularly view photos and images of rape, murder, and suicide. In the complaint, Scola said that she developed symptoms of PTSD after nine months of working at the company.

              The proposed settlement now needs to be approved by a judge. The terms of the proposed settlement could not be learned.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘Two $1 Trillion Coins’: Rashida Tlaib Proposal Calls on US Treasury to Fund Coronavirus Recovery From US Mint

        Tlaib’s “Automatic BOOST Act” calls for a universal payout of $2,000 to everyone in the U.S. and $1,000 a month after that. 

      • New Federal Sick Leave Law Fails to Protect Many Workers From COVID-19 Threat

        On March 18, President Donald Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law.

      • How will people cope with the COVID-19 confinement financially?

        As per the Cabinet Decisions of 20 March 2020, a COVID-19 Wage Support Scheme will provide financial support to employees who would become technically unemployed on a temporary basis due to the impact of COVID-19. The scheme will cover formal sectors (mainly Travel and Tourism Sector, Export Oriented Enterprises, ICT/BPO Sector and SMEs). This support will be extended to other formal sectors of the economy.

        I could not find a proper reference on the Government portal that highlights what are formal sectors but I assume they mean companies duly registered and operating within a defined industry (like the examples given above, Tourism, ICT/BPO etc).

        Therefore, I also assume that my neighbourhood dhollpuri seller, carpenters, construction workers, plumbers and labourers will not benefit from the COVID-19 Wage Support Scheme.

        My self-employed friends will be left on their own to pay their rents, utility bills and mortgages.

      • U.S. Jobless Claims Could Exceed 2 Million, Goldman Says

        Filings for U.S. unemployment benefits are poised to surge to a record 2.25 million this week, according to a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysis of preliminary reports across 30 states.

        With businesses shutting down because of coronavirus-containment efforts, jobless claims are already climbing — by 70,000 to 281,000 for the week through last Saturday, Labor Department data showed Thursday. That was the biggest increase since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The level Goldman projects for the week through March 21 is more than triple the prior peak of 695,000, in 1982.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Who’s in Charge Here?

        “The Buck Stops Here” becomes “Hey, Don’t Look at Me!”

      • Bernie 2020: What Went Wrong?

        Sanders could still make an all-out case that only his social welfare philosophy can meet the crisis of coronavirus and other similar breakdowns.

      • Sanders Campaign Mobilizes Donors to Raise $2 Million for Coronavirus Relief

        Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 Democratic presidential campaign’s prodigious fundraising operation raised $2 million for charities helping those most affected by the coronavirus outbreak crisis in the last 48 hours in a move that supporters said exemplified the message of solidarity the Vermont lawmaker has run on.

      • ‘Not Done Yet’: Bernie Sanders Campaign Mobilizes Donors for Coronavirus Relief and Raises $2 Million

        “The Bernie Sanders campaign puts its fundraising prowess to another purpose.”

      • Republicans, Including A Trump Supporter, Funded Joe Biden’s Super PAC In February

        A super PAC that backs Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden received significant funding from Republican donors, including one supporter of President Donald Trump, according to campaign finance disclosures from February. Unite The Country was launched in October by former Biden aides. The board was chaired by Mark Doyle, a former Biden aide. It also included fellow Biden alum John MacNeil and Larry Rasky, who was part of Biden’s 1988 and 2008 presidential campaigns. In early February, as Senator Bernie Sanders surged and gained momentum, Unite The Country warned donors against abandoning Biden.  “Donors hedging their bets on Biden because of Bloomberg could be creating a doomsday scenario for Democrats everywhere,” Rasky declared. “The Sanders-Warren wing of the party is ready for the [Mike] Bloomberg fight. Democrats cannot afford a split convention.”

        [...]

        Yaron Minsky, a wealthy Democratic donor, contributed $1 million to Unite The Country. He is the chief technology officer for Jane Street Capital, a stock trading firm. Mary Swig, a member of an elite family in San Francisco who funded Senator Kamala Harris’ political rise, gave $25,000.

      • ‘It isn’t my job to flatter China’: Taiwan foreign minister

        In response to an editorial by Xinhua News accusing Taiwan of “hating China and fawning over the U.S.,” Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said, “It isn’t my job to flatter China.”

        During a press conference held by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Wednesday (March 18), Wu said that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen, Taiwan and the U.S. will further strengthen cooperative consultation mechanisms to fight against the disease. After the press conference, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), the de facto American embassy, issued a joint statement on the partnership, which will be signed by Wu and AIT Director Brent Christensen.

      • Amid the pandemic, Sino-American relations are worsening

        China’s response will have a far bigger impact on journalism, stripping the foreign press corps in China of many of its best correspondents. It will also worry many people in Hong Kong, where anger over Chinese interference has triggered frequent protests in recent months. China says the expelled reporters are barred from working there too. This scraps a convention under Chinese rule that foreign reporters, even if shut out of the mainland, can still work in Hong Kong. The central government has, in effect, made it clear that its rules for managing foreign journalists will take precedence over Hong Kong’s far freer system.

        In recent years Chinese officials have been confrontational with many Western countries, but more cautious with America. That era may be over. The harshness of China’s retaliation suggests that its leaders are becoming more willing to risk open hostility with the United States.

      • The coronavirus is upending the Census — and that could undermine democracy for a decade

        The Census Bureau announced on Wednesday that it will suspend its field operations for at least two weeks to protect the safety of workers and respondents. But medical experts say measures to control the spread of the virus will likely be required for much longer, leaving groups like the NAACP concerned that minority communities, which are already regularly undercounted, will be devastated even further if field workers are unable to go door-to-door.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘Oh Hell No’: DOJ Using Coronavirus Crisis to Push for Expansive Emergency Powers

        “This is abhorrent (also: predictable).”

      • 5 Key Demands: U.S. Foreign Policy in the Face of the Coronavirus

        This approach to the coronavirus outbreak requires a fundamental shift in current U.S. foreign policy.

      • Our Responses to COVID-19 Must Center Disability Justice

        Because of COVID-19, many places are putting in place accessibility measures and resources that they have not had before. For instance, many companies have now begun to allow employees to work from home, even if it was not permitted before COVID-19 measures were implemented. As a disabled person, I am both heartened and angry to see the things that I have been asking for a long time finally be implemented. However, many employers’ emergency measures are proving both slapdash and targeted toward abled people. This is not the same as thoughtful and meaningful accessibility measures grounded in disability justice.

      • Solidarity in a Time of Social Distancing

        The story of this moment is being written by all of us.

      • Beyond the Death Penalty, Activists Are Fighting to End Death by Incarceration

        With 2.3 million people behind bars, the United States is the world’s largest jailer. Yet after decades of holding this dubious honor, many Americans have begun to question what Fordham law professor John Plaff calls “this massive experiment in punitive social control.” Decarceration is being discussed in states across the country.

      • Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Will Rise During Quarantines. So Will Neglect of At-Risk People, Social Workers Say.

        While most Americans huddle inside their homes watching and worrying as the coronavirus pandemic stalks the country, desperate emails have poured into ProPublica, some almost shouting their fears for the unseen victims of the vast and unprecedented national shutdown.

        A Florida social worker wrote of her panic for her developmentally disabled clients, who are shut in their homes, unable to even use the bathroom without help. What will happen to them if she and her colleagues fall ill?

      • US senators demand Amazon answer questions about warehouse worker safety

        A group of four US senators, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, have sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to respond to questions about how the company is keeping its warehouse workers safe amid the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus. The senators sent the letter two days after the first US-based Amazon warehouse worker tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

        The group of senators is led by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and includes Sanders and Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “Any failure of Amazon to keep its workers safe does not just put their employees at risk, it puts the entire country at risk,” the group said in the letter. The senators are also asking Amazon to provide paid sick leave and time-and-a-half hazard pay, among other financial and health protections.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • 3D Printing, Patent Infringement, and the Coronavirus

          Never waste an opportunity in a pandemic to incur a PR disaster. That appears to be the mantra – if initial reports are believed – of an Italian company who holds a patent on a valve used in breathing machines that are critical for coronavirus patients. The company could not meet the surging demand for its valves. In response to the shortage, two engineers used 3D printers to make these essential devices locally near Brescia in northern Italy, a region the coronavirus has hit particularly hard. In response, the patent holder allegedly threatened a patent infringement lawsuit against them.

          In a remarkable testament to the speed and flexibility of 3D printing technology, on the same day the engineers learned about the shortage of valves, they were able to create a digital version of the valve and 3D print working valves. Within a day they had made over 100. (As an aside, 3D printing is at the core of a rapid move to create an open source ventilator to combat shortages.)

          To be fair, the company, and one of the individuals doing the 3D printing, denies a threat was made. Although the company did refuse to share the design file with the individuals, forcing them to create a 3D printable digital file from scratch.

          Regardless, this episode represents the first widely publicized instance of 3D printing technology being used to (arguably) infringe a patent on a medical device. Patent infringement and 3D printing involves several interesting patent issues on which I have previously written here (with Professor Tim Holbrook) and here.

          The key to appreciating the unique patent infringement issues with 3D printing is to keep in mind the difference between the digital and physical version of the patented device. In just about every case, the patent covers only the tangible object, not the digital version of it. Therefore, merely creating a 3D printable file of the device is not an act of direct infringement.

        • Mallinckrodt Files Certiorari Petition in iNO v. Praxair [Ed: Yet another attempt (maybe like 50 so far) to make SCOTUS reconsider fake, abstract patents that clog up the system]

          In addition to painting the Federal Circuit with a brush both familiar to and consistent with the Court’s view on its appellate junior, the petition makes the characterization that “[t]here is no more pressing issue in patent law than resolving the uncertainty that has surrounded the judicial exceptions to §101.” To be honest, however, following these exhortations with a reiteration of the situation at the Federal Circuit, including the almost cri de coeur nature of the concurrences and dissents by Federal Circuit judges in Athena Diagnostics Inc. v. Mayo Collaborative Services LLC is likely to fall on deaf ears, having already done so when the Court denied Athena’s cert petition. The petition is perhaps on firmer ground when adding a reminder of the Government’s views, from the Solicitor General in Hikma Pharm. USA Inc. v. Vanda Pharma. Inc. (see “Solicitor General Recommends That Supreme Court Deny Certiorari in Hikma Pharmaceuticals v. Vanda Pharmaceuticals”), because there the SG urged the Court to revisit its subject matter eligibility jurisprudence just not in that case (specifically stating (and quoted in this petition) that “further guidance from this Court is amply warranted” and should be provided “in a case where the current confusion has a material effect on the outcome of the Section 101 analysis). This gives this petition the opportunity to affirmatively state that “[t]his is just such a case.”

        • Naples Roundtable Requests PTAB to Make Decisions Precedential [Ed: Misleading. Opposite. They want to lower quality of patents -- to ruin the system and make it LESS strong]

          The Olson claims were directed to a catheter navigation system involving mathematical equations used in the claimed system and methods that reduced registration errors in a 3D imaging system resulting in improved catheter placement in a patient. The Board found error in the Examiner’s application of Revised Step 2A, 2nd Prong, wherein the claims recited additional limitations that applied the results of the mathematical formulae to achieve the claimed result, i.e., reduce errors in catheter placement by accounting for patient-specific non-linearities and inhomogeneities in catheter navigation, again finding similarities to how the Arrhenius equation was used in Diamond v. Diehr.

          The Fautz claims were directed to magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) and methods for performing MRT using the apparatus and recited three mathematical formulae and four calculations that use those formulae. As in Olson, the Board held that the Examiner improperly applied Revised Step 2A, 2nd Prong.

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

          Last week, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom declared that the COVID-19 outbreak “can be characterized as a pandemic,” cautioning that the WHO has “rung the alarm bell loud and clear.” At the time of the announcement, the WHO noted that there were 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries. In its latest situation report, the WHO indicates that as of March 19, there have been 209,839 cases in 167 countries. The Director-General also stated that “[t]his is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” The WHO’s declaration last week – and global developments since then – raise the question of how the pandemic is affecting the patent community.

        • In the wake of the COVID-19 virus, Israeli Government authorizes use of three patents for maintenance of essential supplies and services

          The Israeli Government, acting through its Minister of Health with the authorization of the Attorney General of Israel, issued a precedential permit for the use of three Israeli patents covering the anti retrovirus drug “KALETRA” in order to import quantities of a generic version of the drug for use in the treatment of patients suffering from the COVID-19 virus. The drug, which is generally used for the treatment of HIV, has been found useful in the treatment of some patients suffering from the virus.

          [...]

          This is the first time since the enactment of the Israel Patents Law in 1967 that the Government of Israel has exercised its authority under these sections. The Patents Law further provides that affected patentees are entitled to compensation for said government use, the terms of which will be determined at a later date.

        • Guest Post: Joinder and the One-Year Time Bar in Inter Partes Review

          The panel held that § 315(c) does not authorize same-party joinder, i.e., does not allow a petitioner who has filed an inter partes review petition to join its own, earlier inter partes review petition. The panel also held that § 315(c) does not authorize issue joinder, i.e., does not allow joinder that would introduce new issues material to patentability, such as new patent claims or new grounds for cancellation. (As to the merits of the PTAB’s final written decisions on claims from each of Windy City’s four patents, the panel affirmed that the PTAB’s findings of obviousness were supported by substantial evidence—except as to the patent claims that had been improperly joined through Facebook’s later, time-barred petitions.)

          [...]

          Thus, federal-courts litigants with a concrete enough stake in challenging a patent generally bear all the costs of losing but must share with the world—including their competitors—the benefits of winning, creating a collective action problem. By contrast, the relatively lower costs of entering and conducting PTAB review and the ability to join inter partes review petitions as co-challengers reduce this collective action problem.

          Empirical research on the PTAB offers good evidence of this intuition. For example, inter partes review (unlike covered business method review) allows not only defensive petitions by parties sued in district court for infringement but also entirely preemptive petitions by those who have yet to be sued on the patent in question. Thus, when so-called “standard” petitioners who act defensively file IPR petitions, they may subsequently be joined by “nonstandard” petitioners who are interested in striking preemptively. And across most major fields of technology, the share of standard IPR petitions (in which at least one petitioner was previously sued on the same patent) is greater than the share of standard IPR petitioners (who have themselves previously been sued on the same patent). In fact, this disparity is quite high for certainly technology categories, such as Drugs and Medical (48.5% vs. 70.8%) and Mechanical (53.1% vs. 70.2%).

        • Sequenom Back Again: This time Patent Eligible

          These parties were before the Court back in 2015 in a case that ended with a big holding that Illumina & Sequenom’s patents were invalid as directed to an unpatentable natural phenomenon. The discovery here is super interesting — a pregnant mother has the baby’s DNA floating around in her plasma. Turns out that there is lots of DNA floating around in a human body: mother DNA; baby DNA; bacterial DNA; viruses; mitochondrial; etc. The researchers here used a smart way to find the baby-DNA in the mess that relies on the fact (i.e., natural phenom) that baby-DNA is part mother and part father. The researchers got a sample of paternal DNA (from the father) and then looked for DNA in the mother’s plasma that included segments that matched the father’s DNA. Prior to this breakthrough some parents agonized over whether to collect some baby DNA by sticking a big needle into the amniotic sac. That approach had the problem of causing death in a small number of cases. In any event, the 2015 Federal Circuit held the patent claims ineligible and the Supreme Court denied certiorari.

          [...]

          The majority agreed that “the inventors were not entitled to patent the natural phenomenon that cell-free fetal DNA tends to be shorter than cell-free maternal DNA.” Here, however, the majority concludes that the claimed method merely takes advantage of that phenomenon “by employing
          physical process steps to selectively remove larger fragments of cell-free DNA and thus enrich a mixture in cellfree fetal DNA.”

          In prior cases the Federal Circuit has distinguished between unpatentable diagnostic methods and patent eligible methods of treatments. In this case, the court places the inventions at issue in a third category: method of preparation.

        • Help stop bad Theranos patents from deterring investment in viral testing [Ed: EPO helped the people who committed fraud and now use patents to kill perhaps millions of people with fake patent lawsuits]

          In light of the serious public interest involved in ensuring that questionable patents are not used to extract money and resources from those deploying important diagnostics tests, we at Unified have launched special PATROLL crowdsourcing contests against Labrador Diagnostics / Fortress Investments / Softbank (Fortress) patents U.S. 8,283,155 and U.S. 10,533,994. Rather than offer a reward, we believe it is in the best interest of the community (and the world) to widely, freely, and quickly publish the results to help eliminate invalid patents that could hinder COVID-19 diagnostics tests in these trying times.

          Fortress recently acquired the Theranos patents (listing Elizabeth Holmes as the lead inventor) and has asserted them against U.S. diagnostics companies through a newly formed NPE called Labrador Diagnostics LLC. Shortly after they filed suit, a defendant announced it was making COVID-19 diagnostics tests for the government based on the technology at issue. In response, Fortress announced they would offer royalty-free licenses for COVID-19 testing, but they refuse to drop the suit, and are seeking to enjoin the company from making, using, or selling a wide array of diagnostics. We believe everyone should chip in to deter such bad behavior, especially from entities like Fortress that have a long history of asserting patents often found invalid when challenged.

        • Evalve v Edwards Lifesciences [2020] EWHC 513 & 514 (Pat): The Limits of Public Interest

          On Friday 13 March 2020, Birss J handed down a pair of judgments in the litigation between Evalve (a member of the Abbott group of companies) and Edwards Lifesciences, a veteran of UK patent litigation over the past decade. In the first judgment Evalve’s two UK patents, EP (UK) 1 408 850 and EP (UK) 1 624 810 (“the Patents”), were held to be valid and infringed by Edward’s PASCAL device. The second judgment addressed what the parties had referred to as the “Public Interest” trial, the subject of which was whether, in the event that Edward’s PASCAL device infringed a valid claim of an asserted Evalve patent, a final injunction should nonetheless be refused on grounds of public interest. The second decision is the subject of this article.

          Evalve first issued proceedings against Edwards in early 2019, alleging that Edwards’ PASCAL product, a trans catheter device used in the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation, infringed the Patents. Mitral valve regurgitation is a severe condition, and most untreated patients die within a year of diagnosis. In the past the condition has been treated by open heart surgery to suture the defective valve. However, the majority of patients suffering mitral valve regurgitation are of advanced age, and consequently many are not strong enough for open heart surgery. Trans catheter devices capable of replicating the required sutures are therefore a welcome alternative therapeutic approach, and Evalve successfully markets a trans catheter device called the MitraClip for the treatment of mitral valve regurgitation. The MitraClip has been used in about 100,000 procedures since the introduction of the first generation device in 2008.

        • YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: Justice Dept. defends foreign-owned patent trolls against Apple and Intel

          Apple and Intel–two American high-tech icons–are suing Softbank-owned Fortress Investment on antitrust grounds in the Northern District of California. Their complaint admittedly raises legal questions of first impression. Fortress brought a motion to dismiss the complaint just on the basis of the legal theories it is based upon. Apple and Intel obviously oppose that motion.

        • DOE Infringers Petition for Certiorari over PHE “Tangential Relationship” Test

          The District Court held and the Federal Circuit affirmed DOE infringement, on the basis that the narrowing amendment had only a tangential relationship to the differences in these salts, the amendment being made to distinguish different antifolate species and not different salt forms thereof. Lilly did not dispute that its amendments satisfied the fundamental requirements of behavior that raises the estoppel: that “the amendment in question was both narrowing and made for a substantial reason relating to patentability.” Lilly relied on the exception that the rationale for its amendments “[bore] no more than a tangential relation to the equivalent in question,” citing Festo. Hospira and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories colorfully argued that “the tangential exception is not a patentee’s-buyer’s-remorse exception” and that the tangential relationship exception should be construed narrowly (themes that would recur in Hospira’s cert petition). The Court agreed with the District Court’s assessment that Lilly had narrowed the claims of the earlier, related application to overcome a rejection based on treatment with methotrexate, and that “the particular type of salt to which pemetrexed is complexed relates only tenuously to the reason for the narrowing amendment,” which was to avoid prior art directed to methotrexate administration. The Court further reasoned that the exception itself “only exists because applicants over-narrow their claims during prosecution” and that “the reason for an amendment, where the tangential exception is invoked, cannot be determined without reference to the context in which it was made, including the prior art that might have given rise to the amendment in the first place.” According to the panel, “[w]e do not demand perfection from patent prosecutors, and neither does the Supreme Court” (citing Festo). Lilly’s burden was to show that pemetrexed ditromethamine was ‘peripheral, or not directly relevant, to its amendment . . . [a]nd as [the panel] concluded . . . , Lilly [had] done so.”

          [...]

          Hospira minces no words regarding its position, asserting that “[t]he Federal Circuit’s tangentiality jurisprudence has gone seriously awry” because “the Federal Circuit now holds that even when the patentee indisputably could ‘reasonably be expected to have drafted a claim that would have literally encompassed the alleged equivalent’ . . . the doctrine of prosecution history estoppel applies so long as the patentee can show that its purpose for an amendment is sufficiently disconnected from its theory of equivalence.” (The District Court based its opinion finding infringement under the DOE on the grounds that “the rationale underlying the amendment may bear no more than a tangential relation to the equivalent in question.”) This way of applying the Supreme Court’s Festo jurisprudence “unfairly skews the patent playing field in favor of patentees, by artificially expanding the scope of patent monopolies and handcuffing the ability of competitors to design their products in a manner that avoids infringement,” in Hospira’s view.

        • Enlarged Board Of Appeal Now Considering The EPO’s Approach To Double Patenting In Case G4/19 [Ed: This misses the crucial point that the Enlarged Board Of Appeal lacks autonomy]

          We reported in February 2019 that questions concerning double patenting had been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by the Board of Appeal in case T0318/14. Despite the oral proceedings (during which the referral was made) having been held in February 2019, the Board of Appeal did not issue a written decision until December 2019. Consequently, the Enlarged Board of Appeal did not formally receive the referral until recently. The referral is now pending before the Enlarged Board of Appeal as G4/19.

          As we reported previously, the following questions have been referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal:

          1. Can a European patent application be refused under Article 97(2) EPC if it claims the same subject-matter as a European patent granted to the same applicant which does not form part of the state of the art pursuant to Article 54(2) and (3) EPC?

      • Trademarks

        • CJEU rules on counteraction by conceptual differences in trade mark law, but leaves much to be resolved

          As Europe slowly grinds to a halt and many institutions close down – including the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which postponed all hearings until further notice – work at the CJEU continues. On 4 March, it issued its decision in C-328/18 P Black Label by Equivalenza on the interesting subject of counteraction of phonetic and visual similarity by conceptual differences in trade mark law. It was the second decision of that day reversing the appealed earlier decision of the General Court (GC) [Katpost on the other decision here] and it is interesting not so much for what it says about counteraction, but rather for what it does not say.

          [...]

          The CJEU then decided on the opposition itself, essential siding with the EUIPO’s initial decision. Thus, it held that the signs have an average degree of visual and phonetic similarity, and that they are conceptually different [par. 94, 96, 98]. In respect of the conceptual differences, it held that the relevant public would not understand the meaning of the word “label”, but that it would understand “Black” as a reference to a colour and “By Equivalenza” as an indication that the goods in question come from Equivalenza.

          According to the CJEU, this fell short of the threshold for counteraction, i.e. it held that BLACK BY EQUIVALENZA does not have “a clear and specific meaning which can be grasped immediately by the public” [par. 99]. Thus, a global assessment of the likelihood of confusion was to be performed and, because of the average degree of visual and phonetic similarity and the descriptive nature of “Black” and “By Equivalenza”, such a likelihood was deemed to exist.

          [...]

          After all, the relevant public and its understanding depends on the goods or services at issue. It is thus possible that a professional public will consider signs conceptually different, but the general public will consider them similar [see e.g. T-256/04, par. 58-59]. What is more, the same sign can have conceptually different meanings depending on context: for instance, BLUE will have a very different meaning in the context of relationship counselling than it has in the context of baby clothes. To paraphrase the linguist and anthropologist Gregory Bateson: words without context have no meaning at all [Mind and Nature (1979), p. 15].

      • Copyrights

        • Google Removes Official Kodi Download Page After “Bogus” Copyright Complaint

          Google has removed the official Kodi download page from its search results, following a complaint from a copyright holder. The team behind the perfectly legal open-source software is disappointed that they’re being inaccurately lumped together with pirate services. The same takedown notice also targeted the VLC media player, but those requests were rejected.

        • The Invisible Man, Emma, and The Hunt Hit Pirate Sites After Rushed VOD Releases

          A decision by Universal Pictures to quickly make movies available on VOD services due to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the inevitable. Titles including The Invisible Man, Emma, and The Hunt, which are still in their theatrical windows, are now all available for download on pirate sites, just hours after release.

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