Guest Article: Window Managers, Github and Software Disobedience

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 9:00 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Guest article by figosdev

A broken heart

Summary: “Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom”

This week I wrote about one of the greatest threats to software freedom, but I wasn’t sure exactly where to rank it. So now I’ll say that I think the three greatest threats to software today, are censorship, Github and uppity developers.

When I think about the problem of uppity developers, I’m not talking about their people skills. There’s a myth that every developer needs to work with other people; quite a lot of software started out with one person writing it, and I don’t think it’s necessarily their problem, or their responsibility, to do anything after they put that software out into the world.

If the software is free, then someone else can pick it up and create a community around it, if it even needs one. It’s a nice feature when a developer goes beyond the task of writing software, but it isn’t the requirement that open source has always made it out to be.

“I don’t care that Linus Torvalds is sometimes rude — I still think censorship is a bigger problem than rudeness.”But that goes both ways, and it isn’t the responsibility of a user to do what the developer wants either. Cooperation, by definition, is mutual. If it isn’t, it’s simply obedience — and people who want freedom should be practicing Software Disobedience — because Freedom 0 doesn’t change just because an uppity developer doesn’t understand it.

I don’t care that Linus Torvalds is sometimes rude — I still think censorship is a bigger problem than rudeness. Torvalds has changed a fair bit on the surface, most likely due to pressure from his owners, but none of the things that bother me about him have changed. Torvalds isn’t an example of what I call “uppity developers,” because the obedience he expects is rhetorical, and nothing to do with the software. Sure, he is uppity about criticism of Microsoft. That’s a separate complaint from the one I’m trying to make here.

Uppity developers act like Freedom 0 doesn’t exist — the freedom to use the software for any purpose. They criticise people for trying to make their software optional, and they frequently boast (or dishonestly insist — then deny ever insisting) that users will have “no choice” (or very little choice) about running their software. I’m not against people claiming success and showing the other people that use their software in a production setting or any other setting, but when that software is something people are being told to “get with with program” (literally? Obey the software and obey the developer?) they’re missing out one of the great things about software freedom — at least when software freedom is working.

I’ve had developers and fanboys tell me I’ll have “no choice” but to run GNOME, many years before they lied (then denied) that you would need systemd to run GNOME for example. Whether it’s true or some kind of sick joke, that kind of attitude — of mocking and laughing at users about developer lock-in is much farther from a healthy attitude than some of Torvalds’ most passionate rants about contributions to the kernel.

“Uppity developers act like Freedom 0 doesn’t exist — the freedom to use the software for any purpose.”Here’s another reason to use Torvalds as an example — I have no problem with a lead developer trying to stop people that contribute code from breaking the project. If that wasn’t a good thing, I’m not sure if projects would even need a lead developer. Rather this attitude that these expectations extend to the user — user freedom is as important as any, because all software developers are also software users. As long as it’s possible to sabotage a project, it would be silly indeed to take issue with a lead developer protecting a project from sabotage or breakage.

I’m aware of the fact that many projects are making their work harder to fork and adapt, and I don’t consider that beneficial. There is no perfect software, and so there is no perfectly-forkable software; but while there can be no mandate to perfect anything, I think it is a real problem that so much software is going backwards in this regard; that lock-in is increasing, and many people know it. As I’ve said, it’s not a new problem — the scale of the problem, however, is something I put squarely within the past 5 years.

This is also why I think we need a Fifth Freedom — the freedom to not run the software. We should build that into as much so-called “Free as in Freedom” software as possible, because the freedom to NOT run the software was always implicit and present by chance. Now that it is being deliberately eroded, that lock-in is being contributed as an ever-increasing problem, we can’t rely on implicit and incidental modularity like we generally had until now. It has to become a deliberate feature — within reason, of course. And not only for developers, but for users — because they enjoyed it too. Don’t like something? Just remove or replace it. That used to be so much easier (and less superficially true than it is today.)

“And not only for developers, but for users — because they enjoyed it too. Don’t like something? Just remove or replace it. That used to be so much easier (and less superficially true than it is today.)”But until these uppity developers become more fair and modest, it is also important to promote the kind of software that doesn’t showcase that sort of arrogance. And Github is still one of the largest threats to software freedom today; so while we promote the idea of an operating system that Microsoft doesn’t control (seriously, we have to do that again?) it’s important to practice software disobedience with Github-based projects as well. I am aware that it’s probably impossible (or at least very unlikely) to go all the way with this. It’s a gradually worsening problem with a solution that can probably also only work gradually.

So software obedience is about:

1. Ignoring that Freedom 0 exists
2. Letting developers control you by having too much control of your software
3. Abandoning and removing modularity to create further lock-in
4. Letting monopolies control Free software development

And software Disobedience is about:

1. Strengthening Freedom 0, along with the other software freedoms
2. Resisting the messaging and machinations of uppity developers who want to control your computing
3. Abandoning, replacing or when possible, forking software that adds to lock-in (as the LibreOffice developers did when OpenOffice became “less free”)
4. Abandoning, replacing or when possible, forking software that is controlled by monopoly forces such as Github

“For many years, I have looked for ways to promote and bolster software freedom.”And “ps aux” says I’ve been running Fluxbox for less than one hour; I already miss using IceWM, which I’ve promoted for years. But until somebody commits to a serious fork of this window manager, I feel strongly that it’s time to try to find alternatives. For many years, I have looked for ways to promote and bolster software freedom. Continuing to use IceWM when I could promote walking away from it is no longer worth it in my opinion. Software disobedience matters to me, and I don’t truly need a window manager that props up the Microsoft Github monopoly.

I know there are bigger problems than what window manager I use; but even before I finished migrating to the GNU operating system, I had learned more and more about Free software by walking away from one non-free program towards one that was more free. It’s time to do that again. So even if I can’t have a Microsoft-free, Github-free operating system that doesn’t prop up their monopolistic abuse, I still would rather move in that direction.

It’s also important, I believe, to have smaller components working first. When it’s possible to replace a larger solution — like GNOME 3 with Mate, if you never liked the attitude of GNOME 3 developers (or found them even worse than when you used GNOME 2 — as I sometimes did) The thing is that smaller projects are easier to fork, easier to maintain, and easier for an everyday hacker/coder (Jane or Joe Coder) to fix if they need to. I think security patches are an important part of the ecosystem, though it’s still harder to patch something enormous and keep bugs out in the first place.

So while I’m not strictly against larger software suites, I certainly consider smaller applications like Fluxbox and Wget a higher priority than larger applications. If the utilities we rely on to work when nothing else does are not taken care of, then we lose the foundation for our operating system — and the things we can fix and re-liberate most easily.

“But since Windows XP came out, getting away from Microsoft was a priority. And they haven’t gotten any better as a company, they are far worse than ever.”On that note, someone is trying to convince Fluxbox developers to move development to Github. Simply based on commits, I think it’s very possible we will lose Fluxbox to Github in the next year or two. I’m trying out window managers like Fluxbox (the most obvious move from IceWM, as JWM is also Github-based) even though I’ve never really been a huge Fluxbox fan. It’s always been less trouble to get IceWM quickly working how I like, with a better default configuration (just my opinion; either way, I’m recommending Fluxbox to people right now — just with these caveats.) But I also think I could stand trying dwm again.

Suckless.org has a good philosophy, I think Steve Litt loves and promotes dwm (I haven’t checked on this in a while) and when I used it, it wasn’t awful. I like having something a little more conventional as an option — I promoted GNOME 2 for people that might want enough hand-holding that XFCE wasn’t quite up to their expectations, even while I preferred XFCE myself.

As compromises between friendliness and resource usage go, LXDE was the thing I promoted the most, and XFCE and GNOME 2 were “steps up” in terms of features but steps down in terms of being lightweight. For myself and anybody who wanted basic, familiar features with incredibly light resource use and best speed on old computers, I promoted IceWM (even on machines with several cores. Why waste CPU, RAM and GPU on moving rectangles around?)

“I switched to GNU in the first place, because for years now I’ve tried to be someone who can recommend the best tools for doing real tasks — without compromising on freedom.”But since Windows XP came out, getting away from Microsoft was a priority. And they haven’t gotten any better as a company, they are far worse than ever. Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom, and while I’m not kidding about being sad to walk away from IceWM, the fact remains that Microsoft controls it now. I’m willing to explore the alternatives, as I was when I switched to GNU in the first place, because for years now I’ve tried to be someone who can recommend the best tools for doing real tasks — without compromising on freedom.

But we have grown a little too obedient in my opinion, a little too complacent with being told what to do, and while I talk about the importance of the philosophy as well as the significance of corporate corruption — it’s also important to act. I learned how to automate live distro remastering, so I could redistribute a script instead of a distro as a way of cleaning up cruft and attempted lock-in, but until today I was still using IceWM on one of my primary workstations. Sometimes we need to decide that now’s the time to take another step. As I explore options, they’ll fan out to what setups I use less often.

“Walking away from monopolies is the essence of freedom, and while I’m not kidding about being sad to walk away from IceWM, the fact remains that Microsoft controls it now.”And no, I will not continue using Fluxbox if Github takes it over. I won’t even continue using it if I find a Github-free, free software alternative I like more. But it gets another chance right now, because it seems farther away from Github than my ideal window manager. That’s a status I’m watching closely — and I know the community will let me know sooner or later if it’s already too late for Fluxbox. Unless I notice it first.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 25/3/2020: LLVM 10.0.0 and UCS 4.4-4 Released, WordPress 5.4 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 8:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Best Linux GUIs for every type of user

      Linux is all about choice. You can choose a distribution that best suits your needs, software that helps make you more productive, servers that serve your business, and a desktop that makes your experience efficient and effective.

      It’s that last bit I want to address—the desktop. For many, the choice of Linux distro begins and ends with the desktop. Why? Because many of the Linux desktops and window managers are as unique as the people who use them. And for some users, the best Linux GUI acts as an extension of their fingers. But what desktop environment is best suited for which type of user? Let’s find out.

    • Cartesi launches first ever Layer-2 Linux infrastructure for developing blockchain DApps

      Cartesi, the first ever DApp infrastructure that runs an operating system (OS) on top of blockchains, announces the launch of its platform as the company completes another funding period for Q1. The company’s layer-2 solution is the first of its kind to bridge the gap between a Linux runtime environment and blockchain, giving developers the opportunity to create DApps using a vast array of mainstream software stacks.

      As blockchain moves out of the shadows and into mainstream consciousness; programming and developing infrastructure must adapt to the new technology for other, non-crypto purposes. Currently, it is possible to develop directly on the blockchain, but the process is complex, lengthy, and the applications are left with very limited computational capabilities.

      Cartesi brings all the tools and capabilities available in modern operating systems to the decentralized web. The company’s solution provides a legitimate and fully-fledged Linux OS that magnifies the capabilities of decentralized applications without compromising on the security guarantees of blockchain. Cartesi enables programmers to code decentralized applications seamlessly, while maintaining the appeal of mainstream web apps. Moreover, Cartesi will reduce the barrier of entry for mainstream developers and veterans, by eliminating the need to learn new programming languages and domain-specific tools that often present limitations and a steep learning curve.

    • Cartesi Launches Linux Infrastructure For Developing Blockchain DApps

      “We are excited to be launching the first-ever Linux infrastructure that runs on top of a blockchain, while we complete our second round of funding,” says Cartesi CEO Erick de Moura. “Blockchains and decentralization will allow for a new exciting range of applications, but with the current state of DApps, the space is very limited, making it very difficult for mainstream adoption. So, we are striving to create serious change and increase the viability of DApp development on top of a blockchain.”

      Currently, it is possible to develop directly on the blockchain, but the process is complex, lengthy, and the applications are left with very limited computational capabilities. As blockchain moves out of the shadows and into mainstream consciousness; programming and developing infrastructure must adapt to the new technology for other, non-crypto purposes.

      Cartesi brings all the tools and capabilities available in modern operating systems to the decentralized web. The company’s solution provides a legitimate and fully-fledged Linux OS that magnifies the capabilities of decentralized applications without compromising on the security guarantees of blockchain. Cartesi enables programmers to code decentralized applications seamlessly, while maintaining the appeal of mainstream web apps. Moreover, Cartesi will reduce the barrier of entry for mainstream developers and veterans, by eliminating the need to learn new programming languages and domain-specific tools that often present limitations and a steep learning curve.

    • The shelves may be empty, but the disk is full: Not even Linux can resist the bork at times

      In today’s edition of sickly signage, we have a prime example of transatlantic bork from one of Canada’s finest retailers.

      Snapped by Register reader Ralph Grabowski, in an Abbotsford Walmart, the afflicted Samsung screen can normally be found encouraging shoppers to buy more stuff.

      Now it is simply bereft space. Crammed to capacity, the disk is likely groaning under the weight of… stuff. Unlike some shelves at certain retailers where once essentials such as toilet paper and cleaning products enjoyed pride of place.

      LILO, the Linux loader visible on screen, was to be found in many distros back in the day and lingers on even as the likes of GRUB have supplanted it. Similarly the INIT line: that version 2.78 speaks of gentler times, back when this particular bit of kit was put together.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • How Linux Can Replace Windows in China

        This is what Chinese-based Union Tech promises, as its Linux-based Unified Operating System, or UOS, has made a huge progress in the last couple of months.

        More specifically, the Chinese firm has worked together with other local companies to run the Linux operating system on chips developed domestically. And according to a recent report, an important achievement was reached in January when UOS managed to boot in 30 seconds on this hardware.

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Podcasts – Week 22

        This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

        Podcasts are big business. We see celebrities, influencers, journalists, academics, one man and his dog owning a microphone and mixing desk produce regular podcast shows. The quality is variable. Some are truly awesome, others are strictly an acquired taste. Podcasts are a great way of keeping up to date with the latest news, reviews, banter, gossip, to deepen your understanding of the world we live in, and much more.

    • Server

      • Amazon Introduces a Linux-Based OS for Container Hosting: Bottlerocket

        Recently, Amazon announced, a new Linux-based open-source operating system (OS) called Bottlerocket, which is purpose-built to run containers. Bottlerocket is currently in public preview as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) for Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for customers to try out.


        Bottlerocket includes support for use with Amazon EKS, and according to the announcement, Amazon will soon support Amazon ECS. Furthermore, the tech giant is aiming to release Bottlerocket to the general public later this year.
        Lastly, customers can start using Bottlerocket now by launching Amazon EC2 instances with the Bottlerocket AMI, and joining them to an Amazon EKS cluster following the QuickStart guide.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • The One-Click Trap | LINUX Unplugged 346

        We debate the dangers and advantages of one-click deployments. Then Dan from elementary OS shares an AppCenter for Everyone update.

        Plus a big batch of feedback that kicks off some wide-ranging discussions.

      • This Week in Linux 98: Relieving Quarantine Boredom, OBS, Linux Mint, KaiOS, & Purism’s Librem Mini

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’re going to cover a lot of great news like the latest release of OBS Studio, Mozilla is teaming up with KaiOS, System76 announced they’re going to be making a Keyboard and Linux Mint’s LMDE 4 was Released this week. We’re also going to check out some ideas that the community came up with for what to do while in Club Quarantine. We’ll also check out a new project related to Linux Printing, called PAPPL. (just rolls right off the tounge) Later in the show, we’re going to discuss a few controversial topics. Purism announced a new product called the Librem Mini and it’s been met with mixed reactions. Microsoft announced some news related to WSL2 and that they are buying, npm, a very sizeable package manager for the JavaScript programming language. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

      • 2020-03-24 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla partners with Scroll for a premium ad-free browsing experience, Tor and Tails release key security fixes, Magisk 20.4 launches with MagiskHide disabled by default, and Python is looking for user feedback to improve pip.

      • LHS Episode #334: GNURadio Deep Dive

        Welcome to Episode #334 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this deep dive episode, we have a special guest, Derek Kozel, MW0LNA, who takes the hosts and everyone else on a wild ride into the internals of GNURadio. Somehow by the end it all starts to make sense. Learn about SDR, hardware design, DSP, audio path simulation and much more in this informative episode and look for the companion YouTube video to follow. Thanks for listening. We hope you enjoy. Stay safe out there.

      • [S4:E5] Command Line Heroes: Smarter Phones
    • Kernel Space

      • Announcing the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 Update 3 for Oracle Linux

        The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle Linux provides the latest open source innovations and key optimizations and security to enterprise cloud workloads. It is the Linux kernel that powers Oracle Cloud and Oracle Engineered Systems such as Oracle Exadata Database Machine as well as Oracle Linux on Intel-64, AMD-64 or ARM hardware.

        UEK R5 Update 3 is based on the mainline kernel version 4.14.35. Through actively monitoring upstream check-ins and collaboration with partners and customers, Oracle continues to improve and apply critical bug and security fixes to the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) R5 for Oracle Linux. This update includes several new features, added functionality, and bug fixes across a range of subsystems.

        UEK R5 Update 3 can be recognized with release number starting with 4.14.35-1902.300.

      • Oracle Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5U3 Released With Better ARM 64-Bit Support

        The Oracle Linux team has released Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 5 Update 3 as the newest version of their optimized downstream Linux kernel catering to cloud workloads.

        Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel R5 Update 3 is based off the Linux 4.14.35 upstream kernel but with extra patches atop. The focus for R5 Update 3 is on offering better 64-bit ARM (AArch64) architecture support, on-demand paging support, an XFS file-system deadlock fix, virtualization updates, and various driver updates back-ported to the kernel.

      • Oracle Released New Update 3 Of Unbreakable Enterprise Linux Kernel 5

        Most people may not have heard about the influence of Oracle in the Linux community. If you’re not aware, Oracle ranks among the top fifteen all-time and top ten contributors in every Linux kernel version.

        Not only that, Oracle also holds the title of building the world’s first autonomous OS, Oracle Linux, which features the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK). Hence, Oracle always integrates UEK with upstream Linux kernel to provide high stability and performance. In addition to the regular changes, Oracle has announced new update 3 for the current UEK release 5.

      • Habana Labs Preps More Linux Code For Their AI Accelerators With The 5.7 Kernel

        Habana Labs, the AI accelerator start-up being acquired by Intel, has more driver improvements on tap for Linux 5.7.

        Habana Labs has been a good open-source supporter with punctually working on their mainline Linux driver enablement for their products. Their upstream Linux driver work started off at the start of 2019 with their for their Goya inference accelerator and increasing work on their Gaudi AI training product. They have been aiming to land their Gaudi enablement in Linux 5.7~5.8 but now it’s looking like that will be the latter kernel if not longer.

      • Graphics Stack

        • VMware Plumbing OpenGL 4.x Support For The VMWGFX Graphics Stack

          VMware’s VMWGFX open-source Linux graphics driver stack for interfacing with their virtualization software to offer guest VM 3D acceleration that is in turn handled by the host’s drivers will soon be offering OpenGL 4.x support.

          It’s been a while since last having any big news to share on the VMWGFX stack either for their Linux kernel DRM or Mesa Gallium3D code. But they’ve been busy working on all of the bits necessary to implement for being able to handle OpenGL 4.0 support.

          VMware’s Roland Scheidegger on Friday sent out a patch series providing the necessary kernel-side bits for OpenGL 4 functionality with their Direct Rendering Manager driver. Various new commands and other capabilities were required for allowing their OpenGL driver to move beyond OpenGL 3.3.

        • Erik Faye-Lund: Introducing OpenCL™ and OpenGL® on DirectX [Ed: Microsoft has long leveraged DirectX to make it a "Windows world"]

          For the last few months, we have been working on two exciting new projects at Collabora, and it’s finally time to share some information about them with the world:

          We are partnering with Microsoft DirectX engineers to build OpenCL and OpenGL mapping layers, in order to bring OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 3.3 support to all Windows and DirectX 12 enabled devices out there!

          This work builds on a lot of previous work. First and foremost, we are building this by using Mesa 3D, with the Gallium interface as the base for the OpenGL layer, and NIR as the base for the OpenCL compiler. We are also using LLVM and the SPIRV-LLVM-Translator from Khronos as the compiler front-end.

        • Collabora partnered with Microsoft to get OpenGL and OpenCL on DirectX

          A very interesting use of open source in action here from the incredibly smart team over at Collabora who teamed up with Microsoft engineers to get OpenGL and OpenCL via DirectX.

          Why is this interesting? Well, they’re doing it by using the open source Mesa drivers. It’s pretty darn clever, and shows just how far translation layers are being used industry-wide. Once this is all implemented, it means that any device that supports DirectX 12 would also work with (and actually be compliant) with OpenGL 3.3 and OpenCL 1.2.

        • Microsoft + Collabora Working To Map OpenGL/OpenCL Over DirectX 12

          Microsoft and Collabora are today announcing a partnership for building OpenCL and OpenGL mapping layers over DirectX (D3D12).

          The focus is on providing OpenCL 1.2 and OpenGL 3.3 support for all Windows builds on DirectX 12 enabled devices.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 Outperforming Linux On A ~$5000 Laptop, Ubuntu Beating Clear Linux

        We are used to seeing tier-one Linux distributions outperforming Microsoft Windows on hardware ranging from $199 laptops to HEDT and server processors and everything in between. Thus it came as a large surprise to us when finding Windows 10 outperforming multiple Linux distributions on a new Intel laptop. Not only was Windows 10 leading, but the performance paradigm shifted that Ubuntu was even outperforming Clear Linux, which normally is the fastest of Linux distributions out-of-the-box.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 1 Further Enhances The Benchmark Result Viewer

        It has been just under one month since the release of Phoronix Test Suite 9.4 while available this morning is the first development snapshot/milestone on the road to next quarter’s Phoronix Test Suite 9.6-Nittedal feature release.


        Aside from the result viewer enhancements, Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 1 also has continued BSD support improvements. Additionally, there is a new phoronix-test-suite analyze-run-times sub-command to provide more detailed information about how long a test within a result file took to run and other metrics for better analyzing test options within time constraints.

    • Applications

      • Nextcloud: The Swiss Army Knife of Remote Working Tools

        Remote working culture has been booming for past few years in coding, graphics and other IT related fields. But the recent Coronavirus pandemic has made it mandatory for the companies to work from home if it’s possible for them.

        While there are tons of tools to help you and your organization in working from home, let me share one open source software that has the features of several such tools combined into one.

      • [Stay at Home] Free Online Communication Tools for Ubuntu GNU/Linux Users

        To dear readers, in the emergency of COVID-19 widespread disease, we all needed to keep staying at home but in fact we still need to communicate with people. For that purpose, I listed here several free & popular communication tools everybody can use on Ubuntu with short guidances in using them. They are email & mailing list, IRC webchat, Telegram, and Jitsi Meet. They are all gratis and quick to use and I myself using them for online teaching and reaching people out there. Stay safe and be healthy!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Stay busy in your Vault with a Raspberry Pi Zero Pipboy
      • Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition is out now with a juicy free patch for everyone

        Deep Sky Derelicts: Definitive Edition, a nice blending of squad management and turn-based battles with a real gritty atmosphere and some stylish graphics is out now.

      • New SteamVR Beta has some essential Half-Life: Alyx fixes for Linux

        While Half-Life: Alyx isn’t on Linux (yet—it’s coming), Valve are still trying to get it working as good as possible with Steam Play Proton and a new update for SteamVR is up.

      • Seems Valve do intend to go back to SteamOS at some point

        SteamOS, the Valve-made Linux distribution that was originally for the failed Steam Machine initiative has gradually vanished into the sidelines but it seems it won’t be forever.

        A while ago, we did see indications that Valve would work on SteamOS 3.0 “Clockwerk” back in 2018 but they’ve still been very quiet on it since apart from a few minor package updates to SteamOS 2 “Brewmaster”.

        Valve have been extremely active on other fronts though of course. As a quick bit of history: for Linux they put out Steam Play Proton, the ACO shader compiler for AMD, this new Steam Linux Runtime container system, the micro-compositor Gamescope and there’s more with people working on all sorts under contract for Valve to improve Linux.

      • Dinosaur survival MMO ‘Path of Titans’ looks seriously fun in the new pre-release video

        Alderon Games have been heads-down working on Path of Titans, their upcoming dino MMO where all players are dinosaurs and it really looks like it’s come along great.

        They just recently announced that they’re going to enter “pre-release” this September, which includes Linux support as they got all that in quite early. Alderon say this means they will have a “playable game with multiplayer servers and many of the core mechanics of the game completed at that time”.

      • Unreal Engine early access ARPG ‘Malus’ now has Linux support

        Malus, an action RPG that puts an emphasis on the quite different combat system, with a darker theme and horror elements plus it’s also now available on Linux.

        This Unreal Engine powered game entered Early Access only this month, with a Linux build arriving shortly after. Combat is certainly…different. It has a slower pace to it, it feels a little more tactical as you lock onto enemies and do a weird dance around them to fight effectively and I actually quite liked it. A lot of ARPGs focus on speed and brute force, so it’s interesting to see it slowed down like this.

      • Hard sci-fi base-management RPG ‘Titan Outpost’ is now available on Linux

        Base building, people management and you’re trying to colonise Saturn’s moon Titan in Titan Outpost which is now available and supported on Linux.

      • NVIDIA Nsight Graphics 2020.2 is out, boosting Vulkan and Linux support further

        Over the last year or two more and more toolkits, debuggers and all sorts of handy applications for developers have expanded their Linux support and now NVIDIA are doing the same with NVIDIA Nsight Graphics 2020.2.

      • For a few days you can grab a free copy of ‘Maia’ – go build a base on a hostile world

        Maia from Machine Studios (Simon Roth), is a hard sc-fi base builder set on a hostile world. It released in full back in 2018 and now you can get a free copy for the next few days.

        There’s a full narrative campaign, standalone missions and custom sandbox modes that will test your ability to successfully manage a colony. This is no RimWorld though, it’s a lot slower paced and quite difficult. Pretty too, with visuals that give you a retro future feel. Inspired by games such as Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital and The Sims mixing together lots of elements into a firmly unique experience.

      • Plague Inc: Evolved getting a stop the outbreak mode, Ndemic Creations donated big sum to fight COVID-19

        Ndemic Creations have announced two huge bits of news today around their hit Plague Inc: Evolved, after recently having a massive surge in players due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

        They’ve made a $250,000 donation to help fight it, which has been split between the CEPI (Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) and the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

        “Eight years ago, I never imagined the real world would come to resemble a game of Plague Inc. or that so many players would be using Plague Inc. to help them get through an actual pandemic,” said James Vaughan, creator of Plague Inc. “We are proud to be able to help support the vital work of the WHO and CEPI as they work towards finding a vaccine for COVID-19”.

      • The big Stadia round-up from the ‘Google for Games Keynote’ – Splash Damage exclusive, open source and more

        Recently, Google held an online Google for Games Keynote and quite a lot of new information came out of it including new games to come to Stadia. The majority of it was aimed at developers, although plenty of info for consumers came with the various presentations.

        Firstly, what could be quite a big one, Splash Damage have announced they’ve teamed up with Google to make an exclusive Stadia game. Splash Damage worked on Gears of War, Halo, Dirty Bomb, Wolfenstein Enemy Territory and more. Probably safe to say it’s going to be some sort of shooter.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Interview with Anilia

          Amazing! When I first opened Krita I thought – This is exactly what I need, that’s my perfect tool.

          Everything, but the most important thing is that Krita gives me exactly what I need for digital painting. I have all necessary tools in one place and those tools works perfectly with my tablet. I don’t need to spend hours to customize the program and search for options.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • OSMC’s March update is here with Kodi v18.6

          Firstly, and most importantly, we hope that everyone and their loved ones are staying safe. We continue to work on and develop OSMC during this time and offer support and our store also remains open with orders being fulfilled promptly and without delay.

          Team Kodi recently announced the 18.6 point release of Kodi Leia. We have now prepared this for all supported OSMC devices and added some improvements and fixes.

          Our next video stack with support for HDR10+ and 3D MVC for Vero 4K and Vero 4K + will be made available for testing on our forums within the next 48 hours.

        • MythTV 31 Released! How to Install it in Ubuntu via PPA

          MythTV, open source software digital video recorder (DVR), released new stable version 31 a day ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10.

          MythTV 31 comes with significant changes to video decoding and playback, python3 support, greatly improved channel scanning, and support for the DataDirect guide service from Schedules Direct has been removed. For details, see the release note.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Parrot OS 4.8 KDE Home Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Parrot OS 4.8 KDE Home.

        • Manjaro 19.0 Kyria KDE Edition – Features KDE Plasma 5.17 and Powered by Linux Kernel 5.4

          Manjaro 19 KDE Edition ships with the latest version KDE plasma 5.17. The themes have been updated including new “light” and “dark” versions within the Breath2 theme. In addition, KDE 19.12.2 packages and applications have been included.

          Manjaro 19 offering Office Suite Freeoffice 2018 by SoftMaker during installation. Bauh, the graphical package manager now supports Snaps, Flatpaks, Appimage and the Arch AUR. This means that Manjaro users now have three choices of application installation in the GUI.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM 2020 Call For Code Global Challenge Now Includes Coronavirus

          As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spreads across the world with unprecedented effect, IBM has added it to 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. This year’s Challenge takes on both climate change and COVID-19, two urgent crises facing our world today.

          Nearly one month ago, together with Creator David Clark Cause and in partnership with United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation, IBM announced climate change as the theme for the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. However, much has changed since then. COVID-19 now has the potential to become the greatest crisis of modern times.

        • Red Hat Universal Base Images for Docker users

          When Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 was released almost a year ago, and it came with lots of new features related to containers. The biggest ones were the new container tools (Podman, Buildah, and skopeo) and the new Red Hat Universal Base Images. There was also confusion because RHEL 8 dropped support for the Docker toolset. Some developers thought that they could not work with Docker anymore, and had to either migrate to a Red Hat-ecosystem Linux system such as CentOS or stay away from Red Hat customers.

          This situation was far from the truth because containers are not just about Docker anymore. Container runtimes, container images, registry servers, and other technologies related to the Linux container ecosystem are now standardized by the Open Container Initiative (OCI). Thanks to the OCI, you can develop a container using one tool and then run the same container using another tool. For example, Red Hat builds a container image using Buildah on RHEL 8, and then you run that container image using Docker on a Windows system.

          Another example would be you building a container image using Docker on a Mac system and then later you run that container image on a Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 server with Podman.

        • Guide to Installing an OKD 4.4 Cluster on your Home Lab

          OKD is the upstream community-supported version of the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP). OpenShift expands vanilla Kubernetes into an application platform designed for enterprise use at scale. Starting with the release of OpenShift 4, the default operating system is Red Hat CoreOS, which provides an immutable infrastructure and automated updates. OKD’s default operating system is Fedora CoreOS which, like OKD, is the upstream version of Red Hat CoreOS.

          Instructions for Deploying OKD 4 Beta on your Home Lab

          For those of you who have a Home Lab, check out the step-by-step guide here helps you successfully build an OKD 4.4 cluster at home using VMWare as the example hypervisor, but you can use Hyper-V, libvirt, VirtualBox, bare metal, or other platforms just as easily.

        • Bringing OpenShift to IBM Cloud with Chris Rosen (IBM)

          In this briefing, IBM Cloud’s Chris Rosen discusses the logistics of bringing OpenShift to IBM Cloud and walk us thru how to make the most of this new offering from IBM Cloud.

          Red Hat OpenShift is now available on IBM Cloud as a fully managed OpenShift service that leverages the enterprise scale and security of IBM Cloud, so you can focus on developing and managing your applications. It’s directly integrated into the same Kubernetes service that maintains 25 billion on-demand forecasts daily at The Weather Company.

      • UCS

        • UCS 4.4-4: Fourth Point Release of UCS 4.4

          We’ve just published the 4th point release of UCS 4.4: apart from bug fixes and some patches, we added some cool new features and improved numerous apps. For example, UCS 4.4-4 introduces logging of LDAP authentications, something that was previously only available via Samba 4. Our developers also put some work into the AD Connector (enhanced security, performance and compatibility), the Univention App Center and the UCS portal login screen. Read on to find out more about the most important innovations.

      • Debian Family

        • VSIDO – A Debian-Sid Tracking Distribution with Fluxbox

          There are a lot of distributions, spins, customizations and modifications of distributions out there. Not all of them are listed on Distrowatch, such as MiyoLinux I just wrote about a week ago. I once started a series about light weight distributions using window managers such as Openbox and IceWM or lighter desktop environments. Vsido which is utilising Fluxbox certainly fits the bill so let’s see.

          Vsido first came to my attention on the Crunchbang forum. It is developed by a guy called the VastOne. Instead of the widely popular Openbox window manager it is using Fluxbox and gives the user a basic environment to start with but one that one can already be productive in depending on the needs. This particular modification, I hesitate to call it a distribution because that is what it’s based on, is tracking Debian Sid which means the Unstable development branch of Debian. Nevertheless, if you know anything about Debian and how to succesfully use it, Unstable it a lot more reliable than it sounds. People have tracked it for years without the need to reinstall.

        • LMDE 4 Has Been Released

          The latest version of the Linux Mint Debian Edition based on Debian 10 ‘Buster’ has been released. You can find the release announcement here with a link to release notes for more information, and if already running LMDE 3 upgrade instructions here. This is quite an important release and a nice way to install Debian on your machines that is less bloated and more responsive than the mainline Mint base.

        • Norbert Preining: KDE/Plasma 5.18 for Debian

          I have been trying out the Plasma Desktop for one week now, and I am very positively surprised. Compared to the clumsy history of KDE3, the current desktop is extremely small-footprint and smooth, surprisingly. Integration is as expected great, and mixing programs from the “other world” (Gtk/Gnome) works also extremely smooth.

        • Christoph Berg: Announcing apt-archive.postgresql.org

          Users had often asked where they could find older versions of packages from apt.postgresql.org. I had been collecting these since about April 2013, and in July 2016, I made the packages available via an ad-hoc URL on the repository master host, called “the morgue”. There was little repository structure, all files belonging to a source package were stuffed into a single directory, no matter what distribution they belonged to. Besides this not being particularly accessible for users, the main problem was the ever-increasing need for more disk space on the repository host. We are now at 175 GB for the archive, of which 152 GB is for the morgue.

          Our friends from yum.postgresql.org have had a proper archive host (yum-archive.postgresql.org) for some time already, so it was about time to follow suit and implement a proper archive for apt.postgresql.org as well, usable from apt.

        • Outreachy post 5 – Final report

          This is my last Outreachy blogpost, as my internship unfortunately has come to an end. It was a blast!

          Through the Outreachy internship I gained a lot of valuable knowledge and even though I dont know what the future will bring, I am more confident about myself, my skills in fundraising and my technical abilities now.

          During the contribution phase I did quite a lot of research so I could come up with relevant information to add on the Debian wiki as part of the contribution phase tasks. This was helpful for me to build a more deep understanding of the Debian project, the DebConf conferences and the general style of working within Debian.

          During this phase I completed most of the tasks given and got onto the mailing lists and IRC channels which are public. This was quite an intense experience by itself as it was like digging into a new job but in a competitive situation as other applicants, of course, were also putting in their best to get one of the 50 Outreachy internships (two in Debian) that were available.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Why Components Of Login Screen In Ubuntu 20.04 Looks So Misaligned?

          On March 19, 2020, Ubuntu developers stabilized the user interface development of the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. It indicates the beginning of the documentation process and end of user interface updates. However, changes can still be made by taking approval of the release team.

          The next day, when I tried the daily builds of v20.04, I found something very odd with the login screen. Of course, I noticed other updates as well like a beep sound at the start of installation. It is okay for me, but, more than that, I’ve got a concern about the alignment of the input box at the login window.

        • Kubernetes 1.18 available from Canonical

          Canonical today announced full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.18, with support covering Charmed Kubernetes, MicroK8s and kubeadm. Committed to releasing in tandem with upstream Kubernetes, enterprises can benefit from the latest additions to enhance their day to day operations.

          “Canonical’s drive is to enable enterprises by giving them the tools to seamlessly deploy and operate their Kubernetes clusters. This new Kubernetes release unlocks capabilities for both MicroK8s and Charmed Kubernetes, with new add-ons like Kubeflow 1.0, Multus and support for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. We are excited to work with our customers and partners to deliver them an unparalleled Kubernetes experience,” commented Alex Chalkias, Product Manager at Canonical.

        • Kubernetes 1.18 available from Canonical

          Canonical today announced full enterprise support for Kubernetes 1.18, with support covering Charmed Kubernetes, MicroK8s and kubeadm. Committed to releasing in tandem with upstream Kubernetes, enterprises can benefit from the latest additions to enhance their day to day operations.

          “Canonical’s drive is to enable enterprises by giving them the tools to seamlessly deploy and operate their Kubernetes clusters. This new Kubernetes release unlocks capabilities for both MicroK8s and Charmed Kubernetes, with new add-ons like Kubeflow 1.0, Multus and support for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. We are excited to work with our customers and partners to deliver them an unparalleled Kubernetes experience,” commented Alex Chalkias, Product Manager at Canonical.

          MicroK8s, the lightweight, single snap packaged Kubernetes is suited for edge and IoT use cases like Raspberry Pi clustering and ideal forDevOps teams that want to create CI/CD pipelines to test K8s-based applications. Users following the latest stable MicroK8s track will be automatically upgraded to Kubernetes 1.18. The recent Kubeflow 1.0 release can be enabled in MicroK8s by a single command and unlock the capabilities of AI/ML at the edge.

        • Ceph Octopus is now available

          Ceph upstream released the first stable version of ‘Octopus’ today, and you can test it easily on Ubuntu with automatic upgrades to the final GA release. This version adds significant multi-site replication capabilities, important for large-scale redundancy and disaster recovery. Ceph v15.2.0 Octopus packages are built for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, CentOS 7 and 8, Container image (based on CentOS 8) and Debian Buster.

        • How to launch IoT devices – Part 4: When to ask for help

          The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. By following this series so far, you hopefully have an idea and a plan on getting that idea to market (part 1). Then you selected hardware that works with your software (part 2), as well as infrastructure that supports you along the way (part 3). Do you feel in a good position to launch your IoT product and get a piece of that trillion dollar pie?

          Even the most successful products go off-course during development. In addition, when roadmaps, plans and budgets start to go wrong, it is easy to lose stakeholder support. This blog will explain how using specialists to outsource and co-create parts of a product will benefit your product in the short and long term.

    • Devices/Embedded

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Tough lessons learned from measuring community health with open source software

      Measuring the health of an open source community is a topic of increasing importance. From the moment an open source community forms, researchers, maintainers, and organizations try to understand whether the community is healthy and what makes it healthy.

      The Community Health Analytics for Open Source Software (CHAOSS) project offers a formal approach to understanding community health. The project started in 2017, bringing four stakeholders (open source communities, academia, organizations, and toolmakers) together under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. GrimoireLab, the focus of this article, is one of CHAOSS’s co-founding projects.

    • Events

      • foss-north – or doing many things at once

        When placing this year’s foss-north event over a quarter break I knew that I would be busy both at work and at the conference. Little did I know what was beyond the horizon ;-)

        As a consequence of the COVID-19 situation, the event has to be converted from a physical meeting to a virtual event. This means many things to an organizer: renegotiating all sponsorship contracts, renegotiating with the physical venue, setting up the infrastructure for a virtual event, rescheduling all speakers, and so on.

        We at foss-north are lucky. All sponsors continue to stay with us and the venue was very cooperative when it came to rescheduling the event.

        I have started to document our virtual conference setup so that other conferences in the same situation can learn. Pull requests are welcome!

    • Web Browsers

      • WWW/Mozilla

        • Daniel Stenberg: curl ootw: –retry-max-time

          curl supports retrying of operations that failed due to “transient errors”, meaning that if the error code curl gets signals that the error is likely to be temporary and not the fault of curl or the user using curl, it can try again. You enable retrying with –retry [tries] where you tell curl how many times it should retry. If it reaches the maximum number of retries with a successful transfer, it will return error.

          A transient error can mean that the server is temporary overloaded or similar, so when curl retries it will by default wait a short while before doing the next “round”. By default, it waits one second on the first retry and then it doubles the time for every new attempt until the waiting time reaches 10 minutes which then is the max waiting time. A user can set a custom delay between retries with the –retry-delay option.

        • Try our latest Test Pilot, Firefox for a Better Web, offering privacy and faster access to great content

          Today we are launching a new Test Pilot initiative called Firefox Better Web with Scroll. The Firefox Better Web initiative is about bringing the ease back to browsing the web. We know that publishers are getting the short end of the stick in the current online ad ecosystem and advertising networks make it difficult for excellent journalism to thrive. To give users what they want most, which is great quality content without getting tracked by third parties, we know there needs to be a change. We’ve combined Firefox and Scroll’s growing network of ad-free sites to offer users a fast and private web experience that we believe can be our future.

          If we’re going to create a better internet for everyone, we need to figure out how to make it work for publishers. Last year, we launched Enhanced Tracking Protection by default and have blocked more than two trillion third-party trackers to date, but it didn’t directly address the problems that publishers face. That’s where our partner Scroll comes in. By engaging with a better funding model, sites in their growing network no longer have to show you ads to make money. They can focus on quality not clicks. Firefox Better Web with Scroll gives you the fast, private web you want and supports publishers at the same time.

          To try the Firefox Better Web online experience, Firefox users simply sign up for a Firefox account and install a web extension. As a Test Pilot, it will only be available in the US. The membership is 50% off for the first six months at $2.50 per month. This goes directly to fund publishers and writers, and in early tests we’ve found that sites make at least 40% more money than they would have made from showing you ads.

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • LibreOffice: A great choice for schools and education

        Because LibreOffice is free and open source software, students and teachers can download and install it on as many machines as they like, without worrying about license fees, subscriptions or audits. If you’re a teacher, you can be sure that your students won’t suddenly be locked out of their documents for not renewing a subscription. They can keep working, as long as they like!

      • Document Freedom Day 2020

        When you save a document on your computer, it is stored in a computer file. Whether it is a text file, a picture, a video or any other kind of work, it is saved with a specific coded structure, known as the file format.

        To be able to share data, software programs must be able to communicate with each other. It implies that no barrier whatsoever may hinder the exchange of data and the related write or read operations. For such a seamless exchange to be possible, software programs are required to be “interoperable”.

        Interoperability is guaranteed when it relies on open standards, i.e. public technical specifications, freely usable by everyone, without restriction nor compensation, and maintained by an open decision-making process. File formats based on these open standards are “Open Formats”.

        Where software interoperability is set aside, or if a program editor does not give access to the key information for interoperability or if the file design recipe is kept undisclosed, or if the file design recipe is available but is not followed by the program, file formats are considered to be “closed” and do not allow interoperability. For a software user, choosing between an Open File Format or a closed one has a deep impact on the ownership of and the access to his/her own data and their availability over time.

    • CMS

      • Why I use WordPress for education

        I believe that WordPress has a place in every PK-12 school. Most teachers are looking for ways to quickly engage parents with news from the classroom, and while many use social media, WordPress provides a powerful alternative. A simple classroom blog that’s easily accessible to all is a great way to improve communication.

        When I first came across WordPress in early 2006, I started using it as my own blogging software. I thought immediately of how useful this would be in a classroom. WordPress has everything you need to get your message out quickly to a global audience at little or no cost. According to the WordPress website, “WordPress was born out of a desire for an elegant, well-architectured personal publishing system built on PHP and MySQL and licensed under the GPL. It is the official successor of b2/cafelog. WordPress is modern software, but its roots and development go back to 2001.” Also, WordPress is licensed under the GPL v. 2.0, and it is committed to accessibility. According to their website, “WordPress aims to make the WordPress Admin and bundled themes fully WCAG 2.0 AA compliant where possible.”

      • WordPress 5.4 RC4

        The fourth release candidate for WordPress 5.4 is live!

        WordPress 5.4 is currently scheduled to land on March 31 2020, and we need your help to get there—if you haven’t tried 5.4 yet, now is the time!

    • Public Services/Government

      • Singapore government to open source contact-tracing protocol

        Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) is contributing the source codes of the protocol that powers the TraceTogther contact-tracing app to the open source community to help stem the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

        Launched on 20 March 2020, TraceTogether works by exchanging short-distance Bluetooth signals between phones to detect other participating users in close proximity using the BlueTrace protocol developed by GovTech.

        The development team behind the protocol said in its manifesto that mobile apps and wearable devices that deploy the BlueTrace protocol will be able to blend decentralised and centralised models of contact tracing.

    • Programming/Development

      • LLVM 10.0.0 released
        I am pleased to announce that LLVM 10 is now available.
        Get it here: https://llvm.org/releases/download.html#10.0.0
        This release is the result of the LLVM community's work over the past
        six months (up to to e26a78e7085 on master plus commits up to
        d32170dbd5b on the release/10.x branch).
        Some highlights include:
        - C++ Concepts support in Clang
        - Clang no longer runs in a separate process by default ("in-process cc1")
        - Windows control flow guard (CFG) checks
        - Support for more processor cores and features
        And as usual, many bug fixes, optimizations, and new compiler diagnostics.
        For more details, see the release notes:
        Special thanks to the release testers and packagers: Alexandre Ganea,
        Andrew Kelley, Anil Mahmud, Bernhard Rosenkraenzer, Brian Cain,
        Dimitry Andric, Martijn Otto, Michael Kruse, Michał Górny, Neil
        Nelson, Rainer Orth, Serge Guelton, Sylvestre Ledru, Tobias Hieta, and
        Yvan Roux. Without your work, this release would not be possible.
        For questions or comments about the release, please contact the
        community on the mailing lists. Onwards to LLVM 11! And take care.
      • LLVM 10.0.0 released

        Version 10.0.0 of the LLVM compiler suite is out. New features include support for C++ concepts, Windows control flow guard support, and much more; click below for pointers to a set of language-specific release notes.

      • LLVM 11 Flips On NVIDIA CUDA Offloading From 64-Bit ARM

        The latest LLVM 11 development code has enabled support for NVIDIA CUDA GPU device offloading from 64-bit ARM.

        LLVM AArch64 has the build system support enabled for allowing CUDA offload from 64-bit ARM hosts. Up to now this wasn’t enabled but it turns out it works and has been passing all of the OpenMP offload tests.

        The enablement for CUDA offloading on AArch64 was merged at the end of last week.

      • LLVM/Clang 10.0 Now Available With Better C++20 Support, New CPU Coverage

        The release cycle was dragged out an extra month due to bugs and there ended up even being a last minute sixth release candidate yesterday, but LLVM 10.0 and its sub-projects like Clang 10.0 and LLDB 10.0 were just tagged.

        LLVM 10 is now available as the latest half-year update to this extremely popular open-source compiler stack that spans many architectures, devices, and operating systems.

      • Programming language Julia: Version 1.4 is even faster and brings these new features

        Julia, a zippy programming language for data scientists and machine-learning experts, has been updated with improved multi-threading, new library features, and tweaks to the build system.

        The language has been embraced by some programmers for its C-like speed. Its makers aimed for it also to be as easy to use as Python, with the best qualities of R for statistics and Matlab for algebra.

      • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn OCaml

        Caml is a general-purpose, powerful, high-level programming language with a large emphasis on speed and efficiency. A dialect of the ML programming language, it supports functional, imperative, and object-oriented programming styles. Caml has been developed and distributed by INRIA, a French research institute, since 1985.

        The OCaml system is the main implementation of the Caml language. It has a very strong type-checking system, offers a powerful module system, automatic memory management, first-class functions, and adds a full-fledged object-oriented layer. OCaml includes a native-code compiler supporting numerous architectures, for high performance; a bytecode compiler, for increased portability; and an interactive loop, for experimentation and rapid development. OCaml’s integrated object system allows object-oriented programming without sacrificing the benefits of functional programming, parametric polymorphism, and type inference. The language is mature, producing efficient code and comes with a large set of general purpose as well as domain-specific libraries.

      • welcome to heck: lessons learned from Ikona writing rust bindings to C++ the hard way

        rust is quite a neat language, isn’t it? gigantic library ecosystem, memory safety, tons of developer-friendly tools in it. for Ikona, I decided to utilise this language, and instead of relying on binding generators that hide half the magic away from you, I wrote all bindings by hand.

      • New package RcppDate 0.0.1 now on CRAN!

        A new small package with a new C++ header library is now on CRAN. It brings the date library by Howard Hinnant to R. This library has been in pretty wide-spread use for a while now, and adds to C++11/C++14/C++17 what will be (with minor modifications) the ‘date’ library in C++20. I had been aware of it for a while, but not needed thanks to CCTZ library out of Google and our RcppCCTZ package. And like CCTZ, it builds upon std::chron adding a whole lot of functionality and useability enhancement. But a some upcoming (and quite exciting!) changes in nanotime required it, I had a reason to set about packaging it as RcppDate. And after a few days of gestation and review it is now available via CRAN.https://www.kdab.com/debugging-profiling-qt-3d-apps/

      • Debugging and Profiling Qt 3D applications

        Qt 3D, being a retained mode high level graphic API abstraction, tries to hide most of the details involved in rendering the data provided by applications. It makes a lot of decisions and operations in the background in order to get pixels on the screen. But, because Qt 3D also has very rich API, developers can have a lot of control on the rendering by manipulating the scene graph and, more importantly, the frame graph. It is however sometimes difficult to understand how various operations affect performance.

      • Python

        • PSF: New pip resolver to roll out this year

          The Python Software Foundation blog looks at some changes to pip, the Python Package installer, in the process of developing a new resolver. The new resolver will reduce inconsistency and be stricter, refusing to install two packages with incompatible requirements.

        • What’s New in Python 101 2nd Edition

          The original Python 101 was the first book I had ever written. In deciding to write a 2nd edition, I needed to decide what I should keep and what I should remove from the book. What I ended up doing was rewriting the book from the ground up.

        • Using NumPy’s np.arange() Effectively

          NumPy is the fundamental Python library for numerical computing. Its most important type is an array type called ndarray. NumPy offers a lot of array creation routines for different circumstances. arange() is one such function based on numerical ranges. It’s often referred to as np.arange() because np is a widely used abbreviation for NumPy.

        • Wing Tips: Remote Python Development on AWS with Wing Pro

          In this Wing Tip we’ll start looking at how to use Wing Pro to remotely develop Python code running on an AWS instance. With minimal configuration, Wing Pro can edit, debug, test, inspect, and navigate Python code residing on an AWS instance, as if it were on the local host.

        • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #413 (March 24, 2020)
        • Mike Driscoll: Stuck at Home Python Book Sale

          Python is one of the most popular languages in the world. I have been using it myself for over a decade and am still constantly learning new things.

      • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

        • Second Tuesday of each month and a BASHing data century

          My wife has a lunchtime meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, so naturally I thought about command-line ways to get a list of the meeting dates for a calendar year (with Priscilla’s help; see below).

        • Bash Shell Expansions: Brace Expansion, Parameter Expansion and more

          In this article we will cover all the basic features of Bash Shell expansion. Some of the most complex and interesting expansions are the Brace Expansion and Parameter Expansion which have many features and options which are powerful but only mastered over time by BASH programmers and linux devops folks. Word Splitting is also quite interesting and sometime overlooked. Filename, Arithmetic Expansion and Variable substitution are well known. We will cover numerous topics and show examples of the command and most useful syntaxes for each syntax. So let’s get started.

  • Leftovers

    • Jenny Lewis: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
    • My Birthday Memory of Waldo Jeffers and “The Gift”

      Back in the late 1960s, the Velvet Underground created a spoken word song called “The Gift.” Back then, I thought this song was an absurdly fascinating and dreadful fantasy and was one of the most creative performances of those times.

    • The Inside Scoop on a Six-Figure Nigerian Fraud Campaign

      Somewhere in Russia, as you are reading this, a well-coordinated gang is rotating their C&C servers on a daily basis and signing their malware with a rogue certificate authority. Bugs are corrected, features are introduced, security vendors are watched with a keen eye. Meanwhile, halfway across the earth in Nigeria, Dton is spamming out RATs that all contain hard-coded credentials for the single Gmail inbox the RATs all report to – then purposefully gets himself infected with a copy as well. When business with someone goes well, Dton infects them with a RAT just in case it later turns out to be useful; when business with someone goes less than well, Dton resolves the dispute by reporting them to the Interpol.

    • In quarantine? Here are 6 museums you can visit without leaving home

      Although many of Mexico’s cultural institutions have not quite caught up to the 21st century, there are some online resources available, almost all of which are provided by museums related to Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

      Granted, seeing a photograph of a painting or a pyramid pales in comparison to having it in front of you. But it’s still good to know you can see some of what you’re missing while you sit at home in coronavirus quarantine.

    • ‘Tremendously dangerous’: In Iran, conspiracy theories and religious bickering slow COVID-19 response

      When the COVID-19 outbreak first appeared in Iran on Feb. 19, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei proclaimed it a hoax, a conspiracy from the country’s enemies.

      There were reports the regime tried to cover up the number of fatalities, until cellphone videos appeared that showed bodies being hurriedly buried in a graveyard in the northern city of Qom by workers wearing masks and hazmat suits.

    • Hardware

      • What keyboard form factor is ergonomically right for you

        How do you decide which keyboard form factor (full-size, tenkeyless, 60%, etc) is right for you? For many, the decision comes down to price and how much desk space they have. However, you should make sure you get a keyboard that won’t cause you pain with prolonged use.

        There are a few common keyboard form factors on the market. They vary from the full size traditional computer keyboard (roughly 46 cm wide) to 60 % models (27 cm wide). I’ll cut to the chase right away: many use too wide keyboards and you should probably get one without the numbed. Read on if you need more convincing.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • We Must Vote To Protect Public Health

        Voting for public health requires identifying leaders with a strong track-record of public health prioritization, that value effective risk communication, and are committed to the advancement of health equity and justice. 

      • The buckwheat nation Here’s what Russians are panic buying as coronavirus spreads
      • Love One Another or Die: Lessons for Coronavirus From the HIV/AIDS Crisis

        We learned to fight militantly and angrily for healthcare, in a country where healthcare is not a universal right. It made all the difference.

      • Russia’s official coronavirus case total rises to 495 with 57 new confirmed infections

        In the past 24 hours, Russian health officials confirmed 57 new coronavirus infections across 14 different regions of the country, bringing the total official case count to 495 patients. 

      • States Should Designate Grocery Workers as “Essential Personnel” Without Delay

        Over the past week, Michigan, Minnesota and Vermont have reclassified grocery workers as “essential personnel.” The country’s main retail union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) is pushing California and several other states to follow their lead.

      • Trump Will Feed You to COVID-19 to Keep the Money Happy

        I have developed a strange affinity for Dr. Anthony S. Fauci. Donald Trump made Fauci — the 36-year director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has advised every president over that span — the hood ornament on this administration’s careening coronavirus Cadillac. Fauci is the face of SCIENCE in this fight, and from the sound of things, SCIENCE is about to get fired.

      • ‘Repulsive’: Outrage as Texas Lieutenant Gov. Says Seniors Willing to Risk Coronavirus Infection to Protect Economy

        “This crisis is really laying bare the extent to which we are ruled by completely craven psychopaths.”

      • Texas Lt. Governor Says Seniors Should Risk Dying of COVID-19 to Protect Economy

        Dan Patrick, the Republican lieutenant governor of Texas, told Fox News’ disproportionately older audience Monday night that he and other American seniors would be willing to risk dying from the coronavirus in order to ensure that the economy doesn’t slide into a serious recession.

      • Trump Will Not Require Manufacturers to Make Vital Medical Equipment

        President Trump has refused to use a wartime law to require major manufacturers to make vital equipment to combat the new coronavirus, reportedly after corporations successfully lobbied his top adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

      • Even Under US Sanctions, Cuba Sends Doctor Brigade to Italy

        As Italy’s death toll soars past 6,000, Cuba has sent medical brigades to combat COVID-19. Cuba has also deployed doctors to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname and Grenada. “The arrival of a medical brigade from Cuba to Italy is pretty historic. You have a leading European nation accepting support in the form of a medical team from a small Caribbean island,” says our guest, Peter Kornbluh, director of the Cuba Documentation Project at the National Security Archive at George Washington University. “It just goes to the history of Cuba’s deep and long-lasting commitment to humanitarian solidarity with other countries.” Kornbluh covers Cuba for The Nation magazine.

      • Will Rikers Island Free More People After Over 60 Test Positive for COVID-19?

        As COVID-19 begins to spread in the U.S. prison system, calls are growing in the New York City epicenter of the pandemic to release people from Rikers Island, the second-largest jail system in the country. At least 39 prisoners and 21 staff at Rikers Island have tested positive. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday the city had released 75 people, but advocates are calling for the release of thousands more. We speak with Dr. Homer Venters, former chief medical officer for New York City’s Correctional Health Services and author of Life and Death in Rikers Island. His piece for The Hill is headlined “Coronavirus behind bars: 4 priorities to save the lives of prisoners.”

      • Moscow’s mayor warns Putin that regional officials don’t understand coronavirus risks and says low levels of testing could explain Russia’s small number of confirmed cases

        Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin, who also serves as the deputy head of Russia’s coronavirus task force, has asked Vladimir Putin to strengthen the measures imposed in regions across the country to slow the spread of coronavirus. 

      • Photo: Putin visits coronavirus hospital in Moscow
      • Voting by Mail Would Reduce Coronavirus Transmission but It Has Other Risks

        Because of a rise in its Latino population, Gwinnett County in suburban Atlanta had to mail out absentee ballots with information in both English and Spanish in 2018. The result was chaos. The county accommodated the increased text by printing it in 6.5-point font, making each letter smaller than a sesame seed. Many voters were confused by the instructions — in particular, that they had to sign the back of the yellow envelope before returning it or their votes wouldn’t count. Gwinnett rejected 595 absentee ballots, a third of all those tossed in Georgia, often without notifying the spurned voters. Only a hurried lawsuit by the ACLU forced the county to reexamine the discarded ballots.

        The debacle caused in Gwinnett by this relatively minor tweak presents a cautionary lesson for election administrators amid a pandemic-driven flurry of calls for a massive expansion of voting by mail. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., introduced legislation this month to promote and help fund mail-in ballot efforts, and several states that have delayed primaries are mulling whether to conduct them by mail.

      • ‘We Need to Not Just Slow Down the Disease, but Stop It’

        MP3 Link

      • Doctors Are Hoarding Unproven Coronavirus Medicine by Writing Prescriptions for Themselves and Their Families

        A nationwide shortage of two drugs touted as possible treatments for the coronavirus is being driven in part by doctors inappropriately prescribing the medicines for family, friends and themselves, according to pharmacists and state regulators.

        “It’s disgraceful, is what it is,” said Garth Reynolds, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, which started getting calls and emails Saturday from members saying they were receiving questionable prescriptions. “And completely selfish.”

      • Four rooms Muscovites infected with coronavirus describe life under hospitalization

        According to data released on March 24, Russia has confirmed 495 cases of coronavirus, mostly in Moscow. People in the capital who test positive for COVID-19 and those who are suspected of having contracted the disease are sent to a medical center in Moscow’s Kommunarka community. On social media, patients at this hospital have praised the living conditions, writing about comfortable beds and delicious meals served five times a day. Many have also complained, however, about shortages of needed medications, long waits for test results, and doctors who won’t answer their questions. On March 24, Vladimir Putin visited the medical center in Kommunarka to observe the situation. Before the president’s arrival, Meduza spoke to four patients hospitalized at the facility.

      • ‘Ticking Time Bombs’: Democrats and Advocates Demand Release of At-Risk Inmates Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

        Without “bold action” to reduce the incarcerated population, “we will face a humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude.”

      • The Infuriating Story of How the Government Stalled Coronavirus Testing

        Spurred on Friday by the Trump administration, the manufacturers of these vital supplies are apparently working in overdrive to make more. But the reason stocks of these supplies were so low to begin with? Trump’s trade war with China. On March 5, the Trump administration issued an exemption on these made-in-China products—including protective gear for healthcare workers, which is already scarce—but many fear it was too little, far too late.

        “As I speak, we’re running out of supply chains now so I don’t know what our capacity will be in the short term,” Baird told me on Friday afternoon, just as the President was beginning his Rose Garden address declaring a national emergency. Baird said he wasn’t planning on watching; he had too much to do and he asked me if I could hear the panic straining his voice. I told him I could, and asked him what he’d tell President Trump if he had the opportunity to speak to him, if he knew that everything he asked for would be granted. Baird hesitated. He started a few sentences, each of which devolved into raw anger that he asked me to scratch from the record. Finally, he took a breath and said, “An immediate recognition of the primacy of fact and reason. That’s all.”

      • Moscow City Hall: Up to 10 more hospital buildings may be designated for coronavirus patients

        The city of Moscow is prepared to allocate 10 more hospital buildings for the treatment of coronavirus infections, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced on Monday during the opening for a COVID-19 wing in City Hospital No. 67.

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

        Leaning on sober-minded experts in infectious diseases at his daily news conferences, Trump is frantically trying to look good. But the old delusionary Trump keeps resurfacing. On Monday, he rated his coronavirus performance at a perfect ten. On Tuesday, he lied to the public about his knowing it was a pandemic “long before it was called a pandemic.” The facts are just the opposite. On February 28th, Trump called COVID-19 a Democratic hoax (See the March 18, 2020 article in the New York Times).

      • Global Cooperation and a National Lockdown: Our Best Hope for Fighting Coronavirus

        The U.S. is still in the disastrous breakout phase, as a result of the shocking incompetence of Trump and his administration. To stem the tide we must act now with unparalleled urgency.

      • ‘Going to Get Millions of People Killed’: In All-Caps Tweet, Trump Again Undermines Expert Warnings on Coronavirus

        “The president is signaling that after 15 days he wants to ‘isolate the high-risk groups’ and tell everyone else to go back to work—based on a recommendation from a Twitter rando and in direct contravention to public health experts.”

      • Florida Receives Emergency Medical Supplies Even as Other States Struggle

        On March 11, Florida requested a cache of emergency supplies from the federal government to protect its medical workers against the novel coronavirus.

      • A Russian infectious disease doctor went to Spain and then went back to work. Now, she’s facing a coronavirus infection and criminal charges.

        Russia’s Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case against Dr. Irina Sannikova, the lead infectious disease consultant for the Stavropol region and a professor at the local medical university. The charges against Sannikova include negligence and “the concealment of information about circumstances that pose a threat to the health and lives of individuals.”

      • Fighting the Cuomo Virus to Free Imprisoned Elders

        It’s spring, yet most of us are stuck inside, groping for a positive attitude while hoping we’re negative for the coronavirus. Here, in the apartment where I shelter with my partner, Laura Whitehorn, there is constant turmoil. Laura, who spent over 14 years in federal prison, helped found Release Aging People in Prison/RAPP. Currently, Laura has been going nuts, blasting every shred of her already shredded being into getting Governor Cuomo – or anyone with enough power – to release elders and other vulnerable people in state prisons before COVID-19 inevitably swamps those facilities. Coronavirus news changes every second, but, at the moment I’m writing, New York City has released 23 older people from city jails – less than 1 percent of all incarcerated adults in the state.

      • Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre will perform for audiences of one person (selected by online raffles)

        Beginning on March 29, the Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre will allow a single audience member to attend each of its performances, which are now otherwise closed to the public and streamed live online, in accordance with safety measures imposed during the coronavirus pandemic. Patrons can enter the drawings for each show by registering online with the theater, which is calling the new viewing experience its “One on One” project.

      • Memes and Viruses: Could COVID19 be a Communist Plot?
      • COVID-19 Threatens the Lives of Billions: Statement of Socialist Action National Committee

        As the devastating novel coronavirus (COVID-19) literally threatens the lives of billions of the earth’s people, two truths about the contagion remain unchallenged: All nations are ill prepared for the arrival of the virus and once it lands, despite herculean efforts in some cases, little can be done to stop its spread.

      • Russian officials will track coronavirus patients’ geolocation data to design a national warning system

        Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered Russia’s Communications Ministry to develop a system that can track people who have come into contact with patients who have tested positive for coronavirus. According to the federal government’s website, the system should analyze specific individuals’ geolocation data from telecommunications companies.

      • Journal of the Plague: Year One

        For anyone who doubted that our corporate and political elites would use the Covid-19 plague to line their own pockets, the Senate Republican aid package cutting corporate taxes kills those doubts once and for all. Further proof of our aristocrats’ disgusting behavior comes with the news that at least five senators dumped stocks after classified briefings on the Covid-19 threat, violating a 2012 law against such behavior. That our oligarchs protect themselves at everyone else’s expense is not surprising. But that they are on the lookout to profit from economic and public health misery is nonetheless sickening.

      • Unsung Heroes: Mexican Laborers Still Working Hard In The Fields, Providing Our Food

        As the majority of Americans “shelter in place,” farmworkers head out to the fields, rain or shine, for 12 hour days, making sure we can restock our grocery shelves and put food on the table.


        Agriculture is the backbone of the U.S. economy, and Mexican and Latino migrant laborers make up 80 percent of the industry’s workforce.

        They are the definition of “essential.” Without their labor, crops rot, we starve, and the country crumbles.

        According to a statement by the United Farmworkers Union, “The people who put food on our table do not get to telecommute.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (tomcat8), Fedora (chromium and okular), openSUSE (texlive-filesystem), Oracle (tomcat6), Scientific Linux (libvncserver, thunderbird, and tomcat6), Slackware (gd), SUSE (cloud-init, postgresql10, python36, and strongswan), and Ubuntu (ibus and vim).

          • Windows 10 gets hacked (twice) at Pwn2Own, along with macOS and Ubuntu

            Pwn2Own witnessed hackers defeating the security of not just Windows 10, but also macOS and Ubuntu – all on the very first day.

            Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the big hacking event was held with all those involved participating remotely – with their exploits prepared in advance – rather than in Vancouver as is usually the case (as part of the CanSecWest security conference).

          • Josh Bressers: Part 4: Application scanning

            We’ve already discussed the perils of code and composition scanning. If you’ve not already read those, you should go back to the beginning.

            Now we’re going to discuss application scanning. The basic idea here is we have a scanner that interacts with a running application and looks for bugs. The other two scanners run against static content. A running application is dynamic and ever changing. If we thought code scanning was hard, this is even harder. Well it can be harder, it can also be easier. Sometimes.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Russia’s geolocation-based coronavirus tracker could face regulatory hurdles

              Activating any system that can use geolocation data to track people who have come into contact with patients who test positive for coronavirus would require individuals’ direct consent or the declaration of a national state of emergency, says a new report by the newspaper Kommersant. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin instructed Russia’s Communications Ministry to build a platform that would draw on specific individuals’ geolocation data retrieved from telecommunications companies. Mishustin ordered officials to find a way to notify those who may have come into contact with those infected with the coronavirus.

            • Big Telecom’s Quest To Use The First Amendment To Scuttle Privacy Laws Won’t Go Well, Experts Predict

              For a few years now, US telecom mono/duopolies like Comcast and AT&T have been trying to claim that absolutely any government attempt to hold them accountable violates their First Amendment rights. When their lobbyists were pushing to kill FCC net neutrality rules (and FCC oversight of telecom in general), they repeatedly tried to claim the rules violated their right to free speech, despite the fact that as simple conduits they don’t engage in “editorial” decisions, making the argument both flimsy and silly.

            • Ring Continues To Insist Its Cameras Reduce Crime, But Crime Data Doesn’t Back Those Claims Up

              Despite evidence to the contrary, Amazon’s Ring is still insisting its the best thing people can put on their front doors — an IoT camera with PD hookups that will magically reduce crime in their neighborhoods simply by being a mute witness of criminal acts.

            • Italian police can now use drones to monitor people’s movements, aviation authority says

              The National Civil Aviation Authority (ENAC) authorized the use of drones to monitor the movements of citizens in municipal areas to ensure the containment of the epidemiological emergency, ENAC said Monday in a letter published on its official website.

              The letter was sent by ENAC to the Italian ministries of the Interior, Transport and Justice, the Air Force General Staff, the company that manages civil air traffic in Italy (ENAV), the National Association of Italian Municipalities and the Local Police posts.

            • To Zoom or not to Zoom

              I’ve tested a number of programs, but the software I like best and which works best for me so far is Zoom. It’s fast, has a decent UI, works where I need it, does screen/app sharing the way I think it should be done, and it comes in a free tier as well as several paid tiers.

              But I keep hearing stories of how horrendous its privacy policy is, and in the course of a week there have been multiple people swearing off Zoom.

              It started with this tweet thread subtweeted by someone who’s opinion I have valued. At the time of this writing this tweet has 40k likes and 15k retweets: [...]

            • A Growing Number of Countries Tap Phone Data to Track COVID-19

              The actual extent of surveillance depends on the country, according to The Verge. And more specifically, it depends on the privacy and data protection laws each respective country’s enacted. For instance, GDPR prevents European nations from seeing an individual’s phone data, but The Verge reports that countries like Israel and Taiwan are taking more extreme measures.

            • Facebook’s Ads Business Weakening Despite Surge in Usage

              Many of Facebook’s products, including messaging and voice calls through Messenger and WhatsApp, have seen a dramatic increase in traffic as people stay home or remain isolated from friends, family and colleagues. Messaging has jumped more than 50% “in many of the countries hit hardest by the virus,” Facebook said, adding that voice calls in those regions have more than doubled. In Italy, where the coronavirus has claimed more deaths than any other country, time spent on Facebook products has soared by 70%.

              Still, those increases aren’t going to translate into more advertising dollars. The services that are booming in popularity during the outbreak aren’t apps or products where Facebook has robust ad businesses, meaning the company isn’t seeing a boost in sales from the surge in use. The company gets more than 98% of its revenue from advertising.

            • Facebook video calls soar 1,000% during Italy’s lockdown

              Facebook owns Instagram along with popular messaging app WhatsApp.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump’s “wartime president” shtick is ghastly — and it could totally work

        We don’t need to worry that Trump will actually launch a fighting war against China. He’s too much of a coward for that. In this case, though, he doesn’t have to. This is nothing more than a PR war. All he needs to do is to declare China to be the enemy, repeat and repeat, then declare victory and stage a victory parade. At least 40 percent of us will suck it down like Trump Vodka. It’ll all happen, irrespective of whether COVID-19 cases are on the decline. In fact, the president is already talking about lifting some of the isolation orders when his randomly-designated 15-day period is over, potentially worsening the spread of the virus. Reality, in this non-war war, is totally irrelevant, just as it’s been totally irrelevant since Inauguration Day.

        At risk of burying the lede, the X-factor in Trump’s war plan, as it was during the lead-up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, once again involves the cable news networks — yes, all of them — as well as the news divisions of the four major broadcast networks. News directors across the TV dial are, for reasons that confound logic, gifting the president with free airtime, live, every single day, to spread disinformation and brag about his self-proclaimed heroism and the fighting of a war he denied even existed a few weeks ago.

        To be clear, the big four broadcast networks, including ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox (proper), are interrupting regular programming to do this. It’s not just the cable networks.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Coronavirus Pandemic Has Led to a Record-Breaking Spike in Weekly Unemployment Insurance Claims

        An estimated 3.4 million workers filed for unemployment last week

      • COVID-19 Patients Should Not Face Surprise Medical Bills

        In the crush of news over the explosive spread of COVID-19, Congress has moved aggressively to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. While imperfect, this bill will do much to provide free COVID-19 testing and extended paid sick leave for many but not all workers. But it doesn’t cover hospitalization or care needed for people who actually contract the disease.

      • Postal Service ‘Will Not Survive the Summer’ Without Immediate Support, Warn House Dems

        The lawmakers’ warning follows the release of a House measure that would infuse the agency with $25 billion in emergency funding.

      • #NotDying4WallStreet Goes Viral as Progressives Reject Efforts to Put Corporate Profits Over Public Health

        “We will not die for oligarchs’ quarterly profit margin.”

      • Austerity Has Weakened Our Ability to Fight the COVID-19 Pandemic

        “I have delivered food parcels to four families this morning,” says Paula Spencer, who runs the community centre in Thanington, a deprived district on the outskirts of Canterbury. Two of the families had called for help because they had symptoms of the coronavirus, and two simply needed food to eat.

      • The Cost of This Pandemic Must Not Bankrupt the People

        The global pandemic of COVID-19 has spread to almost every country on the planet earth. The virus will take many lives, disrupt communities and institutions, and leave behind trauma and a devastated world economy. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) estimates that by the end of 2020, global income will collapse by between $1 trillion and $2 trillion; the latter figure is a worst-case scenario, with falling oil prices making the problem even more acute for oil-exporting countries.

      • ‘All About Power’: Ignoring Experts, Trump Reportedly Moving to Lift Coronavirus Restrictions Over Reelection Fears

        “Trump and allied Republicans fear that he will be hampered in his reelection with a bad economy. And that, in turn, matters more than anything else: science, hospitals, social cohesion and, now, human life.”

      • Putting Profits Before Workers’ Safety: Inside Amazon During the COVID-19 Crisis

        As coronavirus continues to spread and much of the country is locking down, Amazon has been ramping up. With more people staying home, delivery is becoming more important than ever, and more lucrative. Demand is soaring for deliveries on everyday necessities, everything from toilet paper to powdered milk.

      • Renters Became Homeless During the Coronavirus Pandemic After Housing Authorities Delayed Paperwork

        NEW ORLEANS — Shanbriel Williams was determined to use this year’s tax refund for a new apartment, one with more space for her growing children. By mid-January, she had found a rental less than a mile from Popeyes, where she works in the kitchen. She told her son, Markhi, 7, and her daughter, Caylie, 4, whose faces lit up at the idea, and submitted an application to the Housing Authority of New Orleans, which helps her pay rent through Section 8.

        She planned to move in at the end of February, right after Mardi Gras. She didn’t expect they’d find themselves homeless in the thick of a pandemic.

      • No, I Will Not Die for This Damned Economy

        But if I do die, it’s likely to happen because we didn’t plan for the longstanding possibility of a pandemic like this one. Why not? Because in this economy, the one that now asks the ultimate sacrifice of us, human life was less important than quarterly profits. That sounds like hollow rhetoric, but it is also objective reality.

      • The 2020 Games Are Postponed, but Should the Olympics Even Happen at All Anymore?

        The Olympics have hit a reckoning point. In the coming year, the global community should assess whether the Games, as currently constituted, should even have a place in our modern sporting life. In the best of times, they bring debt, displacement, environmental hardships, and hyper-militarization. Just ask Tokyo, where costs have skyrocketed from $7.3 billion at the bid stage to around four times that amount, according to a governmental audit in Japan. Just ask the women from the Kasumigaoka apartment complex who were displaced by both the 1964 and 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Just ask the people of Fukushima Prefecture who witnessed resources’ being diverted from their recovery effort to Tokyo in order to prepare for the Games. Just ask everyday people in Japan who must be wondering whether the facial recognition systems that are to be featured at every Olympic venue will be turned on them for everyday surveillance and social control in the wake of the Games.

      • Embattled GOP Sen. Richard Burr accused of securities fraud in lawsuit filed by hotel shareholder

        “Senator Burr owed a duty to Congress, the United States government, and citizens of the United States, including Plaintiff, not to use material nonpublic information that he learned by virtue of his duties as a United States Senator in connection with the sale or purchase of any security,” Jacobson claimed in his lawsuit.

        He added, “Had Plaintiff and the market known of the material nonpublic information in Senator Burr’s possession regarding COVID-19, and on which Senator Burr traded, Wyndham’s stock price on February 13, 2020 would have been substantially lower. Senator Burr and his wife sold up to $150,000 of Wyndham stock on that date, and therefore he and his wife pocketed up to $150,000 in illegal insider trading proceeds at Plaintiff’s expense.”

      • “Essential” Factory Workers Are Afraid to Go to Work and Can’t Afford to Stay Home

        As many Illinois businesses have shut down or instructed employees to work from home to avoid the possible spread of the novel coronavirus, low-wage factory and warehouse workers continue going into work, often doing jobs that people don’t realize are considered essential.

        And there seems to be as much, if not more, work available than ever — a situation unlikely to change in the near future. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s order last week for residents to shelter in place includes exemptions for “essential activities” such as the production of food and medical supplies, and the supply chains necessary to make those goods.

      • The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It

        Much of JP Morgan’s income gain in 2018 came from savings from the giant Republican tax cut enacted at the end of 2017 – a tax cut that Dimon intensively lobbied Congress for. Dimon doesn’t acknowledge the inconsistencies between his self-image as “patriot first” and his role as CEO of America’s largest bank.He doesn’t understand how he has hijacked the system.Perhaps he should read my new book.To understand how the system has been hijacked, we must understand how it went from being accountable to all stakeholders – not just stockholders but also workers, consumers, and citizens in the communities where companies are headquartered and do business – to intensely shareholder-focused capitalism. In the post-WWII era, American capitalism assumed that large corporations had responsibilities to all their stakeholders. CEOs of that era saw themselves as “corporate statesmen” responsible for the common good.But by the 1980s, shareholder capitalism (which focuses on maximizing profits) replaced stakeholder capitalism. That was largely due to the corporate raiders – ultra-rich investors who hollowed-out once-thriving companies and left workers to fend for themselves.

      • How the International Plasma Market Turns US’s Poorest Into Profits

        As the Atlantic reported in 2018, while donating blood can provide a semi-consistent source of income for low-income populations, doing so entails dangers and uncertainties. Donors are allowed to give blood up to twice per week.  A 2018 study of plasma donation centers, conducted by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, found that 57% of plasma donors in the study made more than a third of their monthly income (approximately $250-300) by donating plasma, and 70% of these donors experienced side effects from donation, including weakness, bruising, dehydration, and faintness.

      • To Counter ‘Corporate Handout’ Pushed by McConnell, Progressives Intensify Demand for #AJustStimulus

        “Republicans under Mitch McConnell want to turn the coronavirus rescue bill into a slush fund that Trump can use for corporate handouts, and we have to stop them.”

      • Amazon Warehouse Workers Win Fight for Paid Time Off as Company Condemned for ‘Reckless’ Labor Practices

        “Amazon did not ‘give’ us PTO,” declared part-time workers in Chicago, “we took our PTO from Amazon’s greedy hands.”

      • Any Industry Bailout Package Must Include Meaningful Protections for Working People and Guardrails Against Corporate Greed

        Unlike the 2009 bailout, Congress must now ensure that working people—not just corporate executives and shareholders—benefit from the direct infusion of cash from the government.

      • ‘This Is a Trap’: Progressives Sound Alarm as GOP Attempts Sneak Attack on Social Security in Coronavirus Stimulus Plan

        “Senate Republicans are using the coronavirus crisis as a cynical cover to attack our Social Security system.”

      • ‘Green Stimulus’ Demanded to Battle Convergent Crises of Coronavirus, Economic Injustice, and Climate Emergency

        The plan calls for spending at least $2 trillion on millions of green jobs, strategic investments to aid frontline communities, expanding public and employee ownership, and rapidly cutting carbon pollution.

      • Bail Out the States Not the Banks

        Trump jumped into bailout mode in response to the depth of the economic crisis triggered by the pandemic. A mountain of money has already been promised to the banks, while many other soon-to-be bankrupt corporations will get unimaginable sums with few strings attached, such as the airlines, Boeing, cruise ships, etc., many of whom, like Boeing, were doing poorly before the crash.

      • Trump: Taxpayer Bailout for My Hotels Is Capitalism, But Ordering Industries to Produce Medical Supplies Is Un-American Socialism

        “Throughout this crisis Trump and Republicans in Congress have made it clear that they believe in generous socialism for banks, airlines, and the cruise industry, but think the American people should mostly fend for themselves.”

      • As Senate GOP Bill Flounders, Demands for Workers-First Stimulus Grow

        Senate Republicans late Sunday failed to force through a $1.8 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that Democratic lawmakers, union leaders, and progressive advocacy groups condemned as a massive bailout for corporate America that would have done little to address the urgent economic and medical needs of ordinary people.

      • Beyond the Economic Chaos of Coronavirus Is a Global War Economy

        What does a virus have to do with war and repression? The coronavirus has disrupted global supply networks and spread panic throughout the world’s stock markets. The pandemic will pass, not without a heavy toll. But in the larger picture, the fallout from the virus exposes the fragility of a global economy that never fully recovered from the 2008 financial collapse and has been teetering on the brink of renewed crisis for years.

      • Russia expands its list of ‘systemically important’ companies, adding McDonald’s, IKEA, and more

        Russia’s federal list of “systemically important” companies is now three times longer, featuring roughly 600 businesses. According to the newspaper Vedomosti, the updated list includes new airlines (Rossiya, S7, Utair), airports (Domodedovo, Pulkovo) grocery store chains (Vkusvill, Ashan), fast food chains (McDonald’s, Burger King), and retail stores (Sportmaster, IKEA).

      • Coronavirus: Burger King’s biggest franchisee, Carrols, cuts pay – Business Insider

        Burger King’s biggest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group, is cutting employees’ pay by 10% amid the coronavirus outbreak.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Death By Tweetstorm: a Win-Win for Trump

        For lack of respirators, patients with severe respiratory distress from COVID-19 will die as the epidemic unfolds. A drug to treat the disease is urgently needed. But the US press subjected news about hydroxychloroquine, a potential treatment, to an excess of caution in response to a Trump tweetstorm. Journalists and health care professionals alike were whipsawed by the president’s irresponsible ballyhooing of the drug amid deprecatory assertions of “anecdotal” evidence by Anthony Fauci at the CDC.

      • Coronavirus and the Death of ‘Connectivity’

        The Great Recession could have killed globalization, but China emerged as the champion of a new global “connectivity.” With the coronavirus, that phase is finished.

      • Trump’s Daily Dog and Pony Show Is Getting More Dangerous by the Day

        Trump combines in himself the worst dimensions of plutocracy and looniness, and the American people will rue the day they decided to give him the levers of power for the whole country.

      • Bloomberg spent nearly $1 billion on his three-month presidential campaign

        Bloomberg spent $936,225,041.67 on the campaign, which lasted roughly three months. More than half of that total was spent in the month of February — roughly $470 million. He had more than $60 million cash on hand at the end of February.

        Bloomberg jumped into the 2020 presidential race late and used his personal wealth to bankroll an unconventional campaign, which included lush salaries to an army of campaign staffers and organizers and blitzing the airwaves and the Internet with political advertisements.

      • Bernie Has an Impeccable History With the National Organization for Women. Biden Does Not.

        Still, Sanders’s long history of endorsements from NOW’s chapters in Vermont, as well as Biden’s long history of conflict with the organization, stand in stark contrast to Van Pelt’s statement last week. Has NOW truly reevaluated Sanders and decided he “doesn’t have a record”? Or are we in the midst of a bout of campaign-related revisionist history?

      • Denmark Has a Message for America: ‘Do More—Fast!’

        In the 48 hours since I first wrote about this plan, I have heard from politicians and policy makers around the world, including Spain, the UK, and Australia. To go deeper on this radical idea, I spoke on Monday with Peter Hummelgaard, the Employment Minister of Denmark. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

      • Russian government releases official coronavirus website with multiple errors and internal contradictions

        On March 16, 2020, Russia’s executive cabinet released a new website: стопкоронавирус.рф (stopcoronavirus.rf). The site is intended to provide officially approved information about COVID-19 and about how Russia is fighting the coronavirus pandemic nationwide; a number of other governments already maintain similar websites. Following the launch of stopcoronavirus.rf, nearly all Russian state media sources and numerous government officials have begun citing the new resource. Nonetheless, the website appears to have been built in quite a hurry. For example, until recently, notes from working drafts such as “Health Ministry clarification needed on hospitalization” could still be seen on publicly accessible pages. Other sections appeared on the website more than once. While many of the medical recommendations offered on the site were helpful, others were scientifically dubious or in direct contradiction with one another. Darya Sarkisyan and Farida Rustamova reviewed the errors on the website and asked who exactly is behind it.

      • Power in a Time of Coronavirus

        Rather than being a respite from political power struggles, the coronavirus emergency is greatly intensifying them.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia’s former top censor is appointed CEO of Gazprom-Media

        Alexander Zharov has landed on his feet. After eight years as head of Roskomnadzor (Russia’s federal censor), he was dismissed on Monday by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. A day later, Zharov was appointed CEO of Gazprom-Media by the company’s board of directors. His new three-year contract takes effect immediately.

      • Houston Police Chief Says He’ll Prosecute People For False Statements About COVID-19 Response; Won’t Debate 1st Amendment

        We already went over this with Newark, NJ, but now Houston’s top law enforcement officer is falsely claiming he can and will prosecute people for making false statements about Houston’s COVID-19 response. It started with rumors on social media that the city was going to go into lockdown — which is not a crazy rumor given that plenty of other places in the country (and the world) have more or less done this exact thing already (including the entire state of California). But Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that this was false information and he was asking law enforcement to investigate:

      • Activists in Minecraft made a digital library to bypass government censorship

        Media freedom activists have built a 125 million block library in a Minecraft map called the “Uncensored Library” which contains a world’s worth of information and is available to read for users within oppressive regimes that otherwise censor such information. This massive digital library was unveiled for the World Day against Censorship by the organization Reporters Without Borders. The Uncensored Library is the latest manifestation of a classic internet adage first spoken by John Gilmore, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Texas and Ohio Use Coronavirus Pandemic as ‘Cynical Cover for Abortion Bans,’ Ordering Clinics to Halt Care

        “In times of national crisis, we have seen egregious acts that have circumvented our freedoms before. And make no mistake—we are seeing them today.”

      • DOJ Says Coronavirus Emergency Justifies Indefinite Detention Of Arrested People

        With the administration no longer able to ignore the threat posed by the coronavirus, it’s decided to secure some additional powers for itself while the nation’s defenses are low. As Betsy Woodruff Swan reports for Politico, the DOJ is seeking to add “indefinite detention” to its list of criminal justice perks as courtrooms around the nation undergo significant operational restrictions.

      • Calls to Illinois’ Child Abuse Hotline Dropped by Nearly Half Amid the Spread of Coronavirus. Here’s Why That’s Not Good News.

        With schools, day care centers and preschools around Illinois shut down as part of statewide efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus, calls to the Department of Children and Family Services’ abuse and neglect hotline have dropped dramatically over the past week.

        But child welfare experts and others don’t believe this decline reflects a decrease in abuse; on the contrary, many fear that children are now at a greater risk of being hurt as families, many facing additional stress over work and health issues, hunker down in isolation.

      • One of Russia’s most respected newspapers has a new chief editor. He reportedly says he doesn’t read the paper, the owners should be able to edit stories, and Harvey Weinstein isn’t so bad

        On March 24, the staff of the established Russian newspaper Vedomosti was introduced by its new co-owner, Konstantin Zyatkov, to its new editor-in-chief, Andrey Shmarov. In Russia’s early post-Soviet years, Shmarov was the science editor for Kommersant, and he later became the CEO of the online general interest outlet Snob.

      • Fear of Disease and Workers’ Rights: What We Can Learn from American History

        In 1904, 26-year-old socialist journalist Upton Sinclair was sent to the meatpacking factories of Chicago. The city’s meat-packer’s union was in the midst of a massive strike — one that would ultimately end in defeat for the workers. What Sinclair saw was horrifying: Newly arrived immigrant men would often work 10-hour shifts, six days a week, in crowded, poorly lit, and foul-smelling factories without proper bathrooms, break rooms, or even rags to wipe away the blood and animal fat dripping into their eyes. They were paid little, and men frequently lost fingers or mangled themselves in the rush to finish their work on time — fingers that would often get absorbed into the meat products. Sinclair saw rotten, diseased, putrid meat being placed indiscriminately on factory floors and often mixed with whatever dead rats, sawdust, and human refuse happened to be there before being scraped up and turned into sausages or canned products that were sold to the public. He saw workers relieving themselves in factory corners, sometimes right next to the food they were handling, and returning to work without washing their hands.

        Sinclair’s sympathies laid with the workers, and he described his experiences in The Jungle, a fictionalized account told from the perspective of a meatpacking factory worker.

        The novel prompted unprecedented action. For 27 years, from 1879 to 1906, Congress had been presented with more than 190 different measures related to overhauling the lax standards for food and drug production in the U.S. But action had stalled.

      • How the virus kills dreams for Chinese teens

        Put bluntly, those who do well at the zhongkao have a shot at becoming doctors, bank managers, government officials or teachers—Sisi’s own ambition is to teach English. Teenagers who do badly must either enter the labour market or study for vocational diplomas of varying quality. The zhongkao may not be as famous as the gaokao, the terrifying university entrance exam that has inspired books, documentaries and feature films. But the zhongkao shapes more lives. In one sign of the exam’s hold on parental imaginations, Chinese social media erupted in heated debate when Hubei province, seat of the virus outbreak, announced that the children of medical workers would be granted ten bonus points on their zhongkao scores.

      • Stranded in the pandemic As coronavirus spreads, travel restrictions have trapped thousands of migrant workers in airports across Russia for a week or more

        Russia’s border closures and travel bans instituted in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic have been particularly destructive for migrant workers from Central Asia. As early as March 17, the newspaper Kommersant spoke with ambassadors to Russia from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, each of whom said the new limits on air and rail travel have affected “hundreds of thousands of migrants.” The scale of the problem is so large because the spring season is a transitional one for many workers — new seasonal laborers enter Russia while those who have worked there during the winter return home.

      • In Pursuit of Chinese Scapegoats, Media Reject Life-Saving Lessons

        We are barely a few months into the year, but it is already clear that the coronavirus will be 2020’s defining event in media and politics. For weeks, conservative media echoed the explicit Trump line that the reaction to COVID-19 was a liberal “hoax” weaponized against the White House. Recent  Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh has been pouring scorn on the media “hysteria”: Extolling how the market was “roaring” (Rush Limbaugh Show, 3/2/20), he claimed it was nothing to worry about. “This virus is the common cold,” he confidently predicted (3/11/20).

      • If You Hear Someone Say “Chinese Virus,” Don’t Let It Slide

        A few days before President Trump abruptly stopped calling COVID-19 “coronavirus” and began referring to it as “the Chinese virus,” Kim Tran was walking her dog down the street when a white woman walking the other direction began a bizarre performance. Stepping far away from Tran, the woman zipped up her coat, loudly sucked in a breath of air, and glared at Tran as she walked past.

      • Inside an Immigration Detention Facility as the Coronavirus Spreads
      • Chicago Mayor Pressures Judge To Release Fewer Detainees As Coronavirus Spreads In Cook County Jail

        As the coronavirus spreads at Cook County Jail in Illinois, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and other mayors in the county urged a judge to factor in “public health considerations” as emergency bond hearings for detainees are held.

        Cook County Jail is one of the largest single-site county pretrial detention facilities in the United States. On March 22, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office announced that a correctional officer tested positive for the coronavirus or COVID-19.

      • Beyond Prisons: Supporting Prisoners During COVID19

        Beyond Prisons hosts Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein walk through our guide on how to support incarcerated people and their loved ones during the Coronavirus Crisis.

        You can check it out along with some demands we put together, mutual aid resources, and more at beyond-prisons.com/covid19. Many, many thanks to everyone who worked with us to pull this together and who have contacted us to volunteer. We’re sincerely grateful.

      • A Modest Proposal: Instead of Saying Tribal, Let’s Say Christian

        David Brooks, competitor with Thomas Freidman for the title of the New York Times sophist-in-chief, dropped this phrase into his painfully superficial column on the coronavirus on Friday, March 20, “All those tribal us-them stories don’t seem quite as germane right now.”

      • Coronavirus Is a Historic Trigger Event. We Need a Massive Movement in Response.

        There are times in history when sudden events — natural disasters, economic collapses, pandemics, wars, famines — change everything. They change politics, they change economics and they change public opinion in drastic ways. Many social movement analysts call these “trigger events.” During a trigger event, things that were previously unimaginable quickly become reality, as the social and political map is remade. On the one hand, major triggers are rare; but on the other, we have seen them regularly in recent decades. Events such as 9/11, the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, and the financial crash of 2008 have all had major repercussions on national life, leading to political changes that would have been difficult to predict beforehand.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • With Millions of Students Cut Off Digitally, Coronavirus Pandemic Bolsters Demand to Treat Internet as Public Utility

        Advocacy group calls for $100 billion investment toward creating a broadband system “that would benefit people, not just companies.”

      • Netflix, Disney Throttle Video Streams In Europe To Handle COVID-19 Internet Strain

        Netflix, Disney, YouTube, and Instagram have all announced they’re temporarily throttling their video streams in Europe to help mitigate the bandwidth strain created by COVID-19, as millions hunker down to slow the spread of the pandemic. In a blog post, Netflix stated the company was throttling back the streaming quality of its titles by around 25% for 30 days after European regulators asked the company to do so to handle the pandemic-driven bandwidth surge:

      • IETF 107 Starts Today as a Virtual Meeting

        Later today, the 107th meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) will begin its working group sessions in an unconventional way. Previously, over 1,000 engineers were expected to be in Vancouver, Canada, to engage in the IETF’s work creating the open standards that make the Internet possible.

        But with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the IETF leadership decided to cancel the in-person meeting in Vancouver. Instead a scaled-down, completely virtual meeting will take place. Only 12 of the IETF’s 115+ working groups will be meeting this week. Other working groups, and the research groups of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) may schedule interim meetings in the weeks and months ahead.

        You can participate remotely in IETF 107. The steps are all outlined in this “Guide for IETF 107 Participants“. Useful resources include: [...]

      • YouTube Slashes Video Quality to Save Bandwidth

        Nokia’s network analytics business Deepfield told WIRED earlier this month that it has seen [Internet] traffic peaks at 20 percent to 40 percent higher than usual over the past four weeks in areas highly impacted by Covid-19. The bulk of that increase comes from streaming services like Netflix, with the company’s traffic increasing by 54 percent to 75 percent in some places.

        So far, [Internet] infrastructure has held up to increased demand. Connection speeds have declined in areas heavily affected by Covid-19, according to data collected by [Internet] analysis company Ookla. But in some of the hardest-hit areas, average speeds were still faster this month than they were in December. That’s starting to change in places like Italy and Malaysia, where speeds continue to decline; but other places, like the Seattle metropolitan area, are holding steady. It’s also not clear whether the slower speeds are the result of overwhelmed infrastructure, or from home Wi-Fi routers struggling to meet the competing needs of entire households using the [Internet] at the same time.

    • Monopolies

      • Why Is The FDA Giving A Potential COVID-19 Treatment ‘Orphan’ Status?

        Coming up with a treatment for COVID-19 is obviously incredibly important, and I’d be perfectly content if whoever did so got filthy stinking rich for basically saving the world. But we should be pretty damn careful about what kinds of incentives we set in place, and how that might lead to a ridiculous monopolistic, exploitative situation. Unfortunately, it looks like one pharma giant — with a hopefully promising approach — is already abusing the regulatory process to make sure it can extract monopolistic rents for a potential treatment.

      • ‘This Is a Massive Scandal’: Trump FDA Grants Drug Company Exclusive Claim on Promising Coronavirus Drug

        “It is insane and unacceptable,” said Bernie Sanders. “We will not tolerate profiteering. Any treatment or vaccine must be made free for all.”

      • Founders of Amazon Partner in India Breached Terms on Loans

        At issue are the loans taken by the founding Biyani family of the Future Group, which comprises listed companies including Amazon partner Future Retail Ltd. The loans were backed by shares in the family’s listed units, but are in breach of terms including collateral cover requirements, the people said, asking not to be identified as the details are private.

      • Patents

        • Huawei Claims No.1 Spot in European Patent Office Ranking 2019; Reaffirms its Leadership in Tech-innovation

          (Eds: Disclaimer: The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with NewsVoir. PTI takes no editorial responsibility for the same.) New Delhi, Delhi, India (NewsVoir) Patents help establishing a strong market position, thereby reducing competion for a brand. Furthermore, patent portfolios are also demostrative of high level of technological capability, specialization and expertise of a company. In that light, in a yet another feat, Huawei Technologies claims the top spot in the European Patent Office (EPO) ranking for 2019. In a recent report published by the EPO, Huawei has been ranked the top telecom company in Europe, with a maximum number of patents in 2019. The company ranking reflects the growing importance of digital technologies and Huawei’s leadership in the tech-innovation on a global scale. The report recorded as many as 3,524 patent last year, by Huawei, followed by other industry giants viz. Samsung, LG, Untined Tecnologies and Seimens in the top five. Two thirds of Huawei’s applications were in the firld of digital communications, which includes the next generation of wireless communications know as 5G and AI. Adding to the insights, the top 10 comprises four companies from Asia; four from Europe and two from the US. Huawei’s rise to the top is hinged on the company’s huge investment in R&D, which is reflected in the number of patent applications. In 2019, Huawei is estimated to have invested more than 15 billion Euro in R&D. Huawei keeps investing 10%-15% of its annual revenue in R&D. Huawei’s 10-year investment in R&D is around 73 billion US dollars.

      • Copyrights

        • How and why to properly write copyright statements in your code

          This blog post was not easy to write as it started as a very simple thing intended for developers, but later, when I was digging around, it turned out that there is no good single resource online on copyright statements. So I decided to take a stab at writing one.

          I tried to strike a good balance between 1) keeping it short and to the point for developers who just want to know what to do, and 2) FOSS compliance officers and legal geeks who want to understand not just best practices, but also the reasons behind them.

          If you are extremely short on time, the TL;DR should give you the bare minimal instructions, but if you have just 2 minutes I would advise you to read the actual HowTo a bit lower below.

        • ‘Copyright Troll Identified the Wrong Facebook Account in Piracy Case’

          Strike 3 Holdings is continuing its quest against alleged BitTorrent pirates in U.S. courts. To show that a defendant is indeed the person who downloaded their films, the company recently started to use social media ‘interests’ as extra information. An interesting move, but not rock-solid, especially when the company tracks down the wrong person on Facebook.

        • Nintendo Shuts Down Kickstarter Campaign For Violating Animal Crossing Copyrights

          A law firm acting for Nintendo of America has shut down a successful Kickstarter campaign for alleged breaches of copyright. According to the gaming giant, the fundraiser used characters and images from the Animal Crossing series without obtaining the necessary permission.

‘Team UPC’ Last Week

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FCC issues ruling Friday. Oh. Not what I expected.

Summary: The looks on Team UPC’s faces 5 days ago (before and after the 9:30AM announcement)

The Fall of the UPC – Part VII: Lies and Revisionism About the Reasons for the UPC’s Ultimate Demise (to Leave the Door Open for More Failed Attempts)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“FAKE NEWS!!!!!!” This is how Team UPC’s so-called ‘news’ sites respond to a high court’s decision (an infantile approach because of their rejection of reality)

FCC Rejected UPC?

Summary: The media was lying in a hurry, in a coordinated effort to distort the meaning of the FCC’s decision or belittle the impact of this decision; Techrights will carefully watch and respond to these lies

THE press coverage about the death of the UPC is starting to end. Much of it came on Friday and Monday. As for tweets? Well, not many of them anymore. It’s settled anyway. The record is settled. But Team UPC is still trying to distort it and litigation firms keep lying about what happened and what will happen next. We’ll keep this series running until, inevitably, things are quiet or “mum”. It might take a while, maybe spilling onto April.

“We’ll keep this series running until, inevitably, things are quiet or “mum”.”So let’s start with some accurate coverage, coming from people who actually work in technology as opposed to litigation. Yesterday we saw the article “Double Blow To The EU’s Long-Delayed Unified Patent Court, But Supporters Unlikely To Give Up” (accurate summary). The opening paragraph says:

Remember the EU’s unitary patent plan? No surprise if you don’t — attempts to create a unitary patent system across the region have been dragging on for decades. Back in 2012, Techdirt noted that the European Parliament had finally approved the plan to set up a new Unified Patent Court (UPC) for the EU, but it still hasn’t come to fruition. Recently, the scheme has been dealt two major blows that are likely to delay it further, even if they don’t kill it off entirely.

In its current incarnation it’s dead (where death means no more attempts; they need a reboot/respawn) and there’s no guarantee that it will ever materialise. Ever.

“In its current incarnation it’s dead (where death means no more attempts; they need a reboot/respawn) and there’s no guarantee that it will ever materialise. Ever.”In a site of Team UPC, lobbyist and booster of Team UPC for a number of years, an author who already admitted the death (in Twitter at least) speaks of “UPC ‘soul searching’”. Max Walters summarises: “Lawyers across Europe say the UPC project could be open to future challenges even if the German parliament meets the required two-thirds majority” (the rest is behind a paywall).

Many, many barriers exist, including those inside the complaint. There are further complaints waiting to be submitted/filed shall the need arise.

It’s worth noting that another UPC propagandist (“JUVE Patent”) has just promoted this myth: “This formal objection can be eliminated by a new vote with a two-thirds majority. Fortunately, the Federal Constitutional Court has rejected all factual objections to the constitutional complaint as inadmissible or unfounded.”

No, it did not!

As Benjamin Henrion put it, “they read the decision as only the 2/3 majority problem…”

Well, here they lie again and JUVE keeps printing these lines.

As Shawn put it in our IRC channel, “if they don’t agree with you, change history, great tactic…”

Are they going to start repeating this lie for years to come?

“Well, here they lie again and JUVE keeps printing these lines.”Well, if they do and whenever they do we shall call out the liars.

Here’s what another UPC propagandist wrote in Twitter: “Reading German Constitutional Court decision, the UPC is not dead but is on life support. Question is whether the will exists to revive it. Right now, that’s very doubtful.”

Life support?

What does that even mean?

“When the EPO’s PR firm pays you to lie for the UPC,” I responded to them, “and advocate the UPC you call corpses “technically alive” (maintaining the lie to maintain one’s income)…”

I was referring to IAM taking money from the EPO’s PR firm to promote the UPC worldwide. It’s no secret that EPO money corrupts the media and Team UPC relies heavily on bribed and/or infiltrated media. This is a problem we touched on in previous parts. It’s like a separate, albeit big, issue. There are several aspects to it, e.g. media taking bribes, media taken over by law firms, and media selectively quoting only particular law firms with a particular agenda. Bristows LLP does this a lot. Gregory Bacon (Bristows) responded to the decision on Friday with “German Constitutional Court upholds UPC complaint”

This title is correct, for a change (they typically lie a lot), but the rest is a lie. His colleague Brian Cordery (Bristows) was meanwhile pushing injunction agenda in the UK by reprinting for Katie Cambrook and Ben Millson. They hope for and want lots of injunctions (embargoes) in their aggressive UPC. So they don’t care about underlying facts.

“There are several aspects to it, e.g. media taking bribes, media taken over by law firms, and media selectively quoting only particular law firms with a particular agenda.”As Benjamin Henrion put is on the day: “There will be calls to mod the German Constitution to make it UPC compatible “Any conferral of judicial functions on international courts modifies this comprehensive allocation of jurisdiction and, is an amendment of the Constitution in substantive terms” https://www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Pressemitteilungen/EN/2020/bvg20-020.html …”

Let’s change the dog to match the tail?

Over at WIPR (World Intellectual Property Review) there was yet more of the typical lying or embellishments. It is a marketing/spam/PR site, which once upon a time did actual journalism (e.g. about EPO abuses). Is it still a news site? Consider this as a new example.

How is this “news” and not an ad?

WIPR’s business model is bare and naked for all to see.

It’s neither news nor information.

Here’s their opening tweet from Friday: “NEWSFLASH: German court deals hammer blow to UPC. The German Federal Constitutional Court has upheld the constitutional complaint filed against the country’s Unified Patent Court legislation.”

True, and here’s the corresponding article. But watch the content. What is this, a joke?

Henrion quoted from there: “Gordon Harris, global co-head of IP at Gowling WLG, says that it is almost “inconceivable” that this will go back before the German parliament until that renegotiation process is complete.”

“Over at WIPR (World Intellectual Property Review) there was yet more of the typical lying or embellishments.”“No kidding,” Henrion remarked.

Misframing the issue to add a loaded statement? “Team UPC is a pathetic bunch of self-important liars,” I told him. How long can the lies go on for?

Another shameless lie, a Big lie, was quoted here based on another WIPR article: “Yet, that does not change anything about the fact that most of industry is rightly in favour of the system even without the UK, and time for improvements isn’t a bad thing, is it?”

“Time to prepare the next phase,” Henrion responded, suggesting “thousand of companies [rally] against the UPC…”

Will these publishers pay attention? They almost never quote actual companies as opposed to law firms which claim to speak for companies (and deliberately misrepresent these).

They’re paid to lie. Lying is their occupation.

Here’s what WIPR tweeted on the above article: “UPC analysis: is a UK ‘litigation hub’ on the horizon? Today’s decision from Germany may herald the end of the Unified Patent Court, but UK litigators are looking forward to the opportunities.”

“Sooner or later someone from the EPO will say something and one can be pretty certain this will be a lie, supported only by the above publications which lie deliberately.”Litigators. That’s it.

Because the UK has nothing but litigators in it, right? No actual companies. Just lawyers!

Lobbying for the UK to become a haven for patent trolls and failing to see how evil that is, sites like WIPR actively work to undermine real British companies.

António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli have still not said a thing, nor has the EPO. Total silence.

Sooner or later someone from the EPO will say something and one can be pretty certain this will be a lie, supported only by the above publications which lie deliberately.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:50 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Linux Foundation Became Anti-Linux, Run by Microsoft People to Serve Microsoft’s Agenda

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 1:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nom nom nom

Summary: Microsoft is taking over the bodies of healthy projects, infecting the hosts in order for them to become slaves of the proprietary parasite; there’s still no (known) cure, but we’re familiar with the symptoms

THE Linux Foundation is dead if not simply defunct. Originally, back in 2007, it at least felt like it existed for a community. It even used the word community, which was gradually removed over the years before the goal became stealing from communities, passing everything they made gratis and libre to few massive corporations that spy on people and abuse them in many other ways. The Linux Foundation will defend this practice by claiming that this was its goal along. Well, if that’s truly the case, then it’s better to just shut it down at this point; it only does a lot of damage. It is a hostile entity.

Yesterday the Linux Foundation-run Linux.com (now edited only by Swapnil Bhartiya) fed this new Microsoft propaganda piece. Bad taste? No. Bhartiya said, some time earlier this month, that he “admires” Microsoft.

So Linux.com is now controlled entirely by someone who admires Microsoft. Get it?

For those who don’t wish to click directly on the FUD piece, let’s just say that CBS (owner of TechRepublic and ZDNet) pays Microsoft propagandists like Mary Branscombe (decades in the same de facto “Microsoft mole” role) to Googlebomb “Linux” with Microsoft proprietary software.

But wait, there’s more!

On the same day (i.e. yesterday) the Foundation’s site in its official blog did yet another long piece from Perlow, who came from Microsoft to tell us, in the Foundation’s official blog, that Linux Foundation isn’t about Linux anymore.

It was the start of last year that we started openly blasting the Foundation, which we dubbed “Zemlin PAC” (because of the way it operates). I had been wanting to speak about this for years, but I worried it would do more harm than good. Nowadays, however, it seems increasingly clear that Free software would benefit greatly if Linux Foundation just shut down because today’s Linux Foundation works not for Linux but against it. This isn’t just disturbing, it’s a form of corruption. There are antitrust questions at play! The Foundation recently (quietly) added a fourth Microsoft executive to its management. Yes, four! In a few months it grew to four. Now the official Foundation blog is composed by someone from Microsoft (shades of what happened to OSI).

Did Microsoft buy the competition?

Regarding the content of what Perlow (from Microsoft) wrote, it’s selling proprietary software for companies that pay the Foundation. This LF CII ‘study’ is not about raising awareness as much as it is about helping proprietary and Microsoft-connected companies sell FUD to promote their harmful agenda through something called “Linux” and a university for the veneer of “scholarly”; it’s a marketing stunt, which generated nothing but negative press coverage for nearly a month now.

“In summary,” Perlow wrote on behalf of the Foundation (Microsofters now speak for the Linux Foundation?), “the Linux Foundation supplies communities with a repeatable, proven governance model as well as value-added support programs to help communities maintain and scale. The ultimate goal is that our communities become healthy upstream projects that your organization can rely on as secure, and well-maintained upstream open source projects in your software supply chain.”

What next? A GitHub link?

So the Linux Foundation’s blog posts are attacking and smearing Free software for Microsoft proxies that commissioned this ‘study’… composed by… people who worked for Microsoft. The Linux Foundation is anti-Linux. They keep doing it!

“Microsoft did this to OSI, to LF, to Docker and now it is doing it to Kubernetes.”To deny this is to harm oneself. The media likes to ignore this, but we won’t. It’s rather clear for everyone to see (once the details are exposed and put together).

Microsoft did this to OSI, to LF, to Docker and now it is doing it to Kubernetes. Embrace. Extend. Extinguish with Windows. The Register’s Microsoft Tim — like Mary Branscombe at TechRepublic — wrote about it yesterday. Microsoft’s agenda in the media is promoted by people whom Microsoft bribes, yet we’re supposed to treat it all as “normal”.

Also yesterday, as covered in [1, 2] with the original here, it turned out that Microsoft now pays one of the main companies behind LibreOffice (oh!) to make OpenGL more Windows-oriented. Microsoft has long leveraged DirectX to make it a “Windows world” and Collabora is being paid to help this agenda.

“COVID-19 is clearly not slowing the plague which is Microsoft moles.”There are countless examples of this every day and even Sudeshna Sur (Red Hat) promoted as recently as yesterday proprietary software prisons of Microsoft (GitHub) for one’s code, even in Red Hat’s site.

Call it entryism or infiltration or whatever. Better yet, focus not on terms or labels and instead check what Microsoft does to what used to be its competition. Does it looks OK to anyone out there that Microsoft hijacks the voice of the Linux Foundation? It’s as bad as (hypothetically) seeing oil companies controlling Greenpeace.

Do something, Mr. Torvalds. All the above evidence is from yesterday alone; COVID-19 is clearly not slowing the plague which is Microsoft moles.

Microsoft Continues to Attack and Steal From the Open Source/Free Software Communities

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 12:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Law-breakers won’t change their ways; they only optimise their PR strategy (and bribe more of the media to play along)

Microsoft Loved Linux.

Summary: Microsoft cannot be trusted and there’s no “new Microsoft,” as another fairly new story serves to show

“Shocked, Roy!”

So said a reader of ours, who used to work for Microsoft.

“Microsoft copies/steals lerna,” our reader summarised, pointing to this archived copy/snapshot of a page that’s now gone (although the Web site is still there).

We are gratified to see that more people from inside Microsoft are starting to see just how evil the company really us. I know of several such people, some of whom I speak to regularly. They have inside information and leads/tips.

It will be good for Techrights to make a copy anyone can find by searching. The original was removed. Sometimes Microsoft bribes or threatens to make this happen (e.g. threatening through one’s boss/customers). We covered examples of that in past years.

With the original deleted we think it would only be fair to reproduce the full message (the emphasis below is ours for the “tl;dr” crowd):

I think it’s time I publicly shared about how Microsoft stole my code and then spit on it.

I’d been waiting for them to do something about it, but that is clearly never happening.

When we were working on Babel 6, one of the big changes was to split everything up in to nice little plugin packages. However, this created a need to manage dozens of packages. Thus @lernajs was born
I picked up Lerna a little while later and focused on making it work well for design systems. I rewrote it like 5 times to try and get the architecture right.
Lerna then started getting picked up by others who also contributed back and added features. I enjoyed watching it grow and so I started looking out for users.
One day I came across a new design system from a team at Microsoft. I saw that it was made up of lots of small packages. I was excited and wondered “ooh is MS using Lerna?”
It turns out, no they were not. They were using this other thing called “Rush”. I hadn’t heard of it, but I was interested in seeing how it differed from Lerna.
I found the repo and started exploring. The first thing I noticed was how familiar all the code was. I could navigate the file structure very easily. I realised that it was almost a mirror of Lerna’s code base.
Files and directories were named the same things, it had many of the same core functions with code that I distinctly remembered writing.
But no big deal right? It must be a fork. I was actually flattered at first. So I went back in the git history.
I got all the way back to the first commit, and looked at the date. Turns out Rush was created a couple weeks after Lerna was announced.
I continued working through the commit history and looked at commits that added features, it all felt so familiar and now I was getting suspicious.
Comparing dates of commits, it looked like Rush kept copying changes from Lerna days after they were made. Rewritten using this weird event system they added.
It left a bad taste in my mouth, I could tell this was my code. I looked at the license, no mention. I looked at the readme… Oh wait
In the readme they acknowledge the fact that there are “other solutions” and say that they are bad. No mention of the fact that Rush was taken directly from one of these bad other solutions.
You know if it were anyone else, I would have been mildly annoyed and ignored it. But Microsoft is a multi billion dollar corporation. If they are going to steal code without crediting the original author I’m gonna be pissed.
So I reached out to people I knew at Microsoft. This was probably a year ago now. They were shocked and apologized. But since then nothing has happened.
Oh wait yeah, something did happen. The commit history of Rush was messed with and a lot of the code was moved around, functions renamed, rewritten. It still feels familiar, but it’s more scrambled.
Instead of just updating a license or even just adding a footnote, they went through all that trouble.
Anyways, it’s really annoyed me to listen to all these people give Microsoft free good press about open source when clearly their product org is still happy to be dicks to open source communities
I don’t trust Microsoft (or Google or Facebook or Amazon) to be good shepherds of open source communities

Just because we’ve made it impossible to compete with their old closed source stacks doesn’t mean they’ll act in the best interest of open source
And just because there are great people at Microsoft who love open source and want to do the right thing does not mean that they’ll be able to stop Microsoft from doing shitty things when there’s money involved.
I know plenty of people at big corporations who want to change things but can’t because millions of dollars are in the way.
A few years back we were able to petition GitHub to start improving the tools the offered to open source maintainers.

later on at a @maintainerati event, GitHub acknowledged that this letter had a huge impact on how they worked with open source communities
Imagine a couple hundred people signing a letter to try and change things at Microsoft/Google/Facebook and it actually working. These companies deal with stuff like that on a daily basis and it doesn’t make them trip up for even a second
The consolidation of our infrastructure is dangerous. Having lots of small companies or even medium sized corporations forces them to work together without much effort which prevents any one of them from ever totally fucking us over
The tech industry has so many monopolies right now. Building more everyday. It’s only going to hurt consumers more and more. And when it comes to infrastructure, we’re going to be those fucked over consumers
If you trust a handful of corporations with your entire toolchain and expect them not to fuck you over I’ve got a bridge to sell you

As recently as this year we wrote about another such example. People, watch out. The warnings are there.

Targeted Attack Leveraging FSF Servers

Posted in FSF, Site News at 12:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Targeted by a determined and persist perpetrator, I’ve received over 20,000 E-mails. And the weapon of choice was the FSF’s infrastructure, remotely misused against yours truly.

THOSE who read our IRC logs or follow us outside this site (e.g. social control media) would likely be aware of communications we had opened up with the FSF in the form of a report, support ticket, and correspondence.

“Leveraging Tor exit nodes, some party decided to ‘weaponise’ the FSF’s mailing lists to bombard my E-mail accounts several times per minute.”First of all, I’d like to commend the FSF for swift action, transparency and eventually an explanation (including technical aspects).

So what is it that happened? Well, it seems like more than a week ago someone (or someones) was trying to cause nuisance if not conflict (it was a nuisance, but I spoke to 3 people at the FSF and there was no conflict). Leveraging Tor exit nodes, some party decided to ‘weaponise’ the FSF’s mailing lists to bombard my E-mail accounts several times per minute. For several days. Non-stop.

“Suffice to say, it clogged things up and caused technical issues.”By week’s end I had received over 20,000 E-mails from the FSF’s mailman services. Suffice to say, it clogged things up and caused technical issues. Rather than flag as spam or report the FSF I contacted them, at the advice or Mr. Oliva, and the problem was resolved within less than a day (despite COVID-19 disruptions to workflows and LibrePlanet right there in the middle, keeping FSF staff very busy).

The timing of the incident was particularly inconvenient to all and its perpetrators remain unknown. We can only speculate about the motivations. This week I asked the FSF if I can interpret the situation as, “as far as we know only Roy was targeted by this” and John Sullivan responded with a yes.

The spam mails have stopped.

It’s worth noting that not one E-mail address of mine was targeted (the public address; there are more addresses). Two accounts were targeted, including a private one (which isn’t easy to find).

“It’s worth noting that not one E-mail address of mine was targeted (the public address; there are more addresses). Two accounts were targeted, including a private one (which isn’t easy to find).”So it seems rather clear that someone targeted me, specifically, and used FSF servers for this purpose.

“Given various recent events,” I told the FSF, “it’s rather clear that some people try driving a wedge and strive harm Free software groups. There’s ample evidence of it. Who would have the persistence to get 20,000 spam mails sent to my account from FSF servers?”

The mystery persists, but the FSF and us are in good terms. Many thanks and kind regards to Ruben Rodriguez, Zoë Kooyman, and John Sullivan.

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