Links 27/3/2020: qBittorrent 4.2.2, Krita 4.2.9, pfSense 2.4, Bodhi Linux 5

Posted in News Roundup at 9:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Why Linux is Better for HealthCare

      Linux has been prevailing in many sectors, but one of the most demanded ones was health care. In health care, Linux provides an extremely valuable environment to host other software solutions on the top of it to truly empower the organization or company’s needs.

      The reason for that is quite obvious, people don’t want to be under the control of Microsoft and its Windows Enterprise subscriptions, they don’t want to pay $$$ per each core in their servers’ CPUs, they don’t want to depend on a proprietary solution to empower their infrastructure… The reasons are many, and we are going to take a look on why Linux is a better solution for health care than Windows.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • After Linux Laptops Here Comes a Linux Keyboard

        While at first glance it’s pretty difficult to image how a keyboard can be specifically tailored to the world of Linux, System76’s CEO Carl Richell explains that it all comes down to the integration with the Pop!_OS operating system.

        “Auto tiling in our upcoming Pop!_OS 20.04 release is designed to work extremely well with this keyboard, and I think that people are going to really respond to it—it’s going to be a completely new and amazing experience, and I think that folks are going to start to really see why we’ve decided to bring all of the different silos, from hardware to manufacturing to OS, all in-house under one roof,” he explained.

      • China Plans to Replace Windows Completely with UOS

        China is planning to replace the US-based Windows operating system completely this year by a Linux based operating system called UOS.

        UOS a.k.a Unified Operating System is a Linux based homegrown OS (desktop and server) right in China. It is said to be developed to run all hardware, chips made in China for their own purpose. Based on the popular Linux distribution Deepin, it is reported that UOS has made significant progress recently to boot up in 30 seconds in common hardware.

      • Make Your Linux Look Like Windows XP, 7 and 10

        Nostalgia is a weird feeling.

        I tend to think that most Linux users have spent many years with Windows before switching to Linux, and this – in many cases – leaves them with a nostalgia to the look and feel of Windows operating systems, such as Windows XP, 7 and 10. There are also people who never want to hear about Windows or see its face ever again.

        For those of you from the first category, luckily, you can easily turn your Linux installation into the look & feel of Windows, thanks to the B00merang Project.

      • System76 is Developing a New Keyboard

        The company behind the incredibly powerful Thelio desktop is developing a new keyboard.

        System76 is famous for designing and developing some of the most powerful Linux-based computers on the planet. Never one to rest on reputation, System76 is constantly innovating. This time around, they are focusing their efforts on improving a device we all take for granted – the keyboard.

        This new keyboard is being designed with Linux and Linux users in mind. In fact, according to Carl Richell, CEO of System76, “Auto tiling in our upcoming Pop!_OS 20.04 release is designed to work extremely well with this keyboard, and I think that people are going to really respond to it…” This new keyboard will make typing much more comfortable. For instance, the keypad has been completely removed, so the mouse can be moved closer to where your hands rest.

        Another change to the standard keyboard design is that the spacebar has been drastically reduced. Of this change, Richell says “we’ve found that spacebars typically, for example, are way too long, which means your strongest digit, your thumb, isn’t very useful.” To that end, the layout will drastically change.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes 1.18: Buffing up the leading container orchestrator

        Kubernetes is the container orchestrator we all love. But it’s not unconditional love. Some users were a bit overwhelmed with the last release’s Container Storage Interface (CSI) infrastructure update, which required clusters to be explicitly updated. So, some folks are very happy to see that Kubernetes 1.18 is much more of a “fit and finish” release.

        In this release, much work has been done with improving beta and stable features to ensure users have a better experience. Looking ahead, the developers are focusing on adding features, which will make Kubernetes easier to manage.

        For instance, the kubectl, the Kubernetes command-line, is finally getting a debug utility. While only in alpha in this release, I know many DevOps people are ready and eager to get any debug help they can for working with their Pods inside the cluster. It does this spinning up a temporary clone container, which runs next to the Pod one you’re trying to work on. It also attaches to the console for interactive troubleshooting.

      • IT Automation Tools Are No Longer Enough

        It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone reading this that IT automation is a must-have for organizations today. With infrastructure spread across on-premises data centers, multiple clouds and a multitude of technologies, the complexity of IT long ago outgrew manual management. Automation is the only way to keep pace with constantly changing environments that need enhanced security, greater compliance and be easily adaptable to changing business and market conditions.

        Because of these needs, the market has been relatively quick to adapt and embrace automation technology. According to a recent study by Forrester Research, 56% of global infrastructure technology decision makers have implemented/are implementing or are expanding/upgrading their implementation of automation software. Many of these IT organizations have a trusted tool in place and have been automating scripts and tasks for years.

        Along with outgrowing managing infrastructure by hand, the industry is also quickly outgrowing automation tools. The automation market has now reached a point of maturity where an automation tool alone is not enough. In order for automation to continue to have an impact on an organization and keep pace with the speed IT changes, organizations need a platform that allows them to create a culture of automation.

      • A Look at Lazydocker, a Cursor-Based Docker Management Tool

        For anyone who manages docker containers, having the right tools can really make an admin session all the better. On the other hand, not having the right tools can transform your day into an exercise in frustration.

        With docker, if you’re comfortable with the command line, you probably feel like you have everything you need to get the most out of those containers. But then you see one of the many GUIs available and wish you had more, but without having to go the full-on graphical route. Say, for example, your docker containers are managed from a headless Linux server, and you don’t want to have to install a web-based GUI to get more information and easier management of those deployed containers.

        What do you do? What tool exists in the realm between console and GUI?

      • Top 7 Configuration Management Tools

        A common trait across both virtual infrastructure as well as software is that there are always configuration options. In an increasingly distributed IT landscape with deployments that can be short lived, in the data center or in the cloud, there is a real need to manage configurations at scale.

        Configuration management software is a broad category of tools and services that enable administrators to manage configuration at scale in a policy driven, repeatable and automated approach. Key factors like infrastructure monitoring come into play.

        Software Configuration Management (SCM) was originally a category of software specifically about application and server software. In recent years, configuration management has evolved to become even more expansive. With infrastructure increasingly used as a virtual service in the cloud and on-premises, there has been a movement to define infrastructure-as-code, which is a place where configuration management tooling is played a staring role.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-26 | Linux Headlines

        The Apache Software Foundation turns twenty-one, Kubernetes 1.18 brings stability as well as some exciting preview features, the latest ESET Endpoint Antivirus adds Linux support, and Krita delivers one of its most complicated releases to date.

      • Keeping Track of Stuff | Self-Hosted 15

        We have a neat self-hosted home inventory management system for preppers of any type, plus Chris’ simple Home Assistant trick and Alex’s valiant battle with the WebSockets daemon of the reverse proxies.

      • FreeBSD, Corona: Fight! | BSD Now 343

        Fighting the Coronavirus with FreeBSD, Wireguard VPN Howto in OPNsense, NomadBSD 1.3.1 available, fresh GhostBSD 20.02, New FuryBSD XFCE and KDE images, pf-badhost 0.3 released, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Nuvia’s Jon Masters Talks Up Their Linux / Open-Source Support Plans

        Following the virtual Linaro Tech Days this week, Nuvia’s VP of Software, Jon Masters, has begun talking up the Arm server start-up’s Linux/open-source support plans.

        While little is known publicly about Nuvia beyond being another entrant into the Arm server space and having some big names behind the company, their Linux/open-source plans look enticing if they are indeed met. While they may not be looking at complete open-source support for every aspect of the CPU, for those concerned just about out-of-the-box experience and practicality things are looking up for Nuvia.

      • MIPS Loongson 3 Seeing Support Improvements With Linux 5.7

        Queued as part of the MIPS architecture work for Linux 5.7 are a number of Loongson improvements, in particular for the Loongson 3 series.

        The additions for this next version of the Linux kernel include a generic Device Tree for Loongson 3 devices, Desktop Management Interface (DMI) for MIPS (generic to the MIPS architecture but contributed By Loongson engineers), a Loongson I/O local interrupt controller driver, a HyperTransport PIC controller driver, and various other changes currently staging within the MIPS development tree. The generic Loongson 3 DTS support should help in allowing mainline Linux images to run nicely on more devices.

      • AMD PassThru DMA Engine Driver Still Pending For The Linux Kernel

        In addition to the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver that we are hopeful could land in Linux 5.7 albeit not yet queued in the iio-next branch, another AMD driver that has been around for a few months in patch form but yet to be mainlined is the AMD PassThru DMA Engine driver.

        The AMD PassThru DMA Engine driver was volleyed last year and saw two additional rounds of revisions but has been quiet since the end of January. As of writing, it hasn’t yet made it into the DMA-next area ahead of the Linux 5.7 merge window expected to open in early April.

      • syzkaller: fuzzing the kernel

        Testing is an obligatory step in software development, though sometimes engineers may skip or undervalue it. Not only do you want to make sure things are working as you planned, you also want to make sure that you did not break anything that was previously working (i.e. you don’t want to introduce any regressions).

        If you wait until your code is merged before properly testing it and find that something is wrong, you will have to spend more time fixing it than if you’d spotted the bug during development. If it reaches the mainline code base, other developers may be impacted by the bug. If the bug is found only after a release, a much wider group could be impacted and may require a fix to be backported and provided as a bugfix. A simple fix may become a more complex one as time passes, as changes made by another developer to other parts of the code base may expect the buggy behavior. When testing is taken seriously, more bugs will be discovered earlier, potentially before the code is merged, avoiding the above added work.

        Let’s focus on a specific category of bugs, those in kernel system call implementations (or just syscalls, for short). They are the main entry point for users to access functionality and resources provided by the operating system, from opening files to configuring a device. What happens when a user’s input is not what the kernel expected? The only correct answer is that the kernel should warn the user that they have given invalid input, by returning an appropriate error code. User input that leads to unexpected behavior; that crashes the system; that gives permissions incorrectly or unexpectedly scales privilege is a kernel bug. Given that, syscalls are an important part of kernel testing, since they are a potential point of failure.

        The code base of the Linux Kernel project changes rapidly and is deployed in devices around the world, thus performing proper testing is crucial. As Linus Torvalds says, the first rule of kernel development is that we don’t break userspace. This means that if a user application is working in a release, it should work in the same way in any of the following releases. Despite current efforts, the state of kernel testing is not enough. The code base has almost 3 million lines of source files, but only a small part is being tested during development.

      • 2020 Spring Cleaning: HP 100BaseVG AnyLAN Linux Network Driver Finally Getting Dropped

        Should you still have an HP 100BaseVG AnyLAN network adapter from the mid-to-late 90′s, the mainline Linux kernel is finally preparing to eliminate its driver.

        The long-standing HP100 Linux network driver that has been around for nearly two decades is finally set to be retired. The HP100 Linux driver is for supporting the 100BaseVG AnyLAN hardware from Hewlett Packard.

      • VirtIO Video Driver Coming Together For The Mainline Linux Kernel

        VirtIO-Video is a VirtIO-based video driver for a virtual V4L2 streaming device with input/output buffers for sharing of video devices with guests. VirtIO Video has existed for a while now but it looks like it could be getting close to upstreaming in the Linux kernel.

        This 2018 presentation (PDF) by OpenSynergy outlines VirtIO-Video for handling video streaming devices like video cameras, stream capturing, and other functionality within the context of virtualized guests. VirtIO-Video still supports hardware video acceleration of the host system and this virtual driver is basically about handling of input/output buffers of video streams.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Radeon OpenGL Driver Lands Experimental Option To Boost Performance For CAD Software

          Well known open-source AMD OpenGL driver developer Marek Olšák has introduced an off-by-default option to help with the performance for at least some CAD-type applications.

          Marek has been working on plumbing out-of-order drawing support into core Mesa and NIR while wiring it through for the RadeonSI driver. The aim is to provide faster glBegin/glEnd calls that in turn benefit older OpenGL code-bases or in particular a focus on CAD/workstation software.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i9 10980XE: FreeBSD 12.1 vs. GhostBSD 12.02 vs. DragonFlyBSD vs. Ubuntu Linux Benchmarks

        Given the release earlier this month of DragonFlyBSD 5.8 along with the recent debut of the FreeBSD-based desktop-focused GhostBSD 20.02, here are benchmarks looking at their performance up against FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE as well as the current state of Ubuntu 20.04. Tests were done both with the LLVM Clang and GCC compilers.

        All of this testing was done on the same system featuring an Intel Core i9 10980XE, 32GB (4 x 8GB DDR4-3200) memory, Samsung 970 PRO 512GB NVMe solid-state drive, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics. All system settings on all of the operating systems under test were at their defaults unless otherwise noted.

    • Applications

      • 5 Linux backup and restore tips from the trenches

        It’s easy to quote best practices and to tell someone what they should do, but it doesn’t always work in actual practice. “Everything works on paper,” was my response to an architect who told me that I need to “adhere to the recommended guidelines and best practices rather than being a rogue sysadmin.” The fact is that I wasn’t a rogue sysadmin. The problem was that this “architect” had never even been inside a data center, nor had he ever seen a server enclosure. He was simply reading a manual and telling me how it should be done, although he’d never had the experience of doing it himself.

      • qBittorrent v4.2.2 release

        There’s a “qBittorrent” app on the Windows Store which costs money. It isn’t an official release nor it is coming from us. The person publicizing it doesn’t have permission to use the qBittorrent name/logo.

      • qBittorrent 4.2.2 Released! How to Install it via PPA

        qBittorrent torrent client 4.2.2 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04, and Ubuntu 19.10.

        qBittorrent 4.2.2 comes with new features, web UI improvements, and various bug-fixes. And python2 support is removed in the search function.

      • 15 Open Source Rescue Solutions For Companies Working Remotely under a Lockdown or Quarantine

        The Covid-19 virus that has been spreading all around the world has forced people to stay in their homes. Unfortunately, this caused a lot of businesses to stop functioning, as their employees can no longer reach their work office. What made things worse was that most companies weren’t really ready to do a full technological transfer to remote work in such short amount of time.

        However, one will have to adapt to the new situation so that they don’t get out of business. And to help you with issue, we are here today to present some open source solutions to help companies work remotely.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Amusing free local multiplayer terrain-smashing game ‘Hammer Dongers’ has a new update

        Hammer Dongers is a pretty funny (and currently free) local multiplayer game that has up to four people run around with big hammers and try to land a hit. The problem is, when you miss the terrain falls away.

        It’s quite tricky, even if you think you’re usually good as fast-paced local multiplayer action the idea of the land beneath your feet just falling away makes it both amusing and challenging. You can use it to your advantage but so can you opponents.

        With a new update out they’ve added in a Land Mine item, which makes things quite hilarious. If someone steps on it, or something else sets it off you can say goodbye to a good chunk of the map making it even more perilous. There’s also a bunch of new obstacles in the levels, some just for style and some hazardous.

      • One Step From Eden is a creative blending of fast-paced action and deck-building out now

        One Step From Eden developed by Thomas Moon Kang and publisher Humble Bundle is out today and it might just be my new favourite game of 2020. [...]

        Inspired by Megaman Battle Network, to fill a void the developer felt they could fill with their own creation. They’ve certainly done well with it. Eventually, I might get sick of every developer trying to add in some form of cards and deck-building…but certainly not today. One Step From Eden is madness, pure and simple. Step left, right, activate an ability to throw across the screen at the enemy and dash around the board again. It’s brilliant. It’s like some kind of hypnotic dance you’re doing with your fingers.

      • Humble Bundle have a new bunch of games going in the Humble Award Winners Bundle

        The Humble Award Winners Bundle has just gone live, which includes some highly rated games with the chosen charity for this bundle being Direct Relief. They’re one of the charities currently involved in helping fight against Coronavirus (COVID-19).

        In the $1/£1 tier they have SIMULACRA and Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor, sadly neither have Linux support but may work to some degree with Steam Play Proton.

        Things get more interesting if you pay more than the average as you get Quadrilateral Cowboy which does support Linux and Yoku’s Island Express (no Linux there).

      • Epic city-state simulator ‘Songs of Syx’ is very promising and now on Kickstarter

        The developer said it doesn’t firmly fit into a single category. It’s not really a city-builder, it’s not exactly a grand-strategy game or anything else. It’s a firm blending of many things they’ve ended up calling a “city-state simulation”. You start off with nothing more than a simple village, a few people and eventually expand to cities with 10-30k citizens. Not only that, there’s also massive battles you would expect to see in some sort of real-time strategy game on a grand scale the developer said is “like those depicted in Gladiator, Alexander, or LOTR” and this comes with a morale system, training, formations and all sorts of tactics.

      • After Years Of Being Blamed For Everything, The World Turns To Video Games To Escape During Coronavirus Shut-In

        For years and years and years, video games have suffered the brunt of blame for all manner of the world’s ills. Real world violence? Video games. Mass shootings? Video games. Soccer team not performing well? Video games! Kids getting into hacking? Bruh, video games! Men not finding women attractive enough to keep the human race going? Video games did that, too!

      • In coronavirus lockdown, sports fans turn to video-gaming contests

        There are early signs that the pandemic may help e-sports reach new audiences. With the usual fixtures called off, cooped-up fans of mainstream sports are looking elsewhere for entertainment with competitive bite. Mr Greeley notes that, despite the commercial uncertainty, sponsors’ interest has not abated in recent weeks. The number of hours watched on Twitch, which broadcasts both e-sports and amateur gamers, rose by over 20% in the seven days to March 25th, according to Sully Gnome, an analytics website. Some of this increase will come from more casual gamers discovering e-sports. Last week the servers that power League of Legends were almost overwhelmed with demand. Professional players were given special access so that members of the public could at least watch the pros play via streaming sites, even if they could not take part in the game themselves.

        As a response to the pandemic, live sports are taking on e-sports directly. In recent days the organisers of NASCAR, Formula 1, La Liga (Spain’s top football league) and Major League Rugby (a competition in North America) have all announced video-game contests to replace cancelled fixtures. Formula 1’s “virtual Grand Prix” will see this season’s drivers step out of their cars and into simulators to go wheel-to-wheel on computer-generated tracks. The rugby players, meanwhile, will compete on a virtual pitch. Organisers seem to have given little thought to whether athletes used to the real world will make skilled gamers.

      • Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition is out dumping RPG Maker for Unity, adds in Linux support

        Ara Fell, originally released back in 2016 and it went on to receive a lot of positive reviews. Stegosoft Games went back, revamped it quite a lot and now it’s out again with Ara Fell: Enhanced Edition. This new edition not only dumps RPG Maker in favour of Unity, it also adds in Linux support so you can enjoy another sweet 2D RPG.

      • Practice your skills of isolation and survival in The Long Dark with a big COVID-19 support sale

        The Long Dark, a single-player survival game about surviving the cold of ‘The Quiet Apocalypse’ from Hinterland Studio is having a big sale to help fight against the spread of COVID-19.

        Until March 31, Hinterland have put The Long Dark on a 60% off sale with all of the revenue going to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.

        “This urgent moment calls for urgent global cooperation,” said Elizabeth Cousens, President & CEO of the UN Foundation. “And we need everyone – across all sectors – to work together. I am grateful to Hinterland for contributing to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization. Their donation will help make sure health workers on the frontlines have the tools they need to prevent, detect, and respond to this pandemic.”

      • Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor is out now, plus a ‘Modern Japan’ creator pack and a Radio Station

        Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order have today released the huge Cities: Skylines – Sunset Harbor expansion, further pushing this excellent city builder.

        “The teams at Paradox Interactive and Colossal Order are happy to announce that we’ve carefully listened to our community and are adding in some of the most requested content in Sunset Harbor,” said Erika Kling, Cities: Skylines Product Manager at Paradox Interactive. “Fans asked for new transportation options, especially the trolleybus service, and we delivered, along with the brand new Fishing industry for builders looking for more maritime content.”

      • Stadia Pro subscribers get three games in April’s batch, plus The Crew 2 out now

        If you’re a Stadia Pro subscriber, Google have announced the three games you will get in April along with more games out now.

        For April’s Pro games you will get: Serious Sam Collection, Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks) and Spitlings. Although Metro Exodus and Thumper will be leaving new Pro subs at the end of March, so redeem them if you haven’t done so already. So far, the amount of games Google has been giving out to Pro subs has been quite good, although it may not be as good forever once they have a lot more games on the store.

      • Modern GNU/Linux Systems Should Run Old Games: Open Source Community

        LibrePlanet 2020 ended on a high note with its second conference on 15 March 2020. There were a lot of things that were discussed in the online conference. However, one topic of discussion at the conference was centered on gaming on GNU/Linux systems.

        Developer Dennis Payne tried to look back and pointed out that Modern GNU/Linux no longer runs “older” free software games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Plasma Bigscreen is an open source user environment design for TVs

          In a nutshell, Plasma Bigscreen brings the sort of features you’d expect from a smart TV platform like Apple TV, Android TV, Fire OS, or the Roku user interface. It’s optimized so that you can easily view everything while sitting on a couch ten feet from the screen. And you can navigate using a remote control or voice controls rather than a mouse and keyboard.

          Instead of small icons, apps are represented by large cards that should be easy to see from your couch. And rows of apps are arranged by category such as games, applications, and voice apps. There’s a Recent section at the top of the screen to help you find that thing you were using last time you turned on your TV.

        • Turn Your Regular TV into a Smart TV With KDE Plasma Bigscreen

          Smart TVs are the new normal these days. Mostly based on Android, these smart TVs let you play YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services. You can even use voice commands to control your smart TV.

          One major problem with these so-called smart TVs are that they probably are spying on you. Your data is being collected with or without your knowledge.

          This is the problem KDE’s Plasma Bigscreen project is aiming to solve.

        • Plasma on TV: Presenting Plasma Bigscreen

          The KDE.News site is carrying an announcement for the Plasma Bigscreen environment, which is meant for large-screen televisions.

        • KDE’s Plasma Bigscreen Project Aims to Bring Plasma Desktop to Smart TVs

          As its name suggests, Plasma Bigscreen will be a variant of KDE’s Plasma desktop environment for TVs that can be controlled with the remote control of your smart TV.

          The project is designed to support single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi and takes advantage of the open-source Mycroft AI voice assistant project to deliver voice control capabilities on big TV screens.

          By default, Mycroft AI uses Google’s speech-to-text (STT) system to send anonymized utterances to Google. However, users are free to de-activate voice recognition or switch to a different backend, including a self-hosted STT system like Mozilla Deepspeech.

        • Plasma on TV: Presenting Plasma Bigscreen

          Plasma Bigscreen is KDE’s user interface for big TV screens.

          Plasma Bigscreen powers the interface on a Single Board Computer and uses the Mycroft AI voice assistant to provide a Smart TV platform. Plasma Bigscreen will deliver not only media-rich applications, but also traditional desktop applications redesigned to fit the Bigscreen experience.

        • Krita 4.2.9 Released

          Today we’re finally releasing Krita 4.2.9! It’s been one of the most complicated releases we’ve ever attempted. When we updated the version of Python that’s embedded in Krita, scripting broke on Windows. When Apple updated its notarization protocol, building broke on macOS. And then we updated to a newer version of some of the libraries we build Krita on, and that broke all kinds of things. In fact, Windows Store users need to have a bit of patience: Microsoft has deprecated the appx installer format for Windows Store packages and broke the DesktopAppConverter, replacing it with a new tool, which, however, only generates packages that the Windows Store validator refuses. We’re working on that!

        • Latte bug fix release 0.9.10

          Latte Dock v0.9.10 has been released containing important fixes and improvements!

    • Distributions

      • AryaLinux Provides the Building Blocks for a Unique Linux Experience

        AryaLinux focuses on the skill sets of advanced Linux users. This user class generally prefers to decide what to put on a system. These users also want to curate their own software.

        The other prominent appeal of this distro is its derivative roots. It is not remastered or forked from any other Linux project. It is a unique Linux computing platform. It comes with the added feature of being a springboard to creating your own distro spin.

        AryaLinux needs at least 20 GB of local storage for the system partition, as well as (for 2 GB of RAM or less) a swap partition of at least 2 GB, which also is used for hibernation mode.

      • 5 Most Suitable Linux Distributions for Doctors

        Many health & IT professionals prefer to use operating systems other than Windows in order to do their daily jobs. There can be many reasons for that, such as not wanting to pay hundreds of dollars in licensing each year to Microsoft or simply reasons related to performance, security and efficiency.

        Out of these many alternative operating systems, Linux stands out as one of the best alternatives to try out. But one issue that could face many health doctors in their first time trying Linux is which Linux distribution should they use?

      • New Releases

        • Simplicity X 20.4 Pre-Beta

          It’s been a while since I posted last. Long story short, I was told in January that my entire department *could* be made redundant on March 31st 2020. Everyone in the department knew that meant that we would, and after a consultation period, I was told two weeks ago that I would indeed be being made redundant. Fast forward to this week, and I didn’t feel good on Monday, felt really rough on Tuesday and Tuesday lunchtime I self-isolated and left work for the last time. I felt a little better yesterday, and better still today.

          This is what I’ve been working on all day. Simplicity X 20.4 Pre-Beta. It’s rough but most of it works. The idea is to make a version of Simplicity good enough for people to use as a replacement for Windows. X 20.4 has predictive text in apps, Zoom, Redshift (changes the brightness of the screen depending on the time of day), Rhinote sticky notes, LibreOffice, Remmina remote desktop, Joplin task manager, a Pomodoro timer (https://bit.ly/3dpEjnU), RescueTime for limiting apps and sites and Firefox plus a VPN, password manager and ad blocker. There’s still lots to do on it, but I wanted to put this out today.

      • BSD

        • pfSense 2.4.5-RELEASE Now Available

          We are pleased to announce the release of pfSense® software version 2.4.5, now available for new installations and upgrades!

          pfSense software version 2.4.5 brings security patches, several new features, support for new Netgate hardware models, and stability fixes for issues present in previous pfSense 2.4.x branch releases.

          pfSense 2.4.5-RELEASE updates and installation images are available now!

          To see a complete detailed list of changes, see the Release Notes.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE is Offering Free Enterprise Linux Support For Medical Device Manufacturers

          You are here: Home / News / SUSE is Offering Free Enterprise Linux Support For Medical Device Manufacturers
          SUSE is Offering Free Enterprise Linux Support For Medical Device Manufacturers
          Last updated March 26, 2020 By Ankush Das Leave a Comment

          Brief: SUSE is offering free support for its Linux Enterprise Server and container and cloud technologies to any organization building medical devices to fight the Coronavirus.

          SUSE is one of the biggest open-source software companies. The SUSE Linux operating system for enterprise users is their primary offering. In addition to that, they also provide container technologies.

          Amidst the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation, there’s a lot of things happening across the globe that keeps us worried. In times like this, SUSE’s latest commitment to fight COVID-19 is positive news!

        • How Linux Helps the Fight Against the New Coronavirus

          As a key part of the tech world, Linux itself is playing an essential role in this fight against the new coronavirus, and today SUSE announced it’s offering free services, including the open-source operating system and container technologies, to medical device manufacturers.

          More specifically, SUSE will provide companies that produce medical devices supposed to help us deal with COVID-19 with support and maintenance for SUSE Linux Enterprise and container technologies that can be embedded into new devices.

        • Kismet, Frameworks Updates Land in openSUSE Tumbleweed

          Four openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released so far this week.

          Kismet, KDE Frameworks, sudo, LibreOffice and ImageMagick were just a few of the packages that received updates in the snapshots.

          The most recent snapshot, 20200322 brougth the 1.3.6 version of the Bluetooth configuration tool, blueberry. Full featured Command Line Interface (CLI) system information tool inxi 3.0.38 fixed a Perl issue where perl treats 000 as a string and not 0. General purpose VPN package WireGuard removed dead code. The snapshot also updated several YaST packages. Fixes were made to help with text icons displayed during installations in yast2 4.2.74 package and some cosmetic changes were made in the yast2-ntp-client 4.2.10 package to not show check-boxes for saving configuration and starting the deamon. The snapshot is currently trending at a rating of 84, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

          Just three packages were updated in snapshot 20200320. Python 2 compatibility was removed in the urlscan 0.9.4 package. Both elementary-xfce-icon-theme and perl-Encode 3.05 were updated in the snapshot, which is trending at a rating of 99.

          The other two snapshots also recorded a stable rating of 99.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Come Socialize at the Fedora Social Hour!

          COVID-19 is getting pretty real, with social distancing, shelter-in-place, and lockdown orders in effect in areas around the world. Some of us are perhaps getting sick of the company we are stuck with, and others of us are feeling pretty isolated without any company at all.

          Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller and contributor Neal Gompa had the idea for a Fedora Social Hour where folks could video chat in and get a little (virtual) human contact and conversation.

          Sound like a welcome break from isolation to you? Check out the details below!

        • Red Hat Accelerates AI/ML Workflows and Delivery of AI-Powered Intelligent Applications with Red Hat OpenShift

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today highlighted that more organizations are using Red Hat OpenShift as the foundation for building artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning (ML) data science workflows and AI-powered intelligent applications. OpenShift helps to provide agility, flexibility, portability and scalability across the hybrid cloud, from cloud infrastructure to edge computing deployments, a necessity for developing and deploying ML models and intelligent applications into production more quickly and without vendor lock-in.

        • Red Hat Shares the Value of Community Management in Open-Source Enterprise Software

          At Codemotion, we’re big fans of developer communities and community management. We support community-led side events at our conferences and we’ve created an events portal where anyone can post an upcoming event. But at a time when a lot of events have been postponed or canceled, it’s worth taking a bigger look at the role of community management. so we’ve created a three-part series focused on three of the biggest developer communities. The first is Red Hat.

          Red Hat provides enterprise open source solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver high-performing Linux, cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. In the open-source world, communities are growing with people from all around the world bringing passion about coder. New collaborators can butt heads with the old guard, creating conflicts within communities, or worse, driving software forks.

        • The benefits to telcos of innovation at the network edge

          Darrell Jordan-Smith, Global Vice President of Vertical Industries and Accounts, Red Hat
          Telecom service providers have been exploring the potential of the network edge for several years now, but the arrival of 5G is promising to open up new business cases. So what’s the reality today; where are CSPs on their journey to the edge?

          CSPs see a great opportunity to use edge computing to get themselves back into the cloud. They can apply a lot of telemetry, data analytics, AI and augmented reality-based applications by realising the opportunity to move compute storage and networking to the far edge of their network.

          Red Hat is already seeing a lot of innovation around the edge coming from the adoption of open source. Developers can build on a common platform and innovate on top of it rather than working from the ground up, maintaining a legacy based platform as they develop new applications. This ability to have a horizontal platform, being able to containerise workloads to realise real cost reductions in the marketplace is underpinning all the new business cases that are being developed to take advantage of edge and 5G.

          Containerisation of network elements itself is going to realize 10 to 20 per cent cost reduction for telcos and Red Hat is reporting that more than 60% of all of its telco partners are currently looking at containerisation across their network infrastructure, building on what they’ve done in terms of virtualisation.

        • Getting started with Node-RED just got easier

          Node-RED has been available in the IBM Cloud catalog since the very early days of the platform. With just a couple of clicks it was possible to get Node-RED deployed as a Cloud Foundry application. It has proved to be a very popular option in countless engagements to quickly start building applications that make use of the wide range of services available.

        • 5 benefits of using micro frontends To build process-driven applications

          When building process-driven applications, a monolithic architecture can slow the development process, as well as limit the complexity of the functionality it can provide. In order to increase agility and embrace DevOps, developers must build applications with greater modularity.

          In recent months, micro frontend has become something of a buzzword that is changing the way developers think about web application architectures.

          A micro frontend can be defined as “an architectural style where independently deliverable frontend applications are composed into a greater whole” (Martin Fowler). Micro frontend architectures allow organizations to add new features and frontend functionality to their applications without affecting other parts of the code.

      • Debian Family

        • Codes of Contradiction

          Free software organizations are making more and more noise about their Codes of Conduct these days.

          Do we really understand what they are about?

          Debian has become a case in point.

          The Debian Project Leader and sidekicks have spent almost two years sending private emails disparaging a volunteer. These emails are examples of what normal people call harassment. Every one of them violates the Code of Conduct.

          They argue that it is permissable to write these things in private emails because it is not a public medium that might be found in a search engine.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Bodhi Linux 5.1 Is Out With Latest Hardware Support And Kernel Updates

          Not all operating systems can run on old computers. But thanks to the Linux community, which develops various lightweight Linux distributions, we have multiple choices. According to our list for the same, Bodhi Linux is the best lightweight operating system.

          If you’re very new to Linux, you may not have heard about Bodhi Linux as there has been no new release for two years. But, a couple of days ago, Bodhi Linux released the new version v5.1 that now supports regular kernel updates and the latest hardware as well.

        • Bodhi Linux 5.1.0 Released Based on Latest Ubuntu Point Release

          A new version of Bodhi Linux is available to download based on the recent Ubuntu 18.04.4 point release.

          While Bodhi Linux isn’t a headline distro it has gained a solid following over the years thanks to a combination of low system resource requirements and solid performance with the novel Moksha desktop environment and a selection of lightweight desktop apps.

          And truth be told I have a bit of a soft spot for it, too. I like distros that ‘do things differently’ and, amidst a a sea of pale Ubuntu spins sporting minor cosmetic changes, Bodhi Linux stands out more than most.

        • Bodhi Linux Is Still Alive, Gets New Release Based on Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS

          As you probably know, Bodhi Linux found a new maintainer in Robert Wiley, last year in June. Since then, we haven’t seen a new release of the popular GNU/Linux distribution and many thought the worse, that the project is dead.

          But that’s not the case, as Bodhi Linux 5.1 is out now with some new features and improvements. The most obvious changes are the replacement of the Midori web browser with GNOME’s Epiphany and the ePad text editor with the more lightweight Leafpad.

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Testing Week

          We’re delighted to announce that we’re participating in an ‘Ubuntu Testing Week’ from April 2nd to April 8th with other flavors in the Ubuntu family. On April 2nd, we’ll be releasing the beta release of Xubuntu 20.04 LTS, after halting all new changes to its features, user interface and documentation. And between April 2nd and the final release on April 23rd, all efforts by the Xubuntu team and community are focused on ISO testing, bug reporting, and fixing bugs.

          So, we highly encourage you to join the community by downloading the daily ISO image and trying it out, though you are welcome to start from today. There are a variety of ways that you can help test the release, including trying out the various testcases for live sessions and installations on the ISO tracker (Xubuntu is found at the bottom of the page), which take less than 30 minutes to complete (example 1, example 2, example 3 below).

        • How Domotz streamlined provisioning of IoT devices

          As the number of IoT devices scale, the challenges of provisioning and keeping them up to date in the field increases. Domotz, who manufacture an all-in-one, network monitoring and management device for enterprise IoT networks, found themselves with this challenge that was further compounded by their rapid software release cadence.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 open source tools for email, note taking, and documentation

        Most collaborative tools these days recognize that not all users have accounts with their company or suite. In other words, if someone sends you a link to share.example.com but you don’t have an account with example.com, then you’ll likely be offered a chance to sign up.

        On the surface, that seems admirably and pragmatically inclusive. You can sign up for an online tool, possibly even using a temporary or “junk” email address and identity, and start collaborating. However, in reality, this brings a third party into what is inherently only a two-party process. The host of the collaboration suite isn’t a part of the collaboration; it’s a gateway that some people won’t want to pass through, especially if the host of the collaboration suite is a particularly large corporation with interests in user profiling and data collection.

      • 3 open source tools for sticking to a budget

        In light of changing economical times in many countries around the world right now, you may find yourself wanting to revamp or improve your financial situation and your understanding of it. Or, perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions was to start budgeting? You are not alone.

        The best way to stick to that resolution is to keep track of the money you are spending and making on a regular basis. The problem is, many popular personal finance apps out there are proprietary. Are you looking for an open source alternative to Quicken, Mint, or You Need a Budget? Whether you are new to open source software or new to budgeting in general, one of these tools will suit your needs and comfort level.

      • Top 5 Free and Open Source Robotics Frameworks

        ROS (Robot Operating System) is an open source framework for writing robot software. It started in 2007 with the goal of simplifying the process of creating complex robot behavior across a wide variety of robotic platforms. It is licensed under the permissive BSD license.

        ROS has a lot of components. At the lowest level, it has a communication infrastructure which offers Message Passing, Recording and Playback of Messages for asynchronous communications, Remote Procedure Calls for synchronous communications, and Distributed Parameter System which provides a way for tasks to share configuration information.

        ROS provides common robot-specific libraries and tools. Some examples of libraries are Robot Geometry Library which keeps track of where different parts of the robot are with respect to each other, Robot Description Language, Diagnostics, Pose Estimation, Localization, and Navigation.

        ROS has powerful development tools which support introspecting, debugging, plotting, and visualizing the state of the system being developed. There are more than 45 command-line tools and some GUI tools as rviz (3D visualization) and rqt (for developing graphical interfaces for your robot).

      • Apache Software Foundation Celebrates Its 21st Birthday

        Today marks twenty-one years since the Apache Software Foundation was created out of the Apache Group and incorporated as a non-profit organization.

        While the Apache Software Foundation continues to be most well known for the Apache HTTPD web server, over the past two decades they have amassed close to over 300 other projects from various database implementations to various Java tools to Subversion and much more. The Apache Software Foundation values their code-base at close to $20 billion USD.

      • Events

        • Looking back at LibrePlanet 2020: Freeing the future together

          On March 14 and 15, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) held LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future online. The virtual edition of LibrePlanet was nothing short of a success, and it was quite a journey to get there.

          Looking back to a week before the conference, we had an incredible lineup, exciting plans, and more new program elements than we’ve ever had before. With a new logo designed by campaigns intern Valessio Brito, a refresh to the LibrePlanet 2020 Web site, renewed focus on using the LibrePlanet wiki to collaborate, and with a new home at the Back Bay Events Center, we were ready to receive hundreds of free software supporters in Boston for another successful conference. And then everything changed.

          Our in-person event suffered the consequences of the global COVID-19 pandemic, forcing us to make the difficult decision of bringing LibrePlanet 2020 online in order to protect our supporters, staff, and all the many interrelated communities. There was no time to pause and mourn: instead, the FSF team put our heads together fast and charted a new direction.

          Within the scope of five days, we were able to move the conference from an in-person experience to a live streaming event, thanks to the heroic efforts of our talented tech team, our volunteers, and the flexibility and cooperation of our scheduled speakers, even some previously unscheduled ones. We hosted three sessions at a time for both days of the conference, bringing viewers thirty-five streamed talks from forty-five speakers, as well as eight lightning talks. Technical difficulties were few and far between, and when one of our speakers asked how many nations were tuning in, within the span of eighteen seconds, twelve countries were identified.

        • Fedora Community Blog: Tech Training Outreach – SCaLE 18x (2020)

          Our team delivered tech training, help, outreach, and swag items during the SCaLE 18x 2020 event.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • WebXR Emulator Extension AR support

            In September we released the WebXR Emulator Extension which enables testing WebXR VR applications in your desktop browser. Today we are happy to announce a new feature: AR support.

          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: March Edition

            Please note some of the information provided in this report may be subject to change as we are sometimes sharing information about projects that are still in early stages and are not final yet.

          • Stay safe in your online life, too

            During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are turning to the internet to connect, learn, work and entertain ourselves from home. We’re setting up new accounts, reading more news, watching more videos and scrolling through social media at an all-time high. These are excellent ways to stay connected while being physically distant, but they do come with a set of concerns worth noting.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • It’s not what programming languages do, it’s what they shepherd you to

          How many of you have listened, read or taken part in a discussion about programming languages that goes like the following:

          Person A: “Programming language X is bad, code written in it is unreadable and horrible.”

          Person B: “No it’s not. You can write good code in X, you just have to be disciplined.”

          Person A: “It does not work, if you look at existing code it is all awful.”

          Person B: “No! Wrong! Those are just people doing it badly. You can write readable code just fine.”

          After this the discussion repeats from the beginning until either one gets fed up and just leaves.

          I’m guessing more than 99% of you readers have seen this, often multiple times. The sad part of this is that even though this thing happens all the time, nobody learns anything and the discussion begins anew all the time. Let’s see if we can do something about this. A good way to go about it is to try to come up with a name and a description for the underlying issue.

        • Ideas to help working from home

          When I came to KDAB to work, working at home was a bit of a culture shock for me – I’d previously only ever worked in an open-plan office and had sworn that home working was not for me – I’d never manage to get anything done! However, I’ve found that home working suits me quite well, and given the current situation I thought I’d write a little about it as some people might be experiencing home working for the first time.

          The first concern I had when starting to work from home was the loneliness. This is particularly relevant now, however there are still ways to ensure that you don’t get completely isolated. One thing would be to have meetings via video call – and not to forget that you can also do this with friends in the evening! Having social contact is important, even if you can’t meet up face to face.

          The other main concern I had was how to separate working time from non-working time – both the physical and mental aspects. As a physical space, I use my PC desk for gaming which is not ideal, but I make sure after I work I move to another room to differentiate ‘work’ and ‘play’. A better way would be to have two different spaces set up, however with limited space – I live in a flat – I make sure that I at least have a break in between the two uses. Mentally, at the end of each day I like to plan what I’ll do first in the morning, so that it’s part of my wind down for a working day – which allows me to start the next day without getting distracted. At the end of the week I upload my timesheet to say to myself ‘that’s it’ – a very definite point where I’m done for the week.

        • Static analysis in GCC 10

          I work at Red Hat on GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection. For the next major release of GCC, GCC 10, I’ve been implementing a new -fanalyzer option: A static analysis pass to identify various problems at compile-time, rather than at runtime.

          My thinking here is that it’s best to catch problems as early as possible as the code is written, using the compiler the code is written in as part of the compile-edit-debug cycle, rather than having static analysis as an extra tool “on the side” (perhaps proprietary). Hence, it seems worthwhile to have a static analyzer built into the compiler that can see exactly the same code as the compiler sees—because it is the compiler.

          This issue is, of course, a huge problem to tackle. For this release, I’ve focused on the kinds of problems seen in C code—and, in particular double-free bugs—but with a view toward creating a framework that we can expand on in subsequent releases (when we can add more checks and support languages other than C).

        • Malcolm: Static analysis in GCC 10

          David Malcolm writes about the static-analysis features that he is working on adding to the GCC compiler.

        • Ashley’s top five projects for Raspberry Pi first-timers
        • How to manage a business without a headquarters

          Distributed organisations are as old as the [Internet]. Its first users 50 years ago realised how much can be done by swapping emails and digital files. These exchanges led to the development of “open source” software, jointly written by groups of strangers often geographically distant.

          Today most distributed startups have open-source roots. Gatsby is one. Nearly all 1,200 employees of another, Automattic, best known for WordPress, software to build websites, work from home. GitHub, which hosts millions of open-source projects (and was acquired by Microsoft in 2018), may be the world’s biggest distributed enterprise. Two-thirds of its 2,000 staff work remotely. Most firms that build blockchains, a type of distributed database, are by their nature dispersed.

        • 10 Most(ly dead) Influential Programming Languages

          The other day I read 20 most significant programming languages in history, a “preposterous table I just made up.” He certainly got preposterous right: he lists Go as “most significant” but not ALGOL, Smalltalk, or ML. He also leaves off Pascal because it’s “mostly dead”. Preposterous! That defeats the whole point of what “significant in history” means.

          So let’s talk about some “mostly dead” languages and why they matter so much.

          Disclaimer: Yeah not all of these are dead and not all of these are forgotten. Like most people have heard of Smalltalk, right? Also there’s probably like a billion mistakes in this, because when you’re doing a survey of 60 years of computing history you’re gonna get some things wrong. Feel free to yell at me if you see anything!

          Disclaimer 2: Yeah I know some of these are “first to invent” and others are “first to popularize”. History is complicated!

        • Megvii makes deep learning AI framework open-source as China moves to reduce reliance on US platforms

          Initially developed in 2014, MegEngine is part of Megvii’s proprietary AI platform, Brain++

        • Python

          • Python 101 – Learning About Tuples

            Tuples are another sequence type in Python. Tuples consist of a number of values that are separated by commas. A tuple is immutable whereas a list is not. Immutable means that the tuple has a fixed value and cannot change. You cannot add, delete or modify items in a tuple. Immutable objects are useful when you need a constant hash value. The most popular example is the key to a Python dictionary.

          • PyCharm 2020.1 Beta 2

            PyCharm is approaching its release, and this beta is yet another waypoint we’re passing. The new Beta version of PyCharm can now be downloaded from our website.

          • Webinar Recording: “Django with PyCharm Tips and Tricks” with Paul Everitt
          • Python Bytes: #174 Happy developers use Python 3
          • Starting the Onboarding Flow – Building SaaS #49

            In this episode, we worked on the progress element that will display in every step of the onboarding flow. I added some labels and styled the banner using Tailwind CSS. At the end of the stream, we boxed in the shape of the welcome page with some placeholder elements.

            The very first thing I did was insert a top bar that was unstyled to the top of the welcome page. We added some placeholder text for each of the steps in the onboarding flow. After that, I started styling the UI until it took shape.

            We talked about design elements like color and spacing and some aesthetic qualities that help make a user interface feel better.

            After completing a first cut of the top bar navigation, I shifted to the welcome page and added vector art and placeholder text to give the page some life.

          • How to Create Python Virtual Environment on Ubuntu 18.04 & 16.04

            The Virtualenv is used to create an isolated environment for Python application. It provides separate environment to application that system environment. This tutorial will help you to create a Python virtual environment on Ubuntu 19.10, 18.04 and 16.04 LTS systems.

          • “Coder’s Cat”: Python: Generator and Yield

            In this post, let’s discuss some basics for the generator in Python. What’s the benefit for generator, and how we use yield to implement generator.

          • A Flexible Open Source ERP Framework To Run Your Business – Episode 255

            Running a successful business requires some method of organizing the information about all of the processes and activity that take place. Tryton is an open source, modular ERP framework that is built for the flexibility needed to fit your organization, rather than requiring you to model your workflows to match the software. In this episode core developers Nicolas Évrard and Cédric Krier are joined by avid user Jonathan Levy to discuss the history of the project, how it is being used, and the myriad ways that you can adapt it to suit your needs. If you are struggling to keep a consistent view of your business and ensure that all of the necessary workflows are being observed then listen now and give Tryton a try.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Awk

            Awk is a versatile programming language designed for pattern scanning and processing language and often used as a data extraction and reporting tool. It’s an excellent filter and report writer. It’s a standard feature of most Unix-like operating systems.

            Awk is small, fast, simple, and has a clean comprehensible C-like input language. It has robust programming constructs including if/else, while, do/while and for C-style and array iteration.

            The name awk comes from the initials of its designers: Alfred V. Aho, Peter J. Weinberger, and Brian W. Kernighan. The original version of awk was written in 1977 at AT&T Bell Laboratories.

        • Rust

  • Leftovers

    • From O’Reilly President, Laura Baldwin: O’Reilly’s events business

      Some of the world’s greatest innovations have taken place during times of great crisis, and we’re here to help our customers be ready when we step beyond this virus and the economy begins to grow again. Today, our platform and our message are helping companies wrestle with the complexities of working from home or trying to keep online services up and running as they are hit with unprecedented demand, as well as helping individuals use this time to train and develop new skills. No offense to “Netflix and chill” but how about we move toward “Code and conquer” as our new mantra during these trying times?

      Over the last 25 years, O’Reilly in-person Events have been a gathering place for the technology community to share new ideas and expertise, learn new technologies and make personal connections. We’re deeply grateful to all who helped make our events a success and that we had a chance to be part of this community for so long. We are sad that as part of this decision, we have employees leaving us today who ran our in-person events business with precision and grace. We thank them for all of their contributions.

    • Science

      • The World’s Major Military and Economic Powers Find Happiness Elusive

        Perhaps it’s time for the citizens of the “great powers” to ask themselves if they are truly benefiting from the much-vaunted military and economic strength of their nations.

      • 8 European spacecraft put in hibernation amid virus lockdown

        The agency said it is further reducing the already limited number of staff working on site at its mission control in Darmstadt, Germany. As a result, the instruments and data collection on some space probes are being temporarily stopped.

        They include the Cluster mission, consisting of four probes launched in 2000 to investigate Earth’s magnetic environment and how it is affected by solar wind; the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter launched in 2016 to investigate the red planet’s atmosphere; Mars Express, launched in 2003 and which has been capturing images of the surface of Mars; and the Solar Orbiter mission launched last month to observe the sun.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Our Message to All Countries Is Clear: Heed This Warning Now’: WHO Calls for Unified Global Effort as Coronavirus Spread Surges

        The United Nations agency’s warning to world leaders comes as Trump continues to push for loosened restrictions to contain the novel coronavirus.

      • Boris Now Has to Play at Being Serious

        In the current Coronavirus crisis, Donald Trump is under little pressure to play at being serious, given the way an American “post-political” politics, and its embodiments in the media, are presently constituted—unless riling-up his base is equated with being serious.

      • Healthcare Workers Are At War, But Trump Isn’t on Our Side

        NYC physician gave this speech about the war against the coronavirus and the ongoing war against for-profit health care, Trump and capitalism itself. The coronavirus pandemic is magnifying capitalism’s complete inability to foster overall health and well being. We don’t just need a new healthcare system, but a new economic system altogether.

      • Putin suspends all non-essential work in Russia, calling a nationwide stay-at-home holiday next week to curb the spread of coronavirus

        In a major effort to curb the spread of coronavirus in Russia, Vladimir Putin has canceled the next workweek nationwide, suspending work for all non-essential laborers from March 28 to April 5. The president also indefinitely postponed a nationwide plebiscite on constitutional amendments that was previously scheduled for April 22.

      • Russia’s Duma considering million-ruble fines and prison time for quarantine violations

        State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin and Constitutional Law Committee Chair Pavel Krashennikov have introduced a bill into Russia’s parliament that would provide harsher penalties under Article 236 of the country’s Criminal Codex. Article 236 covers “violations of sanitary-epidemiological rules.”

      • Coronavirus Proves It: We Need Medicare For All

        Health care rationing isn’t what awaits us in a single-payer system. It’s happening now in our failed for-profit system.

      • Putin to make national address after Russia’s coronavirus cases spike by 163 to 658 confirmed infections

        Vladimir Putin will make a national address in the next few minutes. The speech will be broadcast live online and on all national television networks. (You can watch it live here.) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the president decided on the necessity of a national address after meeting with the federal government’s coronavirus task force on March 24 and visiting a medical center in Moscow’s Kommunarka community, where the city is treating patients who test positive for COVID-19.

      • To keep senior citizens at home, Moscow’s mayor has suspended free travel on public transport for people older than 65

        In an effort to discourage senior citizens from leaving their homes, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has suspended free travel on public transit throughout the city for people older than 65.

      • The Message of COVID-19

        At the end of the first World War, as civilians and soldiers returning home were celebrating the end of a senseless and cruel carnage, another terror was lurking in the microscopic shadows. The 1918 flu pandemic, most commonly referred to as the Spanish Flu, would end up taking the lives of anywhere from 50 to 100 million people around the world. The first wave of the virus was bad enough, but the second wave mutated in a way that was far more lethal and rapidly swept through communities in every country, causing untold misery and bringing governments and economies to their knees.

      • COVID-19 and the Death of Connectivity

        The Covid 19 pandemic is the second major crisis of globalization in a decade. The first was the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, from which the global economy took years to reach a semblance of recovery. We did not learn our lessons from the first, and this is perhaps why the impact of the second has been even more massive.

      • Putin’s newly announced COVID-19 crisis response, point by point

        On March 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the nation as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country spiked to 658. During the speech, which was broadcast on state television channels, Putin announced an indefinite delay in the constitutional vote that could allow him to stay in office until 2036. He also listed a new set of steps the federal government plans to take to protect public health and the economy as the new coronavirus spreads. Here’s a list of the measures Putin promised.

      • Are We Our Brothers’ and Sisters’ Keepers?

        We in the West have been caught unaware and unprepared for a disaster in the making. Think The Poseidon Adventure, Towering Inferno, and Jaws all rolled into one, despite the obvious warnings about coronavirus from Hubei Province, China, since the start of 2020. The next few weeks, months, even years will show how Christian and enlightened our civilisation is. All the usual rules apply, stretched to the max, as the number of COVID-19 cases double like a runaway shampoo commercial, where I infect 2 friends who infect 2 friends and so on and so on.

      • Two more Moscow coronavirus patients die

        Two Moscow patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus have died, according to the city government’s headquarters for the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Private labs to begin testing for coronavirus in Russia on March 26

        Two private laboratories, Hemotest and Helix, will begin conducting tests for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, TASS reported.

      • Looking Past the Pandemic

        This morning there was a Red-Tailed Hawk perched low in the woods outside my window for a least forty minutes. It was a large very calm bird perched not too high up in the trees that were downhill from my window, so binocular viewing was good, but it was too difficult to take a picture today. It was perhaps a young bird since its colors were mainly mottled, grey-brown on top, white with grey-brown blotches below. It had no obvious strong red on its tail feathers, but the wing and tail feathers were very clearly banded, partly like a tartan, and very crisply.

      • ‘Completely Dangerous and Unacceptable,’ Ocasio-Cortez Says of Impending Senate Recess in Midst of Coronavirus Crisis

        “We HAVE to be able to respond to people’s needs. People don’t have this time.”

      • Coronavirus a ‘Clear Warning Shot’ From Nature to Humanity, Top Scientists Say

        “We are intimately interconnected with nature, whether we like it or not. If we don’t take care of nature, we can’t take care of ourselves.”

      • During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Do as the Vietnamese Do

        As I wrote in a recent essay for international education colleagues, Viet Nam has overcome steep odds in many contemporary arenas and throughout its millennia-long history.  In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Viet Nam is doing all of the right things, placing the health and well-being of its people and foreign visitors, i.e., all people, above all else.  The result so far is relatively few confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

      • Why This Coronavirus Is Not Like the Flu, or Even the Swine Flu
      • Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.

        On a Tuesday just before Halloween in 2018, a group of federal prosecutors and agents from Texas arrived in Washington. For almost two years, they’d been investigating the opioid dispensing practices of Walmart, the largest company in the world. They had amassed what they viewed as highly damning evidence only to face a major obstacle: top Trump appointees at the Department of Justice.

        The prosecution team had come to Washington to try to save its case. Joe Brown, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, led the group, which included Heather Rattan, an over-20-year veteran of the office who had spent much of her career prosecuting members of drug cartels.

      • Medicaid Abruptly Canceled Her Health Insurance. Then Came the Coronavirus.

        Every day during what seems like an endless quarantine, Judith Persutti assigns herself a chore. So far she’s washed the curtains and dusted the miniblinds in the little country house where she is sheltering in place with her oldest granddaughter.

        Stop to rest when the fatigue sets in. Lie down when the pain becomes too much.

      • Know That We Are Connected

        Enough news – of catastrophe and sociopathy and madness – for us today, thanks. Time for a beauty/solace/sanity/poetry break to help see us through. Amidst the multitude of random kindnesses underway in our besieged world: Expert advice on feeling our grief and moving past it, inexpert dinosaurs on socially-distanced parade in Milwaukee, lock-down concerts from Berklee School of Music students and Yo Yo Ma’s Songs of Comfort, quarantine birthday parties for the young and old and restless, Playing For Change videos offering joy, fond groupies of Gov. Andy Beshear turning Kentucky blue in real pandemic time, Maine neighbors bringing whoopie pies and tiny libraries becoming food pantries, and “poetry as insurgent art” á la Ferlinghetti: “I am signalling you through the flames.” Because, asks Maine’s Gov. Janet Mills, herself reading poetry aloud, “Isn’t that enough?”

      • Even After Trump Declared a National Emergency, Some Talk Radio Hosts Weren’t Convinced

        More than 160 million Americans have been urged to stay home in what the World Health Organization has declared a global pandemic. Nonessential businesses and schools in states like New York, Illinois and California have shuttered. In parts of the country, coronavirus patients are flooding hospitals.

        Yet listeners of Mark Levin’s syndicated radio program heard on March 16 that much of the furor is a politically motivated overreaction. “I don’t want to be part of the hype machine,” Levin said. One of the country’s most-listened-to talk radio hosts, Levin averages 11 million listeners a week, according to the trade publication Talkers. “People on TV who lied to you about Russia and the Ukraine and so forth, trashing the president, using this as another opportunity to hype and dramatize their agenda.”

      • Mexico and the Pandemic

        As Mexico counts its first deaths from the dreaded COVID-19 coronavirus, different but not uniform measures were implemented throughout the country in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease.

      • Madrid’s Ice Rink Turned Into Morgue as Spain Exceeds China in COVID-19 Deaths

        We go to Madrid, Spain, one of the epicenters of the pandemic in Europe, where health workers account for nearly 14% of the country’s infections. Many face limited availability of protective equipment. So many people have died that Madrid’s municipal funeral home has stopped collecting bodies. A large ice rink is now being used as a makeshift morgue, and the government plans to extend the state of emergency by another 15 days in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. “If Madrid was a country, it would actually be fifth in terms of death rate in the entire world,” says María Carrión, journalist and former Democracy Now! news producer.

      • Nurses in New York Still Lack Masks and Ventilators as COVID-19 Spreads

        As the New York metro area has 60% of all the new coronavirus cases in the United States and is responsible for half the cases all over the country, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday the number of hospitalizations is expected to peak in the next 40 days as hospitals are already encountering shortages of equipment needed to protect medical workers and to keep patients alive when the city’s COVID-19 cases peak in the coming weeks. We’re joined by two people on the front-lines of the pandemic: Sean Petty, a registered nurse in the pediatric emergency room of a public hospital in the Bronx and member of the New York State Nurses Association board of directors, and Kelley Cabrera, an emergency room nurse at a public hospital in the Bronx.

      • Venezuela’s Coronavirus Response Might Surprise You

        Why is Venezuela doing so much better than its neighbors in the region?

      • The Defense Production Act Gives the President Power — but Not Much Funding

        President Donald Trump is under fire for his reluctance to use the Defense Production Act, a 70-year-old law that empowers the president to order private industry to produce crucial equipment and supplies in an emergency.

        But the law may not be the silver bullet its proponents are hoping for to combat the COVID-19 pandemic: It comes with a war chest of only $228 million, with another $1 billion to come assuming the latest rescue legislation passes.

      • Corona Hopes

        Let’s hope The virus kills off All the motherfuckers Who ever said… Thank god we don’t live in caves, Thank god we no longer Live in the trees…

      • Your Neighborhood Might Be a Coronavirus Hot Spot, but New York City Refuses to Release the Data

        Residents of Los Angeles can go to a county website to look up how many confirmed coronavirus cases there are in Beverlywood, or Koreatown, or Echo Park. Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, have released figures at the ZIP code level. The South Korean government is sending geotargeted texts to alert citizens to positive cases near them.

        In New York, now at the center of the outbreak, Mayor Bill de Blasio has resisted releasing what the city knows about a basic question: Where, precisely, is the virus?

      • DOJ Correctly Takes Down Fraudulent COVID-19 Website Selling Bogus ‘Vaccine Kits’

        While it always raises alarm bells when the government is taking down websites, the Justice Department’s announced enforcement action against a website claiming to sell “vaccine kits” for COVID-19 appears legit. At issue was some scammer who put up a website fraudulently claiming that the World Health Organization was “giving away vaccine kits” and you just had to give this just registered website $4.95 for “shipping” and you’d get one of these kits. The website, laughably, claimed:

      • Pregnant? Here’s What to Expect While Giving Birth Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

        Over the next three months, nearly a million women in the United States will give birth to nearly a million babies — a huge influx of mostly healthy, highly vulnerable patients into a hospital system that’s about to come under unprecedented strain. Pregnant women, not surprisingly, are anxious. Those in their third trimester, looking to deliver during an epidemic, are close to frantic.

      • Vets Say We Need a Strong VA to Combat Coronavirus and Win Medicare for All

        Not many know about the Department of Veterans Affairs’s (VA) so-called “fourth mission.” In 1982, Congress expanded the VA’s role beyond providing care, benefits and burial services to the nearly 9 million veterans it currently serves. Its additional role is to provide a backup health care system in a national emergency — for example, taking on non-veteran patients in the event of a global pandemic.

      • Media Struggle to Defend Washington’s Cruelty Toward Venezuela and Iran as Coronavirus Spreads

        An Associated Press article (New York Times, 3/17/20) headlined “IMF Rejects Maduro’s Bid for Emergency Loan to Fight Virus” declared…

      • Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Community At Increased Risk of COVID-19

        “Many of us have cancer and weakened immune systems from the chemical onslaught we endure everyday. This could be a death sentence for many of us,” Taylor said.

      • Trump Wants U.S. ‘Opened Up’ by Easter, Despite Health Officials’ Warnings

        Amir Attaran, a professor of law and medicine at the University of Ottawa, was even more pessimistic. “Nobody voted in Donald Trump thinking he would become a ‘one-man death panel’ empowered to dispense with American lives like cannon fodder,” he said. “It would be political suicide for him and murder for many others.”

      • Private Insurance Hurts Pharmacists, Too

        Pharmacists constitute an oft-overlooked group of workers made miserable by our for-profit health care system. It’s easy to mistake the white-coated practitioner on the other side of the pickup window for an arbiter of access and prices, but, in reality, pharmacists have little authority to bend or break the limitations set in place by health insurance companies.

        They feel the impact of its injustices as much as their customers. Hannah, a retail pharmacist in New York City who spoke anonymously to avoid retribution from her employer, describes facing the human cost of a broken drug delivery system every day.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Best free project management software

          Project management makes sense for all projects. Not just big ones. For very small projects, Excel spreadsheets and emails may still be sufficient for project organization. With increasing project complexity and team size, project managers quickly reach their limits: manage tasks, keep an eye on deadlines, manage communication and record performance. At this point, professional project management software is an extremely helpful tool.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • XenProject Developer and Design Summit: Update in light of COVID-19

                Because the University of Bucharest has been very flexible, there is no rush to make a decision. As a result, the Advisory Board has recommended that we spend time looking into the options in detail and make a final decision around mid-April which is 6 weeks before the originally scheduled event.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • AMD Uses DMCA to Mitigate Massive GPU Source Code Leak (Updated)

              AMD has filed at least two DMCA notices against Github repos that carried “stolen” source code relating to AMD’s Navi and Arden GPUs, the latter being the processor for the upcoming Xbox Series X. The person claiming responsibility for the leak informs TorrentFreak that if they doesn’t get a buyer for the remainder of the code, they will dump the whole lot online.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, icu, kernel-rt, libvncserver, python-imaging, python-pip, python-virtualenv, thunderbird, tomcat, tomcat6, and zsh), Debian (icu and okular), Fedora (libxslt and php), Gentoo (bluez, chromium, pure-ftpd, samba, tor, weechat, xen, and zsh), Oracle (libvncserver), Red Hat (ipmitool and zsh), and SUSE (python-cffi, python-cryptography and python-cffi, python-cryptography, python-xattr).

          • Senator sounds alarm on cyber threats to internet connectivity during coronavirus crisis [iophk: Windows TCO]

            He emphasized that “during this time, the security of consumer devices and networks will be of heightened importance. It is also imperative that consumer Internet infrastructure not be used as attack vectors to consumer systems and workplace networks accessed from home.”

          • Internet Voting in Puerto Rico

            Puerto Rico is considered allowing for Internet voting. I have joined a group of security experts in a letter opposing the bill.

          • Security 101: X-Forwarded-For vs. Forwarded vs PROXY

            Over time, there have been a number of approaches to indicating the original client and the route that a request took when forwarded across multiple proxy servers. For HTTP(S), the three most common approaches you’re likely to encounter are the X-Forwarded-For and Forwarded HTTP headers, and the PROXY protocol. They’re all a little bit different, but also the same in many ways.

          • Josh Bressers: Part 6: What do we do now?

            In security it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of what we’re really trying to do. Running a scanner isn’t a goal in itself, the goal is to improve security, or it should be if it isn’t. Make sure you never forget what’s really happening. Sometimes in the excitement of security, the real reason we’re doing what we do can be lost.

            I always hate digging out the old trope “what’s the problem we’re trying to solve” but in this instance I think it’s a good question to ask yourself. Defining problems is really hard. Staying on goal is even harder.

            If we think our purpose is to run the scanners, what becomes our goal? The goal will be to have a clean scan. We know a clean scan is impossible, so what really happens is our purpose starts to twist itself around a disfigured version of reality. I’ve said many times the problem is really insecure applications, or at least that’s the problem I tend to think about. You have to figure this out for yourself. If you have a scanner running make sure you know why.

          • Splashtop Expands Linux Remote Access Support To Additional Linux Distributions
          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Verily’s COVID-19 Screening Website Leaves Privacy Questions Unanswered

              One week after Alphabet’s Verily launched its COVID-19 screening website, several unanswered questions remain about how exactly the project will collect, use, and retain people’s medical information.

              Verily, a healthcare data subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has until now operated its Project Baseline as a way to connect potential participants with clinical research. Now, after a confused roll-out, Verily’s Baseline COVID-19 Pilot Program screening and testing website allows users to fill out a multi-question survey about their symptoms and, if they are eligible, directs them to testing locations in a few counties in California.

            • VPN Review Site Creates Live Digital Rights Tracker To Compile Coronavirus-Related Surveillance Efforts

              Since lots and lots of (mostly government) people seem to agree these particularly desperate times call for particularly privacy-invading desperate measures, it only makes sense someone should be tracking the trackers. Enter Samuel Woodhams of Top10VPN, who has compiled a handy list of who’s hoovering who to keep tabs on COVID-19 cases and coronavirus carriers.

            • Washington State Legislators Pass Bill Blocking Use Of Facial Recognition Tech Without A Warrant

              We all like a good facial recognition ban, and the state of Washington is the latest to (sort of) tee one up.

            • Site to Site (Commercial) VPN vs Remote Access (Personal) VPN

              A VPN is a virtual private network that connects two or more devices via an encrypted tunnel. VPNs are set up using different VPN protocols which include OpenVPN PPTP, L2TP, IPSec, and WireGuard®. There are two main types of VPN connection types and uses: Site to Site and Remote Access. Generally, Site to Site VPNs are used for commercial applications and are often referred to as commercial VPNs. Generally, Remote Access VPNs are used for personal applications and are often referred to as personal VPNs. Personal VPNs can be set up between any two computers, but a lot of personal VPN users actually use a VPN provider – which can also be known as a commercial VPN service, which explains the confusion regarding the terminology!

            • Toronto, Canada is now using phone location data to track if people are congregating

              This past Monday, Toronto Mayor Tory announced at a virtual TechTO meetup that the government has been receiving location data from wireless carriers and telecommunication companies in the area to show where people are still congregating and flouting social distancing – The Logic reports. Tory stated:

            • Poland’s COVID-19 “selfie app” raises privacy questions – will everyone eventually be tracked?

              People in Poland under a mandatory 14-day quarantine have an interesting way to prove that they are following the quarantine. Usually, such mandatory quarantines are checked on by local authorities with physical visits; however, the government there has now released an app that quarantined individuals can opt in to use instead. This app, called the “Home quarantine app” in Polish is still opt in at this point.

            • Tunisia using unmanned robots to enforce lockdown

              The robot has a load capacity of 20 kg, weight of 180 kg and speed of 12 km/h. It is 1.4 metres long. Using its camera and sensors, the P-Guard is particularly able to automatically detect intrusion and negative behaviours and send real time alerts and video, Enova said.

            • Apple just killed Offline Web Apps while purporting to protect your privacy: why that’s A Bad Thing and why you should care

              On the face of it, WebKit’s announcement yesterday titled Full Third-Party Cookie Blocking and More sounds like something I would wholeheartedly welcome. Unfortunately, I can’t because the “and more” bit effectively kills off Offline Web Apps and, with it, the chance to have privacy-respecting apps like the prototype I was exploring earlier in the year based on DAT.

            • Google Chrome terms of service are changing on March 31: Here’s what’s new

              While you won’t be getting a new version of Chrome or Chrome OS for a while due to the coronavirus outbreak, Google has announced upcoming changes to its Terms of Service, effective March 31, that “make it easier for you to understand what we can expect from each other.” It’s the first time since October, 2017 that Google has updated the terms of service, and because you probably don’t want to read through the whole thing, we’ve summarized the important changes for you.

            • Why Facial Recognition Systems Could Rise In Popularity During Coronavirus Pandemic

              Security companies are updating their technology to recognize people wearing masks and measure temperatures, and are making the argument that facial recognition could become widely sought as a global security solution. However, this technology still has serious privacy-threatening implications that need to be considered.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • EFF Joins Coalition Urging Judicial Transparency During the COVID-19 Emergency

        EFF and a number of other organizations that advocate for government transparency have signed onto a letter written by the First Amendment Coalition asking the California state judiciary to ensure public access to court proceedings and records.

        Many clerk’s offices are restricting entry and many operations of the state court system have moved online in direct response to actions taken by Gov. Gavin Newsom, including the Statewide Order of March 23, 2020, which in effect restricted physical access to and the activities of California’s courts. In the letter, addressed to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, coalition groups urge that while extraordinary measures are needed in the time of a public health emergency:

      • Exposed: The UK’s Secret Meetings With The Bolsonaros

        In the first part of this series on British involvement in Brazilian internal affairs it was revealed that the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office has deleted its record of correspondence and meetings about Brazilian elections with strategic communications companies SCL and Cambridge Analytica. In this second article, more freedom of information requests show previously undisclosed meetings between representatives of the UK Government, Jair Bolsonaro, his family, and his allies, months before the far-right candidate’s controversial victory at the 2018 election. Part three to follow shortly.

      • Calling ‘Bullshit’ on Trump’s Hoocoodanode

        If CDC ‘knew’ three or four days after this article there was a new SARS-like illness, why did nothing come out of CDC for the public?

        There are no good answers to this. There are only more questions.

        Did the CDC’s director simply not do his job?

        Did the National Security Adviser not do his job?

        Did Trump not do his job?

        Well, we know the answer to the that one: Trump chose not to act. We just don’t know exactly what happened at the top of the CDC and NSC. We know the NSC was also hampered by the loss of the pandemic response team, killed by then- National Security Adviser John Bolton in 2018.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • A plebiscite postponed and a week without work: Putin’s address to the people, in brief

        The top priorities for us are the health and lives of citizens. We have plugged all possible solutions and resources into our aid and prevention system, and I ask all citizens to take recommendations from doctors and government agencies seriously. You know how seriously I am taking the plebiscite on constitutional amendments, but it must be postponed to a later date. To decide exactly what date, we will rely on the professional opinions of our doctors. The week from March 30 to April 5 will be a week of paid leave. We absolutely must follow recommendations regarding the coronavirus; we must be responsible. And we must stay home. Let’s not place our hopes on our Russian avos’ [a word and cultural concept signaling that a highly unlikely hope or plan will somehow hold together]. In terms of economic measures, we will automatically extend all social welfare payments and benefits for half a year, increase unemployment payments, provide credit holidays for all those who will lose income, postpone credit payment dates for small and mid-sized businesses, and place an additional tax on dividends to foreign investors. All of these measures will work if we show cohesion and if the government and society work together. Let’s remember our responsibility to our loved ones.

      • Unprecedented Surge in US Unemployment Claims Cause State Government Servers to Crash

        Deal reached in the Senate, says Chuck Schumer, contains “unemployment insurance on steroids” to help with the crisis.

      • The Senate Corporate Bailout Package Is a ‘Robbery in Progress,’ Warn Critics

        “It’s not a bailout for the coronavirus. It’s a bailout for twelve years of corporate irresponsibility.”

      • Boris Johnson Must Learn Lessons From Italy: People Before Profit!

        Most people know that we cannot trust Boris Johnson and his government to take the correct measures to protect the safety of the working-class. That much was made clear last Monday when Johnson was forced to drop the government’s dangerous strategy of promoting so-called “herd immunity” which experts warned would result in the unnecessary deaths of around a quarter of a million British people!

      • Sanders Threatens to Demand Stronger Conditions on $500 Billion ‘Corporate Welfare Fund’ If GOP Moves to Reduce Benefits for Laid Off Workers

        “It would be an outrage to prevent working-class Americans to receive the emergency unemployment assistance included in this legislation.”

      • Governments Are Telling Americans to Stay at Home. But Thousands of People Don’t Have One.

        Like many homeless people in the United States, Carmen Morris was already in the throes of a crisis before the deadly COVID-19 epidemic began.

        In December, she moved into The Sophia Way, an all-women’s homeless shelter in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle and roughly 6 miles from the suburban nursing home that was the site of the first known COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

      • Transitioning ‘Ontologically’ Pt II: Building Counter-(Oc)Culture

        Note from the author: This piece was written last week, before we in Utica entered the full Covid-19 new reality. The Other Side has discontinued programming for a month, Orin and I are accustoming ourselves to sequestered living, and hardest of all, as of today the Cafe is closed (take-out only) by governor’s order. While airlines and other huge corporate entities ask for bailouts, we have no idea how we are to protect the Cafe’s survival; a bewilderment and fear shared by thousands of restaurants, bars and other “non-essential” businesses in NYS. My future writings will be from within this new reality.

      • Germany Signals a Historic Shift From Austerity That Could Upend the Economy of Europe

        Until March 21, Germany’s policymakers were like the Japanese soldiers who spent years lingering in the jungles of the Philippines, refusing to accept the reality that their country had lost World War II. In the case of Berlin, it was a case of the country stubbornly refusing to abandon six years of fiscal restraint, even as it became clear that such spending would be required to mitigate the impact of a pandemic that was bringing the global economy to a virtual standstill. That all appears to have changed now, with the government announcing a series of proposals that represent in aggregate approximately 10 percent of Germany’s GDP. Part of the package takes the form of direct public spending, but the majority is government funding for purchases of equity stakes in companies, as well as loans. Given the likely catastrophic decline in economic activity not just in Germany (which was already in recession), but the European Union as a whole, more likely needs to be done. The longer-term question, however, still remains: even if Berlin fully scales up on the fiscal front (as it should), can the EU’s institutions as a whole accommodate long-term reform that will adequately address the challenges once we get beyond the immediate crisis response occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic?

      • US Senate’s Final Stimulus Bill: Why It Won’t Be Enough

        Just after midnight March 25, 2020 eastern time the US Senate passed a compromise bill of fiscal spending to address the accelerating economic decline. Both Democrat and Senate leaders agreed on the terms. US House of Representatives Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, indicated she would rush approval of the package seeking a unanimous voice vote of the House.

      • A Brady Bond Solution for America’s Unpayable Corporate Debt

        Even before the Covid-19 crisis has slashed stock prices nearly in half since it erupted in January, financial markets were in an inherently unstable condition. Years of quantitative easing had loaded so much credit into stock and bond prices that stock price/earnings multiples were far too high and bond yields far too low by any normal and reasonable historical standards. Risk premiums have disappeared, with only a few basis points separating U.S. Treasury bills and corporate bonds.

      • To Confront Coronavirus, We Need an Emergency Wealth Tax

        It’s very hard to predict how long the coronavirus is going to be with us and how much money is going to be needed to defeat it.

      • New Stimulus Bill Bans Trump-Owned Companies From Receiving Bailout Cash

        A massive coronavirus stimulus plan that the Senate and White House agreed to in the early hours of Wednesday morning would bar any companies owned or controlled by President Donald Trump, the president’s children, Vice President Mike Pence, or members of Congress from receiving any taxpayer bailout money, according to a summary of the legislation circulated by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

      • ‘Oligarchs Are Running the White House’: Trump Called Wall Street, Hedge Fund Titans Just Before ‘Back to Work’ Remarks

        “Trump and Pence are talking to private equity titans and hedge fund moguls instead of figuring out how to help healthcare workers get masks or workers to get wages or borrowers get debt relief.”

      • The VA Will Now Let Some Administrative Staff Work From Home

        The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reversed course to allow some administrative staff to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Saturday memo obtained by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica.

        “Managers and supervisors are encouraged to maximize telework during regular business hours, as appropriate,” wrote Richard A. Stone, the Veterans Health Administration’s executive in charge.

      • The Coronavirus and the Urgent Need to Redefine National Security

        For far too long, the United States has been wastefully spending its precious budgetary resources on a nineteenth-century military strategy and a strategic arms policy that has brought no advantages to the American people.  For the past three decades, our national security policies have been ineffectual and irrelevant to the genuine threats we face today.  These threats do not emanate from Russia or China. Rather, they stem from an underfunded and highly vulnerable public health system, a cyber world that is out of control, and a crumbling infrastructure.  In 2017, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave a grade of D-plus to the nation’s infrastructure, with the lowest grades going to roads, bridges, mass transit, and water management systems.

      • The COVID-19 Crisis Won’t Be Over by Easter, and $2 Trillion Is Not Enough

        Trump wants the country open by Easter because Jesus is coming, see, and He’ll be pissed if we’re all sitting on our asses at home. “Wouldn’t it be great to have all the churches full?” Trump asked Fox News yesterday. “You’ll have packed churches all over our country. I think it’ll be a beautiful time.” Fox News host Bill Hemmer described Trump’s Easter resolution scenario as “a great American resurrection,” because of course he did.

      • New Senate Stimulus Bill Would Ban Companies Owned by Trump or His Children From Receiving Any Bailout Money

        A provision in the massive bill prohibits “businesses controlled by the president, vice president, members of Congress, and heads of executive departments from receiving loans or investments from Treasury programs.”

      • GOP Senate Trio Threatens to Delay Stimulus Bill Because Unemployment Benefits Amid Pandemic Are Too Generous

        “Senate Republicans are just so inhumane they can’t imagine policymakers intentionally providing working people with enough money to temporarily live on in the event they’re laid off.”

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Putin delays constitutional plebiscite amid coronavirus pandemic

        Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during a televised address on March 25 that a national vote on his proposed changes to the Russian Constitution will not take place on April 22 as planned. Instead, the national plebiscite on the document, whose drastic changes would restructure multiple aspects of government and potentially allow Putin to serve until 2036, will be rescheduled for a later date due to the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Joe Biden’s Opinion-Shaping Machine And Race

        Wall Street broke out its checkbooks for Joe Biden in the wake of Super Tuesday, no surprise since his campaign is already its major recipient. Plus, he was the VP for an administration greatly indebted to it. Transparency. His campaign is awash in cash from the interests that Sanders is challenging as the very source of the blockage to progress. Are we going to get a re-treading of the policies that helped vault Trump to the White House in 2016?

      • Coronavirus and Our Existential Threats This Presidential Season

        Pandemics, climate change, nuclear war, existential threats: the new abnormal; our sentinel moment.

      • We can oppose the Communist Party without supporting Trump’s ‘Chinese virus’ rhetoric

        The US president is using a race-baiting tactic to generate controversy and media attention as a way to overshadow his utter failure in managing and controlling the virus. Looking at his Twitter account, he had referred to the outbreak as the “coronavirus” from January until March 15. But on March 16, the day of the massive outbreak in the US, his language suddenly changed and he has since been using his new preferred designation “Chinese virus” exclusively. One does not have to be a genius to realise that Trump is saying these things not to condemn China per se, he is doing this primarily to make himself feel better and to justify his own failed responses to the pandemic.

        Any opposition to Trump’s narrative by no means suggests support for the Chinese government’s rhetoric. The Chinese Communist Party, of course, is also eager to play this “race game” with the Trump administration for the very same reason— to hopefully make the global population forget about their gross negligence, incompetence and managerial irresponsibility.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Apple Helps China Censor Citizens By Pulling The Plug On A Keyboard App That Encrypted Text Messages

        China keeps being China, despite all the problems it has at home. The coronavirus traces back to Wuhan, China, and it has become clear the Chinese government is doing what it can to suppress reporting on the outbreak.

      • Speaking Freely: Cristian León

        Cristian León, based in Buenos Aires, works for Asuntos del Sur, a “think/do tank” that works to strengthen democracy and participation. Originally from Bolivia, Cristian works on open government and democracy across several countries in Latin America. He is, additionally, one of the founders and current advisors to an organization in Bolivia called the Internet Bolivia Foundation. Cristian holds a BA in political science, and also conducts digital security trainings.

        Over Zoom a couple of months ago, we discussed the current threats to free expression in Latin America, the connection between digital security and expression, and the increasing culture of surveillance he sees in the region.

      • The Right to Anonymity is Vital to Free Expression: Now and Always

        “There are myriad reasons why individuals may wish to use a name other than the one they were born with. They may be concerned about threats to their lives or livelihoods, or they may risk political or economic retribution. They may wish to prevent discrimination or they may use a name that’s easier to pronounce or spell in a given culture.”

        These words, from a blog post we published nine years ago during my first year at EFF, remain as true as ever. Whether we’re talking about whistleblowers, victims of domestic violence, queer and trans youth who aren’t out to their local communities, or human rights workers, secure anonymity is critical for these individuals, even life-saving.

      • “Fake News”: The Trojan Horse for Silencing Alternative News and Reestablishing Corporate News Dominance – Censored Notebook

        “Fake News”: The Trojan Horse for Silencing Alternative News and Reestablishing Corporate News Dominance

      • Ming Pao row: If we learn anything from the virus outbreak, it should be the importance of free speech

        On March 18, Mingpao published an opinion piece entitled “This pandemic originated in Wuhan, the lessons of seventeen years ago have been completely forgotten.” The authors Dr. Kwok-Yung Yuen and Dr. David Lung are unrivalled experts in their field. Dr. Yuen is a microbiologist whose SARS study group discovered the role of the coronavirus in the SARS epidemic in early 2003. Dr. Lung is also a microbiologist who has recently published on the detection of COVID-19 via saliva samples.

        In their article, the authors offer practical advice on understanding the virus for the general reader. First, they explain how the World Health Organization and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses name viruses, while also acknowledging that the colloquial use of “Wuhan pneumonia” is understandably more straightforward than COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 and thus does not need to be condemned.

      • Turkey rounds up hundreds for social media posts about coronavirus

        The minister said almost 2,000 social media accounts had been identified making provocative posts about the outbreak, resulting in the detention of 410 people “attempting to stir unrest”.

        He said that most of the accounts were linked to militant groups, without giving further details of the identities of the suspects.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says there’s a ‘pro-Western oppositionist division’ operating inside Russia and ‘hiding behind media laws’

        There’s a “pro-Western oppositionist division” operating inside Russia, says Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. “Hiding behind [Russia’s] media laws, [this division’s] activists are trying to infiltrate military installations and hunt for relatives and eyewitnesses, they’re slipping into hospitals where our injured and sick are being treated and into cemeteries and funerals and the families of our fallen boys. They’re photographing the entrances and exits of our covert facilities and uploading it to the Internet,” said Shoigu in a speech to the Federation Council. 

      • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange denied bail amid coronavirus fears
      • Judge Denies Assange Bail As UN Human Rights Official Urges Governments To Protect Detainees During COVID-19 Pandemic

        British Magistrate Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser denied WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s request for bail, despite calls for the release of detainees and prisoners to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

        Assange is charged with 17 counts of violating the United States Espionage Act, and a computer crime offense, which contains language from the Espionage Act. He faces extradition to the United States and is currently detained at Her Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh.

      • Assange Bail Application Today

        Both the British Government and Vanessa Baraitser personally came in for extreme criticism from the highly authoritative International Bar Association over both the conditions in which he is being held and over the conduct of his extradition hearing to date. This is from the International Bar Association’s own website: [...]

      • Student Journalists Are Still Reporting on Coronavirus After Schools Shut Down

        There’s an emotional toll to this reporting, though. “I didn’t know what to do first: call my mom and figure out my situation or send a breaking news tweet and write a brief,” Schwartz said of the news that students had three days to move out of their dorms. Now, she told Teen Vogue, she’s felt her struggles with anxiety and depression worsen, and she says working on the paper from home has left her feeling detached. Amanda Siew, 19, one of the news producers for the student newscast at University of Central Oklahoma, told Teen Vogue she’s feeling “weirdly motivated,” but also “weirdly disassociated” from the news at times. “I think that, because I’m so involved with the news, my brain kind of separates itself from the world’s current events and I feel like the impacts of the virus hasn’t fully hit me on a personal level yet,” she explained.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Palpitations of the Pulps

        The latest volume in Wakefield Press’ epochal Jean Ray translation project, 1932’s Cruise of Shadows, comprises both his biggest publishing flop and his best-known tales (The Gloomy Alley and The Mainz Psalter). Ray wrote the kind of cobbled-together eccentric pulp we now call “weird” fiction, mechanized fairy tales that operate along the inscrutable lines of a sinister gag: literally, a double of the modern bourgeois short story. The object of the best weird talent is usually money or some kind of con, but never art. It is far closer to a cheap clone or faked autobiography, at least in its Ray type (the other mode of true weird is pedagogic: a roman-a-clef integrity soldered onto a poiesis brut, with the aim of propagating something far beyond entertainment). Ray, just out of the joint for forgery and embezzlement, was therefore in the perfect position to concoct his greatest work. As parole makes for reflection, the spies, psychic vamps, and spectral informants littering the Cruise’s ruddy pages may be less ‘weird’ than more predictable spirits of probation.

      • Reevaluating Our Priorities

        This crisis has illustrated, so clearly and painfully, some of the many weak spots in the fabric of our society that Bernie Sanders has spent a lifetime and two presidential candidacies passionately trying to focus our attention on.

      • Coronavirus and the Rise and Fall of Humanism

        It is a truism that the Black Death helped produce the age of humanism. Through making death ever-present, the plague undermined a system of religious authority in which the church and the church alone claimed to have answers to the fundamental questions of human existence; the priests naturally still asserted that this was the case but were now as likely as not to drop dead once they did so. Amid the dissolution of the church’s legitimacy as well as, more specifically, its monopoly on truth and salvation, survivors began tending to all that was immediate and material, specifically in the form of the particular and the human.

      • Please Hand-Sanitize All Pitchforks and Torches: Tips For a Safe Coronavirus Riot

        Oh, those prescient Stones.  And I’m not even talking about their Ventilator Blues.

      • Canadian Media Advocate Continued Domination of Indigenous Peoples

        Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) began raids on the territory of the Wet‘suwet’en Indigenous nation on February 6—arresting as many as 80 Indigenous land defenders in the first days of the incursion—to dismantle camps that the Wet‘suwet’en had established on their land to prevent construction of a $6.6 billion liquid natural gas pipeline being built by Coastal GasLink, which is owned by TC Energy.

      • Egypt’s security forces are torturing children in jail, says rights group

        “Children are describing being waterboarded and electrocuted on their tongues and genitals, and yet Egypt’s security forces are facing no consequences,” said Bill Van Esveld, HRW associate children’s rights director.

        The international rights group urged the European Union and the United States to stop supporting Egyptian security forces until steps are made to stop the abuse and hold those responsible accountable.

      • ‘The Only Plan the Prison Has Is to Leave Us to Die in Our Beds’

        Dr. Ross MacDonald, the chief physician at Rikers Island, has criticized the DOC’s choice to continue holding people at the Rikers facility. “We will put ourselves at personal risk and ask little in return,” he tweeted on March 18.” But we cannot change the fundamental nature of jail. We cannot socially distance dozens of older men living in a dorm, sharing a bathroom. Think of a cruise ship recklessly boarding more passengers each day.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Libraries Want To Become Broadband Havens During The Pandemic, But Want More Help From The FCC

        For many of the estimated 44 million Americans who lack access to any kind of broadband at home, the nation’s libraries are their only way to get online. And as libraries close up shop to slow the spread of COVID-19, that access is no longer available. That’s why the American Library Association, which represents the country’s 16,557 public libraries, fired off a letter to the FCC (pdf) last week asking if it would be okay if they left their WiFi hotspots operational during the pandemic quarantine.

    • Monopolies

      • Don’t Let Big Pharma Make a Killing by Profiteering Off COVID-19 Treatments

        These treatments should be available to everyone who needs them at no cost.

      • The Feds Can Stop Patent Trolls from Endangering COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

        It’s unthinkable that bad actors could take advantage of patent law and keep the public from getting access to COVID-19 tests and treatment, but they can and will—it already happened this month. Fortunately, an often-overlooked section of U.S. patent law allows the government to do something about it.

        Patent troll Labrador Diagnostics LLC recently used a portfolio of old patents to sue a company that makes and distributed COVID-19 tests. The story gets weirder: those patents were originally issued to Theranos, the notoriously fraudulent blood-testing company that closed up shop in 2018. It’s a particularly outrageous example of an all-too-common story: a company fails, yet its patents live on as fodder for legal bullying against practicing companies in the same field.

      • Trump’s FDA Grants Drug Company Exclusive Claim on Promising COVID-19 Medication

        As healthcare providers across the U.S. desperately attempt to treat a rapidly growing number of patients with the coronavirus, a pharmaceutical company with ties to the Trump administration has been granted exclusive status for a drug it is developing to treat the illness — a potential windfall for the company that could put the medication out of reach for many Americans.

      • FDA Won’t Say When Gilead Applied For Orphan Status On COVID-19 Treatment, Calling It ‘Secret’

        Update: Facing tons of public pressure and ridicule, Gilead has agreed to give up the orphan designation.

      • Sanders Demands Trump Rescind ‘Truly Outrageous’ Decision to Hand Gilead Exclusive Rights Over Possible Coronavirus Treatment

        “We must put human life above corporate profit. We cannot give pharmaceutical corporations a monopoly on treatments that could save millions of people during this crisis.”

      • A Low-Cost Ventilator Could Be Available Next Year. But Will It?
      • Public Pressure Works: Gilead Asks FDA To Rescind Orphan Drugs Designation For Possible COVID-19 Treatment

        Earlier this week, we wrote about the sham orphan drug designation that the FDA gave to Gilead Sciences for remdesivir. As we explained, remdesivir was developed with mostly public funds, and Gilead Sciences already held three patents on it, with a fourth one pending. Orphan drugs designations are supposed to be extra incentives for drug makers to target rare diseases. The issue here was that part of the definition of a rare disease under the Orphan Drugs Act is that it has to affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. Ridiculously, the law does not take into account the rate at which the disease spreads — just how many people have it at the time a drug maker requests the designation. Even worse, the law explicitly says that the FDA cannot remove the designation if the affected group later grows to over 200,000.

      • Patents

        • A few Q&A of interest to patent practitioners in times of pandemic

          The author would like to begin this blog by wishing that all the readers are well at this difficult time. The purpose of this piece is to briefly set out some questions and answers that may give readers a feel of the impact that the measures approved by the Spanish Government to combat Covid-19 may have on cases pending before the courts or the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office in Spain.

          The declaration of the state of emergency to manage the health crisis situation caused by the Covid-19 virus, pursuant to Royal Decree 463/2020 of 14 March (as amended by Royal Decree 465/2020, of 17 March), has included the adoption of certain measures in relation to procedural, administrative and civil deadlines. These measures have been supplemented by those established in Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of 17 March, as regards other time limits applicable to the legal regime governing legal entities. In addition, the General Council of the Judiciary has approved a set of measures dealing specifically with judicial activities.

        • German Government Plans Possibilities to Limit Patents In View of Corona Pandemic

          In the wake of the evolving Corona pandemic the German government intends enacting amendments to the German Act on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases in Humans (Gesetz zur Verhütung und Bekämpfung von Infektionskrankheiten beim Menschen – Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSG), which could also have an impact on patents. The bill of 23 March 2020 is available here.

          The bill foresees that the Federal Government would have the competence to determine that there is a so-called ‘epidemic situation of national significance’ (epidemische Lage). Such ‘epidemic situation’ would require the following:

        • Consisting of . . . and optionally . . .

          The MPEP offers some ambiguous thoughts on use of the term “optionally” within claim language — concluding that it may raise indefiniteness concerns where ambiguity arises from a “list of potential alternatives.” MPEP 2173.05(h) Alternative Limitations. In the usual claim situation, an “optional” limitation creates confusion because it doesn’t appear to do any actual work in the claim because a claim “comprising” a list of features may also include other features as well. In that situation, the ambiguity comes into play because we still want to assign some meaning to the claim element even though it is largely meaningless.

        • Story Telling

          These realities impact storytelling in patent law, because telling a compelling story is a hallmark of good lawyering, whether in a patent application (to the Patent Office and investors) or in litigation (to a district court, the Federal Circuit, or the PTAB; by the time a case gets to the Supreme Court it is rare that the facts are as important or likely to be properly understood). But another thing Myriad taught patent lawyers is the flexibility of argument and how facts can be interpreted almost any way an advocate wants; as a former partner used to say, “your strengths are also your weaknesses” in homage to the pliability of fact-based argument.

        • Does Gilead’s (withdrawn) orphan designation request for a potential coronavirus treatment deserve your outrage?

          Many commentators were outraged by the FDA’s announcement on Monday that Gilead received orphan drug designation for using the drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. The backlash led to a quick about-face by Gilead, which announced today that it is asking the FDA to rescind the orphan designation. For those trying to understand what happened here and the underlying policy questions, here’s a quick explainer:

        • DOJ backs prolific patent litigant in antitrust fight with Apple

          Antitrust enforcers in the Justice Department have urged a judge to dismiss claims by Apple Inc and Intel Corp that a SoftBank Group Corp subsidiary violated competition laws by stockpiling patents and demanding billions of dollars in licensing fees.

          Intel and Apple failed to show that hedge fund Fortress Investment Group LLC’s patent assertion tactics hurt competition, DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim and other government lawyers said in a 27-page statement of interest.

        • En Banc Denial in Arthrex [Ed: Patent maximalists are totally losing their mind over this. Several rants from Watchtroll and this from Dennis Crouch.]

          None of the parties in this case were happy with the Federal Circuit’s original decision in Arthrex and all filed petitions for en banc rehearing. Those petitions have now been denied in what appears to be a 8-4 split with Judges Newman, Wallach, Dyk, and Hughes expressly dissenting from the denial. Judge Moore authored the original opinion in the case and also authored an opinion here defending that original opinion. She was joined on the opinion by her original panel members of Judges Reyna and Chen as well as Judge O’Malley explaining that (1) the original decision was correct and (2) conducting a rehearing would “only create unnecessary uncertainty and disruption.”


          The basic issue in the case is the Constitutionality of the appointments process for Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) sitting on the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB). The Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution indicates that all “Officers of the United States” shall be nominated and appointed by the US President with the Advice and Consent of the Senate. The provision then goes on to say that Congress has the power to alter this process for “inferior Officers, as they think proper.” In particular, Congress may allow inferior Officers to be appointed by “Heads of Departments.” U.S. Const. Art. II, Sec. 2, Cl. 2. An improperly appointed officer isn’t really an officer at all and so should have no power to render judgment to cancel privately held property rights.

          APJs used to be hired by the USPTO Director. However, Prof John Duffy shook that cage in his 2007 article: Are Administrative Patent Judges Unconstitutional?, 2007 Patently-O Patent L.J. 21. In the article, Duffy argued that APJs are likely best classified as inferior Officers and thus could be appointed by a Head of Department — namely the Secretary of Commerce. Congress quickly acted on Duffy’s submission and altered the law to fix the problem.

        • Software Patents

          • Synkloud Technologies patent determined to be likely unpatentable

            On March 19, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 9,098,526, owned and asserted by Synkloud Technologies, LLC, an NPE. The ‘526 patent, directed to providing remote storage for wireless devices, has been asserted against Hewlett-Packard and Blu Products.

          • Honeyman Cipher settles with Unified Patents

            On March 20, 2020, a joint motion to terminate pursuant to settlement was filed in IPR2020-00213 by Unified Patents and Honeyman Cipher Solutions, LLC (an NPE) regarding U.S. Patent 5,991,399. The ‘399 patent, directed to secure distribution of information using encryption, has been asserted against Snap, Groupon, and LogMeIn for uploading mobile apps for authentication and distribution.

          • Cedar Lane patent determined to be likely unpatentable

            On March 18, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,173,177, owned and asserted by Cedar Lane Technologies Inc., an NPE.

            The ’177 patent, directed to indicating on a user interface whether items in an playlist are owned or unowned, has been asserted against Spectrum (Charter Communications). The ’177 patent was recently assigned to Cedar Lane from AVInnov (an NPE), and was previously owned by Intellectual Ventures.

      • Copyrights

        • Allen v. Cooper (2020)

          In a decision containing not a small amount of whimsy (more regarding that aspect anon), Justice Kagan, joined almost unanimously by her brethren today upheld a State’s (here, North Carolina) sovereign immunity against suit for copyright infringement, in Allen v. Cooper.


          The District Court found for plaintiff, based on the express provisions of the CTCA, and on Section 5 of the Fourteenth Amendment, in view of the “the States’ ‘pattern’ of ‘abus[ive]‘ copyright infringement.” The Fourth Circuit reversed, based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd. v. College Savings Bank, 527 U. S. 627 (1999), holding the Patent Remedy Act, enacted by Congress on the same day and having substantially the same provisions.

          The Court affirmed, in a decision by Justice Kagan and joined by the Court with the exception of two portions of the opinion in which Justice Thomas did not join; in addition, Justice Breyer wrote a concurring opinion joined by Justice Ginsberg. The opinion noted that the express language of the Eleventh Amendment is not unequivocal but that sovereign immunity stands for the “presupposition of our constitutional structure which it confirms,” citing Blatchford v. Native Village of Noatak, 501 U. S. 775, 779 (1991). This presumption is, first, that “each State is a sovereign entity in our federal system,” citing Seminole Tribe of Fla. v. Florida, 517 U. S. 44, 54 (1996). Second, “[i]t is inherent in the nature of sovereignty not to be amenable to [a] suit” absent consent, cited in Seminole Tribe relying on The Federalist No. 81, p. 487 (A. Hamilton). Finally, that “fundamental aspect of sovereignty constrains federal ‘judicial authority’” according to the Court, citing Blatchford.

        • Announcing a National Emergency Library to Provide Digitized Books to Students and the Public

          During the waitlist suspension, users will be able to borrow books from the National Emergency Library without joining a waitlist, ensuring that students will have access to assigned readings and library materials that the Internet Archive has digitized for the remainder of the US academic calendar, and that people who cannot physically access their local libraries because of closure or self-quarantine can continue to read and thrive during this time of crisis, keeping themselves and others safe.

          This library brings together all the books from Phillips Academy Andover and Marygrove College, and much of Trent University’s collections, along with over a million other books donated from other libraries to readers worldwide that are locked out of their libraries.

        • The Pirate Bay’s Oldest Active Torrent Turns 16 Years Old Today

          While the majority of The Pirate Bay users download recent content, there are quite a few older torrents that continue to survive. Today, the oldest of all – an episode from the Swedish comedy series “High Chaparral” – celebrates its sixteenth anniversary. Other older torrents, including a copy of the documentary “Revolution OS” and an album from the Swedish pop group Gyllene Tider, remain active as well.

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:06 am by Needs Sunlight



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Still Work in Progress: Getting Those 2,851 Pages of Police Report About Arrest for Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

Posted in Bill Gates, FSF, Microsoft at 2:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: It’s extremely difficult to get those police records, which were requested exactly one day before the media started attacking Richard Stallman (associating him with pedophiles based on a deliberate distortion)

IN part 8 (latest part) of our FSF series we reminded readers that media helped salvage Bill Gates; he had a major MIT-connected scandal, which involved pedophiles. The focus on Richard Stallman distracted from this (what had happened with Bill Gates at MIT) and then Stallman was forced out of MIT (despite having nothing to do with pedophiles, unlike Gates).

We published some coverage earlier this year and there’s no progress obtaining police records because of COVID-19. It has been over 6 months since the requests were first made. It has also been 6 or so months since Stallman was pushed out of the FSF.

“In an effort to better understand what (or who) might stand in the way of these police records, let’s consider staff at Medina Police Department where Mr. Gates lives.”“Bryan Lunduke published a recent online discussion he had with three others,” an associate told us yesterday. “Towards the end they talked about the OSI problem. But nothing they said was insightful, useful, or even cutting to the heart of the problem. It did however make me realize that the attack is at least two layers of abstraction away from their real target, that being software freedom. Specifically they are going after Freedom O, the freedom to run the program as you wish, for any purpose. That is in my opinion what these attacks are still about. The whining about ethic and all the individual lynchings are just a means towards the end of eliminating Freedom 0.”

The net effect of the media shifting focus to Stallman was great harm to software freedom (by false association with pedophilia — the thing which Bill Gates is in fact connected to). Talk about reversal by distortion.

In an effort to better understand what (or who) might stand in the way of these police records, let’s consider staff at Medina Police Department where Mr. Gates lives.

“Look how many people from Homeland Security work there,” someone told us, citing this now-deleted page (“404: The page cannot be found”). Of course their server runs Microsoft Windows (which means Microsoft controls it). Here’s a screenshot of the snapshot:

Medina police staff

Their chief came from “Fusion Center” (those who aren’t familiar with the concept should look it up):

Medina police's Steve Burns

“Started digging into who was working there during the arrest date,” someone told us. “Doesn’t look like he worked in Medina at the time but interesting that this small little town of elites has this level of local law enforcement.”

Links 26/3/2020: Plasma Bigscreen, New Kubernetes, Fedora’s New Identity and Bodhi Linux 5.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Tips To Fight Coronavirus, If It Was A File In Linux World

      The novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been spreading over most countries in the world and forcing people to remain inside. But a Linux user is not a real Linux user if he/she doesn’t use the situation to learn new things about the Linux command line while being quarantined in home.

      Today, we are taking you in a little funny post on small tips & commands that you can use to fight Covid-19, had it been a file in the Linux world on your machine.

    • Intel

      • Fanless Whiskey Lake mini-PCs include a model based on Intel NUC Elements

        Bleujour has launched a $836 and up “Kubb Passive” NUC system and is prepping an even smaller NUC Elements based Meta U mini-PC, both of which run Linux Mint on Intel’s Whiskey Lake.

        If you’re spending more time than usual on your computer in these days of quarantine, you may ask yourself: Why does my computer have to be so ugly? French embedded vendor Bleujour, which is known for its cutting-edge enclosure designs, would answer “C’est absurde!” In other words, your computer need not be ugly so long as you’re willing to pay a bit more for style.

      • Intel IWD 1.6 Wireless Daemon Released With MAC Randomization, Per-Network MAC Addresses

        Intel open-source developers have released IWD v1.6 as their open-source, embedded-friendly wireless daemon for Linux systems as an alternative to WPA_Supplicant.

        IWD 1.6 comes with some practical additions for privacy-minded users. IWD 1.6 now allows full MAC address randomization each time it (re)connects to a network as well as a per-network MAC address override option too.

      • Intel Working On OpenGL 4.x Support For Their OpenSWR Software Rasterizer In Mesa

        Intel is working to enable OpenGL 4.x functionality for their OpenSWR software rasterizer within Mesa.

        Intel has begun publishing their slide decks and other information they were preparing for the GDC game developer conference before it was cancelled. This included an update on the oneAPI rendering toolkit. Much of the information is a repeat for anyone familiar with the likes of OpenVKL, Embree, and OSPray. The presentation can be found on devmesh.intel.com for those interested.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 launches Lemur Pro, its lightest Linux laptop

        System76 has been manufacturing Linux-based PCs for over a decade, and the company continues to pump out new systems for those who prefer the “alternative” operating system to Windows hegemony. With its new Lemur Pro laptop, the company adds to its already formidable lineup of notebooks, desktops, and servers. At just 2.2 pounds (and a mere 0.61 inches thick), the Lemur Pro is System76′s lightest laptop to date. Between the slim form factor and the latest Intel processors — not to mention the 73 Whr battery — the Lemur Pro promises great battery life, though the company is only providing claims in a cheeky fashion (10 hours to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy, 16 hours for reading Wikipedia, 21 hours for coding with VIM).

      • Lemur Pro: System76’s Next Lightest Linux Laptop Starting At $1,099

        The last six months are filled with a lot of headlines by the announcements of new Linux-based laptops. Various new players have emerged to lure the new audiences with pre-installed Linux distros in their high powered laptops.

        Along the similar lines, System76 has again come up with its new lightest laptop, Lemur Pro. Though they are an old player building Linux based desktop, server, or laptop, they’re now including their own services more. Hence, the latest Lemur Pro targets to bring high battery power and lightweight with either their own pre-loaded Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS or Ubuntu.

      • Asus Vivobook – Long in the tooth, going strong

        For a brief while, I did ponder reinstalling the system from scratch, but then decided against it. The problems I encountered were small (if annoying), and I was able to resolve them quickly. The system works well, it’s fast enough. Not bad for a 2013 laptop that was made to be frugal to begin with. Now ideally, there should be no niggles and no upgrade ghosts, but there you have it. As far as the road test goes, I had everything I needed in strange and foreign places, and the Vivobook + Plasma did their job dutifully.

        I will probably follow up with one or two more articles of this nature in the future. I’m not sure how extensively I’m going to be using the Ultrabook, but then, its age will be an interesting factor to reckon with. My older laptops are handling the brunt of passing years fairly well, but they were also in a higher cost category when new. With this machine in the mid-price range, I don’t really know how things are going to evolve. That’s about it for now. The end.

      • There is No “Linux” Platform (Part 2)

        The problems outlined in Part 1 are of course not new, and people have been working on solutions to them for a long time. Some of these solutions have really started to come together over the last few years, empowering the people making the software to distribute it directly to the people using it.

        Thanks to the work of many amazing people in our community you can now develop an app in GNOME Builder, submit it to Flathub, get it reviewed, and have it available for people to install right away. Once it’s on there you can also update it on a schedule you control. No more waiting 6 months for the next distribution release!

      • Need Viber on your Chromebook? For now, Linux is probably the answer

        Over the weekend, I received a message from a reader who was desperately trying to get Viber working on his Chromebook. What is Viber you ask? Yeah, I wasn’t exactly familiar with it either but over 1 billion people around the globe depend on Rakuten’s messaging platform for chat, calls and even video conferencing. The app itself looks really inviting and it appears to offer similar features to WhatsApp and many other chat apps.

    • Server

      • 7 remote work discipline tips for the sysadmin

        Using protocols such as Secure Shell (SSH) and Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) have allowed me to work from home for the better part of the past twenty years. It’s not the tools, the work itself, or the distance from your target hosts; it’s the discipline required when working from an alternative location that you need to conquer. And, if you’re a system administrator with a few years on your resume, then you know that managing us is akin to herding cats. In other words, discipline is not really our “thing.”

        When I first began working from home in 2001, the concept wasn’t new to me. I had set up remote work environments for many of my business clients starting in 1996. At that time, users had computers equipped with modems that dialed into a server also equipped with modems. Once connected, remote users could perform their jobs exactly as they did when they sat at their office desks.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-03-25 | Linux Headlines

        LLVM 10 arrives with improvements for RISC-V and WebAssembly, the latest version of Swift improves package management and focuses on developer productivity, Cloudflare makes some impressive performance upgrades to Linux disk encryption performance, and Plasma Bigscreen aims to provide a voice-controlled smart TV interface powered by KDE and Mycroft.

      • FLOSS Weekly 571: Agones

        Agones is an open-source, multiplayer dedicated game server scaling and orchestration platform, that can run anywhere Kubernetes can run. You can orchestrate game servers, integrate any engine, and monitor a servers’ metrics.

      • mintCast 331 – The Art of Tracking

        First up, in our Wanderings, Leo upgrades TLP, Tony Hughes tinkers with LMDE, Manjaro fights with Moss, Josh gets cancelled, and Joe works from home.

        Then, in the news, NPM gets acquired, OBS adds a number, Purism and Pinebook have new releases, Basilisk takes us back in time, and Gnome gets new features.

        In security, Edge is coming, and it’s worse than we thought.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 850

        raspberry pi 4 woes, drones, allan, documentation is the key to success!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5.13

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.5.13 kernel.

        All users of the 5.5 kernel series must upgrade.

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


      • Linux 5.5.12
      • Linux 5.4.28
      • Linux 4.19.113
      • Speeding up Linux disk encryption

        Data encryption at rest is a must-have for any modern Internet company. Many companies, however, don’t encrypt their disks, because they fear the potential performance penalty caused by encryption overhead.

        Encrypting data at rest is vital for Cloudflare with more than 200 data centres across the world. In this post, we will investigate the performance of disk encryption on Linux and explain how we made it at least two times faster for ourselves and our customers!

      • Cloudflare Improving Linux Disk Encryption Performance – Doubling The Throughput
      • Speeding up Linux disk encryption (Cloudflare)

        The Cloudflare blog has an article on the company’s work to improve the performance of Linux disk encryption.

      • Dentry negativity

        Back in 2017, Waiman Long posted a patch set placing limits on the number of “negative dentries” stored by the kernel. The better part of three years later, that work continues with, seemingly, no better prospects for getting into the mainline. It would be understandable, though, if many people out there don’t really know what negative dentries are or why kernel developers care about them. That, at least, can be fixed, even if the underlying problem seems to be more difficult.
        A “dentry” in the Linux kernel is the in-memory representation of a directory entry; it is a way of remembering the resolution of a given file or directory name without having to search through the filesystem to find it. The dentry cache speeds lookups considerably; keeping dentries for frequently accessed names like /tmp, /dev/null, or /usr/bin/tetris saves a lot of filesystem I/O.

        A negative dentry is a little different, though: it is a memory of a filesystem lookup that failed. If a user types “more cowbell” and no file named cowbell exists, the kernel will create a negative dentry recording that fact. Should our hypothetical user, being a stubborn type, repeat that command, the kernel will encounter the negative dentry and reward said user — who is unlikely to be grateful, users are like that — with an even quicker “no such file or directory” error.

      • Filesystem-oriented flags: sad, messy and not going away

        Over the last decade, the addition of a “flags” argument to all new system calls, even if no flags are actually needed at the outset, has been widely adopted as a best practice. The result has certainly been greater API extensibility, but we have also seen a proliferation of various types of flags for related system calls. For calls related to files and filesystems, in particular, the available flags have reached a point where some calls will need as many as three arguments for them rather than just one.
        One set of filesystem-oriented flags will be familiar to almost anybody who has worked with the Unix system-call API: the O_ flags supported by calls like open(). These flags affect how the call operates in a number of ways; O_CREAT will cause the named file to be opened if it does not already exist, O_NOFOLLOW causes the open to fail if the final component in the name is a symbolic link, O_NONBLOCK requests non-blocking operation, and so on. Some of those flags affect the lookup process (O_NOFOLLOW, for example) while others, like O_NONBLOCK, affect how the file descriptor created by the call will behave. All are part of one flag namespace that is recognized by all of the open() family of system calls.

        open() is one way to create a new entry in a directory; link() is another. When the time came to add flags to link(), the linkat() system call was born; this system call also follows the other relatively new pattern of accepting a file descriptor for the directory in which the operation is to be performed. linkat() has a separate flag namespace (the “AT_ flags”) with flags like AT_SYMLINK_FOLLOW, which is the opposite of O_NOFOLLOW. There is also an AT_SYMLINK_NOFOLLOW that is not recognized by linkat(), but which is understood by calls like fchmodat() and execveat(). There are more AT_ flags, such as AT_NO_AUTOMOUNT, supported by the relatively new statx() system call.

      • There Is Finally Work To Allow Sysctl Parameters To Be Set From The Linux Kernel Command

        File this under the “I can’t believe it took this long” or “why wasn’t this done before” section… Thanks to SUSE, there are finally patches pending to allow easily setting sysctl parameters from the kernel command line using a generic infrastructure.

        Rather than setting parameters via the likes /etc/sysctl.d or manually/scripted with the sysctl command or programmed via the initramfs sysctl.conf, SUSE’s Vlastimil Babka sent out a set of patches allowing sysctl parameters to be set via the kernel command-line when booting the system. He sent out the original patches last week and today followed up with the revised patches.

      • Google Engineer Posts Latest Patches For MAC + Audit Policy Using eBPF

        One of the interesting innovations for the eBPF in-kernel virtual machine in recent times is the work by Google on supporting MAC and audit policy handling by it. This stems from currently custom real-time security data collection and analysis of Google servers internally for real-time threat protection and this patch-set is part of their work on allowing similar functionality in the upstream Linux kernel.

      • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenJDK 8/11 vs. GraalVM 20 vs. Amazon Corretto JVM Benchmarks

        Following last week’s benchmarks of OpenJDK 8 through the newly-released OpenJDK 14 JVM benchmarks, some Phoronix readers expressed interest in seeing Java benchmarks with Oracle’s GraalVM as well as Amazon’s Corretto JVM implementations. Here are some benchmarks of those benchmarks up against OpenJDK both for Java 8 and Java 11 releases.

        Last week’s article was looking at OpenJDK 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 performance while today is looking at OpenJDK 8 and OpenJDK 11 up against GraalVM 20.0′s Java 8 and Java 11 builds. Additionally, Amazon’s Corretto 8.242.08 and releases. The default garbage collector and other defaults were used on each setup.

    • Applications

      • Kubernetes 1.18: Fit & Finish

        We’re pleased to announce the delivery of Kubernetes 1.18, our first release of 2020! Kubernetes 1.18 consists of 38 enhancements: 15 enhancements are moving to stable, 11 enhancements in beta, and 12 enhancements in alpha.

        Kubernetes 1.18 is a “fit and finish” release. Significant work has gone into improving beta and stable features to ensure users have a better experience. An equal effort has gone into adding new developments and exciting new features that promise to enhance the user experience even more. Having almost as many enhancements in alpha, beta, and stable is a great achievement. It shows the tremendous effort made by the community on improving the reliability of Kubernetes as well as continuing to expand its existing functionality.

      • Our Essential List of Free Software for Remote Work

        Team chat has already become an essential tool for teams looking to be more collaborative and less reliant on email. At Purism we use Matrix for team chat, 1 to 1 calls, video conferencing via Jitsi (open source video conferencing), adhoc file sharing and all our community chat channels. Matrix is a distributed (federated) network, similar to email, which means you can communicate across Matrix servers and compatible services.

        You can self host Matrix or use a public instance like our own free Librem Chat service part of Librem One. All the goodness of Matrix conveniently hosted for you and accessible with one account that also gives you access to Librem Social, our hosted Mastodon instance, and our premium services: end-to-end encrypted email and VPN.


        Most office-based teams already have email and things like a company newsletter but we thought we’d share how we manage ours. Our company email and Librem Mail are powered by Dovecot and we use GNU Mailman for our newsletter and mailing lists.

      • Daniel Stenberg: A curl dashboard

        When I wrote up my looong blog post for the curl’s 22nd anniversary, I vacuumed my home directories for all the leftover scripts and partial hacks I’d used in the past to produce graphs over all sorts of things in the curl project. Being slightly obsessed with graphs, that means I got a whole bunch of them.

        I made graphs with libreoffice

        I dusted them off and made sure they all created a decent CSV output that I could use. I imported that data into libreoffice’s calc spreadsheet program and created the graphs that way. That was fun and I was happy with the results – and I could also manually annotate them with additional info. I then created a new git repository for the purpose of hosting the statistics scripts and related tools and pushed my scripts to it. Well, at least all the ones that seemed to work and were the most fun.

        Having done the hard work once, it felt a little sad to just have that single moment snapshot of the project at the exact time I created the graphs, just before curl’s twenty-second birthday. Surely it would be cooler to have them updated automatically?

      • A QUIC look at HTTP/3

        Each HTTP session requires a TCP connection which, in turn, requires a three-way handshake to set up. Once that is done, “we can send data in a reliable data stream”, Stenberg explained. TCP transmits data in the clear, so everyone can read what is transferred; the same thus holds true for the non-encrypted HTTP protocol. However, 80% of requests today are using the encrypted version, called Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS), according to statistics of Mozilla (Firefox users) and Google (Chrome users). “The web is getting more and more encrypted”, Stenberg explained. HTTPS uses Transport Layer Security (TLS); it adds security on the top of the stack of protocols, which are (in order): IP, TCP, TLS, and HTTP. The cost of TLS is another handshake that increases the latency. In return, we get privacy, security, and “you know you’re talking to the right server”.

        HTTP/1 required clients to establish one new TCP connection per object, meaning that for each request, the browser needed to create a connection, send the request, read the response, then close it. “TCP is very inefficient in the beginning”, Stenberg explained; connections transmit data slowly just after being established, then increase the speed until they discover what the link can support. With only one object to fetch before closing the connection, TCP was never getting up to speed. In addition, a typical web page includes many elements, including JavaScript files, images, stylesheets, and so on. Fetching one object at a time is slow, so browser developers responded by creating multiple connections in parallel.

        That created too many connections to be handled by the servers, so typically the number of connections for each client was limited. The browser had to choose which of its few allowed connections to use for the next object; that led to the so-called “head-of-line blocking” problem. Think of a supermarket checkout line; you might choose the one that looks shortest, only to be stuck behind a customer with some sort of complicated problem. A big TCP efficiency improvement was added for HTTP/1.1 in 1997: open TCP connections can be reused for other requests. That improved the slow-start problem, but not the head-of-line blocking issue, which can be made even worse.

      • Best Image Editor for Ubuntu

        With the rise of the internet, the world has transformed in the blink of an eye, bringing about the invention of so many new technologies and development tools that have completely changed the lifestyles of the human population – for better or worse. This rapid evolution has greatly increased the demand for the freelancing business, which is becoming more and more popular by the day and slowly starting to dominate the workforce. One such freelancing profession that has slowly become an integral part of today’s industries is Graphic Designing.In a world where users of applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter have significantly grown in number, this popularity of graphic designing hasn’t come off as a huge surprise. However, as the demand for graphic designers increased, so has the competition as well. Hence from among the abundance of image editors to choose from, one needs to be aware of which one would appear to be the best for you. With Photoshop not being compatible with Ubuntu and requires extra programs (Wine) for its installation, we decide to look at GIMP which has immensely grown in popularity in recent times.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • RADV Lands AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 Fix For DOOM Eternal On Linux Under Steam Play

        Doom Eternal was released this week by id Software as their first game atop the Vulkan-focused id Tech 7 engine. While it’s another id Software game not seeing a native Linux port, with some tweaking the game can run under Steam Play / Proton. And now Mesa’s RADV Vulkan driver has landed a fix for AMD GCN 1.0/1.1 era GPUs with a fix allowing those older graphics cards to handle this latest Doom title.

      • The RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 game engine ‘OpenRCT2′ has a new release up

        Ready to jump back into a classic? OpenRCT2, the free and open source game engine for playing RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 on modern systems has a fresh release up.

        Yet another wonderful FOSS project to keep an eye on just like how OpenRA (Red Alert, Dune 2000), openXcom (X-COM) and OpenMW (Morrowind) keep the classics alive so does OpenRCT2. Yesterday, version v0.2.5 “How not to be seen” was released bringing in some feature enhancements and plenty of bug fixes to make it a more pleasant experience.

      • Incredible 2D action RPG ‘Chronicon’ has a massive update with a Codex, Voice Acting and more

        Chronicon is a serious gem, honestly when it comes to an action RPG it’s quite easily one of my favourites because it just feels so damn good. Last week, a massive update went out!

        There’s a fancy new character build export/import system, so you can now save your builds and quickly swap between them. Also added is an in-game codex, that will track and lists progression in terms of areas visited, waypoints found, unique monsters killed, regular monsters killed and more. I’m quite a big fan of this Codex feature, something a few other games have to give you something fun to reflect on and compare with others. After all, you want to know you’ve slain 500 Ghouls right?

      • Dead Cells gets Half-Life content in a small update, plus a bigger update now in testing

        Dead Cells, the absolutely awesome action-packed mix of rogue-lite and metroidvania styling has a fresh small update out with a little Half-Life theme to it.

        Available right now to celebrate Half-Life: Alyx, the developers Evil Empire and Motion Twin have added in a HEV suit skin for your character, the iconic Half-Life crowbar and you can also make all the food items to find be from Half-Life too. Just a few fun tweaks but if you’re also a Half-Life fan, it’s something you absolutely need to go and find. Yes—you do need to find these new items, you’re not just given them.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Bigscreen – A Dive Into Mycroft Skills, Voice Applications & More

          In this blog post I would like take you through an introduction to Mycroft GUI Skills and Voice Applications technology on Plasma Bigscreen and showcase some of the interesting stuff I have been working on for the Plasma Bigscreen Project which are available on the beta image release for the Raspberry PI 4. This beta image show cases not only media-rich voice applications but also applications specialised to fit the Bigscreen experience all developed under an open process, more information on them in the sections below.

          Plasma Bigscreen is the free open-source user interface experience for those big TV Screens, It consist of KDE Plasma technology powering the User Interface with Mycroft AI’s voice assistance technology packaged together on the image to provide a Smart TV platform and is based on KDE Neon.

          The experience when sitting 10 feet away from your TV just isn’t complete without having the ease of access to control it and that’s exactly the space in which Mycroft AI the open-source voice assistant experience fits right in to provide you with that hands free easy interaction.

        • Plasma Bigscreen

          Today I want to introduce a project I have been working on together (mostly in the background) with some colleagues of mine… Now with beta status reached, it’s time to more publicly talk about it: enter Plasma Bigscreen.

          Smart TVs are becoming more and more complete computers, but unfortunately there the experience tends to be a tight walled garden between proprietary platform, services and privacy-infringing features. Features which are very cool, like voice control, but in order to not pose a threat to the user privacy should be on a free software stack and depending less on proprietary cloud platforms where possible.

          Plasma BigScreen is a platform intended to use on smart TVs (trough a powerful enough small computing platform, such as the Raspberry Pi4, or any tiny computer if you need more power) with big remote-friendly UI controls, and Voice activation. What technology did we use for it? Plasma (of course!) and Mycroft.

        • How do most KDE websites use the same theme?

          Nearly all KDE websites use a unified theme across the board. This is part of the consistency goal, chosen as a KDE goal at the last Akademy in Milano (Italy).


          KDE is using the Aether theme. This is a theme designed and initially developed by Ken Vermette, the talented artist that is also behind most of the Plasma wallpapers and some interesting design concept like DWD.

          This theme was originally based on one of the first Bootstrap 4 alpha version and later rebased on a stable Bootstrap 4 version. Using Bootstrap has its advantages and disadvantages.

          The biggest advantage is that it has a large community and a lot of bootstrap themes exist for CMS and static site generators. It can be easily adapted to your specific needs without starting from scratch every time.

          Another advantage is that Bootstrap is built using SASS and is designed to be extendable with tons of variables a developer can modify to globally change colors, layouts and a lot more. You can also specify the modules you want to use, and add your self-made components. For those interested in extending a Bootstrap theme, the official documentation is a great start. These capabilities were sadly not used when creating the Aether theme, but we are slowly moving to use more of the Bootstrap theming capabilities over time.

          The problem with Boostrap is that, because it is so popular, in its default from it looks like a generic website without any personal identity. Changing only the colors won’t help to make your website more unique.


          We always need help with the websites, fixing papercuts, upgrading old websites to the new Jekyll/Hugo infrastructure, making sure information on the website is up-to-date, creating new beautiful home pages for your favorite projects and a lot more.

        • Season of KDE, 2020

          Finally, I am going to write about my experience as a student of Season of KDE 2020. A winter learning new things, learning what matters is not just writing code but writing good code. I would like to thank GCompris and KDE for giving me such an opportunity to be a part of the community and to try to bring happiness to people and kids using it around the world.

        • Season of KDE Final Report, 2020

          SoK ended finally on 17th February 2020. I am happy to share that I have completed the project “Add multiple datasets to several activities” and passed the final evaluation!!!

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Tsurugi Linux Review: A Linux Distro For Digital Forensics, OSINT, And More

          Finding the best operating system always depends on the purpose and our work domain. If we need an OS for hacking, digital investigation, or forensics, we mostly opt for Linux-based distributions. And if we search for the best Linux distro for the same, we always encounter Kali Linux or Parrot.

          But it doesn’t mean that other distros are bad. There are various operating systems available that are also rising in the forensics and cyber investigation industry. Recently, I’ve been discovering other alternatives to Kali Linux and the first distro I covered lately was CSI Linux. Now, I want to introduce Tsurugi Linux — another Linux-based OS for the Cyber forensics and OSINT (Open Source Intelligence), which released its 2020.1 “Spring Edition” last week.

      • New Releases

        • Bodhi Linux 5.1.0 now available

          There are many Linux distributions nowadays. Some are unique, but many are largely repetitive and probably don’t need to exist. One Linux-based operating system that manages to stand out is Bodhi, thanks to its use of the Moksha desktop environment.

          If you aren’t familiar with Bodhi, please know it is a lightweight operating system that is based on the great Ubuntu. Today, Bodhi 5.1.0 becomes available. This new version is significant, as it is the first release since development leadership was changed last year.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE offers free enterprise Linux support to medical devices manufacturers

          SUSE, a major Linux and open-source cloud company, will help any organizations building medical devices to fight COVID-19.

          The Germany-based company is doing this by offering free support and maintenance for its flagship SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) operating system and container technologies. These can be embedded in medical devices. These SUSE programs and their support packages are available immediately to meet the urgent demand to get medical devices into the hands of users as fast as possible.

        • SUSE Offers Its Technologies For Free To Combat COVID-19

          “The current global pandemic requires more from us than simply trying to survive as companies and individuals,” said SUSE CEO Melissa Di Donato. “We have cutting-edge open source technology and know-how that can help others in the fight to save lives, and we will share it immediately and without charge.”

        • SUSE’s Commitment to Combat COVID-19

          Open source is rooted in community – through unwavering collaboration, compassion, and innovation our global communities are stepping up to support those who are and may be affected by COVID-19. High performance computing, crowdsourcing, hackathons, and innovative tracking are all helping us win this unprecedented fight. From myself and everyone at SUSE, thank you for being the difference.

          SUSE is proud to be part of the open source community, and we are committed to doing our part to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. I am thrilled to share that SUSE is offering operating systems and container technologies for organizations that are producing medical devices to fight COVID-19. I encourage you all to read the press release below for more information about this new initiative. To learn more about this offer, please contact SUSE at CCO@suse.com.

        • Containers building with the Open Build Service

          If you are interested in containers building, maintenance and publishing then this video tutorial might be for you.

          It depicts the journey of a developer using the Open Build Service [1] to create and publish a container based solution using KIWI [2].

          I hope you can enjoy the video and I look forward to any feedback you may have.

        • 3 Ways Open Source is Helping to Tackle Climate Change

          Amid the current global pandemic and all of the research activity associated with it, our lives have changed dramatically. World economies have been greatly impacted, but I remain confident that things will recover in a few months. Open source software and supercomputers around the world have been helping in that research, as discussed in a recent blog post.

        • Start of SUSE Manager 4.1 Public Beta Program!

          We have a new Public Mailing List, so you can share your feedback with our Public Beta Community, our Engineering and our Product Managers.

        • SLE 15 SP2 Public Beta – Snapshot Updates (8,rc1)

          As you might know from our SLE 15 SP2 Public Beta announcement, we are now releasing fewer Public Beta ISOs but we are releasing weekly updates, called Snapshot, in our Beta Online Channels!

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Announcing the availability of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.3

          Today, we are announcing the general availability of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform (EAP) 7.3, which introduces Jakarta Enterprise Edition (EE) 8 support, enhancements to operations on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform and several new security features. JBoss EAP is an open source, Java EE 8 compliant and Jakarta EE 8-compliant application server that enables organizations to deploy and manage business-critical enterprise Java applications across hybrid IT environments, including bare metal, virtualized, private clouds or public clouds. With this release, Red Hat is continuing its commitment to Jakarta EE support and enabling customers to extend existing application investments as they continue to transition to emerging architectures and programming paradigms that require a lightweight, highly modular, cloud-native platform.
          What’s new in JBoss EAP 7.3

          Jakarta EE is the latest standard for building mission-critical enterprise Java applications, transitioning to the Eclipse Foundation where it continues to innovate via a collaborative, community-powered model. JBoss EAP 7.3 offers complete Jarkarta EE 8 support, including backwards-compatibility with the entire JBoss EAP 7 family of releases and the applications written for those earlier releases. This version also introduces new capabilities and enhancements that are designed to improve security, server management, observability and enhancements for JBoss EAP on Red Hat OpenShift. You can read more in the JBoss EAP 7.3 Release Notes, but here are the highlights…

        • Red Hat JBoss EAP 7.3 now supports SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux
        • npm joins GitHub, building operators in Kubernetes, and more industry trends [Ed: Red Hat's response to NSA's foremost partner Microsoft taking over the "supply chain" aggressively. "Resources"? It's an attack.]

          The impact: Open source supply chain security is a big problem that probably needs a lot more resources thrown at it.

        • On being part of the Fedora community
        • On being part of the Fedora community

          Hi, everyone. As I am sure you know, I often say that the “Friends” value of the Fedora Foundations is the one that’s personally most important to me. I want to remind everyone that when you are a Fedora contributor — a developer, a writer, an advocate, or any other role in our community — it’s important to keep the spirit of “be excellent to each other” in mind.

          Our Code of Conduct says: members of the Fedora community should be respectful when dealing with other contributors as well as with people outside the Fedora community and with users of Fedora. Please be extra-aware of how your actions even outside of our mailing lists, forums, and channels reflect upon Fedora as a whole.

          We just adopted a new vision statement: The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities. We are continually working to make Fedora an inclusive place where all are welcome. I wish it did not need to be said, but here it is: personal attacks, innuendo, and inciting language are examples of things that do not create a welcoming community, and will not be tolerated in Fedora. We understand that even friends can disagree at times, and that emotions can lead to escalation. The Code of Conduct ticket queue is a safe place where folks can open up an issue to resolve difficult situations. Please make use of it if you ever feel it is warranted.

        • Fedora Adopts A New Vision Statement

          Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller has sent out a reminder to Fedora contributors to “be excellent to each other” while announcing the project has a new vision statement.

        • Part 2: How to enable Hardware Accelerators on OpenShift, SRO Building Blocks

          In Part 1: How to Enable Hardware Accelerators on OpenShift we gave a high-level overview of the Special Resource Operator (SRO) and a detailed view of the workflow on enabling hardware accelerators.

          Part 2 will go into detailed construction of the enablement, and explain which building blocks/features the SRO provides to make life easier.

          The most important part is the DriverContainer and its interaction with the cluster during deployment and updates. We will show how we can handle multiple DriverContainer vendors, and how SRO can manage them.

        • Storage infrastructure for everyone: Lowering the bar to installing Ceph

          The last few years have seen Ceph continue to mature in stability, scalability and performance to become a leading open source storage platform. However, getting started with Ceph has typically required the administrator learning automation products like Ansible first. While learning Ansible brings its own rewards, wouldn’t it be great if you could simply skip this step and just get on with learning and using Ceph?

          Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 introduces a GUI installation tool built on top of the Cockpit web console. Under the covers, we still rely on the latest iteration of the same trusted ceph-ansible installation flows that have been with us since 2016.

        • Hacking the video stream for BlueJeans on Linux

          Like most of the rest of the world, I’m working from home and stuck inside. I saw some folks who had virtual backgrounds setup on Zoom, and I wondered if something like that was possible for the videoconferencing service that my employer (Red Hat) uses, BlueJeans. The short answer is: No. Bluejeans has no native support for anything other than a regular video cam stream.

          But this is Linux. We don’t stop at the short answer.

          I started thinking, surely, it has to be possible to “man in the middle” the video stream. And indeed, it is. I did all of this on Fedora 32 (x86_64), but it should work anywhere else.

        • Talking about containers, virtual machines, and orchestration

          Throughout the two episodes, we explored my own personal history in coming to work with containers. From the bare metal cloud to virtual machines, to starting to use Docker, to delving into cloud environments. And, as Docker became the basic environment for both desktop and server environments, I clearly saw how everything became standardized for us in or by containers.

          With the growth of microservices, the management of containers becomes nearly impossible. The orchestration of containers becomes a thing. So, the niche for Kubernetes and other systems like it come to light. Even while Kubernetes has seen very good adoption rates over the past two years, as developers start to tune their own microservices mesh, they notice a lack of functionality in the vanilla Kubernetes. Then, here comes Istio.

          Companies like Google, IBM, and Lyft founded Istio. Istio answers some of the requirements for dealing with mesh, such as advanced load balancing methods, A/B testing, canary deployments, versioning, enforcing poliices, or just simply monitoring the services.

          Next up in the history of containers and solving some of the issues with microservices mesh based applications is OKD, the Origin Community Distribution of Kubernetes. They are also looking into the advantages of simplified streamlined deployment, management, operations, and security provided by maintained version of Kubernetes. And, finally, merging Kubernetes with all of the above capabilities we have Red Hat OpenShift.

          If you are interested in containers (and Docker, Kubernetes, Istio, or Kubernets on Red Hat OpenShift), join Marek and other IBM Developer Advocates in their webinars and other events.

      • Debian Family

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

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

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

        • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, February 2020

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

        • Sparky named repos

          Developing and providing packages to Sparky based on Debian testing only was quite easy, it was just one branch, developed as a rolling release. No changes in repos required then.

          Everything changed after releasing Sparky on Debian stable and keeping the oldstable line as well.

          Every big upgrade, means from testing to a new stable, and stable to a new oldstable required manual changes in the repo lists.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: LPC 2020 Call for Refereed-Track Proposals

          Note: We are still hoping to hold the conference as scheduled, but we are continually monitoring the pandemic situation. For current Covid-19 updates, please see our website


          We are pleased to announce the Call for Refereed-Track Proposals for the 2020 edition of the Linux Plumbers Conference, which will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 25-27 in conjunction with the Kernel Summit and Linux Maintainers Summit, which takes place on August 28th.

          Refereed track presentations are 50 minutes in length (which includes time for questions and discussion) and should focus on a specific aspect of the “plumbing” in the Linux system. Examples of Linux plumbing include core kernel subsystems, toolchains, container runtimes, core libraries, windowing systems, management tools, device support, media creation/playback, accelerators, hardware interaction, and so on. The best presentations are not about finished work, but rather problems, proposals, or proof-of-concept solutions that require face-to-face discussions and debate.

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: LPC 2020 Call for Microconference Proposals

          We are pleased to announce the Call for Microconferences for the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference, which will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada on August 25-27 in conjunction with Kernel Summit and Linux Maintainers Summit, which takes place on August 28th.

          A microconference is a collection of collaborative sessions focused on problems in a particular area of Linux plumbing, which includes the kernel, libraries, utilities, services, UI, and so forth, but can also focus on cross-cutting concerns such as security, scaling, energy efficiency, toolchains, container runtimes, or a particular use case. Good microconferences result in solutions to these problems and concerns, while the best microconferences result in patches that implement those solutions.

          For more information on submitting a microconference proposal, visit our CfP page.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • How to switch from Microsoft Edge to Firefox in just a few minutes

            You’ve heard that Firefox is fast, private and secure, thanks to its built-in Enhanced Tracking Protection. You’ve also heard it’s made by people who want the web to be awesome for everyone. And now you’re ready to switch from Microsoft Edge to Firefox, but you’re worried that it’s too technically difficult or that you’ll lose your settings and information in the process.

            Fear not! Switching from Microsoft Edge to Firefox is fast and easy. Here’s how to import your bookmarks, history and passwords from Edge to Firefox, and make your new browser a home base.

          • Learn web technology at “sofa school”

            Lots of kids around the world are learning from home right now. In this post, I introduce free resources based on web technologies that will help them explore and learn from the safety of their living rooms. VR headsets and high-end graphics cards aren’t necessary. Really, all you need is a web browser!

          • TenFourFox FPR21b1 available

            TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 21 beta 1 is now available (downloads, hashes, release notes). I decided against adding the AltiVec GCM accelerator for this release, since it needs some extra TLC to convert from VSX to VMX, and I’d like to test the other major changes independently without introducing a bigger bug exposure surface than necessary. As promised, however, this release does have support for higher-speed 0RTT TLS 1.3 with HTTP/2 (particularly useful on Google properties) and has additional performance adjustments to improve parallelism of TLS connections to HTTP/1.x sites (mostly everybody else). I also updated Reader mode to the most current version used in Firefox 74, incorporating several important fixes; for a slow or complex site that you don’t need all the frills for, try turning on Reader mode by clicking the “book” icon in the URL bar. You can do it even while the page is loading (reload after if not all of it comes up). FPR21 will go live with Firefox 68.7/75 on April 7.

          • Mozilla combines tracker blocking with paid, ad-free browsing

            Mozilla has partnered with Scroll to distribute funds to publications in place of ad revenue. This partnership offers Firefox users tracker-blocking technology and ad-free browsing.

            Last year, Mozilla partnered with Scroll — a subscription service that enables ad-free browsing of its partner publications — to analyze if a select group of users preferred paying a small fee rather than being served ads, and if the strategy was cost-effective for the publications. After seeing promising results, the two companies have announced the Firefox Better Web with Scroll beta program. The name is a mouthful, but essentially, it combines Firefox’s tracker-blocking technology with Scroll’s ad-free experiences on any browser. Users can opt in and pay an introductory price of $2.49 for the service, which enables them to read publications like The Atlantic, The Onion and USA Today, add-free. The publications, meanwhile, receive a share of the revenue that Scroll makes from the subscription costs.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Spanish software to computerize healthcare in Cameroon and India

            In several rural Africa, a patient’s medical history is reduced to a piece of paper. If the form is lost, the data is finished. Computerizing health centers would improve patient care and management of the services offered. Incorporate the technology to these poor databases It would help to obtain statistics and detect epidemics or spikes in diseases, in addition to guaranteeing better patient care due to monitoring, evolution, optimization of resources and extraction of statistical data. With this premise, the program developed by GNU Health, the NGO chaired by Luis Falcón. This Spanish computer engineer and doctor has installed free healthcare software as a tool for healthcare staff to improve the living conditions of their communities in countries such as Cameroon, India, Pakistan or Laos.

            “Traditional health management systems focus on the disease, which generates reactive and reductionist medicine,” argues the expert. «GNU Health has a multidisciplinary approach, with the disease prevention as main tools. It contains multiple indicators of social determinants of health, at the individual, family and society levels. Nutrition, educational level, family functionality are some of the many variables that we have to take into account if we want to improve the quality of life and health of our society. The latest technology in MRI is of little use to us if we do not end smoking, obesity or gender violence,” he explains.

      • Programming/Development

        • Megvii’s open-source platform offers Chinese AI alternative

          Artificial intelligence company Megvii has open-sourced its self-developed deep learning framework MegEngine, allowing developers around the world to use and improve on the platform.

        • Andy Wingo: firefox’s low-latency webassembly compiler

          WebAssembly, as you know, is a virtual machine that is present in web browsers like Firefox. An important initial goal for WebAssembly was to be a good target for compiling programs written in C or C++. You can visit a web page that includes a program written in C++ and compiled to WebAssembly, and that WebAssembly module will be downloaded onto your computer and run by the web browser.

          A good virtual machine for C and C++ has to be fast. The throughput of a program compiled to WebAssembly (the amount of work it can get done per unit time) should be approximately the same as its throughput when compiled to “native” code (x86-64, ARMv7, etc.). WebAssembly meets this goal by defining an instruction set that consists of similar operations to those directly supported by CPUs; WebAssembly implementations use optimizing compilers to translate this portable instruction set into native code.

          There is another dimension of fast, though: not just work per unit time, but also time until first work is produced. If you want to go play Doom 3 on the web, you care about frames per second but also time to first frame. Therefore, WebAssembly was designed not just for high throughput but also for low latency. This focus on low-latency compilation expresses itself in two ways: binary size and binary layout.

        • AMD Developers Looking At GNU C Library Platform Optimizations For Zen

          It’s long overdue but AMD engineers are now looking at refactoring the GNU C Library (Glibc) platform support to enhance the performance for AMD Zen processors.

          Stemming from Glibc semantics that effectively “cripple AMD” in just checking for Intel CPUs while AMD CPUs with Glibc are not even taking advantage of Haswell era CPU features, AMD developers are now looking at properly plumbing AMD Zen platform support into this important C library for Linux users.

        • LLVM Developers Are Still Debating How To Handle The Intel JCC Erratum Mitigation

          Disclosed back in mid-November was the Intel JCC Erratum that required a CPU microcode update to mitigate and that in turn had broad performance hits. But via toolchain updates, some of that overhead can be offset. The GNU Assembler patches were quickly merged and new options exposed for helping to decrease that performance hit but on the LLVM side the developers are still working on their mitigation with some design decisions still to be made.

        • Swift 5.2 takes flight

          After a good half year of work, Swift is now available in version 5.2, bringing key path expressions as functions and callable values of user-defined nominal types to Apple’s general-purpose language.

          The two features mentioned are a result of the Swift Evolution process and show ways to realise more functional programming concepts. Callable values for example define function-like behaviour and can be called using function call syntax, something that wasn’t an option before.

        • Glibc’s Usage Of Performance-Boosting “RSEQ” Is Still Coming Together

          Introduced into the Linux 4.18 kernel back in June 2018 was the new RSEQ system call for “Restartable Sequences” to provide faster user-space operations on per-CPU data by avoiding atomic operations updates. Sadly, seeing user-space make use of RSEQ has been a slow process.

          Restartable Sequences can make for faster querying of the current CPU number, incrementing per-CPU counters, modifying data protected by per-CPU spinlocks, writing/reading per-CPU ring buffers, and similar operations. One of the big potential users of RSEQ that we’ve been waiting to see its adoption on has been the GNU C Library (Glibc).

        • Reducing memory consumption in librsvg, part 3: slack space in Bézier paths
        • Build a Kubernetes Operator in 10 minutes with Operator SDK

          In Kubernetes, objects are analogous to a job or a completed task in the real world. You can use them to define common tasks, store them in a version control system, and apply them with kubectl apply. Kubernetes ensures that this triggers everything necessary to bring your declarative description to life by creating the depending resources (like pods) to run your software. Kubernetes contains a number of built-in object types that can be created with this workflow, like Deployments and Services.

          With Operators, Kubernetes allows cluster maintainers or software providers to define their own Kubernetes object types, called custom resource definitions (CRDs). These objects can be handled by the Kubernetes API, just like built-in object types. Inside the Operator code, authors can define how to act on those custom objects.

          The Operator user can use kubectl apply to create an object of this custom type, which is called a custom resource (CR).

        • Perl/Raku

          • Back to Paws

            It has been a little while since I played with my little PAWS and yes like many of us these days I have been just a little distracted, trip planned, trip changed, trip canceled etc etc etc.

            Anyway to recap where I left off I was just getting the ‘SubscribeToShard’ action to work with a HTTP stream to work, after a fashion anyway. Then I got side tracked a little playing about with the problem of testing if the stream was correctly sending data down the pipe and if I was decoding it correctly.

            As a byproduct of getting to the bottom of that I finally figured out what the PAWS ‘Paginators’ are for and I guess how to use them.

          • Getting started with hidden Markov models using Perl

            A Markov model (named after the mathematician Andrey Markov) is used for forecasting in systems of random change. Markov’s insight is that good predictions in this context can be made from only the most recent occurrence of an event, ignoring any occurrences before the current one. The approach might be described as memoryless or history-agnostic prediction.

            Markov’s first example (in 1913) predicted vowel occurrences in Pushkin’s poem “Eugeny Onegin.” The challenge today is to find a research area in which Markov models play no role. Such models are used to study thermodynamics and statistical mechanics; bioinformatics, enzyme activity, and population dynamics; solar irradiance and wind power; price trends; speech recognition and generation; data compression and pattern recognition; reinforcement learning and gesture recognition. The list goes on and on.

        • Python

          • Improving pretty-printing in Python

            The python-ideas mailing list is typically used to discuss new features or enhancements for the language; ideas that gain traction will get turned into Python Enhancement Proposals (PEPs) and eventually make their way to python-dev for wider consideration. Steve Jorgensen recently started a discussion of just that sort; he was looking for a way to add customization to the “pretty-print” module (pprint) so that objects could change the way they are displayed. The subsequent thread went in a few different directions that reflect the nature of the mailing list—and the idea itself.

          • Reading and Writing CSV Files in Python with Pandas

            There are many ways of reading and writing CSV files in Python. There are a few different methods, for example, you can use Python’s built in open() function to read the CSV (Comma Separated Values) files or you can use Python’s dedicated csv module to read and write CSV files. Depending on your use-case, you can also use Python’s Pandas library to read and write CSV files.

            In this article, you will see how to use Python’s Pandas library to read and write CSV files. However, before that let’s briefly see what a CSV file is.

          • Python: Dict Setdefault And Getdefault

            In this post, we will discuss dict’s setdefault and getdefault in Python.

            These are two handy programming idioms in Python.

          • SimPy: Simulating Real-World Processes With Python

            The real world is full of systems, like airports and highways, that frequently experience congestion and delay. When these systems are not optimized, their inefficiency can lead to countless unhappy customers and hours of wasted time. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to use Python’s simpy framework to create virtual simulations that will help you solve problems like these.

          • Learn Python Sys Module Functions

            In this article, we will take a look at the Python Sys Module. There are variables and functions that are maintained by the interpreter and the sys module provides a way of interacting with them. These variables are available until the interpreter is alive. We will have a glance at some of the commonly used sys functions.

            To work with the sys module you have to first import the module.

  • Leftovers

    • The Conquerors of America

      Patrick Weidhaas, a colleague of mine from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and also a colleague from the union group there (Society of Professional Scientists and Engineers) sent me a note saying…

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • The exFAT Filesystem Is Coming To Linux — Paragon Software’s Not Happy About It
        • The exFAT filesystem is coming to Linux—Paragon software’s not happy about it

          When software and operating system giant Microsoft announced its support for inclusion of the exFAT filesystem directly into the Linux kernel back in August, it didn’t get a ton of press coverage. But filesystem vendor Paragon Software clearly noticed this month’s merge of the Microsoft-approved, largely Samsung-authored version of exFAT into the VFS for-next repository, which will in turn merge into Linux 5.7—and Paragon doesn’t seem happy about it.

          Yesterday, Paragon issued a press release about European gateway-modem vendor Sagemcom adopting its version of exFAT into an upcoming series of Linux-based routers. Unfortunately, it chose to preface the announcement with a stream of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that wouldn’t have looked out of place on Steve Ballmer’s letterhead in the 1990s.

        • ESET releases business edition of endpoint antivirus for Linux

          ESET has launched the latest version of ESET Endpoint Antivirus for Linux joining ESET’s existing product range catering extensively to Windows and MacOS. The new version is designed to provide advanced protection from threats to organisations’ general desktops. Powered by the advanced ESET LiveGrid technology, the solution combines speed, accuracy and minimal system impact, leaving more system resources for the desktops’ vital tasks in order to maintain business continuity.

          The company said its latest version of ESET Endpoint Antivirus for Linux is designed to meet the high standard of protection necessary in a corporate network, and now offers the same cutting-edge protection that exists for other operating systems. Key features include real-time file protection, more efficient scanning and increased stability, as well as full compatibility with the ESET Security Management Center and ESET Cloud Administrator. The software is intuitive to manage and can be deployed immediately and seamlessly.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Keeping Tech Skills Up to Date From Anywhere, Anytime

                The Linux Foundation has been a 100% remote workforce for many years, so we are lucky to be in the position where the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted our ability to deliver training and certification solutions. As a non-profit organization, our mission has always been to provide high quality, affordable programs to those who want and need them.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • COVID-19 vs open source: How developers are fighting the virus [Ed: Just promoting the illusion that proprietary software monopolists from Microsoft now speak 'for' Open Source]

              Programmers are in a unique position where not only can they typically work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they can help lend a hand. Help fight COVID-19 and donate your computing power, help create a community app, and keep on social distancing!

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (e2fsprogs, ruby2.1, and weechat), Fedora (java-1.8.0-openjdk and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (apache2-mod_auth_openidc, glibc, mcpp, nghttp2, and skopeo), Oracle (libvncserver and thunderbird), and SUSE (keepalived).

          • Securing open source through CVE prioritisation

            According to a recent study, 96% of applications in the enterprise market use open-source software. As the open-source landscape becomes more and more fragmented, the task to assess the impact of potential security vulnerabilities for an organisation can become overwhelming. Ubuntu is known as one of the most secure operating systems, but why? Ubuntu is a leader in security because, every day, the Ubuntu Security team is fixing and releasing updated software packages for known vulnerabilities. It is a continuous 24/7 effort. In fact, on average, the team is providing more than 3 updates each day, and the most vital updates are prepared, tested and released within 24 hours. To achieve that result, Canonical designed a robust process to review, prioritise and fix the most crucial software vulnerabilities first. Software vulnerabilities are tracked as part of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) system, and almost all security updates published by the Ubuntu Security team (via Ubuntu Security Notices – USNs) are in response to a given public CVE.

          • Oracle Engineers Send Out Linux Patches For Trenchboot Secure Late-Launch Kernel Support

            Going back to over a year ago were discussions by Oracle engineers and others about a secure launch boot protocol for the Linux kernel to in turn tie into the Trenchboot open-source project working on various system integrity features. We are now finally seeing new patches out of Oracle for wiring more Trenchboot support into the Linux kernel.

          • Josh Bressers: Part 5: Which of these security problems do I need to care about?

            If you just showed up here, go back and start at the intro post, you’ll want the missing context before reading this article. Or not, I mean, whatever.

            I’ve spent the last few posts going over the challenges of security scanners. I think the most important takeaway is we need to temper our expectations. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. So assuming some of the security flaws reported are real, how can we figure out what we should be paying attention to?

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Pandemic Surveillance State

              In anticipation of the post-COVID-19 world, bold statements are being made on how we will, as a race, be wiser, even kinder; cautious, and reflective.  If history is ever a lesson on anything, such statements are bound to be the fatuous utterances of a moment, soon forgotten.  What is left, instead, are the policy legacies, the detritus of bad decisions made on the long march of folly.

            • Bringing encryption restrictions in through the back door

              The composition of the commission includes three administration officials, the Attorney General, Secretary of Homeland Security, and chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, along with 16 other members in several different groups. Four will be from law enforcement or the prosecution of CSAM crimes, four will be either survivors of those crimes or professionals who work with the victims, four from the “interactive computer service” industry, two experienced in constitutional law, consumer protection, or privacy, and two computer scientists experienced in “cryptography, data security, or artificial intelligence”. That mention of “cryptography” is as close as the bill gets to talking about encryption.

              The commission only requires 14 of its members to agree on the best practices, however, so the computer scientists and consumer-protection specialists could be ignored entirely, for example. Worse than that, though, is that the Attorney General and other administration officials effectively have veto power over the best practices list. Since they will be participating in the formulation of the list, it seems a tad unlikely that it will not be to their liking. Since the current Attorney General (and, really, all of his predecessors no matter which of the two dominant parties is appointing them) is strongly anti-encryption, one would guess that providing a backdoor “for law enforcement” will make the list.

              But the consequences of not following these commission-established rules is where the “earn” part comes in. Companies that offer interactive computer services are currently shielded from liability based on the actions of their users via section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which came about in 1996. It effectively treats service providers as mere conduits, rather than as publishers; the latter have far more liability for the content they purvey. Under EARN IT, though, service providers would only continue to receive section 230 protection if they follow the practices that the commission “recommends”. Thus, they would earn their right be treated as telecommunications providers—but only if they bow to the best practices, which will certainly curtail true end-to-end encryption for users.

    • Environment

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • The Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Plan Has No Accountability

          The Forest Service is currently accepting public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the forest plan revision on the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. The comment deadline is April 20. The National Forest Management Act (1976) mandates all national forests to have a resource management plan or forest plan. Forest plans dictate the management direction of a particular forest. The new, single plan for the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests will potentially guide management for the next few decades.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Case for an Indictment of the US Government for Criminal Negligence for its Bungled Response to COVID-19

        The charge is criminal negligence. Criminal Negligence exists as follows: “Everyone is criminally negligent who in doing anything, or in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.”

      • Trump and the Virus: It’s All About the Base

        In confronting the coronavirus pandemic, it is striking that President Trump, who normally likes to be seen as The Man in Charge, driving events, has instead dragged his feet when pressed to take decisive, radical measures that most experts argue are necessary to avert the most catastrophic infection and death rates.  For months he downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak, before finally in the last week or so finally accepting that it is indeed serious.  He then, ludicrously, claimed that he knew it was a pandemic long before it was called one.  Was he then lying to the public earlier?  Or is he lying now?

      • Harish Pillay 9v1hp: No. Internet voting is still a No Go.

        I was asked by a friend why is it that we can’t do voting over the Internet. With all of the digitisation being done globally, and the ongoing COVID-19 issue, shouldn’t Singapore – the Smart Nation – have the general elections (which is due no later than April 2021) be done over the Internet?

        One word answer: No.

        Yes, you have done plenty of Internet banking transactions. You’ve sent money to phone numbers, you’ve received monies etc. You’ve bought stuff using your credit card over the Internet and received the goods. And yes Amazon, Alibaba, Paypal, eBay etc are multi-billion businesses that accept payments over the Internet. It is safe and it works.

        Why? Because of the simple transaction involved: you know what you paid – you can check the ledger and the recipient can check as well. E-commerce sites can see the transactions just as clearly as those involved in the transactions.

        There is no secrecy within a transaction here. There is secrecy across all transactions, but each participant in a transaction knows all the details.

        When you transfer $100 to a bank account over the Internet, you can check that it was delivered/received. You can check that your account was reduced by $100 and the recipient’s increased by $100.

        But if you are NOT part of a transaction, you have no idea what happened. So, global secrecy is enforced and that’s all well (hence money laundering, bribery etc thrives).

        The democratic process of voting has one critical thing that is different from the usual electronic transactions: the participants of the transaction DON’T KNOW WHAT TRANSPIRED because of vote secrecy.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

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