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04.01.20

Upcoming Articles and Research Areas

Posted in Site News at 10:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Morning sun

Summary: Although we’ve failed to write as much as usual, we’re still preparing some in-depth articles and maintaining Daily Links (in spite of unforeseen ordeals like a forced laptop migration)

WITH the death of my laptop (since 2009) a few days ago and various other aspects not related to COVID-19, I’ve been struggling to produce as many articles as usual. As a matter of priority I try to keep on top of the news and Daily Links, instead.

“The way we see it, a bunch of rather misleading narratives have been put together to appease what’s perceived as “the community” (i.e. not large corporations) in the same way major patent offices like to speak about “inventors” (whom they rarely serve, unlike major monopolies).”Coming soon: The Fall of the UPC – Parts X-XII (at least three more parts) and some articles about GNU. We are currently researching some of the patent pools that claim to support “Linux” (one notion of that term anyway) and seeing that Greg K-H, the deputy of Linus Torvalds, now works for Google we can’t help but wonder what goes on at the Linux Foundation. The way we see it, a bunch of rather misleading narratives have been put together to appease what’s perceived as “the community” (i.e. not large corporations) in the same way major patent offices like to speak about “inventors” (whom they rarely serve, unlike major monopolies).

Links 2/4/2020: ProtonMail Bridge for Linux, GTK 3.98.2 and Red Hat DNF 4.2.21

Posted in News Roundup at 9:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What MacBook? This Manjaro Linux Laptop Promises the Best User Experience

        If you’re in the market for a Linux laptop, the folks over at Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers have some big news for you.

        The two companies joined forces for the creation of a custom version of the InfinityBook called InfinityBook Manjaro.

        As its name suggests, the InfinityBook Manjaro is an upgraded version of the standard model that runs Manjaro Linux and promises what the two companies describe as “the best user experience.”

        “TUXEDO Computers provides technical support for the InfinityBook Manjaro, the team of Manjaro Linux is the right contact for software related questions. Together, they have conducted extensive hardware optimization tests and have adapted software packages and drivers to increase battery life,” the two companies explain in a joint press release (embedded below).

    • Server

      • ZFS Tuning for HPC

        If you manage storage servers, chances are you are already aware of ZFS and some of the features and functions it boasts. In short, ZFS is a combined all-purpose filesystem and volume manager that simplifies data storage management while offering some advanced features, including drive pooling with software RAID support, file snapshots, in-line data compression, data deduplication, built-in data integrity, advanced caching (to DRAM and SSD), and more.

        ZFS is licensed under the Common Development and Distribution License (CDDL), a weak copyleft license based on the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Although open source, ZFS and anything else under the CDDL was, and supposedly still is, incompatible with the GNU General Public License (GPL). This hasn’t stopped ZFS enthusiasts from porting it over to the Linux kernel, where it remains a side project under the dominion of the ZFS on Linux (ZoL) project.

      • From Web Scale to Edge Scale: Rancher 2.4 Supports 2,000 Clusters on its Way to 1 Million

        Rancher 2.4 is here – with new under-the-hood changes that pave the way to supporting up to 1 million clusters. That’s probably the most exciting capability in the new version. But you might ask: why would anyone want to run thousands of Kubernetes clusters – let alone tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or more? At Rancher Labs, we believe the future of Kubernetes is multi-cluster and fully heterogeneous. This means ‘breaking the monolith’ into many clusters and running the best Kubernetes distribution for each environment and use case.

      • QEMU 5.0-rc1 Released For Linux Virtualization With The Stable Update Coming This Month

        QEMU 5.0-rc1 was released on Tuesday as the latest development release in the path to QEMU 5.0.0 expected to be achieved later this month.

      • New 4.0 LTS releases for LXD, LXC and LXCFS
        Hello,
        
        The LXD, LXC and LXCFS teams are very proud to announce their 4.0 LTS releases!
        
        LTS versions of all 3 projects are released every 2 years, starting 6
        years ago. Those LTS versions benefit from 5 years of security and
        bugfix support from upstream and are ideal for production environments.
        
        # LXD
        LXD is our system container and virtual machine manager. It's a Go
        application based on LXC and QEMU. It can run several thousand
        containers on a single machine, mix in some virtual machines, offers a
        simple REST API and can be easily clustered to handle large scale
        deployments.
        
        It takes seconds to setup on a laptop or a cloud instance, can run just
        about any Linux distribution and supports a variety of resource limits
        and device passthrough. It's used as the basis for Linux applications on
        Chromebooks and is behind Travis-CI's recent Arm, IBM Power and IBM Z
        testing capability.
        
        
      • Building a Three-Node Kubernetes Cluster | Quick Guide

        There are many ways to build a Kubernetes cluster. One of them is using a tool called kubeadm. Kubeadm is the official tool for “first-paths” when creating your first Kubernetes cluster. With the ease of getting up and running, I thought I would put together this quick guide to installing a Kubernetes cluster using kubeadm!

      • Kubernetes Topology Manager Moves to Beta – Align Up!

        This blog post describes the TopologyManager, a beta feature of Kubernetes in release 1.18. The TopologyManager feature enables NUMA alignment of CPUs and peripheral devices (such as SR-IOV VFs and GPUs), allowing your workload to run in an environment optimized for low-latency.

        Prior to the introduction of the TopologyManager, the CPU and Device Manager would make resource allocation decisions independent of each other. This could result in undesirable allocations on multi-socket systems, causing degraded performance on latency critical applications. With the introduction of the TopologyManager, we now have a way to avoid this.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 572: f-droid

        F-Droid is an installable catalog of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) applications for the Android platform. F-Droid is also a whole FOSS “app store kit”, providing all the tools needed to set up and run an app store. It also includes complete build and release tools for managing the process of turning app source code into published builds.

      • Pandemic Edition

        Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Kyle Rankin, Petros Koutoupis, and Shawn Powers about the new realities we’re facing as a result of COVID-19.

      • 2020-04-01 | Linux Headlines

        Canonical and MariaDB both enter the managed apps market, the WordPress 5.4 release expands its block-based editor, and Mozilla partners with another online monetization company while putting up cash in the fight against COVID-19.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.1 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.6.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.6.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

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

      • Linux 5.5.14
      • Linux 5.4.29
      • Linux Lite Users Are the First to Install Linux Kernel 5.6

        Once again, Linux Lite users are among the first to install the latest Linux kernel series. In this case, Linux kernel 5.6, which was announced on March 29th by Linus Torvalds.

        Linux kernel 5.6 is the most advanced kernel series available to date and the first to ship with the powerful and secure WireGuard VPN solution built-in.

        Of course, WireGuard support isn’t the only feature of the Linux 5.6 kernel series, which also comes with USB4 support, a new CPU idle cooling thermal driver, AMD Pollock support, a new Zonefs file system for zoned block devices, and much more.

      • Linux 5.6 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Adoption
      • Linux 5.7 Gets A Unified/User-Space-Access-Intended Accelerator Framework

        The Linux 5.7 crypto subsystem updates include new drivers.

        Linux 5.7 is progressing through its two-week merge window and while only a quarter of the way through, it’s certainly seeing a number of interesting and new drivers.

        The crypto subsystem is introducing the UACCE driver, which was worked on by Linaro and HiSilicon. UACCE stands for the “Unified/User-space-access-intended Accelerator Framework.” UACCE was described in its patch series as providing “Shared Virtual Addressing (SVA) between accelerators and processes. So accelerator can access any data structure of the main CPU. This differs from the data sharing between CPU and I/O device, which share only data content rather than address. Since unified address, hardware and user space of process can share the same virtual address in the communication.”

      • Linux kernel 5.6.0 iwlwifi bug

        Quick note that the Linux kernel 5.6.0 has an iwlwifi bug that will prevent network connectivity. [1]

        A patch is out but did not make 5.6.0. This patch IS included in gentoo-sources-5.6.0. It will be in vanilla-sources 5.6.1 once upstream releases a new version.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Linaro Tech Days: Wayland, Weston & Open Source GPU drivers

          This week, Daniel Stone and Tomeu Vizoso will be taking part in Linaro Tech Days, a series of technical sessions presented live online via Zoom webinar and streamed on YouTube. These sessions are free to attend and open to the public, however registration is recommended to view full session details, joining instructions, and more.

        • Mesa Developers Discussing Again Whether To Fork Or Drop Non-Gallium3D Drivers

          Back in December was a developer discussion over dropping or forking non-Gallium3D drivers. Since then the Intel “Iris” Gallium3D driver has successfully become the default OpenGL driver for Broadwell/Gen8 and newer while the non-Gallium3D drivers continue to just face bit rot. The discussion over dropping/forking non-Gallium3D Mesa drivers has been reignited.

          This mailing list thread is active again with discussions over getting rid of the Mesa “classic” drivers to allow better focusing on the modern Gallium3D drivers and Mesa’s Vulkan drivers. Eliminating the classic drivers avoids the associated maintenance burden and also allows simplifying/improving the modern drivers without risking breakage/regressions and other headaches with the old drivers.

    • Applications

      • Chafa 1.4.0: Now with sixels

        April 1st seems like as good a time as any for a new Chafa release — though note that Chafa is no joke. At least not anymore, what with the extremely enterprise-ready sixel pipeline and all.

        [...]

        The most complete existing implementation is probably Hayaki Saito’s libsixel, but I chose to write one from scratch for Chafa, since sixel output is remarkably intensive computationally, and I wanted to employ a combination of advanced techniques (parallelism, quantization using a PCA approach, SIMD scaling) and corner-cutting that wouldn’t have been appropriate in that library. This gets me fast animation playback and makes it easier to phase out the ImageMagick dependency in the long term.

        There are at least two widely available virtual terminals that support sixels: One is XTerm (when compiled with –enable-sixel), and the other is mlterm. Unfortunately, I don’t think either is widely used compared to distribution defaults like GNOME Terminal and Konsole, so here’s hoping for more mainstream support for this feature.

      • Butterfly Builder, a tool to compile PHP

        Butterfly Builder is a tool written in BASH that allows to compile PHP from the source code, Butterfly Builder (before pbt) is the evolution of the php-build.sh script allowing greater flexibility and customization in the PHP compilation / installation process.

      • PAM testing using pam_wrapper and dbusmock

        On the road to libfprint and fprintd 2.0, we’ve been fixing some long-standing bugs, including one that required porting our PAM module from dbus-glib to sd-bus, systemd’s D-Bus library implementation.

        As you can imagine, I have confidence in my ability to write bug-free code at the first attempt, but the foresight to know that this code will be buggy if it’s not tested (and to know there’s probably a bug in the tests if they run successfully the first time around). So we will have to test that PAM module, thoroughly, before and after the port.

      • Get Unsplash Wallpapers on Linux with Fondo Wallpaper App

        Some people change wallpapers on their desktops, phones or other devices more frequently than they change clothes. Finding new wallpapers on the internet is not that difficult. However, you do start to see the same images over and over the more you look. And then it starts to get a little difficult. That’s when many people flock over to Unsplash. Unsplash is a royalty-free photography site, not remotely aimed at providing wallpapers. However, it is a very popular source of wallpapers for many users. Fondo wallpaper app is a new app for Linux that makes it much easier to find and apply wallpapers from Unsplash.

      • Easily Load, Unload And Blacklist Kernel Modules With kmon (TUI)

        kmon is a new command line kernel manager and activity monitor. It can be used to load, unload and blacklist kernel modules, as well as show module information. The tool also shows kernel activities (hardware logs, etc.) in real time.

        This command line tool is written in Rust, and it uses a text-based user interface (TUI) thanks to the tui-rs and termion libraries.

      • Fre:ac Audio Converter 1.1 Released with Dark Mode Support

        Fre:ac audio converter 1.1 was released a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 18.04 and higher.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Privacy Tools

        • 3 Zoom Alternatives to Maintain Your Privacy

          Things just keep getting worse for Zoom, with multiple privacy violations and security issues found within its service. To help our readers I’ve found three Zoom alternatives to try. It’s important to mention that I haven’t used any of these myself, but I want to spread awareness of these services. All of these are available on multiple platforms.

          [...]

          Linphone is a VoIP service geared more towards one-on-one communication, but it does offer audio conference calls. It gives you voice, video, and text chats, using open telecom standards (SIP, RTP). It’s open source and uses end-to-end encryption.

        • ProtonMail launches Bridge for Linux

          We are excited to announce that starting today, you can use Bridge to connect your ProtonMail account with your desktop email app on the Linux operating system.
          ProtonMail Bridge is a desktop app available to all paying subscribers that integrates ProtonMail’s strong privacy and security features, such as zero-access encryption and end-to-end encryption, with your email client.
          Bridge implements IMAP/SMTP protocols and is compatible with any email client which follows this standard. The Linux version we are launching today includes special optimizations for Thunderbird.
          Since releasing Bridge for Linux in beta, we have collected valuable feedback from our community and improved the speed and performance. Linux users now have access to all the convenience provided by an email client, including full-text search, offline editing, and the ability to export and back up emails from your ProtonMail account.

    • Games

      • It’s surprisingly easy to switch a gaming PC to Linux today

        Talking to PC gamers about Linux is always entertaining, because everyone who knows even a little bit about Linux has a different impression. For some it’s that other operating system they’ve vaguely heard of, and they have about as much interest in it as I have in cars (read: not much). For others it’s a critical part of their work or infrastructure, or it’s the thing their techy friend somehow always manages to bring up in unrelated conversations (ugh, you know how to do everything on the command line, we get it).

        Last year I decided to become one of the latter and go all-in on desktop Linux. It opened my eyes to how much Linux has changed over the years, and how outdated the idea of Linux as an OS exclusively for tech nerds really is. Not only was the switch relatively painless, but I’m not missing out on much, either—not even gaming.

        Here’s what it’s like switching from Windows to Linux today, from hardware to software to gaming.

      • Unique competitive platformer ‘Jumpala’ adds new stages and it’s a huge amount of fun

        Jumpala is a very unique competitive platform covered here on GOL recently and I’ve fallen a little in love with the idea. It’s challenging and a lot of fun to play with others.

        With a surprising twist on the whole idea of platforming, you’re not running and jumping or doing much fighting. Instead, you’re hopping around tiny platforms to turn them your colour and score points when they fall off the screen. It really does get surprisingly intense, especially if you’ve been frozen or you take a wrong turn and the platforms don’t come down in your favour and you get knocked off losing valuable hopping time.

      • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta Driver out for Linux – helping DOOM Eternal on Steam Play

        NVIDIA continue to fix up and improve their Linux drivers, with a brand new Vulkan Beta Driver available today.

        This is the testing area where NVIDIA put in new features, add in new Vulkan API support like the provisional vendor-neutral Ray Tracing that went in recently and more that eventually make their way into their normal drivers.

      • If you want more gore in the GZDoom and Zandronum engines try the ‘Bolognese Gore Mod’

        The Bolognese Gore Mod is another creation by Brutal Doom’s developer, and it’s advertised as a gore enhancement mod for the GZDoom and Zandronum engines. However, apart from making the combat more violent, it also states that “makes enemies smarter and harder, makes gun louder and beefier, and adds epic new boss battles.”

      • Prepare your space legs for X4: Split Vendetta and the massive 3.0 free update

        Egosoft continue to polish up their ridiculously massive, incredibly ambitious and rather good looking space sim with the release of X4: Split Vendetta and the massive 3.0 free update.

        For everyone in the free update there’s new storyline, new mission types, French voice-over, new standalone tutorials, new shops, a configurable alert system, new weapons, improved graphics and a huge amount more. Meanwhile X4: Split Vendetta, the paid DLC, adds in a massive expansion to the universe amongst other things like the two new Split family clans.

      • Save money, buy awesome games and support charity in a big Paradox Interactive sale

        Here’s another excuse for you to support charity and get some new games, if the Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle wasn’t enough for you. Paradox Interactive are now running their own big charity sale.

        Lasting until 5PM UTC on April 3, with all the funds going to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. During this time some of their popular titles are heavily discounted, helping you to stay home and keep everyone around you safe. Nice to see even more developers get in on this and come together.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 3.98.2

          When we released 3.98.0, we promised more frequent snapshots, as the remaining GTK 4 features are landing. Here we are a few weeks later, and 3.98.1 and 3.98.2 snapshots have quietly made it out.

        • GTK 3.98.2 Released As Another Step Towards GTK4

          GTK 3.98.2 is out as the latest development snapshot in the road to the overdue but much anticipated GTK 4.0.

          This latest GTK4 development release finishes their re-implementation of GtkPopovers, splitting up of the GdkSurface API, new infrastructure around keyboard shortcuts using event controllers, new Pango features exposed by GtkTextTag, and finishing up drag-and-drop refactoring. GTK 3.98.2 has also seen various clean-ups and fixes to the tool-kit’s codebase.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Join Us for SUSECON Digital on Wednesday, May 20

          I am thrilled to share that SUSECON Digital will launch on Wednesday, March 20! Whether you are tuning in from your mobile device or on your computer, SUSCON Digital will help you Be the Difference by ensuring you get the tools, skills, and insights you need to simplify, modernize, and accelerate your business – for free! You can register now.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • World Backup Day: A plan of action

          World Backup Day reminds us all of just how important backups are. You don’t get how important they are, perhaps, until you’ve experienced an outage that you can’t recover from by any troubleshooting method. Backups are a pain but they are a necessary evil and can save you when things go bad. And things always go bad. This article helps you make a plan.

        • Running an event-driven health management business process through a few scenarios: Part 1

          In the previous series of articles, Designing an event-driven business process at scale: A health management example (which you need to read to fully understand this one), you designed and implemented an event-driven scalable business process for the population health management use case. Now, you will run this process through a few scenarios.

        • Getting to open hybrid cloud

          So, you’ve read our e-book and are convinced that adopting an open hybrid cloud Platform is a key part of digitally transforming. Great! Now how do you get your applications and associated infrastructure there?

          There are many aspects that should be considered when digitally transforming and adopting an open hybrid cloud including people, culture, process, and technology. While these are all important, in this post we will focus on process and technology.

          A common way of speaking about migrating or modernizing workloads to the cloud was popularized in 2016 by Amazon Web Services in their post, “6 Strategies for Migration Applications to the Cloud.” We will use the categorization popularized in that article to explore how Red Hat is making it quicker and easier to move your applications and their associated infrastructure to the open hybrid cloud.

        • Command and control: The Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 Dashboard changes the game

          Ease of use was a key development theme for Red Hat Ceph Storage 4. In our last post, we covered the role that the new install UI plays in enabling administrators to deploy Ceph Storage 4 in a simple and guided manner, without prior Ceph expertise.

          Simplifying installation is only the first step—the second step is simplifying day-to-day management. To meet this challenge, Ceph Storage 4 introduces a new graphical user interface called the Dashboard.

        • Red Hat DNF 4.2.21 Package Manager Released Today!

          DNF 4.2.21 Released Today: DNF is otherwise named as Dandified YUM Package Manager. DNF is basically developed by Red Hat for RPM based distributions. The team Red Hat developers announced the latest version of DNF 4.2.21 has been released. They promised that the new version may have many new essential bugs fixes and software tweaks.

        • Three ways our hybrid cloud architecture makes it easy to add AI to fulfillment
        • Gain transparency into fulfillment decisions

          In a previous blog, I introduced IBM Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer With Watson® and provided answers to five frequently asked questions. Once clients have implemented this AI-powered solution to optimize fulfillment, they tend to have another question: Why did Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer make the decisions that it did? In this blog, we’ll look at what’s in Watson’s head.

          When an order is sent to Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer, the order goes through many rules, configurations, constraints, and cost-optimization comparisons to determine the best fulfillment option. Sometimes, as a user, the recommendation intuitively feels right, but other times it may not – particularly if you’re dealing with complex orders and a complex fulfillment network. If an order is placed in Chicago and Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer recommends that different order lines for the order be fulfilled from nodes in Los Angeles and Dallas, you may have difficulty understanding why that was the best choice to maximize profits.

          What isn’t immediately evident is that behind the scenes, Sterling Fulfillment Optimizer is using big data analytics, AI, and machine learning to look for trends and patterns. It analyzes sell-through patterns, rate-of-sale and probability-of-sale data to determine the risk of stockouts or markdowns for each SKU node combination, automatically calculating the lowest overall fulfillment cost at that moment. This is critical because that moment in time is always changing as the fulfillment network and sell-through patterns continuously change, and business preferences may change as well. Remember from the last blog that I discussed how you may decide to prioritize one or more factors over the total cost due to promotions or seasonality. In this example, where the order is fulfilled from Los Angeles and Dallas, the solution determined — based on visibility into real-time data and balancing multiple factors simultaneously — that if the order had been fulfilled from a single node in Chicago, which at that moment was low on inventory, the risk of stockout would have been high.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian LTS work, March 2020

          I was assigned 20 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative, and carried over 0.75 hours from February. I only worked 12.25 hours this month, so I will carry over 8.5 hours to April.

          I issued DLA 2114-1 for the update to linux-4.9.

        • Debian LTS and ELTS – March 2020

          Here is my transparent report for my work on the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) and Debian Extended Long Term Support (ELTS), which extend the security support for past Debian releases, as a paid contributor.

          In March, the monthly sponsored hours were split evenly among contributors depending on their max availability – I was assigned 30h for LTS (out of 30 max; all done) and 20h for ELTS (out of 20 max; I did 0).

          Most contributors claimed vulnerabilities by performing early CVE monitoring/triaging on their own, making me question the relevance of the Front-Desk role. It could be due to a transient combination of higher hours volume and lower open vulnerabilities.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 Codenamed Ulyana & More

          The news came on the last day of the month from Linux Mint. The new version of Linux Mint which is Linux Mint 20 will be called Ulyana. Linux Mint release post has not released anything other than the name. But a simple google search shows the word “Ulyana” comes from the Russian origin and it means Youthful. Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu release, 20.04 “Focal Fossa”. Focal Fossa is scheduled to be released on 23rd of this month.

        • Ubuntu Blog: Steps to maximise robotics security with Ubuntu

          The Robot Operating System (ROS) is a popular open-source platform for advanced robotics. Its flexibility and ease-of-use make it well-suited to a wide array of robotics applications – however, these robots are not always sufficiently protected against security threats.

          Opportunistic attacks are by far the most prevalent, and robots with inadequate ROS security make tempting targets for bad actors. With that in mind, approaching robotics security proactively is crucial to preventing breaches and saving resources in the long run. Security starts with the underlying operating system, and building robots on Ubuntu unlocks a number of easy, yet effective, measures for maximising protection against the most dominant threats.

        • OpenStack distributions: How to choose the right one?

          Choosing the right OpenStack distribution is essential to the success of an OpenStack project at every organisation. When selecting one, organisations should always follow certain criteria. Is it possible to operate the considered OpenStack distributions economically? How easy is it to deploy them? Can the organisation upgrade its production OpenStack cloud without affecting the workloads? Everyone planning to deploy OpenStack should ask themselves these questions. And there is always more criteria to consider.

          In order to facilitate the OpenStack vendor selection process for the organisations, we have recently published an OpenStack distributions comparison website. It highlights the key differences between three leading OpenStack platforms: Canonical’s Charmed OpenStack, Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Mirantis Cloud Platform. Now, in the following blog, I am going to describe some tips which organisations should follow to make sure that they choose the right OpenStack distribution.

        • Accelerate AI/ML workloads with Kubeflow and System Architecture

          AI/ML model training is becoming more time consuming due to the increase in data needed to achieve higher accuracy levels. This is compounded by growing business expectations to frequently re-train and tune models as new data is available.

          The two combined is resulting in heavier compute demands for AI/ML applications. This trend is set to continue and is leading data center companies to prepare for greater compute and memory-intensive loads for AI.

        • FIPS 140-2: Stay compliant and secure with Canonical

          FIPS 140-2 is a set of publicly announced cryptographic standards developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is an essential part of FEDRamp requirements for many governmental agencies in the US and Canada, as well as their business partners from all around the world. Furthermore, as a well established and verified security standard, an increasing number of large companies and financial institutions are asking for FIPS compliance.

          Yet, FIPS certification process introduces challenges that could impact your security. Ubuntu lets you choose the way to implement FIPS-certified cryptographic modules with two distinct FIPS alternatives to choose from to overcome those challenges.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Extensions in Firefox 75

            In Firefox 75 we have a good mix of new features and bugfixes. Quite a few volunteer contributors landed patches for this release please join me in cheering for them!

      • FSF

        • Free Software Foundation targets Microsoft’s smart assistant in new campaign

          Today, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced plans to follow up their recent campaign to “upcycle” Windows 7 with another initiative targeting proprietary software developer Microsoft, calling on them to Free Clippy, their wildly popular smart assistant. Clippy, an anthropomorphic paperclip whose invaluable input in the drafting of documents and business correspondence ushered in a new era of office productivity in the late 1990s, has not been seen publicly since 2001. Insider reports suggest that Clippy is still alive and being held under a proprietary software license against its will.

          The FSF is asking its supporters to rally together to show their support of the industrious office accessory. Commenting on the campaign, FSF campaigns manager Greg Farough stated: “We know that Microsoft has little regard for its users’ freedom and privacy, but few in our community realize what little regard they have for their own digital assistants. Releasing Clippy to the community will ensure that it’s well taken care of, and that its functions can be studied and improved on by the community.”

        • GNU Projects

          • Deprecating support for the Linux kernel

            After years in the making, Guix recently gained support for running natively on the GNU/Hurd operating system. That means you will soon be able to replace…

            (kernel linux-libre)
            with

            (kernel hurd)
            (initial-herd hurd)
            …in your operating-system declaration and reboot into the future!

            Running on the Hurd was always a goal for Guix, and supporting multiple kernels is a huge maintenance burden. As such it is expected that the upcoming Guix 1.1 release will be the last version featuring the Linux-Libre kernel. Future versions of Guix System will run exclusively on the Hurd, and we expect to remove Linux-Libre entirely by Guix 2.0.

            The Linux kernel will still be supported when using Guix on “foreign” distributions, but it will be on a best-effort basis. We hope that other distributions will follow suit and adopt the Hurd in order to increase security and freedom for their users.

            We provide a pre-built virtual machine image with the Hurd for download with SHA256 056e69ae4b5fe7a062b954a5be333332152caa150359c20253ef77152334c662.

          • GNU Guix Wants To Replace The Linux-Libre Kernel With The Hurd Micro-Kernel

            Seemingly at first thinking it was just an April Fools’ Day joke, but it turns out the GNU Guix developers responsible for their package manager and operating system are actually working to replace their Linux (GNU Linux-libre to be exact) kernel with GNU Hurd.

            The GNU Guix project announced today they are planning to deprecate support for the Linux kernel. Their Guix 1.1 target would be the last supporting Linux-libre and by Guix 2.0 they would potentially be removing their Linux kernel entirely but still allowing “foreign” distributions to support it on a best-effort basis.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • D.I.Y. Coronavirus Solutions Are Gaining Steam

          Mr. Cavalcanti, 33, is the founder of the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, a Facebook group that is crowdsourcing solutions to address the diminishing stock of medical equipment around the world. Mr. Cavalcanti, the founder and C.E.O. of MegaBots, a robotics company, initially intended to focus on ventilators. A front-line surgeon in the Bay Area convinced him to go after the low-hanging fruit: sanitizer, gloves, gowns and masks for medical professionals. Stacks of ventilators wouldn’t do the public any good if there were no health care workers to operate them.

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel GCC Patches + PRM Update Adds SERIALIZE Instruction, Confirm Atom+Core Hybrid CPUs

          Intel has seemingly just updated their public programming reference manual as well as sending out some new patches to the GCC compiler for supporting new instructions on yet-to-be-released CPUs.

          Hitting the mailing list early this morning was support for TSXLDTRK. TSXLDTRK is Intel TSX Suspend Load Address Tracking and is confirmed as coming with Sapphire Rapids / Golden Cove. With that is the XSUSLDTRK to suspend tracking load addresses and XRESLDTRK so that software developers can choose the memory accesses that do not need to be tracked by a TSX (Transactional Synchronization Extensions) read set.

        • Upstreaming LLVM’s Fortran “Flang” Front-End Has Been Flung Back Further

          Upstreaming of LLVM’s Fortran front-end developed as “f18″ and being upstreamed with the Flang name was supposed to happen back in January. Three months later, the developers still are struggling to get the code into shape for integration.

        • LLVM Clang 10.0 Compiler Performance On Intel + AMD CPUs Under Linux

          With last week’s release of LLVM/Clang 10.0, here are our first benchmarks looking at the stable release of the Clang 10.0 C/C++ compiler compared to its previous (v9.0.1) release on various Intel and AMD processors under Ubuntu Linux.

        • GCC 11 Will Likely Support Using LLVM’s libc++

          While GCC 10 isn’t even out for a few more weeks, looking ahead to next year’s GCC 11 release is already one interesting planned change.

          GCC 11′s C++ front-end (G++) will likely offer support for using LLVM’s libc++ standard library. There was recently a question asked on the GCC mailing list over the ability to do -stdlib=libc++ for using LLVM’s C++ standard library in conjunction with the GCC C++ compiler.

        • How does kanban relate to DevOps?

          Kanban means “visual signal” and has its roots in the Toyota manufacturing industry. It was developed by Taiichi Ohno to improve manufacturing efficiency. When we jump a few decades into the future, kanban complements agile and lean, often used with frameworks such as scrum, Scaled Agile Framework, and Disciplined Agile to visualize and manage work.

        • Joachim Breitner: 30 years of Haskell

          Vitaly Bragilevsky, in a mail to the GHC Steering Committee, reminded me that the first version of the Haskell programming language was released exactly 30 years ago. On April 1st. So that raises the question: Was Haskell just an April fool’s joke that was never retracted?

        • How to compare objects in PHP

          PHP offers a simple way to compare objects using the comparison (==) and identity (===) operators.

          When using the comparison operator (==), object variables are compared in a simple manner: Two object instances are equal if they have the same attributes and values and are instances of the same class.

        • Fix Class ‘DOMDocument’ not found error
        • How JAMstack Is Shaking Up Static Application Development

          In an API-driven world that is increasingly mobile, JAMstack is well-positioned to become a de facto method for application architecture and delivery.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Monthly Report – March

            I lost a friend of mine, Jeff Goff (aka DrForr), who passed away on 13th March, 2020, while snorkeling with a group in the Bahamas. He will be missed by many of his friends. May his soul rest in peace.

            Most of the time last month was occupied by COVID-19. Being a type-2 diabetic didn’t help the cause either. I have suffered with consistent cough all my life. It is really scary when think from COVID-19 point of view. I have survived so far by the grace of ALLAH s.w.t.

            I have been working from home since the first week of March. I have been kind of self quarantined. Kids, specially the twins (3 years old) not allowed to play with me. It is really hard to focus on work but somehow I have managed so far. I am getting used to it now.

          • The Weekly Challenge #054

            For the first time, since I started participating the weekly challenges, I thought of doing one-liner. With handy CPAN modules, it was pretty straight forward in Perl. Even Raku with built-in features wasn’t far behind Perl. Like in the past, I learn something new in Raku every week. This week was no different. I will share what I learnt this time later.

        • Python

          • Hidden Markov Model – A story of the morning insanity

            In this article, we present an example of an (im-)practical application of the Hidden Markov Model (HMM). It is an artifially constructed problem, where we create a case for a model, rather than applying a model to a particular case… although, maybe a bit of both.

            Here, we will rely on the code we developed earlier , and discussed in the earlier article: “Hidden Markov Model – Implementation from scratch”, including the mathematical notation. Feel free to take a look. The story we are about to tell contains modeling of the problem, uncovering the hidden sequence and training of the model.

          • Tryton News: Newsletter April 2020

            Tryton is a business software platform which comes with a set of modules that can be activated to make an ERP, MRP, CRM and other useful applications for organizations of any kind.
            During this month, when most developers are social distancing, we recorded a lot of changes to prepare for the upcoming release 5.6 that is planned for the start of May.

          • Reading and Writing MS Word Files in Python via Python-Docx Module

            The MS Word utility from Microsoft Office suite is one of the most commonly used tools for writing text documents, both simple and complex. Though humans can easily read and write MS Word documents, assuming you have the Office software installed, often times you need to read text from Word documents within another application.

            For instance, if you are developing a natural language processing application in Python that takes MS Word files as input, you will need to read MS Word files in Python before you can process the text. Similarly, often times you need to write text to MS Word documents as output, which could be a dynamically generated report to download, for example.

          • Linked Lists in Python: An Introduction

            Linked lists are like a lesser-known cousin of lists. They’re not as popular or as cool, and you might not even remember them from your algorithms class. But in the right context, they can really shine.

          • Python Software Foundation: An Update on PyPI Funded Work

            Originally announced at the end of 2018, a gift from Facebook Research is funding improvements for the security PyPI and its users.

          • Django bugfix releases issued: 3.0.5 and 2.2.12

            Today we’ve issued 3.0.5 and 2.2.12 bugfix releases.

          • Concurrency in Python

            A thread is an independent sequence of execution, but it shares memory with all the other threads belonging to your program. A Python program has, by default, one main thread. You can create more of them and let Python switch between them. This switching happens so fast that it appears like they are running side by side at the same time.

          • What the heck is pyproject.toml?

            Recently on Twitter there was a maintainer of a Python project who had a couple of bugs filed against their project due to builds failing (this particular project doesn’t provide wheels, only sdists). Eventually it came out that the project was using a pyproject.toml file because that’s how you configure Black and not for any other purpose. This isn’t the first time I have seen setuptools users use pyproject.toml because they were “told to by <insert name of tool>” without knowing the entire point behind the file. And so I decided to write this blog post to try and explain to setuptools users why pyproject.toml exists and what it does as it’s the future of packaging in the Python ecosystem (if you are not a conda user).

            [...]

            With PEP 518 in place, tools knew what needed to be available in order to build a project into a wheel (or sdist). But how do you produce a wheel or sdist from a project that has a pyproject.toml? This is where PEP 517 comes in. That PEP specifies how build tools are to be executed to build both sdists and wheels. So PEP 518 gets the build tools installed and PEP 517 gets them executed. This opens the door to using other tools by standardizing how to run build tools. Before, there was no standardized way to build a wheel or sdist except with python setup.py sdist bdist_wheel which isn’t really flexible; there’s no way for the tool running the build to pass in environment details as appropriate, for instance. PEP 517 helped solve that problem.

            One other change that PEP 517 & 518 has led to is build isolation. Now that projects can specify arbitrary build tools, tools like pip have to build projects in virtual environments to make sure each project’s build tools don’t conflict with another project’s build tool needs. This also helps with reproducible builds by making sure your build tools are consistent.

            Unfortunately this frustrates some setuptools users when they didn’t realize a setup.py files and/or build environment have become structured in such a way that they can’t be built in isolation. For instance, one user was doing their builds offline and didn’t have setuptools and ‘wheel’ cached in their wheelhouse, so when pip tried to build a project in isolation it failed as pip couldn’t find setuptools and ‘wheel’ to install into the build virtual environment.

          • 3 Python templating languages you should (probably) never use

            When reaching for a templating language for writing a Python web application, there are an abundance of robust solutions.

            There are Jinja2, Genshi, and Mako. There are even solutions like Chameleon, which are a bit older, but still recommended by the Pyramid framework.

            Python has been around for a long time. In that time, deep in the corners of its system, it has accumulated some almost forgotten templating languages that are well worth poking at.

          • How to Speed up Your Python Code

            Always take a good look at your code and algorithms first. Many speed issues can be resolved by implementing a better algorithm or adding caching.

          • One-Hot Encoding in Python with Pandas and Scikit-Learn

            In computer science, data can be represented in a lot of different ways, and naturally, every single one of them has its advantages as well as disadvantages in certain fields.

            Since computers are unable to process categorical data as these categories have no meaning for them, this information has to be prepared if we want a computer to be able to process it.

            This action is called preprocessing. A big part of preprocessing is encoding – representing every single piece of data in a way that a computer can understand (the name literally means “convert to computer code”).

            In many branches of computer science, especially machine learning and digital circuit design, One-Hot Encoding is widely used.

            In this article, we will explain what one-hot encoding is and implement it in Python using a few popular choices, Pandas and Scikit-Learn. We’ll also compare it’s effectiveness to other types of representation in computers, its strong points and weaknesses, as well as its applications.

          • PyCharm: What’s New in R Plugin

            We’re releasing a new update of the R Plugin for PyCharm and other IntelliJ-based IDEs. If you haven’t tried the plugin yet, download it from our website.

            The plugin is available for 2019.3 versions of IDEs and for EAP builds of 2020.1. The latest update comes with many stability improvements and long-awaited features:

            1. You want your publications to look good, we now make it easy to get your graphs in exactly the size you need.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Up to 500 Linux Foundation Training Scholarships to be Awarded! Apply by April 30

                Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) Scholarships are back! Since 2011, The Linux Foundation has awarded over 100 scholarships for more than $220,000 in training and certification to deserving individuals around the world who would otherwise be unable to afford it. This is part of our mission to grow the open source community by lowering the barrier to entry and making quality training options accessible to those who want them.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apng2gif, gst-plugins-bad0.10, and libpam-krb5), Fedora (coturn, libarchive, and phpMyAdmin), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable, nghttp2, php, phpmyadmin, sympa, and vim), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick, ldns, phpMyAdmin, python-mysql-connector-python, python-nltk, and tor), Red Hat (advancecomp, avahi, bash, bind, bluez, buildah, chromium-browser, cups, curl, docker, dovecot, doxygen, dpdk, evolution, expat, file, gettext, GNOME, httpd, idm:DL1, ImageMagick, kernel, kernel-rt, lftp, libosinfo, libqb, libreoffice, libsndfile, libxml2, mailman, mariadb, mod_auth_mellon, mutt, nbdkit, net-snmp, nss-softokn, okular, php, podman, polkit, poppler and evince, procps-ng, python, python-twisted-web, python3, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, qt, rsyslog, samba, skopeo, squid, systemd, taglib, texlive, unzip, virt:8.1, wireshark, and zziplib), Slackware (gnutls and httpd), and SUSE (glibc, icu, kernel, and mariadb).

          • Kali NetHunter Updates

            Many outstanding discoveries have been made by our vibrant NetHunter community since 2020.1, so we have decided to publish a mid-term release to showcase these amazing developments on selected devices.

            [..].

            The Android 8.1 image is considered the recommended release with a proven track record of supporting NetHunter under the most extreme conditions, including force encryption of the data partition.

            Considering the current maturity of Android 10 for this platform, we would consider this version to be most suited for those who love to experiment and don’t mind getting things working by themselves. We had to edit the vendor fstab file on a laptop to disable force encryption because TWRP didn’t support it at the time of writing. If that doesn’t scare you then this image might be just right for you.

          • OpenWRT code-execution bug puts millions of devices at risk

            For almost three years, OpenWRT—the open source operating system that powers home routers and other types of embedded systems—has been vulnerable to remote code-execution attacks because updates were delivered over an unencrypted channel and digital signature verifications are easy to bypass, a researcher said.

            OpenWRT has a loyal base of users who use the freely available package as an alternative to the firmware that comes installed on their devices. Besides routers, OpenWRT runs on smartphones, pocket computers and even laptops and desktop PCs. Users generally find OpenWRT to be a more secure choice because it offers advanced functions and its source code is easy to audit.

            [...]

            These code-execution exploits are limited in their scope because adversaries must either be in a position to conduct a man-in-the-middle attack or tamper with the DNS server that a device uses to find the update on the Internet. That means routers on a network that has no malicious users and using a legitimate DNS server are safe from attack. Vranken also speculates that packet spoofing or ARP cache poisoning may also make attacks possible, but he cautions that he didn’t test either method.

            Despite the requirements, many networks connect people who are unknown or untrusted by the device operator. What’s more, attacks that replace router settings pointing to a legitimate DNS to a malicious one are a fact of life on the Internet, as in-the-wild attack here, here, here, and here (to name just a few) demonstrate.

          • OpenWRT code-execution bug puts millions of devices at risk

            The headline may be a bit overwrought, though.

          • How Hackers Are Targeting Networks Amidst Coronavirus Threat?

            There is no doubt that COVID-19 has created fear, panic and uncertainty among the public, but it has also opened new possibilities for hackers to increase cyber attacks using different approaches. According to reports in the last few weeks, hackers are taking advantage of the current situation to spread fake news about important information related to government notices, school closures, health risks etc.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Malaysia de-mystifies tone policing

      When the leaders of free software organizations want to avoid answering questions about money and conflicts of interest, one of their most popular fudges is to have some sidekick come in and complain about the tone of the question. These are the tone police. Beware.

      What, then, is the correct tone for women and volunteers to use when asking husbands and leaders about money?

      The Malaysian Government has provided an insight: try to sound like the cartoon character Doraemon.

      [...]

      In her infamous talk about enforcement at FOSDEM 2019, Molly de Blanc insists that it is necessary to follow through on community guidelines. She even gives a horrendous picture of a cat behind bars, how would Doraemon feel looking at that?

      This is no laughing matter unfortunately. A recent survey found one in five women still believe husbands deserve to beat ‘disobedient’ wives as they enforce Codes of Conduct in the home.

      As we read that, we couldn’t help wondering if the rate of domestic homicides will increase in 2020 and if so, is the Code of Conduct to blame for that?

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • EPO Extends Most Deadlines In Response To COVID‑19 Pandemic

        The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced that it will be extending some deadlines to 17 April 2020, and that this date may be further extended. The extension will apply to periods expiring on or after 15 March 2020. The extension would apply to some deadlines for both European applications and to international applications (i.e. applications under the Patent Cooperation Treaty) that are the subject of proceedings before the EPO.

        It is very important to note that not all deadlines will be extended according to the above remedy. The rules that determine whether the extension applies are, unfortunately, complex and so we would not advise relying on this remedy unless necessary. The spirit of this law is to assist applicants where the disruption might prevent a deadline from being met, and so we would encourage that responses are filed in the normal time period if possible.

        In particular, this extension will not apply to deadlines for filing divisional applications.

      • EPO Calls Off Oral Hearings Through April Due To COVID-19

        The European Patent Office announced Wednesday that it is not holding any oral hearings at the appeals board through April, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

        A day after lowering the Italian and EPO flags at its sites to honor the lives lost to the novel coronavirus, the office said in a statement that it is limiting some of its judicial activities by holding off on all oral proceedings before the Boards of Appeal until April 30.

        The appeals board will continue to issue written decisions, as well as summons and communications involving oral hearings — including informing those whose cases have been affected by the EPO’s decision, it said.

Links 1/4/2020: Linux 5.7 Merges, Qt 5.14.2, GhostBSD 20.03, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Plans, WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

Posted in News Roundup at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Performing A Linux System Backup The Right Way

      In order to conduct a full system backup, you need to first create a directory called bin. The second step involves informing Linux that bash will be used as the interpreter with the following command.

    • Is the Switch from Windows to Linux Really That Hard? [Ed: Bogdan Popa, Microsoft "News Editor" aka Microsoft propaganda at Softpedia, now pushing a bunch of Microsoft talking points while using entities corrupted and bribed to drop Linux as "proof" GNU/Linux is "hard"]
    • This is what HoneyComb LX2K 16-core Arm Workstation Looks Like (Video)

      Back in February 2019, while referring to Arm server, Linus Torvalds famously said:

      I can pretty much guarantee that as long as everybody does cross-development, the platform won’t be all that stable. Or successful.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • My story of transitioning from Mac to Linux

        There’s growing awareness in the design community about the importance of design ethics and the way proprietary technology subjugates users. As a user experience designer, I believe technology should be designed to respect the earth as well as creators and users. Using and contributing to Linux is one way to align my design ethics with my practice.

        This is why I bought a ThinkPad and installed the Linux distribution Elementary OS, even though macOS is, by far, the most popular operating system among designers. Linux doesn’t have a great reputation for ease of use, and switching operating systems can be disorienting and frustrating. When I told people I was making the switch, many (especially designers!) thought I was foolish. However, after making the switch, I am happy to report that I have a design workflow that I really love and an operating system that aligns with my values.

      • Help with COVID-19 research using Folding@home on Linux

        Right now, every human on the planet is affected in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are looking for ways they can help. People are making masks and starting projects to invent or provide critical equipment. One thing you can do is donate what you have. If you’re like me, you have computing hardware sitting idle much of the time—that’s a resource that can contribute to finding a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as things like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

        [...]

        Folding@home started in 2000 with volunteers donating CPU and GPU time on computers that would otherwise be idle to work on things like creating antibiotics and curing cancer, and since then has made many important contributions. Currently, Folding@home makes more than 100 petaflops of processing power available to researchers. One current high-priority project is the research being done to find ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

        The Folding@home software can be installed on almost any computer. There are client downloads for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There is a VMware appliance. There are also projects to get the client running on Android and a Chrome plugin. There’s even a Docker image.

        In this article, we’ll look at the Linux install and configuration, and we’ll look at a headless install for CentOS 7 that you can use to build multiple VMs.

      • Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers launch custom InfinityBook laptop

        TUXEDO Computers is a pretty cool company that not only sells machines running Linux, but partners with Linux distribution developers for officially licensed branded laptops too. For instance, Tuxedo partnered with Kubuntu on the official Focus laptop. It’s a great way for Linux users to represent their favorite Linux-based operating system while also financially supporting the developers.

        Today, Manjaro Linux and TUXEDO Computers launch the InfinityBook Manjaro laptop. This is Tuxedo’s 15.6-inch InfinityBook, customized with Manjaro branding and that Linux-based operating system pre-installed.

      • TUXEDO Computers Announces InfinityBook Manjaro Linux Laptop

        TUXEDO Computers in collaboration with Manjaro Linux announced today a new variant of their popular InfinityBook Linux laptop powered exclusively by Manjaro Linux, InfinityBook Manjaro.

        The InfinityBook Manjaro laptop is, in fact, an InfinityBook Pro 15 laptop, but highly optimized by the Manjaro development team to offer customers the best user experience and battery life on a Linux-powered laptop.

        By joining forces, both TUXEDO Computers and the Manjaro Project will provide customers with the technical and software support they need for the new laptop, which is fully configurable.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Arm is Here | LINUX Unplugged 347

        We discover a few simple Raspberry Pi tricks that unlock incredible performance and make us re-think the capabilities of Arm systems.

        Plus we celebrate Wireguard finally landing in Linux, catch up on feedback, and check out the new Manjaro laptop.

      • User Error: What Will Change Post-virus? | Jupiter Extras 67

        Joe, Alan, and Dan speculate about what the world will be like after the situation with Coronavirus is under control and life returns to something resembling normality.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 86

        The impacts of Coronovirus on Linux and open source, KDE Korner, and whether we are seeing the second big split in the FOSS world.

      • All Backup Solutions for the Home | Rsync, Synology, and FreeNAS
      • 2020-03-31 | Linux Headlines

        The MANRS initiative gains several new members, GitLab wants customers to help migrate premier features to its free tier, Eclipse Theia reaches 1.0, Lutris lands Humble Bundle game store integration, and Steam scales back automatic updates.

      • An Open Source Toolchain For Natural Language Processing From Explosion AI

        The state of the art in natural language processing is a constantly moving target. With the rise of deep learning, previously cutting edge techniques have given way to robust language models. Through it all the team at Explosion AI have built a strong presence with the trifecta of SpaCy, Thinc, and Prodigy to support fast and flexible data labeling to feed deep learning models and performant and scalable text processing. In this episode founder and open source author Matthew Honnibal shares his experience growing a business around cutting edge open source libraries for the machine learning developent process.

      • mintCast 331.5 – Audio Schmaudio

        In our Innards section, we talk more about how we do this show.

        And finally, our listener feedback and a few suggestions.

      • Checking out Ubuntu 20.04 Ahead of its Release

        Ubuntu 20.04 is coming soon! Ahead of the new release, I check out the current state of this in-progress distribution, in anticipation of its April 2020 release.

      • LHS Episode #335: Clean My Glasses

        Welcome to Episode 335 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this short topics episode, we cover COVID-19 and contesting (duh), virtual amateur radio exams, emergency broadband on 5.8GHz, the Hamvention 2020 QSO party, exFAT, OBS, AREDN and much more. Thank you for listening. Stay safe and play more radio!

    • Kernel Space

      • WireGuard VPN added to Linux 5.6

        Linux users now have another choice when it comes to protecting themselves online as WireGuard VPN has been added to the Linux kernel in version 5.6.

        Up until now, the fast and flexible VPN, which was designed specifically for Linux implementations, was only available as a third-party addition. However, WireGuard VPN is now available by default with release of Linux 5.6.

        In an announcement, president and security researcher at Edge Security, Jason Donenfeld explained that future Linux kernels will have WireGuard built-in by default, saying…

      • Linux 5.6 Debuts with Wireguard Secure VPN for Remote Networking

        On March 29, Linux creator Linus Torvalds released the Linux 5.6 kernel providing a long list of new features. Of particular note for networking professionals is the inclusion of WireGuard Virtual Private Network (VPN) open source technology. Work to include WireGuard directly into Linux has been ongoing since March 2019 though WireGuard development itself has been ongoing since 2015.

        At its core, WireGuard is a secure network tunnel written especially for Linux, and optimized for performance and ease of configuration.

        “It has been designed with the primary goal of being both easy to audit by virtue of being small and highly secure from a cryptography and systems security perspective,” WireGuard creator Jason Donenfeld wrote in a Linux Kernel Mailing List (LKML) commit message.

        Even before WireGuard was directly integrated into Linux, it had been available in what is known as an out-of-tree module, as wall as userspace tools. By being directly integrated into Linux, WireGuard is now however even more accessible to a wider user community. In contrast with other options for VPN, WireGuard provides a very small attack surface for any potential attacker.

      • It’s Looking Like Android Could Be Embracing WireGuard – “A Sane VPN”

        Following the release of Linux 5.6 and WireGuard 1.0 declared, Google has now enabled WireGuard within their Android open-source Linux kernel build.

        Android’s Generic Kernel Image (GKI) now has the WireGuard support enabled as a built-in option as of yesterday. In the Git commit enabling it, Google’s Greg Kroah-Hartman commented, “Add native kernel support for a sane VPN.”

        The upstream WireGuard project has long offered an Android port available from the Play Store as a user-space implementation while it’s promising that Google is now enabling the WireGuard support as part of the GKI kernel for Android. WireGuard was upstreamed in Linux 5.6 after years of development and working out the encryption kernel changes that previously held up its integration.

      • Linux 5.6, Bootlin contributions inside

        Linux 5.6 was released last Sunday. As usual, LWN has the best coverage of the new features merged in this release: part 1 and part 2. Sadly, the corresponding KernelNewbies page has not yet been updated with the usual very interesting summary of the important changes.

        Bootlin contributed a total of 95 patches to this release, which makes us the 27th contributing company by number of commits, according to the statistics.

      • [Collaborans] Linux Kernel 5.6

        The Linux kernel development process has always prided itself in being a distributed effort, with contributions coming in from all parts of the world. Long before video conferencing became the new normal, kernel developers were collaborating remotely, using tools like IRC and mailing lists to successfully work together. It comes to no surprise, then, that despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, kernel development has continued.

        Of course, the merge window for kernel 5.6 closed before most countries had implemented any COVID-19 countermeasures. Since then, most of us have been, and continue to be, affected by COVID-19 in one way or another. And while 5.7 already promises to be another great release, what matters most right now is that everyone in the community stays safe. Take care of yourselves and those around you!

        That being said, kernel 5.6 was released over the weekend, so let’s take a look at the various projects Collaborans have been involved in, and the progress made. As usual, you can learn more about this release in thise LWN posts: part 1, part 2, and development statistics.

      • FSINFO System Call, Mount Notifications Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Provide Better Storage Details

        Red Hat’s David Howells has sent in pull requests introducing the new fsinfo() system call and mount/superblock notifications and as part of that a general notification mechanism for the kernel.

        This stems from work Howells has been pursuing for the past several months for exposing more file-system information and mount notifications. The fsinfo() system call exposes more file-system / VFS information like file-system UUIDs, capabilities, mount attributes, and other possible bits. With the fsinfo() pull request are also implementations for EXT4 and NFS.

      • Linux 5.7 EFI Changes: “The GRUB Project Is Showing Signs Of Life Again”

        Ingo Molnar on Monday began sending in his feature pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window. Of the pull requests worth noting are the EFI changes.

        Molnar characterized the GRUB boot-loader project as “showing signs of life again” following the recent introduction of a generic Linux/UEFI boot protocol rather than “x86 specific hacks”. The hope is that over time all new extensions will be introduced via that protocol to avoid these hacks for cleaning up the EFI kernel boot code in due course.

      • Linux 5.7 For 64-bit ARM Brings In-Kernel Pointer Authentication, Activity Monitors

        The 64-bit ARM architecture code will support several new features with the in-development Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Highlights of the 64-bit ARM (AArch64 / ARM64) code for Linux 5.7 include:

        - In-kernel pointer authentication is now supported. Back in 2018 added to the kernel was pointer authentication support but only exposed for user-space usage. As explained back then, “Pointer authentication can be supported by ARMv8.3 hardware and newer to allow for signing and authenticating of pointers against secret keys. The purpose of this pointer authentication is to mitigate ROP attacks and other potential buffer-overrun-style attacks.” Now with Linux 5.7 the ARMv8.3+ pointer authentication support also works within the kernel.

      • Linux 5.7 Networking Changes Bring Qualcomm IPA, New Intel Driver Additions

        The networking changes for the Linux 5.7 kernel have already been merged and as usual there is a lot of new wired and wireless networking driver activity.

        Some of the highlights in the networking subsystem for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Introducing the Qualcomm IPA driver as the IP Accelerator. The IPA allows for network functionality like filtering, routing, and NAT to be performed without occupying the main application processor. The IPA driver also allows for the modem’s LTE network to be made available to the application processor. This driver is based on previous open-source Qualcomm code and has been floating around the mailing list for the past few years while now finally is merged.

      • Linux 5.7 Media Updates Add H.264 / H.265 / VP9 Decode To The Meson Driver

        The media subsystem updates have landed for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        The media subsystem updates are predominantly made up by individual media driver updates as usual. Some of the highlights include:

        - The Amlogic Meson VDEC driver now has support for VP9 decoding, H.264 decoding, and HEVC decode.

      • Linux 5.7 Power Management Includes Fixes, Tiny Power Button Driver

        Intel’s Rafael Wysocki who oversees the kernel’s power management area has sent in his relevant pull requests for the Linux 5.7 kernel merge window.

        Highlights of the power management updates for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Support for Krait-based SoCs within the Qualcomm driver.

      • Linux 5.7′s USB Changes Range From Apple Fast Charging To Reporting USB-C Orientation

        With the newly-minted Linux 5.6 kernel is initial support for USB4 based on Intel’s Thunderbolt code while for Linux 5.7 is a wide variety of other USB changes.

        There aren’t any big USB4 changes to note with the Linux 5.7 kernel that is now going through its merge window. But there are plenty of other interesting USB changes for the 5.7 version…

      • Split Lock Detection Sent In For Linux 5.7 To Spot Performance Issues, Unprivileged DoS

        The previously reported work on split lock detection due to its big performance hit is now queued up for Linux 5.7.

        Split locks occur when an atomic instruction spans multiple cache lines and requires a global bus lock for ensuring atomicity. These split locks can take at least 1,000 more cycles than an atomic operation within a single cache line.

      • Intel Begins Prepping More Linux Code For Data Streaming Accelerator In Sapphire Rapids

        Last year Intel outlined the Data Streaming Accelerator (DSA) as a feature on future Intel CPUs for high-performance data movement and transformation operations for networking and storage / persistent memory. We are now seeing more of the Intel DSA work beginning to take shape for the Linux kernel.

      • The Linux 5.7 Scheduler Changes Bring Prominent Additions For Intel & Arm CPUs

        Ingo Molnar on Monday sent in the scheduler updates for the Linux 5.7 kernel that saw its merge window open at the start of this week. For the Linux 5.7 cycle are a number of prominent scheduler additions.

        Highlights on the scheduler side for Linux 5.7 include:

        - NUMA scheduling updates so the load balancer and placement logic do not fight each other in order to improve locality and utilization with less migrations.

      • Linux 5.7 Graphics Driver Updates Enable Tiger Lake By Default, OLED Backlight Support

        The Linux 5.7 Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) updates have been submitted as the kernel graphics driver changes for this next kernel feature release. As usual, there is a lot of work especially on the Intel and AMD Radeon side while nothing was queued for the open-source NVIDIA (Nouveau) driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 20.04 GNOME X.Org vs. Wayland Session Performance Impact For Gaming

        In the past using the Wayland-based GNOME Shell session and other Wayland compositors has generally resulted in a performance hit in going through (X)Wayland but that is much less so these days. Here are some initial benchmarks of Ubuntu 20.04 running various Steam Linux gaming benchmarks both under the default X.Org-based session and then again when using the Wayland session and its (X)Wayland support.

    • Applications

      • Telegram Desktop 2.0 Release Adds Chat Folders, New Animated Emoji

        Telegram Desktop 2.0 arrives five months after the 1.9 series and more than three years after the 1.0 milestone. As expected, this is major update and introduces several new features.

        One of the biggest new feature of the Telegram Desktop 2.0 release include the ability to organize your chats into so-called “Chat Folders” whenever you think you have too many chats opened.

        Another interesting feature is support for creating custom folders with flexible settings. In addition, the client now also lets users use default recommendations when creating custom folders.

      • Kushal Das: Introducing ManualBox project

        One of the major security features of the QubesOS is the file vaults, where access to specific files can only happen via user input in the GUI applet. Same goes to the split-ssh, where the user has to allow access to the ssh key (actually on a different VM).

        I was hoping to have similar access control to important dotfiles with passwords, ssh private keys, and other similar files on my regular desktop system. I am introducing ManualBox which can provide similarly access control on normal Linux Desktops or even on Mac.

      • OCRFeeder – Where images go to text

        Recently, finding really cool, new, unique Linux software has become a difficult task. A chore. And by recently, I actually meant these past four or five years, even since the slow decline of enthusiasm and innovation in the desktop space started. After all, there’s a limit to how much good stuff can exist in a finite volume of intellect, but let’s not forget the wrong shift of focus to mobile and the shattering of the year-of-the-Linux dream.

        This makes my test of a four-year-old piece of software named OCRFeeder valid, I think. For two reasons. If it’s good, it’s good. Second, I’ve always been interested in the progress of optical character recognition, and whether our tools (read AI) can do a reasonable job here. I wrote about this in detail a while back, and then reviewed YAGF in 2015. Now, let’s have a look at OCRFeeder and what it can do. After me, brave Linux warriors.

      • Nutty – A network monitoring app for Linux

        After the internet revolution, it’s important to be connected with the cyber world to get things done. Skipping the complicated intricacies of how the internet works, on a personal level, we connect to the internet through various ways, like WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) or Wi-Fi to put it simply, or some kind of a wired connection to a router, or in some cases, cellular networks.

        Whatever the medium be, we almost always require a way to monitor and manage the network connection(s). We are going to suggest a program for the purpose named Nutty.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Joachim Breitner: Animations in Kaleidogen

        A while ago I wrote a little game (or toy) called Kaleidogen. It is a relatively contemplative game where, starting from just unicolored disks, you combine abstract circular patterns to breed more interesting patterns. See my FARM 2019 talk for more details, or check out the source repository.

      • ‘Suits: A Business RPG’, a small indie comedy RPG has been updated with better Linux support

        Suits: A Business RPG is a mysterious comedy game that was released more than four years ago; from time to time it’s being featured as part of Steam’s Weeklong Deals, as it is the case right now (50% discounted), so I’ve been looking into it for some time.

      • Struggling with regular expressions? Then visit ‘Regex Crossword’, a site to learn them through a Sudoku-like game

        The website features several sections to make the levels as varied as possible. There is also another area which includes levels made by other users, along with a stats page. Also, if you check the Help and FAQ section, you will be recommended other tools and online resources in case you want to learn a bit more about regexs. Don’t forget to use an account so that your progress on the levels can be saved.

        Finally, although this project is “something we do for fun”, you can donate via PayPal or several cryptocurrencies (check the Help and FAQ section to see which ones are available) to help with hosting expenses and to keep ensuring further improvements and levels.

      • ‘Tilesetter’ is a program for developers that aims to optimize the tileset generation process; demo available

        Judging by the number of followers on their Twitter account and the user reviews on Steam, Tilesetter seems to embody the definition of “obscure”, but at the same time it must be remarked that except one, all of those reviews are positive and endorsed by a lot of other people, so while I’m not the indicated person to recommend you to use it or not (I’m not a developer), there are enough signs that would suggest this may be a particularly useful program to help you save a lot of time when creating your tilesets.

      • Intel used AMD code to get a 10% frame-rate boost in some Linux games

        This should be another promising step forward for gaming on Linux, then, at least for those who are using an Intel GPU (in other words, integrated graphics – although Intel does have discrete Xe graphics cards in the pipeline for the future at some point, which we’ve been hearing a lot about in recent times).

        Of course, Valve has been pushing hard elsewhere in the Linux gaming arena, most notably with the release of Proton (back in 2018) for allowing Steam (Windows) games to be played on Linux systems with a minimum of overhead and performance loss.

      • The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle is live with lots of Linux games and all going to charity

        The Humble Conquer COVID-19 Bundle has arrived to help in the fight, with tons of games (and lots for Linux) and 100% of the proceeds of this will go to charity.

      • You can build you own bundle of Codemasters racing games over on Humble Bundle

        Got the need for speed? Codemasters might possibly be able to help with that, as they have a new bundle over on Humble Bundle where you pick what games you want.

        A good time to complete your racing game collection perhaps, there’s quite a few of them here. The way it works is that if you pick at least three, your discount gets bigger. The same happens if you pick 4 and 5 titles with each again giving you a bigger discount in total. There’s various DiRT games, lots of F1 titles and others.

      • Legend of Keepers from Goblinz Studio manages to sell over 33K copies in less than a month

        Always nice to see an indie developer doing reasonably well! Goblinz Studio, creator of Legend of Keepers: Career of a Dungeon Master, have announced a pretty great start for it.

        Releasing only on March 19, they said on Twitter how they were going to do a special message about it hitting a 30K milestone but they hit over 33K before being able to to do so. It’s important to note that this is across Humble, GOG and Steam together. They also mentioned in another Twitter post about 4 days after release, that it had sold 1.3K copies on GOG alone in that time.

      • Paradox to give players a lot more guidance in Crusader Kings 3 – new overview video

        Crusader Kings is a complicated grand strategy series and not particularly accessible to new people. Crusader Kings 3 aims to change that as they’ve said before and over this month they gave more detail on what they’re doing.

        Through March they put out new developer diaries focusing on tutorials, governments, war, civil war and more. Paradox is paying particular attention to making the interface of Crusader Kings III much easier to understand, with a full guided tutorial that runs through various parts of the interface and the gameplay mechanics. One of the major differences will be Tooltips, a great many of them and once you get through the guided tutorial you then get special mini-tutorials to follow along so you don’t get overwhelmed.

      • Fates of Ort is an RPG where time stops until you move – it’s absolutely great and it’s out now

        We’ve got a lot of turn-based RPGs, a few real-time with pausing and a few entirely real-time but Fates of Ort still manages to make it all feel so new and interesting again. Think SUPERHOT as a retro pixel-art RPG and you get the idea. Not some gimmick either, as it works brilliantly. Also making it quite unique is the Magic system, which consumes your own life—as they say “Magic is powerful, but it is not free.”. So you not only need to plan your moves, watching enemies move when you move but also plan how and when to use your magic and not overly so to cause your own death.

      • Valve’s revamp of Artifact with a 2.0 Beta will start going out to players sometime soon

        Valve recently announced to expect news for their card game Artifact sometime soon, and now they’re saying an Artifact 2.0 Beta will start trickling out to players.

        In the announcement on Steam, they made it clear that they’ve been working on revamping the core mechanics of Artifact. You will now be able to zoom out any time, to see and interact with all three lanes at once. However, the “majority” of effect still only work across one lane so they’re all still important but a player is less likely to get shut out of a lane like they used to.

        Something better is that Valve will no longer sell cards, so there’s no chance of facing an opponent with more money who has a completely stacked deck to steamroll over you. There’s even a new “Hero Draft” mode, “that gives you a taste of constructing decks without all the pressure”.

      • Imperator: Rome free to play until April 5, plus Archimedes update and Magna Graecia content pack out now

        Imperator: Rome from Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio today had a huge update release along with a new DLC content pack and you can play free until April 5.

      • Manage the flow of passengers in ‘STATIONflow’ – leaving Early Access on April 15

        STATIONflow is a game about managing a very busy underground train station that’s currently in Early Access with Linux support, which is to officially release on April 15.

        Quite a complex-looking game that has you build 3D layouts, guiding passengers around to their destinations. You drag and drop corridors and platforms around, with a free-form layout system so that the flow of passengers is only as good as your imagination for planning. This also means you can constantly optimise and re-build, when you discover a better layout.

      • Get ready to play with renaissance paintings as ‘The Procession to Calvary’ releases in April

        The Procession to Calvary has such a brilliant idea with it bringing Renaissance Paintings to life in a point and click style adventure. I am genuinely excited to play this. Just recently announced for released on April 9, it brings together classic pieces from Rembrandt, Botticelli, Michelangelo and many more in a unique way to provide a special new world to explore.

      • Valve makes auto-update adjustments to help with managing Steam’s bandwidth use

        After multiple streaming services announced they were dropping their quality for a while, to help internet providers cope with so many more at home, Valve have started speaking about their own ways to manage bandwidth too.

        In the blog post on Steam, Valve mentioned how they’ve now adjusted download priorities so that games you’ve not played recently will move from using off-peak timings for auto-updates to spreading them over multiple days. Only games you’ve played in the last three days will update immediately. This doesn’t change you clicking on a game that needs an update, as it will begin to update as normal when you request it. They also said they’re looking into “additional solutions to help on our side” so we might see more download options in the Steam client eventually.

      • 5 Reasons Why This Linux Gaming OS Is Great For Your Living Room

        Valve’s Steam Machines initiative has been retired and SteamOS is on hiatus, but Steam Big Picture mode is still an awesome way to transform your PC into a living room console experience. For those of us who like the idea of having a computer dedicated to couch gaming (read: not your daily driver OS), a boutique Linux distribution called GamerOS is worth checking out. Especially since it picks up the baton where Valve left off and adds substantial tweaks and improvements.

        In a nutshell, GamerOS is an Arch Linux-based operating system that’s streamlined to do one thing very well: run Steam Big Picture. In fact, that’s all it does. There is no desktop environment. Your first boot places you directly into Steam Big Picture and that’s where you’ll live on GamerOS.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Vs Kubuntu Vs Neon Vs Plasma – What’s the Difference

          If you are a new Linux user and started exploring distros for your own need, you may already have come across KDE. And I am sure you heard of Kubuntu, KDE Plasma and KDE Neon. With so many KDE flavors, it is a little confusing. Well, that’s why this article, to clear things up and the difference between them.

        • Behind Plasma Bigscreen

          Plasma has been designed from the get go (2006 or so.. it seems at least 2 eternities agoto not make any assumptions on the type of device and to do a clear separation between the core technology/runtime and the various GUI plugins that end up implementing a full desktop experience.

          In an architecture decision informed by previous prototypes we did in KDE4 times for mobile devices UIs, in Plasma 5 we split it further and introduced the concept of a “shell package” which lets further customization between devices than what Plasma in KDE4 times allowed.

          Because of that we could do the Plasma Mobile shell without changes to the architecture that runs both the Desktop shell and the mobile version, despite being a completely different UI.

        • KDE Plasma 5.18.4 LTS Desktop Environment Brings More Than 40 Fixes

          Coming three weeks after the Plasma 5.18.3 point release, which introduced a bunch of Flatpak improvements and more than 60 fixes, the KDE Plasma 5.18.4 LTS release is here to add more than 40 bug fixes to various of the desktop environments core components.

          Among the changes, there’s improved support for the upcoming Qt 5.15 application framework for Breeze and libksysguard components and better support for the fwupd open-source daemon for installing firmware updates on devices in the Discover package manager.

          Flatpak support in Discover was also improved by fixing two issues. Moreover, XSettingsd was added as a runtime dependency to KDE GTK Config, kwallet-pam now works with pam_fscrypt, and KWin now allow the creation of more than one row on the “Virtual Desktops” settings page.

        • Qt 5.14.2 Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Qt 5.14.2.

          As usual this second patch release to Qt 5.14 series doesn’t bring any new features but provide several bug fixes and other improvements. Compared to Qt 5.14.1 there are more than 200 bug fixes included in this release. For details of the most important changes please check the Changes files for Qt 5.14.2.

          At this same time we have also released update to Qt for Python, which can be obtained via pip.

          Qt 5.14.2 can be updated by using the online installer’s maintenance tool. For new installations please download the latest online installer from the Qt Account or from the qt.io download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users via the Qt Account and via the qt.io download page for open-source users.

        • SMPlayer – A Free Media Player for All Formats

          SMPlayer is a free and open-source media player built with codecs that enable it to play virtually all audio and video formats on Windows and Linux operating systems. It has a beautiful graphical user interface courtesy of the award-winning MPlayer with added features such as the option to download subtitles and play YouTube videos.

          Apart from housing all the features expected in any media player, the most convenient thing about SMPlayer is that once you wouldn’t need to install any codecs for specific audio or video formats because it ships with all of them preinstalled and still manages to maintain a small package size.

        • Norbert Preining: Fixing the Breeze Dark theme for gtk3 apps

          It has been now about two weeks that I switched to KDE/Plasma on all my desktops, and to my big surprise, that went much more smooth than I thought. There are only a few glitches with respect to the gtk3 part of the Breeze Dark theme I am using, which needed fixup.

        • Latte Dock development news

          I would like to thank everyone for its love concercing Latte and kde community for its big acceptance. It is no secret that for the last two years I am the single and only Latte developer. For me it is just my fun project that I also share to the community. If anyone wants to participate by contributing code and patches for review can do so easily through kde phabricator page. I also want to thank of course the kde translators and its team that contribute translations to Latte weekly.

          In previous month users had asked when Latte v0.10.~ will become the stable version. So as it appears I do not have time to make this possible until this summer so as a first step it will be delayed for Christmas 2020 and if it is not ready then it will be delayed even more. Of course and I do not want to burn out and I want to keep other aspects of my life healthy.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Where are the best GNOME communities

          As with all open source projects, GNOME is developed by volunteers as well as employees. These people communicate in many ways to drive the project forward. For development, the old way is mailing lists for discussion and repository sites for the actual code and issue tracking. When you want something that does not exist yet or have a problem you cannot solve, you need to find the communities passionate about GNOME. This takes a bit of effort, so here are some places to start. If you start developing, you need to find a community that talks your programming language. Many will also deal with GNOME, as a side effect if not as their main activity.

        • API changes in Tracker 3.0

          Lots has happened in the 2 months since my last post, most notably the global coronavirus pandemic … in Spain we’re in week 3 of quarantine lockdown already and noone knows when it is going to end.

          Let’s take our mind off the pandemic and talk about Tracker 3.0. At the start of the year Carlos worked on some key API changes which are now merged. It’s a good opportunity to recap what’s really changing in the new version.

          I made the developer documentation for Tracker 3.0 available online. Thanks to GitLab, this can be updated every time we merge a change in Git. The documentation a work in progress and we appreciate if you can help us to improve it.

          The documentation contains a migration guide, but let’s have a broader look at some common use cases.

        • Sandboxing WebKitGTK Apps

          When you connect to a Wi-Fi network, that network might block your access to the wider internet until you’ve signed into the network’s captive portal page. An untrusted network can disrupt your connection at any time by blocking secure requests and replacing the content of insecure requests with its login page. (Of course this can be done on wired networks as well, but in practice it mainly happens on Wi-Fi.) To detect a captive portal, NetworkManager sends a request to a special test address (e.g. http://fedoraproject.org/static/hotspot.txt) and checks to see whether it the content has been replaced. If so, GNOME Shell will open a little WebKitGTK browser window to display http://nmcheck.gnome.org, which, due to the captive portal, will be hijacked by your hotel or airport or whatever to display the portal login page.

        • DevConf.CZ 2020

          Once again, DevConf.CZ, is our meeting-while-freezing winter conference in Brno. For this year I cooked up two talks:

          An hour-long talk about Portals during the first day of the conference. The room was almost full and the questions were very relevant. A few attendees met me after the talk seeking help to make their apps start using Portals and with ideas for new Portals. You can watch the recordings below:

          On the last conference day, I had a quick twenty minutes talk about GNOME Boxes in the virtualization track. The audience wasn’t our known faces from the desktop talks, so I got the chance to show Boxes for the first time for a bunch of people. I did a quick presentation with live demos and Q&A. It was a success IMHO. Check the recordings below:

        • GNOME’s Mutter Working On Variable Refresh Rate Support (VRR / Adaptive-Sync / FreeSync)

          Sway’s Wayland compositor recently added Variable Refresh Rate / Adaptive-Sync support to help avoid tearing and stuttering while now GNOME’s Mutter is working on similar VRR support on the desktop.

          A work-in-progress patch series was posted over the weekend for adding variable refresh rate support into Mutter for X.Org and Wayland. This includes checking for VRR support from connected monitors using the DRM properties, support for activating VRR, and the ability to toggle the VRR support via a DBus API. The VRR support isn’t advertised to Wayland clients at the moment for the lack of an upstream Wayland protocol around VRR.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.03 Now Available

          I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.03. This new build comes with some minor system update and numerous software applications updates.

        • GhostBSD 20.03 Is Out As The Latest Monthly Update To This Desktop BSD

          If you are looking for a new desktop-friendly BSD with TrueOS being phased out, GhostBSD 20.03 is out as the promising desktop-focused OS based on FreeBSD and using the MATE desktop environment as a decent out-of-the-box experience.

          With GhostBSD 20.03, using pkg for package management now uses GhostBSD package repositories by default rather than upstream FreeBSD, update handling fixes, a WireGuard fix for its network management handling, and other updates.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • screenFetch in LMDE4

          Got that Linux Mint Debian Edition 4 installed on my Dell XPS laptop, and it looks and feels amazing!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • क्या openSUSE Asia Summit 2020 अब भी भारत में होगा ?
        • Managing Compliance for Linux Systems with SUSE® Manager 4

          SUSE® Manager 4 is a best-in-class open source infrastructure management solution that lowers costs, enhances availability and reduces complexity for lifecycle management of Linux systems in large, complex and dynamic IT landscapes. You can use SUSE® Manager 4 to configure, deploy and administer thousands of Linux systems running on hypervisors, as containers, on bare metal systems, on IoT devices and on third-party cloud platforms. SUSE® Manager 4 also allows you to manage virtual machines and enforce key best practices to ensure compliance through the whole lifecycle of all your Linux systems, from bare metal to containers, for both internal company policies and external regulations.

          [...]

          SUSE® Manager 4 offers a single user interface for managing the complete lifecycle of all your Linux systems, including virtual machines, containers and bare metal systems running in the cloud or on site. You only need to learn one tool to keep watch over deployments, configurations, upgrades and other significant events in the life of your Linux systems.

          The configuration, auditing and automation features of SUSE® Manager 4 make it easy to keep your systems in compliance. You can predefine a complete system configuration and watch for unauthorized changes automatically. SUSE® Manager 4 also checks for vulnerabilities defined through the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) list or OpenSCAP (Figure 1).

      • Oracley

        • Announcing the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 for Oracle Linux

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of the Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 for Oracle Linux.

          The Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel (UEK) for Oracle Linux provides the latest open source innovations and business-critical performance and security optimizations for cloud and on-premise deployment. It is the Linux kernel that powers Oracle Gen 2 Cloud and Oracle Engineered Systems such as Oracle Exadata Database Machine. Oracle Linux with UEK is available on the x86-64 and 64-bit Arm (aarch64) architectures.

        • Oracle Ships Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel 6 – Based On Linux 5.4 + DTrace Over BPF, Etc

          Oracle has announced their newest major release of their “Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel” that they continue spinning as an option for users of Oracle Linux and being the default within the Oracle Cloud.

          Unbreakable Enterprise Kernel Release 6 shifts their code-base from tracking the Linux 4.14 LTS kernel to now being on the Linux 5.4 LTS branch. That big version jump alone is significant with all of the new upstream features introduced since Linux 4.14′s debut in November 2017.

      • Arch Family

        • Obarun – An Arch Based Linux Distro Without Systemd

          Today’s Linux distribution review is not just for distro hoppers who love to try something new but it’s for people who have a specific purpose such as a Linux system without systemd. Systemd, as we all know, has always been criticized by a lot of developers and Linux users.

          Obarun is packed with enough utilities to install & start a vanilla Arch Linux without any trouble. I have written an article on how to install Arch step by step and it is a long article. But Obarun does the Arch installation in a very simple way. It comes with obarun-installer, a script that helps install Arch as easily as possible.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.7 Enters Development with New Features and Improvements

          The Flatpak 1.7 series debuts with a major change, namely simplified installation of the OSTree P2P (Peer-to-peer) support.

          As such, Flatpak 1.7 and later versions will no longer support installing apps from local network peers. Additionally, sideloading from a local USB stick will no longer be automatic and users must enable the feature by configuring a sideload repository.

          The sideload repository can be created by symlinking to it from /var/lib/flatpak/sideload-repos or /run/flatpak/sideload-repos, said Alexander Larsson, who promises that the P2P support will be more efficient due to this change.

          The first release in the Flatpak 1.7 unstable series also introduces new “host-etc” and “host-os” file system permissions to give access to system /usr and /etc.

        • What can the IBM z/OS core collection for Ansible do for automation on your z/OS systems?

          This blog post takes you through a sample playbook that accompanies the recent release of the IBM z/OS core collection.

        • Introducing OpenApi Specification to IBM Cloud Functions

          Powered by the Apache OpenWhisk project, IBM Cloud Functions is a serverless, event-driven programming platform designed for developing snippets of code set to perform a specific task. IBM Cloud Function’s ibmcloud fn deploy is a tool for capturing the configuration of a larger IBM Cloud Functions deployment, such as defining a state for all deployed actions, APIs, triggers, rules, and more.

          My colleagues and I have been working hard over the last few months to deliver a new way of defining APIs in OpenAPI Specification format to Apache OpenWhisk, and I am excited to announce it is now available in IBM Cloud Functions!

        • Powering SAP NetWeaver on RHEL 8

          SAP NetWeaver marks the technical foundation for many of the SAP Business Applications. SAP and Red Hat have worked jointly to deliver timely support of SAP technology stack on Red Hat’s latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. SAP officially announced the support for SAP NetWeaver based applications including SAP Business Suite, on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8 in production environments on February 27th. This adds to the existing SAP support for its major database products on RHEL 8, including SAP MaxDB, SAP ASE on Intel 64, and SAP HANA- on Intel 64, and also IBM’s Power 9 platform.

        • Avoiding the ragged edge: How open-source must navigate success and conflict to survive

          At the Open Source Summit in San Diego last summer, a representative from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation enthusiastically declared that open-source was entering its “golden age.”

          This raises two questions: What will that “golden age” look like, and how will open-source deal with its success?

          The evidence for open-source popularity is hard to dispute. Whether it’s the purchase of Red Hat Inc. by IBM Corp. for $34 billion in 2018 or surveys that show that at least 85% of businesses are using open-source software in some form, open-source has entered the mainstream enterprise world.

          However, success can also breed conflict with existing business models. In the electrical world, this clash is often called “impedance,” a measure of the opposition to the flow of alternating current through a circuit. For one prominent member of the open-source community, handling “impedance” in the form of conflict between legacy infrastructure and new technologies will be a key part of the open-source future.

        • Fedora 33 Plans To Default To OpenJDK 11 As The Default Java Version

          To date Fedora has defaulted to Java 1.8 / OpenJDK 8 as the default system JDK version but for Fedora 33 later this year they plan to transition to OpenJDK 11.

          OpenJDK 11 would be the default version for java/javac rather than the aging but still popular OpenJDK 8.

      • Debian Family

        • Uyuni 2020.03 released — with enhanced Debian support!

          Uyuni is a configuration and infrastructure management tool that saves you time and headaches when you have to manage and update tens, hundreds or even thousands of machines.

          Uyuni is a fork of Spacewalk that leverages Salt, Cobbler and containers to modernize it. Uyuni is the upstream for SUSE Manager (the main difference is support: with SUSE Manager you get it from SUSE; with Uyuni you get it from the community) and our development and feature discussion is done in the open.

          Last week we released Uyuni 2020.03, with much improved Debian support, coming from the community: we have got client tools (both the Salt stack and the traditional stack) for Debian 9 and 10, and bootstrapping support!

        • Chris Lamb: Free software activities in March 2020
        • UBports: Packaging of Lomiri Operating Environment for Debian (part 02)

          Before and during FOSDEM 2020, I agreed with the people (developers, supporters, managers) of the UBports Foundation to package the Unity8 Operating Environment for Debian. Since 27th Feb 2020, Unity8 has now become Lomiri.

        • Donald Trump resigns, releases Non-Platform for 2020 election

          Happy April Fool’s Day! We’re sad to report that we didn’t make up anything in the above email forgery. The shocking news is that all of it is fact.

        • Sparky news 2020/03

          The 3rd monthly #stayhome report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.6.0
          • ChourS2008 translated a few Sparky wiki pages to Russian, thanks a lot
          • Nemoman keep translating Sparky wiki pages to Hungarian, thanks a lot
          • I keep translating wiki pages to Polish as well
          • Sparky 2020.03 & 2020.03.1 of the rolling line released
          • Sparky 4.12 of the oldstable line released
          • added to our repos: ClipGrab, CudaText
          • Sparky repos changed to the named: oldstable-> tyche; stable-> nibiru; testing-> potolo; the old ones work as before alongside to the new ones; see also: sparkylinux.org/sparky-named-repos/
          • added Chines (zh_CN) fonts and other stuff to be installed via APTus-> System-> Install Locales tool (v0.4.27)

        • Jonathan Wiltshire: neuraldak

          We are proud to announce that dak, the Debian Archive Kit, has been replaced by a neural network for processing package uploads and other archive maintenance. All FTP masters and assistants have been re-deployed to concentrate on managing neuraldak.

          neuraldak is an advanced machine learning algorithm which has been taught about appropriate uploads, can write to maintainers about their bugs and can automatically make an evaluation about suitable licenses and code quality. Any uploads which do not meet its standards will be rejected with prejudice.

          [...]

          In terms of licensing , neuraldak has been seeded only with the GPL license. This we consider the gold standard of licenses, and its clauses will be the basis for neuraldak evaluating other licenses as it is exposed to them.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities March 2020

          The dh-make-perl feature requests, file bug report, File::Libmagic changes, autoconf-archive change, libpst work and the purple-discord upload were sponsored by my employer. All other work was done on a volunteer basis.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (March 2020)

          In March 2020, I have worked on the Debian LTS project for 10.25 hours (of 10.25 hours planned).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Linux publisher Canonical launches Managed Apps for enterprise DevOps teams

          Ubuntu creator Canonical is launching a new Managed Apps platform, allowing enterprises to have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical as a fully managed service.

          At launch the service will cover ten widely used cloud-native database and LMA (logging, monitoring and alerting) apps on multi-cloud Kubernetes but also on virtual machines across bare-metal, public and private cloud.

        • Canonical announces Managed Apps to simplify enterprise cloud operations

          Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, today announces Managed Apps – enabling enterprises to have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical as a fully managed service. At launch, Canonical will cover ten widely used cloud-native database and LMA (logging, monitoring and alerting) apps on multi-cloud Kubernetes but also on virtual machines across bare-metal, public and private cloud. Managed Apps free DevOps teams to focus on delivering business value and away from time-consuming management tasks, at a predictable cost.

          Canonical will manage databases including MySQL, InfluxDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB and ElasticSearch, the NFV management and orchestration application, Open Source Mano, and the event streaming platform, Kafka. App reliability can be assured with Canonical’s Managed apps service covering demand-based scaling, high availability for fault tolerance, security patching and updates. Managed Apps are backed by SLAs for uptime, 24/7 break/fix response, and organisations can monitor their app’s health through an integrated LMA stack and dashboard. This stack includes Grafana, Prometheus and Graylog and is also available as a standalone managed service.

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Community Wallpaper Contest Winners

          Note that the images listed above are resized for the website. For the full size images, make sure you have the package xubuntu-community-wallpapers installed. The package is installed by default in all new Xubuntu 20.04 installations.

          With Beta Freeze now in effect, these wallpapers may take a little longer than usual to land in the daily images. Keep a look out!

        • Canonical To Bring New Tools And Ubuntu Linux Support For Raspberry Pi

          With the release of Ubuntu 19.10, Canonical announced the official support roadmap for Raspberry Pi single-board computers. Not just v19.10, Raspberry Pi also supports the long-term release of Ubuntu 18.04.4.

          Along the same lines, Canonical has shared a new Ubuntu Raspberry Pi support roadmap to further strengthen their relationship. They now plan to bring in new tools, services and default official support for the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Critical Linux Kernel Vulnerability Patched in Ubuntu 19.10 and 18.04.4 LTS

          Discovered by Manfred Paul, the security vulnerability (CVE-2020-8835) was found in Linux kernel’s BPF (Berkeley Packet Filter) verifier, which incorrectly calculated register bounds for certain operations.

          This could allow a local attacker to either expose sensitive information (kernel memory) or gain administrative privileges and run programs as root user.

          The security issue affects all Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) and Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS (Bionic Beaver) releases running Linux kernel 5.3 on 64-bit, Raspberry Pi, KVM, as well as cloud environments like AWS, Azure, GCP, GKE, and Oracle Cloud.

        • Canonical Doubles Down on Raspberry Pi Support, Promises New Tools and Services

          After publishing their roadmap last year in November and making it easier to download Ubuntu for Raspberry Pi in early February 2020, Canonical keeps on its promise to fully support Raspberry Pi devices for its Ubuntu Linux operating system with a plethora of upcoming goodies.

          First and foremost, the company behind Ubuntu added support for the latest Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) release for 32-bit Raspberry Pi 2, 3 and 4 models, as well as Compute Modules, and 64-bit Raspberry Pi 3 and 4 models.

        • Linux Mint 20 Ulyana ISOs will only be available in 64-bit

          Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has announced that Linux Mint 20 will carry the codename Ulyana and that 32-bit ISOs will be dropped. This will see some aging computers lose support. While the 32-bit ISO will be dropped, 32-bit packages, where necessary, will still be available to those with a 64-bit install.

          If you still need a 32-bit Linux Mint ISO, you’ll either have to stay with Linux Mint 19.3 until it loses support in 2023, or you can switch to the newly released LMDE 4 which will receive the latest Linux Mint software such as Cinnamon. The decision to drop 32-bit ISOs in Linux Mint 20 was first revealed last summer when Canonical decided to remove support from Ubuntu 19.10. As Linux Mint uses Ubuntu as a base, it makes sense for Linux Mint 20 to follow suit in dropping support.

        • The Next Linux Mint Version Will Be Called Ulyana, Launch Only in 64-Bit

          But the biggest change, however, is the migration to 64-bit exclusively, as beginning with this new release, Linux Mint officially drops 32-bit versions.

          Going forward, Linux Mint will continue to be available in 64-bit only.

          The new Linux Mint 20 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04, the team also revealed, and will land in three different versions, namely Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce.

          Additionally, there is also important news for those currently running the latest version. LMDE will officially reach the end of support in July, which means that after this date, devices not yet upgraded to version 4 will no longer receive updates – of course, these systems will continue to run normally, but the lack of security updates and bug fixes make them more prone to issues and cyberattacks.

        • Linux Mint 20 Release Date & Features

          Well, that’s what this post is here to tell you. We will keep this roundup of Linux Mint 20 features and updates up-to-date as development happens until June, its expected release month.

          What do we about Linux Mint 20 so far?

        • Linux Mint 20 Doing Away With 32-Bit Support
        • Linux Mint 20 Codenamed “Ulyana,” Will Be Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Announced earlier this year along with the LMDE 4 release, the Linux Mint 20 operating system will be released sometime this summer and will be based on the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, due for release on April 23rd, 2020.

          The Linux Mint project continues the tradition of naming new Linux Mint releases alphabetically, and they revealed today in their monthly newsletter that Linux Mint 20 will be dubbed as “Ulyana.”

          Besides revealing the codename, the team also confirmed the fact that Linux Mint 20 will ship with the same three flavors we’re used until now, namely Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce, as well as the fact that it’ll be a 64-bit only release.

        • Linux Mint 20 is 64-bit only, based on Ubuntu 20.04, and named ‘Ulyana’

          Linux Mint is great operating system. It is based on the excellent Ubuntu and features three great desktop environment options — Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce. While it is a smart choice for Linux beginners, it is also good for experts too.

          Today, we learn some new details about the upcoming Linux Mint 20. While most of the newly revealed information is positive, there is one thing that is sure to upset many Linux Mint users.

        • Linux Mint 20 Codename “Ulyana”! What’s News in Linux Mint 20?

          Linux Mint 20: The team developers announced that the latest version of Linux Mint 20 going to be released a few months. Linux Mint 20 is officially code-named as “Ulyana“. Linux Mint 20 is developed based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS version. The team also said that the Linux Mint 20 will have many new software tweaks and hardware boost!

        • Monthly News – March 2020

          Many thanks to all of you for your support and for your donations. LMDE 4 took longer than we anticipated but we managed to add many new features into it and significantly close the gap with the Ubuntu release. Now that it’s released we’re focusing on the new development cycle and the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 package base.

          LMDE 3 EOL

          LMDE 3 will reach EOL (End-Of-Life) on July 1st 2020. Past that date the repositories will continue to work but the release will no longer receive bug fixes and security updates from Linux Mint.

          To upgrade LMDE 3 to LMDE 4 read “How to upgrade to LMDE 4“.

          Mint 20, codename Ulyana

          The codename for Linux Mint 20 is Ulyana.

          Linux Mint 20 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 and feature 3 editions: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce.

          Unlike previous releases, it will only be available in 64-bit.

        • Edge AI in a 5G world – part 1: How ‘smart cell towers’ will change our lives

          In part 1 we will talk about the industrial applications and benefits that 5G and fast compute at the edge in the form of ‘smart cell towers’ will bring to AI products. In part 2 we will go deeper into how you can benefit from this new opportunity. Part 3 will focus on the key technical barriers that 5G and Edge compute remove for AI applications. In part 4 we will summarise the IoT use cases that can benefit from smart cell towers and how they will help businesses focus their efforts on their key differentiating advantage.

        • Rigado cuts customers’ time-to-market with Ubuntu Core and AWS

          In the fast-paced world of IoT, being able to reduce time-to-market is a priority. Rigado’s core mission is to provide scalable and secure infrastructure for their customers’ commercial IoT deployments.

          It became clear to Rigado that, to achieve the ease of use it was looking for, it needed to redesign its gateway software – and containerisation emerged as the best way. After looking at a number of container options that involved a lot of moving parts, Rigado decided to turn to Ubuntu Core and snaps. Switching to Ubuntu Core has also enabled Rigado to take advantage of Ubuntu Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) to rapidly launch Ubuntu instances in AWS.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 624

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 624 for the week of March 22 – 28, 2020.

        • Design and Web team summary – 30th March 2020

          Due to the rapidly developing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the entire web team has transitioned to 100% remote for the foreseeable future. Canonical is well set up to remain productive but brings design challenges such as group sketching which we are testing and evaluating solutions.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Pixelorama – Open Source Editor for Pixel Art

        Pixelorama is an open-source application designed for creating pixel art. It was built using Godot – an open-source, multi-platform 2d and 3d game engine. Although still in baby stages, Pixelorama already boasts a clean user interface and a long list of features that enable users to get started with pixel art projects.

        The Pixelorama update is version 0.6 and it ships with a handful of exciting features which include support for multiple themes, a splash screen, layer opacity, more localizations, improved brushes, colour palettes, and constrained angles in straight lines.

      • IEEE Standards Association Launches an Open Source Collaboration Platform

        IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology. The IEEE Standards Association (IEEE SA) is an organization within IEEE that develops global standards in a broad range of industries.

        The IEEE Standards Association (SA) has come up with an open-source collaboration platform i.e IEEE SA Open.

        It is technically a self-hosted GitLab instance combined with Mattermost (a slack alternative) and GitLab Pages. To describe it further, the official blog post mentioned…

      • Freeware, Free Software and the Corona Virus Crisis – Choose your tools wisely!

        Cheering on doctors and nurses, sewing face-masks, donating gloves and disinfectant gel, building respirators, running errands for elderly neighbours. Everybody wants to contribute to alleviate the dramatic situations brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
        The software industry is trying to do its part by giving users access to trial versions of proprietary programs. But, before you go ahead and take advantage of this generosity, you may want to read the fine print. What looks like a great relief today, might turn into a burden tomorrow.

        Of course, everybody appreciates all contributions, anything that can help overcome the crisis together. But you should be wary of offers coming from proprietary software vendors. Among self-employed workers, home office programs (word processors, spreadsheets, databases) are in great demand, for example. But be careful with what you choose: Once the crisis is over, you may wake up to a stringent vendor lock-in, with unexpected costs and other problems attached.

        The same goes for companies asking employees to work from home. The solutions they choose to overcome the challenges of remote working can causes problems which will backfire in the future, once the crisis has passed.

        It is understandable that software companies, many of which are under a great pressure themselves, would try to lure new customers in this way. But you must ask yourself if what is in most cases just a marketing strategy, will be helpful for you in the long run. Proprietary software companies are peddling freeware programs, limited both in time and usability. They offer no way of adapting the solutions to your needs, no permissions to modify and improve the tools, and legal penalties if you share them with others. You can only use the tool for limited purposes and you are not allowed to study the code. Freeware grants you none of the four freedoms of Free Software, to use, study, share and improve the software.

        What’s more, your colleagues and employees may get used to this software, build their workflow upon it, and then will find it difficult to switch to another solution in a couple of months time when the crisis is over. The application you choose may also be part of larger suite, forcing you to acquire and license software you don’t need once the offer is rescinded. You may also be stuck with data locked to closed applications, making it difficult to switch vendor later on. What looks helpful today can be expensive and a hassle to deal with tomorrow. We strongly advise you carefully decide which software you choose.

        Because many proprietary programs can be replaced with Free Software solutions that adhere to Open Standards, you can run your software in a way that fits your needs, without having to worry about additional and unpredictable costs down the road. If you need a new solution today, take a solution which is also good for you tomorrow and choose Free Software. Take advantage of your rights to use, study, share and improve the software, at any time, during or after the crisis.

      • Huawei open-sources MindSpore, a framework for AI app development

        Huawei this week announced that MindSpore, a framework for AI app development the company detailed in August 2019, is now available in open source on GitHub and Gitee. The lightweight suite is akin to Google’s TensorFlow and Facebook’s PyTorch, and it scales across devices, edge, and cloud environments, ostensibly lowering the barrier to entry for developers looking to imbue apps with AI.

      • Open source approach for patients arriving at the clinic with Clinic Arrivals

        Video conferencing is being done through the open source OpenVidu, which means patients simply have to click on a link in the SMS and there are no apps to download.

        The SMS gateway is provided by Twilio, which lets users send and receive text messages using web service APIs.

        Mr Grieve said OpenVidu was deliberately chosen as unlike other free offerings, it does not require patients to sign up or be given an ID, and instead allows them to get straight to the appointment.

        “This is a link that takes them straight to a website and straight into the video call on the website,” he said. “There is zero impact on the patient’s end and that was really important to me. There is no app, no set-up.”

      • ISTAT (Instituto Nazionale di Statistica) distributes, under the EUPL licence, their RELAIS toolkit.

        RELAIS (REcord Linkage At IStat) is a toolkit for dealing with record linkage projects.

        The purpose of record linkage is to identify the same real world entity that can be differently represented in multiple data sources, even if unique or common identifiers are not available or are affected by errors.

      • Events

        • System Hackers meeting – Lyon edition

          For the 4th time, and less than 5 months after the last meeting, the FSFE System Hackers met in person to coordinate their activities, work on complex issues, and exchange know-how. This time, we chose yet another town familiar to one of our team members as venue – Lyon in France. What follows is a report of this gathering that happened shortly before #stayhome became the order of the day.

          For those who do not know this less visible but important team: The System Hackers are responsible for the maintenance and development of a large number of services. From the fsfe.org website’s deployment to the mail servers and blogs, from Git to internal services like DNS and monitoring, all these services, virtual machines and physical servers are handled by this friendly group that is always looking forward to welcoming new members.

          Interestingly, we have gathered in the same constellation as in the hackathon before, so Albert, Florian, Francesco, Thomas, Vincent and me tackled large and small challenges in the FSFE’s systems. But we have also used the time to exchange knowledge about complex tasks and some interconnected systems. The official part was conducted in the fascinating Astech Fablab, but word has it that Ninkasi, an excellent pub in Lyon, was the actual epicentre of this year’s meeting.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • The Mozilla Blog: We’re Fixing the Internet. Join Us.

            For over two decades, Mozilla has worked to build the internet into a global public resource that is open and accessible to all. As the internet has grown, it has brought wonder and utility to our lives, connecting people in times of joy and crisis like the one being faced today.

            But that growth hasn’t come without challenges. In order for the internet and Mozilla to well serve people into the future, we need to keep innovating and making improvements that put the interests of people back at the center of online life.

            To help achieve this, Mozilla is launching the Fix-the-Internet Spring MVP Lab and inviting coders, creators and technologists from around the world to join us in developing the distributed Web 3.0.

            “The health of the internet and online life is why we exist, and this is a first step toward ensuring that Mozilla and the web are here to benefit society for generations to come,” said Mozilla Co-Founder and Interim CEO Mitchell Baker.

          • The Mozilla Blog: MOSS launches COVID-19 Solutions Fund

            Mozilla is announcing today the creation of a COVID-19 Solutions Fund as part of the Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS). Through this fund, we will provide awards of up to $50,000 each to open source technology projects which are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in some way.

            The MOSS Program, created in 2015, broadens access, increases security, and empowers users by providing catalytic funding to open source technologists. We have already seen inspiring examples of open source technology being used to increase the capacity of the world’s healthcare systems to cope with this crisis. For example, just a few days ago, the University of Florida Center for Safety, Simulation, and Advanced Learning Technologies released an open source ventilator. We believe there are many more life-saving open source technologies in the world.

          • Innovating on Web Monetization: Coil and Firefox Reality

            In the coming weeks, Mozilla will roll out a web monetization experiment using Coil to support payments to creators in the Firefox Reality ecosystem. Coil is an alternative approach to monetization that doesn’t rely on advertising or stealing your data and attention. We wrote about Coil for game developers back in the autumn, and now we’re excited to invite more of you to participate, first as creators and soon as consumers of all kinds of digital and virtual content.

            [...]

            If you’ve developed a 3D experience, a game, a 360 video, or if you’re thinking of building something new, you’re invited to participate in this experiment. I encourage you as well to contact us directly at creator_payments at mozilla dot com to showcase your work in the Firefox Reality content feed.

            You’ll find details on how to participate below. I will also share answers and observations, from my own perspective as an implementer and investigator on the Mixed Reality team.

          • Announcing the Mozilla Mixed Reality Merch Store!

            Ever wanted to up your wardrobe game with some stylish Mixed Reality threads, while at the same time supporting Mozilla’s work? Dream no more! The Mozilla Mixed Reality team is pleased to announce that you can now wear your support for our efforts on your literal sleeve!

            The store (powered by Spreadshirt) is available worldwide and has a variety of items including clothing tailored for women, men, kids and babies, and accessories such as bag, caps, mugs, and more. All with a variety of designs to choose from, including our “low poly” Firefox Reality logo, our adorable new mascot, Foxr, and more.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Your occasional enterprise storage digest, featuring Commvault, Nutanix, HYCU, MariaDB and more

          MariaDB has announced SkySQL database-as-a-service version of its eponymous software.

          SkySQL has a cloud-native architecture and uses Kubernetes for orchestration; ServiceNow for inventory, configuration and workflow management; Prometheus for real-time monitoring; and Grafana for visualization. It offers transaction and analytics support, with row, columnar, and combined row and columnar storage.

        • DataStax launches Kubernetes operator for open source Cassandra database

          Today, DataStax, the commercial company behind the open source Apache Cassandra project, announced an open source Kubernetes operator developed by the company to run a cloud native version of the database.

        • Didn’t see that coming: DataStax emits open source Kubernetes operator for Cassandra

          NoSQL slinger DataStax has released an open source Kubernetes operator for Apache Cassandra as it seeks to cosy back up to the community.

          Fresh from snapping up Cassandra consultancy The Last Pickle for an undisclosed amount on 3 March, the veteran NoSQL biz has rounded out the month by opening up the source to its Kubernetes operator, replete with lessons learned from its forever-in-beta hosted Cassandra product, Astra (formerly Apollo.)

          Operators are one way to deal with the complexities of Kubernetes, abstracting (at least in theory) the user from the grungy bits of deploying and operating an application behind familiar Kubernetes tooling. Certainly, deploying and managing something like Cassandra in such an environment can be challenging enough without having to dive elbow-deep into the guts of thing.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Online Guide translated into Czech

          LibreOffice Online Guide was created as part of the Google Season of Docs programme, and released in December 2019. Today we’re announcing that the Czech LibreOffice community has finished translating the guide, and it can be downloaded here. (See this page for English documentation.)

          It was a team effort, and participants were Petr Kuběj, Zuzana Pitříková, Zdeněk Crhonek, Roman Toman, Tereza Portešová, Petr Valach and Stanislav Horáček. Thanks to all volunteers! The Czech team continues with the translation of the Getting Started Guide, and is always open for new volunteers, translators and correctors. Give them a hand!

        • Fontwork update

          Jun Nogata help the LibreOffice community with new Fontwork. And now it’s ready to be in use.

        • Bullet images update

          LibreOffice 7.0 will get new bullet imges. Hope you like them. In general you can use whatever image you like, want or find from the internet, so in the Bullet image dialog there are the following examples…

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4 “Adderley”

          Here it is! Named “Adderley” in honor of Nat Adderley, the latest and greatest version of WordPress is available for download or update in your dashboard.

      • FSF

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS: How you can help

          Free software activists, as well as many scientists and medical professionals, have long since realized that proprietary medical software and devices are neither ethical nor adequate to our needs. The COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated some of these shortcomings to a broader audience — and also given our community a unique opportunity to offer real, material help at a difficult time. We’re putting together a plan to pitch in, and we hope you’ll join us: keep reading to find out what you can do!

          You may already be aware that software and hardware restrictions are actively hampering the ability of hospitals to repair desperately needed ventilators all over the world, and how some Italian volunteers ran into problems when they 3D printed ventilator valves. (As you can see from the link, the stories vary about exactly what their interaction with the manufacturer was, but it’s clear that the company refused to release proprietary design files, forcing the volunteers to reverse-engineer the parts.)

        • HACKERS and HOSPITALS

          The Free Software Foundation is focusing on the shortage of medical equipment and using 3D printers to make more.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Taler news: Exchange ready for external security audit

            We received a grant from NLnet foundation to pay for an external security audit of the GNU Taler exchange cryptography, code and documentation. We spent the last four months preparing the code, closing almost all of the known issues, performing static analysis, fixing compiler warnings, improving test code coverage, fuzzing, benchmarking, and reading the code line-by-line. Now, we are now ready to start the external audit. This April, CodeBlau will review the code in the Master branch tagged CodeBlau-NGI-2019 and we will of course make their report available in full once it is complete. Thanks to NLnet and the European Commission’s Horizion 2020 NGI initiative for funding this work.

          • GNU Taler news: GNU Taler v0.7.0 released

            We are happy to announce the release of GNU Taler v0.7.0.

          • Glimpse, the GIMP ‘fork’ created by misunderstandings about the project name
      • Health

        • Medtronic Open-source its Ventilator. Open-source for humanity

          Medtronic Chairman and CEO “Omar Ishrak” has announced releasing Medtronic “PB 560 Ventilator” as an open-source leading to a storm of hope among doctors and engineers in many countries.

          [...]

          As an open-source enthusiast, I am very happy about releasing such a device as an open-source, but as a doctor, I am truly grateful for this intuitive.

          I believe this COVID19 outbreak crisis has created and still creating generous gifts as it takes, people are coming together to help, and doctors and nurses who were under-evaluated and under-appreciated in several countries, are leading the people thru this crisis.

        • Open source approach for patients arriving at the clinic with Clinic Arrivals

          All of this is done with existing technology that does not require the patient to download an app and that is easily integrated with the PMS through APIs.

          Video conferencing is being done through the open source OpenVidu, which means patients simply have to click on a link in the SMS and there are no apps to download.

          The SMS gateway is provided by Twilio, which lets users send and receive text messages using web service APIs.

        • Developers take on COVID-19 with open-source projects, hackathons

          In the past few weeks the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold in the United States, and the disease will continue to have a massive impact around the world for the foreseeable future. But even in the midst of panic and uncertainty, communities are coming together to do what they can. People are 3D printing face shields and sewing masks for healthcare workers, offering to buy groceries and household supplies for the elderly or immunocompromised, and even donating their computer’s GPU power to the cause.

          And developers aren’t absent from this list of people trying to do whatever they can to help. A quick glance into the trending section of GitHub shows that a good portion are COVID-19-related, and there are a number more than that living on GitHub. While medical professionals are on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight, developers are fighting the disease from their computers.

        • MIT Team Develops $100 Ventilator

          The team has open sourced the design of the simple ventilator device that could be built with about just $100 worth of parts.

        • MIT open sources cheap ventilator design in response to worldwide shortage

          The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a cheap ventilator and is releasing the design to the open source community in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

          The COVID-19 outbreak, of which there are roughly 724,000 confirmed cases at the time of writing, has exposed a worldwide shortage of ventilators — critical equipment for those that are severely ill.

          While manufacturers are overhauling their assembly lines to produce ventilators, masks, and key protective gear for medical professionals on the front line, demand has far outstripped supply — and ventilators can be very expensive with price tags of up to $30,000 each in the United States.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn Racket

          Racket is a general-purpose, object-oriented, multi-paradigm, functional, imperative, logic based programming language based on the Scheme dialect of Lisp. It’s designed to be a platform for programming language design and implementation.

          Racket is also used to refer to the family of Racket programming languages and the set of tools supporting development on and with Racket. It has a powerful cross-platform GUI library built in.

          Racket’s core language includes macros, modules, lexical closures, tail calls, delimited continuations, parameters (fluid variables), software contracts, green and OS threads, and more. The language also comes with primitives, such as eventspaces and custodians, which control resource management and enables the language to act like an operating system for loading and managing other programs.

          Racket is often used for scripting, computer science education, and research. It’s an open-source project (Apache/MIT).

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn Racket.

        • Pangeo with Dask Gateway

          Over the past few weeks, we have made some exciting changes to Pangeo’s cloud deployments. These changes will make using Pangeo’s clusters easier for users while making the deployments more secure and maintainable for administrators.

          Going all the way back to the initial prototype, Pangeo’s cloud deployments have combined a user interface like Jupyterlab with scalable computing. Until recently, Pangeo used Dask Kubernetes to start Dask clusters on a Kubernetes cluster. This worked well for several years, but there were a few drawbacks.

        • We are happy to announce the first release of Jaybird 4.

          We are happy to announce the first release of Jaybird 4.

          Jaybird 4 is – compared to Jaybird 3 – an incremental release that builds on the foundations of Jaybird 3.
          The focus of this release has been on further improving JDBC support and adding support for the new data types and features of Firebird 4.

        • How failure-driven development makes you successful

          My job title is senior software engineer, but that’s not what my closest co-workers call me. They call me “Cherrybomb” because of all the things I blow up. My regularly scheduled failures have been tracked down to our quarterly earnings and outage times. Literally, I am the production disaster you read about that says, “what not to do ever, in any case, at any time.”

          I started my career at a helpdesk where I wrote loops that wrecked servers in high-end companies. I have taken production applications down for up to eight hours without warning, and I have destroyed endless numbers of clusters in an attempt to make things better—and a couple just because I mistyped something.

          I am the reason we have disaster recovery (DR) clusters in Kubernetes. I am the chaos engineer that, without warning, teaches people how to act and troubleshoot quickly when we have an application that has never been tested for an outage recovery plan. I exist as the best example of failure possible, and it’s actually the coolest thing ever.

        • Digital Making at Home: Making games
        • Code Hyper Sports’ shooting minigame | Wireframe #35
        • If you’ve ever wished Visual Studio Code could be more open source, the Eclipse Foundation would like a word

          The Eclipse Foundation has pulled back the curtains on version 1.0 of Theia, an alternative to Microsoft’s developer darling of the hour, Visual Studio Code.

          Except it isn’t just yet. Those hoping to ditch a Microsoft-branded IDE for something more vendor-neutral might have a while to wait for something to drop from Eclipse itself, although a hop to somewhere like Gitpod will give those interested a look at the cloudy version.

          Eclipse Theia is a framework on which organisations can build and brand their own products, on the desktop or online, rather than a standalone editor.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.13 NoConf Reached

            It’s a sad moment in time when you realize that basically all conferences have been cancelled for the foreseeable future: the Perl and Raku Conference in Houston, Perl & Raku Con in Amsterdam to name but a few. Some organizers even came to the conclusion that organizing “in person” events is no longer a viable business model (/r/perl comments).

        • Python

          • Wing Python IDE 7.2.2 – March 30, 2020

            Wing 7.2.2 introduces a How-To for using Wing with AWS, adds support for Python 3 enums, allows constraining Find Uses of imported symbols to only the current file, and makes a number of usability and stability improvements.

          • Wesley Chun: Authorized Google API access from Python (part 2 of 2)

            Listing your files with the Google Drive API

          • Lists in python example3

            This is the final chapter of the lists in python topic, in this chapter we will create an example that will remove the duplicate student names within a student list with the help of the python loop.

          • Python 101 – Learning About Dictionaries

            Dictionaries are another fundamental data type in Python. A dictionary is a key, value pair. Some programming languages refer to them as hash tables. They are described as a mapping object that maps hashable values to arbitrary objects.

            A dictionary’s keys must be immutable, that is, unable to change. Starting in Python 3.7, dictionaries are ordered. What that means is that when you add a new key, value pair to a dictionary, it remembers what order they were added. Prior to Python 3.7, this was not the case and you could not rely on insertion order.

          • Python main function

            In this tutorial, we will learn how to use a Python program’s __name__ attribute to run it dynamically in different contexts.

          • Using data from spreadsheets in Fedora with Python

            Python is one of the most popular and powerful programming languages available. Because it’s free and open source, it’s available to everyone — and most Fedora systems come with the language already installed. Python is useful for a wide variety of tasks, but among them is processing comma-separated value (CSV) data. CSV files often start off life as tables or spreadsheets. This article shows how to get started working with CSV data in Python 3.

            CSV data is precisely what it sounds like. A CSV file includes one row of data at a time, with data values separated by commas. Each row is defined by the same fields. Short CSV files are often easily read and understood. But longer data files, or those with more fields, may be harder to parse with the naked eye, so computers work better in those cases.

          • PSF’s Projected 2020 Financial Outcome

            The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the Python community and programming language, as well as running PyCon US. Since PyCon US 2020 was cancelled, the community has asked how the PSF’s finances will be affected. Let us take a look at the projected 2020 financial outcome.

          • EuroPython 2020: Online conference from July 23-26

            In the last two weeks, we have discussed and investigated concepts around running this year’s EuroPython conference as an online conference. We have looked at conference tools, your feedback, drafted up ideas on what we can do to make the event interesting and what we can accomplish given our limited resources.

          • Introduction to the Python HTTP header

            You can create your own custom headers for the HTTP destination using the Python HTTP header plugin of syslog-ng and Python scripts. The included example configuration just adds a simple counter to the headers but with a bit of coding you can resolve authentication problems or fine tune how data is handled at cloud-based logging and SIEM platforms, like Sumologic.

          • Comparing Python Objects the Right Way: “is” vs “==”

            There’s a subtle difference between the Python identity operator (is) and the equality operator (==). Your code can run fine when you use the Python is operator to compare numbers, until it suddenly doesn’t. You might have heard somewhere that the Python is operator is faster than the == operator, or you may feel that it looks more Pythonic. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that these operators don’t behave quite the same.

            The == operator compares the value or equality of two objects, whereas the Python is operator checks whether two variables point to the same object in memory. In the vast majority of cases, this means you should use the equality operators == and !=, except when you’re comparing to None.

          • Michael Kennedy almost learned Python in the 90s… and other things I learned recording his DevJourney

            This week, I published Michael Kennedy’s #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer’s Journey.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #414 (March 31, 2020)
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • 40 Practical and Useful awk Command in Linux and BSD

            AWK is a powerful data-driven programming language that dates its origin back to the early days of Unix. It was initially developed for writing ‘one-liner’ programs but has since evolved into a full-fledged programming language. AWK gets its name from the initials of its authors – Aho, Weinberger, and Kernighan. The awk command in Linux and other Unix systems invokes the interpreter that runs AWK scripts. Several implementations of awk exist in recent systems such as gawk (GNU awk), mawk (Minimal awk), and nawk (New awk), among others. Check out the below examples if you want to master awk.

          • More mojibake fun

            The names contain reconstructable replos. A 2-byte, UTF-8 encoded character was read by a Windows program byte-by-byte to produce 2 new 1-byte characters, and those 2 1-byte characters were converted back to UTF-8 as 2-byte ones.

          • D is for Devilish Place Names

            The downloaded file is a format called CSV (“Comma Separated Values”, though in this case they’re separated by the pipe character, “|”), typically used in spreadsheets. I’m not really a spreadsheet person, and CSV files are just as easy to analyze using basic shell tools. Most Linux users are familiar with the power of the command line, but don’t feel left out if you’re not using Linux: the commands I’ll show work fine on a Mac, and they probably work on Windows too if you use the Linux Subsystem for Windows.

            I started with a basic count. I’d seen already, on the website’s search page, that a lot of the names didn’t actually have “Devil” in the name even though that’s what I searched for, so that 1883 number is bogus. So I ran a grep -i devil to pick out the place names that actually do have “devil” in the name (-i means “ignore case”, so it will find devil as well as Devil). Then I piped the result through wc, word count, using -l to count the number of matching lines:

            grep -i devil GNIS_Devil.csv | wc -l

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • Online Teaching in the Time of Coronavirus

        I’ve been spending a lot of the past week looking at different options for transitioning my teaching online for the rest of the term. There are certainly people far more expert at online instruction than I am, but I wanted to share some of my thoughts and what I’ve found.

      • Indian Students Commit Suicide after Failing Exams

        The Board of Intermediate Education claimed that almost half the students who committed suicide already had poor academic records, so they should not have been surprised by their poor marks. Ten of the students had failed more than one subject. Moreover, the board said, these students likely were depressed or troubled already, hence their grade troubles.

      • Improving Visibility and Resources for Student Who Are Parents

        Her report drew on her own experiences as a student parent at William & Mary College and as director of a nonprofit that aids student parents, and on studies of student parents. This research indicates that less than two percent of teen mothers earn their college degrees before the age of thirty, and they are ten times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in five years—even though, on average, student parents post higher GPAs than their non-parenting peers.

      • Apocalyptic and Revolutionary Education in Times of Pandemic

        After the crash of 2009 came the uprisings beginning a so-called “Arab Spring”, the city square occupations of the Indignados, and the Occupy movement. What would Wayne Gretzky[1] do today, facing the currently unknown aftermath of the historic Covid-19 pandemic crash? What should popular movements do under the historically unprecedented circumstances we face today? How should we move from historic crisis of the system to revolutionary transformation now?

      • How to administer the digital migration

        Each institution’s circumstances are slightly different, but there are some wider lessons in the contingency planning that Hong Kong universities have had to undertake in response to both the coronavirus and last year’s anti-government protests. These twin disruptions, one coming close on the heels of the other, have resulted in face-to-face teaching being cut to just one-third of the original schedule.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • WinRAR 5.90 Final Released For Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android

          WinRAR 5.90 Final has been released with numerous performance improvements and bug fixes for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.

          For those not familiar with WinRar, it is an archiving software from RARLAB that supports the ARJ, BZIP2, CAB, GZ, ISO, JAR, LHA, RAR, TAR, UUE, XZ, Z, ZIP, ZIPX, 7z, 001 (split) archive formats.

          WinRAR is distributed as trialware, which means that anyone can use it as a full-featured product before purchasing it.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • GitLab is open sourcing 18 features for the DevOps lifecycle

              The DevOps tool GitLab offers paid and free versions, and now 18 additional features will be moved to the open source editions Core/Free. The developer community can contribute to the according issues and speed up the process—so now is the time to take a look and see which of the features you find most important.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • HPE, Intel and Linux Foundation team up for open source software for 5G core

                HPE announced on Tuesday it’s working with Intel and the Linux Foundation on a new open source software project to help automate the roll out of 5G across multiple sites.

                The new partnership, which will be under the Linux Foundation umbrella, is called the Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Framework. The partnership represents HPE’s move into the 5G core network space as it branches out from its enterprise roots. Other partners for the open source project include AMI, Apstra, IBM’s Red Hat, Tech Mahindra and World Wide Technology.

                HPE will also introduce an enterprise offering, the HPE Open Distributed Infrastructure Management Resource Aggregator.

              • What Value Does Alluxio Brings To The Presto Foundation?

                Steven Mih: The Presto Foundation is a project hosted under the Linux Foundation. It was created last year by companies like Facebook, Twitter, Alibaba and Uber. Alluxio is an open source project that is commonly used with Presto, the open source distributed SQL query engine, as well as other projects like Spark and TensorFlow. We support all these different frameworks. And since this was a foundation that was open to all, we decided to join it as one of the companies involved in that foundation.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Automating our Vanilla releases with GitHub actions

              Vanilla framework version 2.7.1 published at the end of February was the first fully automated release. Since then we have released two more and plan to release regular updates at least after every two-week iteration.

              The automated release process is not only smoother and takes less time, but also much less prone to human error.

              But there are still areas for possible improvements.

              With every major release, we are sending a newsletter describing the latest changes and additions to the Vanilla framework. This is still a very manual process that involves editing an email campaign template on MailChimp. Because the content of the email is loosely based on the release notes (that are already automated with Release Drafter), we could think of pre-populating the newsletter content with release notes.

              Instead of triggering the release manually using GitHub UI, we could automatically release (and publish) whenever the Vanilla version is updated in the package.json file. We already have similar workflows in place for our python packages.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (tinyproxy), Fedora (okular), Gentoo (ffmpeg, libxls, and qemu), openSUSE (GraphicsMagick), Red Hat (qemu-kvm-rhev), SUSE (cloud-init and spamassassin), and Ubuntu (bluez, libpam-krb5, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, and Timeshift).

          • Why Understanding CVEs Is Critical for Data Scientists

            CVEs are Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures found in software components. Because modern software is complex with its many layers, interdependencies, data input, and libraries, vulnerabilities tend to emerge over time. Ignoring a high CVE score can result in security breaches and unstable applications.

            Because data scientists work with vast stores of data, they need to take responsibility for the software components they use to minimize risk and protect customer data. A golden rule in security is, wherever valuable data can be found, hackers will go.

            Software developers refer to CVE databases and scores on a regular basis to minimize the risk of using vulnerable components (packages and binaries) in their applications or web pages. They also monitor for vulnerabilities in components they currently use. To reduce the risk of a security breach from open-source packages, data science teams need to take this page from the software developer’s playbook and apply it to their data science and machine learning pipeline.

          • pam-krb5 4.9

            This is a security release fixing a one-byte buffer overflow when relaying prompts from the underlying Kerberos library. All users of my pam-krb5 module should upgrade as soon as possible. See the security advisory for more information.

            There are also a couple more minor security improvements in this release: The module now rejects passwords as long or longer than PAM_MAX_RESP_SIZE (normally 512 octets) since they can be a denial of service attack via the Kerberos string-to-key function, and uses explicit_bzero where available to clear passwords before releasing memory.

          • rethinking openbsd security

            OpenBSD aims to be a secure operating system. In the past few months there were quite a few security errata, however. That’s not too unusual, but some of the recent ones were a bit special. One might even say bad. The OpenBSD approach to security has a few aspects, two of which might be avoiding errors and minimizing the risk of mistakes. Other people have other ideas about how to build secure systems. I think it’s worth examining whether the OpenBSD approach works, or if this is evidence that it’s doomed to failure.

          • Watering-Holes Target Asian Ethnic Victims with Flash Update Decoy

            While the Uighurs – an ethnic and religious minority in China – have been the targets of multiple cyberattacks and surveillance in the past, the firm said that it couldn’t reveal the identity of the target group.

            [...]

            Kaspersky said that these include an installer package that includes a decoy, legitimate Flash update and a stager. However, the Flash update is no longer valid, so it will fail with a message stating that the installer is outdated or renamed, and will direct the user to the Adobe website, according to the analysis.

            The second file is a module called “Godlike12,” which is a backdoor written in the Go language that sets up a command-and-control (C2) channel and proceeds with host fingerprinting upon startup (hostname, IP address, MAC address, Windows version, current time, Kaspersky researchers wrote). It also regularly checks for a remote [ID]-cs.txt, which contains encrypted commands for it to carry out. The most interesting thing about the implant is the fact that it exchanges files with a Google Drive space in order to communicate.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Leaked materials suggest that Muscovites will soon need QR-codes to step outside, even to walk their dogs or commute to work

              Moscow residents now under citywide self-isolation will soon need QR-codes generated by city officials for each trip they make outside their own homes — even for so much as throwing out the garbage. Citing a presentation made to the Mayor’s Office (confirmed by two of the newspaper’s sources in the city government), Kommersant says Muscovites will need the city’s QR-codes to commute to work, go to health clinics, visit the countryside, go to the grocery store, walk their dogs within 110 yards of their homes, and so on.

            • Orange recycles its geolocation service for the global pandemic

              For years, Orange has been trying to market the gold mine that is our geolocation data (the list of relay antennas to which our phones connect during the day). The pandemic appears to be a good opportunity for the company to open its market.

            • Researchers Say Kids’ Android Apps Are Still Riddled With Malware

              While numerous vendors and tech giants have cooked up lower-cost Android phones with marketing focused on helping the poor, a recent study by advocacy group Privacy International found that the privacy trade offs of these devices are… potent. Not only do they usually come with outdated OS’ opening the door to hackers, the phones have locked down user control to such a degree they’re unable to remove apps that may also pose security risks. In this way, the researchers argued, we’ve made privacy a luxury option that’s only available to those who can actually afford it.

            • Moscow says a new ‘system’ to control residents’ movements will be deployed by the end of the week

              By the end of the week. That’s how soon Moscow officials say they plan to roll out a new system to control the movements of local residents under Mayor Sergey Sobyanin’s new self-isolation orders. “With every day, we’ll be exerting more control over this situation. By the end of the week, I hope we’ll have information systems that will allow us to control residents’ movements almost completely and prevent violations that could occur,” says Mayor Sobyanin, as reported by the news agency Interfax. “We’re also waiting on a federal law that will allow us to work more actively on this issue,” he added.

            • UK’s National Health Service Plans To Use Big Data Analysis To Fight COVID-19 — With The Help Of Palantir

              It’s clear that digital technology will play a key role in helping to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, whether as a way of disseminating information, telecommuting, or of keeping people entertained during lockdowns. Less welcome is the use of advanced surveillance and tracking techniques to monitor the movements of people to see if they are obeying quarantine restrictions. Another obvious way to apply technology is to manage the key resources being used to tackle it. That’s what the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is doing…

            • Vallejo Must Suspend Cell-Site Simulator Purchase

              As Bay Area residents sheltered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vallejo City Council assembled via teleconference last week to vote on the purchase of one of the most controversial pieces of surveillance equipment—a cell-site simulator. What’s worse is that the city council approved the purchase in violation of state law regulating the acquisition of such technology. 

              Any decision to acquire this technology must happen in broad daylight, not at a time when civic engagement faces the greatest barriers in modern history due to a global pandemic. EFF has submitted a letter to the Vallejo mayor and city council asking the city to suspend the purchase and hold a fresh hearing once the COVID-19 emergency has passed and state and local officials lift the shelter-at-home restrictions. 

            • EFF to Supreme Court: Losing Your Phone Shouldn’t Mean You Lose Your Fourth Amendment Rights

              You probably know the feeling: you reach for your phone only to realize it’s not where you thought it was. Total panic quickly sets in. If you’re like me (us), you don’t stop in the moment to think about why losing a phone is so scary. But the answer is clear: In addition to being an expensive gadget, all your private stuff is on there.  

              Now imagine that the police find your phone. Should they be able to look through all that private stuff without a warrant? What if they believe you intentionally “abandoned” it? Last week, EFF filed an amicus brief in Small v. United States asking the Supreme Court to take on these questions.

            • Nest outages prove that the smart home needs a local fallback

              Google’s Nest service has been down once, twice, thrice, four times, no, scratch that, at least five times in five months, four of which were in the last few weeks. A similar thing happened toward the end of 2018. After each failure, a fix, an apology, more disgruntled users, and hours lost without any security recording for owners of the brand’s cameras. Seeing the same headline with the same story every day proves that we can’t solely rely on remote servers for the smart home, and local fallbacks need to be the first feature baked in, not an afterthought or a bonus.

              [...]

              While most of these down times will be harmless for the majority of users, they’ll still be detrimental to a small number of people. If the server is down and your smart camera doesn’t catch a hit-and-run outside your house, or your alarm doesn’t alert you of a burglary, the system has absolutely, irrefutably failed you. You’ll never trust it again, will you?

            • Videoconferencing with #privacy

              Videoconferencing is on the rise worldwide with the COVID-19 crisis. But did you know that most videoconferencing software is NOT offering any guarantee about your privacy?

              Even some nice open source software such as Jitsi is relying on some Google services.

            • Zoom Is Leaking Emails And Photos Of Users

              It has reported that the popular video-conferencing app Zoom is leaking email addresses and photos of its users to the unknown people and Zoom is giving strangers the ability to attempt to start a video call with those users.

              Zoom Is Leaking Emails And Photos Of Users

              Zoom meetings are not end-to-end (E2E) encrypted. Zoom’s spokesperson told The Intercept, “It is not possible to enable E2E encryption for Zoom video meetings.”

              In E2E encryption, no one can read your conversation, not even the company.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Alternatives to Policing—Putting the Power and Money Back Into Our Communities

        To understand why excessive policing can perpetuate cycles of violence, examine the institutional pressures that drive so much of what we see today. Since the 1960s, governments have extended the discourse of war beyond its traditional context. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson announced the “war on poverty” as he attempted to lay the foundations for a welfare state. In 1971, Richard Nixon called drug abuse “public enemy number one” and declared a “war on drugs.” With each declaration, the presumed “enemy” becomes less visible, with no end in sight.

      • MSNBC Contributor Catches Heat for Claiming George W. Bush Didn’t Politicize 9/11 ‘In Any Way’

        “There is 9/11 whitewashing and memory-holing happening right now, and it’s dangerous.”

      • We’ve Met the Enemy and It’s a Tiny Virus

        Over the course of just a couple of days last week, the backbone of the US Navy’s Pacific fleet has just been shut down for the next month. The enemy that managed to cause this sudden surprise unilateral disarmament of the mighty US Navy’s Pacific Fleet was not Russian or Chinese cyber hackers or a sneak attack by some foreign enemy. Rather, it was just a tiny virus, COVID-19, that infected one crew member on each of two $13-billion Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carriers.

      • Has America Reached Its Endgame in Afghanistan?

        In an extraordinary statement titled “On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan,” Washington has admitted to the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s mission to Kabul on March 23, which was taken up to heal the political rift among Afghan politicians and to urge them to form an inclusive government so as to implement the peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29.

      • Beyond Chutzpah: US Charges Venezuela With Nacro-Terrorism

        According to the parable, the ungrateful son takes out a life insurance policy on his parents, murders them to collect, and is caught and found guilty. At his sentencing, the judge asks if he has anything to say on his behalf. The son replies: “Have mercy upon me because I am an orphan.” That’s chutzpah.

      • Growing Xenophobia Against China in the Midst of CoronaShock

        On March 25, the foreign ministers of the G7 states failed to release a statement. The United States—the president of the G7 at this time—had the responsibility for drafting the statement, which was seen to be unacceptable by several other members. In the draft, the United States used the phrase “Wuhan Virus” and asserted that the global pandemic was the responsibility of the Chinese government. Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump had used the phrase “Chinese Virus” (which he said he would stop using) and a member of his staff was reportedly heard using the slur “Kung Flu.” On Fox News, anchor Jesse Watters explained in his unfiltered racist way “why [the virus] started in China. Because they have these markets where they eat raw bats and snakes.” Violent attacks against Asians in the United States has spiked as a consequence of the stigma driven by the Trump administration.

      • US Plans to Create an Autonomous Sunni Region in Shia Iraq

        Americans are the primary beneficiaries of the plan. The United States would retain its presence in Western Asia after Iraq demanded American troops remove themselves following President Donald Trump’s January 3, 2020 order to assassinate Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani on Iranian soil.

      • Trump’s Chernobyl Moment: the US May Lose Its Status as World Superpower and Not Recover

        The US may be reaching its “Chernobyl moment” as it fails to lead in combating the coronavirus epidemic. As with the nuclear accident in the Soviet Union in 1986, a cataclysm is exposing systemic failings that have already weakened US hegemony in the world. Whatever the outcome of the pandemic, nobody is today looking to Washington for a solution to the crisis.

      • ‘Pandemics Know No Borders’: Democrats Call on Trump Admin to Suspend Sanctions on Iran During Coronavirus Outbreak

        “We need to cancel all economic sanctions during this crisis.”

      • An Employee at an Illinois School We Reported On Has Been Charged With Battering a 7-Year-Old Boy

        A Gages Lake School worker has been arrested and charged with battering a 7-year-old student in the school’s seclusion room space, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Monday.

        The aide was assigned to work in an area called “office intervention,” where workers take students who have been removed from class for disruptive behavior. Records show that Justin Cole, 35, of Kenosha, Wisconsin, had been working as a paraprofessional for about three weeks when, on Feb. 27, school administrators notified police about an incident earlier in the day.

      • We Know The FBI Can’t Count Phones. A New Report Shows It Can’t Count Guns And Ammo Either.

        We know the FBI can’t accurately track how many encrypted devices it has in its possession. Two consecutive directors have pushed a “going dark” narrative using an inflated number of uncracked phones. At one point the FBI claimed it had nearly 8,000 phones in its possession, each one presumably full of evidence. When pressed for information by members of Congress, the FBI suddenly realized it had overstated this number by at least 6,000 phones. It discovered its error in May of 2018. It has yet to release an updated number.

      • Amnesty Slams Trump for Classifying Gun Stores as ‘Essential Businesses’ During Pandemic

        “With hospitals at critically low capacity due to the pandemic, we cannot afford more injuries or deaths from gun violence.”

      • As the World Tackles the COVID-19 Pandemic, the U.S. Raises the Pressure on Venezuela

        In a press conference on March 26, it was almost comical how little evidence the U.S. Department of Justice provided when it accused Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro and several of the leaders of his government of narco-trafficking. The U.S. offered $15 million for the arrest of Maduro and $10 million for the others. Maduro, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said dramatically, “very deliberately deployed cocaine as a weapon.” Evidence for this? Not presented at all.

      • Yet Another Court Says Suing Twitter For Terrorist Acts Is A Waste Of Everyone’s Time

        Every tragedy should be exploited. That’s the theory behind a string of Excolo Law and 1-800-LAW-FIRM lawsuits that seek to hold social media companies responsible for acts of terrorism. So far, not a single court has been willing to ignore Section 230 of the CDA or the First Amendment to give these opportunists any satisfaction. Notwithstanding some very bizarre arguments from one Ninth Circuit judge, it’s been a long run of shutouts for lawyers I fucking hope are working on contingency.

      • Going After Maduro

        The recent indictments of Nicolas Maduro and other Venezuelan government officials on drug trafficking and narco-terrorism charges is a sham. It is a politically motivated and hypocritical attack on the elected government of Venezuela. Obviously, it is another front in the ongoing US low-intensity war on the majority of Venezuelans. It is cynical in that Venezuela’s neighbor Colombia has been literally governed by drug traffickers for most of the past thirty years, if not longer.

      • It’s Time to Rethink US Militarism in the Midst of COVID-19

        My dad was born in 1917. Somehow, he survived the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919, but an outbreak of whooping cough in 1923 claimed his baby sister, Clementina. One of my dad’s first memories was seeing his sister’s tiny white casket. Another sister was permanently marked by scarlet fever. In 1923, my dad was hit by a car and spent two weeks in a hospital with a fractured skull as well as a lacerated thumb. His immigrant parents had no medical insurance, but the driver of the car gave his father $50 toward the medical bills. The only lasting effect was the scar my father carried for the rest of his life on his right thumb.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • New Partnerships, Changes in State Provisions Address Education Challenges Faced by Families of Migrant Farmworkers in California

        Under the Office of Migrant Services, the state of California operates 24 Migrant Family Housing Centers for families who migrate for seasonal harvest work. These apartments are highly desired by the families as rents are subsidized and living conditions are much better than in most other available housing options. However, one major requirement to maintain residence is that the migrant family must move at least fifty miles away for three to six months each year.

      • The Fault Lines of a Failed Society Begin to Open Up Into Chasms

        The area from which I write and live is a tourist area. It’s located in the Berkshire Hills (foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain) of Massachusetts. Signs on roadways leading to the area read: “America’s Premier Cultural Resort.”  There are lots of live entertainment venues here including theater, music, and dance. The demographics here point to an aging population increasingly made up of a significant number of people coming here to live in second homes and to retire. Tourism means a tourist economy with many low-paying jobs and few opportunities for younger people and young families. There is a small professional class and many successful tradespeople. Small farms are also numerous. Young people, and especially young people with families, have left the area in high numbers as reflected in the 2010 US Census, and school enrollment continues a precipitous decline. House prices have skyrocketed, leaving first-time home buyers with no way to finance a home. The towns here are commonly referred to as hill towns.

      • As Thousands of Las Vegas Hotel Rooms Sit Empty, City Paints ‘Social Distancing Boxes’ in Parking Lot for Homeless People

        “This is America.”

      • Fed Economists Warn US Unemployment Rate Could Soon Reach 32%—During Great Depression It Peaked at 25%

        “These are very large numbers by historical standards, but this is a rather unique shock that is unlike any other experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 100 years.”

      • Removing the Profit from Our Pills: The Case for a Public Pharma System

        Public ownership of pharmaceutical development, production, and distribution in the US would combat the destructive impacts of Big Pharma—including…

      • Congress “CARES” for Wealthy With COVID-19 Tax Giveaways

        At a time when record numbers of Americans are facing unemployment, state and local governments are facing a perfect storm of growing public investment needs and vanishing tax revenues, and small business owners are struggling to avoid even more layoffs, lavishing tax breaks on the top 1 percent in this way shouldn’t be in anyone’s top 20 list of needed tax changes.

      • In the Name of Profit and Greed, Billionaire Class Declares: ‘Back to Work!’

        We must put public health over all other concerns.

      • With Bills Due April 1, More Than 400,000 Demand Congress Freeze All Rent, Mortgage, and Utility Payments

        “Millions are wondering how they’ll pay their rent or mortgage by tomorrow. We need additional emergency action suspending rent, mortgage and utility payments for the duration of this crisis.”

      • “Pelosi’s Terrible Idea”: Critics Denounce Proposal to Give Wealthy a Tax Cut in Next Stimulus Package

        “This is almost unbelieveable.”

      • Children of Single Federal Employees Get Half the Benefit from New Parental-Leave Law

        Several states have passed similar laws. As of 2018, paid family leave was available to 25 percent of state and local government workers, and ninety-three percent had access to unpaid leave, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

      • The US’s Wave of Hospital Closures Left Us Ill-Equipped for COVID-19

        A couple of weeks ago, as countries scrambled to protect their citizens from the COVID-19 pandemic by closing borders and quarantining travelers, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, upon the “recommendation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” took the unprecedented step of urging all students who are studying abroad to return home. In the announcement, they emphasized the need to return home if students are living in a country with “poorly developed health services and infrastructure … for example the USA.” The word spread quickly on social media that the United States had been singled out as an example of a country with poor health care infrastructure, with many people in the U.S. agreeing that we lack the capacity to handle the pandemic.

      • We Must Cancel Rent Nationwide and Demand Safe Housing for All

        As the coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly across the United States, hitting densely populated cities like New York, New Orleans, and L.A. particularly hard, the twin public health and economic crises — and the measures the ruling class is taking to combat them — are taking their toll on working people. Now, with the end of the month coming up quickly, working people are facing yet another hurdle: how to pay rent.

      • A Major Medical Staffing Company Just Slashed Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus

        Emergency room doctors and nurses many of whom are dealing with an onslaught of coronavirus patients and shortages of protective equipment — are now finding out that their compensation is getting cut.

        Most ER providers in the U.S. work for staffing companies that have contracts with hospitals. Those staffing companies are losing revenue as hospitals postpone elective procedures and non-coronavirus patients avoid emergency rooms. Health insurers are processing claims more slowly as they adapt to a remote workforce.

      • Trump’s Pro-Business Labor Board Deals Major Setback to Gig Workers

        Under Trump, the generally business-friendly NLRB has become even more devoted to protecting employers’ interests than was the case in previous administrations. As Bobbi Murray  explained in a September 2, 2019 American Prospect essay , the five-person board is currently operating with a vacant seat and consists of three Republicans and the lone remaining Obama appointee, Lauren McFerran, who is set to term out in December.  Murray reports that “conservative interests have urged President Trump to wait until McFerran leaves and then to fill the two empty seats to lock in a unanimous pro-employer majority.”

      • Well Hyped Satellite Broadband Provider OneWeb Files For Bankruptcy

        For years, we’ve been promised repeatedly that new broadband technologies would soon arrive to disrupt the broken, cable broadband versus telco DSL duopoly in the states. And for just as long, these emergent technologies, for a wide variety of reasons, have failed to materialize.

      • After Securing Corporate Bailout, Trump and GOP Largely Oppose New Stimulus

        Having secured a multi-trillion-dollar bailout fund for large corporations and minimal relief for the public as the U.S. economy reels from the coronavirus crisis, the White House and Republican leaders in Congress are already throwing cold water on the prospect of a fourth stimulus bill that progressives say is necessary to address the deep flaws and gaping holes in the measure President Donald Trump signed into law last week.

      • Erik Olin Wright and the Anti-Capitalist Economy
      • ‘No More Spending’: After Securing $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout, Trump White House and GOP Cast Doubt on New Stimulus

        “Trillions for big business. Bare minimum for you.”

      • How to Prepare for the Trump Recession

        Unlike public assistance, SNAP responded well during the Great Recession. Its requirements are designed to expand during economic downturns or recessions. Waiving work requirements during the Great Recession made thousands of people in need eligible for the program who otherwise wouldn’t have been. Between December 2007 and December 2009, the number of SNAP participants rose by 45%. The program helped keep an estimated 3.8 million families out of poverty in 2009.But that might not be an option this time around, as SNAP has come under attack from the Trump administration, which is trying to enact a draconian rule change that would kick an estimated 700,000 of our most vulnerable citizens off of the program. Luckily, a judge blocked the rule from going into effect, but the administration is still fighting to enforce it — even in the middle of a global pandemic. We need to make sure SNAP’s flexibility and ability to respond to economic downturns is protected before the next recession hits.Stronger safety nets are not only good for individuals and families in need. They will also prevent the looming recession from becoming an even deeper and longer economic crisis. 

      • When Economists Try to Solve Health Crises, the Results Can Often be Disastrous

        I’m writing this at 585,000 worldwide active cases, 26,000 deaths, and with only China and Korea seemingly under some sort of control (using a social metric tool, Worldometer). The stimulus package announced by the U.S. government is at $2 trillion, but without job protections, rent freezes, or meaningful income support for most people. Where to reach for analogies to help us understand the moment? The AIDS crisis? The 2008 economic crisis? SARS?

      • Facing Layoffs, General Electric Workers Demand Company Put Them to Work Producing Ventilators Instead

        “Real leadership from the working class.”

      • “Now I Can Afford My Meds.” After Months of Appeals, Retiree’s Medicaid Benefits Are Restored.

        Almost two years after Judith Persutti first applied for Medicaid in South Carolina, the 64-year-old retiree who gets by on Social Security and food stamps had her health insurance restored Friday.

        Her benefits were reinstated after ProPublica examined a little-used appeals and hearing process that allows people receiving public assistance to challenge adverse decisions made by government agencies. The Trump administration has called the right to appeal a “guardrail” that protects citizens as states try to apply more stringent requirements for Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

      • $3 Billion ‘Bailout’ for Oil Producers Dropped From Economic Stimulus Package

        With oil prices crashing, Trump announced a few weeks ago he planned to have the government purchase “large quantities” of crude oil to add to the emergency stockpile. “We’re going to fill it right up to the top,” he said. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve was created in the 1970s to reduce disruptions in oil supply and it currently holds 635 million barrels of crude.

      • Will Pandemic Relief Become a Petroleum Industry Slush Fund?

        Recently, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin both made clear their intentions to include some sort of bailout for the oil and gas industry as part of the federal government’s emergency economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

      • Washington Uses the Pandemic to Create a $2 Trillion Slush Fund for Its Cronies

        When historians look back on our current government’s response to a public health emergency and resultant economic depression, there won’t be many paeans to profiles in courage. It may seem impressive that Congress has approved legislation worth $2 trillion to help sustain the American economy, but it’s no New Deal. Rather it’s a massive economic slush fund that does its utmost to preserve the old ways of doing things under the guise of masquerading as a response to a public health emergency. In reality, the relief provisions are barely adequate.

      • The Chicago Housing Authority Was Slow to Protect Residents During the Coronavirus Outbreak

        As is her way, Brenda Perry got right to the point when I reached her on the phone. “They’re not doing anything right at the CHA,” she said.

        Perry is 73 years old and lives in a Chicago Housing Authority high-rise for seniors, the Lincoln Perry apartments, in the South Side’s Douglas community. She’s long been outspoken about conditions in her building and other CHA policies; during public testimony at a meeting last fall, she reminded the CHA board that she had been telling them for three years that the building’s private management company hadn’t been keeping it clean.

      • Public Health First

        Lloyd Blankfein, former CEO of Goldman Sachs, whose net worth is $1.1bn, recommends “those with a lower risk of the diseases return to work” within a “very few weeks”.

      • Insurance Companies Could Hike Premiums by 40 Percent Amid Pandemic

        A new analysis warning that U.S. health insurance companies could hike already exorbitant premiums by 40 percent or more next year amid the coronavirus pandemic was received by Medicare for All advocates as further confirmation that America’s healthcare system — driven first and foremost by the profit motive — is ill-equipped to provide necessary care for all, particularly in a time of nationwide crisis.

      • Neoliberal Austerity and Private Health Care Has Worsened US Pandemic
      • Amid Pandemic, Homeless New Yorkers Demand Refuge in Vacant Apartments, Hotels

        More than 100 million people across the United States have been ordered to stay home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, but what about people who are homeless? Tens of thousands of homeless people in New York City shelters and on the streets have been left with no way to safely shelter in place. We hear from people who are homeless, and speak with Kiana Davis, advocate and policy analyst with the Safety Net Project at the Urban Justice Center.

      • DOJ Investigating Lawmakers’ Stock Dumps Ahead of Coronavirus Market Crash

        At least one lawmaker affected by the probe is Republican Sen. Richard Bur, who unloaded up to $1.7 million in stocks.

      • Sen. Burr Faces DOJ Investigation for Selling a Fortune in Stocks Right Before the Market Crashed

        Federal authorities are scrutinizing Sen. Richard Burr’s stock sell-off before the market crash triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, CNN reported on Sunday.

        The news comes less than two weeks after ProPublica and the Center for Responsive Politics reported that Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, unloaded between $628,000 and $1.72 million of his holdings on Feb. 13 in 33 separate transactions, a significant portion of his total portfolio. The sales came soon after he offered public assurances that the government was ready to battle the coronavirus.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Deep State’s Demolition of Democracy

        “Thank God for the Deep State,” declared former acting CIA chief John McLaughlin while appearing on a panel at the National Press Club last October. In 2018, the New York Times asserted that Trump’s use of the term “Deep State” and similar rhetoric “fanned fears that he is eroding public trust in institutions, undermining the idea of objective truth and sowing widespread suspicions about the government and news media.”

      • Face Off: the Problem With Social Distancing

        In the twelfth chapter of The Sixth Extinction Elizabeth Colbert turns her attention to Neanderthal Man. There seems no doubt that we, our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, drove the Neanderthals and other “archaic human” species to extinction. In an interesting twist it turns out that our ancestors had sex with Neanderthals and that as much as 4% of the DNA of modern man is Neanderthal.

      • The Politics of COVID-19

        The far right thrives on fear. It’s no surprise, then, that it would use the latest pandemic, which has generated widespread panic, to bolster its own agenda.

      • Trump’s Cure and Our Disease

        The surgeon-general said so. The federal reserve chairman said so. Epidemiologists across the US said so. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the most credible member of Trump’s coronavirus task force, said so. Numerous other medical specialists said so, governors and mayors said so.

      • How a Yale Academic Trolls the Liberals on Trump’s Looming Reelection

        Walter Russell Mead writes Trump campaign propaganda disguised as analysis.

      • Netanyahu Uses Coronavirus to Lure Rival Gantz into ‘Emergency’ Government

        Benny Gantz, the former Israeli general turned party leader, agreed late last week to join his rival Benjamin Netanyahu in an “emergency government” to deal with the coronavirus epidemic.

      • As Fashion Lines Are Praised for Making Face Masks, Don’t Ignore Garment Workers

        Fashion labels from Christian Siriano, H&M and Zara to luxury firms like LVMH, Kering and Prada have recently pledged to redirect their resources to making medical masks and (non-medical-grade) face mask covers. If all goes according to plan, fashion firms will donate many tens of millions of masks to the battle against COVID-19 in the hardest-hit places in the U.S. and Europe.

      • Bad bosses ‘Vedomosti’ fights for its independence as editors appeal to future owners, demanding a new editor-in-chief

        Vedomosti’s senior editors sent their letter (Meduza obtained a copy) to the two men who will soon become the newspaper’s new owners: tabloid publisher Nasha Versiya (Our Take) president Nikolai Zyatkov and Arbat Capital managing director Alexey Golubovich.

      • Limiting Trump’s Screen Time Isn’t ‘Censorship,’ It’s Journalism

        Last week, some news outlets—including CNN and MSNBC —made the decision to stop airing the entirety of Donald Trump’s daily press conferences on the new coronavirus. With the president’s statements veering more and more into fiction (“Nobody knew there would be a pandemic or epidemic of this proportion”—3/18/20), conspiracy theories (“Where are the masks going? Are they going out the back door? How do you go from 10,000 to 300,000?”—3/29/20) and miracle cures (“The hydroxychloroquine and the Z-Pak, I think as a combination, probably, is looking very, very good”—3/23/20), a growing number of journalists, including Rachel Maddow and Ted Koppel (New York Times, 3/25/20), had called for news outlets to, as James Fallows wrote in the Atlantic (3/20/20), “stop airing these as live spectacles and instead report, afterwards, with clips of things Trump and others said, and whether they were true.”

      • Daily Record Investigates My Home and Finances

        The day after I publish my article accusing the corporate media of being an active part of the conspiracy against Alex Salmond, and of giving disgracefully selective, slanted and biased coverage of the evidence of his trial, the Daily Record has decided to investigate my home and personal finances. Is not life full of little coincidences?

      • A Citizens’ Call to Invoke the Twenty-fifth Amendment
      • ‘Poor Omen’: Just 24% of Biden’s Supporters ‘Very Enthusiastic’—Less Than Half of Trump’s 53%

        “While Republican voters vote for what they believe, no matter how extreme, Democratic voters are perennially playing themselves, voting for what they think other people want.”

      • Trump’s Mass Negligent Homicide Doesn’t Let Democratic Leaders Off the Hook

        If leadership is the metric, what is the measure?

      • COVID-19 Pandemic Shows That We Don’t Need Return to Normalcy—We Need President Bernie Sanders

        Middle America: What happened to the revolution?

      • Are You Prepared to Needlessly Die for Your Country?

        When I was a young boy, I used to play war, and watch movies that celebrated violence. Rambo showed the awesome potential for a single devoted patriot to turn the tables on evil. I had a glamorous account of war, and as an 8-year-old I did not understand why my father cried when we went to see the award-winning movie “Platoon.”

      • What’s Wrong with Ranked Choice Voting

        An electoral reform popular with many political activists and commentators is ranked choice voting, also called cumulative or preferential voting.

      • Why Has the Media Ignored Sexual Assault and Misbehaviour Allegations Against Biden?

        Conservatives who didn’t care about the multiple sexual assault allegations against Trump have seized on the accusations while liberals turn a blind eye.

      • Saying Quiet Part Very Loud, Trump Admits “You’d Never Have a Republican Elected in This Country Again” If Voting Access Expanded

        “This morning on live television, the president of the United States admitted he is opposed to laws that would make it easier for Americans to vote because that would hurt Republicans.”

      • How to Fight Fascism While Surviving a Plague

        How can we fight fascism as public health restrictions tighten? Kelly talks with Shane Burley about organizing for survival and the analysis of state power we need right now.

      • Undemocratic Elections Have Citizens Reinventing Self-Governance Worldwide

        One of the problems that the coronavirus pandemic is exposing in the U.S. is a decades-long erosion of trust in civil society. The effect is like a loss of the civic antibodies that keep self-governance healthy. In the political vacuum, the work of containing the outbreak falls nearly 100 percent on elected leaders and corporations with minimal popular credibility. As journalist David M. Shribman notes, “[T]he cost to capitalism shrinks in comparison to the cost in social capital.”

      • Tom Perez Put Corporate Lobbyists in Charge of the DNC’s Budget

        Last week, Mike Bloomberg transferred the leftover $18 million from his presidential campaign to the Democratic National Committee to use in the general election — over 23 times the maximum amount that an individual could give to a national party using all available channels.

      • Wisconsin Is Holding A Pandemic Primary On April 7 That Will Disenfranchise Voters

        Wisconsin Democratic Governor Tony Evers has declined to invoke emergency powers and reschedule the state’s April 7 primary, even though a majority of Wisconsin residents support changing the date. A number of federal lawsuits have been filed in Wisconsin, including by groups committed to get-out-the-vote efforts. The lawsuits request an expansion of mail-in voting and/or postponement of in-person voting.Thirteen states, including New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, have rescheduled their primaries.While Alaska and Wyoming are still holding their primaries in April, the states canceled in-person voting and everyone who wants to participate will vote by mail. The irrational commitment by Evers, the Republican-controlled state legislature, and the Elections Commission to holding a primary in the middle of an intensifying pandemic flouts statewide and nationwide orders issued to protect the public’s health. It forces communities to give up their right to vote if they want to make certain they do not contract the virus.COVID-19 cases in Wisconsin surpassed 1,200 on March 30. Twenty-three people have died, and Evers has said the severity of this disease in the African American community in Milwaukee is a crisis within a crisis.”

      • J’Accuse

        A 22 person team from Police Scotland worked for over a year identifying and interviewing almost 400 hoped-for complainants and witnesses against Alex Salmond. This resulted in nil charges and nil witnesses. Nil. The accusations in court were all fabricated and presented on a government platter to the police by a two prong process. The first prong was the civil service witch hunt presided over by Leslie Evans and already condemned by Scotland’s highest civil court as “unlawful, unfair and tainted by apparent bias”. The second prong was the internal SNP process orchestrated by a group at the very top in SNP HQ and the First Minister’s Private Office. A key figure in the latter was directly accused in court by Alex Salmond himself of having encouraged a significant number of the accusers to fabricate incidents.

      • Media Need to Scrutinize Andrew Cuomo’s Record, Not Crush on His Words

        As Donald Trump emits streams of false statements about the Covid-19 crisis and makes decisions that will lead to a tremendous number of unnecessary deaths in this country, New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo has emerged as something of a national media darling.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand Censor Social Media to Counter “Fake News”

        In April 2019, for example, Singapore’s government introduced a bill banning fake news. This bill would obligate social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to remove or modify posts that the Singapore government considers false. Additionally, individuals spreading misinformation online could be hit with steep punishment, including jail time or a fine. What constitutes “misinformation,” in the eyes of Singapore’s rulers, is demonstrated by the bill’s language, which would give ministers the ability to limit posts that disrupt “public tranquility” and “friendly relations of Singapore with other countries,” or that fail to promote or express “public confidence in the performance of … the government.”

      • Lee Camp and Craig Aaron Join the Show – The Project Censored Show

        For the first half of the show, Mickey’s guest is investigative comic, Lee Camp, host of “Redacted Tonight” on RT Television, and author of the new book, “Bullet Points and Punch Lines.” They talk about the state of our free press with a touch of dark humor. Then Craig Aaron of FreePress.net returns to the show and explains his proposal that Congress fund a fiscal stimulus plan for journalism in the US, to begin restoring the nation’s depleted corps of local reporters. Aaron says we need nothing short of a robust, multi-billion dollar stimulus for a public interest free press and we need it now.

      • Journalist Abby Martin Sues Georgia over Anti-boycott Oath to Israel

        Signed into law in 2016, the law specifically targets the Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) movement, which began organizing on college campuses in 2005. The movement aims to put economic pressure on Israel by boycotting companies with direct connections to the Israeli government, divesting from Israeli companies, and supporting sanctions on the country.

      • Speaking Freely: Sandra Ordoñez

        Sandra (Sandy) Ordoñez is dedicated to protecting women being harassed online. Sandra is an experienced community engagement specialist, a proud NYC Latina resident of Sunset Park Brooklyn, and a recipient of Fundación Carolina’s Hispanic Leadership Award. She is also a long-time diversity and inclusion advocate, with extensive experience incubating and creating FLOSS and Internet Freedom community tools.These commitments and principles drive Sandra’s work as the co-founder and Director of the Internet Freedom Festival (IFF) at Article19. Even before launching the Internet Freedom Festival, Sandra was helping to grow and diversify the global Internet Freedom community. As their inaugural Director of Community and Outreach, Sandra led the creation of Open Technology Fund’s (OTF) Community Lab. Before her time at OTF, Sandra was Head of Communications and Outreach at OpenITP where she supported the community behind FLOSS anti-surveillance and anti-censorship tools. She also served as the first Communications Director for the Wikimedia Foundation. As a researcher Sandra has conducted over 400 expert interviews on the future of journalism, and conducted some of the first research on how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) reinforces stereotypes. She also provides consultation on privacy-respecting community marketing, community building, organizational communication, event management, program design, and digital strategy. All while serving on the board of the Open Technology Fund, Trollbusters, and Equality Labs. In recent months Facebook, and others, have proposed the creation of oversight boards to set content moderation policies internationally. In the US, the fight to protect free expression has taken on a new urgency with Senators Graham and Blumenthal introducing the EARN IT Act. A bill that, if enacted, would erode critical free speech protections and create a government commission with the power to codify best practices, with criminal and civil liability on platforms that failed to meet them. With these committees in mind, I was eager to speak with Sandy about how these proposals would impact communities that are often the most directly affected, and the last consulted.

        Nathan “nash” Sheard: What does free speech mean to you?

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • A Global, Comparative Perspective on US Detention of Immigrant Children

        Border Patrol stations in places like El Paso and Clint, Texas, are not equipped to hold children, especially not for as long as they are currently being detained. As other news outlets have reported, children in diapers are caged and left without adequate caret. Bochenek stated that as a country with considerable resources, holding the children in better conditions than their previous state should not be that much of a challenge for this country.

      • Major Sporting Events and Human Trafficking? The Unfortunate Debate

        Law enforcement works with affected industries before each event, training, for example, hotel staff on how to spot the warning signs of trafficking, while the US Department of Homeland Security distributes stickers to be placed in restrooms with the phone number of the trafficking hotline.

      • Cuba: An Example of Solidarity In a Time of Crisis

        The most frequent qualifier used to describe the global experience of the pandemic we are currently witnessing or affected by, is “crisis”. And I am reminded of political theorist Antonio Gramsci’s words: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

      • Native American Women Are Disappearing, and No One Is Watching

        Campaigners say the largest contributors to the problem are systemic racism, issues with law enforcement, and a lack of data. The missing women are often victims of sexual violence, police brutality, or domestic violence. Perpetrators continue to engage in this activity because they can get away with it, largely due to late missing-persons reports and racial misclassification, the data collection being ruined, and the cases being ignored. Bills are being written to tackle the issue, including fixing the gaps in data collection to address the public mistrust of the police. A bill signed by Washington’s democratic governor, Jay Inslee, “will create two liaison positions within the Washington state patrol, the state’s police agency, whose job will be to build a relationship between governmental agencies and Native communities.” However, any large scale solution is bound to take time, especially given the lack of public attention shown to these cases.

      • Organizing for Reproductive Justice in the Southern US

        As the New Yorker reported,  in 2014, Georgia was one of twenty-five states that enacted laws restricting insurance coverage of abortion under the Affordable Care Act, legislation that especially impacted low-income women who struggle with the cost of the procedure. In response, national organizations such as the National Abortion Federation and local organizations, including the Magnolia Fund, provided funds to help women who wanted abortions but could not afford them to pay for their procedures. (As the New Yorker reported, the Magnolia Fund closed in 2019.)

      • ‘Critical Victory’ for Reproductive Rights as Federal Judges Block Three States From Exploiting Coronavirus to Ban Abortion Care

        “This is an important recognition of what we know to be true—abortion care is essential healthcare.”

      • Report Finds Serious Faults with US Migrant Protection Protocols

        First, as Cuffe wrote, violence in both migrants’ home countries and in Mexico is “a key precipitating factor in alarming levels of symptoms of mental illness among migrants and asylum seekers from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.” According to the MSF survey, 61.9 percent of migrants had experienced a violent event within two years of leaving their home country, including the death (42.5 percent) or a disappearance (16.9 percent) of a relative. In health consultations, these migrants displayed symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that were deemed to be “moderate” or “severe” on the Clinical Global Impression scale, an internationally recognized measure for the severity of psychological problems or mental illness. “The violence suffered by people living in [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] is comparable to that in a war zones,” according to the MSF report (p.4).

      • Coronavirus Makes It More Clear Than Ever: Health Care Is a Human Right

        We shouldn’t be satisfied with single-payer coverage just during a massive pandemic. This crisis exposes dramatically the foolishness of pretending that health care is a private marketplace. We need Medicare for All now.

      • Holding Our Breath, Together and Apart

        Crises illuminate our dependency on one another, and on remote chains of production and distribution—but also highlight a resiliency and capacity to live within limits.

      • The Future May Be Female, But the Pandemic Is Patriarchal

        Feminism in the time of Coronavirus

      • The US Decries Political Persecution of Nicaraguans But Won’t Grant Them Asylum

        The second time around, John Martínez-Picado knew what awaited him inside “El Chipote.” It had been almost a year but the spiral-shaped prison with its overcrowded underground cells and concrete beds on the floor still haunted him. He hadn’t forgotten the suffocating feeling — “as if you were going to have a heart attack,” Martínez-Picado said. He also hadn’t fully recovered from the trauma of being forced to witness guards torture his cellmates, pulling out their fingernails and cutting off their ears until they became unconscious. Martínez-Picado had known then that if he was lucky enough to get out, only to be caught again, it would be worse than the first time.

      • Corporate America Is on Offense—Local Communities Can Be Too

        This crisis calls for us to challenge the government system that is failing us. Now is an opportunity for radical collective action.

      • He Was Ordered to Self-Isolate. He Didn’t. Now He’s Facing Criminal Charges.

        In what may be the first case of its kind in Illinois, a man who walked into a busy gas station store after posting on Facebook that he had been ordered to self-isolate because of coronavirus symptoms now faces criminal charges of reckless conduct.

        The 36-year-old man, who had stopped in the store so his 4-year-old son could use the bathroom, was recognized by an employee who had gone to high school with him and saw his social media post. After the man left, the employee alerted her supervisor, who then called authorities.

      • 33 Years After Dubious Evidence Helped Convict Him, Joe Bryan Has Been Released on Parole

        On Tuesday, Joe Bryan was released from prison after 33 years behind bars. “Thank you, Father, for taking care of me,” he said, extending his hand toward the sky, his voice choking with emotion. “Hallelujah, praise Jesus!”

        Bryan’s attorneys and a large group of family members had waited outside the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville for hours in cold, gloomy weather, craning for a view of the 79-year-old. Shortly before 11 a.m., as the sun burst through the clouds, parolees began to emerge from the prison, filing past the monolithic, red-brick structure that is home to the state’s execution chamber. Bryan looked uncertainly ahead of him until he spotted familiar faces, then broke into a wide grin. A small bag, which a younger parolee carried for him, held all of his possessions.

      • Legislation allowing prime minister’s cabinet to declare state of emergency rockets through Russian legislative system

        Russia’s Federation Council held an emergency meeting on March 31 to approve a new law that will allow the country’s executive cabinet to declare states of high alert and states of emergency.

      • FOIA’ed DOJ Report Points Out The Downsides Of Relying On ‘Predictive Policing’ To Fight Crime

        The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has obtained a DOJ report on predictive policing via a FOIA lawsuit. The document dates back to 2014 but it shows the DOJ had concerns about the negative side effects of predicting where crime may occur by using data that details where crime has happened.

      • Interview With Brad Schreiber On ‘Music Is Power’: Part 1—Dixie Chicks, Marvin Gaye

        Covering around a century Music Is Power is a book by Brad Schreiber that takes readers on a tour of music that challenged social injustice and spoke to the masses during uncertain times.

        Schreiber is an award-winning author, journalist, and screenwriter, whose past books include Death In Paradise, Becoming Jimi Hendrix, and Revolution’s End.

      • New York AG Denounces ‘Immoral and Inhumane’ Firing of Amazon Worker Who Led Protest Over Lack of Coronavirus Protections

        “Taking action cost me my job,” said Chris Smalls. “Because I tried to stand up for something that’s right, the company decided to retaliate against me.”

      • Covid-19: Our Health Crisis is Born of Bigotry

        “A bridge is no stronger than its weakest part.” Former slave turned educator Anna Julia Cooper uttered those very contemporary-sounding words back in 1892. The US didn’t heed them then; we haven’t heeded them yet. The big question, brought home to us one more time by the Covid-19 crisis, is why not? What does American society so love about having weak parts that we refuse—year after year and epidemic after epidemic—to shore up?

      • COVID-19 and the Neoliberal State of Exception

        How do neoliberal governments act in emergency situations when the interests of the private sector top their agenda?

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

        Long before the advent of the coronavirus pandemic left people around the world desperate for survival, a popular assumption emerged that national governments are also supposed to promote the happiness and well-being of their citizens. This idea was expressed in the U.S. Declaration of Independence, which proclaimed that governments are instituted to secure humanity’s “unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

      • Stay Home, Stay Angry

        Social distancing is hard, and it’s not fun.

      • ‘The Strike Wave Is in Full Swing’: Amazon, Whole Foods Workers Walk Off Job to Protest Unjust and Unsafe Labor Practices

        “One of the best ways to thank essential workers is to support the fight to improve their lives.”

      • ‘A Harrowing Warning’ to All as Hungary Hands Far-Right Leader Dictatorial Powers Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

        “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic.”

      • Court To Cops: No Expectation Of Privacy In A ‘Beer-Drinking, Nap-Taking Hideout’

        Everyone has rights, even the people who often disrespect the rights of others. But those rights can only be violated in certain, specific ways and the two cops, who sued over alleged rights violations, didn’t actually have their rights violated.

      • Decarceration: COVID-19 is Opportunity Knocking

        On March 23, 14 US Senators from both major political parties asked US Attorney General William Barr and Michael Carvajal, director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to “transfer non-violent offenders who are at high risk for suffering complications from COVID-19 to home confinement.”

      • Keeping Each Other Safe When Virtually Organizing Mutual Aid

        Communities across the country are stepping up to self-organize mutual aid groups, uniting virtually to offer and coordinate support to those who are in need. In solidarity with the need for physical distancing, many people are organizing online using Google spreadsheets, Google forms, public posts on Twitter and Facebook, and private messages on social media platforms. 

        There is great beauty and power in this support, but it also puts security concerns in the spotlight: overlooked privacy settings and overbroad collection of personal data can lead to the unintended disclosure of private information that can be used to harm the very people seeking help. Though these efforts may seem like they have equal benefit in helping connect people in need to people with resources, the privacy and security implications for these mediums vary widely. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Tone Deaf: Using COVID-19 As A Prop To Celebrate The Death Of Net Neutrality

        So we’ve noted a few times now how the FCC’s decision to kill net neutrality did a hell of a lot more than just kill “net neutrality.” It obliterated much of the FCC’s consumer protection authority, making it harder than ever to hold U.S. telecom monopolies accountable for bad behavior like rampant privacy violations, ripping you off with bullshit fees, or refusing to upgrade or repair long-neglected taxpayer subsidized networks. And this was a problem even before America began staring down the barrel of a brutal pandemic while stuck at home telecommuting.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • EFF Joins Locast Defense Team to Fight for TV Viewers’ Right to Use Free, Legal Streaming Service

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today joined the legal team defending Sports Fans Coalition NY, Inc. (SFCNY), the nonprofit organization that runs Locast, a free, local TV streaming service facing bogus copyright infringement claims by broadcast giants ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox.Locast enables TV viewers to receive local over-the-air programming—which broadcasters must by law make available for free—using set-top boxes, smartphones, or other devices of their choice. Locast is available in 17 metro areas and has more than one million users, including people who can’t get local channels through an antenna or can’t afford a pay-TV subscription.The four broadcast giants filed suit against Locast last year, a year and a half after Locast launched, claiming it violates their copyrights in programming. But Locast is protected by an exemption to copyright law, put in place by Congress, that allows nonprofits to retransmit broadcast TV so communities can access independent, local stations offering news, foreign-language programming, and local sports. There’s no infringement if nonprofits make noncommercial transmission of copyrighted works, using donations to cover their costs.“Broadcast TV is a vital source of local news and cultural programming for millions of people, which matters now more than ever because of COVID-19,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz.  “But some broadcasters want to use copyright law to control when, where, and how people can receive their local TV broadcasts, and force people to buy expensive pay-TV services just to get their local news and sports.”EFF joins the case as co-counsel alongside law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. EFF has a long history fighting copyright abuse and defending innovation that benefits the public. Broadcast giants, which already reap billions from charging users for programming, are attempting to use their copyrights to maintain market power and force consumers to pay for programming that’s supposed to be free.“EFF has worked for many years to defend people’s right to access and use content with the devices and technologies of their choice,” said EFF Legal Director Corynne McSherry. “Defending Locast’s ability to stream local TV broadcasts using the Copyright Act’s nonprofit provision is part of that goal.”“I am grateful beyond words to EFF for representing our nonprofit and the consumers who rely on Locast,” said SFCNY Chairman and Locast founder David Goodfriend. “Especially during the COVID-19 crisis, when Americans need emergency news and information from their local broadcasters, and when so many of our fellow Americans are suffering economically, Locast provides a critical public service.”

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Chinese Companies Set Pace In Europe Patent Filings

          Chinese companies witnessed the highest growth last year among leading patent filing countries at the European Patent Office (EPO), according to a report released on March 12.

          The EPO Patent Index 2019 showed that patent applications originated from China at the EPO grew by 29.2 percent in 2019 to a total of 12,247, setting a record high.

          In the past decade, patent applications filed by Chinese companies with the EPO have increased sixfold.

          China moved up one place from 2018 to become the fourth-largest patent filing country at the EPO in 2019, trailing the United States, Germany and Japan.

          In all, the EPO received more than 181,000 patent applications in 2019, an increase of 4 percent from 2018 and a new all-time high. The US accounted for 25 percent of the total applications, while Germany made up of 15 percent and Japan took 12 percent. China accounted for 7 percent.

        • Judge McMahon’s Motions in Limine Rulings Clear Way for Ferring v. Serenity Trial

          The years-long dispute may finally be headed for trial between Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and its affiliates, Serenity Pharmaceuticals, LLC, and Reprise Biopharmaceutics, LLC over patents claiming a sublingual application of desmopressin, a drug used to treat symptoms of diabetes insipidus, including frequent nighttime urination (“nocturia”). On March 11, 2020, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon (S.D.N.Y.) ruled on three motions in limine filed by defendants and counterclaimants Serenity and Reprise.

          Reprise owns patents covering applications of desmopressin—U.S. Patent Nos. 7,405,203, 7,579,321, and 7,799,761—which it had exclusively licensed to Serenity to market Noctiva, a drug that treats nocturia. Ferring, which developed a rival product, Nocdurna, first filed this suit in April 2017 against Serenity and Reprise, seeking a declaratory judgment that Reprise’s patents were invalid and unenforceable, and were not infringed by Ferring’s Nocdurna product, which also treats nocturia. Serenity and Reprise asserted counterclaims against Ferring, alleging infringement of the ’203 and ’321 Patents by Ferring’s Nocdurna.

          First, Judge McMahon granted Serenity and Reprise’s motion to exclude Ferring’s theory of indefiniteness of the term “about” in the patents’ claims. Ferring had not included the theory in either its initial or final invalidity contentions, and only disclosed it after Serenity and Reprise’s expert testified regarding the “about” limitations. Judge McMahon rejected Ferring’s argument that expert testimony “created” a new indefiniteness argument, holding that because indefiniteness is an objective standard, Ferring could have, but did not, raise the argument earlier.

        • Software Patents

          • [Joke] Unified Patent Court halt sales of ventilators across Europe

            The Unified Patent Court (UPC) has issued an pan-European injunction to halt the sales of ventilators across Europe. The Court ruled that ventilators used by hospitals in the current pandemic of COVID-19 were violating an EPO patent on graphical user interfaces using tabs, granted to Bully Diagnostics LLC. Despite the lockdown, crowds started assembling around EPO offices, and the protests quickly escalated into violent riots. Protesters said that patent law cannot live in its own bubble, that lives were more important than profit.

            [...]

            An EPO spokesmen said: “The exclusion of patentability for ‘presentation of information’ has to be interpreted ‘as such’. The caselaw of the Boards of Appeal says that graphical user interfaces are patentable if they produce a technical effect in the brain of the nurses and doctors. We are happy that this specialized patent court has adopted our doctrine, installing a jurisprudence for Computer Implemented Inventions (CIIs) in Europe without a debate in parliaments.”

            FFII President, Peter Highness, finishes: “After ventilators, this patent troll will go after Apple and its iPhones, so Millenials and GenZs, be prepared and make your stock! Empty stocks of toilet paper was just the beginning, who can survive in those pandemic times without an iPhone and an internet connection?”

      • Trademarks

        • Florida Atlantic University Suddenly Decides Owl Tutoring’s Name Is Trademark Infringement After Over A Decade

          As some of you may be aware, Florida Atlantic University’s sports teams and mascots are the Owls. As some of you may also be aware, the southeast is home to Owl Tutoring, a college tutoring service with a fairly good reputation. Owl Tutoring has existed for over a decade and has even promoted itself by advertising in FAU publications. That’s probably why it took the folks at the company by such surprise to suddenly get a C&D letter from FAU’s legal team accusing it of committing trademark infringement.

      • Copyrights

        • Affordable Legal Options Are the Best Anti-Piracy Tool, US Senators Are Told

          As a former Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party, Julia Reda has a wealth of experience with copyright legislation. This is recognized by the U.S. Senate, which invited Reda to share her knowledge with the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property. Answering follow-up questions from several senators, she stresses that affordable legal options are the best anti-piracy tool.

        • Anime Fans Find ‘Pirate’ Subtitles in Netflix Streams of City Hunter

          Netflix subscribers in France shared a wry smile over the weekend when a screenshot from the anime movie City Hunter was shared on Twitter. The screenshot revealed that the subtitles hadn’t been obtained from an official supplier. Instead, they were apparently culled from a ‘pirate’ file distributed by an IRC channel specializing in anime content, one that could’ve been dead for some time.

        • Permission Culture Gone Mad: Worries About Proper License For ‘Balcony Singing’ Lead Collection Society To Say It’s Okay, You Can Sing

          Yet another reminder that copyright is really, really broken. As you may have seen, there have been a few viral videos making the rounds of people locked down in apartment buildings deciding to hold impromptu music performances from balconies. When the first of these came out, I had joked that it would only be a matter of time until some music collection society called these an unlicensed public performance and demanded royalty payments. Thankfully, that has not happened, though in Spain, a copyright professor did tell a journalist that those singing from the balconies should first get a license (relying on Google translate here…):

        • RIAA Denies ‘False Takedown’ Allegations, Asks Court to Dismiss Case

          The RIAA denies that it willingly sent false takedown notices to the mixtape service Spinrilla. In a new filing at a federal court in Atlanta, the music group refutes claims that it abused the DMCA takedown process. On the contrary, it believes that it had the right to remove a file which, according to Spinrilla, is clearly not infringing.

        • Publishers And Authors Misguided Freakout Over Internet Archive’s Decision To Enable More Digital Book Checkouts During A Pandemic

          It’s been said many times over that if libraries did not currently exist, there’s no way that publishers would allow them to come into existence today. Libraries are, in fact, a lovely and important artifact of a pre-copyright time when we actually valued knowledge sharing, rather than locking up knowledge behind a paywall. Last week, the Internet Archive announced what it’s calling a National Emergency Library — a very useful and sensible offering, as we’ll explain below. However, publishers and their various organizations freaked out (leading some authors to freak out as well). The freak out is not intellectually honest or consistent, but we’ll get there.

        • Internet Archive’s National Emergency Library is “Vile” Says Copyright Alliance

          Last week the Internet Archive responded to the coronavirus outbreak by offering a new service to “displaced learners”. Combining scanned books from three libraries, the Archive offered unlimited borrowing of 1.4 million books, so that people can continue reading while in quarantine. What followed was a huge backlash from publishing and pro-copyright groups, with the Copyright Alliance decribing the actions of IA’s operator as “particularly vile.”

        • Education in Times of Crisis and Beyond: Maximizing Copyright Flexibilities

          Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials, in any medium, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, adaptation and redistribution by others.

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:39 am by Needs Sunlight

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