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04.07.20

Links 7/4/2020: Firefox 75, Python 2.7.1 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Galaxy Chromebook reviews

        I can’t imagine using something this fancy without wiping out the toy OS and installing Ubuntu Linux instead.

        One thing that struck me is that The Verge’s full-column warning (partially embedded below) about the clickwrap contracts the user must agree to just to start the machine. These are commonplace with gadgets, but rarely in such great numbers or with such hostile presentation. The reviewer writes they were unable to read them.

        Tech companies have turned Linux into a transmission vector for adhesion contracts that are virtually impossible to read. To think, they used to complain that the GPL was a virus!

    • Server

      • How to avoid man-in-the-middle cyber attacks

        Remember, you don’t have to click anything online right away, and you don’t have to follow random people’s instructions, no matter how urgent they may seem. The internet will still be there after you step away from the computer and verify the identity of a person or site demanding your attention.

        While MITM attacks can happen to anyone, understanding what they are, knowing how they happen, and actively taking steps to prevent them can safeguard you from being a victim.

      • Another perspective on Swift versus Ceph today

        Mark’s perspective is largely founded in the fault tolerance and administrative overhead. However, let’s a look at “keep using [Ceph] for object too”.

        Indeed the integration of block, POSIX, and object storage is Ceph’s strength, although I should note for the record that Ceph has a large gap: all 3 APIs live in separate namespaces. So, do not expect to be able to copy a disk snapshot through CephFS or RGW. Objects in each namespace are completely invisible to two others, and the only uniform access layer is RADOS. This is why, for instance, RGW-over-NFS exists. That’s right, not CephFS, but NFS. You can mount RGW.

        All attempts at this sort of integration that I know in Swift always start with a uniform access first. It the opposite of Ceph in a way. Because of that, these integrations typically access from the edge inside, like making a pool that a daemon fills/spills with Swift, and mounting that. SwiftStacks’s ProxyFS is a little more native to Swift, but it starts off with a shared namespace too.

      • API Priority and Fairness Alpha

        This blog describes “API Priority And Fairness”, a new alpha feature in Kubernetes 1.18. API Priority And Fairness permits cluster administrators to divide the concurrency of the control plane into different weighted priority levels. Every request arriving at a kube-apiserver will be categorized into one of the priority levels and get its fair share of the control plane’s throughput.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Pagure a GitLab Alternative: Neal Gompa | Jupiter Extras 69

        Pagure, the free software GitLab alternative no one is talking about.

        Neal Gompa joins us to discuss what makes it unique, which projects are using it, and the significant adoption in progress.

      • Building The Seq Language For Bioinformatics

        Bioinformatics is a complex and computationally demanding domain. The intuitive syntax of Python and extensive set of libraries make it a great language for bioinformatics projects, but it is hampered by the need for computational efficiency. Ariya Shajii created the Seq language to bridge the divide between the performance of languages like C and C++ and the ecosystem of Python with built-in support for commonly used genomics algorithms. In this episode he describes his motivation for creating a new language, how it is implemented, and how it is being used in the life sciences. If you are interested in experimenting with sequencing data then give this a listen and then give Seq a try!

      • 2020-04-06 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat names Paul Cormier as President and CEO, Unleashed OS has come to an end, the latest release of the Kaidan XMPP chat client adds audio and video messaging, and the open source eBook reader Foliate has a redesigned user interface for a distraction-free reading experience.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7 Changes So Far: New exFAT Driver, Tiger Lake Graphics By Default, Apple Fast Charge, Etc

        We are now one week through the two week long Linux 5.7 kernel merge window where new/improved functionality is introduced. Here is a look at the changes so far for Linux 5.7.

        If you are behind on your Phoronix reading, among the work we’ve noted so far during week one of the Linux 5.7 merge window includes

      • Intel P-State Driver Shifting To “Schedutil” Governor Default With Linux 5.7

        On top of all the other changes in Linux 5.7 so far, a secondary set of power management updates were sent in today for this next version of the kernel and includes now using the Schedutil governor by default for Intel P-State and Arm big.LITTLE systems.

        Intel’s P-State CPU frequency scaling driver has from the start defaulted to the “powersave” governor on most Linux distributions out there (and “performance” on a subset of other distributions as the default, which had been the upstream kernel default Kconfig value). But with time Schedutil has come together as a capable CPU frequency scaling governor that makes use of the kernel’s scheduler utilization date to make more accurate decisions about ramping up or down clock frequencies. Schedutil has been looked at by developers on replacing the existing governors as it matures enough.

      • F2FS Introduces Zstd Compression Support With The Linux 5.7 Kernel

        The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) updates have been sent in for the very active Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Most notable for F2FS in this next version of the Linux kernel is introducing Zstd transparent file-system compression support. LZO and LZ4 also remain available as the existing compression options. LZ4 meanwhile is the new default compression method for F2FS.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: Update on the Plumbers Covid-19 Situation

        We’re still planning to hold Plumbers, but adopting a wait and see attitude to the in-person component. As people have noticed, the global prospect for being able to travel to Halifax in August seems to be getting worse, so we’re posting this to give more transparency to what the Plumbers Conference decision points and options are.

        Our first consideration is a go/no-go decision point for the in-person conference. Currently, the date we were planning to put the first batch of tickets on-sale (15 May) represents the ideal date for this because it gives time (another 6 weeks) for more clarity to emerge on the situation, while avoiding people doing early purchases only to be disappointed if the event has to be cancelled at a later date.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMD’s Marek Olšák Lands Even More OpenGL Threading Improvements Into Mesa 20.1

          One month ago to the day I was writing about OpenGL threading improvements for Mesa 20.1 and since then more “GLTHREAD” work has materialized and successfully landed for improving the Mesa OpenGL driver performance.

          Longtime AMD open-source developer Marek Olšák has been leading this recent work on GLTHREAD. Over the past month he has landed various GLTHREAD optimizations and whitelisting more games to flip on “mesa_glthread” by default.

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Benchmarks With Intel oneAPI Level Zero Performance

        Last week Intel released an initial set of micro-benchmarks for their oneAPI Level Zero and with L0 support being plumbed into their open-source Intel Compute Runtime, this weekend I started toying around with some Level Zero benchmarks on a variety of Intel processors.

        The oneAPI Level Zero API is their direct-to-metal interfaces for accelerators from GPUs to other hardware. This testing in conjunction with the latest Intel Compute Runtime was testing their Gen9 and Gen11 graphics aboard various Intel CPUs.

        The Intel level-zero-tests micro-benchmarks aren’t the first time we are benchmarking oneAPI components but have been doing so for months. Via the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org and commonly within our hardware reviews are benchmarks on other oneAPI tools like Intel Embree, Open Image Denoise OSPray, OpenSWR, and others. Intel oneAPI continues to have us quite excited on the software front and closely are monitoring its open-source advancements through 2020.

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 2 Released For Latest Cross-Platform Benchmarking

        The second development release of the Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 cross-platform benchmarking software is now available for evaluation and testing.

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.6 Milestone 2 builds off the earlier work so far this development cycle on continuing to improve the PTS9-modern result viewer/portal for viewing local benchmark results.

      • Linux 5.6 I/O Scheduler Benchmarks: None, Kyber, BFQ, MQ-Deadline

        While some Linux distributions are still using MQ-Deadline or Kyber by default for NVMe SSD storage, using no I/O scheduler still tends to perform the best overall for this speedy storage medium.

        In curious about the current state of the I/O schedulers with the newly-minted Linux 5.6 kernel, here are benchmarks of no I/O scheduler against MQ-Deadline, Kyber, BFQ, and BFQ low-latency. This round of tests were done on the high performance Corsair Force MP600 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD while similar tests are still being conducted on SATA SSDs and HDDs off Linux 5.6.

    • Applications

      • Biogenesis – Play evolution

        Molecular biology is a fascinating thing. Combine it with computers, and you get yourself a platform for studying the evolution of life. Not an easy one, and scientists worldwide have been at this problem for many years now, trying to understand and replicate the environmental conditions that led to the creation of life on Earth.

        If you’re fascinated by the concepts of amino acids, RNA, cellular division and alike, you can partake in the discovery journey with Biogenesis, a free, cross-platform, Java-based visual microbiology simulator. The idea is simple: you get a primordial soup, and you get to control it, studying and creating organisms of your own. Sounds like good, solid educational fun. Let there be light. I mean Java.

        [...]

        Biogenesis is not your everyday program, and it will most likely appeal to a tiny, tiny niche of users with some scientific inclination. However, it’s a very capable and fascinating educational tool, as it touches on many important aspects of life without forcing you to go through four years of university somewhere, not that you shouldn’t. It’s smartly designed, it has the right dose of simple and complex, and it entices the brain to think in just the right way.

        The one thing I’m missing are the actual algorithms in the background, which determine how applicable Biogenesis is for real-life simulations. Then again, it allows us to contemplate hypothetical early-life scenarios, and maybe gain understanding into why certain organisms are more prevalent, and how they have come to dominate life. Anyway, definitely worth testing. Begin.

      • 10 Best Free Skype Alternatives for a Linux PC

        Skype is unarguably one of the most popular voice over IP software for audio and video calls as well as instant messaging and file sharing – and that’s not just because Microsoft is the company behind it, it packs a rich set of features that enable its users to communicate in both informal and business environments.

        That notwithstanding, one of the beauties of an open software market is healthy competition and I am happy to inform you that there are more than a handful of alternatives with which you can conveniently send instant messages and host video calls as easily as you would with Skype.

      • Foliate Linux GTK eBook Reader 2.0 Released With A Plethora Of Changes

        Foliate Linux GTK eBook reader had a major new release. The latest 2.0 version comes a redesigned user interface that works better on smaller screens and other important changes, a new continuous scrolling layout, e-reader style navigation, new themes, and much more.

        Besides these important to have features for an eBook viewer, the application also has various minor features that many will find useful, like viewing an eBook’s metadata, remember where you left off, fullscreen mode, and more.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • KeeperRL, the fantastic mix of a dungeon simulator with roguelike and RPG bits has a new free version out

        Bored? Quarantine or Isolation due to the Coronavirus got you down? Time to check out a new game then. KeeperRL, a game that blends together a dungeon building sim with a roguelike and RPG mechanics has a free build up.

        Technically, you could get a free copy of KeeperRL before as the developer has given it away free for a long time—however that was the ASCII version with no proper graphics. It’s code is also open source under the GPL…

      • Paradox confirm a large free update for Stellaris in May, and it hit a big concurrent player peak recently

        Stellaris recently gained the massive Federations expansion, and now that’s out the door Paradox Interactive and Paradox Development Studio are looking ahead towards a big free update due in May.

        Before we get into that, it looks like the popularity of Stellaris has been renewed somewhat since Federations launch. Stellaris hit a peak concurrent player count of over 64 thousand in March, the highest since release 4 years ago. Since then, it’s still regularly seeing higher than normally player counts.

      • Quirky metroidvania platformer ‘SHEEPO’ has you steal eggs and gain transformation powers

        SHEEPO, a new upcoming ‘quirky’ metroidvania platformer recently appeared on Steam, and it instantly pulled in my attention due to the beautiful style. When they describe it as quirky, they’re certainly not wrong. You play as some sort of shape-shifting sheep-thing, travelling across an uncharted planet. Why? You’re collecting samples of each living species for an intergalactic species database.

        You can’t just grab a fully grown creature though, you have to search to find their eggs. They’re guarded of course, so you have to overcome the Queen of each species. Once you manage to collect the egg, you then get the ability to transform into it.

      • Tactical RPG ‘Depth of Extinction’ gains a revamp with a Definitive Edition out now

        HOF Studios have given their tactical RPG with turn-based combat, Depth of Extinction, a full makeover with a fresh Definitive Edition as a massive free update.

        Blending together elements of FTL and XCOM, it didn’t get the best reviews (Mixed overall) and at release largely went unnoticed (until the Steam key debacle anyway). Still, thankfully, the developer kept at it and they’ve tried to expand it, while also removing or replacing elements that didn’t work well in this new Definitive Edition. You can now switch between characters instead of it using an initiative system (so it’s more like XCOM), there’s Stealth and Ambushes now, more mech units, the game loop has been shortened down from around 20 hours to 10, a brand new tutorial and so on. It’s a whole new game feel.

      • Ufflegrim is the most bizarre deck-builder yet but it looks awesome and it’s out now

        Ufflegrim, a new release from Corpse King Games arrived yesterday looks absolutely bizarre blending together a deck-builder with a roguelike. All the mechanics together make it sound thoroughly unique too.

        With 100 floors to travel through and clear, you need to collect creatures which form your deck. However, it’s not quite a standard ‘one card equals one creature’ mechanic, as you appear to be able to play one card on top of another to act like some sort of buff to the existing creature. You also have your own movement to take care of, while watching out for all the other nasties around the floor.

      • Shadow Warrior 2 | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Shadow Warrior 2 running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great, few stutters here and there.

      • The brilliant ‘Golf With Your Friends’ has another massive content update

        A good time for an update with ton of people at home, and what a great game to play with others too! Golf With Your Friends just recently had a ‘Volcanic Update’ with quite a lot of new content.

        With an entirely new volcanic and sci-fi themed 18 hole course, the Volcano enters the race. There’s also a new Japanese translations, a new and improved Course Editor, new obstacles and hazards, a better tutorial and there’s even gamepad support to make it more accessible than ever.

        [...]

        Just as a reminder, they announced recently that it was going to be leaving Early Access in Q2 this year, so presumably before the end of June and they’ve still got updates to come yet.

      • City-building strategy ‘Kingdoms and Castles’ adds Steam Workshop support ahead of AI kingdoms update

        Kingdoms and Castles, an absolute gem city-builder with some RTS elements to it just gained a highly requested feature with Steam Workshop support now enabled. Kingdoms and Castles can perhaps be compared with games like Banished, requiring you to plan ahead and make sure you have enough food to last through each winter.

        [...]

        This should, hopefully, keep players going until the massive AI kingdom update arrives sometime. That’s going to be a massive change for the game, further expanding how you play and I’m super excited for it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The 20 Best Xfce Themes for Linux System in 2020

        Theming and customization is a huge aspect of the Linux world. No other operating system offers such kind of flexibility customizing the desktop. Every desktop environment is great for customizing the look of the Linux system. The Xfce desktop environment is no exception. Instead, it has a massive library of themes and large community support. They are consistently developing Xfce themes for your desktop. Installing and customizing Xfce themes for Linux is also very easy. This article is going to be a handbook for Xfce desktop customization and tweaks.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Maui Weekly Report

          There has been a lot of work into the Maui Project, and the Nitrux team has been actively working on the apps, the framework, and the libraries to make the convergence experience something unique and reliable for our first stable release. Since last time we posted something about the project, many things are refactored, a lot of improvements and UI/UX paper-cut fixes are introduced, and new platforms now have support. We were present at the Plasma Mobile sprint at Berlin, working on improving the Maui apps experience for such a platform. In the sprint, the UBPorts developers were also present, and we are looking forward to seeing the Maui Apps in their platform.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • elementary OS 5.1.3 released with performance improvements and bugfixes

          Courtesy of the development team’s efforts made in March and early April, elementary OS 5.1.3 is now available to the existing users and that too, with several fundamental changes that should get many of you interested.

          For those of you who are unfamiliar with this operating system, allow FOSSLinux to give you a brief introduction. Based on Ubuntu, elementary OS serves as a preferred gateway for users migrating to Linux from Windows or macOS systems.

          [...]

          Since this is a minor update, what you’d usually expect is a few insignificant improvements and bug fixes. However, from the looks of the official blog post, we can tell that a lot more effort has been put into this update.

          First of all, it can be seen that the focal point of this update has been Code, which is the operating system’s code editor—duh! Keeping in mind all the colorblind folks and those who find it hard to remember things, the developers integrated the Git status of files into the tooltip of the project sidebar.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Move objects between Storage Classes using S3 Bucket Lifecycle Management
        • Tuning the Terabytes for SUSE Enterprise Storage

          This guide is the culmination of efforts I have been working on for more than a year. This all started as an internal wiki where we started capturing tuning information during the first few releases of SUSE Enterprise Storage. As things progressed and more information was scattered around the web and in conference presentations, I started collecting notes and digesting information.

          Then, about a year ago, I began work on the Media and Entertainment Solution guide for SUSE Enterprise Storage. This work centered on the use of CephFS during the media creation process. My goal was to build a fairly performant, all-flash, cluster that would provide suitable capacity and performance for the content creation pipeline and capture the information in a public document. During this work, I also decided to produce a couple of IO500 postings, the first being in June of last year for ISC19 and then again in the fall for SC19.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat appoints Paul Cormier as CEO

          He is credited with pioneering the subscription model that helped the company transform from an open source disruptor into an enterprise technology mainstay. Cormier was also ‘”instrumental” in helping the company combined with IBM following its $34 billion acquisition. “When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere,” Cormier said in a statement. “The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities. The opportunity for Red Hat has never been bigger than it is today and I am honoured to lead the company to help our customers solve their challenges and to keep Red Hat at the forefront of innovation.”

          Having worked with him at Red Hat for more than a decade, Whitehurst said that Cormier was the “natural choice” to lead the company. The IBM president called Cormier the driving force behind its product strategy and explained that he understands how to help its customers and partners make the most out of their cloud strategies. “He is a proven leader and his commitment to open source principles and ways of working will enable Red Hat not only to keep pace with the demands of enterprise IT, but also lead the way as emerging technologies break into the mainstream,” said Whitehurst. “It was my honour and privilege to lead a company filled with many of our industry’s best and brightest and I am excited to see what Red Hatters accomplish under Paul’s leadership.”

        • Paul Cormier Becomes Red Hat CEO

          Red Hat has named Paul Cormier as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective today. Cormier succeeds Jim Whitehurst who takes up his due role as IBM president.

        • Red Hat names longtime exec Paul Cormier as CEO, replacing Jim Whitehurst

          Paul Cormier is the new chief executive officer of Red Hat, replacing Jim Whitehurst who is taking over as president if IBM.

          Red Hat announced Cormier’s selection on the same day that Ginni Rometty steps down as the top executive at IBM, which acquired Red Hat last year for $34 billion in one of the largest tech mergers ever.

          Arvind Krishna replaces Rometty as CEO. In a separate blog post, Krishna spelled out his vision for IBM and reported a number of executive changes.

          The promotion obviously means a great deal to Cormier, who previously served as president of Products and Technologies. He’s worked at Red Hat since 2001.

        • Paul Cormier takes over as Red Hat CEO cites DEC as an inspiration

          Red Hat finally said goodbye to longtime CEO Jim Whitehurst today, and announced erstwhile product supremo Paul Cormier as his replacement.

          Whitehurst had long been scheduled to take up his new role as president of IBM as of today, reporting to Arvind Krishna who took over the Big Blue CEO spot from Ginni Rometty at the end of January.

          Cormier was named as Whitehurst’s successor this morning, though the fact he was highlighted alongside Whitehurst and Krishna in the wake of IBM’s tortuous takeover of the open source powerhouse last year was probably a strong indicator he’d take over the top job in time.

          In a public email to Red Hatters today, Cormier emphasised the firm’s open source heritage, and its commitment to the cloud.

        • Automation against the COVID-19 crisis: 4 suggestions to get started

          Without public cloud computing, we wouldn’t be able to face the pandemic in the way we are. On-premise data centers have never scaled this fast, and not even the most rigorous capacity planning in the world would have forecasted the resource consumption we face today. News outlets covering the outbreaks would have not been able to cope with an entire planet constantly refreshing the home page in the hope of reading good news (that’s what I do). Hospitals and research facilities publishing dashboards full of virus spread statistics would not have been able to acquire the massive datasets they have as fast as they did. Videoconferencing and streaming platforms wouldn’t be able to serve, exceptionally so far, the enormous amount of the human workforce suddenly forced to work from home.

          And what is public cloud computing in the end? An astonishing, unprecedented, disciplined, methodical, pervasive amount of automation (and a few other, equally critical things).

          Automation doesn’t just allow us to cope with the urgency and scale of the demand in the public cloud and inside our data centers. Automation is helping organizations around the world to transition to a work-from-home productivity model. Without automation, the security teams would be hard pressed to install VPN clients across millions of laptops, tablets and smartphones all around the world.

        • UNESCO CodeTheCurve global virtual hackathon: Build your skills and help make a difference

          At least 1.5 billion young people are currently at home due to school closures relating to the global COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred eighty-three countries have been disrupted. Students, parents, and communities continue to cope with social isolation, while exploring how to maintain a sense of normalcy with the sea of online learning content, collaboration tools, and social media platforms available for the world to consume. Conversations that once took place face-to-face have now moved virtual.

          For students, parents, teachers, educators, and others, home confinement has brought the additional attention and need for an innovative learning paradigm, one centered on practical and real-world digital skills. This is a time that’s especially challenging for the 49% of the global population who lack access to broadband internet. For those who are online, the spread of misinformation and disinformation relating to COVID-19 complicates the situation even further by diminishing confidence in public health guidance by authorities, and has given rise to panic and uncertainty.

        • IBM CEO Arvind Krishna shakes up leadership team on first day at the helm

          Krishna helped shape IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI initiatives in his previous role as vice president of cloud and cognitive software. The CEO is now appointing Howard Boville, formerly Bank of America Corp.’s chief technology officer, as senior vice president of cloud platform to lead the IBM Cloud business unit. The unit is already a central pillar of IBM’s strategy and is set to become an even bigger focus in the new strategic roadmap.

          The AI component of the strategy is being entrusted to newly appointed IBM President Jim Whitehurst. Whitehurst was previously CEO of Red Hat. In his new role, the executive will head IBM Strategy as well as the Cloud and Cognitive Software unit that Krishna led before taking over the top post.

          Two more key executives will take on new roles in the company’s leadership team. Bridget van Kralingely, previously the head of IBM’s global industries, clients, platform and blockchain units, will become senior vice president of global markets. The executive will now be responsible for “simplifying our go-to-market strategies across all business units as well as strengthening IBM’s client-centric culture,” Krishna wrote.

          Whitehurst’s previous CEO post at Red Hat is being handed to Paul Cormier, a 19-year veteran of the company who has until now served as vice president of engineering.

          As the new top executive at Red Hat, Cormier is poised to play a key part in shaping IBM’s strategy. On top of naming hybrid cloud as one of the company’s two core imperatives, Krishna told employees that “we have to win the architectural battle in cloud.” He elaborated that “there’s a unique window of opportunity for IBM and Red Hat to establish Linux, containers and Kubernetes as the new standard. We can make Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud in the same way that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the default choice for the operating system.”

        • Why not the best? Red Hat vet Paul Cormier takes over as CEO

          In 2001, it was anyone’s guess who would be the dominant business Linux company. Yes, Red Hat was in the running, but so was Caldera, SUSE, and TurboLinux. And, there was still a reasonable chance that Sun with Solaris could fend off Linux from datacenters. Then, Red Hat realized that rather than competing with the others with do-it-all developer-oriented Linux distros, it should go after big business with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

          The person who directed this fundamental change? Red Hat’s new CEO and President Paul Cormier.

          With 20-20 hindsight, this move made perfect sense. But, then, people hated it. They screamed, “Red Hat has betrayed Linux” and “Red Hat wants to be the next Microsoft!” Many people within Red Hat didn’t like the idea one bit either.

        • Open-source giant Red Hat has a new CEO

          IBM has made a huge bet on Red Hat, hoping to dominate a potentially trillion-dollar market by scooping up the open-source giant for $34 billion last year.

          Cormier joined Red Hat in 2001, and according to the company is responsible for driving the move to a subscription model and shifting Red Hat Linux from offering a freely downloadable operating system to focus on selling an enterprise version to big business. The company said its Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 organizations.

          In his time at the company, Cormier has also managed 25 acquisitions to add to the company’s business capabilities, the company said, as well as driving the company’s hybrid cloud-computing strategy.

          Cormier said: “When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere. The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities.”

          Whitehurst becomes chairman of Red Hat, taking over from Arvind Krishna, who is now CEO of IBM. Krishna said: “Red Hat is synonymous with open source and hybrid cloud – two of the biggest driving forces in our industry.”

      • Debian Family

        • [Sparky] Picom

          There are new tools available for Sparkers: Picom & Sparky Picom Manager. [...] Picom is a standalone compositor for Xorg, suitable for use with window managers that do not provide compositing. Picom is a fork of compton, which is a fork of xcompmgr-dana, which in turn is a fork of xcompmgr.

        • QOwnNotes for Debian (update)


          Some time ago I posted about QOwnNotes for Debian. My recent experience with the openSUSE Build System has convinced me to move also the QOwnNotes packages there, which allows me to provide builds for Debian/Buster, Debian/testing, and Debian/sid, all for both i386 and amd64 architectures.

          To repeat a bit about QOwnNotes, it is a cross-platform plain text and markdown note taking application. By itself, it wouldn’t be something to talk about, we have vim and emacs and everything in between. But QOwnNotes integrates nicely with the Notes application from NextCloud and OwnCloud, as well as providing useful integration with NextCloud like old version of notes, access to deleted files, watching changes, etc.

        • Martin Michlmayr: ledger2beancount 2.1 released

          I released version 2.1 of ledger2beancount, a ledger to beancount converter.

        • Reproducible Builds in March 2020

          Welcome to the March 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project. In our reports we outline the most important things that we have been up to over the past month and some plans for the future.

        • Jonathan Carter: Free Software Activities for 2020-03

          On the 12th of March, I posted my self-nomination for the Debian Project Leader election. This is the second time I’m running for DPL, and you can read my platform here. The campaign period covered the second half of the month, where I answered a bunch of questions on the debian-vote list. The voting period is currently open and ends on 18 April.

          [...]

          At DebConf19 I wanted to ramp up the efforts to make a Debian PeerTube instance a reality. I spoke to many people about this and discovered that some Debianites are already making all kinds of Debian videos in many different languages. Some were even distributing them locally on DVD and have never uploaded them. I thought that the Debian PeerTube instance could not only be a good platform for DebConf videos, but it could be a good home for many free software content creators, especially if they create Debian specific content. I spoke to Rhonda about it, who’s generally interested in the Fediverse and wanted to host a instances of Pleroma (microblogging service) and PixelFed (free image hosting service that resembles the Instagram site), but needed a place to host them. We decided to combine efforts, and since a very large amount of fediverse services end with .social in their domain names, we ended up calling this project Debian Social. We’re also hosting some non-fediverse services like a WordPress multisite and a Jitsi instance for video chatting.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • First Look: Ubuntu Kylin’s New Desktop Shell is Shaping Up *Very* Nicely…

          The upcoming release of Ubuntu Kylin 20.04 features a fancy looking new desktop environment, the Qt-based UKUI 3.0.

          UKUI 3.0 is a major retooling of the desktop compared to the MATE-based UKUI desktop you may be familiar with (it’s not a total divorce from MATE as a few MATE-related apps stick along for the ride).

          Below are a series of screenshots that an omg! reader (Lord Tech) kindly sent over. They ably illustrate just how well the fledgling UKUI 3.0 desktop is coming along.

        • An Exciting New Version Of Ubuntu 20.04 Offers The Deepin Desktop With A Twist

          Ever wished you could get the stability and familiarity of an Ubuntu LTS like the upcoming 20.04 release, but with the striking beauty of the Deepin Desktop out of the box? Then the brand-spanking-new UbuntuDDE might just be the perfect Linux distribution for you.

        • Already in final beta? That’s Madagascar: Ubuntu 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’ gets updated desktop, ZFS support

          Canonical has dropped a final beta of Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa”, set for full release on 23 April.

          Ubuntu has a six-monthly release cycle, with a long-term support release every two years. Ubuntu 20.04 is one of those, so this will get hardware and maintenance updates until 2022, maintenance updates until 2025, and extended security maintenance until 2030. Other releases by contrast are only supported for nine months.

          Canonical says that 95 per cent of all Ubuntu installations are LTS – so for those users, this is the first new release since 18.04. The Linux kernel in 20.04 is 5.4, which is also a long-term release.

        • Move Trash Icon to Left Dock Panel in Ubuntu 20.04

          Want to remove the trash icon from your Ubuntu 20.04 Gnome desktop, and put it onto the left dock launcher?
          This quick tutorial is going to show you how to do the job by either running 2 commands or using a graphical configuration tool.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Beta

          As announced the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) beta images are now available! Those of you subscribed to ubuntu-server mailing list can clearly see the hard work that has gone on this cycle to get the latest and greatest software to our users.

          Check out the initial release notes for more details and please help us by testing the beta version of Ubuntu Focal! Setting up a test system and upgrading from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic) as well as trying out the live installer for fresh installs are particularly important.

          The Ubuntu Server live installer, based on subiquity, has a couple new features I would to highlight. First, initial support for automated installs is available; checkout the wiki page for more details. Second, the installer comes with the ability to update itself to get the latest bug fixes and features. This is a huge addition that makes it even simpler for users to get the latest features and bug fixes!

        • Xubuntu 20.04 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Xubuntu 20.04 Beta. Enjoy!

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 625

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 625 for the week of March 29 – April 4, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

        • Ubuntu Security Updates Released to Fix Denial of Service, Information Exposure

          When exploited, the vulnerabilities can be used to cause a denial of service, which crashes the system, and expose sensitive information in the kernel memory, Canonical warns.

        • Canonical Outs New Kernel Security Updates for Ubuntu to Fix 4 Flaws

          Canonical has released today new Linux kernel security updates for all supported Ubuntu releases to address a total of four security vulnerabilities discovered by various researchers.

          Affecting all supported Ubuntu releases and kernels, a flaw (CVE-2020-8428) discovered by Al Viro in Linux kernel’s VFS (Virtual Filesystem Switch) layer, which could allow a local attacker to crash the system or expose sensitive information, was patched in this update.

          On top of that, the new Linux kernel security update also fixes a vulnerability (CVE-2019-19046) discovered in the IPMI message handler implementation, which could allow a local attacker to cause a denial of service (kernel memory exhaustion). This flaw affects only Ubuntu 19.10 and Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS systems running Linux kernel 5.3.

        • Canonical Contributing Upstream Improvements To Plymouth Ahead Of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          One of the immediate differences Ubuntu 20.04 desktop/laptop users will notice when booting in UEFI mode is the boot splash screen improvements thanks to leveraging Red Hat’s work on providing a flicker-free boot experience and pulling in the UEFI BGRT system/motherboard logo during the boot process to provide a more transitive experience. Canonical in turn is working on pushing some of their improvements back into upstream Plymouth.

          The Ubuntu 20.04 LTS boot experience is on-par to what has been found in Fedora and other Linux distributions like Arch Linux for over one year.

        • Canonical Joins Cloud Wars: Rolls Out Fully Managed Apache Kafka, Elastic, MongoDB, MySQL, More

          Company “open to any conversation on any open source app that organisations need managed”

          Canonical, the company best known for open source operating system Ubuntu (one of the most widely used OSs in the cloud) has made an unexpectedly aggressive gambit for a broader slice of the managed services pie — it is now offering to manage a wide range of applications including Apache Kafka, MongoDB, MySQL and ElasticSearch.

          The news, announced early this month, catapults Canonical deeper into the “cloud wars”; although it is not offering IaaS in its own data centres, it is offering the SaaS on infrastructure of choice and able to support fully managed applications across AWS, Azure and GCP, the company confirmed to Computer Business Review.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 6 Open-Source AI Frameworks You Should Know About

        Google’s open-source framework TensorFlow is an ecosystem of tools, libraries and resources that’s used by many popular companies like Airbnb, eBay, DropBox and more. TensorFlow aims to simplify and abstract away the complexity of machine learning algorithms to streamline development. Using visual models and flowgraphs, developers and data scientists can quickly create neural networks and other machine learning models to leverage data. Airbnb, for example, is using TensorFlow to categorize apartment listing photos to ensure they accurately represent a particular space.

      • The OpenUK Awards are now open for nominations.

        We are looking for the best in open source, hardware and data in the UK. Who had achieved something great? Who has not been recognised? Which company or project are doing fabulous work that needs exposure?

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 75 will respect ‘nosniff’ for Page Loads

            Prior to being able to display a web page within a browser the rendering engine checks and verifies the MIME type of the document being loaded. In case of an html page, for example, the rendering engine expects a MIME type of ‘text/html’. Unfortunately, time and time again, misconfigured web servers incorrectly use a MIME type which does not match the actual type of the resource. If strictly enforced, this mismatch in types would downgrade a users experience. More precisely, the rendering engine within a browser will try to interpret the resource based on the ruleset for the provided MIME type and at some point simply would have to give up trying to display the resource. To compensate, Firefox implements a MIME type sniffing algorithm – amongst other techniques Firefox inspects the initial bytes of a file and searches for ‘Magic-Numbers’ which allows it to determine the MIME type of a file independently of the one set by the server.

          • Firefox 75 Released, Official Flatpak Build Now Available

            We told you that a Firefox Flatpak build was coming to Flathub, the de-facto Flatpak App Store, a few weeks back. With the release of Firefox 75 the first Firefox Flatpak release is formally available to all.

            Flatpak aside, Linux users of Firefox also benefit from word selection in the address bar and search box that is consistent with macOS and Windows platforms, e.g., a single click selects no words; a double click selects a whole word; a triple click selects all words.

          • Firefox 75 Released With Flatpak Support, Wayland Improvements

            Mozilla has released Firefox 75.0 as what is a big update for Linux users.

            Firefox 75.0 ships with good Flatpak support as an easier means of deploying the web browser on the Linux desktop.

            Also significant for Firefox 75 on Linux is Firefox on Wayland having full WebGL and working VA-API support as some long overdue improvements.

            Firefox 75.0 also brings a number of search improvements, improved HTTPS compatibility, security fixes, support for the loading attribute on img elements to improve bandwidth/memory efficiency, and various other developer additions.

          • Here is what is new and changed in Firefox 75.0 Stable


            Firefox 75.0 is the latest stable version of the Firefox web browser. Its release date is April 7. 2020. Previously released versions of Firefox, including Firefox 74.0 and Firefox 74.0.1, as well as older versions, may be upgraded to the new version.

            All major versions of the Firefox web browser receive upgrades when Firefox Stable is updated. Firefox Beta and Dev versions are upgraded to version 76.0, Firefox Nightly is upgraded to version 77.0, and Firefox ESR is upgraded to version 68.7.

          • 6 Firefox browser extensions that make remote streaming even better

            More than ever these days, people are relying on the internet to stay informed, productive and connected to friends and family. A well-timed entertainment break also helps relieve stress and bring some joy. Here are six Firefox browser extensions to make online entertainment even better in your browser.

          • 13 Firefox browser extensions to make remote work and school a little better

            If you are newly working or going to school from home, the remote approach can be a big shift in how to get things done. Firefox has a number of browser extensions that might help make the #WFH transition a little easier and more productive.

          • Firefox 75 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 75, we are pleased to welcome the 40 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 38 of whom were brand new volunteers! Please join us in thanking each of these diligent and enthusiastic individuals, and take a look at their contributions…

          • These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 72
          • Nick Desaulniers: Off by Two

            “War stories” in programming are entertaining tales of truly evil bugs that kept you up at night. Inspired by posts like My Hardest Bug Ever, Debugging an evil Go runtime bug, and others from /r/TalesFromDebugging, I wanted to share with you one of my favorites from recent memory. Recent work has given me much fulfilment and a long list of truly awful bugs to recount. My blog has been quieter than I would have liked; hopefully I can find more time to document some of these, maybe in series form. May I present to you episode I; “Off by Two.”

            [...]

            asm goto is a GNU C extension that allows for assembly code to transfer control flow to a limited, known set of labels in C code. Typically, regular asm statements (the GNU C extension) are treated as a black box in the instruction stream by the compiler; they’re called into (not in the sense of the C calling convention and actual call/jmp/ret instructions) and control flow falls through to the next instruction outside of the inline assembly. Then there’s an “extended inline assembly” dialect that allows for you to specify input and output constraints (in what feels like a whole new regex-like language with characters that have architecture specific or generic meanings, and requires the reference manual to read or write) and whether to treat all memory or specific registers otherwise unnamed as outputs as clobbered. In the final variant, you may also specify a list of labels that the assembly may jump control flow to. There’s also printf-like modifiers called Output Templates, and a few other tricks that require their own post.

            Within the compiler, we can’t really treat asm statements like a black box anymore. With asm goto, we have something more akin to structured exception handling in C++; we’re going to “call” something, and it may jump control flow to an arbitrary location. Well, not arbitrary. Arbitrary would be an indirect call through a pointer that could’ve been constructed from any number and may or may not be a valid instruction (or meant to be interpreted as one, ie. a “gadget.”) asm goto is like virtual method calls or structured expection handling in C++ in that they all can only transfer control flow to a short list of possible destinations.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • How to Create Templates in LibreOffice to Save Time and Increase Productivity

          Creating a template in LibreOffice can save you some time for the documents that you use often. It can be a letter, a financial spreadsheet or even a presentation.

          Time is one factor that a template can save and on the other hand it provides consistency where a group of people in an organization work together at the same project.

          For example, if you are a small organization that has to often issue certificates of experience, instead of copy-pasting from a saved document somewhere, you can create a template. When you need to issue a new certificate of experience, you create a new one from the template, edit it slightly and you are good to go.

        • Announcing the LibreOffice Help editor


          News from the documentation community: The Help project of LibreOffice underwent a major revamp in the last couple of years, with the introduction of the browser-based Help replacing the old Writer-Web solution. Still, editing the Help XML files (XHP) continued to be very hard for any volunteer or skilled developer, due to the specifics of the XML dialect and time required to be proficient in writing Help pages, which continued to be a major block for any individual.

          To address the issue, we developed an online editor to assist and make textual editing quicker for any Help writer, by featuring the possibility of rendering the help page at once, at the click of a button. Also, we implemented a series of checking, including XML validity and the verification of ID unicity, crucial for translation.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • COVID-19 +++ Global cooperation +++ Remote working

            Free Software is the only solution to offer full transparency and trust in its implementation. More and more people ask about the use and development of apps that aim at helping to contain the corona virus by tracking new infections and their contact persons. The Free Software Foundation Europe demands that any such app may only be introduced on a voluntary basis and the software must be published under a Free Software / Open Source Software licence. Only Free Software offers enough transparency to validate a complete data protection and a compliant use; thus trust can be established.

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU MediaGoblin: We’re still here!

            Hello Goblin-Lovers! [tap tap] Is this thing still on? … Great! Well, we’ve had a few polite questions as to what’s happening in MediaGoblin-land, given our last blog post was a few years back. Let’s talk about that.

            While development on MediaGoblin has slowed over the last few years, work has continued steadily, with significant improvements such as multi-resolution video (Vijeth Aradhya), video subtitles (Saksham) and a bunch of minor improvements and bug-fixes. Like most community-driven free software projects, progress only happens when people show up and make it happen. See below for a list of the wonderful people who have contributed over the last few years. Thank you all very much!

            In recent years, Chris Lemmer Webber has stepped back from the role of much-loved project leader to focus on ActivityPub and the standardisation of federated social networking protocols. That process was a lot of work but ultimately successful with ActivityPub becoming a W3C recommendation in 2018 and going on to be adopted by a range of social networking platforms. Congratulations to Chris, Jessica and the other authors on the success of ActivityPub! In particular though, we would like to express our gratitude for Chris’s charismatic leadership, community organising and publicity work on MediaGoblin, not to mention the coding and artwork contributions. Thanks Chris!

          • GNU MediaGoblin Announces They Are Still Alive

            One of several GNU projects that have been silent in recent years is MediaGoblin, the effort to provide a free and decentralized web platform for sharing of digital media.

            It’s been four years already since the last release of GNU MediaGoblin, which was version 0.9 that offered Python 3 support and better OAuth security and other improvements. Since then this multimedia web platform has been silent.

            But the MediaGoblin crew announced today that they are in fact still working on the project. They acknowledge work has slowed in recent years but have been working towards new features like multi-resolution video, video subtitles, and other improvements and fixes.

      • Programming/Development

        • Safer SSH agent forwarding

          As mentioned, a better alternative is to use the jump host feature: the SSH connection to the target host is tunneled through the SSH connection to the jump host. See the manual page and this blog post for more details.

          If you really need to use SSH agent forwarding, you can secure it a bit through a dedicated agent with two main attributes:

          it holds only the private key to connect to the target host, and

          it asks confirmation for each requested signature.

        • LLVM’s Flang/F18 Fortran Compiler Might Be Back On Track For Merging Soon

          Since the “f18″ open-source Fortran compiler front-end was approved last year for merging as the newest LLVM sub-project and using the Flang name, there have been a number of false starts in getting the code merged. This year alone Flang had multiple delays and cancelled merge plans as the developers worked to get the code ready for upstream. Now though it looks like it could be ready to cross that long sought after milestone for having an in-tree Fortran front-end.

          Richard Barton announced today that the team now believes F18 is ready to be merged. There still are some open items still being worked on, but should be easily resolved after the F18 code is within the tree as the new “Flang” compiler.

        • A Telegram bot in Haskell on Amazon Lambda

          So instead adding layers and complexities, can I solve this instead my making things simpler? If I compiler my bootstrap into a static Linux binary, it should run on any Linux, including Amazon Linux.

          [...]

          I am mostly happy with this setup: My game is now available to more people in more ways. I don’t have to maintain any infrastructure. When nobody is using this bot no resources are wasted, and the costs of the service are neglectible — this is unlikely to go beyond the free tier, and even if it would, the cost per generated image is roughly USD 0.000021.

          There is one slight disappointment, though. What I find most intersting about Kaleidogen from a technical point of view is that when you play it in the browser, the images are not generated by my code. Instead, my code creates a WebGL shader program on the fly, and that program generates the image on your graphics card.

        • Cambridge Computing Education Research Symposium – recap of our online event
        • Digital Making at Home: Storytelling with code
        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.14 More perspectives

            Andrew Shitov has even been more busy than the past weeks. Apart from adding more and more views to the Covid-19 Observer, so many that there’s now an impressive “What’s new” page. But Andrew didn’t stop at that: an article on Perl.com titled “Observing Coronavirus Pandemic with Raku” (/r/perl comments) explains to the readers how some of the unique features of Raku were applied in processing all of the data. And in the meantime Andrew still found time to publish Chapter 7 of their compiler book.

          • Dancer2 0.300001 Released

            On behalf of the Dancer Core Team, I’d like to announce the availability of Dancer2 0.300001. This maintenance release brings brings a revamped tutorial, fixing of a YAML-related regression, repair of an encoding bug, and a slew of documentation fixes.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 054: Kth Permutation Sequence + Collatz Conjecture
        • Python

          • Python 2.7.18rc1

            Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 is a testing release for Python 2.7.18, the last release of Python 2.

          • Python 2.7.18 release candidate 1 available

            A first release candidate for Python 2.7.18 is now available for download. Python 2.7.18 will be the last release of the Python 2.7 series, and thus Python 2.

          • Python Software Foundation: Python Software Foundation Fellow Members for Q1 2020

            Congratulations! Thank you for your continued contributions. We have added you to our Fellow roster online.

            The above members have contributed to the Python ecosystem by teaching Python, creating education material, contributing to circuitpython, contributing to and maintaining packaging, organizing Python events and conferences, starting Python communities in their home countries, and overall being great mentors in our community. Each of them continues to help make Python more accessible around the world. To learn more about the new Fellow members, check out their links above.

            Let’s continue to recognize Pythonistas all over the world for their impact on our community. The criteria for Fellow members is available online: https://www.python.org/psf/fellows/. If you would like to nominate someone to be a PSF Fellow, please send a description of their Python accomplishments and their email address to psf-fellow at python.org. We are accepting nominations for quarter 2 through May 20, 2020.

          • How to Make an Instagram Bot With Python and InstaPy

            What do SocialCaptain, Kicksta, Instavast, and many other companies have in common? They all help you reach a greater audience, gain more followers, and get more likes on Instagram while you hardly lift a finger. They do it all through automation, and people pay them a good deal of money for it. But you can do the same thing—for free—using InstaPy!

            In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to build a bot with Python and InstaPy, which automates your Instagram activities so that you gain more followers and likes with minimal manual input. Along the way, you’ll learn about browser automation with Selenium and the Page Object Pattern, which together serve as the basis for InstaPy.

          • Sending Encrypted Messages from JavaScript to Python via Blockchain

            Last year, I worked with the Capacity team on the Crypto stamp project, the first physical postage stamp with a unique digital twin, issued by the Austrian Postal Service (Österreichische Post AG). Those stamps are mainly intended as collectibles, but their physical “half” can be used as valid postage on packages or letters, and a QR code on that physical stamp links to a website presenting the digital collectible. Our job (at Capacity Blockchain Solutions) was to build that digital collectible, the website at crypto.post.at, and the back-end service delivering both public meta data and the back end for the website. I specifically did most of the work on the Ethereum Smart Contract for the digital collectible, a “non-fungible token” (NFT) using the ERC-721 standard (publicly visible), as well as the back-end REST service, which I implemented in Python (based on Flask and Web3.py). The coding for the website was done by colleagues, of course using JavaScript for the dynamic elements.

          • Unpacking in Python: Beyond Parallel Assignment

            Unpacking in Python refers to an operation that consists of assigning an iterable of values to a tuple (or list) of variables in a single assignment statement. As a complement, the term packing can be used when we collect several values in a single variable using the iterable unpacking operator, *.

            Historically, Python developers have generically referred to this kind of operation as tuple unpacking. However, since this Python feature has turned out to be quite useful and popular, it’s been generalized to all kinds of iterables. Nowadays, a more modern and accurate term would be iterable unpacking.

            In this tutorial, we’ll learn what iterable unpacking is and how we can take advantage of this Python feature to make our code more readable, maintainable, and pythonic.

            Additionally, we’ll also cover some practical examples of how to use the iterable unpacking feature in the context of assignments operations, for loops, function definitions, and function calls.

          • Spin the table: Solution!
    • Standards/Consortia

      • You Need To Stop Using HTML Email

        We need to change this norm from the ground up as a grass roots effort. We’ll never convince Gmail and others to automatically display emails in plain text for all users. Nor will we convince companies to stop sending HTML emails to their clients. The only way is to start sending plain text emails and setting up our email programs to only display our received emails as plain text.

        As more and more people do this the companies will begin to follow suite due the increasing number of people being unable to easily read their messages.

        It’s also our duty as good email users to only every send emails as plain text because we can not always be sure that the receiver of our emails is using a program that will render out all the HTML instead of displaying it as a webpage.

        Keep in mind that by plain text I don’t mean you should not encrypt your emails. If you need to encrypt them then please do; PGP and GPG work very well. When sending an encrypted message; type up your message, encrypt it, and the paste the encrypted output into the email as plain text.

  • Leftovers

    • “The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin

      On February 26, before coronavirus disrupted normal rhythms of life all over the world, I spoke for twenty minutes with my friend, legendary guitarist Tony Chin, at the Dub Club in Los Angeles; only a few hours later, in a spirited, sizzling performance, Tony would headline a memorable show there with fellow legendary members of the Soul Syndicate—the top studio band in Jamaica during the 1970s—bassist George “Fully” Fullwood, and drummer Carlton “Santa” Davis. What follows is a transcript of our discussion, modified only slightly for clarity and space considerations.

    • Science

    • Education

      • Teaching Your Kids to Be Safe Online: A Hasty Primer

        Yet in all the chaos of this pandemic, I forgot why we had been so cautious about the digital universe in the first place — until bad things started happening. There were lunchtime Zoom chats involving lewd conversations about body parts. Rude emails sent and received. Screen shots taken of chats without permission. And poop emojis — so many poop emojis.

        I wasn’t about to take the tablet away, but I realized I needed to set ground rules and have some important conversations. But how do you talk a young kid about online etiquette? About sexting? About, dear God, pornography?

        I wasn’t sure, so I talked to some digital literacy experts. They were empathetic toward all the parents who have thrown their kids headfirst into the digital deep end over the past few weeks. “Let’s be easy on ourselves, because none of us — no one — is going to do things perfectly right now. It’s impossible, because we’re trying to juggle too much,” said Diana Graber, the founder of Cyberwise and the author of “Raising Humans in a Digital World.”

        Here’s the advice I was given.

      • National university curriculum not the answer to ‘low quality’ courses

        The current arrangements are preferable because higher education differs in so many ways from secondary education. Higher level study is infinitely specialised; you only need peruse the Ucas website to see how many different approaches there are to any given subject, and these approaches are informed by developments in both knowledge and current affairs.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft announces IPE, a new code integrity feature for Linux [Ed: Proprietary software of Microsoft would only make GNU/Linux weaker, not stronger]
        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr, gnutls28, and libmtp), Fedora (cyrus-sasl, firefox, glibc, squid, and telnet), Gentoo (firefox), Mageia (dcraw, firefox, kernel, kernel-linus, librsvg, and python-nltk), openSUSE (firefox, haproxy, icu, and spamassassin), Red Hat (nodejs:10, openstack-manila, python-django, python-XStatic-jQuery, and telnet), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (bluez, exiv2, and libxslt), and Ubuntu (firefox).

          • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 191 – Security scanners are all terrible

            Josh and Kurt talk about security scanners. They’re all pretty bad today, but there are some things we can do to make them better. Step one is to understand the problem. Do you know why you’re running the scanner and what the reports mean?

          • L1d Cache Flush On Context Switch Moves Forward For Linux In Light Of Vulnerabilities

            A new patch series sent out just under one month ago was providing opt-in L1 data cache flushing on context switching. That work has now been revived again and now with documentation added it’s clear that this work is being done in response to a recent CVE being made public.

            The patches originally sent out by an Amazon engineer characterized the work as for the “paranoid due to the recent snoop assisted data sampling vulnerabilities, to flush their L1D on being switched out. This protects their data from being snooped or leaked via side channels after the task has context switched out.”

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

            • BlackBerry: Chinese cybercriminals target high-value Linux servers with weak defenses [Ed: To CBS, servers that are improperly maintained or set up are "Linux"; if it's something Windows, they won't even specify the platform and won't blame Microsoft.]
            • Linux Security: Chinese State Hackers May Have Compromised ‘Holy Grail’ Targets Since 2012 [Ed: Davey Winder and other Microsoft propagandists (long history) knocking very hard with GNU/Linux FUD at the moment, perpetuating the idea "Linux" is dangerous because some people set it up the wrong way (misconfigured), don't patch etc.]
            • Misconfigured Docker API Ports Targeted by Kinsing Malware

              Security researchers observed an attack campaign that targeted misconfigured Docker API ports with samples of Kinsing malware.

              According to Aqua Security, the campaign began when it capitalized on an unprotected Docker API port to run a Ubuntu container.

              The command used for creating the Ubuntu container included a shell script “d.sh.” By means of its 600+ lines of code, the shell script began by disabling security measures, clearing logs and disabling other malware and cryptominer samples. It’s then that the command killed rival malicious Docker containers before loading its Kinsing payload.

            • Docker Users Targeted with Crypto Malware Via Exposed APIs [Ed: People who use things they do not understand can leave holes, but this is not the fault of the software]

              Hackers are attempting to compromise Docker servers en masse via exposed APIs in order to spread cryptocurrency mining malware, according to researchers.

              Aqua Security claimed to have tracked the organized campaign for several months, revealing that thousands of attempts to hijack misconfigured Docker Daemon API ports are taking place almost every single day.

              “In this attack, the attackers exploit a misconfigured Docker API port to run an Ubuntu container with the kinsing malicious malware, which in turn runs a cryptominer and then attempts to spread the malware to other containers and hosts,” it explained.

              The Ubuntu container itself is designed to disable security measures and clear logs, and kills applications on the system including any other malware, as well as downloading the kinsing malware designed to mine for digital currency on the compromised Docker host.

            • Misconfigured Containers Again Targeted by Cryptominer Malware

              An attack group is searching for insecure containers exposing the Docker API and then installing a program that attempts to mine cryptocurrency. It’s not the first time.
              Attackers are searching for containers that expose a misconfigured port for the Docker API to add another container to do their bidding and run malicious code to mine cryptocurrency, container security firm Aqua Security stated in an April 3 advisory.

              The campaign appears to target containers that allow Docker commands to be executed without authentication, with — in some cases — more than a hundred scans targeting each IP address on the Internet every day. A search using the port-scanning service Shodan revealed that some 6,000 IP addresses may have vulnerable installations of Docker, says Idan Revivo, head of cybersecurity research for Aqua Security.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • COVID-19 Will Someday Fade Away. The Wireless Location Data Practices Being Embraced To Track It Probably Won’t.

              Location data has long proven to be hugely profitable to wireless carriers, given it’s used by everyone from city planners to marketing departments. Now it’s proving useful to help spread the track of COVID-19, allowing researchers to see not only who an infected person has been in contact with and where they’ve been, but also helping them predict where hot spots might appear next. Such technology was used during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to help both track and predict the movement of the disease.

            • Congress Let Spy Powers Expire Last Month, Which Is Having Almost No Effect On Current Spying

              Thanks to the goddamn everything else going on in the world right now, we’ve now learned what happens when Congress lets surveillance authorities expire. Nothing, really. Here’s Charlie Savage for the New York Times.

            • The Surveillance Industry Won’t Save Us From Crises

              Turning to the security industry isn’t the solution: it’s a symptom of the problem. 

            • Senate Bill Challenges Online Encryption, Constitutional Rights to Speech and Privacy

              The bill’s title—an acronym for Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies—refers to a legal shield that protects online service providers from liability for content posted by the users of their sites, which was established by Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The bill’s aim, according to its sponsors and supporters, is to make online service providers “earn” their immunity from liability claims over child sex abuse material.

            • How to Protect Privacy When Aggregating Location Data to Fight COVID-19

              As governments, the private sector, NGOs, and others mobilize to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen calls to use location information—typically drawn from GPS and cell tower data—to inform public health efforts. Among the proposed uses of location data, one of the most widely discussed is analyzing aggregated data about which locations people are visiting, whether they are traveling less, and other collective measurements of individuals’ movement. This analysis might be used to inform judgments about the effectiveness of shelter-in-place orders and other social distancing measures. Projects making use of aggregated location data have graded residents of each state on their social distancing and visualized the travel patterns of people on returning from spring break. Most recently, Google announced that it would publish ongoing “COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports,” which draw on the company’s store of location data to report on changes at a community level in people’s travel to various locations such as grocery stores, parks, and mass transit stations.

              Compared to using individualized location data for contact tracing—as many governments around the world are already doing—deriving public health insights from aggregated location data poses far fewer privacy and other civil liberties risks such as restrictions on freedom of expression and association. However, even “aggregated” location data comes with potential pitfalls. This post discusses those pitfalls and describes some high-level best practices for those who seek to use aggregated location data in the fight against COVID-19.

            • Google data: Finns swap shopping centres for parks and jogging trails

              The stats show that between 16 February and 29 March, Finns have reduced the time they spend in shopping centres, cafes, restaurants, museums and cinemas by some 52 percent.

              Trips to grocery stores and pharmacies also dropped by some 21 percent. Public transport usage fell by 59 percent and commuting trips dropped by a quarter.

              At the same time, people spent 48 percent more time in parks and in waterfront settings.

            • Tech pitches in to fight COVID-19 pandemic

              As IT pros around the world go all-out to support a workforce that’s suddenly fully remote, many technology workers and companies are also joining efforts to alleviate the COVID-19 crisis in various ways, including developing products to combat the virus, tracking and predicting its spread, and protecting hospitals from cyberattacks.

            • Facebook Expands Location Data Sharing With Covid-19 Researchers

              The world’s largest social network shares anonymized, aggregated location information as part of an effort to study disease outbreaks, and more than 150 organizations partner with the company to use that data for research. Facebook is adding new data points for researchers fighting Covid-19, including information about whether people are staying at home, and other material that details “the probability that people in one area will come in contact with people in another,” the company said Monday.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Holy men How Russian Orthodox priests helped annex Crimea

        Six years ago, Russia annexed Crimea, a Ukrainian region on the Black Sea. The annexation took place following a referendum organized by the Russian government, which to date has not been recognized by most of the international community, including Ukraine. In the days leading up to the referendum, strange groups of people started gathering next to Ukrainian military bases all over Crimea. In addition to the infamous “little green men,” or armed people without insignia on their uniforms, there were Cossacks and priests of the Russian Orthodox Church. After a series of negotiations at the gates of military bases, practically all Ukrainian troops stationed on the peninsula laid down their arms. Meduza investigative journalist Liliya Yapparova tells the story of how the Russian Defense Ministry got Orthodox Priests to participate in negotiations with Ukrainian military personnel during the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

      • Russia’s Victory Day organizing committee asks government not to invite elderly veterans to 75th anniversary parade

        Anton Kobyakov, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has asked the country’s executive cabinet not to issue invitations to anyone over 65 years old for the 75th-anniversary celebration of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II. The guests excluded will include all living veterans of the war. Interfax confirmed the official’s request after reports of its existence appeared on social media.

      • UN Chief Warns Coronavirus Lockdowns Bringing About ‘Horrifying Global Surge in Domestic Violence’

        “Together, we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people’s homes, as we work to beat COVID-19.”

      • “He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”

        On April 4, 2020, my friend Steve Kelly will begin a third year of imprisonment in Georgia’s Glynn County jail. He turned 70 while in prison, and while he has served multiple prison sentences for protesting nuclear weapons, spending two years in a county jail is unusual even for him. Yet he adamantly urges supporters to focus attention on the nuclear weapons arsenals which he and his companions aim to disarm. “The nukes are not going to go away by themselves,” says Steve.

      • US Weaponizing COVID-19 Against Venezuela, Iran: Oliver Stone

        “As a number of religious scholars have warned, ‘plagues expose the foundations of injustice’ in our societies,” film director Oliver Stone wrote in an op-ed Saturday exposing the United States (U.S.) government “profound lack of human decency” amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

        In the piece published by the New York Daily News, Stone denounces the U.S. government for refusing to remove murderous sanctions on Iran and Venezuela in the context of a global health crisis. He urged for a “serious moral self-reflection,” and warned that countless lives were at risk unless there is an “immediate change in course.”

      • In Historic First, U.S. Labels Russian White Supremacists a Terrorist Group

        The designation on RIM and three of its leaders—Stanislav Vorobyev, Denis Gariev, and Nikolay Trushchalov—means they will be blocked from the U.S. financial system and any of their assets in the international financial system subject to U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen. “We think that that’s going to make it substantially more difficult for them to move money throughout the international financial system,” Sales said.

        Officials say the line between domestic white supremacist groups and foreign ones is blurring—adding new urgency to the task of tracking foreign white supremacist groups as domestic cases of terrorism grow.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Company Sells Low-Cost Ventilator Funded by US Taxpayers at a Markup Overseas

        Five years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tried to plug a crucial hole in its preparations for a global pandemic, signing a $13.8 million contract with a Pennsylvania manufacturer to create a low-cost, portable, easy-to-use ventilator that could be stockpiled for emergencies.

      • ‘Smash-and-Grab Economics’: Trump White House Weighing Tax Cut for Rich Investors as Workers and Small Businesses Struggle

        Critics slammed the Trump administration for considering “rewarding vulture capitalists profiting off a crisis.”

      • Was the Fed Just Nationalized?

        Mainstream politicians have long insisted that Medicare for All, a universal basic income, student debt relief and a slew of other much-needed public programs are off the table because the federal government cannot afford them. But that was before Wall Street and the stock market were driven onto life-support by a virus. Congress has now suddenly discovered the magic money tree. It took only a few days for Congress to unanimously pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which will be doling out $2.2 trillion in crisis relief, most of it going to Corporate America with few strings attached. Beyond that, the Federal Reserve is making over $4 trillion available to banks, hedge funds and other financial entities of all stripes; it has dropped the fed funds rate (the rate at which banks borrow from each other) effectively to zero; and it has made $1.5 trillion available to the repo market.

      • ‘We Are Undervalued’: Target Delivery Workers to Walk Off Job in Demand for Better Treatment Amid Outbreak

        “We are exposing ourselves to great risk so others don’t have to. During these uncertain times, Shipt must not put profits before people.”

      • Returning to the Economic Status Quo After COVID-19 Crisis Should Not Be an Option

        A growing contingent of grassroots advocates are raising their voices, demanding change, and telling our elected officials that the challenges working families face are deeply ingrained and must be addressed.

      • Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish

        Among the countless distressing news stories covering the COVID-19 pandemic over the past month are the heartwarming ones that focus on what ordinary human beings are doing to help one another during this historic crisis. Many of these “good news” reports have focused on a nation-wide effort by fashion industry labels, domestic apparel manufacturers, and amateur seamstresses to mass-produce the much-needed masks that are in short supply. But what most of the stories are missing is a systemic framework that offers a critical view as to why such an effort is needed in the first place.

      • Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis

        On Thursday, April 2, the bottom fell out of the US economy, as the US Department of Labor reported that an unprecedented 6.6 million more workers in the US had been laid off and had filed claims for unemployment compensation payments with their state Unemployment Offices last week. That stunning news followed the already shocking news from last week that 3.3 million workers had lost their jobs and had filed for benefits the week before. This means that over the past two weeks, a total of 10 million workers — about 6.7% of the total US labor force — had filed for unemployment benefits in less than half a month.

      • Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole.

      • Wall Street Wins Again With Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        To say that these are unprecedented times would be the understatement of the century. Even as the United States became the latest target of Hurricane COVID-19, in “hot spots” around the globe a continuing frenzy of health concerns represented yet another drop down the economic rabbit hole.

      • Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus

        An all-American urge to offer corporate welfare.

      • How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up on the Auction Block

        In July 2006, with an aggressive and novel strain of the flu circulating in Asia and the Middle East, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg unveiled a sweeping pandemic preparedness plan.

        Using computer models to calculate how a disease could spread rapidly through the city’s five boroughs, experts concluded New York needed a substantial stockpile of both masks and ventilators. If the city confronted a pandemic on the scale of the 1918 Spanish flu, the experts found, it would face a “projected shortfall of between 2,036 and 9,454 ventilators.”

      • Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die

        Carlos Fernández de Cossío, head of the U.S. desk at Cuba’s Foreign Ministry, recently accused the U.S. government of “terrible moral decadence.” He was reacting to U.S. threats against nations confronting the COVID 19 pandemic and assisted by Cuba. He was also criticizing poor pre-epidemic preparations in the United States.

      • COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism

        The desperate policies of panic-driven governments involve throwing huge amounts of money at the economies collapsed in response to the coronavirus threat. Monetary authorities create money and lend it at extremely low interest rates to the major corporations and especially big banks “to get them through the crisis.” Government treasuries borrow vast sums to get the collapsed economy back into what they imagine is “the normal, pre-virus economy.” Capitalism’s leaders are rushing into policy failures because of their ideological blinders.

      • White House Weighs Tax Cuts for Wealthy as Workers and Small Businesses Struggle

        As desperate workers, the unemployed, and small businesses struggle to obtain benefits authorized under the multi-trillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus package President Donald Trump signed into law late last month, the White House is reportedly considering an additional slate of aid measures that critics say would disproportionately favor the wealthy while providing little relief for those most in need.

      • Pension bomb fuse just got shorter

        Homeowners have enough to worry about in the current coronavirus crisis.

        They face an April 10 deadline for the second installment of their annual property tax bill and there is no relief — yet — coming from either the governor’s office or the majority of county treasurer/tax collectors.

        Many taxpayers have been furloughed or laid off and the chances are high that property values throughout America will take a hit — even in California.

        How could things possibly get worse?

        Here’s how. The coronavirus crisis and the damage it inflicts on the state’s economy has exposed the Potemkin village of the state’s actual financial condition.

      • Tenants advocates, landlord groups both say coronavirus eviction ban falls short

        In the week after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide ban on evicting tenants unable to pay their rent because of the coronavirus outbreak, complaints surfaced from tenants and landlord advocates alike who say the executive order leaves both unprotected.

        Tenants rights advocates complained that while the governor’s order forbids the ouster of renters affected by the pandemic for 60 days, it doesn’t stop landlords from starting the process by filing new eviction cases in court.

        During an online news conference on Wednesday, April 1, two state lawmakers and legal aid workers expressed concern there would be a wave of evictions come June because tenants will be unable to pay their back rent as required.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Pandemic Makes the Bernie 2020 Campaign More Vital Than Ever

        At a time when the structural failures of a corporatized society have never been more glaring and deadly, we desperately need Sanders’ voice to be heard far and wide.

      • Amid Pandemic, Wisconsin Mayors Demand Emergency Halt to ‘Irresponsible’ In-Person Voting Set for Tuesday

        Calls continue to mount for state leaders to “extend the period for requesting and casting absentee ballots so that voters do not have to risk getting a deadly disease in order to vote.”

      • Fired Intel IG Speaks Out Against Trump as Watchdog Warns of a Democracy In ‘Gravest Danger’

        “The president’s attempts to rid the government of those who would provide appropriate oversight and accountability for abuses… sets us on a dangerous trajectory.”

      • Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image

        A Brazilian government official (r) posing for a photo next to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-A-Lago who tested positive for the 2019 novel coronavirus.

      • With Public Health and Democracy at Stake, Wisconsin Governor Issues Order Postponing In-Person Primary Voting Until June

        “The chaos in Wisconsin is exhibit A for why US needs to adopt universal vote by mail.”

      • Should Bernie Drop Out or Stay In? Wait, There’s Another Choice.

        The most selfless thing Bernie can do now is not to leave the race, but stay in it.

      • Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually

        With Joe Biden now looking like the certain Democratic presidential nominee, it is pretty clear that we will not get to Medicare for All in a single step. Even if Sanders had won it would have been a long shot, but without a president committed to the program, there is not even a possibility.

      • Team Trump Won’t Let a Pandemic Get in the Way of Its Far Right Agenda

        It’s understandable that the media is almost entirely obsessed with the coronavirus crisis. After all, more than 70 percent of the U.S. population is on “stay at home” orders and deaths are rising exponentially. Needless to say, the Trump administration’s erratic and inconsistent response to the crisis has requires tremendous media resources and attention simply to convey the basic facts on the ground and let people know what to do.

      • The Political Toll of COVID-19

        The supporters of Bernie Sanders will not accept being silenced or stage-managed out of existence.

      • Mr. Impeached Pretend President, What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?
      • Special Guests Victor Pickard Explains the Historical Roots of the Current News Crisis – The Project Censored Show, Uncategorized

        Mickey’s guest for the full hour is media scholar and author, Victor Pickard. Picard is associate professor in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. They discuss Pickard’s latest book,”Democracy Without Journalism? Confronting the Misinformation Society.” Pickard describes the dimensions of recent years’ precipitous drop in the employment of reporters, and the likely consequences for society, some of which we’ve seen with the rise of mis and disinformation in our social media age. He explains the historical roots of the current news crisis, and offers timely and significant remedies that center on building publicly-supported journalism institutions that aren’t coupled to commercial values.

      • Who Has Emergency Authority Over Elections? Nobody’s Quite Sure.

        In each of the past seven years, Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin has sought authority to revamp or reschedule elections in case of emergency. Every time, the legislature has blocked him. These rebuffs had repercussions in Westborough, a Boston suburb that was set to hold its town election last month.

        As COVID-19 cases rose across the state, the governor shut down gatherings of more than 25 people two days before ballots were to be cast, making it illegal for voters to congregate at the local polling place, a senior center, on election day, March 17. Yet neither Galvin’s office nor the local elections administrator, Town Clerk Wendy Mickel, had the power to reschedule the election.

      • Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump

        Truth may be stranger than fiction as Mark Twain once said.  Yet fiction often speaks truth to  reality.   In the case of civilization living under the dagger of Covid-19, many are turning to books and plays for distraction and pleasure.  While some might read Waiting for Godot in hopes that the quarantines and the disease will soon pass, or  Sinclair Lewis’ account of malaria in Arrowsmith, a better read would be both  Albert Camus’s The Plague and The Stranger.  Together they capture the absurdity and tragedy of life in the age of Covid-19, one full not necessarily of one where people pull together but instead cast a wary eye toward others, seeing in others the face of death or danger.

      • Trump’s COVID-19 Power Grab

        But it is also tailor-made for Donald Trump, who has spent a lifetime exploiting chaos for personal gain and blaming others for losses.

      • To Stop Bernie Sanders, WaPo Willing to Risk Americans’ Lives

        There’s little the Washington Post won’t do to stop Bernie Sanders, including endanger American lives.

      • Report: Pentagon Knew Of Possible Coronavirus Threat For Years

        The 103-page document, which the magazine describes as an update to an earlier Defense Department pandemic influenza response plan, cites a novel respiratory illness as the “most likely and significant threat” in a pandemic situation.

        The document also warns that shortages of masks and ventilators would have a “significant impact on the availability of the global workforce.”

        “The intelligence community and the military were well aware of what could, and unfortunately, did happen” said Nation reporter Ken Klippenstein in an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered.

      • ‘A Really Chilling Moment’: Trump Refuses to Allow Dr. Fauci to Answer Question on Dangers of Hydroxychloroquine

        “This is unacceptable. Dr. Fauci, one of the world’s top infectious disease scientists, was just censored live at a White House press conference.”

      • Dr. Anthony Fauci Has a Target on His Back

        Yet this victory hangs by a thread, as does Fauci’s own position in the White House. Fauci is running into opposition on two fronts from both Trump and the larger right-wing media and political culture that supports Trump: the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine and the economic costs of a national lockdown.

      • The FCC will not investigate President Trump over alleged misinformation

        The Federal Communications Commission will not pursue misinformation complaints against broadcasters who air President Trump’s daily press conferences, the commission announced today.

        The FCC’s announcement came in response to an emergency petition by the advocacy group Free Press, which had called on the commission to investigate “the spread of false COVID-19 information via broadcast outlets across the United States.” In particular, Free Press alleged that the president was spreading misinformation about the efficacy of the drug hydroxychloroquine, which has been erroneously promoted as a miracle cure for the ongoing pandemic.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • SLAPP Suit Filed Against Fox News Over Awful & Dangerous COVID-19 Coverage

        Pretty much everyone knew this was coming. Fox News’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been absolutely despicable — insisting that it was little more than the flu, was overhyped by Trump’s political enemies, and nothing anyone should be worried about, before turning on a dime to suddenly pretend they never said any of that earlier, and that suddenly it was always obvious it was serious:

      • Benjamin Netanyahu, Hater Of Fake News And Purveyor Of Fake News

        As most of you will know, the term “fake news” has been so bastardized at this point so as to be more a moniker of quite literally the opposite of its original intended meaning. Once used to label the sort of nonsense news stories that people would share haphazardly on social media, the term is now almost exclusively used by government strong-men with paper-thin skin and entirely too much power. Still, the term does have a real meaning, if only we made a point of getting back to it.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Journalists demand freedom for their colleagues in prison

        The statement called for the release of journalists who are in prison for their work and are dangerously exposed to the coronavirus outbreak.

      • Concern about Pakistani dissident journalist’s disappearance in Sweden

        The editor of the Balochistan Times news website, Sajid Hussain went missing after boarding a train in Stockholm at around 11:30 a.m. on 2 March to go Uppsala, 70 km to the north, with the aim of collecting the keys to his new apartment and leaving some personal effects there.

        No one has heard from him since then. His Pakistan-based wife, Shahnaz Baloch, was due to join him in Uppsala a few days later. The Swedish police told RSF that he did alight from the train in Uppsala 45 minutes after it left Stockholm.

      • Exile Not Always Guarantee of Safety for Pakistani Journalists

        News of Hussain’s disappearance from Uppsala, Sweden, which became public March 28, sent shock waves through Pakistan’s journalism community and brought the risks, even in exile, into focus.

        A Pakistani blogger in the Netherlands was attacked in February, and others have been warned by European authorities to be vigilant.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Chechnya’s leader praises the cops who beat up a man for violating coronavirus self-isolation

        In a new video live-streamed on Instagram and aired on local state television, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says he supports the police officers who recently beat up a local resident for violating the republic’s self-isolation restrictions. 

      • As COVID-19 Spreads Behind Bars, Will Officials Release Pregnant People?

        Mandi Grammer was watching the evening news, and the latest updates about the coronavirus pandemic, when she was called into her counselor’s office.

      • Russia’s prime minister tells regional leaders that only the federal government can close internal boundaries

        Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has prohibited Russia’s regional leaders from closing their internal boundaries as the country fights the spread of coronavirus. “The government’s signals about the inadmissibility of such measures were heard and the situation was corrected over the weekend, though I want to reiterate for regional leaders: do not confuse regional powers with federal powers,” Mishustin said on Monday.

      • As Russia self-isolates, street artist Katrin Nenasheva prepares to fill Moscow with graffiti messages to frontline workers

        Because most Muscovites can’t leave their homes to see them, street artist Katrin Nenasheva posted the first few pieces from her latest project on Facebook. “An Artist in the Pandemic: Tactics and Strategies” is a collaboration between Nenasheva and fellow artist Polina Andreyeva. The project is their effort to ask how public art can continue when the public sphere itself is almost empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nenasheva and Andreyeva began by asking their social media followers to share their worries about the rapidly spreading disease. The resulting phrases (“scary”; “tired of living in fear”; “I’m so lonely I could die”) ended up scattered around Russia’s capital in an unsettling graffiti series. The next step, Nenasheva said, is to collect more encouraging messages from self-isolated Russians to the city’s pharmacy staff, first responders, and food delivery workers. The artists themselves have not been self-isolating, choosing to continue their work instead.

      • Change Love and the Need for Unity

        Much needs to change in our world, and while this was clear before COVID-19, the pandemic is highlighting festering issues and creating a space in which to re-access current modes of living. New and just socio-economic and political systems are required together with positive values that encourage the good. Mankind needs to learn to share, to live more simply, to cooperate and to create a world free from conflict, and the planet needs to be allowed to heal. The list is long, but everything is interrelated.

      • Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?

        My grandmother, Edna Clayton Steber, a woman of the 19th century who’d lived through a pandemic (1918), and as well lost a child to pneumonia, was mild in most things, but adamant about hand-washing after handling either pennies or library books.  This was no suspicion of libraries on her part; she was a reader.  The germs were the foes, not the library “commons.” Every visit to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s included a walk to the Ilion Public Library, and sampling its delights.   It was she who, while encouraging my vice of preferring reading to just about any activity, also planted in me my first notion of protecting myself against invisible malevolent microbes, or “germs.”  Although my brother and I tended to snicker over Grandma’s old-fashioned notions directing us to do something our mother never made us do,  the fear message had traction, perhaps more than the valid science of hygiene she tried to impart.

      • Illinois Quietly Reversed Its Ban on a Dangerous Physical Restraint for Students

        Five months ago, when Illinois schools Superintendent Carmen Ayala learned students were being repeatedly shut inside small rooms alone as punishment and physically held down on the floor, she said she cried. She vowed it would never happen again.

        But Illinois State Board of Education officials negotiated with a key legislative rule-making committee to allow schools to use prone restraint for one more school year, aiming to phase out its use by July 2021. The decision last week came after a few small schools — including one whose advisory board includes state lawmakers — mounted letter-writing campaigns and direct appeals to government leaders.

      • Lawmakers Vow to Push for a Statewide Ban on Face-Down Restraint of Children in Illinois Schools, Despite Reversal

        State lawmakers said Monday that they will push for a law to ban face-down restraint of children in Illinois schools after learning that education officials had reversed their positions and decided to allow the controversial practice.

        The lawmakers’ response came after the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois reported Monday that the Illinois State Board of Education, pressured by a few schools that regularly use prone restraint, quietly decided to allow the technique until July 2021 with the hope that it would then be phased out.

      • Target’s Delivery Workers Are Staging a Walkout

        Gig workers on Target’s delivery platform, Shipt, are organizing a walkout on Tuesday to protest the lack of safeguards in place to protect them during the coronavirus pandemic—the first worker-organized action against the gig economy giant.

        Workers are demanding $5 of hazard pay per order, 14 days of paid sick leave for all workers regardless of whether they’ve received a positive coronavirus test, personal protective gear for all gig workers, and a return to a clear, commission-based pay model. Organizers are also asking customers to boycott the app on Friday, April 10 in solidarity with Shipt workers.

      • Gig Workers Struggle To Get Financial Help During Pandemic

        Gig companies like Instacart, Uber and Lyft connect people who need tasks done with workers willing to do them. But the companies consider these workers independent contractors, not employees. The firms generally do not provide paid sick leave or other employee benefits.

        Now, however, that’s changing. The nature of the work that Instacart shoppers, Uber and Lyft drivers and other gig workers do puts them in close contact with strangers. They are, in essence, on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, and some of them are getting sick.

        McGhee joined other Instacart workers who walked off the job Monday to demand better safety measures. She says the company’s policy not only puts her at risk, it encourages people who are sick to keep working and, potentially, spread the disease.

      • We Can’t Shut Down Democracy in a Crisis

        As an apparent safety measure, the Australian government has decided to suspend Parliament for an extended period of four months. As Greens Party leader Adam Bandt argues, in a time of crisis, we need more democracy, not less.

      • Two more prisoners die after testing positive for coronavirus

        Two more prisoners have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus.

        Both inmates had underlying health conditions, a Prison Service spokesperson said.

        They continued: ‘A 46-year-old HMP Low Newton prisoner and a 59-year-old HMP Littlehey prisoner died in hospital over the weekend.

        ‘Our condolences are with their families at this time. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.’

      • COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe

        I call on Council of Europe member states to safeguard the rights and health of all persons in prison during the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Convicted prisoners and persons on remand are among those most vulnerable to viral contagion as they are held in a high-risk environment: in general, detention facilities are not adapted to face large-scale epidemics, and the basic protective measures such as social distancing and hygiene rules cannot be observed as easily as outside, exposing prisoners to greater health risks. Furthermore, in many European countries the pandemic strikes in a context of overcrowded prisons and poor detention conditions in cramped, collective cells, with unsatisfactory health services, as well as higher rates of infectious and chronic diseases among detainees, such as tuberculosis, diabetes and HIV. Across Europe, a number of contaminations and some COVID 19-related deaths in prison have already been reported; tension in prisons has increased since the beginning of the pandemic crisis, leading to acts of protest (sometimes violent) in reaction to restrictions on visits or other activities.

        To prevent large-scale coronavirus outbreaks in places of detention, several member states initiated the release of certain categories of prisoners. Many others are adapting their criminal justice policies in order to reduce their prison population through various means, including temporary or early releases and amnesties; home detention and commutation of sentences; and suspending investigations and the execution of sentences. I strongly urge all member states to make use of all available alternatives to detention whenever possible and without discrimination.

      • ASSANGE EXTRADITION: Assange Won’t Be Released Amid Virus Crisis, Australian Newswire Reports

        Imprisoned WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange is not eligible for an early Covid-19 release from prison with other inmates because he is not serving a criminal sentence, the Australian Associated Press has reported.

        British Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said Saturday that some low-risk inmates, weeks from release, will be let go with monitoring devices to help avoid a further outbreak of Covid-19 in the nations’ prisons.

      • UK Rejects Assange Release Request Amid COVID-19 Crisis, But Frees Thousands Of Others

        So far 88 prisoners and 15 staff have tested positive for the virus in British prisons. More than 25 percent of the nations’ prison staff are quarantining themselves.

        “This government is committed to ensuring that justice is served to those who break the law,” Buckland said in a statement. “But this is an unprecedented situation because if coronavirus takes hold in our prisons, the NHS could be overwhelmed and more lives put at risk.”

        The Ministry of Justice told the AAP that Assange won’t be among those released because he isn’t serving a custodial sentence.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • California Legislator Introduces Fiber Broadband for All Bill

        Senator Lena Gonzalez has introduced legislation (SB 1130), which would allow the California state government to actively promote the transition of the state’s legacy communications infrastructure into a multi-gigabit fiber network that is competitive, affordable, and available to all residents lacking high-speed access. It does so by reforming the current California Advanced Services Fund (CASF): raising the fund’s minimum standards of what constitutes being “served” by broadband, requiring that any broadband network funded by the state to be high-capacity, and holding companies subject to open-access rules that promote competition. The legislation would put California on par with its international competitors, end the digital divide for Californians, and prevent a repeat of the lack of connectivity challenges residents have faced as they engage in social distancing, remote education, and working from home. EFF endorses S.B. 1130 and will work hard to get it passed into law this year. 

      • [Old] How SEO Ruined the Internet

        Today, if you’re looking for something that is technical, specific, academic or generally non-commercial, good frigging luck. The world’s best information retrieval system has devolved into something reminiscent of 2006-era Digg: A popularity index that’s controlled by a small number of commercially motivated players. They call themselves “SEOs.”

        [...]

        If you’ve ever re-read an article and sworn that the headline, hyperlinks and headings were modified, you’re not imagining it. SEO specialists “optimize” old articles to make them more marketable (and to drive visitors into newer, more commercial content). When I look back at articles that I wrote a decade ago, they’ve been updated with text that I didn’t write, carrying meanings that I didn’t mean.

    • Monopolies

      • Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore

        Here’s how Bookshop works: American Booksellers Association stores can sign up to sell books through the website, and 30% of the profits from those sales go directly to them (recently increased from 25% because of coronavirus fallout). That’s versus 40 to 45% if they do it themselves, according to Poets & Writers, but Bookshop handles the entire fulfillment process through the wholesaler Ingram. Additionally, stores can opt in to split an earnings pool that’s 10% of all non-bookstore affiliate sales, thus getting a second source of revenue.

        That second source of sales can come from pretty much anywhere, because anyone — a book club, a media company, an individual bookstore employee — can create a Bookshop account and get kickbacks on any books they sell through their proprietary links. It’s all about affiliate revenue, and it’s a little complicated, but that’s where the organization stands the biggest chance of defeating Amazon.

      • Patents

        • USPTO Answers FAQs on Extension of Patent Deadlines under CARES Act

          In a USPTO Alert e-mail distributed earlier today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced the release of a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding extensions of time for filing certain patent-related documents and paying certain required fees that resulted from the temporary authority provided to the USPTO under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The Office announced the availability of such extensions on March 31 (see “USPTO Announces Extension of Certain Patent Deadlines”).

          The Office released 21 FAQs regarding patent-related extensions. In its responses to the FAQs, the Office noted that the statement that the delay in filing or payment was due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which must accompany the filing or payment, “need not be verified or provided in affidavit or declaration form.” However, the Office reminded applicants and practitioners that such statements constitute a certification under 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(b), and that violations of 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(b) may be subject to sanctions pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 11.18(c). The Office also noted that statements can be included in the paper being filed, but if included in the paper being filed, “should be made in a conspicuous manner.”

        • A method of removing “the plank in your own eye”

          Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV). The Federal Circuit’s new decision in Myco Industries v. BlephEx, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020), offers a modern and less-metaphorical treatment of the same issues.

          BlephEx has a patent on a particular method using a swab to remove debris from a human eye. U.S. Patent No. 9,039,718 (treatment method for blepharitis). Myco is an unwelcome newer competitor with its AB (anterior blepharitis) MAX product. However, rather than suing for infringement, BlephEx apparently started threatening lawsuits against both Myco and also Myco’s customers (typically opthalmic/optometric medical professionals).

          Myco filed suit – asking for a declaratory judgment of no infringement and also invalidity as well as seeking unfair-competition damages for bad-faith patent infringement statements by BlephEx. In the lawsuit, Myco also asked for and was a preliminary injunction against BlephEx’s ongoing speech.

          [...]

          In any event, the court’s ruling here is that it is OK to tell Doctors that they are infringing and that you may “take action” to stop the infringement. Even though you can’t sue the doctor, you might sue the supplier for contributory infringement.

          Before finishing, the court also took the district court to task for faulty claim construction — offering the kind “reminder” that “limitations from different dependent claims should not be interpreted as if they were general statements of disavowal from the written description.”

        • The European Patent Office (EPO) updated the fees

          The regular bi-annual revision of fees at the European Patent Office (EPO) has become due this year and resulted in an updated fee schedule effective as of April 1, 2020. In case of the majority of fees the increase is in the region of 4%. Renewal fees have been increased in this range, too. Apparently the only exceptions are the fee for ordering various paper copies (e.g. certified copies of priority documents) which increased to EUR 105 and the appeal fee for large entities which amounts to EUR 2705.

          Fees charged by the EPO as an international authority, with the exception of protest fee, as well as fees for designation of extension and validation states remain unchanged.

        • Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Last month, in Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc., the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey finding certain claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,853,156 to be directed to ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and remanded for further proceedings. The Federal Circuit also affirmed the District Court’s finding that the asserted claims of U.S. Patent Nos. 9,173,859 and 8,673,927 were invalid for obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting.

          [...]

          On appeal, Boehringer argued that the District Court’s conclusions of invalidity for obviousness-type double patenting and obviousness depended on its determination that the claimed dosages would have been obvious. In affirming the District Court’s findings of invalidity for obviousness-type double patenting and obviousness, the Federal Circuit concluded that the District Court’s alternative finding (i.e., that a person of ordinary skill in the art would have obtained the claimed dosages through routine experimentation) is not clearly erroneous. The Court therefore did not need to decide whether the District Court’s presumption determination of obvious was correct. The Federal Circuit thus affirmed the District Court’s decision finding the asserted claims of the ’859 and ’927 patents to be invalid for obviousness and obviousness-type double patenting.

        • How many times can a patent holder violate EU antitrust law in a single litigation? (Nokia v. Daimler)

          Last week the Munich I Regional Court’s press office confirmed to me that the Nokia v. Daimler ruling scheduled for this week’s Thursday (April 9) had not been postponed. The government of the federal state of Bavaria has not imposed any additional corona-based restrictions since. From what I hear, Presiding Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann is the only member of the court’s 7th Civil Chamber to go to the courthouse almost every day, while his side judges are working from home. German courts have sometimes postponed patent rulings on very short notice, but for now the operating assumption is that a decision (which may or may not be a final judgment) will come down on Thursday.

          With the automotive industry being hit so hard by the coronavirus crisis, Nokia’s pursuit of an injunction–while there are plenty of willing licensees (Daimler and a number of suppliers)–is ethically questionable, though there is a possibility of the injunction not having immediate effect in practical terms. So much for corona and ethics; let’s also not talk today about the enormous strength of Daimler’s invalidity contention, or about proportionality under Art. 3 IPRED and its political ramifications (a Nokia “win” on Thursday–an injunction against entire cars over one of thousands of tiny features of a single cellular standard–would give the whole German patent reform debate new impetus). Now I’ll just focus on the antitrust implications of what might happen.

          If Nokia obtained and enforced that injunction, it would likely set a new record in the number of EU antitrust violations a patent holder can commit in connection with a single patent infringement case…

        • Munich I Regional Court postpones Nokia v. Daimler patent ruling from April 9 to May 20, 2020

          In light of the coronavirus crisis, I double-checked with the Munich I Regional Court’s (Landgericht München I) press office and found out that the Nokia v. Daimler standard-essential patent ruling scheduled for this week’s Thursday (April 9) has been pushed back to May 20, 2020.

          The court did not cite any particular reason for the postponement. A postponement of a ruling date is not unheard of in complex cases, and this is a big one in every respect. It’s always better if courts take their time than to rush to judgment.

          Without speculating on whether this has anything to do with corona, it’s simply a fact that the Free State of Bavaria has not imposed any new restrictions in more than two weeks. The current rules (social distancing, partial lockdown) will be in force until at least April 19, 2020. Presently, courts can hold hearings and trials they deem time-sensitive, and they are free to announce decisions, with the presiding judge of a given panel determining courtroom modalities such as a minimum distance to keep between any two persons.

        • Willful Blindness and Enhanced Damages: Is Ignorance Bliss?

          In the United States, a judge may increase the damages for patent infringement up to threefold[1] resulting in awards of millions, or even billons, of dollars. In 2016, the Supreme Court, in Halo Electronics v. Pulse Electronics,[2] rejected the then prevailing objective standard for determining enhanced damages and replaced it with a subjective one requiring, at a minimum, knowledge of patent infringement. Thus, in the wake of Halo, some organizations have adopted policies that prohibit review of third-party patents. This post explores whether enhanced damages are nonetheless a possibility where an infringer purposefully avoids knowledge of patent infringement.

          [...]

          Although commentators have condemned the practice,[25] some organizations have adopted policies that prohibit review of third-party patents to protect against enhanced damages. In 2019, several district courts considered such policies with mixed results.

          In Motiva Patents v. Sony Corp., HTC Corp., the Eastern District of Texas held that a policy of non-review was sufficient to state a claim of willful blindness.[26] The court stated that both the creation and enforcement of “a policy prohibiting review of patents” by defendant HTC Corp. were the kinds of “‘deliberate action to avoid learning’ of potential infringement” that could amount to willful blindness and support a finding of willful infringement.[27]

          By contrast, in Nonend Inventions, N.V. v. Apple Inc., et al., the same court dismissed a claim for enhanced damages on the grounds that, even if the defendant Motorola had the alleged policy of not reviewing third party patents, such a policy “does not per-se constitute ‘willful blindness.’”[28] And because there was no suggestion the defendant subjectively believed a high probability of patent infringement existed, there was no willful blindness.[29] Thus, in this case, an alleged policy of ignoring patents was insufficient, without more, to “surpass recklessness and negligence” and rise to the level of “willful blindness.”[30]

          [...]

          Until the Supreme Court or Federal Circuit hold otherwise, district courts are likely to continue to accept well-pled allegations of willful blindness as a substitute for knowledge of patent infringement. But a corporate policy of non-review should not be considered “willful,” absent both a subjective belief that there is a high probability of patent infringement and deliberate actions to avoid learning of that particular fact. Moreover, to justify the award of enhanced damages, the circumstances of the case must support a finding of egregious misconduct that is worthy of punishment.

          Ultimately, the protection from treble damages provided by a policy of not reviewing third-party patents will likely depend on the perceived likelihood of patent infringement and the justification for any such policy (e.g., economic limitations). Corporations should carefully consider such factors before adopting policies of non-review. After all, the Federal Circuit has only provided one exemplar of behavior that will protect an organization from enhanced damages: an opinion of counsel[42]—an option that is not available to a corporation with no actual knowledge of the patent because of its policy of non-review.

        • Software Patents

          • Huawei Joins Linux Patent Consortium ‘Open Invention Network’

            By joining OIN , Huawei is reinforcing its commitment to OSS as an enabler of advanced communications systems. Open to all, OIN’s community practices patent non-aggression in core Linux and adjacent open source technologies by cross-licensing Linux System patents to one another on a royalty-free basis. Patents owned by Open Invention Network are similarly licensed royalty-free to any organization that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux System.

          • Motion Offense patent challenged as likely unpatentable

            On April 3, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 10,013,158, owned and asserted by Motion Offense, LLC (an NPE and Oso IP affiliate). The ’158 patent, generally directed to sharing files from one user to another using a link without attaching the file itself, is at issue in district court cases involving Sprouts Farmers Market and Dropbox.

          • Predictive Text Patent Troll Tries To Shake Down Wikipedia

            WordLogic is a patent troll. The company has been around for a while and holds a bunch of patents (such as US Patent 7,681,124) which it claims covers the concept of predictive text writing. While WordLogic is (was?) a publicly listed company, the stock is currently worth $0.0001 per share. About the only news about the company has to do with hiring patent lawyers and failing to live up to bragging press releases.

      • Trademarks

        • USPTO Extends Trademark And Patent Deadlines Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

          As IP Offices around the world work to mitigate the impact of the global health threat, the U.S. CARES Act gives USPTO authority to extend statutory deadlines to help ease burden of IP owners affected by COVID-19

          The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed into law on March 27, 2020, which provides relief to individuals and businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis, also offers relief to intellectual property owners facing challenges meeting filing and response deadlines due to the unprecedented health crisis.

          Section 12004 of the CARES Act gives additional authority to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office to “toll, waive, adjust, or modify any timing deadline” established by law in order to help bring relief to trademark and patent owners currently facing business uncertainties due to the pandemic.

        • USPTO Extends Trademark And Patent Deadlines Due to Coronavirus Pandemic
      • Copyrights

        • Czech court rules that placement of advertisements on a building constitutes a moral rights infringement

          In 2016, Czech media reported that an enormous side-wall billboard and a 100-square-meters-large roof front digital banner attached to a 1980s brutalist architecture building in Czechia’s Prague had been causing headaches to Prague’s citizens and the city’ authorities for 10+ years. Albeit unsuccessfully, Prague’s officials, architectural conservationists, neighbouring citizens and apparently even the building’s owner have fought long bureaucratic battles to have the billboard and the banner removed from the building.

          As further reported, the current owner of the building has acquired the building in insolvency (from previous owner) and claims that he has merely “inherited” the lease agreement that enables placement of both the billboard and the banner. “The lease agreement is impossible to terminate,” said the current owner to the Czech media and noted that he would rather wait for the contract to terminate by a lapse of time (in two to three years) than risking potential actions for damages for breach of contract should he try to remove the advertisements himself.

          It has also been reported that the tenant to the lease agreement and the actual owner of the advertisements in question is a company seated in Panama’s Mossack Fonseca law-firm as a “shell company” with anonymous owners. “The owner pays rent and upholds the agreement” reported the Czech media.

        • [Old] Why is Facebook muting classical music videos?

          When a copyright dispute claim is made on Facebook, the benefit of the doubt is given to the claimant and the video’s audio is automatically muted. Conflicting claims may even be made by multiple publishers. This causes headaches for the musicians. They must scramble to dispute the claims as they watch their video slowly sink into digital oblivion.

        • Movie Company Boss Urges US Senators to Make Streaming Piracy a Felony

          In the United States, criminal copyright infringers can be sentenced to five years in prison. However, this is not the case for streaming piracy, which is seen as a misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year. Millennium Films boss Jonathan Yunger is callling on senators to change this, so the Department of Justice can effectively shut down and prosecute streaming piracy operations.

        • Movie & TV Giants Sue ‘Pirate’ Nitro IPTV For ‘Massive’ Copyright Infringement

          A coalition of entertainment companies headed up by Universal, Paramount, Columbia, Disney and Amazon have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against ‘pirate’ IPTV service Nitro TV. Alleging ‘brazen’ and ‘massive’ breaches of their rights, the companies are demanding millions in damages and a broad injunction.

        • That Coronavirus Image Is Public Domain, But That Won’t Stop Getty From Trying To Sell You A $500 License To Use It

          Late last week, we wrote a nice story about how the infamous image of the coronavirus that is causing COVID-19 is in the public domain, since it’s a work of the US federal government. That’s part of the reason why it’s everywhere these days:

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