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04.08.20

Links 8/4/2020: Tails 4.5, Septor 2020.2, GNOME Money Awards and Mozilla’s New CEO

Posted in News Roundup at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • My Linux Story: From 8-bit enthusiast to Unix sysadmin


      It all started in the mid-1980s with an Apple ][c that my parents purchased for our family. Although I enjoyed playing games, I quickly became fascinated with BASIC programming and how useful it could be for work and fun. This was an era when computers were viewed as little more than typewriters, so people with “advanced computer skills” could easily use them to their advantage.

      One example was using BASIC and a dot matrix printer to auto-generate punishment assignments. When I was assigned to write out 200 times some apologetic statements, I asked my teacher if it could be typed out. On confirmation, I wrote a 5 line BASIC program to generate it for me. Another example of subtle trickery was using non-WYSIWYG word processors, such as AppleWorks for micro-manipulation of fonts, line spacing, and margins to “stretch” term papers out to the required length.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Tuxedo InfinityBook Manjaro Announced: High-end Linux Laptop

        Spec-wise the Tuxedo InfinityBook Manjaro has a 15.6″ 1080p screen, 54Wh battery good for up to 12 hours at idle, a slim 19.9mm z-height and a 1.9kg weight. Networking comes from a Realtek gigabit ethernet chip and Intel Wireless-AC 9260, specced for up to 1.73Gbps combined throughput. The wireless card also provides Bluetooth 5.

        Processing and graphics come from either an Intel Core i7-10510U or Core i5-10210U with Intel UHD 620 graphics. Both are 4-core 8-thread 15W chips but the i7 raises cache from 6MB to 8MB, raises base clock from 1.6GHz to 1.8GHz, and raises max turbo from 4.2GHz to 4.9GHz.

        Storage-wise the base configuration is a 250GB M.2 SATA SSD with options for up to a 2TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD, or even a 970 PRO up to 1TB.

      • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook: Is the Ultimate Chrome OS Platform Worth the Price?

        The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is now available to buy — but the US$999 price tag for its one-of-a-kind configuration may cause an internal struggle between want and need.

        Samsung introduced its high-end Galaxy Chromebook at CES 2020 in Las Vegas early this year. The company positioned it as the flagship Chromebook to meet potential demand for a more useful and powerful multipurpose premium mobile device.

        The Galaxy Chromebook is an ultra premium 2-in-1 laptop running Google’s Chrome OS. It ships with a durable aluminum body, the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, and a 13.3-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) touchscreen.

        The Galaxy Chromebook enters a market packed with laptops that are getting thinner and faster each year. However, its appearance no doubt is ill-timed, given the COVID-19 pandemic. Only time will tell if the Galaxy Chromebook’s premium build and high-end specs will make it essential for consumers and businesses.

        The comparative advantage to buying Chromebooks is usually their better battery life and more economical price — but not so much with this device, which functions as a clamshell laptop and swings into tablet mode via a set of 360-degree hinges.

        Despite the Galaxy Chromebook’s stunning aesthetics, Mercury Gray or bold Fiesta Red color options, and packed configuration, it is up against two potentially demanding competitors — The Google Pixelbook and the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, according to reviewers.

        Should serious Chrome OS users buy into this new unit? Generally speaking, no way, said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

        “Serious Chromebook users tend to focus on Web-based processes and applications that don’t require a ton of compute power or storage capacity, and have a strong preference for low-cost products with high-quality mobility features,” he told TechNewsWorld.

    • Server

      • Remote support options for sysadmins

        As a sysadmin, you do support—support for local users as level I, II, III, or all of the above. You might have even supported remote users. Maybe your office environment was once 100 percent local and you had no remote support duties. But now, your job might be completely supporting remote users and systems. Great news, huh? Well, there’s hope. Using some great remote support tools, you can still do your job just as efficiently from a distance as you could with walk-up access. Sure, it’s a little more difficult, but once you establish your support tools and workflow, you might never return to a traditional office. This article highlights support tools for a new age of remote support.

        Remote support is difficult. To get an idea of just how difficult it is, I’ve only known one person in more than twenty years of working as a sysadmin who actually enjoyed supporting remote users. It was great for the rest of the team because we could just reassign tickets to him and away he’d go on them. For the rest of us, we felt like we were trying to wash dishes from across the room without really seeing the dishes. These remote support options will help you support your users without the frustration of a click-by-click follow-along session. You’ll be able to see everything that’s going on or actually perform the work yourself.

    • Linux Magazine’s Latest Issue (With Paywall)

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #337: SDRAngel Deep Dive

        Hello and welcome to Episode 337 of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts take a deep dive into the shallow end of SDRAngel. The project is a GPLv3 licensed, modular front end and headless server for connecting to and operating SDR receivers and transceivers. Discussion includes where to find the software, how to build it, basic operation with broadcast FM stations, DMR, SSB, CW and more. Take a look. Try it out. Have fun with SDR. Hope you enjoy!

      • 2020-04-07 | Linux Headlines

        Microsoft proposes a new Linux kernel security mechanism, Firefox 75 rolls out significant changes, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation adopts Argo, and The Linux Foundation aims to boost adoption of the seL4 secure microkernel.

      • Going Linux #389 · Listener Feedback

        Bill burns out on distrohopping after providing multiple release reviews. Our listeners provide feedback on new user recommendations, hard drive mounting, encryption, trying Linux via USB, and the Linux Spotlight interview. We answer questions on security audit results.
        Episode 389 Time Stamps
        00:00 Going Linux #389 · Listener Feedback
        01:43 Bill burns out on distro hopping
        02:24 but he has some feedback on a few releases
        02:46 Linux Mint 19.3
        03:24 Linux Mint Debian Edition 4
        04:38 Endevour OS
        07:13 ArcoLinux
        10:19 Open Suse
        12:16 Ubuntu MATE
        14:49 Zorin
        17:55 New user recommendations
        24:22 Gregory: Hard drive mounting
        27:28 Gregory: Great interview
        30:09 John: Security audit recommendations
        34:19 George: Paul’s encryption problem
        37:57 David: Linux via USB
        44:09 goinglinux.com, goinglinux@gmail.com, +1-904-468-7889, @goinglinux, feedback, listen, subscribe
        45:17 End

      • mintCast 332 – Thunar Storm

        First up, in our Wanderings, I go on a LMDE tour, Tony Hughes becomes a model, Moss learns more about Grub, Tony Watts plays some music, Bo considers a pfSense deployment, and Joe gets caught up on shows.

        Then, in the news, Linux Mint Monthly news comes out, F-Droid gets some money,and Thunar and Java get updates.

      • OK OOMer | LINUX Unplugged 348

        Today we make nice with a killer, an early out-of-memory daemon, and one of the new features in Fedora 32. We put EarlyOOM to the test in a real-world workload and are shocked by the results.

        Plus we debate if OpenWrt is still the best router solution, and chew on Microsoft’s new SELinux competitor.

      • Episode #176: How python implements super long integers
      • 2020-04-08 | Linux Headlines

        The GNOME Foundation and Endless launch a new contest aimed at engaging young coders with FOSS, Tails 4.5 brings support for UEFI Secure Boot, the first release of Krustlet brings WebAssembly to Kubernetes, and Qt considers further limiting access to its releases.

    • Kernel Space

      • Some Older Intel Tablets Finally Seeing Working Touchscreen With Linux 5.7

        While Intel’s open-source Linux hardware support is extremely good even in time for launch day of not only for their server / data center products but also desktop and mobile platforms, occasionally there are exceptions. One of the biggest exceptions over the past decade has been the Bay Trail support sometimes taking years to see fixes or finishing up areas of the support. The latest example of this is some Intel Bay Trail and Cherry Trail tablets finally seeing working/reliable touchscreen support on Linux 5.7.

      • Linux 5.6.3

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.3 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 5.5.16
      • Linux 5.4.31
      • OverlayFS Can Be Paired With VirtIO-FS On Linux 5.7

        Notable to OverlayFS in the Linux 5.7 kernel is support for allowing a remote upper file-system, which in step with other changes allow for VirtIO-FS to be used as an upper layer. VirtIO-FS is the shared file-system for allowing VMs to access a directory on the host and is supported by most of the open-source Linux virtualization components. Up to now though VirtIO-FS hasn’t worked as an upper (writable) layer in an OverlayFS configuration while now that is possible.

      • Open-Source NVIDIA “Nouveau” Driver Should Trip Less Often On Some GPUs With Linux 5.7

        Last week there were a bunch of new improvements and features for the open-source kernel graphics/display drivers merged for Linux 5.7. There were not any feature changes on the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver front while this week at least are some fixes/workarounds so it’s less buggy for some hardware.

        A batch of Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) driver fixes were sent in this week for the Linux 5.7 merge window closing in a few days. This includes a number of AMDGPU Fixes around Navi/GFX10, BACO, HDCP, and other areas plus a random assortment of other fixes. Plus this time at least there are some Nouveau fixes in tow.

      • Bootlin toolchains updated, edition 2020.02

        Bootlin provides a large number of ready-to-use pre-built cross-compilation toolchains at toolchains.bootlin.com. We announced the service in June 2017, and released multiple versions of the toolchains up to 2018.11.

        After a long pause, we are happy to announce that we have released a new set of toolchains, built using Buildroot 2020.02, and therefore labelled as 2020.02, even though they have been published in April. They are available for 38 CPU architectures or architecture variants, supporting the glibc, uclibc-ng and musl C libraries when possible.

        For each toolchain, we offer two variants: one called stable which uses “proven” versions of gcc, binutils and gdb, and one called bleeding edge which uses the latest version of gcc, binutils and gdb.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 440.82 Linux Graphics Driver Adds Linux Kernel 5.6 Support

          For all supported systems (Linux, BSD and Solaris), the Nvidia 440.82 graphics driver brings support for presenting from queue families that only expose the VK_QUEUE_COMPUTE_BIT Vulkan extension when XCB is being used in addition to the Xlib surfaces.

          For GNU/Linux systems, Nvidia 440.82 adds a workaround to make the DOOM Eternal video game work via Steam Play. The fix actually overrides app-requested memory locations, thus making sure performance-critical resources are placed in video memory.

        • TURNIP Vulkan Driver Lands Initial Geometry Shader Support

          The TURNIP open-source Vulkan driver continues advancing in-step with the other Mesa drivers.

          TURNIP is the open-source Vulkan driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware and developed by the same crew as the well known Freedreno. For a while after initially being merged to Mesa just over one year ago, there wasn’t much progress to report but recently the involved developers at Google and elsewhere have been picking up work on this Qualcomm Vulkan driver option.

        • AMD Rebases Their OpenMP For Radeon GPUs Against LLVM 11

          At the end of last year with ROCm 3.0 AMD introduced the AOMP compiler for OpenMP support targeting Radeon GPUs. AOMP is another downstream of LLVM Clang and on Tuesday marked the latest update.

          AOMP so far has been developed independently of the LLVM Clang code-base and it remains to be seen any mainlining plans they have of getting this OpenMP offloading for Radeon GPUs upstream. Following their AOMP update in March they have now announced AOMP Release 11.0-1.

        • AMD ACO Begins Using Navi NGG For Tessellation + Vertex Shaders

          The AMD “ACO” compiler backed by Valve for offering a faster shader compiler back-end than AMDGPU LLVM for the RADV open-source Radeon Vulkan driver has begun making use of Navi’s NGG “Next-Gen Geometry” hardware.

          It has been a slow path for the open-source OpenGL/Vulkan drivers to make use of NGG as found with the Navi/GFX10 hardware (sans Navi 14 being borked). There have been bugs to deal with and other obstacles in supporting this engine designed to offer faster geometry performance.

        • Vulkan 1.2.137 Specification Brings Many Clarifications + Fixes, Faster HTML Doc Loading

          Less than one month ago came the big Vulkan 1.2.135 update with official ray-tracing capabilities and other extension promotions. Out today is Vulkan 1.2.137 with a whole lot of clarifications and fixes.

          Vulkan isn’t slowing down at all due to the coronavirus but its adoption continues to grow and the Vulkan working group continues delivering timely updates with new extensions and fixes/corrections.

    • Applications

      • Repo Review: VidCutter

        VidCutter is a simple program available in the repository for performing very basic video editing tasks. It allows you to quite easily trim and split videos at multiple points, and also join video clips together without the need for a full featured video editing program.

        The user interface is, for the most part, fairly well laid out. Below the video preview screen is a nice timeline with thumbnails. At the right of the preview is the Clip Index. When you start making cuts in a video, each new clip you split will be added to the Clip Index, where you can rearrange the order in which they will be joined. To begin editing, click Open Media and load in a video file.

      • Foliate, the Best eBook Reader app for Linux, is Now Even Better

        I’ve called Foliate the best eBook reader for Linux desktops in the past and based on the change-log of its latest release, I don’t see that opinion changing.

        Foliate 2.0 is a MASSIVE update to this GTK-based .epub reader. It adds a crop of major new features, including a redesigned interface, new reading options, new navigation behaviour, more control, more choice, more everything.

        For me, the biggest change in Foliate 2.0 is the new distraction-free reading mode. This sees Foliate’s window chrome (GTK header bar and progress bar) auto-hide so that you can focus on reading the contents of .epub (and other supported files) rather than gawking at UI elements.

      • GTK+ eBook Reader Foliate 2.0.0 Released!

        Modern new GTK eBook reader Foliate 2.0.0 was released a few days ago with great new features and improvements.

        Foliate 2.0.0 features new selection popover, redesigned interface which works better with smaller screen. The headerbar and progress bar now auto-hide.

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Educational Games for Kids – Week 24

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

        With so many young children currently unable to follow their usual routine of going to school, playing with friends, and undertaking many hobbies, it’s vital to keep them happy and learning. There are many ways of advancing a child’s education and well-being including online lessons, video calls with family and friends, combined with parental guidance.

      • Watch Synchronized Videos With Your Remote Friends Using Syncplay (Linux, macOS, Windows)

        Syncplay is a free and open source tool to synchronize media players with remote friends to watch videos together, available for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux and *BSD. It supports mpv, VLC, MPC-BE and MPC-HC, with each user being able to use any of these media players.

        The application synchronizes the position and play state of the media player over the Internet, allowing all viewers to watch the same video in the same time. So when one viewer seeks, pauses or unpauses a video, this is applied to all viewers / media players that are in the same Syncplay room, on the same server.

        You can choose to use one of the free public Syncplay servers, or you can host your own public or private Syncplay server, be it on Windows, macOS, Linux (including Raspberry Pi).

      • PeaZip 7.2.0

        Open and extract 180+ archive formats: 001, 7Z, ACE(*), ARC, ARJ, BZ2, CAB, DMG, GZ, ISO, LHA, PAQ, PEA, RAR, TAR, UDF, WIM, XZ, ZIP ZIPX – view full list of supported archive file formats for archiving and for extraction.

      • Photo software options [Ed: GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) listed under "Freeware" (which is wrong)]

        GIMP (the GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open source program that has been around since the mid-to-late 1990s so there’s been plenty of time to refine it. Available for the Linux, Mac OS X and Windows platforms it provides most of the same features as Adobe’s Photoshop and its user interface is highly customisable. It also supports many of the plugins offered by third-party developers.

      • Google Chrome 81 Now Available for Download on Linux, Windows, and Mac

        Google has just released Chrome 81 on all supported platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Mac.

        The new version is 81.0.4044.92, and it includes several notable improvements, including support for the Web NFC API, which means that web apps can finally use the built-in NFC.

        In other words, if your device is bundled with an NFC, web apps can use it though Google Chrome, either for data transfer or for other implementations.

        Google says it has resolves a total of 32 security vulnerabilities with this release, with the company once again paying thousands of dollars in bounties to researchers who reported the flaws.

      • It’s all in the dot file – YADM and Homeshick

        Backups are important. Backups are crucial. Backups are love, backups are life. Over the years, I’ve talked about the cardinal value of keeping your data safe, and that means multiple copies, multiple locations. We also talked about how to concoct your own quick ‘n’ dirty setup with tar and gpg recently. That one covers both data and application settings. Speaking of the latter …

        Let’s expand on this some more. If you have multiple computers, reinstall systems frequently, or just like to have a consistent configuration across multiple hosts, you might be interested in a way to manage application settings. In Linux, most software keeps their configurations in hidden files inside the home directory, either at the top level (/home/username) or inside the .config sub-directory. Either way, there could be plenty of them, you want to make sure you always have a copy, and if something goes wrong, you can easily revert to a good checkpoint. Introducting YADM and Homeshick.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Google has opened up their Stadia game streaming service, two months free Pro too

        The day has come, Google has finally opened up their Linux-powered game streaming service Stadia and they’re giving you two free months of Pro too so you can try it with the Pro games without paying a penny.

      • Valve put out a ‘Data Deep Dive’ to show how games are doing on Steam

        This new talkative Valve is certainly welcome, as they continue to do blog posts talking about the Steam ecosystem and how good and bad developers are doing. The latest is a ‘Data Deep Dive’ which has some interesting information.

        Giving a brief bit of history on how Steam was pretty much locked-down until Greenlight launched in 2012, opened up to a lot more indie games and then in 2017 they launched Steam Direct fully opening up Steam to pretty much any developer. Since then, obviously, Steam has exploded in size.

        Even with Steam having so many thousands of games now, according to Valve more “new releases than ever are finding success”.

        [...]

        This still doesn’t mean launching on Steam will be an instant or guaranteed success, as Steam grows there’s clearly more games than ever also not reaching even $5K in the first two weeks. In Valve’s own graph in their research notes, they showed approximately 1,450 titles hitting $5K in the first two weeks in 2019 but when you look at how many titles released in 2019 it means the vast majority didn’t even hit that. This is debatable on how bad that actually is in reality, since even on Linux which is a niche platform on Steam there’s a large amount of very quickly made “filler” games released every year.

      • Shortest Trip to Earth should be releasing for Linux and hopefully soon

        Shortest Trip to Earth, a roguelike spaceship simulator focused on exploration, ship management and tactical battles is now officially coming to Linux and hopefully soon.

      • Realistic gun simulation FPS ‘Receiver 2′ launching April 14

        Receiver 2 is not a traditional first-person shooter, as it simulates the very mechanics of the guns down to every spring and pin. It’s now been given a release date for April 14.

      • Free and open source voxel game engine ‘Minetest’ has a new release up

        Minetest, a free and open source voxel game engine styled like Minecraft has a new release up with some graphical updates, UI improvements and more.

        While Minetest does come with a basic Minecraft-like game, really the power of Minetest is the plugin system. Out of the box, there’s not much in it. However, with a few button clicks in the built-in downloader, you can access a ton of extra content and entire game packs to add into it.

        Minetest 5.2.0 was released a few days ago and while it does include the usual assortment of fixes, there’s also some fun sounding improvements too. Waves are now generated with Perlin-type noise, arm inertia animations were improved, there’s now basic model shading possible, better natural light, visual feedback for button states in the UI, modding is a little easier as it should automatically enable a mod’s dependencies in the world config menu, tools/weapons can wear out on hits, lots of modding enhancements and so on.

      • NVIDIA 440.82 Linux Driver Brings DOOM Eternal Performance Fix, Linux 5.6 Compatibility

        NVIDIA today released the 440.82 Linux binary display driver as their newest stable update in the current 440 driver series.

        The NVIDIA 440.82 Linux driver brings a workaround for DOOM Eternal when running under Steam Play to ensure important resources are placed in vRAM. This important performance workaround has previously been available through NVIDIA’s Vulkan beta driver and is now in the stable release given the popularity of DOOM Eternal.

      • NVIDIA released the 440.82 stable ‘Long Lived’ Linux driver – helps DOOM Eternal on Steam Play Proton

        Today, NVIDIA released an update to their stable driver series with driver version 440.82 now available in their ‘Long Lived’ branch. After a few updates to their Vulkan Beta driver recently, it seems they’ve pulled in a bunch of changes from there.

        [...]

        Multiple bug fixes made it into this release too, including one” that caused render-offloaded applications to crash on exit”. The rest of the fixes seem specific to using the NVIDIA driver with Linux kernel 5.6.

      • The wonderful and relaxing town-building RPG ‘Littlewood’ is now DRM-free on GOG

        Littlewood is a relaxing casual town-building RPG, a very peaceful game where there’s no combat needed as it blends together lots of different gameplay elements including farming, crafting, mining, gathering and so on.

        It was crowdfunded on Kickstarter back in February 2019 and it did really well with nearly four thousand backers, pledging over eighty thousand dollars.

      • Things To Do With Your PCLinuxOS In The Quarantine

        Well, since we are all quarantined, forced isolation, to prevent the proliferation of COVID-19, this does not mean that it is a frustrating and boring period. There are many things possible to do at home in those times.

        Families, who did not see each other very often, will once again be able to strengthen their ties, talk face to face (and not via whatsapp). I believe that, in some cases, the flame of romance will be rekindled. Of course, for every family brought together by this pandemic, there are very ugly cases of domestic violence that can even get worse.

        But, let’s try to look at the positive side of it all, and, with these forced “vacations”, let’s try to spend time in the best possible way, with a great companion: PCLinuxOS!

        What to do now in this isolation then? We’ll see now!

        [...]

        Well, first of all, I would like to say that I am over 50. There is a prejudice against those who play, but this prejudice has to be undone: There is nothing wrong with playing with your computer. Many point a finger and say: A man of that age, playing kids’ video games! Well then, collecting retro-games is on the rise right now (the way the games industry goes, it’s no wonder). Metal Jesus, a YouTuber, is the living proof: he might be older than me, and he only has reviews of retro video games on his channel. Well, with that out of the way, let’s look at the game options available for PCLinuxOS in this period.

      • Game Zone: Last Chaos In PCLinuxOS

        Welcome! The medieval fantasy world of Last Chaos awaits you! Choose from 9 different character classes and discover the war torn continent of Iris! Master your class by choosing a class specialization and become a hero!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Best Linux Desktop Environments In 2020

        Let’s discuss the Linux desktop environments for the year 2020. These days every Linux distros have their own desktop environments which means that we have plenty of options available on the Internet to replace our default Linux desktop environment.

        Note: This is our list of best Linux desktop environments in 2020 but let us know if you want to include or remove any desktop environments from this list with your valid opinions.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt 5.12.8 Released

          I am happy to inform you we have released Ot 5.12.8 today.

          As earlier informed Qt 5.12 LTS is in ‘strict’ phase and so on it will receive only the most important bug fixes. But still this 8th patch release to Qt 5.12 LTS contains ~150 changes including fixes to more than 30 bugs. Please check most important changes from Qt 5.12.8 Changes Files.

          Qt 5.12.8 can be updated to existing online installation by using maintenance tool. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

        • The Qt Company Publishes A 2020 Roadmap Culminating With The Qt 6.0 Release
        • New Qt Releases Might Now Be Restricted To Paying Customers For 12 Months

          With an apparent blame on the novel coronavirus, The Qt Company is said to be considering restricting new Qt releases to paying customers for a period of twelve months in an effort to boost their near-term finances.

          Earlier today The Qt Company published a 2020 Qt road-map while following that a Phoronix reader tipped us off to the latest discussions between KDE, the Qt project, and The Qt Company.

          KDE and the open-source Qt folks have been in discussions with The Qt Company especially with the restrictions announced back in January by The Qt Company that LTS point releases might only be available to commercial customers, Qt Accounts being needed for binary package downloads, etc.

        • Qt, Open Source and corona
          Dear KDE community,
          
          the relationship between the KDE community, the Qt project and The Qt Company 
          has always been close and beneficial for all three.
          
          * The Qt Company benefits from having a large and healthy community of 
          contributors, developers and experts around their product.
          * KDE benefits from being able to use Qt and to contribute directly to Qt.
          * The Qt project benefits from having the company as a steward and very large 
          contributor, and having KDE as a large and well-known sub-community.
          
          Last December, I published a document explaining the win-win-win-relationship: 
          
          http://www.olafsw.de/a-better-qt-because-of-open-source-and-kde/
          
          Unfortunately, The Qt Company is currently considering to stop this healthy 
          cooperation.
          
          Fortunately, the KDE Free Qt Foundation exists, which secures the continued 
          existence of Open Source Qt:
          
          https://kde.org/community/whatiskde/kdefreeqtfoundation.php
          
          Together with Martin Konold, I represent KDE in the board of the foundation.
          
          
          I will now give you a bit of background information.
          
          During the past two years, there have been negotiations between The Qt Company 
          and the KDE Free Qt Foundation for updating the contract.
          
          Our goals in negotiations:
          * helping the company increase their revenue without harming the Qt project or 
          the KDE community
          * strengthening the protection of the Qt project and of the KDE community
          * avoiding a parting of ways between The Qt Company and the Qt+KDE communities
          
          Concrete areas included in the negotiations are:
          
          * Fixing the incompatibility between paid Qt license terms and using or 
          contributing to Open Source
          (“Prohibited Combination” in https://www.qt.io/terms-conditions/ )
          * Fixing the license incompatibility between the Qt Design Studio (which is 
          only partly Free Software) and our existing contract with the company
          * Making our contract with the company stronger, requiring them to make 
          immediate Free Software releases of Qt (currently, they are allowed to delay 
          by 12 months) to ensure the availability of LTS security fixes for KDE
          * Updating our contract to include Wayland
          * Evaluating contract changes suggested by the company aimed at making the Qt 
          business more profitable, for example the option of selling bundles of Qt with 
          other software, or making integrations with proprietary third-party software 
          possible
          
          
          One setback in the negotiations has been an announcement of The Qt Company in 
          January: https://www.qt.io/blog/qt-offering-changes-2020
          They announced that LTS releases of Qt will only be available for paid license 
          holders. It is still unclear what this implies for contributions to Qt and for 
          the sharing of security fixes between the various parties (including The Qt 
          Company, the many Qt experts contributing, the KDE community, and Linux 
          distributions).
          
          At an in-person meeting in Frankfurt on March 6, we nevertheless managed to 
          lay the groundwork for a possible path forward, continuing with an approach 
          beneficial to all sides.
          
          
          But last week, the company suddenly informed both the KDE e.V. board and the 
          KDE Free QT Foundation that the economic outlook caused by the Corona virus 
          puts more pressure on them to increase short-term revenue. As a result, they 
          are thinking about restricting ALL Qt releases to paid license holders for the 
          first 12 months. They are aware that this would mean the end of contributions 
          via Open Governance in practice.
          
          Obviously, it cannot be in the middle- and long-term health of The Qt Company 
          to separate itself from the very strong Qt + KDE communities.
          
          We hope The Qt Company will reconsider. However, this threat to the Open 
          Source community needs to be anticipated, so that the Qt and KDE communities 
          can prepare themselves.
          
          The Qt Company says that they are willing to reconsider the approach only if 
          we offer them concessions in other areas. I am reminded, however, of the 
          situation half a year ago. We had discussed an approach for contract updates, 
          which they suddenly threw away by restricting LTS releases of Qt instead.
          
          
          What does this mean for the future of Qt and for the future of KDE?
          
          All software changes in Qt will still be available at as Open Source as 
          required by our contract – maybe with a delay of 12 months if the company 
          decides to part ways with the communities.
          
          We will continue to work on a contract update that helps all sides. But even 
          if these negotiations were to be unilaterally stopped by The Qt Company, Qt 
          will stay Open Source, and KDE will be able to use it. I am also absolutely 
          sure that the Qt + KDE communities will continue cooperation on new features, 
          bug fixes, and security fixes, even should The Qt Company decide to forgo the 
          benefits of cooperation.
          
          I invite The Qt Company to stay with us. It will be worthwhile.
          
          
          Best regards,
          
          Olaf
          
          
        • Learn PyQt: Packaging PyQt5 & PySide2 applications for Windows, with PyInstaller

          There is not much fun in creating your own desktop applications if you can’t share them with other people — whether than means publishing it commercially, sharing it online or just giving it to someone you know. Sharing your apps allows other people to benefit from your hard work!

          The good news is there are tools available to help you do just that with your Python applications which work well with apps built using Qt5. In this tutorial we’ll look at the most popular tool for packaging Python applications: PyInstaller.

          This tutorial is broken down into a series of steps, using PyInstaller to build first simple, and then increasingly complex PyQt5 applications into distributable EXE files on Windows. You can choose to follow it through completely, or skip ahead to the examples that are most relevant to your own project.

        • Virtual KDE PIM Sprint April 2020

          Last weekend would have been the traditional annual KDE PIM meeting in Toulouse, but with travel being largely shut down in Europe we had to do this virtually. That meant missing out on the culinary treats of being in France, but we got a few things done nevertheless.

          [...]

          Nico has been working on this, eventually enabling platform calendar abstraction behind the KCalendarCore API. So the same application code could be using a calendar from Akonadi on a desktop system and the Android calendar on a phone.

          We hopefully managed to sort out the remaining conceptual questions for this (modeling hierarchies, lazy population of expensive calendars, separate classes for the calendar metadata or not).

          Moving PIM modules to KDE Frameworks

          KDAV is nearing completion for transitioning to Frameworks after the 20.04 release (so in May or June). A final review pass resulted in a few more improvements and API cleanups.

          Following KDAV the possible candidates are the KGAPI library, which is already used externally and thus would benefit most, as well as the various email frameworks (MIME, IMAP, SMTP).

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New GNOME Mobile Shell Mockups Tease a Tactile Future on Tablets

          With Phosh, the mobile face of GNOME Shell, taking shape on phones it’s not a major leap to start thinking about how the GNOME user experience might function on larger screen sizes.

          Like, say a tablet.

          Despite some folks thinking that GNOME Shell is a touch-focused UI, it isn’t.

          In fact, it’s pretty tedious to use without a keyboard or a mouse. Same was true of Unity, RIP.

          To succeed in a finger-driven environment you need a finger-driven interface.

          Just like the one on show in “very experimental” concept images recently shared by GNOME designer Tobias Bernard on the GNOME design Gitlab.

          Tobias is lead UI/UX designer at Purism and works directly on Phosh.

        • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: Timelines on Calendar

          It’s been a long time since I last wrong a blog post about GNOME Calendar only. That doesn’t mean work has stalled!

          Since pretty much its inception, Calendar used copy-pasted code from Evolution to retrieve events from Evolution Data Server (EDS). It was a pair of classes called ECalDataModelSubscriber, and ECalDataModel. The first is an interface that classes implement when they handle adding, updating, and removing events. It was implemented by the week, month, and year views. The second Evolution class, ECalDataModel, is responsible for storing multiple subscribers, the time range of each subscriber, fetching the calendar data from EDS, and keeping subscribers aware of which events they should display.

          ECalDataModel is a fairly complicated code, full of threads and locks and synchronization points. It was hard to investigate and fix bugs related to it. In addition to that, Calendar tries to use the GDateTime API everywhere, but ECalDataModel (and most Evolution-related code) uses other time types such as time_t and GTimeVal. Over time, those points were growing the pain of maintaining Calendar.

          Even though ECalDataModel and ECalDataModelSubscriber worked mostly well for a long time, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with a new backend that uses more modern APIs and techniques, threads the heavy stuff away, and is closer to the style and idiosyncrasy of Calendar.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Septor 2020.2

          Tor Browser is fully installed (9.0.8)
          System upgrade from Debian Buster repos as of April 7, 2020
          Update Linux Kernel to 5.4.13
          Update Thunderbird to 68.4.1-1
          Update Bluez to 5.50-1.2
          Update Youtube-dl to 2020.03.24

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • [PCLinuxOS] Screenshot Showcase
        • PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: mutse

          I started with ‘Linux’ after reading a magazine with a DVD with a number of ‘Linux distros’ in it, after it was mentioned that Windows XP would no longer be supported and would no longer receive security updates. I also did so out of curiosity and as a new challenge, in my already richly filled career.

          I “hopped” from one distro to another and then, by chance, ended up at PCLinuxOS. I then registered on the Dutch forum (pclinuxos.nl) where I got a certain name, A.J. Baudrez (Wamukota), discovered and also read that he lived in Bruges (also read in the PCLinuxOS Magazine). After I contacted Alain, I was invited to come to the “Brutux” meeting(s). That’s how I ‘rolled’ into that Linux world. I still go there every month.

          I am very happy that I have discovered PCLinuxOS (and Linux in general). I’ve already received a lot of help from DeBaas (both at the forum and personally in The Hague Netherlands, where he works as a volunteer in the computer club), also Alain and everyone here at the USA PCLinuxOS forum. Many thanks for that. I wish I had so much knowledge.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Cloud Application Platform Air gapped installation

          Containers has become first choice and ask from customers and Kubernetes is the first choice for container orchestration. Cloud native applications are being built. SUSE Cloud Application Platform is a modern application delivery platform used to bring an advance cloud native developer experience to Kubernetes. SUSE has containerized Cloud foundry.

          Container images being downloaded on Kubernetes master and worker nodes when we deploy SUSE Cloud Application Platform. Source of these container images can be SUSE registry site which is registry.suse.com or can be a local registry in the same network of Kubernetes master and worker nodes.

        • SUSE Home Office Workplace: Our offering for your business continuity strategy

          Providing employees in the home office with secure and reliable access to their business-critical applications – that is currently the big challenge for companies. Hardware bottlenecks, limited budgets and enormous time pressure make the implementation of emergency plans more difficult in many organizations. To help you work from home, we offer a cost-effective business continuity solution that you can implement quickly and easily: the SUSE Home Office Workplace.

        • SUSE Manager 4: The Smart Choice for Managing Linux

          “Only SUSE Manager combines software content lifecycle management (CLM) with a centrally staged repository and class-leading configuration management and automation, plus optional state of the art monitoring capabilities, for all major Linux distributions.”

          These days, IT departments manage highly dynamic and heterogeneous networks under constantly changing requirements. One important trend that has contributed to the growing complexity is the rise of software-defined infrastructures (SDIs). An SDI consists of a single pool of virtual resources that system administrators can manage efficiently and always in the same way, regardless of whether the resources reside on premise or in the cloud. SUSE Manager is a powerful tool that brings the promise of SDI to Linux server management.

          You can use SUSE Manager to manage a diverse pool of Linux systems through their complete lifecycle, including deployment, configuration, auditing and software management. This paper highlights some of the benefits of SUSE Manager and describes how SUSE Manager stacks up against other open source management solutions.

        • Automating the SAP HANA High Availability Cluster Deployment for Microsoft Azure
      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Why Linux containers are a CIO’s best friend

          CIOs have many challenges today (to say the least), but one of the biggest is enabling the constant development and delivery of new applications — no longer a “nice to have” but a “must have” in today’s ever-changing business and global environments. There are many tools that can help CIOs provide this support, but one of the most important is Linux containers.

          In a recent Smarter with Gartner report, Gartner Distinguished VP Analyst Gene Alvarez named “enabling and balancing product and project management of applications to focus on delivering business outcomes while maintaining highly reliable core business operations” as being one of the key challenges CIOs face in 2020.

          Organizations are turning to containers as a way to provide this business-technology balance. Indeed, the use of Linux containers has increased significantly in just the last year.

        • Be careful when pulling images by short name
        • Migrating applications to OpenShift, Part 1: Overview
        • Red Hat names new CEO

          Open source specialists, Red Hat has announced that Paul Cormier has been appointed as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

          Comier is a long term Red Hat veteran and has previously served as the company’s president of Products and Technologies.

          Comier succeeds Jim White Hurst who will now serve as president of Red Hat’s parent company, IBM.

          In 2019, Red Hat was acquired by US software giant IBM in a $34 billion deal.

          During his time at Red Hat, Cormier has driven more than 25 acquisitions at Red Hat, as the company grew exponentially and expanded beyond its Linux routes.

        • RHEL pusher Paul Cormier appointed CEO to lead Red Hat into the IBM era

          Long-serving Red Hatter Paul Cormier has been named president and chief exec as his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, sets off for fields Big and Blue.

          Cormier is very much a Red Hat insider, having joined in 2001 and overseen the addition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to the company’s line-up. He is also credited with pioneering the subscription model that shunted the firms and its wares into boardrooms.

          The CEO position had been vacated by Whitehurst, who was due to take up duties as IBM president today, 6 April. Arvind Krishna is also set to commence his tenure as Big Blue’s CEO today following January’s shenanigans, which saw former boss Virginia Rometty shown the retirement door (by the end of this year, at least).

          Whitehurst’s tenure at Red Hat saw the company’s revenues grow from $500m to almost $3bn before IBM swooped in with an eye-popping $34bn deal to acquire the open sourcer in 2018. Whitehurst then became a veep at IBM.

          Cormier, who described RHEL as “by far the most successful thing I ever have or ever will work on”, has his work cut out as Red Hat’s business is integrated with IBM’s. Research, sponsored by Red Hat itself, showed the company enjoyed a substantial share of the worldwide server operating system market ahead of the IBM acquisition. Buddying up with Microsoft will have done no harm to those figures, despite IBM’s well-documented struggles to keep its own cloud relevant.

        • A message from Paul Cormier: Red Hat is here to help

          We are living, and working, through a time of great uncertainty. At a time like this, I’ve found it helpful to remember our values and what’s important. What’s important to Red Hat is our commitment to our people, our customers and our communities. It goes without saying that wellbeing is priority number one, and we continue to take measures to prioritize the health and well-being of both Red Hat associates and the communities where we live and work.

          As we embrace new ways of working, we can look to the open source way of doing business, where the best ideas can come from anywhere, and where transparency and collaboration are vital, and showing up ready to help is a key component to success for each contributor and the community as a whole. We’re here, as always, to help.

          We are focusing our efforts on helping our associates, our customers and our communities thrive today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come. Whether that’s continuing your business in a changing world, adapting to a virtual-first footing, or helping us all learn new things and stay inspired – all while maintaining some semblance of work/life balance.

          We have some ideas, and would love to hear yours. In the spirit of ‘release early, release often,’ here are some of the things we’re doing, with more to share in the weeks to come.

        • A partner’s guide to the Red Hat Summit virtual experience

          Partners play a critical role in Red Hat’s efforts to drive innovation with enterprise open source technology. From OEMs to global systems integrators to cloud and service providers, Red Hat’s extensive partner ecosystem helps customers around the world achieve success and IT modernization. We appreciate our partners and look forward to showcasing their innovative work at the first-ever Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, a free, immersive multi-day event.

          If you’re a partner participating in Red Hat Summit, you won’t want to miss any of the action. Here are a few insider tips and tricks to help you navigate our newly virtual event.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.5 is out

          This release fixes many security vulnerabilities. You should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Tails, the security-focused OS, adds support for Secure Boot

          Tail OS, an operating system optimized for privacy and anonymity, has released version 4.5 this week, the first version that supports a crucial security feature named UEFI Secure Boot.

          Secure Boot works by using cryptographic signatures to verify that firmware files loaded during a computer’s boot-up process are authentic and have not been tampered.

          If any of the firmware checks fail, Secure Boot has the authority to stop the boot process, preventing the operating system from launching.

        • Tails 4.5 Anonymous OS Released with Secure Boot Support

          Arriving a month after Tails 4.4, this release is the first to offer support for computers that have the Secure Boot security feature enabled in the BIOS.

          According to the Tails development team, Tails can now boot on computers with Secure Boot enabled, including Macs. But if you get the error “Security settings do not allow this Mac to use an external startup disk” you must change the settings of your Mac’s Startup Security Utility to authorize Tails.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • UbuntuDDE: This New Linux Distro Combines Ubuntu 20.04 And Deepin Desktop

          Have you ever thought about combining the power of the most popular Linux distro Ubuntu with the out-of-the-box Deepin Desktop? Well, if you think this could be the best combination, then UbuntuDDE, a new Linux distribution, can be the best choice for you.

          UbuntuDDE is a new entrant in the world of Linux desktops packed with the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Deepin desktop environment. There’s no doubt that Deepin is one of the most beautiful desktops that somewhat lacks popularity. And shipping it on top of beginner-friendly Ubuntu results in an elegant and powerful Linux distribution.

        • What’s New in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Ubuntu 20.04 is the latest LTS release of Ubuntu. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with a lot of new features and changes. In this article, I am going to talk about these new features and changes. So, let’s get started.

        • Simplify NFV adoption – Charmed OSM and Managed Apps

          Charmed OSM and Managed Apps let telecom operators accelerate adoption of NFV. This is needed because the way we consume data has changed. We want data at a cheaper price with faster speeds and in larger quantities. To meet the challenge, telecom operators are changing the underlying network infrastructure that delivers data. Software-defined networking (SDN) and network function virtualisation (NFV) are enabling this by lowering costs and improving infrastructure flexibility. But how can telecom operators make sure their deployment of NFV is successful? How can they deploy faster and with less risk?

          Last week Canonical announced Managed Apps – a managed service that lets enterprises have their apps deployed and operated by Canonical. One of the ten apps that Managed Apps launched with, was Open Source MANO (OSM) – the NFV management and orchestration stack. Let’s look at what OSM is, how Managed Apps for Charmed OSM works and why you should use it. For a detailed understanding, sign up to this webinar on the benefits of Managed Apps.

        • The Wellcome Sanger Institute: sharing genomic research worldwide securely with supported Ceph

          A world-leading genomic research centre, the Wellcome Sanger Institute uses advanced DNA sequencing technology for large-scale studies that surpass the capabilities of many other organisations. Among other works, the Institute is currently heading the UK-wide Darwin Tree of Life Project to map the genetic code of 60,000 complex species. It is also working with expert groups across Britain to analyse the genetic code of COVID-19 samples, helping public health agencies to combat this now widespread virus.

          For advanced research, genomic scientists need to use and access a vast amount of data. They then need to be able to share this data with other scientists worldwide in a secure and reliable manner. To meet this data storage and retrieval challenge, the Institute opted for Ceph on Ubuntu as an on-premise solution offering superior robustness and scalability. Authorised users internal and external to the Institute can store and retrieve any volume of data from any location via the S3 protocol.

          [...]

          With the IT infrastructure at the Wellcome Sanger Institute a key factor in pushing back the boundaries of science, Dr Peter Clapham, Informatics Support Group Team Leader says, “With Canonical, we have a platform in place for meeting leading edge requirements, ensuring resilience, and making sure that as it grows, the Institute has a provider that can grow with it and its support needs.” He adds, “We’ve engaged with Canonical for the confidence that we’re not just meeting challenges from today, but that we’re also looking to the future and the continuity of our technical solutions.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Strangest Operating Systems Ever Released


        Ninety-nine percent of computer users don’t give a single thought to their operating system. It comes with the machine, it gets updated automatically, and that’s all there is to it. But here at PCMag, we like to talk about that other 1 percent.

        If you’re really interested in getting into the guts of how your home PC works, installing a new operating system is a fascinating way to do it. While there are many alternative OS choices with dedicated user bases, there are also some weird beasts out there, made for niche interests and unique hardware. Here’s a tour through some of the strangest operating systems ever released.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla: Firefox 75 gets this new address bar, but we’re pausing features over coronavirus

            Firefox maker Mozilla has released version 75 of the browser with a revamped address bar and major search improvements.

            But while it won’t change its regular browser release schedule as Google and Microsoft have done during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, it is holding back new security and privacy features that affect site compatibility.

          • Firefox 75 Released with Revamped Address Bar. Download Now.

            The most popular and privacy-focused modern web browser Firefox released the latest version 75 with the revamped address bar and many many changes.

            Used by millions of home, and enterprise users, Firefox with each release, adding more features for its users including some privacy-focused items as well.

          • Firefox 75 Released With Flatpak Support; Firefox On Wayland Now Has H.264 VA-API And Full WebGL Support

            The Firefox 75 release comes with a revamped address bar (screenshot above) with a clean search experience that’s optimized for small laptop screens, with top sites appearing when you select the address. There’s also improved readability of search suggestions, with a focus on new search terms.

            Also, when clicking on the address bar and the search bar, the behavior is now the same across Linux, macOS and Windows desktops: a single click selects all without primary selection, a double click selects a word, and a triple click selects all with primary selection (previously this worked differently on Linux).

          • Mozilla Firefox 75.0 Released with Flatpak Support

            Mozilla Firefox 75.0 was released today. Ubuntu security & updates repositories has published the packages for Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, and Ubuntu 19.10.

            Mozilla Firefox 75.0 comes with revamped address bar, which brings clean search experience. On Linux, the behavior when clicking on the Address Bar and the Search Bar changes: a single click selects all without primary selection, a double click selects a word, and a triple click selects all with primary selection.

            The new release also brings official Flatpak support, improves HTTPS compatibility, and various security fixes. See release note for details.

          • Firefox 75.0

            Firefox 75.0 has been released. New features include improvements to the address bar, making search easier, all trusted Web PKI Certificate Authority certificates known to Mozilla will be cached locally, and Firefox is available as a Flatpak. See the release notes for more details.

          • Keeping Firefox working for you during challenging times

            There’s likely not a single person reading this who hasn’t been impacted in some way by the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that school and office closings and “shelter in place” orders have taken a toll on many of you and have led to large adjustments in day-to-day routines.

            The team at Firefox is no different. As people have been adjusting to the new normal, our product leadership and release management looked into our teams’ capabilities and new limitations. Based on this, we believe we can maintain our 2020 Firefox release schedule as we navigate this global crisis together.

            Our Firefox staff and contributors are used to working remotely, including doing their tests on remote hardware. We often work with people in different timezones, whose regional culture is different. We’ve built empathy into our systems for handling difficult or unexpected circumstances. These strengths are what allow us to continue to make progress where some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work.

            We are launching our next release, Firefox 75, today, April 7, as scheduled. We will continue to monitor both internal and external feedback and remain open to making future adjustments.

            We know that this is a time when our users depend on Firefox to provide uninterrupted access to vital government and health services, so we have taken steps to avoid shipping changes that might negatively impact user experience or possibly break these websites.

          • Latest Firefox updates address bar, making search easier than ever

            We have all been spending a lot more time online lately whether it’s for work, helping our kids stay connected to their schools or keeping in touch with loved ones. While connecting is more important than ever as we face this pandemic together, we’ve also been relying on the power of “search” to access information, news and resources through the browser. Today’s Firefox release makes it even easier to get to the things that matter most to you online. Bringing this improved functionality to Firefox is our way of continuing to serve you now and in the future.

            [...]

            With a single click in the address bar, you’ve got access to your most visited sites. And if by chance you have that site already opened in another tab but can’t find it, we’ve highlighted a text shortcut next to it (in teal!) so you can easily jump to that tab rather than going through the gazillion tabs you already have open. This also works for any page you’ve searched, and may not realize you’ve already opened it.

          • Firefox 75: Ambitions for April

            Even in these times of isolation, our engineering teams have adapted, kept focused, and worked hard to bring you another exciting new edition of Firefox. On the developer tools side, you’ll find instant evaluation in the console, evnt breakpoints for WebSockets, and many other things besides. On the web platform side, new additions include HTML lazy loading for images, the CSS min(), max(), and clamp() functions, public static class fields, and additions to Web Animations API support.

          • Firefox 75 arrives with revamped address bar, Mozilla sticks to 2020 schedule despite coronavirus

            Mozilla today launched Firefox 75 for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Firefox 75 includes a revamped address bar with significant search improvements, a few performance tweaks, and a handful of developer features. You can download Firefox 75 for desktop now from Firefox.com, and all existing users should be able to upgrade to it automatically. According to Mozilla, Firefox has about 250 million active users, making it a major platform for web developers to consider.

            When the coronavirus crisis took hold, millions found themselves spending more time in their browsers as they learn and work from home. But the crisis is also impacting software developers. Google was forced to pause its Chrome releases, which typically arrive every six weeks. Ultimately, Chrome 81 was delayed, Chrome 82 is being skipped altogether, and Chrome 83 has been moved up a few weeks. Microsoft has followed suit with Edge’s release schedule, consistent with Google’s open source Chromium project, which both Chrome and Edge are based on. Mozilla wants to make clear it is not in the same boat. The company took an indirect jab at Google and Microsoft today, saying: “We’ve built empathy into our systems for handling difficult or unexpected circumstances. These strengths are what allow us to continue to make progress where some of our competitors have had to slow down or stop work.”

          • Mitchell Baker Named CEO of Mozilla

            The independent directors of the Mozilla board are pleased to announce that Mitchell Baker has been appointed permanent CEO of Mozilla Corporation.

            We have been conducting an external candidate search for the past eight months, and while we have met several qualified candidates, we have concluded that Mitchell is the right leader for Mozilla at this time.

            Mozilla’s strategic plan is focused on accelerating the growth levers for the core Firefox browser product and platform while investing in innovative solutions to mitigate the biggest challenges facing the internet. There is incredible depth of technical expertise within the organization, but these problems cannot be solved by Mozilla alone, so the plan also calls for a renewed focus on convening technologists and builders from all over the world to collaborate and co-create these new solutions. The need for innovation not only at Mozilla, but for the internet at large is more important than ever, especially at a time when online technologies and tools have a material and enduring impact on our daily lives.

            Since last August when it was announced that Mozilla would be seeking a new CEO, Mitchell has assumed an active role in day-to-day operations, formally becoming interim CEO in December 2019. Over the course of this time, she has honed the organization’s focus on long-term impact. Mitchell’s deep understanding of Mozilla’s existing businesses gives her the ability to provide direction and support to drive this important work forward. Her involvement in organizations such as the Oxford Internet Institute, the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, ICANN and the U.S. Department of Commerce Digital Economy Board gives her the ability to not only impact the broader internet landscape, but also bring those valuable outside perspectives back into Mozilla. And her leadership style grounded in openness and honesty is helping the organization navigate through the uncertainty that COVID-19 has created for Mozillians at work and at home.

          • Our Journey to a Better Internet

            he internet is now our lifeline, as a good portion of humanity lives as close to home as possible. Those who currently don’t have access will feel this need ever more acutely. The qualities of online life increasingly impact all of our lives.

            Mozilla exists to improve the nature of online life: to build the technology and products and communities that make a better internet. An internet that is accessible, safe, promotes human dignity, and combines the benefits of “open” with accountability and responsibility to promote healthy societies.

            I’m honored to become Mozilla’s CEO at this time. It’s a time of challenge on many levels, there’s no question about that. Mozilla’s flagship product remains excellent, but the competition is stiff. The increasing vertical integration of internet experience remains a deep challenge. It’s also a time of need, and of opportunity. Increasingly, numbers of people recognize that the internet needs attention. Mozilla has a special, if not unique role to play here. It’s time to tune our existing assets to meet the challenge. It’s time to make use of Mozilla’s ingenuity and unbelievable technical depth and understanding of the “web” platform to make new products and experiences. It’s time to gather with others who want these things and work together to make them real.

          • Open COVID Pledge: Removing Obstacles to Sharing IP in the Fight Against COVID-19
          • Mozilla Supports the Open COVID Pledge: Making Intellectual Property Freely Available for the Fight Against COVID-19

            COVID-19 has afflicted more than one million people worldwide, and the number continues to climb every day. However long the pandemic lasts, we know that scientists and others’ ability to share work toward solutions is critical to ending it.

            The Open COVID Pledge, a project of an international coalition of scientists, technologists, and legal experts, has been created to address this issue. The project calls on companies, universities and other organizations to make their intellectual property (IP) temporarily available free of charge for use in ending the pandemic and minimizing its impact.

      • CMS

        • People of WordPress: Mario Peshev

          Mahttps://wordpress.org/news/2020/04/people-of-wordpress-mario-peshev/rio has been hooked on computers ever since he got his first one in 1996. He started with digging into MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 first and learned tons by trial and error. Following that adventure, Mario built his first HTML site in 1999. He found development so exciting that he spent day and night learning QBasic and started working at the local PC game club. Mario got involved with several other things related to website administration (translating security bulletins, setting up simple sites, etc) and soon found the technology field was full of activities he really enjoyed.

          [...]

          For Mario, one of the key selling points of WordPress was the international openness. He had previously been involved with other open source communities, some of which were US-focused. He felt they were more reliant on meeting people in person. With events only taking place in the US, this made building relationships much harder for people living in other countries.

          While the WordPress project started out in the US, the WordPress community quickly globalized. Dozens of WordCamps and hundreds of Meetup events take place around the globe every year. All of these events bring a wide variety of people sharing their enthusiasm for WordPress together.

          For Mario, the birth of WordCamp Europe was something magical. The fact that hundreds, and later on thousands, of people from all over the world gathered around the topic of WordPress speaks for itself. Mario has been involved with organizing WordCamp Europe twice (in 2014 and 2015).

      • Funding

        • Community Engagement Challenge

          The GNOME Foundation, in partnership with Endless, is proud to announce the inaugural Community Education Challenge, an exciting new opportunity to engage beginning coders with the free and open-source software (FOSS) community. Our goal is to encourage individuals or teams to submit stimulating ideas that will connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them involved for years to come.

        • GNOME launches a ‘Community Engagement Challenge’ with cash prizes

          With an idea to help get beginner coders interested in FOSS, and to help improve coding skills, the GNOME Foundation has teamed up with Endless for a Community Engagement Challenge.

          Not gaming news but anything that helps Linux and the FOSS community is important, everything we do is on Linux and expanding the FOSS community is vitally important. Games are built with code obviously, so it’s a good fit to mention!

          The Community Engagement Challenge is going to run through multiple stages, with the first opening on April 9 for anyone to send in their submissions if you (or your team) think you have a good idea for a project that will engage beginning coders with the free and open-source software (“FOSS”) community. You will then have until July 1 to submit a written proposal for your concept. From there, they will pick twenty entries that will move to the next round and each will be given $1,000 each. The next phase requires a proof of concept, with four projects moving into receiving $5,000 to then go into the final round. The last round requires a delivered product with the winner receiving $15,000 and the second place finisher receiving $10,000.

        • GNOME Announces Community Engagement Challenge Offering up to $65,000 in Rewards

          It’s always good to see several competitions or challenges trying to promote Free and Open-Source Software (FOSS) more than ever.

          In a recent effort by GNOME with the help of Endless, they announced the inaugural GNOME Community Engagement Challenge.

          This Community Challenge is a part of their original announcement of coding education challenge for which GNOME was granted $500,000 funding by Endless last year.

          The three-phase challenge aims to attract new developers to engage with FOSS and potentially create new/unique solutions that would gain more traction from the next-gen coders.

        • GNOME Launching A Community Engagement Challenge With $65k+ In Cash/Prizes

          The GNOME Foundation in cooperation with Endless has launched their first Community Engagement Challenge where they are offering up many prizes and cash.

          The GNOME Community Engagement Challenge is described as a three-phase competition to “generate stimulating ideas that will help connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them active and engaged for years to come. Up to $65,000 in cash prizes are available to the individuals or teams with the best entries.”

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • COVID-19 Hackathons: Only Free Software creates global solutions

            Currently we see a lot of hackathons to find tools that help tackle the crisis of pandemic COVID-19. More and more governments and administrations are hosting or funding such hackathons. To make sure that the results of these hackathons can be used globally and adapted locally – that the software can be used, studied, shared and improved everywhere – the FSFE asks to publish the outcomes under a Free Software licence.
            Breaking the chain of COVID-19 infections and alleviating its dramatic impacts are of top priority within our societies. Software is inherently connected to achieve these goals, from 3D printing ventilators to tracking potential outbreaks or organising solidarity within communities. During the last weeks we have seen virtual hackathons being organised to help find and fund solutions that tackle the COVID-19 crisis. For the time being only some of them are published under a Free Software licence, also called Open Source Software or Libre Software licence, meaning that these solutions can be used, studied, shared and improved by everyone around the world.

            Meanwhile, more and more European governments and administrations are hosting virtual hackathons to help develop new tools. While some of them are explicitly supporting Free Software solutions only, like the WirVsVirus hackathon others are not mentioning their licence at all – like EUvsVirus initiated by the European Commission or Global Hack, funded by StartUpEU, making it difficult or impossible to reuse the software in other parts of the world.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • What a License Track!

            This year we had a great set of licensing related talks, and I’d like to discuss them all in this post.

            Monday morning started with Frank Karlitschek and his talk Why the GPL is great for business. This a great overview of how you can build an free and open source business – pros and cons and pitfalls to avoid.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn CoffeeScript

          CoffeeScript is a very succinct programming language that transcompiles into JavaScript, so there is no interpretation at runtime. The syntax is inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell, and implements many features from these three languages.

          CoffeeScript is closely related to JavaScript without having its eccentricities. However, CoffeeScript offers more than fixing many of the oddities of JavaScript, as it has some useful features including array comprehensions, prototype aliases and classes. It allows developers to write less code to get more done.

          CoffeeScript is a new language, first appearing in 2009. The first stable release shortly followed in December 2010.

        • Robert Foss: Speed up `git log –graph` 18x times

          This is a speed up of ~18x, compared to the older versions.

          The way this works is that commit-graph file stores the commit graph structure along with some extra metadata to speed up graph in the .git/objects/info directory.

        • 15 years of Git: How to get started or learn something new

          x
          If there’s anything that’s changed software in the past two decades, Git is at the top of the list.

          If you don’t use Git personally, you might think it’s just a tech fad, an incidental darling among developers just because it was created by the same person who started the Linux project itself. There may be some truth to that, but Git does manage to achieve some feats that no other industry has managed. With Git, developers spread all over the world are able to work on the same code, literally at the same time, with a history of every change made, and then merge all the work together to result in a finished product. The complexity is enormous, and so the tool itself can get complex, but in the end, it’s a major component in keeping the software industry running.

          Whether you know Git or not, you’ll very likely encounter it should you dig deep enough into open source software or enter into computer science. Whether you use Git to just download an installer package or whether you interface with it daily to manage code, learning more about it is elucidating and empowering.

        • EBCDIC Handling Library: A Ruby Project

          As long as we are going to be cooped up with the current pandemic, and to keep my sanity going, I decided to revive a software project that was the basis for my development of credit reporting software, the ASCII to EBCDIC translator.

          As long as I am going to revive this project, I may as well make a library of functions that handle data in EBCDIC with translations to and from ASCII. Of course, I would have to include UTF-8 and UTF-16 as these character codes did not exist back in the 1990s.

          [...]

          One thing that EBCDIC and ASCII have in common is that each character takes up exactly one byte of storage. But that is where the similarity ends.

          Standard ASCII is actually seven bits long and has numeric values ranging from 0 to 127 (or 0×00 to 0x7f in hexidecimal). So what happens to the eighth bit? Standard ASCII has no default action for characters containing the eighth bit (hexidecimal values of 0×80 to 0xFF.)

          In practice, however, the eighth bit is typically used for displaying character graphics, i.e. symbols that are typically used to create things like windows on a text display, or large sized logos. This character set can be found on 8-bit machines like the Commodore PET/VIC-20/64/128, the Atari 8-bit line of machines, and even the IBM-PC models 5150, 5160 and 5170 (commonly known as the IBM-PC, XT and AT)

        • Squeezing the most out of the server: Erlang Profiling

          An obvious way to reduce costs is to make the system more efficient and this means entering the hazardous land of software optimization. Even for experienced programmers, identifying bottlenecks is a hard enough problem when using the right tools; trying to guess what could make the code run faster will not only waste time but is likely to introduce unnecessary complexity that can cause problems down the line. The cousin of premature optimization is necessary optimization without profiling first

          While Erlang is famously known for its concurrency model and fault-tolerant design, one of its biggest strengths is the level of live inspection and tuning it offers, often with little or no setup and runtime cost. In this article, we outline how we leverage those features to profile our system, driving the optimizations that can lead to cost reductions.

        • S. Lott: Why Isn’t COBOL Dead? Or Why Didn’t It Evolve?

          In short, why is FORTRAN still OK? Why is COBOL not still OK?

          Actually, I’d venture to say the stories of these languages are essentially identical. They’re both used because they have significant legacy implementations.

          There’s a distinction, that I think might be relevant to the “revulsion factor.”

          Folks don’t find Fortran quite so revolting because it’s sequestered into libraries where we don’t really have to look at it. It’s often wrapped into SciPy. The GCC compiler system handles it and we’re happy.

          COBOL, however, isn’t sequestered into libraries with tidy Python wrappers and Conda installers. COBOL is the engine of enterprise applications.

          Also. COBOL is used by organizations that suffer from high amounts of technical inertia, which makes the language a kind of bellwether for the rest of the organization. The organization changes slowly (or not at all) and the language changes at an even more tectonic pace.

          This is a consequence of very large organizations with regulatory advantages. Governments, for example, regulate themselves into permanence. Other highly-regulated industries like banks and insurance companies can move slowly and tolerate the stickiness of COBOL.

        • Google’s Propeller Is Beginning To Be Upstreamed For Spinning Faster Program Binaries

          We have begun seeing the start of upstreaming on Google’s Propeller Framework for offering post-link-time binary optimizations in the LLVM compiler stack to offer measurably faster (re)generated binaries.

          Propeller was developed by Google engineers as a result of Facebook’s BOLT post-link optimizer for speeding up applications by optimizing the generated binary after being linked.

        • 5 tips for working from home from a veteran remotee

          Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and its rapid development, we are all being called to take protective and preventative measures, including avoiding social contact as much as possible. Events are canceled, trips are postponed, and companies are asking their employees to work from home. It’s an exceptional situation for everyone, as remote work cultures with distributed teams are being introduced overnight. Many companies are being challenged to quickly organize a team that works completely remotely.

          Many articles and recommendations on remote work, home offices, and teleworking are circulating. For example, GitLab, a pioneer in remote work, has recently published a detailed manual on remote working. I highly recommend it to anyone who is facing the challenge of setting up and managing a remote team. At OpenProject, we have been working in distributed teams for over 10 years.

        • Love or hate chat? 4 best practices for remote teams

          I encourage you to explore open source alternatives to chat like Mattermost, Rocket.Chat, and Riot.

        • Create web tutorials with Reveal.js and Git

          Whether you’re a learner or a teacher, you probably recognize the value of online workshops set up like slideshows for communicating knowledge. If you’ve ever stumbled upon one of these well-organized tutorials that are set up page by page, chapter by chapter, you may have wondered how hard it was to create such a website.

          Well, I’m here to show you how easy it is to generate this type of workshop using a fully automated process.

        • Automation

          • Robotic Process Automation (RPA): 6 open source tools

            As with many new software implementations, there’s a build-or-buy choice when getting started with Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

            On the build side, you can write your own bots from scratch, provided you’ve got the right people and budget in place. On the buy side, there’s a burgeoning marketplace of commercial software vendors offering RPA in various flavors, as well as overlapping technologies. (Some market themselves under different but related terms like “intelligent automation.”)

          • Things that are called ML/AI that really aren’t

            Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a genuine technical term to describe something that doesn’t quite yet exist in a truly cognitive form. However, AI is also a marketing buzzword used to distinguish items with extra usability or computing-power oompfh. The acronym often attempts to differentiate ordinary things, such as phones, from extraordinary things of the same ilk, such smartphones.

            Because there’s no legal governance over the use of AI in marketing, the label is abundantly applied to hardware or software use traditional algorithms as well as to things that actually learn. Calling all these things “smart” muddies the waters even more – and makes it difficult to make rational decisions.

            “Many times companies use the term ‘artificial intelligence’ to describe technology that operates without human interaction, but most times it’s just a sophisticated algorithm,” says Scott George, CEO of U.S. Consumer Healthcare Advocacy Group (USCHAG), a consortium of healthcare professionals, institutions, and organizations. He cites website chatbots as an example, which some consider AI – but usually don’t meet the technical criteria.

            “The confusion here is that for something to qualify as AI doesn’t actually require it to have an advanced form of cognition,” says Benjamin Nussbaum, AI/ML advisor to the Greystones Group, a technical support provider for the Department of Defense (DoD) and commercial clients. So many companies can tout what they do as AI is because the definition of AI was established back in the 1950s and only requires that a machine can do as well or better that which a human can do. “This opens the door for basic automation, analysis algorithms, etc. to all be categorized as AI,” adds Nussbaum.

            Naturally, that is extremely confusing for anyone who wants to assess any system’s value. The average algorithm is so sophisticated today that spotting the difference can be nearly impossible for the average buyer.

            The solution is to look at the system’s value without regard to how it’s built. If it genuinely uses AI or machine learning, great; but what matters is whether it makes life better.

          • An existential threat (that isn’t COVID-19)

            Many of you will know my good friend Peter Scott as a Perl luminary. More recently he has turned his attention and his considerable talents to focus on the future of AI, both as an unprecedented opportunity for our society…and as an unprecedented threat to our species.

            A few years back, he released an excellent book on the subject, and just recently he was invited to speak on the subject at TEDx. His talk brilliantly sums up both the extraordinary possibilities and the terrible risks inherent in turning over our decision-making to systems whose capacities are increasingly growing beyond our own abilities, and perhaps soon beyond even our own understanding.

        • Python

          • CircuitBrains Deluxe is a Tiny, CircuitPython-compatible Module (Crowdfunding)

            There are plenty of boards with Adafruit’s CircuitPython support, but Microchip SAMD51 powered CircuitBrains Deluxe is a little different since it’s a module with castellated holes that make it easy to solder to your own baseboard or integrate into a space-constrained product.

          • Arduino With Python: How to Get Started

            Microcontrollers have been around for a long time, and they’re used in everything from complex machinery to common household appliances. However, working with them has traditionally been reserved for those with formal technical training, such as technicians and electrical engineers.

            The emergence of Arduino has made electronic application design much more accessible to all developers. In this course, you’ll discover how to use Arduino with Python to develop your own electronic projects.

          • Webinar: “How To Build Real-Time Interactions In Your Django 3 App” with Calvin Hendryx-Parker

            Django 3 has been making the rounds, so time for a webinar showing how to use the new features within PyCharm Professional. Calvin Hendryx-Parker from Six Feet Up, previous webinar presenter, is returning to give us the highlights.

          • Python 101 – Working with Strings

            You will be using strings very often when you program. A string is a series of letters surrounded by single, double or triple quotes. Python 3 defines string as a “Text Sequence Type”. You can cast other types to a string using the built-in str() function.

          • S. Lott: The COBOL Problem

            First. Replacing COBOL with something shiny and new is more-or-less impossible. Replacing COBOL is a two-step job.

            1. Replace the COBOL with something that’s nearly identical but written in a new language. Python. Java. Scala. Whatevs. Language doesn’t matter. What matters is the hugeness of this leap.

          • Flask Delicious Tutorial : Building a Library Management System Part 2 – Start With A Loaded Skeleton

            In this tutorial we’ll be seeing how to run a minimal app. So that you can focus on the material, i’ve created a repo for you with some libs loaded.

          • Montréal-Python 76: Tonic Glacier

            At Montreal Python, we encourage you to stay at home – but not to stop writing Python ! This is why we are launching Montreal Python 76 – Tonic Glacier, a spectacularly virtual combo of a conference and, following a few days later, a hackathon to overcome COVID-19 with our keyboards.

          • The Singleton Design Pattern in Python

            In this article, we’ll be diving into the Singleton Design Pattern, implemented in Python.

            As time progresses, software gets more tailored to solving specific problems in different domains. While there are many difference in the application-level of our software, some aspects of software design remain largely the same. These aspects might not remain the same for all software out there but will hold true for a lot of scenarios. Therefore, learning and understanding them will be highly beneficial in helping us build resilient programs.

            This is the first in a series about Design Patterns in Python and the different patterns that we can utilize to build software.

          • Python Docstrings

            In Python, a function is a group of related statements that performs a specific task.

            Functions help break our program into smaller and modular chunks. As our program grows larger and larger, functions make it more organized and manageable.

            Furthermore, it avoids repetition and makes the code reusable.

          • Multiple inheritance and mixin classes in Python

            I recently revisited three old posts on Django class-based views that I wrote for this blog, updating them to Django 3.0 (you can find them here) and noticed once again that the code base uses mixin classes to increase code reuse. I also realised that mixins are not very popular in Python, so I decided to explore them, brushing up my knowledge of the OOP theory in the meanwhile.

            To fully appreciate the content of the post, be sure you grasp two pillars of the OOP approach: delegation, in particular how it is implemented through inheritance, and polymorphism. This post about delegation and this post about polymorphism contain all you need to understand how Python implements those concepts.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #415 (April 7, 2020)
          • Wing Tips: Debug Python Services Running on AWS with Wing Pro
        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Three Comics For Understanding Unix Shell

            I just optimized Oil’s runtime by reducing the number of processes that it starts. Surprisingly, you can implement shell features like pipelines and subshells with more than one “process topology”.

            I described these optimizations on Zulip, and I want to write a post called Oil Starts Fewer Processes Than Other Shells.

            That post feels dense, so let’s first review some background knowledge, with the help of several great drawings from Julia Evans.

          • Targeted string replacements with sed and AWK

            Global replacement of A with B with sed or AWK might be a mistake unless you’re 100% sure that you really, truly want to replace every instance of A with B in the data file. Even more risky (says he, who has done it more than once to his regret) is globally replacing over a whole set of files:

        • Eclipse

          • Eclipse’s Theia released, missing KubeCon, and more industry trends

            The impact: From its website, “Eclipse Theia is an extensible platform to develop multi-language Cloud & Desktop IDEs with state-of-the-art web technologies.” This is both a smart move (meet people where they, get a bunch of functionality for free) and probably a lot of hard work (chase someone else’s implementation over time).

  • Leftovers

    • Microsoft Buys Corp.com So Bad Guys Can’t

      Wisconsin native Mike O’Connor, who bought corp.com 26 years ago but has done very little with it since, said he hoped Microsoft would buy it because hundreds of thousands of confused Windows PCs are constantly trying to share sensitive data with corp.com. Also, early versions of Windows actually encouraged the adoption of insecure settings that made it more likely Windows computers might try to share sensitive data with corp.com.

    • People Are Fleeing to Appalachia to Escape COVID-19. That Needs to Stop.

      This week, West Virginia became the latest to issue a statewide shelter-in-place directive, ordering residents to remain at home unless they are gathering supplies, caring for ill family members, or working jobs deemed essential.

    • Education

      • Tips on how to plan a [online] academic conference

        Unlike those who are now trying to move a conference midway through planning, we decided to go online from the outset. While that gave us an advantage, we feel it is possible to shorten the planning time for an online conference. Without the need to book rooms and organise accommodation, it is possible to organise an event with some speed. The advice below from lessons we learned may be of help to those of you considering running institutional conferences this summer – it may not be necessary to ditch your plan completely.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Warning of ‘Cramped and Unsanitary Conditions,’ Advocates Urge US Governors to Release Inmates at Risk for COVID-19

        The letter comes as calls mount globally for urgent government actions to limit the spread of the coronavirus in jails and prisons.

      • Locked Down and Locking in the New Global Order

        On 12 March, British PM Boris Johnson informed the public that families would continue to “lose loved ones before their time” as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

      • ‘We Can’t Wait’: Congress Urged to Open Medicare to Every Uninsured Laid-Off Worker

        “Millions of workers and their families have been stripped of health insurance during a pandemic. Inaction is not an option.”

      • Class and COVID-19: Those Who Can and Those Who Can’t

        Now there are two classes of people locally: those who can stay at home and those who cannot. Those who can stay at home are also divided by class between those who can have all delivered and those who must shop. Let me suggest that all City Officials can afford to have life delivered by workers which separates them in experience and therefore in policy. I suspect those individuals may have access to testing the rest of us do not.

      • Who Cares for Care Workers During the Pandemic?

        Lee Plaza, 60, is a caregiver for a 90-year-old woman in Los Angeles. She works 12 hours per day, six days per week helping her client shower, groom, eat and perform other basic day to day functions.

      • Lost in the Mail in the Coronavirus Era

        The pandemic threatens letter carriers, their customers, the US Postal Service itself – and even the November election.

      • Top Sanders Aide David Sirota Explains Why Billionaire Class Will Support “Coronavirus Care for All” But Never “Medicare for All”

        “The affluent political class supports Coronavirus Care For All because they fear getting COVID from poor people, but that same affluent political class opposes Medicare for All because they can’t get cancer from poor people.”

      • FLASH! Trump Just Endorsed Bernie’s Medicare-For-All Health Plan

        Will Anyone on His Staff be Brave Enough to Tell Him?

      • With 1,154 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count jumps to 7,497 patients

        On the morning of April 7, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,154 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 7,497 patients across 81 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 43 different regions: Moscow (+697), St. Petersburg (+69), the Moscow region (+67), Bryansk (+32), and Kaliningrad (+29).

      • Central Russia has some of the country’s highest elderly populations. Here’s how officials are trying to protect them from COVID-19.

        Elderly people are particularly susceptible to complications, including deadly complications, from the novel coronavirus continuing its spread across the world. A Meduza investigation revealed that in Russia, the areas with the highest proportions of elderly residents are located in the Central Federal District. In the Tula, Tambov, Ryazan, and Tver regions in particular, COVID-19 poses an unusually high threat. Andrey Pertsev surveyed the actions government leaders in those regions are taking to protect their constituents, address potential ventilator shortages, and take care of those whose age makes them most vulnerable to the epidemic.

      • African Americans Have Contracted and Died of COVID-19 at an Alarming Rate

        The coronavirus entered Milwaukee from a white, affluent suburb. Then it took root in the city’s black community and erupted.

      • The COVID-19 Outbreak Has Enabled Trump to Advance His Right-Wing Agenda

        Last month, Donald Trump retweeted a doctored photo of himself playing the fiddle that was labeled “My next piece is called: nothing can stop what’s coming.” It was clearly an homage to the Emperor Nero who so infamously made music while Rome burned. To it, the president added this comment: “Who knows what this means, but it sounds good to me!”

      • A School on Navajo Nation Stayed Open. Then People Started Showing Symptoms.

        As some schools on the nation’s largest Native American reservation were ordered to close on account of the coronavirus, students at Rocky Ridge Boarding School in northeast Arizona continued attending class.

        School wasn’t supposed to be in session on March 16. Gov. Doug Ducey had declared that public schools would be closed as the state attempted to control the spread of the coronavirus.

      • 5G Isn’t Interesting Enough To Warrant These Stupid Conspiracy Theories

        Fifth generation wireless (5G) is not magic. It’s not witchcraft. It’s not a “race.” It’s not going to kill you. And frankly, it’s not even all that interesting.

      • The Chaotic Government Response to COVID-19 Resembles the Failures of 1914

        Government leaders everywhere are calling for their people to wage war against the coronavirus outbreak, recalling past victories in an effort to boost public morale. In Britain, politicians cite the Second World War as a suitable example of determined and successful resistance to a terrifying enemy.

      • What The President Said (About The Plague)

        Rather than place Trump’s statements in strict chronological order, I have sometimes put 2 or more of statements from different days together, to highlight Trump’s contradictions and subsequent deviations– these are prefaced by an asterisk. I have retained Trump’s numerous linguistic infelicities. It should be noted that Trump sometimes refers to himself in the third person:

      • Dr. Fauci Has Been Dreading A Pandemic Like COVID-19 For Years

        Reading the transcript almost a year later, I am struck by how clearly Fauci described this current pandemic. Our nation’s top public health officials have known that this outbreak, or something like it, was a serious possibility, and they haven’t been keeping this information to themselves. But it’s hard to find the collective will to prepare for — and stop — a theoretical threat. COVID-19 may be unprecedented, but it wasn’t unpredictable.

      • Mr. President: What’s the plan? Oh, right — he doesn’t have one

        It’s a simple question. It’s an obvious question. It’s an essential question. Yet most political reporters have been so caught up in the day-to-day drama that they haven’t asked it enough, if at all.

        And in all the countless hours of bluster and spin, Trump has never once articulated anything remotely like a plausible plan for how we get to the point where it’s safe for people to go back to work again — beyond some sort of unspecified miracle.

      • Corruption is The Easiest Way to Turn an Outbreak Into a Disaster

        The death of Dr. Li Wenliang (Feb.7.2020) sparks outrage as he was the first whistleblower for the current outbreak. Until this moment, many human rights groups and civil groups worldwide are demanding an investigation into his alleged grievance and speech suppression.

        China tried to cover-up the outbreak, which results in a disaster spreading to other countries.

        Since then we are cursed by ignorant regimes repeating China’s actions and expecting different results. There is no surprise here, they all breastfed from the same source: “Corruption”. So we have Iran and Egypt. (راضعين من نفس البز)

        The only description for what we are seeing right now is a late case of God complex with a false sense of undefeated superpower for the corrupted regime officials because their people don’t question them.

      • GMRT 2020 and lots of stories

        America had been having a history of high cost healthcare as can be seen in this edition of USA today from 2017 . The Affordable Care Act was signed as a law by President Obama in 2010 which Mr. Trump curtailed when he came into power couple of years back. An estimated 80,000 people died due to seasonal flu in 2018-19 . Similarly, anywhere between 24-63,000 have supposed to have died from Last October to February-March this year. Now if the richest country can’t take care of their population which is 1/3rd of the population of this country while at the same time United States has thrice the area that India has. This I am sharing as seasonal flu also strikes the elderly as well as young children more than adults. So in one senses, the vulnerable groups overlap although from some of the recent stats, for Covid-19 even those who are 20+ are also vulnerable but that’s another story altogether.

        If you see the CDC graph of the seasonal flu it is clear that American health experts knew about it. One another common factor which joins both the seasonal flu and covid is both need ventilators for the most serious cases. So, in 2007 it was decided that the number of ventilators needed to be ramped up, they had approximately 62k ventilators at that point in time all over U.S. The U.S. in 2010, asked for bids and got bid from a small californian company called Newport Medic Instruments. The price of the ventilators was approximately INR 700000 at 2010 prices, while Newport said they would be able to mass-produce at INR 200000 at 2010 prices. The company got the order and they started designing the model which needed to be certified by FDA. By 2011, they got the product ready when a big company called Covidgen bought Newport Medic and shutdown the project. This was shared in a press release in 2012. The whole story was broken by New York Times again, just a few days ago which highlighted how America’s capitalism rough shod over public health and put people’s life unnecessarily in jeopardy. If those new-age ventilators would have been a reality then not just U.S. but India and many other countries would have bought the ventilators as every county has same/similar needs but are unable to pay the high cost which in many cases would be passed on to their citizens either as price of service, or by raising taxes or a mixture of both with public being none the wiser. Due to dearth of ventilators and specialized people to operate it and space, there is possibility that many countries including India may have to make tough choices like Italian doctors had to make as to who to give ventilator to and have the mental and emotional guilt which would be associated with the choices made.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft reveals new code integrity feature for Linux

          Microsoft has published details about a new project called Integrity Policy Enforcement (IPE) that it has been working on for the Linux kernel.

        • Microsoft project proposed to aid Linux IoT code integrity
        • Linux and Microsoft’s exFAT Filesystem: The Story So Far [Ed: Fossbytes again promotes the lie that Microsoft Loves Linux. It is, in effect, participating in Microsoft's attack on Linux.]
        • Boeing Finds New Software Flaws on 737 Max

          The new flaws deepen the engineering challenge for Boeing as it tries to return its best-selling jet to the skies. One of the problems involves “hypothetical faults” in the computer’s microprocessor, which could lead the plane to climb or dive on its own, Boeing said. A safety system on the Max caused the jet to dive automatically in both accidents, but the problems aren’t related, Boeing said.

          The other newly revealed fault could potentially cause the autopilot to disengage as the aircraft prepares to land. Neither problem has been observed in flight, but the software changes will eliminate the possibility that they could occur, the company said. The modifications can be incorporated into the plane at the same time.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Cloud Foundry sees top leadership change

                or over a decade, Abby Kearns has been the face of the popular open-source, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud, Cloud Foundry. First as the project manager for Pivotal Cloud Foundry and then as the Cloud Foundry Foundation’s executive director. Now, Kearns’ moving on to another executive position, and CTO Chip Childers has assumed her role as executive director.

                Childers brings vast experience with Cloud Foundry to the head chair. With five-years under his belt at Cloud Foundry as CTO, he and Kearns have both been Cloud Foundry’s public faces. Before he came to Cloud Foundry, he had served as vice-president of Apache Cloudstack Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). In short, Childers knows cloud technology like the back of his hand.

              • Mapzen open-source mapping project revived under the Urban Computing Foundation

                The Mapzen open-source mapping platform has a hard history. On the one hand, Mapzen is used by over 70,000 developers and it’s the backbone of such mapping services as OpenStreetMap, Remix, and Carto. But, as a business, Mapzen failed in 2018. Mapzen’s code and service lived on as a Linux Foundation Project.

                Now, it’s moved on to the Urban Computing Foundation (UCF), another Linux Foundation group with more resources. UCF is devoted to helping create smarter cities, multimodal transportation, and autonomous vehicles.

              • seL4 Microkernel Optimized for Security Gets Support of Linux Foundation

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host the seL4 Foundation, the nonprofit organization established by Data61, the digital specialist arm for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO. The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system (OS) kernel that is proved secure; it is designed to ensure the security, safety and reliability of real-world critical computer systems.

                The new Foundation aims to accelerate the development of seL4 and related technologies, and under the Linux Foundation will provide a global, independent and neutral organization for funding and steering the future evolution of seL4. Founding members include Cog Systems, DornerWorks, Ghost Locomotion, HENSOLD Cyber and UNSW Sydney.

                The trustworthiness of embedded computing systems is vital to improving the security of critical systems around the world to safeguard them from cyber threats. This is particularly paramount in industries including avionics, autonomous vehicles, medical devices, critical infrastructure and defense. The seL4 microkernel is the world’s first operating system with a proof of implementation correctness and presents an unparalleled combination of assurance, generality and performance, making it an ideal base for building security- and safety-critical systems. The seL4 Foundation provides a forum for developers to collaborate on growing and integrating the seL4 ecosystem.

              • ‘State of the Edge,’ the Project to Define Edge Computing, Now Part of Linux Foundation
              • The seL4 microkernel: Optimized for security and endorsed by the Linux foundation

                The Linux Foundation is a fundamental organization for the promotion of open source software and has officially endorsed the seL4 microkernel. To further boost seL4, the Linux Foundation will host seL4 Foundation, which is a non-profit organization, established by Data61.

                In order to understand seL4, we must first know what a microkernel is. A microkernel is the bare minimum of components needed to form an operating system. Usually, microkernels are comprised of…

              • The Linux Foundation Throws Weight Behind Secure Microkernel

                Gernot Heiser, who will serve as chair of the new foundation, said the seL4 is unique in that it is mathematically proven to be secure, which provides a robust foundation on which a new generation of embedded systems can be built to drive, for example, internet of things (IoT) applications.

                Founding members of the seL4 Foundation include Data61, University of New South Wales in Sydney, HENSOLDT Cyber GmbH, Ghost Locomotion Inc., Cog Systems Inc. and DornerWorks Ltd.

                The hosting of the seL4 Foundation is sure to add more fuel to an increasingly fierce debate over the future of operating systems. Advocates of microkernels contend operating systems in terms of functions and size should be kept to an absolute minimum to both ensure security and maximize flexibility.

              • Linux Foundation backs security-oriented seL4 microkernel operating system

                However, SeL4 can be used, in theory, as a foundation for Linux and other Unix related operating systems. For example, it was briefly considered for use in Richard M. Stallman’s still-born Gnu Hurd operating system. Now, with its latest edition and broader support, seL4 may be more broadly deployed.

                This kernel is a member of the L4 microkernel family. SeL4 is a mathematically proven correct, bug-free operating system kernel. It’s designed to enforce strong security properties. Data61 claims it’s the world’s first operating system with such proof. It’s also, they say, the only proven operating system featuring fine-grained, capability-based security and high performance. In the real world, it supports mixed criticality real-time systems.

              • Linux Foundation To Support seL4 Foundation

                The Linux Foundation will be hosting seL4 Foundation, the nonprofit organization established by Data61 (the digital specialist arm for Australia’s national science agency CSIRO). The seL4 microkernel is designed to ensure the security, safety and reliability of real-world critical computer systems.

              • FINOS Joins Linux Foundation [Ed: For the second time in two days, the "Linux" Foundation announces backing a non-Linux OS (seL4 and now FINOS), this time it's announced by "Editorial Director, Project Insights at Linux Foundation" who came from Microsoft (yes, Mircrosofters run and speak for the Linux Foundation now)]

                During the 1960s and 1970’s, software developers typically used monolithic architectures on mainframes and minicomputers for software development, and no single application was able to satisfy the needs of most end-users. Vertical industries used software with a smaller code footprint with simpler interfaces to other applications, and scalability was not a priority at the time.

                With the rise and development of the Internet, developers gradually separated the service layer from these monolithic architectures, followed by RPC and then Client/Server.

                But existing architectures were unable to keep up with the needs of larger enterprises and exploding data traffic. Beginning in the middle of the 1990s, distributed architectures began to rise in popularity, with service-oriented architectures (known as SOA) becoming increasingly dominant.

                [...]

                Today, on March 10th, 2020, The Linux Foundation is excited to announce that the TARS project has transitioned into the TARS Foundation. The TARS Foundation is an open source microservice foundation to support the rapid growth of contributions and membership for a community focused on building an open microservices platform.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (kernel, kernel-headers, and kernel-tools), openSUSE (glibc and qemu), Red Hat (chromium-browser, container-tools:1.0, container-tools:rhel8, firefox, ipmitool, kernel, kernel-rt, krb5-appl, ksh, nodejs:10, nss-softokn, python, qemu-kvm, qemu-kvm-ma, telnet, and virt:rhel), Scientific Linux (ipmitool and telnet), SUSE (ceph and firefox), and Ubuntu (haproxy, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-5.3, linux-hwe, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-oracle-5.3, linux-raspi2, linux-raspi2-5.3, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and linux, linux-hwe).

          • Josh Bressers: Who are the experts

            These are certainly strange times we are living in. None of us will ever forget what’s happening and we will all retell stories for the rest of our days. Many of us asked “tell me about the depression grandma”, similar questions will be asked of us someday.

            The whirlwind of confusion and chaos got me thinking about advice and who we listen to. Most of us know a staggering number of people who are apparently experts in immunology. I have no intention of talking about the politics of the current times, goodness knows nobody in their right mind should care what I think. What all this does have me pondering is what are experts and how can we decide who we should listen to?

            So I’ve been thinking a lot about “experts” lately. Especially in the context of security. There have been a ton of expert opinions on how to work from home, and how to avoid getting scammed, which video conferencing software is the best (or worst). There are experts everywhere, but which ones should we listen to? I’m not an expert in anything, but there are some topics I know enough about to question some of these “experts”.

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (firefox), Debian (chromium and firefox-esr), Oracle (ipmitool and telnet), Red Hat (firefox and qemu-kvm), Scientific Linux (firefox, krb5-appl, and qemu-kvm), Slackware (firefox), SUSE (gmp, gnutls, libnettle and runc), and Ubuntu (firefox, gnutls28, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-4.15, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, and linux-azure, linux-gcp, linux-gke-5.0, linux-oem-osp1, linux-oracle-5.0).

          • Linux Security Feature Revised For Randomizing The Kernel Stack Offset At Each System Call

            Patches have been revised for allowing Linux to support kernel stack base address offset randomization for each system call.

            This feature is designed for preventing various stack-based attacks that rely upon a known layout of the stack structure. With these patches and enabling the feature, the stack offset would be randomized on each system call so the layout changes for each syscall.

            The PaX/GrSecurity folks previously implemented a “RANDKSTACK” feature for which this upstream work is based on their idea but with a different implementation approach.

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

            • If you don’t cover your Docker daemon API port you’ll have a hell of a time… because cryptocreeps are hunting for it

              Some Docker installations are getting hammered by malware skiddies hoping to mine digital cash using other people’s CPU time.

              Infosec outfit Aqua – no, not the Barbie Girl band – said miscreants have spotted that a decent number of Docker deployments are lazily or inadvertently exposing the daemon API port to the public internet with no protection. It’s a fairly common error that hackers have exploited in the past to mine digital coins, although lately we’re told there have been thousands of infection attempts daily via this interface, all involving a piece of Linux malware dubbed Kinsing.

              “These are the highest numbers we’ve seen in some time, far exceeding what we have witnessed to date,” noted researcher Gal Singer this week.

              “We therefore believe that these attacks are directed by actors with sufficient resources and the infrastructure needed to carry out and sustain such attacks, and that this is not an improvised endeavor.”

            • Kinsing Malware Hits Container API Ports With Thousands of Attacks per Day [Ed: So much media fuss over people improperly configuring things, then wondering why security issues can prevail]

              A misconfigured API port has led to a months-long campaign in which cybercriminals have been launching daily Kinsing malware attacks that number in the thousands, according to security researchers.

            • Linux Servers Under Attack for a Decade

              The “Decade of the RATs Research Report,” published today by BlackBerry, reveals how five Chinese APT groups targeted Linux servers, Windows systems, and mobile devices running Android in a prolonged cross-platform attack.

              Researchers said that they are confident that the APT groups “are likely comprised of civilian contractors working in the interest of the Chinese government who readily share tools, techniques, infrastructure, and targeting information with one another and their government counterparts.”

            • These hackers have been quietly targeting Linux servers for years [Ed: When ZDNet covers "Linux"... it is typically just to smear it, just because some people cannot properly configure and patch stuff]
            • BlackBerry uncovers hacker tools that it says opened data servers for a decade [Ed: The first decent article I see about this. #windows too was targeted, said the original report.]

              It says the tactics give the hackers the ability to extract information from huge amounts of valuable data from computers using the Linux operating system, which is used on most of the world’s web servers and cloud servers.

              [...]

              But, he said, BlackBerry asserts that the security industry has missed a major component of tactics used by a well-established hacker umbrella group known as WINNIT, which the company says works with China’s government.

              “As an industry, we’ve tended to focus too much on Windows-based devices because they make up the lion’s share of the devices out there,” Cornelius said.

              “But the adversaries are determined and dedicated and . . . they find any opportunity and, in this case, we’ve called out some really novel techniques they’ve used against Linux and even the Android operating system to accomplish their goals.”

              Cornelius said the point of these China-backed hacking campaigns is to exfiltrate, or steal, information that the United States has claimed is worth “multiple billions of dollars” in intellectual property.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Google-Fitbit Merger Would Cement Google’s Data Empire

              Google buying another tech company isn’t new.  But Google’s proposed acquisition of Fitbit poses an extraordinary threat to competition and user privacy.  Users face having their Fitbit information added to Google’s already large and invasive data pool, and a world that makes it harder and harder for privacy-focused tech companies to exist and compete.

              The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing the deal, and could take steps to either block it or establish conditions for approval.  The DOJ should take the first route, and block the deal altogether.  U.S. antitrust laws bar any merger that would “substantially lessen competition,” and Google buying Fitbit would do just that.

            • Thermal Imaging Cameras are Still Dangerous Dragnet Surveillance Cameras

              As governments around the world continue to seek solutions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, companies are eager to sell their technology as a silver bullet to defeating the virus. The public already has seen privacy-invasive proposals for geolocation tracking and face recognition. Now, some vendors of surveillance equipment are advocating for the use of thermal cameras that would supposedly detect people who may be infected with the virus and walking around with a fever. These cameras threaten to build a future where public squares and sidewalks are filled with constant video surveillance—and all for a technology that may not even be effective or accurate at detecting fevers or infection. 

              Thermal cameras are still surveillance cameras. Spending money to acquire and install infrastructure like so-called “fever detection” cameras increases the likelihood that the hardware will long outlive its usefulness during this public health crisis. Surveillance cameras in public places can chill free expression, movement, and association; aid in the targeted harassment and over-policing of vulnerable populations; and open the door to face recognition at a time when cities and states are attempting to ban it. 

            • Zoom’s Security and Privacy Woes Violated GDPR, Expert Says
            • Zoom Caught in Cybersecurity Debate — Here’s Everything You Need To Know

              Over the past few weeks, the use of Zoom video conferencing software has exploded ever since it emerged the platform of choice to host everything from cabinet meetings to yoga classes amidst the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and work from home became the new normal.
              The app has skyrocketed to 200 million daily users from an average of 10 million in December — along with a 535 percent increase in daily traffic to its download page in the last month — but it’s also seen a massive uptick in Zoom’s problems, all of which stem from sloppy design practices and security implementations.
              Zoom may never have designed its product beyond enterprise chat initially, but with the app now being used in a myriad number of ways and by regular consumers, the company’s full scope of gaffes have come into sharp focus — something it was able to avoid all this time.

            • Is It Going Too Far to Have a Smart Toilet?

              It seems we have two trends with the Internet of things right now: smart home and wearables. With smart home devices, it seems like sometimes they’re just slapping Alexa on everything we use and calling it smart home. There aren’t any known inclusions of Alexa for the experimental smart toilet, but nonetheless, it leads to the question of whether this is really something that is needed.

            • Analysis of Aarogya Setu

              The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the world we knew. Individuals, Government, everybody is trying to fight it out, cope with it. But to deal with the immediate problem, we often overlook the issues which are brought by the solutions.

              The Government of India has developed an app called Aarogya Setu. This is an app to trace out the people the user came in contact with. If there is someone who is or can be a Covid19 positive among those people, the app notifies the user and authorities. So they can take action. The app has already gained massive popularity among people and has already been downloaded over 10 million times.

              At a glance, the app and the aim behind it seem innocent and right. But if we dig deeper, we will be able to find out the real intention of the app, which is massive blanket data collection. ‘Data Retention’ and not ‘Data Deletion” is at the very core of the privacy policy of the app.

              There is a different prominent organization that has laid down some essential points to keep in mind while developing such apps. EFF says “our advice to organizations that consider sharing aggregate location data: Get consent from the users who supply the data. Be cautious about the details. Aggregate on the highest level of generality that will be useful. Share your plans with the public before you release the data. And avoid sharing “deidentified” or “anonymized” location data that is not aggregated—it doesn’t work.” Chaos Computer Club defines contact tracing as an inherently risky technology. They further say that privacy should be at the fundamental base of any such app. Here are some notable work done in the field by :

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Disinformation: The Invisible Sword Dividing Society

        Supermarkets have finally restocked their toilet paper in Hong Kong after weeks of panic buying when a rumor about toilet paper shortage due to closure of factories in China went viral. The toilet paper shortage did happen, but it was because of panic buying, not because of factory closure in China. How did the rumor spread? Was disinformation one of the culprits?

        On February 25th, the Internet Society Hong Kong Chapter organized a Hong Kong Internet Governance Forum Roundtable on disinformation. On the panel was Eric Wishart, News Management Member at Agence France-Presse (AFP); Masato Kajimoto from the Journalism and Media Studies Centre of the University of Hong Kong; George Chen, Head of Public Policy (Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mongolia) at Facebook; and Charles Mok, a local Legislative Councillor.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • What a ‘Phase Four’ Stimulus Package Must Provide

        This bill must be passed quickly and must be sufficient in scope and magnitude to address the severity of the economic and public health crisis we are experiencing.

      • A Reply to Jeffrey St. Clair’s “Strange Things Happening Every Day”

        + Is it possible for an entire country to win a Darwin Award?

        — Yes, it’s called Climate Change, and a successful international effort.

        + At the onset of a pandemic outbreak of a virus that viciously attacks the lungs of humans, the Trump administration is rolling back the clean cars rule, permitting a billion more tons of carbon dioxide into the air.

        — Have to, there may not be much time left for the fossil fuel companies to make one last killing.

        + Despite months of warning, the Coronavirus has now killed more people in the US than 9/11. By next week, it will probably be killing more people in the US than 9/11 every week. By the following week, every day.

        — Okay if it reduces overhead costs, and doesn’t cut productivity or kill market demand.

        + 6.6 Million initial jobless claims. That’s 10 million over the last two weeks. As designed, the neoliberal system is barely capable of serving the un- & underemployed in a mild recession. It’s going to collapse under the weight of a cratering depression. Then what? Are we to suppose that Biden and Trump, two of the most ridiculous figures ever to rise to leadership positions in this country, are going to work it all out on the phone from their respective bunkers?

        + They should just seal Biden up behind a wall of bricks as in the Cask of Amontillado. He’s done. Only the insurance industry can save him now and they’re toast, too…

      • It’s Spring and I’ve Turned 71 in a Pandemic-Induced Recession

        I’m feeling a little weird these days.

      • A Birthday in the Time of Pandemic

        What are the chances that nature itself may be revitalized as human dominance diminished?

      • Boastful Pay Cuts: the Coronavirus Incentive

        It has become a source of pride.  Highly salaried executives – often, it should be said, receiving pay very much disconnected from the value of their work – making voluntary pay cuts and telling everybody else about it.  In sport, celebrated figures such as Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo have chosen to reduce their enormous pay packages for the sake of the game.  Both play for football leagues in Spain and Italy, countries ravaged by COVID-19, and both earn amounts reputedly coming in at $100 million a year.  Such sums are scandalous to begin with, but it enables a sort of virtue to be practised, the sort that leaves few scares.  Clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus host an army of non-playing employees, and such armies risk being culled.

      • Coronavirus Spells the End of the Neoliberal Era. What’s Next?

        Think Bigger

      • Russian police reportedly find fake ‘Bank of Russia’ on darknet that has printed a billion counterfeit rubles

        A store called “Bank of Russia” on the darknet marketplace Hydra has printed about a billion counterfeit rubles (no$13.2 million) in the year it has existed, the business newspaper Kommersant claims. Reporters received a tip about the counterfeit operation from sources in the Internal Affairs Ministry, which serves as Russia’s national police agency.

      • The Big Hit: COVID-19 and the Economy

        Most sectors took a big hit in employment, most concerning is a loss of 42,500 jobs in health care.

      • The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Opened the Curtains on the World’s Next Economic Model

        When the wealthiest country in the world is unable to produce basic medical gear to cope with a rampaging pandemic, it is dealing with a strategic vulnerability by depending on multinational supply chains to produce manufactured goods. Absent sufficient redundancies and physical reserves of resources, “just-in-time” lean supply systems can’t cope with sudden disruptions. The global pandemic of 2020 is a case in point.

      • ‘Moronic But Consistent’: Outrage Over Trump Admin Giving PPE to Private Companies, Not States

        “They screwed up the one apparatus—supply chain delivery—that didn’t need to be fixed.”

      • Health Care Workers Need You to Be our Heroes. Here’s How.

        Yes, health care workers have a sense of duty. And yes, us doctors are driven by the Hippocratic oath. But none of us want to be martyrs. When we speak out publicly about the lack of PPE, we are calling attention to a public health crisis compounding the catastrophes of COVID-19.

      • Personal bankruptcies rise by 70 percent in Russia for procedural reasons, and the COVID-19 spike hasn’t even hit yet

        Between January and March of 2020, Russian courts acknowledged the bankruptcies of 22,400 citizens, including independent contractors. That figure represents a 68-percent increase over the same time period in 2019, RBC reported, citing statistics from the Unified Federal Registry of Bankruptcy Declarations (Fedresurs). In the whole of 2019, almost 69,000 Russians successfully declared bankruptcy.

      • Private Equity Firms Told to ‘Get to the Back of the Line’ as Wealthy Investors Try to Profit Off Coronavirus Relief Funds

        “I think the private equity industry can pull itself up from its trillion dollar bootstraps,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

      • Oversight of $4.5 Trillion Corporate Bailout in ‘Grave Jeopardy’ as Trump Fires Independent Watchdog

        “A direct insult to the American taxpayers—of all political stripes—who want to make sure that their tax dollars are not squandered on wasteful boondoggles, incompetence, or political favors.”

      • Putin explores putting Russians back to work early while acknowledging that COVID-19 peak is still ahead

        Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke openly about the possibility of ending a nationwide non-working period earlier than planned during a meeting in his suburban residence at the Novo-Ogaryovo estate.

      • How the Coronavirus Bailout Repeats 2008’s Mistakes: Huge Corporate Payoffs With Little Accountability

        In 2008, the first of the once-in-a-lifetime economic calamities of most of our lifetimes engulfed the country and the world. Now, just over a decade later, we get to experience the second.

        How well the country responded to the 2008 global financial crisis is still subject to debate. After the crisis peaked in September 2008 and the government intervened with various bailout programs, the financial system and corporate America stabilized. Corporate profits were rising again by the second half of 2009.

      • The COVID-19 Pandemic Is Exposing the Plague of Neoliberalism

        The current coronavirus pandemic is more than a medical crisis, it is also a political and ideological crisis. It is a crisis deeply rooted in years of neglect by neoliberal governments that denied the importance of public health and the public good while defunding the institutions that made them possible. At the same time, this crisis cannot be separated from the crisis of massive inequalities in wealth, income and power. Nor can it be separated from a crisis of democratic values, education and environmental destruction.

      • Amazon Retaliation: Workers Striking Back

        Amazon and its contractors have a pattern of retaliating against and intimidating employees who speak out. I know – because they also tried to do it to me.

      • A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Her Colleagues Using GoFundMe. The Hospital Suspended Her.

        Olga Matievskaya and her fellow intensive care nurses at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey were so desperate for gowns and masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus that they turned to the online fundraising site GoFundMe to raise money.

        The donations flowed in — more than $12,000 — and Matievskaya used some of them to buy about 500 masks, 4,000 shoe covers and 150 jumpsuits. She and her colleagues at the hospital celebrated protecting themselves and their patients from the spread of the virus.

      • Senate Intel Chair Sold Dutch Fertilizer Stock in 2018, Right Before a Collapse

        The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, sold off almost $47,000 dollars worth of shares in a small Dutch fertilizer company in 2018, just weeks before its stock began a sharp 40% collapse.

        Beginning on Sept. 5, 2018, Burr and his wife sold off their stake in the company, OCI, in three days when its shares were priced near their highest point in the last four years.

      • Exposing ‘Folly of Tying Health Coverage to Jobs,’ New Study Estimates 7.3 Million More Uninsured in US by June

        Employer-based health insurance during the current coronavirus outbreak, said one researcher behind the study, “is like an umbrella that melts in the rain.”

      • After Putin ordered paid leave for all non-essential workers, half of Russian companies cut employee salaries

        Russia’s unusual economic approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has centered on President Vladimir Putin’s order for all employers to grant non-essential workers paid leave at least until the end of this month. However, a new report from the Center for Strategic Research indicates that almost 30 percent of Russian companies mandated that at least some of their workers take unpaid leave instead. RBC reported on the new survey.

      • How CEOs Are Ruining America

        The first step toward fixing this broken system is to stop buying CEOs’ lies. How can we believe that Jamie Dimon’s initiatives on corporate philanthropy are anything other than public relations? Why should we think that he or his fellow CEOs seek any goal other than making more money for themselves and their firms? We can’t and we shouldn’t. They don’t have America’s best interests at heart — they’re making millions to be CEOs, not patriots.Big American corporations aren’t organized to promote the wellbeing of Americans, and Americans cannot thrive within a system run largely by corporations. Fundamental reform will be led only by concerned and active citizens.

      • Amazon Warehouse Workers Walk Off Job to Demand Safer Conditions During Pandemic

        Just a week after Amazon fired a worker who led a walkout, workers at the same Staten Island warehouse walked off the job again Monday to protest unsafe working conditions as online orders soar during the pandemic. We get an update from Angeles Solis, lead organizer at Make the Road New York, which helped organize the strike. Solis helps lead the group’s Beyond Amazon coalition in New York City. If Amazon doesn’t do more to protect workers, “they are not only profiting from this pandemic, but they’re helping to perpetuate it,” Solis says. We also talk about mutual aid organizing among immigrant and low-income communities, and Make the Road’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.

      • Google pays only £44m in tax — but its staff get £234,000 each

        The average Google employee earned £234,000 last year as the company’s share price climbed, but it paid only £44 million in corporation tax.

        MPs and tax campaigners criticised the figures, arguing that Google were “writing their own rules”.

        The tax fell from the £66 million paid in 2018, after Google UK reported a fall in profits due to the hiring of 800 extra workers. The company still made £1.6 billion in revenue last year, up from £1.2 billion in 2018, leading to generous payouts for its 4,439 employees.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • GOP’s Achievement is Now on Display

        Significant blame for the failed response and delayed action in responding to the global COVID-19 pandemic is being directed at Donald Trump. He fired the pandemic response team so crucial to readiness and progress, threw away the pandemic response book Obama’s administration left him, he cut the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding less than two weeks after the World Health Organization declared COVID an emergency, he called it a “hoax,” and “bad flu” when an early response would have been most crucial, etc…

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

        Sanders is subjected to Post attacks, while his rival—who, like the Post, opposes Medicare for All—receives decidedly different treatment. 

      • While Rome Burns, Trump Gets What He’s Always Wanted

        A victory parade in the coronavirus moment.

      • Stay in the race Bernie Sanders. America needs you now more than ever.

        Progressive Democrats of America calls upon Senator Bernie Sanders to continue his presidential campaign until the end of the 2020 primary season.

      • ‘We Must Act’: Warren Proposes Billions to Fund 2020 Election Protections in Time of Coronavirus

        “We must not allow Republicans to exploit the pandemic to engage in voter suppression.”

      • Media Scholar Victor Pickard Explains the Historical Roots of the Current News Crisis – The Project Censored Show

        Mickey’s guest for the full hour is media scholar and author, Victor Pickard. Pickard 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.

      • NYT Writes Post-Mortems for a Sanders Campaign It Did Its Best to Kill

        With only about half the states having cast their votes in the Democratic primaries, the Covid-19 pandemic has frozen the majority of campaign activity, but the New York Times has already chosen its winner. In Times headlines, Sen. Bernie Sanders is as good as conceded, despite him still being in the race, hosting a virtual town hall to discuss a coronavirus relief package and advocating for frontline workers during the pandemic.

      • Pharma-Funded Group Promoting Malaria Drug to Trump Is Tied to Top Trump Donor

        A fight broke out among the White House coronavirus task force over the weekend regarding the potential use of anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 patients.

      • Just before Russia’s coronavirus shutdown, Moscow signed a huge procurement deal with a company owned by a politically-connected conglomerate

        On March 27, a day before Russia’s coronavirus shutdown took effect, the Moscow Mayor’s office signed a massive contract reportedly worth 3.2 billion rubles ($42.4 million) to purchase new concrete curbsides for the city. 

      • The Declaration of Arbroath, and the Way Forward Now

        This is my first ever attempt at a podcast. The family think it is hilariously boring, like a TV lecture from the 1950’s. I try to persuade them that being hilariously inept is vital to my charm, but that makes them laugh even more.

      • AOC Says Sanders’s Plans Highlight the Progressive Future We Need Amid COVID-19

        As millions hope to receive support as soon as possible from the massive coronavirus stimulus bill passed by Congress without adequate oversight mechanisms, we look at who will benefit from “extraordinary asymmetrical assistance” that went to corporations instead of working people. “Some of the people who need it the most are not getting it,” says Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “This contributes to a public health crisis in addition to an economic one.” She also discusses plans for the 2020 election and a “progressive future” for the United States with a single-payer health system and a living wage.

      • Supreme Court Blocks Absentee Ballot Extension in Wisconsin as COVID-19 Spreads

        The U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority Monday night was accused of green-lighting “one of the most brazen acts of voter suppression in modern times” after the body overturned a lower court ruling that extended the absentee voting deadline in Wisconsin by six days in an effort to allow people to more safely exercise the franchise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

      • SCOTUS Just Set the Stage for Republicans to Steal the Election

        Three weeks ago, I wrote that the real threat to the 2020 election is not that Donald Trump will use the coronavirus to try to cancel it but that Republicans will try to steal it, state by state, county by county. In an election in which a record number of people may attempt to vote by absentee ballot, Republican state officials can choose simply to mail ballots to people in counties that traditionally vote for Republicans—and not mail enough ballots to the far more populous counties that traditionally vote for Democrats. In so doing, they can slant the general election toward Donald Trump and other Republicans running for election without Trump having to go through all the bother of declaring himself “dictator for life,” which might spook Mitt Romney.

        Last night, the Supreme Court gave Republicans the go-ahead to proceed with that scheme. You don’t need an army to cross the Rubicon when you have henchmen on the Supreme Court willing to do all the dirty work.

      • Russia Scores Pandemic Propaganda Triumph With Medical Delivery to U.S.

        But the delivery also represents a major optics win for Moscow as the worldwide delivery of medical supplies from competing powers takes on an increasingly geopolitical edge. The United States appears to have shed its traditional role of world leader in a global crisis, critics say, instead redirecting its focus on domestic needs. “We’re all talking about it as a trolling operation but in a large part that’s because the U.S. is flat on its back,” said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former deputy national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia at the U.S. National Intelligence Council. The State Department has gone as far as to issue a directive to its diplomats in countries that receive U.S. foreign aid to now ask them for help.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange case: Judge denies request to postpone extradition trial due to coronavirus pandemic

        A lawyer for Julian Assange failed Tuesday to convince a British judge to postpone the jailed WikiLeaks publisher’s extradition trial due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

        Edward Fitzgerald, a defense attorney for Mr. Assange, had asked that the proceedings be pushed back to September because of the pandemic instead of resuming as planned on May 18.

        But his application for an adjournment was denied by District Judge Vanessa Baraitser, who suggested it was too soon to tell whether U.K. courts will be operational next month.

      • Judge refuses to delay Assange’s extradition hearing over coronavirus pandemic

        A London court has ordered that the US can continue with extradition hearings against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in May despite the Covid-19 coronavirus restrictions.

        Lawyers for Assange argued on 7 April that they would not be able to prepare an adequate defence for Assange, with the coronavirus lockdown expected to continue well into next month.

        Barrister Edward Fitzgerald, representing Assange, said his lawyers had been unable to communicate with their client or take instructions from Assange since before the lockdown.

        “It is an exceptional situation we find ourselves in. We cannot do justice to Mr Assange if the case goes ahead in May,” he told the court.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Inconvenient Truth of Rape

        Yes, we are in the middle of a contentious primary season and a presidential election with much on the line. And, yes, allegations of sexual assault or rape against the current leader in the Democratic primaries are inconvenient. But rape is even more inconvenient.

      • DC Court Says Terms Of Service Violations Can’t Trigger Federal CFAA Prosecutions

        In a win for researchers and the ACLU, a federal court has ruled that violating a site’s terms of service is not a criminal violation of the CFAA.

      • ‘Cruel, Reckless, and Deadly’: Amnesty Warns of Looming Covid-19 Disaster for Detained Immigrants and Refugees in US

        “We are adrift, about to sink, because if there is one person to be infected, in our unit we would all perish.”

      • What ProPublica Is Doing About Diversity in 2020

        ProPublica is committed to increasing the diversity of our workplace as well as of the journalism community more broadly, and each year we publish a report of what we’re doing about it. This is the report for 2020; here are our posts from 2019, 2018, and 2017.

        We believe that it is crucial to fill our newsroom with people from a broad range of backgrounds, ages and perspectives. We are committed to recruiting and retaining people from communities that have long been underrepresented, not only in journalism, but particularly in investigative journalism. That includes African Americans, Latinos, other people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

      • Released From Rikers Island, NYU Student Speaks Out About COVID-19

        Crossposted from beyond-prisons.com

        Writer, artist, and NYU student Jose Díaz shares his experience of being arrested and imprisoned on a technical violation during the COVID-19 crisis.

      • Detainees Sue As Cook County Jail Becomes One Of Biggest COVID-19 Clusters In United States

        Kenneth Foster is a 39-year-old detained at Cook County Jail in Chicago. He has stage 4 stomach cancer, sarcoidosis in his lungs, asthma, bronchitis, and high blood pressure.

        According to a declaration filed in federal court [PDF], “Five or six people from Mr. Foster’s dorm have tested positive for COVID-19. So far, Mr. Foster is not exhibiting any symptoms and so he has not been tested.”

      • The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists

        “Give me, a white man, a reason to live,” a user posted to the anonymous message board 4chan in the summer of 2017. “Should I get a hobby. What interests can I pursue to save myself from total despair. How do you go on living.”

        A fellow user had a suggestion: “Please write a concise book of only factual indisputable information exposing the Jews,” focusing on “their selling of our high tech secrets to China/Russia” and “their long track record of pedophilia and perversion etc.”

      • Paradigm Shift by Pandemic

        Nobel-winning biologist Joshua Lederberg warned “the single biggest threat to man’s continued dominance on the planet is the virus.”  The Covid19 pandemic is a wakeup call to this existential truth.

      • The two-finger test continues to traumatise rape survivors in Pakistan

        According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the test is “unethical”, as a detailed examination of the hymen alone is often questionable in cases of suspected rape.

        Apart from the violation of human rights, the test “could cause additional pain and mimic the original act of sexual violence, leading to re-experience, re-traumatization and re-victimization.”

      • ‘The Purge’ Siren Used to Signal Curfew in Louisiana, Police Apologize

        “Last night a ‘Purge Siren’ was utilized by the Crowley Police Department as part of their starting curfew. We have received numerous complaints with the belief that our agency was involved in this process. We were not involved in the use of the ‘Purge Siren’ and will not utilize any type of siren for this purpose,” Acadia Parish sheriff K.P. Gibson said in a statement to the news station.

        All “The Purge” horror movies feature a 12-hour window of time where all crime, no matter how violent, is made legal in the U.S. The siren is used to signal the beginning of the Purge. It can be heard in most of the franchise’s trailers, including the most recent movie, “The First Purge.”

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Staying “safe” while you stream: DBD’s tips on living DRM-free during quarantine

        As most of us are cooped up in our homes due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it’s somewhat natural that we turn to online movies, music, and other media to help pass the time. For most people, this involves turning to Internet streaming for convenient, “all-in-one” services that promise an endless array of recommendations to while away the hours. “Binging” is all well and good every once in a while, but we should remain careful that the ways we’re getting our media don’t come with compromises to our freedom. As we’ve mentioned before, Netflix and other giant media providers are responsible for keeping the practice of DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) alive, and it’s important not to provide them with the subscription fees they need to keep going. It’s also important, even under less dire circumstances, to support businesses and Web sites that provide DRM-free media, and to promote them to our friends. So to help provide you with a plethora of DRM-free and often gratis places to stream from while keeping your rights, here’s a few choice selections from our Guide to DRM-free Living.

        When it comes to finding good videos to watch during times of crisis, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the Internet Archive. This section of the digital library contains bona-fide cinematic masterpieces like Nosferatu, as well as “classics” of a different sort like Plan 9 from Outer Space. Many of these works have been voluntarily uploaded to the Archive by their creators, or, like Night of the Living Dead, have fallen into the public domain due to some of the vagaries and finer points in United States copyright law.

    • Monopolies

      • Maybe It’s The Quarantine Talking, But NASCAR’s Esports Takeover Is Hilarious Fun

        As we all live through this bad but real life knockoff of a season of The Walking Dead, we’ve talked about how professional sports leagues are dealing with forced shutdowns. With auto-racing leading the way, several leagues and/or broadcast stations have turned to broadcasting athletes playing video game versions of their sports since they cannot broadcast the real thing. This has been done over varying mediums and to varying degrees of professionalism, but it’s quite clear that there is a thirst during what is nearly a national shutdown for something like the live sports the country regularly enjoys.

      • Patents

        • Open COVID Pledge
        • ‘US Asking India for Drugs Because We have Pro-people Patent Laws’: RSS-affiliate SJM on Drug Export Move

          RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Tuesday said that United States is asking for drugs amid the coronavirus crisis only because India took a stand in 1995 against the WTO mandate issued to member countries for a pro-business/company regime.
          Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of SJM, told News 18, “In 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO) mandated the member countries to change patent laws which gave more advantage to the companies. India has a pro-people patent regime, allowing production of generic drugs along with compulsory licensing with reasonable fees.”
          “The US is asking for drugs only because we did not bow down to their pressure to amend our patent regime as per their wishes,” Mahajan said.
          On Tuesday, India decided to relax the complete ban placed on its export on drugs. It decided to export hydroxychloroquine as well as paracetamol on a case-by-case basis, after making sure that it has enough for its own domestic needs. The move came after a flood of requests for the anti-malarial drug by United States and its President Donald Trump hinting at “retaliation”.
          the SJM chief added, “We should get all support from all over the world to produce drugs for the virus and for the humanity at large. We produce the cheapest drugs and provide them throughout the world. This is also a way of showing to the international community how good our patent laws are.”

        • U.N. agency says coronavirus emergency could trump some patent rights

          Discussions are under way on enabling wider access to some patented drugs and medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the U.N.’s intellectual property agency said on Tuesday.

          Francis Gurry, director-general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said that during an emergency, health and safety “trumps everything”.

          World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday that he backed a proposal by Costa Rica’s President Carlos Alvarado to “create a pool of rights to tests, medicines and vaccines, with free access or licensing on reasonable and affordable terms for all countries”.

        • How can the US address coronavirus drug shortages?

          The escalating pandemic has caused devastating shortages not only of ventilators and personal protective equipment like masks, but also of essential medicines needed to treat COVID-19 patients. As detailed by STAT and the New York Times, prescriptions for painkillers, sedatives, anesthetics, and antibiotics are up, but the rate at which prescriptions are filled and shipped to hospitals is down. The FDA helpfully tracks drug shortages, but this doesn’t solve the problem. With the sudden spike in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 symptoms, physicians are using these drugs faster than manufacturers are making them.

          [...]

          Supply has been slow to meet COVID-19-related demand—but slower still because of the outbreak’s disruption to the global supply chain. Many pharmaceutical ingredients are manufactured in China, which has seen slowdowns (and in some cases, shutdowns) in manufacturing sectors across the country. Furthermore, because drugs do expire, they’re not stockpiled when there’s a surplus. In some instances, countries have banned the export of drug products important for treating COVID-19 to ensure adequate supply for their own citizens. India, for example, has banned exports on hydroxychloroquine in the event the drug proves useful in treating COVID-19. It’s a wicked problem: the very thing causing the sudden spike in demand is shutting down the means of supply.

          Importantly, it should be noted what the problem isn’t: patents. There have been recent calls to “break” pharmaceutical patents, both in the U.S. and abroad, in view of the public health necessity for some medications and their consequent short supply. But patents have not—either in general or for COVID-19—caused the shortages of important drugs. Rather, the issue arises in the face of generic entry, where generic competition is so intense that over time it has made the manufacture of a drug unprofitable. Unlike, say, Daraprim and Martin Shkreli, drug shortages aren’t a problem of greed; they’re a problem of aligning manufacturing incentives at the right time.

        • [Guest Post] COVID-19: The Invisible Enemy Revisited

          In 2009, Mexico battled an outbreak of a new strain of influenza, the AH1N1 disease, also known as swine flu. The first symptoms appeared in the country at the beginning of April 2009 and, sometime thereafter, two already marketed medicines indicated for influenza, TAMIFLU® (OSELTAMIVIR) and RELENZA® (ZANAMIVIR), were found to be effective against the disease. The government imposed tight measures across the country. Millions of face masks were handed out to citizens and Mexico City carried out a 10-day quarantine.

          Eleven years later, we are in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19, contrary to AH1N1, is a coronavirus, rather than a strain of influenza. For this reason, we still know relatively little about the disease and although a vaccine is currently in the early stages of clinical trials, to date, no treatment has been identified and universally agreed-upon.

          [...]

          The Mexican Industrial Property Law provides for the grant of compulsory licenses in the event of a national emergency, such as a serious disease as declared by the General Health Council. This law helps protect against the risk that patent protection will hinder the production and/or supply of drugs in the event of a health crisis.

        • Bad Idea Is Bad: Senator Sasse Wants To Give Whoever Patents COVID-19 Treatments 10 Extra Years Of Patent Protection

          It’s amazing how two people can look at the same situation and see the exact opposite conclusions. As experts are pointing out that to fight COVID-19 we should be relaxing intellectual property laws to enable more experimentation and collaboration, some have decided what we really need is more locking up of knowledge, and apparently Senator Ben Sasse falls into that ridiculous camp. We joked a few weeks ago about a law professor who’s never seen an intellectual property law he didn’t want to make worse, saying that pharma companies needed longer patent terms to incentivize the creation of treatments, but we didn’t think anyone in power would actually take that nonsense seriously.

        • Software Patents

          • Patent Troll Runs To Court To Whine About Mean People Online, Insists They Must All Secretly Be From Company It’s Suing

            Earlier this year (though it feels like decades ago…) we wrote about how Mycroft AI was being sued by a patent troll, and how the company’s CEO Joshua Montgomery had put up quite a blog post about the scourge of patent trolls, and how Mycroft AI had taken the position — like a few smart companies before them — to never settle and never give in to patent trolls. The blog post included this fun paragraph:

          • Patent Co. Asks High Court To Ax ‘Dangerous’ Fee Award [Ed: Law360 #patent maximalists call patent troll "patent company"; patent trolls complain that their blackmail and extortion might cost them money.]

            A patent licensing company founded by former WilmerHale and Kirkland & Ellis LLP partners is beseeching the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of attorney fees it was slapped with after a failed patent suit, saying that the award “sanctioned a dangerous expansion” of high court precedent.

            Blackbird Tech said in its petition for certiorari on Monday that the Federal Circuit misapplied the justices’ Octane Fitness decision when it agreed with a lower court that the patent licensing company was responsible for $363,000 in attorney fees for filing a frivolous patent suit.

            In deciding that Blackbird Tech’s suit was exceptional…

      • Trademarks

        • Company Registers YTS and Popcorn Time Trademarks to Promote Legal Streaming

          The Hawaiian company “42 Ventures” has registered various piracy-related trademarks. The company currently owns the US word marks for YTS, Popcorn Time, and Terrarium, which it uses to target key piracy services. This recently resulted in the suspension of the Twitter account of a popular Popcorn Time fork.

      • Copyrights

        • Short Topix: Plex Comes Under Fire From Pro-Copyright Group

          It might seem odd talking about someone attempting to find a cure for the common cold when we’re in the midst of a global pandemic from the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, but such efforts are underway. According to a report on CNBC, Amazon is doing just that through its top secret “skunkworks” program Grand Challenge, which aims to conquer big problems by finding solutions that have a big impact on humanity. The program isn’t publicly acknowledged by Amazon, and works under the cover of Amazon’s AWS division.

          The specific project, called “Project Gesundheit,” is Amazon’s top secret project to tackle the common cold. In just the U.S. alone, the common cold is reported (in a 17 year old study, nonetheless) to cost just the U.S. economy $40 billion every year due to physician visits and lost productivity. By 2020, the cost is likely higher. The small team of scientists is hoping to be able to come up with a vaccine, while exploring multiple approaches to the problem of the common cold. The real problem is that the “cure” can have almost NO side effects, since most people are over most colds within one to two weeks.

          About 75 percent of colds are caused by rhinovirus, of which there are 160 known types. Plus, rhinoviruses are very adaptable, mutating exceptionally fast to thwart new treatments or vaccines. This makes the job of finding a vaccine or effective treatment even more difficult.

          [...]

          Plex has become the latest neutral technology to get slammed for not doing enough to prevent movie and TV show piracy. According to pro-copyright lobby group CreativeFuture, which represents more than 560 companies and organizations, Plex – like Kodi – is a “dangerous digital media player” that has joined the ranks of “internet heavyweights who refuse to take responsibility for the criminal behavior on their platforms.”

          In days gone by, living rooms around the world could be found stacked with video cassette tapes full of films and TV shows. Some bought, others recorded at home, these copies would need to be waded through, to find whatever content the owner fancied watching that day.

          With the rise of digital technology, however, such physical collections have largely disappeared, replaced by copies that occupy virtually zero space, with thousands of movies, TV shows, music tracks, and photographs effortlessly stored on relatively cheap hard drives.

          Paper-based indexing systems, for those who cared to maintain them in the analog age, have now been replaced by software that not only does all the hard work but also makes collections a thing of beauty. While there are alternatives, Emby for example, the clear market leader is Plex. However, the company behind the software is now facing a backlash for failing to control how people interact with its creation.

          According to CreativeFuture, a pro-copyright coalition of more than 560 companies and organizations, Plex — which is basically a pretty media player — is helping to fan the flames of piracy. While there are some exceptions which we’ll come to shortly, people generally need to be in physical possession of movies or TV shows to watch them using Plex, with torrents providing the necessary material.

        • Watch Tower DMCA Subpoena Case Hots Up as Anonymous Objector Gains Traction

          When the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society filed an application for a DMCA subpoena recently , it hoped to obtain the identity of an ‘apostate’ who allegedly uploaded its videos to YouTube in breach of copyright. However, an anonymous objector is now making life difficult for the religious group with a series of filings that hope to cast doubt on its true aims.

        • ‘Ah Baby, We Gotta Go Now’: Music Legend John Prine Dies at 73 After Battle With Coronavirus

          The celebrated songwriter and performer “captured the simplicities and the complexities of the human existence in stark and stunning glory.”

        • Disney Is Making Damn Sure That None Of You Watch An Unauthorized Version Of Samuel L. Jackson Reading ‘Stay The Fuck At Home’

          Lots of famous folks have been making (often amusing) “Stay Home” public service announcements. One great one showed up last week, in which Samuel L. Jackson read a copy of a new “poem” by Adam Mansbach, the author (a decade ago) of the infamous Go the Fuck to Sleep. This time, it was Stay the Fuck at Home. As with the original, Mansbach wrote it, and they got Samuel L. Jackson to read it — though it debuted on the Jimmy Kimmel show (filmed with everyone at home, of course). You can see it embedded below (hopefully starting at the right part)…

        • Russian-language indie music stars drop new self-isolation album

          A group of Russian-language musical acts whose spring concerts were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic has collaborated on a group album titled Without Leaving Home.

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