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04.09.20

Links 9/4/2020: Qt and Free Software Contention, ReactOS 0.4.1, Jitsi Meet

Posted in News Roundup at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • What We Love About the New Lemur Pro Laptop


        The Lemur Pro is System76’s newest addition to our laptop line. You might have some questions such as, “What’s different about this laptop?” or, “WANT!” which we’ll certainly accept as another question. Here’s a few of our favorite things about the Lemur Pro.

        The Lemur Pro’s strength is in its long-lasting battery. Having a laptop with up to 14 hours of battery life allows you to finally break free of the leash that is your charging cord. Work wherever you want for however long you want, without having to drop everything in order to find an outlet.

      • System76 Lemur Pro Laptop Offers 14 Hour Battery Life, Coreboot Firmware For $1099+

        After they were teasing the new Lemur Pro at the end of March, the Lemur Pro is now ready and formally announced by Linux PC vendor System76.

        The new Lemur Pro offers options of Intel Core i5-10210U or i7-10510U processors, a 14.1-inch 1080p display, up to 40GB DDR4, dual M.2 SSD slots, USB 3.1 Type-C, and just a 2.2 lb weight and 32.1 x 21.6 x 1.55 cm dimensions.

        This laptop makes use of System76′s Open Firmware with Coreboot and EDK2 plus having open-source embedded controller firmware. Pop!_OS and Ubuntu are the usual operating system suspects for this lightweight, portable laptop. System76 formally advertises this laptop as being capable of a 14 hour charge.

      • The System76 ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop is available now with Coreboot and open source firmware

        System76 have now fully revealed the ‘Lemur Pro’ laptop, and not only is it powerful and good-looking it’s also their most open laptop yet.

        What makes it more open than their previous laptops, and from other hardware vendors? The Lemur Pro uses their own special System76 Open Firmware which includes Coreboot (a replacement for the traditional proprietary stuff), EDK2 and System76 Firmware Apps. Additionally, they also have the open source System76 Embedded Controller Firmware for controlling keyboard, fans, and battery and more. It’s a big step towards a fully open model and progress towards removing proprietary code entirely from all their hardware. It’s not just aimed at the FOSS crowd though, as System76 founder Carl Richell stated…

      • Meet The Lightest Linux Laptop From System76

        System76 is banging away on designing its own laptop and keyboards from scratch, but that final product could be years away. Thankfully the Linux hardware manufacturer has plenty of other systems to fill the void. The Lemur Pro — launching today — is the latest laptop in the company’s portfolio, and it looks like the sleekest one yet.

      • Google Chromebook vs. Gallium Chromebook

        Chromebooks have been improving a lot over the years. They’re not just web browsers with keyboards anymore. Many Chromebooks can now run Linux programs via an included Crostini virtual machine container, and many can also run Android apps. (As long as it’s not enrolled in enterprise management: Be careful about buying refurbished Chromebooks.) Those additions can greatly improve the usefulness of Chromebooks and greatly reduces their limitations.

        A few months ago, I wrote that a $99 Chromebook with Gallium OS installed is so much better. That was just an editorial with a “how to” though and I didn’t provide any in-depth experimentation or proof, so that’s what we’re going to do in this article.

        I bought two refurbished $60 Lenovo N22 Chromebooks and installed Gallium OS on one of them while letting the other one update itself to the latest version of Chrome OS 80. This is after I got them un-enrolled from Google’s Enterprise Management of course.

      • Samsung Chromebook Pro prepares overdue support for Linux apps on Chrome OS

        Samsung’s Chromebook Pro helped usher in a new era of Chromebooks, but over time it’s missed out on some things. The biggest complaint of many has been the lack of Linux app support on the Samsung Chromebook Pro but, now, it looks like that’s finally arriving.

        First spotted by an eagle-eyed Reddit user and highlighted by Chrome Unboxed, it sure looks like Linux app support is imminent for the Samsung Chromebook Pro. This feature rolled out to many, many other Chromebooks over the past two years but for whatever reason, the Pro was never on that list.

        Whatever the case, it seems like times are changing. This Reddit user was able to update his Chromebook Pro to Chrome OS v82 via the dev channel — a version that is being skipped in other channels due to the COVID-19 impact. On both v81 and v83 of Chrome OS on the Pro, the needed #enable-experimental-kernel-vm-support flag doesn’t appear any longer. Luckily, screenshots of Linux running on the Samsung Chromebook Pro were captured.

        As you can see below, Linux is running via Crostini on the Chromebook Pro and, apparently, the device was able to use the updated 4.19 Linux kernel too.

      • Linux apps are finally coming to the Samsung Chromebook Pro

        I have been waiting for more than a year and a half to write this article. It seems like a lifetime ago since I penned my theory about what Google was doing with containers and Chrome OS. Since then, the Crostini Project has brought Linux apps to millions of Chromebooks and in doing so, opened up a new world of opportunity for an operating system that was once considered little more than a browser. While most devices released in the past two years come out of the box with support for Linux apps, there is one platform that has suffered a great injustice at the hands of Crostini.

    • Server

      • Best Linux web hosting services

        Linux is an open-source operating system. Just like Windows and iOS, it is the main software component in a device. However, unlike other operating software, it uses a code that is accessible to the public to view or edit. This makes it easy to customize an operating system that works best for you because not only do you have access to a wider range of applications, you can also change core components within your device.

        Many who tap onto the Linux operating system want to create their websites. In this article, we have listed the best Linux web hosting services to help creators build their website.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Switchers to BSD | BSD Now 345

        NetBSD 8.2 is available, NextCloud on OpenBSD, X11 screen locking, NetBSD and RISC OS running parallel, community feedback about switching to BSD, and more.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 851

        covid 19 woes, docker

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

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

      • FLOSS Weekly 573: Hydra

        Hydra is a framework that simplifies the development of complex applications by enabling their configuration to be dynamically composed and overridden. It lets you focus on the problem at hand, compose your configuration dynamically, and has a pluggable architecture to enable it to integrate with your infrastructure.

      • Matt Layman: Episode 4 – Building User Interfaces

        On this episode, we look at templates, the primary tool that Django provides to build user interfaces in your Django app. Listen at djangoriffs.com. Last Episode On the previous episode, we talked about views and how views handle requests to create HTTP responses for users. Set Up Templates are static files that Django will fill in with data. In order to use those files, we must instruct Django on where to find them.

    • Kernel Space

      • LOOPFS File-System Proposed For Linux


        LOOPFS is the latest Linux kernel file-system proposal.

        LOOPFS isn’t a traditional Linux file-system for competing with the likes of EXT4, F2FS, Btrfs, and XFS but is a loop device file-system inspired by Android’s BinderFS.

      • Loopfs: A New Loop Device File System For Linux
      • [PATCH 0/8] loopfs
      • Linux 5.7 Begins Landing Support For The Kendryte K210 Dual-Core RISC-V SoC

        The RISC-V architecture changes have been submitted for the Linux 5.7 kernel and includes early work on bringing up a new RISC-V dual-core SoC.

        The new SoC support being worked on for the upstream Linux kernel is the Kendryte K210. There still are some issues pending as well as some patches that have yet to be upstreamed for lack of hardware access by the RISC-V maintainer, Palmer Dabbelt. The Kendryte K210 is self-described as a neural network accelerator capable of 0.8 TFLOPS and features two RISC-V 64-bit cores along with dedicated image recognition hardware. The typical power consumption of the chip is said to be less than one Watt.

      • Ceph Sees Some Nice Performance Improvements With Linux 5.7

        The Ceph open-source distributed storage platform is seeing some nice performance-related work to its kernel component in the Linux 5.7 kernel.

        Highlights of Ceph for Linux 5.7 include:

        - Support for async create and unlink when using the nowsync mount option. This allows for creates and unlinks to be satisfied locally without waiting on the metadata servers. The pull request notes this will really help metadata heavy workloads like Tar and Rsync running off Ceph.

        - Support for multiple BLK-MQ queues for Ceph’s RADOS Block Device (RBD). The driver has been using the BLK-MQ interface for a while but not actually multiple queues until now with having a queue per-CPU.

      • Samsung Releases exFAT-Utils To Format File-System, Fsck

        With the new exFAT file-system merged for Linux 5.7, Samsung engineers responsible for this open-source native Linux kernel driver for Microsoft’s exFAT file-system support have now issued their first official release of exfat-utils.

        The exfat-utils 1.0.1 release out this morning is their first official release of these user-space utilities for exFAT on Linux. The exFAT-utils package allows creating an exFAT file-system with mkfs.exfat as well as adjusting the cluster size and setting a volume label. There is also fsck.exfat for consistency checking of an exFAT file-system on Linux.

      • Intel Media Linux Driver Q1-2020 Released With Tiger Lake Features, Better VP9 Encode

        Intel’s open-source multimedia crew has released their Media Driver Q1’2020 build for Linux users. This Intel Media driver is what provides Video Acceleration API (VA-API) capabilities for Intel GPU-based video encode/decode for Broadwell through next-gen Tiger Lake.

        The Intel Media Driver Q1-2020 release has continued its bring-up of Tiger Lake. New features for Tiger Lake that are now exposed on the video front are HEVC SCC (Screen Content Coding) decode, better robustness, enhanced tile mode support, and other changes.

    • Benchmarks

      • X-Plane 11 Flight Simulator With Vulkan Performing Very Well On Linux – NVIDIA/AMD OpenGL vs. Vulkan Benchmarks

        Last week the X-Plane 11.50 beta was released with its long awaited Vulkan renderer to complement its mature OpenGL rendering code. Since then we’ve been busy benchmarking with 23 different graphics cards of AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce line-ups while running Ubuntu Linux and comparing the OpenGL vs. Vulkan rendering performance for this realistic flight simulator.

        Ubuntu 20.04 in its near final state was used while for the Radeon graphics the default Linux 5.4 kernel was used paired with Mesa 20.1-devel from the Oibaf PPA. With this Radeon RADV Vulkan driver testing, worth noting is that RADV+ACO was used. The ACO compiler back-end yielded dramatically lower load times compared to the default AMDGPU LLVM code-path… The difference was incredible otherwise X-Plane 11.50 beta was loading very slow with RADV. On the NVIDIA side was the 440.64 driver. The cards tested included…

    • Applications

      • Best Graphics Tablets for Linux

        Gone are the days when you had to really struggle through the marketplaces to find the best graphics tablet for Linux. In part, we have to give credit to Linux 5.1 kernel cycle. It opened up new vistas of compatibility for high-end graphics tablets for an artist using the likes of Krita and GIMP. Previously, the main problem was you couldn’t work straight away with Linux. Messing with settings and installing shady drivers always came with the risk of compromising security. Anyway, those days are over. Below are the top seven graphics tablets for Linux we believe you should definitely look into!

      • Mumble dreams

        With everyone switching to remote tools for social distancing, I’ve been using Mumble more and more. That’s partly by choice — I don’t like videoconferencing much, frankly — and partly by necessity: sometimes my web browser fails and Mumble is generally more reliable.

        Some friend on a mailing list recently asked “shouldn’t we make Mumble better?” and opened the door for me to go on a long “can I get a pony?” email. Because I doubt anyone on that mailing list has the time or capacity to actually fix those issues, I figured I would copy this to a broader audience in the hope that someone else would pick it up.

      • HomeBank 5.4

        HomeBank is a free software (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

      • The road to UDisks 2.9.0

        While the world is going crazy these days we continue to march in full strength towards the next UDisks release. It’s still a couple of weeks away and there are some interesting features still pending to be merged. With all the changes we’re bound with the promise to keep the public D-Bus and C API stable and that won’t change even that there were major changes under the hood. Overall we’ve been focusing on general stability and predictability, fixing various race conditions. But we’ve also added a couple of new interesting features.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • For The People Announced For Windows PC, Mac, and Linux

        You play as the newly elected mayor of Iron-1, a city in an alternate take on the Soviet Union. Navigate the politics of the Commonwealth of Orange Collectives as you fight for democratic reforms, or embrace your inner authoritarian dictator.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed expansion now supports Linux

        Today, porting studio Feral Interactive have released the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed expansion for Linux (and macOS) following the Windows release last month.

        With a brand new start date at 194 CE, A World Betrayed portrays a seminal moment in the history of the Three Kingdoms. Many of the iconic warlords of Total War: THREE KINGDOMS have now passed on, a catalyst that has spurred a new generation of warlords into making a play for their own dynasties.

      • Mesa 20.1′s RADV Lands More Performance Improvements For Recent id Tech Games

        A number of recent id Tech games (though seemingly not DOOM Eternal) have seen another performance optimization with Mesa 20.1′s RADV Radeon Vulkan driver.

        ID Tech games like Wolfenstein: Youngblood, Doom (2016), and Wolfenstein 2 should be seeing better performance with the very latest Mesa 20.1-devel Git code as of today for this open-source Radeon Vulkan driver. This comes after various Mesa RADV improvements in recent days centered around the new DOOM Eternal game under Steam Play. All of these recent ID Tech games can run nicely on Linux thanks to Valve’s Steam Play built off Wine/Proton.

      • Humble Store has a big ‘City Builder’ sale going with lots of time consuming goodies cheap

        While not all of the games on sale fit directly as a ‘city builder’, they all at least have you build and manage something. The Humble City Builder Sale is live and there’s some great Linux games in it.

      • Google announces three more games coming to Stadia including Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom

        Now that the Linux-powered game streaming service Stadia is open to everyone with two months of Stadia Pro free (if your country is listed for entry that is), Google has announced another three games coming.

        Dates aren’t listed, Google simply said “later this year” for all three of them.

      • City-builder god sim ‘The Universim’ has a massive update with bridges and pretty towerblocks

        The Universim from Crytivo continues pushing through Early Access updates, towards an eventual release later this year. A massive update is out now, which amongst other things adds in some fancy bridges to build.

        Crytivo’s aim with The Universim is to create what they’re calling a “a new breed of God Game”, to bring in features from some classic with a modern physics engine and blending in a city-builder. So far, so good. You can build a big beautiful city across an entire planet, and guide your Nuggets a little with various god powers. It oozes charm and the narrator brings some nice comedic value to it.

        The latest update is another step forward in the overall content available. While bridges are a great (and needed) addition to the game, personally I’m more excited about the huge Residential overhaul. From the Stone Age to the Modern Age, there’s a huge amount more variety in the buildings where your little Nuggets reside. It gives the game that bit more character to it.

      • Party-based RPG with base management ‘Zoria: Age of Shattering’ now has a Linux demo available

        Tiny Trinket Games emailed to mention their upcoming party-based RPG, Zoria: Age of Shattering, now has a Linux demo available for you to try out right now.

        A story-driven, party-based RPG that will have a focus on “strong” tactical elements with turn-based battles that have free movement rather than tiles, plus base and follower management. Taking place in the fantasy world of Zoria, a world filled with magic, ancient history, tumultuous politics, and countless mysteries. Tiny Trinket are promising something interesting too, with it being hand-crafted adventuring with multiple branching paths.

      • Jackbox Games goes global with Quiplash 2 InterLASHional out now, we have a few keys to give away

        Quiplash 2 InterLASHional is the first time Jackbox Games have attempted to go global, with this being their first fully localized party game.

        For English speakers, it’s basically the same as Quiplash 2 found in The Jackbox Party Pack 3 but expanding the languages is vitally important for a game developer since it’s one of the best ways to expand their reach. Obviously that’s good for people want to play where English isn’t their best language, a wonderful bit of “quality of life”. Now it’s available in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish with a bunch of extra content for each language.

      • Plastris is a ‘hyper casual’ puzzle game with a wonderful style out now on Linux

        Plastris from developer Khud0 is a ‘hyper casual’ puzzle game, where all you need to do is fill all the tiles on the screen with simple clicks and it’s so weirdly satisfying. Releasing in March 2020, with Linux support arriving a few days ago. I decided to picked up a personal copy, since it’s only £1.69.

        I will admit, the term ‘hyper casual’ is a new one to me. Turns out, it’s a thing, and a term that came into light a few years ago with a new breed of casual mobile games. All you’re doing is clicking, and filling. However, you’re given a very specific fill-shape, so you also need to use the mouse right-click to remove some you’ve filled, to be able to complete each level. That’s it. Hyper casual? Yeah, sure is. The main thing is how super accessible they are and Plastris is certainly that.

      • Something Ate My Alien has a curious mixture of action, digging and puzzle platforming – demo up

        Something Ate My Alien is now confirmed to be launching in June, although there’s no exact date they at least have a release window now for their intriguing gameplay mix of action, platforming, puzzles and digging. There’s also now a demo.

        In Something Ate My Alien, you’re tasked with digging through different worlds to find all the items required for the pirate who hijacked your mining ship. During the adventure on each planet you have to battle environmental dangers, fight off wildlife, solve secret puzzle chambers, and all this while surviving on a depleting oxygen supply and a threat far scarier than the local wildlife.

      • Gutwhale is a claustrophobic ‘finite roguelite’ action game taking place in a digestive system

        Taking place entirely in a digestive system, Gutwhale is a ‘finite roguelite’ action game about managing your limited ammo in a very cramped space. Stuffed Wombat, the developer, said the only reason the game actually exists is that they were fired from their job due to Coronavirus so they took it as the perfect opportunity to finally release a game with help from Franek and Britt Brady.

        [...]

        Currently, the Linux and macOS versions are only available on itch.io as they haven’t had enough testing. I’ve played it for a good while today and it’s a lot of fun and very challenging. Works perfectly with keyboard input, although one button prompt on the Logitech F310 gamepad was wrong as it says B to respawn when it’s X. Apart from that, it does work great!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The growing disconnect between KDE and the Qt Company

          Here’s a message posted by Olaf Schmidt-Wischhöfer to the kde-community mailing list detailing the current state of discussions between the KDE community, the Qt development project, and the Qt Company. It seems they are not going entirely well. “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.”

        • Qt and Open Source

          There have been discussions on various internet forums about the future of Qt open source in the last two days. The contents do not reflect the views or plans of The Qt Company.

          The Qt Company is proud to be committed to its customers, open source, and the Qt governance model.

        • The Qt Company Provides A Brief Comment On Open-Source

          Yesterday a KDE developer who serves on the board of the KDE Free Qt Foundation commented that The Qt Company is evaluating restricting new releases to paying customers for 12 months. That was said to be under consideration due to COVID19 / coronavirus impacting their finances and needing to boost short-term revenues. The Qt Company has now come out with an incredibly brief statement on the matter.

          Obviously many are concerned that The Qt Company could be erecting a wall around new Qt releases with this possible year delay before going out cleanly as open-source. This comes months after The Qt Company already shifted to make Qt LTS releases customer-only, among other steps to boost their commercial business at the beginning of the year.

        • Calamares 2020q1

          Over on the Calamares website, most of the news items are about releases and the release schedule. Here’s some more community-related tidbits for the first quarter of 2020.

          Calamares development is sponsored by Blue Systems, which means I can spend three days a week – more, in practice – working on it. This is a form of service to the Open Source community; Calamares is used by some Linux distro’s that Blue Systems is interested in, but I (or Calamares) explicitly support all kinds of distro’s. Every downstream is a welcome downstream.

          In the first few months of 2020 I learned of several “new” distro’s that use Calamares. “New” to me; they have existed for years, usually, and I don’t pay attention to every Linux distro out there. Drop me a note by email, as a GitHub issue, or on Freenode IRC in #calamares if you have a distro that should be listed among the Calamares-users.

        • Plasma Mobile: Join our online sprint!

          To foster the evolution of Plasma Mobile and bring us closer to Plasma Mobile 1.0 we are hosting an online sprint this week. We see this as a perfect opportunity to get new people involved and ask everyone interested to join us.

          We will have two days of discussion about various mobile-related topics as well as a day dedicated to onboarding new people. On top of that, we are having an AMA with the core developers on /r/kde.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 143 is available for testing

          The next update is ready for testing. It contains a large number of updated packages in the build system and updates many important system libraries. Among all those updates are many bug fixes and some security fixes.

          The toolchain – all tools to build the distribution like compilers, linkers and essential system libraries – have been updated and are now based on glibc 2.31, GCC 9.3.0, binutils 2.34.

          The build system has also been optimised to take advantage of machines that have a lot of memory and uses less I/O resources by not writing any large temporary files to disk any more when this can be avoided.

      • BSD

        • Not-actually Linux distro review: FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE



          Desktop layer aside, the entire FreeBSD operating system doesn’t seem to get as much developer love and attention as the typical mainstream Linux distribution. It doesn’t take much use before you discover minor errors and paper cuts that really shouldn’t exist—like pkg search not returning metapackages, or the disk partitioner not accepting its own example arguments as valid.

          My personal biggest frustration with FreeBSD—and the major reason I switched from it to Linux in 2008—is the lack of automatic security upgrades. FreeBSD does have tools to discover vulnerabilities in packages and update them, but they aren’t designed to run in the background. They demand either interactive operation by an active and knowledgeable admin or significant tooling that the FreeBSD operating system itself does not provide.

          Worse yet, FreeBSD has at least two and often three entirely separate package systems to maintain. The source-based ports tree, the binary package system, and the base FreeBSD operating system itself—each uses entirely different tools for maintenance. If that’s not bad enough, ports and packages actually conflict with one another, requiring even more care to make sure neither gets clobbered during upgrades.

          Digital Ocean has an excellent overview of basic FreeBSD maintenance, which we would strongly advise any new FreeBSD admin to read and understand thoroughly.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Zstandard (zstd) Coming to >= gentoo-sources-5.6.4 (use=experimental)

          I just added zstd to gentoo-sources which will apply to gentoo-sources kernels >=5.6.4 when the ‘experimental’ use flag is enabled.

          zstd is described here[1] as “…a fast lossless compression algorithm, targeting real-time compression scenarios at zlib-level and better compression ratios. It’s backed by a very fast entropy stage, provided by Huff0 and FSE library.”

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Announcing the release of Oracle Linux 7 Update 8

          Oracle is pleased to announce the general availability of Oracle Linux 7 Update 8. Individual RPM packages are available on the Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) and the Oracle Linux yum server. ISO installation images will soon be available for download from the Oracle Software Delivery Cloud and Docker images are available via Oracle Container Registry and Docker Hub.

          Oracle Linux 7 Update 8 ships with the following kernel packages, which include bug fixes, security fixes and enhancements…

        • Paul Cormier Replaces Jim Whitehurst as Red Hat CEO

          As Red Hat’s CEO for the past 12 years moves to take on the role of IBM president, a 19-year Red Hat veteran is promoted to president and CEO of the open source company.

        • IBM and CGI U partner on the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge University Edition to take on COVID-19 and climate change

          Since Call for Code was announced two years ago by Founding Partner IBM, Creator David Clark Cause, and Charitable Partner United Nations Human Rights, we learned two important points in the process of tackling some of society’s biggest challenges: 1) We can’t do this alone, and 2) the most promising innovations often come from unexpected sources. The scope and urgency of the issues we’re facing demand diverse perspectives and expertise, and student participation is key to that. We are honored to partner with the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) for the second year and to launch a dedicated University Edition within Call for Code.

          Last year, we saw students reach the final rounds of the Call for Code Global Challenge with some exciting solutions. Two of our top five teams came from universities: Team AsTeR from UC Berkeley and Rove from UCLA. Together, IBM and CGI U reached more than 10,000 students around the world. This year, we wanted to do more to encourage students to participate in Call for Code as we tackle the world’s reaction to COVID-19 and climate change.

          In a “Digital Innovation” class at San Jose State University in which IBMers are mentors, students are earning course credits for building IBM Watson-powered apps to help fight COVID-19 and for participating in the Call for Code University Edition. We’re especially thankful to Professor Yu Chen for partnering with us and supporting students’ desire to help in this time of need, while learning skills that will benefit them and society. We’d love other faculty and universities to join the effort by participating in Call for Code and integrating COVID-19 and climate change projects into coursework.

        • Rex 1.9.0 available in Fedora updates-testing repositories

          Version 1.9.0 of the friendly automation framework named Rex is now available in Fedoras updates-testing repositories. If you’re into DevOps and automation and need some alternatives to Ansible, Puppet or Salt, this one probably is for you.

        • Python 3.9 alpha in Fedora

          The Python developers have already released five alpha versions of Python 3.9.0 and you can already try the latest one in Fedora! Test your Python code with 3.9 early to avoid surprises once the final 3.9.0 is out in October.

        • Geany and Geany-Plugins for EPEL8

          If you’re a lucky user of a RedHat Enterprise Linux based system, you’re probably already aware of the Enterprise Packages for Enterprise Linux from the Fedora Project. In case you’ve missed the flyweight IDE Geany and it’s plugins there this is probably some good news for you: Geany is coming to EPEL8 soon!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta What’s New

          In this video, we are looking at some of the very exciting new features in Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta.

        • Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 Beta.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” – All You Need to Know

          Linux Mint 20 is codenamed “Ulyana” and to be released only in 64 bit. Here’s all you need to know.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Makes It Easy to Enable Fractional Scaling (But You Won’t Want To)



          While the ability to enable fractional scaling in Ubuntu isn’t new it is no longer a hidden option that only those with the right terminal commands can make use of.

          Ubuntu 20.04 has a switch to enable fractional scaling in the Settings > Screen Display panel. There, scaling values between 100% and 200% (yup, including the 125% sweet spot) are available when the feature is turned on…

        • An adventure through the Snap Store

          An application store with a large number of entries is a double-edged sword. It’s often a good sign of a vibrant, thriving community of software creators, developers and users working together. But then, people new to the ecosystem may struggle finding relevant content right away. The Snap Store currently offers about 7,000 applications, so exploration and discovery can take quite a bit of time and effort. We’d like to help you find useful, interesting applications by taking you on a little tour through the Snap Store.

        • CIS hardened Ubuntu: cyber attack and malware prevention for mission-critical systems

          The Center for Internet Security (CIS) is a nonprofit organisation that uses a community-driven process to release benchmarks to safeguard enterprises against cyber attacks. It is one of the most recognised industry standards that provides comprehensive configuration checklists to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities in a computing environment.

          CIS benchmark has hundreds of configuration recommendations, so hardening a system manually can be very tedious. For large deployments and clouds that may not be practically viable. To drastically improve this process for enterprises, Canonical has made CIS automation tooling available to its Ubuntu Advantage for Infrastructure customers. The compliance tooling has two objectives: it lets our customers harden their Ubuntu systems effortlessly and then quickly audit those systems against the published CIS Ubuntu benchmarks. The SCAP content for audit tooling that scans the system for compliance is CIS certified.

        • Questioning the doc

          Here’s a VLOG about some changes we’re making to the MAAS documentation. It’s all about using questions at the top of articles to help direct attention.

          This idea grew out of our frustration over long pages with lots of complex information. We tried a top table of contents, but that looks weird and requires a lot of policing to keep up-to-date.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Jitsi Meet features update, April 2020

        While we work on making sure our infrastructure is able to cope with the recent surge in traffic, we have managed to ship some features we think you may like, let’s go!

      • Running your own secure communication service with Matrix and Jitsi

        So, to try to show off just how smooth this has become, we thought we’d do a run-through video showing installing Synapse, Riot & Jitsi on a completely fresh Debian install. It’s (almost) filmed in a single shot, and takes about 20 minutes from beginning to end.

      • This video conferencing software is recommended by Edward Snowden

        The main advantage of Jitsi is that, unlike its counterparts, it does not require the installation of a software or tool; in addition you do not need to create a user account, whether it is used on a desktop computer or on a mobile device, the specialists of the hacking course pointed out.

        While Jitsi sessions do not have end-to-end encryption (as well as Zoom) and some data could end up in Google’s hands due to the default use of Google Analytics, as an open source tool developers can collaborate with the project and implement slight modifications to remove this feature and make Jitsi as private as developers want.

      • ReactOS 0.4.13 Released With Fixes For USB Storage, Less Blue Screens of Death

        ReactOS 0.4.13 is out today as the newest feature update to this open-source operating system project continuing to strive for binary software compatibility with Microsoft Windows.

        ReactOS 0.4.13 is shipping with various improvements around USB storage, various boot issues and handling around their Live CD, various hardware improvements such as for HP laptops and separately for AMD SB600 chipsets, different Blue Screen of Death issues have been resolved, and a wide range of fixes.

      • CADO-NFS: Crible Algébrique: Distribution, Optimisation – Number Field Sieve

        CADO-NFS is a complete implementation in C/C++ of the Number Field Sieve (NFS) algorithm for factoring integers and computing discrete logarithms in finite fields. It consists in various programs corresponding to all the phases of the algorithm, and a general script that runs them, possibly in parallel over a network of computers. CADO-NFS is distributed under the Gnu Lesser General Public License (LGPL) version 2.1 (or any later version).

      • [Cado-nfs-discuss] Factorization of RSA-250

        This computation was performed with the Number Field Sieve algorithm, using the open-source CADO-NFS software [2].

        The total computation time was roughly 2700 core-years, using Intel Xeon Gold 6130 CPUs as a reference (2.1GHz): [...]

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Saving your battery as well as your privacy? New Brave for Android claims 5% power reduction

            Brave has updated its Android web browser and claims a 5 per cent battery saving versus the previous release.

            The new release is version 1.5.120, already available in the Play Store, which has been “completely rebuilt over the past few months”, according to the company. Brave also said the code repository is now shared between the mobile and desktop versions, a unified codebase that will enable “easier implementations of features”. Brave continues to be based on the Google-sponsored Chromium project.

        • Mozilla

          • The Talospace Project: Firefox 75 on POWER

            Firefox 75 seems to build uneventfully on this Raptor Talos II and as always this post is being typed in the new version. I’m not particularly enamoured of the zooming address bar and I’m sure you won’t be able to turn it off eventually, but for now you can. A number of the developer-facing features are quite compelling, though. In addition, if you’re on Wayland (Xorg forever), Firefox on Wayland now has H.264 VA-API and full WebGL support; I don’t know how well these work on Wayland on ppc64le and I’m not going to be the one to tell you, but I’m sure some of you folks will try.

          • We could all do with a bit of empathy in our systems, says Mozilla as it ships Firefox 75 in the thick of global pandemic

            Mozilla has squeezed out version 75 of the Firefox browser, crediting “empathy” in its systems for an ability to continue emissions even as Microsoft and Google hit the pause button on their Chromium-based apps.

            The release came hot on the heels of fixes aimed at plugging holes in both version 74 and the Extended Support Release (ESR) of Firefox.

            Version 75 of the newly third-placed browser (depending how you take your market-share statistics) includes some significant search improvements, with results arising from searches in the address bar featuring popular keywords in a bold font. The address bar itself also enlarges when the user opts to do a search, replete with a larger font.

            As well as the cosmetics (some of which bring Firefox more into line with the competition and also aligns the Linux version with other desktop incarnations), Direct Composition is being integrated for Firefox on Windows to speed things along and some Penguinistas will be delighted to find the thing available in Flatpak.

          • Andy Wingo: multi-value webassembly in firefox: a binary interface

            Hey hey hey! Hope everyone is staying safe at home in these weird times. Today I have a final dispatch on the implementation of the multi-value feature for WebAssembly in Firefox. Last week I wrote about multi-value in blocks; this week I cover function calls.

            on the boundaries between things

            In my article on Firefox’s baseline compiler, I mentioned that all WebAssembly engines in web browsers treat the function as the unit of compilation. This facilitates streaming, parallel compilation of WebAssembly modules, by farming out compilation of individual functions to worker threads. It also allows for easy tier-up from quick-and-dirty code generated by the low-latency baseline compiler to the faster code produced by the optimizing compiler.

            There are some interesting Conway’s Law implications of this choice. One is that division of compilation tasks becomes an opportunity for division of human labor; there is a whole team working on the experimental Cranelift compiler that could replace the optimizing tier, and in my hackings on Firefox I have had minimal interaction with them. To my detriment, of course; they are fine people doing interesting things. But the code boundary means that we don’t need to communicate as we work on different parts of the same system.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Macro Team: progress report

          Macros help users to automate common tasks in LibreOffice. In September 2019 we announced a new team in our community to work on macro support. A progress report was published in November 2019, so let’s review everything that happened since then.

          If you are interested in contributing to the macro team (development, testing or documentation), we’d love to hear from you – please send an email to ilmari.lauhakangas@libreoffice.org and we’ll get in touch.

        • Padded numbering in Writer, part 2

          I already posted about the start of padded numbering support in Writer, there the focus was to insert 0 characters to pad up the result to 2 characters. Let’s see how that got extended in the recent past…

          First, thanks Nicolas Christener who made this work by Collabora possible.

        • Presentation templates for Impress

          Possibly you search some nice presentation templates for LibreOffice Impress, because in-build templates aren’t good for you?

      • CMS

        • Why I Don’t Use A Static Site Generator

          Yeah, I hear you, WordPress is less secure than a static site. There’s no getting away from that fact – there’s no admin interface for a threat actor to compromise.

          For me, the potential risk of running WordPress vs a static site is what’s important here. By using strong passwords, multi-factor authentication and good InfoSec hygiene, the potential attack surface of WordPress is significantly reduced.

      • Education

        • How to set up a remote school environment for kids with Linux


          COVID-19 has suddenly thrown all of us into a new and challenging situation. Many of us are now working full-time from home, and for a lot of us (especially people who aren’t used to working remotely), this is taking some getting used to.

          Another group that is similarly challenged is our kids. They can’t go to school or participate in their regular after-school activities. My daughter’s elementary school closed its classrooms and is teaching through an online, web-based learning portal instead. And one of her favorite extracurricular activities—a coding school where she has been learning Scratch and just recently “graduated” to WoofJS–has also gone to an online-only format.

          We are fortunate that so many of our children’s activities can be done online now, as this is the only way they will be able to learn, share, and socialize for at least the next several months.

        • Could the coronavirus be the best thing to happen to higher education?

          Universities should embrace this staff engagement and seize the opportunity to transform pedagogy to meet the needs of the next generation of students. Incoming undergraduate and graduate students will have elevated expectations about the use of technology on campuses. In fact, they may already be accustomed to technology-enabled pedagogy, since schools in an increasing number of districts are light years ahead of higher education in this regard.

          Once we get beyond the current crisis, universities should shift the focus from basic training on tools to more advanced training incorporating course design and assessment of learning. Faculty enthusiasm may well be less than we are seeing now, but if we can get the messaging to resonate with faculty, they may just start participating in droves. That messaging should celebrate their current achievements with online tools while also recognising their pain points, and offer the training as an opportunity to build on that success and solve their technology-related teaching challenges.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Software Freedom Podcast #5 about regulation with Professor Lawrence Lessig

            This fifth episode of the Software Freedom Podcast covers the complicated topic of regulation. Our guest is Professor Lawrence Lessig from the Harvard Law School. Lessig is a former board member of the Free Software Foundation and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as well as founder and present Board member of Creative Commons. Lessig has published several books, including the influential and often-quoted “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace”. In this episode we discuss with Professor Lessig the different types of regulation that affect society both, online and offline, such as laws, norms, the market, or architecture. In this respect we also touch upon code as a means of regulation. Enjoy learning about the positive and negative effects that some of these regulations can have on society, as well as the further development of ideas.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Access/Content

          • Never Let A Crisis Go To Waste

            Elsevier and the other oligopoly academic publishers have reacted similarly in earlier virus outbreaks. Prof. John Willinsky pounced on this admission that these companies normal restrictive access policies based on copyright ownership slow the progress of science, and thus violate the US Constitution’s intellectual [sic] property [sic] clause:

            That Congress shall have Power…To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

            Below the fold I provide some details of his proposal.

      • Programming/Development

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn LaTeX

          LaTeX is a professional document preparation system and document markup language written by Leslie Lamport. It’s a very mature system with development starting more than 30 years ago.

          LaTeX is widely used in the publication of scientific documents in many disciplines, such as mathematics, statistics, physics, economics, political science. It helps an author produce professional looking documents, papers, and books that are perfectly typeset. The formatted works are consistent, accurate, and reusable. It’s particularly suited to the production of long articles and books, as it has facilities for the automatic numbering of chapters, sections, theorems, equations etc., and also has facilities for cross-referencing. LaTeX is not a WYSIWYG system.

          LaTeX uses the TeX typesetting program for formatting its output. LaTeX is a set of macros for TeX that aims to help the user concentrate on the content, rather than the formatting.

          Here’s our recommended tutorials to learn LaTeX. If you’re looking for free LaTeX programming books, check here.

        • The 20 Best SQL Books for Beginner and Professional

          SQL is one of the widely used languages in this modern world. To deal with Relational databases, SQL is very necessary. SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It allows a user to insert, update, search, and delete database records. SQL itself isn’t a programming language. However, its standard permits making procedural augmentations for it, which extends it to the usefulness of a develop programming language. Thus, it has become quite essential to own some proper SQL books for learning this language.

        • Tangling multiple files

          I have lately been using org-mode literate programming to generate example code and beamer slides from the same source. I hit a wall trying to re-use functions in multiple files, so I came up with the following hack. Thanks ‘ngz’ on #emacs and Charles Berry on the org-mode list for suggestions and discussion.

        • Eclipse Theia 1.0 Emerges as VS Code Alternative
        • Python

          • PyCharm 2020.1 Out Now

            Rebase your branch with ease, debug smarter, and use a font designed for programming. Download the new version now, or upgrade from within your IDE.

          • How to Provide Test Fixtures for Django Models in Pytest

            If you’re working in Django, pytest fixtures can help you create tests for your models that are uncomplicated to maintain. Writing good tests is a crucial step in sustaining a successful app, and fixtures are a key ingredient in making your test suite efficient and effective. Fixtures are little pieces of data that serve as the baseline for your tests.

            As your test scenarios change, it can be a pain to add, modify, and maintain your fixtures. But don’t worry. This tutorial will show you how to use the pytest-django plugin to make writing new test cases and fixtures a breeze.

        • Rust

          • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 333

            Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

  • Leftovers

    • Finding Meaning and Purpose in Adversity

      Acknowledging your grief is not self-pity, nor is it a cry for help. On the contrary, it has been empowering for me to recognize that I will live with this grief for as long as I live. But I won’t be paralyzed or mired in depression.

    • Slavoj Žižek’s Virulent Polemic Against Covid-19, and Stuff!

      Someone must have called Slavoj on his Radphone in the middle of the night and said go over to your window and look up at the sky; he did, and there it was: the Rad-Signal lighting up a silver Z. Some thought it was a call for Zorro; some said Zarathustra. Slavoj is a little bit of both. The voice on the phone continued on loudspeaker, “There’s a virus afoot, Slavoj, we need your wisdom.” He thanked the caller, an anxious acolyte, and hung up the phone. He climbed out of his phone-booth pajamas and raced over to his word processor and typed like a maniac on a mission from the entity formerly known as God.

    • John Prine: Jesus The Missing Years (RIP Good Buddy)
    • The Party of Lucifer
    • We’re Rolling/ My Sweetheart/ We’re Flowing/ By God
    • How to look your best on a video call

      Over the past few weeks, I’ve been optimizing my own video chat setup: from knowing where to sit to get the best light, to choosing the right microphone, to just staying comfortable. Here are my tips and tricks to becoming the video call MVP you were meant to be.

    • Science

      • Russia’s testing trouble continues Private Russian labs testing for COVID-19 were suddenly forced to stop as the government’s public health agency released its own paid test. Then, the agency abruptly changed course.

        Several major private laboratories have set up coronavirus testing in Russia’s regions in recent weeks following earlier regulatory hurdles. Then, they abruptly stopped, citing new recommendations from the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor). At the same time, the government agency launched its own testing system for COVID-19 that would require a fee from each patient, promising to expand the service to all of Russia’s regions. One week later, however, an order from Russia’s prime minister forced Rospotrebnadzor to allow for private testing once again.

      • Antivaxxer Levi Quackenboss vs. reality on COVID-19

        Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic is both a blessing and a curse to antivaccine activists. The curse comes from the knowledge that we are unlikely to be able to go back to a truly normal existence until an effective vaccine is developed and that people will be eagerly lining up for that vaccine when it is finally developed. On the other hand, the pandemic is a golden opportunity to gin up conspiracy theories about how Bill Gates, the World Health Organization, the CDC, and, well, just about everyone will use the pandemic as a pretext to institute forced vaccination, not just against COVID-19 whenever a vaccine becomes available, but against every disease for which routine vaccination is recommended, such as measles. Then, of course, there are the conspiracy theories, some quite ridiculous, that seek a way to blame vaccines themselves for the pandemic. Meanwhile, it amuses me to see antivaxxers fall all over themselves to tout an unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine, as the “cure” for COVID-19. They routinely falsely complain that vaccines are inadequately tested for safety and efficacy; yet now they’re willing to promote a pharmaceutical drug with very real and very significant side effects as a treatment for COVID-19, even though there is, in essence, no good evidence that it works? Of course, if I want a hot take that’s among the dumbest of the hot takes, there is one question I always ask: Has Levi Quackenboss chimed in about the pandemic yet? I think you know the answer to that one.

      • New record set for cryptographic challenge

        The researchers carried out this computation using CADO-NFS, which is free software developed by the team at INRIA Nancy. They used a number of computer clusters, including research group, university, and national research clusters in France, Germany, and UC San Diego.

      • EU’s science chief quits in frustration at politicians’ response to coronavirus

        The news was first announced by the Financial Times, based on a statement released to the paper by Prof Ferrari, who said he had “been extremely disappointed by the European response” to the pandemic.

        He complained about running into institutional and political obstacles as he sought to swiftly set up a scientific program to combat the virus.

    • Education

      • University Bailouts, Funding and Coronavirus

        In a set of stable circumstances, funding higher education should be a matter of automatic persuasion. If you want an educated populace, the tax payer should muck in. In some countries, however, this venture is uneven. In the United Kingdom, the system remains divided, an echo of class stratification. In Australia, which took so many of its behavioural and policy cues from ancestral Britain, investment in public education as a measure of Gross Domestic Product does not stack up well, in real terms, with other countries of the OECD. Its school system is also something of a mild perversion – wealthy private schools receive millions as a windfall; state schools, short of equipment and facilities, starve and moulder.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Healthy and Unhealthy Fear in the Age of Coronavirus

        Perhaps because I have so much of it, I am fascinated by the subject of fear.  One part of me, the “scaredy-cat” side, when its activated “dies a thousand deaths,” making me I suppose half a coward.  I honestly think I’m not alone in being thus half a coward, but I am relatively alone in being conscious of the low-level struggle in myself with debilitating fear. On one hand, I will not rush out and buy massive quantities of Clorox and scrub and spray everything that doesn’t move in my house, which to me is acting on a kind of blind fear.  On the other, in a time like this, when the veil has been ripped off the fear and uneasiness that has saturated us for decades in the “Age of Anxiety,” I struggle each day to stay on the non-cowardly side. This is not to say, I try to be unafraid, but to stay in a place of “relative equilibrium,” in which I can discern the crazy fear of my scaredy-cat side such that I can opt to “keep my head” rather than go there, and can act deliberately amidst the terrifying surroundings of the coronavirus epidemic.

      • More Than 2 Million Uninsured People May Be Hospitalized for COVID-19

        More than 2 million people living without health insurance in the United States may need to be hospitalized and treated for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has sparked a global pandemic and shut down much of the nation, according to a new analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      • A Nurse Bought Protective Supplies for Colleagues. 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.

      • Why Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19?

        Louis Proyect writes: “I understand the reluctance to put a plus where Trump does, but this article [“How New Jersey’s First Coronavirus Patient Survived,” in the New York Times, ~3 April 2020] indicates that a doctor who was close to death had a miraculous recovery after receiving Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine.”

      • Trump Was Warned of Potential “Cataclysmic” Pandemic as Early as Last November

        In the middle of March, President Donald Trump claimed he and the rest of the federal government were caught off guard about the novel coronavirus, including its potential to spread outside of China and cause harm to other countries.

      • Coronavirus as Metaphor: It’s Not Peanuts

        One now sees people walking along streets masked, gloved, and occasionally gowned, as if on their way to a Halloween party. The unluckiest of them are zombies who don’t yet know that they are the living dead. The situation is unprecedented and, sadly, un-presidented. Because we are human, we search for a metaphor that encapsulates the situation.

      • With 1,175 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count jumps to 8,672 patients

        On the morning of April 8, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,175 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 8,672 patients across 81 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 56 different regions: Moscow (+660), the Moscow region (+95), St. Petersburg (+34), the Leningrad region (+32), the Mari El Republic (+27), Murmansk (+25), Krasnodar Krai (+24), and Nizhny Novgorod (+24). 

      • Russian clinic releases at-home coronavirus tests for about $80 each

        The Russian clinical network “Bud zdorov” (“Be Healthy”), a subsidiary of the major insurance company Ingosstrakh, has released a test for COVID-19 that users can administer at home. A representative for Ingosstrakh told Meduza that the company originally planned to test patients in person at its clinics but ultimately turned away from that idea.

      • 7 Very Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana

        One of the nation’s hotspots is suffering severely from the outbreak.

      • Black People in Louisiana Account for 70 Percent of the State’s COVID-19 Deaths

        Louisiana faces one of the worst outbreaks of the coronavirus in the United States. New data shows Black people account for 70% of all the state’s coronavirus deaths, though they comprise just 32% of the state’s population. Louisiana also has the highest incarceration rate in the country, and more than 65% of the people in its jails and prisons are Black. At least 28 people are infected, and 22 corrections staff have tested positive. State corrections officials are sending infected prisoners to the Louisiana State Penitentiary — known as Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the United States — where they are being held in Camp J, a notorious part of the prison that was shut down in 2018 because of inhumane treatment.
        The ACLU of Louisiana sued to stop the statewide transfer of COVID-19 patients to Angola prison, but a judge denied the request last Thursday. We speak with Alanah Odoms Hebert, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, and Albert Woodfox, who served the longest time in solitary confinement of any prisoner in the United States — 44 years in Angola prison. His memoir is Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement. My Story of Transformation and Hope.

      • Seven Disturbing Facts About COVID-19 in Louisiana

        Virus Raging. Statewide Louisiana is second only to New York in deaths per 100,000 people with 582 reported as of April 7. Six parishes (counties) in the New Orleans area are in the top ten in deaths of all the counties in the nation: St. John the Baptist, Orleans, St. Charles, Jefferson, St. James and Plaquemines, according to the Wall Street Journal.

      • How China Learned About SARS-CoV-2 in the Weeks Before the Global Pandemic

        The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, said at the press conference on that day that this was “the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.” He said, “In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled.” From March 11 onward, it became clear that this virus was deadly and that it had the capacity to tear through human society with ease. But this was not always so clear.

      • US Media Downplay Overseas Coronavirus Lessons to Focus on Easter Bunny

        New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern replied to a question at an April 6 press conference by declaring that the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy had been declared “essential workers” amid that nation’s “stay at home” order. Directing her comments to local children, she did warn, “The Easter Bunny might not get everywhere this year.”

      • Direct virus lessons we can learn as we go

        Learning from pandemics is hard but vital. We need 1918’s virus lessons this time round to show us a better normal.

      • Coronavirus: Govt asks TikTok, Facebook to remove users spreading misinformation

        The coronavirus crisis has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization has called an “infodemic” of misinformation. Globally, platforms such as Facebook have responded by barring users from posting misleading information about the coronavirus, including denials of expert guidance and encouragement of fake treatments.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Remote Linux Desktops Made Easier & More Secure Than Ever
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Mapping platform joins open source foundation

                Projects are licensed under the MIT licence and supported by developers at companies such as Eventbrite, Foursquare, Mapbox, The World Bank, Snapchat, Here Technologies and Mapillary. They include Transitland, a community-edited data service aggregating transit networks across metropolitan and rural areas around the world.

              • Linux Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Edge Announce Rescheduled Dates and Full Agenda for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, along with co-hosts LF Networking, the umbrella organization fostering collaboration and innovation across the entire open networking stack, and LF Edge, the umbrella organization building an open source framework for the edge, announced today the rescheduled event dates for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America (ONES, formerly Open Networking Summit) and the complete session line-up.

                ONES North America 2020 will take place September 28-30 at the JW Marriott LA Live in Los Angeles, California. The summit line-up features prominent speakers from AT&T, eBay, Ericsson, Huawei Technologies, Rancher Labs, Red Hat, Toyota Motor Corporation, Verizon, VMware, Wells Fargo, Yelp, and more. The full event agenda is available here.

              • ‘State of the Edge,’ the Project to Define Edge Computing, Now Part of Linux Foundation

                LF Edge, the edge-focused project that the Linux Foundation started early last year, is growing. On Wednesday, State of the Edge, an open project to define, explain, and quantify an edge computing ecosystem, officially became part of LF Edge. The Open Glossary of Edge Computing, which had been a stand-alone project within LF Edge, is getting rolled into State of the Edge.

              • Fintech Open Source Foundation Joins Linux Foundation to Expand and Accelerate Development Across Financial Services

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open collaboration, and the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS), a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate adoption of open source software, standards and best practices in financial services, today announced that FINOS will become a Linux Foundation organization. To enable this effort, the Linux Foundation has agreed to acquire the FINOS operating assets.

                The Linux Foundation will position FINOS as its umbrella project through which to advance further development of open source and standards within the financial services industry. The FINOS team, led by Executive Director Gabriele Columbro, will join the Linux Foundation. Columbro will continue in his role.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox, ipmitool, krb5-appl, and telnet), Debian (ceph and firefox-esr), Mageia (firefox), openSUSE (bluez and exiv2), Red Hat (firefox), SUSE (ceph, libssh, mgetty, permissions, python-PyYAML, rubygem-actionview-4_2, and vino), and Ubuntu (libiberty and libssh).

          • NASA CIO Agencywide Memo: Alert: Cyber Threats Significantly Increasing During Coronavirus Pandemic [iophk: Windows TCO]

            A new wave of cyber-attacks is targeting Federal Agency Personnel, required to telework from home, during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. During the past few weeks, NASA’s Security Operations Center (SOC) mitigation tools have prevented success of these attempts. Here are some examples of what’s been observed in the past few days: [...]

          • Apple Safari Flaws Enable One-Click Webcam Access

            A security researcher has disclosed vulnerabilities in Apple’s Safari browser that can be used to snoop on iPhones, iPads and Mac computers using their microphones and cameras. To exploit the flaws in a real-world attack, all an attacker would need to do is convince a victim to click one malicious link.

            Security researcher Ryan Pickren has revealed details on seven flaws in Safari, including three that could be used in a kill chain to access victims’ webcams. The vulnerabilities were previously submitted to Apple via its bug-bounty program and have been patched – however, technical details of the flaws, including a proof of concept (PoC) attack, were kept under wraps until Pickren’s recent disclosure.

          • OK Zoomer: avoiding a privacy disaster in the post-coronavirus world

            It would be an understatement to say that Covid-19 has affected practically every aspect of our lives, given the scale of the transformation. Its impact on privacy, too, is evident. Last week, this blog wrote about a rush by governments around the world to use smartphones to help enforce quarantines and carry out contact tracing. However, a problem can also be an opportunity. One technology company is not just coping with the coronavirus wave, but thriving. Almost overnight, the videoconferencing app Zoom, hitherto mainly used by companies, became an indispensable tool for life under lockdown, and its most representative social platform.

          • Security monitoring in Linux with Tripwire

            Every sysadmin loses sleep every once and a while over system intrusions. Nobody wants a server they’re responsible for to be compromised. The problem is, even though you may review logs regularly, a truly effective system intrusion doesn’t leave obvious logs lying around. This makes it difficult to know definitively whether your systems are secure.

            In addition to setting SELinux to Enforcing and implementing regular pentests, one of the best ways to monitor your system for security breaches is to — well, monitor your system for security breaches. If that seems easier said than done, then you need to try Tripwire. Tripwire is a file integrity monitoring tool that watches for changes to critical files on your system. This article shows you how to install, setup, and use Tripwire on your network.

            Tripwire is both a company and an open-source code base. You can purchase monitoring from Tripwire, or you can use the GPLv2 code they’ve made available on GitHub. The usual trade-offs apply. If you pay for it, Tripwire does most of the hard work for you, and all you have to do is pay attention to the reports. If you implement Tripwire yourself, then you get to set it up and configure it on your own.

          • sshd attack traffic

            I firmly believe that security through obscurity is a fail. However, I do believe that all things being equal, making it a bit more obscure is better as long as you aren’t introducing more failure points, like a port knocker that has it’s own security bugs. Thus I’ve always run my sshd service on an alternative port. It’s simple, and keeps my logs clean and shouldn’t cause any additional security risks. Of course I use a secure configuration and keep my software up to date. However, I found out that in the past few weeks that my port of choice has been discovered.

            After the sad realization that I would need to pick a more random port I decided to look at the attempts to brute force my sshd service and summarize what I found.

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

            • Chinese Cybercriminals Target High-Value Linux Servers With Weak Defenses: BlackBerry
            • Hacking campaign puts Linux servers at risk of attack
            • Meet dark_nexus, quite possibly the most potent IoT botnet ever

              A newly discovered botnet that preys on home routers, video recorders, and other network-connected devices is one of the most advanced Internet-of-things platforms ever seen, researchers said on Wednesday. Its list of advanced features includes the ability to disguise malicious traffic as benign, maintain persistence, and infect devices that run on at least 12 different CPUs.

              Researchers from antivirus provider Bitdefender described the so-called dark_nexus as a “new IoT botnet packing new features and capabilities that put to shame most IoT botnets and malware that we’ve seen.” In the three months that Bitdefender has tracked it, dark_nexus has undergone 30 version updates, as its developer has steadily added more features and capabilities.

            • Dark Nexus: evolving IoT botnet targets variety of devices

              Security researchers are tracking a new botnet that has been in rapid development for the past several months and targets embedded devices with binaries that are cross-compiled for 12-CPU architectures.

              According to a new report from security vendor Bitdefender, the Dark Nexus botnet borrows ideas and features from previously successful IoT threats like Qbot and Mirai, but is largely an original creation by an established malware developer who advertises distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) services on YouTube and other social media websites.

              The bot client is cross-compiled for 12-CPU architectures, which means it can infect a wide variety of devices including routers, digital video recorders (DVRs) and surveillance cameras. Recent versions also deploy a SOCKSv5 proxy on the compromised systems, allowing hackers to tunnel malicious traffic through them in addition to abusing them in DDoS attacks.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Another Coronavirus Side Effect: In-Home Surveillance By Remote Workers’ Employers

              Well, it took a pandemic to normalize domestic surveillance by [checks notes] employers. Not sure if this is the dystopia we needed or the one we deserved, but the shelter-in-place policies that have turned lots of office workers into telecommuters has led to incredible growth in one particular market sector.

            • It Will Take A Hell Of A Lot More Than Whatsapp Tweaks To Fix Our Global Disinformation Problem

              With increased regulatory pressure surrounding the platform’s ability to help distribute disinformation (often to bloody and disastrous effect), Facebook owned Whatsapp this week announced it would be more tightly restricting how app messages can be forwarded. Under the new system, if a user receives a “highly forwarded” message – one which has been forwarded more than five times – that user will only be able to send it on to a single chat at a time. Previously, users could forward these messages on to five people at a time, a limit that was implemented last year.

            • WhatsApp Axes COVID-19 Mass Message Forwarding

              In an effort to stem what it says is misinformation being spread on its platform, WhatsApp is limiting the number of recipients to which its users can forward certain messages about the COVID-19 pandemic.

              Now, users of the Facebook-owned messaging app can only forward messages with double arrows — i.e., those that did not originate from a close contact — to one person rather than multiple WhatsApp contacts, according to a company post published Tuesday.

            • New Release: Tails 4.5

              The Tails team is happy to publish Tails 4.5, the first version of Tails to support Secure Boot.

            • Tested positive for coronavirus? Health workers may share your address with police

              In a growing number of cities and states, local governments are collecting the addresses of people who test positive for the coronavirus and sharing the lists with police and first responders.

              Law enforcement officials say this information sharing — which is underway in Massachusetts, Alabama and Florida, and in select areas of North Carolina — will help keep officers and EMTs safe as they respond to calls at the homes of people who have been infected. The first responders can take additional precautions in those cases to avoid being exposed to the virus, state health departments and local police officials say.

              But some public health experts and privacy advocates have raised concerns about police departments maintaining a list of addresses of confirmed coronavirus cases. They say that it could make people reluctant to seek medical care or get tested for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, because of a fear of profiling by law enforcement.

            • Errors in the Levine 2017 paper on attacks against Freenet

              This is a short two-hour braindump from checking the weaknesses of the paper Levine et al. (2017) “Statistical Detection of Downloaders in Freenet”.

              It is neither polite nor aggressive, just unfiltered analysis of the publication with the background of knowing Freenet and being interested in its communication for more than 13 years.

              The core pillar of the detection they name is their claim of a 2.3% false positives rate. But they only reach it through many false assumptions: [...]

            • Why you should stop using Google Analytics on your website

              More recently my thinking about this has changed. Using Google Analytics is a habit website owners, bloggers and web developers should try to stop. Here’s a look at why you should remove Google Analytics from your website and help create a more open, independent web that’s more friendly to the visitors.

            • Mozilla installs Scheduled Telemetry Task on Windows with Firefox 75
    • Defence/Aggression

      • Muhammad Ali’s Fight Against the Pentagon

        Like many home-bounders during this coronavirus crisis, I’m watching movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime. I just finished watching a biography of Muhammad Ali, who was one of the greatest boxers of all time, if not the greatest.

      • Amid Plague, Sanctions are Genocide

        Sanctions have long been indefensible; now in the time of Covid-19, more so than ever. Nor are they some minor phenomena. Over a quarter of humanity lives under U.S. economic sanctions. That means millions of people lack untroubled access to food and medicines during a lethal pestilence. Thus in Iran, where the government fears millions of deaths from Covid-19, sanctions amount to genocide. Under ordinary circumstances, these embargoes are economic warfare. By putting Iran and Venezuela under economic siege even before the pandemic, the U.S. had murdered tens of thousands of those countries’ citizens. Yet most Americans seem unaware or unconcerned about this sadistic, criminal and murderous policy inflicted on millions in their name.

      • As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

        Covid-19 has hammered few countries as hard as it has hit Iran, which reports (as of April 8) 64,586 cases and 3,993 deaths. US sanctions are a major reason that Iranians are getting infected with and dying from the coronavirus in such large numbers: The US’s economic warfare softened Iran up for the pandemic well before its outbreak.

      • The Congresswoman from Iran

        Remarkably, all of this was perfectly fine with Ilhan Omar. The only thing that bothered her was the imposition of sanctions against an aspiring nuclear power whose leaders had repeatedly sworn their commitment to wiping the U.S. and Israel off the globe.

      • Lawmaker In Iran Says Military Was Right In Shooting Down Ukraine Airliner

        On January 8, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ (IRGC) missiles shot down the Boeing plane killing all 176 onboard, as it was taking off from Tehran, but initially Iran claimed the plane crashed due to unknown reasons.

        It took three days for officials to admit that the military had shot down the aircraft and later claimed that some personnel were arrested.

        However, a member of parliament’s Legal and Judicial Commission, Hassan Norouzi, now says that nobody was arrested for the incident, and the military forces did their job well by downing the passenger plane.

      • Quarantined Islamic Sect Members Suspected Of Throwing Urine, Case Filed

        According to the FIR, based on a complaint filed by the Assistant Director of the quarantine facility in Dwarka’s Sector 16B, the isolated Jamaat attendees have been accused of throwing the bottles “to spread coronavirus among other people”.

      • The People Who Profited Off the Trail of Tears

        Expulsion was a windfall for the white Mississippians who raced into Choctaw houses, harvesting the crops and supping on the spoils. Over the next decade, the United States repeated the pattern from Ohio to Alabama, banishing some 80,000 women, men, and children beyond the Mississippi River, to the western fringe of an unabashed American empire. “They are on an outside of us,” a Senate committee exulted, “and in a place which will ever remain an outside.” More than 25,000 Native people died.

        In Unworthy Republic, Claudio Saunt, a historian at the University of Georgia, offers a damning synthesis of the federal betrayals, mass deportations, and exterminatory violence that defined the 1830s. Two of his principal arguments—that mass expulsion wasn’t inevitable and that it was a “turning point for indigenous peoples and for the United States”—are largely accepted among scholars. His third, that it was administratively “unprecedented” in American history, invites debate about longer histories of dispossession. But Saunt’s greatest contribution is to weld the narrative of deportation to new histories of capitalism that emphasize slavery’s centrality to national economic development: He follows the money, exhaustively researching company correspondence and government records to show how bankers in Boston and London financed the dirty work of dispossession in collaboration with southern speculators. The result is a haunting story of racialized cruelty and greed, which came to define a pivotal period in U.S. and indigenous history alike.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Coronavirus Is a Dress Rehearsal for Climate Change

        As everyone should by now be aware, the coronavirus crisis is not just a public health crisis. It’s a jobs and income crisis, a small-business crisis, a child care crisis, a poverty crisis. In a real sense, it is a dress rehearsal for the future. What this crisis plainly demonstrates is the critical importance of investment in the resilience and equity of social and technical systems. It bears repeating: The very idea of government and the public good have been the targets of a decades-long ideological assault. The result? There is absolutely no slack in any of our systems; a shock can disrupt the lives of millions. It should remind every car- or homeowner of what they already know: Preventive maintenance is always worthwhile.

        Perhaps the most important lesson of the coronavirus is that if we don’t prepare now, and start thinking about how to stop problems before it’s too late, we’re risking everything we care about: our homes, our jobs, and the health of our loved ones. This is where the virus has something very important to teach us—if we’re willing to learn.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • We Cannot Rely on Trump. Congress Must Lead the Way in This Unprecedented Crisis

        The American people deserve and require leadership from Washington amid this horrific pandemic and economic meltdown

      • How Are We Going to Pay for It?

        We will either have democratic socialism or we will continue to socialize suffering.

      • Trump Attacks Mail-In Voting After Admitting He Cast Ballot by Mail

        President Donald Trump Tuesday evening attacked voting by mail — a solution many rights advocates argue is particularly necessary amid the ongoing public health crisis — as a “terrible thing” even after admitting that he cast a mail-in ballot in the 2020 Republican presidential primary in Florida (presumably for himself) just last month.

      • More People Might Die Because Wisconsin GOP Forced Election

        Lines stretching city blocks, hours-long waits and polling officials in hazmat suits. That’s the scene voters in Wisconsin encountered as they braved the polls Tuesday amid the coronavirus pandemic. Despite growing outcry about the risks to public health and safety that in-person voting would pose, on Monday the state Supreme Court blocked Democratic Governor Tony Evers’s ruling to delay the election until June. At least 92 people in Wisconsin have died from exposure to COVID-19. In Milwaukee — the most diverse city in Wisconsin — the number of polling stations went from 180 to five. We speak with Jesse Wegman, longtime journalist and member of The New York Times editorial board.

      • Wisconsin’s Unconscionable Sham

        The state’s election was a danger to public health and a democratic travesty—all to help Republicans suppress more votes.

      • When “Moderate” Democrats Lead the Ticket and Win, Down-Ballot Candidates Soon Suffer Losses

        Many mainstream Democrats claim if “democratic socialist” Sanders were their party’s presidential nominee, many party candidates running in down-ballot races would lose in races they should win. They warn that a Sanders’ led ticket could result in the Democrats not regaining control of the Senate and even losing their majority in the House along with many state positions.

      • As Coronavirus Pandemic Ravages Earth, Trump Announces Push to Mine the Moon

        An executive order quietly signed Monday makes clear the president. does not feel bound by international treaties on space exploration and resource extraction.

      • Montana Ballot Access Decision Suppresses Green Party Voters

        In 1969, the U.S. Supreme Court held that unequal distribution requirements for statewide petitions violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Again in 1970, citing the 1969 Illinois case, the SCOTUS struck down New York’s distribution requirements. Distribution requirements give voters in some geographical areas more power than voters residing in other areas in blatant disregard for a bedrock democratic principle: “one person, one vote.”

      • “It’s Corrupt… I’m Allowed To”: After Admitting He Cast Ballot by Mail, Trump Launches Bizarre Attack on Mail-In Voting

        “Trump’s baseless attacks on vote-by-mail are a pathetic attempt to suppress the vote in the middle of a national crisis.”

      • The Impact of COVID-19 on the Body Politic

        As the international community is consumed by the impact of Covid-19, there are signs of the impact of the pandemic on the body politic. There is change throughout the international community, particularly the decline of the influence and power of the United States; the fragmentation of the European Community; the weakening of the transatlantic system; the increased influence of China; and the dire impact on Third World countries and their refugee problems. At home, the Trump administration’s “destruction of the administrative state” has made the battle against the virus far more difficult.

      • Moscow City Duma member says he was probably infected with coronavirus when he attended a meeting to approve fines for quarantine violations

        Mikhail Timonov, a Moscow City Duma member from the A Just Russia party, and Sergey Timokhov, the chief of staff of the Communist faction in the City Duma, have both contracted COVID-19, according to the publication Kholod. Timonov said in a message posted on Telegram that a test conducted at a Medsi clinic had shown he was infected with the virus. He said an earlier test had been negative.

      • WATCH: Bernie Sanders Announces End to 2020 Presidential Campaign

        “It was a good campaign against the odds in every single way and has clearly changed the course of history for the better.”

      • In Appeal to Progressives, Biden Praises ‘Powerful’ Movement Led by Sanders and Acknowledges He Must Earn Their Votes

        Biden has struggled to win the support of young and independent voters in the Democratic primary.

      • After Sanders Exits Race, Climate Campaigners Thank Him for ‘Raising the Bar’ and Urge Biden to ‘Step Up’

        “Sanders has been a constant, fearless voice for people and the planet, advocating for the bold ideas and real solutions like the Green New Deal, which met the scale of what is needed to avoid climate catastrophe.”

      • Bernie Sanders Ends 2020 Campaign With Vow to Continue Struggle for ‘What We Are Entitled to as Human Beings’

        “Let us go forward together. The struggle continues.”

      • Bernie Sanders Drops Out of the 2020 Presidential Race

        Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is suspending his bid for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president.

      • COVID-19 Is Trump’s 9/11. Like Bush, He Was Warned and Didn’t Act.

        Donald Trump is a rancid racist, misogynist, liar, fearmonger, panderer and the undisputed world champion of self-aggrandizement. Until a few days ago, however, George W. Bush was winning in the vile metric of the body count: From September 11 to Afghanistan to Iraq, the sheer volume of human suffering that took place during the eight grinding years of the Bush administration bloodbath — suffering that has continued unabated even unto this moment before us — put him in rare and terrible historic company.

      • Joe Biden Was Silent As GOP Death Cult Forced Wisconsin To Vote During COVID-19 Pandemic

        Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his campaign never called for the Wisconsin primary to be postponed. In fact, they were silent as Republican judges on the state’s supreme court and the United States Supreme Court issued decisions that forced officials to hold the primary during a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

        Yet, after voters risked their health on April 7, Biden appeared on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time,” and stated, “My gut is we shouldn’t have had the election in the first place, the in-person election,” as if that was his position all along.

      • ‘Return to Normalcy’ Not Going to Be Enough to Win Our Support, Young Progressives Tell Joe Biden

        “Why would we want a return to normalcy? We need a vision for the future, not a return to the past.”

      • With Sanders Out, Trump Wastes No Time in Stoking Division Among Democrats

        “This guy is nothing if not a skilled provocateur.”

      • Dear Bernie

        Four years ago, in the 2016 Democratic primaries, you made it respectable to talk about Medicare for All, free public higher education, and raising taxes on the wealthy. You alerted America to the vast and growing gap in income, wealth, and political power, and its dangers for our economy and democracy.

      • Can the United Nations Survive the Coronavirus?

        “This crisis has shown that neither China nor the U.S. is ready and able to lead the U.N. system,” Richard Gowan, the U.N. representative for the International Crisis Group, told Foreign Policy. “The French deserve credit for trying to pull everyone together, but the the P5 [the permanent five members of the U.N. Security Council] are so fractured that even Macron has struggled to unite them.”

      • The Coronavirus Is Also Attacking the Ballot Box

        President Trump complains incessantly about solutions to these problems, highlighting the inequities in the system in the process. During the coronavirus task force briefing on Tuesday, Trump called mail-in voting “corrupt” right after acknowledging that he mailed his absentee ballot to Florida last month. Earlier, on March 30th, he retreated to Fox News to complain about Democratic efforts to improve the relief bill he’d just signed into law. Democrats had sought sufficient funding to help states increase vote-by-mail capabilities, expand early voting and online registration, and increase the number of polling sites — in short, to ensure Americans could safely vote. Experts tell Rolling Stone such a revamping would cost anywhere from $2 billion to $4 billion; Republicans allowed only $400 million.

      • Bay Area coronavirus job losses will top 800,000: report; California faces nearly 4 million in job losses by May, study says

        As an example, the first round of announced job cuts in California included high-profile resorts and hotel operations such as Rosewood CordeValle in San Martin, Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, and Ventana Big Sur in Big Sur.

      • Why the government is bailing out airlines ahead of charities

        What is more, the airline industry has not exactly made the best case for itself. Just before EasyJet received its government loan, founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, whose family still own a third of the company’s shares, took a £60m dividend payment from the company, while Bloomberg reported earlier this week that Richard Branson had moved $1.1bn of shares in Virgin Galactic from the US to the British Virgin Islands. EasyJet and British Airways have both announced plans to furlough staff, while Virgin is “offering a one-time voluntary severance package to all employees”.

      • Yanis Varoufakis: “The European Union Is Determined to Continue Making the Same Errors It Made After 2008”

        There is a spectacular coincidence of errors by the European Union today and in 2010. They’re making the same category error: in 2010 they decided to paint the crisis as a crisis of public debt and lack of liquidity, meaning the solution must certainly be loans. So, the Greek state was loaned the largest amount in history, on condition of austerity. Mistaking a bankruptcy for a liquidity problem is what effectively incarcerated a very large section of Europe — a vast majority of Europeans — into permanent stagnation.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Is the coronavirus killing press freedom in Africa?

        Movement across Africa has been restricted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Since lockdowns began, journalists across the continent are reporting a sharp rise in physical attacks by security forces as they attempt to report on COVID-19. DW takes a look a some of Africa’s most challenging regions for journalists.

      • Beyond Words

        Yesterday Mark Sommers QC, the extremely erudite and bookish second counsel for Julian Assange in his extradition hearing, trembled with anger in court. Magistrate Vanessa Baraitser had just made a ruling that the names of Julian Assange’s partner and young children could be published, which she stated was in the interests of “open justice”. His partner had submitted a letter in support of his Covid 19 related bail application (which Baraitser had summarily dismissed) to state he had a family to live with in London. Baraitser said that it was therefore in the interests of open justice that the family’s names be made public, and said that the defence had not convincingly shown this would cause any threat to their security or well-being. It was at this point Sommers barely kept control. He leapt to his feet and gave notice of an appeal to the High Court, asking for a 14 day stay. Baraitser granted four days, until 4pm on Friday.

      • #SingalongaVanessa

        I have been sent footage of judge Vanessa Baraitser appearing in a school musical. Even though this is a remarkable survival of the scrubbing of her existence from the internet, I saw no public interest in publishing it until yesterday, when she ruled that in the interests of “open justice” the identities of Julian Assange’s partner and small children should be made public. So in the interests of “open justice”, here is Vanessa singing.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Draconian Lockdown Powers and Civil Liberties

        We still have choices.

      • ‘You Cannot Get an Abortion Right Now in Texas’: Federal Appeals Court Upholds Ban During Pandemic

        “How cruel and out of touch with reality do you have to be to exploit a global health pandemic to further your own political agenda?” 

      • This Passover, Let’s Free Them All

        It is incumbent upon us to amplify the cries of imprisoned immigrants with our own voices.

      • Aspirational vs Pragmatic: Why My Radicalness is Getting More Radical

        Setting aside the pain and suffering of the infected for a moment, the most amazing part of the pandemic is its pulling back the curtain on the fragility and venality of the economic/political system in the “greatest country on earth”. Yah, sure. Some of those hybrid “planned economies” had better resources, and quicker responses, when their nationally supported professionals did the jobs they had trained lifetimes for; So What? We have better bombers. In fact, a bipartisan committee (that means Dems are in on it) is insisting, in the midst of the health crisis, the Marines buy another dozen or so of the most expensive planes ever built (that don’t work well) at a time when that service is seriously wondering why it has any, especially because it is having a very hard time getting people who want to fly them (and a few could be traded in to buy a whole lot of other stuff, like PPE) (and for all of us Bernie fans, he bought them too)

      • Democratic Senators Demand Answers on Trump’s Secretive Border Expulsions

        Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding information about what they call an “unprecedented expansion of executive power” by the Trump administration at the the U.S.-Mexico border, after a ProPublica story revealed how the administration has used emergency powers to bypass asylum law and summarily expel thousands of migrants.

        In a letter written by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., he and nine colleagues give the Department of Homeland Security until April 15 to explain why it believes it can use one section of U.S. law — which gives emergency powers to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prohibit the entry of people or things that might “introduce” infectious disease — to preempt the government’s obligation under another section of federal law protecting migrants fearing persecution in their home countries.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Strange Days’ By Beans On Toast

        Beans on Toast is the moniker of UK singer-songwriter Jay McAllister. Over the years he has built a cult following for himself for his mixture of quirky tunes and social commentary. Every year since 2009 he has released a new album on his birthday, December 1.

        His last album, “The Inevitable Train Wreck” was one of the best protest albums of 2019. The album focused on issues such as Brexit, climate change, automation and class inequality.

      • Emergency COVID-19 Laws May Become Permanent Features of the Security Landscape

        As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the world, so too do radical new security measures implemented by governments in response to the global crisis. Ruling by decree, closing borders to refugees and instituting sweeping powers of detention and surveillance: In the context of the current panic, these policies may seem appropriate to some, their extremism justified by the extreme times in which we now live.

      • Saudi women use social media to recount harassment

        But women who report incidents have faced smear campaigns on social media and been blamed for being harassed, rights groups say.

        “My friends were punished when they reported [their abuse] and experienced more harm,” wrote one Saudi Twitter user who called herself Bella. “I chose silence,” she said.

      • Coronavirus Hitting African American Communities Hardest

        Experts say the difference results from the unequal status of blacks in American society, from higher rates of chronic illnesses to job opportunities that result in more exposure to the virus.

        “We have a particularly difficult problem of an exacerbation of a health disparity,” said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci. “We’ve known literally forever that diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma are disproportionately afflicting the minority populations, particularly the African Americans.”

        These are the same conditions that put patients at higher risk of severe illness and death, he added.

      • America set up black communities to be harder hit by COVID-19

        It’s hard to get a grasp on how discriminating the spread of the disease in the US really is; limited testing nationwide means we don’t even have a good baseline for how many Americans have contracted COVID-19. Many states aren’t reporting the breakdown of their cases by race, and many localities disclosing the race of COVID-19 patients don’t have demographic data for every single case. The data that we do have, however, is beginning to show a stark divide across the nation.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Jon Cusack The Latest Celebrity To Spread Nonsense About 5G

        Conspiracy theories have always plagued the deployment of new wireless technology. WiFi has no proven impact on human health, yet it has been a bogeyman for the better part of the last fifteen years. Fast forward to 2020, and social media is filled with “internet famous” folks claiming new fifth-generation (5G) wireless is part of a vast mind control conspiracy or a massive threat to human health. Russia, and likely other countries, have incorporated 5G for a few years into its online trolling operations, apparently believing it’s another wedge issue that can be used to amplify already heated divisions in western countries.

      • Unfortunate Natural Experiment Shows the Internet Works

        The Internet is working well under this sudden demand because of how it is designed. Nearly magic, the Internet is designed to be a reliable system built of unreliable parts. This might sound awful, as though it only works by accident, but it’s actually engineering genius. The Internet is a complex, reliable system that can be repaired with things that are inexpensive and ready to hand, which means that it will work under unexpected strains. Some have been worrying about whether the Internet can “stand up” under a heavy, widely distributed load. As long as the Internet’s myriad networks have been built with sound engineering, they will hold up. Despite all the media streaming and video conferences, measurable reports of trouble have been remarkably rare. The design works!

        Just over a year ago, we celebrated that a little over half the world’s population had access to the Internet. But what of those who don’t? They are often those with the fewest resources, the fewest advocates, and the biggest troubles. Yet all the unconnected deserve the chance to be connected if they want to be. We should not be shy about closing the gap in multiple ways.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Lengthening Patent Terms by 10 Years is Exactly the Wrong Response to COVID-19

          Governments around the world are taking steps to make sure that private corporations don’t use the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to make unjustified monopoly profits. They’re doing that by ensuring that governments can override patents and issue compulsory licenses for COVID-19 related treatments, vaccines, and tools. Canada’s recent COVID-19 bill authorizes the government to make and use patented inventions as needed in fighting the pandemic. Governments in Chile, Ecuador, Germany, and Israel have taken similar steps.

          But in the U.S., lobbyists and lawyers for patent owners are pushing our government to move in the exact opposite direction. And they may succeed. Last week, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) introduced a bill that gives 10 extra years of patent rights (on top of the usual 20 years) to any “new or existing pharmaceutical, medical device, or other process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter.” The patent rights grab, included in a bill that’s ostensibly about limiting medical lawsuits, also applies to improvements on existing technology.

        • FTC Just Sent Over $1 Million To People Scammed By ‘Patent Marketing’ Company The Former AG Matt Whitaker Was Involved With

          Not many people noticed this, but last week, the FTC announced that it was sending more than $1 million in “refunds” to people duped by the scam company “World Patent Marketing” that would try to sucker people who thought they had big ideas to pay WPM to either help them patent their “invention” or to “promote” their patented invention. In reality, it turned out (as with many of these companies) it was just a scam to get the company’s CEO quite rich:

      • Copyrights

        • Piracy and File-Sharing Traffic Surges Amidst Covid-19 Crisis

          Hundreds of millions of people are being asked to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. This is having a widespread effect on worldwide consumption habits including Internet usage. New data obtained by TorrentFreak suggests that there has been a surge in global file-sharing traffic as well as an increased number of visitors to pirate sites.

        • Russia Wants New Fines For Platforms That Don’t Remove Pirated Content Fast Enough

          Russia’s Ministry of Culture has plans to further tighten up the country’s response to the availability of pirated content online. Under current law, platforms can be ordered by a court to block or remove content within three days but according to the government, that needs to be reduced. Furthermore, non-responsive players should also receive new fines but to what extent remains unclear.

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    New video that contains a portion about the history of Microsoft -- the part paid-for 'journalists' (paid by Microsoft and Bill Gates) rarely or never speak about



  13. Hostility and Aggression Towards Staff That Does Not Use Windows After Windows Takes Entire Hospital Down

    Microsoft Windows, with NSA back doors, continues to take hospitals offline (with records copied by criminals if not stolen by effectively locking the originals out of reach for ransom money); but guess who’s being punished for it…



  14. They Came, They Saw, We Died...

    It cannot be overstated that we're under attack (or a "Jihad" against Linux as Bill Gates himself put it) and failing to act upon it will be costly as time may be running out and our groups are being 'bought off' by Microsoft in rapid succession, as per the plan/strategy



  15. The GitHub Takeover Was an Extension of Microsoft's War on GPL/Copyleft (Because Sharing Code to Anyone But Microsoft is 'Piracy')

    Licences that make it easier for Microsoft to 'steal' (or a lot harder for Free software to compete against proprietary software) are still being promoted by Microsoft; its GitHub tentacles (see GitHub's logo) further contribute to this agenda



  16. ZDNet is Totally a Microsoft Propaganda Machine

    The site ZDNet has become worse than useless; it lies, defames and launders the reputation of famous criminals (that's the business model these days)



  17. When Microsoft's Mask Falls (or When Times Are Rough)

    Microsoft loves Linux in the same sense that cats love mice (they might play with them until they get hungry)



  18. Careers in Free Software Aren't Careers in the Traditional Sense

    With historic unemployment rates and people 'stranded' inside their homes there's still demand and need for technology; these times of adaptation present an opportunity for Software Freedom



  19. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish 2020 Edition

    Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (E.E.E.) is alive and well, but the corrupt (paid by Microsoft) media isn't talking about it anymore; in fact, it actively cheers and encourages people/companies to enter the trap



  20. Links 26/5/2020: SHIFT13mi GNU/Linux Tablet, Linux Kodachi 7.0 and Some Qt Releases

    Links for the day



  21. EPO Propaganda on Steroids (or on EPO)

    What EPO management is saying and what is actually happening



  22. Breton (EU) 'Joins' Team UPC to Help His Buddy Battistelli... Again

    As expected, Breton acts as little but an EPO tool, looking to prop up supremacy of patent litigation over science and innovation



  23. Removing Free/Libre Software as an Inadequate Response to Microsoft Windows (With Back Doors) Getting Compromised, Killing People

    GNU/Linux takes the blame (in a sense) for incidents that are purely the fault of Microsoft and its deficient software with deliberate back doors; it's believed that this boils down to opportunistic retaliation against those looking for a solution to the problem (or merely speaking about the problem)



  24. IRC Proceedings: Monday, May 25, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, May 25, 2020



  25. Under Distributed Denial of Service Attacks Lately, But We're Too Robust For Those

    Efforts to take Techrights offline have been ramped up lately; but it's not working and it hardly even distracts us from publishing



  26. The Art of Giving: Why Free Software Will Inevitably Survive Attacks Against It

    Societies that share and look after their peers/neighbours will always be better off than predatory societies, which breed exploitation, distrust, discord and eventually systemic collapse



  27. 'Journalism' in 2020: Far More Articles About What Computer Linus Torvalds Bought Than About Linux Releases

    Yesterday's (or late Sunday's) Linux announcement (RC7) is symptomatic of a broader issue we've long spoken about; it restricts people's ability to express an opinion, which can cloud any meritorious and substantial debate about technical matters journalists cannot grasp or comment on (it takes more effort and research)



  28. Links 25/5/2020: Wrapland Redone, DebConf20 Plans, Many More Games

    Links for the day



  29. Media Covers WSL Like People Actually Use This Trash (a Failed Distro Which Only Works With Windows)

    Lots of abundantly redundant puff pieces have appeared in paid-for (by Microsoft) media this past week covering WSL/2, but that's grossly disproportional to the people who care and actually use those types of things (because money talks, not technical substance)



  30. Working From Home on Patent Monopolies Would Lower Their Quality and Perceived Legitimacy

    The patent system wherein people grant monopolies from their sofas and bedrooms isn't helping the already-eroded perception/image of patent offices that mostly grant patents to massive multinationals (and far too many patents overall)


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