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04.10.20

The Fall of the UPC – Part XVIII: Media ‘Scratching’ the Bottom of the Barrel

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Publishers in the pockets of big litigation firms

German Federal Constitutional Court said 'nein' to Unified Patent Court... But it's just a 'Scratch'

Summary: In an effort to belittle the severity of the corruption that led to the death of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), as the German constitutional court (German Federal Constitutional Court, or FCC for short) saw evidence of that corruption, publishers that mostly parrot false claims from law firms use nonchalant terms like “scratching heads”

THE previous part and the one before it dealt with notorious law firms and what they said about the ultimate collapse of the UPC. Those firms had been some of the worst (‘core’ Team UPC), so it was hardly surprising that they still lied about the decision. Like European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos they just latched onto lies. They sought to popularise these lies, making them seem not only acceptable lies but also honourable ones. This is why this series of ours is needed.

“The terms used there are gross understatements because for quite some time it seemed rather apparent that the UPC was going nowhere.”Among press reports that we saw around the time (not composed directly by law firms) was this article by thelawyer.com (yes, obviously in the pockets of law firms). “Patent lawyers left “scratching heads” as UK u-turns to quit UPC” was the headline. Well, if the UK’s position had them “scratching heads,” then surely the decision in Germany (a few weeks later) had them scratching their bums. The terms used there are gross understatements because for quite some time it seemed rather apparent that the UPC was going nowhere. It was stuck and deadlocked.

Leaders League, a reprinter of EPO press releases and lies (we took note of them several times lately), said that the Germans voted “unanimously in favor” although it was a coup, planned or scheduled to take place at 1AM. The patent zealots never liked to properly explain what happened that night. Nobody mentioned that. Such political corruption at the heart of the German capital would leave lawyers scratching all sorts of things…

“The patent zealots never liked to properly explain what happened that night. Nobody mentioned that. Such political corruption at the heart of the German capital would leave lawyers scratching all sorts of things…”This is what Leaders League wrote: “On March 20th, the German Federal Constitutional Court said the Act of the Approval of the UPC Agreement was void. Although it was passed by the Second Chamber of the Bundestag, it required a two-thirds majority in the main chamber and albeit those present voted unanimously in favor, there were only 35 members present.”

As a reminder of what actually happened (maybe Leaders League really isn’t aware and is genuinely uninformed), it was really this bad. To downplay the severity of this incident and to conveniently pretend that the FCC ruled the way it did (not even dealing with substance of the complaint just yet) unfairly is as bad as pretending that these 'debates' in British politics are fair and balanced. This is just classic political corruption. To suggest otherwise is to defend this corruption or be an apologist for it. We’ll come back to it in the final and closing part. First, however, we shall survey some responses from law firms.

Links 10/4/2020: AV Linux 2020.4.10, Simply Linux 9, Tor Browser 9.0.9

Posted in News Roundup at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • A New High-End Linux Laptop Is Now Available for Everyone

        That’s right, System76 has just started selling what it claims to be is the company’s longest-lasting laptop yet with a battery that goes up to 14 hours per charge. In addition, it’s also System76’s lightest laptop featuring its most flexible hinge, it says.

        “This laptop is designed to be lightweight across the board: Bloatware-free open source firmware, a snappy operating system, and performant components—all inside a 2.2-pound chassis. We’d say you could throw it like a frisbee, but we wouldn’t want you to scratch its sleek body,” the company explains.

      • Notebook System76 Lemur Pro runs on a single charge for 21 hours
      • You can finally buy the System76 Lemur Pro — and if you love Linux you totally should!

        Last month, we told you that System76 was bringing back the iconic Lemur Pro laptop. The company’s Lemur laptops are legendary for being sensible, durable, and well balanced. In other words, the computer is a consistent workhorse that is ideal for everyday use and beyond. You can have either Ubuntu or System76′s own Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS pre-installed. Best of all, it is reasonably priced too, allowing anyone to own one of the company’s computers. Look, If you love Linux, it makes sense to support the community by purchasing a System76 machine.

      • System76 Launches Lemur Pro Linux Laptop with Open Source Firmware

        If you’re in the market for a Linux laptop, you should know that System76 has a brand-new computer, the Lemur Pro, which, as its name suggests, it’s a professional laptop with some powerful components.

        The laptop is powered by 10th Generation Intel Core i7 (10510U) or i5 (10510U) processors four cores and eight threads, up to 40 GB DDR4 2666 MHz RAM, and up to 4TB M.2 SSD storage.

        But what makes the Lemur Pro laptop special is that it’s using System76’s Coreboot open source firmware, including embedded controller firmware that lets you fully control the functionality of keyboard, battery, and fans.

      • Linux on Laptops: ASUS Zephyrus G14 with Ryzen 9 4900HS



        It looks like the Zephyrus G14 is a bust under Linux, at least for now. It might be possible to get it working better than I did here, but it’ll take a considerable amount of work, at the very least.

        Get used to fan noise. A lot of fan noise. While the fans mostly only kicked into high gear for gaming under Windows, under Linux they just get feisty for no apparent reason. If you haven’t read our Windows review of this laptop, they’re quite loud, even for a gaming laptop.

        It wasn’t too much trouble to get the G14 to boot Ubuntu 20.04, or to get it mostly functional. But with a touchpad that only works occasionally, no support for either GPU, and only a couple of hours on-battery while watching videos, for now it’s not much more than a curiosity.

        The only bright spot in this dark and dismal painting is the Ryzen 9 4900HS itself. I didn’t do any real CPU benchmarking—but bumblebee is a DKMS module, so I got to see how the 4900HS handled compiling it from source. I initially thought the kernel headers weren’t installed, and it hadn’t compiled the module at all—but they were, and it did. The CPU is just that beefy.

        Full disclosure—this was my first attempt to wrestle a dual-GPU laptop into submission, so I may have missed some tricks. If you spot something that I should have tried but didn’t, please pipe up in the comments.

      • Chrome OS 81 gets tablet-friendly gestures

        Google’s new Chrome OS 81 update for Chromebooks is set with new navigation gestures for easier use in tablet mode. With more Chromebooks featuring touchscreens and keyboardless options such as Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet, the update introduces Android 10 and iPadOS-like gestures when they’re used as tablets.

      • Linux app support coming to Chromebooks with Core M Skylake chips (Samsung Chromebook Pro, Asus Chromebook Flip C302)

        It’s been two years since Google started bringing support for Linux apps to Chromebooks, and these days dozens of Chrome OS laptops support support the feature (although it’s still a beta feature that you have to enable manually).

        One of the first Chromebooks to support Linux apps was the Samsung Chromebook Plus. But up until now that laptop’s close (and more powerful) cousin the Samsung Chromebook Pro has not supported the feature.

        It looks like that’s going to change soon though — because Google appears to be adding support for all Chromebooks featuring Intel Core m3-6Y30 processors and other 7th-gen Intel Core “Skylake” chips.

    • Server

      • Setting up an email server in 2020 with OpenSMTPD and Dovecot

        So, you want to set up your own email server? In that case, welcome.

        There are many reasons to run a custom email server, ranging from privacy concerns about providers like Google, to just wanting to do it for fun and/or learning. Since you’re here, I assume you’ve already found a reason.

        Beware: this is a messy topic, and the available documentation is even messier, so it could take a while before you get it to work properly. I’ve compiled this guide according to my experiences in an attempt to make this dark art more accessible, but your mileage may vary considerably. I hope you find it useful.

      • Docker’s Compose specification is now an open standard

        Docker Compose, the system created by Docker to define multi-container applications, is now to be developed as an open standard.

        The Compose Specification, as the new standard is called, is meant to allow Compose-created apps to work on other multi-container definition systems on platforms such as Kubernetes and Amazon Elastic Container Service.

      • How Kubernetes saved my desktop application

        Recently, fellow Opensource.com scribe James Farrell wrote a wonderful article entitled How Ansible brought peace to my home. In addition to the great article, I really liked the title, one of those unexpected phrases that I’m sure brought a smile to many faces.

        I recently had a weird but positive experience of my own that begs a similar sort of unexpected label. I’ve been grappling with a difficult problem that arose when upgrading some server and networking infrastructure that broke a Java application I’ve been supporting since the early 2000s. Strangely enough, I found the solution in what appears to be a very informative and excellent article on Kubernetes, of all things.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Hiatus | Choose Linux 33

        Choose Linux enters indefinite hiatus.

      • Goodbye from Linux Action News

        In what turns out to be our final publication, we say goodbye.

      • 2020-04-09 | Linux Headlines

        The Fintech Open Source Foundation is joining The Linux Foundation, Samsung releases user-space exFAT tools for Linux, Docker Compose is getting a formal specification with the help of a new open source community, and the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview includes File Explorer integration in the Windows Subsystem for Linux.

      • Compromised Networking | Self-Hosted 16

        We share some WiFi tips and essential network ideas.

        And discuss one of our most significant compromises in the show so far.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux to Get High Resolution Wheel Scrolling

        Work on high resolution wheel scrolling for the Linux desktop is being completed.

        The Linux desktop has come a very long way in a short time. But there are a couple of features that lag behind the likes of macOS—such as multi touch gestures and smooth wheel scrolling. That all began to change about a year ago, when high resolution wheel scrolling was merged into the mainline Linux kernel, by adding new axes REL_WHEEL_HI_RES and REL_HWHEEL_HI_RES. However, since that kernel addition, work on the feature fell to the wayside.

        Around the same time as support was added to the kernel, Peter Hutterer began working on integrating high resolution mouse wheel scrolling support into Wayland. However, that work also ground to a halt and nothing came of Hutterer’s efforts.

      • Linux Gets Native Keyboard Backlight Control for Razer Laptops with New Driver

        Redditor UKSFM99 has managed to get around what they describe as Razer’s “strange way of controlling the keyboard backlight on their keyboards,” eventually being able to adjust the backlight level using the native controls that are available in Linux.

        “I’m pretty happy that I finally worked on this, but essentially managed to expose a sysfs file in /sys/class/leds/ that now allows for KDE and Gnome to see the keyboard backlight as a ‘normal’ keyboard backlight, and can control the keyboard backlight natively depending on what i set in power management for AC or battery power,” they explain, adding that it took no less than three months to make the whole thing possible.

      • Avoiding retpolines with static calls

        January 2018 was a sad time in the kernel community. The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities had finally been disclosed, and the required workarounds hurt kernel performance in a number of ways. One of those workarounds — retpolines — continues to cause pain, with developers going out of their way to avoid indirect calls, since they must now be implemented with retpolines. In some cases, though, there may be a way to avoid retpolines and regain much of the lost performance; after a long gestation period, the “static calls” mechanism may finally be nearing the point where it can be merged upstream.
        Indirect calls happen when the address of a function to be called is not known at compile time; instead, that address is stored in a pointer variable and used at run time. These indirect calls, as it turns out, are readily exploited by speculative-execution attacks. Retpolines defeat these attacks by turning an indirect call into a rather more complex (and expensive) code sequence that cannot be executed speculatively.

        Retpolines solved the problem, but they also slow down the kernel, so developers have been keenly interested in finding ways to avoid them. A number of approaches have been tried; a few of which were covered here in late 2018. While some of those techniques have been merged, static calls have remained outside of the mainline. They have recently returned in the form of this patch set posted by Peter Zijlstra; it contains the work of others as well, in particular Josh Poimboeuf, who posted the original static-call implementation.

        An indirect call works from a location in writable memory where the destination of the jump can be found. Changing the destination of the call is a matter of storing a new address in that location. Static calls, instead, use a location in executable memory containing a jump instruction that points to the target function. Actually executing a static call requires “calling” to this special location, which will immediately jump to the real target. The static-call location is, in other words, a classic code trampoline. Since both jumps are direct — the target address is found directly in the executable code itself — no retpolines are needed and execution is fast.

      • Per-system-call kernel-stack offset randomization

        In recent years, the kernel has (finally) upped its game when it comes to hardening. It is rather harder to compromise a running kernel than it used to be. But “rather harder” is relative: attackers still manage to find ways to exploit kernel bugs. One piece of information that can be helpful to attackers is the location of the kernel stack; this patch set from Kees Cook and Elena Reshetova may soon make that information harder to come by and nearly useless in any case.
        The kernel stack will always be an attractive target. It typically contains no end of useful information that can be used, for example, to find the location of other kernel data structures. If it can be written to, it can be used for return-oriented programming attacks. Many exploits seen in the wild (Cook mentioned this video4linux exploit as an example) depend on locating the kernel stack as part of the sequence of steps to take over a running system.

        In current kernels, the kernel stack is allocated from the vmalloc() area at process creation time. Among other things, this approach makes the location of any given process’s kernel stack hard to guess, since it depends on the state of the memory allocator at the time of its creation. Once the stack has been allocated, though, its location remains fixed for as long as the process runs. So if an attacker can figure out where the kernel stack for a target process is, that information can be used for as long as that process lives.

        As it turns out, there are a number of ways for an attacker to do that. Despite extensive cleanup work, there are still numerous kernel messages that will expose addresses of data structures, including the stack, in the kernel log. There are also attacks using ptrace() and cache timing that can be used to locate the stack. So the protection offered by an uncertain stack location is not as strong as one might like it to be.

      • Some 5.6 kernel development statistics

        When the 5.6 kernel was released on March 29, 12,665 non-merge changesets had been accepted from 1,712 developers, making this a fairly typical development cycle in a number of ways. As per longstanding LWN tradition, what follows is a look at where those changesets came from and who supported the work that created them. This may have been an ordinary cycle, but there are still a couple of differences worth noting.
        As Linus Torvalds pointed out in the release announcement, the current coronavirus pandemic does not appear to have seriously affected kernel development — so far. One should not, though, lose track of the fact that the 5.6 merge window closed in early February, well before the impact of this disaster was broadly felt outside of China. Most of the work merged for 5.6 was done even earlier, of course. Given the delays involved in getting work into the mainline, the full effect may not be felt until the 5.8 cycle.

        It goes without saying that we hope those effects are minimal, and that the people in our community (and beyond) come through this experience as well as possible.

        Of the developers working on 5.6, 214 were first-time contributors. Many projects would be delighted to have that many new contributors in a nine-week period, but that is low for the kernel — the lowest since 3.11, which featured 203 first-time contributors and was released in September 2013.

      • eBPF – Rethinking the Linux Kernel

        Thomas Graf talks about how companies like Facebook and Google use BPF to patch 0-day exploits, how BPF will change the way features are added to the kernel forever, and how BPF is introducing a new type of application deployment method for the Linux kernel.

      • XFS Has A Second Round Of Improvements For Linux 5.7

        Last week the XFS file-system saw its first round of updates for the Linux 5.7 kernel cycle that included preparations for supporting online repair in the future as well as many underlying code improvements. A second round of code improvements were sent in on Thursday for this mature file-system.

        The second batch of new XFS code for Linux 5.7 includes better handling when consuming a lot of memory, memory reclaim improvements, and better handling when nearly out of space on the file-system.

      • Systemd-OOMD Continues Coming Together For Better Linux Out-Of-Memory Handling

        Beyond the new systemd-homed functionality, another improvement to look forward to in the systemd space this calendar year is systemd-oomd materializing as its new out-of-memory daemon.

        As reported on last summer, systemd is looking to improve Linux’s out-of-memory handling. To do this, systemd is working to leverage Facebook’s out-of-memory daemon that was originally designed for memory pressure / out-of-memory use-cases on their servers but since then is being adapted for desktop use-cases as well.

      • Graphics Stack

        • X.Org vs. Wayland Browser Performance With Firefox + Chrome



          Given the release of Firefox 75 with Wayland improvements and also Firefox 76 now being in beta with even more work on the Wayland front, here are some web browser benchmarks under Wayland and the X.Org Server session with GNOME Shell 3.36 on Ubuntu 20.04. Additionally, Google Chrome benchmarks on Wayland and X.Org were also carried out.

    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • Cinelerra GG Infinity – A Free Video Editing Software for Linux

        We have covered a variety of video editing software that range from simple video editors to professional-class free alternatives.g. Shotcut and OpenShot. Today, we are happy to introduce to you another video editor capable of meeting your personal needs.

        Cinelerra GG Infinity is a robust free and open-source video editing software designed for rendering, motion tracking, compositing, and video editing on Linux computers. With it, you can edit videos into movie-like projects using beautiful transitions, texts, and effects with proper audio quality all from a modern 8k video editor.

      • 7 Best Sticky Note Applications

        It has often been said that information confers power, and that the most important currency in our culture today is information. Keeping track of bits and pieces of information is a minefield.

        In part, this is because of passable short term memory, coupled with what can only be described as ‘brain fog’. To combat this, we arm myself with open source software that helps us efficiently capture a lot of information. We generally prefer to keep our information local and cloud-free, primarily for security reasons. And we primarily advance software which doesn’t tie itself to any specific company or service, whether it’s Evernote, Google, or Microsoft.

        Note-taking apps are the online equivalent of notebooks, and because they’re digital, they can do more for you than paper can. Note-taking apps also include text search, so in a matter of seconds, you can find whatever notes you need.

        A sticky note (often known as a Post-it Note) is a small piece of paper with a re-adherable strip of glue on its back, made for temporarily attaching notes to documents and other surfaces. Virtual sticky notes have been created for computers in the form of desktop notes. Here’s our recommendations.

      • PyPy 7.3.1 released

        The interpreters are based on much the same codebase, thus the multiple release. This is a micro release, no APIs have changed since the 7.3.0 release in December, but read on to find out what is new.

        Conda Forge now supports PyPy as a Python interpreter. The support right now is being built out. After this release, many more c-extension-based packages can be successfully built and uploaded. This is the result of a lot of hard work and good will on the part of the Conda Forge team. A big shout out to them for taking this on.

        We have worked with the Python packaging group to support tooling around building third party packages for Python, so this release updates the pip and setuptools installed when executing pypy -mensurepip to pip>=20. This completes the work done to update the PEP 425 python tag from pp373 to mean “PyPy 7.3 running python3” to pp36 meaning “PyPy running Python 3.6” (the format is recommended in the PEP). The tag itself was changed in 7.3.0, but older pip versions build their own tag without querying PyPy. This means that wheels built for the previous tag format will not be discovered by pip from this version, so library authors should update their PyPy-specific wheels on PyPI.

      • man-pages-5.04 is released

        I’ve released man-pages-5.04. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

        This release resulted from patches, bug reports, reviews, and comments from 15 contributors. The release includes approximately 80 commits that change just under 30 pages.

      • Skrooge 2.22.1 released

        The Skrooge Team announces the release 2.22.1 version of its popular Personal Finances Manager based on KDE Frameworks.

      • UDisks 2.9 To Support LVM’s Virtual Data Optimizer For Deduplication/Compression

        The FreeDesktop.org UDisks project that provides a daemon and interface for querying and manipulating storage devices on Linux is approaching its long overdue version 2.9 update.

        It’s been nearly two years since the introduction of the UDisks 2.8 series and now the version 2.9 release should be coming up soon. The Storage APIs blog has a new post by Red Hat’s Tomáš Bžatek on the work they’ve been carrying out for UDisks 2.9.0. Some of the highlights include support for easily configurable mount points, updates to D-Bus object properties, and shifting around its VDO focus.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Sci-fi space station building and management sim ‘Meeple Station’ has released

        The full release comes with quite a lot of new toys to play with too. There’s now a complete story mode that allows you to discover the history behind the mysterious Meeple race, a full tutorial, a Hyperdrive to travel between randomly generated systems, the combat system has been revamped, a new events system added and a lot more.

      • The amusing and unique FPS ‘Shotgun Farmers’ has a fun Easter event going on

        Shotgun Farmers, a first-person shooter where your bullets dig into the ground to grow new guns has a super fun Easter event going on where you all have a great big ‘Carrocket Launcher’.

        This is a limit-time event, that will be available until April 24. Not only that, there’s a new outfit to unlock too with the ‘BUN BUN’ which is only unlockable during this Easter event. So if collecting is your thing, you might want to get playing. My own FOMO is rising right now I will admit. What’s wonderful about Shotgun Farmers though, is that all cosmetics are entirely free to earn when you play (there’s no micro-transactions here).

      • A QQGameHall storm

        Mar 31 2020, 11:13:38: I get a message from Frank in the #curl IRC channel over on Freenode. I’m always “hanging out” on IRC and Frank is a long time friend and fellow freuent IRCer in that channel. This time, Frank informs me that the curl web site is acting up:

        “I’m getting 403s for some mailing list archive pages. They go away when I reload”

        That’s weird and unexpected. An important detail here is that the curl web site is “CDNed” by Fastly. This means that every visitor of the web site is actually going to one of Fastly’s servers and in most cases they get cached content from those servers, and only infrequently do these servers come back to my “origin” server and ask for an updated file to send out to a web site visitor.

        [...]

        What we know about this.

        Friends on Twitter and googling for this name informs us that this is a “game launcher” done by Tencent. I’ve tried to contact them via Twitter (as I have no means of contacting them otherwise that seems even remotely likely to work).

        I have not checked what these user-agent POSTs, because I didn’t log that. I suspect it was just a zero byte POST.

        The URL they post to is the CA cert bundle file with provide on the curl CA extract web page. The one we convert from the Mozilla version into a PEM for users of the world to enjoy. (Someone seems to enjoy this maybe just a little too much.)

        The user-agents seemed to come (mostly) from China which seems to add up. Also, the look of the graph when it goes up and down could indicate an eastern time zone.

        This program uses libcurl. Harry in the #curl channel found files in Virus Total and had a look. It is, I think, therefore highly likely that this “storm” is caused by an application using curl!

        My theory: this is some sort of service that was deployed, or an upgrade shipped, that wants to get an updated CA store and they get that from our site with this request. Either they get it far too often or maybe there are just a very large amount them or similar. I cannot understand why they issue a POST though. If they would just have done a GET I would never have noticed and they would’ve fetched perfectly fine cached versions from the CDN…

        Feel free to speculate further!

      • Mozilla VR Blog: Unity WebXR Exporter Update

        We are happy to release an updated version of our Unity Exporter. It now supports WebXR, the new cross browser API for VR and AR on the web. Unity is a great tool for building cross platform experiences, and this plugin expands the list of available targets. Take your existing VR app to the web and reach new users easily across desktop and mobile headsets. It also has support for running in a traditional browser outside of a VR headset which you can use to progressively add VR functionality to your games or apps.

      • GRID (2019) is showing signs of coming to Linux

        GRID, the 2019 racer from Codemasters is showing some signs that a Linux port may be on the horizon going by some info taken from SteamDB.

        On the SteamDB page, recently a bunch of clear Linux entries appeared. To be clear though, it’s never a guarantee of anything and we’re speculating about it at this point. Since Codemasters already have multiple titles on Linux, the majority of which were ported to Linux by Feral Interactive (Virtual Programming did one), it makes it more likely this is coming.

        While it currently has a version on Stadia, so you can play it by streaming it, it’s not quite the same as a local copy that you can tune especially for your rig. Stadia is still very new too, and for some it’s simply not playable. So, if this turns from speculation and rumour into a real port it will be very welcome.

      • Experiment with different ways to assassinate as ‘HITMAN’ is free to play this weekend

        HITMAN from IO Interactive and the Linux port from Feral Interactive is a great game worth your time and monies, plus you can try the whole game across this weekend for free.

        While the game has the first opening section free anyway, this Steam Free Weekend allows you to progress through the entire game. The amount of freedom you get in HITMAN is brilliant, I’ve ended up spending multiple hours in a single mission in one sitting before, trying to mess with all the targets as much as possible. If you love experimenting and watching things unfold, it’s a really fun game.

      • Iratus: Lord of the Dead releasing April 23 – a Linux beta is up ready for testing

        Iratus: Lord of the Dead, a turn-based tactical roguelike RPG set in a dark fantasy universe that looks fantastic is now due for release on April 23. The good news is that recently Unfrozen and Daedalic Entertainment actually put up a Linux Beta, so presumably that will be available with the full release.

      • Vampire: The Masquerade – Shadows of New York announced for release this year

        Draw Distance say this acts as a more “personal and unique tale”, so perhaps this time around your choices might make more of an impact. That was one of the problems of the first game, with choices that didn’t mean too much and a somewhat abrupt ending. At least now though, if you did enjoy it, you can look forward to more in the same setting. If you’ve not played the previous, that’s fine too, as it’s a shared world but a new story.

      • Action RPG ‘Hellpoint’ has been delayed until sometime in Q2 2020

        Cradle Games announced yesterday that their upcoming action RPG ‘Hellpoint’, has been delayed and they’re not giving it a date now other than before the end of Q2 2020.

        This means it’s now likely sometime before the end of June, although as these things go it could be extended further. So why are they doing it? You can probably guess: “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting businesses worldwide, and, unfortunately, Cradle Games are feeling the strain as well.” they said in their announcement on Steam.

        While they are no doubt affected, it probably doesn’t help that their Free standalone demo/prologue type thing with Hellpoint: The Thespian Feast (Windows only supported), has so far not been getting good user ratings overall. So hopefully they can use this time to act on the feedback to make the full game, which will support Linux, better overall.

      • The Procession to Calvary is a brilliantly funny adventure of Renaissance paintings stitched together

        The Procession to Calvary is one of the most unique experiences I’ve played so far this year, and a brilliantly funny one too. A point and click adventure, made up of Renaissance paintings that have been cut up a stitched together in all sorts of ridiculous ways. Note: Key provided by the developer.

        Made by Joe Richardson, it’s a standalone story set in the same world as their previous game Four Last Things. Thankfully, that means you can jump right in without prior knowledge. If you enjoy British-styled Monty Python-inspired jokes (or anything like Black Adder), then The Procession to Calvary is basically a must have. You take on the role of soldier with no war, so you set off on a journey to try and murder one last person—the tyrant Heavenly Peter.

      • 6 Great Sites to Play Online Board Games with Friends

        Board games have traditionally been a tabletop activity, but in the age of the Internet, there’s no reason every player needs to share the same table. Online board games are quickly becoming a popular way to spend time with friends and family who might not share your geographical location, and it’s not just online chess anymore. Here are some great sites for you to play online board games with friends.

      • Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed DLC out now for macOS and Linux

        Now available for macOS and Linux, the Total War: THREE KINGDOMS – A World Betrayed Chapter Pack portrays a seminal moment in the history of the Three Kingdoms. Many of the pioneering warlords have now fallen, leaving a new generation of warriors vying to forge their own dynasties.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • New Qt releases possibly restricted to paying customers for 12 months, KDE not particularly happy

          There’s a storm brewing in the world of Qt and KDE, as the parent company of Qt, The Qt Company, is contemplating restricting new Qt releases to paying customers (i.e., not releasing them as open source) for twelve months. This obviously affects the KDE project considerably, who have been negotiating with The Qt Company for years now.

          [...]

          Luckily for the future of KDE and Qt, there is an agreement in place between KDE and The Qt Company that states that “[…] should The Qt Company discontinue the development of the Qt Free Edition under the required licenses, then the Foundation has the right to release Qt under a BSD-style license or under other open source licenses.”

          This is a serious issue that I hope can be resolved, as nobody will benefit from a serious rift between The Qt Company and the KDE project.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • AV Linux 2020.4.10 Released!

          Shortly after the Christmas holidays some time opened up for me to work on an AV Linux update and as time went on the rumours about a new respiratory virus started to permeate the mainstream media and now here we are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic! So it is with mixed feelings but much gratitude I release the latest ISO of AV Linux 2020. I am very thankful for the multitudes of talented developers and collaborators from all over the world whose incredible work I get to present and share on this little DVD-sized serving platter, my compliments to the chefs!! It occured to me recently that with the exception of Ubuntu Studio and perhaps the CCRMA project AV Linux is the longest running Linux Audio Distribution out there, As with many DIY spare time projects there have been times of ebb and flow and even a few times when continuing seemed to be impossible but I have to say the odds were never great for a Canadian farmer to pull this off in the first place and it’s still here!

          Unlike older versions of AV Linux this LiveISO is not aiming to provide an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink experience, running Linux Distros live off thumbdrives is fun but in the real world nobody is going to spend a sustained amount of time using any Operating System to it’s full potential from a USB Key… what’s possible isn’t necessarily practical. The idea here is to focus on a fast, efficient and attractive base and complement it with strong front-running applications to showcase good performance and reliable software with an eye toward practicality and economy. Ardour and Mixbus32C are great included DAW examples but what makes AV Linux a good platform for Ardour also makes it a good platform for Qtractor, Reaper, Bitwig, Renoise, Waveform or whatever DAW you prefer. For those not experienced with Linux Audio the intention is to answer your questions before you know to ask them and provide most of the laborious ‘next steps’ that would be required if you were to start with a basic vanilla Linux Distribution and configure it for the best Audio performance.

        • Simply Linux 9

          Simply Linux is easy to install and use operating system that enables users to perform all of their day-to-day tasks without fearing virii or wasting their time searching the Internet or stores for all the necessary software.

          Simply Linux project is the Linux OS adapted for the user. The project’s idea is to interest the user with Free Software by showing the comfort and convenience of working with it.

          The software suite includes more than 30 application software packages for most user needs as well as wide range of device drivers making peripherals use easier.

        • EndeavourOS: Our next release is nearing its due date

          The wait is almost over, after two postponements we finally can announce the launch of our newest ISO…

          Before I go into detail with the very exciting list of enhancements and new features the upcoming release is shipping, I’m also going to give you an update on other projects you can expect very soon, so here goes…

          [...]

          We’ve decided to let go of the theming of each Desktop Environment, due to the enthusiastic reactions we’ve received on our December release. Starting from our upcoming release, all Desktop Environments on the net-installer will be installed vanilla-themed with the option to install our branded wallpaper. So, unlike the December release, XFCE will be installed vanilla themed also.

          Our offline XFCE install will still be shipping the themed version.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Bringing Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise closer together – a proposal
          Hi everyone,
          
          today I have some exciting news and a proposal to relay: SUSE wants to
          go another step in openness towards the openSUSE community and suggests
          to bring the relationship of openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise to 
          a new level.
          
          Internally this idea is called "Closing the Leap Gap" and proposes to
          strengthen and bring more closely together:
          
           * developer communities, by focusing on openSUSE Leap as a 
             development platform for communities and industry partners;
           * user communities, by leveraging the benefits of both a stable
             Enterprise code base and the speed of community contributions;
           * the code bases of openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE), 
             by not only sharing sources, but also offering the SUSE Linux 
             Enterprise binaries for inclusion in openSUSE Leap.
          
          The proposal includes a three step approach:
          
           1. Merge the code bases for the intersection of openSUSE Leap 15.2 
              and SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 as much as possible without loss 
              of functionality or stability. (SUSE has started a cleanup process 
              on the SUSE Linux Enterprise side already.)
           2. In parallel to classic openSUSE Leap 15.2 create a flavor leveraging
              SLE binaries, leading to an intermediate release in the October 2020
              time frame.
           3. Build openSUSE Leap 15.3 with SLE binaries included by default
              (assuming community agreement).
          
          As you can imagine, a number of people have been involved with this
          so far, and I'd like to pull some of them in front of the curtain in 
          a little interview.
          
          Q: Thomas, all of engineering at SUSE reports to you, and I know 
             openSUSE is something you care about quite a bit.  What is SUSE  
             putting on the table here?
          
          Thomas Di Giacomo: Let me step back, and give you a perspective as I see
            it. SUSE for 27+ years has been a part of global open source ecosystem
            that includes a vast number of developers, end users, communities,
            and organizations of all sizes working together and benefiting from
            the collective work. Most of our engineers are involved as well with
            some open source communities that they feel passionate about.
          
            Open source communities are an integral part of who we are and the
            ecosystem we serve. Naturally, we feel responsible to support the
            communities and the work done by them. openSUSE is no different and
            is actually even more special and very dear to SUSE. So, it should
            come as no surprise that we are fully committed towards the openSUSE
            project(s) and its community. It makes us all feel proud to see Leap
            and Tumbleweed grow and evolve, together with SUSE Linux Enterprise.
            This effort of our engineers working together with others in the
            openSUSE community will benefit everyone involved for many years 
            to come.
          
          Q: And why are you doing this?
          
          Thomas: We want open source to succeed for everyone – developers,
            contributors to end users and everyone in between. The benefits of
            open source are tremendous when the ecosystem grows as a result of
            the positive virtuous cycle of – contributing more, supporting the
            contributions, benefiting from contributions, which inspires more
            people contributing, and it goes on to grow as an upward virtuous spiral.
          
            We feel fortunate to be in the position of seeing the openSUSE community
            grow in tandem with the success of SUSE Linux Enterprise, and both
            feeding off each other to grow even more. This idea definitely goes in
            that direction. Now, let me defer to Matthias who came up with this idea.
          
          Q: Okay, so, Matthias, first of all: what is your role at SUSE?
          
          Matthias Eckermann: I am leading the Product Management team for 
            Linux platforms, covering SUSE Linux Enterprise, Edge, and Security.
          
          Q: And what made you propose this?
          
          Matthias: My team and I realized that the engagement of our SLE 
            business with the openSUSE community does not fully fit our view 
            on openness, and that mutual benefits are not leveraged sufficiently.
          
            We discussed what it would take to bridge the gap and bring the
            relationship to the next level. Beyond a common ground on the
            technical side, the code streams, this requires learning from each
            other; for example, we need to re-establish an open feature process
            between community, SUSE, and our industry partners.
          
            Thus we developed "Closing the Leap Gap", and - to test whether it
            might have a chance to fly - we outlined the initial idea with the
            openSUSE Board before going for approvals by SUSE management.
          
          Q: You mention the board, so let me ask.  What is your take?
             What opportunities, benefits do you see?  What risks?
          
          Dr. Axel Braun: With this change, we can make better use of our
            resources, as two code bases converge - so one build target less to
            consider. Everyone who packages for Leap and for Package Hub will
            immediately benefit from this.
          
          Marina Latini: It's really exciting to see how SUSE is trying to increase
            its support for Leap, reducing the existing differences between our
            openSUSE Leap and SLE. I can see this proposal as a way to be more
            inclusive, giving to the community the opportunity to contribute in 
            an easier way to Leap and giving the chance to bring the openSUSE 
            spirit also in an Enterprise product like SLE.
          
            On the other hand, every new move is a change and we need to be sure
            that the changes won't limit our community freedom to submit packages
            to Leap or won't slow down Leap for following the internal SUSE
            development model.
          
          Q: Matthias, that sounds like some extra effort required.
             How is SUSE contributing, what is SUSE committing to?
          
          Matthias: Indeed, there is quite some one-time effort needed to get
            (back) to the common ground; this is covered by SUSE engineering teams;
            two groups are heavily involved: The Open Build Service experts are
            designing a workflow for a smooth integration of the binaries, and
            for reducing the long term maintenance efforts for our community
            contributors. SUSE release managers and packagers are working hard
            to synchronize the code bases without losing functionality or quality.
            Hundreds of change requests have been filed already, and to get this
            done properly, we are delaying the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise
            15 SP2 to July.
          
            And we are willing to invest more, to drive the idea to success
            quickly: we would take the burden, to create an intermediate openSUSE
            Leap release in October 2020 which then would incorporate SUSE Linux
            Enterprise binaries into Leap the first time.
          
            Probably, Adrian can comment on the Build Service aspects, and Lubos
            what it means to developers within SUSE and to the community release
            process?
          
          Q: So, Lubos, as release manager for Leap, what have you been doing
             so far, and what is the impact you see?
          
          Lubos Kocman: I spent most of the time on collecting data regarding SLE
            and Leap differences and having follow-up discussions and transforming
            feedback into action items. Max and the rest of the openSUSE release
            engineering team meanwhile did an excellent job of keeping Leap release
            activities going forward.
          
            The idea of re-using should generally lower the effort on the Leap side.
            However, it comes with the price of increased complexity to bring all
            pieces together. A new process will allow external contributors to file
            feature or update requests directly to SLE. This will already help a lot.
          
          Q: Is this an outcome bound effort, or time bound?  I know the SLE
             release schedule is a bit like a 300m tanker.
          
          Lubos: It's both. I see this as a balance between what can we deliver,
            how, and to what date. It took quite some effort to create a plan
            acceptable by all involved teams. Splitting the work across the
            upcoming two releases seemed to be accepted well at least by 
            involved parties so far.
          
          Q: So, that is SLE 15 SP2.  How about Leap 15.2?
          
          Lubos: openSUSE Leap 15.2 will have to slip by about 8 weeks to incorporate 
            all changes from the SLE and align with its new schedule. I believe that 
            the release will find a great use for extra time since we're still 
            finishing the refresh of packages from Factory. The prototype will 
            be meanwhile available in parallel to the openSUSE Leap 15.2.
          
          Q: How is that research proceeding, Adrian?
          
          Adrian Schröter: We have an idea about the setup in build.opensuse.org.
            I anticipate to have a first prototype of the build setup in next three
            weeks. And more important is how to develop the workflows to allow a
            more collaborative joint effort between SLE and openSUSE development.
          
            However, we must keep in mind that this is really an entire new way to
            develop a distribution. On one hand it makes a lot of sense to integrate
            for example the SUSE Backports (aka Package Hub) people directly in our
            development process. This will make our distribution development stronger.
          
            On the other hand, we also must find ways how to solve new problems.
            For example how to keep our builds for architectures not covered by
            SLES like Arm 32bit and RISC-V. Also the turn around times of submissions
            and build results will be a challenge in the initial setup. And last but
            not least, the installed systems and users may need to deal with more
            repositories.
          
            But we have one year to work on these problems in parallel to our
            stable distribution. And we are indeed looking forward to make 
            openSUSE and SLE development more beneficial than ever.
          
          Gerald: Thanks everyone for your input.  I'll be sharing all this with
            openSUSE mailing lists, and am sure there will be further questions,
            offers to help, and other input, so please chime in there.
          
          
          https://en.opensuse.org/Portal:Leap/FAQ/ClosingTheLeapGap has an FAQ with
          more details.
          
          
          Lubos is going to send a proposal with more details on the implementation
          side to opensuse-factory@.
          
          I suggest we focus technical discussions of this offer and proposals
          there (opensuse-factory@) and general discussions on opensuse-project@.
          
          
          So, what do you think?
          
          Gerald
          
        • OpenSUSE Leap + SUSE Linux Enterprise Planning To Move Closer In 2020

          SUSE and the openSUSE community are working to move SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE Leap closer together.

          A proposal sent out today with the interest of SUSE is for taking the openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise relationship to a new level. This new collaboration would more closely align the source trees of openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise Linux, including the use of SUSE Linux Enterprise binaries within Leap.

        • SUSE proposes synchronizing code streams, includes SLE binaries for openSUSE Leap

          SUSE has sent a proposal to the openSUSE community about bringing the code streams of both SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE Leap closer together. The proposal includes SLE binaries for the community version.

          Bringing the code streams closer together to provide full compatibility provides several advantages to the community going forward such as the use of higher-quality code due to the clean-up of spec-files, an improved relationship between the two distributions, easier bug reporting, less code streams to maintain, extensively tested packages and the inclusion of SLE supported architectures like s390x.

          “With this change, we can make better use of our resources as one code base converge, so one build target less to consider,” expressed openSUSE board member Axel Braun in an email sent out to the community about the proposal. “Everyone who packages for Leap and for Package Hub will immediately benefit from this.”

          The proposal provided a staged approach to implementing the vision. The email listed the following options: • Merge the code bases for the intersection of openSUSE Leap 15.2 and SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 as much as possible without loss of stability or functionality. (SUSE has actually started merging from Leap into SUSE Linux Enterprise.) • Create an intermediate openSUSE Leap flavor where SLE binaries are used inside (October 2020 time frame) in parallel to classic Leap 15.2. • Build openSUSE Leap 15.3 with SLE binaries included by default (assuming community agreement).

        • Sleepless and prepared: SUSE’s Melissa Di Donato draws on open-source’s community spirit



          In normal times, asking the chief executive officer of a major technology company what keeps him or her up at night would generally elicit responses ranging from profitability and customer growth to innovation and the pursuit of digital transformation.

          But these are not normal times.

          “What keeps me up at night now and how I wake up every morning is wondering about the health of my employees,” said Melissa Di Donato (pictured), chief executive officer of SUSE Group. “For us, this is nothing new, and we were really fortunate that we had the mechanisms in place to handle the pandemic first in China and then as it came across Europe and the U.S.”

        • SUSE Announces Free Access To Online Training

          In light of the unprecedented and disruptive conditions that many of our customers find themselves operating their businesses in I am pleased to be able to announce an offer, to help alleviate this, by providing free access to SUSE online training.

          Many of our customers have adopted work-from-home mandates around the world due to COVID-19. This presents a challenge for IT data center and cloud professionals who need to keep their technology skills up to date. Now is an excellent time to get your data center and cloud teams more skilled on SUSE technologies and with that in mind we have a great offer for you.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Deploying a containerized Red Hat Ceph Storage 4 cluster using ceph-ansible

          The landscape of modern IT infrastructure is dominated by software defined networking, public cloud, hybrid cloud and software defined storage. The shift from legacy hardware centric architectures to embrace software defined infrastructure requires a more mature orchestration “engine” to manage changes across distributed systems. For many enterprises, Ansible has fulfilled this requirement and this in turn has led to the upstream Ceph community basing their next generation management toolchain on Ansible, in the form of Sébastien Han’s ceph-ansible.

          Ceph Storage was the first Red Hat product to incorporate Ansible technology after our October 2015 acquisition of Ansible’s corporate sponsor. Red hat Ceph Storage has been shipping ceph-ansible as its default installer since 2016 (Ceph Storage 2.0), supporting Ceph Storage installation and management across a wide variety of use cases, architectures and deployment sizes. In the process, ceph-ansible has achieved an unparalleled flexibility in the depth of configuration options made available to power users.

        • Red Hat and Perficient: Day 2 Operations with OpenShift 4 MachineSets

          In Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4, Red Hat released the capability to manage OpenShift infrastructure through the use of the cluster API, with machines and MachineSets. This post will discuss a few of the exciting things that this does for day two operations and running/maintaining your container infrastructure.

          At Perficient we’ve been finding MachineSets very useful, and wanted to share what we’ve learned about them in helping stand up OpenShift deployments with Red Hat and our customers.

        • Node.js update for Red Hat Runtimes brings improved support for native modules, diagnostic reporting, and more

          Developing applications on a Kubernetes distribution like Red Hat OpenShift—or on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), or by using our Universal Base Images—is easier with Red Hat’s build of Node.js. The latest update of Red Hat Runtimes now includes Node.js 12.4.1, which provides a supported runtime for LTS releases. This new Red Hat build of Node.js together with the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.1 provides a number of new features and enhancements compared to Node.js 10.

          This article focuses on these new features and enhancements.

        • Why Kubernetes native instead of cloud native?

          First off, I’m not referring to Knative, the Kubernetes-based platform for modern serverless workloads, but Kubernetes native. In this article, I will explain what Kubernetes native is, what it means, and why it should matter to developers and enterprises. Before we delve into Kubernetes native, I will recap what cloud-native application development is and how that leads us to Kubernetes-native application development.

          [...]

          Related to cloud-native technologies is The Twelve-Factor App, a set of patterns (or methodology) for building applications that are delivered as a service. Cloud architecture patterns are often described as being required for developing cloud-native applications. Twelve-factor overlaps with Wilder’s cloud architecture patterns, but 12-factor goes into the details of application development that are not specifically related to cloud-native development. They equally apply to application development in general and how an application integrates with the infrastructure.

          Wilder wrote his book during a period of growing interest in developing and deploying cloud-native applications. Developers had a variety of public and private platforms to choose from, including Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and many smaller cloud providers. Hybrid-cloud deployments were also becoming more prevalent around then, which presented challenges.

        • Take the Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge

          IBM Developer is dedicated to helping you on your journey in innovating and modernizing your applications. As a part of our mission to help you, IBM Developer kicked off the Kubernetes with Red Hat OpenShift World Tour in October 2019. Developer advocates interfaced with you around the world. With the COVID-19 pandemic and requirements for social distance, we made the move to go digital with online events.

          The Kubernetes with Red Hat OpenShift World Tour is a series of hands-on workshops that empowers developers to innovate and ship faster with the leading hybrid cloud, enterprise container platform. Join us at a workshop in your region and get hands-on experience to build applications with speed, agility, and confidence. New workshop dates and regions are added regularly.

          [...]

          With more than 100 meetups in more than 20 countries, we’re kicking this world tour to a new level: An all-digital, Kubernetes-focused coding challenge. Ready to challenge your knowledge and skills on Kubernetes, whether or not you have attended an event? This challenge is for you.

          The Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge is comprised of a progression of four quick coding labs, which help you explore a different aspect of open, cloud-native development using a variety of key technologies. Each individual lab takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Best of all? You don’t need to leave your desk to participate.

        • Investing in Disruptive Technologies

          Previous articles have highlighted some of the challenges in attempting to develop disruptive technologies and products in a traditional corporate environment – basically it doesn’t work.

        • Fedora program update 2020-15

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The Final freeze is underway and the Go/No-Go meeting is Thursday!

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

        • Using Fedora to quickly implement REST API with JavaScript

          Fedora Workstation uses GNOME Shell by default and this one was mainly written in JavaScript.

          JavaScript is famous as a language of front-end development but this time we‘ll show it‘s usage for back-end.

          We‘ll implement a new API using the following technologies: JavaScript, Express and Fedora Workstation. A web browser is being used to call the service (eg. Firefox from the default Fedora WS distro).

        • Contribute at the Fedora Test Week for Kernel 5.6

          The kernel team is working on final integration for kernel 5.6. This version was just recently released, and will arrive soon in Fedora. As a result, the Fedora kernel and QA teams have organized a test week from Monday, April 13, 2020 through Monday, April 20, 2020. Refer to the wiki page for links to the test images you’ll need to participate. Read below for details.

        • Contribute at the Kernel and IoT edition Fedora test days

          Fedora test days are events where anyone can help make sure changes in Fedora work well in an upcoming release. Fedora community members often participate, and the public is welcome at these events. If you’ve never contributed to Fedora before, this is a perfect way to get started.

          There are two upcoming test days in the upcoming week. The first, starts on Monday 13 April through Monday 20 April, is to test the Kernel 5.6. Wednesday April 15, the test day is focusing on Fedora 32 IoT Edition. Come and test with us to make the upcoming Fedora 32 even better. Read more below on how to do it.

        • Kamil Páral: Stay informed about QA events

          Hello, this is a reminder that you can easily stay informed about important upcoming QA events and help with testing Fedora, especially now during Fedora 32 development period.

          The first obvious option for existing Fedora contributors is to subscribe to the test-announce mailing list. We announce all our QA meetings, test days, composes nominated for testing and other important information in there.

        • Remi Collet: PHP 8.0 as Software Collection

          Version 8.0.0-alpha1 will be soon released. It’s still in development and will enter soon in the stabilization phase for the developers, and the test phase for the users.

          RPM of this upcoming version of PHP 8.0, are available in remi repository for Fedora 31, 32 and Enterprise Linux 7, 8 (RHEL, CentOS, …) in a fresh new Software Collection (php80) allowing its installation beside the system version.

          As I strongly believe in SCL potential to provide a simple way to allow installation of various versions simultaneously, and as I think it is useful to offer this feature to allow developers to test their applications, to allow sysadmin to prepare a migration or simply to use this version for some specific application, I decide to create this new SCL.

      • Debian Family

        • Norbert Preining: TeX Live 2020 released

          Due to COVID-19, DVD production will be delayed, but we have decided to release the current image and update the net installer. The .iso image is available on CTAN, and the net installer will pull all the newest stuff. Currently we are working on getting those packages updated during the freeze to the newest level in TeX Live.

        • Three candidates vying to be DPL

          The annual Debian project leader (DPL) election is well underway at this point; voting begins in early April and the outcome will be known after the polls close on April 18. Outgoing DPL Sam Hartman posted a lengthy “non-platform” in the run-up to the election, which detailed the highs and lows of his term, perhaps providing something of a roadmap, complete with pitfalls, for potential candidates—Hartman is not running again this time. When the nomination period completed, three people put their hats into the ring: Jonathan Carter, Sruthi Chandran, and Brian Gupta. Their platforms have been posted and there have been several threads on the debian-vote mailing list with questions for the candidates; it seems like a good time to look in on the race.

          After the call for nominations went out, Carter posted a self-nomination that was rather longer than the usual message of that type. Hartman was concerned that his “not running” message might have influenced the length of Carter’s “thoughtful message”—and set too high of a bar for others who might want to nominate themselves. Carter assured Hartman that his posting (and its length) had no bearing on the self-nomination, however.

        • Sparky 2020.04~dev0

          Call for testers!

          It is a development release of Sparky which is based on Debian testing “Bullseye”.

          Goals:
          • added support of installation Sparky on UEFI machines with Secure Boot; the live system should be booted with Secure Boot off; after installation the Secure Boot can be turned on
          • both installers: Calamares and Sparky’s Advanced provides support of such installation
          • Calamares updated up to version 3.2.22
          • disabled updating package list by Calamares; if you install Sparky with active Internet connection, Debian or Sparky server can be temporary off or they are not reachable, it breaks/stops the installation, but not any more now

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04 Early Looks

          In this video, we are looking at a pre-release edition, as of 8 April 2020, of Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 20.04.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Features the Return of a Familiar Face…

          Having been recently crowned the greatest Ubuntu wallpaper of all time on Twitter the heralded Hardy Heron makes its (overdue, imo) return to Ubuntu desktop proper.

          The image last shipped on an Ubuntu .iso way back in 2008 — has it been that long already?!

          To ensure that the heron is fit and fine its encore in the Focal Fossa, Ubuntu desktop lead Martin Wimpress remastered the image from the original .svg source files.

        • Volla Phone Will Be Shipping with Ubuntu Touch Pre-Installed


          Hallo Welt Systeme UG, the maker of the Volla Phone, an upcoming open source mobile smartphone that promises to give users the liberty to choose the pre-installed operating system, is now a Gold Sponsor of UBports Foundation, the maker of the Ubuntu Touch mobile OS.

          While Volla Phone is still looking for backers at Indiegogo with a price tag of 359 EUR and an estimated shipping date of November 2020, will give customers the option of buying the device with Ubuntu Touch pre-installed.

        • Developers are exploring Android help for Lumia telephones

          Developer Gustave is now experimenting with Ubuntu Focal Fossa for Lumia telephones and the undertaking makes use of a kernel port developed by imbushuo in 2018. According to the dev, the newest mainline kernel for Linux works with out modifications on Lumia 950 XL now.

        • Developers are exploring Android support for Lumia phones
        • Ubuntu Core: an independent security analysis

          Once in a while an opportunity comes along that brings out our inner geek like no other, which is what happened when Canonical asked if we’d be willing to review the overall cybersecurity model of Ubuntu Core and its ecosystem. We’re no strangers to operating system security — we’ve been hands-on operating system cybersecurity practitioners and contributors dating back to the 1990s, with Berkeley (BSD) Unix and early Intel/embedded variants such as BSD/OS, and in more recent years on embedded Linux platforms for mission-critical devices ranging from card access control systems to medical devices and traffic lights.

          One of the challenges we often run into is that the traditional focus on a wide array of user-centric features has resulted in Linux distributions that are easy-to-use and incredibly powerful, but not well-suited for purpose-specific uses such as appliances and IoT/Industrial IoT (IIoT) devices. Specialized embedded OSs have been available for many decades, but typically have suffered as “closed” products where functionality was limited and enhancements were highly dependent on the vendor. Even more problematic is the lack of “fleet management” functionality. Typically, the embedded OS was installed when the device was shipped, and barring some herculean effort, that same version and functionality were likely still on the device when it went to its grave.

        • Robotics pages on Ubuntu: bridging the gap

          Canonical is not a robotics company, but we like robots and want to support robotics. We do this through contributions to ROS and to ROS 2, as well as developing and supporting Ubuntu Core. The overview page is mostly a restructure of what we had before in order to reflect this. This page focuses on what Ubuntu can offer to organisations looking at robotics in the enterprise. Information was taken out and put onto the other new pages to make this one more concise and consumable. We added new links to more up-to-date content. The links throughout the pages will now send you to learn more about robotics on Ubuntu. And we refreshed the page with new logos under “Companies using ROS on Ubuntu.” These are some of our favourite robotics companies that we know for a fact are using ROS on Ubuntu. Paving the way.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • For real…
      • Octavio Mendez Passed Away 29

        It is with great sadness that I must report we lost a great community member today. Octavio Mendez, a long-time cornerstone of the Mexican Blender and open source community, has passed away after fighting the Corona virus.

        Claudio Malefico Andaur contacted me about this, and shared the following…

      • Horray 2.0.0 released

        I must admit: The release took way longer than expected. We released 2.0.0-rc0 back in 2017 and planned to do the final release really soon afterwards but it turned out a little different :).

        Now we are happy to announce that FreeRDP 2.0.0 is available for download.

      • FreeRDP 2.0 Released With Flatpak Support, RAP v2 Support, Font Smoothing By Default

        Three years after the FreeRDP 2.0 release candidates began, version 2.0 of this Free Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) implementation is finally available. FreeRDP remains one of the leading RDP remote desktop solutions for Linux users and is finally ready to lead with its shiny new release.

        FreeRDP 2.0 brings support for the Microsoft Remote Assistant Protocol Version 2, an initial RDP proxy implementation, removal of DirectFB client support, font smoothing is now enabled by default, Flatpak packaging support, smart scaling for Wayland, and a wide variety of other improvements. FreeRDP 2.0 also brings quite a number of CVEs addressed and a variety of other security issues resolved.

      • Peter Czanik: Insider 2020-04: syslog-ng RPM; mult-line-timeout; FreeBSD;

        This is the 80th issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

        In these difficult times, when many of us stay at home, we can decide what to do with that bit of extra time that we don’t spend commuting. Some of us turn to entertainment or hobbies, do long-neglected things around the house, or even focus on studying and honing skills. If you ran out of movies to watch and want to spend your time on something more practical, this might be the best time to learn something new about syslog-ng.

      • Computational Biologist James Taylor Dies

        Taylor was one of the founders and developers of the Galaxy Project in 2005. The platform allowed scientists to better understand genomic and epigenomic activity across individuals and species without every researcher needing to learn computer programming. Galaxy is now used to analyze bioinformatics data with increased accuracy and reproducibility in many fields, ranging from drug discovery to ecology, and has been used in nearly 9,000 scientific publications, according to its website.

      • Best Instant Messaging Apps In 2020

        There is one thing that I want to point out about Jitsi Meet. This video-conferencing software does not belong to any of the big corporations, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, or Microsoft. Jitsi Meet app is also free of charge. If you look for a chat app to protect your data, this is the one. Same as the other two above, this app works via a web browser, and it can also be downloaded on your mobile phones/tablets.

        Jitsi Meet is not so well known but is an app that protects your personal data. I might take you a while to get comfortable with the interface, but the app has a lot of features available that can make your life easier. Jitsi Meet is an organized app that I’m sure you will love. You can also use Jitsi Meet to stream live on YouTube or record the whole meeting. The app comes with a lot of features waiting to be explored.

      • How to use Jitsi Meet, an open source Zoom alternative

        So you’re sick of Zoom.

        Maybe it’s the privacy issues, the security issues, or just the whole misrepresenting its encryption thing. Regardless of the specific reason, you know that there has to be a better video-conferencing tool out there, and you’re determined to find it. Enter Jitsi Meet.

        Much like Zoom, the free and open-source video-chat tool is easy to use and requires little-to-no onboarding. It’s also encrypted, and doesn’t sell your data. As an added bonus, you don’t need an account and you don’t need to download anything to start or join a meeting. Oh yeah, and it supports tile view.

      • Web Browsers

        • New Release: Tor Browser 9.0.9

          Tor Browser 9.0.9 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

          This release is updating Firefox to 68.7.0esr, NoScript to 11.0.23 and OpenSSL to 1.1.1f.

        • Mozilla

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Improvements in LibreOffice’s PowerPoint presentation support

          LibreOffice’s native file format is OpenDocument, a fully open and standardised format that’s great for sharing documents and long-term data storage. Of course, LibreOffice does its best to open files made by other office software as well, even if they’re stored in pseudo-“standards” with cryptic and obfuscated contents. Compatibility with PowerPoint PPT(X) presentations is therefore a challenge, but developers are working hard on improvements…

          In September 2019, we announced an initiative to improve the support of PPT and PPTX files in LibreOffice. A summary of achievements was published later that year. Now it is time for another review.

        • QA/Dev Report: March 2020
      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • CopyleftConf 2020: quick rewind

            This was my first time attending CopyleftConf. I attended on behalf of RIT LibreCorps to represent the sustainability efforts at the RIT FOSS@MAGIC initiative. However, I also represented myself as an individual in the Free Software movement. For CopyleftConf 2020, I arrived hoping to learn more about where we, as the Free Software community, are going. I also hoped to gain a deeper ethical perspective about our digital society.

            [...]

            Many people are confused. The confusion is simultaneously indecisive and divisive. I believe the identity crisis stems from that early decision in 1997 about what we call this particularly different way of developing and collaborating on software and technology. Free Software or open source? One is politically charged and historically exclusive, while the other is more neutral and business-friendly, and more inclusive to people who believe in compromise. Today, we are seeing an similar, emerging divide between Free/Open Source and Ethical Source.

            There are several emotions. It is deeply personal. For some, the promises of free/open source failed our collective humanity. For others, open source is a vastly successful turn of events to make the closed world more open. Yet for others still, it is both. CopyleftConf 2020 took a highlighter to this tension between what we consider right and wrong. It also questioned what the role of Free Software is in all of this.

            I don’t think anyone has the answer yet. Surely some people left CopyleftConf 2020 with a more clear view if they think licensing is a viable approach or not. But CopyleftConf 2020 did not have this answer. It just made it clear that most of us are still wrestling with this.

      • Programming/Development

        • Git version control system hits 15 year milestone

          Happy birthday, Git. The open source distributed version control system was first released on April 7th 2005, and thus today marks its 15th anniversary – 15 years aiding software developers to collaborate on projects large and small no matter where on the globe they may be.

          Git began life when the Linux kernel team sought a highly performant, distributed and robust version control platform for developers worldwide. This is an important tool in the development pipeline, allowing new code from multiple developers to be pulled together with robust protections from corruption.

          Finding nothing suitable, Linus Torvalds wrote his own – after all, what else would Linus do? He began on April 3rd 2005 and released it on April 7th.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: Rcpp 1.0.4.6: Bug fix interim version

          Rcpp 1.0.4 was released on March 17, following the usual sequence of fairly involved reverse-depends check along with a call for community testing issued weeks before the release. In that email I specifically pleaded with folks to pretty-please test non-standard setups:

          It would be particularly beneficial if those with “unsual” build dependencies tested it as we would increase overall coverage beyond what I get from testing against 1800+ CRAN packages. BioConductor would also be welcome.

          Alas, you can’t always get what you want. Shortly after the release we were made aware that the two (large) pull request at the book ends of the 1.0.3 to 1.0.4 release period created trouble. Of these two, the earliest PR in the 1.0.4 release upset older-than-CRAN-tested installation, i.e. R 3.3.0 or before. (Why you’d want to run R 3.3.* when R 3.6.3 is current is something I will never understand, but so be it.) This got addressed in two new PRs. And the matching last PR had a bit of sloppyness leaving just about everyone alone, but not all those macbook-wearing data scientists when using newer macOS SDKs not used by CRAN. In other words, “unsual” setups. But boy, do those folks have an ability to complain. Again, two quick PRs later that was addressed. Along came a minor PR with two more Rcpp::Shield<> uses (as life is too short to manually count PROTECT and UNPROTECT). And then a real issue between R 4.0.0 and Rcpp first noticed with RcppParallel builds on Windows but then also affecting RcppArmadillo. Another quickly issued fix. So by now the count is up to six, and we arrived at Rcpp 1.0.4.6.

        • Intel Issues A Slew Of Open-Source Software Updates For oneAPI

          Intel’s open-source teams have been issuing a slew of new packages in recent days.

          Among the notable Intel open-source packages crossing my radar in recent days include:

          OpenVKL 0.9 – Various VDB improvements, build system updates, various fixes, a variety of internal API changes, and also providing reference binaries now for Linux / macOS / Windows. This release also fixes an issue I had with OpenVKL for the last time I tried using it as a benchmark, so there is now also an OpenVKL test profile and we will be using it in our future benchmark articles where relevant.

        • F18/FLANG Merged Into LLVM 11 Codebase As Modern Fortran Compiler

          Following a number of setbacks over recent months, the modern Fortran “f18″ compiler front-end to LLVM has been upstreamed under the FLANG branding.

          The code originally developed under the f18 compiler as a project by Arm, NVIDIA, etc is now living in the upstream LLVM mono repository under the Flang name.

        • Intel Compute Runtime / IGC Shifts To LLVM Clang 10

          The Intel Graphics Compiler (IGC) and now in turn the Intel Compute Runtime have updated their compiler stack against the newly released LLVM Clang 10.0.

          LLVM 10.0 was released at the end of March with many new features. Intel’s open-source crew has punctually updated their graphics compiler code-base against LLVM 10.0 and now beginning with today’s Intel Compute Runtime release and their reference binaries now have the updated compiler at play.

        • Make a Side Pocket-esque pool game | Wireframe #36
        • Perl/Raku

          • KBOS attributes

            Welcome to the fifth post about the Kephra Base Object System, where I explain the need for three kinds of attributes: data, delegating and wrapping and gas a little about their properties. It is especially advised to have read the first part (scopes) and the previous part, since accessors are methods.

            In case you wonder how practical this exercise is – I already implemented a slightly simpler version and currently rewrite it. It’s a standalone bundle of modules with its own tests and docs named Base-Class (Kephra::Base::Class) (123kB), which depends only on the bundle Base (there are the data types) (32 kB). So once ready it could be released on CPAN without much work.

        • Python

          • PyCharm IDE 2020.1 Released with Interactive Rebasing

            PyCharm IDE 2020.1 was released a day ago as the first major release in 2020. The new version features interactive rebasing, smarter debugging, and JetBrains Mono font.

          • Flask Delicious Tutorial : Building a Library Management System Part 3 – Routes

            I have configured what we need in this repo: DeliciousFlask-3.1. Download it, and run app.py (If you are new to python see Part2).

            In this part we explore some concepts related to routes.

          • Talk Python to Me: #259 From Academia to Tech Industry and Python

            Did you come to Python from the academic side of the world? Maybe got into working with code for research or lab work and found you liked coding more than your first field of study. Whatever the reason, many people make the transition from the academic world over to tech and industry.

            On this episode, you’ll meet three women who have made this transition, and you’ll hear their stories. I’m excited to speak with Jennifer Stark, Kaylea Haynes, and Eslene Bikoumou about their journey to the tech field.

          • Test and Code: 108: PySpark – Jonathan Rioux

            Apache Spark is a unified analytics engine for large-scale data processing.
            PySpark blends the powerful Spark big data processing engine with the Python programming language to provide a data analysis platform that can scale up for nearly any task.

            Johnathan Rioux, author of “PySpark in Action”, joins the show and gives us a great introduction of Spark and PySpark to help us decide how to get started and decide whether or not to decide if Spark and PySpark are right you.

          • Temporary Contact Number based Contact Tracing

            I have already talked here before about privacy preserving contact tracing to fight Covid-19 but I figured I give an update to this. I have spent the last week now investigating different approaches to this and my view has changed quite a bit.

            I strongly believe that contact tracing through phone apps is one of our best chances to return to normal and without losing our civil liberties. If you want to understand why, have a look at previous post about this topic.

            [...]

            If your local government is planning on implementing a covid tracing app it might be worth directing them towards Co-Epi. It already has an implementation of many of the same ideas in their GitHub repository. If they do want a centralized approach the Singaporean government Open Sourced their application under GPL3 under the name BlueTrace. It avoids largely unnecessary cloud infrastructure from what I can tell.

          • WebRTC on mobile devices

            In one of my previous posts I described how to set up WebRTC in a simple web application, without unnecessary dependencies. Here I will expand that solution, making WebRTC work on a mobile device.

            For mobile development we will use React Native and react-native-webrtc module. The app was tested only on Android (versions 5.1 and 9), but after adding proper configuration it should work also on iOS.

          • sphinxcontrib-spelling 5.0.0

            sphinxcontrib-spelling is a spelling checker for Sphinx-based documentation. It uses PyEnchant to produce a report showing misspelled words.

          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #4: Learning Python Through Errors

            This week Christopher interviews Martin Breuss, about a couple of the video training courses he’s created for Real Python. They discuss his course on getting started with Django, and how to learn Python through errors, and how errors really are your friends.

            Martin talks about his work with Coding Nomads, and teaching Python around the world. He also provides some tips on debugging and writing good questions. This episode was recorded at an earlier date, and because of recent events Martin came back to discuss a new #StayAtHome Mentorship Program he’s working on. The program is meant not only for learners but also for those who want to try their hand at being a mentor. We also answer our first listener submitted question.

          • Reading and Writing JSON Files in Python with Pandas

            Pandas is one of the most commonly used Python libraries for data handling and visualization. The Pandas library provides classes and functionalities that can be used to efficiently read, manipulate and visualize data, stored in a variety of file formats.

            In this article, we’ll be reading and writing JSON files using Python and Pandas.

          • When to use metaclasses in Python: 5 interesting use cases

            Metaclasses are mentioned among the most advances features of Python. Knowing how to write one is perceived like having a Python black belt. But are they useful at all outside job interviews or conference talks? Let’s find out! This article will show you 5 practical applications of metaclasses.

          • Onboarding Forms – Building SaaS #51

            In this episode, we added the first form to collect data in the onboarding flow. We used a CreateView and defined all the fields that are needed in the HTML form.

            I started by filling in the HTML form structure of the page. Once the dummy version was in place, we changed from a TemplateView to a CreateView and began fixing each configuration error that the new view type reported as missing like missing a model field declaration.

            With the form in a working state, I created the next view in the sequence and wired the success state of the form to a redirect to the next step.

            At the end of the stream, I talked about the polish that is needed before the page is complete.

          • Reworking StringIO concatenation in Python

            Python string objects are immutable, so changing the value of a string requires that a new string object be created with the new value. That is fairly well-understood within the community, but there are some “anti-patterns” that arise; it is pretty common for new users to build up a longer string by repeatedly concatenating to the end of the “same” string. The performance penalty for doing that could be avoided by switching to a type that is geared toward incremental updates, but Python 3 has already optimized the penalty away for regular strings. A recent thread on the python-ideas mailing list explored this topic some.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Get started with Bash programming

            One of the original hopes for Unix was that it would empower everyday computer users to fine-tune their computers to match their unique working style. The expectations around computer customization have diminished over the decades, and many users consider their collection of apps and websites to be their “custom environment.” One reason for that is that the components of many operating systems are not open, so their source code isn’t available to normal users.

            But for Linux users, custom programs are within reach because the entire system is based around commands available through the terminal. The terminal isn’t just an interface for quick commands or in-depth troubleshooting; it’s a scripting environment that can reduce your workload by taking care of mundane tasks for you.

          • Print double-sided documents at home with this simple Bash script

            We have a laser printer at home. This Hewlett Packard LaserJet Pro CP1525nw Color Printer is an older model, but it has been a great workhorse that prints reliably and in color. I put it on our home network a few years ago using our Raspberry Pi as a print server.

  • Leftovers

    • John Lennon in Quarantine: a Letter From Havana

      John Lennon is in quarantine. He, or at least his bronze sculpture, sits on a bench in the leafy park at 17th & 6th Street in Vedado, as though inviting visitors to sit next to him and have a chat. At the foot of the bench is the inscription in Spanish: You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

    • Lockdown was supposed to be an introvert’s paradise. It’s not.

      Video chat has become the go-to substitute for many people’s discarded social lives, the place where they can see the most of the people they can no longer be with. Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts are easy to use. But they have a way of making everything feel like a meeting. At a happy hour of 10 people in a bar, you can settle into a side conversation, step away for fresh air, or listen to a conversation while nursing your drink.

    • Dr. Lance Dodes on Trump: A “predator” who “would be in prison” if he hadn’t been born rich

      I recently spoke with Dr. Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and now a training and supervising analyst emeritus at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. We discussed the coronavirus pandemic and what this crisis has revealed about Donald Trump’s mental health and behavior.

    • link request spammers – sometimes they help

      Sure I’ll help you. For $500 a year.

      In the meantime, thanks for helping me fix that broken HTML.

    • Science

      • How I’m using AI to translate ‘wash your hands’ in 500 languages

        You might not know, but there are currently 7,117 languages spoken in the world. Not dialects, but living languages! However, much of the world’s digital media is available in only a couple dozen languages, and translation platforms like Google Translate only support around 100 languages. This reality means that there are billions of people around the world that are marginalized due to a lack of timely access to information. The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has made this painfully clear, and it has stressed the need for immediate, rapid translation of health-related phrases (like “wash your hands” or “keep your distance”) into the long tail of languages.

        To this end, I applied state-of-the-art AI techniques to construct something close to the phrase “wash your hands” in 544 languages and counting (my GPUs are still running). Multilingual Unsupervised and Supervised Embeddings (MUSE) methods are used to train cross-lingual word embeddings between each of 544 languages and English. These embeddings then allow for the extraction of a phrase similar to the target phrase from existing documents.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Imagine Having Ability to Do This All Along, and Choosing Not to’: Eli Lilly Cuts Cost of Insulin Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

        “Good of them to help diabetics who will die without insulin while their lives at risk from coronavirus. Unlike all those other times when their lives are simply at risk from harmless diabetes.”

      • We Are Living (And Dying) in Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death”

        Edgar Allan Poe’s 1842 tale “The Masque of the Red Death” is a story about class.  Poe’s tale contrasts the fates of rich and poor during a plague even more lethal than the coronavirus.  Poe’s characters—a thousand members of the aristocracy and their hangers-on—repair to one of the “crenellated abbeys” of the wealthy Prince Prospero.  Sealed within the abbey’s iron gates and high walls, they are confident that they are safe from the agonizing death which has killed half of the subjects of Prospero’s realm.

      • With 1,459 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count passes the 10,000 mark

        On the morning of April 9, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,459 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 10,131 patients across 81 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 50 different regions: Moscow (+857), the Moscow region (+199), St. Petersburg (+44), Bryansk (+40), the Komi Republic (+31), the Vladimir region (+24), and Krasnodar Krai (+20).

      • Prison Guards Are Receiving Hand Sanitizer. My Incarcerated Son Is Not.

        Thirty years ago, my son Gerald Reed survived torture at the hands of the Chicago police. He was another victim of police detectives working for the infamous Cmdr. Jon Burge. In February, more than a year after a judge threw out my son’s conviction, a second judge reversed course and dictated that Gerald would serve out a life sentence.

      • ‘The only option is to walk six days to Kathmandu’ Hundreds of Russians descended from the mountains in Nepal only to end up in coronavirus isolation. Now they can’t get home.

        The spread of coronavirus has stranded more than 100 Russian nationals in Nepal. For the most part, these people are tourists on backpacking trips who hoped to climb to Everest Base Camp. Russia has no immediate plans to bring these citizens home and some are now running low on funds to pay for accommodations and food, without any idea when they might be allowed to leave. Meduza spoke to a handful of the Russians now stuck in Kathmandu.

      • Moscow doctors end separation between hospitals for COVID-19 and ‘community-acquired pneumonia,’ acknowledging that the two are largely the same

        Moscow has convened a new clinical committee that includes the lead doctors of all hospitals currently accepting COVID-19 patients. One of the committee’s first proposals was to stop separating inpatient facilities into those accepting COVID-19 cases and those accepting all other pneumonia patients.

      • COVID-19 and the Lessons of Life in Exile

        Everything is unsettled.

      • CDC Deletes Hydroxychloroquine Guidance as Study Hyped by Trump Is Questioned

        The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday quietly removed bizarre guidelines for using the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for the new coronavirus. The unproven treatment has been repeatedly hyped by President Donald Trump in spite of the warnings of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

      • MSNBC Cuts Into Briefing So Doctor Can Refute Trump’s “Mystifying” Claim That Zinc Can Treat Covid-19

        “There’s no evidence I’ve seen in the literature suggesting zinc in addition to hydroxychloroquine would be helpful.”

      • Doctor Refutes Trump’s Claim That Zinc Can Treat COVID-19 During Briefing

        Dr. Vin Gupta, a critical care physician and lung health expert, said Wednesday night that he has seen no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s assertion that zinc — paired with other drugs — is an effective treatment for the novel coronavirus.

      • We Still Don’t Know How Many People Are in the Hospital With COVID-19

        Late last month, Vice President Mike Pence sent a letter to administrators of the nation’s 6,000 hospitals requesting a favor.

        He asked them to complete a form each day with data on the patients they are treating with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and submit it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      • Pharmacy Workers Are Coming Down With COVID-19. But They Can’t Afford to Stop Working.

        At his home in the Bronx, where he lies in bed with a fever, Jose Peralta keeps replaying the scene in his head. It was Monday, March 16, the start of an unusually hectic week at a Walgreens in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Peralta, a senior pharmacy technician, was on his way to take a break when he noticed a familiar customer waiting in line to pick up medication.

        “I thought, Gee it would be nice to help this guy,” Peralta said. “We’ve all been trying to minimize exposure and make sure that people don’t have to spend too long in the store.”

      • American Exceptionalism in the Face of Covid-19

        Food takes a special place in times of universal distress. Amid this Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity and hunger are growing exponentially. Here in the US, the richest society on Earth where the forces of wealth and greed are aligned against poverty, there has been a run on food pantries and food banks. ( “A perfect storm: US facing hunger crisis as demand for food banks soars,” Guardian, April 2, 2020). The reports of food shortages are reminiscent of the photographs of the long lines of worn and beaten people standing outside of soup kitchens during the Great Depression.

      • Could COVID-19 Count Fox News Among Its Victims?

        It is hard to find good news in these dark days of the growing pandemic COVID-19. Stuck between a choice of going bankrupt and dying of a highly contagious, and yes, quite deadly, disease, the so-called Other (the so-called poor) is turning out to be all of us. Built on a house of cards, the supposedly fluid system of capitalism finds itself scrambling who to save. Will it be poor people, living paycheck to paycheck, or big business, who continually reinvests in itself in order to gain more and more profit? Today we find both groups broke, in need of what the layman may call socialism, a handout. Both groups find themselves broke artificially, as workers are not paid for the value of their human life, or even for the value of their work produces, but rather for whatever wage the free market dictates. The choice and freedom here lies with the CEOs who have, just like the consumer does for products to buy, a choice among workers, thus a worker is artificially broke, because she is paid for the cost of growth, not the cost of productivity. Similarly, the company is artificially broke, as real profits have only been shuttled back into profit creation and therefore, just like the worker, the largest company can only live for the moment in the hustle.

      • Remove the Boomer Virus and What Virus Remains?

        In a recent eruption of internet chatter the Gen Z’s and millennials called Covid-19 the “Boomer Remover” virus (“Gen Z, Millennials Wallow in Self-Pity as They Mock Potential Deadly Hit on Elderly,” Vivek Saxena, BizPac Review, 3/13/20). This species of youth surely doesn’t want the geriatric set to pass, but this is symptomatic of a pervasive anxiety about the endless wars and economic dips and pathological violence they’ve inherited. Threats of extinction from climate change and disease compound the dread. The boomers of course know what this means. For a good chunk of their existence they were the “bomb culture,” victims of a Cold War pathology that brought civilization to the brink of nuclear annihilation. This didn’t endear them to their elders who orchestrated this madness.

      • Trump Removed the Head of the Coronavirus Bailout Oversight Board. Its Members Could Be Next.

        In the wake of President Trump’s move to push aside the official who was supposed to lead the coronavirus bailout watchdog group, four other members are just as vulnerable.

        Trump was able to remove the panel’s chosen head, Glenn Fine, by naming a new Defense Department inspector general and bumping Fine to the No. 2 job at the Pentagon watchdog office. No longer an acting inspector general, Fine was disqualified from serving on the panel he was supposed to lead.

      • ‘Why the Unnecessary 6?’: Medicare for All Advocates Warn Biden That Lowering Age to 60 Solves Nothing

        “These policies are what I would expect from Republicans. This is not a ‘big overture’ by any stretch of the imagination.”

      • House probes role of Jared Kushner as federal government seizes orders of COVID-19 medical supplies

        Two House committees have called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to turn over documents related to reports that the agency is seizing orders of coronavirus medical supplies from states, as well as the involvement of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, in overseeing those efforts.

        The chairs of the House Homeland Security and Oversight committees called on FEMA to turn over documents responding to a “troubling report” from the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general detailing “severe shortages” of emergency equipment reported by hospitals around the country.

      • This Is Trump’s Fault

        That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not.

        That the pandemic occurred is not Trump’s fault. The utter unpreparedness of the United States for a pandemic is Trump’s fault. The loss of stockpiled respirators to breakage because the federal government let maintenance contracts lapse in 2018 is Trump’s fault. The failure to store sufficient protective medical gear in the national arsenal is Trump’s fault. That states are bidding against other states for equipment, paying many multiples of the precrisis price for ventilators, is Trump’s fault. Air travelers summoned home and forced to stand for hours in dense airport crowds alongside infected people? That was Trump’s fault too. Ten weeks of insisting that the coronavirus is a harmless flu that would miraculously go away on its own? Trump’s fault again. The refusal of red-state governors to act promptly, the failure to close Florida and Gulf Coast beaches until late March? That fault is more widely shared, but again, responsibility rests with Trump: He could have stopped it, and he did not.

      • Indonesia’s Ramadan exodus risks spreading Covid-19 across the country

        Indonesia has registered an alarmingly high death rate in relation to its confirmed cases. But like elsewhere, it is likely that the number of Indonesians infected with the virus is much higher than government figures indicate due to a lack of test kits. Further exhausting healthcare resources, Indonesia has been trying to contain an outbreak of Dengue fever in the eastern part of the archipelago since January that has so far been responsible for more than 250 deaths, according to the health ministry.

      • Small-Town Hospitals Are Closing Just As Coronavirus Arrives In Rural America

        “Because rural communities tend to be older and poorer and sicker and less likely to be insured, high-deductible insurance policies are very hard on rural hospitals,” he says.

        One recent analysis estimated that treating just one uninsured COVID-19 patient who has to be hospitalized could cost at least $40,000.

      • Bernie’s Decision: Retreat Should Not Be Confused with Surrender

        In these important battles we wage, we will often lose—but we must not give up.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Why you want a Linux bootloader even on UEFI systems

          So while you can directly load Linux through UEFI with the kernel’s EFISTUB support (also), the result is not up to the standards that people want and expect from a Linux boot environment, at least on servers. It might be okay for a Linux machine with a single disk where the user will only ever boot the most recent kernel or the second most recent one (in case the most recent one doesn’t work), and if that doesn’t work they’ll boot from some alternate Linux live media or recovery media.

        • TikTok’s time: Video platform sees appeal growing during lockdowns

          Users post short videos — no longer than 60 seconds but often as short as 15 — to showcase their bite-size dance skills or share relatable experiences with a humorous twist.

          The application, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, saw 65 million worldwide downloads in March, according to analytics site SensorTower.

        • Microsoft IPE Is A New Code Integrity Feature For Linux
        • Increase in RDP Scanning

          It should be noted that the initial, larger, increase in RDP exposure was due to the inclusion of IPv6. Some organizations may try to “hide” RDP on IPv6. But if Shodan can find you, so can the bad guys.

          Services like RDP should not be exposed directly to the open Internet. If you do so, these services should be configured carefully. RDP has had several critical vulnerabilities in the past. One of the most common methods used to attack RDP services is various forms of password brute-forcing. Various underground web sites actively trade RDP passwords. RDP has had a rich history of vulnerabilities in the past. Patching RDP servers is critical.

        • Michigan governments take to Zoom. Burps, porn and arrest threats follow.

          A host of pranks and pornographic images during videoconferences nationwide have officials trying to balance productivity and order with free speech and public engagement.

          The Michigan Open Meetings Act requires officials to make decisions in a public setting that citizens can observe, among other things, and transparency advocates fear an overly broad crackdown on Zoom pranksters could deny citizens an active voice in their government.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • How Proprietary Software Can Help Open Source and Why I Cover Both

              Let me explain why I cover some proprietary software here and how it can actually help people discover the power of open source.

            • People Are Open-Sourcing Their Patents and Research to Fight Coronavirus

              A global group of scientists and lawyers announced their efforts to make their intellectual property free for use by others working on coronavirus pandemic relief efforts—and urged others to do the same—as part of the “Open Covid Pledge.”

              Mozilla, Creative Commons, and Intel are among the founding members of this effort; Intel contributed to the pledge by opening up its portfolio of over 72,000 patents, according to a press release.

              Participants are asked to publicly take the pledge by announcing it on their own websites and issuing a press release.

            • Patent holders urged to take “Open COVID Pledge” for quicker end to pandemic

              An international coalition of scientists and lawyers is calling on organizations to make their intellectual [sic] property [sic] freely available for the fight against COVID-19.

            • Open-source AI tool aims to help identify coronavirus infections

              Find a hospital taking in coronavirus cases, and you’ll most likely find departments often in need of more staff and without enough testing kits. Now one Canadian AI startup is hoping to develop tools that will automatically detect COVID-19 infections from X-rays, and help guide medical professionals on how seriously the infection has taken hold.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Acquires FINOS

                Linux Foundation has acquired the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS). As part of the collaboration, 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.

              • Open-Source Mapping Platform Mapzen To Be Hosted By UCF

                The Urban Computing Foundation (UCF) has announced plans to host and govern the popular mapping platform Mapzen. Mapzen was originally created in 2013 and became a Linux Foundation project in January 2019.

              • VMware Exec Fazzone Named CFF Board Chairman

                As the Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF) sees leadership changes at the top, it’s not just about Abby Kearns moving on to another executive position and CTO Chip Childers stepping into the executive director role. Paul Fazzone, SVP Tanzu R&D at VMware, has also been named Chairman of the Board of Directors.

              • Argo Moves Into CNCF Incubator

                The Argo Project, a set of Kubernetes-native tools for running and managing jobs and applications on Kubernetes, has been accepted into the CNCF incubator.

                The CNCF Technical Oversight Committee (TOC) voted to accept Argo as an incubation-level hosted project.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, firefox, haproxy, libssh, and wireshark-cli), Fedora (firefox, glibc, nss, and rubygem-puma), openSUSE (ceph, exim, firefox, and gnuhealth), Oracle (firefox, kernel, and qemu-kvm), and SUSE (djvulibre and firefox).

          • Security 101: Learning From Home

            Outside, there’s a pandemic. We’re being asked to stay indoors, shelter in place, and avoid social contact. Conferences are cancelled, live trainings are out of the question. Some businesses are closing (hopefully temporarily) and there are unfortunate layoffs and furloughs across the board. It’s a tough time.

            Rather than dwell on the negative, focusing on something else can help you get through this mentally. Learning something or growing your skills can both help take away from the anxiety of the situation and also help you come out of this a better person. Whether you’re just getting started in security or looking to advance your career, or just looking to become more security-aware as an individual, there are some great options for learning from home. My lists below are by no means comprehensive – there’s more content than I can shake a stick at. However, these are intended to be good for beginners and have a diverse set of content. If you know of something I should have included, please reach out.

          • Utkarsh Gupta: Debian Activities for March 2020

            CVE Fixes and Announcements:

            Issued DLA 2131-1, fixing CVE-2014-6262, for rrdtool.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 1.4.8-1.2+deb8u1.

            Issued DLA 2131-2, fixing regression caused by DLA 2131-1, for rrdtool.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 1.4.8-1.2+deb8u2.

            Issued DLA 2135-1, fixing CVE-2020-9546, CVE-2020-9547, and CVE-2020-9548, for jackson-databind.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, these problems have been fixed in version 2.4.2-2+deb8u12.

            Issued DLA 2137-1, fixing CVE-2020-10232, for sleuthkit.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 4.1.3-4+deb8u2.

            Issued DLA 2139-1, fixing CVE-2020-5258 and CVE-2020-5259, for dojo.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, these problems have been fixed in version 1.10.2+dfsg-1+deb8u3.

            Issued DLA 2141-1, fixing CVE-2020-10184 and CVE-2020-10185, for yubikey-val.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, these problems have been fixed in version 2.27-1+deb8u1.

            Issued DLA 2146-1, fixing CVE-2019-15690, for libvncserver.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 0.9.9+dfsg2-6.1+deb8u7.

            Issued DLA 2147-1, fixing CVE-2019-17546, for gdal.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 1.10.1+dfsg-8+deb8u2.

            Issued DLA 2149-1, fixing CVE-2020-5267, for rails.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, this problem has been fixed in version 2:4.1.8-1+deb8u6.

            Issued DLA 2153-1, fixing CVE-2020-10672 and CVE-2020-10673, for jackson-databind.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, these problems have been fixed in version 2.4.2-2+deb8u13.

            Issued DLA 2154-1, fixing CVE-2020-10802 and CVE-2020-10803, for phpmyadmin.
            For Debian 8 “Jessie”, these problems have been fixed in version 4:4.2.12-2+deb8u9.

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

            • BlackBerry uncovers China-backed hacking campaign on Linux servers

              BlackBerry Ltd. says it has uncovered how China-backed hackers have been able to extract data from many of the world’s servers for a decade without being noticed.

              BlackBerry executive Eric Cornelius says the hackers have been skilful in disguising some of their software tools to appear like advertising software that poses a low-level security risk.

            • APTs infiltrated Linux servers undetected for nearly 10 years

              New research from BlackBerry painted a bleak picture for Linux security.

              BlackBerry on Tuesday published a report called “Decade of the RATs: Cross-Platform APT Espionage Attacks Targeting Linux, Windows and Android” that showcased how five related advanced persistent threat (APT) groups connected to the Chinese government have targeted Linux, Windows and Android devices for years.

            • Want to stay under the radar for a decade or more? This Chinese hacking crew did it… by aiming for Linux servers

              A group of hackers operating as an offshoot of China’s Winnti group managed to stay undetected for more than a decade by going open source.

              A report from BlackBerry outlines how the group, actually a collection of five smaller crews of hackers thought to be state-sponsored, assembled in the wake of Winnti and exploited Linux servers, plus the occasional Windows Server box and mobile device, for years.

              “The APT groups examined in this report have traditionally pursued different objectives and focused on a wide array of targets,” BlackBerry noted.

              China’s Winnti hackers (apparently): Forget the money, let’s get political and start targeting Hong Kong students for protest info
              READ MORE

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • WireGuard® on PIA is out of beta and available to use on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS

              In March, Private Internet Access rolled out WireGuard® support to our beta testers on PIA desktop clients and mobile apps. We are proud to announce that WireGuard support is out of beta and available to all of our users now. WireGuard is officially a go on our Windows, Mac, Linux desktop clients as well as our Android & iOS mobile apps. A big thank you to our beta testers for their help in testing our WireGuard implementation.

            • Moscow officials are reportedly planning to track all foreigners after Russia’s borders reopen

              Moscow city officials have reportedly decided to create a system to track all foreign tourists using cellular data, once Russia’s borders reopen after the spread of coronavirus subsides, a source in the Mayor’s Office told the newspaper Kommersant. Officials apparently believe this level of surveillance will be necessary to prevent a second outbreak of COVID-19.

            • NSO Fires Back At Facebook, Says It’s Not Responsible For Malware Deployments By Foreign Governments

              NSO Group has finally decided to engage in the lawsuit Facebook filed against it late last year. The Israeli surveillance tech company has shown itself to be pretty cavalier about its market expansion plans. Despite being located in a country surrounded by unfriendly governments, NSO is more than willing to give Israel’s enemies something to use against it. Its client list includes Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Kazakhstan.

            • Twitter Removes Privacy Option, and Shows Why We Need Strong Privacy Laws

              Twitter greeted its users with a confusing notification this week. “The control you have over what information Twitter shares with its business partners has changed,” it said. The changes will “help Twitter continue operating as a free service,” it assured. But at what cost?

              Twitter has changed what happens when users opt out of the “Allow additional information sharing with business partners” setting in the “Personalization and Data” part of its site.

            • PIA adds ten new server locations as part of VPN Network Expansion Plan

              Private Internet Access is expanding our VPN network coverage with a new VPN Network Expansion Plan. Over the past several years, one frequent request from our customers has been more gateway options and we’re proud to announce that our VPN network expansion plan is underway to greatly expand our VPN network.

            • Google is rebranding Hangouts Chat as just Google Chat

              Google has officially removed the Hangouts brand from its enterprise G Suite offering with the rebranding of Hangouts Chat as Google Chat, the company confirmed to The Verge on Thursday. The rebranding follows a similar name change, confirmed yesterday, from the companion videoconferencing app Hangouts Meet to Google Meet.

            • Google set to use US-Taiwan undersea cable

              U.S. authorities allowed Google to operate a portion of the 8,000-mile (12874.75 kilometers) Pacific Light Cable Network System (PLCN) between the U.S and Taiwan after blocking its previous plan that included the maintenance of the U.S.-Hong Kong route.

              The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told the FCC it believed, “there is a significant risk that the grant of a direct cable connection between the United States and Hong Kong would seriously jeopardize the national security and law enforcement interests of the United States,” Reuters reported.

            • Is Zoom Endangering Government Data?

              Experts say the teleconferencing app may introduce security risks not only during government employees’ Zoom sessions, but to data that resides on government computers.

              “If there are vulnerabilities, the app can jeopardize the security of data on the computer on which it is installed, or even potentially on other computers on the same network,” Joseph Steinberg, a leading cybersecurity expert and the author of Cybersecurity for Dummies, tells VOA. “Such vulnerabilities have been discovered — and more may exist.”

            • WhatsApp has made it harder to forward texts. But why not remove misinformation entirely?

              WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, announced on Tuesday that it would be limiting the way in which users can forward messages amid the Covid-19 outbreak. “In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organise public moments of support for frontline health workers,” it said in a press release. “However, we’ve seen a significant increase in the amount of forwarding which users have told us can feel overwhelming and can contribute to the spread of misinformation. We believe it’s important to slow the spread of these messages down to keep WhatsApp a place for personal conversation.”

            • Snapchat Users Report Widespread Problems Sending Snaps, Stemming From Google Cloud Outage

              The Snapchat problems were caused by an outage of a component in the Google Cloud Platform, which also affected access to Gmail and Nest, a rep for Google confirmed. The problem was with the Cloud IAM (Identity and Access Management) service. According to Google, the issue was identified at 10:35 a.m. ET and resolved within 90 minutes.

            • Snapchat users in Europe, parts of US unable to use app to communicate during lockdown

              Now that people are staying indoors for a longer period of time unless it is absolutely necessary to step out for food and other essential, mobile device usage is seeing a significant upsurge. Thankfully, the internet is providing a gateway for entertainment through movie streaming, online gaming, and browsing. Moreover, it also allows individuals to communicate through social media and other apps. Therefore when one of these popular platforms go down, users are sure to notice instantly. Now a Google Cloud outage has reportedly affected Snapchat.

            • MIT is working on a way to track COVID-19 while protecting privacy

              Learn about the solution MIT has developed for tracking COVID-19 without threatening privacy.

              Many countries and researchers are promoting the use of contact tracing apps to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and aid in the eventual recovery, but they may require slow manual tracing or a sacrifice in privacy (say, warning when a patient leaves home). MIT researchers think they have a solution with few compromises. They’re developing a system, PACT (Private Automatic Contact Tracing), that promises to automatically trace contacts while keeping identities secret.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Banal Terrors: Pandemics and the Ordinary Business of War

        The twaddle of framing the confrontation of the coronavirus as a “war” has proven to be a cheapening, misguided exercise. France’s president Emmanuel Macron has deemed COVID-19 the “invisible, elusive enemy”, making it sound like an adept guerrilla specialising in sneak attacks. China’s Xi Jinping has gone for the language of the “people’s war”, suggesting that the virus has certain class-ridden notions. President Donald Trump has characterised himself as “a wartime president”.

      • Lost in the Pandemic: the Forever Wars

        Locked down in my fifth floor apartment in Geneva, Switzerland with a view across the French border dominated by the snow-capped Monte Blanc, I began to wonder whatever happened to the forever wars we used to hear and read about every day in the main stream media.  For weeks, now, our newspapers and TV seem to fill their missions with nothing but Covid-19 and/or Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.  Maybe a mention about things such as using the bidet to wash our asses, because of a shortage of toilet paper!

      • Ventilators Not Bombs, Humanitarian Aid Not Sanctions, Cooperation Not Regime Change

        The pandemic has shown how unsustainable our economy is, particularly continuing to forego investment in our human, physical and environmental infrastructure to feed a voracious war machine.

      • Trump Signs Order Allowing Private Companies to Mine the Moon

        Trump’s “Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources” rejects the principle that space is a “global commons” for humanity.

        As the coronavirus is continuing its spread across the planet, claiming tens of thousands of lives and plunging the world into an economic recession, United States President Donald Trump issued Monday an executive order encouraging U.S. companies to mine the Moon and other asteroids.

      • Increased terror attacks in Africa amid coronavirus pandemic

        As the world focuses on the fight to curb COVID-19, Boko Haram has stepped up attacks in west Africa. Islamists affiliated to the so-called IS also claimed new territory in Mozambique. There are fears of more attacks.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Beware Government Secrecy in Times of Pandemic

        Every British Columbian should be nervous, and irritated, by the never-ending secrecy demonstrated by health officials.  We are talking about COVID-19, where it is, and how we should be dealing with it.

      • New Puerto Rico law threatens jail time for spreading ‘false information’ about COVID-19

        CPJ called, texted, and emailed Mariana Cobian, the governor’s spokeswoman, for comment, but did not receive any replies to questions about the law.

      • Social Media Is Full of Bots Spreading COVID-19 Anxiety. Don’t Fall For It

        Recently Facebook, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube committed to removing coronavirus-related misinformation from their platforms.

        COVID-19 is being described as the first major pandemic of the social media age. In troubling times, social media helps distribute vital knowledge to the masses. Unfortunately, this comes with myriad misinformation, much of which is spread through social media bots.

        These fake accounts are common on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They have one goal: to spread fear and fake news.

      • White House reverses position after blocking health officials from appearing on CNN

        CNN often only broadcasts President Donald Trump’s question and answer session, which sometimes includes the health care officials, live on-air.

        After Trump leaves the podium, CNN frequently cuts out of the White House briefing to discuss and fact-check what the President has said. A CNN executive said that the network usually returns to such programming because of the extensive length of the full briefing that includes Pence, which can run in excess of two hours.

    • Environment

      • The pandemic and pollution

        Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

        How deadly COVID-19 might be is a function of a number of variables, from the age of a patient to viral load to how overwhelmed a hospital system might be. But a growing body of research is a reminder of the hidden health consequences of living with serious air pollution.

      • This “Mutant Enzyme” Can Break Down Plastic Bottles in HourS

        The enyzme can break down PET plastic bottles into their individual chemical composites, which could later be reused to make brand new bottles. Conventional recycled plastic that goes through a “thermomechanical” process isn’t high enough quality and is mostly used for other products such as clothing and carpets.

      • Rising urban space demands squeeze out farmers

        More people than ever now live in cities. Their growing urban space demands devour farmland, bad news for tomorrow’s hungry world.

      • Energy

        • Trump Admin Bypasses Congress, Offers Backup Storage to Boost Troubled Oil Industry

          The Department of Energy announced last week it would be making arrangements to immediately store 30 million barrels of oil in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), a backup reserve created in the 1970s as a buffer against oil supply disruptions. Now, instead of supply shortages, oil markets are facing what consulting firm Rystad Energy is calling “one of the biggest oil supply gluts the world has ever seen.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Living on the Edge

        With the COVID-19 global crisis, 2020 has suddenly become the year of the remote worker. Across many industries employees are trying to learn new technologies and discover ways to be productive in a very difficult environment. And working from home comes with many new challenges. Your VPN connection may slow to a crawl as your kids start watching Frozen 2 on Disney+ or your Wi-Fi connection may drop as someone in your building turns on their microwave.

        Fortunately, software developers have successfully worked from home for decades. There are many useful tools that you can use to overcome problems with flaky network connections, connecting remotely to embedded devices, and getting access to your development tools.

        You could have network connectivity problems.

        If you have a company-issued laptop that you were able to take home, then you may already have access to all your applications and development tools. However, you likely still need access to your build servers and targets in the lab to get your work done. Alternatively, if you normally work on an engineering workstation you may now be working on your home computer and trying to get back into your development environment.

      • Trump: Postal Workers Don’t Deserve a Financial Lifeline

        Trump and leaders in Congress must immediately fill the gap in the stimulus bill with direct relief on the scale needed to save our public Postal Service and the many businesses and families that depend on it.

      • People With Disabilities Face Greater Risk of Economic Devastation From COVID-19

        The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis is wreaking havoc on the health and economic lives of billions of people across the world. In the U.S., massive layoffs and unemployment levels eclipsing the Great Depression are expected. As workers lose jobs, unemployment filings are going through the roof. As of April 7, about 10 million workers have filed for unemployment, and reports estimate that up to 13 percent of the population is out of work. While the U.S. government has predicted close to 20 percent unemployment, other reports have predicted that close to 50 percent of jobs are at risk. At the time of writing, nearly 95 percent of Americans, or 306.5 million, are being urged to stay home and are under some sort of “lockdown,” while bills pile up and income is halted. Major U.S. cities are experiencing medical equipment shortages, and it’s likely medicine and food shortages will be seen worldwide. Market failure and a total collapse of the health system seem inevitable.

      • Warning Pelosi and Schumer Against ‘Inadequate Half-Measures,’ Progressives Demand People-First Coronavirus Relief

        “This is a crisis of unprecedented scale, and Democrats need to use the full power of the House to advance solutions that match the needs of the moment.”

      • US Unemployment Claims During Coronavirus Pandemic Soar to ‘Truly Shocking’ 16.8 Million

        “The scale of the economic catastrophe is breathtaking.”

      • The Impact of COVID-19 Is All Down to Inequality

        Coronavirus must change the neoliberal rationale, and rescue the social contract between the welfare state and the market economy that can plan to prevent the crises to come.

      • Basic Economics for Economic Columnists: a Depression is a Process, Not an Event

        With the economy going into a shutdown mode for at least month, and possibly quite a bit longer, we’re again hearing the cries from elite economics columnists about a Second Great Depression. These are pernicious, not only because they are wrongheaded, but they can be used to justify bad things, like giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the bankers who wrecked the economy with their recklessness during the housing bubble.

      • No Fennel in the Sausage, No $600 for the Jobless
      • Without Urgent Aid, Warns Oxfam, Coronavirus Could Throw Half a Billion People Into Poverty Worldwide

        “We can only beat this virus through coming together as one…Rich country governments must massively upscale their help.”

      • Trump May Push for New Task Force to Reopen Economy, Against Americans’ Wishes

        Jobless claims across the country have jumped by 6.6 million over the past week, amounting to more than 16 million Americans who have now filed unemployment claims in the past three weeks, due to the economic impact of the coronavirus on the nation.

      • The Plan Is to Save Capital and Let the People Die

        Whether Americans know it or not, their government is not working for them. Their government is working on behalf of capital. Humans are now a mere second-order, instrumental factor to be considered based on how it affects capital.

      • Inside the Union Where Coronavirus Put 98% of Members Out of Work

        Last June, D. Taylor, the president of the union Unite Here, stood before a throng of hotel, casino and food service workers. They’d packed into a giant ballroom at the MGM Grand casino in Las Vegas to hear their leader celebrate the accomplishments of one of the few success stories in private-sector union organizing.

        To thunderous applause, Taylor ticked off the victories. The union, he said, was pulling thousands of members and their families into better existences, winning contracts with generous health care plans and pensions and safer, fairer working conditions. And it was gaining power, he said, helping labor-friendly Democrats win key races in Nevada and Arizona, with ambitious plans for 2020, including voter drives in Florida and Arizona.

      • ‘Extremely Alarming’: Coronavirus Stimulus Law Allows the Federal Reserve to Hold Secret Meetings on Corporate Bailouts

        “That provision’s a body blow to transparency when we need it most.”

      • Ocasio-Cortez Decries Trump Halt to Federal Funding of Coronavirus Testing as ‘Completely Irresponsible’ Amid Pandemic

        “If anything, we should err on the side of testing ‘too much’—we’re *nowhere* near that.”

      • Pandemic Response Requires Post-Growth Economic Thinking

        The end of growth is painful. We had a foretaste of it in 2008, but the current crisis promises to be much worse.

      • ‘The Gig Economy Is Really Just Pushing People Into Precarious Work’
      • The Pandemic Has Accelerated the Global Economic “Slowbalization”

        COVID-19 has now reached dozens of countries including in the Middle East and Africa, and over 1 million global citizens have been infected. The global pandemic continues to impact United States domestic and foreign policy at every level of government while creating new norms in both social and economic life, says John Feffer.

      • Red Light Camera Company Says It’s Dying Of Coronavirus

        Things change. And the stuff that used to work just doesn’t anymore. We’ve covered a lot of this over the years, mainly focusing on how the rise of the internet was greeted with rent-seeking and protectionist policies meant to extend the upper hand that incumbent industries had enjoyed for years.

      • Senator Loeffler, Already Accused Of Pandemic Insider Trading, Will Convert All Individual Stock Holdings To Managed Funds

        Over the last few weeks there’s been tremendous attention paid to the prophetic timing of stock sales by two Senators: Richard Burr and Kelly Loeffler. Both of whom were insisting publicly that there was little risk associated with the coronavirus and COVID-19, while receiving important briefings in the Senate and quietly selling stocks in retail and travel companies before the market collapsed and — in Loeffler’s case — buying up stocks in remote work and hospital protective equipment suppliers. It all looks pretty pretty bad. Loeffler, from day one, has defended the stock sales, saying they were done by a third party and she wasn’t aware of them. However, the timing and the choices in stocks are still pretty head-scratching.

      • The Dirty War On The NHS Released By UK Cinemas For Streaming From 13 April

        Next week Curzon Home Cinema will be streaming John Pilger’s film The Dirty War on the NHS, which was first released last December. This re-release could not be more timely. The government is telling us to stay at home and “protect the NHS”. John’s film spells out the reason why the NHS might be overwhelmed by the impact of the coronavirus: the lack of resources which are the direct result of the policies of the last ten years and the devastation caused by sustained privatisation. At the end of the film Professor Danny Dorling foresaw what we are now going through: “The NHS gave us freedom from fear …. now that fear has returned.”  This is a film to enrage, but also to inspire: to make sure that when the pandemic is over, the NHS is rebuilt as a properly funded public health system.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Sanders Campaign Is Suspended, But His Impact Lives On

        Robert Kennedy was murdered three years before I was born, so my practical experience with transformative progressive presidential candidates is slim. There was Jesse Jackson, Dennis Kucinich and a whole lot of rain. In point of fact, my personal timeline arcs in a long descent into neoconservative/neoliberal hell, dotted along the way with landmark disasters like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and now Donald Trump, the inverted apex of this slide into ignominy.

      • The Dishonest Mr. Daines

        There must be something in Washington, D.C.’s water that makes politicians think they can do one thing and get away with telling their constituents something else. Certainly the current occupant of the Oval Office will live in infamy for never being able to tell the truth. But now Montana’s junior senator and Donald Trump sycophant, Steve Daines, has taken up the bad habits of his supreme leader — and just got caught and called out for it nationally.

      • Post-Sanders: Dealing with Biden, the DNC, and the Rest of It

        With the heat of the Sanders campaign apparently a thing of the past, we will have a lot of time to appreciate just how far we have come in such a relatively short period, as well as to figure out how all of this will work in the future.

      • Sanders Suspends: What Happened? What Now?

        Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk commented just as Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign: “Bernie made a number of mistakes that I highlighted and broke down in detail. No excuses. Having said that, you’re out of your fucking mind if you think I’ll forget or look past ‘bloody monday’, aka the day Obama got Pete & Amy to drop & endorse Biden. Saving his campaign.”

      • Sanders “Broke the Spell” of Neoliberalism as Trump Pushes COVID-19 Capitalism

        We talk to journalist and activist Naomi Klein about Bernie Sanders’s historic presidential campaign as he suspends his bid for the 2020 Democratic nomination, and about coronavirus capitalism — President Trump’s response to the pandemic. Sanders “opened up the window of what was possible politically in this country,” says Klein, a senior correspondent at The Intercept, Rutgers University professor and longtime Sanders supporter.

      • ‘No One Independent Is Watching’: Lack of Oversight Fuels Fears of Trump Effort to Corrupt Coronavirus Relief

        “Clearly he’s planning to corrupt the $2 trillion in spending Congress just approved, whether it’s by steering the money to political favorites, negotiating more favorable terms with certain parties or punishing his enemies with a failure to provide aid.”

      • Noam Chomsky: The Sanders Campaign Energized Millions, and Shifted US Politics

        In a new interview, world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author Noam Chomsky reflects on the significance of the Bernie Sanders campaign, calling it “an extraordiernary success” that “completely shifted the arena of debate and discussion” in the United States.

      • After ‘Civic Catastrophe’ in Wisconsin, Congress Urged to Fully Fund National Vote-by-Mail for November

        “The disastrous election in Wisconsin is an urgent reminder of what could happen nationwide if Congress doesn’t act.”

      • Bernie’s Last Tape

        [Author’s Note: In fact, this transcript (printed as the epilogue to Bernie and the Sandernistas) turned out to be Bernie’s second-to-last tape. But the last tape itself proved to be a less vigorous re-run of the previous tape. As the man said, Fail. Fail again. Fail worse. –JSC]

      • US ‘Disinformation’ Claims Do Exactly What Enemies Are Accused of: Distract From Covid-19 Failures

        The official Covid-19 death toll in the United States continues to climb, now exceeding 14,000, with at least hundreds of thousands more infected. Under these circumstances, the federal government has found it opportune to reignite the “Fake News” scare, censuring two familiar foes: Russia and China.

      • Vote by Mail Isn’t Perfect. But It’s Essential in a Pandemic

        Health care professionals recommend mail-in voting as the safest approach during the pandemic, but Republicans have consistently disparaged it. President Donald Trump has spent the last week railing against it, both in news conferences and on Twitter, despite mailing in his own vote in the 2018 election. And the issue came to a head this week when Wisconsin held its primary on Tuesday without adequate protections for poll workers or voters, who stood in crowded lines for hours at a handful of open polling places.

      • I Voted in Person in Wisconsin, And I’m Afraid it Will Get Me Sick With COVID-19

        With an estimated population of 592,025, Milwaukee went from 180 polling locations to five. With an estimated population of 258,054 residents, Madison, the capital of Wisconsin, had 66 open polling locations. It is undeniable that people in different parts of Wisconsin had different levels of access to voting yesterday.

        This is how disenfranchisement works. Up to 50,000 people were expected to vote in Milwaukee yesterday — about 10,000 at each of the remaining polling locations —but the final number was just under 19,000, a sign of how depressed the turnout was. And still, thousands of people have not received their absentee ballots. The United States Supreme Court then decided that Wisconsin wouldn’t be able to extend absentee voting.

      • Pandemic Election Is a Red Alert for Democracy in America

        Emilio De Torre, director of community engagement for the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin, observed Tuesday, “People seem to literally be taking their life into their hands to attempt to vote.” They were placed at risk unnecessarily; 15 other states that were set to vote in this period decided to move their elections—or to rearrange them in ways that averted in-person voting. But in Wisconsin, the epicenter of the sort of win-at-any-cost politics favored by President Trump, Republican legislators and their allies on the courts upended a plan by Evers to cancel in-person balloting and to extend voting for local elections, a critical contest for a seat on the state Supreme Court and a Democratic presidential primary that pitted former vice president Joe Biden against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

        While the story of Wisconsin on Tuesday was, as Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes described it, that of an electoral “shit show,” nothing political stays in Wisconsin. The state has for more than a decade provided a template for the national political strategies of Republicans like Trump. There was no hyperbole in Democratic Party of Wisconsin chair Ben Wikler’s assertion that “Wisconsin’s election offers a nightmare vision of what the whole country could see in the fall. A fight in which Democrats struggle to balance democracy with public health, and the GOP remorselessly weaponizes courts, election laws, and coronavirus itself to disenfranchise the voters who stand in its way.”

      • Ex-U.S. Navy secretary’s Guam trip to ridicule commander cost taxpayers $243,000: officials

        Modly quit only after mounting pressure from Congress and a backlash from the crew, and followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s own suggestion on Monday that he might get involved in the matter.

        Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Modly flew for about 35 hours on a C-37B, the military version of a Gulfstream jet.

        The officials said that based on the flying time, the cost was $243,151.65.

      • Will our Constitution’s system of checks and balances hold?

        The Levin Center at Wayne Law and the Lugar Center recently co-authored a bipartisan “friend-of-the-court” brief in the Trump cases now before the Supreme Court; our brief strongly supports Congress’ right to investigate facts related to the executive branch. In those Supreme Court cases and the McGahn case, what is at stake is almost 100 years of precedents in which federal courts enforced the checks and balances that make our Constitution a bulwark against abuse of power. If the courts were to abandon their support for those checks and balances, the consequences for our democracy would be dire.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • The EARN IT Act Creates A New Moderator’s Dilemma

        Last month, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators unveiled the much discussed EARN IT Act, which would require tech platforms to comply with recommended best practices designed to combat the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) or no longer avail themselves of Section 230 protections. While these efforts are commendable, the bill would cause significant problems.

      • Pence Won’t Let COVID Task Force Appear on CNN Unless It Airs Trump’s Briefings

        Vice President Mike Pence’s office is giving an ultimatum to at least one cable news channel that President Donald Trump has frequently belittled as “fake news” — either CNN must show his coronavirus press briefings in full, or the White House won’t allow health experts to appear on their network any longer.

      • Knight First Amendment Institute Sues The CDC For Failing To Provide Details Of Its Media Gag Order

        We’ve talked quite a bit about the importance of clear and transparent government during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how China’s (ongoing) refusal to allow for people to speak out almost certainly contributed to the pandemic becoming even worse. And now the same situation has been showing up across the US as well. We’ve talked about hospitals firing doctors and nurses for speaking out about supply shortages, and now there’s news that the US Navy fired the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, Brett Crozier, after he sent his bosses a letter pleading for help as COVID-19 was spreading throughout his crew. Rather than recognize that he was pleading for help, they fired him… because his letter got out to the media and it made them look bad.

      • ‘Financial censorship’: Indian Newspaper Society reacts to Sonia Gandhi suggestion

        At a time like this when media personnel are risking their lives and bringing news on the pandemic situation, the suggestion of the congress president is deeply disturbing and demotivating for the entire media industry, it said, asking the Congress president to withdraw the suggestion about a complete ban on advertisements in media.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • What World Shall We Create?

        From the war on terror to the war on crime to the war on weeds, we have failed.

      • Why We Need a New Progressive Party and How We Can Create It

        There is no room for progressives in the Democratic Party.

      • Martin Khor: the Making of a Global Activist

        When future students of North-South relations look back to the history of the last 35 years or so, among the key figures they will most likely mark as one of the most decisive in shaping the course of events is one who did not owe his power to a position in government or business.

      • 12 Ways Communities Are Taking Care of Each Other During the Pandemic

        The efforts range from a Slack chat community connecting people around the world to suggestions about what to do with your stimulus check.

      • Dear Bernie: Thank You.

        May your voice, your indignation, and your moral clarity ring out for years to come.

      • New ‘Appalling’ Rejection of Asylum-Seekers Shows Trump Admin Using Covid-19 to Do What It ‘Always Wanted’

        “This is cruel and unnecessary.”

      • Love in a Dangerous Time

        A profusion of anonymous axioms and memes floods social media these days but one remains my very favorite: “It’s like we’ve all been sent to our room to think about what we did.” My friends, if there ever was a nation that needed a “time out” for that purpose, it’s ours.

      • Cruel Immigration Policies Make the Pandemic Worse

        Warehousing people in unsanitary conditions and then deporting them to poor countries is a recipe for contagion.

      • What COVID-19 Reveals About Incarceration and How We Can Transform the Prison System

        We are being offered an opportunity to carefully examine a destructive, expensive, punitive system and transform it into one that could be just, restorative, and good for individuals and society as a whole.

      • The Border Wall Risks Us All
      • ‘It’s a threat to his life’ 64-year-old Gulag historian Yury Dmitriev was acquitted on child porn charges in 2018, but he’s still in jail on appeal. Now, his attorney fears COVID-19 could be the end.

        In April 2018, historian Yury Dmitriev was acquitted on two counts: sexual misconduct toward a minor and the production of child pornography. Dmitriev leads the Karelian branch of the human rights organization “Memorial,” whose activists and scholars have faced police persecution across Russia; he has also worked to discover the locations of multiple mass graves made during the Stalinist Terror. In 2018, Dmitriev was accused of abusing his adopted daughter Natalia, who was 12 years old at the time. The historian, now 64 years old, said he periodically took pictures of his daughter to document her good health after her teachers mistook ink stains on her skin for bruises. Even though Dmitriev was ultimately found not guilty, Karelia’s regional Supreme Court overturned that verdict in June 2018, ultimately sending Dmitriev back to a pretrial detention center where he still remains today. Now, activists who have advocated in the past two years for Dmitriev to be transferred to house arrest worry that he may become even more vulnerable as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads through Russia’s penitentiary system. Journalist Katerina Gordeeva spoke with Dmitriev’s attorney, Viktor Anufriyev, about this new development in the historian’s case and what the defense is doing to respond.

      • ‘Important Step’ as Federal Judge Orders ICE to Release Detained Immigrants at Heightened Risk for COVID-19

        “It is unfortunate we had to resort to the courts for this relief; ICE should be doing this on its own,” said the San Francisco public defender.

      • A Mother in ICE Detention Pleads for Her Life

        No one deserves to die from COVID-19 because of government abuse and indifference. The government has a duty to adequately and humanely care for those it has taken and detained.

      • Freedom Virus

        The Pilgrims and Puritans arrived in America in the first half of the seventeenth century determined to practice a religion other than the one sanctioned by the Stuart kings of England, James I, and his successor, Charles 1. Their determination was founded on a single characteristic – a ‘freedom’ meme that was firmly lodged in their minds.

      • The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises

        The Pandemic & Public Health Crisis

      • Fear of inadequate work safety measures prompts California fast food workers to strike

        On Thursday, hundreds of fast food workers in California went on strike to demand personal protective equipment, paid sick leave and a $3-an-hour hazard pay. Workers on strike hailed from fast food chains like McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Subway, Popeye’s, El Pollo Loco, WaBa Grill, and Jack in the Box.

        According to a press statement from organizers at the Fight For $15 campaign, workers from at least 50 stores across the state participated in a strike or protest. The mass labor action was inspired by a strike that started Sunday at a McDonald’s in Los Angeles, after a McDonald’s worker tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

      • UN Report Cites Concerns About Torture, Limits On Freedoms In Uzbekistan

        The UN Human Rights Committee last week published its observations on Uzbekistan’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was its first review of Uzbekistan’s human rights record since President Shavkat Mirziyoev came to power in 2016.

        The committee expressed concerns about the “torture and ill-treatment of people deprived of liberty, as well as restrictions on the freedom of conscience and religious belief, freedom of expression, freedom of association and peaceful assembly.”

      • Senators are demanding answers from Amazon about how it treats warehouse workers

        In the last month, Amazon has upped its efforts to help employees by raising US warehouse worker pay by $2 an hour, doubling the hourly rate for overtime, staggering workers’ entries and exits, and providing two weeks of paid sick leave for employees with Covid-19 who have been placed under quarantine, among other efforts. But some Amazon workers on the front lines are still reporting overcrowding at facilities, a shortage of protective supplies such as gloves, and that workers are being denied paid time off when they fall ill.

      • ‘Refund my money!’ Customers accuse Instacart shoppers of stealing their groceries

        But there’s something else happening, too. Instacart’s Twitter feed is rife with complaints from customers accusing personal shoppers of stealing their groceries at a time when more people are out of jobs, behind on rent and afraid to go out to shop for themselves.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • COVID-19: The Adoption of Emergency Measures by Industrial and Intellectual Property Offices

        EUIPO

        With Decision of the Executive Director EUIPO no. EX 20/3 of March 16, 2020, the deadlines between March
        9 and April 30, 2020 are automatically extended to May 1st, 2020. In view of the holiday of the first of May,
        all deadlines have been actually postponed to May 4, 2020.
        Subject of the extension, the time-limits relating to any proceedings pending before the EUIPO – including
        proceedings before the Boards of Appeal – and, among others, the time-limits relating to the payment of
        official fees, priority claims, deferment of publication of designs, conversion of applications.
        However, the deadline for filing an appeal before the EU General Court against a decision of the Boards of
        Appeal will not be deferred, as the postponement measures are not extendable to proceedings under the
        jurisdiction of other different authorities.

        EPO

        With a note of March 15, 2020 published in the Official Journal of the EPO of March 2020, the deadlines set
        from March 15, 2020 onwards are automatically extended to April 17, 2020.
        The extension is also applied to international patent applications (PCT) and to deadlines for the payment of
        official fees, including patent renewal fees.
        The Office has also decided to postpone until further notice all the oral proceedings scheduled until April 17,
        2020 before the Examining division and the Opposition division, unless it has been ordered to conduct them
        by videoconference.
        Oral proceedings scheduled until 30 April 2020 before the Boards of Appeal are also postponed until further
        notice.

      • Trademarks

        • Anti-Piracy Copyright Lawyer Decides To Abuse Trademarks To Shut Down Pirates

          One of the most consistent aspects of lawyers who crusade against copyright infringement is just how inconsistent their views on “the law” are. Copyright trolls regularly skirt the law while claiming to fight for justice for copyright holders. Hell, some trolls, that would have you believe they are bullwarks against piracy, have been found out to have essentially committed and encouraged the very piracy they sued over themselves.

      • Copyrights

        • ACE and MPA Help to Shut Down Taiwan’s Largest Pirate Movie and TV Show Site

          Police in Taiwan have shut down 8maple.ru, the country’s largest pirate movie and TV show site. The action came in the wake of an investigation by ACE, the MPA and Japan-based anti-piracy group CODA. Two men in their thirties, both graduates of the Northern National Taiwan University, were arrested and millions in cash and luxury property seized.

        • Court Allows ISP to Question Rightscorp’s Credibility at Piracy Trial

          Texas-based Internet provider Grande Communications will be allowed to question the business practices, financial situation, and credibility of anti-piracy tracking firm Rightscorp at trial later this year. The music companies suing the ISP asked the court to exclude this information. However, US District Court Judge Ezra believes that it’s relevant for the case at hand.

        • As Record Labels Still Are Demanding Mandated Filters; Facebook’s Copyright Filter Takes Down A Guy Playing Bach

          We’ve been covering a bunch of nonsense copyright stories lately, as the pandemic has really done quite a job in demonstrating the complete inanity of much of our copyright infrastructure. The latest, as posted by the Twitter account @linernotesdanny, is about how his brother, Dr. David Johnson, tried to livestream a violin recital on Facebook playing Bach’s Partita for Violin Solo No. 1 (which is a lovely piece of music), but copyright filters “silenced” it.

More Threats From Elodie Bergot: The EPO is Back in a State of Disarray and That Authoritarian Atmosphere of Fear

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance, Patents at 6:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who even/ever believed that António Campinos would turn things around (with Team Battistelli still in management and identical policies)?

SUEPO tomatoes

Summary: ‘Under the radar’ — so to speak — there have been further assaults and obvious deterioration at the EPO, where staff is being muzzled while robbed by people who gamble the EPO's money away

SO FAR this month almost all the ‘news’ about the European Patent Office (EPO) is regarding closures, deadlines and postponements. Most of last month’s news tended to be the same.

As for the EPO itself, the “news” section is all lies and puff pieces, bordering the outright ridiculous (greenwashing and exploitation of the dead). Elodie Bergot is well known for it. People bullied by her and her colleagues just ‘pass away’ and we already know that staff representatives have been led to nervous breakdowns, caused by gross malpractice, mistreatment and mismanagement. Well, here we go again:

Failed social dialogue on Salary Adjustment Procedure

8 April 2020

Dear SUEPO Members,
Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, your representatives participated in the last technical meeting to review the Salary Adjustment Procedure. Some hours before (!) the meeting, the President had already informed staff on the result of the consultation. He would put his proposal on the agenda of the Council for decision. We were thus confronted by a fait accompli.

We asked at the beginning of the meeting if there were still points to discuss. We did not get an answer, but felt threatened by PD 4.3 telling us that we had to attend the meeting: we were told it was our duty as staff representatives to listen to management and their consultants.

We know such statements from the Battistelli era. This situation was not pleasant at all. We informed management that due to this threat we felt obliged to stay in the meeting. Much has been stated about the Financial Study and the consequences on our salaries – we refer to our papers. They document our constructive proposals, our questions and our willingness to engage in social dialogue. All in good faith.

One thing is now evident: during this entire process, the administration has not moved an inch from their original proposal. Management remains hell-bent on their Salary Erosion Procedure, and they will send it to the June Council, irrespective of any circumstance. It has been acting in bad faith, all along. We are back to the times of Battistelli, which is actually no surprise given that the people did not change.

So where are we heading to? Under Battistelli we received the worst career system in International Organisations. Now under Campinos we are about to receive the worst salary adjustment procedure in International Organisations. What is next?

All this is continuing amidst the corona crisis, an unprecedented and disruptive period, a time which very much impedes any coordinated action against this madness.

We have no words for this kind of management. We will, however, not surrender and will try to find, with your support, a way to oppose this new attack against our salaries and pensions in the middle of a pandemic.

SUEPO Central

No doubt it is part of an international trend of attacks on workers, plunder by the rich, law-breaking (e.g. illegal patents), union-busting and exploitation of crises to ban mass gatherings, dissent etc. The EPO goes even further than most. SUEPO has taken note and it will be difficult for SUEPO to operate without access to the office, meetings, possible protests or even strikes. Campinos et al take advance of this crisis.

Mercer tax

Campinos Uses Donald Trump Associates to Attack the EPO’s Staff Amid Coronavirus Pandemic (Whilst Also Threatening Staff Representatives)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Finance at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On leadership style

How One Family’s Deep Pockets Helped Reshape Donald Trump’s Campaign

EPO in Breitbart

Summary: Mr. Blowhard “Breitbart” runs or does the EPO’s finances now; it doesn’t seem to bother EPO management that they’re relying on fraud — in fact, as one might suggest that this is exactly what they’re after (faking financial performance to implement unnecessary cuts)

THE “new” and “reformed” European Patent Office (EPO) is nothing like the Battistelli era Office. It’s worse. If one looks past the shallow nonsense (expensive PR, censorship, and charm offensives), one finds an even greater degree of corruption such as nepotism (e.g. António Campinos bringing all his mates from EUIPO), gross incompetence, technical absurdities (e.g. granting software patents in Europe using new buzzwords), not to mention financial absurdities. American allies of an American president now call the shots. Yes, Europe’s largest patent office is now being led by chronic liars employed by Mercer. It makes one wonder what exactly is still “European” in the European Patent Office (other than nationality of staff, whose level of qualifications rapidly decreased in recent years). Will examination be outsourced to “hey hi” (AI) of Google, just like the EPO’s automated translations? Will technology be procured by Microsoft, hosting be provided by Amazon and all official EPO communications relegated to a Twitter account?

Thankfully, most EPO examiners are still smart enough to know what’s going on and their representatives published the following document 4 days ago, based on a detailed analysis of the "hoax":

6 April 2020

What does Campinos’ SAP do?

This publication explains the impact of the Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP) envisaged by Mr. Campinos.
It should be clear to everybody that this SAP will cut the purchasing power of staff mainly when the EPO can afford to adjust the salaries, but has almost no impact in a period of crisis such as the Base 2 Scenario.
Indeed, Mr. Campinos’ SAP would have cut the salary scales by 7% or the equivalent of some 3 steps over the last six prosperous years (2014-2019) lagging the evolution of the cost of living in our Places of Employment by around 4%.
Contrary to that, from 2008-2013 the same method would have lagged the current method by less than 3%, despite the subprime crisis falling in that
period.
If Mr. Campinos was told that his method would bring an immediate impact, he should prepare for a surprise.
While the initial discussions took place in a friendly environment, we were disappointed by the style that management chose in the technical working
group where the salary adjustment procedure should be defined.
Shortly after we were asked for a further proposal in writing, management presented their method as an accomplished fact in extensive EPO TV
speeches. It is remarkable that these were recorded even before our previous meeting with management. And, they summarize our proposals in a way which we can only perceive as discrediting. We decided not to let drag us down to that style and continue with constructive proposals.

Setting the scene

Last year, the President commissioned a financial study1. It models four scenarios for the EPO’s finances: an Optimistic, a Base 1, a Base 2 and a Pessimistic Scenario. All four scenarios suppose that over the next 20 years, the fees, our only income, are not even adjusted in line with inflation. They all neglect the value of the buildings, some € 2.9

_________
1 CA/46/19


billion2, and on top of it neglect more than € 6 billion of future National Renewal Fees, which qualify as an asset3 from an economic point of view.

This consistent – wrong – approach suggests that Mr. Campinos’ has a concept of “asset” which is quite singular4. In a normal economic cycle, e.g. underlying the Base 1 Scenario, neglecting these roughly € 9 billion is not even enough to create a substantial gap.

The office went on to select the Base 2 scenario, an economic cycle starting off with a pitch black recession in Europe during 3 years5, something which didn’t happen since WWII – let alone since the existence of the EPO – and which is not even forecasted for the current COVID-19 crisis. In this scenario, the consultants then „found“ a gap of € 3.8 billion.
Nota bene: This is still far less than the neglected assets of € 9 billion, even when adding the Campinos’ Buffer of € 2 billion.

Eurostat data shows that a negative nominal GDP growth over two consecutive years6 was never observed in Europe since the beginning of the data available there. The period available in Eurostat covers both major crises of the recent past, namely the burst of the dotcom bubble (in 2001) and the subprime crises (in 2009).

Selecting the Base 2 Scenario should thus be done knowing that it is an extreme scenario which requires exceptional measures only if it does actually materialise.
Selecting this scenario as a regular case is, however, entirely unreasonable and illustrates that the EPO’s management has the sole intention to cut staff’s purchasing power.

The Base 2 Scenario
Mr. Campinos‘ consultants decided to analyse the financial situation starting from the Base 2 Scenario.
However, it should then be done consistently and in view that it is an extreme scenario. What the consultants (Mercer) did, is to start from this pitch black recession of the Base 2 Scenario, yet they combined it with estimates of the result of the current SAP, thus with adjustments of the salaries, allowances, pensions, etc., which in the past were seen only in a rosy economic environment.

The trouble with all the „simulations“ and “analysis” done by Mercer is that they actually did not simulate the salary development but rather applied a rough average over inflation

_________
2 CA/69/19 Table 3
3 Forgotten income of €6 billion in Financial Study and Decision not to include National Renewal Fees explained
4 Decision to forget €6bn in Financial Study – Some basics of assets and liabilities
5 three years in a row of nominal negative growth in whole Europe
6 June to June figures, consistently with the SAP


for the salary adjustment, thereby artificially inflating the salary mass, above what the current salary method would do.
In the last meeting, Mercer even stated that they are unable to model the salary adjustment.
However, past data shows that whenever Europe entered even a short recession, the civil servants saw no salary adjustments above inflation for the years following the recession7. The salary adjustment method currently in force, immediately reflects that in our salary adjustments too – which is what a proper salary method should do.

Confronted with this fact the consultants stated in a nutshell that this time is different8 and that assuming 0,5% salary increase above inflation, also during a period of pitch black recession, is just fine.
In other words, Mercer assumes that e.g. Germany, who just lifted the constitutional limit to take on additional debt, will go on to increase the salaries of their civil servants above inflation, contrary to the very purpose of these monies and also contrary to the accompanying law. And that something alike should be expected e.g. from Italy, Spain and the UK …

Since Mercer did not create a meaningful model for the salary adjustment, they can evidently not simulate any useful measure which becomes only effective in a crisis. Besides the fact that they largely overestimate expenditure and thus misstate the financial situation, it makes it close to impossible to show savings other than by systematically cutting the purchasing power, irrespective of the economic environment.

Prudently assuming, in line with past data, the salary development during and after a 3 years nominal recession, reveals that Mercer had overstated the expenditure for salaries by more than € 750 Mio9.
When this money would be invested in the RFPSS, at the return that Mercer assumes in their pitch black scenario, the overstatement of expenditures exceeds € 1.2 billion. This was eventually also confirmed by Mercer – but rejected as a valid approach because they claimed that this would change their model…
Nota bene: These € 1.2 billion in combination with the neglected EPO real estate of € 2.9 billion already adds to € 4.1 billion – much more than the gap of € 3.8 billion “found” by Mercer.

Despite the obvious lack for a need of salary cutting measures, even in the Base 2 scenario, the SR was willing to negotiate on measures which will become effective if a

_________
7 crisis in 1993: neg. or zero adjustment over inflation from 1993-1995; crisis in 2009: neg. adjustments over inflation from 2010-2013; the burst of the dotcom bubble did yield negative or very low adjustments over inflation from 2004-2008 despite the nominal EU-GDP did actually not shrink a single year
8 ‘this time it’s different’ are the most costly words in finance, according to Sir John Templeton. It’s the trap of self-declared smart people, in other words a bias known as overconfidence.
9 We did particularly not suggest any amendment to the EU GDP forecast, as suggested by Mr. Campinos in his latest letter. We are at a loss how he can publish such a statement.


Base 2 Scenario would effectively materialize, as additional clauses supporting the financial sustainability.

Measures, which become effective in extreme events, such as an unprecedented 3 year nominal recession in whole Europe, are covered in the SAP proposed by us under the chapter „Exception Clause“.

The statements by the consultants, that the savings from the proposals by the SR are inadequate and further not mentioning important conditions for our proposals, are thus entirely misleading for both the savings and the proposed method10.

The volatility of the adjustments
One of the major concerns raised by management was the high volatility of the salary adjustments because it complicates the predictability of the budget. These are driven by the volatility of the Specific Indicator11.
We have some sympathy with this concern and addressed it in our proposals.
When confronted with a volatile parameter, the first thing to do is to smoothen it without changing the long-term result.

Cutting, according to Mercer’s proposal, will not only reduce the volatility but also change the long-term result.

We proposed therefore an averaging mechanism as it is also done in the Coordinated Organisations, and which had reduced in the past 20 years the maximum change of the SI from one year to the next from 4.3% to 2.23%.
One could think of other smoothing methods like the one in place for the PPP of the rents12, which would bring down the maximum change of the SI from one year to the other to even 0.63%13.

Double counting
This mechanism avoids that increases in the contributions to social schemes would be counted twice, thereby affecting the principle of parallelism.
It is an important mechanism since social security and pension contributions in the EPO have increased a lot recently (to pensions, to healthcare insurance and to LTCI).

_________
10 Mercer’s assessment, page 8
11 The average salary increase of the national civil servants in real terms, thus without inflation.
12 Average over the past 6 years with successive decreasing weights: 25%, 21%, 18%, 14%, 11%, 11%.
13 from 1999-2019


Assume that all national civil servants had a 0% salary adjustment at 0% inflation. Assume further, that during this time both the national pension contributions and the EPO pension contributions were increased by 3%.
Since for the salary adjustment method only the net income is considered, this increase of the national pension contribution would translate into -3% salary adjustment for the EPO salaries. Combined with the 3% increase of our own EPO pension contributions at this same time, the overall effect is that our net salaries would have decreased by -6% while the salaries of the national civil servants would have decrease by -3%.
The mechanism against double counting exists to neutralise such effects of counting increases in pension and social security contributions twice.

We want to keep this mechanism: particularly now where contributions to social and pension schemes are on the rise everywhere.

Shifting the payout to January
The current SAP adjusts the salaries with effect of 1st July. Mr. Campinos proposes to change that to 1st of January.

We have some sympathy with that proposal as it improves the possibility to properly budget the results of the SAP. Indeed, this was also done in the Coordinated Organisations some time ago. Nevertheless, a delay in paying an adjustment must be properly compensated. In the Coordinated Organisations this delay was compensated by a one-off increase of the scales.

We asked also to be compensated for this delay in the same manner. After all, the immediate economic consequence is that the Office cuts the retroactive payment of the salary adjustment staff had so far, each year in December.

It appears that Mr. Campinos does not foresee any compensation for the shifting of the payout, resulting directly into a loss for staff.

Reversibility
Management now claims that the reversibility is reflected in the 6 year duration of the salary adjustment procedure. This isn’t reversibility but procrastination. A reversible measure is something which is reversed within the current method.

Despite the endless reiteration by management representatives, there is thus no reversibility in their proposal. Indeed, PD Finance stressed that these measures should be integrated in an SAP which in the long run – meaning over the coming 20 years – saves € 2 billion14,

_________
14 speech by the CFO, time stamp: 13s


again contrary to the President’s latest letter15, where he states that the SAP applies only to the coming 6 years.

Inflation16

In the Financial Study Phase II17, Mercer states the sensitivities of the different measures. In particular, when using a cap of EU-HICP18 + 0.25%, the savings are in the order of € 1.6 billion.
The proposed cap of 0,2% for achieving € 2 billion of savings, might appear for the trusting reader as reasonable, as it appears consistent with and as a compromise close to the low impact limit within the range disclosed in the financial study.

The current proposal is however, to use a cap of 0,2% over the Eurozone-HICP, not over the EU-HICP19.
The Eurozone-HICP was at an annual average of 1.72% over the last 20 years whereas the EU-HICP was at an annual average of 1.84% over this same period – thus 0.12% higher20.

Silently replacing the EU-HICP with the Eurozone-HICP is equivalent to reducing the cap of 0.2% to 0.08%.
This little detail will cut the salaries more likely by € 2.7 billion21 than the communicated € 2 billion – or another € 100,000 per person in loss of purchasing power.

Having said that, neither the EU-HICP nor Eurozone-HICP are in any way representative for the evolution of the cost of living in any of the Places of Employments. Indeed, over the last 6 years, in these cities, the cost of living as calculated by Eurostat for Munich and The Hague increased in total around 5% faster than EU-HICP, and almost 6% faster than Eurozone-HICP.

The switch of the relevant inflation can only be qualified as a clumsy attempt to fool staff pretending that the proposal is close to the lower range communicated earlier, anyway.

_________
15 Mr. Campinos letter published on EPO Intranet dated 31 March 2020
16 Data based on Eurostat figures
17 page 9
18 EU-HICP : Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices in the European Union which includes many more countries than the Eurozone.
19 Eurostat Data for HICP
20 It is highly probable that this trend will continue because the EU-HICP includes countries with higher economic growth than the Eurozone. Higher economic growth normally comes along with higher inflation.
21 linear interpolation between the central and the low impact case in CA/83/19 page 9, fist measure: €1.6 bn + (€ 3.2 bn – € 1.6 bn)/0.25%*(0.25%-0.08%)


Payout of withheld adjustments
Since the current proposal will lead to consistent cuts except during periods of severe crisis, such as the Base 2 Scenario, it foresees a cash payout of the withheld adjustment in non-pensionable cash to the employees22.

What this exactly entails, and how much money is actually paid out is entirely unclear. Where the Mr. Campinos’ SAP is clear is that it is subject to the Administrative Council’s approval – which means that the president must propose it in the first place.

These are a lot of “ifs” to expect from a President who started by neglecting some € 9 billion23 in assets, only to cut staffs purchasing power.

Conclusion
In a nutshell, Mr. Campinos’ SAP does not include a single proposal or idea coming from the SR, no matter how minor, anywhere, at all.

It is not how we understand “the middle of the bridge”.

Yet, it is now blatantly obvious what the President means with the middle of the bridge: either you cross it and you give me what I want – or I take it anyway.
Either way, you lose. We are back to Battistelli’s times.

We can only wonder what the impact on staff engagement will be, how this will affect trust in senior management.

And why all this? Because the President decided to disregard some € 9 billion worth of assets? We consider that management should ensure a balanced financing via reasonable fees, not through cutting salaries and pensions.

And please don’t forget, in all this, stay motivated in keeping up business as usual during the corona crisis, a time which very much impedes any action against this madness.

_________
22 Art. 10 of the SAP proposed by management
23 € 2.9 billion of real estate assets and more than € 6 billion of future national renewal fees

In the next post we’ll present the latest strongly-worded letter, which came out just before Good Friday. Who is it good for anyway? Are any EPO workers supposed to temporarily relax when the EPO attacks them from every possible direction on top of the pandemic-induced stress? The letter also shows that implicit threats are being made against staff representatives. How’s that for Easter/holiday spirit?

EPO Staff Union (SUEPO): “We Are Back to Battistelli’s Times”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents, Site News at 3:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flash News: Salary Erosion Procedure – Plundering your own staff during a pandemic

Breaking: SUEPO

Summary: The EPO‘s management continues its reckless and shameless attack on staff, based on complete lies and fabrications, even at times of uncertainty and stress

THE average innocent observer might think or be led to believe that an institution called “European Patent Office” — a de facto monopoly in Europe (granting authority isn’t up for grabs or tendering) — would treat its staff with respect and utmost dignity, especially at times of unprecedented crisis. The “nice” and “polite” António Campinos would surely not become anything like this guy, right?

Wrong!

“The average innocent observer might think or be led to believe that an institution called “European Patent Office” — a de facto monopoly in Europe (granting authority isn’t up for grabs or tendering) — would treat its staff with respect and utmost dignity, especially at times of unprecedented crisis.”A reader sent us 3 PDFs of recent SUEPO publications that we hadn’t seen before. Just to be very clear, we were never in direct contact with SUEPO; some SUEPO members, however, occasionally reach out to us.

“Business As Usual Despite Corona Pandemic Crisis,” one of them said/quoted, obviously upset at the attacks on staff which happen while the press isn’t paying attention (some journalists, by their own explicit admission, won’t cover EPO scandals because of “corona”).

As our reader put it: “Does the office, President Campinos, use the Corona crisis to push through his questionable reform plans at the next Administrative Council meeting? Is Campinos abusing his own staff in times of Corona crisis?”

“It’s a good time to attack staff, which is unable to gather (it might be illegal, not only as per Office rules).”Of course. It’s a good time to attack staff, which is unable to gather (it might be illegal, not only as per Office rules).

Our reader continued: “It looks as if the social dialogue has been completely removed from its agenda by the EPO administration. The question is: How will the Administrative Council react in its next meeting to those allegations and will they accept the morbid reform plans proposed by the President?”

Here’s the first publication of the bunch, dated 11 days ago:

30 March 2020

SALARY EROSION PROCEDURE
PLUNDERING YOUR OWN STAFF DURING A PANDEMIC
Flash news

We used to have, as all other international organisations, a salary adjustment procedure. The President is taking advantage of the Coronavirus crisis for rushing through an ill-conceived and detrimental salary adjustment procedure.

The proposed procedure does not deserve the name of a salary adjustment procedure but rather a salary erosion procedure.

We are not surprised that the President is advised to proceed in this way. He is still advised by the same persons who have destroyed the career of many, who have introduced the contracts for new staff, who have suppressed the invalidity insurance and who have weakened the healthcare insurance system to the extent that incapacitated colleagues are now hostages in their host country, including in a time of a pandemic.

We are shocked that the president keeps such advisors.

The current target is the salary adjustment procedure. And he wants to rush it. No matter.

The next ones will be the education allowance and the pension system.

At the same time the President expects you to work either by coming to the Office under unsafe conditions or to work from home under non ideal conditions. He expects you to take care of your small kids while producing the same. He will not give any time relief for that, but rather put pressure through his middle managers so that you use your own leave. He also generously offers to you to put your kids to bed and to start working again until midnight. He will seemingly only report cases of coronavirus after they have been in quarantine for 2 weeks. He will keep your staff representatives in the dark even when it concerns your health and your life during the pandemic. He expects you to produce as if it was business as usual. And he will take advantage of the fact that you cannot defend and organise yourselves to further destroy your working conditions, rushing it through with an impossible time framework.

What sort of management is this? What sort of President is this?

Your staff representatives have made a lot of efforts and have proposed compromise solutions (3 drafts already before this last report). All to no avail. All have been disregarded and discredited. Management is only pursuing a brutal solution with the help of costly consultants who have no clue about the salary environment in International Organisations. It is telling to see that the specialists within the administration, the people that actually know what a salary method of an International Organisation should look like – and why – have been kept entirely out of the loop during all these discussions. They were invited to sit in the different meetings, but were stifled to speak.

We are still open to discuss a reasonable compromise. But we refuse to be used as fig leaves if the President wants a to introduce a salary erosion procedure which is there only to cut your purchasing power as a result of a social monologue.

Yet another useless Video-Conference took place on Wednesday 25. Your representatives (appointees of the CSC in the Working Group) made yet another reasonable proposal to management and promised to send it shortly after the VICO which was done on Friday 27th. Despite knowing this was coming, the President released on Thursday some pathetic videos made with the consultant putting a bad light on your staff representatives and simply lying as to the effect of their proposals. This is a disgrace. Interestingly the date of recording of all videos is March 20th, i.e. it was clear to the President already since this date that all efforts by the staff representatives would not be taken into account after that date.

It is questionable why further meetings took place and are still are foreseen. Does the President really believe that he can fool the highly skilled staff of the EPO with this blunt mock consultation?

Are we back to the Battistelli era? Or did we ever leave it?

This is sickening.

Your SUEPO Central committee

This is all very much as expected. “I am only surprised to see a kind of tone that implies surprise,” I told a reader. “SUEPO was trying to play along with the Campinos “charm show” for a while, even when the facts suggested it was merely a show.”

“We don’t have direct access to the EPO or to SUEPO, but some people who have limited/selective access are kind and courageous enough to take the risk, rendering themselves ‘middle(wo)men’ for the sake of public awareness.”I want to remind my longtime readers here (the EPO series in particular) that journalists whom I attempted to contact in order for them to shed light on the scandals now use “corona” as an excuse to look the other way. They always have excuses. Seemingly endless excuses; it’s often the publisher (rich people at the top) who obstruct the journalism and EPO bribes for publishers certainly play a role. It’s not as profitable scrutinising EPO actions as it is sucking up to EPO management and composing puff pieces for these people. One publication that used to listen to staff representatives (Barney Dixon in particular) is still defunct. What a shame.

In these difficult times we’ll do our best to impose transparency on EPO actions and we invite readers to send us input and material of relevance. We don’t have direct access to the EPO or to SUEPO, but some people who have limited/selective access are kind and courageous enough to take the risk, rendering themselves ‘middle(wo)men’ for the sake of public awareness. The European public deserves and needs to know what goes on inside EPOnia.

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 09, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:25 am by Needs Sunlight

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