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04.14.20

Links 14/4/2020: Fwupd 1.4 and New LinuxONE Products

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Lemur Pro, a Linux Laptop with the best battery life

        There is a vast range of Linux laptops available from the most basic to the most high-end, from the affordable to the expensive, and from those for experts to those for novice users. If the price is not a constraint for you, you may be interested in the all-new System76′s Lemur Pro, a sophisticated Linux laptop the company claims gives you the most long-lasting battery life.

      • Best Linux Laptops for Programming



        If you’re a programmer and Linux user, a laptop can be your best friend or the worst enemy, depending on how well you choose.
        Select a capable machine, and you’ll be rewarded with a reliable companion that you can take with you anywhere and use it to turn your ideas into full-fledged projects. But if you choose a laptop that’s not fully compatible with Linux, you may soon regret your investment.

        To help you make the right choice, we’ve put together a list of the best Linux laptops for programming that you can buy in 2020.

      • Windows 10 Warning: Anger At Microsoft Rises With Serious New Failure



        Despite Microsoft’s big promise of change, Windows 10 users have been on a truly rotten run of bad updates recently. And now you need to be on your toes again.

        The always-excellent Windows Latest reveals that Microsoft’s new KB4541335 update is “wrecking PCs”. The site notes complaints are growing on Microsoft’s forums, Feedback Hub and even its own comments section. Here’s what you need to know.

        The headline takeaway is that this update can do serious problems. Windows Latest reports that the worst affected users are seeing not just ‘Blue Screen of Death’ crashes, but have had trouble restarting their computers after it installed.

      • How World of Warcraft introduced me to Linux



        The story behind my career with Linux is a bit unusual. It starts back in 2005; I was working as an auto mechanic at a Nissan dealership in Toledo, Ohio. I had never used a computer for anything other than checking email, browsing the web, and playing World of Warcraft.

        I had never heard of Linux, I didn’t know the term “open source,” I probably couldn’t even have walked you through how to copy a file from one place to another, and I certainly never thought that I would eventually find myself working in IT or running a website.

    • Server

      • An introduction to Cockpit, a browser-based administration tool for Linux

        

        Cockpit is a server administration tool sponsored by Red Hat, focused on providing a modern-looking and user-friendly interface to manage and administer servers. Fedora 21 included Cockpit by default, and since then, it has continued to grow and mature. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 included Cockpit in the optional and extras repositories, and it’s included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 by default.

        Cockpit is not the first of its class (many old-time system administrators may remember Webmin), but the alternatives are usually clunky, bloated, and their underlying APIs may be a security risk. That’s where Cockpit is different and shines. With Cockpit, unnecessary services or APIs don’t get in the way of doing things.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 87

        It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the news including good news for UBports, changes to Firefox, Microsoft’s new LSM, potentially bad news for KDE, and more.

      • SMLR 322: Stay 127.0.0.2

        Ubuntu 20.04 Features the Return of a VERY Familiar Face…

        https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/04/focal-fossa-familiar-face-wallpaper

        Jay: ‘Pop Shell’ Wants to Bring Proper Tiling Window Features to GNOME Shell

        https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/03/pop-shell-wants-to-bring-proper-tiling-window-features-to-gnome-shell

        Tony: 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.

        https://www.itwire.com/the-linux-distillery/git-version-control-system-hits-15-year-milestone.html

        TOM: New Kernel Features WireGuard
        Linux 5.6 adds support a bunch of new SoCs and developer boards, including the Pine HardRock64, SolidRun’s HoneyComb LX2K workstation, and the Qualcomm sc7180
        There are also thermal sensor updates for a range of Rockchip and Allwinner platforms, as well as the Broadcom BCM2711 used in the Raspberry Pi 4 (among others).
        Logitech devices that use the HID++ protocol can now report battery voltage on Linux, and the Logitech MX Master 3 Mouse will now “just work” out of the box.

        https://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2020/02/linux-5-6-kernel-features

      • Podcast.__init__: Distributed Computing In Python Made Easy With Ray

        Distributed computing is a powerful tool for increasing the speed and performance of your applications, but it is also a complex and difficult undertaking. While performing research for his PhD, Robert Nishihara ran up against this reality. Rather than cobbling together another single purpose system, he built what ultimately became Ray to make scaling Python projects to multiple cores and across machines easy. In this episode he explains how Ray allows you to scale your code easily, how to use it in your own projects, and his ambitions to power the next wave of distributed systems at Anyscale. If you are running into scaling limitations in your Python projects for machine learning, scientific computing, or anything else, then give this a listen and then try it out!

    • Kernel Space

      • EROFS-Utils 1.1 Released For This Read-Only Linux File-Systemv

        There hasn’t been much to report on this year for EROFS as the Huawei-developed read-only Linux file-system with Android devices in mind. But out this week is now erofs-utils as an update to the user-space utilities around this file-system.

        EROFS was initially merged back for Linux 4.19 in 2018 and then graduated from staging with Linux 5.4 while since then there hasn’t been much to report on… Including for the recent Linux 5.7 merge window no major updates, but then again this is a fairly simplistic read-only file-system and has already proven itself in promoting out of staging.

      • a change to the Linux kernel greatly improves the file transfer speed in FAT

        If you are one of those who use Linux for any reason and also still manage devices with file systems FAT16 or FAT32, there is good news for you: the data transfer speed has just received a huge boost thanks to new code that will be included in the Linux kernel.

      • Linux 5.6.4

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.4 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 5.5.17
      • Linux 5.4.32
      • Linux 4.19.115
      • Linux 4.14.176
      • Linux 4.9.219
      • Linux 4.4.219
      • AMD Radeon Graphics Driver Amassing Improvements For Linux 5.8

        While the Linux 5.7 merge window just ended on Sunday, with the DRM-Next cutoff for new material coming weeks prior to that, AMD developers working on their AMDGPU DRM kernel driver already have over 200 patches accumulated for the next cycle.

        AMDGPU+AMDKFD kernel driver work continues at full-speed with continued work especially on Navi and Arcturus. More work is expected over the weeks ahead but some of the material queued so far into their amd-staging-drm-next branch includes…

      • Linux 5.8 To Add Auto-Detection For Using SoundWire On Newer Intel Platforms

        While the Linux 5.7 feature merge window just closed yesterday, there is already one feature queued up for Linux 5.8 that caught our eye.

        Queued today in the sound subsystem’s “-next” branch is auto-detection support for SoundWire. As self-described on the MIPI project page, “MIPI SoundWire, introduced in 2014, consolidates many of the key attributes in mobile and PC audio interfaces, providing a common, comprehensive interface and scalable architecture that can be used to enable audio features and functions in multiple types of devices and across market segments. It supports the use of advanced amplifiers and microphones. In addition, it can also optimize speaker protection, microphone power and performance, noise cancellation and always-listening audio input.”

        Going back to late 2016, Intel has been working on the SoundWire support for Linux. SoundWire was then merged to Linux 4.16 in early 2018 and has continued to see various SoundWire improvements since that time — most recently with the SoF SoundWire support getting squared away in Linux 5.7.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD EPYC 7F52 Linux Performance – AMD 7FX2 CPUs Further Increasing The Fight Against Intel Xeon



        AMD today is announcing three new EPYC 7002 “Rome” SKUs in the form of the 7F32, 7F52, and 7F72 processors. The AMD 7F52 processors we have been recently testing and offers some impressive performance potential as while it’s a 16-core / 32-thread part it offers an impressive 256MB L3 cache (16MB per core). Here are our initial Linux benchmarks of the AMD EPYC 7F52 in 1P and 2P configurations up against various AMD EPYC and Intel Xeon processors.

        The AMD EPYC 7F52 16-core / 32-thread processor has a 256MB L3 cache and a 3.5GHz base frequency with 3.9GHz boost frequency. This Zen 2 server CPU has a $3100 one thousand unit pricing and aims to be able to deliver better performance-per-dollar than the likes of the Xeon Gold 6242/6246R CPUs. The EPYC 7F72 also launching today is a 24-core / 48-thread CPU but with just a 192MB L3 cache and 3.2GHz base frequency and 3.7GHz turbo — that 24-core part will retail for about $2450 USD. Meanwhile the lower-tier AMD EPYC 7F32 part is 8-core / 16-thread with a 128MB L3 cache and a 3.7GHz base frequency with 3.9GHz boost. Both the 7F52 and 7F72 are rated for a 240 Watt TDP while the 7F32 has a 180 Watt rating.

    • Applications

      • Inkscape 0.92.5 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu via PPA

        Inkscape, free professional vector graphics editor, released version 0.92.5 a few days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 16.04, Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.10, and derivatives.

        Inkscape 0.92.5 was released along with the 1.0 Release Candidate.

      • Inkscape 1.0rc1

        This version is a release candidate, released on April 9, 2020.

        If we find no major problem with it, it will be released in a few weeks as the 1.0 Inkscape version.

        Read the draft release notes for Inkscape 1.0, which list literally more than 100 major and minor improvements and bug fixes since 0.92.4.

      • Inkscape 1.0 Release Candidate Emerges For This Excellent Vector Graphics Editor

        The release candidate to the long-awaited Inkscape 1.0 emerged at the end of last week for this popular cross-platform SVG/vector graphics editor.

        After the 1.0 Alpha in January 2019, it looks like the stable Inkscape 1.0.0 release is just a few weeks away. Assuming no major issues are uncovered, the Inkscape 1.0 release candidate should be quite close to the state of the stable release later this month or in May.

      • Linux Monitoring Tools: The Definitive Guide

        If you’re an IT specialist dealing with Linux systems, implementing Linux monitoring tools is essential to ensure the health of the software. With a wide range of network monitoring tools for Linux from open-source to closed-source, it might be difficult to make a final choice. And to decide correctly, you need to know precisely what you want from your Linux monitoring tool.In this article, we will discuss some points you need to keep in mind when deciding and make an overview of the best one open source monitoring tools.As you attempt to make your decision, you’ll need to consider the type of hardware and software you’re going to monitor with the tool, the scalability and size of your network, the budget with which you are working and type of support you expect to have.

      • Fwupd 1.4 Released With Many Improvements For Open-Source Firmware Updating

        Fwupd 1.4 is available today as the latest major update to this open-source, Linux-focused firmware updating solution that ties into the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS).

      • url + MQTT = true

        Back in early 2019, my brother Björn Stenberg brought a pull request to the curl project that added support for MQTT. I tweeted about it and it seemed people were interested in seeing this happen.

        Time passed and Björn unfortunately didn’t manage to push his work forward and instead it grew stale and the PR eventually was closed due to that inactivity later the same year.

      • Just updated – Optimize Images v1.5

        If you are using Optimize Images, please notice that it has just been updated to version 1.5, which fixes a bug and adds some support to a JPEG sub-format known as MPO.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Voice actor of the Team Fortress 2 ‘Soldier’ Rick May, has died

        Some sad news to share today as Rick May, known to some PC gamers as being the voice of the Soldier class in Team Fortress 2 has died after catching the Covid-19 Coronavirus.

        The news was shared by Rekindle School, an independent educational program located in the USA where May was also a teacher. They said that after suffering a stroke in February, May had caught the Covid-19 Coronavirus while recovering in a nursing home.

      • Platform bouncing competitive game ‘Jumpala’ heading to Steam soon

        Jumpala is a very unique take on competitive multiplayer platforming, I’ve had a huge amount of fun with it and now it’s getting close to a Steam release.

        Currently available on itch.io with full local multiplayer, AI bots and online play there’s already a lot to like about it. Not just because of that though, the whole idea is quite brilliant. It’s all about strategy, super-powers and trying to screw with your opponent. You jump across small platforms, turning them into your colour and when they drop off the screen as it scrolls upwards the last colour on it gets the point.

      • Valve detail more changes planned for Artifact 2.0

        Artifact is coming back, and this time Valve are being more chatty about their plans for it after it died a quick death originally. So far, their plan sounds quite good.

        It was a shame to see it disappear, as the artwork and overall design was pretty great. The problem was the monetization model, which Valve have already confirmed they’ve thrown out (hooray!). So now you will earn cards in the game so it’s not pay to win in any way.

      • Procedural 2D open-world action-RPG ‘Mystiqa’ fully funded on Kickstarter – demo available

        Up for a new pixel-art action-RPG adventure? Mystiqa from developer Julian Creutz is currently crowdfunding with around two days left and it’s fully funded, with a demo available to try too.

        Sounds like it’s going to be quite detailed too. There’s a system to hire an NPC to help you out and random loot with special attributes. You get to customize your character too through different races, classes, gender and more. The loot system is apparently quite important, as Mystiqa is less dependent on character levels and more about player skill.

      • Explore ancient caverns filled with mysterious machinery in ‘The Long Gate’ – releasing this year

        The Long Gate from developer and author David Shaw is an upcoming puzzle and exploration game, one where the puzzles are based on real-world tech with ‘accurate depictions of quantum circuits and a 4-bit quantum computer’. Well, that’s certainly one way to grab our attention isn’t it. Can’t say I’ve heard of another game describing it’s puzzles anything like that.

      • Cure a city in the semi-educational strategy game ‘rZero. Virus Outbreak Simulation’ – try the free early build

        Developer Simon Roth (Maia) decided instead of worry about the Covid-19 outbreak, they would channel some energy into creating a new semi-educational strategy game named ‘rZero. Virus Outbreak Simulation’.

        Speaking on their Patreon, Roth mentioned how the outbreak has been on their mind and so they “decided to channel some of my research into outbreaks, spread and containment into a little semi educational strategy game”. Recently, a second build went live with multiple levels and so Roth is now looking for some more feedback on it. If people decide it’s interesting enough, they said they would polish it more and do a full release.

      • The 20 Best Games for Chrome OS or Chromebook in 2020


        It is quite elusive to find any people, regardless of age, who do not like to play games in this modern age. On top of that, if these games can be found in a device that is neither very expensive but can be exciting too, then it adds another distinctive dimension to it. Chromebook has made it possible by allowing it’s users to access to millions of games and apps after being merged with Linux and Android with mouse and keyboard compatibility. However, getting perfect games for Chrome OS is troublesome as Chromebook differs in terms of higher or lower specification.

      • Super stylish nomadic turn-based city builder ‘As Far As The Eye’ to be on Linux at release

        Developer Unexpected and publisher Goblinz Studio are currently working on ‘As Far As The Eye’, an incredibly stylish turn-based city-builder that will be on Linux at release.

        We had an email through about a Closed Beta, which is currently Windows only. The good news though, is that Goblinz Studio replied with a clear answer that it will be available on Linux (and macOS) at release.

      • Terraria is getting the Journey’s End update on May 16, for the 9th anniversary

        Adding in quite a lot of new content, Journey’s End is set to be quite the sweet update for Terraria to mark the 9th anniversary on May 16. This is after Re-Logic also recently announced how Terraria had passed the 30 million sales mark which is incredible.

      • Valve announces the return of the Steam Game Festival for you to try games, starting June 9

        The Steam Game Festival is returning for another round, starting on June 9 developers will be able to show off their games on Steam. If you remember, Valve did one only recently with a bunch of games having demos and it appears they’re going to do it bigger this time around.

      • How to install Steam on LMDE 4

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Steam on LMDE 4. Enjoy!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • TWM Window Manager

        twm is historical. It dates back to 1987, and is still being developed (although I think “maintained” would be more appropriate). I simply wanted to try it out and see what I can do with it, if I can customize it to my needs, both in functionality and looks.

      • The Fluxbox Windowmanager

        Fluxbox, as it is now, seems to be concentrating more on being a good window manager, and leave utilities to third parties. It has a lot of good features, but also some that are better left unused or are in dire need of revision & improvement. My opinion of course.

        On the other hand, it is designed with the idea of using it as a standalone desktop environment; there’s a startup file, hotkeys are managed, menus are configurable, themes include backgrounds and font definitions, a panel with a systray is included, fake transparency is possible, real transparency works with an external compositor, etc. etc. And all configuration is done through easily editable plain text files in ~/.fluxbox. That’s what I call user centric.

      • dwm window manager

        I am interested in window managers that can do both tiling and floating layouts. I don’t think I’ll ever become a tiling purist, but trying out dwm for some longer time has been a good experience.

        There’s some truth in it – the lack of “features” helps to focus on what’s relevant. Both looking at and getting around my dwm desktop has been a pleasant experience (i cannot pretend that looks aren’t important at all).

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • I Love my new KDE Plasma Desktop Layout, Here’s How I did it



          About a month or so ago, I decided to re-arrange my KDE desktop layout. I took a new approach, one that I came up with all by myself (using the customization options already graciously provided by the KDE desktop, of course). Then I made a few slight changes on the way, and I’m extremely happy with the results.

          With the new setup, not only my desktop looks minimalist and beautiful (I think), but it’s easier to use as well. That being said, preference is highly individual, but I thought a short article about how I set it up might look appealing to someone other than myself.

        • Maui Weekly Report 2

          Today we bring you a new report on the Maui Project progress.
          Are you a developer and want to start developing cross-platform and convergent apps, targeting, among other things, the upcoming Linux Mobile devices? Then join us on Telegram: https://t.me/mauiproject.
          If you are interested in testing this project and helping out with translations or documentation, you are also more than welcome.
          The Maui Project is free software from the KDE Community developed by the Nitrux team.
          This post contains some code snippets to give you an idea of how to use MauiKit. For more detailed documentation, get in touch with us or subscribe to the news feed to keep up to date with the upcoming tutorial.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME Launches Community Engagement Challenge With $65,000 In Cash Prizes

          GNOME Foundation, in association with Endless, has launched the inaugural Community Engagement Challenge, a three-phase competition to encourage open-source coders. Designed to generate stimulating ideas, the Challenge will help connect the next generation of coders to the FOSS community and keep them active and engaged for years to come.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Puppy Linux BionicPup 8.0 – Small and feisty



          Puppy Linux delivered on its happy message, and even exceeded my expectations. Now, I’ve always been a fan, and rarely had anything bad to say, so a positive result was kind of warranted. What really amazed me was not that this is a lean and fast little distro – it’s the fact it manages to keep its relevance despite the obvious lethargy in the Linux desktop space. You may say, well, why bother – but if you have older hardware or travel a lot, Puppy gives you your own, complete work session that will boot and run pretty much anywhere, with tons of goodies and excellent configuration tools.

          BionicPup 8.0 is a solid continuation of a strong line of tiny, frugal releases of the Puppy family. It’s prettier than before (if still rather simple), it’s fast and stable, it comes with all the amenities and nutrients a grown nerd needs, and it works really well. More testing to come for sure, but for now, I strongly recommend you grab yourself this phenomenal little distro, and go about exploring.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • z15 and LinuxONE III single frames: Build secure for developers

          Developers know that the right hardware is just as important as an optimum software stack when choosing the ideal environment to run their apps. At the same time, business requirements demand the ability to use AI across enterprises and on their highly-secure workloads.

          Today we’re announcing our latest mainframe hardware, which brings enterprise-grade reliability and data privacy — including Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) technologies — to meet the varying scales of development projects. The z15 and LinuxONE III was introduced in September 2019 as a one to four 19-inch frame system. These latest z15 and LinuxONE III Single Frame systems are designed with the same focus on securing AI and other data-centric workloads as their multi-frame siblings. Don’t let their smaller size fool you; a single one of these systems can handle the load of many commodity servers.

          I’m excited that these systems will enable developers to right-size their applications. Need to host your app with a high degree of security and data privacy? Check. Want a server that will scale vertically to handle spikes without having to add more hardware? Check. Want to have confidence that your data will be protected because you are the only one who has the digital key? Of course! This technology benefits from decades of experience and a focus on all the latest tools. This is the stuff that developers can build secure with.

        • Technical overview of Secure Execution for Linux on IBM Z

          Today IBM announced the availability of Secure Execution for IBM Z. Secure Execution is an IBM LinuxONE and Linux on IBM Z exclusive trusted execution environment (TEE) technology that is designed to protect and isolate workloads better than a standard software environment, from both internal and external threats.

          As an infrastructure developer, I was interested to learn more about the technology behind this new feature, so I sat down with Jonathan Bradbury, Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM working on Secure Execution, to go through the basics of what Secure Execution actually provides on a technical level.

          At its core, a Secure Execution provides a KVM-based virtual machine that is fully isolated and protected from the hypervisor with encryption keys that only the IBM Z hardware and firmware have access to.

        • Security at the Core: SUSE Support for the New IBM z15 and LinuxONE Single Frame Models

          If you ask any CIO, they’ll tell you that their architecture must be resilient, secure and agile. They need to discover ways to generate maximum value from technology investments. This is why the new IBM z15 and LinuxONE Single Frame Models give CIOs all that and more.
          These new ultra-modern systems – built on the most resilient architecture in computing today – provides unmatched security, availability, performance, and scale. In addition, these systems are ideal for businesses that demand fast data access, transactions at scale, and the highest level of trust.
          For more than 20 years and throughout the evolution of IBM Z systems, SUSE has been a key partner of IBM. We have supported the IBM Z security and cryptography features every step of the way. And now, SUSE is excited to include additional security features in our upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2 release.

        • What is IBM LinuxONE III?

          When I get excited about new technology, it is really easy to expect that everyone knows what I am talking about. Whether I’m describing the latest book I’m reading or Netflix series I’m watching, I will often just assume everyone knows what I’m talking about. How could you not think Jessica on “Love is Blind” was a bit crazy? Wait, you haven’t seen it? Yeah, okay. Now you see what I mean. Before I go off on something else, let me step back for a minute and introduce to you a really cool box I’ve been working on.

        • Inside the new IBM z15 T02 and LinuxONE III LT2

          Back in September we debuted the new IBM z15 and I gave a hardware overview in my blog post, Take a look inside the new IBM z15. Ranging from one to four frames, these systems were huge machines focused primarily on the enterprise.

          Today, we are launching two new air-cooled, single-frame offerings aimed at the midrange market, the IBM z15 T02 and IBM LinuxONE III LT2. These two models are built upon the great foundation that was set with the 2019 release of z15 T01 and LinuxONE LT1. They inherit their core design and functionality from those earlier models, including a continuation of the 19-inch form factor and the integrated compression accelerator.

        • IBM unveils two new single-frame, air-cooled systems and IBM Secure Execution for Linux

          In September, Ross Mauri, the General Manager of IBM Z & LinuxONE, announced the new IBM z15 and shared where it fits into the hybrid multicloud strategy that many enterprises are embracing.

          This week, we’re pleased to announce the latest iteration of the z15 series: the new z15 T02 and LinuxONE III LT2. These two single-frame, air-cooled platforms build on the capabilities of the previously announced models. In tandem with this announcement, we’re also unveiling IBM Secure Execution for Linux.

        • IBM Z Deepens Data Privacy Capabilities with New Air-Cooled Models and IBM Secure Execution for Linux

          Every day, clients of all sizes are examining their hybrid IT environments, looking for flexibility, responsiveness and ways to cut costs to fuel their digital transformation. To help address these needs, today IBM is making two announcements: two new single frame, air-cooled platforms – z15 T02 and LinuxONE III LT2 – designed to build on the capabilities of z15, and IBM Secure Execution for Linux, a new offering designed to help protect from internal and external threats across the hybrid cloud. IBM Secure Execution for Linux, z15 T02 and LinuxONE III LT2 will become generally available on May 15, 2020.

        • IBM Joins Hands With Open Mainframe Project

          Are you an experienced COBOL programmer? Are you also interested in helping out agencies and employers in need of additional COBOL skills as they respond to public needs in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, IBM has some interesting news for you! IBM, in association with the Linux Foundation’s Open Mainframe Project, has created three new initiatives to address the immediate and temporary need.

          COBOL has been widely reported to have an estimated 220 billion lines of code being actively used today.

          IBM has launched a new talent portal where employers can connect with available and experienced COBOL programmers. This new initiative provides an immediate way to help connect professionals where needs arise – with skilled talent ready to get to work.

        • Code @ Think: What to watch for

          Secure, enterprise-grade containers are becoming increasingly essential for modern development. Jump start your skills with the Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge. Four 10-minute hands-on coding labs will teach you the key elements of open cloud-native development using Red Hat OpenShift and Kubernetes. Each lab has a specific set of instructions that must be completed in their respective time period. Ready to put your talents to the test?

        • Take the Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge

          As Kubernetes continues to dominate the enterprise development space due to the growth of containers and microservices, are you feeling like you’re getting left behind? Or are you the leader in the pack that is forging new paths for your team? In either case, we’ve got the coding challenge for you. The Build Smart on Kubernetes Challenge will help you build applications and deploy containers with simplicity and security built in. Best part? You can win some cool prizes!

          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.

          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. With more than 100 meetups in more than 20 countries, we’re taking 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 digital contest is for you.

        • Wanted – COBOL Programmers

          One of the unexpected side effects of the corona virus pandemic is a chronic shortage of COBOL programmers. The Open Mainframe Project has launched new initiatives in response to the call for help and IBM plans to provide free training in the legacy language.

      • Debian Family

        • Tails 4.5 Is Out: Run The Live Operating System With Secure Boot

          Do you care about your anonymity and you use a Linux distro as your daily driver? Well then, you must be aware of the security-focused Debian Linux-based Tails operating system. If not, check out the latest version of Tails 4.5 which you can run directly from your USB stick without installation.

          [...]

          Other security updates include support for secure boot. You can now run Tails on your computer with secure boot enabled. This means your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) firmware only allows the booting of authorized software.

        • The Daniel Baumann experiment: blackmail, expulsion, humiliation, shaming and servitude

          On 8 March 2013, Joerg Jaspert started an experiment in shaming and controlling another volunteer, Daniel Baumann.

          The story has a lot in common with other recent cases where people in the Debian cabal have abused volunteers. The Baumann experiment proves that this has been a long standing problem in Debian itself. The volunteers selected for shaming do not deserve this, no matter what mistakes they made.

          The Baumann experiment lasted from 8 March 2013 up to 4 August 2018. Baumann was subject to this shaming experiment for 1,975 days.

          Given that shaming and humiliation were factors in the suicide of Debian’s founder, Ian Murdock, it is incredibly disrespectful that these shaming experiments are conducted over and over again to the point that they feel normal.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Top 10 Features of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS promises major features and here we run down a list of top 10 features of Ubuntu 20.04.

        • IBM Z delivers a Trusted Execution Environment with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and new single frame models

          In September 2019, IBM released z15 and LinuxONE III, the most secure cloud environment in the market featuring pervasive encryption built-in at its core with Ubuntu. This offered a solid foundation to launch hardened security offerings for the mainframe across platforms such as MongoDB, Postgres, IDAA, IBM Cloud Private and the IBM Hyper Protect services family.

          Security and flexibility made affordable with 2 new single-frame platforms

          Today, IBM Z seeks to extend these industry-leading capabilities in security, encryption, data privacy, compression and platform overall flexibility to a broader client and prospect base at lower cost for entry with two new single-frame, air-cooled systems – the z15 T02 and LinuxONE III LT2. These hardware-based security and acceleration enhancements are supported in the latest Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS (Long Term Support) release, being launched on 23rd April. The two new IBM platforms with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS are targeted for availability in May.

          Critical workloads safer than ever with Secure Execution for Linux

          The IBM z15 and LinuxONE III are designed to enhance security for critical customer data and workloads, such as sensitive databases, crypto services and blockchain services. IBM Secure Execution for Linux on IBM z15 and LinuxONE III is a Trusted Execution Environment that protects and isolates critical workloads better than a standard software environment, from both internal and external threats. IBM and Canonical worked on a design that protects the contents of containers in heterogeneous workloads without extensive software code changes by preventing memory share at the kernel level. Confidentiality and integrity for sensitive data and workloads on IBM Z are secured in a multi cloud environment, allowing a Kubernetes container admin to manage workloads on both Z and x86, without allowing access to data in the secure containers.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 626

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 626 for the week of April 5 – 11, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • [Stay at Home] [NixNet etc.] Help for You to Work and Communicate Online



        This list presents generous free online providers who give multiple services that enables everyone chatting, video & voice conferencing, screen sharing, file sharing, collaborative document editing, and many more. The technology they give are mostly Jitsi, BigBlueButton, Mumble, Etherpad, and Jabber, with more additional ones. By “free” here I mean both ways that the services price are gratis and the software inside are also free as in freedom. I hope this list helps everybody worldwide to stay at home in the pandemic of COVID-19. Be safe and healthy!

      • Nextcloud Partners with IONOS

        Nextcloud has partnered with Germany’s largest cloud provider, IONOS, to provide a safe haven for your data within the cloud.

        In times of crisis, open source projects step up big. That’s exactly what Nextcloud has done. In the current climate, companies have had to quickly migrate to cloud solutions, only to find themselves bumping up against serious privacy and security issues. Because of the 2018 CLOUD act, The CLOUD Act, authorities could obtain data without prior judicial review for this request.

        With so many companies and employees having to migrate from their in-house cloud platforms and turn to various third-party cloud services, Nextcloud and IONOS have come together to ensure sovereignty over customer data. Because both companies are housed in Germany, anyone using the Nextcloud platform on IONOS is guaranteed maximum protection against the US CLOUD Act.

      • [Blink] New Raspbian repository

        With the addition of the latest features of the command line clients, one can integrate them nicely into IoT projects running on Raspberry Pi, for example using one single hardware button to make, receive and hangup calls: [...]

    • Web Browsers

      • Mozilla

        • Firefox 76 Promises New Security Features, Improved Picture-in-Picture

          

          Mozilla continues that monthly Firefox releases with smaller improvements and new features, and it looks like it works well for now. Firefox 75 introduced a revamped address bar and stable Flatpak support.

          With the Firefox 76 release, Mozilla wants to introduce a couple of new security features to better protect your password and logins throughout the websites you’re using.

          One of these new features isn’t visible to users, but it will warn them whenever their saved logins include a password for a breached website, so you can change it as soon as possible for your other websites where the same password is used.

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Open Badges for top wiki contributors!

        Open Badges are special images that we’re awarding to super-active contributors in the LibreOffice project. They contain metadata describing the contributor’s work, which can be verified using an external service. Open Badges are used by other free software projects, such as Fedora.

        Last month, we announced Open Badges for Ask LibreOffice contributors, and today we’re awarding some more – this time for the most active editors on The Document Foundation’s wiki (in the last 12 months).

        So, congratulations to the following users – we’ll send you your badge in the next couple of days. Feel free to proudly show it off on your wiki user page, website, blog or social media. And with the metadata inside, you can prove your history of contributors to other FOSS projects (or indeed potential employers)!

    • CMS

      • Between Software and Service

        I write this article to explain the connection between software and service on the internet as my articles often mention them. The intended audience are people without deep knowledge in computing. This kind of explanation is needed because the computing is not as simple as one may thought. For example, one should be able to distinguish between WordPress the software and WordPress the service, so everything would be clear and no misunderstanding could happen in the future. Another example, one should be able to distinguish between PeerTube, Mastodon, and Jitsi the software with those three the services. My articles here which mentions such things are for example Riot/Matrix Intro, Alternative-World Resources, Code Hosting list, and Stay at Home Solution the series, among others. This explanation is wished to be useful too to understand circumstances outside of this UbuntuBuzz.com website. Happy learning!

    • FSF

      • Contributing from afar: My internship from Italy with the campaigns team

        My name is Leonardo Luca Vignini. I was born and still live in Italy, in a city called Imola, near Bologna. Currently, I’m an intern at the Free Software Foundation (FSF) and, in particular, I’m working in the campaigns team. I’m learning how to manage contacts with CiviCRM, and I write to journalists and organizations to inform them about our campaigns, and I’m learning how the FSF works to spread the word and sensitize people about free software. Through these activities, I’m also deepening my understanding of some aspects about free software that I didn’t know. For example, I checked some parts of the Defective by Design Web site, and it was an excellent opportunity to inform me further about Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and the campaign against it.

        I learned about free software during the first year of university, thanks to a friend of mine who had been using GNU/Linux for some time. I have a degree in philosophy, and I’m currently studying political science. My main interests are studying developing countries, politics, technology, and philosophy; in my spare time, I dedicate myself to cinema and music. I have experience in the field of information and nonprofits, having worked at some newspapers and at some nonprofit organizations of which I am still a member.

      • How did Free Software build a social movement?


        The Free Software movement is rooted to origins in the 1980s. As part of a talk I gave with my colleague and friend Mike Nolan at FOSDEM 2020, we analyzed how the Free Software movement emerged as a response to a changing digital world in three different phases. This blog post is an exploration and framing of that history to understand how the social movement we call “Free Software” was constructed.

        This exploration and thought experiment is important to understand when revisiting social movements in technology in the current day. In the FOSDEM 2020 talk Mike and I gave, we presented three possible digital “freedoms” for artificial intelligence. The rights-based approach we presented at FOSDEM 2020 was inspired by the origin of the Free Software movement.

      • GNU Projects

        • GNUstep Sees New 2020 Releases For This Apple Cocoa/OpenStep Re-Implementation

          It’s been a while since last having any news to report on GNUstep, the free software re-implementation of the Apple Cocoa / OpenStep frameworks. But GNUstep is alive and well and today several of its components saw new releases — among the feature work is improving its multi-monitor handling.

          GNUstep GUI Backend 0.28 is one of the new releases today. The GUI back-end has cursor handling improvements, focus handling improvements, better font handling, and usage of Xrandr for multi-monitor support.

        • GNU gettext 0.20.2 released

          – Shell:
          o The programs ‘gettext’, ‘ngettext’, when invoked with option -e, now expand ‘\\’ and octal escape sequences, instead of swallowing them. (Bug present since the beginning.)
          o xgettext now recognizes ‘gettext’ program invocations with the ‘-e’ option, such as “gettext -e ‘some\nstring\n’”
          – Python: xgettext now assumes a Python source file is in UTF-8 encoding by default, as stated in PEP 3120.
          – Desktop Entry: The value of the ‘Icon’ property is no longer extracted into the POT file by xgettext. The documentation explains how to localize icons.

    • Programming/Development

      • Store and share data safely with IBM Data Privacy Passports for developers

        IBM Data Privacy Passports is a new data privacy and security solution that brings protection to the data itself. With its data-centric and policy-based protection, Data Privacy Passports builds on top of pervasive encryption by giving users a way to control how data is stored and shared. At any time, eligible data is protected and future access can be revoked using Data Privacy Passports — for data that originates on z15, as well as data from hybrid cloud environments.

        Securing data can be complicated when data moves from platform to platform. As data travels it needs to be on secure networks with secure protocols, and when that data reaches its destination it needs to be secured again by that system. If data is moving across multiple networks to multiple destinations, each network and destination need to be configured for consistent security. When a policy change requires that privileges be altered, each system needs to be adjusted individually. If each system is responsible for securing the data but one system fails to do so, that one system can compromise the entire chain. Data Privacy Passports is designed to solve this complex challenge.

        With Data Privacy Passports, the individual fields of eligible data are protected, and this is done with the introduction of the Trusted Data Object (TDO). A TDO is encrypted and must be read through Data Privacy Passports (the current version only supports SQL structured data sources accessed via JDBC) in order to be decrypted into a usable format. Therefore, when data is protected as a TDO and moves between environments, the protection moves with it. This prevents complete reliance on the security of individual systems. With policies that are configurable at the user and group level, Data Privacy Passports provides the control to show different users different views of the same data based on that user’s need to know. Because of this, developers can write code using real data and data administrators can manage data warehouses, without seeing the same data. This allows for the integration of Data Privacy Passports into existing applications.

      • Andy Wingo: understanding webassembly code generation throughput

        Greets! Today’s article looks at browser WebAssembly implementations from a compiler throughput point of view. As I wrote in my article on Firefox’s WebAssembly baseline compiler, web browsers have multiple wasm compilers: some that produce code fast, and some that produce fast code. Implementors are willing to pay the cost of having multiple compilers in order to satisfy these conflicting needs. So how well do they do their jobs? Why bother?

        In this article, I’m going to take the simple path and just look at code generation throughput on a single chosen WebAssembly module. Think of it as X-ray diffraction to expose aspects of the inner structure of the WebAssembly implementations in SpiderMonkey (Firefox), V8 (Chrome), and JavaScriptCore (Safari).

        [...]

        I’ll express results in nanoseconds per WebAssembly code byte. Of the 40 megabytes or so in the Zen Garden demo, only 23 891 164 bytes are actually function code; the rest is mostly static data (textures and so on). So I’ll divide the total time by this code byte count.

      • Dirk Eddelbuettel: gettz 0.0.4

        A minor routine update 0.0.4 of gettz arrived on CRAN overnight.

        gettz provides a possible fallback in situations where Sys.timezone() fails to determine the system timezone. That happened when e.g. the file /etc/localtime somehow is not a link into the corresponding file with zoneinfo data in, say, /usr/share/zoneinfo. Since the package was written (in the fall of 2016), R added a similar extended heuristic approach itself.

        This release adds registration of the compiled routine via R_registerRoutines() and R_useDynamicSymbols(), adds .registration=TRUE to useDynLib() in NAMESPACE, and uses an unquoted symbol in .Call(). Two new badges were added to the README.md as well. And as in the previous release in 2016: No new code, or new features.

      • How I containerize a build system

        A build system is comprised of the tools and processes used to transition from source code to a running application. This transition also involves changing the code’s audience from the software developer to the end user, whether the end user is a colleague in operations or a deployment system.

        After creating a few build systems using containers, I think I have a decent, repeatable approach that’s worth sharing. These build systems were used for generating loadable software images for embedded hardware and compiling machine learning algorithms, but the approach is abstract enough to be used in any container-based build system.

        This approach is about creating or organizing the build system in a way that makes it easy to use and maintain. It’s not about the tricks needed to deal with containerizing any particular software compilers or tools. It applies to the common use case of software developers building software to hand off a maintainable image to other technical users (whether they are sysadmins, DevOps engineers, or some other title). The build system is abstracted away from the end users so that they can focus on the software.

      • Using OpenBSD Relayd to Block Bad Robots

        Unfortunately, there are a good number of bad web crawlers, also known as bots. Well-behaved robots first query for the existence of a robots.txt file and if their user agent string is in this file, disconnect and go away. As it so happens, the Chinese bots don’t obey the robots.txt file and a few of the little ones do not as well. Given the pervasive cyber crime that the Chinese engage in, all known Chinese IP addresses are simply blocked at the firewall as well as some other countries that engage in nefarious activities. OpenBSD has a powerful tool to deal with these guys and it is called relayd. Relayd is most used as proxy software but it can do many powerful things. Here is the configuration file that I use for my website, sanitized of course.

      • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppArmadillo 0.9.860.2.0

        Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 706 other packages on CRAN.

        A new upstream release 9.860.2 of Armadillo was just released. The theme of “convergence” continues; the previous release increased the minor from 800 to 850, now we are at 860. We first wrapped this up as version 0.9.859.1.0, but it turned out to have been held back by a buglet between R 4.0.0 and Rcpp which the recent patch release fixed (along with other woes on old R or non-CRAN-alike macOS). It then turns out that the new (upstream) version 9.860.1 had a minor bug which I missed as I reverse-depends checked the prior version. Doh. My thanks, as always, to CRAN for spotting this. The fix was added upstream and we have 9.860.2 as RcppArmadillo 0.9.860.2.0.

      • Introduction to R and RStudio for Data Science

        This is a short introductory training session on the use of R in data science.

        R is a statistical programming language that can be used for data manipulation, visualisation of data and statistical analysis. The R language consists of a set of tokens and keywords and a grammar that you can use to explore and understand data from many different sources.

        We focus on a common task in data science: import a data set, manipulate its structure, and then visualise the data. We shall use R and RStudio to accomplish this task.

        RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) that can be used to carry out data science tasks using R. It contains an editor for R scripts, a console to interact directly with the R interpreter, and a file manager similar to that available in your operating system.

        This is an interactive training session, so you should try to follow along with the tutorial.

      • Emmanuel Kasper: Recommended keyboard settings for Productivity and Usability, for European Programmers

        If you’re working on Unix / Linux, or C based programming languages, it can make sense to switch to the qwerty(us) keyboard layout. Why ?
        Unix, C, Perl, Java, and most of programming languages have been conceived on QWERTY keyboards.
        So when the designers choose special characters to use for the language synthax, they simply choose what was easy to access on their own keyboard. This has been historically documented for the vi editor.

        To give an example, using an Unix shell you have to type the dot . and slash / symbols quite often to navigate the filesystem. The two keys producing these symbols, are nicely aligned on a QWERTY layout and do not require a key combination to be entered. So you can quickly enter something like ‘../..’ using a single hand.
        Now using a QWERTZ layout, like in Germany / Austria, you have the ‘.’ symbol easily accessible, but you need to combine two keys ( Shift + 7 ) to get a ‘/’.
        And if you are a poor soul using an AZERTY layout, to get the ‘.’ and ‘/’ symbol you need each time a key combo.
        The need of key combos is bad not only for speed (multiple keys to lookup) but also for usability, as you have to stretch your fingers to reach the key if using a single hand, provoking repetitive strain injury. You might be smiling but this is commonly known amongst Emacs Users, due to the prominent use of commands using Ctrl and Alt combos, and led to the creation of an Emacs Ergonomic wiki.

      • Perl/Raku

        • 2020.15 An eASTer Surprise

          Jonathan Worthington tweeted that they finally found the time and the voice to record the presentation they had planned for the German Perl and Raku Workshop. You can either watch the video and/or look through the slides. It basically touches on these four subjects…

      • Python

        • Is it getting better yet? An optimistic visual guide to the Coronavirus pandemic

          As the apocalypse rumbles on, I found myself wondering “Is it getting any better?”

          Daily updates of spiralling case numbers (and worse, deaths) does little to give a sense of whether we’re getting to, or already past, the worst of it — at least from a medical point of view.

          To answer that question for myself and you, I put together Is it getting better yet? an optimistic visual guide to the pandemic.

        • Why you need Build Automation Tools for Selenium Automation Testing?

          Being an automation tester, we do realize that in a release cycle, time is always of the essence.! Selenium test automation helps to save us a considerable amount of time in our test cycles. However, it is pivotal to note the way through which you are executing your Selenium testing scripts. Which frameworks are you using? Are you doing it with an in-house infrastructure or with an online Selenium Grid? Are you making use of build automation tools or not?!

          Build automation tools like Maven, Gradle and ANT provide you to accelerate the Selenium test automation even further. Not only do they help you manage build lifecycles, dependencies but they also allow you to perform parallel test execution. In this post, we are going to understand why every automation tester needs a build management tool for Selenium testing.

        • Stop obsessing about algorithms

          We hear it so often: I need to ace algorithms to land a SW job.

          To a certain extent yes. You surely need to understand what data structure to use and make efficiency trade-offs.

          There will always be some of this in an interview, especially in highly technical positions where performance matters.

          But this does NOT make you a proficient programmer in 80+% of the roles you could be applying for.

        • Best Python Projects for Your Resume

          We’re very much into the mid-2020 and this new decade in computer science is going to be of developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Science, Big Data and next-gen computer networking. And Python has been and will be backbone in many further developments in the coming years.The reason behind so much popularity of Python programming language is that it covers all the features of conventional programming languages like C, C++ and Java while offering more features like large set of libraries and tools, multi-paradigm programming, short code and seamless community support.
          Web development, system administration, application development and game development are the fields where Python programming is vastly used today. Python has gained so much reputation and popularity that many popular organizations like NASA, Google, Walt Disney, RedHat use Python to improve productivity and customer experience.

          So if you’re looking to learn Python or make a career in the field of AI, Data Science or any other computer science field then you must have worked on some very important Python based projects to add them to your resume and make your resume standout.

          So today I’m going to suggests you some very important Python projects that are going to help you improve your Python programming skills and make your resume impactful.

        • tryexceptpass: Episode 7 – Basic Practices to Secure Your Application Architecture

          Markets seem to reward fast product launches over secure one. This means that most organizations are not prioritizing security tasks early on. But following basic security practices early can yield great benefits without a significant increase in development time.

        • Mimic

          Here I’m sitting at coffeeshop late afternoon brushing few of core Linux concepts. All of sudden somehow my mind took me to read new content in hacker news. Its always like a celebration going through content in hackernews “USEFUL STUFF”. There I saw GNU Software foundation listed its 2017 free softwares, I found a phone operating system powering nexus and few samsung phones. In addition, one thing catched my eye which is Intelligent Personal Assistant i,e Mimic. A free software which converts your text to speech right from the terminal.

        • How to efficiently generate a random subset?

          Suppose you have an array with n elements and you want a random subset with k elements. What strategies can you think of to do this as efficiently as possible?

          Take a moment.

          Why should you care about efficiency? It’s because random number generators must make a tradeoff between the statistical tests they can pass and their performance.

          Take another moment.

          Hint: You can translate this to a problem of generating random numbers from 0 to n – 1 with no duplicates? These numbers can serve as the indices you use to select the members of the array.

        • How to build a Todo application with Python Flask, Heroku and Tailwind CSS

          Flask is called a MicroFramework because it gives you the basic tools you need in order to build a web application in Python.
          With Flask you can build any kind of Web service or backend application.
          If you’re beginning using Python for web development i suggest you to start with Django.

          In this guide We will build a Todo application from Scratch with Tailwind A utility-first CSS framework for rapidly building custom designs.

        • Internet Shutdown Panel at NullCon, 2020

          Internet shutdown has become a pretty regular event in today’s world. India has seen the most number of shutdowns. Internet shutdowns are the “intentional disruption” of wired connection or mobile internet and /or both. Primarily carried on by the Government authorities with the aim of controlling the communication and the flow of information accessible over internet. The shutdowns vary in time, period, place, area and duration.

        • Combining Data in Pandas With merge(), .join(), and concat()

          Pandas’ Series and DataFrame objects are powerful tools for exploring and analyzing data. Part of their power comes from a multifaceted approach to combining separate datasets. With Pandas, you can merge, join, and concatenate your datasets, allowing you to unify and better understand your data as you analyze it.

          [...]

          If you have some experience using DataFrame and Series objects in Pandas and you’re ready to learn how to combine them, then this tutorial will help you do exactly that. If you want a quick refresher on DataFrames before proceeding, then Pandas DataFrames 101 will get you caught up in no time.

        • EuroPython 2020: Talk voting is open

          The talk voting page lists all submitted proposals, including talks, helpdesks and posters. The proposals are sorted in random order.

        • Using Twisted to Massively Parallelize Web Clients

          The Twisted Requests (treq) package is an HTTP client built on the popular Twisted library that is used for web requests. Async libraries offer the ability to do large amounts of network requests in parallel with relatively little CPU impact. This can be useful in HTTP clients that need to make several requests before they have all the information they need.

          This post shows an example of a problem like this, and how to solve it using treq.

          I enjoy playing the real-time strategy game Clash Royale. Clash Royale is a mobile strategy player-vs-player game where players play cards in an arena to win. Each card has different strengths and weaknesses, and different players prefer different cards. Clash Royale remembers which card a player plays the most; this is their “favorite” card. Players come together in clans where they can help each other. Supercell, Clash Royale’s developer, released an HTTP-based API where different statistics can be queried.

        • An Overview of Profiling Tools for Python

          What does it mean to profile ones code? The main idea behind benchmarking or profiling is to figure out how fast your code executes and where the bottlenecks are. The main reason to do this sort of thing is for optimization. You will run into situations where you need your code to run faster because your business needs have changed. When this happens, you will need to figure out which parts of your code are slowing it down.

          This article will only cover how to profile your code using a variety of tools. It will not go into actually optimizing your code. Let’s get started!

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • [Old] Trump’s War on Knowledge

        Trump’s war on settled science and truth will have lethal consequences. An estimated 2.3 million American construction workers, miners, and road-crew laborers face life-threatening injury and illness because the Occupational Health and Safety Administration has delayed the enforcement of rules protecting them from silica dust, which is incontrovertibly linked to increases in cancer and lung disease. Deaths will rise among those who toil in shipyards and on construction sites because a regulation created by the Obama administration to reduce exposure to the carcinogen beryllium has been reversed. Miners are at greater risk because inspections in coal mines to identify hazards have been curtailed, and families in Appalachia will be further endangered because the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine have been ordered to stop studying how pollutants produced by mountaintop-removal mining may lead to increased rates of cancer, birth defects and respiratory disease.

    • Education

      • Has the leap online changed higher education forever?

        According to Unesco, 89.5 per cent of the world’s learners, which includes those enrolled at universities, are now being taught online, largely because of lockdowns in place to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

        There were universities that were better prepared than others, but no one could have expected that their institution would have to transition quite so quickly – often in a matter of days – to teaching thousands of students online. Faced with this new landscape, a huge number of institutions have turned to existing online learning platforms to help with their provision.

      • Michael Arceneaux doesn’t want you to die poor

        Arceneaux was economically prescient, even though he wrote the book for the world we lived in before. Working people in the United States suffered a crisis of poverty caused by loan debt and a lack of a social safety net, Arceneaux writes; the coronavirus pandemic only exacerbates that. In his new collection of essays, Arceneaux explains how debt affected every facet of his life. While the book takes on dark subjects, his humor allows for the reader to laugh at the chaos of it all with him.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Amplifying Food Supply Chain Concerns, 230+ Coronavirus Cases Close Down Top US Pork Producer

        The indefinite shutdown comes as farmers nationwide are forced to dump fresh milk and mulch unharvested produce back into the ground.

      • Photo: Ambulances line up outside suburban Moscow hospital as COVID-19 pushes health systems to the edge
      • Trump’s EPA Is Unleashing the Pollution That Makes Us Vulnerable to COVID-19

        Past exposure to air pollution increases the risk that an individual will suffer critical illness after contracting COVID-19, according to a report released on April 8 by researchers at Harvard.

      • Trump Asserts He Alone Has Authority to Reopen Economy — Experts Say Otherwise

        President Donald Trump issued out a pair of tweets on Monday morning in which he asserted that he alone, and not state governors, had the authority to end shelter-in-place orders to allow all businesses and services to reopen.

      • Moscow closes its first clinic due to an outbreak of COVID-19 The chief physician is on a ventilator, and many locals think she’s to blame for spreading coronavirus

        Over the weekend, Moscow officials closed the central outpatient clinic for the Mitino District, where local residents now fear a new outbreak of coronavirus. Outpatient Clinic № 180 is now being decontaminated from top to bottom and the facility’s chief physician was placed on a ventilator on Saturday. Staff will be allowed to return to work only after mass testing. This is the first time Moscow has had to close an entire clinic because of the coronavirus epidemic. Elsewhere in the city, admission and hospitalization at the Blokhin Oncology Center are still suspended because of concerns about COVID-19’s spread.

      • ‘Eerily quiet’: How California’s early action against COVID-19 delayed the surge at hospitals

        Since the pandemic began, many California hospitals have been preparing for a massive influx of COVID-19 patients — the dreaded surge. However, evidence is mounting that California’s early action — including the first statewide stay-at-home order in the U.S. — may have helped slow the spread of the virus and temporarily relieve pressure on hospitals.

      • Putin’s Long War Against American Science

        The House, the Senate and the nation’s intelligence agencies have typically focused on election meddling in their examinations of Mr. Putin’s long campaign. But the repercussions are wider. An investigation by The New York Times — involving scores of interviews as well as a review of scholarly papers, news reports, and Russian documents, tweets and TV shows — found that Mr. Putin has spread misinformation on issues of personal health for more than a decade.

      • 10 times Trump and his administration were warned about coronavirus
      • Turns Out, If You Like Your Private Insurance, You Still Can’t Keep It

        This focus group–tested and reductive slogan has always suffered from the same, glaringly obvious problem: namely, that the status quo binds health insurance for millions of American workers (and their families) to their employment status — meaning those who lose their jobs are liable to see their coverage disappear as quickly as their paychecks. “Choice” and individual autonomy, as implied by its misleadingly effusive framing, are an illusion under a system that gives bosses sovereignty over ordinary people’s access to medical care.

        Nothing could have underscored this point more strongly than the ongoing global pandemic and its devastating macroeconomic impact, which has already seen unemployment claims go off the charts as businesses shutter and regular commercial activity grinds to a halt. Unsurprisingly, unthinkable numbers of American workers have already lost their health insurance — with the Economic Policy Institute putting the figure at around 3.5 million in the last fourteen days of March alone.

      • ‘Absolute Clusterf–k’: Inside the Denial and Dysfunction of Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force

        If you were to write a playbook for how not to prevent a public-health crisis, you would study the work of the Trump administration in the first three months of 2020. The Trump White House, through some combination of ignorance, arrogance, and incompetence, failed to heed the warnings of its own experts. It failed to listen to the projections of one of its own economic advisers. It failed to take seriously what has become the worst pandemic since the 1918 flu and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And when the White House finally awoke to the seriousness of COVID-19, the response it mustered managed to contain all the worst traits of this presidency. Trump and his closest aides have ignored scientists, enlisted family members and TV personalities and corporate profiteers for help, and disregarded every protocol for how to communicate during a pandemic while spewing misinformation and lies.

        There was confusion in the response from the start. In January, Trump picked HHS Secretary Alex Azar II, the former president of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, to lead his new Coronavirus Task Force. The problem was, there was already a senior official at HHS whose job was coordinating the federal government’s response to a nationwide pandemic, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec.

      • At Least 19 Children at a Chicago Shelter for Immigrant…

        At least 19 children and two employees at a Chicago shelter for immigrant youth have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, in what appears to be the largest outbreak of the virus in the country in shelters for unaccompanied minors.

        According to an email sent to staff Sunday, Heartland Human Care Services officials said the first positive test results were reported at its Bronzeville shelter on Friday and that additional cases there were confirmed over the weekend.

      • Walmart Hid That It Was Under Criminal Investigation for…

        Walmart, a defendant in the massive lawsuit brought by states and municipalities around the country that accuses a broad range of companies of lax controls over opioid sales, failed to reveal that it had been under criminal investigation for similar conduct, according to plaintiffs in the case.

        Linda Singer, a partner at Motley Rice, which represents multiple states, counties and municipalities in the litigation, alleges that the giant retailer engaged in “pervasive obstruction,” according to a letter sent late last month to the special master in charge of wrangling the evidence in the case, which is being heard in federal court in Cleveland.

      • Forced cure: compulsory licensing in the coronavirus era

        The World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a pandemic in mid-March. So far, the global onus has been on prevention. But with the virus spreading, ease of access to treatment is becoming increasingly urgent. Furthermore, a way to prevent future cases must be found. Companies are ramping up efforts to achieve these goals as governments across Europe ready themselves to adopt compulsory licensing.

        Aside from government intervention, some pharmaceutical companies are already making headlines. For example, innovator pharmaceutical conglomerate Gilead Sciences announced the launch of late-stage tests for an anti-COVID-19 therapeutic. The drug, remdesivir, is an antiviral being tested against viral pathogens such as Marburg, MERS, SARS, and Ebola.

        Last week, AbbVie already declared it would not enforce patent rights for its antiviral HIV drug Kaletra. Currently, the drug is undergoing clinical trials to determine its use against the coronavirus. Such moves allow generics companies to take up the baton and begin production of potentially antiviral drugs on a wider scale. But, where patenting is concerned, it’s not always simple.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • The Best Audio Merger Tools for MP3 Files in 2020

          Computers have greatly facilitated the process of creating and editing music. In the past, composing was an activity reserved for rather well-educated specialists. Today, also an amateur who doesn’t know the theory of music and musical notation can create interesting musical arrangements. The programs proposed in this section will allow everyone, even a little creative enthusiast of music, to start their own creative work either by modifying existing songs (remixes so popular today) using Audacity, or by arranging completely new songs, e.g. from ready-made audio samples (samples) in such applications such as FL Studio or LMMS. They can act as a virtual recording studio, providing a wide selection of composing tools, built-in instruments and ready-made effects.

        • Best funny Zoom background trick: Put yourself in a looping video so you can skip the meeting

          Perhaps you’ve seen this method in movies, where the hero defeats the terrorist by inserting a fake video feed into the surveillance system, fooling the guards while the prisoners are freed.

          For this trick, you’ll need nothing more than the webcam-equipped PC you already use for Zoom video. However, it needs to be a modern laptop made for working from home, with a CPU with a minimum of 8 threads to play back the video background. Pretty much any Intel 7th-gen or equivalent Kaby Lake R laptop will do it, as well as older quad-core computers. Basically if your computer can’t meet the Zoom virtual background requirements, it won’t work for this trick. (Don’t despair! We have other funny Zoom background tips you can try.)

        • Google is replacing some Android apps in Chrome OS with web apps

          Google is replacing some Android apps for Chromebooks with Progressive Web Apps (PWAs). A PWA is essentially a webpage that looks and feels like a traditional app.

          This will certainly be good news for many Chromebook owners. In some cases, PWAs are faster and more functional than their Android counterparts. PWAs also take up less storage and require less juice to run.

        • Slim PDF Reader: Free PDF Viewer For Linux

          A large selection of free PDF readers for Linux is available online, yet picking the best one is not an easy task at all.
          Most people first think of Adobe Acrobat Reader, but despite its prevalence, there are some great alternatives to choose from.
          Today, we are taking a look at Slim PDF Reader – a quintessential alternative to Adobe Acrobat Reader.
          Slim PDF Reader is a lightweight, free PDF viewer popular among Windows users that now Linux enthusiasts can enjoy, as well.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • The Sandboxie Windows sandbox isolation tool is now open-source!

              Cybersecurity firm Sophos announced today that it has open-sourced the Sandboxie Windows sandbox-based isolation utility 15 years after it was released.

              “We are thrilled to give the code to the community,” Sophos Director of Product Marketing Seth Geftic said. “The Sandboxie tool has been built on many years of highly-skilled developer work and is an example of how to integrate with Windows at a very low level. The Sandboxie user base represents some of the most passionate, forward-thinking, and knowledgeable members of the security community, and we hope this announcement will spawn a fresh wave of ideas and use cases.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • State of the Edge group publishes report, merges with Linux Foundation

                The State of the Edge consortium, which launched in 2018 to explain Edge computing, has merged its efforts into the Linux Foundation, having published a report predicting huge growth in the new niche.

                The group’s 2020 report, which follows on its first 2018 publication, predicts Edge will gather a total of $700 billion in capex investment in the next decade, and usher in a new era for further investment and growth. The group’s reports are published under a Creative Commons license, and it has now been “acquired” by the open-source standards and promotion group The Linux Foundation, formally becoming part of the LF Edge effort.

              • Data61, seL4 developers create seL4 Foundation to enable ‘safer, more secure, more reliable’ computing systems

                Data61, the digital arm of Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has announced the creation of the seL4 Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at accelerating the development of the seL4 microkernel and related technologies.

                Data61 claims seL4 as the world’s first operating system (OS) kernel that is mathematically proved secure, and is the world’s “fastest and most advanced OS microkernel”.

                Describing the kernel as “the piece of software that runs at the core of any computer system and is responsible for ensuring overall security, safety and reliability”, Data61 says seL4′s growing list of deployments range from defence systems to autonomous air and ground vehicles, safeguarding them from cyber threats.

                Data61 says the seL4 Foundation will provide a global, independent and neutral organisation for funding and steering the future evolution of seL4 and, importantly, it will be a forum for developers and researchers to collaborate on growing and integrating the seL4 ecosystem, to maximise seL4’s benefits to critical systems across industry sectors around the world.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (haproxy), Gentoo (chromium and libssh), openSUSE (ansible, chromium, gmp, gnutls, libnettle, libssh, mgetty, nagios, permissions, and python-PyYAML), and Oracle (firefox, kernel, qemu-kvm, and telnet).

          • What to expect for the upcoming deprecation of FTP in Firefox

            The Firefox platform development team recently announced plans to first disable, and then remove the implementation for built-in FTP from the browser. FTP is a protocol to transfer files from one host to another, and it is being removed because it is an infrequently used and insecure protocol. After FTP is disabled in Firefox, people can still use it to download resources if they really want to, but the protocol will be handled by whatever external application is supported on their platform.

            FTP was disabled on the Firefox Nightly pre-release channel on April 9. To mitigate the risk of potentially causing breakages during the COVID-19 pandemic, FTP will not be removed from the Firefox release channel until at least July 2020. If the pandemic situation has not improved by July 28 (the expected release date for Firefox 79), there may be further delays.

            Add-ons that use FTP may experience breakage on Nightly but will continue to work as usual on the Beta and release channels. We want to help developers address these breakages as best as we can while this change is on Nightly. If you maintain an extension that uses FTP, please test it on Nightly (or on any current version of Firefox by flipping the preference network.ftp.enabled to false) and file a bug if you notice any issues. We will also evaluate whether new features should be added to help you maintain file transfer functionality.

          • The Desktop CPU Security Mitigation Impact On Ubuntu 20.04

            With Ubuntu 20.04 LTS offering a newer kernel compared to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and various other software updates, this article is intended to provide fresh reference figures on the cost of these CPU vulnerability mitigations using this up-to-date Long Term Support Linux distribution using tests carried out in recent days on the near-final Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa builds.

            Besides testing both Intel and AMD systems, the spectrum of CPUs tested also included those completely exposed to the various vulnerabilities and more recent processors having some levels of hardware mitigation.

            On each of the desktops, Ubuntu 20.04 was booted in its out-of-the-box configuration and then repeating the tests after booting the default kernel with “mitigations=off” for avoiding the various mitigations that can be toggled at run-time.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (thunderbird), Debian (thunderbird), Fedora (drupal7-ckeditor, nrpe, and php-robrichards-xmlseclibs1), Red Hat (firefox and kernel), SUSE (quartz), and Ubuntu (thunderbird).

          • Chinese Hacking Group “APT41” Is Using a New Speculoos Backdoor

            It looks like APT41 have specifically developed this backdoor to target Citrix network appliances and FreeBSD systems. BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) is a type of Unix operating system that sees limited use on the server market, so malware that was specifically created for it isn’t a common sight. This is indicative of the sophistication and the narrow targeting of APT41. Speculoos is a backdoor compiled with GCC 4.2.1 and has the form of an ELF executable. It communicates with alibaba.zzux[.]com (resolving to 119.28.139[.]120) over TCP/443. The backdoor also has a backup C2, which is 119.28.139[.]20.

          • TikTok users beware: Hackers could swap your videos with their own

            Mobile app developers Tommy Mysk and Talal Haj Bakry just published a blog article entitled “TikTok vulnerability enables hackers to show users fake videos“.

            As far as we can see, they’re right.

            (We replicated their results with a slightly older Android version of TikTok from a few days ago, 15.5.44; their tests included the very latest builds on Android and iOS, numbered 15.7.4 and 15.5.6 respectively.)

            We used a similar approach to Mysk and Haj Bakry to look at the network traffic produced by TikTok – we installed the tPacketCapture app on Android and then ran the TikTok app for a while to flip through a few popular videos.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Signal Threatens to Leave the US If EARN IT Act Passes

              ON FRIDAY, APPLE and Google announced a joint collaboration to make a Covid-19 “contact-tracing” framework available for legions of Android and iOS smartphones. Slated for release next month, the platform will give public health organizations the ability to track infections and use Bluetooth proximity analysis to warn people if they’ve come into contact with someone who has reported that they’re infected. The service will be opt-in only and is designed to preserve privacy, the companies say. The pandemic has fueled debate about contact-tracing apps, but researchers say that it is possible to design encryption schemes for such services in a way that would successfully protect user privacy.

              In other pandemic news, the Trump administration’s hesitation to invoke the Defense Production Act to spur N95 mask manufacturing in the United States may mean that it’s too late now for the effort to help the way it would have. And election officials are scrambling to scale up voting contingency plans for primaries and Election Day this year, including adding capacity for potential expanded absentee voting by mail. President Trump attempted to politicize vote-by-mail efforts in a number of remarks and tweets this week.

              Researchers made a map of all the nations they’ve linked to the use of zero-day exploits; these elite tools are far more widespread than you might think. Plus, researchers from Cisco Talos demonstrated that cheap 3D printers are making it easier than ever to clone fingerprints and trick smartphone and laptop fingerprint locks.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Brave Whistleblowers Are Being Punished For Saving Lives During A Pandemic

        The coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of whistleblowers to a free and unfettered press. Throughout this emergency, it has been whistleblowers playing a critical role in informing the general public and forcing governments to make important public health decisions. And it has been whistleblowers that have pierced the will of governments around the world who have tried to downplay the significance of the threat facing their citizens.

    • Environment

      • We halted the global economy, and emissions still may only fall 4% this year

        China’s GDP may have plummeted by 40% during the first three months of the year (on a seasonally adjusted annualized basis). The US’s GDP could drop anywhere from 30% to 50% by summer. And Britain’s economic output could shrink by 25% this quarter. The ardent hope is that economies will bounce back later in the year as the pandemic recedes, but annual output is still likely to decline in many nations. US GPD, for instance, may fall about 5%, according to one estimate.

        So what’s all that going to add up to in terms of global climate emissions? Maybe about a 4% decline in 2020, according to a new estimate by CarbonBrief, based on an analysis of data sets that represent about three-quarters of worldwide emissions.

      • Climate Change Won’t Stop for the Coronavirus Pandemic

        Two and a half years ago Hurricane Maria ripped open homes across the southern Puerto Rican city of Ponce, destroying the rickety electrical grid and sending thousands of people into shelters or onto the streets. People were still rebuilding when, in January, a devastating earthquake jolted the island’s southern coast. Afraid of collapsing walls and showering concrete, people moved back outdoors, where they still spend cool, wet nights under blue tarps strung to poles and tied to cars packed with coolers and lawn chairs.

        Now thousands brace for a wave of illness as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads insidiously across the island, threatening people without homes, without water, some struggling even to maintain basic hygiene. It’s the latest blow in a diabolical cascade of crises, striking Puerto Ricans at their most vulnerable. When the sickness comes, doctors and nurses will be scarce; the hurricane forced almost half of them to leave the island in search of jobs.

      • Energy

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Why the US Has the World’s Highest Number of Covid-19 Deaths

        Unlike China, which turned to its public health experts, Trump turned to Vice President Mike Pence and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Thousands of Americans are dying unnecessarily as a result and we are still far from any coherent national plan.

      • Trump and the GOP Don’t Care About Your Grandchildren

        In the grand cost/benefit analysis, one more fatally ill low wage worker of color doesn’t count. Zero. That’s a price that Trump and his capitalist buddies are willing to pay.

      • ‘We Must Come Together to Defeat Most Dangerous President in Modern History’: Sanders Endorses Biden

        Former Democratic primary rivals hold joint livestream to denounce Trump, discuss battle against coronavirus, and call for unity against unprecedented threats.

      • The Best People: Trump Appoints Inept Band of Morons to Re-Open the Country, Governors Say Not So Fast
      • Congress Should Immediately Pass Legislation Protecting Workers’ Safety During the Coronavirus Pandemic

        Enough is enough. Workers are risking their lives every day to provide the services we have deemed to be essential.

      • Fact check: Trump claims it’s his call on when to ‘reopen’ the country. He’s wrong.

        He asserted that “numerous provisions” of the U.S. Constitution give him the power to potentially overrule governors who have issued stay-at-home orders for their states, telling one reporter that he would provide a “legal brief” to prove it.

        He continued: “When somebody’s the president of the U.S., the authority is total, and that’s the way it’s gotta be.”

        But experts — and the Constitution — say Trump is wrong. The authority to require businesses to close in a public health crisis is what is a known as a “police power,” and it is reserved by the Constitution to the states, not to the federal government.

      • No, President Trump, You Can’t ‘Reopen America’

        But this is all wrong, and for several reasons. As an initial matter, the president never “closed” America or its states, so he has no authority to open them. The CDC has issued many different recommendations and guidance about coronavirus — about masks, social distancing, large gatherings, schools, and more. However, the federal government has done nothing to mandate the closures that have devastated the economy and brought about record unemployment.

        Rather, that has fallen upon governors and, in some places, mayors. The result has been a patchwork of rules, with most of the country covered by statewide orders, but with eight states stubbornly refusing to do so. The governors and mayors that have issued these shutdown orders have done so based on their own state and local authority. They have not relied on any federal power, nor have they done so after asking permission from the federal government. Instead, they have acted as completely separate entities from one another and the federal government in order to protect the people who live in their states and cities.

      • The COVID-19 Blame Game Is Going To Get Uglier

        Then finally, we come to the most dangerous hot potato of all: the administration of the election itself. In order to ensure a safe and fair election, jurisdictions across the country will have to rapidly transition to voting by mail and/or expand early voting.

      • How Trump Is Fueling a Corona Disaster

        There is little to suggest at the moment that the American economy will recover quickly. The growing number of unemployed in America is often described in the U.S. media as”jaw-dropping.” In the past three weeks alone, more than 15 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits. Goldman Sachs is expecting a 34 percent decline in gross domestic product during the second quarter of this year. The bank is forecasting a 6.2 percent decline of the economy for 2020 as a whole. “Never in American history has a president with such poor economic data been re-elected,” says Michael Green, a White House staffer under George W. Bush who now teaches at Georgetown University.

      • Op-Ed: Why hasn’t Trump employed his powers during the coronavirus crisis? He’s too lazy

        Trump prefers fake problems to real problems because real problems demand real solutions, which demand real work. Trump doesn’t like to work and rarely does. While marking 100 days in office, he complained, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” He spends most of his waking hours watching TV, tweeting and talking on the phone.

        In addition to being too lazy to do things, Trump is uninterested in doing things. He’s interested in having things. This is what makes his narcissism malignant rather than benign. As the social psychologist Erich Fromm observed, narcissists derive their self-worth from their possessions, not from achievements.

        Subverting democracy requires more effort than Trump is willing to exert. He wants to be a dictator, but he’s unwilling to do the work to become one. Just as he inherited a fortune, he wants to inherit an autocracy. To be a successful strongman, you need a strong work ethic. Trump has only weak ethics.

      • Kushner’s COVID Task Force Is Looking To Expand The Government’s Surveillance Of Private Healthcare Companies

        Jared Kushner’s shadowy coronavirus task force is still at work behind the scenes, bringing this country back to health by leveraging Kushner’s innate ability to marry into the right family. Very little is known about it and very little will be known about thanks to the task force’s decision to run communications through private email accounts.

      • This Fake President Must Resign

        Even if he wanted to, Donald Trump simply lacks the tools to do the job.

      • There’s No Reason to Turn Airtime Over to Trump’s Deceptive Coronavirus Campaign Rallies

        After the 2016 election, many journalists (e.g., New York Times, 3/27/16) lamented their role in elevating Donald Trump to victory by handing him billions of dollars of free publicity, in exchange for the ratings and clicks his outrageous rhetoric and behavior generated for them. And yet they will never learn their lesson: Despite weeks of open discussion about Donald Trump’s daily briefings serving as little more than campaign rallies full of harmful misinformation, television networks continue to broadcast them live (now with some cut-aways and factchecking), and some reporters continue to cover the tension as just another partisan battle with no clear right or wrong.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Trump Campaign Actually Sues TV Station Over Anti-Trump Ad

        A few weeks back, we noted that the Trump Campaign was sending threatening letters about a TV ad by the PAC Priorities USA that criticized Trump’s handling of the pandemic. You can see it here:

      • Mickey Talks With Dr. Steve Macek – The Project Censored Show

        Mickey’s guest for the hour is media scholar Dr. Steve Macek of North Central College in suburban Chicago. Macek, a long time contributor to Project Censored’s annual volume, compiled Chapter 4 of the most recent book Censored 2020, “Media Democracy In Action.” He summarizes some of the victories for transparency, press freedom, and worker perspectives that are described in that chapter. Among the organizations and individuals cited are freelance journalist Kathryn Foxhall for the Society of Professional Journalists, transparency campaigner Russ Kick, LaborNotes.org and PropagandaCritic.com.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Warren and Khanna’s “Essential Workers Bill of Rights” Cheered as Much-Needed Protections for Those on Frontlines of Crisis

        “If we can find the resources to bail out the cruise and airline industries and other big corporations, we can support the people who risk their lives every day to care for the ill, stock store shelves, and care for children.”

      • Freezing Jail Cells, Broken Showers, and Covid-19

        The MDC is New York City’s central booking facility for people awaiting trial. This means that the majority of people in the jail haven’t been convicted of a charge but are, rather, being held simply because they cannot make bail. While Rikers Island, the city’s most notorious jail, has gained significant attention for the reports of Covid-19 sweeping through its staff and detainee populations, the city’s other jails have been largely overlooked. Just two weeks ago, for instance, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to release 300 people serving sentences for misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies on Rikers Island, but he has made few comments about the MDC.

        The Nation spoke with eight people incarcerated within the MDC about conditions there. The men report that there are sick corrections officers, or COs, and inmates alike. The New York City Department of Correction (DOC) could neither confirm nor deny cases of Covid-19 at the MDC specifically. However, the DOC acknowledged that it’s safe to assume that the novel coronavirus has entered every jail in the city.

      • There are three ways to get electronic passes for traveling around Moscow under quarantine. All three of them have severe glitches.

        Moscow’s electronic permit system is kicking into gear. On April 10, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin issued an order that will make the new permits mandatory beginning April 15 for anyone traveling in a private vehicle or by public transit (with a few exceptions). Passes are already available on the website mos.ru, by text at the number 7377, or by phone at +7 (495) 777-77-77.

      • Apocalypse On-Demand

        Is this societal demise, or technological ascent?

      • We Need a Riot of Empathy

        Kelly Hayes talks with Tanuja Jagernauth about collective grief and resisting the normalization of mass death.

      • ‘All of Moscow is rushing in to feed its doctors’ How Russian restaurateurs and volunteers are supporting health workers in the fight against coronavirus

        Thousands of doctors, nurses, and other medical personnel now find themselves on the frontlines of Moscow’s battle against the coronavirus. As hospitals are inundated with patients, doctors are forced to work longer and longer shifts, needing meals without ever leaving their workspace. With hungry hospital staff in a city that can no longer eat out, some restaurant owners have decided to remain open to help feed Moscow’s medical workers. To find out more about the initiative, Meduza spoke with several restaurateurs now preparing food and delivering meals to hospitals, free of charge.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Oncologists Say The Absolute Best Information They’re Getting These Days Comes From Twitter

        It’s become sort of a common refrain among many that social media is only good for spreading misinformation and disinformation. I’ve even seen some people claim that social media is to blame for misinformation spreading about COVID-19. This is not to say that such information doesn’t exist, and isn’t being spread, but it ignores how much useful information is being spread as well. Indeed, nearly all of the accurate and more factual information I received concerning COVID-19 came via experts on Twitter, and generally anywhere from a week to nearly a month ahead of “official” reports. While I haven’t seen it officially stated anywhere, I have seen people say that those on Twitter were more likely to quickly embrace social distancing and lockdown, as compared to those not on Twitter.

    • Monopolies

      • Trainee schemes ‘50% less effective’ after COVID-19 shutdown

        In-house and private practice trainees, and their senior counterparts, reveal the harmful effects of the pandemic on legal training programmes

      • Patents

        • [Guest Post] Sisvel v. Sun Cupid: a Dutch SEP injunction absent any counterclaim [Ed: Today's 'Kat' is megaphone is patent extremists like 4iP Council]

          IPKat brings you a summary of a recent decision from the Court of the Hague, courtesy of Marie Barani of 4iP Council. Last month, the Court of the Hague granted an injunction against the HK company Sun Cupid Technology for infringement of the standard essential patent European patent (EP 2 139 272). Over to Marie Barani:

          On 2 March 2020, the Court of the Hague granted an injunction to Sisvel for infringement of EP 2 139 272 against Sun Cupid Technology (HK) Limited and other companies of the same group. The Court also requested the defendants to notify resellers, recall and destroy infringing products, display infringement notifications on websites and in Dutch newspapers and provide Sisvel with a list of the infringing models, prices and resellers.

          This decision is unusual because it seems that none of the companies of Sun Cupid group presented any defense. More details below.

        • Make Trolls Great Again: Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim serves Patent Trolls, not President Trump

          As the most vocal Trump supporter among intellectual property bloggers, I want Four More Years for #45, but should “Quid pro quo Joe” win, I would take some comfort in the fact that Antitrust AAG Makan “Macomm” Delrahim would have to return to private practice. His shameless and increasingly distasteful pro-patent-troll lobbying is a disgrace for the entire Donald J. Trump Administration. Instead of supporting America’s innovation economy and protecting American consumers (all of which is even more important in the face of the coronavirus crisis), he’s advancing an agenda that runs counter to the President’s focus on creating jobs. Patent trolls are all about rent-seeking for a few shrewd businessmen–Judge Posner likened them to “highwaymen”–and don’t create or sustain jobs; the real economy–with Apple and Intel being two particularly good examples–needs to be protected against patent abuse, but the United States now has an “antitrust chief” who couldn’t care less about innovation, competition, jobs, and consumer welfare. He’s a lobbyist for patent trolls–not because he’s got any connection to trolls, but because his former and presumably future client, Qualcomm, shares many strategic interests with trolls, which is why Qualcomm is a member of pro-troll lobbying groups whose membership consists mostly of trolls.

          [...]

          The Apple-Intel brief doesn’t even mention the DOJ’s interventions on Qualcomm’s behalf, but Qualcomm is not a troll. In the three cases listed above, the DOJ supported trolls (Avanci is a pool/platform company, some of whose members are trolls).

          Whatever Judge Edward Chen ultimately decides, Apple and Intel’s reply may have helped to mitigate the impact of the DOJ’s Statement of Interest. But Mr. Delrahim will likely continue to make such disgraceful and distateful filings with courts all across the United States, unless and until he gets replaced.

        • Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The procedural niceties of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation of the post-grant review features of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act continue to be explicated in the Federal Circuit (and of course, the Supreme Court). Most recently, the question before the Federal Circuit in Nike, Inc. v. Adidas AG was whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) complied with the due process provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act, finding that it did not, and remanding for further proceedings that did so comply.

          [...]

          Applying this decision to the facts before it, the Court held that the Board had violated these principles in relying on the Spencer reference in determining claim 49 was obvious, and remanded to the Board for further proceedings. The panel noted that Petitioner Adidas had not made the invalidity argument asserted by the Board against claim 49, nor had it relied upon the Spencer reference (even though both parties had relied on other disclosure in Spencer. “By including this new theory for the first time in its decision on remand, the Board denied Nike notice of the issues that the Board would consider and an opportunity to address the factual and legal arguments on which the Board’s patentability determination would rest,” in contravention of 35 U.S.C. § 554(b)–(c) according to the opinion. Nike had no notice that the Board would rely on the Spencer reference for certain teachings and this was the source of the Board’s error, according to the panel, which distinguished the factual predicates here from those in Genzyme. ‘[T]he Board’s decision here rests exclusively on an argument that the Board itself raised, addressed, and decided in its decision on remand, thereby depriving Nike of ‘notice or an opportunity to be heard at a meaningful point in the proceedings’” in the Court’s view. For these reasons the Federal Circuit vacated the Board’s obviousness determination that claim 49 was obvious and remanded to the Board for further proceedings.

        • Interview: Rodney Gilstrap ready for overwhelming backlog after COVID-19 [Ed: Patrick Wingrove is still grooming patent trolls and judges whom the patent trolls love. This exposes Managing IP for what it really is -- a hornets' nest for patent trolls.]

          In an exclusive interview, the Eastern District of Texas’s chief judge delves into the changing litigation landscape, including Western Texas’s growing docket, and how litigants should try cases

        • Judges and lawyers reveal litigation tips for less patent-popular courts [Ed: Rani Mehta conflates "law bar" or "patent trolls friendliness" with "popularity" -- as one can expect from Managing IP, a think tank of trolls and litigators. Courts that attract trolls, sometimes by intention, are popular among trolls perhaps; but they're loathed by everybody else; companies work hard on forum/venue changes.]

          Louisiana and West Virginia judges and four private practice lawyers say following local rules and educating judges will help cases in the 87 courts that oversee 30% of all US patent matters

        • Confusion from the Federal Circuit on Voluntary Dismissals and Attorney Fees

          In Mossberg, the patentee sued Timney for infringement, but the district court almost immediately stayed the action awaiting the outcome of a series of USPTO reexaminations filed by Timney. After 5+ years, Timney ultimately prevailed at the USPTO and the asserted claims were invalidated. Back at the district court Mossberg voluntarily dismissed its lawsuit under R. 41(a)(1)(A)(i) without prejudice. The district court then entered a docket order stating that the case was dismissed without prejudice.

          [...]

          While the district court’s statement of the law is off a bit, the Federal Circuit affirmed the holding that attorney fees are not available for this type of voluntary dismissal. In particular, the court decision does not need to be “on the merits,” but it must result in a “material alteration of the legal relationship of the parties” and “be marked by judicial imprimatur.” CRST Van Expedited, Inc. v. E.E.O.C., 136 S. Ct. 1642, 1646 (2016). CRST involved a Title VII action for employment discrimination. That provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes a “prevailing” party provision for attorney fees that is similar to the Patent Act (“the court, in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party … a reasonable attorney’s fee.”).

          Here, the Federal Circuit found no “judicial imprimatur” because the voluntary dismissal is “effective immediately upon plaintiff’s filing of the notice of dismissal.” Here, the district court did include a docket entry dismissing the case — but by that time the case had already been dismissed by the plaintiff. “A properly filed Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) voluntary dismissal becomes effective immediately upon plaintiff’s filing of the notice of dismissal.” That make sense since the rule is titled voluntary dismissal “without a court order.” Thus, the court explained that “[a]lthough the district court in this case entered a dismissal order after Timney filed its notice of voluntary dismissal, that dismissal order had no legal effect.”

        • Who Cares About Oral Arguments?

          As the Federal Circuit temporarily moved to telephonic oral arguments, the court also began denying more oral argument requests after deciding that “oral argument [are] unnecessary.” In denying oral arguments, the court has generally been citing Fed. R. App. P. 34(a)(2)(C) which allows an assigned appellate panel to decide that oral arguments are not needed based upon a determination that “(C) the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented in the briefs and record, and the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument.” The decision to deny a request for oral arguments must be unanimous.

          The Federal Circuit recently completed its April sitting and I used the oral argument schedule to create the chart below. The chart below shows the percentage of cases with oral arguments for each Judge. Chief Judge Prost heard the highest percentage of oral arguments while Judges Lourie and Hughes were on panels that cancelled all of their oral arguments. One interpretation is that Chief Judge Prost sees oral arguments as more important for her decisional process, while Judges Lourie and Hughes find less importance. Although the number of cases was small (10 to 20 per judge), the dramatic shift in distribution is unlikely due to chance.

        • Software Patents

          • Optima Direct patent challenged as likely unpatentable

            On April 10, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 8,646,060, owned and asserted by Optima Direct, LLC (an NPE and 2S Ventures affiliate). The ’060 patent, generally directed to adaptive authentication methods using a mobile device, has been asserted in district court cases against HID Global Corporation, OneLogin, Ping Identity and Okta.

          • Q1 2020 Developer Updates

            SMEs are a regular NPE target as found in our Q1 2020 Report. These assertions cost US SMEs more than any other jurisdiction in the world. This is a continuation of our previous report showing SMEs have historically been targeted.

            [...]

            Understanding the impact of litigation and PTAB challenges on patents, can now be done with one click in Unified’s Portal. Users can also see an industry breakdown of what sectors are being targeted the most.

          • Use Of AI To Treat COVID-19 Shows Novel Inventorship Issues

            In late March, White House officials announced the launch of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium to bring together industry leaders in AI with national laboratories and academics to “significantly advance the pace of scientific discovery in the fight to stop the virus.”[2]

            Google Inc., a member of the consortium, has shared computationally predicted structures of viral proteins generated by its AI platform on open access databases in an effort to speed up the process of identifying a vaccine.[3]

      • Copyrights

Tidying Things Up and Modernising the Site

Posted in Site News at 7:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To the user (front) end the site will look the same, as we keep the traditional looks, but there are profound changes that are not visible

Bee in spring

Summary: We’re taking advantage of the long recess (holiday and quarantine) to reorganise the servers, improve some code, and add sources from which to pick news clippings

LAST summer, when things were a little calmer, we repeatedly said that we had developed a bunch of software to improve the site’s reliability and generally increase our output. The effort paid off as site traffic nearly doubled in a matter of months. Now that there’s lockdown we once again have more spare time to make improvements. Additional RSS feeds are added, as news circulation was lowered (it’s all about COVID these days and there’s no EPO news; António Campinos is probably in Portugal right now) and on Sunday night we moved our three databases to a dedicated container. It’s not perfect, the database software has just crashed for example (needed a manual restart), and we had issues moving Tux Machines databases to that same container.

“In the long run we’ll likely migrate the server to another location and add encryption. Those are well-overdue tasks.”Adding the recent death of a laptop to the lack of news and site-related shuffling, it’s possible that at least temporarily our volume of output will be reduced somewhat. The upside though is that we’re improving behind the scenes. This morning there was a sort of DDOS attack (similar to last week’s), but we tackled it within a few minutes. In the long run we’ll likely migrate the server to another location and add encryption. Those are well-overdue tasks.

The site contains over 27,000 posts from various authors and among these leaks can be found, which are exclusive and took great risk for whistleblowers to bring out. So we have a duty to them as a platform — a duty to stay online, to ensure security and guard the reputation. We’ve often been the target as smear campaigns — the smears of course coming from those whom we criticise. That’s predictable and it should be expected. Sites that give a voice to whistleblowers tend to make many ‘enemies’. Their goal is to distract from the substance by demonising the messenger, the motivations and so on. It’s quite possible that over the coming few days there will be occasional downtimes, hopefully just short ones, but those won’t affect the availability of underlying data as we make plenty of backups and keep these secure.

We ask readers for patience at these times; it’s not the quarantine that makes life harder for us but our investment of time in modernisation and technical improvement. Running this site isn’t just a matter of logging in and writing stuff; a big chunk of the time is spent doing technical work, maintaining the site from the back (server) end. We don’t outsource or do any of that “cloud” stuff which harms privacy and makes us susceptible to censorship. We don't even participate in social control media; it would be missing the point.

Technical Computer-Implemented Digital Videogame AI on the Blockchain

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ask the EPO nicely, with a bunch of buzzwords in the mix

Cherry on top of fake 'results' (patent maximalism)

Summary: In the name of patent maximalism (granting patents on anything imaginable) the EPO looks for more excuses or loopholes by which to allow software patents (even if they’re illegal)

UNDER the nontechnical leadership of António Campinos, not an examiner himself (not even remotely; just another politician like his predecessor and his dad), the European Patent Office (EPO) has new words or terms for illegal patents — terms which are sometimes adopted/borrowed by the USPTO to bypass 35 U.S.C. § 101.

“We should not be gullible; they very clearly talk about software patents, but they abstain from using these words.”We don’t want to sound repetitive as there’s clearly no point saying again what we can link to instead. But let’s just remind ourselves that last month the EPO started with the “digital” hype. They call “digital” almost anything which involves technology, algorithms included, and as soon as this week started the EPO tweeted: “Digital technologies are finding their way into every aspect of our modern lives. But what does the patent landscape look like in this field? We’ve put together this overview: https://bit.ly/2waSfO6″

It didn’t take long for FFII to spot this and add: “Or illegal software patents. Time for the CJEU to intervene in your dubious practices.”

On the same day (yesterday) the EPO wrote again with that old template and stock photography: “Did you know? We’ve got an e-learning centre where you can follow a whole range of courses on #patent-related topics.”

First entry right there in that page is illegal software patents being promoted under the guise of “games”.

Notice these new themes. “Digital…”

Now “games…” (or “videogames”)

We should not be gullible; they very clearly talk about software patents, but they abstain from using these words.

The EPO also tweeted (yesterday): “#patentinsights: Patents can enable companies to renew their business models and enter new markets.”

Read as: legitimate companies can use patents to profit from patent trolling and blackmail (or so-called “licensing”).

Lately, as the plague spread around Europe, the EPO’s Twitter account has been more shamelessly (than ever before) spreading this kind of propaganda, with as many as 3-4 promotions of software patents in one single day. They may name-drop “hey hi” (AI), “blockchain” and “4IR…”

All that hype and typically a bunch of mindless nonsense alludes to something which is not patent-eligible, not as per the EPC. They pretend that they can interpret the EPC through the scopes or optics of buzzwords, but they fool nobody but themselves.

Just a short while ago we saw this page or ‘article’ (more like a press release; it’s borderline) entitled “Chinese tech giants Tencent, Alibaba filed for the most blockchain patents last year” and even the EPO itself admitted that those are bunk. Those are bogus patents on algorithms. The page says:

Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba filed the most blockchain patent applications in 2019, according to research conducted by The Block’s Steven Zheng.

Tencent and its affiliates filed for 718 blockchain patents out of a total of over 5,800, while Alibaba Group filed 470. Together, they accounted for over 20% of the total.

Those are almost 6,000 software patents or applications thereof. Of course in the name of hype and perceived novelty many of these will be granted, causing great trouble to the Free software community which typically thrives in that space.

IRC Proceedings: Monday, April 13, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:04 am by Needs Sunlight

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