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04.17.20

Links 17/4/2020: Mir 1.8.0 Release, Mutter Fullscreen/Wayland, Plasma Browser Integration 1.7.5

Posted in News Roundup at 2:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • These three Linux features for Chromebooks are getting pushed back to Chrome OS 84 or later

      

      I’ve been tracking several Chrome OS Linux — aka: Crostini — bugs and feature requests that were expected to arrive in Chrome OS 81 but didn’t make it.

      Most of the reason for the situation is related to Google choosing to skip Chrome OS 82 due to changing work schedules in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. But some of the features won’t be in Chrome OS 83 either as a result of bug prioritization.
      Here’s what’s getting punted to Chrome OS 84, or even 85…

    • Developer Dual Boots iOS 13.3 and Linux on iPhone 8 But There’s a Catch

      Developers have the tendency and urge to test the boundaries of code. According to the latest, a developer has managed to dual boot Linus and iOS 13.3 on his iPhone 8. Previously, we have seen how a jailbroken iPhone was able to run Android 10. We haven’t previously seen the likelihood of a dual boot on an iOS device, so it is a very interesting approach. Scroll down for more details on the matter.

      As mentioned earlier, this is the first time that we are seeing a potential dual boot for 64-bit iPhone modes. Take note that such solutions have existed for 32-bit iPhone models like the iPhone 5 and the fourth-generation iPad or older devices. To be more precise, the developer managed to boot iOS 13.3 and Linux kernel on the iPhone 8. The interesting part is that both platforms use the same data volume. What this means is that you will be able to access all of your data from either of the software builds.

    • Why I’m Not Going to Say “Distros Don’t Matter” Anymore

      I tried my best, but it is time to put this slogan to bed.

    • This Connecticut professor refurbishes old computers and gives them to students in need [of GNU/Linux].
    • System76 and Red Hat on How to Work Remotely

      • The Nerd’s Guide to Working From Home

        Pandemics are distracting. Like a rock in your shoe, the very presence of a pandemic acts as an ever-present obstacle to focus—and that’s okay. Don’t shame yourself for not being as productive as you were a month ago, and don’t panic. Check in on pandemic updates daily for a clear picture of reality. The certainty of data will ease your mind and prepare you for the long haul.

        [...]

        Part of what’s so isolating about working from home is the absence of office culture. Stay connected on Jitsi, a free and open source tool for video conferencing and messaging. It also comes recommended by our Customer Happiness Team! Invite your co-workers to an online work session and banter-filled conversation. Just make sure you mute them if you plan on taking any calls.

      • Remote work tips and strategies from Red Hatters

        As the world adjusts to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many workers are being asked or told to isolate themselves and work from home, if at all possible. For members of the Red Hat Open Source Program Office, and indeed, many of our colleagues within Red Hat, this is not a new working environment. Indeed, many free and open source software projects are often created in distributed online environments, where contributors are often located in homes, schools, and offices around the world.

        To help those of you who may be new to this whole work-from-home thing, here are some successful strategies that have served many Red Hatters well as remote employees. Recognizing that these are not remotely normal conditions in the world now, this post will also outline specific strategies for those coping with social distancing measures in their own homes.

      • Remote leadership: How to provide support for distributed teams

        If your team typically works in an office setting, they may struggle to communicate and collaborate effectively when switching to distributed work. This may be especially felt in the situation we’re faced with today, where there was little time for a gradual transition.

        As a leader, you can help by setting expectations and creating structure around communication. This doesn’t mean dictating exactly how and when teams will communicate. One way you might help is by facilitating a conversation with teams and helping define “official” channels and practices to help them communicate effectively with one another and with other groups inside the organization.

        This might be setting expectations around using a particular chat system for the entire team, or establishing regular stand-ups, or status updates via email. A lot of this depends on the culture of your workforce and their work.

        The particulars are up to you, and your team, but the important thing is to figure this out early and set up structure and adjust as necessary. Are 1:1 or team meetings weekly? Maybe bump that up to daily, or a few times per week as necessary. Maybe this means being more present on your company’s chat system for quick, informal communication. When people are dealing with a great deal of uncertainty, helping to establish clear frameworks for communication and generally helping to create more stability can help people feel more comfortable and grounded.

    • Server

      • Monitoring Kubernetes Workloads: The Sidecar Pattern

        Kubernetes has entirely changed the way we build infrastructure, speeding up deployments and letting us replicate and scale microservice architectures. That speed comes with a new set of challenges around how we maintain visibility and monitor infrastructure.

        In this post, I’ll recap the webinar Sensu CEO Caleb Hailey did with the CNCF, where he discussed some of the existing and popular patterns for monitoring Kubernetes (like Prometheus) and why traditional methods fall short in a cloud-native world. I’ll also go over current best practices for monitoring workloads on Kubernetes, including the sidecar pattern for monitoring.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Gigahertz Games | TechSNAP 427

        Jim finally gets his hands on an AMD Ryzen 9 laptop, some great news about Wi-Fi 6e, and our take on FreeBSD on the desktop.

        Plus Intel’s surprisingly overclockable laptop CPU, why you shouldn’t freak out about 5G, and the incredible creativity of the Demoscene.

      • LHS Episode #339: The Weekender XLVI

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

      • Core File Tales | BSD Now 346

        Tales from a core file, Lenovo X260 BIOS Update with OpenBSD, the problem of Unix iowait and multi-CPU machines, Hugo workflow using FreeBSD Jails, Caddy, Restic; extending NetBSD-7 branch support, a tale of two hypervisor bugs, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • Using syzkaller to detect programming bugs in the Linux kernel



        In my previous blog post, we discussed the importance of testing, what is fuzzing, and how the syzkaller fuzzes the kernel in order to find bugs. Now, let’s install the tool and starting using it to improve our code base.

        The kernel source will be expected to be found in the $KSRC directory. The syscall descriptions are based on linux-next, so if something fails or triggers a warning that a specific syscall isn’t defined, consider changing to the current linux-next/master branch.

        Your kernel should be specifically configured to enhance the performance of syzkaller and to enable it to be properly fuzzed. The following configs are necessary…

      • Linux 5.7 Git Restores The Ability To EFI Boot Following Fallout In 5.7-rc1

        If you tried out Linux 5.7-rc1 at the start of the week you may have found your system unbootable if using EFI… Fortunately, those EFI fixes have now been merged several days later.

        Linux 5.7-rc1 shipped with seemingly botched EFI support, at least from my testing every x86_64 EFI system using the GRUB boot-loader yielded a failed boot.

      • Virtualbox 6.1.6 Released with Kernel 5.6 Support

        Oracle Virtualbox 6.1.6 was released a few days ago. Linux kernel 5.6 now is supported for Linux hosts and guests.

        Virtualbox 6.1.6 is the third maintenance release for the 6.1 main series.

      • 5.7 Merge window part 1

        As of this writing, 7,233 non-merge changesets have been pulled into the mainline repository for the 5.7 kernel development cycle — over the course of about three days. If current world conditions are slowing down kernel development, it would seem that the results are not yet apparent at this level. As usual, these changesets bring no end of fixes, improvements, and new features; read on for a summary of what the first part of the 5.7 merge window has brought in.

      • Frequency-invariant utilization tracking for x86

        The kernel provides a number of CPU-frequency governors to choose from; by most accounts, the most effective of those is “schedutil”, which was merged for the 4.7 kernel in 2016. While schedutil is used on mobile devices, it still doesn’t see much use on x86 desktops; the intel_pstate governor is generally seen giving better results on those processors as a result of the secret knowledge embodied therein. A set of patches merged for 5.7, though, gives schedutil a better idea of what the true utilization of x86 processors is and, as a result, greatly improves its effectiveness.

        Appropriate CPU-frequency selection is important for a couple of reasons. If a CPU’s frequency is set too high, it will consume more power than needed, which is a concern regardless of whether that CPU is running in a phone or a data center. Setting the frequency too low, instead, will hurt the performance of the system; in the worst cases, it could cause the available CPU power to be inadequate for the workload and, perhaps, even increase power consumption by keeping system components awake for longer than necessary. So there are plenty of incentives to get this decision right.

      • VMX virtualization runs afoul of split-lock detection

        One of the many features merged for the 5.7 kernel is split-lock detection for the x86 architecture. This feature has encountered a fair amount of controversy over the course of its development, with the result that the time between its initial posting and appearance in a released kernel will end up being over two years. As it happens, there is another hurdle for split-lock detection even after its merging into the mainline; this feature threatens to create problems for a number of virtualization solutions, and it’s not clear what the solution would be.
        To review quickly: a “split lock” occurs when a processor instruction locks a range of memory that crosses a cache-line boundary. Implementing such locks requires locking the entire memory bus, with unpleasant effects on the performance of the system as a whole. Most architectures do not allow split locks at all, but x86 does; only recently have some x86 processors gained the ability to generate a trap when a split lock is requested.

        Kernel developers are interested in enabling split-lock detection as a way of eliminating a possible denial-of-service attack vector as well as just getting rid of a performance problem that could be especially problematic for latency-sensitive workloads. In short, there is a desire for x86 to be like other architectures in this regard. The implementation of this change has evolved considerably over time; in the patch that was merged, there is a new boot-time parameter (split_lock_detect=) that can have one of three values. Setting it to off disables this feature, warn causes a warning to be issued when user-space code executes a split lock, and fatal causes a SIGBUS signal to be sent. The default value is warn.

      • Concurrency bugs should fear the big bad data-race detector (part 1)

        This article was contributed by Marco Elver, Paul E. McKenney, Dmitry Vyukov, Andrey Konovalov, Alexander Potapenko, Kostya Serebryany, Alan Stern, Andrea Parri, Akira Yokosawa, Peter Zijlstra, Will Deacon, Daniel Lustig, Boqun Feng, Joel Fernandes, Jade Alglave, and Luc Maranget.

        The first installment of the “big bad” series described how a compiler can optimize your concurrent program into oblivion, while the second installment introduced a tool to analyze small litmus tests for such problems. Those two articles can be especially helpful for training, design discussions, and checking small samples of code. Although such automated training and design tools are welcome, automated code inspection that could locate even one class of concurrency bugs would be even better. In this two-part article, we look at a tool to do that kind of analysis.

        This article focuses on the Kernel Concurrency Sanitizer (KCSAN)—also covered in an earlier LWN article—which can locate data races across the entire Linux kernel. This wide scalability does not come for free: KCSAN relies on compiler instrumentation and performs its analysis at runtime, which slows down the kernel considerably. In addition, it can only report data races that actually happen or almost happen during code execution. Nevertheless, KCSAN has already pointed out numerous problems, many of which have now been fixed.

      • A full task-isolation mode for the kernel

        Some applications require guaranteed access to the CPU without even brief interruptions; realtime systems and high-bandwidth networking applications with user-space drivers can fall into the category. While Linux provides some support for CPU isolation (moving everything but the critical task off of one or more CPUs) now, it is an imperfect solution that is still subject to some interruptions. Work has been continuing in the community to improve the kernel’s CPU-isolation capabilities, notably with improvements in the nohz (tickless) mode, but it is not finished yet. Recently, Alex Belits submitted a patch set (based on work by Chris Metcalf in 2015) that introduces a completely predictable environment for Linux applications — as long as they do not need any kernel services.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Linux Seeing Fixes For AMD TRX40 Motherboard Audio Issues

          Various patches are pending for improving the Linux support for onboard audio with motherboard sporting the AMD TRX40 chipset for 3rd Gen Ryzen Threadripper systems.

          There are a number of known issues at present affecting the integrated audio on numerous TRX40 motherboards including the likes of the MSI TRX40 Creator, ASUS ROG STRIX, ASUS ROG Zenith II, Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Pro, and others.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q2.1 Released With AMD Renoir Support

          AMD released today their first update of the quarter for their open-source AMDVLK Vulkan Linux driver.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q2.1 is now available for this Vulkan driver derived from their official cross-platform Vulkan driver sources. The notable addition with the 2020.Q2.1 update is initial support for Renoir hardware with the Ryzen 4000 series laptops now shipping. Renoir hardware has 7nm Zen 2 processors with Vega graphics that should now be playing well under AMDVLK paired with a new enough Linux kernel. I am still working on getting my hands on a Renoir laptop but availability has been quite limited to date.

        • Mir 1.8.0 Release

          This release we focused HiDPI support and portability.

        • Mir 1.8 Released With HiDPI Improvements, Better Compatibility Outside Of Ubuntu

          Mir 1.8 is available today as the newest feature update to this display stack developed by Canonical that currently is focused on providing a pleasant Wayland compositor experience especially for kiosk-type environments and others wanting to transition from X11 to Wayland.

          Mir 1.8 ships with better support for HiDPI displays in now correctly sizing windows for high resolution updates, particularly around proper scaling of Wayland clients. Fractional scaling and individual (per-monitor) scaling is supported.

        • Shared Virtual Memory Lands In Mesa Gallium3D’s “Clover” OpenCL Implementation

          After being in code review the past half-year, support for Shared Virtual Memory (SVM) within Gallium3D’s “Clover” OpenCL state tracker was just merged for Mesa 20.1.

          Shared Virtual Memory is one of the requirements of OpenCL 2.0 and allows for sharing pointers and other data structures more seamlessly between the host and GPU/device. This shared address space / virtual memory between the host and device also provides for better memory model consistency, among other improvements.

    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu Server 20.04 CPU Security Mitigation Performance Impact

        Earlier this week I published new benchmarks looking at the desktop CPU security mitigation impact with Ubuntu 20.04. Here are similar tests done in looking at the server mitigation impact with the near-final Ubuntu 20.04 LTS while testing server workloads on Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC server platforms. Like the desktop tests, the mitigation impact with the out-of-the-box protections against Spectre, Meltdown, and friends is being compared to booting the same Ubuntu 20.04 release with “mitigations=off” for run-time disabling of the relevant mitigations on each platform.

      • Initial Benchmarks Of Schedutil Performance On Linux 5.7 Show Room Still For Improvement



        With Linux 5.7 the kernel is preparing to use the Schedutil governor more often on Intel systems. That change affects the CPUfreq default as well as the Intel P-State driver when in passive mode. While Schedutil holds a lot of hope, at least on Linux 5.7 with the testing I’ve done thus far the results show the raw performance slipping while testing on more platforms is forthcoming.

        For some preliminary tests of the state of Schedutil vs. performance/ondemand governors in Linux 5.7 I ran some benchmarks on an Intel Xeon Gold 6226R server with Supermicro X11SPL-F motherboard, 188GB of RAM, and 4TB Micron NVMe SSD. A near final Ubuntu 20.04 snapshot was running on this Intel server while running Linux 5.6 stable and then a Linux 5.7 Git snapshot last week following the power management changes landing. On Linux 5.6 the default powersave configuration was tested while on Linux 5.7 the powersave/performance/schedutil governors were all tested.

    • Applications

      • Do your Project Management Remotely With Leantime (Open Source)

        Leantime is an open source project management software licensed under the GPL 2.0 license. It is written in the PHP language and uses the MySQL database system for storing its data.

        Leantime employs the techniques of agile project management in its workflow. Your employees will be mainly divided into projects with each project having its own members, sprints, milestones, todo lists and other important business components.

        Of course, there are many nice features for each of these components in Leantime; You can assign members of your teams to specific tasks and limit them by a deadline, you can share ideas and comments with them, you can work with them on creating a business product using the “Research” component where you identify the problem and purpose a solution… Much much more.

        A software such as Leantime could be useful for you if you have a small or medium sized company, and you want to manage your company remotely with as much less hassle as possible.

      • Linux at Home: Cooking with Linux



        We are told by our governments that in the current crisis the single most important action we can take is to stay at home. The repeated message is that everyone should minimise time spent outside the home. By following this directive, this will flatten the spread of the coronavirus, thereby protecting our health service, and saving lives.

        A recent survey shows that about 15% of people find that staying at home and only leaving the house for very limited reasons to be very difficult. The lockdown is stressful on mental health. One way to help relieve the pressure is to occupy our time at home.

      • XpdfReader is an open source PDF reader for Windows and Linux



        If you ask me what the best free PDF reader is, my answer will always be SumatraPDF. Though I used Microsoft Edge (the original one) for PDFs occasionally, I never did shift to it completely.

        But it’s always nice to have an alternative. Most PDF readers come with a “freemium” tag, which can be annoying. Xpdfreader is an exception to this. It is an open source PDF reader that’s available for Windows and Linux.

        Use the File menu to open a new PDF, reload the current one or to print the document. The top left panel in XpdReader’s interface is the tabs panel, click on the “+ tab” button to open a new file. Switch between any open documents with a single click. Or, you may open multiple instances of the program by using the “Open in New Window” option. The Window menu can be used to manage open windows and tabs, for e.g. if you want to close one. The other panel on the left is for viewing layered content, bookmarks, in your PDFs.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Finally Starting To See Work On Better USB Support

        It looks like better support for Windows programs running under Wine interacting directly with USB devices could finally be on the horizon.

        Merged today were the initial pieces of Wineusb as a USB driver for Wine akin to Microsoft’s WinUSB. In the past were also patches for a program called wineusb separate from this WineUSB driver implementation.

    • Games

      • Total War: WARHAMMER II and Northgard free weekend, Overcooked! 2 has DLC free to keep

        Looks like even more games are letting you play free across this weekend and there’s plenty of fun to be had for everyone with Linux as their favourite system.

        We’ve already pointed out TerraTech being free to play until April 21, and Humble Store are giving out free to keep copies of Manual Samuel and we’re back with more!

        Up next in the ring is Total War: WARHAMMER II, ported to Linux by Feral Interactive. It’s now free to play until April 19 at 8PM UTC. Even sweeter, is that you’ll also be able to get up to 75% off all Total War: WARHAMMER games and DLC until April 23 at 5PM UTC. Remember that if you own both Total War: WARHAMMER titles, you also get access to a huge combined map.

      • Game Boy Color inspired Kharon’s Crypt – Even Death May Die to enter Early Access on May 29

        Kharon’s Crypt – Even Death May Die, a retro non-linear dungeon crawler that was funded on Kickstarter back in October 2017 is finally about to release. Mentioning the new Early Access date as May 29 on Twitter, the team also confirmed the Linux version will also be launching at the same time.

        Inspired by the visuals seen on the classic Game Boy Color. In Kharon’s Crypt, you’ll be playing as Kharon (a being thought to be death itself) in his mission to escape from the crypt where he had been sealed by a deranged king that wanted to elude death.

      • Turns out The Butcher’s Circus expansion for Darkest Dungeon will be FREE – plus more details

        Earlier this month we reported on Darkest Dungeon getting a new online PvP DLC named The Butcher’s Circus, well it turns out it’s going to be free and they’ve given more details.

        This was actually clarified shortly after the original announcement by studio Co-Founder, Chris Bourassa, on Twitter. Unless you follow them directly and look at their replies, you wouldn’t have known it was going to be free. To ensure all the details are out there, Red Hook Studios have started a series of blog posts to talk about The Butcher’s Circus and it confirms there it’s going to be free.

      • Indivisible adds drop-in co-op for up to 4 players and a New Game Plus mode

        Indivisible, the action RPG platformer from Lab Zero Games (Skullgirls) can now be played with others in local co-op making it quite a different experience. Plus a New Game Plus mode if you enjoy pain. You can see some previous thoughts I had in this linked article.

        Like most other games having a New Game+ mode, it makes everything harder. Enemies? More difficult. Bosses? They’ll make you sweat and your fingers ache. They also made it so you can unlock another colour for Ajna in this mode. There’s also the addition of a “fan-favorite Inner Realm Incarnation” and you can also “fight the new Regional Delicacies” if it wasn’t challenging enough.

      • Area 86 is a challenging and amusing physics-based escape room puzzler out now

        Area 86 takes the idea of an escape room game, adds a bunch of physics interactions with an unwieldy little robot as the protagonist and gives you a pretty good time for your monies.

        The story here is relatively simple, with it taking place on a space station where the AI has become corrupted and you need to stop it. You don’t come here for the story though, you come here for the challenge. You might also come across a few other robot friends to set free.

      • Epic space drone constructor ‘Nimbatus’ to leave Early Access on May 14 – new update out too

        Nimbatus, a game about space exploration, science and creativity with a whole lot of spacecraft/drone creation is set to leave Early Access on May 14.

        You stick together parts to create a mixture of wild designs. You can make fully autonomous drones, manually piloted ships, massive walking robots and much more thanks to all the different blocks you use. I can’t overstate how seriously impressed I’ve been with what some players have made in it. Once you have a design made you send them out into a procedurally generated galaxy to collect resources and complete missions.

        There’s hundreds of different parts you can use and multiple game modes too. There’s an anything-goes sandbox mode in a procedurally generated galaxy, a story-based resource limited survival mode and multiple competitive modes like racing and drone sumo wrestling.

      • Humble Store giving away ‘Manual Samuel’ for FREE over the next few days

        Manual Samuel, a classic adventure game with a wild twist, is currently being given away FREE on the Humble Store. Released back in 2016, it’s on the older side now but it looks great. Hopefully with our quick tip, more of you can grab another fun game.

      • Merging elements from XCOM and HOMM ‘Fort Triumph’ is out now – some thoughts

        Fort Triumph from CookieByte Entertainment and All in! Games is out today, after a while in Early Access this turn-based strategy game combines XCOM with HOMM with some environmental interactions too.

        With a very colourful and inviting art-style, it gives the impression that it’s easy and welcoming but that’s not quite true. Fort Triumph is a challenge, and the pressure is on in every battle with character permadeath but an incredibly fun one that I just can’t get enough of.

      • Arcade Shoot’em Up Inspired Galaxy Warfighter Out Now on Windows PC, Linux, Mac, and Nintendo Switch

        As detailed in the press release, the game is heavily inspired by classic shoot ’em ups. As players blast through enemy ships, the difficulty ramps up. With 10 enemy types utilizing different attack patterns and 4 bosses, players can fend them off with 8 weapon types across 100 levels.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Plasma Browser Integration 1.7.5



          I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of Plasma Browser Integration version 1.7.5 on the Chrome Web Store as well as Firefox Add-Ons page. I hope you’re all safe and well in these odd times. As you can tell from the version number this is a little more than just a maintenance release. It comes with an assortment of important bug fixes, refinements, and translation updates.

          Plasma Browser Integration bridges the gap between your browser and the Plasma desktop. It lets you share links, find browser tabs in KRunner, monitor download progress in the notification center, and control music and video playback anytime from within Plasma, or even from your phone using KDE Connect!

        • On forking

          As the former maintainer of KWin I’m rather shocked to read that a fellow KWin developer announced a fork. Personally I find this very disappointing and very sad. In my opinion a fork should be the last option if any other option failed. There are very few legitimate reasons and I think a fork always harms both projects due to the split of development efforts and the bad publicity such a fork creates. The announcement renders KWin in a light it doesn’t deserve. There are of course successful forks such as X.org and LibreOffice.org, but those forks were created due to serious issues with the project and had most of the developers on board. I do not see any reason in the current KWin development! For the same reason I also do not like the lowlatency fork. Of course it is an important area where KWin needs improvements, but I would love to see that happen in the KWin repository and not in an outside repository. Working together, bringing the experience together is much better than working on your own.

          Personally I am very happy how KWin evolved since I stepped down as the main developer and maintainer. I was afraid that my loss in activity could not be compensated and I am very, very happy to see that development activity in KWin is much higher than it was most of the years before. Looking at the mailing list I see new names and old ones. KWin looks very healthy to me from a developer perspective.

          Having read the announcement and the reasoning for the fork, I was left puzzled. What went wrong? When I looked at the mailing lists I never noticed any conflicts. In fact there is even strong agreement on the areas which need work. Such as a reworked compositor pipeline, the KWayland situation, etc. Of course we need to be careful when rewriting, reworking central parts of KWin. One of the main areas in the work for preparing KWin for Wayland was to move the code base in ways allowing to rewrite parts without risking the stability of the whole project. Personally I think this served KWin well. And even if the KWin team does not want a quick rewrite of central parts it’s no reason for a fork. This still can be handled upstream, through branches. One could even release an “experimental” KWin release with central parts reworked. Overall I just don’t get it and hope that what matters is a good KWin.

        • LaKademy 2019

          Past November 2019 KDE fellows from Latin-America arrived in Salvador – Brazil to attend an one more edition of LaKademy – the Latin American Akademy. That was the 7th edition of the event (or the 8th, if you count Akademy-BR as the first LaKademy) and the second one with Salvador as host city. No problem for me: in fact I would like to move there and live in Salvador for at least a few years.

        • Introducing a command line client for GitLab

          As KDE is currently migrating from Phabricator to GitLab, it’s a goood time to compare the advantages and disadvantages of both platforms. For phabricator, one of the disadvantages for me is the non-repository-focused structure. For example you can’t easily get to the patches submitted for a project from its repository. The same is valid for the tasks belonging to a project. This makes it harder for new contributors coming from GitHub-like platforms to submit their patches.

          GitLab in turn lacks some of the power-user features of Phabricator. One of them is an easy-to-use command line client that does not merely expose the JSON api as shell commands. Since Phabricator has such a client, called arcanist, or in short, arc, which KDE developers and contributors are already used to, I started developing something similar for GitLab.

          With it, for example creating a merge request is as easy as running git lab diff in a branch containing your commit(s). To keep track of open merge requests, there is the git lab list command, which lists your recently opened merge requests and their status.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.34 snapcraft extension


          We constantly strive to empower developers. Part of that aim extends to making development easier, for example improving build tools and documentation. As an element of this continued effort, we would like to introduce the new gnome-3-34 snapcraft extension!

          The gnome-3-34 snapcraft extension is a code addition to snapcraft itself that abstracts away some commonly used snapcraft.yaml lines while also tailoring the build environment of GNOME application snaps. While this extension contains GNOME in the name and is tailored to GNOME apps, it is worth noting that the extension provides many of the components needed for desktop applications in general, making it useful for a broader set of applications than just GNOME.

        • GNOME’s Mutter gets ‘fullscreen unredirect’ supported on Wayland

          In upcoming versions of GNOME, one quite big change had now been merged in for those of you using it with Wayland.

          Yesterday, the “Wayland surface fullscreen unredirect” code was merged into Mutter (GNOME’s Wayland display server and X11 window manager). What this actually means: for people playing fullscreen games on GNOME + Wayland, it can now bypass compositing, which you don’t usually want when the whole screen is filled with a game which can help with performance.

        • New GNOME Tablet Mockups Tackle Window Tiling

          Purism and GNOME design team member Tobias Bernard is back with a fresh batch of mockups for Phosh, the GNOME Shell mobile UI.

          Building on his previous set, Tobias has begin exploring how window tiling (i.e., the ways applications are arranged and managed) might work in Phosh when run on a bigger screen, like a tablets or external monitor connected to a Linux phone.

        • GNOME’s Mutter Lands Fullscreen Unredirect Support For Wayland

          A big change was just merged today for the in-development GNOME 3.38 that will benefit Wayland gamers and others.

          Red Hat’s Jonas Ådahl work on Wayland full-screen surface unredirection to bypass compositing when running full-screen games and the like has just been merged into Mutter! Basically avoiding extra compositor work when an application/game is occupying the entire area of the desktop. This full-screen surface unredirection to bypass compositing with Mutter should be a measurable performance help for gamers running the GNOME Wayland session.

          The X11 code for GNOME has already supported this full-screen bypass compositing while the Mutter Wayland code finally saw similar treatment today in Git master after the patches had been under review for seven months.

        • GNOME PERU FEST 2020

          Hello world again! I am thrilled to announce that I am organizing the GNOME PERU FEST 2020 via online. Thanks to Maricielo, one of the designer team of the company Tunqui Creativo, we have published our event in the Facebook page of GNOME PERU.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Deepin 20 beta out now, here are the new features

          Deepin, the Debian based Linux distro that has captivated Linux lovers with its clean and chic looking user interface, now has a Beta version released. Someone who uses Deepin for the first time is sure to be swept off their feet by the breathtaking Deepin Desktop Environment (DDE) comprising of the GUI, Window manager, Control Center, Launcher, and Dock.

          The DDE is designed using the widget-based toolkit called Qt, which is open-source and cross-platform software. While its beautiful GUI is its unique selling point, Deepin is also appreciated for its impressive collection of popular apps as well as a bunch of handy tools and utilities that come shipped with it.

        • Deepin 20 Beta Is Here: Most Beautiful Linux Desktop Gets Better Than Before

          Last week, Deepin’s desktop hit the headlines owing to the launch of a new remix Linux distribution UbuntuDDE that blends the Ubuntu and Deepin Desktop environment (DDE). Now the official Deepin Linux has released a new beta version v20, marking its first release of 2020.

          Undoubtedly, Deepin ships with its own and the world’s most beautiful desktop that even teases Windows and macOS. To keep up with the trend, Deepin 20 beta refines the design of the desktop environment and applications to bring a better and intuitive experience. So, let’s go deeper to see what more Deepin 20 has to offer.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Gentoo-Based exGENT Linux Now Available for Raspberry Pi 4

          Developer Arne Exton is experimenting with new projects and released a version of his exGENT Linux distribution for the latest Raspberry Pi 4 single-board computer.

          Based on Gentoo Linux, exGENT is a distro created by Arne Exton and designed for advanced Linux users and anyone else who really wants to learn Linux. It’s one of the very few up-to-date live Gentoo systems.

          While exGENT Linux is fun to use on the desktop, you can now use it on your tiny Raspberry Pi 4 computer thanks to the hard work by developer Arne Exton.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Tumbleweed Snapshots this week bring Salt 3000, LLVM10, update of TigerVNC

          Since last Thursday, a total of five openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots were released.

          Each snapshot had about between five to 10 packages updated.

          The most recent snapshot, 202000414 has a few libraries updated like libgit2 0.28.5, libva 2.7.0 and libva-gl 2.7.0. Several patches and five Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures security fixes were made to the high performance, multi-platform VNC client and serve tigervnc 1.10.1. Midnight Commander (mc) 4.8.24, which is a text-mode full-screen file manager and visual shell, provided new skins and added yabasic (Yet Another BASIC) syntax highlighting. A minor update to plymouth’s 0.9.5 version removed unused kernel-headers and module-init-tools build dependencies and the xfce4-settings 4.14.3 updated translations and modified the display to allow for the use of a proper fallback configuration on “apply” and “toggle off”. The xfwm4 4.14.1 package, which is the window manager for the Xfce environment, fixed hostnames that were not showing initially when running apps remotely and the update fixed a crash with the Graphics Library that involved high CPU usage without a monitor. The snapshot is currently trending stable at a rating of 93, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

          A new major version of the Mozilla Firefox browser was released in snapshot 20200413. The new 75.0 version improves the behavior performance on Linux when clicking on the Address Bar and the Search Bar, which now matches other desktop platforms; a single click selects all without primary selection; a double click selects a word; and a triple click selects all with primary selection. Additionally, Firefox is now available in Flatpak and a CVE memory safety bug for Firefox 75 and Firefox ESR 68.7 were fixed. The btrfsprogs package jumped from version 5.4.1 to version 5.6 and supports new hash algorithms in the 5.5 Linux Kernel; the new version also supports LOGICAL_INO_V2 features in logical-resolve. The new option ‘-o’ helps advanced dedupe tools. The libostree 2020.3 library was update in Tumbleweed from it’s previous 2019.6 verion; nine months of updates bring several newer features and fixes like support for making the /sysroot mount pointread-only upon start, and the error-handling around GPG verification was overhauled. Text editor nano 4.9.2 fixed a crash after undoing an at the end of a leading whitespace. The snapshot is currently trending at a moderate 83 rating on the [Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer](https://review.tumbleweed.boombatower.com/).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Red Hat and ZTE Collaborate to Help Accelerate 5G Deployments


          Red Hat and ZTE have developed a new solution aimed at helping service providers more effectively deploy virtual network functions (VNFs) for Red Hat OpenStack Platform on ZTE XCLOUD hardware. This collaboration is designed to aid telecommunications companies gain greater traction in deploying 5G services with the backing of a common telco cloud infrastructure.

          Red Hat OpenStack Platform on ZTE hardware will offer a replicable, cost-effective network solution for telcos and will provide a foundation for transforming traditional core data centers into more agile, efficient and innovative open environments. Based on recent Red Hat internal testing, the solution can speed integration time on ZTE hardware by up to 5x as telcos launch 5G technologies. For one customer, a similar previous implementation by ZTE would usually take almost 3 weeks, whereas now, it can be finished in 3 days by standardizing the configuration and maximizing automation benefits.

        • Red Hat Brings Enterprise Linux to IBM z15 and LinuxONE III Single Frame Systems

          Red Hat, an IBM company, has announced Red Hat Enterprise Linux support for the IBM z15 and LinuxONE III single frame solutions.

          According to Red Hat, building upon the features of z15 and LinuxONE III multiframe solutions, the new air-cooled platforms extend the benefits of IBM’s hardware technologies to a broader user base while continuing to offer supported configurations to enterprises seeking to use RHEL on these new platforms.

        • Paul Cormier conversation on theCUBE

          Paul Cormier, President and CEO of Red Hat, sits down with Stu Miniman for a digital CUBE conversation, hosted by SiliconANGLE.

        • Data Is A Strategic Weapon : Pete Brey of Red Hat
        • PDF Manipulation Tool PDF-Arranger Gets New User Interface, Is Now Available On Flathub

          PDF Arranger, an application to manipulate PDF files, has been updated to version 1.5.0, getting a new user interface and various other improvements. Also, the application is now available as a flatpak package on Flathub.

          PDF Arranger, which started as a fork of PDF Shuffler, is a GUI application that allows merging, splitting, rotating and cropping PDF documents. It can also be used to rearrange pages in PDF files, and edit some basic PDF metadata information, like the title, creator, producer and creator tool.

          This Python3-GTK application is essentially a frontend for pikepdf, dropping support for PyPDF2 in recent releases. It’s available for Linux and Windows.

        • What’s your cloud safety plan?

          As agencies become increasingly dependent on multi- and hybrid cloud environments, they need a safety plan for their cloud strategies — something to protect them from the potentially high egress costs involved in moving applications and data from one cloud to another. This is why creating an exit plan before entering into an agreement with a cloud provider is so important.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux distribution ‘Pop!_OS’ has a Beta release for the upcoming 20.04 with automatic window tiling

          Pop!_OS, the Linux distribution based on Ubuntu from the folks at System76 is also getting in on the fun with a Beta release of the upcoming Pop!_OS 20.04. This is following the standard Ubuntu having a Beta release earlier this month.

          One of the big new features is the inclusion of Auto Tiling. Quite a fun and helpful feature for productivity, with newly launched windows automatically tiled. I’ve had a little play with it myself, a first time trying out tiling of this sort and it’s genuinely quite good.

        • Watch How Window Auto-Tiling Works In Pop OS 20.04



          One of the unique features that distinguishes the upcoming version of Linux distribution Pop!_OS from its Ubuntu 20.04 peers is a nifty feature called Auto-Tiling. If you’ve been tempted by the functionality of tiling window managers like i3 but are hesitant to go down that rabbit hole because of the complexity, System76 has a solution. And they’re baking it right into the GNOME desktop.

          Window auto-tiling is a new feature inside of Pop Shell, and its sole purpose is maximizing your screen real estate without the complexity of using a dedicated tiling window manager.

          I have a 49-inch, 3840 x 1080 Ultrawide so I’m definitely the target audience here! And yep, it supports multiple monitors.

        • Running the System76 Pop Shell (on Ubuntu 20.04)

          The upcoming release of Pop!_OS will feature a new keyboard-driven, tiling shell that will give GNOME tiling features similar to i3.

        • Introducing the Ubuntu AWS Rolling Kernel

          A rolling kernel model transitions the default linux-aws kernel from one base version to the next as part of its regular patching cycle. That new kernel is the kernel of the latest interim Ubuntu release. Applying this model directly to 18.04 today, the linux-aws kernel is a 4.15 based kernel and when we roll, it will become a 5.3 based kernel which was part of our 19.10 interim release.

          Today, that 5.3 kernel is currently available for preview as the linux-aws-edge kernel, which we encourage all users to run with their workloads in non-production deployments. It is important to keep in mind that both the -edge kernels and the rolling release kernels are fully baked prior to being made available for our customers to use and meet exactly the same quality and durability standards all our kernels must meet for release.

          When the linux-aws kernel rolls forward, a user would see this change in 1 of 2 ways, 1) launching the latest AMI would have the newer kernel, and 2) users applying packaging updates, or via automatic security updates, will also see the newer kernel.

        • Ubuntu kernel 5.4: What’s new with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is only a few days away. The latest LTS comes with a new version of the Linux kernel – 5.4 – which brings a lot of exciting new features, faster boot times, enhanced performance and security. Additionally, the Canonical kernel team ran benchmark tests to validate the performance improvements of the new kernel.

          Defining which Linux kernel should be included in a long-term support release of Ubuntu is the essence of the work of the kernel team at Canonical. We are proud to say that we are the only Linux distribution to consistently include the latest stable upstream kernel. Canonical also provides bug fixes and kernel security updates every three weeks to ensure fully functional and secure kernel modules and a great user experience.

          Feature highlights in Ubuntu kernel v5.4

          This release enhances the kernel lockdown mode from previous Ubuntu releases. Lockdown is a significant Linux security module which strengthens the boundary between the root user and the kernel, restricting root access to various pieces of kernel functionality. Kernel lockdown can be configured at runtime, boot time or build time.

          5.4 also includes virtio-fs – a high-performance, FUSE-based virtio driver for full OS virtualisation. Virtio-fs allows a virtualised guest to share file systems with the host and mount a directory that has been exported on the host. Although this is already possible via solutions such as NFS or virtio-9P, virtio-fs does this with greater performance and application compatibility.

          Fs-verity is a new support layer that file systems can use to detect file tampering, similar to dm-verity. The biggest difference between the two is that fs-verity works on files rather than block devices. Fs-verity is currently supported on ext4 and f2fs file systems. In principle, fs-verity detects accidental (non-malicious) file corruption, but in practice it is also used as a tool to support authentication (detection of malicious modifications).

          Other important novelties of the 5.4 kernel are dm-clone, which allows users to clone device mapper targets, the support for new Intel/AMD GPUs and the exfat file system. Additionally, a new haltpoll cpuidle driver and a matching governor greatly improve performance, as they allow remote vCPUs to do guest-side polling for a specified amount of time before halting. Finally, blk-iocost, a new I/O cgroup controller, provides more accurate calculations of the cost of I/O.

        • You are invited to the virtual Ubuntu Masters event

          The Ubuntu Masters Conference is a platform for IT practitioners to share how they are solving industry-wide challenges with the global engineering community. These are the real-life use cases they are executing in their professional environments today, giving you actionable ideas to take into your own corporate setting.

        • My Ubuntu 20.04 Distribution is Awesome

          My Ubuntu 20.04 Distribution is Awesome Traded in Arch for Ubuntu… does it matter?

        • What is an Ubuntu LTS release?



          Come April 23rd 2020, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS will be available. It will be the first LTS version of Ubuntu since the 18.04 release, and in this blog, I want to answer the common question, what is an LTS? For a deeper look at the benefits of using an Ubuntu LTS, there’s a whitepaper for that, for anything else, this post will answer your questions.

          LTS stands for long term support. Here, support means that throughout the lifetime of a release there is a commitment to update, patch and maintain the software. For an LTS, there is a shorter development cycle, where engineers and contributors add to the body of the release. And a longer beta testing cycle, where more testing and bug fixing takes place to focus on a release’s performance and stability.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Vapor IO Revamps Synse, Its Open Source API for Data Center Automation

        Vapor IO has revamped Synse, its open-source software that collects operating data from data center infrastructure devices and sensors and translates it into a format that can be ingested and used by data center management or workload orchestration tools. The main point of Synse is to enable data center automation.

      • Events

        • Akademy 2020 and GUADEC 2020 Linux Events Move to Online Conferences

          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Akademy and GUADEC events hosted by the KDE and GNOME projects have moved to online conferences.

          If you had plans on attending Linux and Open Source conferences this year, think again because the coronavirus has changed the way we live, work, and communicate.

          As I believed, various of the upcoming Linux events have either been canceled, delayed, or moved to online conferences. Of course, the latter is the best move organizers can do right now.

          Earlier this month, when I reported about the release date for the forthcoming GNOME 3.38 desktop environment, due for release on September 16th, 2020, I told you that GUADEC 2020 might take place entirely online.

        • Daniel Stenberg: curl better – video

          As so many other events in these mysterious times, the foss-north conference went online-only and on March 30, 2020 I was honored to be included among the champion speakers at this lovely conference and I talked about how to “curl better” there.

          The talk is a condensed run-through of how curl works and why, and then a look into how some of the more important HTTP oriented command line options work and how they’re supposed to be used.

          As someone pointed out: I don’t do a lot of presentations about the curl tool. Maybe I should do more of these.

        • The Internet Talks

          I’ve previously written about the licensing and embedded talks of foss-north 2020. This time around, I’d like to share the recordings of the Internet related talks.

          Internet is a very broad topic, so it is hard to classify talks as not being Internet related these days, but the following three talks stand out.

          The first speaker is an old time speaker at foss-north, Daniel Stenberg. He has spoken at foss-north several times, but never about his main claim to fame: curl. This time he righted this by delivering a talks about how to Curl better.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.4.3 Released with More Than 50 Fixes

          Coming about a month after LibreOffice 6.4.2, this new update is here to address more than 50 issues reported by the community and affecting various parts of the office suite.

          According to the changelogs (here and here), LibreOffice 6.4.3 addresses a total of 58 bugs. This means that it’s a stability and performance release that must be installed by all existing users.

          However, The Document Foundation still recommends the LibreOffice 6.4 office suite series only to technology enthusiasts and power users as it’s not yet optimized for enterprise deployments.

        • LibreOffice 6.4.3 Released for Linux, Windows, and Mac

          The Document Foundation has recently announced a new version of LibreOffice that can be downloaded right now on all supported desktop platforms, namely Linux, Windows, and Mac.

          LibreOffice 6.4.3 comes with plenty of fixes, and because it’s just a regular release that’s the third minor update to the 6.4 build, no new features are included this time, so this is pretty much all you get.

          However, what’s important to know is that TDF still offers LibreOffice 6.4 as a version “targeted at technology enthusiasts and power users,” and everyone else should just stick with version 6.3.5 for the most stable experience.

      • Funding

        • MindsDB raises $3 million for open source automated machine learning

          MindsDB today announced it has raised $3 million to grow its automated machine learning platform made for data scientists and developers to quickly train and deploy models.

          The open source platform has been downloaded more than 250,000 times through Python pip installs or software with a graphic user interface and has been used by 20,000 developers. Explainability tools are also built in under the hood due to the work of cofounder and CEO Jorge Torres.

      • FSF

        • How to livestream a conference in just under a week

          For the first time ever, LibrePlanet 2020 was a fully virtual conference due to ongoing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In our last week of preparations before the live event, increasingly disturbing news related to the virus made us realize we could not responsibly hold our usual conference on software freedom in person while protecting the safety of our participants and their communities. So we turned everything around to eventually bring 35 free software presentations to our community through the filter of a computer screen. After the conference, we had many people writing to ask us for more details about what we used to do it, so we wanted to take this opportunity to share how we were able to create a fully free interactive and educational virtual experience.

          LibrePlanet 2020 videos were recorded from the livestream, and they will be posted online soon. For the sessions that are not too dependent on the visual information from the slides, we’ll also be providing the audiostreams via an RSS feed for anyone to listen to while they exercise, bake, garden, or seek distraction from very stressful times.

        • How to livestream a conference in just under a week (FSF)

          On the FSF blog, Zoe Kooyman describes how the LibrePlanet 2020 conference was converted to a virtual conference in a week’s time—using free software, naturally.

      • Public Services/Government

        • OSOR publishes 10 country reports!

          You will have an overview of the governmental actors, strategic players, political and legal framework, and the initiatives in the public sector that relate to open source software. If you wish to have a glimpse of the highlights of each country, the reports are also complemented by a one-page factsheet. Both documents can be downloaded and further reused (authorised under the CC BY 4.0 licence).

          Once all the country reports are published, the OSOR team will conduct a comprehensive study in the form of a comparative analysis, giving a full overview of observable trends and the various strengths of open source software policies throughout the European Union.

      • Programming/Development

        • embedding binary objects in c

          But what if we could just link binaries into our program directly? We can. Mostly. I had no idea this was possible until after reading this list posting which explains the technique. It requires an intermediate object file, but it’s much faster to generate and compile then a textual equivalent file.

        • tmux-session

          I wrote a little script to create and fast-switch between different tmux sessions, and thought I’d share it real quick so others can use it too. It’s got two composable components you can use in your own stuff: [...]

        • State of software engineering, JavaScript is the future, and more industry trends [Ed: “As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model” but relies on “article [which] uses GitHub Octoverse data as the basis” i.e. data about projects that Microsoft controls and nothing else]
        • Working from home with your Raspberry Pi
        • Perl/Raku

          • Perlmongers Conferences in the Time of Corona

            I’m collecting different setups here. Other efforts are underway to organize a virtual conference. The setups listed below aim for smaller audiences with hopefully lower effort in setting things up.

            I don’t discuss the other stuff needed for organizing a conference, like the social aspects (“hallway track”, “moderation”, “timekeeping”) or how people can forward questions from the chat to the speaker. The logistic aspects are mostly that outside of the “producer”, ideally nobody needs to install software beyond Chromium or another browser compatible enough with Jitsi to do video streaming.

          • Revisiting the Collatz Sequence (PWC 54)

            In my blog post related to Perl Weekly Challenge 54 posted on April 4, 2020, the section about the “extra credit” task concerning the Collatz conjecture described in some details the difficulties encountered when trying to cache the data: the volume of data is very large. I’m blogging again on the subject because of new findings.

        • Python

          • Custom PyQt5/PySide2 PasswordEdit field with Show/Hide toggle

            When building applications which require a password (or some other secret) from a user you should use fields that hide the input. This prevents shoulder surfing passers by from being able to read off the user’s secret and gain access to accounts.

          • Consistent Onboarding – Building SaaS #52

            In this episode, we glued together some of the onboarding steps. I added data validation so that future steps depend on data existing from previous steps. Then we added page messaging to direct users to a proper page.

            We reviewed the way that the form validates certain data from the form submission so that data is kept safe between users. I showed how I switched from the model and fields attributes of CreateView to a form_class containing the form that does the necessary validation.

          • How to port 100,000 lines of Python 2 to Python 3

            Last summer I led the conversion of a 77KLOC Python 2 web application to Python 3, and that was my guide.

            First, we did the Stage 1 conversion, which makes the whole codebase compatible with Python 2 and Python 3. As the docs say, “the goal for this stage is to create most of the diff for the entire porting process, but without introducing any bugs.”

            (Note that this doesn’t mean the result works in Python 3; it probably won’t. But syntax and library issues are taken care of, and nothing is broken for Python 2.)

            Then we did Stage 2; the end result of that is “Python 3-style code that [also] runs on Python 2 with the help of the appropriate builtins and utilities in future.”

          • Python Docstrings

            In this tutorial, we will learn about Python docstrings. More specifically, we will learn how and why docstrings are used with the help of examples.

            Python docstrings are the string literals that appear right after the definition of a function, method, class, or module. Let’s take an example.

          • Stefan Behnel: My responses to a Cython dev interview

            I recently received a request for an online interview by Jonathan Ruiz, a CS student in Berlin. He’s implementing graph algorithms as part of his final Bachelor thesis, and was evaluating and using Cython to get performance improvements. During his work, he thought it’d be nice to get some comments from a Cython core dev and sent me a couple of questions. Here’s what I answered.

          • Flask Delicious Tutorial : Building a Library Management System Part 4 – Focus on Responses
          • Generating reports with Python, Markdown and entr

            Let’s say you need to parse and analyse some raw data, for example a log file, to generate a report.

            An easy way to get started with this is to write some Python, Perl, Ruby or shell code to work on your file and print meaningful information about it.

          • Python Bytes: #177 Coding is 90% Google searching or is it?
          • Rigved Rakshit: Intermediate Statistics

            These are some of my notes on intermediate statistics from the Udemy Data Science Bootcamp. The Python code associated with this section is available here.

        • Java

          • OpenJDK 15 To Have Better Out-Of-The-Box Performance

            It turns out our recent OpenJDK 8 through OpenJDK 14 benchmarks caught some on Oracle’s Java team by surprise. But they were able to replicate the outcome and as a result OpenJDK 15 will be seeing better out-of-the-box performance.

            Oracle has made some improvements to their G1 garbage collector that will enhance the out-of-the-box performance as seen by our testing. While Oracle does their own Java benchmarking, most of their work is with a fixed 4G heap size — not the out-of-the-box configuration — and thus were taken by surprise with our recent benchmark figures.

            Stefan Johansson of Oracle explained the correction they have now made, “We decided to address this problem right away and a change to improve the behavior has already been pushed to JDK 15 (JDK-8241670). The basic idea is to aim for a larger region size by default and this is achieved by: only consider max heap size when determining region size and rounding up the region size to the nearest power of 2 instead of rounding down.”

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Open standards, not sanctions, are America’s best weapon against Huawei

        The problem with America’s strategy is that it is trying to win today’s “tech cold war”, as some call it, with yesterday’s arsenal. In effect it is trying to build an impenetrable wall around Huawei by any means necessary. This is a fool’s errand in a hyper-connected world in which technology and talent can flow freely. It only provides extra incentives for Huawei—and China—to become technologically self-sufficient. If America wants to win the race to 5G and, more generally, the battle for digital supremacy, it needs a new approach. Happily, the country’s own technology industry points the way: it has thrived on openness, software and a healthy balance of competition and co-operation. And that approach is at last now being applied in telecoms.

        Mobile networks, long dominated by specialised hardware, are becoming defined by software. On April 8th Rakuten, a Japanese online giant, launched the world’s first fully “virtualised” mobile network, built using general-purpose hardware and lots of software (see article). Other mobile carriers will follow suit. Such networks would go a long way towards dealing with America’s concern about Huawei: that using the firm’s gear in 5G networks could let the Chinese government intercept data or sabotage rival economies.

      • Record Stores: Coronavirus ‘Could Be the Death Knell’ for Indie Retailers

        By the end of March, each of the stores Rolling Stone spoke with had closed. Despite years of facing off against the [Internet], they each had found new life on their websites and the crowdsourced online database and marketplace Discogs. Some of the store owners worried that the allure of streaming services during quarantine would encourage people to drift farther away from physical media, but, more surprising, streaming has been down since the country started shutting down. Although web sales aren’t as profitable as foot traffic, they’re enough to keep the lights on. At least for now.

  • Leftovers

    • Actress Chulpan Khamatova says she’s been drowning in hate mail since appearing in a TV miniseries about a woman who survived Siberian exile under Stalin

      Actress Chulpan Khamatova says she’s received a torrent of hate mail in response to her starring role in the television miniseries Zuleikha, which is based on Guzel Yakhina’s historical-fiction novel about a woman surviving exile in Siberia from 1930 to 1946. 

    • Remote working, now and forevermore?

      Remote working increased by 159% between 2005 and 2017, according to an analysis of U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics data by FlexJobs, a job search site specializing in remote and flex-time jobs, and research firm Global Workplace Analytics. Despite advances in technology and steady growth in adoption, however, remote workers remained in a minority — just 3.4% of the workforce (4.7 million), according to the FlexJobs study.

      Until now.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Fox News Defends Its COVID Lies, Saying First Amendment Protects “False” Speech

        Fox News has moved to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Washington state group accusing the network of “deceptive” coronavirus coverage by arguing that the First Amendment protects “false” and “outrageous” speech.

      • A COVID-19 Vaccine Will Not Be Enough — We Need a Plan to Distribute It

        On April 25, 2019, two gunmen opened fire on a group of vaccinators in a remote village in Chaman, Pakistan, near the border of Afghanistan. Nasreen Bibi, 35, was killed while another was critically wounded. This was one of many attacks against healthcare workers aiming to eradicate polio in Pakistan because of a growing distrust surrounding vaccines.

      • The Imperative for Post-Pandemic Changes

        The founding fathers did a great job writing the Constitution for the newly formed United States. But that was almost two and a half centuries ago and there’s simply no way they could have predicted the future of today. There are now 330 million people inhabiting their fledgling nation, with global flights and communications, vast production and consumption capabilities — and the subsequent planet-threatening pollution that came with mass industrialization.

      • I Am Not a Virus

        “Less than 0.001% of Chinese people have coronavirus, yet more than 99.999% have already experienced coronaracism.”

      • As Flint Water Crisis Enters Sixth Year, ‘Astounding’ Report Exposes Lies of Ex-Gov. Rick Snyder and Other Officials

        “Coronavirus is the biggest story in the country, and rightfully so. But today, this enormous, exclusive, and damning story should be a very, very close second.”

      • Even Republican Voters Support $2,000 a Month Payments During Coronavirus Crisis: Poll

        A plurality of all respondents cited a wealth tax as their preferred way to pay for the program. 

      • ‘Victory’: After Outrage Over Seizure of Coronavirus Relief Payments From Veterans, USAA Reverses Course

        The move by USAA, while welcomed, only makes the case for more oversight.

      • Homeless, Hungry, Waiting for Government Help

        A rent moratorium is knocking on Washington’s door. By early April almost 17 million people lost their jobs and 31 percent of renters did not pay. How could they? They have no income. A deadly pandemic has shut down businesses. People are afraid to go to the grocery store because of infection – the grocery store! That is, those who have money for groceries and aren’t lining up at the local food bank.

      • Wealthy Countries Must Step Up to Prevent Famine in Developing World, UN Says

        “The level of need was already extremely high,” one UN official said of vulnerable countries. “The one thing they did not need was one more shock.”

      • With 3,448 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count hits 27,938 patients

        On the morning of April 16, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 3,448 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 27,938 patients. A day earlier, health officials reported 3,388 new cases.

      • Russian government approves hydroxychloroquine for use in COVID-19 treatment

        Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has ordered the National Medical Cardiological Research Center to provide free hydroxychloroquine to facilities treating coronavirus patients. Mishustin’s order was published on the Russian government’s website for documents relating to official acts.

      • The president without a plan Alexander Lukashenko still insists nobody’s going to die from COVID-19. What on earth is happening in Belarus?

        From April 3 through April 14, the official number of coronavirus cases confirmed in Belarus multiplied by more than nine times, rising from 351 to 3,281. The national Health Ministry said that growth was due both to the spread of the virus and to a significant increase in testing — more than 71,000 tests had been conducted as of April 14. April 3, meanwhile, was the day when the Ministry announced that all patients diagnosed with moderate or severe pneumonia would be tested for COVID-19; the decision followed a spike in infections in Vitebsk. As President Alexander Lukashenko explained on April 13, the situation in Belarus’s fourth-largest city is now on the mend, but as little as half a week ago, up to 280 new cases were being recorded there every day. That makes for one pneumonia case per day per 1,350 residents. For comparison, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has reported that last week, the Russian capital saw about 1,300 new pneumonia cases daily, or one case per day per 9,750 residents.

      • Dealing With COVID-19 Requires Radical Transparency In Research Results; China Is Going In The Opposite Direction

        History has shown that important, innovative breakthroughs come from transparency, collaboration, and information sharing. Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic is going to require that — but tragically it appears that China is going in the opposite direction. The government there is now requiring “extra vetting” by the government before research regarding COVID-19 can be published. Indeed, some preliminary research has already been removed from the internet:

      • Despite Federal Ban, Landlords Are Still Moving to Evict People During the Pandemic

        Landlords in at least four states have violated the eviction ban passed by Congress last month, a review of records shows, moving to throw more than a hundred people out of their homes.

        In an effort to help renters amid the coronavirus pandemic and skyrocketing unemployment, the March 27 CARES Act banned eviction filings for all federally backed rental units nationwide, more than a quarter of the total.

      • One Consequence Of The COVID-19 Shutdown? This Is Esports’ Moment

        For the better part of a decade now, we’ve been discussing the growth of esports as a cultural thing. This genre of competition has hit milestone after milestone, from organized and broadcasted tournaments, to professional and collegiate teams and leagues, up to and including big boy television broadcasts. More recently we’ve been discussing how esports has been filling the void in various forms for fans of IRL sports, with versions of sports being played by real-life professional players. Even beyond that, the fact is that a thirst for consuming competitive arrangements has caused an uptick in interest in esports across the board.

      • Plague on Broadway
      • Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Corporate Media From Crusading Against Universal Healthcare

        It’s vital that media do everything they can to press the government and inform citizens about a system that can deliver the healthcare we need when we have never needed it more.

      • Pandemic Story: Failures, Forebodings, Signs of Solidarity

        The long-term impact of the COVID 19 pandemic, while uncertain, promises to be far-reaching and profound. Here we look for signs evident now that point to various kinds of long-term effects in the future.

      • Pakistan Has Banned Large Prayer Services to Prevent a Coronavirus Catastrophe. Clerics Are Holding Them Anyway.

        He said that to confront the coronavirus outbreak, it was important for people to seek forgiveness from Allah and increase attendance in mosques. Acknowledging the challenge that their position made to the government’s authority, he said clerics would make every effort “to avoid clash[es] and confrontations with the government and the state institutions.”

      • Scientists: US Could’ve Prevented 90% of Deaths by Shutting Down Two Weeks Earlier

        As it currently stands, the U.S. is predicting that COVID-19 will kill about 60,000 Americans over the next four months. But if the government had acted and urged everyone to physically distance themselves just two weeks sooner than it did, that number could have been slashed by 90 percent.

        That’s according to epidemiologists Britta Jewell of Imperial College London and Nicholas Jewell of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who wrote in a Tuesday New York Times op-ed that just two additional weeks of stay-at-home orders and other self-isolation recommendations could have saved tens of thousands of lives.

      • ‘I Cried Multiple Times’: Now Doctors Are the Ones Saying Goodbye

        They ask, “How long will this last?” Or, “Will I die?”

        We hope you will wake up in a week or two, say the doctors who believe in giving hope. Others just say, “We don’t know.”

        But the doctors generally offer the same advice before proceeding. “Now is the time to call your loved ones and tell them all the things you want to say,” one doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell hospital said he tells his coronavirus patients before they are intubated. “I’ll come back in 15 minutes.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Meet Vespa, an Open Source Coronavirus Search Engine

              Verizon Media has launched a new open-source, big data coronavirus search engine called Vespa.

              Access to information is essential during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Not only are we interested in how the virus makes us ill, but we also want to know what to do about it.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • AMD Joins Academy Software Foundation as a Premier Member
              • AMD and DockYard join Academy Software Foundation

                The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a collaborative effort to advance open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, a neutral forum for open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, today announced that AMD has joined the Foundation as a Premier member and DockYard as a General member.

                The Academy Software Foundation also announced today that Open Shading Language (OSL) has joined as the Foundation’s sixth hosted project. Initially developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Open Shading Language is the de facto standard shading language for VFX and animation and was recognized with an Academy Scientific and Technical Award in 2017. You can read the announcement here: Open Shading Language Joins Academy Software Foundation.

              • Open Shading Language Becomes Sixth Academy Software Foundation Project [Ed: ‘Linux’ Foundation proudly outsourcing code to proprietary software prison of Microsoft]

                The Academy Software Foundation will maintain and further develop the project with oversight provided by a technical steering committee. All newly accepted projects, including Open Shading Language, start in incubation while they work to meet the high standards of the Academy Software Foundation and later graduate to full adoption. This allows the Academy Software Foundation to consider and support projects at different levels of maturity and industry adoption, as long as they align with the Foundation’s mission to increase the quality and quantity of contributions to the content creation industry’s open source software base.

              • Face-to-face collaboration for community to become more impactful – Chip Childers

                “It (the platform) allows them to move quickly to respond to changing conditions, whether those are market conditions, or in this case, a global pandemic. We’re actually pretty proud of a lot of the end-users and how they’re able to use the software more efficiently now,” he says.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (apache and chromium), Debian (webkit2gtk), Fedora (firefox, nss, and thunderbird), Mageia (chromium-browser-stable and git), openSUSE (gnuhealth), Oracle (thunderbird), Red Hat (kernel-alt, thunderbird, and tigervnc), Scientific Linux (thunderbird), Slackware (openvpn), and SUSE (freeradius-server and libqt4).

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (git), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, chromium, golang-github-buger-jsonparser, kernel, kernel-headers, and kernel-tools), openSUSE (ansible, git, and mp3gain), Oracle (container-tools:ol8, nodejs:10, and virt:ol), Red Hat (chromium-browser, ipmitool, and thunderbird), Slackware (bind), SUSE (quartz), and Ubuntu (php5, php7.0, php7.2, php7.3).

          • 3 antimalware solutions for Linux systems

            Even if you use Tripwire, you should realize that malicious attackers can still plant bad software on your system without your knowledge. In this article, you’ll learn how to install and run three different antimalware applications that can help you keep your system free of malicious irritants that make users call you at the least convenient times: chkrootkit, rkhunter, and ClamAV.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • U.N. Backs Down on Partnership With Chinese Firm for 75th Anniversary

              On March 30, the U.N. announced a global partnership with Tencent aimed at reaching “millions of people across the globe to listen to their thoughts on what the world should look like in 25 years, and what role international cooperation should play in solving global challenges like climate change and pandemics such as the coronavirus,” according to the press release, which has since been removed from the U.N. website.

              The arrangement granted the U.N. access to the Chinese firm’s business videoconferencing and text services, VooV Meeting platform, WeChat Work, and a translation engine, Tencent Artificial Intelligence Simultaneous Interpretation.

              Privacy advocates were quick to point out that Tencent, like other Chinese tech giants, has abetted China’s expansive surveillance state and strict censorship on its own citizens. Beijing exerted tight control over access to information on the coronavirus during the country’s initial outbreak. Tencent’s WeChat scrubbed keywords related to the virus as early as December, as the Financial Times reported, likely hindering both Chinese citizens’ and foreign countries’ access to vital information on the outbreak in its early days. The Times previously reported on the United Nations’ relationship with Tencent.

            • Apple and Google’s Coronavirus Tracking Plan Is a Symptom of Their Power

              While some applauded the proposal, it reflects a deep imbalance in society that was there before Covid-19: This is only possible for Apple and Google due to their immense corporate power, cultivated over many years, which effectively makes them the only available choice in a dire crisis. Their plan risks further entrenching that influence. And even if the tech giants hold to their promise of disabling the feature once the pandemic ends, this influence is what will stick around long after; not a faded remnant of the pre-pandemic world, but an enlarging feature of post-virus capitalism.

            • Facebook will steer users who interact with coronavirus misinformation to WHO

              Users who have liked, commented on or otherwise reacted to coronavirus misinformation that Facebook has flagged and removed as “harmful” will be directed to a website debunking coronavirus myths from the World Health Organization.

            • How often does your IP address change without a VPN?

              A new study on IP address has been released.  Specifically, the study looks at IP address retention periods of internet service providers (ISPs) around the world. The study is titled: “Don’t count me out: On the relevance of IP addresses in the tracking ecosystem” and was conducted by Vikas Mishra, Pierre Laperdrix, Antoine Vastel, Walter Rudametkin, Romain Rouvoy, and Martin Lopatka. The paper will be formally presented at the Web Conference in Taipei, Taiwan later in April – the event will be online only.

            • Apple and Google Announced a Coronavirus Tracking System. How Worried Should We Be?

              Apple and Google last week announced a joint contact tracing effort that would use Bluetooth technology to help alert people who have been in close proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Similar proposals have been put forward by an MIT-associated effort called PACT as well as by multiple European groups.

              These proposals differ from the traditional public health technique of “contact tracing” to try to stop the spread of a disease. In place of human interviewers, they would use location or proximity data generated by mobile phones to contact people who may have been exposed.

              While some of these systems could offer public health benefits, they may also cause significant risks to privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties. If such systems are to work, there must be widespread, free, and quick testing available. The systems must also be widely adopted, but that will not happen if people do not trust them. For there to be trust, the tool must protect privacy, be voluntary, and store data on an individual’s device rather than in a centralized repository.

            • Tech-assisted Contact-Tracing against the COVID-19 pandemic

              Today at the ACLU, we released a whitepaper discussing how to evaluate some novel cryptographic schemes that are being considered to provide technology-assisted contact-tracing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

              [...]

              The proposals that we’re seeing (including PACT, DP^3T, TCN, and the Apple/Google proposal) work in pretty similar ways, and the challenges and tradeoffs there are remarkably similar to Internet protocol design decisions. Only now in addition to bytes and packets and questions of efficiency, privacy, and control, we’re also dealing directly with risk of physical harm (who gets sick?), society-wide allocation of scarce and critical resources (who gets tested? who gets treatment?), and potentially serious means of exercising powerful social control (who gets forced into quarantine?).

            • Decentralized Protocol Removed From EU Contact Tracing Website Without Notice

              The Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT) consortium, which is charged with helping develop the protocols for a privacy-focused European Union contact tracing system, has removed any mention of the decentralized protocol proposal Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP3T) from its website.

              Contact tracing is the process by which health authorities track the spread of viruses, identifying who has been in contact with infected individuals and should therefore be quarantined. Countries are pursuing a variety of digital methods of doing so, ranging from location tracking of cell phones and facial recognition, to digital health passes that restrict movement and Bluetooth proximity tracing. Last weekend, Google and Apple announced a plan to update their mobile operating systems to allow Bluetooth tracing.

              Any E.U. contact tracing would have to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which ensures greater privacy and data protection for EU citizens than is currently enforced in the U.S.

            • New forms of rationality and liberation
    • Defence/Aggression

      • U.S. Decline: Three Strikes and You’re Out?

        Although the United States major league baseball season is suspended, the basics of three strikes and you’re out can still be used to describe politics. Three events in the last twenty years raise serious questions about American domination in the post 1945 world. The current pandemic and the insufficient bumbling, if not criminal, response of the Trump administration can be seen as the final strike in U.S. decline.

      • Kyiv exchanges prisoners with Eastern Ukrainian breakaway regions

        The government of Ukraine has completed a prisoner exchange with the governments of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR), representatives on all sides confirmed.

      • War, Irony and the New Normal

        The world devotes $2 trillion annually to war and armaments, all in the name of keeping itself safe. This is insanity beyond comprehension. 

      • Sri Lanka Catholic church forgives Easter bombers

        Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith told an Easter mass that “we offered love to the enemies who tried to destroy us”. “We forgave them,” he said, adding that instead of retaliating, the nation’s Catholic minority had contemplated Jesus’s message of hope, and reduced tensions.

      • NYT Blames Maduro for Healthcare Horror, Downplays US Role

        The New York Times (4/10/20) published an article describing the horrendous shape of the Venezuelan healthcare system. The human interest story, written by Julie Turkewitz and Isayen Herrera, followed several women through their nightmarish journey of childbearing in a broken medical system. The piece would be outstanding reporting, had it not fumbled the most important aspect of the story: how and why the system is as bad as it is. In true “manufacturing consent” fashion, the piece downplayed the US role in destabilizing the Venezuelan economy, and instead pointed to President Nicolás Maduro’s “authoritarianism” as the primary cause of the crisis.

    • Environment

      • Africa’s Huge Locust Swarms Are Growing at the Worst Time

        As the coronavirus pandemic exploded across the world earlier this year, another even more conspicuous plague was tearing through East Africa: locusts. The voracious little beasts are particularly fond of carbohydrates like grains, a staple of subsistence farmers across the continent. Back in January, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicted the worst was still to come, and that by June, the size of the swarms could grow by a factor of 500.

        And now, at the worst time, a second wave of locusts 20 times bigger than the first has descended on the region, thanks to heavy rains late last month, according to the FAO. The swarms have infiltrated Yemen and firmly established themselves across the Persian Gulf, having laid eggs along 560 miles of Iran’s coastline. New swarms are particularly severe in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia.

      • Will Climate Change Threaten Earth’s Other ‘Lung’?
      • Just Say No to eBikes on Public Lands

        As a birder, I oppose the expansion of ebike access to trails on public lands. I need to say that, say that publicly, and keep repeating it because the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service all propose to open trails in general to ebikes.

      • Violent weather rises spur more political conflict

        Violent weather – seasonal storms, floods, fires and droughts – is growing more extreme, more often. And bloodshed may follow oftener too.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • It’s Time for the Forest Service to Curtail Idaho’s Wolf Slaughter in Wilderness Areas

          It’s time for the U.S. Forest Service to put a stop to the state of Idaho’s relentless quest to kill as many wolves as it can on our public lands in Idaho, including in wildernesses.

        • COVID-19: a Wake-Up Call for Biosafety

          Like many of our readers, we may be sheltering-in-place, but please don’t think we’re taking our eye off the ball. Although other issues may not seem so important at the moment, the COVID-19 virus will subside one day, yet we will still be facing huge threats such as the so-called “extinction crisis” (the collapse of biodiversity) and the failure to take biosafety seriously. Interestingly, the pandemic is making many people more alert to exactly these kinds of issues.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • ‘Nothing unusual here’ The Kremlin dismisses Ramzan Kadyrov’s latest threats against independent journalists

        Earlier this week, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov lashed out at a report by Novaya Gazeta about the republic’s struggles to curb the spread of coronavirus. On Instagram and then Telegram, Kadyrov accused the FSB of “aiding and abetting” the newspaper and demanded that the intelligence community “stop these monsters,” adding, “If you want us to commit a crime and become criminals, just say so! One [of us] will take on this responsibility and serve his time, as required by law. He’ll do his time and then he’ll be released!” On Thursday, April 16, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov finally weighed in on the conflict.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • “Make the Damn Masks!”

        There have been at least 45 walkouts for coronavirus protection already and there is growing talk of a nationwide strike to force the government to act.

      • Anti-Choice Signs, Assault Rifles Suggest Michigan Rally Wasn’t About Quarantine

        While stay-in-place orders across the country continue to remain in place with the support of the overwhelming majority of Americans, right-wing demonstrators have decided to engage in street protests against the measures — potentially causing more harm at a time when social distancing is necessary to control the spread of COVID-19.

      • India’s Prime Minister Is Using Pandemic to Repress Dissent, Says Arundhati Roy

        Officials in India say six major cities are coronavirus hot spots, including the capital city, New Delhi. We go there to speak with writer and activist Arundhati Roy, who has a new essay on how “The Pandemic Is a Portal.” She says, “You have the sense that you’re sitting on some kind of explosive substance,” and describes how the government of Narendra Modi is using the pandemic to crack down on opponents and dissidents.

      • Rights of Children at Risk at ‘An Unprecedented Speed and Scale’ as School Closures Drive Turn to Online Learning

        The new warning is issued in a open letter from 33 organizations across the globe.

      • The Third Red Scare: Neoliberal’s Effective Framing of 21st Century Populist and Progressive Movements

        “[He provided] Russians with Austrian military secrets. He also doctored or destroyed the intelligence reports which his own agents were sending in from Russia with the result that the Austrians, at the outbreak of the war, were completely misinformed as to Russia’s mobilization intentions.”

      • Churches across half of Russia will remain open to the public for Easter Sunday

        Priests across roughly half of Russia will reportedly ignore coronavirus-containment directives from federal health officials and Patriarch Kirill himself to close Easter Sunday services to the public. In 43 of Russia’s 85 regions, churches will welcome parishioners for services on Sunday, April 19, when Russian Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter, says the news website RBC, citing data available on April 15 from dioceses of the Russian Orthodox Church and state regional leaders’ press offices. 

      • A Scourge on the Earth

        On my way back from my daily exercise routine, I pass the local junk/antiques emporium and notice that beneath the official Covid- 19 flyer some wag has put up a hand-written sign that reads, “Closed due to the end of the World.” Two doors further down, an independent bookseller has picked up the same theme, albeit in a more subtle way, and filled the shop window with copies of “The Time Machine” by H.G. Wells. Like most of us, when I think of Wells’ dystopian fiction, I consider the possibilities of time travel and inter-planetary wars. I imagine monsters like the Morlocks, invasions from aliens and the world being devastated by plague, but foremost in my mind is the fact that he was born in Bromley – a modest and rather dull town about 10 miles from London. This is no mere biographical detail, but holds the clue as to why so much of Wells’ story-telling was concerned with the eradication of human life. Living in that suburban enclave might not strike fear into today’s stout hearted Bromelyans. But for Wells, growing up there at the end of the 19th century, as the town more than doubled in size over a 20 year period, was a hugely formative experience, as John Carey describes in ‘The Intellectuals and the Masses.’ What Wells experienced dramatically impacted his life and birthed not just his fantastical imagination but his loathing of mass culture and mass consumption. Visiting death and destruction on English towns in his works of fiction, many of which he gleefully names, was his way of wreaking revenge on the ‘development’ which destroyed the woods and poisoned the river where he used to go for walks as a child.

      • Millions of Essential Workers Are Being Left Out of COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protections, Thanks to OSHA

        As news emerged that the novel coronavirus was infecting hundreds of workers in meatpacking plants, Gregoria Rivas began worrying that her chicken processing facility in North Carolina wasn’t doing enough to protect workers like her from the virus.

        There was no social distancing, she said. Everywhere she went at the Case Farms plant, there were dozens of workers crowded into a small space. In the locker room, where everyone put on their uniforms. On the cutting line, where she spent eight hours slicing chicken breasts. In the cafeteria during lunch. Even at break time, when workers lined up to use the bathroom.

      • Due to COVID-19, We Had First March Since 2002 Without a School Shooting

        The nationwide lockdown to stem the rise of the coronavirus has had one silver lining — March 2020 was the first March since 2002 without a school shooting.

      • Trump’s Lies Are Killing His Supporters as COVID Starts to Sweep Rural America

        In the finest traditions of Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt — two of the U.S.’s most noteworthy wartime presidents — Donald Trump, the coronavirus “war” “president,” yesterday accused the state of New York of padding its coronavirus death toll, after New York revised its numbers to reflect thousands who died of COVID-19 before it had a name.

      • Where I’m Incarcerated, People With COVID-19 Are Warehoused in a Gym

        Joe, a Michigan prisoner housed at the Macomb Correctional Facility where I am also incarcerated, considered contacting prison nurses a month ago. He had a cough that lasted more than a week, a fever and shortness of breath. Joe (whom I’m describing using a pseudonym here) thought he might have contracted “that virus talked about nonstop on the TV.”

      • Former CBS News Reporter Lara Logan Recounts Gang Rape Ahead of New Series About Liberal Media Bias

        “Hillary Clinton acknowledged what happened to me, and President Obama called me personally on the phone to acknowledge it,” Logan said. “What happened to me is not in dispute.”

      • The Coronavirus Strike Wave Could Shift Power to Workers—for Good

        The stakes are high. Many of these workers have been deemed essential as their employers stay open. But, striking workers say, their employers are not doing enough to protect their health and keep them financially afloat. Already, grocery workers have started to die from Covid-19.

      • On May 1, Organizers Across the Country Will Carry Out Rent and Workplace Strikes

        As the crisis rages on, one of the largest corporate bailouts in American history is taking place, while workers face unsafe conditions, lack of access to testing and health care, and record levels of unemployment. And now, many of the 16 million who have been laid off will be forced to choose on May 1 between paying rent and having enough to eat. This comes after almost one-third of American renters were unable to pay rent in the first week of April.

        Working people and youth need to get organized for a mass fight. We should never forget the sacrifices, courage, and solidarity of front-line workers. And we should always remember that it was ordinary workers, not billionaires or CEOs, who have been essential in this pandemic. The crisis has ruthlessly exposed the prettified narratives about capitalism. Karl Marx was right: It is the working class that creates value in this economy, while the bosses take the lion’s share for themselves.

      • Now That Charlottesville Can Remove Monuments, Should It?

        News reports proclaim that the Governor of Virginia has signed into law a bill allowing localities in Virginia to remove Confederate statues. In reality, this new law allows Virginia cities and counties to remove, alter, or relocate any war monuments – something Virginia law had forbidden for 15 wars, including the U.S. Civil War.

      • Build your own epidemic Migrant workers doing construction for an IKEA-owned mall near St. Petersburg are suffering a mass coronavirus outbreak. The illegal hostel where they live has over 100 cases.

        On April 11, a tip about an illegal hostel in the village of Novosergiyevka reached the coronavirus task force for the Leningrad region, which surrounds St. Petersburg. Because the region’s pandemic response is officially monitored by Russia’s Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor), the Investigative Committee, and the Internal Affairs Ministry’s police force, all three agencies sent representatives to the village, where they found a four-story building. At the time, 485 people were living in the hostel, all of them itinerant laborers. The St. Petersburg-based outlet Bumaga reported that they were being made to live eight to 10 people to a room, and the space between their bunk beds was less than a meter.

      • Your Tax Dollars At Work: Cops Arguing They Thought A Small Envelope Might Have Contained A Weapon

        When a police officer violates rights, they’re put in the awkward position of defending their actions. If qualified immunity isn’t immediately awarded to them by far-too-compliant courts, they’ve got to put in their work in defending the indefensible. That’s when taxpayer dollars get spent defending actions that violate the rights of taxpayers.

      • ‘This Many Strikes Says That Something Fundamentally Is Changing in the Country’
      • Yes, Section 215 Expired. Now What?

        On March 15, 2020, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act—a surveillance law with a rich history of government overreach and abuse—expired. Along with two other PATRIOT Act provisions, Section 215 lapsed after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on a broader set of reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

        In the week before the law expired, the House of Representatives passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act, without committee markup or floor amendments, which would have extended Section 215 for three more years, along with some modest reforms. 

      • Judicial Review: PRT and Howard League issue government with with letter before action

        The two leading prison reform groups in the country have today (Friday 17 April) sent a formal letter before claim to the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, over the government’s failure to respond effectively to the coronavirus pandemic in prisons.

        The letter, from lawyers acting for the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Reform Trust, gives details of a proposed application for judicial review in relation to the Secretary of State’s response “to the obvious need…to substantially reduce the prison population to save lives and avoid a public health catastrophe both within prisons and beyond”.

        It goes on to say that, in spite of government announcements including the introduction of an end of custody temporary release scheme, “the rate of releases has been too slow and too limited to make any substantial difference to the prison population and the plans as we understand them are incapable of achieving what the Secretary of State has publicly acknowledged is required”.

      • Daniel Stenberg: Two years in

        Neither a visa or a rejection yet, exactly two years since I completed my US visa application. Not a lot more to say that I haven’t already said before on this subject.

        Of course I’m not surprised that I won’t get an approval in these travel-restricted Covid-19 times – as it would be a fine irony to get a visa and then not be allowed to travel anyway due to a general travel ban – but it also seems like the US immigration authorities haven’t yet used the pandemic as an excuse to (finally) just deny my application.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • FCC Still Doesn’t Know Where Broadband Is As It Eyes $9 Billion In New Subsidies

        Despite what you might think, the U.S. government doesn’t actually know where broadband is really available, which is kind of a problem when you consider the FCC doles out billions annually in subsidies to expand and improve service.

      • EFF, Other Nonprofits, and California’s Attorney General Tell ICANN To Stop The Private Equity Takeover of .ORG

        ICANN, the organization at the top of the Internet’s domain name system, may be close to deciding whether the takeover of the .ORG domain registry by a private equity firm can go forward. EFF, along with the Domain Name Rights Coalition, NTEN, Access Now, and others, wrote to ICANN this week urging them to stop the sale.

        The world’s nonprofits are busy fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why ICANN needs to fight for them. Now is not the time to allow nonprofits’ home on the Internet to be sold to private investors who could squeeze them for cash or silence their voices for private gain. We’ve asked ICANN to halt the transfer of .ORG, and to begin an open bidding process to select a new steward for the domain.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Rumors of Nokia facing hostile takeover bid: skepticism is warranted and competition enforcement can’t wait

          I haven’t formed an opinion on the reliability of TMT Finance. That website may indeed have scooped all other media on this one.

          Richard Kramer of Arete Research, a 20-year-old and highly specialized, independent analyst firm headquartered in London, wrote in a note to his firm’s clients that “Nokia is sure to deflect this unwanted attention on multiple grounds.” Mr. Kramer then points to Nokia’s ownership structure: “Its largest shareholders are local Finnish pensions funds, who are unlikely to just want to cash in.” (That’s also my impression as I’ve had conversations with Nokia shareholders on various occasions, and they were all Finnish pension funds.) Nokia shareholders may not be happy with the fact that the company’s shares are “down a third on a [12-month] view,” but in Mr. Kramer’s opinion “this reflects poor execution that [private equity] is not going to resolve quickly, and a messy, protracted effort to buy out an €18bn market cap company would be highly unwelcome with all the other issues a new CEO faces, so we see this as much more of a negative distraction than a signal of underlying value.”

          That makes sense to me, and I can only add something when it’s clearer what the proposed deal structure would look like.

          On the antitrust side, this rumor is no reason to delay anything. Much to the contrary, there is a risk of a buyout like this resulting in even more aggressive enforcement. For an example, Nokia’s management might want to coerce a number of companies into license deals just to demonstrate to shareholders that this is a stock worth holding on to. If the deal happened, the new owners might ratchet up patent enforcement, or they might sell some or all of Nokia’s patents to trolls (a practice called privateering, which Nokia has already engaged in to a large extent).

          Cellular SEP licensing is of great concern not only to smartphone and car makers, but also to the wider Internet of Things (IoT) industry. Many (European) companies might face outsized royalty demands, and with most of them being rather small, they actually depend on their suppliers (such as chipmakers) having secured the relevant licenses.

        • Software Patents

          • Data shows an increase in medtech patent filings in 2019 [Ed: Disguising illegal software patents as “medical” or “medtech” [1, 2]

            The data reveals that there were 13,833 patent applications in the field of medtech in 2019, up from 13,707 in 2018. This represents an increase of 126, or approximately 1%.

            Growth in medtech innovation in 2019 has been slower than in 2017 and 2018. 2019 has seen medtech become the second largest source of patents, with digital communications having taken the top spot following a near 20% increase in patent filing at the EPO.

            The EPO’s latest annual report shows patent applications to the EPO are up 4% on the previous year. Related healthcare fields such as biotechnology and pharmaceuticals have also seen increases in 2019, up around 1.6% and 4.4% respectively.

            Medtech innovation in the UK has also increased, and outperformed the global medtech filing growth, with medtech filings up 3.1% on 2018.

            Dr Thomas Prock, a partner at intellectual property firm Marks & Clerk, said: “The latest figures from the EPO reveal the scale of innovation in the medtech sector, and the increasingly important role medtech has in delivering better, more intelligent healthcare. The healthcare challenges of the 21st century – whether it’s ageing populations or antimicrobial resistance – need smart solutions, and medtech is key in delivering better diagnostic and sensory technologies which empower people to take charge of their own health.

      • Copyrights

        • Photographer Sues NBCUniversal Demanding Millions For Copyright Infringement

          New York-based photographer Mark Seliger has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against NBCUniversal demanding millions of dollars in damages. Seliger is known for his high-quality portraits, many of which, according to his complaint, were reproduced by NBCUniversal-owned celebrity gossip site E! without the necessary permission.

        • MPA and BREIN Sue Hosting Providers Over Pirate Streaming Service

          The MPA and anti-piracy group BREIN are suing three Dutch hosting providers who offered services to the large streaming piracy CDN Moonwalk. Through this legal action the groups want to compel Serverius, Worldstream, and YISP to keep the CDN offline and hand over crucial evidence associated with the alleged piracy activity.

        • Does WIPO’s New Leadership Have the Vision to Shake Up Global Copyright Policy-Making?

          In this post, we outline what needs to be done to drive copyright policy in the right direction, with a special focus on the three main substantive issues under discussion at WIPO: broadcasting rights, limitations and exceptions, and copyright and the digital environment.

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What Else is New


  1. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) Identified Some of the Children in the Pornographic 'Stash' of Bill Gates' Engineer

    Today we carefully and responsibly disclose just 9 pages (out of about 2700 pages) with slightly redacted samples and a handful of exemptions to show what Bill Gates' engineer was amassing, including identified kids (known to NCMEC)



  2. A Red Hat Response to Factual Information About Red Hat

    So far we've seen only Red Hat employees blasting our articles about Red Hat/IBM and the responses lack any substance, just name-calling (so we must be on the right track; there's no refutation so far)



  3. Always Look for Stories the Media is Suppressing and Hiding

    Based upon closer scrutiny of the Jones case (engineer of Bill Gates arrested for pedophilia at the Gates mansion), the sentence he received is incredibly negligible or close to nothing (for possession and sharing/dissemination of massive troves of child pornography, typically leading to many years in prison), so we’re closely examining if he’s still working and whether he still works for Bill and Melinda (more FOIA requests may be necessary)



  4. On Web Servers, Microsoft's Collapse Continues More Rapidly Under COVID (a Million Domains Lost in the Past Month)

    Even though the Microsoft-sponsored media repeatedly refuses (or strangely enough just 'fails') to report on it, the days of Microsoft's IIS are likely numbered; it won't be long before less than a million computers run it



  5. Canonical is Boosting Microsoft's Proprietary Software With Extensive Surveillance

    Canonical’s commitment to Free software barely exists; with so-called “Apps” and “Snaps” and “Stores” we’re seeing a gradual transition to — and acceptance of — blobs and DRM, including Microsoft lock-in inside Ubuntu



  6. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 12, 2020

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 12, 2020



  7. Harfbuzz Joins LibFFI, Zlib1g in Dragging GNOME, All Free Software Towards Microsoft

    "...I don’t want to help them help Microsoft control my computing by proxy — by controlling the development platform itself"



  8. Links 12/8/2020: Go 1.15, LibreOffice 7.0 Downloaded About Half a Million Times, LibreELEC (Leia) 9.2.4

    Links for the day



  9. Mega Setup, Mini Budget

    For a sum total of under £800 (eight hundred British pounds are about USD/$1043) one can piece together a versatile working environment (my latest additions, as of 5 days ago, are the 4 plastic plants)



  10. Twitter Appears to Have Taken Vendor/Platform Lock-in up Another Notch, Having Become Almost as Malicious as Facebook

    Twitter jumped the shark



  11. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

    IRC logs for Tuesday, August 11, 2020



  12. Infographic by Marcia Wilbur: Where's My Refund?!

    Tweet by Marcia Wilbur:



  13. Links 12/8/2020: New GNU Emacs, GXml-0.20, WordPress 5.5, and Mozilla is Laying off 250 Staff

    Links for the day



  14. You Just Know Somebody is in a State of Retreat When the Strategy Becomes to Discredit One's Critics (or Collectively Paint Them All as Wrong/Crazy)

    A goulash of bullcrap from Bill Gates doesn't add up; it seems like his media strategy has warped (or fallen back) onto discrediting his critics as though they don't exist, don't know anything, or are simply jealous



  15. United States v IBM Archives/Resources

    As the massive case against IBM monopoly (United States v IBM; 104,400 pages of trial transcripts and 17,000 exhibits) predates the World Wide Web it's difficult to find comprehensive literature about it any longer (Wikipedia and more modern sites are instruments of revisionism and reputation laundering)



  16. History Goes in Cycles

    Just like antiwar activism was 'quelled' or 'pacified' half a century ago nowadays we're led to think that software freedom is just fine and there's nothing left to argue about (except words and other petty nonsense)



  17. Looking Back at the Real Story of Microsoft

    Let's take a moment to examine what Microsoft was all along (since its formation in 1975)



  18. Europe Deserves Better Than Today's EPO

    Overly restrictive society with countless monopolies (even on seeds!) will neither serve people nor will it breed general acceptance



  19. European Patent Office Management Swims With Sharks and Liars

    It has become increasingly if not abundantly evident that European Patent Office President Campinos is no better than Battistelli as he’s still a ‘darling’ of patent litigation trolls and their front groups/lawyers



  20. Linked In to Pedophilia

    As the above articles show (one published a couple of days ago), the 'Web of Lies' and the incredible deceit/cover-up run deep and we still lack answers from those who enabled what Salon has just said involved "trafficking five or six girls a day."



  21. Whistleblower Aid Already Showed Cover-up of Bill Gates 'Contributions' to MIT

    The Goodwin Procter report which failed to actually investigate whether Gates and Epstein jointly directed payments to MIT (the latter was already dead) can be understood differently in light of the above leak, which was published earlier this year



  22. IRC Proceedings: Monday, August 10, 2020

    IRC logs for Monday, August 10, 2020



  23. Proof (Archived Original Letter): Bill Gates Lied to the New Yorker, BBC and Others About Connection of MIT Money to Mr. Jeffrey Epstein and Their Close Relationship

    As the article (“The anatomy of Bill Gates’ Jeffrey Epstein-facilitated MIT donations”) put it at the time (just 2 days before Dr. Stallman received all the heat at MIT), “Secrecy in the funding of academic programs is highly problematic, as University of Virginia professor Siva Vaidhyanathan explains in a long Twitter thread. “Companies and the billionaires who run them are always bending research agendas (and sometimes even results) to their interests,” he writes. “Anonymity would prevent any examination or accountability.”” But there are more high-level Microsoft links to Mr. Epstein; “Hoffman invited both former MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and Epstein to an August 2015 dinner in Palo Alto with Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel. He tells Axios that he invited Epstein at Ito’s behest, and only because Ito vouched for the convicted criminal, saying that he had successfully cleared MIT’s vetting process.” In 2016 the article “Bill Gates talked to Reid Hoffman about being on Microsoft’s board of directors” was published. “Furthermore,” it notes, “Gates and Hoffman have a lot in common: They both hold board seats and advisory roles, and no other formal status or day-to-day obligations, at the tech companies they founded.”



  24. All This Happened While Bill Gates' Engineer Was on Trial for Amassing Child Pornography

    While MIT relies on the word of someone who repeatedly lied about his relationship with Mr. Epstein (refuted even by MIT itself), the record shows what happened just when Bill Gates’ own engineer faced conviction for pedophilia (the media diverted attention to Dr. Stallman just days after the above E-mails came to light)



  25. Links 10/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC, Finnix 121, GhostBSD 20.08.04, EasyOS 2.3.8

    Links for the day



  26. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, August 09, 2020

    IRC logs for Sunday, August 09, 2020



  27. Release: Bill Gates' Engineer Busted for More Child Pornography Than Reported in the Media

    Based on our analysis, which was repeated carefully twice, the sum of recognised hashes turns out to be about 7,500 (7,430 objects), which is more than was reported in the media after the arrest of Rick Allen Jones at Bill Gates' mansion



  28. Links 10/8/2020: KPhotoAlbum 5.7.0 and MX Linux RC

    Links for the day



  29. UserLibre: What I Want You to Get From This Book

    "Corporate-backed lies run the world, and the FSF used to get in the way."



  30. Even the Mainstream/Corporate Media is Trying to Study Why (or If) Bill Gates and Epstein's Sex Abuse Ring Were Closely Connected

    People in the media are eager to understand why Mr. Gates was so close to Mr. Epstein and even flew his plane (despite having several of his own)


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