Links 27/4/2020: Manjaro 20.0 Lysia, KStars 3.4.2, Kdenlive 20.04 and a Third Linux RC

Posted in News Roundup at 12:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • First impressions of a $200 Linux laptop

        ETA prime has been using a Pinebook Pro laptop with an ARM CPU. It has an aluminum shell and 14.1-inch display. Overall, he’s impressed with the performance, but says he had a few missed-click problems with the trackpad, and isn’t sure if it’s a hardware or software issue.

        But he says he would rather have the Lenovo Ideapad S130, a similarly priced Windows laptop that “crushes the Pinebook Pro” in terms of performance.

      • A New Linux Laptop Is in the Making

        TUXEDO Computers is working in conjunction with the team behind Manjaro Linux to create a new Manjaro-based 15″ laptop, called the InfinityBook Manjaro. The Manjaro team will provide the software and TUXEDO Computers will provide the hardware. This symbiosis will result in a laptop that can be configured with up to 64GB of DDR RAM, a 10th gen four-core Core i7 processor, and up to 2TB of internal storage.

        Other unique features for this Linux-powered laptop include an aluminum cover and inner side, 12 hour battery life, Mini-DisplayPort and HDMI connection, GB LAN port, USB type C with Thunderbolt 3 support, several standard USB ports, headphone/microphone jacks, the Super Tux key (in place of the Windows key), the ability to change the keyboard’s backlight color, a laser engraved Manjaro logo on the back of the display, and a brilliant red chassis.

        The sales of the InfinityBook Manjaro will benefit both TUXEDO Computers and Manjaro. To this point, Herber Feiler, CEO of TUXEDO Computers GmbH, said, “We are pleased about the cooperation, especially since the sale of the InfinityBook Manjaro is a financial support for the team of Manjaro Linux and we thus contribute to keep the diversity of OpenSource upright.”

      • Windows 10 update could DELETE your files and bricks PCs in fresh blow to Microsoft users

        Windows 10 fans need to be on alert about a recently released update which can cause user files to suddenly get deleted as well as bricking PCs. Windows 10 is the world’s most used OS, with latest stats giving the Microsoft software a 51.57 per cent share of the marketplace. However, while Windows 10 is the most popular desktop OS in the world users are no strangers to receiving warnings about downloads from Microsoft.

      • Switching from MacBook to Chromebook: Is Chrome OS good enough?

        In 2013, I bought my first Mac, a MacBook Air. It was a great machine that accompanied me on the go for seven years, but as you can imagine, it’s been getting long in the tooth lately. I enjoy macOS and have grown accustomed to the platform over the years and decided to buy an iMac a year ago, but as someone who does little other than blogging on a laptop, I was interested in a more significant switch. Instead of going for a new MacBook for work on the go, I decided to try a Chromebook. After a long adjustment period, the experiment turned out to go surprisingly well, especially as I learned to work around the restraints of the machine. I could still never use a Chromebook as my primary machine, but that’s not even what I want from a laptop these days.

        For some added context, here are the devices I’m throwing into the mix: I use a 27-inch iMac with 40GB of RAM and a 9th-gen 3.7GHz 6-core Intel Core i5 at home while my MacBook is running on 4GB of RAM and an aging 4th-gen dual-core Core i5. My new laptop/convertible is a 14-inch HP Chromebook x360 with 8GB of RAM and an 8th-gen dual-core Intel Core i3 (Taylor reviewed a similarly equipped variant here at Android Police).

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7-rc3
        The kernel development world continues to look fairly normal: rc3 is
        larger than rc2 was, but that's the usual pattern where rc2 is a
        "breather release" after the merge window, and rc3 sees an uptick.
        And looking at commit stats and the size of the changes, we're pretty
        much at the slightly larger end of average for rc3 when comparing the
        5.x releases. The diffstat also looks fairly nice and flat, with
        nothing that stands out or looks scary (the biggest single diff is to
        the pm-graph "sleepgraph" python script, which I just can't find it in
        myself to worry about).
        So there's basically the usual number of generally small fixes. All good.
        Most of the changes are drivers (sound and networking standing out,
        but there's usb, tty iio, gpu and the usual smattering elsewhere),
        with tooling being fairly noticeable too (largely due to that pm-graph
        Outside of drivers and tooling, it's fairly spread out: arch updates
        (x86 dominates, but there's mips, arm, sh and powerpc too), core
        networking fixes, Documentation (well, mostly devicetree bindings,
        actually), filesystems (cifs, exfat and afs) and core kernel and mm,
        and header files.
        Again, that all looks very normal and very much "nothing really odd
        stands out".
        In a world gone mad, the kernel looks almost boringly regular.
        Which is just how I like it. Thanks, guys and gals,
      • Linux 5.7-rc3 Kernel Released: “In A World Gone Mad, The Kernel Looks Almost Boringly Regular”

        Linus Torvalds just released the third weekly release candidate of the forthcoming Linux 5.7 kernel.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.7-rc3

        The 5.7-rc3 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “Again, that all looks very normal and very much ‘nothing really odd stands out’. In a world gone mad, the kernel looks almost boringly regular. Which is just how I like it.”

      • Intel Media Driver 20.2.pre1 Released With More Work Towards Gen12 + Discrete GPUs

        update for this open-source Linux video encode/decode driver for Intel graphics, their first pre-release of the Q2-2020 driver update is now out for testing.

        The Intel Media Driver 20.2.pre1 release was made available this Monday morning. While there isn’t any formal release notes out, I’ve been digging through the patches making up this release and the highlights are below. The main takeaways are continued fixes for Gen11 and more work on next-gen Gen12 media handling. Most notably, last week local device memory support was merged for the Intel Media Driver. This local device memory support and sorting out the handling of that is necessary for Intel’s forthcoming Xe discrete GPUs. That LMEM support has been happening elsewhere throughout the Intel Linux graphics stack and has now reached their media driver in beginning to get Xe video encode/decode in order.

      • Intel SGX Enclaves Support For Linux Sent Out For A 29th Time

        Going on since 2016 has been the long-running effort getting the Software Guard Extensions (SGX) support into the mainline Linux kernel. Sent out this week was the SGX foundation patches for the twenty-ninth time as it works to get into shape for upstream acceptance.

        Every few months tends to bring new rounds of SGX patches but ultimately new issues are pointed out or other code still left to be cleaned up. This work on the Secure Guard Extensions subsystem for the Linux kernel is about providing hardware-protected, encrypted memory regions with SGX enclaves. Intel SGX with Memory Encryption Engines (MEE) have been supported since Skylake CPUs albeit as we are approaching Tiger Lake mobile CPUs and Ice Lake Xeons in the months ahead, this SGX work for the kernel still remains up in the air.

      • New Linux Code To Reduce Transfer Speed Time In FAT Filesystem From 383 To 51 Seconds

        The patch code aims to enhance the readahead performance of the FAT filesystem code for Linux. If you don’t know, readahead is a system call of the Linux kernel that prefetches the data and loads it into the page cache. In this way, the file transfer speeds up as the data are read from physical memory rather than from disk.

      • AMD SPI SoC Linux Driver Appears Ready For Mainline In Linux 5.8

        The new spi-amd driver looks like it could make its debut in Linux 5.8.

        Published earlier this month was an SPI controller driver for AMD SoCs. This 333 lines of code driver enables Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) support for AMD SoCs with the “AMDI0061″ device.

    • Applications

      • Excellent Utilities: OCRmyPDF – add OCR text layer to scanned PDFs

        This is a series highlighting best-of-breed utilities. We cover a wide range of utilities including tools that boost your productivity, help you manage your workflow, and lots more besides. There’s a complete list of the tools in this series in the Summary section.

        Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is a visual recognition process that turns printed or written text into an electronic character-based file. This makes the document searchable and offers the ability to copy-paste its contents.

        PDF is generally considered to be an excellent format for storing and exchanging scanned documents. Unfortunately, PDFs aren’t trivial to modify. OCRmyPDF makes it easy to apply image processing and OCR to existing PDFs. The program add an OCR text layer to scanned PDF files. It’s a command-line only affair.

        Let’s get an important distinction out of the way. If you create a PDF document from an electronic source, there will already be an OCR layer applied. Native PDF files have an internal structure that can be read and interpreted. These “generated” PDF documents already contain characters that have an electronic character designation. The most popular office suite for Linux is LibreOffice. That suite automatically applies a text layer to documents exported to the PDF format. For this scenario, you don’t need OCRmyPDF.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Patches Cleaned Up, Out For Review On Very Early POWER 64-Bit Support

        With the Raptor Blackbird popular among open-source enthusiasts for a libre 64-bit Linux desktop compute and that getting more POWER9 hardware out in the wild, more users are interested in seeing Wine work for 64-bit POWER hardware. Last year was some early porting work done by Raptor Computing Systems but now a cleaned up patch series has been sent out with this very primitive PPC64 work.

        Besides these patches out for review being very primitive and far from a complete POWER Wine port, it does lay the foundation for more work to happen. But it’s also important to note the focus here is on Winelib support for POWER due to Wine itself not handling CPU emulation for say directly running x86_64 Windows binaries from a shiny POWER9 Blackbird desktop.

    • Games

      • Seriously scary game Alien: Isolation hits an all-time low price for Alien Day

        A quick tip for you this morning! Alien: Isolation, one of the scariest games I’ve ever played has hit an all-time low price. Yesterday was ‘Alien Day’, a yearly celebration of the Alien franchise that happens on April 26 due to the moon in the first two films designation as LV-426.

      • Open source PS4 Remote Play client ‘Chiaki’ major release up with VA-API support

        Giving you another way to enjoy your games from various sources on Linux, the free and open source PlayStation 4 Remote Play client ‘Chiaki’ has a new major update.

        It’s an app we showed off before and the results were quite impressive. Now it should give you an even better experience overall with the 1.2.0 version released on April 26. The major new feature here is VA-API support, which should improve performance while reducing the strain on your CPU. On top of that a performance regression on Linux specifically between versions 1.0.2 to 1.0.3 should also be fixed with a new SDL 2 build.

      • Skullgirls is getting improved online play, plus updated sound code for Linux in a Beta up now

        Skullgirls, the seriously good fighting game from Lab Zero Games that released originally in 2013 is still being updated and a major improvement is in testing.

        They’ve been working on a way to improve online play, and they said that the worse the connection between you and another player the bigger the improvement will be—hopefully anyway. How are they doing this?

      • Open-source graphics rendering engine ‘OGRE’ has a major new release up

        OGRE, a classic open source graphics rendering engine has a major new release available and the first big release in some time.

        What exactly is it? “OGRE (Object-Oriented Graphics Rendering Engine) is a scene-oriented, flexible 3D engine written in C++ designed to make it easier and more intuitive for developers to produce applications utilising hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. The class library abstracts all the details of using the underlying system libraries like Direct3D and OpenGL and provides an interface based on world objects and other intuitive classes”.

      • Windows DXVA2 (via Direct3D 11) Support in GStreamer 1.17

        DXVA2 based hardware accelerated decoding is now supported on Windows, as of GStreamer 1.17.


        No special steps or dependencies are required to build this new element indeed.

        The above listed new decoder elements are part of the d3d11 plugin in GStreamer. It doesn’t require any special build time dependencies and/or libraries as everything is already provided by the Windows SDK. Once it has been built, the only requirement is whether your hardware (i.e., GPU) is able to support hardware decoding or not.

        NOTE: This is a hardware decoding feature, so if the VM does not provide a way to pass-through the GPU, it will not work inside the VM.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KStars v3.4.2 is Released

          Glad to announce the latest release of KStars v3.4.2 on April, 27th, 2020 for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.

          This release brings even more stability enhancements to KStars in addition to better memory management, especially on embedded devices.

        • Kdenlive 20.04 Released with Major Updated, Including Better Motion Tracking

          A major new version of Kdenlive, the Qt-based open source video editor is now available to download.

          Kdenlive 20.04 arrives with an insane assembly of improvements and new features — so many, in fact, that it’s taken me the best part of two days to muster up the energy required to try cover it all in a blog post here, on omg!

          The update carries major performance improvements to the ‘Preview Scaling’ tool (i.e. resolution downscaling); introduces a raft of new clip management features (great if you shoot a lot of b-roll, like I do); and adds a powerful multi-cam editing experience…

        • Interview with Joshua Grier

          I heard about it through some artists I follow. Sinix and Sycra have Youtube videos showcasing the software from a while back.

          I found the brush engine stood out to me over competing programs. It felt and still feels far more intuitive and more well designed for art and design than other packages I’ve tried to use.

          I love that Krita is accessible to all of the creative community, I love how versatile/customizable it is and how high quality it is and continues to be as it’s improved over the years!

        • Qt 6.0.0 initial schedule


          It is time to start freezing Qt 6.0.0 initial schedule. I have had some discussion and based on those here is the initial schedule for Qt 6.0.0:

          - Qt 6.0 Feature freeze 31.8.2020
          - Qt 6.0 Alpha 14.9.2020
          - Qt 6.0 Beta 1 1.10..2020
          - Qt 6.0.0 RC 17.11.2020
          - Qt 6.0.0 Final 1.12.2020

          And in addition to these normal release milestones we need to have earlier milestone (Structure and platform freeze) at the end of June (30.6.2020, just before summer holidays) to lock down modules, target platforms etc for the release. In that milestone at least
          - New cmake based builds needs to be in place for modules which will be in Qt 6.0.0 release
          - All bigger architectural changes needs to be implemented.
          - Target platforms needs to be in CI
          (- Something else?)

          All that will make sure we can create packaging configurations & start delivering regular snapshots early enough for Qt 6.0.0 (with correct set of modules etc). And this will also ensure all modules can adapt to those big architectural changes before FF. If we don’t have this extra milestone we will end up the situation where most of (big) changes will be available just before FF and that will cause huge mess.

        • Qt 6.0 Gets A Release Date With An Initial Release Schedule Published

          The Qt Company has published an initial release schedule for Qt 6.0.

          The plan at this point by The Qt Company would be to go into a feature freeze on 31 August, the first alpha release in mid-September, the Qt 6.0 beta in mid-October, a Qt 6.0 release candidate in mid-November, and to see Qt 6.0.0 released on 1 December.

        • Plasma 5.18.4 – Taking care of business

          Several months ago, I reviewed Plasma 5.18 LTS. I was happy but not elated. There were problems, there were bugs, there was sadness. But all in all, Plasma is a superb desktop environment, it’s charging forth like a mad colt, and innovation is aplenty. This good momentum results in continuous changes and fixes being introduced to the desktop, resulting in an ever-more-refined product for the end user.

          This means, by now, Plasma 5.18 should be quite polished. The rough patches we saw are most likely gone, no more, ceased to be, expired and gone to meet their maker, a stiff, bereft of life, rest in peace! But, we need to test that hypothesis. As it happens, I ran a merry update, Plasma got bumped to 5.18.4, and I’m doing my round of prodding and pushing. Follow me.

        • KBibTeX 0.9.2

          Finally, after a long waiting period, KBibTeX 0.9.2 got tagged, tar-balled, and released! It is a bug fix release, so virtually no new features since 0.9 got released; dependencies have not changed.


          I do not plan any further releases of version 0.9.x. Instead, 0.10 is well on the way: as you can see from its ChangeLog, there are plenty of changes already queued up. The ‘master’ branch contains even more changes.

          Many thanks to the people who supported this release and make the continuous development of KBibTeX possible!

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Review: Star 2.1.0

          At first Star looks a bit bland and barren and only has few basic applications installed, following the one application per task concept. Going by feedback on the project’s site and the mini reviews or ratings left on DistroWatch, Star has a lot of satisfied users who clearly don’t mind the bare looks and the small size. If anything, that is the attraction. All it needs is a change of wallpaper and some theming if you’re so inclined and adding a few choice programs, just like most distributions.

          This kind of base can be interesting to the advanced user who wants to build their installation up themselves and know what they want out of it, starting from a small base install but one that has X and a window manager for a functional GUI already available. On top of that it is based on Devuan which presents with a sane and proven init system. I quite like Star and will certainly bear it in mind in the future once there is a new release.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro 20.0 Lysia released

          The Xfce edition remains our flagship offering and has received the attention it deserves. Only a few can claim to offer such a polished, integrated and leading-edge Xfce experience. With this release we ship Xfce 4.14 and have mostly focused on polishing the user experience with the desktop and window manager. Also we have switched to a new theme called Matcha. A new feature Display-Profiles allows you to store one or more profiles for your preferred display configuration. We also have implemented auto-application of profiles when new displays are connected.

          Our KDE edition provides the powerful, mature and feature-rich Plasma 5.18 desktop environment with a unique look-and-feel, which we completely re-designed in 2020. The full set of Breath2-themes includes light and dark versions, animated splash-screen, Konsole profiles, Yakuake skins and many more little details. We have rounded off text editor Kate with some additional color schemes and offer Plasma-Simplemenu as an alternative to the traditional Kickoff-Launcher. With a wide selection of latest KDE-Apps 20.04 and other applications Manjaro-KDE aims to be a versatile and elegant environment ready for all your everyday needs.

        • Manjaro 20.0 Linux distribution has been released

          Manjaro 20.0 codename Lysia has been released on April 27, 2020. The release is the second big Linux release in a short period of time (Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was released last week).

          Interested users can download full and minimal ISO images from the project’s official download site. Manjaro 20.0 is offered in KDE Plasma, XFCE, GNOME and Architect as well as Cinnamon flavors.

          The Xfce version of Manjaro 20.0 remains the project’s flagship version; users who are new to Manjaro may want to start using it unless they have prior experience with other desktop environments and prefer a different one.


          The package manager received new features including support for Snap and Flatpak by default. Manjaro users can now install snaps or flatpaks using Pamac in the user interface and in Terminal.

          Manjaro Architect supports ZFS installations in the new release.

        • Manjaro Linux 20.0 ‘Lysia’ Released: A Beginner-Friendly Arch Experience

          Manjaro Linux kicked off this month with the release of the new Manjaro ARM 20.04 for Single Board Computers. Now, Manjaro is ending this month with the release of Manjaro Linux 20.0 ‘Lysia,’ a new version for x86-64 platforms. The latest version v20.0 updates its default package manager, Pacman, from v9.3 to v9.4. The new enhancement brings snap and flatpak support by default. However, this support is not new to Manjaro; you could also use Bauh tool in the previous version to install Linux applications from snap or flatpak.

        • Manjaro 20.0 Released With Its Flagship Easy-To-Use, Arch-Based Xfce Desktop Distro

          Manjaro 20.0 “Lysia” is out today with its flagship Xfce spin as well as its GNOME and KDE editions for this popular, desktop-minded, Arch-based Linux distribution.

          Manjaro 20.0 with its Xfce version is now offering a polished Xfce 4.14 based desktop. Besides pulling in the newest Xfce components, Manjaro 20.0 is using a new theme and other improvements. Their KDE version is using Plasma 5.18 and GNOME 3.36 rounds out their primary desktop offerings.

        • Manjaro Linux 20.0 Lysia released with Xfce, KDE and GNOME editions – Snap and Flatpak support included
        • Manjaro 20.0 Lysia Officially Launched

          It goes without saying that there are so many new things in this release, and downloading Manjaro 20.0 Lysia is the easiest way to try them all.

          First and foremost, the new version continues to be available in three editions, namely Xfce, KDE, and Gnome, each coinge with their own series of improvements.

        • Manjaro Linux 20.0 “Lysia” Released with Linux Kernel 5.6, This Is What’s New

          Two months in the works, Manjaro Linux 20.0 is dubbed “Lysia” and ships with the usual flavors, Xfce, GNOME, and KDE Plasma. Of course, the Manjaro Architect edition has been updated as well and it now supports ZFS installation by providing required kernel modules.

          Probably the best new feature of the Manjaro Linux 20.0 release is the inclusion of the latest Linux 5.6 kernel series, which comes with built-in support for the WireGuard VPN protocol, among numerous other new features.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • VIDEO: New Features in Fedora 32 Workstation

          Fedora 32 Workstation is about to release by end of this month. Here is what’s new features added for the end-users and the developers. The major highlight is the GNOME 3.36 that’s polished to a great extent, and Linux 5.6, which is one of the best releases for the Kernel for far. We hope you enjoy the video.

        • Lenovo announces Fedora-based ThinkPad series

          There’s good news for everyone who’s a fan of both Red Hat’s Fedora OS and Lenovo Thinkpads in that these companies have decided to collaborate and release Fedora-based Thinkpad laptops shortly.

          Before we further discuss this news, it makes sense to highlight all the advantages that come with the Fedora operating system. Powered by Linux, this Fedora Workstation used the GNOME desktop environment in its purest form and is primarily aimed at software developers. Thus, they will find it useful when dealing with hardware, clouds, and containers.

          Not only that, but Fedora also comes with a bunch of pre-installed open-source software that you’re going to be using a lot. Heck, even the creator of Linux himself, Linus Torvalds, uses this operating system, so why shouldn’t you?

        • Responding to crisis: IBM’s Jim Whitehurst draws from open-source lessons to address a rapidly changing world

          IBM reported its earnings on Monday, one of the first companies to do so in the current reporting period. Included in the company’s report were a number of stories associated with helping its customers, including support for one major U.S. insurance firm as it transitioned to a remote work model when none existed before.

          IBM indicated that 95% of its own workforce of 350,000 employees was working remotely as well. This was a major driver for sourcing input and issuing expectations around working in the current environment.

          “A lot of it is to recognize that it’s hard to know the stress that people are under or what they need to do to be effective,” Whitehurst said. “So, it’s the perfect time to back up and say: ‘Hey, you have to figure some of this out and tell us what you need to be successful.’”

          In addition to making adjustments for its own employees as a result of COVID-19, IBM has also been working within its family of companies to develop new tools and resources for the global community to use during the pandemic.

          One such tool was developed by the Weather Co. to map and analyze the spread of confirmed cases. It’s part of what Whitehurst views as part of the community coming together in a time of significant crisis without needing orders from him or IBM Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna.

          “Within a matter of days, the Weather Channel app, which is an IBM app, had a COVID button on it so you could see down to your county level the number of people infected,” Whitehurst explained. “That bubbled up — that wasn’t a top down with Arvind and me saying ‘let’s go do that.’ Having people broadly inside of corporations decide what role to play in society is a really helpful thing.”

        • Responding to crisis: IBM’s Jim Whitehurst plans to open-source lessons learned from pandemic [Ed: Same text, not the same headline]
        • Argentine Ministry of Health Enlists Red Hat to Help Establish a National Digital Health Network
        • Migrating Unix to Linux

          If you are an administrator of an existing data center (whether on-premise or in a co-location facility), particularly one that has been around for a long time, chances are you have some commercial flavor of Unix running. These usually require proprietary hardware, and while this may be running without issue, there are challenges to maintaining such legacy environments. The biggest of these challenges that upper management might be looking at is support costs for both the hardware and the OS itself. Additionally, expansions can be harder and harder to do, as the legacy hardware is outdated and parts can be difficult to find and, when found, can be expensive (oh, supply-and-demand, you are such a harsh mistress!).

          Something that can come up during this transition is the possibility that you discover an application that can’t be migrated. Maybe the vendor went out of business or hasn’t ported the application to Linux. Perhaps they have, but it would require direct vendor involvement in a professional engagement that carries too high a cost. If this comes up, you might have to see if you can migrate the workload to a new application that is supported on Linux or look at having to keep that particular legacy server around.

          Another issue with staying on legacy Unix systems is the inability to virtualize. While there is some virtualization in a few Unix environments, modern hypervisors provide a lot more functionality and flexibility, if you can move to an OS that is supported by your chosen hypervisor.

        • Building Kubernetes applications on OpenShift with Red Hat Marketplace

          Developers are the epicenter for creating solutions, quickly, that enable enterprises to react to evolving ecosystems. At Red Hat, we have embraced rapid, communal evolution since our inception. We were founded on the open source principles that many of you have come to depend on: transparent, open, iterative collaboration that can change the world in a moment.

          Today, through collaboration with our technology partners, we introduce the technical preview of Red Hat Marketplace operated by IBM, the next step in supporting our worldwide community of makers to build things better, faster, and more securely.

          Red Hat Marketplace was created to help developers using Red Hat OpenShift, our comprehensive Kubernetes platform, to build solutions and deploy them across multiple clouds, on-premises or on the edge. Kubernetes is hard. Building, deploying and managing Kubernetes applications at scale is critical to enterprise growth and security. To get the job done, developers need access to commercial quality, certified solutions; easy to find, easy to acquire, easy to use, and no internal blowback.

        • Modern web applications on OpenShift, Part 4: Openshift Pipelines

          When I wrote part 3 of this series, Modern web applications on OpenShift: Part 3 — OpenShift as a development environment, I said that was the final part. However, there is new tech that fits in very nicely with deploying modern Web Applications to OpenShift, so part 4 is necessary. As a refresher, in the first article, we looked at how to deploy a modern web application using the fewest commands. In the second part, we took a deeper look into how the new source-to-image (S2I) web app builder works and how to use it as part of a chained build. In the third, we took a look at how to run your app’s “development workflow” on Red Hat OpenShift. This article talks about OpenShift Pipelines and how this tool can be used as an alternative to a chained build.

        • Red Hat extends several product life cycles to ease migration pressures

          Red Hat’s lifecycles are carefully planned to give our customers a stable platform for building, deploying and maintaining their applications while also delivering innovation at a steady pace. Red Hat understands that undertaking planned migrations during this crisis is more challenging than usual, and we want to help take pressure off organizations while they are focused on near-term operations. We have reviewed our product portfolio and are making a number of changes to help ease migration and upgrade pressures in the coming months.

          Our priority is to provide extensions to our products that would have had an end of maintenance (EOM) phase in the near future so our customers are not forced to perform upgrades or migrations while reeling from the impact of COVID-19.

        • More ways Red Hat is here to help

          When we made the decision to move Red Hat Summit from a physical event in San Francisco to an online-only virtual experience, we also reconsidered what we put our focus on this week.

          We have several big product advancements and developments in our partner ecosystem to share with you, but we’ve decided to put our focus on what customers need most from us right now: understanding what Red Hat is doing to help them, and technology innovations that meet them where they are, whether that need is to move faster or to weather the storm. We’ll share more about those specific product innovations tomorrow and we look forward to telling you about our other exciting developments in the future.

        • Bringing collaboration and scale to automation: The latest in Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform

          Since launching Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform at AnsibleFest last October, we have continued to expand the capabilities of the Platform to make it even easier for organizations to build and operate automation at scale and increase collaboration across teams.

          Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform combines the simple and powerful Ansible solutions with hosted service capabilities for cross-team collaboration, governance and analytics — resulting in a solution designed to exponentially increase the value of automation. We’ve seen that enterprises not only need the ability to easily create automation, but they also need to be able to share and reuse automation across projects and teams with the right level of governance and control. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform helps provide a solution they can use across teams and domains, and a solution they can grow with as they progress on their automation journey.

        • Build on Red Hat Marketplace

          Today, Red Hat introduced the technical preview of Red Hat Marketplace, operated by IBM. Despite the rapid adoption of open source software and technologies like Kubernetes, it is still complex to build, deploy, and manage Kubernetes applications at scale.

          With Red Hat Marketplace, we’re lifting burdens from developers and removing red tape for developer managers. Developers who are building for the enterprise want to write code once that then can be deployed anywhere. To make that happen, they need software that is commercial quality, and compatible and ready to use in their enterprise environment across multiple clouds.

      • Debian Family

        • Norbert Preining: KDE Apps 20.04 (and Plasma) for Debian

          A few days ago KDE Apps 20.04 were released, and I am happy that thanks to the openSUSE Build Service (and a lot of scripting and some hand-work), packages for Debian Unstable and Testing are available in by repositories!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Lubuntu 20.04 Review: Lightweight, Minimalistic, Polished

          I have been using Lubuntu 20.04 from a few days before the release. I usually dwell in Arch world with Manjaro and Cinnamon desktop so using Lubuntu was a pleasant change for me.

          Here’s what I have noticed and felt about Lubuntu 20.04.

          For a long time, Lubuntu relied on LXDE to provide a lightweight Linux experience. It now uses LXQt desktop environment.

          LXDE is based on GTK (the libraries used by GNOME) and more specifically on GTK+ 2 which is dated in 2020. Dissatisfied with GTK+ 3, LXDE developer Hong Jen Yee decided to port the entire desktop to Qt (the libraries used by KDE). LXDE, the Qt port of it, and the Razor-qt project were combined to form LXQt. Although today, LXDE and LXQt coexist as separate projects.

        • Get-set, Go: Ubuntu 20.10 Development Officially Begins

          Development on Ubuntu 20.10 ‘Groovy Gorilla’ is now officially underway!

          “We’re pleased to announce that groovy is now open for development,” writes Lukasz Zemczak in a ribbon-cutting post to the Ubuntu mailing list.

          Zemczak adds that “…auto-sync has been enabled and will run soon. As usual, we expect a large influx of builds and autopkgtests in this initial period, which will cause delays.”

          What does this milestone mean for you, as an Ubuntu user? Unless you also happen to be an Ubuntu developer, not an awful lot — not yet, anyway.

          Heck, somewhat unusually, there’s not even an updated toolchain to speak of at the time of writing (though an upload for one is scheduled for April 30).

          But with development of Ubuntu 20.10 off of the starting block the ultimate eventual shape of the ‘Groovy Gorilla‘ will start to slide into view, inch-by-inch, week by week.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Open For Development

          Just days after Canonical shipped the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” release, Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” is now open for development.

          Canonical’s Lukasz Zemczak of the Foundations Team announced this morning that the Groovy Gorilla (Ubuntu 20.10) is open for development and auto syncing of packages from Debian will soon begin. So now that the usual announcement is out there, it’s time to begin on this next Ubuntu cycle.

          The current release schedule puts the feature freeze at 27 August, the UI freeze on 17 September, the beta on 1 October, the kernel freeze on 8 October, and the actual release to occur on 22 October.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Is Out: Here’s What’s New

          Ubuntu 20.04 has just dropped officially. This latest build of our favorite Linux operating system brings a bunch of new features and enhancements.

          Before we explore, how do you get your hands on this build? Well, if you are running an older version of Linux, that’s easy.

        • Top 14 Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          On April 23rd, 2020, the Canonical team released the much-anticipated Ubuntu 20.04 release. The latest release takes over from its predecessor Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and ships with a new and sleek desktop theme, an improved overall look-and-feel, Linux kernel 5.4, ZFS file system support and tons of hardware improvements and software enhancements. Ubuntu 20.04 is a Long-Term Service (LTS) release, and as with any LTS release, it will be supported for 5 years until 2025.

          After installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on your system, here are some of the top 14 things that you should consider doing before you fully start using your system.

        • Work smart, not hard – fun applications to help you do less in your day
        • Ubuntu Blog: WSLConf: Sessions Part 2 – DevOps on WSL and more [Ed: Only days after releasing Ubuntu LTS Canonical pushes Vista 10 — a very dumb and short-sighted move, so how much does Microsoft pay for it?]
        • We are changing the way you build snaps from GitHub repos [Ed: Canonical works for Microsoft's proprietary software. Microsoft isn't "part of the community"; it bought itself a dependency to ensure the "community" can never escape and avoid Microsoft spying, control, censorship etc. These are monopoly tactics.]

          Build.snapcraft.io allows you to automatically build and release snaps from a GitHub repository. This means you can build your snaps for multiple architectures and distros with the tools you already use, and new builds are triggered every time you push updates to your repo. Up until now this tool has lived as a separate service on a separate URL to snapcraft.io; but from now on it will live within snapcraft.io to integrate better with your workflow.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The ProtonMail Android app goes open source

        ProtonMail is an email service that’s known for being privacy-conscious, which makes it popular among users who seek more secure alternatives to Gmail. Thanks to the success of its email service, Proton has since branched out into different verticals, including encrypted contacts, a VPN service, and, most recently, an end-to-end encrypted calendar called ProtonCalendar. In a bid to give users more confidence in its services, Proton has now announced that its ProtonMail app on Android has gone open source and has passed an independent security audit.

      • ProtonMail and ProtonVPN apps are now open source across all platforms

        It is a little while since Proton Technologies announced that ProtonVPN was being open sourced to help build trust in the service. Now the company has done the same for the Android version of ProtonMail, and this means that all ProtonMail and ProtonVPN apps are now open source

        Just as with ProtonVPN, the open sourcing of ProtonMail opens it up not only to the scrutiny of anyone who cares to trawl through the source code, but it has also been subjected to a third-party security audit.

      • ProtonMail apps are now open source and independently audited

        Proton has announced that ProtonMail apps across all platforms are now open source and have passed independent security audits. The firm was able to make the announcement after its Android app was open sourced today. Proton has also released SEC Consult’s full audit report of the Android app which states that the app has no outstanding vulnerabilities.

      • ProtonMail for Android goes open-source, passes security audit

        ProtonMail is an encrypted email service, with native applications available for Android and iOS. While the service has been working on new features, its development team has also been releasing the source code for various software components. Now the Android app for ProtonMail is open-source, allowing anyone to look through the code and review its security.

      • AdTiming on why it’s made its OpenMediation platform completely open source

        Mobile marketing platform AdTiming has worked with some of the biggest names in the mobile market, and now it’s releasing its OpenMediation platform for everyone and making it completely open source.

        To find out more about the firm and why it’s decided to share its tools so widely, we spoke to chief product officer Yobo Zhang about the company’s growth and what OpenMediation can do for you.

      • Madrid-based Frontity raises €1 million from Automattic, WooCommerce and Tumblr for open-source framework

        Madrid-based startup Frontity, creator of an open-source framework for developing WordPress themes, has raised €1 million in seed funding. The round was led by Automattic, WordPress.com’s parent company, WooCommerce, Tumblr, and K Fund. A group of Spanish angel investors also participated.

        The Spanish startup has been developing an open-source JavaScript framework for WordPress, the CMS behind about 35 percent of all websites on the internet. By connecting both technologies, React and WordPress, with built-in queries, Frontity’s service allows developers to “focus on building their website instead of all the tooling and configuration.”


        In 2018, the startup participated in Madrid’s SeedRocket accelerator program and received some funding to keep developing in React. Finally in 2019, Frontity decided to open source the framework and was selected to join the Google for Startups Residency program in Spain.

        Now the plan is to grow. The fresh seed funding will go to developing the framework, adding new features and building its developer community.

      • Kiwi TCMS: Kiwi TCMS 8.3
      • New PostgreSQL Acceleration Software From Swarm64 Boosts Open Source Database Performance
      • Open source PostgreSQL on steroids: Swarm64 database acceleration software for performance improvement and analytics

        PostgreSQL is a big deal. The most common SQL open source database that you have never heard of, as ZDNet’s own Tony Baer called it. Besides being the framework on which a number of commercial offerings were built, PostgreSQL has a user base of its own. According to DB Engines, PostgreSQL is the 4th most popular database in the world.

        Swarm64, on the other hand, is a small vendor. So small, actually, that we have shared the stage with CEO Thomas Richter in a local Berlin Meetup a few years back. Back then, Richter was not CEO, and Swarm64 was even smaller. But its value proposition still sounded attractive: boost PostgreSQL’s performance for free. Swarm64 is an acceleration layer for PostgreSQL.

      • COVIDSafe app ready for download

        When US-based Amazon Web Services (AWS) won a contract to store the app’s data, it raised concerns that Australian data could be accessed by US intelligence agencies the CLOUD Act.


        Despite a Privacy Impact Assessment from the Department of Health suggesting that the app’s source code be released to the public, the government did not publish the code prior to the app’s release.

        However, curious developers like Geoffrey Huntly began decompiling the Android app immediately after it went live, finding that much of the app was built using OpenTrace, an open-source app released under the GNU GPL 3 license.

        Huntly created a Google Doc for his tear down of the app and noted a defect where the app is configured to point to the Singapore version of OpenTrace, TraceTogether.

        Since going live, no one appears to have found any major issues with COVIDSafe’s code.

        Cybersecurity analyst, Gabor Szathmari, put together a report on the app giving it a ‘low risk’ security score.

        And developer Matthew Robbins said from his analysis that “everything in the [COVIDSafe] app is above board, very transparent and follows industry standard”.

      • Tracking app’s code must be open source to protect our privacy

        NHS England has announced that they are working on a smartphone app to track everyone’s location which will be used to track people who have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. This is vitally important as part of a test, track and isolate policy, which until we get a vaccine is the only way out of a total lockdown.

      • Tezos (XTZ) Exhibiting Increased Utility with Proliferating Open-Source Projects on the Blockchain
      • QOwnNotes 20.4.12 Build 5573

        QOwnNotes is a open source (GPL) plain-text file notepad with markdown support and todo list manager for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X and Windows, that (optionally) works together with the notes application of ownCloud (or Nextcloud). So you are able to write down your thoughts with QOwnNotes and edit or search for them later from your mobile device (like with CloudNotes) or the ownCloud web-service. The notes are stored as plain text files and you can sync them with your ownCloud sync client. Of course other software, like Dropbox, Syncthing, Seafile or BitTorrent Sync can be used too.

      • Mapping project finds new open source home

        Mapzen was originally created in 2013 by map industry veterans in combination with architects, urban planners, film makers, video game developers, artists and more. Its popularity grew and it was soon used by over 70 000 developers. But Mapzen failed as a business and it was taken up as a Linux Foundation project in 2018.


        “Mapzen is excited to join the Urban Computing Foundation to continue our work on open-source mapping tools alongside other great companies and developers,” said Randy Meech, former Mapzen CEO and now CEO at StreetCred Labs. “In challenging times for cities everywhere, we believe that making location software and data open and accessible is important work that can help in large and small ways.”

      • Art+Logic Launches Vibrary, An Open-Source AI Tool For Audio Pros

        ART+LOGIC is unveiling VIBRARY, the first project to come out of the software development firm’s incubator lab. VIBRARY uses machine learning to analyze short samples and loops.

        It’s designed to make it easy for producers, composers, and musicians to train their own models and classify sounds by sound, genre, feel or other characteristics, defined by users’ needs and preferences.

      • 9STAR Expands its Enterprise-Grade Commercial Support for Open Source Shibboleth Identity Provider Software Version 4.0+ [Ed: Riding the Free software status of Shibboleth to promote proprietary software]

        9STAR, world’s leading provider of enterprise-grade, open-standards compliant, Shibboleth opensource software solutions, today announced commercial support for Shibboleth Identity Provider middleware software version 4.0+, for customers world-wide.

      • How Coronavirus Pandemic Will Impact Open Source Software size and Key Trends in terms of volume and value 2019-2025

        The authors of the report have segmented the global Open Source Software market as per product, application, and region. Segments of the global Open Source Software market are analyzed on the basis of market share, production, consumption, revenue, CAGR, market size, and more factors. The analysts have profiled leading players of the global Open Source Software market, keeping in view their recent developments, market share, sales, revenue, areas covered, product portfolios, and other aspects.

      • Comparing subscription, pay-per-bug, and consulting software business models

        The company I co-founded, Nextcloud, only offers its services to customers on a (per user) subscription model. Some customers ask us during the sales conversation why they cannot just get access to our engineers on an hourly basis as they get from third party consultants: pay for the bug fix or support case, and be done?

        When we discussed how to build our new company in 2016 during our very first “hackweek,” our business model was an important conversation. The team discussed different approaches, and we decided to go for a subscription model. Such a model felt more in line with our mission and principles to create a great product and run a trustworthy company.

        Why? While hourly rates seem like an easy way to get a quick fix for a problem, getting paid for fixing issues creates an incentive to create more buggy software, which of course, was not how we want to run our business.

        Let’s look a bit deeper at the choices.

      • Will Remote Working Be Part of the Post-Covid-19 ‘New Normal’

        With the number of 2019 novel coronavirus cases leaping upwards every day, it’s hard to imagine what life will be like after the pandemic. Yet that time will come, although perhaps not for 15 months or more. When it does, I suspect that the rest of society will finally catch up with many of the norms of FOSS developers and advocates. Habits that freelancers have taken for granted for years will become those of business at large.

        Remote work, an area where FOSS-oriented people are decades ahead of the average worker, has become widespread during this pandemic. Much like is happening now as workers are being sent home to work, FOSS developers were decentralized, seeking out common interests and joining projects they were interested in, since the early days of open source. Sure, some work does take place in person-to-person meetings, but remote cooperation remains the FOSS norm.

        By contrast, despite the changes brought about by the internet, most traditional employment continues to revolve around people working face-to-face. But now that face-to-face meeting has become a health hazard, decentralized employment has become the natural alternative. If this decentralization remains the norm for over a year, will it be possible to return to traditional office environments?

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome is the new Internet Explorer – 4 stages

            So I posted a comment over at HN mentioning this quote. And this time I took the time to write down a short explanation since the quote tends to be misunderstood to mean that Chrome is like Internet Explorer (from now on referred to as IE) was in 2009: most people were using it even though it was technically inferior.

      • Networking

        • Blue Planet contributes to ONAP to hasten automation goals

          As part of its ongoing commitment to support open source projects and service providers’ efforts to deliver advanced services like 5G, Blue Planet is contributing new functionality and code to The Linux Foundation’s open source Open Networking Automation Platform (ONAP) Policy Framework.

        • DT is one of the backers of new open source community for next-gen carriers

          Deutsche Telekom has teamed up with EWE Tel, Reply and RtBrick to launch a new open source management community called Leitstand. The goal of Leitstand is to develop webscale type tools for telco networks.

        • Deutsche Telekom, EWE TEL, Reply, RtBrick launch open source community

          Deutsche Telekom, EWE TEL, Reply, and RtBrick have joined forces to develop Leitstand, an open-source community for the management of carrier networks.
          Leitstand will provide community members with the tools they need to operate the underlying infrastructure in a disaggregated telecoms network.

        • Telcos and service providers create open source venture

          Network operators, integrators and software vendors have joined forces to create Leitstand, an open-source community that aims to increase the efficiency of developing, buying and running network management systems for next generation carrier networks.

          It will provide the tools needed to operate the underlying infrastructure in a disaggregated telecoms network, including zero-touch provisioning of infrastructure, inventory management, operational visibility of network elements, alarm monitoring, fault diagnosis and software version management.

        • Synamedia Joins the Alliance for Open Media
        • Synamedia throws in with AOMedia, the group behind the AV1 open source video codec

          The Alliance for Open Media (AOMedia) today announced that Synamedia, the world’s largest independent video software provider, has joined at the Promoter level. As a member of the Alliance, Synamedia will collaborate with AOMedia members, which include fellow leading internet and media technology companies, to advance open standards for media compression and delivery over the web.

          Synamedia’s video network portfolio features video distribution, processing, and delivery services, and solutions to power premium quality broadcast and broadband video, create compelling live multi-screen experiences, enable software-defined video processing and unify operations.

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • NGI Pointer Begins Funding Calls for Projects Designed to Improve the Internet

            NGI Pointer is an initiative from the European Commission designed to provide funding and expertise to Free Software projects that can improve the internet as a platform. The FSFE has joined its Advisory Board to provide assistance to these participating projects. The first call for applications to join NGI Pointer is now open until 1 June 2020.

            The FSFE has joined the Advisory Board of NGI Pointer, one of the projects within the European Commission’s Next Generation Internet (“NGI”) initiative . By doing so, the FSFE expands the scope of our work for the NGI initiative, adding our support for NGI Pointer to our current work with NGI Zero.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Designs and Data

          • New Part Day: An Open Source Ethernet Switch In The Palm Of Your Hand

            When you can get a WiFi-enabled microcontroller for $3, it’s little surprise that many of the projects we see these days have ditched Ethernet. But the days of wired networking are far from over, and there’s still plenty of hardware out there that can benefit from being plugged in. But putting an Ethernet network into your project requires a switch, and that means yet another piece of hardware that needs to get crammed into the build.

          • Volunteers use 3D printers to make personal protective equipment during pandemic

            Groups of volunteers across Canada are using 3D printers to produce personal protective equipment and other essential supplies at a breakneck speed — an effort some say could have a lasting impact even after the COVID-19 crisis passes.

            These “makers” are volunteering their expertise, time and tools to produce gear used on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic, drawing on open-source designs and creating their own.

          • Library of Congress Launches Open-Source Hip-Hop Sampling Tool

            The Library of Congress, led by current “innovator in residence” Brian Foo, is launching an open-source hip-hop sample tool called Citizen DJ. A preview is currently available, and the full service will launch this summer.

            Users will have access to a massive audio collection that dates back over a hundred years, almost to the invention of the phonograph. According to the L.O.C., there will be three ways to access these sound files: an interface for searching by sound and metadata; a simple music-creation app that easily allows the collection to be remixed with hip-hop beats; and various “sample packs” full of thousands of clips from particular collection

          • Recursion Releases First Open-Source Morphological Imaging Dataset on SARS-CoV-2 Virus

            Recursion, a digital biology company industrializing drug discovery, released its open-source RxRx19 dataset, which is the first human cellular morphological dataset of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). The goal in releasing RxRx19 was to quickly contribute human cellular morphological data and over 1,600 small molecules to researchers around the world who are working to make advances in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
            The dataset was derived from experiments that Recursion led, in collaboration with Utah State University, to investigate the therapeutic potential of a library of 1,672 Food and Drug Administration and European Medicines Agency-approved or clinical-stage compounds for modulation of the effect of SARS-CoV-2 in human renal cortical epithelial (HRCE) cells. The images were processed using Recursion’s proprietary deep learning neural network to generate high-dimensional featurizations of each image for the identification of distinct phenotypic profiles, which are also being shared publicly.

        • Open Access/Content

          • GSC Professor Featured in Open-Source Textbook

            Stewart’s chapter, titled, “Weaving Personal Experience into Academic Writing,” was inspired by a weaver she worked with while completing her master’s program. “She had a shop in Pittsburgh that sold wearable art and she made hand-woven clothing,” Stewart recalled. “The way she set up the yarn on the loom and in the shuttle serve as a metaphor for weaving personal stories into academic writing.”

            Within the chapter, Stewart focuses on allowing personal or narrative writing in academic papers. “The chapter talks about when it is appropriate and why it can be helpful to make the essay accessible and meaningful. Of course, I tell students not to do it if their professors don’t allow or like it.”

            “I have used chapters from Writing Spaces Volumes I and II in my classroom. They’re better than the writing advice most print textbooks offer and they’re free. I’m glad to be included in this series and in this movement to make textbooks free or affordable to all students,” she said. “I believe that, after pharmaceuticals, the textbook industry is one of the most predatory businesses we have. Open Source texts give us the power to fight back for the good of our students.”

            “There is currently a call for submissions to Volume IV. I’m thinking about it,” she added.

      • Programming/Development

        • Lassie errors

          Part of your responsibility as a software engineer, if you take your craft seriously, is to minimize the costs that your own mistakes or failures to anticipate exceptional conditions inflict on others. Users have enough friction costs when software works perfectly; when it fails, you are piling insult on that injury if your Lassie error leaves them without a clue about how to recover.

          Really this term is unfair to Lassie, who as a dog didn’t have much of a vocabulary with which to convey nuances. You, as a human, have no such excuse. Every error message you write should contain a description of what went wrong in plain language, and – when error recovery is possible – contain actionable advice about how to recover.

          This remains true when you are dealing with user errors. How you deal with (say) a user mistake in configuration-file syntax is part of the user interface of your program just as surely as the normally visible controls are. It is no less important to get that communication right; in fact, it may be more important – because a user encountering an error is a user in trouble that he needs help to get out of. When Little Timmy falls down a well you constructed and put in his path, your responsibility to say something helpful doesn’t lessen just because Timmy made the immediate mistake.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: #26: Upgrading to R 4.0.0

          R 4.0.0 was released two days ago, and a casual glance at some social media conversations appears to suggest quite some confusion, almost certainly some misunderstandings, and possibly also a fair amount of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the process. So I thought I could show how I upgrade my own main workstation, live and in colour without a safety net. (Almost: I did upgrade my laptop yesterday which went swimmingly, if more slowly.)

        • Error handling and exceptions

          Yes, this is yet another post in the internet talking about using exceptions versus error returns. The topic has been flaming up at my workplace for quite some time now, and I felt that writing a blog post about it during the week-end would help me focus my thoughts and give me time to explain my point with the due care. In case you didn’t know, I’m against using exceptions for error handling (maybe having spent many years working with Qt has had an effect on this); that does not mean that I never write code using exceptions: I certainly to my good share of try … catch when dealing with third-party code (including STL), but you won’t find a throw in my programs.

          I’m not going to write here all the reasons why I refrain myself from implementing error handling using exceptions; I’d rather like to focus on the one I consider to be the major one, and which I rarely see given the due weight in the debate.

        • The 20 Best C++ Books for both Professional and Beginner

          C++ is the most generally utilized programming language around and is an industry-standard for programming uses of numerous types. Moreover, C++ is an exceptionally effective programming language that can monitor assets more successfully than dialects, for example, Visual Basic or Delphi. C++ is something other than a well-known language. It gives the calculated substrata that underlie the plan of a few different dialects and a lot of current registering. It is no mishap that two other significant dialects, Java and C#, are determined from C++. Almost everything in programming has been impacted by the sentence structure, style, also, reasoning of C++. Essentially expressed, to be an expert software engineer suggests competency in C++. It is the entryway to all of the present-day programming. That is why a perfect set of C++ books is essential for you to learn C++.

        • Generate Random Unique String in Laravel
        • Perl/Raku

          • The Weekly Challenge #057

            Of the two tasks, my favourite was Shortest Unique Prefix. I must confess I have never done this before. It was fun solving though. I enjoyed it thoroughly. As always, Raku solution looks more elegant, in my hunble opinion. With every passing week, I learn something new in Raku and get to practice what I learnt so far. The weekly challenge is giving me an opportunity to explore the nitty gritty of Raku.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 57: Tree Inversion and Shortest Unique Prefix

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of hours. This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

        • Python

          • Using Environment Variables In Django

            While working with web applications often we need to store sensitive data for authentication of different modules such as database credentials and API keys. These sensitive keys should not be hardcoded in the settings.py file instead they should be loaded with Environment variables on runtime.

            An environment variable is a variable whose value is set outside the program, typically through a functionality built into the operating system. An environment variable is made up of a name/value pair.

            Environment variables help us keep secrets (for example, Passwords, API tokens, and so on) out of version control, therefore, they are considered an integral part of the popular Twelve-Factor App Design methodology and a Django best practice because they allow a greater level of security and simpler local/production configurations.

          • Test and Code: 110: Testing Django – from unittest to pytest – Adam Parkin

            Django supports testing out of the box with some cool extensions to unittest. However, many people are using pytest for their Django testing, mostly using the pytest-django plugin.

            Adam Parkin, who is known online as CodependentCodr, joins us to talk about migrating an existing Django project from unittest to pytest. Adam tells us just how easy this is.

        • Flutter/Android

          • Going Google-less: How to install a custom Android ROM with no Google apps or services

            With online privacy at a greater and greater premium with each passing year, it’s understandable you might want to avoid sharing your data with big corporations whenever reasonably possible. You might even have considered just how feasible it is to go Google-less on your Android phone, given that Android itself is an open source operating system. There are definitely some practical obstacles you’ll face, though, the first and foremost being Google Play Services. It’s the proprietary software that holds together many essential Android features and connects them with first and third-party apps. Without it, many apps won’t send you push notifications, be able get your location, or backup their app data, among other things. Enter microG, an open-source replacement for Play Services. It can replicate a lot of these functions and makes it possible to use an Android phone without any Google apps.

          • Google says 500,000 developers use Flutter monthly, outlines release process and versioning changes

            Google today revealed that “nearly half a million developers” now use its open source UI framework Flutter each month. And 2 million developers have used Flutter since version 1.0 was released in December 2018. This is the first time the company has shared user milestones for the SDK. Adoption isn’t slowing down: Flutter saw 10% month-over-month growth in March. And out of the 50,000 Flutter apps on Google Play, nearly 10,000 were uploaded in the past month.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Vulkan 1.2.139 Released With VK_EXT_robustness2 Extension

        The routine Vulkan 1.2.139 maintenance update brings with it two new extensions.

        The new VK_EXT_robustness2 extension adds stricter requirements around bounds reads/writes. VK_EXT_robustness2 calls for most accesses to be tightly bounds-checked and out of bounds writes to be discarded while out of bound reads to return zero. Though the new requirements may be expensive for some implementations so only should should be used when necessary. This extension was drafted by NVIDIA engineers.

      • OpenCL 3.0 Bringing Greater Flexibility, Async DMA Extensions

        OpenCL 3.0 is being released today in provisional form. OpenCL 3.0 is making OpenCL 2.x functionality now optional to make it better suited for a range of devices plus there is new functionality introduced like subgroups, extensions for asynchronous data copies, and more.


        In addition to subgroups and async DMA / data copies extensions, SPIR-V 1.3 is also brought into core with OpenCL 3.0. Areas still being explored for OpenCL are greater Vulkan interop, recordable command buffers, machine learning primitives, device topology improvements, and other possible extensions.

      • More broken UX: Search for English results

        This used to work, but sometime, somewhere, someone has got paid to create ux sketches to break this and didn’t step up to ask what they were thinking, a developer has developed it without saying “are you crazy?” and QA has let it slip.

        Or maybe, more likely I am afraid, the story is that they all did it enthusiastically to “simplify the interface”.

        Well done: you have now “simplified” a part of the interface that nobody except people like me even think about, only you haven’t simplified it or even made it slightly harder to use, you have broken it.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Vivaldi joins anti-tracking browser brotherhood
        • One day. Two big Vivaldi browser releases

          Vivaldi 3.0 arrives on your Windows, Mac and Linux computer with new Tracker blocker, Ad blocker, Clock and more. First Vivaldi Mobile release now available on Android. Includes new Tracker Blocker, Ad Blocker, Tab bar and more

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • With Project Astra, NetApp aims to enable true portability for Kubernetes-based applications

              Data storage specialist NetApp Inc. today announced Project Astra, its vision of an enterprise-class storage and data services platform for Kubernetes that enables both application and data portability.

              Kubernetes is an open-source project that’s used to orchestrate large clusters of software containers, which host the components of modern applications that can run on any kind of computing infrastructure. The technology has seen rapid adoption over the past few years, but NetApp argues that users lack the infrastructure needed to ensure application data is as portable as the applications themselves.

            • Gloo API Gateway Hits v1.3, Includes Dev Portal [Ed: The term “open source API” is classic openwashing]
            • The Instaclustr sign of open source success [Ed: No, it is not Open Source]

              In a 2001 interview, Brian Behlendorf, then president of the Apache Software Foundation, was asked to identify the most foundational right in open source—the thing that, if removed, makes open source not open source. His response? “The right to fork.” Of course Behlendorf wasn’t riffing on flatware, but rather “the right for a user or somebody outside the developer pool or even a subset of the main development pool to be able to take the code and start a new project.”

            • MindSpore: Huawei’s All-Scenario AI Computing Framework Now Open Source [Ed: IDG paid by the company it covers here, to produce puff pieces.]
            • HDC 2020: Online Showcase Attracts More Than 10 Million People [Ed: Another example of IDG publishing corporate spam for a fee, even disclosing that upfront]
            • Remember when open source was fun? [Ed: IDG again, sponsored by Mac Asay's employer. by Mac Asay 1) does not use Open Source; 2) never wrote code; 3) works for proprietary software companies. But this publisher was paid by his employer for these "sponsored" pieces. The term "sustainability" is how proprietary software companies advocate exploitation or defend abusing Free software whilst keeping all their jewels proprietary (like GitHub is); it's old propaganda.]
            • EnAccess is supporting Open Source Oxygen Concentrators for Low Resource Settings during the COVID-19 Pandemic [Ed: They speak about "open source" but outsource to proprietary software lock-in and spyware of Slack and Microsoft, which is rather ridiculous]

              If the COVID-19 pandemic spreads rapidly in Africa, the health systems are going to be under considerable strain with limited capacity and unable to cope; oxygen supplies will be very stretched. The ability to treat patients will depend on the availability of electricity, oxygen and ventilators. Oxygen Concentrators are normally electrically power devices that produce oxygen by the absorption of nitrogen from a flow of air. They can produce oxygen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — if they have sufficient power, which is a challenge for many low resource clinics in the developing world. Many rural hospitals have intermittent and poor quality power, as well as a lack of supply chains for replacement parts and an absence of trained maintenance personnel. We want to change this, so we will do what we do best: mobilize and organize the open source, energy access, engineering, and manufacturing communities in Africa, Europe the Americas and around the world to help. And we’ll keep it completely transparent and efficient.

            • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: TorchServe

              According to AWS, developers like the flexibility PyTorch provides for building and training models, but deploying and managing them in production is the most challenging part for many. Using a model server is one way to simplify that process. Model servers can be used to easily load models, run preprocessing or postprocessing code, and provide production-critical features, such as logging, monitoring, and security.

            • AWS unveils open source model server for PyTorch
            • AWS and Facebook launch an open-source model server for PyTorch
            • Facebook, AWS team up to produce open-source PyTorch AI libraries, grad student says he successfully used GPT-2 to write his homework….

              Nvidia GTC virtual keynote coming to YouTube: Nvidia cancelled its annual GPU Technology Conference in Silicon Valley in March over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The keynote speech was promised to be screened virtually, and then that got canned, too. Now, it’s back.

            • Fishtown Analytics Raises $12.9M in Series A Funding
            • Can open-source machine learning enhance CCTV at train stations?

              Can security surveillance systems and associated analytics work in a station environment without disrupting the rail network? Zircon Software Ltd is working to find out.

            • DVB Releases Free Reference Client for DVB-I Services [Ed: Openwashing by outsourcing to Microsoft's proprietary software trap, GitHub]

              Developed in collaboration with Sofia Digital, the reference client and related materials are released under the open source MIT license and will help to accelerate deployments of the DVB-I specification.

            • DVB releases open source reference client for DVB-I services
          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Board Elects Open Source Technology Trailblazer

                The Linux Foundation today announced that Sony’s Tim Bird has been elected to its board and that Panasonic’s Hiromi Wada has been re-elected for a two-year term.

                Tim has a long and esteemed history working in the Linux and open source community. For more than 28 years, he has supported the developer community as a core Linux developer and maintainer of Sony’s Linux kernel and previously as Chief Technology Officer at Lineo. He was also the founder of the Embedded Linux Conference and the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum. He’s also served on the Linux Foundation’s Technical Advisory Board, an esteemed council that provides guidance to the Linux Foundation on developer community needs and concerns.

        • Security

          • How to Child-Proof Your Devices and Apps During Lockdown

            The plethora of gadgetry around the modern home makes family life more convenient and connected, but you don’t want your kids to stumble on unsuitable content, ordering hundreds of dollars of goods from Amazon, or spending more time on screens than they should—especially in this lockdown era.

            To help, you’ll find a host of options and tools built into your devices, as well as inside the apps that you use most often. Here we’ll guide you through the key settings you need to know, and how they can keep your kids safe.

            Just mentioning the built-in options on these devices and in these apps gives us plenty of room to cover, so we’re not going to mention the various third-party tools that are available. Just be aware that you can get more comprehensive parental controls—from the likes of Qustodio, Eset, Norton and many others—if you’re prepared to pay extra.

          • “Asnarok” Trojan targets firewalls

            As we described last week in this KBA, Sophos and its customers were the victims of a coordinated attack by an unknown adversary. This attack revealed a previously unknown SQL injection vulnerability that led to remote code execution on some of our firewall products. As described in the KBA, the vulnerability has since been remediated.

            This post is the result of many hours of research and reverse-engineering by SophosLabs and Sophos internal security teams, working in conjunction with product management to coordinate a hotfix and global response within two days of discovering this attack. In the spirit of transparency, we want to describe the nature of the attack and a detailed analysis of the malware based on our investigation and current understanding.

            There was significant orchestration involved in the execution of the attack, using a chain of Linux shell scripts that eventually downloaded ELF binary executable malware compiled for a firewall operating system. This attack targeted Sophos products and apparently was intended to steal sensitive information from the firewall.

          • Your Whole Company’s Microsoft Teams Data Could’ve Been Stolen With An ‘Evil GIF’

            Tech giants are fighting to become the de facto videoconferencing tool for remote workers in the time of COVID-19. Zoom rose to the top fast, but thanks to various security and privacy issues, was pegged back by competitors. But rivals have their flaws too, as evidenced by a weakness discovered in Microsoft’s collaboration and videoconferencing tool Teams, as revealed on Monday.

          • Understanding the basics of API security

            Researching the wide range of API security alternatives can be confusing – even to seasoned experts. This article series is written with the goal of helping all types of readers better understand the pros and cons of the various modern approaches to protecting APIs from cyber security risks. The material is intended to help enterprise security and software development teams develop and maintain a consistent protection philosophy.

          • 28 popular antivirus apps found to have a serious security flaw [Ed: Proprietary software is junk (low quality code needs to be hidden), which is adds security holes[

            Downloading antivirus software is among the easiest measures you can take to protect the personal data on your laptop or PC. But not all malware-stomping solutions are made the same.


            Rack911 Labs went on to explain how easy it was to delete important files on a Windows, macOS or Linux system using the symlink technique. Doing so could cripple the antivirus software and even delete important OS files.

            There is some good news that might keep you from uninstalling whatever solution you use to keep your PC secure: The majority of antivirus vendors deemed to be vulnerable to the attack have fixed their flaws, according to Rack911 Labs. There are a few (unnamed) exceptions, but the best you can do right now is update whichever app you use to the latest version.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dr. Birx More ‘Bothered’ by Media Than Trump for Injecting Disinfectant Comments

        “It bothers me that this is still in the news cycle,” Dr. Deborah Birx told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday when the host asked her to comment on Trump’s coronavirus ramblings about injecting people with disinfectants and ultraviolet light.

        Tapper first told Birx about the fallout from the president’s comments this week, including that poison control centers across the country received so many calls they had to issue statements warning people not to use disinfectants internally.

        The host then asked Birx, “As a doctor, doesn’t that bother you that you have to even spend any time discussing this?”

    • Environment

      • UN: Consequences Remain Decades After Chernobyl Disaster

        The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2016 designating April 26 as a day to recognize the consequences of the accident. Its statement says that while progress has been made, “there is still a great deal of work that needs to be done in the affected region.”

        The United Nations says the completion of a confinement structure over the reactor most heavily damaged in the accident was a major milestone of 2019.

      • London’s Kew Gardens teach respect for nature

        This story originally appeared on CBS News, and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • Energy

        • Koch-Funded Think Tanks Are Lobbying to Send Workers to Their Deaths

          It’s no mystery what will happen if we rush to reopen the economy and send people back to work before epidemiologists say it is safe to do so. A model produced in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in March projected a worst-case scenario of 1.7 million Americans killed. Another estimate by the Imperial College London put this number at 2.2 million. We know that COVID-19, which has already taken more than 40,000 U.S. lives, is disproportionately killing African Americans. Poor people are already bearing the brunt of this crisis — and will die in even larger numbers if they are prematurely sent back to wait tables and crowd together in warehouses and factories.

        • Don’t Bail Out Oil and Gas — Use the Money for Environmental Cleanup Instead

          Despite the evidence that the fossil fuel industry in the U.S. is not profitable and basically a giant money pit, President Trump tweeted last Tuesday that he has directed his cabinet to come up with a bailout plan for the floundering industry. The announcement came on the heels of a historic plunge in crude oil that sent prices deep into the red.

        • It’s a galloping goodbye to Europe’s coal

          This story is a part of Covering Climate Now’s week of coverage focused on Climate Solutions, to mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Covering Climate Now is a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Wildfires Can Reduce Biodiversity. Can Biodiversity Be Used to Reduce Wildfires?

          Over the past several months, wildfires have burned a huge portion of Australia’s natural landscape. We’re talking almost 18 million acres of bushland, forest and national parks. This was not your typical annual wildfire. As Dieter Hochuli, an environmental sciences professor at the University of Sydney, told CNN, it should not be seen as such. “The scale of these fires is unprecedented,” said Hochuli. “There are substantial concerns about the capacity of these (ecosystems) to rebound from the fires.”

    • Finance

      • Reopening the Economy Now Will Send Us Deeper Into Hell

        As we head into the fifth month of the outbreak millions of working families feel like they have been kidnapped and sent to hell.

      • New Poll Shows Nearly 90 Percent of Democratic Voters Support Medicare for All

        A new poll showing nearly 90 percent approval among Democratic voters for Medicare for All has stirred fresh calls for Joe Biden, the party’s presumptive nominee, to end his outdated opposition to the healthcare solution that would cover all Americans at less overall cost than the current, more wasteful for-profit system.

      • The Amazon Lockdown: How an Unforgiving Algorithm Drives Suppliers to Favor the E-Commerce Giant Over Other Retailers

        During the second week of March, as the stock market and many U.S. businesses slumped, Peter Spenuzza’s company, Rise Bar, enjoyed an unexpected boost. Amazon, where the protein bars are sold, suggested Spenuzza keep 18,000 packages in its warehouses, up from the usual 4,000, based on soaring demand for almond honey and other flavors.

        Demand on Amazon, which is still close to that peak, poses a dilemma for Spenuzza. Rise Bars are also sold in grocery chains nationally. Although his Irvine, California, plant has been running at full production capacity, he didn’t have enough bars to send both to Amazon and to all the brick-and-mortar retailers who also have increased their orders. One week in March, when he ran out of stock on Amazon, its algorithm demoted his product listings in Amazon’s search results and removed his sponsored ads. Rise Bar plummeted from 2,000 to 8,000 in Amazon’s “best seller” ranking in the grocery category, allowing competitors to leapfrog him.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trumpian Reciprocity in the Era of Covid-19

        In the trumpeyed view of the world, it’s OK for the United States to send people infected with Covid-19 into other countries, but it’s not OK for people from foreign countries to enter the United States with that same infection.

      • Why Are Working People Forced to Sacrifice for the Common Good But Not the Titans of Capitalism?

        Why is it that lawmakers can order workers to stop working, and small business owners to lock their doors, but not order landlords, bankers, and Wall Street investors to also suspend their activities?

      • COVID-19 Sweeping Through Ranks of US Immigrant Farmworkers and Meatpackers

        “We work shoulder to shoulder. We’re very close to each other…. I’ve had a fever and flu symptoms, but I take Tylenol and keep working,” said María, a worker for Butterball.

      • Trump’s Loopy Kool-Aid

        The president’s wacky health panaceas won’t fool most educated Americans, but they are a danger to his many credulous supporters who see him as some sort of Christian holy prophet and follow his medical quackery.

      • Will the Coronavirus Change the World? We Must Be Very Careful How We Answer That Question

        On Gramsci’s “Interregnum” and Zizek’s very troubling ethnocentric philosophy.

      • ‘Just Calm Down,’ Says Pelosi, When Asked If She Made Tactical Error in Covid-19 Relief Fight With McConnell

        “It’s no use going on to what might have been,” said Democratic Speaker of the House on Sunday morning when asked about her legislative strategy against Republicans.

      • I’m Native and Disabled. The US Government Is Sacrificing My People.

        Sequestered away in my apartment in Washington, D.C., I listen to the sounds of construction outside my window. Despite stay-at-home orders and closures of non-essential businesses, the construction bringing gentrification and overpriced apartment buildings most D.C. residents can’t afford continues on. It’s a beautiful sunny day and I’d like to be anywhere but at my computer right now.

      • The Black Death led to the demise of feudalism. Could this pandemic have a similar effect?

        It was in the midst of this spiritual, economic and geopolitical crisis that the Black Death arrived, sweeping through Europe in 1347-1353 and upending the balance of power, almost overnight. The psychological effects are difficult to identify with any certainty, precisely because so many other calamities were already tearing at the medieval subconscious, but the economic effects of the plague were nothing short of earthshattering. By killing perhaps 50% of the labor force, the Black Death drastically altered the supply of labor, land and coin. Wages skyrocketed, as labor was in short supply, and rents declined, as the plummeting population density created a surplus of land. Both of these developments substantially benefitted commoners, at the expense of the elite, particularly in England.

        To understand why, it’s important to understand the structure of the medieval economy. Past societies are never as simple or homogenous as we make them out to be. But by and large, Medieval Europe operated on a feudal or manorial system, in which most of the rural population was essentially servile, owing rent and/or services to aristocratic landowners in exchange for the use of their land. Peasants could have myriad different statuses, but in general, the archetypal serf was legally bound to their lord — although they could buy their freedom (or run away). Serfs worked the lord’s fields (called the demesne), and in exchange, the serf was given a home and their own plot of agricultural land, from which they could eke out a living.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Coronavirus Measures Delay Yazidi Survivor’s Reunion With Family

        Following the defeat of IS physical caliphate in 2019, the Yazidi community hoped to find those kidnapped during the 2014 Sinjar massacre. Rights organizations such as the Yazidi House have since rescued dozens of Yazidis, including some victims as young as 10. However, they say about 3,000 Yazidis are still missing.

        The Yazidi House said many missing Yazidis like Laila could be held inside refugee camps across northern and eastern Syria. Finding them has remained difficult, particularly in al-Hol camp, because they fear retaliation if they expose their religious background.


        “In al-Hol camp, IS sympathizers tell Yazidis still held inside the camp not to announce their identity or they will be killed, especially when they rebuild their so-called caliphate. Many of the Yazidi survivors were taken when they were as young as 4-5 years old, and they went through IS brainwashing over the past six years,” Rasho told VOA.

    • Monopolies

      • International Settlement of Trade and Investment Disputes Over Chinese ‘Silk Road Projects’ Inside the European Union

        China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and promotion of BRI investments in more than 60 countries along the ancient territorial and maritime ‘Silk Roads’ may give rise to (1) trade disputes and WTO dispute settlement procedures; (2) investment disputes settled through China’s more than 130 BITs, ICSID or UNICITRAL arbitration proceedings; (3) financial disputes settled through bilateral negotiations, arbitration courts and other jurisdictions in China rather than through multilateral treaty institutions like the Asian IIB; (4) intellectual property disputes settled through Chinese jurisdictions (like China’s Patent office and Chinese courts) or through WTO, WIPO and other multilateral dispute settlement procedures; (5) commercial disputes settled through Chinese courts and commercial arbitration procedures, subject to various limitations of the legal admissibility of ad hoc arbitration inside China; as regards (6) maritime disputes, China refused participating in the UNCLOS arbitration initiated by the Philippines and rejected the UNCLOS arbitration award of 2016 concerning the South China Sea; as regards (7) energy trade and investment disputes, China has not yet ratified the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) providing for international state-state and investor state arbitration. Avoidance of multilateral treaties and lack of a multilateral dispute settlement approach distinguish the BRI from past US leadership for multilateral dispute settlement systems in GATT, ICSID, the WTO and regional FTAs. This contribution discusses the increasing ‘systemic rivalry’ among authoritarian, neo-liberal and ordoliberal conceptions of international economic law and the resulting legal problems in the settlement of BRI disputes inside EU countries, whose courts may not recognize arbitration awards by Chinese arbitration institutions and may hold Chinese investors accountable for disregard for human and labor rights in their BRI investment inside EU countries.

      • Asymmetric Market Failure and Prisoner’s Dilemma in Intellectual Property

        When competitors engage in unrestrained copying of each others’ intangible products, the structure can resemble a prisoner’s dilemma in which free choice leads to unnecessarily low individual payoffs and low social welfare. There are many ways to avoid these low payoffs, such as contract enforcement, direct regulation of copying behavior through IP, and direct government subsidies. All of these modes alter the payoff pattern away from prisoner’s dilemma.

        When should lawmakers place copyright law or other IP law among the prime options to consider?

        Because copyright, patent, misappropriation and the like all work through private-property markets, one key is to look for asymmetric market conditions. That is, compare the likely transaction costs and other sources of disvalue in markets without IP,and in markets with IP.

      • Patents

        • [GuestPost] The Nadorcott Case – Shifting the plant variety paradigm from a proprietary to a liability rule

          Reporting from Matera, Italy, IP lawyer Vincenzo Vinciguerra, PhD (Roberto Manno’s Weblegal) explains the decision and his interpretation on what it means for plant breeders:

          “On 19 December 2019, the CJEU ruled on the interplay between Articles 13(3) and 95 of Council Regulation (EC) n. 2100/94 – the Plant Variety Regulation in the case C-176/18, known as “Nadorcott”. The Plant Variety Regulation governs Community plant variety rights (PVRs). PVRs can be obtained for plant varieties that are distinct (distinguishable from any existing variety by at least one characteristic), uniform (in their characteristics) and stable (stably reproduces from one generation to another).

          The case in question originated in Spain. The holder of a plant variety right – namely a variety of a tangerine – sued a grower who (i) purchased and planted the tangerine variety during the “provisional period” set forth by Article 95 of the Regulation and, then (ii) harvested and marketed the fruit without obtaining authorization from the rightsholder, or paying equitable remuneration.

          Pursuant to Article 13 and Article 13(3), a PVR’s holder has no right to the harvested tangerines unless (amongst others exceptions) such material was obtained “through the unauthorized use of variety constituents of the protected variety”.

        • CVC Files Reply to Broad Opposition to CVC’s Motion to Exclude Broad Evidence

          On April 17th, CVC filed its Reply to Broad’s Opposition (filed on April 9th) to CVC’s Miscellaneous Motion No. 2 to Exclude Evidence filed (on April 2nd), in Interference No 106,155 between Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) and Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”).

          In its brief in support of its Miscellaneous Motion No. 2, CVC argued that four prior art references should not be considered by the Board because they were not cited in any of Broad’s papers; declarations from several individuals, including some of Broad’s inventors, are inadmissible as hearsay because these individuals had not been made available for deposition; and certain expert testimony fails the Supreme Court’s Daubert test for expert testimony admissibility.

        • Wanted: A Standard for Virtual Patent Marking

          Patent marking is used by patentees to provide a form of notice to the public about the existence of a patent and can increase damages awarded in cases of infringement. Historically, marking is done by listing the associated patents on the product they cover. Virtual patent marking (VPM), or web marking, offers patentees a convenient alternative to this practice by allowing patentees to place a web address, linking to a list of the associated patents, on the product instead of the static patent list. However, due to uncertainty in the legal community about proper implementation, adoption has been slow, despite broad agreement on their many advantages over traditional marking. In this article, we lay out guidelines for the proper implementation of VPMs and call for a formal standard to encourage their adoption.

        • Govt Urged to Revoke Patent for Gilead’s Potential Anti-COVID19 Drug Remdesivir

          Section 2(j) defines an ‘invention’ as “a new product or process involving an inventive step and capable of industrial application and Section 2(ja) defines an ‘inventive step’ to be a technical advance that is not obvious to a person skilled in the art. Section 3 lists out items that are not inventions for the purposes of the Act. This gives the basic criteria for patentability in India, which is a 3-step formulation that says any invention must have novelty, be non-obvious and have industrial application. Only when the patentability of the subject matter and novelty come together to form a synergistic product, a patent can be granted.

          The plea put forth by CPAA aims to establish that the Remdesivir patent application was only for a salt of a known compound, therefore lacking patentability and barred by Section 3(d) of the Patents Act which says that a new form (such as salts, esters etc.,) of a known substance that does not result in increased efficacy cannot be patented. Further, it claimed that novelty and an inventive step are lacking as the present patent has been granted for anticipated modifications of the compounds already disclosed in Remdesivir’s PCT applications and these are obvious to a person skilled in the art. With these two contentions in place, CPAA is attacking the basis of the patent granted. The plea also brings to question the Patent Office’s ability to appreciate prior art documentation in the grant of patents. We have written much about the Patent Office on our blog and a recurring theme has been the administrative shortcomings that plague the functioning of the Office and concerns regarding their examination of patents (see posts here, here and here).


          Since its inception, public interest as a ground for revocation of patents has been used twice in India in 1994 and 2012. In 1994, a process patent for producing cotton cells granted to a US Company Agracetus was revoked in order to preserve farmers’ rights and to prevent a subsequent negative impact on the Indian economy. In 2012, a controversial Avesthagen patent for treating diabetes was revoked for being prejudicial to the public. Given this precedent, the public interest claim does have a strong backing to push for the revocation of Remdesivir’s patent, given the extraordinary circumstances. Further, with many petitions across the world seeking compulsory licensing and change in the working mechanism of patent law for potential treatments for COVID-19 (for instance, see here, here and here), CPAA’s plea may only gain more traction.

          If it happens, the invocation of Section 66 will be an exercise of the executive power thus overcoming the procedural and evidentiary hurdles in exchange for expediency. However, the Central Government must then be prepared for a significant backlash and retaliation from India’s trading partners, particularly the US and Big Pharma despite the circumstances and hence must treat it as a last resort option.

          Finally, with the Indian pharma industry’s potential to produce affordable generic alternatives, the recently granted patent may come in the way of crucial efforts in the search for cheaper, more affordable treatments. For instance, there were media reports that Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories was in the works of creating a generic version of Remdesivir, which the pharma company has now denied. While there may be a plethora of reasons behind this denial, the concern over a possible patent infringement suit cannot be overlooked. To deal with such concerns effectively, there is an urgent need to address any possible barriers held up by patent law with due forethought to the consequences of policy changes.

        • German patent reform process is already over before it’s formally begun: automatic injunctions are here to stay

          In the most formalistic sense, the German patent reform process will only begin when the federal government (with the Federal Ministry of Justice having the lead on this subject) officially relays its legislative proposal to the country’s two legislative bodies, the Bundesrat (Federal Council), which could theoretically veto it (though its veto would be easily overruled) and the Bundestag (Federal Parliament). Despite the corona crisis, that’s still likely to happen before the summer hiatus.

          But in political terms, it’s game over for the pro-reform camp. (I was going to say “pro-reform forces,” but they’re far too weak to justify that label.)

          Merkel’s party, the nominally conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has already decided to support in the parliamentary process what the ministry outlined back in January (led by the junior coalition partner, the center-left Social Democratic Party). The ministry made it clear that it merely sought to clarify the law as it stands, and leading German patent litigators have confirmed this blog’s analysis that it won’t change anything, or only have minimal impact at best (which took some of the pro-reform people weeks or months to understand, and some are so analytically challenged that they haven’t even grasped it by now and probably never will). The CDU definitely wants to preserve Germany’s system of (near-)automatic patent injunctions across all industries regardless of complaints by automotive and other companies over a dysbalance. Only extreme cases that legally qualify as abuse should give rise to further analysis; contrary to Article 3 of the EU’s Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive, the CDU opposes a mandatory proportionality analysis.

          I can’t provide verbatim quotes here because of a request to treat certain statements confidential, though a WebEx conference call with two members of parliament, three parliamentary advisers, and about two dozen industry representatives on the line is a semi-public event on the bottom line, as the organizers well recognized. (Their insistence on a somewhat confidential treatment is undemocratic at best, unconstitutional at worst.)

          The “debate” is now about minor editorial changes that won’t impact the outcome of a significant number of cases and, therefore, won’t put defendants in a better position when negotiating settlements.


          Where things stand now, any pro-reform advocacy is futile. No one can help a bunch of misguided companies that obsequiously thank their government for backing mostly foreign patent trolls and failed businesses increasingly reliant upon a troll-like business model. I had actually started to prepare an initative but decided to fold it before it got off the ground because it’s pointless under the circumstances, and I have more exciting and promising things to do, part of which you’ll read about soon. That said, I will continue to comment on the process, but this blog was never intended to influence German politics–as its language demonstrates.

        • Software Patents

          • China dominates global blockchain patent applications

            China took the lead in blockchain-based patent applications in 2019, according to a joint report from Chinese outlet IPR Daily and global patent database IncoPat. The report revealed that China has managed to secure seven of the top ten spots—including the first, second, and third—in the global ranks for blockchain patent applications.

          • WeBank Tops the 2019 Global Banking Patents Rankings
          • Is COVID-19 a Nietzschean moment for trademarks and brands?

            This Kat had the luxury of studying medieval history for his first degree, before being tasked with finding a path to gainful employment. One of the highlights was a session on the Black Death (1347-1351), which reportedly killed between 30%-60% of the population in Europe. What remains with this Kat as part of the session was reading (ever so painfully) a portion of Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and learning how the Black Death, in depleting European’s available work force, helped bring about the end of feudalism (who was left to work on the manor?)

            The lesson of the Black Death amidst the Corona crisis is that plagues and pandemics can result in big changes to the way we live. And while the Corona-induced impact on IP will likely not rise to the level of the decline of medieval feudalism [Merpel notes: “I hope that you are right about that”], it is still worth considering how COVID-19 may affect the role of trademarks and brands. It is suggested that it will do so by making dominant brands only stronger, maybe for the better, maybe not so much so.

          • Interview: California judge says lawyers should ‘simplify science for complex cases’

            Judge Philip Gutierrez at the Central District of California tells Managing IP about how much he has enjoyed working on patent cases and what he likes to see from litigators in court


            In this situation, “death” is not the obliteration but the diminution in status. Imagine the following: “Disney, an Apple company”. No doubt who would be seen as the superstar company and the superstar brand, should such an acquisition come to pass. Assets are not redeployed but are still being exploited to strengthen the brand of the acquirer at the expense of the acquired entity.

            More morbidly, consider that, at least in my country, COVID-19 deaths in senior citizen facilities do not seem until now to have occurred when they are wholly in private hands and operation. Whatever the reason, when the inevitable scramble will be on to try and attract new residents after the crisis passes, will these privately-owned facilities choose to leverage and strengthen their brand strength by reference to such mortality data?

            So maybe it is already the time to ponder whether such a Nietzschean moment will cast its shadow on the future of trademarks and branding.

      • Trademarks

        • TTAB Won’t Give Valentino ‘Rockstud Spike’ TM

          The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board is refusing to let Italian fashion house Valentino SpA register its signature “Rockstud Spike” as a trademark, ruling that “Spike” simply describes the designer’s stud-covered products.

          In a ruling Wednesday, the board said that the name — used on Valentino’s popular pyramid-studded shoes and handbags — could not be registered as a trademark unless the designer waived or “disclaimed” all rights to the term “Spike” by itself.

          The board said it’s the kind of “merely descriptive” term that one designer cannot monopolize.

      • Copyrights

        • Anti-Piracy Lawyer Offers to Withdraw Twitter Complaint Against Popcorn Time in Exchange for a Settlement

          A Hawaiian anti-piracy lawyer, who represents several prominent movie companies, has presented Popcorn Time with a deal. After first offering a license to use the Popcorn Time trademark, he proposed a $4,900 ‘settlement’ “not to sue,” payable in Bitcoin. To sweeten the deal, the attorney also promised to unsuspend Popcorn Time’s Twitter account, provided that the app removes the movies of his other clients.

        • Using CC Licenses and Tools to Share and Preserve Cultural Heritage in the Face of Climate Change

          Heavy rainfalls, floods, rising sea levels, untamable wildfires, droughts, and other calamities are some of the dire consequences of climate change, possibly one of the greatest challenges of our time. Besides the disastrous impacts on the environment and biodiversity, climate change also poses significant threats to cultural heritage the world over, in both direct and indirect ways.

        • Anti-Piracy Outfit Looking For ‘Ethical Hacker’ to Reverse Engineer Pirate Technologies

          As pirates probe loopholes and develop code to deliver copyrighted content to the masses, anti-piracy groups are working hard to mitigate the threat. To that end, anti-piracy group Rights Alliance is currently seeking an ethical hacker or cybersecurity expert to reverse engineer pirate technologies so that their functionality can be explained to both the authorities and judges alike.

In a World Where Free Software Is Considered Standard Remote Work Will Become the Norm

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Also, there are benefits to the environment. Why is it called “remote work” anyway? It’s not remote! You’re home!

What they want us to think work at the office looks like and... what clients think remote work looks like

Summary: The workplace will be better off when we all quit the charade of wealth and breadth; companies that force all employees to work in a single place (even for jobs that don’t strictly require it) are stuck in the past, milking a bygone era

I very rarely write about my professional and personal life because some people try to contact my boss, hoping to cause me trouble (since 2005), and things I write about my personal life are likely to be misframed and mischaracterised to smear me, respectively. So I generally don’t say much about my daily routines here (I opened up a bit in 2017 in this interview). I try to focus on the issues, leaving little room for personal attacks.

“I try to focus on the issues, leaving little room for personal attacks.”The same is true for my wife, who rarely divulges personal details online; we don’t use Facebook or anything like it and I last updated LinkedIn with work-related information some time back in 2006 (when a colleague convinced me to create an account there).

So anyway, don’t expect me to open up too much. It’s bad enough that some British university decided to intimidate someone who wanted to participate in Techrights by basically defaming me, based on distortion of things from 15 years ago. All I will say is that my remote work history is very long. In 2000 or 2001 I started working in the dormitories, offering technical support for computers (I had acquired experience as a teenager) and I could do so within the Halls of Residence without having some truly central office. In 2007 when I stopped much of my practical Ph.D. work (including thesis) I started working more and more from home. In 2010 I was allowed to work as a postdoc as a mostly but not entirely remote worker (with occasional visits to the department, either once a week or several times a year). That went on until 2012 and in 2011 I already started working from home, offering Free software support services — again having to only visit the company’s office a few times a year. In recent years I barely even visit the office anymore. I last went there a year ago (signing some papers) and this was probably the only time in about 3 years. I know that remote work is very much possible. I’ve done it in one form or another for nearly 2 decades.

“Proprietary software companies have long used “happy faces” marketing and “windmills” BS in brochure about their Clown Computing or whatever buzzword clueless, nontechnical decision-making suits happen to fancy that month/year, based on magazines composed and collated by other clueless, nontechnical publishers.”One thing that has always been clear to me is that clients’ perception of the workforce (are they supervised and are they trained?) played a big role in that old assumption that people need to come inward and produce outward from glass-and-metal cages which are neither welcoming nor respectful of basic human dignity. People over your shoulder causing additional stress won’t improve productivity, especially in jobs that require concentration and minimal interruption/interference (such as debugging of code).

Proprietary software companies have long used “happy faces” marketing and “windmills” BS in brochure about their Clown Computing or whatever buzzword clueless, nontechnical decision-making suits happen to fancy that month/year, based on magazines composed and collated by other clueless, nontechnical publishers.

I say, to hell with those buzzwords and hype waves; enough with your stupid marketing, which is only a drain on companies’ budget (not to mention lawyers and sometimes even accountants). For companies to become and remain competitive they need to be lean and not mean. Respect workers, don’t bully them (neither physically nor mentally; the two things are related because diet, health and mood are closely connected). Focus on technical work; it is the heart and soul of technical companies, which is what most if not all Free software firms are. Proprietary software has long relied on lies, aggressive marketing, sometimes even bribery (there are special teams if not departments dedicated to just that).

“I still believe that society as well as workplaces will become more humane when Free software is the de facto standard everywhere; it’s not only about Freedom (libre) of code but also the Freedom of workers.”Now that many people are either forced to work from home or stay home (unemployed) the subject is worth bringing up. We need to leave behind us the nonsensical burden which not only harms the environment but also manifests itself in the form of telemarketing, overstressed workers, and workers who contract flu or pneumonia while commuting or eating next to a colleague they neither like nor really need to interact with. I’m not an introvert. I’m not extrovert either. But I am very practical and I know that a 4-hour trip to the office is rarely necessary, not to mention the carbon footprint.

I still believe that society as well as workplaces will become more humane when Free software is the de facto standard everywhere; it’s not only about Freedom (libre) of code but also the Freedom of workers. There’s definitely a connection between those things. All the code I’ve ever worked on is Free software (it’s against my principles to keep code secret) and each time I worked from 9 to 5 (not much in my adult life, unlike teenage years) I got a taste of what most people are compelled to go through on a daily basis. This is about as sustainable for personal health as it is for the economy itself. The economy isn’t doing too well, is it? Well, maybe it’s time to rethink how we work. Just my 50 pence…

“Proprietary software types like to assess people’s value based on their perceived wealth, i.e. what kind of things they’ve bought and collected — in the same way many assess the quality or value of a company based on the looks of its office, the furnishing, where it is based (the more expensive, the better?) and so on, spurring a culture of over-consumption and over-spending.”Can I take the train journey to the office with 50 pence? The last time I purchased tickets to travel the rail fare was literally twice that of a flight. Time for Richard Branson and the likes of him to declare bankruptcy and time for public transport too… to be rethought. I last owned a car almost 2 decades ago. I can cycle to most places and save myself maintenance headaches (and fees) associated with car ownership. But that perhaps is a topic for another day and a different post. Yes, people who can drive and choose not to own a car aren’t inferior. Proprietary software types like to assess people’s value based on their perceived wealth, i.e. what kind of things they’ve bought and collected — in the same way many assess the quality or value of a company based on the looks of its office, the furnishing, where it is based (the more expensive, the better?) and so on, spurring a culture of over-consumption and over-spending.

“Do you have a lawyer?”

“Oh, glad you asked! We have a whole in-house department of them!”

Now, how about that for corporate productivity?

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, April 26, 2020

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



#techrights log

#boycottnovell log



#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Running GNU/Linux With a Top Process Controlled by Microsoft and Far Too Many Lines of Code

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 12:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In February 2014, musls Rich Felker opined that PID 1 is too special, should be 10 lines of code and not require reboot on upgrade. PID 1 should only start the real init script, and reap zombie processes. All the functionality of systemd then can be provided by the init script and programs run from it. PID 1 so has only a small attack surface, and user level programs can evolve diversly.”Wikipedia on “Broken by design: systemd”

When you study systemd code; What they tell you systemd does

Summary: Bloated programs may be very feature-rich (plenty of decent features); but what happens when systems that are supposedly Free (libre) become far too complicated to break apart and study, modify, and fork? Exercising one’s software freedom certainly becomes harder and it’s a support contract lock-in (high exit barriers due to “features” or complexity creep)

THE systemd project, controlled primarily by IBM and hosted by/developed on a Microsoft proprietary software trap, is something that merits at least scepticism if not criticism and condemnation, regardless of whom (person/s and company/ies) it was developed by.

“Systemd is well over a million lines of code! Watch the file count: over 36,000!”Nothing should be above criticism, we’re not a cult and Free software is not a religion (it was founded by an Atheist). This morning I decided to check just how massive systemd had gotten, knowing that it adds far more lines than it removes (many also get removed, which makes keeping abreast of this project close to impossible and studying security impact truly impractical). This is why Techrights is moving away from systemd and has partly done that already.

Based on this tool (hijacked by Microsoft of course, seeing a monopoly that wasn’t its own), this is how bloated systemd became:

systemd size

Oh, look… it’s so bloated that the program gets stuck and never executes until exhaustion (except of resources/timeout). It didn’t expect projects to become so massive. Systemd is well over a million lines of code! Watch the file count: over 36,000! Here’s the output as an attachment (this list alone is a 1.3 MB text file).

As we wrote this morning, eventually we hope to use no virtual machines and no systemd, either. We have our own, self-hosted Git server (not GitHub) and code we’ll eventually share publicly. The code we have is short and functional; it does the job with not even a thousand lines of code. Simple programs are generally superior and are considered more elegant than messy programs with endless flaws and massive technical debt. That’s what many things became, perhaps because it’s conveniently assumed that security doesn’t really matter and old computers should just be retired. This is increasingly the mentality in “Linux”, unlike say in OpenBSD.

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