Evidence of Profound European Patent Office Corruption in Official Journal 4/2020

Posted in Deception, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 5:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What was supposed to be “Best of Europe” (scientists) has become a reckless printing house governed by a kind of “Mafia”

EPO annual 'results'; European Patents in courts

Summary: The EPO is serving the private businesses of former officials and its special partner Microsoft, to which many EPO services are nowadays being illegally outsourced (pandemic as an excuse for breaking the law with no hesitations or qualms)

ANY workers of the European Patent Office (EPO) who are still not angry at their management have clearly not been paying attention. The media certainly looks the other way (some journalists tell me that COVID-19 is their latest excuse for the ‘blind eye’ treatment) whilst EPO management robs the staff, robs Europe, plunders its own treasury for gambling purposes and then lies to everyone while violating just about every law in the book. It is truly astounding. We never knew Europe would tolerate such a thing! We still write a lot about the EPO because there are many scandals to keep abreast of. And almost nobody else covers these anymore. Blogs like IP Kat nowadays actively participate in the cover-up by publishing EPO puff pieces, promoting EPO lies, linking to EPO press releases and deleting comments that highlight EPO abuses. We don’t even mention all the examples here anymore (too many of them). The ‘Kat’ logo is the same, but many things have changed. How astonishing a turnaround.

The EPO’s own communications staff keeps working from ‘templates’ (varying or shuffling mostly the stock photography which accompanies tweets). It is posting short-sighted and poorly-planned tweets like this new one that says: “In this webinar we will present the emergence of #blockchain-related technologies in terms of #patenting activity.”

“We still write a lot about the EPO because there are many scandals to keep abreast of. And almost nobody else covers these anymore.”When “blockchain” is mentioned by EPO managers it is often about illegal software patents illegally being granted in Europe, by the EPO's very own admission (35 U.S.C. § 101 is being bypassed using this same hype wave too). EPO staff is presented with a painful dilemma: break the law or lose your job. Examination guidelines presented by the USPTO a year ago and by the EPO half a year ago seek to compel examiners to allow software patents, even if courts (and the EPC) forbid these. Hours ago the EPO tweeted: “Inventions in #digitalcommunication – whether mobile networks or the internet – make it possible for us to stay connected, work efficiently and live safer and healthier lives. In 2019 the EPO saw a sharp rise in patent applications in this field (+20%).”

The supposed ‘growth’ comes from software patents and for those who missed it, EPO management (Philpott et al) nowadays disguises illegal patents on algorithms using "digi" something (including “digitalisation”). The people who decide on those things aren’t even technical in that particular field. Philpott came from the Army, as did other EPO managers. It’s more like a Mafia than a scientific (in nature) institution and many EPO insiders are well aware of it and speak about it among themselves/one another. We’re familiar with much of the “Office gossip…”

“It’s more like a Mafia than a scientific (in nature) institution and many EPO insiders are well aware of it and speak about it among themselves/one another.”In any event, the EPO nowadays likes to associate with Trump’s ‘wunderkind’ (child prodigy) who seeks to re-allow illegal patents to fake ‘growth’, just like at the EPO. Joined in their attack on patent quality, by deliberately ignoring courts and granting fake patents, the USPTO and EPO have just issued this joint statement [1, 2] (warning: the second one is an epo.org link, which means they can quite likely track clicks and who’s clicking).

The EPO’s and the USPTO’s patent spinners have just posted an old photo of of António Campinos and Andrei Iancu (no masks or gloves); two patent maximalists who serve litigation firms at scientists’ expense…

The EPO wrote: “Together with the @USPTO we stand united in supporting innovators and all those involved in pioneering research, who are essential for the recovery of our economies and societies in such challenging times.”

Actually, the EPO awarded/glorified the very people whose frauds and whose patents are now being used against COVID-19 research. Pay attention to what happened about a month ago with patents of Theranos, after they had been passed to trolls. The EPO gave Theranos a superstar treatment, helping to increase the valuation of a massive fraud.

“Actually, the EPO awarded/glorified the very people whose frauds and whose patents are now being used against COVID-19 research.”Then, retweeted by EPO folks was this USPTO tweet that said: “To support innovation during this crisis, the USPTO and the EPO stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the innovation community.” Read the joint message from the #USPTO and @EPOorg…”

They mean litigation ‘community’ (it’s not a community), not “innovation community.”

These shallow lies fool nobody. Nobody serious anyway…

Hours ago the EPO again pretended to value SMEs. It’s that same old sponsored ‘study’, mentioned repeatedly for a number of years to invert narratives/perceptions; The EPO harms SMEs and innovators. It serves monopolists and law firms that represent those. That’s very easy to see based on the leaked documents; they almost spell it out loud!

Hours ago the EPO tweeted: “You can read the criteria by which proposals for our Academic Research Programme will be rated here…”

“Rated based on how good the so-called ‘research’ would be to the toxic agenda of an EPO coup by litigation fanatics,” I responded to them. “This corrupts academia,” I added.

“It’s rewarding frauds that attack French COVID-19 researchers in the French-hosted festivals (exploited by the EPO’s managers to falsely associate with real scientists); it also bribes media, it bribes scholars…”The EPO basically became a propaganda machine that intimidates journalists, threatens bloggers, bribes publishers (media) and even bribes academia. It was supposed to be a granting authority dealing with patents, but look what it has become. It’s rewarding frauds that attack French COVID-19 researchers in the French-hosted festivals (exploited by the EPO’s managers to falsely associate with real scientists); it also bribes media, it bribes scholars..

We have not written much on this subject, but the EPO is helping coronavirus in its long fight against Europe; those patents of Theranos, which we mentioned above, nowadays attack COVID-19 researchers in courts, even virtual ones. They cannot focus on their job because of it.

And those aren’t even the biggest scandals. The bigger scandals right now are being hidden using a crisis. The scandals aren’t being reported on, except by us (to the extent sources can help us).

“For updates on the measures we are taking at the Office in the current COVID-19 crisis,” the EPO wrote earlier. They say nothing about the outsourcing to Microsoft — an issue we’ll come to in a moment. They just allude to remote services and all. “The EPO Academy provides free-of-charge distance learning courses taught by experts in intellectual property,” says one new tweet, linking to a dubious page. The very top of this list is promotion of illegal software patents (which are being granted in Europe because of buzzwords).

More about the whole remote work ‘thing’ was published this week, but few people will notice it. That’s inside a PDF.

“It seems very much apparent that the EPO is shamelessly pushing Microsoft’s OOXML (proprietary format with vendor lock-in, security issues and so on) instead of vendor-neutral open standards.”“The Official Journal 4/2020 is now available online,” the EPO tweeted today. It does so once in a few months, but this latest one (warning: epo.org link) has a few gems in it. First of all, a shallow dive into the Web page alone (not the PDF).

It seems very much apparent that the EPO is shamelessly pushing Microsoft’s OOXML (proprietary format with vendor lock-in, security issues and so on) instead of vendor-neutral open standards. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has done the same thing, looking to penalise those who are not paying Microsoft any money. Yes, it’s like USPTO works for Microsoft [1, 2], forcing people to become Microsoft customers, passing around documents only other Microsoft customers can view ‘properly’ (even Microsoft refuses to follow or adhere to its own specifications!). To quote:

Definition of “DOCX” under Article 4 of the decision of the Vice-President Legal and International Affairs of the European Patent Office (Directorate-General 5) dated 21 April 2020 concerning the conditions for participating in the pilot project for Online Filing 2.0

DOCX means OOXML. Those who aren’t becoming customers of Microsoft will ‘miss out’…

It comes amid another scandal, one that involved an illegal (violation of EPC) outsourcing to Microsoft Skype. It’s even there in the journal, again sans the foreign monopolist’s name:

Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 1 April 2020 concerning oral proceedings by videoconference before examining divisions

Notice from the European Patent Office dated 1 April 2020 concerning oral proceedings and interviews to be held by videoconference

Decision of the President of the European Patent Office dated 14 April 2020 concerning the pilot project for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions

Notice from the European Patent Office dated 14 April 2020 concerning the pilot project for oral proceedings by videoconference before opposition divisions

And if that’s not bad enough, we’re seeing more CIEPI ads again, just like years ago [1, 2].

António Campinos is sending business to Benoît Battistelli, just like he’s promoting Željko Topić's private business despite lack of qualifications. It’s corrupt, but here they go again:

CEIPI seminars for the EQE pre-examination 2021
CEIPI – European qualifying examination 2021 (“main examination”)
CEIPI/epi – Basic training in European patent law

We could go on and on elaborating on why it’s unethical as well as illegal, but the EPO’s management recognises neither ethics nor law. The only law is, the management does whatever it wants. Behaviour such as this is typically expected from the Kremlin or the Communist Party of China; EPOnia is no better.

Links 30/4/2020: Modernizing AutoYaST, Mesa 20.1 RC and /e/-Fairphone 3

Posted in News Roundup at 4:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.5 vs. 5.6 vs. 5.7 Kernel Benchmarks With The Intel Core i9 10980XE

        Besides those systems now seeing Schedutil by default as the CPU frequency scaling governor and some Radeon gaming performance gains to note, the performance of Linux 5.7 in our testing thus far has largely been on track with Linux 5.6 stable.

        Linux 5.7 brings many new features while the performance overall is largely similar to that of Linux 5.6 sans any hardware-specific work.

      • Intel Announces 10th Gen Core S-Series CPUs, Led By The Core i9 10900K
      • Intel reveals brand new desktop processors along with their Core i9-10900K flagship
      • The integrity policy enforcement security module

        There are many ways to try to keep a system secure. One of those, often employed in embedded or other dedicated-purpose systems, is to try to ensure that only code that has been approved (by whoever holds that power over the system in question) can be executed. The secure boot mechanism, which is intended to keep a computer from booting anything but a trusted kernel, is one piece of this puzzle, but its protection only extends through the process of booting the kernel itself. Various mechanisms exist for protecting a system after it boots; a new option for this stage is the Integrity Policy Enforcement (IPE) security module, posted by Deven Bowers.
        IPE is one of a new generation of security modules that has been enabled by the ongoing work to implement module stacking. It does not attempt to provide a full security enforcement mechanism like SELinux, AppArmor, or Smack do; instead, it focuses specifically on the task of vetting attempts to execute code. And, in particular, its enforcement mechanism comes down to a simple question: does the code that the system is proposing to execute come from an appropriately signed disk volume?

        IPE is designed to work with dm-verity, which provides integrity checking for block devices. Each dm-verity volume has a root hash, which is derived from the hashes of the individual blocks in that volume. Whenever blocks are read from this volume, the hashes are checked up to the root to ensure that nothing has been tampered with. Assuming everything is working as intended, the data read from a dm-verity volume is guaranteed to be the data that the creator put there and hashed, with no subsequent tampering.

        While dm-verity can be used to ensure that nobody has corrupted a disk image, there are still a couple of pieces missing when it comes to ensuring the integrity of the system as a whole. One is ensuring that the root hash for the volume is the one that the creator of the volume intended; that can be done by either storing the hash value separately or applying a cryptographic signature. Even a verified, integrity-protected volume is only of limited use, though, if the system is able to execute code that doesn’t come from that volume.

      • How to unbreak LTTng

        Back in February, the kernel community discussed the removal of a couple of functions that could be used by loadable modules to gain access to symbols (functions and data structures) that were not meant to be available to them. That change was merged during the 5.7 merge window. This change will break a number of external modules that depended on the removed functions; since many of those modules are proprietary, this fact does not cause a great deal of anguish in the kernel community. But there are a few out-of-tree modules with GPL-compatible licenses that are also affected by this change; one of those is LTTng. Fixing LTTng may not be entirely straightforward.
        LTTng is a tracing subsystem; to carry out that sort of task, it must be able to hook into the kernel in a number of fairly deep places. It is unsurprising that LTTng was accessing parts of the kernel that are not deemed suitable for export to modules in general. Losing access to kallsyms_on_each_symbol() deprived LTTng of the ability to find those addresses, thus breaking much of its functionality. That is not welcome news to those who work on — or use — LTTng.

        LTTng developer Mathieu Desnoyers has responded to this change with a patch series exporting a number of new symbols; with those available, LTTng can do what it needs to do without using the rather more general kallsyms_on_each_symbol() function. For example, LTTng needs access to stack_trace_save_user() to be able to save user-space stack traces. It also needs access to functions like task_prio(), disk_name(), and get_pfn_blocks_mask(). LTTng obtains kernel information from tracepoints as well, of course, and that usage will increase as tracepoints replace some of the direct internal accesses that were used before. The patch set raises the number of arguments that can be passed to a BPF program from a tracepoint to an eye-opening 13 (to allow more information to be passed out via a specific tracepoint), but that change may prove to be unnecessary in the end.

      • Proactive compaction for the kernel

        Many applications benefit significantly from the use of huge pages. However, huge-page allocations often incur a high latency or even fail under fragmented memory conditions. Proactive compaction may provide an effective solution to these problems by doing memory compaction in the background. With my proposed proactive compaction implementation, typical huge-page allocation latencies are reduced by a factor of 70-80 while incurring minimal CPU overhead.

        Memory compaction is a feature of the Linux kernel that makes larger, physically contiguous blocks of free memory available. Currently, the kernel uses an on-demand compaction scheme. Whenever a per-node kcompactd thread is woken up, it compacts just enough memory to make available a single page of the needed size. Once a page of that size is made available, the thread goes back to sleep. This pattern of compaction often causes a high latency for higher-order allocations and hurts performance for workloads that need to burst-allocate a large number of huge pages.

        Experiments where compaction is manually triggered on a system with a fragmented memory state show that it could be brought to a fairly compacted memory state within one second for a 32GB system. Such data suggests that a proactive compaction scheme in the kernel could allow allocating a significant fraction of memory as huge pages while keeping allocation latencies low.

      • Graphics Stack

        • mesa 20.1.0-rc1
          I'd like to announce the first release candidate of the 20.1 branch,
          Mesa 20.1.0-rc1.
          Please test it, and report any issues you might find to:
          We also have a GitLab milestone to track issues that need to be fixed
          and MRs that need to be merged before 20.1.0 final. Please add it to
          the relevant issues & MRs:
          The next release candidate is scheduled for 7 days from now, on
        • Mesa 20.1 Feature Development Ends With RC1 Released

          Mesa 20.1 feature development is now over with it being branched from Git master and subsequently Mesa 20.1-RC1 being released this evening.

          Mesa 20.1 is the Q2’2020 update to this collection of open-source graphics drivers, predominantly Vulkan and OpenCL driver implementations for the likes of not only Intel, Radeon, and Nouveau (NVIDIA) graphics but also Arm/SoC graphics drivers as well.

        • X.Org Board Elections Wrap Up For 2020

          They join existing X.Org board members Samuel Iglesias Gonsálvez [Igalia], Manasi D Navare [Intel], Lyude Paul [Red Hat], and Daniel Vetter [Intel]. Of the new members, three of them previously served with Collabora’s Mark Filion being new to the foundation’s board.

          The X.Org Board of Directors is principally responsible for organizing the annual XDC developer conference, overseeing the X.Org Endless Vacation of Code and their usual participation within the Google Summer of Code, arranging sponsorships and travel reimbursements and other finances under the SPI, and related matters like their skyrocketing cloud costs associated with the X.Org/FD.o CI.

        • AMD AOMP 11.5 Released For OpenMP Offloading To Radeon GPUs

          Released on Wednesday was AOMP 11.5 as the latest version of the AMD/ROCm compiler based off LLVM Clang and focused on OpenMP offloading to Radeon GPUs.

          AOMP is part of the ROCm umbrella for Radeon OpenMP device offloading. This is a branched version of upstream LLVM Clang that recently was re-based to LLVM 11 development code and thus the version number for AOMP.

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q2.2 Flips On The Pipeline Binary Cache, Tunes SoTR Performance

          AMDVLK 2020.Q2.2 has been issued today as the company’s latest open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver based off their official driver source tree.

          With this second AMDVLK driver snapshot of Q2-2020, there are a few notable changes in tow. The AMDVLK pipeline binary cache has been enabled by default for helping with load times. AMDVLK also now supports the Vulkan memory protected bit (VK_MEMORY_PROPERTY_PROTECTED_BIT). This driver update has also seen more performance optimization work around the few month old Linux port of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

        • Service process and out of process compositing in Monado

          Moving all drivers and the compositor to the service process brings many advantages to the previous in-process model. For this input and rendering needed to be sent over our new IPC infrastructure. With a separate render loop, now independent of the OpenXR client, the compositor can provide a constant frame rate, even when the application doesn’t deliver frames on time. This is required and the foundation of future reprojection work, where old frames can be transformed with new tracking data for a smoother experience if the client lags behind. In addition, the obvious advantage of an out of process compositor is that the compositor can be started asynchronously to the application and run on its own without any application. This is also required for running multiple clients in the future and for implementing OpenXR extensions like XR_EXTX_overlay.

          Amongst other small improvements to the compositor we improved support for direct mode on NVIDIA by recognizing more display identifiers like the Valve Index and the Oculus Rift series of HMDs.

        • Open-source OpenXR runtime for Linux ‘Monado’ gets an improved compositor – runs Blender VR

          Those crazy-smart folks over at Collabora have continued hacking away on Monado, a fully open source OpenXR (VR / AR standard) runtime for Linux. Now it’s progressed quite far and it can run Blender VR.

          A refresher on Monado: Monado is the first OpenXR runtime for GNU/Linux. Monado hopes to jump-start development of an open source XR ecosystem and provide the fundamental building blocks for device vendors to target the GNU/Linux platform.
          Writing on the Collabora development blog, engineer Lubosz Sarnecki mentioned that Monado now has a “new monado-service binary and out of process compositor” which brings several advantages over the original in-process model. It now has a separate render loop, with the compositor now being able to provide a constant frame rate “even when the application doesn’t deliver frames on time”. Something that’s absolutely vital to produce a smoother experience and help prevent nausea.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Fantasy turn-based tactical battler with fun physics ‘Fort Triumph’ released DRM-free on GOG

        Fort Triumph released with full Linux support recently and it’s a really great turn-based tactics game, especially with the way you can interact with the environment. It’s also now live on GOG.

        The GOG release thankfully isn’t too long after the Steam release earlier this month (April 16), and I’ve been having an absolute blast with it. You can see our previous release article on Fort Triumph here. Mixing together tactical turn-based combat, where you can drop trees on people or kick them into each other and set off some amusing physics chain-reactions with world exploration like seen in Heroes of Might and Magic. Together, it’s quite an enticing and fun mix.

      • Kemonomimi themed 2D RPG ‘LandTraveller’ adds more story content in the latest update

        LandTraveller is a sweet 2D RPG where you assume the role of a Kemonomimi, a race of people with animal-like ears. Currently in Early Access it recently had quite a large update.

        What actually is it? See a constructive world from a new perspective. Customize, battle, and grow with deep action RPG elements. Play through a story or explore with friends. Search for lost knowledge and rare material to craft powerful equipment. Challenge the powerful enemies waiting for you deep inside the dungeons. Invite NPC citizens to join your cave or village. Discover your inner beast and realize your full potential!

      • Modding Terraria on Steam is about to get easier with tModLoader and later Steam Workshop for it

        Along with the upcoming release of the massive Terraria: Journey’s End free expansion, Re-Logic have announced the popular open source modding tool tModLoader will be available on Steam.

        What exactly is it? tModLoader is an API for Terraria that provides a way to create and load mods without having to work with Terraria’s source code directly. This means you can easily make mods that are compatible with other mods and save yourself the trouble of having to decompile then recompile the game.

      • Assassin’s Creed Valhalla announced, will release on Stadia but no Steam release (EGS)

        Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has been formally announced by Ubisoft, and it’s confirmed to be coming to Stadia so you will be able to stream it on Linux at release. For those of you hoping to grab it on Steam to play with Steam Play Proton, you’re in for some disappointment there as it’s going to the Epic Games Store instead. At least with Stadia, there’s still a way to play right away.

        More: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla throws players axe-first into ninth-century England, an age of warring kingdoms and Viking conquest. As Eivor, a fierce Viking raider, you’ll lead your clan to build a new home amid England’s fractured dominions.

      • Streets of Rage 4 to be playable on Linux at release with Steam Play Proton

        Streets of Rage 4 is a classic beat ‘em up series revived thanks to Dotemu, Guard Crush Games and Lizardcube that releases today. It’s also going to be playable on Linux.

        While it won’t currently offer official support from the development team for Linux, it appears they have given their backing to Valve and CodeWeavers for Steam Play Proton—the compatibility layer for Linux based on Wine. On Twitter, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais mentioned that the Streets of Rage 4 developers actually provided pre-release keys for Proton development. Thanks to that, Streets of Rage 4 will work “out of the box” with Proton 5.0-7 which is currently in Release Candidate stage and you can opt into it now.

      • Tough Early Access turn-based RPG ‘Stoneshard’ is now DRM-free on GOG

        DRM-free and a Linux build, wonderful. Today the challenging and engrossing turn-based RPG, Stoneshard, has arrived on GOG. This Early Access title has been available on Linux officially since February with it being on Steam already.

        What is it? Stoneshard is a challenging turn-based RPG set in an open world. Experience the unforgiving life of a medieval mercenary: travel across the war-torn kingdom, fulfill contracts, fight, mend your wounds and develop your character without any restrictions.

      • Upcoming slavic fantasy adventure ‘The End of the Sun’ has a first proper gameplay video

        The End of the Sun is an upcoming fantasy adventure game with a slavic theme and now there’s a first proper gameplay video, along with some developer commentary. Due to run a Kickstarter campaign, they’ve also now announced that’s going to be launching on May 6.

        What is it? The End of the Sun is a first-person exploration and adventure game, where the story has the most important meaning, as it is set in the world of Slavic rites, beliefs, legends, and their everyday life. It is a series of mysterious events that ordinary people dealt with, as they were living in a small village where the line between myth and reality began to fade perilously.
        When it comes to the actual story, it does sound very intriguing and mysterious. You play as the Ashter (Volhv), someone who has the ability to travel through time. You’re following a secretive fugitive and while doing so, you come across an empty village.

      • If you have the retro gaming itch RetroPie 4.6 is out with support for the Raspberry Pi 4

        RetroPie bundles together multiple other projects together like the EmulationStation interface, RetroArch and more to give you an easy way to get your retro gaming fix. Now more of you can enjoy it. As of RetroPie 4.6 announced this week, it now supports the Raspberry Pi 4. Considering the RPi 4 is a stronger device, it can run games even better.

        If you’ve never used RetroPie it supports quite a lot of old systems including my old personal favourites the Amiga and the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) amongst a great many others.

        The thing is, they update the system constantly and you don’t need to download fresh images but they do put new full images out every so often, giving Raspberry Pi 4 support was a good excuse for them to do so. You can install RetroPie on any Linux system, or download their pre-built images for something like the RPi which is built upon Raspbian (a Debian Linux-based distro).

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Modernizing AutoYaST

          YaST2 is a venerable project that has been around for more than 20 years now. It keeps evolving and, with every SUSE and openSUSE release, it takes several new features (and a couple of new bugs). Needlessly to say that, to some extent, YaST2 is showing its age. We are aware of it, and we have been working to tackle this problem. The successful rewrite of the storage layer, which brought many features, is an example we can feel proud of.

          Now that the development of SLE 15 SP2 and openSUSE Leap 15.2 features is mostly done, we have started to look to AutoYaST. The purpose of this article is to present our initiative to modernize AutoYaST.

        • Discuss, Define and be Transparent with the openSUSE-Community

          The SUSE Linux Enterprise Team is acknowledging the openSUSE community needs for a better and transparent collaboration with SUSE. We have now a momentum to think and be different.

          The symbiosis between SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE is real, we share so much more than just code, we use the same tools like Open Build Service, openQA, similar maintenance processes, people (Release Managers, contributors, etc) and more.

          We might have been a bit quiet in the past but that doesn’t mean we didn’t evolve; over the years, we have created more bonds like Package Hub, foster our contribution with SLE Factory First Policy for SUSE employees and our Technology Partners, be more accessible during our development phase with the SLE Public Beta Program, just to name a few examples.

          But now we have a momentum to accelerate, especially with regard to being more transparent with our defects and feature requests for the benefit of the openSUSE distribution and community. So we heard you, and today we want to clarify and improve processes, for all of us, and give some inputs on SUSE internal discussions about kicking out the so called “closed doors”.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Linux laptops: Lenovo is going to sell these ThinkPads with Fedora preinstalled

          Rejoice Linux fans: Lenovo will start offering select models of its ThinkPad series pre-installed with the Linux-based Fedora Workstation distribution, joining the ranks of Dell in the lineup of mainstream Linux laptop suppliers.

          Lenovo will offer Fedora 32 Workstation as a customizable option for its ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53 and ThinkPad X1 Gen8 options, under a pilot of Lenovo’s Linux Community Series – Fedora Edition.

        • Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier | Red Hat Summit 2020

          In this special edition of TFiR Newsroom, we are offering exclusive interviews from the Red Hat Summit. In this interview, Paul Cormier, CEO, and Chairman of Red Hat talks about how Red Hat is maintaining neutrality in working with partners as part of IBM.

        • Recapping day two of Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience

          Anybody who thinks open source enterprise software is boring has clearly never watched a demo with Red Hat’s Burr Sutter at the helm. Sutter and team pulled together a fantastic demo that showed how Red Hat’s portfolio can come together to provide an application platform for global organizations.

          In real time, the team updated an application, added a Red Hat OpenShift cluster, added features, tested failover, and handled thousands of users interacting with the application. A real showcase for what edge computing and the open hybrid cloud can do. If you missed it, be sure to read our blog about the day’s demos and catch the replay on demand.

          We know that the concept of the datacenter is changing, and that there’s been increasing demand pushing compute to the network edge. During Red Hat CTO Chris Wright’s session, we had a look at how Red Hat is using AI and data, through our implementation of Open Data Hub, to help our customers based on data from connected systems.

        • The Specter of Coronavirus Dominates Red Hat Summit 2020

          Despite everyone sheltering in place, it was impossible to avoid COVID-19 during the Linux vendor’s virtual Red Hat Summit 2020 event.

        • What’s new in the OpenShift 4.4 web console developer experience

          The developer experience in the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform web console keeps getting better. You’ve probably already heard about our streamlined user flows to build and deploy applications, plus the ability to understand the structure of your application via the Topology view. Each new release of Red Hat OpenShift includes usability improvements and new features to help developers reach their goals.

        • Creating Pipelines with OpenShift 4.4’s new Pipeline Builder and Tekton Pipelines
        • Serverless applications made faster and simpler with OpenShift Serverless GA
        • Application deployment improvements in OpenShift 4.4
        • Join a Fedora Ask Me Anything (AMA)

          The admins of Fedora Telegram group, would like to invite you to participate in a big “ask me anything” (AMA) session. Join us on May 6th at 18:00 UTC (14:00 US/Eastern) in the Fedoraama telegram group (bridged to #fedora-ama on Freenode IRC). The session is expected to span an hour and a half.

        • PHP version 7.3.18RC1 and 7.4.6RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.6RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.18RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30-31 or remi-php73-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Taskotron is EOL (end of life) today

          As previously announced, Taskotron (project page) will be shut down today. See the announcement and its discussion for more details and some background info.

          As a result, certain tests (beginning with “dist.“) will no longer appear for new updates in Bodhi (in Automated Tests tab). Some of those tests (and even new ones) will hopefully come back in the future with the help of Fedora CI.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian discusses Discourse

          Given the recent history of attacks on the Debian project, arguments against moderation of the communication channels seem less likely than usual to find wide support.

          That said, the way in which Discourse handles moderation did raise a few eyebrows. Rather than having specific people designated as moderators, Discourse spreads that task among the “trusted” members of the community. There are, by default, five trust levels; new users start at level 0 and work their way up from there. At level 3, users can flag posts and cause them to be hidden.

          Movement through the trust levels is managed automatically by the system (with the exception of the highest level, which requires manual promotion). Moving up requires that the user spend a specific amount of time on the site, read a certain number of articles, hand out and receive “likes”, and more. To implement this mechanism, Discourse tracks the amount of time spent reading each article. Reaching level 3 requires visiting the site 50 out of the last 100 days, replying to at least ten different topics, viewing at least 25% of new topics, and more. Users can be demoted back to level 2 if they fail to maintain that level of performance.

          This aspect of Discourse repels a number of Debian developers for a couple of reasons. Debian folks are naturally resistant to the idea of a communication system that is monitoring their activity, tracking the time spent on each topic, and making decisions based on that data. Many of them use free software precisely to get away from that kind of thing. They also dislike the whole “gamification” aspect of this system — a feeling that is only made stronger by the extensive system of “badges” handed out by the system to encourage various types of activity.

        • Parrot 4.9 Released: A Kali Linux Alternative For Ethical Hacking

          Being built on top of Debian, the new version contains several changes and bug fixes from the upstream provider (Debian). A major highlight is the removal of many Python 2 libraries and tools. Due to the deprecation and lifecycle ending of Python 2, Parrot 4.9 removes many abandoned pentest tools based on Python 2.

          Similarly, among the tools, Anonsurf receives important fixes such as DNS bugs and automatic shut down. Additionally, here’s a piece of big news for those who love GUI more than CLI — if you find it difficult using Anonsurf in your terminal, very soon you will be able to use it in a graphical user interface.

          Speaking of GUI, the Parrot installer based on Calamers gets easier to use and navigate through the installation process. Furthermore, the login screen also gets design refreshments to look more attractive and appealing.

          Coming to the core part that powers any Linux distro, Parrot 4.9 now features the Linux 5.5 upgraded from v5.4. Obviously, it brings more reliable and latest hardware support and security enhancements.

        • Mike Gabriel: My Work on Debian LTS (April 2020)

          Due to sickness I was not able to complete my 8 hours of work on Debian LTS as planned. I only worked 1.5 hours this month, moving the remaining 6.5 hours over to May.

        • Sparky news 2020/04

          The 4rd monthly report of 2020 of the Sparky project:

          • Linux kernel updated up to version 5.6.8 & 5.7-rc3
          • added to our repos: Picom, Sparky-Picom, Delta Chat Desktop, jgmenu, Waterfox current
          • changed ‘obmenu’ to ‘jgmenu’ at Sparky Openbox edition of the rolling line
          • Sparky stable 5.11 released
          • Sparky 2020.04~dev0 with experimental support of installation on machines with Secure Boot released
          • lami07 hard works on a modern version of Openbox edition called “Noir”, which will be available to install via APTus and Minimal iso, stay tuned
          • ‘sparky-su’ has gotten an option to check given password

        • DOSEMU in Debian 10

          Incredible as it may seem, I still have MS-DOS applications that I need to run. And fortunately, there’s a DOS Emulator for Linux, DOSEMU. (There’s also DOSBox but I’ve never used that.) One thing DOSEMU handles well is access to legacy serial and parallel ports; I need that too.

          In Debian 8 it was an easy install; DOSEMU and the required FreeDOS were in the Debian repository. So I was dismayed to find that DOSEMU is not available from the Debian 10 “Buster” repository.

          My first thought was to get DOSEMU straight from the source. They offer a precompiled “binary distribution,” but that failed to run. Plan B would be to compile DOSEMU from the provided source packages, but I worried, what if DOSEMU simply isn’t compatible with 64-bit Linux?

          So I got curious. 32-bit Debian 8 had DOSEMU. Was it available then for 64-bit? When did it get dropped from the repository?

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Daily Builds Now Available to Download

          Buckle up for the ride as you can now download Ubuntu 20.10 daily builds for testing!

          Freshly spun ISOs of what will become the next stable Ubuntu release will be produced each and every day (well, almost) from now until the stable release of Ubuntu 20.10 in October.

          Both “pending” and “current” ISO images are available from the Ubuntu CD image server, with the latter set having passed a series of automated tests.

          This is an important milestone in the development cycle though, as of April 30, there’s not exactly “new” in the daily builds to see.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Raspberry Pi gains 12MP camera with optional C and CS lenses

        Raspberry Pi Ltd. has launched a $50 “High Quality Camera” for the Raspberry Pi. The 12.3-megapixel, HD camera ships with optional 6mm CS-mount ($25) and 16mm C-mount ($50) lenses.

        Raspberry Pi Ltd. has sold 1.7 million units of its circa 2016, 8-megapixel v2 Raspberry Pi Camera after discontinuing its original 5-megapixel camera. Raspberry Pi has now launched a $50 High Quality Camera that jumps to 12.3-megapixels and supports any C or CS mount lens attachment.

      • Watch this 90-year-old tech turned Linux terminal create ASCII art

        We have it pretty good today with our mechanical keyboards, fast processors, and high resolution displays, but if you want to go old school—and I mean really old school—try turning a 1930s era Teletype printer into a Linux terminal. For what purpose? To print ASCII art, of course!

        It might not be practical, and it’s certainly not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But it is possible, as Marc Verdiell (CuriousMarc on YouTube) proved in a recent video (via Popular Mechanics). In it, Verdiell takes us through the daunting process of making this work.

        Dave brought this to my attention because I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m old as sand [No, just silicon -Ed], but even though I date back to the era of typewriters (okay, maybe I am old), the Teletype predates me. Hell, it even predates my dad.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

        • “deGoogled” /e/-Fairphone 3 now available!

          Thanks to a partnership with Fairphone we have been able to port /e/OS to the Fairphone 3, and that we can now sell /e/-Fairphone 3 in the EU!

          The deGoogled OS on the ethical smarpthone!

        • /e/OS Fairphone 3

          The deGoogled Fairphone 3 is most likely the first privacy conscious and sustainable phone. It combines a phone that cares for people and planet and an OS and apps that care for your privacy.

          It features a removable 3000 mAh rechargeable battery. And in case of an accident, with its replaceable modules, you can repair it your self with a single screwdriver.

          If you care about fairer technology, it is an obvious choice.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 6 Reasons the Future of Software Is Open Source

        While closed-source software is mainly restricted to those who possess advanced coding skills, open source is much more inclusive.

        What this means is that people can offer their expertise and contribute to as best they can. For example, WordPress, the most popular open-source CMS, encourages people to offer their diverse talents to the open-source community.

        This way, everyone stands a chance to do something for the greater good and simultaneously benefit from having the experience of polishing their skills and learning new things.

        Regardless of whether someone is good at coding, translating, or boasts great organizational skills, they can get involved and do something good for the community and for themselves.

      • scrcpy 1.13 Released With Improved Display Quality, Option To Lock Video Orientation, More

        scrcpy 1.13 has been released with some important new features, including option to lock the video orientation, shortcuts to rotate the display, and trilinear filtering which should improve the display quality when the scrcpy window is much smaller than the Android device display.

        New to scrcpy? This is an application that can be used to display, record and control Android devices connected via USB or wirelessly, from a macOS, Windows or Linux desktop. The application focuses on performance and quality, offering 30~60 FPS with a resolution of 1920×1080 or more, and low latency.

        The communication between the server (Android device in this case) and client (desktop computer) is done via a socket over an adb tunnel. The server streams H.264 video of the device screen, passing it to the client to decode and display it, without buffering in order to minimize latency. The mouse and keyboard events are captured and transmitted to the server, which injects them to the Android device.

      • How Open-Source And AI Are Helping Brazil To Spot COVID-19

        The arrival of COVID-19 brought complex challenges worldwide. In Latin America, precisely in Brazil, the worst pandemic seen in a century challenges states, cities, and public health care management. Recently, the country surpassed China in the total number of confirmed deaths

        With cases expected to accelerate in Latin America’s biggest country, a question arises: How to provide healthcare services in Brazil without overloading the health system and reducing the pace of contagion?

        To answer that question and propose a solution, Rocket.Chat, a Brazilian startup responsible for one of the main open-source communication hub partnered with Amazon and tech players, such as Ilhasoft, Elogroup, and Konecty to build a digital assistance platform for COVID-19.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.3.6 available for download

          The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 6.3.6, the last minor release of the LibreOffice 6.3 family, targeted at organizations and individuals using the software in production environments, who are invited to update their current version. The new release provides bug and regression fixes, and improvements to document compatibility.

        • LibreOffice 6.3.6 Officially Launched for Linux, Windows, and macOS

          The Document Foundation has released a new version of the LibreOffice productivity suite for all supported platforms, namely Linux, Windows, and macOS.

          LibreOffice 6.3.6 is an update focused on bug fixes and under-the-hood improvements, so there’s no new feature in this release. This makes total sense as the focus right now is on polishing the experience with LibreOffice 6.3.

          But what you need to know is that LibreOffice 6.3.6 is aimed at main devices, not at testing ones, so you can safely install it even if you use your computer for critical things. In other words, this is the most stable and refined experience that you can get with LibreOffice right now.

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • Python keyword argument auto-assignment

            A recent thread on the python-ideas mailing list explores adding a feature to Python, which is the normal fare for that forum. The problem being addressed is real, but may not be the highest-priority problem for the language on many people’s lists. Function calls that have multiple keyword arguments passed from a variable of the same name (e.g. keyword=keyword) require developers to repeat themselves and can be somewhat confusing, especially to newcomers. The discussion of ways to fix it highlighted some lesser-known corners of the language, however, regardless of whether the idea will actually result in a change to Python.

          • Reminder: My free, weekly “Python for non-programmers” course continues on Friday, May 1st
          • How and why I built Data Scraping script in Python3

            I am a Professional Python Developer at W3sols who has built complex data scrapers, Python backends for mobile and web apps. I am working on AI and ML based tech stack these days and plan to progress my career as a Professional AI and ML engineer.

          • PyCharm: R 4.0.0 and better UX in the R Plugin

            Although it has not been a while since our last update release, we’re ready to announce some important enhancements and new features…

          • Full Stack Development in Django

            Talks about how versatile Django could be used by breaking the default Django to mix and match it to fit your own use case. Instead of using what is provided by Django.

          • How I learned Python Programming

            I am a lead Python developer at W3sols and I have been working on Web and its related technology stack for 3 years now.
            I have a high versatility in solving real world problems with different programming languages.
            My expertise is Python 3 and the best part I like to do with it is Data scraping from websites.

          • User Testing Feedback – Building SaaS #54

            In this episode, we worked on issues found from a round of user testing. I talked about how I did user testing with my customer, then started to tackle the usability issues that she identified. We’re taking a break from building the onboarding flow so that we can take some time to address feedback from user testing with my customer. I started the stream by explaining how I set up user testing and what I got out of the experience.

          • Add Python support to Tekton Pipelines

            My colleague Priti Desai has been working on Tekton for more than a year and has made some great contributions. After seeing how much fun she was having, I decided to take a leap in the same direction. Priti already built a Tekton pipeline for Java and JavaScript applications, so I figured adding Python support to her pipeline was a great way to become familiar with Tekton.

          • Debugging C with Python and unittest

            The title makes this sound oddly specific, but the information can be applied to other projects. I am using one of my projects as an example. Let me set things up.

            I work on a project called rpminspect which consists of a frontend program called rpminspect, a shared library called librpminspect, and a test suite primarily written in Python and using the unittest module. I say primarily written in Python because there are some helper programs written in C that the test suite invokes. The Python part is the test suite driver which is invoking the rpminspect program with the right settings and checking the output.

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • I don’t want to be patronized and much less by a software vendor

          So it happened again: I feel being patronized by a large SW vendor who forces me to automatically run his software on my system after each login. As an open source developer and advocate I hate if I don’t have control over these kind of things and no option to turn them off. Unix know-how to the rescue, though. Read on.

          The members of a project I am currently working on to make a living are now widespread over the country due to the coronavirus pandemic. Project management has decided that the communication should happen over a product called skype. It’s not free and open, but hey, come on, I have to make some money somehow so that I can manage it with KMyMoney. Fortunately, I found out that there is a version for Linux and it even works quite well.

          Nevertheless, I wondered why it starts after login without me doing anything. OK, this could be the default setting and I started the KDE system settings to turn it off. Not thinking about it further, I started and stopped skype for a few days until there was a kernel update and I had to reboot my system.

          After login, I was surprised that skype started automatically. I thought, I had turned it off. Well, unmark that checkbox again in system settings and guess what: it returned without me doing anything except starting and using the application. That ~/.config/autostart/skypeforlinux.desktop file, which is responsible for the autostart, just re-appeared every time one starts skype manually.

          Using the search engine of choice, I learned that this is a known problem and cannot be turned off with an option. This is the time, when patronization starts and I get angry.

        • 10 Best Video Conferencing Software for Linux in 2020 [Ed: Martins D. Okoi promotes proprietary software malware in a site called "FOSS"]
        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • LF Networking Accelerates 5G, Cloud Native, and Edge Readiness with Expanded Projects and Growing Community Ecosystem

                LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects, today announced continued successes with cross-industry, global collaboration. Progress includes the Linux Foundation induction of new project, XGVela, an open source telco Platform as a Service (PaaS) for 5G network functions and related applications; new LFN silver member everis; expanded mentorship and training opportunities; and a new verified product by the OPNFV Verification Program (OVP). Together, these efforts bring additional support for future automation and deployment of 5G, edge, and cloud native networking technologies.

              • Telcos Increase Focus on Cloud Native as LF Networking and Ecosystem Groups Solve Interoperability Challenges

                LF Networking (LFN), which facilitates collaboration and operational excellence across open source networking projects, today announced a turning point for the industry, with integrated initiatives focused on cloud native interoperability and deployment for telcos. Consolidated efforts among the Common NFVI Telco Taskforce (CNTT), LF Networking’s Compliance and Verification Committee (or OPNFV Verification Program, “OVP”), and the OPNFV project through CNTT’s cloud native “R2” workstreams, OVP’s cloud native “OVP 2.0,” and OPNFV’s renewed commitment to testing and integration alignment with end users indicate a deep commitment to address challenges faced in cloud native adoption.

                “NFV continues to evolve as telcos increasingly adopt cloud native technologies,” said Heather Kirksey, vice president, Community & Ecosystem Development, the Linux Foundation. “Change, however, brings challenges, especially to areas like compliance, testing, automation, and integration. With input from telcos directly, collaborative efforts across CNTT, OVP, and OPNFV enable our ecosystem to benefit from cloud native adoption.”

              • Fact gathering: The first and most important task in software negotiations

                When negotiating a software development agreement, and if the developers for both parties assume that the software will include many pre-existing components, the process will be inefficient and becomes a significant waste of time.

              • LF Edge Expands Ecosystem with Open Horizon, adds Seven New Members and Reaches Critical Deployment Milestones

                LF Edge, an umbrella organization under The Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, today announced continued project momentum with the addition a new project and several technical milestones for EdgeX Foundry, Akraino Edge Stack and Fledge. Additionally, the project welcomes seven new members including CloudBrink, Federated Wireless, Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), Kaloom, Ori Industries, Tensor Networks and VoerEir to its ecosystem.

              • LF Edge Expands Ecosystem with Open Horizon, adds Seven New Members and Reaches Critical Deployment Milestones
              • Open Horizon joins Linux Foundation to grow open edge computing platform

                The Open Horizon software project, the core technology that powers IBM’s edge computing offerings, has joined LF Edge. LF Edge is part of the Linux Foundation and hosts all of their open source projects related to edge computing.

                Edge computing brings computation and data storage closer to where data is created by people, places, and things. Open Horizon simplifies the job of getting the right applications and machine learning onto the right compute devices, and keeps those applications running and updated. With 50% of enterprise data expected to be processed at the edge by 2022, compared to only 10% today, Open Horizon will play a critical role in how data is processed in the era of edge computing

                By contributing this important project to the Linux Foundation, just as the sector is set to experience tremendous growth, IBM has underscored its commitment to trust, transparency, and collaboration on standards in the edge computing space.

                While IBM has been the only developer on the project thus far, open sourcing the core components of Open Horizon enables a broader, more diverse ecosystem to build out the technology into a robust, secure foundation that all solution providers can adopt as their foundation. As a founding member of the LF Edge community, IBM felt this was the most effective organization to form and grow an active community within.

              • Linux Foundation and Intel to train people who are displaced during COVID-19

                The Linux Foundation has announced that it’s expanding its Mentorship Program with seed funding from Intel in response to COVID-19. The programme will grow to support interns who have been displaced as a result of the global pandemic and to give individuals an opportunity to reskill for future jobs.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (chromium, git, and webkit2gtk), Debian (nodejs and tiff), Fedora (libxml2, php-horde-horde, pxz, and sqliteodbc), Oracle (python-twisted-web), Red Hat (chromium-browser, git, and rh-git218-git), Scientific Linux (python-twisted-web), SUSE (ceph, kernel, munge, openldap2, salt, squid, and xen), and Ubuntu (mailman, python3.8, samba, and webkit2gtk).

          • WordPress 5.4.1 fixes 7 security vulnerabilities

            WordPress 5.4.1 is now available!

            This security and maintenance release features 17 bug fixes in addition to 7 security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated.

          • Almost Every Antivirus Software Program Can Be Exploited, Researchers Say

            RACK911 Labs has found a unique method of using directory junctions (in Windows) and symlinks (in macOS and Linux) to turn antivirus software products into self-destructive tools. However, it was reported that most of the antivirus companies have now fixed the vulnerability in their products.

            Researchers stated that an attacker must be highly time-sensitive and should know when to exploit the directory junction or symlink vulnerabilities. “What most antivirus software fail to take into consideration is the small window of time between the initial file scan that detects the malicious file and the cleanup operation that takes place immediately after. A malicious local user or malware author is often able to perform a race condition via a directory junction (Windows) or a symlink (Linux & macOS) that leverages the privileged file operations to disable the antivirus software or interfere with the operating system to render it useless,” the researchers explained.

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Fuzzing with WebIDL

            Fuzzing, or fuzz testing, is an automated approach for testing the safety and stability of software. It’s typically performed by supplying specially crafted inputs to identify unexpected or even dangerous behavior. If you’re unfamiliar with the basics of fuzzing, you can find lots more information in the Firefox Fuzzing Docs and the Fuzzing Book.

            For the past 3 years, the Firefox fuzzing team has been developing a new fuzzer to help identify security vulnerabilities in the implementation of WebAPIs in Firefox. This fuzzer, which we’re calling Domino, leverages the WebAPIs’ own WebIDL definitions as a fuzzing grammar. Our approach has led to the identification of over 850 bugs. 116 of those bugs have received a security rating. In this post, I’d like to discuss some of Domino’s key features and how they differ from our previous WebAPI fuzzing efforts.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Belkin Shut Down Wemo NetCam Feeds

        One of the major downsides of an IoT system provided by another company is that it will eventually die out. Companies can’t afford to maintain a service forever and will eventually let it go. Belkin made a shock announcement when they stated they will no longer support their Wemo NetCam product.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • I’m doing this to stop humans ripping off brilliant ideas by computers and aliens, says guy unsuccessfully filing patents ‘invented’ by his AI

          AI systems cannot be listed as inventors in patent submissions, the US Patent and Trademark Office ruled this week.

          Last year, the USPTO received an odd patent application. The sole inventor on the submission, describing a method for “attracting enhanced attention,” had the first name “DABUS” and the family name “Invention generated by artificial intelligence.”

          The assignee – the person who has the property right to the patent – was listed as Stephen Thaler, founder of a Missouri outfit called Imagination Engines. The paperwork was filed in the UK, Europe, and Israel as well as the United States.

          The patent application outlined [PDF] a gadget that emits light with a fractal pattern, and could be used as, say, an emergency beacon.

          The idea was, apparently, invented by a set of neural networks dubbed DABUS, which was created by Thaler. He said it was only right to give credit where it was due, namely his software.

        • Software Patents

          • Predictive Text Patent Troll Tries To Shake Down Wikipedia

            WordLogic (patent troll) claims it has the rights of the concept of predictive text writing and went after the Wikimedia foundation. WordLogic offered a “discounted, lump sum fee of $30,000 in exchange for a paid-up one-time license,” an easy win they thought, but Wikimedia fought back. “Wikimedia notes that (1) WordLogic’s patents are invalid due to prior art, (2) that they are invalid for not covering patentable subject matter, and (3) that anyway, it doesn’t even infringe on the patents if they were valid,” reports Techdirt. Now we are waiting to see what will happen. Will the patent troll desist, or will it push forward?

Links 30/4/2020: Cockpit 218, Parrot 4.9, WordPress 5.4.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Bitcoin SV Node team introduces new version 1.0.3

        One of the changes included is the ability for the single release binary to run on both Ubuntu 18.04 and CentOS 8. For Linux fans that prefer either Ubuntu 16.04 or CentOS 7, the binary would have to be built manually, but Bitcoin SV Node developers have included the instructions on how to carry out the procedure with the new 1.0.3 release. It would most likely be easier to update the OS software, though, and use the single release binary.

      • [buzzword drives buzzword] How Serverless Accelerates DevSecOps

        Serverless drives agility and speed, but that’s not all that a well-architected serverless approach enables. Serverless is a catalyst for improving security too.

        With DevOps processes, the concept of Infrastructure-as-Code is a recommended best practice. In a serverless approach, treating infrastructure-as-code isn’t only recommended, it’s required. There is no way around it. The great benefit of embedded infrastructure-as-code approaches is that from the onset of the software development lifecycle, security can be integrated into the process.

        With serverless, DevSecOps is a reality where engineers can architect with tightly scoped roles, and develop with fine-grained permissions as part of the process, without losing speed.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-04-29 | Linux Headlines

        Red Hat’s virtual Summit kicks off with exciting news for OpenShift users, Endless OS 3.8.0 and Fedora 32 both arrive with GNOME 3.36 in tow, VLC’s latest release adds better support for network media access, and QEMU 5.0 makes it easier than ever to share files with virtualized guests.

      • FLOSS Weekly 576: Contractor

        Contractor is an Extendable Resource Management API. The goal of Contractor is to provide an API to Automate the Provisioning, Deployment, Configuration, and Management of Resources.

      • Lunduke and Friends – April 25th, 2020

        This episode of Lunduke & Friends was recorded live on April 25th, 2020. You can grab the recording a bunch of different ways: YouTube – LBRY – Audio Podcast RSS This time, I’m joined by three super duper awesome nerds: Chris Titus (Chris Titus Tech on YouTube) Matt Hartley (veteran Linux Journalist) Gardiner Bryant (The Linux Gamer on YouTube) Some topics include: Flatpak, Snapy, AppImage, Open Broadcaster Software (OBS), Linux v Windows for live streaming, Linux Audio (Jack, PulseAudio, ALSA, Bluetooth), Windows users coming to Linux, Windows 95 and 98, SystemD, Upstart, Crontab, new Ubuntu release, failed Canonical projects, Microsoft buying Canonical or SUSE, ISDN, DSL, Virtual Reality, VIM, and lots of other Linux-y, Nerdy stuff.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 855

        ubuntu 20.04, 3d printing, table repairs, yums

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux home directory management is about to undergo major change

        When systemd was released in 2010, there was a storm of vitriol surrounding the change in how services were to be started in Linux. The new mechanism was touted as being bloated and far too complicated to be useful. Since then, all enterprise Linux distributions have adopted systemd and the majority of desktop distributions have as well.

        For those who aren’t familiar with systemd, it is that which initializes all systems on the Linux platform. Anyone that manages Linux within a data center should be intimately familiar with this system. By providing all of the necessary controls and daemons for device management, user login, network connections, and event logging, systemd makes for easy resource initialization and management—all from a single point of entry (systemctl).

      • Linux 5.6.8

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.8 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

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


      • Linux 5.4.36
      • Linux 4.19.119
      • Virginia Tech’s “Popcorn Linux” For Distributed Thread Execution Seeking Feedback, Possible Upstreaming

        Popcorn Linux has been a multi-year effort out of Virginia Tech’s Software and Systems Research Group for distributed thread execution across systems and even potentially different ISAs/accelerators given today’s heterogeneous hardware.

        Popcorn Linux is principally based around the Popcorn Compiler, a modified version of LLVM, and modifications to the Linux kernel and a support run-time library to allow for execution with a shared code-base on distributed hosts.

      • QEMU 5.0 Supports Recent Armv8.x Features, Cortex-M7 CPU, Host Directory Access, and More

        QEMU (Quick EMUlator) is an open-source emulator that’s great to run programs on various architectures such as Arm, RISC-V, and many others when you don’t own proper hardware.

        The developers have now released QEMU 5.0.0 will plenty of new features and such as support for Armv8.1 to Armv8.4 architectures, Arm Cortex-M7 processor, various changes to MIPS, PowerPC, RISC-V, s390… architectures, support for accessing a directory on the host filesystem from the guest using virtiofsd and more.

      • QEMU version 5.0.0 released
      • Graphics Stack

        • GPUs Unleashed: Intel Releases First Unlocked GPU Driver For OEM Systems

          While Intel’s integrated GPUs have made immense strides over the past decade, there’s been one particular legacy they’ve been unable to break free from: OEM driver locking. Due to the large degree of customization and optimization that OEMs sometimes do to their systems, some OEMs have insisted on having video drivers “locked” to their platforms, so that only video drivers that they’ve customized and distributed can be installed.

          This structure has always offered at least a modicum of utility, ensuring that newer drivers don’t break things or otherwise interfere with those system customizations. But as desktops and laptops live longer than ever, OEM have demonstrated a shorter attention span than Intel when it comes to driver updates. As a result, unfortunate system owners have found themselves stuck in a bind with older (and even some newer) systems, where there are newer drivers with important bug fixes for games and applications, but those drivers can’t be installed because they haven’t been customized and approved by the OEM.

        • 17 Years Later: Intel 865 Chipset Seeing FBC Enabled On Linux

          The Intel 865 “Springdale” chipset came in 2003 with Intel Extreme Graphics 2. While the OpenGL 1.3 era hardware will have a tough time running any modern workloads or even composited desktops, just this week frame-buffer compression (FBC) support for i865 was sent out for the Linux kernel.

        • Radeon Displayable DCC Gets Enabled For Navi 12 + Navi 14 GPUs

          Adding to the last minute AMD Radeon additions for making the Mesa 20.1 feature cut-off is enabling displayable DCC support for Navi 12 and Navi 14 graphics processors.

          GFX10/Navi has already supported delta color compression for saving video memory bandwidth while this change is about “displayable DCC”, or DCC for surfaces being scanned out to the display for benefiting from color compression.

    • Applications

      • VLC 3.0.10 Released with SMB2 / 3, Improved DVD Support

        The VideoLAN team announced the release of VLC media player 3.0.10 a few days ago. They skipped version 3.0.9 and marked VLC 3.0.10 as the ninth update of “Vetinari”.

      • Cockpit Project: Cockpit 218

        Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 218.

      • Qmmp 1.4.0 Released with Sleep Mode Inhibition, Socks5 Proxy Support

        Qmmp, qt-based audio player with winamp like user interface, released version 1.4.0 last night with lots of changes.

        Qmmp 1.4.0 is a big release that features YouTube plugin, sleep mode inhibition plugin, socks5 proxy support, and much more other changes including:

        add feature to auto-hide empty service menus.
        add option to disable two passes for equalizer.
        add fast mute function for most output plugins.
        add shared CUE parser.
        added feature to transit between playlists.
        add SOCKS5 proxy support.
        added Ogg Opus support in the ReplayGain scanner.
        improve qsui plugin, ffmpeg plugin, lyrics, cdaudio plugin, m3u support.

      • Edit music recordings with Audacity on Linux

        In this strange and difficult time of a global pandemic, we are all called upon to do things differently, to change our routines, and to learn new things.

        I have worked from home for many years, so that is nothing new to me. Even though I am allegedly retired, I write articles for Opensource.com and Enable Sysadmin and books. I also manage my own home network, which is larger than you might think, and my church’s network and Linux hosts, and I help a few friends with Linux. All of this keeps me busy doing what I like to do, and all of it is usually well within my comfort zone.

      • 10 ways to analyze binary files on Linux

        We work with binaries daily, yet we understand so little about them. By binaries, I mean the executable files that you run daily, right from your command line tools to full-fledged applications.

        Linux provides a rich set of tools that makes analyzing binaries a breeze! Whatever might be your job role, if you are working on Linux, knowing the basics about these tools will help you understand your system better.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • The 20 Best LXDE Themes for Linux System in 2020

        LXDE themes can change the look and feel of your LXDE desktop environment. LXDE is a well-known desktop environment for Linux. It is so minimal and lightweight; hence LXDE is very popular among the low configuration systems, including netbooks, Raspberry Pi, smart home gadgets, etc. LXDE is the short form of Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment. A Taiwanese developer started this project in 2006. Later it got much popularity and appreciation. Although there are some other design-heavy desktop environments, LXDE kept its popularity because of the huge explosion of IoT and smart products.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • TDE celebrating its 10th anniversary with new R14.0.8 release

          The Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) R14.0.8 release is out. Trinity started out as a fork of KDE 3. “Ten years ago today, the Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE) saw the release of its first version (3.5.11). Lot of things have happened since that day but TDE has continued to grow and flourish throughout the years. Today the project is healthier than ever, with dedicated self-hosted servers, regular releases, modern collaboration tools and a vibrant community of users and enthusiasts.”

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Virtualization on the Linux desktop—Gnome Boxes vs virt-manager


          Ilike the idea of Boxes, and I think there’s a definite market for it. The allure of incredibly safe, simple, and easy distro-hopping isn’t lost on me—and I particularly liked the integrated download mechanism.

          Unfortunately, I don’t think Boxes is ready for prime time yet. The number of sharp edges I encountered even with a very modern Linux guest OS running a Gnome3 desktop outweighed Boxes’ simplicity—let alone the completely broken install environment for OpenBSD, as compared to a “just works” experience on virt-manager.

        • Ravgeet Dhillon: Dropilio App for Twilio and Dev Hackathon

          Dropilio is a REST API service for sending local files as attachments with Twilio Whatsapp API. This leverages the use of Twilio Whatsapp API for Desktop applications such as those built in Electron, GTK, etc which intend to send notifications with file attachments.

          If you are working on a Desktop application, and you want to send a Whatsapp message along with attachments using Twilio Whatsapp API, you must include a link to that attachment as a media resource. For this, your attachment must be somewhere on the Internet. Dropilio solves this problem by uploading your attachment to your Dropbox account and then gets a temporary link that can be used by the Twilio Whatsapp API.

          This project belongs to the category of Interesting Integrations for Twilio and Dev hackathon.

        • ‘Folder Colors’ Now Works with Ubuntu 20.04 and the Yaru Icon Set

          We’ve shown you how to change folder colour on Ubuntu before using a terrific open source tool called ‘Folder Colors‘ (sic).

          But if you have been patiently hoping that the app would get an update to work with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and its spiffy-new Yaru icon theme I have some good news: it has!

          The less good news is that you will need install an additional Yaru icon theme compatibility package to get the tool to play nicely Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (if you’re on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS the app will “just work” on its own).

        • Fix for GNOME 3.36 Stuttering Bug in the Works

          Ubuntu 20.04 has recently been released with GNOME 3.36 as one of the most notable features, but many decided to stick with Unity due to a stuttering issue.

          It goes without saying this isn’t necessarily the experience everyone expected with GNOME, albeit for now, this stuttering bug appears to be more or less a matter of luck.

          While some encounter this glitch, other claim everything is super-smooth on their devices in Ubuntu 20.04.

          The good news is that the stuttering bug has already been acknowledged and a fix is on its way.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Parrot 4.9 Security OS Arrives with Linux Kernel 5.5, New Installer


          Parrot 4.9 is here a little over a month after Parrot 4.8 and ships with the Linux 5.5 kernel series. This means that it brings better hardware support and improvements for Wi-Fi cards and Intel GPUs.

          However, Linux 5.5 series has reached end of life with the Linux kernel 5.5.19 update released last week. This means it won’t be supported anymore, so if you can upgrade Parrot 4.9 to the latest Linux 5.6 kernel series, do it as soon as possible.

          Another major improvement in the Parrot 4.9 release is a new installer, which is based on Calamares, the universal installer framework used by numerous GNU/Linux distributions, such as Lubuntu, Manjaro or KaOS.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • Fedora 32 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at Fedora 32. Enjoy!

        • Review – Fedora 32

          With the recent release of Fedora 32, I decided to give it another look and check out the default GNOME edition. I’ll talk about the installation process, performance, and some overall opinions.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Lenovo to offer Linux laptops

          Lenovo has announced a partnership with FedoraProject to offer developer-friendly ThinkPad series laptops that will run on the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux out of the box.

          The Linux Community Series program will kick off with devices including ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53 laptops.

          The company aims to expand the selection of devices to other models soon based on demand.

        • Lenovo to offer Linux laptops

          Lenovo has announced a partnership with FedoraProject to offer developer-friendly ThinkPad series laptops that will run on the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux out of the box.

          The Linux Community Series program will kick off with devices including ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53 laptops.

          The company aims to expand the selection of devices to other models soon based on demand.

        • Lenovo to offer ThinkPads with Linux installed

          Are you a lover of Linux? Then prepare to swoon because Lenovo is partnering with the Fedora Project to pre-install Linux on a select number of its machines. This pilot program, known as Linux Community Series – Fedora Edition, will include the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad X1 Gen8, and the ThinkPad P53.

          While many already run a Fedora operating system on a Lenovo system, this move means that the aforementioned devices will come with the newly released Fedora 32 Workstation Linux pre-installed. For users with other devices in mind, Lenovo could expand its selection of Linux-equipped devices if demand supports it.

          Per Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller, “The Lenovo team has been working with folks at Red Hat who work on Fedora desktop technologies to make sure that the upcoming Fedora 32 Workstation is ready to go on their laptops. The best part about this is that we’re not bending our rules for them. Lenovo is following our existing trademark guidelines and respects our open source principles. That’s right—these laptops ship with software exclusively from the official Fedora repos!”

        • How to upgrade to Fedora 32 Workstation from older versions

          One of our favorite Linux based distributions, Fedora, has officially got upgraded to Fedora 32. It houses excellent new features and improved hardware support. In this article, we will show you how you can upgrade to Fedora 32 workstation from any of the older versions you might have on your system.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 | Stefanie Chiras | Red Hat Summit 2020
        • Fedora 32 released with Lenovo support

          Fedora isn’t a Linux for everyone. But, for developers who want the most from their Linux desktop, you can’t beat it. This latest edition, like its predecessors, brings together the best and latest open-source programs for programmers. As Fedora Project Leader Matthew Miller said: “No matter what variant of Fedora you use, you’re getting the latest the open-source world has to offer.”

          Fedora, which is Red Hat’s community Linux distribution, also acts as a crystal ball to see where Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is going. While most of the attention for a new Fedora release is on the desktop, Fedora 32′s far more than just a workstation distribution. There’s also Fedora Server, Fedora IoT, and the new Fedora CoreOS for containerized workloads.

          For most people still, a new Fedora is all about the desktop. So, let’s take a look at Fedora Workstation.

          This new Fedora uses the Linux Kernel 5.6. It also includes WireGuard virtual private network (VPN) support and USB4 support.

          The workstation uses the new GNOME 3.36 for its default desktop. This GNOME release is faster and comes with a variety of improvements. These include a cleaner interface with better font control. One welcomed change is that, when you enter a password, you can now toggle it so you can see what your password is as you enter it rather than an uninformative link of asterisks. I find this very helpful, and I’m glad to see it’s finally in GNOME.

        • Lenovo Will Start Offering ThinkPads With Linux Pre-Installed
        • Talk about physical to virtual translation: Red Hat officially emits OpenShift 4.4, Fedora 32 in online conference

          There are fewer announcements than usual for a Red Hat Summit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the event to take place online, said CEO Paul Cormier. The software biz has also announced some initiatives aimed at customers struggling during the virus outbreak, including extended life-cycles for some products and free online training.

          There were still a fair number of product launches, many of them centered on OpenShift. Version 4.4 includes the HAProxy 2.0 load balancer for better performance, improved storage management with volume re-size, snapshot and clone, and includes OpenShift Serverless for function-based, event-driven applications.

        • Recapping day one of Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience

          In our first general session, Red Hat president and CEO Paul Cormier talked with Jim Whitehurst, IBM president and former Red Hat CEO and president, about today’s environment and how Red Hat and IBM continue to work together.

        • IBM Boosts Security and Productivity with Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 on IBM Cloud

          As more businesses journey to the cloud, they need ways to easily deploy and manage their critical workloads securely across public clouds, private clouds, and on-premises environments.

        • Red Hat OpenShift 4.3 On IBM Cloud Offers New Security Features
        • Save the date for Red Hat Summit 2021

          As we conclude our first ever Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience, it’s time to mark your calendar for next year’s event. We’ll be heading back to Boston from April 13-15, 2021, for Red Hat Summit 2021!

          Join us there at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center where we expect thousands of customers, partners, and technology industry leaders from around the world to come together for a high-energy week of innovation, education and collaboration.

          As the industry’s premier enterprise open source technology conference, Red Hat Summit has become a must-attend technology event to experience the latest and greatest in open source innovations that are enabling the future of enterprise technology—from hybrid cloud infrastructure, containers and cloud-native app platforms to management, edge, automation, emerging tech and more. You’ll find a replay of this year’s general sessions and more: www.redhat.com/summit.

        • Consuming messages from closest replicas in Apache Kafka 2.4.0 and AMQ Streams

          Thanks to changes in Apache Kafka 2.4.0, consumers are no longer required to connect to a leader replica to consume messages. In this article, I introduce you to Apache Kafka’s new ReplicaSelector interface and its customizable RackAwareReplicaSelector. I’ll briefly explain the benefits of the new rack-aware selector, then show you how to use it to more efficiently balance load across Amazon Web Services (AWS) availability zones.

        • Red Hat Process Automation 7.7 brings updates, fixes, and tech previews

          Red Hat Process Automation Manager (RHPAM) and Red Hat Decision Manager (RHDM) 7.7 bring features for the authoring of processes, rules, testing, execution, and cloud scenarios. Besides these new features, usability, and performance improvements, version 7.7 also brings more than 120 bug fixes. These updates are part of the Middleware Business Automation stack Red Hat released on March 18th.

          Let’s take a look at what’s new.

        • Ben Williams: F31-20200427 updated isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F31-20200427 Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.6-200 kernel.

          This is our final release for Fedora 31.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 1GB of updates)).

          A huge thank you goes out to irc nicks dowdle, satellit, Southern-Gentleman for testing these iso.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What You Need to Know About Snaps on Ubuntu 20.04

          “Snap” refers to both the snap command and a snap installation file. A snap bundles an application and all its dependents into one compressed file. The dependents might be library files, web or database servers, or anything else an application must have to launch and run.

          The upside to snaps is they make installations simpler because they avoid the heartache of dependency hell. This is what occurs when a new application can’t run either because a required resource isn’t available, it’s the wrong version, or its installation overwrites files required by existing applications so they can’t run.

          You might expect a snap to be uncompressed and the files extracted at install time. However, it’s at run time that the snap file is mounted on a block loop device. This allows the file’s internal SquashFS file system to be accessed.

        • How to Handle Automatic Updates in Ubuntu

          You might wonder what is this “unattended upgrade” and how come it is running without your knowledge.

          The reason is that Ubuntu takes your system’s security very seriously. By default, it automatically checks for system updates daily and if it finds any security updates, it downloads those updates and install them on its own. For normal system and application updates, it notifies you via the Software Updater tool.

        • Voyager 20.04 LTS Released: Take A Trip Of (X)Ubuntu 20.04-Based Linux Distro

          Being one of the most popular Linux distros, Ubuntu has an uncountable number of variants and derivatives. With the release of the latest long-term Ubuntu 20.04, several variants are also releasing their updated versions based on 20.04 ‘Focal Fossa’.

          Along the same lines, here comes Voyager Live — the Xubuntu-based Linux distribution which has released a new version Voyager 20.04 LTS. The latest long-term Voyager ships with the updated Xfce 4.14 desktop environment and Linux kernel 5.4. So, let’s see what new Voyager has to offer.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: What’s new in server?
        • Download Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and All Flavors with Mirrors and Torrents

          Ubuntu 20.04 officially released at Thursday, 23 April 2020. It is codenamed Focal Fossa. It is a Long Term Support version which will be supported five years ahead until 2025. It is the continuation of the previous LTS version 18.04 released two years ago and the regular version 19.10 last year. It comes along with all seven Official Flavors namely Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, and others. This article collected all the download links and alternative torrents, mirrors, and checksums so everybody can obtain it quicker. To download one just need to click on one iso link below and save link as and wait until it finished. Congratulations to Canonical and Ubuntu Developers! Happy downloading!

        • List Of Useful Apps For Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          Hello everyone, We hope that you are having fun with the latest Ubuntu Linux and comparing it with the older one. Though it’s almost the same for us you might feel differences. Please let us know your review of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          In this article, we are going to list out the best and useful Linux apps for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. You might need it for your day to day work on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          Let’s check out the collection of Useful Apps for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) Daily Builds Are Now Available for Download

          Last week, I reported that Ubuntu 20.10 has been codenamed by the Ubuntu team as the “Groovy Gorilla” and will have a release date of October 22nd, 2020.

          I told you that you’ll be the first to know when Ubuntu 20.10 daily builds are available for download. So, as promised, you’re the first to get your hands on the fresh builds, published today, for 64-bit and ARM64 architectures.

          The daily builds are also available for the other official flavors, such as Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, and Ubuntu Kylin.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Ex-Cloud Foundry boss to pull strings at Puppet as CTO, says open-source software ‘evolves faster, is more mature’

        Ex-Cloud Foundry boss to pull strings at Puppet as CTO, says open-source software ‘evolves faster, is more mature’ec director Abby Kearns has rocked up at Puppet as CTO, where she will direct “the company’s current and future product portfolio.”

        Puppet, founded in 2005 by Luke Kanies, automates the deployment of infrastructure and applications, and pioneered the concept of infrastructure as code. Kearns has been on Puppet’s Product Advisory Board for a year.

      • Simplify remote meetings with open source voice chat


        For science fiction fans, it feels like video chat was a long time coming, but now it’s safe to say that a video call is indeed a great way to communicate remotely. Just as advertised by Star Trek and countless Philip K. Dick novels, the human face conveys a lot of information that the human voice doesn’t. There’s a human connection established through a video call that doesn’t quite happen with text or even voice chats. It’s a triumph of modern technology.

        However, the cost of video is that it requires a lot more bandwidth than a voice call. It also requires a greater degree of preparation. You have to dress for the occasion, you have to tidy up your backdrop, you have to clear your “set” so that there aren’t children or cats running through your shot, and so on. What seems like it should be a simple phone call becomes a small-scale television production.

      • Open source steps up as COVID-19 forces instant digital transformations

        Businesses that were behind on the cloud journey before the novel coronavirus-19 are really feeling the heat right now. Transitioning to a digital workflow is hard in the best of times, but the almost instantaneous shift to work-from-home and online operations has sent shockwaves through the corporate world.

        “A lot of customers are being forced into the digital transformation journey right now … that last mile of change is coming very quick to them,” said Matt Hicks (pictured), executive vice president of product and technologies at Red Hat Inc.

        Hicks spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience. They discussed how hybrid cloud, specifically solutions from Red Hat’s OpenShift, is the path for businesses experiencing rapid downscaling due to the economic shutdown, or rapid upscaling to meet increased online demand. (* Disclosure below.)

      • Pimp my PostgreSQL: Swarm64 paints go-faster stripes on open-source database challenger

        Parallel processing and hardware optimisation biz Swarm64 has pushed out PostgreSQL acceleration software in the hopes this will set it up to compete against proprietary products.

        Ranked number four in the database market by DBEngines, PostgreSQL is often left in the shade of fellow open-source stalwarts MySQL and MariaDB.

      • Events

        • KDAB at Qt Virtual Tech Con

          Since the postponement of Qt World Summit this May 12-14, The Qt Company decided to host a virtual one in its place called Qt Virtual Tech Con. The event offers talks you won’t hear in October, virtual exhibits, and Q&As online, for free.

          KDAB’s Kevin Funk will be presenting Using Modern CMake with Qt and we will also be showing a demo in the Virtual Exhibition.

        • Second Annual Copyleft Conf: Videos Are Up!

          In February, we ran our second annual Copyleft Conf. Thanks to our program committee; Molly de Blanc, Beth Flanagan, Bradley Kuhn, Deb Nicholson, Nithya Ruff, Josh Simmons and Haralde Welte, the schedule was both bold and timely. We are happy to announce that all the videos of this year’s sessions are now available for you to watch.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • This Week in Rust 336
          • Julien Vehent: 7 years at Mozilla

            Seven years ago, on April 29th 2013, I walked into the old Castro Street Mozilla headquarters in Mountain View for my week of onboarding and orientation. Jubilant and full of imposter syndrom, that day marked the start of a whole new era in my professional career.

            I’m not going to spend an entire post reminiscing about the good ol’ days (though those days were good indeed). Instead, I thought it might be useful to share a few things that I’ve learned over the last seven years, as I went from senior engineer to senior manager.

          • Contact Tracing, Governments, and Data

            Digital contact tracing apps have emerged in recent weeks as one potential tool in a suite of solutions that would allow countries around the world to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and get people back to their daily lives. These apps raise a number of challenging privacy issues and have been subject to extensive technical analysis and argument. One important question that policymakers are grappling with is whether they should pursue more centralized designs that share contact information with a central authority, or decentralized ones that leave contact information on people’s devices and out of the reach of governments and companies.

            Firefox Chief Technology Officer Eric Rescorla has an excellent overview of these competing design approaches, with their different potential risks and benefits. One critical insight he provides is that there is no Silicon Valley wizardry that will easily solve our problems. These different designs present us with different trade-offs and policy choices.

            In this post, we want to provide a direct answer to one policy choice: Our view is that centralized designs present serious risk and should be disfavored. While decentralized systems present concerns of their own, their privacy properties are generally superior in situations where governments have chosen to deploy contact tracing apps.


            Moreover, as Mozilla Executive Director Mark Surman observes, the norms we establish today will live far beyond any particular app. This is an opportunity to establish the precedent that privacy is not optional. Centralized contact tracing apps threaten to do the opposite, normalizing systems to track citizens at scale. The technology we build today will likely live on. But even if it doesn’t, the decisions we make today will have repercussions beyond our current crisis and after we’ve sunset any particular app.

            At Mozilla, we know about the pitfalls of expansive data collection. We are not experts in public health. In this moment of crisis, we need to take our cue from public health professionals about the problems they need to solve. But we also want policymakers, and the developers building these tools, to be mindful of the full costs of the solutions before them.

          • Looking at designs for COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps

            A number of the proposals for how to manage the COVID-19 pandemic rely on being able to determine who has come into contact with infected people and therefore are at risk of infection themselves. Singapore, Taiwan and Israel have already deployed phone-based tracking technology and several recent proposals for re-opening the US economy depend on some sort of contact tracing system. There has been a huge amount of work in this area (see the list here), with perhaps the best known effort being the joint announcement by Apple and Google. that they would be building this kind of functionality into iOS and Android.

            To some extent what’s going on here is just that this is a nicely packaged, accessible, technical problem — learn some things, keep others secret? Sounds like a job for crypto! — and so we have a number of approaches that are quite similar. However, the other thing you see is that these solutions embed quite different assumptions about how they are going to be used and what kind of privacy properties you need and that ends up giving you a variety of different designs.1

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 6.3.6 Released as the Last in the Series, More Than 80 Bugs Fixed

          Coming more than two months after LibreOffice 6.3.5, the LibreOffice 6.3.6 update is here to provide users of the LibreOffice 6.3 series with one last set of bug and regression fixes. It also aims to improve document compatibility.

          The LibreOffice 6.3 series is targeted at enterprise deployments and production environments. While LibreOffice 6.4 is already available, LibreOffice 6.3 is the only version currently recommended by The Document Foundation for organizations.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.4.1

          WordPress 5.4.1 is now available!

          This security and maintenance release features 17 bug fixes in addition to 7 security fixes. Because this is a security release, it is recommended that you update your sites immediately. All versions since WordPress 3.7 have also been updated.

          WordPress 5.4.1 is a short-cycle security and maintenance release. The next major release will be version 5.5.

          You can download WordPress 5.4.1 by downloading from WordPress.org, or visit your Dashboard → Updates and click Update Now.

          If you have sites that support automatic background updates, they’ve already started the update process.

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

      • Programming/Development

        • 24U Software releases fmRESTor.js for Claris FileMaker

          “Red Hat’s virtual Summit kicks off with exciting news for OpenShift users, Endless OS 3.8.0 and Fedora 32 both arrive with GNOME 3.36 in tow, VLC’s latest release adds better support for network media access, and QEMU 5.0 makes it easier than ever…” https://www.jupiterbroadcasting.com/141317/2020-04-29-linux-headlines/

        • Ian Jackson: subdirmk 1.0 – ergonomic preprocessing assistant for non-recursive make

          I have made the 1.0 release of subdirmk.

          subdirmk is a tool to help with writing build systems in make, without use of recursive make.

        • GnuCOBOL, a free platform to learn and use COBOL – nice free software

          The curiosity got the better of me when Slashdot reported that New Jersey was desperately looking for COBOL programmers, and a few days later it was reported that IBM tried to locate COBOL programmers.

          I thus decided to have a look at free software alternatives to learn COBOL, and had the pleasure to find GnuCOBOL was already in Debian. It used to be called Open Cobol, and is a “compiler” transforming COBOL code to C or C++ before giving it to GCC or Visual Studio to build binaries.

          I managed to get in touch with upstream, and was impressed with the quick response, and also was happy to see a new Debian maintainer taking over when the original one recently asked to be replaced. A new Debian upload was done as recently as yesterday.

        • I think you should generally be using the latest version of Go

          The obvious current reason to use a current version of Go is that Go is in the middle of a big switch to modules. Relatively recent versions of Go are needed to work well with modules, and right now module support is improving in every new version. If you’re using Go modules (and you probably should be), you want an up to date Go for the best support. But eventually everyone’s packaged Go versions will be good enough for decent module support and this reason will fade away.

        • Migrating from Jekyll to Hugo

          Warning: this post is so long. So so long. There is practical stuff in it, I promise. But maybe use the search function. Or just scroll through to find what’s relevant. I use headers, if that helps.

          I suppose the question most people would ask is, why switch? It was a multitude of little things which added up to push me over the edge. I’ve contemplated making the switch as early as 2017 when quite a few folks I knew were moving over from Jekyll to Hugo.

        • Writing With SEO In Mind

          I read this post on Desmond’s blog yesterday (great blog, you should definitely subscribe. Especially if you’re into the IndieWeb). In the post, Desmond talks about how growing his audience and SEO are not priorities for him. He says:

          In a rough sense, I know what it would take to garner more readers to my blog (better attention to SEO, targeted subject matter). But I also know that if I took that too far, this blog would cease to be about me, and I don’t think I want that to happen.

          With regards to growing a readership, I completely agree. Personally, I think if you have started a personal blog with the intention of growing a huge following and becoming Internet famous, you’re probably doing it for the wrong reasons.

        • SSH Tips & Tricks

          Here are some of our best tips & tricks for using SSH more effectively. This post will cover how to:

          Add a second factor to your SSH login

          Use agent forwarding safely

          Exit from stuck SSH sessions

          Share a remote terminal session with a friend (without Zoom!)

        • Matching binary patterns

          In Erlang, it is easy to construct binaries and bitstrings and matching binary patterns. I was running into Mitchell Perilstein’s excellent work on NTP with Erlang and I thought I am going to use this to explain how bitstrings and binaries work in Erlang.

          Two concepts:

          A bitstring is a sequence of zero or more bits, where the number of bits does not need to be divisible by 8.

          A binary is when the number of bits is divisible by 8.

        • Perl/Raku

          • What’s new on CPAN – March 2020

            Welcome to “What’s new on CPAN”, a curated look at last month’s new CPAN uploads for your reading and programming pleasure. Enjoy!

        • Python

          • How to teach using Kaggle
          • “Flying Pandas” and “Making Pandas Fly” – virtual talks this weekend on faster data processing with Pandas, Modin, Dask and Vaex

            This Saturday and Monday I’ve had my first experience presenting at virtual conferences – on Saturday it was for Remote Pizza Python (brilliant line-up!) and on Monday (note – this post predates the talk, I’ll update it tomorrow after I’ve spoken) at BudapestBI.

          • Python 101: Conditional Statements

            Developers have to make decisions all the time. How do you approach this problem? Do you use technology X or technology Y? Which programming language(s) can you use to solve this? Your code also sometimes needs to make a decision.

          • Interview: Koudai Aono, Author of pydantic Plugin for PyCharm

            I’ve long been a big fan of pydantic by the prolific Samuel Colvin. In 2018, the package added support for dataclasses by providing its own decorator which “creates (almost) vanilla python dataclasses with input data parsing and validation.”

            Alas, the “almost” was a sticking point. In particular, PyCharm’s code insight only treated the built-in decorator as something providing dataclass support. A PyCharm plugin was needed, first to make PyCharm treat pydantic dataclasses like regular ones, then to fill in coding assistance for the other aspects.

            Enter Koudai Aono. Despite never having done an IntelliJ plugin, nor even much Java, he took on the task of making the Pydantic PyCharm Plugin. While we helped a bit, Koudai has generated over 20 releases and updates and is now working on really impressive features.

          • PyCharm & DSF Campaign 2020 Results

            For the fourth year in a row, JetBrains PyCharm partnered with the Django Software Foundation on a promotion, “Get PyCharm, Support Django,” where for 28 days users could purchase new individual PyCharm Professional licenses for 30% while the full proceeds went to the DSF. Even with the current economic conditions the campaign was a huge success again this year.

            “JetBrains PyCharm has been a major supporter of Django and the Django Software Foundation these past four years. The $40,000 raised during this year’s campaign represents 20% of the DSF’s annual budget, which goes directly into funding the continued development and support of Django via the Django Fellowship program and Django conferences worldwide. On behalf of the community, our deepest thanks to JetBrains PyCharm for their generous continued support.” – Frank Wiles, DSF President

          • The Long Road I took to Learn Basic Python

            I have been wanting to switch careers to programming for a long time now.
            Just that juggling a part time job, home work, and a broken back, always kept me from somehow giving it the time, that that I needed.

            It has been two years now.

            My lowest ebb, was September last year, when I caught a really nasty bug, was laid up in bed, for nearly a month and then checked myself into a hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack.1

            In the meanwhile, people have learnt stuff, gotten careers and rocketed up their charts while I sit here spinning my wheels.
            Or at least I used to think, I was spinning my wheels, until this month.

            In my head, I used to be like, why is this so hard for me?

          • Regular Expressions: Regexes in Python

            In this tutorial, you’ll explore regular expressions, also known as regexes, in Python. A regex is a special sequence of characters that defines a pattern for complex string-matching functionality.

          • Function Dissection Lab: Learn how Python functions work by examining their innards

            PyCon didn’t happen in Pittsburgh, as planned, thanks to the coronavirus and covid-19. But it did happen online, and I was delighted to be able to present a talk!

          • 2020 PyData Conferences Update [COVID-19]

            While disappointing, we are taking this action based on the most up to date information available, and in order to help do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19. Ticket holders and sponsors of these events will be contacted separately. We will continue to closely monitor the conditions on the ground for the remaining scheduled in-person events and will communicate updates as they become available:

          • Microsoft’s Python team loves PyCon, including this year’s online version! [Ed: The thugs from Microsoft are bribing PyCon again in exchange for marketing. They keep doing this.]

            Microsoft returned as our top PyCon 2020 sponsor (for the 3rd year) and stepped forward to make another big investment in PyCon and its community. Microsoft not only uses Python for their own development but also offers Python as a crucial tool to empower everyone to achieve more.

          • 6 Python Projects for Beginners

            Python can be a great programming language. You can make almost anything you want.
            If you are a beginner and you don’t know what to do, here are some beginner projects for you to make.

            1-Basic Calculator
            This is by far the easiest project in the list. You ask the user to put their first number, then the operator, then their second number. Once they put all of that, the program should calculate what the user wanted.

          • Don’t be afraid of Test-Driven Development

            Throughout my career, the teams I’ve been on have had a wide range of views on using tests while developing code. As I’ve moved between teams, listened to podcasts, and read articles, I’ve assembled some notes that would have been very useful for me in the past. Some of these notes are getting compiled into a book that I’ll be selling later this year.

            I realize that I took much longer than I should have to get started with testing my code. This is mostly because I was intimidated with rules I felt I had to follow; rules that I had to get past in order to let myself explore, try, fail, and then succeed.

            If you aren’t testing your code, I want to share this post with the hope that you too may find enjoyment form it.

        • Java

          • Proposed Project Addresses Long-Term Java Pain Points

            A new project just proposed for consideration on the OpenJDK mailing list would address the “long-term pain points” of Java’s slow startup time, slow time to peak performance and large footprint.

            Submitted this week in a call for discussion by Mark Reinhold, chief architect of Oracle’s Java Platform Group, “Project Leyden” would address these pain points by introducing the concept of “static images” to the Java Platform and the JDK.

            A static image is a standalone program, Reinhold explained, derived from an application that runs that application and no other. A static image is “a closed world,” he said, meaning it can’t load classes from outside the image or spin new bytecodes at run time.

          • Java security, mainframes having a moment, and more industry trends

            If software is eating the world, then hackers are… I guess the thrush thriving in the gullet? Hyperbole aside, the more stuff made of software, the more incentive clever people have to try and figure out how to do things they probably shouldn’t be able to. This applies to Java too.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • DisplayPort Alt Mode 2.0 Brings Interoperability With USB4

        VESA announced today version 2.0 of the DisplayPort Alternate Mode specification.

        With DisplayPort Alternate Mode 2.0, the focus is on providing interoperability with the USB4 specification. This allows for all DisplayPort 2.0 features to be used through USB Type-C connectors with USB4.

      • Daniel Stenberg: curl 7.70.0 with JSON and MQTT

        We’ve done many curl releases over the years and this 191st one happens to be the 20th release ever done in the month of April, making it the leading release month in the project. (February is the month with the least number of releases with only 11 so far.)

      • Drop PNG and JPG for your online images: Use WebP

        WebP is an image format developed by Google in 2010 that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on the web. Using WebP, web developers can create smaller, richer images that improve site speed. A faster loading website is critical to the user experience and for the website’s marketing effectiveness.

        For optimal loading across all devices and users, images on your site should not be larger than 500 KB in file size.

        WebP lossless images are often at least 25% smaller in size compared to PNGs. WebP lossy images are often anywhere from 25-34% smaller than comparable JPEG images at equivalent SSIM (structural similarity) quality index.

        Lossless WebP supports transparency, as well. For cases when lossy RGB compression is acceptable, lossy WebP also supports transparency, typically providing three times smaller file sizes compared to PNG.

  • Leftovers

    • Operation America Unfriggingbelievably Tone-Deaf: Everybody Gets A Plane! (But Sorry Still No Masks, Tests, PPE or Jobless Benefits)
    • In the American Snake Oil Stain

      In his Journal of the Plague Year, 1664, De Foe tells us that “the posts of houses and corners of streets were plastered over with doctors’ bills and papers of ignorant fellows, quacking and tampering in physic, and inviting the people to come to them for remedies, which was generally set off with such flourishes as these, viz.: ‘Infallible preventive pills against the plague.’ ‘Neverfailing preservatives against the infection.’ ‘Sovereign cordials against the corruption of the air.’ ‘Exact regulations for the conduct of the body in case of an infection.’ ‘Anti-pestilential pills.’ ‘Incomparable drink against the plague, never found out before.’ ‘An universal remedy for the plague.’ ‘The only true plague water.’ ‘The royal antidote against all kinds of infection’…”

    • Taking part in the 100 days to offload challenge – day 1

      So here I am. This is the first part in this series. I don’t expect this to bring me a lot of readers or anything, just to get more stuff written down for the benefit of my future self, future historians and people searching for random words or constellations of on the Internet. Maybe it will also trigger someone else to start writing longform instead of just tweeting, tooting, snapping or whatever.

  • Science

  • Education

    • Students Face Unequal Access During COVID-19 Shutdown

      We look at the impact of the pandemic on schools, universities, students, parents, teachers and professors — and who is at the table to shape what happens next. “We now have an economic crisis on top of the public health crisis, and the ways that we’re choosing to educate children is simply unequal and is going to lead to an educational crisis,” says education scholar and Cornell University professor Noliwe Rooks, author of Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education.

    • Russian university expels and evicts hundreds of students for refusing to leave their dorms during the coronavirus pandemic

      The Russian State Social University (RGSU) in Moscow expelled and evicted at least 200 of its 1,568 students between April l5 and 23, reports the student journal Doxa. 

    • Distance Learning Is Taking an Emotional Toll on Students

      The coronavirus pandemic has forced schools at every level to grapple with a reality in which the fundamental assumptions upon which they normally operate — that the majority of students are in good health and have a relatively clear vision of the future ahead — no longer apply. With every state in the U.S. ordering or recommending school closures, learning has moved online, forcing students to bear the emotional brunt of a surreal new normal. Social isolation, the digital divide, and various tech difficulties with Zoom, the default video conferencing platform used by many schools, have all complicated the transition to distance learning. Well before the coronavirus outbreak, experts were labeling the mental health crisis on college campuses an “epidemic.” Now, COVID-19 is taking a never-before-seen toll on high school and college students.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • As Many as 9,000 Early COVID-19 Deaths May Not Have Been Counted

      Two studies looking at “excess” death counts across the country seem to suggest that the total number of casualties from COVID-19 in the U.S. so far may have been undercounted in a dramatic way during the early weeks of the crisis.

    • Kelli Ward’s Call for “Reopen” Protesters to Dress as Nurses Reveals GOP Cruelty

      Kelli Ward, former state senator and chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, is messing with medical professionals in the middle of a global pandemic to get some ink for herself and maybe a fawning tweet from the president. I have personal reasons to have a serious problem with that.

    • Rhode Island Only Looks Like It Has a Bad Covid-19 Outbreak Because It Has a Bad Covid-19 Outbreak
    • Chomsky: COVID-19 Has Exposed the US Under Trump as a “Failed State”

      The label “failed state” has started to fit the U.S. like a glove as the COVID-19 national health crisis continues to reveal the structural flaws and weaknesses of the United States, argues world–renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky in this exclusive interview for Truthout. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to exact a high price in human lives due to its caricaturish but highly dangerous response to the crisis. In the interview that follows, Chomsky also analyzes what’s behind Trump’s encouragement of the “anti-lockdown” protests, discusses the right-wing determination to destroy the U.S. Postal Service, and lays out his views on the electoral “lesser of two evils” principle.

    • Pence’s Barefaced Mayo Clinic Tour Proves He Still Does Not Take COVID Seriously

      Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday upset a lot of people after images released from the event demonstrated he did not wear a mask while touring the facility.

    • The Pandemic Hasn’t Stopped Aggressive Medical-Debt Collection

      Darcel Richardson knows she’s fortunate in one sense: She still has her job as a vocational counselor in Baltimore. But despite that, she won’t be able to make her rent payment this month because she’s not getting her full salary for a while. More than $400 per biweekly paycheck — about a quarter of her after-tax income — has been siphoned off by Johns Hopkins University for unpaid medical bills at one of its hospitals.

    • COVID-19 Lights Up Biological Annihilation

      As the COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise rapidly in the United States and around the world, one question many people have been asking is: Where did COVID-19 come from?

    • Will the Coronavirus Change the World? On Gramsci’s ‘Interregnum’ and Zizek’s Ethnocentric Philosophy

      The prophecies are here and it is a foregone conclusion: the post-coronavirus world will look fundamentally different from anything that we have seen or experienced, at least since the end of World War II.

    • Boris Johnson’s Recuperation at His Prime Ministerial Country Estate

      BoJo Johnson, suffering from the COVID-19 virus, was discharged from hospital, where he had a spell in intensive care, in order to recuperate at Chequers, the official country residence of the prime minister. A second governmental country estate, Chevening, is earmarked for use by the prime minister and senior cabinet members.

    • On Frontlines Against Covid-19, Healthcare ‘Heroes’ Across US at Risk From Underlying Illness, Poverty, and No Insurance

      “Health care workers don’t need lip service. They need raises, health benefits, and paid sick leave.”

    • Public Interest Groups Ask Social Media Platforms To Preserve Data Regarding COVID-19 Content Moderation For Future Study

      Over the last month or so, we’ve written plenty on the challenges of social media companies managing content moderation in the midst of a pandemic, highlighting the challenges when misinformation is coming from official sources, when it’s impossible to distinguish legit info from misinformation, when the intersection of politics and misinformation gets tricky, and, of course, when platforms have to rely more on AI while all their workers are working from home (raising significant privacy concerns if they’re still moderating content).

    • People With Disabilities and Their Personal Assistants Need COVID Relief Now

      Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, the risks to people with disabilities — who are 10 percent of the world’s population, or roughly 650 million people — remain critical and require urgent attention.

    • Russia’s coronavirus infection count nears 100,000, as the official death toll approaches 1,000

      On the morning of April 29, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 5,841 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 99,399 patients. A day earlier, the nation recorded 6,411 new infections (570 more cases).

    • A Different Kind of COVID-19 Protest

      Amidst a deadly pandemic set to kill millions of people it is hard not to become reactionary and short-sighted. The coronavirus for all intents and purposes is the new Trump for the libs. On the one hand a force that remains criminally underrated in its capacity for destruction despite its overwhelming popularity and attention from the bourgeoisie. On the other hand a noise that is so loud that it erases all rationality and perspective.

    • The Dangers of COVID-19 Surveillance Proposals to the Future of Protest

      Many of the new surveillance powers now sought by the government to address the COVID-19 crisis would harm our First Amendment rights for years to come. People will be chilled and deterred from speaking out, protesting in public places, and associating with like-minded advocates if they fear scrutiny from cameras, drones, face recognition, thermal imaging, and location trackers. It is all too easy for governments to redeploy the infrastructure of surveillance from pandemic containment to political spying. It won’t be easy to get the government to suspend its newly acquired tech and surveillance powers.

      When this wave of the public health emergency is over and it becomes safe for most people to leave their homes, they may find a world with even more political debate than when they left it. A likely global recession, a new election season, and re-energized social movements will provide an overwhelming incentive for record numbers of people to speak out, to demonstrate in public places, and to demand concessions of their governments. The pent-up urge to take to the streets may bring mass protests like we have not seen in years. And what impact would new surveillance tools, adopted in the name of public health, have on this new era of marches, demonstrations, and strikes?

    • Even in Moscow, not all the kids have laptops The switch to distance learning is testing Russia’s Internet infrastructure and the patience of students and teachers nationwide

      Since late March, Russian children have been studying online because of the coronavirus pandemic. There isn’t a single comprehensive platform offering online education in Russia — instead the Education Ministry has compiled a list of recommended resources. Students and teachers complain about technical failures and the questionable quality of educational content, and pranksters are derailing online lessons. Federal officials acknowledge the problems with online learning, as they continue to their chaotic development and rollout of new services and platforms.

    • From Ukraine to Coronavirus: Trump’s Abuse of Power Continues

      Our narcissist-in-chief has ordered FEMA to circumvent their own process and send supplies to states that are “appreciative”.Michigan and Colorado have received fractions of what they need while Oklahoma and Kentucky have gotten more than what they asked for. Colorado and Massachusetts have confirmed shipments only to have them held back by FEMA. Ron DeSantis, the Trump-aligned governor of Florida, refused to order a shelter-in-place mandate for weeks, but then received 100% of requested supplies within 3 days. New Jersey waited for two weeks. New York now has more cases than any other single country, but Trump barely lifted a finger for his hometown because Governor Andrew Cuomo is “complaining” about the catastrophic lack of ventilators in the city.A backchannel to the president is a shoe-in way to secure life-saving supplies. Personal flattery seems to be the most effective currency with Trump; the chain of command runs straight through his ego, and that’s what the response has been coordinated around.He claims that as president he has “total authority” over when to lift quarantine and social distancing guidelines, and threatens to adjourn Congress himself so as to push through political appointees without Senate confirmation.And throughout all of this, Trump has been determined to reject any attempt of independent oversight into his administration’s disastrous response.

    • Sweden says its coronavirus approach has worked. The numbers suggest a different story

      The petition said that trying to “create a herd immunity, in the same way that occurs during an influenza epidemic, has low scientific support.”

      Swedish authorities have denied having a strategy to create herd immunity, one the UK government was rumored to be working towards earlier on in the pandemic — leading to widespread criticism — before it enforced a strict lockdown.

      Lena Hallengren, Swedish Minister for Health and Social Affairs, told CNN: “There is no strategy to create herd immunity in response to Covid-19 in Sweden. Sweden shares the same goals as all other countries — to save lives and protect public health.”

    • Banning family at senior care homes has removed a layer of protection and care

      For individual families, the ban, however necessary, has been worrying and painful. But it now appears to advocacy groups that the cumulative effect on thousands of families has also been deadly. Banning families, they say, has contributed to high rates of fatalities and negligence inside public and private care homes—revealing how much family members have acted as both supplemental support and unofficial watchdogs in an industry that’s poorly regulated at best.

    • Evidence Indicates That Severe Forms of COVID-19 Can Damage The Heart

      In both cases, when there is a severe COVID-19 infection, the heart undergoes a massive inflammatory response called myocarditis. The virus infects the cells of the heart causing the muscle tissue (myocardium) to undergo severe inflammation.

      This can alter the electrical conduction in the heart, affecting its ability to pump blood around the body. The result of which is less oxygen getting to organs, including the lungs. How this happens is unclear, but there are several possible mechanisms.

    • Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing [iophk - tweets in place of authentic communication :( ]

      The narrative that experts underplayed the risks isn’t fully correct, though. On January 26, Thomas Inglesby of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tweeted, “We should be planning for the possibility that [the coronavirus] cannot be contained.” He followed with a list of recommendations, several of which—more diagnostics, more protective equipment, transparent communication—the U.S. is still struggling to meet. Four days later, Scott Gottlieb, the former FDA commissioner, and Luciana Borio, who was part of the National Security Council’s now-dissolved pandemic-preparedness office, similarly urged the government to “act now” to prevent an American epidemic. “I hope the lesson people take from this is not ‘Experts were wrong,’” Tufekci says. “If you followed the right people, they were overwhelmingly right. We just didn’t put them in the right place so we could hear them.”

  • Integrity/Availability

    • How does a TCP Reset Attack work?

      The attack has had real-world consequences. Fear of it has caused mitigating changes to be made to the TCP protocol itself. The attack is believed to be a key component of China’s Great Firewall, used by the Chinese government to censor the [Internet] inside China. Despite this weighty biography, understanding the attack doesn’t require deep prior knowledge of networking or TCP. Indeed, understanding the attack’s intricacies will teach you a great deal about the particulars of the TCP protocol, and, as we will soon see, you can even execute the attack against yourself using only a single laptop.

      In this post we’re going to:

      Learn the basics of the TCP protocol

      Learn how the attack works

      Execute the attack against ourselves using a simple Python script

      Before we analyze the mechanics of the attack, let’s begin by seeing how it is used in the real world.

    • Would You Have Fallen for This Phone Scam?

      Last week, KrebsOnSecurity told the harrowing tale of a reader (a security expert, no less) who tried to turn the tables on his telephonic tormentors and failed spectacularly. In that episode, the people impersonating his bank not only spoofed the bank’s real phone number, but they were also pretending to be him on a separate call at the same time with his bank.

      This foiled his efforts to make sure it was really his bank that called him, because he called his bank with another phone and the bank confirmed they currently were in a separate call with him discussing fraud on his account (however, the other call was the fraudster pretending to be him).

    • Rarely Is The Question Asked

      Now, David Gerard reports the latest Smart Contract fiascos in The dForce and Hegic DeFi exploits, and why Smart Contracts are bad. One caused the $25M loss shown in the chart, the other caused this reassuring message to users:

      !! ALERT A typo has been found in the code. Because of that, liquidity in expired options contracts can’t be unlocked for new options. !! Please EXERCISE ALL OF YOUR ACTIVE OPTIONS CONTRACTS NOW.

      Below the fold, some details.

    • Proprietary

      • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Openwashing

          • Choosing an Open Source Stack – And Avoiding a False Economy [Ed: The Microsoft-connected Openlogic lecturing us on “Open Source”… iophk: “anti-copyleft drivel”]

            As an example, Kubernetes is a good choice for an organisation moving from a monolith environment to a microservices substrate, because it has considerations for many other supporting technologies that will comprise a full solution. That interoperability is part of what has led Kubernetes to arise as the most popular container orchestration platform available. Another example might be a company migrating from Oracle JDK, because Oracle now charges for its Java JDK subscriptions. In that situation, OpenJDK is a good choice, because it has feature parity with Oracle JDK. These days, functionality does not have to be sacrificed just because you want to use community supported software.

          • Microsoft open-sources in-house library for handling QUIC connections
      • Security

        • AMD Programmer Manual Update Points To PCID Support, Memory Protection Keys

          It looks like AMD Zen 3 CPUs will finally be supporting PCID! And memory protection keys are coming too, at least according to AMD’s latest programmer reference manual.

          AMD has published a new revision of their Programmer’s Reference Manual. The new registers detailed are for PCID and PKEY.

        • MB XSS Challenge [iophk: javascript]

          Bingo! Sanitizer thinks that the tag is only <img alt=”“” />, and doesn’t have any forbidden tags, but actually, it’s much longer. Because we are using the img tag, the browser is automatically fetching the a.png file because such a file doesn’t exist when the onerror is triggered.

      • 28 Windows, macOS and Linux antivirus with major security flaws [Ed: All those headlines should say proprietary software]

        In this case, major security flaws have been discovered in a total of 28 antiviruses. This list highlights some of the most downloaded for Windows, macOS and Linux. We give you all the details and the list of those affected after the jump.

      • G-Core Labs opens new hosting and CDN location in Hong Kong [Ed: GNU/Linux and KVM[

        G-Core Labs servers are located in a certified Tier III class data re and the company provides 5 TBytes of traffic for free for each dedicated server. The functionality of the automatic installation of operating systems such as Windows and Unix, installed when ordering the server, is provided in the company’s dedicated and virtual servers in order to save time for system deployment. All G-Core Labs servers are protected from DDoS attacks using proprietary technology for intelligent filtering of network traffic.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • ‘Unscrupulous’ Tech Company Rebuked for Pushing Facial Recognition Tool for Authorities to Track Coronavirus

          “Absolutely the fuck not.” 

        • Microsoft starts pushing coronavirus info in Windows Search

          Microsoft notified users of the changes as part of the release of Windows 10 Insider Build 19619, which is noteworthy for audio controls that are arriving in the Your Phone app. Though native, UWP, and Progressive Web Apps exist for streaming music services like Spotify, some people prefer playing them via their phone. The new controls allow users to adjust their audio and play, pause, and shift between tracks.

        • Ad Dollars Keep Flowing Into Google and Facebook—for Now

          The [Internet] economy has only grown more dependent on advertising in the past two years. It’s the force that sustains most publishers, fills the coffers of Instagram influencers and YouTube stars, and powers the most popular social networks. But Facebook and Google remain the twin titans of the industry, accounting for more than half of all spending in the US ad market, according to research firm eMarketer.

        • Facebook usage is surging, but the company warns it may be temporary

          In particular, Facebook says it’s watching out for drops in engagement. “We expect that we will lose at least some of this increased engagement when various shelter-in-place restrictions are relaxed in the future.” It also starting feeling the downturn in the global advertising industry over the course of the last month. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks of the first quarter of 2020,” the company said.

        • Keeping your digital footprint clean during quarantine

          Right now the news is being flooded by articles highlighting the importance and efficacy of physical sanitation habits. Tips that you’ve undoubtedly heard an inundating number of times by now include to wash your hands for at least twenty seconds, how to make disinfectant at home, remembering to stay masked when in public, etc. These are great tips for when you’re outside but people will also be using the [Internet] a LOT more than normal due to government orders to stay at home – and governments themselves are seeking to expand their surveillance powers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to consider applying the world’s newfound appreciation of sanitary habits to the digital world, too. Wearing a mask in public is effective – but so is wearing a mask when you’re on the [Internet].

        • Kids Need Encryption Too

          Earlier this month, the Internet Society ran a short webinar, Kids, the Internet and COVID-19, to show parents how they can protect their kids’ privacy and security online through encryption.

          Encryption is a way of ‘scrambling’ information to make it unreadable to malicious actors who might want to access it, and works much like the codes that we used as children to send secret messages to each other – but better. Encryption protects our emails, our online messages, and even our bank details – a critical safeguard as cyber attacks grow amidst the pandemic.

          One of the most important things a parent can do to keep their kids secure is to choose only messaging apps that are end-to-end encrypted, such as Signal, WhatsApp, and Telegram. They should also only visit websites that show a lock icon by the URL, which tells you that the page, and the information you send and receive, have been encrypted. It’s just as crucial to teach kids to set long and strong passwords – this can be sentences that combine letters, numbers, and symbols, for their online accounts and their devices.

        • Privacy groups are still trying to get documents unsealed in Facebook encryption case

          Civil liberties groups on Tuesday asked an appeals court to unseal a federal judge’s ruling that rejected a U.S. government effort to force Facebook to decrypt voice calls.

          The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that the public has a right to know about how U.S. prosecutors tried to force Facebook to decrypt the calls in a 2018 investigation of the MS-13 gang, and why a judge rejected the prosecutors’ effort. The Department of Justice is urging the court to keep the ruling sealed, arguing that making it public could compromise ongoing criminal investigations.

        • EFF: Google, Apple’s Contact-Tracing System Open to Cyberattacks

          Privacy advocates are urging developers to proceed with caution as they use technology released by Apple and Google to build COVID-19 contact-tracing apps — and are warning against the potential for cybercriminal use.

          On the latter point, the system is meant to help people know if they have come into contact with someone with the novel coronavirus. But the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) warned that as it stands now, there’s no way to verify that the device sending the contact-tracing information out is actually the one that generated it. Thus, malicious actors could potentially harvest the data over the air and then rebroadcast it, undermining the system entirely, researchers said.

        • Google Inc makes Meet app free for all users

          Earlier, the premium video conferencing app was available only for paid enterprise users of the GSuite.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Grieving Families Need Help Paying for COVID-19 Burials, but Trump Hasn’t Released the Money

      As the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus mounts, President Donald Trump has yet to free up a pool of disaster relief funding specifically intended to help families cover burial costs.

      Approximately 30 states and territories have requested the funding as the pandemic spreads across the country and struggling families ask for help burying their dead. The funding is part of the wide array of “individual assistance” programs handled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help disaster victims. But Trump has sharply limited what kinds of assistance FEMA can provide, and the agency has told states their requests are “under review” or only agreed to pay for counseling services for their residents.

    • Is Kim Dead? Your Guess Is as Good as Western Media’s
  • Environment

    • CNN’s Exceptional Climate Journalism Achievement

      Demolishing the stereotype of climate stories as earnest, predictable turnoffs, The Road to Change spotlights the human side of the climate crisis without preaching or pulling its punches. In the course of 90 minutes, we meet one compelling character after another: members of America’s “first underwater homeowners association,” in inexorably submerging Miami, comforting one another about dwindling property values; weather-battered Iowa farmers whose Christian faith compels them to climate activism despite snickers from their conservative neighbors; a victim of California’s record Paradise fire who, surrounded by houses reduced to ashes, says he’s “yet to see any substantial proof” of a changing climate; young Sunrise Movement activists forcing the Green New Deal into the national political conversation; and a smattering of big-name scientists and politicians. Jovial yet deeply informed, Weir treats his subjects with absolute respect, gaining their trust and ours. By telling the story through the experiences of these flesh-and-blood human beings, the documentary makes the urgency of the climate crisis, as well as its solutions, vivid and immediate to anyone with an open mind.

    • The Economy Is at a Standstill, and Yet Carbon Emissions Have Only Dipped Slightly. Why?

      A 5.5-percent drop in carbon dioxide emissions would still be the largest yearly change on record, beating out the financial crisis of 2008 and World War II. But it’s worth wondering: Where do all of those emissions come from? And if stopping most travel and transport isn’t enough to slow down climate change, what will be?

    • [Old] Ghost flights: Why our skies are full of empty planes

      Crew and fuel are costly, and the environment pays a price, too. The reason airlines continue to operate these expensive flights, however, is because the industry is engaged in a slots game more high-stakes and lucrative than anything you’ll find in Las Vegas.

  • Energy

    • The Syrian Job: Uncovering the Oil Industry’s Radioactive Secret

      The story of how MacDonald got here is a tale of adventure and tragedy fit for a Hollywood thriller, only it is real. Even with many unknowns, MacDonald’s case unearths a shocking part of the world’s most powerful industry that somehow has remained hidden for generations.

    • As Covid-19 Forces Emission Reductions, Media Offer Oil Industry Elegies

      Last week on April 22 the world marked the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Air pollution in the world’s major cities was down dramatically; for the first time in decades, the Himalayan Mountains could be seen from 100 miles away. The canals in Venice were so clear you could see the fish swimming in them, and lions were sleeping on the roads in South Africa. All of these developments, and others like them, were the consequences of a global reduction in fossil-fuel emissions.

    • Annual Power Demand Seen Falling For First Time In Almost Four Decades: ICRA

      ICRA expects annual electricity demand to fall 1 per cent during the year ending March 2021 due to the impact of a nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ICRA said in a statement.

      The decline would be the first since fiscal year 1985, and government data preceding that was unavailable.

  • Wildlife/Nature

    • Speak Up for Bats — Even in the Pandemic
    • Tropical deforestation releases deadly infections

      Brazil’s burning forests are bad news for the global climate. Now scientists say the trees harbour deadly infections too.

    • A Big Win for the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness and a Call to Protect Wolves and Wilderness in Idaho

      In January 2016 the U.S. Forest Service authorized the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) to make 120 helicopter landings in the River of No Return Wilderness to place radio telemetry collars on 60 elk, despite the Wilderness Act’s clear prohibition on motorized intrusions and its directive to preserve an untrammeled Wilderness. To our knowledge, this was the most extensive helicopter intrusion in Wilderness that has ever been authorized. IDFG said the project was necessary to study an elk-population decline that has occurred since the return of gray wolves to the Wilderness and to inform IDFG’s future decisions concerning hunting, trapping, and “predator control” actions in the Wilderness.

    • Are “Temporary Roads” Ecologically Invisible?

      I recently had a representative of one of the “conservation groups” in the Greater Yellowstone area tell me that they supported logging/thinning on the Custer Gallatin National Forest because the agency was mostly accessing the timber by way of “temporary” roads.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Both Sides-ing Bleach Injection: Media in the Era of an Incompetent President

      To corporate media: It is OK. Facts are facts, even when the president of the United States disagrees. You don’t have to both-sides this one. Injecting bleach is bad.

    • ‘Owes an Apology to Every Essential Worker’: Pence Under Fire for Refusing to Wear Face Mask at Mayo Clinic

      “When I warned everyone in February that Pence doesn’t believe in science and shouldn’t be in charge of Covid response, I meant it,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    • ‘What a Threat!’: In Latest Effort to Exploit Pandemic, Trump Indicates He May Condition State Coronavirus Aid on Sanctuary City Policies

      “No matter what issue the solution is the same for Trump, Miller, Kushner and other white nationalists. Build walls, end immigration, punish sanctuary cities…”

    • “Only in Trump’s America”: Despite Covid-19, Employees in Texas and Iowa Told to Get Back to Work or Lose Unemployment Benefits

      “I feel like either I’m going to lose my business and everything I worked for, or I’m going to get sick.”

    • Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp: Stupid or Pseudostupid?

      The elevation of pseudostupidity and disavowal of its consequences is a Trump characteristic his followers celebrate as a strength, not a failing. This endangers us all.

    • Trump Takes His War on Intelligence to a New Level

      Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently reprised his advice from the 2008 financial crisis, when he said “never let a good crisis go to waste.”  Sadly, Donald Trump is the cynical embodiment of that code.  Behind the national preoccupation with the pandemic, Trump has escalated his war on U.S. governance and our democracy with his politicization of the intelligence community; his campaign against the federal government’s Inspector Generals; and the reversal of President Barack Obama’s legacy in the field of environmental sanity.  The Congress has been virtually and pathetically silent about these actions.

    • Russian Orthodox Church suspends protodeacon from service after critical remarks about archpriest who died from coronavirus

      The head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has temporarily banned well-known Protodeacon and Orthodox theologian Andrey Kuraev from service.

    • Backing the Wrong Horseman
    • The Trump Administration Has Put Federal Workers at Coronavirus Risk, Senators Say

      Democratic senators are questioning the Trump administration about whether it has been doing enough to protect federal workers during the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter sent Monday to the White House, the senators demanded more information about the administration’s policies, and they cited ProPublica coverage detailing how agencies have come up short.

      The administration has the “authority and responsibility to make sure that federal agencies have effective and clear policies to protect these employees,” wrote Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and 20 other lawmakers.

    • The left is lukewarm on Biden. Will they turn out for him anyway?

      But if the Biden campaign truly wants to win over Mr. Sanders’ army of dedicated supporters and unite the Democrats, the candidate himself needs to signal that he values them and understands why they became Sanders activists in the first place, Mr. Barkoski says.

      “It’s not Trumpers who are saying ‘Oh you Bernie people are all losers.’ That’s all coming from our own party,” says Mr. Barkoski, who has cast his ballot for Democratic presidential nominees since he became old enough to vote in 1972. “This party has no interest in me or what I stand for, unless it’s courting my vote.”

    • How the pandemic turned Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer into an unlikely firebrand

      The thing is, though, Whitmer has never been a political firebrand. The Lansing native ran for governor in 2018 on a platform of fixing the state’s roads and cleaning up its water, and while she’s taken progressive stances on some issues, she’s typically portrayed as a centrist by opponents and supporters alike.

      So how did Whitmer become the subject of nationwide controversy? It started with Michigan’s coronavirus crisis — the state is among the hardest hit, with nearly 34,000 cases and more than 2,800 deaths as of April 22. In March, Whitmer called out the Trump administration for failing to help Michigan and other states get tests and protective equipment — and Trump responded by insulting her. Soon Michigan became one of the most visible sites of conservative protests against social distancing rules — protests encouraged by Trump’s tweets.

    • Why We Should ‘Abolish Silicon Valley’

      For the past decade, Silicon Valley’s tentacles have dug so deep into our political economy that it’s hard to imagine life without the tech titans. The coronavirus pandemic has only complicated things further, with the same companies that misclassify, underpay, and exploit workers now positioning themselves as indispensable to the increasingly volatile economic order.

      A tech worker turned critic, Wendy Liu’s debut book “Abolish Silicon Valley: How to liberate technology from capitalism” comes at an opportune time and promises to offer an alternative to a world where technological development is funded and driven by private actors seeking private gain. Her book aims to offer a series of reforms that can mitigate inequality and improve working conditions, alongside larger structural demands that seek to put social good, not returns on investment, in control of our society’s technology.

      This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

    • Swedish activists seek to rename square outside Chinese consulate after imprisoned bookseller Gui Minhai

      A representative from the Liberal Party’s youth organisation Olle Johnson told HKFP that the group submitted a proposal to Gothenburg’s city committee and launched an online petition.

    • Why Biden Probably Won’t Announce His Running Mate For Months

      But that wide date range obscures the fact that vice presidential candidate announcements are closely tied to the timing of the party conventions — which, of course, varies every election year. Four of the vice presidential nominees since 1972 were announced at the convention, and almost all the others were announced shortly before.1

      For most of American history, vice presidential nominees were chosen during the conventions themselves, originally by the same chaotic, multiple-ballot process that was used to pick presidential nominees, but eventually at the direction of the presidential nominee, a trend that started with Franklin D. Roosevelt choosing Henry Wallace in 1940. And in 1984, Walter Mondale became the first presidential candidate to announce his running mate before the convention began (his pick, Geraldine Ferraro, also made history in another, more important way — she was the first woman on a major-party presidential ticket).

    • Coronavirus testing chief says ‘no way on Earth’ US can test 5 million a day, despite what Trump says

      There’s “no way on Earth” the U.S. can test 5 million people a day for the coronavirus, the government’s top testing official said in an interview, just hours before President Donald Trump vowed that the country would be able to test that many people daily “very soon.”

      “There is absolutely no way on Earth, on this planet or any other planet, that we can do 20 million tests a day, or even five million tests a day,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health who is in charge of the government’s testing response, told TIME in an interview he gave Tuesday morning that was published later in the evening. The interview took place before Trump’s eye-popping pledge about testing.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Game Of (Internet) Life: How Social Media Reacts To Questionable News

      On April 11, Princeton mathematician and the inventor of “Game of Life” John Horton Conway passed away from the coronavirus. Known as a “magical genius” whose curiosity extended beyond just mathematics, the passing was a devastating blow to many who loved the man.

    • HHS’ New Spokesman So Good At Communications Strategy That He Thinks He Can Delete Tweets From The Internet

      It never ceases to amaze me how often people that really should know better seem to think that they can simply remove their own histories from the internet effectively. It seems the be a lesson never learned, be it from major corporations or even the Pope, that the internet never forgets. Thanks to tools like The Wayback Machine and others, attempts to sweep history under the rug are mostly fruitless endeavors. And, yet, people still try.

    • Reluctant To Block Embarrassing Coronavirus Material Held On GitHub, China Targets The People Who Put It There

      Over the years, Techdirt has written many stories about the various forms that censorship has taken in China. The coronavirus pandemic has added an extra dimension to the situation. China is evidently trying to erase certain aspects of the disease’s history. In particular, it seeks to deny its likely role in acting as the breeding ground for COVID-19, and to downplay how it infected the rest of the world after the initial outbreak in Wuhan. As the New York Times put it: “China is trying to rewrite its role, leveraging its increasingly sophisticated global propaganda machine to cast itself as the munificent, responsible leader that triumphed where others have stumbled.” Quartz reports on a new front in this campaign to re-cast China’s actions. Volunteers in China working on a project called Terminus2049, which aims to preserve key digital records of the coronavirus outbreak, are now targets of a crackdown:

    • Tajikistan bans independent Akhbor news website

      On April 9, the country’s Supreme Court announced a decision to formally block access to Akhbor and prohibited the outlet from operating in the country, according to news reports, a report by the website, and Mirzo Salimpur, Akhbor’s founder and editor-in-chief, who spoke to CPJ via messaging app.

      The website’s Tajik page has been inaccessible in the country since 2017, and its Russian page has been blocked since 2019, according to Akhbor. The court’s ruling formalizes those blocks into law and also imposes potential criminal charges on journalists who work with the outlet, according to those news reports and Salimpur.

    • He Found One of Stalin’s Mass Graves. Now He’s in Jail.

      “Everything started here,” said Mr. Dmitriev’s 35-year-old daughter, Katerina Klodt, during a recent visit to the forest at Sandarmokh in Karelia, a peninsula in northern Russia. “My dad’s work has clearly made some people very uncomfortable.”

      Mr. Dmitriev is now in jail, awaiting trial on what his family, friends and supporters dismiss as blatantly fabricated charges of pedophilia, an accusation that has frequently been used to discredit and silence voices the Russian authorities do not like.

      An official in Karelia, Mr. Dmitriev’s home region next to Finland, complained last year that the jailed historian’s life work — the commemoration of Stalin’s victims at Sandarmokh forest — had created an “unfounded sense of guilt” and been used by “foreign powers for propaganda against Russia.”

    • Siberian Doctor At Proposed COVID-19 Hospital Falls From Fifth Floor Window

      TVK Krasnoyarsk television reported on April 25 that the acting chief physician had fallen out from the office window while talking on a conference call with regional Health Minister Boris Nemik about turning one of the buildings of the hospital into a facility to treat coronavirus patients.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • ‘Ekho Moskvy’ chief editor Alexey Venediktov faces multiple sexual harassment allegations in new ‘BBC’ profile

      On April 29, the BBC’s Russian-language service published an in-depth profile of Alexey Venediktov, the long-time editor-in-chief of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow). The story by Svetlana Reiter and Sergey Goryashko covers Venediktov’s humble beginnings, rise to prominence in Russia’s post-Soviet independent journalism, and byzantine relationships with powerful politicians, state officials, and business owners. The article also describes sexual harassment allegations against Venediktov from multiple women, including Anna Veduta, Meduza’s former global outreach director and the ex-spokesperson for oppositionist Alexey Navalny. 

    • Protect Indian media from predatory tech platforms

      Silicon Valley has always preferred to portray itself not as a profit-making enterprise, but as a populist crusader for free speech. From invoking Martin Luther King, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg did in a speech to defend his company’s strategy to allow false political advertising in the United States (US), to framing catchy slogans such as “Do No Evil” (Google) , the technology firms have played an aggressive advocacy game to keep public opinion in its favour.

      More recently, the original defenders of free speech — traditional news publishers in western democracies — have locked horns with Silicon Valley companies such as Google and Facebook over advertising revenue and the fake news propagated on these technology-enabled platforms. These news publishers charge the technology companies with two sins that threaten not just the news industry across the world, but also democracy in India.

    • Since when is it a crime to report a crime? Bernard Collaery exposes the Timor Sea betrayal

      Witness K is in court this week, in closed-court proceedings nobody is meant to know about. He is on trial for doing the right thing. With the release of his book, Oil Under Troubled Water, to coincide with Witness K’s plea hearing, ACT lawyer, Bernard Collaery, has raised the stakes on who the real wrong-doers are in this unedifying exposé of the Howard Government’s breach of international law when it spied on it’s cash-strapped neighbour to profit from Timor Sea oil. Callum Foote reports on the momentous political scandal.

    • FBI warrant shows messages between Roger Stone, Julian Assange in 2016

      Roger Stone, a former political strategist for President Donald Trump, repeatedly contacted WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign — and they primarily discussed leaked emails from Hillary Clinton’s team and the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, new FBI documents show.

      The documents, a partly redacted application for a search warrant in 2017, were released by the bureau late Tuesday.

    • Dissident British ex-diplomat Craig Murray indicted for blog posts in Kafkaesque case

      The renowned British peace activist and former diplomat Craig Murray has been charged with contempt of court for writing blog posts.

      The suspicious indictment represents a heavily politicized, Kafkaesque case in which Murray has virtually none of his rights guaranteed. It also appears to be a part of the British government’s aggressive crackdown on the Scottish independence movement.

      In comments to The Grayzone, Murray described the case against him as a thoroughly undemocratic attack on free speech, and warned it may be punishment for his dissident journalism and activism exposing the UK’s crimes and lies.

      Murray said he faces the possibility of “no jury, no ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ test, no public interest defence allowed, no freedom of speech defence allowed, and up to two years in jail and an ‘unlimited’ fine.”

      Craig Murray served as Britain’s ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2002 to 2004. The UK Foreign Office fired him for his exposure of British and US involvement in egregious human rights violations in the country. Murray had blown the whistle on torture, warning that the CIA was using highly dubious intelligence obtained from tortured detainees.

      Since leaving the UK diplomatic service, Murray has become a prominent human rights activist who maintains a popular blog at his personal website.

      On his blog and through social media, Murray has established himself as an outspoken supporter of WikiLeaks and its publisher Julian Assange, who is being tormented in Britain’s high-security Belmarsh prison while awaiting potential extradition to the United States.

      In recent years, Murray has brought to light an array of US, British, and Israeli government crimes. He poked holes in Britain’s accusations that Russia poisoned double agent Sergei Skripal under official government orders. And in recent months, he has publicly excoriated the UK’s hypocrisy in a scandal involving Anne Sacoolas, a CIA operative who killed the British teenager Harry Dunn after she collided into him while driving on the wrong side of the road outside of a US Air Force spying station.

      A resident of Scotland’s capital Edinburgh, Murray has been especially outspoken in his support for the country’s independence from the United Kingdom. His pro-independence agitation appears to be a key factor in his persecution at the hands of the government.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Remotes, the Essentials, the Unpaid, and the Forgotten: Covid-19 Exposes Our Class Divide

      Of course this economic crisis triggered by the pandemic is not hitting people all the same.

    • As Covid-19 Deaths Mount in Retail, Walmart Workers Take Matters Into Own Hands With Contact-Tracing Plan

      “We can’t wait for more half-measures—we’re taking matters into our own hands to get the information we deserve to know.”

    • How Many Deaths Can We Live With?

      A prolonged economic crisis on the scale of a great depression will tally up its own body count, and may damage the country’s fabric in ways we cannot imagine. 

    • Wild in the Streets? Mayday 1971

      During the last week of April and the first few days of May in 1971, tens of thousands of US residents protested in the streets of Washington, DC. Their goal was to force an immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Southeast Asia. Although they did not accomplish their goal, they did force the rest of the United States of America to acknowledge the war needed to end. I was living in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland and attending antiwar protests there, but I wished I was in the streets of DC. Lawrence Roberts, author of a soon to be released history of those protests was one of those protestors. His book, titled Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest is a masterful chronicle of this particular historical moment. Detailed and encompassing the actions, planning and personalities of the protesters and the government forces aligned against them, Roberts’ writing is thoughtful and compelling.

    • Let Prisoners Go During COVID-19 Pandemic

      Across the United States and across the world, prisoners are among the most vulnerable to the coronavirus. Overcrowded facilities, shortages of food and medicine, and totally inadequate testing expose prisoners who are disproportionately poor and afflicted with prior conditions that render them vulnerable to the disease.

    • What Would Jesus Do? (Not This)
    • Threatening the Governors: Barr’s Commercial and Civil Liberties Brief

      The US Federal Attorney General should, nominally at least, be a stickler for the Constitution and its sacred word. When President Dwight Eisenhower’s Attorney General Herbert Brownell, Jr. was asked to participate in the suit that became Brown v the Board of Education, his position, while disruptive to pro-segregation states, showed fidelity to that document. The “separate but equal” doctrine should, it was suggested in legal argument, be overturned.

    • Social Distancing Doesn’t Matter When It Comes to Racist, Aggressive Policing

      Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have implored New Yorkers to keep respectable distances from one another, with the hopes of stopping the spread of the virus. The state’s and city’s economies were grounded to a halt as all kinds of businesses were ordered to shut their doors. Schools have been closed since March, and de Blasio recently announced that they will remain closed for the remainder of the year. Court affairs are being conducted remotely. Colleges have transitioned to distance learning. Across the state, there has either been a drastic slowing down, or a complete stoppage of almost all operations and activities in the public and private sector.

    • America Is Living Paycheck to Paycheck — on Purpose

      The $60 billion has the veneer of generosity, giving the appearance that Trump and company actually recognize and care about fixing one of the fundamental errors of the first round of funding. It also would be generous to call it an “error,” since anywhere from 75% to 95% of businesses owned by Americans who aren’t white, which make up nearly a third of the U.S. total, had virtually no chance of receiving low-interest PPP loans designed to help them pay workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

    • A Manager Threatening Retaliation Against Workers for Union Activity Is Not a Joke

      The Federalist’s top manager Ben Domenech is deeply upset that Matt Bruenig filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board for Domenech’s “joking” anti-union threats against employees. If Domenech didn’t want to get dragged to court, maybe he shouldn’t have broken labor law.

    • Access to [Internet] is not a fundamental right but an enabler of rights, J&K govt tells SC

      The Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday told the Supreme Court that the right to access the [Internet] is not a fundamental right, but an enabler of rights. In saying this, it indicated that high speed mobile [Internet] is unlikely to be restored in the union territory anytime soon.

      The J&K government’s submission comes after the Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment in January this year, had declared access to the [Internet] a fundamental right.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • As Pandemic Exposes US Broadband Failures, FCC Report Declares Everything Is Fine

      42 million Americans lack access to any kind of broadband whatsoever — more than double official FCC estimates. Millions more can’t afford broadband because the monopolized US telecom sector suffers from a dire lack of competition in most markets. US telcos, bored with the slow rate of return, have effectively stopped upgrading their DSL networks across broad swaths of America, leaving cable giants like Comcast and Charter spectrum with a bigger monopoly than ever across wide swaths of America. And no, wireless 5G won’t magically fix the problem due to patchy availability and high prices.

    • Canada Reads author Cory Doctorow answered your questions — here’s what he had to say

      You can read the transcript of the Q&A with Cory Doctorow, author of Radicalized below. The transcript has been edited for clarity.

      Radicalized is a collection of four novellas that explore the quandaries — social, economic and technological — of contemporary America. Cory Doctorow’s characters deal with issues around immigration, corrupt police forces, dark web uprisings and more.

      Akil Augustine will defend Radicalized on Canada Reads 2020.

      Hey there! It’s Cory, whose responses are being relayed by the good folks at the CBC. I’m a committed zuckervegan, and I firmly believe you should delete your Facebook account… after this chat!

    • Teleconference About .ORG Sale: Thursday, April 30, 9 am PT/12 pm ET: EFF and Partners Discuss Future of .ORG as ICANN Decision Nears

      San Francisco—The sale of the .ORG domain registry to private equity firm Ethos Capital threatens to bring censorship and higher operating costs to nonprofit organizations and international NGOs working in the public interest around the globe. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) may decide as early as April 30 whether the transaction can move forward.Experts at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Access Now, NTEN, and Human Rights Watch will brief the media about the overwhelming opposition to the transaction within the nonprofit world, Ethos Capital’s lack of transparency and sham promises of stakeholder involvement, and what happens after ICANN votes.The teleconference is Thursday, April 30, at 9 am PT/12 pm ET. To join the briefing, click on https://www.uberconference.com/savedotorg, or dial 415-857-0015, PIN: 43233. For international access numbers: https://www.uberconference.com/internationalFor more about Save.ORG:https://savedotorg.org/

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Second Medical Use in Pharmaceutical Patents: EPO Applications and Turkish Jurisdiction

        Second medical use claims provide the required protection for originator companies to recoup research investments in therapeutic use based on the original chemical compound. The claim provides additional 20 years protection after the expiry of the original patents that provide product protection for the medical substance. Second medical use claims are an important strategy for patent holders to prevent generic drugs from entering the market by extending the life of the patented molecule. To achieve this result, the originators claim the use of the molecule as a new product or process patent or different dosage for treatment. Of course, the claims must be again be novel for this use, have an inventive step and industrial applicability. Turkey, a member of the European Patent Convention (EPC), follows a parallel path with the European Patent Office (EPO) on second medical use in the context of the post-EPC2000 (entered into force in 13 December 2007) period. It is possible to be granted for a second medical use, if the claim meets the legal requirements of the EPC, from Turkish Patent Office.

        EPC and EPO Board of Appeals Decisions

        The implementation of EPC2000 and changes in Article 54 was, however, not enough to clarify the new purpose-limited product claim. In the former EPC 1973, applicants would circumvent the Convention by filing “Swiss-type” claims (decision G 5/83 of EPO Board of Appeals) in the format: “Use of compound X for the manufacture of a medicament for therapeutic application Z”, which were previously accepted by the EPO. Within the new framework of EPC2000, the subject-matter of a claim is considered novel only by a new therapeutic use of a pharmaceutical. Articles 54(4) and (5) provide for an exception from the general principle that product claims can only be obtained for novel products. Where a substance or composition is already a state of the art, it may still be patentable under Art. 54(5) for any second or further use in a method provided that said use is novel and inventive. Additionally, therapeutic uses of a substance/composition may be based not only on the treatment of a different disease but also on the treatment of the same disease by a different therapeutic method differing for example in the dosage, administration regime, group of subjects or route of administration. The interpretation of Article 54 came after decision G2/08 of European Patent Office Board of Appeals, in which further therapeutic use claims are expected to indicate the illness/disease to be treated, the nature of the therapeutic compound used for that purpose and, if relevant for establishing novelty and inventive step, the subject to be treated. . If the further therapeutic use relates to a different therapy of the same disease using the same substance/composition, the claim must also define all technical features of the therapy giving rise to the desired technical effect. At the date of filing, the claimed compound must not necessarily have already been tested in clinical trials, let alone have been approved as a drug. However, preferably, animal data in a relevant disease model should be filed to support the therapeutic effect. If animal data is not available, even in vitro data may be sufficient to render a therapeutic effect plausible if there is a clear and accepted established relationship between the observed physiological activities and the disease. In each individual case a balance must be struck between the requirement for sufficient disclosure of the therapeutic effect – potentially delaying application filing – and the need for early filing. Broad functional definitions of the compound for use in a therapeutic application are problematic before the EPO and other EPO Member State jurisdictions.

      • Biogen Int’l v. Banner Life Sciences LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

        In 1984, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) shepherded a grand legislative compromise through Congress that balanced the rights and solved inefficient regulatory consequences for both branded and generic drug makers. Forever known as the Hatch-Waxman Act (formally, the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act), certain of the provisions created a safe harbor for generic drugs to be tested for purposes related to regulatory approval without incurring infringement liability (codified at 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(1)) as well as a pathway for generic drug makers to challenge patents listed by branded drug makers as being non-infringed, invalid, or unenforceable and litigation (ANDA litigation) to resolve these allegations (codified at codified at 35 U.S.C. § 271(e)(2)). For branded drug makers, the Act provided for extension of patent term (PTE) to make up for regulatory delay in obtaining marketing approval (codified at 35 U.S.C. § 156 et seq.). Litigation has ensued robustly under § 271(e)(2) and PTE’s obtained by numerous branded drugs in the 35+ years since enactment of the Hatch-Waxman Act, but the proper application of the Act with regard to PTE provisions continued to be litigated, most recently in Biogen Int’l v. Banner Life Sciences LLC (ANDA litigation is almost a patent law specialty, for good or ill; see “Yet Another Study Suggesting Changes in Hatch-Waxman Regime”).


        The Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judges Moore and Chen. The Court based its affirmance on its interpretation of the statute, specifically that “the scope of a patent term extension under 35 U.S.C. § 156 only includes the active ingredient of an approved product, or an ester or salt of that active ingredient, and the product at issue does not fall within one of those categories.” The issue for the Court was the proper interpretation of § 156(f), which “defines “product” as “the active ingredient of . . . a new drug . . . including any salt or ester of the active ingredient.” § 156(f)(2)(A).

        Biogen in arguing against the District Court’s decision cites Pfizer Inc. v. Dr. Reddy’s Labs., Ltd., 359 F.3d 1361 (Fed. Cir. 2004) for the proposition that “product” encompasses “the de-esterified form [here, MMF], particularly where ‘a later applicant’s patentably indistinct drug product . . . relies on the patentee’s clinical data’” (which was the case for Banner’s application under § 505(b)(2)). Biogen contended the term “active ingredient” meant “active moiety” and the proper interpretation was not governed by Glaxo Ops. UK Ltd. v. Quigg, 894 F.2d 392, 395 (Fed. Cir. 1990), which Banner argued excluded de-esterified forms of an active ingredient.

      • Software Patents

        • Who’s A Patent Troll, and Who’s An Inventor?

          Two Congressmen recently introduced a bill that would create a special type of patent called an “Inventor-Owned Patent.” Having classified a group of “inventors,” the Inventor Rights Act (H.R. 5478) goes on to give them a long list of special privileges that will help them sue other people for patent infringement. If the bill passes, patent owners whom the government deems “inventors” will be able to exploit a big list of legal loopholes—including the ability to shut down product lines, avoid Patent Office reviews, and blow off important venue reforms established by recent Supreme Court rulings. Then, those who have “inventor-owned patents” will be able to return to venues that have historically been widely abused by patent owners, such as the Eastern District of Texas.

          We’ll take a closer look at the Inventor Rights Act in a subsequent blog post, but first we need to answer a more basic question. Are most patent owners “inventors,” with all the weight that word entails? Are “inventors” a special class of patent owner, separate and distinct from the “patent trolls” that we track and critique here at EFF?

        • The “Inventor Rights Act” is an Attack on True Invention

          Certain patent owners just can’t get enough of the monopoly power patents bestow. That’s why they keep trying to make it easier to get and sue over patents, despite Supreme Court rulings that point in the opposite direction.

          Their latest effort, the misleadingly-named “Inventors Rights Act,” also known as H.R. 5478, hijacks the positive associations many of us have with “inventors” to radically tilt the patent system in favor of patent owners, including patent trolls.

        • Cassiopeia IP patent determined to be likely unpatentable

          On April 29, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 7,322,046, owned and asserted by Cassiopeia IP LLC, an IP Edge affiliate and well-known NPE.

          The ‘046 patent is directed to the secure use of a service in a network. The ’046 patent is currently being asserted against Ricoh, Funai, Yamaha, and QNAP. All other cases have been terminated.

        • Another GE-owned, HEVC Advance standard essential patent, challenged as likely invalid

          On April 28, 2020, as part of its ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 9,357,217. The ’217 patent is owned by GE Video Compression, LLC (GEVC), which is participating in the HEVC Advance patent pool (HEVC Advance patent list).

          The ’217 patent, originally assigned to Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, was transferred to GEVC in 2015.

          HEVC Advance claims that certain claims of the ’217 patent are essential to the HEVC standard. After conducting an independent analysis, Unified has determined that the ‘217 patent is likely unpatentable.

    • Copyrights

      • Saudi Arabia Buys a $500 Million Stake In Live Nation

        The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has purchased a nearly $500 million stake in leading concert promoter Live Nation.

        The transaction’s details were revealed in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, which was shared with Digital Music News. For a total cost of approximately $500 million, Saudi Arabia bought 5.7 percent of Live Nation’s common stock – some 12,337,569 million shares – via its Public Investment Fund.

      • The Pirate Bay Has Made it Harder to Find Stuff

        The Pirate Bay resurfaced at its original .org domain earlier this month, but not everything is running smoothly. Finding torrents is a bit more complicated now, as paged search results and browsing features are missing. A lot of regular pages and links are gone too, including the famous Kopimi logo. The staff is aware of the issues but must wait until “Winston” addresses them.

      • Jay-Z Claims Copyright On Audio Deepfake Of Him Reciting Hamlet

        Andy Baio always digs up the absolute best stories. His latest involves layers upon layers of fascinating issues and legal questions. The key part, though, is that Jay-Z and his company Roc Nation, were able to convince YouTube to remove two “audio deepfakes” by claiming both copyright infringement and “unlawfully using AI to impersonate our client’s voice.” Both of these are highly questionable claims. But let’s take a few steps back first.

      • Woman Who Sold Access to Pirated Books on Dropbox Handed Suspended Sentence

        A woman who sold access to pirated copies of academic textbooks stored on Dropbox has been handed a suspended jail sentence by a court in Denmark. The case was pursued by Rights Alliance with assistance from the police and mirrors two previously concluded cases where two pirates were handed similar sentences.

      • Creative Commons Welcomes Our 2020 CC Certificate Scholarship Recipients!

        One way to bring the CC Certificate to more people is through the Certificate scholarship program, which launched with 18 scholarships in 2019. I’m pleased to announce we’ve awarded 28 scholarships in 2020 to our CC Global Network members who are passionate about developing their open licensing expertise and contributing to our vibrant global community. 

      • US Supreme Court rules Official Georgia Codes Annotated is ineligible for copyright protection – Georgia v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc.

        As a longstanding matter of public policy under U.S. copyright law, government edicts are

        ineligible for protection. Justice Harlan described the principle in 1898: “no one can obtain the exclusive right to publish the laws of a state in a book prepared by him.” A question has however persisted: what falls within the category of laws?

        On April 26, the US Supreme Court addressed this question in the context of annotations in the official code of the state of Georgia. All laws of the state of Georgia are printed in a single compendium, the Official Georgia Codes Annotated (OCGA).

        In a 5-4 decision written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, the Court ruled that such annotations are not subject to copyright protection.

Platinum (Top) Sponsors of Copyleft Conf Are Companies That Attack Copyleft’s Father, Richard Stallman

Posted in FSF, Google, GPL, Microsoft at 8:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nothing says “copyleft” conference like a repeated GPL violator with a history of attacks on copyleft… at the very top of your page with a massive logo

Copyleft Conf
Source: 2020.copyleftconf.org/sponsors

Summary: If it smells like a rotten plot, then it might as well be one; software freedom won’t be guarded by companies that internally ban the GPL and coordinate public smear attacks on it (as well as its creator)

THERE is something truly disturbing going on at SFC. It’s not new. We mentioned it before. Other people also habitually mention it. SFC has a growing problem of trust or crisis of confidence because people out there aren’t sure what it stands for or who it stands for. Longtime readers are likely familiar with more recent blunders.

Why does SFC take Microsoft money? What does that mean to SFC? What might that say about the origins of Copyleft Conf and its purpose? Remember that in order to keep money coming next year (as well as other future years) they might as well be careful what they publicly say about Microsoft and about its record, e.g. bribery, antitrust abuses, work that kills people and various obvious crimes (with convictions).

The above may not seem like much; after all, it’s less than “slush funds” to Microsoft. But it’s a lot of money for SFC. It helps pay the rent, food and so on. It can make SFC almost dependent on Microsoft. And that’s a problem.

Remember that in politics or political spheres this is how the most classic and likely most common form of bribery works.

We’ve asked SFC for comment on this; we gave them a chance to explain or to clarify. Half a day later the Conservancy’s staff has not replied to this request for comment, so we decided to go ahead with the story and actually type it up. We also extended the offer for response several more hours. So remember; we politely reached out for comment, but they refuse to even explain the above. Microsoft is undoubtedly behind several anti-GPL campaigns, so SFC cannot just claim that Microsoft changed; Microsoft just gave them “some change” (small money or pocket money to Microsoft, but a lot to SFC). All those anti-GPL GitHub-based ‘studies’ remind us that the GPL-hostile agenda of Microsoft has only been taken up several more notches in recent years; those are all Microsoft. Microsoft isn’t only a GPL violator; Microsoft got caught several times.

Why is Microsoft’s name at the very top of a page of something called “Copyleft Conf”? We could go ahead and remark/criticise some of the speakers, but this article can be more powerful when it is impersonal, focusing on issues and companies, nothing ad hominem at all. The Linux Foundation likes to personify some of the bad things it does; that’s a trap. And we won’t fall into it.

So why is an anti-GPL company a “Platinum Sponsor” of this event? That’s an odd thing for something called “Software Freedom Conservancy” to do. But remember that those are the same people who pushed Richard Stallman out of the FSF. Notice how also Salesforce creeps it; it’s the company whose high-level staff did the same, pushing hard for Stallman to be kicked out along with anyone who supports him. This is well documented. So what the heck is this event anyway? Why is it controlled and led by such companies? And not for the first time (we mentioned this before, after the first such event); Microsoft and Google were there last year as well. Yes, the first one was also funded by Microsoft and one might theorise who came up with the idea of having such an event and raise funds for it. Yesterday the SFC wrote about it, as did few others online, mostly in social control media. The E-mail message from Deb Nicholson was reprinted by LWN and it says this:

URL: https://sfconservancy.org/news/2020/apr/29/cc2video/

In February, we ran our second annual [Copyleft Conf](
https://2020.copyleftconf.org/). Thanks to our program committee; Molly
de Blanc, Beth Flanagan, Bradley Kuhn, Deb Nicholson, Nithya Ruff, Josh
Simmons and Haralde Welte, the [schedule](
https://2020.copyleftconf.org/schedule/) was both bold and timely. We
are happy to announce that all the videos of this year’s sessions are
now [available for you to watch.](https://2020.copyleftconf.org/video)

This year’s [keynote](
https://archive.org/details/copyleftconf2020-sebro) was delivered by
[Tony Sebro](https://wikimediafoundation.org/profile/tony-sebro/), who
is Vice President of Counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation, former
General Counsel of Conservancy, and serves on the Outreachy organizer’s
committee. In his talk, Tony wonders whether the community around
copyleft, like those around eschatology and Afro-centric hip-hop, has
lost it’s center and how we might entice new stakeholders to reinvest
in our shared values. His keynote is a great place to start with this
year’s videos.

We also want to especially thank Coraline Ada Ehmke for participating
in Copyleft Conf. She describes our responsibility as technologists and
shared her plan for building a movement to keep technology from being
used by bad actors. Both [her talk](
https://archive.org/details/copyleftconf2020-ehmke) and the [community
https://archive.org/details/copyleftconf2020-ethical-lice…) that
followed are available to watch now. The passionate conversation around
ethical licensing was cited by many as a highlight of the conference
and we’re glad we were able to host it at Copyleft Conf.

In case you missed it, our first year’s keynote was Molly de Blanc.
She’s the Manager of Strategic Initiatives at GNOME Foundation. There
was [a Faifcast episode](http://faif.us/cast/2019/may/31/0×68/) where
Bradley and Karen discuss her talk, “The Margins of Software Freedom”
coupled with an onsite interview. Many of the 2019 Copyleft Conf videos
are also [available to watch.](https://2020.copyleftconf.org/video)

We have no way of knowing what 2021 will mean for in-person events, but
we will continue to advocate for and discuss copyleft as a tool for
software freedom — stay in touch by following us on [Mastodon](
https://mastodon.technology/@conservancy) or [Twitter](
https://twitter.com/conservancy) or swing by #conservancy on
freenode.net to talk with folks in real time, any time, but [especially
on Thursdays at 6pm UTC.](


About Conservancy

Conservancy is a resourceful, non-profit organization dedicated to
helping people take control of their computing experience by growing
the software freedom movement, supporting community-driven alternatives
to proprietary software and defending free software builders with
practical initiatives. Conservancy believes that the future of software
should be for everyone.

Deb Nicholson <deb@sfconservancy.org>
Software Freedom Conservancy

It may sound all happy and fun, but watch who sponsored this thing (huge logo of Microsoft at the very top; depending on one’s browser it can fill up the whole page!); the event’s message is shrewdly disguised as “ethics” and tolerance; but deep inside the people who run this event and sponsor this event know what they seek to accomplish. Remember VMware‘s deliberate GPL violations and cover-up that we uncovered earlier this week. SFC probably won’t resume litigation and there’s a strong Microsoft connection, which we explained this week.

Always follow the company’s or the institution’s revenue sources (clients, sponsors, venture capital etc.) to better understand who truly owns and controls them, at the very least by financial means post-financial crises.

I asked SFC, both in Mastodon (Fediverse) and in Twitter, why they deemed Microsoft a proper top sponsor (Platinum Sponsor) for such an event. They did not ever bother replying, so perhaps they lack an actual defense of this move.

COVID-19 Crisis: When EPO Outsources Everything to a Surveillance System of Microsoft and the NSA

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 7:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A joke or a farce of a ‘justice’ system, where the platform is controlled by a company that commits a lot of serious crimes and works for the Pentagon, builds internment camps for ICE etc.

Grant Philpott E-mail regarding Microsoft

Summary: In another major fiasco, EPO management gives Microsoft control over (or insight into) the competitors’ business and highly confidential legal affairs (along with the US government, by extension); it’s likely not legal, it is definitely not constitutional, and EPO staff complains about the laughing stock that the EPO rapidly becomes under António Campinos, who totally exploits the pandemic to shamelessly attack staff and grossly violate the EPC

MR. Campinos rapidly turns out to be even worse than Battistelli. COVID-19 brings out the worst of him and he’s bringing out the EPO to Microsoft, a foreign monopolist whose Skype surveilance is a subject we’ve been covering for over a decade (even before Microsoft bought it).

As longtime readers may recall, half a decade ago we wrote many articles about favourable Microsoft treatment at the EPO and even leaked material to that effect. In our newly-tidied-up wiki pages it can be found. They’re linked from here still. Nothing has improved since; in fact, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) nowadays wants to punish applicants who do not use Microsoft’s proprietary OOXML — that’s how bad it is (but at least both that office and the company are American!).

So a company that lobbies against 35 U.S.C. § 101, lobbies for software patents in Europe, blackmails competitors using patents and so on is taking control of some of the EPO’s ‘crown jewels’.

Is this legal?

Of course not. Common sense!

“Is this legal? Of course not. Common sense!”Is EPO management doing it regardless? You bet! It’s not like they ever allowed ‘pesky’ laws and ‘obnoxious’ constitutions stand in the way of fake ‘production’.

Thankfully, staff representatives already speak about it. The anonymous “Kluwer Patent blogger” wrote about it yesterday.

So while taking another building in Haar (while leaving empty space in existing buildings) the EPO is happy to send venues of EPO… to Microsoft. Only 2 years ago they finished wasting lots of money on a new building and they plan several more at a huge cost (while falsely claiming to lack money for staff!) and now this:

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO is very outspoken above the announcement, in the middle of the coronapandemia, that videoconferencing will be the new standard: we’re being rushed into a change which is full of legal and technical pitfalls. In a letter published on the EPO’s internal pages half April, the CSC points out that many high and lower courts in the member states have suspended all oral proceedings which are not absolutely urgent. It “would make sense to align the Office with the practice as well as with emergency provisions of its host countries. This would also appear mandated by the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities.”

The CSC argues: “Holding oral proceedings as distributed videoconferences with the members of the division participating at different locations in the Office or at home is part of your initiative of generalising and making teleworking mandatory, which constitutes a fundamental change in the working conditions of an major part of staff. It must therefore be subject to statutory consultation with the COHSEC and the GCC in accordance with Articles 38(2) and 38a(3) ServRegs.

Since it has been decided to extend the new procedures for oral proceedings in examination beyond the current Corona crisis, in-depth consultation is necessary. The same applies to opposition oral proceedings for which this new procedure appears likewise here to stay.”

The CSC sees various legal issues: “Opposition oral proceedings are by law public proceedings, cf. Article 116(4) EPC. It is not at all clear how this is guaranteed if the hearing is conducted as a ViCo (see e.g. T1266/07, points 1.2 and 1.3). The preliminary guidance given in VP1’s announcement (…) states that if the division “receive[s] requests of public to attend opposition proceedings performed via ViCo” it should “contact [its] line manager”, presumably that of the first examiner. Aside from the fact that the line manager is not competent for interfering with the discretionary decisions of the Divisions, the public does not need to “request” attendance, or to announce it in advance. A possibility for the public to attend should therefore be guaranteed in all cases, regardless of any advance request. The guidance thus brings examiners into a conflict between the expectations of management and the requirements of the EPC.”

“A problem of breach of confidentiality might further arise if members of divisions were not able to adequately isolate themselves, especially during examination non-public OP’s and during deliberations.”

On the technical side there are issues as well, according to the CSC: “a yet unknown number of examiners cannot establish simultaneously both a Skypefor-Business connection and an EPO network connection via Pulse-VPN, as would be required for ViCo OPs, because the network hosts the application documents and the EPO email account. Only either connection works fine by itself.”

This leads the CSC to a very clear conclusion: let’s not do this. “At present there are no clear laws, no guidelines and no technical facilities to allow distributed oral proceedings in examination and opposition proceedings. In the latter case, even “non-distributed” ViCos with divisions on the Office premises would at present not rest on a solid legal basis.

The measures presently foreseen should be immediately halted and reviewed, also involving the Staff Representation.

In view of the additional strain on the examiner’s mental health, we can at present only advise divisions to judiciously choose, weighing all circumstances, whether to conduct oral proceedings by ViCo or rather to postpone them to a later date until circumstances for conducting them either as a classical ViCo from the Office premises or as “standard” proceedings in person are restored.”

This is amazing! See the bit highlighted about.

Are we shocked? Of course not, the EPO breaks the law all the time and as recently as yesterday it openly advertised in Twitter its bribery programme for scholars. Here’s what MaxDrei said about the above (he still comments in IP Kat, where comments critical of EPO for abuses are being censored):

Those running the EPO business are clearly disciples of the “Never let a Good Crisis Go to Waste” school of management thinking. Get in with a measure to cut costs and raise profit levels, regardless of any loss of product quality. Those running the EPO business (management, supervisory Board), it seems to me, have no appreciation of any importance in preserving the reputation of the EPO for the quality of its decisions on matters of fact and law.

Any criticism of setting the VC as default will be waved away as the bleatings of self-interested patent attorney firms, thwarted in their efforts to hold on to high turnover and profit figures associated with in vivo oral proceedings. It’s up to the critics to find lines of argument that are resistant to being fobbed off as mere self-interest. After all, the patents courts of England are now making heavy use of VC technology to keep patent litigation ticking along. Justice delayed is, of course, justice denied. it’s just that these VC Hearings are not used for the cross-examination of vital witness testimony, for which the judge needs to see the witness and their interlocutor face-to-face.

Who can give us examples of unscrupulous use of the VC to frustrate the over-riding objective of doing justice?

“Concerned observer” replied:

It is a matter of fact that a Decision of the President of the EPO cannot have the effect of altering (the interpretation of) the EPC. The President simply does not have the power to amend (on his or her own) the Articles or Rules of the EPC in any way. Any restrictions imposed by the President on the right to be heard are therefore clearly unlawful and unenforceable (by the Boards of Appeal).

Especially in the current circumstances, it is perfectly reasonable for ViCo technology to be offered as an OPTION to parties to proceedings before the EPO. However, for the reasons outlined above, it is unacceptable for proceedings to be conducted by ViCo against the wishes of any party to the proceedings. For opposition proceedings, the use of ViCos also poses problems (as discussed by Max and Attentive) regarding attendance by members of the public.

So why would the President issue such an obviously problematic (and unlawful) Decision?

Frankly, there is no good answer to this question. Indeed, this situation merely serves to illustrate the arrogant and, at times, lawless behaviour of the EPO’s President (and senior management, who must surely also shoulder some of the responsibility for this latest outrage).

This situation also raises another question to which there is no good answer: who will stop the President from trying to ensure that the Decision is both upheld and enforced?

Certainly not the AC, as that has turned into a dog that is wagged by its tail. Perhaps the Boards of Appeal – but only if they still have sufficient independence to risk of opening up another political can of worms. (Bearing in mind that “resistance” from the Boards could lead to another situation where the President, perhaps again enabled by the AC, tries to overturn any inconvenient case law by introducing an Implementing Regulation that overrides the current interpretation of Article 113(1) … and perhaps ultimately to another referral to the Enlarged Board in which the President kindly asks the EBA to agree with his novel interpretation of the EPC.)

Previously, it was clear that the list of “stakeholders” whose voices and opinions that this (and/or the previous) President of the EPO was happy to ignore included (non-senior) EPO staff, EPO staff representatives, Board of Appeal members, the Association of the Members of the Boards of Appeal, national courts and their judges (as illustrated by events in the Corcoran case) and certain (national associations of) professional representatives. To that list we can now add the epi, patent applicants, opponents and interested members of the public.

This poses one more question: is there any stakeholder whose opinion the President will take seriously? The way that things are currently working out, and absent a move by large numbers of applicants to take their cases to national patent offices, I would wager that the answer to this question is “no”.

MaxDrei agreed:

…Concerned’s concluding thought nails it.

The arrogance on the top floor of the EPO can be imagined as a nonchalant shrug of the Presidential shoulders and a casual throwaway remark from him, to the effect that:

“If the Applicants don’t like it, they can eff off and take their cases to the national Patent Offices. But, until a lot of them do exactly that though, I shall keep going with my sociopathic, corporation-style policies. And for exactly the same reason as in all those anti-social corporations, namely, to maximise the “value” that the Chief Executive doles out to the EPO’s shareholders. It is the ONLY duty imposed on the legal person that is a corporation. If that duty is good enough for a corporation, it’s good enough for the EPO too. Especially the EPO. Because what’s good for the EPO shareholders is good for the general public in Europe. End of discussion.”

“Not a friend of obligatoy ViCos” then said: “Imagine that your law firm has a well-functioning SIP/H.323 video-conferencing systems, you receive the conference number and the required information how to dial in with the SIP/H.323 video-conferencing system, and one (!) day (!) before the oral proceedings via ViCo you are informed that despite the official information provided together with the conference number (https://www.epo.org/applying/online-services/proceedings/technical-guidelines.html) only Microsoft Skype for Business can be used, because the examiners sit at home and SIP/H.323 cannot be used in such circumstances…”

Emphasis is ours. So Microsoft is now like a European court? Of course it’s not legal. It’s even worse when they put a criminal company in charge of it — a company that already admitted that it spies on people’s personal E-mails for its business purposes (or putting people in prison for doing things Microsoft itself dislikes).

EPO in 2020: brought to you by Microsoft!

“Microsoft is, I think, fundamentally an evil company.”

Former Netscape Chairman James H. Clark

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:46 am by Needs Sunlight



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