04.26.20

We’re on Containers Now

Posted in Site News at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stay /home. Delete /var/lib/mysql.

Summary: Improvements were ongoing at the back end (server side) of Techrights and we’re done for now

AS part of work training, my wife and I study containers (with Kubernetes and all becoming more commonplace, it doesn’t seem like Docker or at least containers are mere hype anymore). We also recently moved 4 databases, 3 of which belonging to Techrights, to a dedicated container of databases (MariaDB). The migration was done by the generous person who had kindly donated the server to us. It’s an upgrade in terms of security and performance. 2 weeks later we’re seeing improved site stability and we’re also working to automate several checks and unsupervised remediation.

We’ve meanwhile dropped the locally-hosted (on the files/Apache side) databases to save a lot of disk space and improve I/O speeds. Goodbye, /var/lib/mysql. It buys us a lot more time as we’ve long been tight on space, which occasionally caused issues, including downtimes but never data loss (thankfully; we’re very meticulous with backups).

There will soon be a hypervisor downtime, scheduled for password recovery. Other than that, we’re probably OK for now.

Stay tuned for some exclusive reporting that’s in the pipeline for days. This past weekend the site’s traffic averaged at over 2 of gigabytes per hour — a bit more than the usual (especially for weekends). The pandemic has not slowed us down and we’ll try to speed up again, writing articles rather than working on the server side of things. Maintenance is important as it ensures the site’s longevity.

Links 26/4/2020: Replacing Vista 7, digiKam 7.0 RC3, Nitrux 1.2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Best Linux distro for developers in 2020

      Linux powers the backbone of the internet, mobile devices, and now cloud computing systems.

      Because of this it’s often essential for techies to be able to work directly in a Linux environment, especially for operating servers and for developing software that runs on them.

      While Linux has a reputation for being primarily for coders and programmers, over the past couple of decades there have been moves to provide versions of Linux that are more friendly to ordinary users, such as by providing more of a graphic user interface (GUI) and be less reliant on command line use.

      However, at its core Linux still remains important for development use, and there are specific distros available that care less for newbies from Windows and are configured specifically for various technical uses.

      Here we’ll look at the main Linux distros used by software developers, and feature the best of them.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Talospace Project: Eight four two one, twice the cores is (almost) twice as fun

        It took a little while but I’m now typing on my second Raptor Talos II workstation, effectively upgrading two years in from a 32GB RAM dual quad-core POWER9 DD2.2 to a 64GB RAM dual octo-core DD2.3. It’s rather notable to think about how far we’ve come with the platform. A number of you have asked about how this changed things in practise, so let’s do yet another semi-review.

        Again, I say “semi-review” because if I were going to do this right, I’d have set up both the dual-4 and the dual-8 identically, had them do the same tasks and gone back if the results were weird. However, when you’re buying a $7000+ workstation you economize where you can, which means I didn’t buy any new NVMe cards, bought additional rather than spare RAM, and didn’t buy another GPU; the plan was always to consolidate those into the new machine and keep the old chassis, board and CPUs/HSFs as spares. Plus, I moved over the case stickers and those totally change the entire performance characteristics of the system, you dig?

        [...]

        For other kinds of uses, though, I didn’t see a lot different in terms of performance between DD2.2 and DD2.3 and to be honest you wouldn’t expect to. DD2.3 does have improved Spectre mitigations and this would help the kind of branch-heavy code that would benefit least from additional slices, but the change is relatively minor and the difference in practice indeed seemed to be minimal. On my JIT-accelerated DOSBox build the benchmarks came in nearly exactly the same, as did QEMU running Mac OS 9. Booted into GNOME as I am right now, the extra CPU resources certainly do smooth out doing more things at once, but again, that’s of course more a factor of the number of cores and slices than the processor stepping.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E05 – The Scottish Play

        This week we’ve be stoving in people’s heads with spades and buying tablets. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is out! We discuss GNOME Shell UX plans, the GNOME extension for Snapcraft, Ubuntu on LinuxONE mainframes and a new release of Mir. We round up some events and our picks from the tech news.

      • Replacing Windows 7

        Windows 7 has reached the end of its life. It will no longer receive security updates and Microsoft’s technical support will stop. Running an out-of-date OS can have serious potential risks, and if you’re using Windows 7 connected to the Internet, you will have a problem. Fortunately, there are two simple solutions.

    • Kernel Space

      • Btrfs Authenticated File-System Support Looks To Be Revived

        Last year a SUSE developer sent out a set of patches adding authentication support to the Btrfs file-system. Btrfs already has checksums on meta-data blocks and data blocks while the original implementation of these authentication patches was performing HMAC on a SHA256 checksum as a keyed hash. A proper key in turn is then needed to mount a verified file-system.

        That Btrfs authentication support wasn’t picked up at the time and the SUSE engineer, Johannes Thumshirn, since left the company. But following new inquiries over the work, it sounds like it will be revived for this authentication that could be used for the likes of embedded devices and containers.

      • Many AMD Radeon Graphics Driver Improvements Sent In For Linux 5.8

        As I noted earlier this month, AMD has been amassing many graphics driver improvements for Linux 5.8. On Friday marked their first pull request to DRM-Next of the Radeon graphics driver improvements for this next kernel cycle.

        Some of the highlights for the AMDGPU kernel driver improvements sent in as part of yesterday’s first pull to DRM-Next for Linux 5.8 includes:

      • Linux 5.8 Seeing The Preliminary Changes Ahead Of RISC-V EFI Support

        One of the areas being worked on upstream recently for the RISC-V architecture’s Linux kernel support is EFI handling. The preliminary work for supporting EFI on RISC-V is set to land for the Linux 5.8 kernel.

        In recent months the Linux EFI code has been going through a spring cleaning of sorts with the preparations towards RISC-V enablement. The initial preparations for RISC-V EFI support have been sent in as part of EFI-next code ultimately destined for Linux 5.8.

      • Intel Tiger Lake Thunderbolt/USB4 Support Is Coming With Linux 5.8

        Adding to the growing list of changes building up for Linux 5.8 this summer is now having Tiger Lake Thunderbolt/USB4 support.

        Queued now as part of the Thunderbolt-Next changes for Linux 5.8 is the Tiger Lake support. The commit notes that Tiger Lake’s Thunderbolt/USB4 controller is “quite close” to that of current Ice Lake hardware.

      • Facebook Posts Latest Memory Controller Patches With Up To 45% Better Slab Utilization

        Facebook engineer Roman Gushchin presented a new slab memory controller for Linux last September. The new memory controller has been very promising with the potential of using 30~40% less memory and less memory fragmentation, among other benefits. The third revision to that kernel work has now been sent out for evaluation.

        The new controller allows for sharing of slab pages between memory cgroups and other improvements. Using this new code can lead up to 45% better slab utilization, similar benefits to a drop in total kernel memory usage, and less unmovable slab pages. The code is also cleaner and with this third revision the code is further simplified.

      • Loongson Linux Work Continues – Dual Socket Support, Loongson-7A1000 Enablement

        Loongson, the Chinese MIPS64 CPUs that are becoming more common within China but not so much internationally, continues seeing better Linux kernel support. There has been a fair amount of Loongson Linux work in recent months including in the current 5.7 cycle while more should be on tap for Linux 5.8.

      • UFS Host Performance Booster Driver Coming Together For Faster Performance

        With JEDEC’s Universal Flash Storage (UFS) v3.1 specification from January one of the new features is the Host Performance Booster mode for faster and cheaper UFS capabilities. Micron and others have been working on this UFS Host Performance Booster support for Linux.

    • Applications

      • Best Linux Backup Software

        Keeping all the files and data, is really important task these days because our computers are always connected to internet which increases the threat of virus or phishing attacks on our computer. This could compromise crucial data stored on the computer or sometimes loss of data. In some cases hardware failure also can cause loss of whole data on system.
        Professional users like web developers, system administrators, and database managers suffer most in this kind of loss. To prevent this loss and safeguard the data we need something like antivirus or backup software.

        There has been always a way to backup files in Linux and its distributions, i.e. the command line method. But it is quite tricky approach and is not that easy to handle for novice and normal computer users. Also it is not only limited to safeguarding files but it should also protect important data, database and server.

        So today in this article we’re going to have a look at 5 best Linux backup software’s which you can use on Linux and its various distributions to backup important data.

      • Linux Printers Drivers And Utilities With Download Link



        Once there was a time when finding a proper printer and its driver for Linux based operating systems was quite tough and in some cases almost impossible too but things have changed. There are plenty of Linux compatible printers available in the market at competitive prices.

        In this post, we are showing you the link from where you can download the printer’s driver and utilities for your Linux based operating system.

      • Helping People Quit Microsoft GitHub

        

        This short article covers resources and helps to people who want to quit MS GitHub and move away to a better one –ethical, Free Software-based and user-controlled–. This includes examples of popular projects already moved, alternatives you could choose, self-host solutions, repository transfer guides, our community services, and further information, all presented in short format. In this article of course I mentioned several names like GitLab and Kallithea as alternatives and GNOME and Trisquel projects as examples. I hope this simple article could lighten your burdens in migrating away your source code repository. Happy hacking!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine-Staging 5.7 Fixes Support For Applications Built Using .NET CoreRT

        Built off yesterday’s exciting Wine 5.7 release that brought more WineD3D Vulkan bits and the start of a USB driver, Wine-Staging 5.7 is out with a number of its patches upstreamed into yesterday’s release plus a bit of new functionality.

        Wine-Staging 5.7 is down to less than 850 patches atop the upstream Wine code-base. Wine 5.7 upstreamed a number of the staging patches around Windows Codecs, NTDLL, and other bits to lighten the delta carried in the staging area.

        But in addition to Wine-Staging 5.7 updating their NTDLL syscall emulation and raw input mouse handling code, there is a fix in this release for running Windows applications built using .NET CoreRT.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Applications 20.04 Released For Linux Distros And Plasma Desktop

          Following a four-month development cycle, the KDE community has released its first KDE Application bundle update for 2020. KDE Applications 20.04 contains a number of KDE-based apps and libraries that have come with dozens of changes, more features, and improvements.

          2020.4 update for KDE Applications includes Okular, Dolphin, Lokalize, KMail, Konsole, Elisa, Gwenview, Yakuake, Kdenlive, KDE Connect, Spectacle, and Krita. So, let’s discuss new changes in each application in detail.

        • digiKam 7.0.0-beta3 is released



          Dear digiKam fans and users,

          Just few words to inform the community that 7.0.0-beta3 is out and ready to test two month later the second beta release published in February.

          After a long test stage while this Covid-19 containment, this new version come with more than 670 bug-fixes since last stable release 6.4.0 and look very promising. Nothing is completed yet, as we plan one release candidate version before next spring, when we will publish officially the stable version. It still few bugs to fix while this pre-release campain and all help will be welcome from the community to stabilize codes.

        • Today is the day! — Nitrux 1.2.8 is available to download

          We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.2.8. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

          Nitrux 1.2.8 is available for immediate download.

        • Maui Weekly Report 4

          Today, we bring you a new report on the Maui Project progress.

          Are you a developer and want to start developing cross-platform and convergent apps, targeting, among other things, the upcoming Linux Mobile devices? Then join us on Telegram: https://t.me/mauiproject.

          If you are interested in testing this project and helping out with translations or documentation, you are also more than welcome.

        • Contributing Public Transport Metadata

          In the last post I described how we handle public transport line metadata in KPublicTransport, and what we use that for. Here’s now how you can help to review and improve these information in Wikidata and OpenStreetMap, where it not only benefits KPublicTransport, but everyone.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sam Thursfield: [GNOME] Tracker documentation improvements

          It’s cool storing stuff in a database, but what if you shared the database schema so other tools can work with the data? That’s the basic idea of Linked Data which Tracker tries to follow when indexing your content.

          In a closed music database, you might see a “Music” table with a “name” column. What does that mean? Is it the name of a song, an artist, an album, … ? You will have to do some digging to find out.

          When Tracker indexes your music, it will create a table called nmm:MusicAlbum. What does that mean? You can click the link to find out, because the database schema is self-documenting. The abbreviation nmm:MusicAlbum expands to a URL, which clearly identifies the type of data being stored.

          By formalising the database schema, we create a shared vocabulary for talking about the data. This is very powerful – have you seen GMail Highlights, where a button appears in your email inbox to checkin for a flight and such things? These are powered by the https://schema.org/ shared vocabulary. Google don’t manually add support to GMail for each airline in the world. Instead, the airlines embed a https://schema.org/FlightReservation resource in the confirmation email which GMail uses to show the information. The vocabulary is an open standard, so other email providers can use the same data and even propose improvements. Everyone wins!

        • Clear Linux Preparing To Move To GNOME 3.36, Dropping Their Desktop Customizations

          With the somewhat surprising announcement this week that Intel’s Clear Linux platform would be divesting from the desktop and focusing on server and cloud workloads, the first visible changes on the desktop side are expected next week.

          Clear Linux is preparing to transition to the recently released GNOME 3.36. As part of that transition is when they will be dropping their default desktop customizations. Clear Linux will still be providing a vanilla GNOME default desktop for those that want Clear’s desktop experience, but it will follow a “vanilla” GNOME configuration.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • 500% if_bridge Performance Improvement

          With FreeBSD Foundation grant, Kristof Provost harnesses new parallel techniques to uncork performance bottleneck
          Independent embedded systems developer Kristof Provost certainly knows his way around the networking stack. For the past several years, (since George Neville-Neil approached him at AsiaBSDCon with an offer he couldn’t refuse) he has maintained FreeBSD’s port of the OpenBSD Packet Filter (pf) firewall.

          Even before this, if you’ve used IPv6, you’ve benefited from Kristof’s work to clean up fragment handling in the firewall. But it’s his 2018 engagement with Orange (France Telecom) that marks the beginning of this particular story.

          With 2019 turnover of €42 bn, Orange is on a mission “to ensure that digital services are well thought-out, made available and used in a more caring, inclusive and sustainable way in all areas of our business.”

          FreeBSD plays a role in this mission, serving as the OS for some of Orange’s business gateway devices. Olivier Cochard-Labbé, who at the time worked as a Network Engineer at Orange, discovered a pfsync performance issue and recruited Kristof to come up with a fix. Olivier is a recognized networking expert who founded FreeNAS and BSD Router Project and is a FreeBSD port committer.

          “Olivier set this project up for success very well,” said Kristof in an interview for this blog. “He had extensively researched the issue and provided me with benchmarks and flame graphs that really sped up my work.” After a few weeks of coding and testing, and another few for the commit (work that was spread out across about 6 months), Kristof had a patch that doubled pfsync performance.

        • FreeBSD’s Network Bridge Code Scores A 500% Performance Improvement

          Thanks to a FreeBSD Foundation Community Grant, FreeBSD 13 will be bringing up to a 5x performance improvement for if_bridge, the kernel code for network bridge device support.

          FreeBSD is already known to perform well within enterprise network infrastructure but it turns out for if_bridge there has been a performance bottleneck hitting some large operators like France’s Orange telecom company. Due to heavy contention on a single mutex for this network switch code, there was a limit of processing around 3.7 million packets per second. But in making use of epoch on FreeBSD 13-CURRENT for allowing greater concurrency without needing a lock/mutex, the performance opened up to being able to handle around 18.6 million packets per second.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

      • Debian Family

        • Google, Microsoft & Debian

          Nonetheless, what does it look like when Microsoft’s money comes along?

          There can be no greater contamination. The letterhead of Software in the Public Interest, Inc used to request money from Microsoft???? While Sam Hartman was unleashing feral dogs to attack a long-standing volunteer, he was spreading his bum cheeks for Bill Gates to come in.

          What are the principles that govern Debian Developers in 2020? They are clearly not the same as they were in 2006. Anybody who dares to ask about these paymasters is accused of violating the Code of Conduct. Long live the Code of Conduct.

        • Book club: Our Software Dependency Problem

          A short while ago Daniel, Lars and I met to discuss Russ Cox’s excellent essay Our Software Dependency Problem. This essay looks at software reuse in general, especially in the context of modern distribution methods like PyPI and NPM which make the whole process much more frictionless than traditional distribution methods used with languages like C. Possibly our biggest conclusion was that the essay is so eminently sensible that we mostly just talked about how much we agreed with it and how comprehensive it was, we particularly admired the clarity with which it explores how to evaluate the quality of free software projects.

        • Building Packages with Buildah in Debian

          Building packages in Debian seems to be a solved problem. But is it? At the bottom, installing the dpkg-dev package provides all the basic tools needed. Assuming that you already succeeded with creating the necessary packaging metadata (i.e., debian/changelog, debian/control, debian/copyright, etc., and there are great helper tools for this such ash dh-make, dh-make-golang, etc.,) it should be as simple as invoking the dpkg-buildpackage tool. So what’s the big deal here?

          The issue is that dpkg-buildpackage expects to be called with an appropriately setup build context, that is, it needs to be called in an environment that satisfies all build dependencies on the system. Let’s say you are building a package for Debian unstable on your Debian stable system (this is the common scenario for the official Debian build machines), you would need your build to link against libraries in unstable, not stable. So how to tell the package build process where to find its dependencies?

          The answer (in Debian and many other Linux distributions) is you do not at all. This is actually a somewhat surprising answer for software developers without a Linux distribution development background1. Instead, chroots “simulate” an environment that has all dependencies that we want to build against at the system locations, that is. /usr/lib, etc.

        • jgmenu

          There is a new tool available for Sparkers: jgmenu.

          [...]

          Due to changes in the Debian testing repositories, the Obmenu and Obmenu-generator is not available and can not be installed on Debian/Sparky testing any more, so…
          The ‘jgmenu’ provides a pipemenu to the Sparky 6 Openbox edition instead of the two menu apps mentioned before.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla Release Schedule

          Insight: Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla Release Schedule

          Right after the official release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa on April 23, 2020, the Canonical company behind Ubuntu is gearing up Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla. Ubuntu 20.10 will be available on 22 October 2020.

        • Ultimate Edition: Wow, where to start?

          I am soping in thousands of errors at a crack. I refreshed the entire focal repository. I felt I was not doing justice to what Ubuntu has done, I waited for them to create a “LTS” I have re-bounced it to the server in the basement. Data is flowing at rapid succession.

        • Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS walkthrough
        • An – EPYC – Focal Upgrade

          Ubuntu “Focal Fossa” 20.04 was released two days ago, so I took the opportunity yesterday and this morning to upgrade my VPS from Ubuntu 18.04 to 20.04.

          [...]

          Anyway, to get back to the distribution upgrade – it was fairly boring. I started yesterday by taking a copy of the server and launching it locally in a lxd container, and then tested the upgrade in there; to make sure I’m prepared for the real thing :)

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Download

          In this Ubuntu 20.04 Download guide you will learn where to download and how to download Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ISO image for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu Studio, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, Kylin desktops and Ubuntu 20.04 Server.

          Additionally, you can download Ubuntu 20.04 server preinstalled images for Raspberry Pi and various other architectures. Lastly, hypervisor cloud images such as Azure, Vagrant, KVM or VirtualBox are also available for download.

        • Full Circle Magazine: Full Circle Magazine #156

          This month:
          * Command & Conquer
          * How-To : Python, Valentina, and Rawtherapee[1]
          * Graphics : Inkscape
          * Graphics : Krita for Old Photos

        • Design and Web team summary – 26th April 2020

          My name is Ovidiu, also known as Ovi, Ovid or `solazio`.

          I joined the web team at Canonical about a year ago as a Front End Developer. Since I joined, I was involved with multiple projects (and that’s pretty cool), but in the last few months, I worked mostly on snapcraft.io – which is one of our coolest projects

          Believe it or not, but I am a Chartered Structural Engineer and worked in the construction industry for approximately 10 years. Until I decided to challenge myself and delve into the developer’s world.

          I love playing football and challenging my cool colleagues in the gym during lunch breaks. I also like to take photos – mostly landscape and events.

        • The CEO of Canonical says the coronavirus pandemic could delay its plans to go public in the next few years, but that the crisis will lead to a new generation of open source startups
        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS ‘Focal Fossa’ Finally Released: Download/Upgrade Now

          With last-minute tweaking, Canonical has finally released the final Ubuntu 20.04 LTS which is now the latest long-term version that you can use. Undoubtedly, Ubuntu 20.04 packs exciting new features to give better user experience, performance, and speed than ever before.

          Along with 20.04, seven other officially recognized Ubuntu flavors have also been released, with downstream changes from Ubuntu 20.04. These seven derivatives include Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE, Ubuntu Studio, and Ubuntu Kylin.

        • Ubuntu ‘Focal Fossa’ Homes In on Enterprise Security

          Canonical, the parent company of Ubuntu, on Thursday announced the general availability of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, codenamed “Focal Fossa.” This major upgrade places particular emphasis on security and performance.

          Released once every two years, the new long-term support version provides a platform for enterprise IT infrastructures and workloads across all sectors for five years. Enterprise users can extend that support for up to 10 years with a commercial support plan.

          Ubuntu has reached the top of independent rankings of enterprise Linux security, according to Canonical. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS applies Kernel Self Protection measures, ensures control flow integrity, and adds stack-clash protection for systemic forward-looking enterprise security.

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS includes Secure Boot to protect against low-level attacks and rootkits, often employed by Advanced Persistent Threat groups. This feature limits attack proliferation or blast radius with strict snap confinement of key exposed applications on the desktop and server, such as the local Kubernetes package MicroK8s.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source can thrive in a recession says Drupal creator Dries Buytaert

        Open source will survive and likely grow during the current economic downturn caused by the global coronavirus pandemic. That’s the position of people in the open source community, including Dr. Dries Buytaert, co-founder and CTO of Acquia and creator of Drupal, the open source web content management framework. In a March post on his personal blog, Dr. Buytaert wrote that during periods of economic decline, “organizations will look to lower costs, take control of their own destiny, and strive to do more with less.” Adopting open source can help “organizations survive and thrive,” he continued. I had a chance to interview Dr. Buytaert about his article, his advice for building successful open source projects and what’s happening with the Drupal Association and DrupalCon for TechRepublic’s Dynamic Developer video and podcast series . The following is an edited transcript of the the interview.

      • NordVPN Adopts Open Source WireGuard VPN Protocol For Better Speed

        NordVPN, one of the biggest VPN service provider companies in the world, has, today, rolled out a new technology based on the promising WireGuard VPN protocol. The new tech dubbed NordLynx is built around the WireGuard VPN protocol which is touted to offer better speed than other contemporary protocols like OpenVPN, IPSec, and more.

        Another benefit of WireGuard VPN protocol over other protocols is its easy deployment as there are extremely fewer lines of code involved. To give you a perspective, OpenVPN runs on 400,000 lines of code whereas WireGuard VPN has only 4,000 lines of code, marking a stark difference between the two.

      • Postgres, open-source, monetization & community

        The database that’s making waves in enterprise settings is PostgreSQL (often called Postgres), which would be romping up the database popularity index, if such a thing existed. Why is that the case?

        An open-source system that runs on Alibaba Cloud, AWS, Azure and ARM alike, you can download it, run it on your virtual or real tech, from 60-core x86s to a Raspberry Pi, and it’ll happily mince your data, just how you want it!

        But what happens when your business relies on Postgres, or you need a helping hand? Or an extra feature you can’t/won’t develop yourself? That’s where EnterpriseDB comes in. We speak to Marc Linster, Senior Vice President of Product Development at the company, about paying for “open-source-PLUS”, upstreaming, development communities and the unique capabilities of PostgreSQL.

      • New Leitstand initiative creates open-source management environment to bring web-scale to telco networks
      • Leitstand initiative creates open source environment to bring web-scale to telcos
      • Leitstand initiative creates open-source management environment, brings web-scale to telco networks
      • Open-source community addresses next generation carrier operations

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

        It will provide the tools needed to operate the underlying infrastructure in a disaggregated telecoms network, including zero-touch provisioning of infrastructure, inventory management, operational visibility of network elements, alarm monitoring, fault diagnosis and software version management. The Leitstand toolset will be provided in an open-source model, freely available to any operator, equipment vendor and systems integrator. Initial contributors to the Leitstand initiative include Deutsche Telekom, EWE TEL, Reply and RtBrick.

      • 9 collaboration tool tips for remote teams

        Remote team members obviously can’t rely on the nonverbal cues that happen in face-to-face communication, but they can use methods such as emojis to help gauge each other’s mood and status.

      • The ‘Zoombombing’ Saga Is Just Beginning — And The Heroic Open Source Video Conferencing Alternatives

        Get your own server or the apps, which offer more or less the same level of features as Zoom, with what it’s perhaps it’s “killer feature”: End-to-end encryption. Furthermore, it does not require any form of user ID. While its cloud service collects general performance data (“Crashlytics”), the server-based comes without any form of analytics features or libraries.

      • 7 top open source network monitoring tools

        Network is an essential part of infrastructure health and requires constant monitoring. To meet specific OS and hardware requirements, open source tools can be the best fit.

      • All ProtonMail apps are now open source

        ProtonMail has open sourced its Android app, meaning all ProtonMail and ProtonVPN apps are now open source.Open sourcing allows anyone to review the code and verify Proton’s data protection claims are accurate.The company also announced that all ProtonMail and ProtonVPN apps have also passed an independent third-party security audit.

        ProtonMail has published the code for all its apps following the open sourcing of the ProtonMail Android app. The company said, “Transparency is one of Proton’s guiding principles, which is why it’s always clear who runs the organization, what its data policy is and the capabilities and limitations of the technology”.

        By open sourcing all the apps, Proton is allowing users the same level of transparency into its code. Any security researcher can now verify if Proton is handling user data in the way that it claims. This extra layer of transparency means that everyone, including activists, dissidents and journalists who rely on Proton’s service can check if their communications are as private as promised.

      • Open source meeting tools: 3 things to know

        In contrast, Jami is peer-to-peer text and video chat software for computers and phones, available as a free download. While it won’t replace the communication and collaboration you would do in Zoom or Jitsi, it could be an alternative for the kind of communication and collaboration associated with Skype or Microsoft Teams — chat with the option to transition to a call when necessary. Jami was created by Savoir-faire Linux of Montreal, which plans to make money selling Jami Account Management Server, an administrative tool.

        Signal, the high-security messaging app, supports video calling, but so far only from mobile devices. Wire and Wickr are a couple of other open source options in this category.

      • COVID

        • Discover the open source, low-cost ventilator for areas with limited means

          A group of scientists and researchers have designed a open source, low-cost ventilator to be used in areas that have limited means within their healthcare systems.

          Researchers from the Biophysics and Bioengineering Unit of the University of Barcelona, Spain, have created an open source, non-invasive, low-cost ventilator, to support patients with respiratory diseases in areas with limited means.

          The study was led by Ramono Farré, professor of Physiology and member of the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBAPS) and the Respiratory Diseases Networking Biomedical Research Centre (CIBERES), and the results were published in the European Respiratory Journal.

        • Easy-to-Build $75 Open-Source Arduino Ventilator With High-Quality Performance

          Ventilator could support coronavirus treatment in low-income regions or where supplies are limited.

          A low-cost, easy-to-build non-invasive ventilator aimed at supporting the breathing of patients with respiratory failure performs similarly to conventional high-quality commercial devices, according to new research published in the European Respiratory Journal.

          Non-invasive ventilators are used to treat patients with breathing difficulty and respiratory failure, a common symptom of more severe coronavirus disease. Non-invasive ventilation is delivered using facemasks or nasal masks, which push a set amount of pressurized air into the lungs. This supports the natural breathing process when disease has caused the lungs to fail, enabling the body to fight infection and get better.

        • Harnessing the Open-Source Ventilator Movement

          As hospitals in developing countries struggle with ventilator shortages, engineers and doctors are coming together to launch open-source projects to help meet demand. WSJ takes a look at whether any of these plans could become real machines that help save lives.

        • Local, Open-Source Ventilator Project Plans to Build 200 ‘Bridge Ventilators’

          The Kahanu open-source ventilator project has received a $250,000 grant from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation to build bridge ventilators for state hospitals.

          A team of Hawai‘i engineers and an emergency room doctor are working to produce simple and effective bridge ventilators with funding from the Hawai‘i Resilience Fund, part of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF).

          Named Kahanu, which means “the breath” in the Hawaiian language, the ventilator is made of durable, sterilizable materials and can be produced in Hawai‘i for about $1,200 each, according to a project press release. Medical grade ventilators can cost more than $25,000 each.

          A Kahanu ventilator can serve as a “bridge ventilator” that can be enlisted in an emergency to save a patient’s life, the release said.

        • Longford man puts his skills to good use and designs an open source ventilator

          Since the lockdown began, there are plenty of people in the local community who are putting their time to good use to help others.

          One of those people is Finian McCarthy, who is an electronic engineer and the Managing Director of county Longford-based company, Envitec Ltd.

          Finian has been making the most of the time at home by designing and building an open source ventilator, which he says can be made cheaply and shared around the world so that others can replicate the design should there be an urgent need for ventilators during the Covid-19 pandemic.

        • Open-source ventilator designed by Cambridge team for use in low- and middle-income countries

          In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

        • Researchers design open-source ventilator for use in low- and middle-income countries

          In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a team at the University of Cambridge has designed an open-source ventilator in partnership with local clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa that is focused to address the specific needs for treating COVID-19 patients and is a fully functioning system for use after the pandemic.

          Built primarily for use in low- and middle-income countries, the OVSI ventilator can be cheaply and quickly manufactured from readily available components. Current ventilators are expensive and difficult to fix, but an open-source design will allow users to adapt and fix the ventilators according to their needs and, by using readily available components, the machines can be built quickly across Africa in large numbers. The cost per device is estimated to be around one-tenth of currently available commercial systems.

        • University of Cambridge designs open-source ventilator for African countries

          An open-source ventilator has been designed by a team at the University of Cambridge primarily for use in low and middle-income countries.

          In partnership with clinicians, engineers and manufacturers across Africa, the focus was on the specific needs for treating Covid-19 patients and a fully-functioning system for use after the pandemic.

        • When Ventilators Run Short, a $500 Invention May Save Lives

          Ventilators have been difficult to find at any price, sometimes forcing doctors in jammed intensive care units to decide who gets the last one available. General Motors Co. was ordered last month by U.S. President Donald Trump to make the breathing machines to help fill the gap, and announced preparations for deliveries last week.

          [...]

          On April 1, Alkaher’s team published the design for the AmboVent-1690-108 on the online forum GitHub, allowing anyone to take the idea and run with it. AmboVent is busy producing 20 prototypes on a shoestring budget of $200,000, planning to send them to various countries where other developers will navigate the process of getting regulatory approval.

        • Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic

          Data sharing, open-source designs for medical equipment, and hobbyists are all being harnessed to combat COVID-19.

          [...]

          Perhaps nowhere is that open ethos clearer than in the way do-it-yourself (DIY) and ‘maker’ communities have stepped up. As soon as it became clear that health systems around the world were at risk of running out of crucial equipment to treat people with COVID-19 and protect medical workers, DIY-ers set about trying to close the gap.

          Facebook groups such as Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies, which has more than 70,000 members, have become dispatch centres, through which hospital workers seek volunteers to print or make supplies, and volunteers trade tips on what materials to use and where to source them, and on sterilization procedures.

          The coronavirus crisis plays to 3D printing’s strong points — rapid prototyping and the ability to produce parts on demand anywhere in the world. Prusa Research, a manufacturer of 3D printers in Prague, has designed a frame for a face shield that is meant to be worn outside a mask or respirator to protect against infectious droplets. The company says it has the capacity to produce 800 shields per day, and tens of thousands of the devices are already protecting health-care workers in the Czech Republic. But because the company made its designs open-source, they are also being made around the world in maker spaces and homes.

          Formlabs, a 3D-printer manufacturer based in Somerville, Massachusetts, leads another project that has reached production: printing nasal swabs for COVID-19 test kits. Unlike common cotton swabs, nasal swabs must have a rod that is long and flexible enough to reach deep into the nose, to the upper throat. The swabs were designed by doctors at the University of South Florida in Tampa and the Northwell Health hospital system in New York, using printers purchased from the company to produce test versions. “They are prototyping it themselves, which is crazy and really awesome,” says Formlabs’s chief product officer, Dávid Lakatos. And whereas conventional swabs feature a bushy tip coating of nylon flock, the doctors devised a tip with an intricately textured pattern that is 3D-printed.

          But unlike face shields, these parts are beyond the capabilities of most printers used by hobbyists. “If someone tried to print the swabs on a hobbyist printer, they can really do harm” in a clinical setting, says Lakatos.

        • America Makes challenging community to innovate new COVID-19 solutions

          All submissions must be open-source designs.

        • Big Tech Signs Rare Open Source Pledge During Coronavirus [Ed: Greenwashing and openwashing of monopolies]

          One bottleneck to the mass production of critical goods, from antibody (or serology) tests to face masks, necessary to keep the public safe is copyright law. These chokeholds held over the world of atoms and the world of bits are preventing the appropriate response to a global pandemic, said Mark Radcliffe, a partner at DLA Piper, a global law firm.

        • Health minister now unsure if source code for COVID contact tracing app is safe to release

          Health minister Greg Hunt has put a question mark over whether a promise to release all source code for the federal government’s forthcoming COVID-19 contact tracing app is actually possible due to security concerns.

          Talking on Triple M Hobart’s ‘The Spoonman’ show with Brian Carlton on Tuesday, Hunt would not commit or back up Government Services minister Stuart Robert’s assurance last week that the full code of the app would be available for inspection.

          According to Hunt, the app will drop sometime next week.

        • Kyle Hiebert: In the COVID-19 world, open source textbooks are the way of the future

          For post-secondary schools, the coronavirus pandemic has spurred a paradigm shift in teaching and learning, as courses have migrated online. Because of this, universities now have the chance to save students huge sums of money by ramping up the creation and use of open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks.

          A sober look at the trajectory of the pandemic reveals that the prospects of in-person classes resuming as normal this fall are slim to none. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared that living with COVID-19 is “the new normal” until a vaccine is found, which experts widely predict will take at least another year, if not more. The high probability of second and third waves of COVID-19 will likely prompt more intermittent lockdowns in the future, as is currently happening in Singapore, one of the countries that initially seemed to be very successful in its coronavirus response. Through this lens, widespread online learning must be seen as part of a new era of post-secondary education, not a short-term fix.

        • Open Access, Open Source, and the Battle to Defeat COVID-19

          No legal development over the past decades has had a greater impact on the free flow of information and technology than the rise of the open access and open source movements. We recently looked at how AI, machine learning, blockchain, 3D printing, and other disruptive technologies are being employed in response to the coronavirus pandemic; we now turn to how two disruptive legal innovations, open access and open source, are being used to fight COVID-19. Although the pandemic is far from over, there are already promising signs that open access and open source solutions are allowing large groups of scientists, healthcare professionals, software developers, and innovators across many countries to mobilize quickly and effectively to combat and, hopefully, mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

        • MIT Team Races to Fill COVID-19 Ventilator Shortage With Low-Cost, Open-Source Alternative

          An ad hoc team of engineers and doctors has developed a low-cost, open-source alternative, now ready for rapid production.

          It was clear early on in the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic that a critical need in the coming weeks and months would be for ventilators, the potentially life-saving devices that keep air flowing into a patient whose ability to breathe is failing.

          Seeing a potential shortfall of hundreds of thousands of such units, professor of mechanical engineering Alex Slocum Sr. and other engineers at MIT swung into action, rapidly pulling together a team of volunteers with expertise in mechanical design, electronics, and controls, and a team of doctors with clinical experience in treating respiratory conditions. They started working together nonstop to develop an inexpensive alternative and share what they learned along the way. The goal was a design that could be produced quickly enough, potentially worldwide, to make a real difference in the immediate crisis.

        • CURA shipping container ICUs open in turin to combat COVID-19

          as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads internationally, the first prototype of an open-source project to create plug-in intensive care units (ICU) from shipping containers has been built and installed at a hospital in italy. CURA (acronym for ‘connected units for respiratory ailments’ and also ‘cure’ in latin) proposes a quick-to-deploy solution to expand emergency facilities and ease the pressure on healthcare systems treating patients infected by coronavirus — (see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here).

          [...]

          CURA has been developed as an open-source project, with its technical specifcations, drawings and design materials made universally accessible online. since the project’s launch, more than 2,000 people have shown an interest and contacted the CURA team to join the project, reproduce it, or provide technical advice. more units are currently under construction in other parts of the world, from the UAE to canada.

        • Researchers in Europe Condemn Centralized COVID-19 Tracking Approach

          Two camps have emerged within the open-source COVID-19 tracking space in Europe. One solution, DP-3T, offers privacy-preserving benefits for citizens and is backed by over 300 scientists around the world. The other, PEPP-PT, is centralized and risks being repurposed for commercial uses or worse.

        • UC Team Builds Open Source COVID-19-Tracking App

          Developers have built a new smartphone app for tracing potential novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections.

          A team of researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced the tool this week, describing it as potentially “instrumental” in the effort to trace and track infections, which is something governors have described as a vital step in reopening the economy. The tool is called TrackCOVID, and it is a free, open sourced app that its creators say also ensures the privacy of those who are potentially affected.

        • UN launches global ‘challenge’ for COVID-19 open source solutions

          The United Nations (UN) is organizing a global contest called “COVID-19 Detect and Protect” as part of the efforts to search for a solution to the coronavirus.

          The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)— the UN’s agency for development, and Hackster.io, the largest community of hardware and software developers, will be organizing the event which will be open until August 2020.

          The UN identifies COVID-19 as an “unprecedented global health and humanitarian emergency.” The organization also said the pandemic presents a massive threat and potentially devastating social, economic, and political crises that will be felt by many countries for many years to come

          The coronavirus pandemic can also reverse the progress made in tackling global poverty over the past 20 years, “putting at risk the lives and livelihoods of billions of people,” the organization said.

        • US researchers develop open-source ventilator for Covid-19 patients

          Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US have developed a low-cost, open-source ventilator to address the shortage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

          Named Spiro Wave, a version of the ventilator is currently being produced by a consortium of partners, including 10XBeta, Boyce Technologies and Newlab.

          The aim is to rapidly fulfil the Covid-19-related ventilator requirements at hospitals in New York, followed by other hospitals across the US.

          Furthermore, the MIT team is working to refine the ventilator’s design to make it more compact and add a respiratory function.

          10XBeta, Vecna Technologies and NN Life Sciences are part of the project.

        • Why Open Source Is Seeing Higher Adoption During COVID-19 Crisis
        • 28 government covid apps not open source, cannot be checked for vulnerabilities

          Apart from Aarogya Setu, the Centre and state governments are using at least 28 mobile applications to tackle the covid-19 pandemic.

          These apps have varied purposes — some disseminate information on cases, deaths and so on to users while others are used by officials to track people under quarantine.

          There is one common aspect to all of them: None of them is open-sourced.

          One of the most famous apps is the Centre’s Aarogya Setu, which collects users’ Bluetooth and location data to track their whereabouts and alert them if they come in contact with a covid-19 positive patient. The app, which has been controversial given privacy concerns, has been downloaded by over 7.5 crore people.

        • Boston Dynamics open-sources health care robotics toolkit for telemedicine, vitals inspection, and disinfection
        • Boston Dynamics gives hospital robot tech to the open source community
        • Open source: Boston Dynamics just opened up this robot tech to help tackle COVID-19

          Boston Dynamics has open-sourced some of its robotics technology to help protect healthcare workers battling the coronavirus.

          The robotics firm has developed a healthcare toolkit that it hopes will allow mobile robots to carry out essential functions that reduce the exposure of frontline healthcare staff to COVID-19.

        • These open-source projects are helping to tackle the coronavirus

          Since the onset of the coronavirus epidemic earlier this year, numerous countries have found themselves running short of ventilators. Ventilators, used in hospitals’ intensive care units, are crucial to helping those worst affected by the virus to stay alive. They take on some of the work of breathing for COVID-19 patients who find themselves in respiratory failure. However, a number of innovative grassroots initiatives, built in weeks by altruistic engineers with distributed design methodologies and open-source licences, have sprung up to try and solve the shortage.

      • Web Browsers

        • Kiwi Browser now open-source so developers can add Chrome extensions

          There are several browsers available out there that are based on the open-source Chromium project, the most popular being Google Chrome of course. But if you prefer to not use the Chrome browser, there are other great options out there. One of the more promising ones that launched two years ago was the Kiwi Browser which was actually the first to support Chrome extensions. Now the developer is open-sourcing the app and all the features that come with it, inviting other developers to contribute the code into their various projects.

          XDA Developers says that Kiwi Browser is one of the better Chromium-based browsers out there in its two years of experience. It had a lot of pretty useful features when it first launched including a built-in content blocker, dark mode, background video playback, etc. A lot of these features that launched two years ago actually are better compared to some of the current browsers. Best of all, it was the first of its kind that supported Chrome Extensions.

        • Beaker Browser: A P2P web browser you must try

          The Beaker browser lets us take a glimpse at the better internet, in which the control is back in the hands of the people. This is a great project, with amazing features and surprises everywhere. Even though a little unstable right now, it is very promising, and we request that you support this project if you can. Cheers!

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 75 – Not bad but also not necessary

            All in all, this is a checkbox exercise release really. Firefox 75 isn’t drastically different from the previous few versions, and if you ignore the address bar thing, it’s virtually identical. Then again, there’s a limit to how much innovation can be crammed into a four-week release schedule. It does feel unnecessarily forced. And specifically, the address bar change is totally unnecessary. Because it brings no actual value.

            In my mind, the only reason for this change that would make sense is to drive revenue. Again, this is Mozilla’s fault. They removed the search box as part of the modern copypasta changes, so perhaps this also reduced the search-generated interest and revenue. Now, the new address bar kind of fixes that, but it doesn’t really, because it feels forced, out of place – and the search box is there anyway. The whole thing feels like a rushed experiment. The proper solution would be to enable this on mobile – the zoom feature feels touch anyway, because there’s no separate search there to begin with. On the desktop, restoring the search box by default would be the sensible thing to do. Thus, you kill two dodos with one claymore.

            I like Firefox, and I really hope it can survive this nonsense called the modern Internet. But then, this situation is no reason to condone silly changes, especially when they dilute the value of Firefox over its competitors. There’s no reason to play the low-IQ game. Firefox should be about privacy, freedom, choice. And extensions. Oh woe me. That’s where the focus should be. More extensions. More access. More. The reason why it was such an amazing success in the early days. It can’t win the game of financial attrition. So there you go. Firefox 75. Toggle the config changes, and enjoy the Webz. Me not happy. Me worried about the future. Me done.

      • Programming/Development

        • Turning a small stream cipher (ARC4) into a hash function (ARCH)!
        • Perl/Raku

          • CY’s take on Perl Weekly Challenge on #057
          • PWC 057: Task #1, Invert Tree & Task #2, Shortest Unique Prefix

            The flipping part is pretty easy, but since I’m a huge fan of Higher Order Perl I thought I should at least try to make it sort of like the tree walking code I remembered reading, where you give the tree-walker the function you want to operate on each node. (That word, “remembered” should be a hint that I haven’t read the book in years and you should really go read the master.) I wrote both a depth-first and a breadth-first binary tree walker. For the purposes of flipping the whole tree, either one would have sufficed, but it is handy to have the option when you are experimenting.

            The second (and optional) part of the problem was pretty-printing the binary tree. I think the restriction of the input binary tree to be a full one was for the benefit of the fools attempting the bonus, but me being a fool, I ignored the helpful restriction and tried writing a generic binary tree pretty-printer. I wound up with a binary tree pretty-ish-printer.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 057: Invert Tree and Shortest Unique Prefix
        • Python

          • Python Project: Detailed Code Walkthrough / Explanation
          • A spring, a rubber band, and chaos
          • iBuildApp: Android app maker review

            You can sign up for an account by providing your email and a password or by logging in with Facebook. This will get you a free “Start” account. Paid options exist which do away with the ads and iBuildApp branding that come with the free version. The paid options are monthly/yearly based plans for one native application so if you have several you will need a plan for each app. The prices of the plans are related to the number of downloads per month (screenshot).

          • Connecting Python 3 and Electron/Node.JS: Building Modern Desktop Apps

            connect-python-3-electron-nodejs-build-desktop-apps

            In this post, you’ll learn about the possible ways that you can use to connect or integrate Python with Node.js and Electron with simple examples.

            We’ll introduce Electron for Python developers, a great tool if you want to build GUIs for your Python apps with modern web technologies based on HTML, CSS and JavaScript. We’ll also see different ways to connect Python and Electron such as child_process, python-shell and an HTTP (Flask) server.

          • Episode #261: Monitoring and auditing machine learning

            Traditionally, when we have depended upon software to make a decision with real-world implications, that software was deterministic. It had some inputs, a few if statements, and we could point to the exact line of code where the decision was made. And the same inputs lead to the same decisions.

            Nowadays, with the rise of machine learning and neural networks, this is much more blurry. How did the model decide? Has the model and inputs drifted apart, so the decisions are outside what it was designed for?

            These are just some of the questions discussed with our guest, Andrew Clark, on this episode of Talk Python To Me.

          • When to Write Classes in Python And Why it Matters

            When people come to Python one of the things they struggle with is OOP (Object Oriented Programming). Not so much the syntax of classes, but more when and when not to use them. If that’s you, read on.

            In this article I will give you some insights that will get you clarity on this.

            Classes are incredibly useful and robust, but you need to know when to use them. Here are some considerations.

          • Building a Stadia Tracker Site Using Django

            I’ve been writing code for about 15 years (on and off) and Python for about 4 or 5 years. With Python it’s mostly small scripts and such. I’ve never considered myself a ‘real programmer’ (Python or otherwise).

            About a year ago, I decided to change that (for Python at the very least) when I set out to do 100 Days Of Web in Python from Talk Python To Me. Part of that course were two sections taught by Bob regarding Django. I had tried learn Flask before and found it … overwhelming to say the least.

            Sure, you could get a ‘hello world’ app in 5 lines of code, but then what? If you wanted to do just about anything it required ‘something’ else.

            I had tried Django before, but wasn’t able to get over the ‘hump’ of deploying. Watching the Django section in the course made it just click for me. Finally, a tool to help me make AND deploy something! But what?

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxv) stackoverflow python report
          • Test and Code: 110: Testing Django – from unittest to pytest – Adam Parkin

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

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

          • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) concepts in Python

            In this article I will review the main concepts a beginner Python programmer should learn about OOP in Python. The content is explored in detail in other posts on the blog that are linked at the end of each section.

        • Rust

          • Quick Rust Comparison

            I’ve been wanting to try out Rust with something very simple as a first pass through the language.

            [...]

            I decided to write a simple unoptimized version of the fibonacci sequence. My goal was to take enough time to be noticable…

  • Leftovers

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How Far-Right Extremists Are Exploiting the COVID Pandemic

      As the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage millions of lives and paralyze much of the economy, these right-wing activists in the United States are seizing every opportunity to reach out to thousands of potential followers and expand their ranks.

      Take, for example, the recent [crack] of nearly 25,000 email addresses and passwords belonging to the World Health Organization, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and other organizations combating the pandemic.

    • China sets up unit of Marines under its Navy

      While the reports amounted to the government’s first confirmation of the new unit, few further details were made available, such as the size of the new force. Military commentators described the unit as comparable to the Marines in other countries, with their main task being fighting on islands.

      China’s claims over islands and reefs in the South China Sea were mentioned as a key element in the rationale behind the new unit, while other countries have also formed amphibious fighting groups. The protection of diplomatic missions overseas and the fight against terrorism were also issues which could be addressed by the Marines, the China Times reported.

      For the second time in a year, China also launched a new amphibious attack vessel based on a domestic design this week. The ship reportedly only took six months to build.

  • Environment

    • This Appalachian Collective Has Launched Its Own “Green Stimulus”

      On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day this week, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres urged world leaders to ensure economic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic include measures that tackle what he called the “even deeper emergency” of climate change. According to a recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, directing stimulus funds toward green infrastructure will enable countries around the world to become less unequal and more resilient, cumulatively employ 100 million energy jobs and save trillions of dollars in comparison with a recovery that returns economies to “business as usual.”

    • The Solutions to the Climate Crisis No One is Talking About

      Make no mistake: the simultaneous crisis of inequality and climate is no fluke. Both are the result of decades of deliberate choices made, and policies enacted, by ultra-wealthy and powerful corporations.

    • North Pole may be clear water by mid-century

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

    • Energy

      • New Satellite Data Reveals Dangerous Methane Emissions in Permian Region

        In December DeSmog reported on the work of Robert Howarth, a biogeochemist at Cornell University, who has been studying the methane emissions of the oil and gas industry. Howarth’s latest research estimated that 3.4 percent of all natural gas produced from shale in the U.S. is leaked throughout the production cycle, which appears to be confirmed by this new research.

  • Finance

    • Trump Demands Postal Service Increase Prices Fourfold for Customers

      President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold all future COVID-19 relief funding from the U.S. Postal Service unless the federal agency dramatically raises its shipping prices — a demand that critics say is ludicrous given the economic calamity the American people and the post office are now facing.

    • Economic Reporting on Hardships of Pandemic Should Explore Market Failures
    • As Construction Continues Amidst Covid-19 in DC Area, Bezos’ WaPo Raises Few Objections

      “Insane.” That’s what Marc Gunther thought as he looked out of the window of his downtown Bethesda, Maryland, apartment. Below him, cramped construction crews were building a headquarters and adjoining hotel for Marriott, the world’s biggest hotel chain. The $600 million project, which has received $60 million in public funding, is scheduled to be completed in 2022, pandemic or not.

    • Facing Near Total Loss of Customers During Pandemic, Street Vendors Need Relief

      Every weekend at 6 am, Elvira Sucasaca, along with her family, sets up their renowned Peruvian tamales street cart along the bustling Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, as they prepare for the breakfast rush. Usually, like clockwork, a hungry drove of loyal regulars, craving savory tamales and sweet picarones — deep-fried donuts made of sweet potatoes and squash — forms around the cart with the thunderous roar of the elevated train passing overhead. The cart is so popular, people often order on the phone and pick up their food from the comfort of their car. Yet, since the emergence of the COVID-19 crisis, the once-lively streets of Jackson Heights have become akin to a ghost town. In fact, the community, once famed for its diversity, has become more well-known as the epicenter of the epicenter. This has particularly hurt Sucasaca, who like many street vendors, is finding earning a living to be precarious at best.

    • Reopening Economies Will Worsen the Spread of COVID-19 Through the Rural South

      In the rural South, the COVID-19 pandemic is becoming a silent disaster.

    • Millions of People Will Face Stimulus Check Delays Simply Because They Are Poor

      Last week, a group of angry and desperate Citi Tax Financial customers gathered outside the company’s storefront in Augusta, Georgia. Millions of Americans had received a big deposit from the IRS in their bank accounts, but they had not. The IRS website told them their coronavirus stimulus checks were deposited in an account they didn’t recognize.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Internet Speech Will Never Go Back to Normal

      As surprising as it may sound, digital surveillance and speech control in the United States already show many similarities to what one finds in authoritarian states such as China. Constitutional and cultural differences mean that the private sector, rather than the federal and state governments, currently takes the lead in these practices, which further values and address threats different from those in China. But the trend toward greater surveillance and speech control here, and toward the growing involvement of government, is undeniable and likely inexorable.

      In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • How do workers organize when we can’t go to work?
    • Saudi Arabia Abolishes Flogging as a Punishment for Crime

      The kingdom’s most famous flogging case was that of Raif Badawi, who ran a website that published material criticizing Saudi religious figures, lauding Western legal systems and arguing that atheists should be free to state their views without being punished.

      That angered Saudi conservatives, who denounced him.

      The Saudi authorities arrested Mr. Badawi in 2012 and put him on trial on charges that included cybercrime and disobeying his father. In 2014, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, fined more than a quarter-million dollars, and ordered to endure 1,000 blows with a cane in weekly installments over several months.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • US Supreme Court time bar ruling could bring uncertainty to joinder issues

        In reaction to Thryv v Click-To-Call Technologies, lawyers weigh in on justice Neil Gorsuch’s scathing dissent and what the case means for Federal Circuit decisions

      • The PTAB Clarifies Requirements for Printed Publications

        On April 7, the PTAB designated five decisions as either precedential or informative on establishing a printed publication. Importantly, the PTAB held that Examination and IPR proceedings use different standards. These decisions also provide guidance on how various types of references qualify as printed publications, including conference materials, drug product labels, and theses.

        [...]

        The POP held that the framework for establishing a printed publication outlined in Hulu v. Sound View Innovations, LLC, IPR2018-01039, Paper 29 at 13 (P.T.A.B. Dec. 20, 2019) (precedential) does not apply to Examination. We previously discussed that decision here. The POP based its reasoning on the different “legal frameworks and burdens” between IPRs and Examination. In IPRs, the burden rests with the Petitioner to establish a reasonable likelihood that the challenged claims are unpatentable, whereas Examination involves a burden-shifting framework where the burden shifts to the applicant to rebut a prima facie case.

        The POP concluded that the Examiner had sufficiently established that the transcript was publicly accessible because the “publication of the notice of the advisory committee meeting [was] intended to ‘insure that all interested persons are notified of such meeting prior thereto.’” Because persons of ordinary skill in the art would be such “interested persons,” and FDA transcripts of advisory committee meetings would be publicly available at “a designated place at the agency,” the transcript satisfied the requirements to be a printed publication.

      • European Patent Office: UK transport sector continues to innovate

        The latest data from the European Patent Office, released in March, reveals that the UK’s transport sector continued to innovate in 2019 – filing 9% more patent applications than over the previous 12 months. Patent applicants from across the world use the EPO, so these figures give a good snapshot of global technology innovation.

      • Fed. Circ. Extends Remote Oral Arguments Another Month

        The announcement marks the second month that the court has switched to remote oral arguments, citing “the continued public health restrictions and limits on public access to the courthouse.” Overall, 26 arguments will be heard over the phone, and another 43 decided on the briefs, according to the court’s calendar.

        The clerk’s office will be contacting attorneys set to argue with more information, which last month included an orientation session on how the arguments would proceed and what to do if things went wrong.

        Attorneys who argued remotely in April, a first for the circuit, largely said the process went smoothly from a technology standpoint, but were still frustrated at not being able to see the judges and read their body language.

        As in April, the Federal Circuit will allow the public to listen in on the oral arguments.

        The news came a day after the European Patent Office made a push to go digital, although not explicitly tied to the pandemic.

      • Federal Circuit COVID-19 response leaves lawyers worried about briefs precedent

        With the Federal Circuit now deciding most patent cases on briefs, lawyers say it’s become more complicated to use visual aids or split arguments with junior attorneys

      • Increased Fee Structure Of European Patent Office (EPO) Effective From April 1, 2020

        The EPO is known to increase its fees every two years and the last revision was made in 2018. Thisdecision is taken by the European Patent Office’s Administrative Council on 12 December 2019 (CA/D 12/19) by amending Articles 2 and 7 of the Rules relating to Fees. Here’s a quick take on this revision of fees.

        Broadly, we can categorize the fee structure in to two broad groups – (i) basic patent application fee, and (ii) additional patent related fee. The basic patent application fee would include all such activities which are required for filing and maintaining a patent or patent application – this fee include fees for activities such as filing a European Patent Application, fee for additional pages or claims, examination fee, renewal fee and also includes filing an international application. While the additional patent related fee would include all such activities which are not ordinarily part of a filing and prosecuting a patent application and are availed by some depending on the specific requirements of a case by the application.

      • T 2277/19: approval of the wrong text has no cause of action

        Those familiar with the European Patent Office’s approach to patent applications will be familiar with the procedure under Rule 71(3) in which the examining division sends the applicant a copy of the text proposed for grant. Only once the applicant has approved this text is the European patent then granted. In T 2277/19 the Board of Appeal held that approval of an erroneous text is not correctable on appeal.

        Among the EPO requirements for an appeal are that “Any party to proceedings adversely affected by a decision may appeal”. This appeal focussed on whether the applicant was or was not adversely affected by the decision to grant that followed the accidental approval of an erroneous text.

        [...]

        The Board of Appeal also commented on earlier case T1003/19, noting that in its view “there is no legal basis in the European Patent Convention for a distinction between the text referred to in a communication under Rule 71(3) EPC and that reflecting what the examining division actually intended” and then went on to comment “in the board’s judgement, Article 71(3) EPC thus imposes on the applicant a duty to check and verify this text. The fact that an applicant does not exercise its right to request amendments under Rule 71(6) EPC can therefore only be interpreted as approval of the communicated text, i.e. the text intended for grant. Whether the applicant notices a possible error has no effect on the fact that this approval is binding.”

      • Forward Pharma Reports Financial and Operational Results from the Year Ended December 31, 2019

        “The operating results reported today favorably reflect our persistent efforts to reduce costs and streamline our operations. We are well positioned financially to the start of the new year with significant cash reserves and working capital in excess of $77 million. Our primary focus remains on our intellectual property and we are working diligently to prepare for the oral hearing before the Technical Board of Appeal on the European EP2801355 patent to be held on June 18, 2020,” said Dr. Claus Bo Svendsen, Chief Executive Officer of Forward.

      • Compugen nabs new patent in Europe; shares up 8% premarket

        The European Patent Office (EPO) has granted Compugen (NASDAQ:CGEN) a new patent for the composition of COM701 or backup antibodies for the treatment of cancer.

      • Software Patents

        • TELEMATIC Awaits Patent From EPO for Touchless Payments on Public Transport

          The company TELEMATIC has developed a patented technology of touchless payment for transport which allows ticket payment with any smartphone at point of payment at the entrance to a bus or underground while the phone is situated in a passenger´s pocket or his bag.

        • Conversant v Apple: old tech, new tricks

          This case from the UK High Court (Conversant Wireless Licensing SARL v (1) Apple Retail UK Ltd & (2) Apple Distribution International & (3) Apple Inc. [2019] EWHC 3266 (Pat)) demonstrates the similarity (at least from a patent perspective) between UIs of seemingly very different products from different eras. It also helps highlight the potential opportunities and threats to holders of UI patents.

          The patent concerned was GB 2365712 and was owned by Conversant. Conversant alleged the patent was infringed by the UI of various models of Apple’s iPhone. On the other hand, Apple alleged the patent was not valid based on various grounds including obviousness.

    • Copyrights

      • Motion Picture Association Doubles Down on Push for US Pirate Site Blocking

        Responding to questions from US Senators, the Motion Picture Association is stressing that DMCA takedown notices alone don’t cut it anymore. The Hollywood group argues that the current legal framework should be complemented with other tools, such as pirate site blocking. The MPA believes that these blockades are highly effective and no danger to free speech, but that idea isn’t shared by everyone.

      • Europol Says Pirate IPTV Services Are Upping Their Game During COVID-19

        EU law enforcement agency Europol is warning citizens to stay away from pirate IPTV services during the coronavirus pandemic. While part of the message includes the usual cautions over potential malware and security issues, the agency says that the services are maintaining high-quality video streams and offering a wider range of content due to a lack of sports broadcasts.

      • This Library Of Congress-powered hip hop sampling tool is copyright-friendly, very cool

        Here’s a fun (and copyright observant) musical toy for anyone who’s ever wanted to get their inner De La Soul on, but who didn’t want to spend a lot of time digging through old stacks of vinyl—or getting sued out of existence for an unauthorized sample. Titled Citizen DJ, the project is a creation of Library Of Congress innovator-in-residence Brian Foo, allowing users to trawl the Library’s vast resources of copyright-free audio material in order to make their own sounds and beats. Although the program is only in a preview form at the moment, the basics are all there: Curated selections from the Library’s collections, a set of drum beats to apply them to, and tools to remix and use the half-second or so clips as artists see fit.

      • Copyright claims for designs could spike in Europe

        In-house counsel are clearer on getting copyright protection for designs but are worried by inconsistencies in the law and a perception that copyright is a “weaker” IP right

Software in the Public Interest or Software in Microsoft’s Monopoly Interests?

Posted in Debian, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The current financial crisis/climate will make it easier for the aggressive monopolisers from Microsoft to bribe more people to capitulate or ‘defect’. Bribery is a Microsoft tradition and expertise; they’re ‘master class’ liars about it, embellishing it as “sponsorship” or even "marketing help".

No public access
It’s apparent that public code is being privatised by Microsoft at GitHub, a proprietary software ‘code prison’ (not vault; monopoly — not preservation — is the goal, exploiting the network effect with ‘features’ as lock-in factor)

Summary: We turn our attention to the Debian Project and Software in the Public Interest (SPI), knowing that they’re vulnerable to cash that groups recklessly take without foresight (likely negative consequences)

THIS post might offend some people; not because of offensive language but because some people associate and affiliate with organisations that are named here. We’ll refrain from using names. Please don’t personify these things (it’s a trap); we only care about what’s true because facts and accuracy matter. It’s never ad hominem. We have the facts. Our track record is good. We focus on issues that we understand very well, choosing specificity over breadth. I find that my detractors fail to discredit me on accuracy; they then nitpick on my style or my choice of words (or even typos). It’s almost a badge of honour when they resort to this low kind of smears/blows…

“We’ll refrain from using names. Please don’t personify these things (it’s a trap); we only care about what’s true because facts and accuracy matter.”Today’s subject will be Microsoft’s money and who’s taking it. This isn’t a new subject to us. Far from it. We even studied it retroactively, going back to records from the 1980s and 1990s. We have a lot of material about payments and their impact on Microsoft rivals, including Novell (how did those Microsoft payments work out for Novell, which no longer exists? Ask Nokia while it still barely exists — a pale shadow of its former self, not to mention Yahoo!).

At the moment Microsoft is monopolising Free/Open Source software using GitHub — a subject we’ll explore again in the near future. Microsoft is willing to lose billions of dollars just to get that monopoly, which is a form of control and leverage (over one’s competition). It’s actually a lot cheaper (than GitHub) to ‘buy’ communities, whose turnover barely touches a million dollars or even a ‘meager’ $100,000. Don’t be dazzled by silly grants that are being dubbed something like “diversity” and are in fact “slush fund” PR stunts if not bribes. These things are being labelled like that because it helps discourage/scare sceptics (or make them look bad). For instance, they pretend to be tolerant towards women and minorities, but it’s a low-cost PR charade (less than the annual salary of one single engineer). They’re not really tolerant towards women and minorities, as we've covered before, they’re tolerant towards criminals and monopolies whilst at the same time trying to paint those critical of criminals and monopolists as “toxic” types (an inversion of narrative and ethical compass). Those are well known tactics; there’s nothing novel here and it isn’t limited to the realm of technology. It’s not even a “right-wing” view and expressing those thoughts has a lot more to do with intolerance of PR and entryism, not “liberalism” or “Conservatism” or whatever…

“Microsoft is willing to lose billions of dollars just to get that monopoly, which is a form of control and leverage (over one’s competition). It’s actually a lot cheaper (than GitHub) to ‘buy’ communities, whose turnover barely touches a million dollars or even a ‘meager’ $100,000.”“Microsoft is regularly listed as a DebConf sponsor since 2016,” one reader told us this morning, linking to the official pages that contain Microsoft’s logo. Here they are:

https://debconf19.debconf.org/

https://debconf18.debconf.org/

https://debconf17.debconf.org/

https://debconf16.debconf.org/

Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft, Microsoft.

That’s Debian. We suppose it’s now a “risk” to criticise Microsoft, just as it's risky to speak about the State of Palestine in Debian. One can get reprimanded if not banned (ostracised by humiliation and public shaming) for bringing that up.

We can say it often enough: Free software means free speech. Without free speech how much Software Freedom can really be practised? There are some people looking to interject their personal notion of “ethics” to exclude those with a belief different from theirs; it’s a slippery, slippery slope. The OSI’s co-founder got banned from the OSI’s mailing lists for warning about it, highlighting one of several recent examples where a speech rulebook (e.g. “CoC”) can remove critics of corporate corruption in the name of “protecting women” and “protecting ethnic minorities” etc.

“It’s a subtle attack on Software Freedom and it is shrewdly disguised as a defence of “ethics” or protecting vulnerable people. Don’t fall for it quite so easily.”Again… it is a slippery, slippery slope.

It’s a subtle attack on Software Freedom and it is shrewdly disguised as a defence of “ethics” or protecting vulnerable people. Don’t fall for it quite so easily. It’s usually rather shallow and instinctive.

And since we’ve mentioned the word “ethics” (can be incompatible with Software Freedom) quite so often so far, how about “public interests”?

What public?

Whose interests?

Well, the assumption is that politicians tend to represent the interests of few very wealthy and thus “powerful” individuals — the likes of Bill Gates who bribe them and bribe the media nonchalantly. Money buys narrative, air time, and legislation. That’s not a controversial thing to state. So when we speak of “public interests” we typically speak of causes or actions that serve the general public, not the corrupt and the corruptible (facilitators).

There’s this group called Software in the Public Interest (SPI), which is associated with the people who drove out Richard Stallman but also a bunch of decent people. We don’t want to name anyone; it would miss the point. In their own words: “Software in the Public Interest (SPI) is a non-profit corporation registered in the state of New York founded to act as a fiscal sponsor for organizations that develop open source software and hardware. Our mission is to help substantial and significant open source projects by handling their non-technical administrative tasks so that they aren’t required to operate their own legal entity.”

“Well, the assumption is that politicians tend to represent the interests of few very wealthy and thus “powerful” individuals — the likes of Bill Gates who bribe them and bribe the media nonchalantly.”So it is a “non-profit corporation” with a .org domain. corporation.org — that’s right…

Well, this blog post from last night, “Google, Microsoft & Debian,” contains an interesting image. It suggests that SPI takes money from Microsoft. For authenticity, however, we asked the site to pass along full evidence (that SPI took Microsoft money). We have not received that. But that’s not the main point.

A footpath gone publicThey ask for donations from anybody (this corporation.org) and Microsoft is certainly not listed here among their “Sponsors” (not even GitHub or LinkedIn or whatever). “In addition to the many donations from individuals and organizations, craigslist Charitable Fund and Google provided substantial donations to SPI’s general fund.” It says. So Google is in it, but we don’t know about Microsoft (unless the image can be verified for authenticity. But the point of the post isn’t to call out SPI; it is actually about Debian. It’s not as though Google and Microsoft have control of Debian, but they have growing levels of influence inside the project. I recently heard about more payments than the above (DebConf sponsorship), albeit privately, in relation to WSL. The blog post said this:

Nonetheless, what does it look like when Microsoft’s money comes along?

There can be no greater contamination. The letterhead of Software in the Public Interest, Inc used to request money from Microsoft???? While 🐧🐧🐧 🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧🐧 was unleashing feral dogs to attack a long-standing volunteer, he was spreading his bum cheeks for Bill Gates to come in.

What are the principles that govern Debian Developers in 2020? They are clearly not the same as they were in 2006. Anybody who dares to ask about these paymasters is accused of violating the Code of Conduct. Long live the Code of Conduct.

The term “spreading his bum cheeks” (we redacted the name) was changed to “rolling out a red carpet for” some time later (a few hours apparently), perhaps to avoid the insensitive connotation (especially given the provably strong friendship between Mr. Gates and organised underage sex traffickers, whose name he sought to whiten whilst in prison).

“The number of packages that list a homepage is 26,557 (93% of 28,555) and packages that list their homepage as Microsoft GitHub are 9,082 in number (37% of 26,557, i.e. 34% of 28,555).”We’re meanwhile doing some research into Debian and it looks like Microsoft’s control over the project can be traced back to pertinent packages. In the Debian Buster packages (main repository), the number of packages is 28,555. The number of packages that list a homepage is 26,557 (93% of 28,555) and packages that list their homepage as Microsoft GitHub are 9,082 in number (37% of 26,557, i.e. 34% of 28,555).

Well, that’s a third. Let that sink in. “Some of these are mirrors,” pointed out the person who carried out the analysis, and “that’s not including the packages that depend on these packages. That’s likely going to be more than half.”

“Today’s Linux Foundation does more for Microsoft than it does for Linux; heck, look who runs that foundation and speaks for it.”Remember that very many GNU/Linux distros are based on Debian, including Ubuntu.

If Debian becomes a ‘prisoner’ of Microsoft, then we’re in trouble already. Why did antitrust regulators permit the takeover? Ask the Linux Foundation, which had been bribed by Microsoft only a couple of years before it gave its blessings to this brutal act of entryism, in effect buying the competition that’s volunteers. Today’s Linux Foundation does more for Microsoft than it does for Linux; heck, look who runs that foundation and speaks for it.

Hope Alone Won’t Bring the Dead Back to Life; Team UPC Has Entered Embalming Stage

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team UPC, 2015

Summary: That same old UPC ‘cult’ (Team UPC) wants us to think that miraculously enough — perhaps by means of ‘divine’ intervention — UPCA will somehow find a way

“On noes!”

“Not another article about the UPC!”

“The UPC is dead. It’s over now. UPCA won’t be ratified anymore.”No, no, don’t get us wrong. We won’t waste much more time on this 'carcass' legislation; neither will Team UPC, which has been mostly silent lately (and not because of the lock-downs). But a remark may be needed on this new article by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s David Fyfield, who speaks of UPC “hope” and pushes it into Lexology (likely for a fee); when he speaks of hope he means his own hope (projection tactics). The UPC is dead. It’s over now. UPCA won’t be ratified anymore. They keep pretending it’s merely a “Delay” (their word). But that’s a lie, knowing that there’s Brexit and regardless of Brexit there are constitutional issues in a number of countries other than Germany. Here’s what Fyfield decided to say a month after Germany buried the UPC:

The decision is a significant setback, as it further delays the introduction of the UPC and Unitary European Patent. It does, however, leave the door open for the adoption of the UPC in the future, provided that it is passed by the necessary majority. In a reaction to the decision the German Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection, Christine Lambrecht, promised to continue to work towards a single European patent and a European Patent Court and to examine the possibility of remedying the lack of form before the end of the current legislative period (which ends in 2021).

Due to the UK’s exit from the EU, and the British government’s decision not to try and pursue participation in the UPC (which was recently confirmed in a letter from the IP Minister to the House of Lords), it is unlikely that the UPC Agreement will come before the German parliament again in its current form.

Without the involvement of the UK, the Unitary Patent and UPC are a less attractive proposition. However, provided that there remains sufficient goodwill towards the project amongst the remaining participating states, the UPC Agreement could be renegotiated so that it does not depend on the involvement of the UK. There may even be an opportunity to address some of the issues that have been flagged in relation to the current Agreement and to widen its scope to allow participation by non-EU states.

Supporters of the unitary patent and UPC should therefore not entirely despair, but a further delay of at least several years looks likely.

Not really. They may reattempt with an entirely different text, name, and a slow-moving round of likely-failed ratifications (remember that countries other than Germany nowadays openly reject it, having had time to properly study economic impact and constitutional aspects). The momentum is long gone. It was already lost 3 or 4 years ago, but Team UPC kept manufacturing or fabricating false stories to pretend otherwise. As we last noted a week ago, the UK could not make it any more clear that UPC is out of the question now. Rachel Montagnon (Herbert Smith Freehills LLP) has just caught up with it, spreading the message in which she says “IP Minister Amanda Solloway has written to the House of Lords in response to their letter formally requesting confirmation that the UK would not be participating in the UPC. This request by the House of Lords followed a response given by the Government in February to a parliamentary question (recorded on Hansard) which said this was the case (see our post here); no formal statement had otherwise been made.”

So the UPC is basically dead. No UK, no UPC. Look at the UPCA. UK is a must, it’s not optional! If Team UPC denies it, then it is deliberately lying.

The Rise of Bribed Media and Bribed Academia as Cynical ‘Journalism’ and ‘Research’ About Patents

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: EPO Still Wasting Budget, Paying Media and Academics for Spin

IP Kat 2015

Summary: Various sites and blogs that used to habitually cover EPO abuses (or critique aspects of the patent system) have been surgically modified to act as amplifiers of EPO management and its debased agenda; the EPO is meanwhile expressing satisfaction and takes great pride in its ‘support’ (bribes) of scholars, who are rendered agents of EPO propaganda in the empty vessels of universities

THE latest greenwash from the European Patent Office (EPO) seeks to associate monopoly with the environment (warning: epo.org link) and it should raise a brow (as if granting monopolies will save the planet). This is the kind of ridiculous crap one ought to expect when politicians rather than scientists are in charge [1, 2]. Who next to lead the EPO? Another politician?

“The EPO is pleased to announce a new call for proposals for funding under its Academic Research Programme,” said another bit of EPO “news” (warning: epo.org link). Yes, they are bribing scholars again. “Say what we want to hear,” is their message, “and then get a bribe.”

“The EPO long ago lost it, starting to behave more and more like a political cult; it has ‘enemies’ and it’s not reluctant to threaten if not punish them.”There have already been several “tweets” to that effect. As we explained many times before (past years), this is clearly misuse of EPO budget. It’s like those bribes that are offered to media/publishers in exchange for puff pieces. Are patent offices supposed to (mis)use money like that? For these purposes?

It’s a simple and rather trivial ethical query. How does the EPO deal with critics (other than threats)? Bribe the media so that those critics don’t get a voice? Same in academia: Simply reject/deprive (financially; also tenures depend on grants) those who don’t perpetuate illusions of the rich and powerful.

The EPO long ago lost it, starting to behave more and more like a political cult; it has ‘enemies’ and it’s not reluctant to threaten if not punish them.

WIPO did some similar things, but never to the same extent.

Consider what happened to IP Kat after the EPO had santioned it. Many writers fled, leaving the blog in the hands of self-promoting law firms and litigation fanatics (not scholars such as lecturers). We should note that IP Kat has once again deleted an on-topic comment that I submitted about EQE, so it’s very clear that they engage in censorship of views expressed politely (views that the patent zealots don’t like to hear and don’t want people to see). IP Kat wasn’t always this rogue, especially when it was run by a scholar who had also established Managing IP.

“They’re like a “Fox News” of patent news. Everyone loves Trump!”Look what happened to Managing IP after the sale; they’re selling fake awards, they publish lies for a fee and they basically look for money in all the wrong (and very unethical) places. Here’s Managing IP as a mouthpiece of patent trolls again (they can't help it, can they?). It’s part of a long series composed by someone known for entrapping Justice Huber to come up with fake news about the UPC complaint being moot or whatever. To manufacture propaganda with fake surveys or polls (one of the Managing IP ‘products’ along with biased events, complete with stacked panels) he now asks only the patent fanatics for their response (but nobody else). Yes, in Patrick Wingrove’s own words: “Managing IP invites its in-house counsel readers [only ... and] participation in this survey is confidential. Data collected will not be shared with third parties and will only be published in an AGGREGATED and ANONYMISED form.”

But we know the nature of the self-selecting respondents. The thing about such surveys and surveyors is, they’re only ever speaking to lawyers (and nobody else exists to them, as can be seen in this new article). So of course the outcomes are extremely biased and hardly support the headlines they come up with. These people very well know what they’re doing (IAM does the same). They’re like a “Fox News” of patent news. Everyone loves Trump!

“Look at the names of writers. Virtually all of the ‘old’ (only years ago) writers left.”And when they’re not publishing their biased ‘article’…

“Sponsored by” as “news”…

Here’s an example only days old.

We pointed this out a week ago and gave about 8 new examples. They’ve become like a spam machine of law firms…

Watchtroll was already bad enough (lots of sponsored ‘articles’ and ads as ‘articles’). But I remember how once upon a time (even a few years ago) this site called Managing IP still occasionally did some decent work rather than propaganda for trolls, for law firms, for Team UPC and so on. Look at the names of writers. Virtually all of the ‘old’ (only years ago) writers left.

IRC Proceedings: Saturday, April 25, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:05 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

04.25.20

Links 25/4/2020: Wine 5.7, LXQt 0.15 Released, Ubuntu 20.10 Will Identity as “Groovy Gorilla”

Posted in News Roundup at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The dell xps 13 9300 (2020 edition) hyper-detailed Fedora linux review

        First a bit of background before we get into reviewing. I’ve used a laptop as my primary computer for 20+ years, and since I do things on-line most of my waking life, this means I spend a lot of time in front of my laptop typing or reading away. So, it’s pretty important to me that my laptop works well, is nice to use and is under support in case anything happens.

        For the last 3.5 years or so, my laptop has been a Lenovo Yoga 920. It’s been a great laptop and I have enjoyed using it. Unfortunately, it’s support is going to be up in a few months and I really don’t like my primary laptop to be out of support. In the last 3.5 years, Lenovo has: replaced the LCD panel when it fell off a table and broke, Replaced the motherboard when a sound connector became loose, replaced the keyboard when it became mushy, and most recently replaced the battery because it started to swell up. So, warentee is pretty important to me.

        I was starting to worry that none of the current crop of laptops would really be any better than my 3.5+ year old yoga 920, but dell managed to announce their xps 13 9300 and it had some better stats, so I decided I would jump to it and see how things went. One kind of anoying thing was that dell announced the new laptop in January, but the model with the good specs I wanted wasn’t available to order until April, and the “developer” edition still isn’t available with the high end specs (I got the normal windows one).

      • A Fix Is Out For The Intel Ice Lake Performance Drop On Linux With The Dell XPS 7390

        Earlier this week I highlighted the Dell XPS 7390 “Ice Lake” ultrabook seeing a big performance drop on recent versions of the Linux kernel. Intel engineers seem to have sorted it out and now have a solution in place, which affects those running Linux 5.4 or newer.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-04-24 | Linux Headlines

        Ubuntu releases 20.04 LTS, Kdenlive picks up support for the OpenTimelineIO interchange format, Mozilla expands its community analysis program with a new blog, Lenovo and Fedora announce a partnership for pre-installation on some ThinkPads, and Intel gives a boost to The Linux Foundation’s mentorship program.

      • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #6: Python REST APIs and The Well-Grounded Python Developer

        Are you interested in building REST APIs with Flask and SQLAlchemy? This week Christopher interviews Doug Farrell about his four-part Real Python series on Python REST APIs. They discuss the various Python tools and libraries used in the series. Doug also shares his practices for continuous learning. Doug has worked in process control, embedded systems, and has a long background in software development. He’s currently a developer at ShutterFly, and discusses developing tools for his internal customers. He also teaches Python to kids at a STEM school near where he lives. Currently Doug is writing a book for Manning Publications, “The Well-Grounded Python Developer”.

      • Software Freedom Podcast Special about GNU Health with Dr. Luis Falcón and Dr. Axel Braun

        Software Freedom Podcast Special about GNU Health with Dr. Luis Falcón and Dr. Axel Braun
        For our Software Freedom Podcast we talk with people who have inspiring ideas about software freedom. In this special episode, we talk with Dr. Luis Falcón and Dr. Axel Braun about the Free health and hospital information system GNU Health.

        Unfortunately, as we had to do this podcast remotely this time, we cannot provide the same level of audio quality as you are used to in this podcast. We apologise for this and will look into better solutions for remote recordings for future episodes.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.6.7

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.6.7 kernel.

        All users of the 5.6 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 5.4.35
      • Linux 4.19.118
      • Linux 4.14.177
      • Linux 4.9.220
      • Linux 4.4.220
      • Intel

        • Intel’s Clear Linux To Divest From The Desktop, Focus On Server + Cloud Workloads

          Intel’s performance-optimized Clear Linux has made some inroads in the desktop space over the past two years with providing a nice desktop installer last year, enhancing their documentation, and making available more desktop packages. Clear Linux has offered some of the fastest performance even for desktop workloads like web browser performance and has worked out equally well on AMD hardware. But moving forward they are going to be shifting back to their roots on focusing on server and cloud workloads.

        • Intel ISPC 1.13 Compiler Brings Performance Boost To AVX-512 Systems

          Intel’s ISPC compiler (Implicit SPMD Program Compiler) for targeting its C-based single-program, multiple data language is out now with a new feature release.

          ISPC already advertises performance speed-ups of three to six times faster depending upon the AVX configuration of the CPU being tested and core count. But with ISPC 1.13 they are continuing to work on making this SPMD program compiler even faster, particularly for AVX-512.

        • Intel FSGSBASE Linux Support Revived For A Performance Boost On Intel/AMD Processors

          arlier this month I reported that Linux developers were reviving work on the Intel FSGSBASE patches as a performance helper going back to Ivy Bridge CPUs but for which past patch series never got over the finish line for mainlining. On Thursday a new version of the FSGSBASE patches were sent out.

          One of Microsoft’s Linux kernel hacker, Sasha Levin, has taken up the patches in trying to get the mainlined with Intel seemingly not in a rush to get the patches merged that have been sent out a few times in recent years.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa Trying Out Gitlab Milestones For Trying Better To Avoid Regressions

          Due to unclear communication over patches queued for a given Mesa point release and ensuring all relevant patches are included, Mesa developers will begin making use of Gitlab’s “milestones” functionality for tracking the work to be included in the next point release.

          Mesa release managers in the past would send out a list of queued patches for a given Mesa point release, effectively as a release candidate so fellow Mesa developers could see the queued list in case any patches were missing or incorrectly applied. That practice hasn’t been going on for a while and given Mesa seeing a number of botched releases in recent times, Gitlab Milestones functionality is being trialed.

        • Mesa “Vallium” – Software/CPU-Based Vulkan Based On LLVMpipe

          While there has been the CPU-based “Kazan” Vulkan driver (formerly Vulkan-CPU as a Google Summer of Code project) and Google’s SwiftShader has been implementing CPU-based Vulkan support, it turns out Red Hat’s David Airlie has been working on a Mesa/Gallium3D-inspired Vulkan software renderer.

        • NVIDIA 440.66.11 Linux Driver Fixes Annoying Bugs With PRIME Sync

          NVIDIA has released their latest weekly-ish beta update to their Vulkan Linux driver.

          With today’s NVIDIA 440.66.11 beta driver, several synchronization bugs have been addressed with PRIME Sync configurations, namely multi-GPU/Optimus laptops. The synchronization bugs could lead to momentary lock-ups of the X.Org Server when moving/resizing/focusing not only Vulkan windows but also OpenGL too.

        • NVIDIA have a new Vulkan Beta Driver out with some important Linux fixes

          Last week NVIDIA released a new Vulkan Beta Driver which came with some issues, a new build has gone out today fixing some of the most pressing.

        • Panfrost Gets First 3D Renders on Bifrost GPU (Mali-G31) including Basic Texture Support

          Collabora has been working on Panfrost open-source Arm Mali GPU driver for over a year. The drive aims to support both Midgard and Bifrost families. But so far, the company had mostly focused on Midgard (Mali-T6xx/T7xx) GPUs with for example experimental OpenGL ES 3.0 support announced last February.

          Collabora engineers, such as Alyssa Rosenzweig, have now started to work on Bifrost support, and some good progress has been made since they managed to have Panfrost render the first 3D graphics with basic texture support using a platform with an Arm Mali-G31 GPU.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon Software 20.10 vs. Upstream Linux AMD Radeon OpenGL / Vulkan Performance


        With last week’s release of Radeon Software for Linux 20.10 as AMD’s first packaged graphics driver update for Linux of 2020, here are some benchmarks showing how the performance compares to what is shipped by Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS as well as when using the newer Mesa and Linux kernel releases for the very latest open-source performance, including switching over to RADV+ACO for Vulkan gaming.

        Today’s AMD Radeon Linux graphics driver comparison is looking at…

    • Applications

      • A MauiKit App. Episode 1

        For simplicity, we will use qmake to deploy the app on other platforms than GNU/Linux, and for GNU/Linux cmake.

      • Streamlink 1.4.0 Adds Low Latency Streaming On Twitch, Fixes YouTube Plugin (CLI Tool To Pipe Livestreams To VLC or mpv)

        Streamlink 1.4.0 has been released with support for low latency streaming on Twitch, fixed YouTube plugin, and more.

        Streamlink is a free and open source command line utility which pipes live video streams to players like VLC, mpv, MPlayer, OMXPlayer or MPC-HC, with the purpose of avoiding resource-heavy websites (and on Linux, to use hardware-accelerated video playback). It was forked over 3 years ago from Livestreamer, which is no longer maintained, and runs on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

      • HomeBank 5.4.1

        HomeBank is a free software (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) that will assist you to manage your personal accounting. It is designed to easy to use and be able to analyse your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and beautiful charts. If you are looking for a completely free and easy application to manage your personal accounting, budget, finance then HomeBank should be the software of choice.

        [...]

        Cross platform, supports GNU/Linux…

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.7 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Wine Mono engine updated to 5.0.0, with upstream WPF support.
          - More progress on the WineD3D Vulkan backend.
          - Beginnings of a USB device driver.
          - Support for building with Clang in MSVC mode.
          - Builtin modules no longer depend on libwine.
          - Support for configuring Windows version from the command line.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.7.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.7.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
      • Wine 5.7 is out with more WineD3D Vulkan work, a start on a USB device driver

        The Wine compatibility layer has another development release out today with Wine 5.7 adding in some new features.

      • Wine 5.7 Released With More Progress On D3D Vulkan Backend, USB Device Driver

        Wine 5.7 is out as the newest bi-weekly development release and it’s a fun one with multiple interesting advancements.

        As reported a few days ago, there has been progress on the WineD3D Vulkan back-end for allowing D3D9/D3D10/D3D11 calls to go through Vulkan rather than OpenGL. It’s similar aim to DXVK but not nearly as mature. The Vulkan support for WineD3D is still being brought up and isn’t yet ready for end-users/gamers but progress is being made.

    • Games

      • Halo : Master Chief Collection | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Steam Play

        Halo : Master Chief Collection running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great. As mentioned, EAC is no good, so MP is best avoided currently on this.

      • LudoNarraCon digital festival starts today on Steam with a sale and livestreams

        LudoNarraCon has returned, with another digital event now live on Steam to celebrate narrative games. Organized by Fellow Traveller, publisher of unusual narrative games.

        From now until April 27, there’s a lot of narrative games on sale and the developers will be doing something of an exhibition where they will livestream to their Steam store page. These streams will typically last between 1-3 hours on a loop, so you don’t have to worry about missing one. Given how everything has been cancelled lately, it’s a brilliant thing to do and Steam is well-placed for such an event.

      • Dark fantasy turn-based tactical roguelike RPG ‘Iratus: Lord of the Dead’ is out now

        Iratus: Lord of the Dead from developer Unfrozen and publisher Daedalic Entertainment has now left Early Access, with it full Linux support is now also up.

      • It appears that Valve are preparing Half-Life: Alyx for Linux

        Half-Life: Alyx, Valve’s return to the Half-Life franchise in VR-only form released for Windows last month and it appears they’re now preparing a Linux version. You can see so on SteamDB.

        Good news, although not unexpected. When we spoke to Valve a few days before release, they did mention their plan was to hopefully have a Linux version of Half-Life: Alyx with Vulkan API support out post-release.

        Taking place between the events of Half-Life and Half-Life 2, you play as Alyx Vance instead of Gordon Freeman in a seemingly impossible fight against the alien Combine. It’s already managed to hit an Overwhelmingly Positive user review score on Steam, with that being from over twenty thousand players. Considering it’s a Virtual Reality game, which requires you buy the VR kit on top of a PC good enough to run it, it’s an impressive number.

      • Verdant Village puts a high-fantasy spin on Stardew Valley styled gameplay – try it free

        Currently in development with it classed as being in an “alpha state”, Verdant Village seems like a sweet and promising high fantasy alternative to Stardew Valley with some new themes.

        The developer has been working on it for some time already and they have plans to add in some big content to it like a combat system, hunting, a bigger world, alchemy and more fantasy themes. Exodus Software have been regularly updating it since it appeared on itch.io back in February but it’s still clearly early on with plenty of bits not available yet.

      • You can play XCOM 2 free until April 30 and you definitely should try it

        XCOM 2, likely one of my absolutely all-time favourite strategy games can be played for free until April 30.

        Originally developed by Firaxis Games, it acts as a sequel to XCOM: Enemy Unknown although you can easily play XCOM 2 without playing the first. It was ported to Linux by Feral Interactive and it was a day-1 release for us which doesn’t happen too often for bigger titles.

      • Simple local-multiplayer PvP real-time strategy title ‘Rover Wars’ is out now

        Rover Wars strips down the RTS genre to some of the basics and makes it a competitive local multiplayer game, it’s actually pretty darn fun and it’s out now.

      • New release of Steam Audio and the next Steam Labs project is up focused on game searching

        Valve continue to improve Steam at quite a rapid pace lately. Recently, they not only released a new beta of Steam Audio but they also put up a new experiment.

        For Steam Audio, Valve’s cross-platform full-featured audio solution that integrates environment and listener simulation, it had the first Beta release in over a year on April 22. This pulled in better Android support, support for spatial blend in the binaural effect, support for custom distance attenuation and air absorption curves and plenty of fixes. They also updated their Unity and FMOD Studio plugins.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • LXQt 0.15 Released As First Big Update To This Lightweight Qt Desktop In A Year

        Friday marked the release of LXQt 0.15, the first big update to this lightweight Qt5-based desktop environment since January 2019. There comes a fair number of improvements with this desktop that was born out of the LXDE and Razor-qt initiatives.

      • LXQt 0.15.0 Desktop Released with New Archive Manager, Many Improvements

        The LXQt project has released today the LXQt 0.15.0 update for their open-source and lightweight desktop environment for GNU/Linux distributions.

        Arriving three months after version 0.14, the LXQt 0.15.0 release packs many improvements and new features. The most prominent one being LXQt Archiver, a brand-new and a fully functioning archive manager that integrates with the PCManFM-Qt by default and it’s based on its LibFM-Qt core library.

        Talking about PCManFM-Qt, the default file manager of LXQt, it received several improvements. These include better keyboard navigation, support for single window mode, the ability to save mount passwords, richer file tooltips, as well as smarter extension handling on the LXQt file dialog.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: so many videos for you

          Version 20.04.0 of KDE’s apps has been released! Go check it out; there’s amazing stuff in there.

          Work proceeds on the Breeze Evolution task for Plasma 5.19. In particular, the System Tray visual overhaul subtask is nearly complete and our tray popups are looking better than ever…

        • KDE Saw More Wayland Improvements This Week, Other Enhancements

          In addition to this week seeing the slew of KDE Apps updates, developers working on the applications, Plasma, and other areas of the KDE ecosystem have remained as busy as ever during the COVID-19 crisis for continuing to improve this open-source desktop.

          Some of the highlights for the KDE week besides shipping the 20.04 Apps include:

          - KDE System Settings’ KWin rules page was rewritten and now has a better UI.

          - Taking screenshots on HiDPI setups under Wayland now have the correct resolution.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Custom widgets in GTK 4 – Drawing

          Before looking at how widgets do their own drawing, it is worth pointing out that GtkDrawingArea is still a valid option if all you need is some self-contained cairo drawing.

          The only difference between GTK 3 and GTK 4 is that you call gtk_drawing_area_set_draw_func() to provide your drawing function instead of connecting a signal handler to the the ::draw signal. Everything else is the same: GTK provides you with a cairo context, and you can just draw to it.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • UbuntuDDE Beta: A Linux Remix That Lifts User Experience to the Next Level



          The Deepin Desktop Environment is very elegant and comfortable to use. Its simplicity, coupled with improved functionality and configurability over earlier versions, makes it a nice choice for those looking for something new.

          The Deepin desktop’s integration into the Ubuntu 20.04 base masks some of the stumbling blocks new users encounter when learning about the Linux OS in general and Ubuntu in particular. Ubuntu DDE works right out of the box with nothing to adjust or configure.

          Beta releases are not good products to use on a production machine, but this beta version is a strong demonstration of what UbuntuDDE’s performance will be in its final form.

          UbuntuDDE uses the Calamares installer. The process includes disk-partitioning options and an easy click-to-choose graphical display.

      • New Releases

        • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 144 released

          
          This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 144. This contains a number of security fixes in OpenSSL, the squid web proxy, the DHCP client and more. We recommend to install it as soon as possible and reboot.

          The OpenSSL team has issued a security advisory for the 1.1.1 release with “high” severity.

          Applicants on client or service side that call SSL_check_chain() during a TLSv1.3 handshake may crash the application due to incorrect handling of the signature_algorithms_cert” TLS extension.

          CVE-2020-1967 has been assigned to track this vulnerability and an immediate installation of this update is recommended.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 Public Release Candidate 1!

          Since Public Release Candidate 1 is released more than 2 months after the release of the Public Beta, tons of fixes and enhancement is included in this milestone.

        • SUSE Manager 4.1 Public Beta 3!

          We are pretty excited to announce SUSE Manager 4.1 Public Beta 3. As usual, we have prepared tons of updates and we hope you will like it. We also now have a new Public Mailing List, so you can share your feedback with our Public Beta Community, our Engineering and our Product Managers.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/17

          The last week was filled with success. The major change was surely the removal of python2-FOO modules from the distro. Not exactly all are gone yet (packages that fail to build do also not change the published modules), but we went form 2564 (Snapshot 0417) modules down to 203 (0422). But of course, that’s not all that has happened. After all, we released 6 snapshots in the last week (0415, 0416, 0417, 0419, 0421 and 0422).

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Lenovo ThinkPad Laptops Coming Soon With Pre-installed Fedora Linux

          Is Fedora Linux your daily driver? Well, then here’s the big news for all Fedora lovers. The folks at Red Hat who work on Fedora desktop have joined hands with the Lenovo team to bring Thinkpad laptops with Fedora Workstation pre-installed.

          You may think that I’m already running Fedora OS on my Lenovo system, so what’s all the fuss about?. But as mentioned by Matthew Miller, Fedora’s project leader, in his latest blog pre-loaded Fedora on ThinkPad is quite a different experience. Plus, Lenovo will fix several issues that you face while running Fedora Linux on Lenovo laptops.

        • Windows PC Maker Lenovo to Launch Linux Laptops [Ed: Microsoft propagandist "Bogdan Popa, Microsoft News Editor" (Microsoft PR/spin/FUD for over a decade) pretends that Lenovo is "Windows PC Maker" (which is false and a rather misleading term Microsoft looks to advance)]

          Lenovo will follow in the footsteps of Dell and launch a series of Linux laptops as part of an experiment which could then be expanded to further models should everything go according to the plan.

        • Fedora Linux Will Soon Be Available on Select Lenovo Laptops

          The Fedora Project and Lenovo are partnering to offer customers the option to buy a ThinkPad laptop with the Fedora Linux distribution pre-installed.

          After many trials and tribulations, Lenovo is finally becoming a part of the Open Source and GNU/Linux ecosystem. More specifically, they are patterning with the Fedora Project to offer laptops with Fedora Linux pre-installed.

          Fedora Project leader Matthew Miller announced the exciting news earlier today, saying that users will soon be able to purchase a ThinkPad laptop from Lenovo that comes pre-installed with the Fedora Workstation distro, which features the popular GNOME desktop environment.

          For starters, the only Lenovo laptops that will be available with Fedora Linux are the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8. But Matthew Miller is hopeful that Lenovo will give users the option to buy other models in the future.

        • A bold new chapter for Fedora Workstation

          So you have probably seen the announcement that Lenovo are launching a set of Fedora Workstation based laptops. I am so happy and proud of this effort as it comes as the culmination of our hard effort over the last 6 years to drain the swamp and make Linux a more viable desktop operating system.
          I am also so happy and proud that Lenovo was willing to work with us on this effort as they provide us with an incredible opportunity to reach both new and old Linux users around the globe with these systems, being the worlds biggest laptop maker with the widest global reach. Because one important aspect of this is that Lenovo will provide these laptops through all their sales channels in all their markets. This means you can of course order them online through their website, but it also means companies can order them through Lenovos business to business channels and it means that in any country where Lenovo is present you can order them, so this is not a North America only or Europe only, this is truly a global offering.

          There are a lot of people who has been involved here in helping to make this happen, but special thanks goes to Egbert Gracias from Lenovo who was critical in making this happen and also a special thanks to Alberto Ruiz who spearheaded this effort from our side.

          Our engineering team here at Red Hat has also been hard at work ensuring we can support these models very well be that by bugfixes to kernel drivers or by polishing up things like the Linux fingerprint support. As we go forward we hope to build on this relationship to take linux laptops to the next level and I am also very happy to say that we got Jared Dominguez on on team now to help us develop better work practices and closer relationships with our hardware partners and original device manufacturers.

        • Lenovo are to start shipping Fedora Linux as an option on their ThinkPad laptops

          As a nice win for open source, hardware vendor Lenovo are going to begin offering Fedora Linux on their ThinkPad line. This was announced today over on the Fedora Magazine by Red Hat’s Matthew Miller.

          You will be able to select Fedora Workstation as your operating system when customizing a Lenovo ThinkPad, as part of a pilot in Lenovo’s Linux Community Series. They’re going to be starting with the ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8 laptops and if it’s a success likely more. Sounds like it’s been a good partnership too, as Miller said Lenovo has been “following our existing trademark guidelines and respects our open source principles” with it shipping exactly as the Fedora team want.

        • Coming soon: Fedora on Lenovo laptops (Fedora Magazine)

          Fedora Magazine announces that Lenovo will start offering three laptop models with Fedora Workstation preinstalled.

        • Lenovo To Begin Shipping ThinkPad Laptops With Fedora Pre-Installed

          When it comes to finding laptops with Linux pre-loaded by the OEM, it’s mostly Ubuntu or its derivatives found most often on these devices. But Lenovo and Red Hat are announcing today that Fedora Workstation 32 will begin appearing soon on select ThinkPad laptops.

          Fedora will be offered as a pre-install option with a new “Fedora Edition” of the ThinkPad P1 Gen 2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen 8 laptops. Other models with Fedora are expected in the future.

        • Lenovo to begin selling some ThinkPad laptops with Fedora Linux

          Most of Lenovo’s laptops ship with Windows 10 software. But soon you may be able to buy one that comes with Fedora 32 Workstation Linux pre-installed instead.

        • Coming soon: Fedora on Lenovo laptops!



          Today, I’m excited to share some big news with you—Fedora Workstation will be available on Lenovo ThinkPad laptops! Yes, I know, many of us already run a Fedora operating system on a Lenovo system, but this is different. You’ll soon be able to get Fedora pre-installed by selecting it as you customize your purchase. This is a pilot of Lenovo’s Linux Community Series – Fedora Edition, beginning with ThinkPad P1 Gen2, ThinkPad P53, and ThinkPad X1 Gen8 laptops, possibly expanding to other models in the future.

          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! When they ship, you’ll see Fedora 32 Workstation. (Models which can benefit from the NVIDIA binary driver can install it in the normal way after the fact, by opting in to proprietary software sources.)

        • We mourn the loss of John McDonough


          We learned this week of the passing of John McDonough (jjmcd). John was a long-time contributor to the Fedora Project, and we are sad to hear of his passing. John contributed heavily to the Documentation team, sharing his knowledge with a global user community. John didn’t just write documentation, he also mentored new contributors. He was a patient and caring mentor, and our community is worse for his loss.

          When I first became a Fedora contributor 11 years ago, John was one of the people who welcomed me into the Docs team. His guidance helped me become a better contributor. Although he stepped back from contributing a few years ago, his impact continues.

        • Nest with Fedora – Call for Ideas!

          Hey folks! It’s that time of year where we start thinking about Flock. I am going to lay it out up front: based on the severity and ever-changing nature of COVID-19, we have to cancel this year’s edition of Flock to Fedora. We worked with our events team to evaluate the situation. No one can say at this point if conditions will support having a conference in August. Even if the public health situation improves, we understand that many of you won’t feel comfortable traveling and participating in large events.

          Let me be the first to express how sad this news is to hear, and to deliver. Flock is one of the best ways we have to express our gratitude for all of the hard work our contributors do throughout the year. It is also an irreplaceable event, because in a lot of ways we work together online as if we were side-by-side on a regular basis.

        • MicroProfile 3.3 now available on Open Liberty 20.0.0.4, brings updated features, yum/apt-get support, pattern tracking

          Open Liberty 20.0.0.4 provides support for MicroProfile 3.3 which includes updates to MicroProfile Rest Client, Fault Tolerance, Metrics, Health, and Config. Improved developer experience is also achieved with support for yum/apt-get installs and the ability to track use patterns with JAX-RS 2.1.

        • Helping you get to Infrastructure-as-Code

          Since you’re reading this post, you have likely heard of efforts towards automation, DevOps practices, and/or Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC) directives. Looking beyond the buzzwords, the underlying core concepts of IaC can help with speed, risk reduction and advanced deployment capabilities in any organization’s technology journey. This post will elaborate on this and provide some insight from Arctiq’s real-world experience.

        • 5 Reasons to attend Code @ Think

          As we all adjust to our new normal, Code @ Think is your opportunity to tap into a multitude of resources from your laptop to stay sharp on current coding methodologies, and learn new skills to boost your productivity. With so much excitement surrounding this digital event, here are just 5 reasons why you should attend.

          [..]

          As open source finally begins to permeate inside your company, it’s time to skill-up on the technologies you’ve been waiting to use. Attend Code @ Think to learn from IBM open source rockstars as they pull back the curtain on Kubernetes, Knative, TensorFlow, istio, OpenJ9, Open Liberty, Node.js, Quarkus, and many other open technologies that you’ll need to be well-versed in understanding.

        • Build and deploy a serverless app with Camel K and Red Hat OpenShift Serverless 1.5.0 Tech Preview

          Red Hat OpenShift Serverless 1.5.0 (currently in tech preview) runs on Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 4.3. It enables stateful, stateless, and serverless workloads to all operate on a single multi-cloud container platform. Apache Camel K is a lightweight integration platform that runs natively on Kubernetes. Camel K has serverless superpowers.

        • Are you ready for homectl?

          Look what systemd is up to now… taking over home directories. Perhaps augmenting home directories is the better way to put it. Here’s the info straight from the horse’s mouth.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • What’s New in Xubuntu 20.04 – Feature Tour

          The popular lightweight Ubuntu derivative – Xubuntu recently released Long Term Support (LTS) Version supported until April 2023. Powered by the Xfce desktop environment, this release based on the solid Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. However, there are lots of Xubuntu specific changes in this release which makes it a great Linux distribution for older hardware PCs, Laptops as well as high-end machines.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” LTS Available To Download

          The most awaited Linux distribution of the year, Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” stable has been made available to download. Ubuntu 20.04 is an LTS release which means it’ll receive maintenance updates for 4 years until April 2025. Ubuntu flavors will be supported for 3 years.

          We recently covered the improvements and new features it’s going to have in this article.

          In brief, Ubuntu 20.04 “LTS” has both visual and core changes. The biggest visual changes include the redesigned Yaru theme that now supports Dark mode.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Set Up OpenVPN Server In 5 Minutes

          I am a new Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS server system administrator. How can I set up an OpenVPN Server on an Ubuntu Linux version 20.04 LTS server to shield my browsing activity from bad guys on public Wi-Fi, encrypt all traffic while connecting to 4G LTE network, and more?

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS is out

          Canonical announced the general availability of the Linux distribution Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Long Term Support) on April 23, 2020. Development put a focus on security and privacy according to Canonical, and it shows as the release includes WireGuard VPN client and Secure Boot support.

          WireGuard support will be backported to Ubuntu 18.04 LTS according to Canonical.

          Downloads are already available on the official Ubuntu website. Interested users may download Desktop and Server versions of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS from the site to run them directly or install them on systems.

        • Canonical have announced the release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – 20.04 (Focal Fossa)

          Canonical have announced the latest release of Ubuntu 20.04 Long-Term Support (LTS) as Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa).

          I’ve respun the desktop ISO using my ‘isorespin.sh‘ script and created ISOs suitable for Intel Atom and Intel Apollo Lake devices…

        • Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Is Slated for Release on October 22



          In the past, codenaming of new Ubuntu releases was done by Mark Shuttleworth, but these days it looks like it’s decided by the entire team. And the codename of Ubuntu 20.10 will be “Groovy Gorilla.”

          A draft release schedule was published as well, suggesting that the development will start at the end of April with the toolchain update. But, as with all past releases, development will be based on the current stable release, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

          The Ubuntu 20.10 development cycle will continue the tradition of providing optional Ubuntu Testing Weeks to members of the community who want to help shape the upcoming release.

          Two Ubuntu Testing Week events are planned, one during the week of July 2nd and the other one during the week of September 3rd.

        • Ubuntu 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Release Date Announced

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS was officially launched this week as one of the most-anticipated updates in a long time, and now Canonical is working on the next important release due later this year.

          Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla will thus be the next major Ubuntu update after 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), 19.10 (Eoan Ermine), and 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver).

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Codename Revealed by Canonical!!

          Ubuntu 20.10 Codename Revealed: The month of April 2020 is full of surprises. It is not less a day since the latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS codenamed Focal Fossa was released, the codename of Ubuntu 20.10 has been revealed today. Following the lineup E(Eoan Ermine), and F(Focal Fossa), Ubuntu 20.10 gets the following codename.

        • The Ubuntu 20.10 Codename Is Revealed, And It’s Pretty Groovy, Baby
        • Ubuntu 20.10 Might Be The “Groovy Gorilla”
        • Groovy Gorilla Release Notes
        • Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS Released



          The Ubuntu Studio team is pleased to announce the release of Ubuntu Studio 20.04, code-named “Focal Fossa”. This marks Ubuntu Studio’s 27th release. This release is a Long-Term Support release and as such, it is supported for 3 years (until April 2023).

          Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list of changes and known issues.

        • Ubuntu Working Hard to Improve Fingerprint Login


          Ubuntu developers are working with the libfprint project to improve support for biometric authentication methods in GNOME-based Linux distros, including its own, Ubuntu.

          ‘Many devices are now shipping with fingerprint readers, and this has become a natural way to unlock the user session,” says Ubuntu desktop lead Martin Wimpress in a blog post to showcase the work that’s gone in to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Launches in the Windows 10 App Store

          Canonical has released the latest version of Ubuntu only a few hours ago, and now this update is also live for Windows 10 users who want to download it from the Microsoft Store.

          Ubuntu 20.04 LTS comes with a long list of improvements, including notable security enhancements like Secure Boot to protect against low level attacks and rootkits.

          Furthermore, this is the first release to come with Fast ID Online, or FIDO, to power universal multi-factor and passworldless authentication in the operating system.

        • Ubuntu 20.04 adds VPN and support for a key Windows 10 feature
        • How to Enable Dark Mode on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

          LUbuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” ships with a built-in dark theme. You can activate the dark version of Ubuntu’s standard Yaru theme and get a dark GNOME desktop in just a few clicks. Here’s how.

          First, click the system menu button on the panel at the top-right corner of Ubuntu’s GNOME desktop and select “Settings.”

          You can also click the “Show Applications” button at the bottom-left corner of your screen, search for the “Settings” application, and launch it from there.

        • Canonical Ubuntu Update Stresses Security
        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS “Focal Fossa” is here

          The newest version of Ubuntu, one of the most popular Linux distributions, is finally here.

          Ubuntu 20.04, known as “Focal Fossa,” dropped this week with a ton of new features. Built on the Linux 5.4 kernel, there are some major enhancements. Primarily, the integration of WireGuard, a fairly popular VPN, means Ubuntu users will now have a VPN service from the outset. Additionally, the new version of Ubuntu can now read the Z File System (ZFS) and ExFat file systems. The former is an Oracle-based file system, while the latter is typically used in Windows and Microsoft devices.

          There are a few other features of note as well, including a new kernel lockdown mode that divorces the root account from the kernel in some instances. This offers another layer of protection for users by preventing a compromised root account from mucking about in the system kernel without the user’s knowledge (for the most part).

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.04 LTS ‘Focal Fossa’, Featuring Linux 5.4 Kernel and WireGuard VPN, Now Available For Download

          Canonical has released the newest version of its Ubuntu Linux distribution, Ubuntu 20.04. This long-term-support (LTS) version is more than just the latest version of one of the most popular Linux distributions; it’s a major update for desktop, server, and cloud users

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • All ProtonMail apps are now open source, as Android joins the list!

        Starting today, every app you use to access your ProtonMail inbox is open source and has passed an independent security audit.

        One of our guiding principles is transparency. You deserve to know who we are, how our products can and cannot protect you, and how we keep your data private. We believe this level of transparency is the only way to earn the trust of our community.

      • Taiwanese scientists develop free videoconferencing system based on open-source software

        A team from Taiwan’s National Yang-Ming University has developed a videoconferencing platform with free access based on the open-source software Jitsi Meet.

        Led by Chen Yu-chun (陳育群), an assistant professor at the university’s School of Medicine, the team has incorporated new features to the application for improved security. Through a one-time encryption key, users will be able to convene virtual meetings without the need to sign in.

      • Cryptography Dispatches: OpenSSH 8.2 Just Works with U2F/FIDO2 Security Keys

        OpenSSH is on a roll. In February, OpenSSH 8.2 introduced first-class support for FIDO2 (née U2F) security keys, making hardware backed keys accessible for less than $20.

        This is not some complicated PAM setup, or some janky cryptographic trick, but a proper public key type, where the private key is protected by the hardware token.1 And it just works out of the box for USB security keys! No more tedious and unreliable gpg-agent setups, PKCS#11, or third-party agents.

        I’m a big fan of hardware tokens because they allow a few things you can’t do with just software cryptography: compromise recovery, because an attacker can’t exfiltrate the key from the hardware to use it after losing access to it; explicit consent, where the user has to physically allow each operation by e.g. tapping the key; and short PINs that can’t be bruteforced, because the retry counters or delays are enforced in hardware.

        Let’s cut to the chase, here’s how you generate an SSH key backed by your security key: [...]

      • Events

        • Reflections Ahead of SUSECON Digital

          I have to confess that aside from New Year and family birthdays, SUSECON is my favorite diary date.
          Where else could I combine the job I love with renewing friendships, meeting new friends and immersing myself in a welcoming global community?
          The difficult global circumstances we currently find ourselves in have caused me to look back a little wistfully at my great experiences at previous SUSECON events where I, like other attendees, have enjoyed the outstanding technical content, open access to subject matter experts, and a true feeling of community.

        • 2020 Open Source Conferences That Have Moved Online

          If you’re going to stare at a screen, you can binge-watch Netflix – or you could attend one of these online open source conferences, most of which are now free or at a significantly reduced price.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Releases DeepSpeech 0.7 As Their Great Speech-To-Text Engine

            DeepSpeech 0.7 is the new release from Mozilla for this open-source speech-to-text engine. Among the many changes to find with this update are changes around their TensorFlow training code, support for TypeScript, multi-stream .NET support, a new format is available for training data that should be faster, support for transfer learning, ElectronJS 8.0 support, and numerous other changes.

          • William Lachance: mozregression for MacOS

            More details: The Glean Python SDK, which mozregression now uses for telemetry, requires Python 3. This provided the impetus to port the GUI itself to Python 3 and PySide2 (the modern incarnation of PyQt), which brought with it a much easier installation/development experience for the GUI on platforms like Mac and Linux.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Branding change in LibreOffice 7.0

          It’s still WIP, but I can show you pair of images with a new branding in LibreOffice 7.0. And you can look at it yourself when you’ll download a current daily build by link.

      • Programming/Development

        • SDL2 Sees Support For A Number Of Additional Controllers, Gamepads

          A number of additional game controllers / gamepads / input devices have been added to the SDL2 code-base in recent days.

          Sam Lantinga of Valve has been adding a number of new devices to SDL2 for proper mapping.

        • The 20 Best PHP Books To Master Your Skills in 2020

          PHP is well known as a general-purpose scripting language or open source scripting language that is used for the development of websites, either static or dynamic. Being easy to learn and use, fast performance, availability of online support, stability, security, and the open source advantages of the language, it has become a fascinating language for new and expert programmers. However, learning this language needs a good starting, continuation, and guidelines. So, we are here to provide a handful list of PHP books to serve the purpose of learning PHP.

          [...]

          For SDL2 on Windows, there is also now a Windows Gaming Input joystick driver for initially supporting the Razer Atrox Arcade Stick.

          The changes are currently staged in their development repository ahead of the next SDL2 update, likely later this year.

        • Marvell ThunderX3 Machine Model Pending For The GCC Compiler

          Last month Marvell announced the ThunderX3 server processors with up to 96 ARM cores per SoC and with 4-way SMT means up to 384 threads per socket. This 7nm Arm server processor also supports eight DDR4-3200 memory channels, 64 lanes of PCIe 4.0, and other advancements to provide more competitiveness in the Arm server space. Marvell is now working on getting the ThunderX3 software support ironed out, including for the GCC compiler.

        • It’s almost a day job…

          No, I really don’t care about C++. I’ve never been a C++ developer, I started using Qt 25 years ago through PyQt, and only started using Qt and C++ after a couple of years of Java.

          Back then, there was no standard library for C++, and from what I saw back then, there was an idea that to be successful a library needed to look like what seemed the biggest thing in software development back then: Java. I guess that’s where the original developers of Qt got their inspiration from, what with the Java-like iterators, QObject and QMetaObject so you could have an object hierarchy like in Java…

          An in the years since I started maintaining Krita, most people who came to the project, came without any knowledge of the C++ standard library. They tended to have used C# or Java at university, maybe Python or Ruby. Java-like Qt was easy to grasp, learn and use, even for people who really had never coded before.

          But of course, over the times, C++ evolved, to a point where I, since I’m just a linguist who has programmed for about forty years, cannot read “modern” C++ code anymore, not really. I mean, Ivan Čukić’ Functional Programming in C++ is wonderfully clearly written, but I’d be lying if I said I understood it, and it doesn’t seem to contain much that’s relevant for my day to day work on Krita.

        • Golang

          • Golang bindings for both libnbd and nbdkit

            I have to say for full transparency up front that Golang is not my favourite programming language, even less after using it for a while. Nevertheless with a lot of help from Dan Berrangé we now have Golang bindings for libnbd and nbdkit which are respectively client and server software for the Linux Network Block Device protocol.

            The Golang bindings for libnbd let you connect to a server and read and write from it. This is all pretty straightforward so read the manual page if you want to find out more.

            The Golang bindings for nbdkit are considerably more interesting because you can use them to write pretty natural and high performance NBD servers to expose “interesting things”.

        • Python

          • New Higher Performance Python class (June 1-3)

            I’ve listed my next Higher Performance Python public class, it’ll run online for 3 mornings on June 1-3 during UK hours. We’ll use Zoom and Slack with pre-distributed Notebooks and modules and you’ll run it using an Anaconda environment. Here’s the write-up from my recent class.

          • Python Selenium all mouse actions using ActionChains

            ActionChains are ways provided by Selenium to automate low-level interactions with the website such as mouse movements, mouse button actions, keypress, and context menu(right-click menu) interactions. These special methods are useful for doing more complex actions like mouse over and drag and drop that is not possible by direct web driver actions.

            Using ActionChains object, we call methods that perform specific actions sequentially one by one. selenium training Actions called are pushed into a queue. When performing () method is called, the events are fired in the order they are queued up.

          • Encapsulation is your friend, also in Python

            Encapsulation is an act of deliberate limiting access to certain software components. The most common usage is to hide certain attributes of objects from other objects that use it.

          • The Bridge Design Pattern with Python

            The Bridge Design Pattern is a Structural Design Pattern, which splits the abstraction from the implementation. In this article, we’ll be covering the motivation and implementation of the Bridge Design Pattern in Python.

            Design Patterns refer to a set of standardized practices or solutions to common architectural problems in software engineering.

          • Tonic Glacier Cyber Hackathon – Montreal – May 2020

            A great number of you watched the conference part of Montréal-Python 76 – Tonic Glacier. Thank you!

            Our spectacularly virtual combo is now proceeding with the cyber hackathon. Here is all the information.

            For many weeks now, our challenging times gave birth to projects to help us face the COVID-19 crisis. The Tonic Glacier Cyber Hackathon organized by Montréal-Python is an opportunity to move forward existing projects and to start new ones. This online gathering will take place from May 1st to May 3, 2020. To your calendars!

        • Java

          • Ramp up on Quarkus: A Kubernetes-native Java framework

            Java has been in a bit of an awkward spot since containers took off a few years ago. In the world of Kubernetes, microservices, and serverless, it has been getting harder and harder to ignore that Java applications are, by today’s standards, bloated. Well, until now. In this article, I explore the basics of Quarkus, a Kubernetes-native Java framework built to specifically address Java’s bloatedness problem.

            [...]

            Not to mention, as a language, Java gave organizations pretty much everything they needed to maintain software for a long time using a large team of professionals with varying levels of skills.

  • Leftovers

    • Eco’s Logos and Our Willing Ears

      Father’s and sons have been at it since the beginning of time — since an outraged God told Adam to get out of Eden and take his side rib (Eve) with him, and go fuck himself, after His Satan-driven brat ate of the iMac tree, and started thinking for himself; and Adam screamed back over his shoulder, “You go Yahweh and I’ll go mine; and, He riposted to Them, “See ya, Totem and Taboo.”  They went into Exile, and many many many many many many illicit light thoughts later, to make a long story short, here we are.

    • NHL Jumps On The Esports Bandwagon With Players Tournament, NHL Channel Broadcast

      As we’ve been discussing, esports is having something of a moment during the COVID-19 shutdown. While it’s been interesting to see the general uptick in interest for esports globally, it’s been equally interesting to watch professional sporting organizations and leagues, that can longer operate in real life, shift quickly to putting professional players behind gamepads and broadcasting esports matches instead. NASCAR was the first to jump on this and has certainly set the quality standard, but racing was quickly followed by other major professional sports leagues.

    • James Weaver Remembered

      News came last week that James Weaver was claimed by the Corona Virus in Rochester, New York at the age of 82. One should use words like “towering” or “pioneering” to describe his contributions to the twentieth-century project of bringing antique keyboard instruments and the techniques used to play them back to sounding life. Though tall and handsome into his ninth decade, Jim did not tower or daunt: he was warm and generous, polite and encouraging. He listened and laughed; he did not bluster and loom. Gracefully and without showy self-modesty he diverted attention away from his own impressive talent and lasting accomplishments. For countless hours as a teenager I listened and listened again to recordings he made on two of the most beautiful extant eighteenth-century harpsichords—one French, one Flemish—in the collection of the Smithsonian, where Jim was long a vital force. What made these performances so compelling and will make them endure is his taste and technique that could flash when called on, but was especially marked by poise and restraint. There is brilliance, but what remains with me most strongly is the beauty.

    • Education

      • Students Across the Country Are Going on Strike

        Since campuses began shutting down across the country in early March, college students have been speaking out about the economic uncertainty, lack of food, and housing insecurity the nationwide upheaval has brought on. Despite this, many colleges have been reluctant to take measures to ensure student safety and comfort—most schools have not changed their grading policies, for example, and many campuses have not provided alternative resources after forcing students to evacuate dorms or cancel meal plans, prompting further uncertainty and stress.

        In response, college students across the country are going on strike.

      • Aren’t We All in This Together? College Students Told Hell No

        In a stormy week of denunciation and discrimination, the Trump administration sent a blaring announcement to America’s college students: you shall not be in this together.

      • ‘Same Ideas, Every Disaster’: Right-Wing Heritage Foundation Urges Universal School Voucher Program for Coronavirus Recovery

        The think tank also recommends immediately revising state requirements for teachers to allow people without teaching certifications to educate students.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Russia’s own Diamond Princess Doctors at a St. Petersburg medical center have been under quarantine for two weeks with hundreds of coronavirus patients in their care

        According to official statistics, St. Petersburg had 424 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on April 17. A day earlier, there were just 154. The authorities attributed this sharp increase to an outbreak at the city’s “Vredena” Orthopedics and Traumatology Research Institute.

      • Fair-Shares Rationing Can Cure Today’s Food Shortages

        For weeks, pandemic-induced overbuying has resulted in shortages of staple foods and sanitation products. With their shelves stripped, supermarkets are donating much less to food banks just as those services are being overwhelmed by a surge of newly jobless clients. Disinfectant wipes are selling for extortionate prices online — if they are available at all.

      • Quarantined With No Medicine

        I don’t know how you’re spending your quarantine, but I’ve spent the past few weeks wondering how to legally obtain marijuana.

      • Disinfectant Manufacturers Warn Consumers Not to Heed Trump’s “Injection” Remark

        President Donald Trump on Thursday made alarming comments about the possibility of using disinfectants in order to treat the coronavirus that were immediately dismissed by both medical professionals and the companies that create such products.

      • AWOL: Trump’s Disappearing Leadership

        Donald Trump’s political strategy during the coronavirus pandemic is simple: insist the federal government only plays a backup role when it comes to providing needed services and supplies, but take credit for directing the reopening of the economy. Governors should “call your own shots,” he says (April 16), as though they were chomping on the bit waiting for his instruction.

      • Moscow Mayor asks the government to mobilize medical students to work in coronavirus hospitals

        Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has asked Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin to send senior medical students to work in coronavirus hospitals. 

      • Russian public health authority outlines plan for reopening some non-essential businesses ‘in the next few days’

        Russia’s public health authority, Rospotrebnadzor, has come up with a plan that will allow beauty salons, dry cleaners, laundromats, non-food stores and auto repair shops to resume work “in the next few days,” Vedomosti reports. The newspaper cites a government representative as its source.

      • Now is the Perfect Time to Fight Climate Change

        While the whole world is consumed with the disastrous coronavirus pandemic, little attention is being paid to that sector of our economy whose existence had heretofore represented humanity’s greatest threat: the fossil fuel industry. But now may be the best time to pay heed. Oil and gas prices recently fell so low that they bizarrely plummeted to negative values. This is an industry clearly in crisis, and therefore now is the perfect time for the climate justice movement to strike.

      • Want to Discuss Sweden and COVID19? Start By Looking Backward.

        Sweden’s intake of refugees—from Syrians five years ago to Somalis ten years ago—may not seem like an obvious place to start, but it is.

      • Life and Death, But No Trash Pickup: Diary of a Young COVID-19 Nurse

        When a 27-year-old critical care nurse volunteered for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s COVID-19 unit last month, she knew that caring for patients with failing lungs and an untreatable disease would be frightening and heartbreaking. What she didn’t expect was to be shunned by fearful workers in other departments, surrounded by uncollected trash and forced to use up health benefits on a technicality.

        She had graduated from nursing school in 2017 and worked for a year at an urban hospital in the Midwest. Last fall, she joined the staff of Santa Clara Valley, a public hospital in San Jose, California. She had barely acclimated to her new job before patients began testing positive for COVID-19 in February.

      • Smithfield and Our Troubled Future

        On April 15th, Smithfield closed down its pork factory in Sioux Falls, South Dakota after 640 employees became sick from COVID-19. They constitute 44 percent of all COVID-19 cases in the state, making it the epicenter of the pandemic locally.

      • The World’s Most Unfair Health Care System

        The elephant in the Covid-19 infected room is Medicare for All. Maybe it really, finally is time for it. With at least 26 million people suddenly unemployed and many of those losing their health coverage during a deadly plague – how are people supposed to pay for a doctor if they get sick? And many will get sick. Covid-19 is highly contagious. For some it’s fatal, others mild, but for many it’s like being hit by a Mack truck. Currently, stimulus money will cover the medical bills of uninsured Covid-19 patients. But if the government can pay for this, why not cancer and heart disease? Why should the nature of a person’s illness determine whether they go bankrupt, or whether they try to spare their family the bills by foregoing treatment and dying? The U.S. spends more on health care than any other industrialized nation, but as is well known, our health outcomes are much worse.

      • How We Used FOIA to Track Ventilator and Hospital Bed Availability in Illinois

        I’m Ash Ngu, the news applications developer at ProPublica Illinois. What’s a news apps developer? Well, part of my job is to take unwieldy, wonky datasets and polish them into something that helps readers make sense of the world. Today, I want to share with you a tracker we released that keeps tabs on ventilator and hospital bed capacities in every region of the state, and tell you a bit more about the story of getting the data behind it.

        First, some context. At the beginning of March, before coronavirus case counts really began to climb in the U.S., the big question was: Will hospitals be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients? To answer that question, a few colleagues and I built an app that let readers look up projections for how hospitals in their region would fare under nine different pandemic scenarios.

      • COVID-19: Denial & Responsibility

        By and large, US Americans are in denial about a lot: the brutality of our militarism, the ecological cost of our lifestyle, the ethical vacuum where our communal heart should be. But denying the reality of a contagion is a whole ‘nother level of blindness.

      • Trump is Not a Wartime President — and COVID-19 is Not a War

        Using a war narrative to talk about COVID-19 plays into the hands of white supremacist groups. U.S. officials and the media should stop it. 

      • Because ‘People Will Die’ If They Listen to Trump, #DontDrinkBleach Hashtag Goes Viral

        “Anyone who does this will not die from #COVID19 because they will have already poisoned themselves to death.”

      • EPA Is Abandoning Those Suffering From Toxic PFAS Pollution

        Even as the scientific case for regulation grows clearer and more urgent every year, the EPA under President Trump delays and obfuscates.

      • 5 Ways Environmental Damage Drives Human Diseases Like COVID-19
      • Humans Aren’t the Virus

        It’s time for a confession. Not long ago, I was sitting on the floor in a remote part of India and was given a plate of rice and meat. As a daughter of the Western world, I couldn’t stop myself asking where the meat originated. My hosts gave each other a sidelong glance (never a good sign!) before answering with a smile, “Tribal meat.” It was bat. What local people took for granted as part of their way of life, seemed to me at the time another tale to embellish my adventurer status among friends in Europe. Then, a few months ago, something happened, something that seemed to be from a movie, which no ordinary member of the public expected would ever happen for real.

      • Quarantine Day 37

        For everyone dying to go back to work I ask for extreme caution. You might actually die, or someone you know and love might actually die.

      • I’m an Immigrant Doctor Treating COVID-19 Patients. Death Isn’t My Only Fear Right Now.

        I cannot afford to die while waiting for a green card.

      • Covid By The Numbers

        Two and three-quarters of a million—that’s the number of cases worldwide as of this morning. 

      • Instead of Protecting Public Health During Covid-19 Crisis, Trump Moves to Prop Up ‘Dirty, Dying’ Uranium Mining Industry

        “It’s despicable to risk irreversible harm to spectacular wild places by propping up uranium companies that can’t compete in global markets.”

      • How the Chinese Authorities and the World Health Organization Handled the Coronavirus

        On April 14, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump addressed a news conference at the White House, where he said that his administration would “halt [all] funding” for the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO, founded in 1948, is the principal United Nations agency tasked with the improvement of the health of the world; it is also widely acknowledged as an agency that is best suited to deal with health emergencies.

      • Nursing Homes Violated Basic Health Standards, Allowing the Coronavirus to Explode

        One by one, toward the end of March, residents of Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center outside of Seattle started coming down with symptoms of COVID-19.

        On March 22, residents in Rooms 503 and 522 were moved to a wing for COVID-19 patients. Another resident began showing symptoms, too, and was also moved.

      • ‘Red Dawn’: What Hollywood’s most outlandish Cold War movie says about Americans and Russians

        In a world engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic, “The Naked Pravda” travels back in time to the carefree 1980s, when Americans and Russians worried about simpler things like World War III. Fears in U.S. popular culture that the Cold War might turn hot culminated in 1984 with the film “Red Dawn,” starring Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen, about a group of high school students resisting occupation by invading Soviet, Cuban, and Nicaraguan troops. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen people on the Internet shouting “Wolverines!” at each other — a reference to the name Red Dawn’s protagonists adopt for their guerrilla group. 

      • The COVID-19 Crisis: Our Pandemic Coverage
      • More than 600 people have now died in Russia from coronavirus, where the number of total confirmed cases is 68,622

        On the morning of April 24, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 5,849 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 68,622 patients. A day earlier, health officials reported 4,774 new cases.

      • HHS Spokesman Tweeted About Chinese People Sucking “Blood Out of Rabid Bats”

        Before he was officially named to the post last week, Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Michael Caputo scrapped most of the posts off of his Twitter account, deleting a number of questionable and racist content.

      • New Relief Bill Lacks Funds for Food Aid, Rent Relief, Election Protection

        As the House passes a new $484 Billion coronavirus relief bill, Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the sole Democrat to vote no, saying it falls far short, failing to protect those at greatest health risk, including essential frontline workers, and could let millions go hungry. We get response from The American Prospect’s David Dayen.

      • Georgia Reopens Nonessential Businesses Despite Public Health Warnings

        We go to Georgia, which is reopening nonessential businesses today — hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and massage therapists — despite a rising number of COVID-19 deaths. The governor is opening the state over the objections of mayors in Savannah, Atlanta and Augusta. “This order has nothing to do with public health. It has everything to do with the financial health of the state,” says George Chidi, columnist for Decaturish, and public policy director for PadSplit, an Atlanta-based affordable housing organization.

      • Diane Archer on Medicare for All, Sriram Madhusoodanan on Fossil Fuel Accountability

        This week on CounterSpin: Before millions were unemployed, before Covid-19 began its sweep, healthcare was already a crisis, and the arguments against overhauling it were already visibly tired and specious. Here’s an interview about that from March 2019 with Just Care USA‘s Diane Archer.

      • Episode 79 – The News Stories Buried by COVID-19 and Terrorism with Dr. Ashley Larson – Along The Line Podcast
    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • The Adobe Flash Farewell Tour 2020: LibreOffice to axe export support for .SWF in version 7

          the coffin of Adobe’s Flash technology with the removal of an export filter from the suite.

          Noted by Phoronix, the death knell of the tech that, frankly, most had forgotten was even there in the first place was noted not with fireworks but with a terse commit stating that with Adobe retiring the tech by the end of 2020, there was little point in keeping the functionality to export to .SWF in the project anymore.

          The release notes also highlighted the deprecation: “Macromedia Flash export filter was removed.”

          A look at the LibreOffice timeline shows the technology dates back to 2003, with OpenOffice.org 1.1 boasting the ability to export presentations to Flash as well as a one-click export to PDF. A fork of the code brought forth LibreOffice in 2010. Version 7.0.0 is scheduled for early August.

        • Sneaky Zero-Click Attacks Are a Hidden Menace

          Vulnerabilities that can be exploited for zero-click attacks are rare and are prized by attackers because they don’t require tricking targets into taking any action—an extra step that adds uncertainty in any hacking scheme. They’re also valuable, because less interaction means fewer traces of any malicious activity. Zero-click exploits are often thought of as highly reliable and sophisticated tools that are only developed and used by the most well-funded hackers, particularly nation state groups.

          The ZecOps research suggests a different story, though: Perhaps attackers are willing to settle in some cases for using less reliable, but cheaper and more abundant zero-click tools.

          “I think there are more zero-clicks out there. It doesn’t have to be ‘nation state-grade,’” says ZecOps founder and CEO Zuk Avraham. “Most wouldn’t care if it’s not 100 percent successful, or even 20 percent successful. If the user doesn’t notice it, you can retry again.”

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Telegram adding secure group video calls this year

              Messaging app Telegram is developing a group video calling service that’s due to be launched later this year, the company announced today. It says that current options offer either security or usability, but that its version will offer both. Telegram announced the plans alongside news that it reached 400 million monthly active users, doubling its user base in two years.

              Telegram’s claim that current group video calling services offer either security or usability is a not-so-subtle swipe at user-friendly Zoom, which has been hit by multiple security scandals in recent months. Critics pointed out that the service’s claims about offering end-to-end encryption were false, and that its default privacy settings made it easy for uninvited users to tap into video calls. That said, Telegram has also faced its share of criticism from the security community in part because its end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default.

            • How the GraphQL Foundation is enabling data graphs

              Another software company, data graph vendor Apollo, based in San Francisco, is one of the founding members of the GraphQL Foundation and also has a commercial Data Graph Platform based on GraphQL.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Mentorship Program from The Linux Foundation expands

                The Linux Foundation announced it’s expanding its Mentorship Program in response to COVID-19 with seed funding from Intel. The Program 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 some of the most sought-after, highly paid careers in the world.
                Intel is leading funding for this expansion with a $250,000 commitment. The Linux Foundation is investing an additional $100,000 and is calling on leaders throughout the industry to match this support in order to provide opportunities to aspiring technical talent during these unprecedented times.

              • Linux Foundation APAC Partners with OSChina to Launch Chinese Open Source Software University

                OSChina, a leading media outlet and event host for the Chinese open source community, will partner with Linux Foundation APAC to launch a new initiative, the LF Open Source Software University. This initiative will combine OSChina’s reputation and contacts in the Chinese open source community with The Linux Foundation’s expertise in training and certifying open source professionals.

              • Virtual event suggestions for open source communities

                With the COVID-19 pandemic affecting every aspect of life across every population and industry around the globe, numerous conferences, events, and meetings have been canceled or postponed. The Linux Foundation events team has been working in overdrive negotiating to cancel or postpone events that were or are impossible to operate this year safely. The health and safety of our communities and staff is our top concern.

                The good news is that for those events that can no longer safely take place in person, virtual events still offer the opportunity to connect within our communities to share valuable information and collaborate. While not as powerful as a face-to-face gathering, a variety of virtual event platforms available today offer a plethora of features that can get us as close as possible to those invaluable in-person experiences. Thanks to our community members, we’ve received suggestions for platforms and services that the events team has spent the past several weeks evaluating.

              • Docker Containers for Legal Professionals
              • Docker containers: What are the open source licensing considerations?

                Docker has made the quick deployment of software much simpler, but also introduces a few legal challenges. What the solutions to some of these legal challenges are is currently not clear.

                Evaluating compliance challenges requires a basic understanding of the technical specifics of how containers work and how they are built. With this understanding, it becomes evident how the distribution of containers bears some similarities to more historical means of distributing software while making clearer the aspects that can be obscured.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (lib32-openssl), Debian (git), Gentoo (chromium, firefox, git, and openssl), Oracle (kernel and python-twisted-web), Red Hat (python-twisted-web), Scientific Linux (python-twisted-web), and SUSE (file-roller, kernel, and resource-agents).

          • NSA, ASD publish advisory for detecting and mitigating web shell malware

            The US National Security Agency (NSA) and the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) have released a joint security guidance on techniques that can be used detect and prevent web shell malware from affecting web servers.

            Malicious web shells have been a threat for several years, according to NSA, and can be deployed on a compromised internal or internet-facing server to gain or retain access on compromised networks.

            Hackers use these programmes to execute arbitrary system commands, which are usually sent over HTTPS. They also allow threat actors to deliver additional malware payloads on infected servers and to pivot to other machines within the network.

          • Security Flaws Found in Three Home Hubs

            Home hubs are a double-edged sword when it comes to security. They let you access any device in the home. At the same time, anyone who breaches the hub’s security can also do the same. This makes a central hub key in defending a smart home, as a compromised hub is a critical flaw in any setup. Unfortunately, ESET IoT Research has recently found that three home hubs have severe security flaws. As such, owners of these home hubs should consider updating or replacing their devices as soon as possible.

          • Recovering a breached Linux system

            No one wants their systems to be breached. No one wants their data stolen. And no one wants to recover a breached system. Neither discovery nor recovery are fun activities. In fact, I’d have to say that of all the horrible tasks facing you as a sysadmin, recovering a system from a malicious attack is the worst. In this article, I give you 12 steps to system recovery, some post-mortem tips, and a last resort option after you find that one or more of your systems has been compromised or breached.

          • New Report Reveals Chinese APT Groups May Have Been Entrenched in Some Servers for Nearly a Decade Using Little-Known Linux Exploits [Ed: Bad maintenance and setup]
          • Ubuntu Core: a cybersecurity analysis

            Manufacturers of Internet of Things (IoT) devices require an embedded operating system that is feature-rich, scalable, and — most importantly — secure. Built from the ground-up to meet these requirements, Ubuntu Core represents a comprehensive ecosystem for large-scale IoT deployments that solves many of the security challenges associated with traditional Linux distribution models — while also empowering developers with unprecedented flexibility and control.

            This whitepaper from global cybersecurity experts, Rule4, provides an independent, third-party evaluation of Ubuntu Core’s security capabilities. Following a data-driven approach, all aspects received extensive testing to validate the strengths of its cybersecurity controls.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Private Internet Access announces another year of Let’s Encrypt sponsorship

              Private Internet Access is proud to announce a second year of Silver Sponsorship of Let’s Encrypt. Private Internet Access believes that every website should be served encrypted over HTTPS for the privacy and security of internet users. Let’s Encrypt makes it possible for that vision to come true by providing free TLS certificates to over 200 million websites around the world. With the help of their corporate sponsors, this number will only grow. Josh Aas, the Executive Director of Let’s Encrypt, commented on the importance of corporate sponsorship to their mission:

            • European Commission Wants Coronavirus Tracing Apps To Build In Strong Protections For Privacy — Unlike The French Government

              Techdirt has just written about France’s incredibly hypocritical attitude to privacy when it comes to contact tracing apps for COVID-19. The European Commission seems to be rather more consistent in this area. As well as pushing privacy legislation like the GDPR and ePrivacy Directive, it has released a series of documents designed to help EU Member States create tracing apps without compromising on citizens’ privacy. For example, on April 8, it adopted a “Recommendation to support exit strategies through mobile data and apps”, which called for “a joint toolbox towards a common coordinated approach for the use of smartphone apps that fully respect EU data protection standards”. Details followed a week later, when the European Commission announced a pan-EU toolbox for “efficient contact tracing apps to support gradual lifting of confinement measures”. A 44-page document spelled out in some detail (pdf) the “essential requirements” for national apps deployed in the region — that they should be:

            • UK government plans to let more agencies access internet connection records with Investigatory Powers Act expansion

              The Investigatory Powers Act was passed in 2016 and mandated that internet service providers and mobile data providers in the UK store internet connection records for twelve months. Internet connection records include the metadata that are tied to all internet connections – examples include the internet activity timestamps, internet history, IP addresses used, etc. Dubbed the “Snooper’s Charter,” the Investigatory Powers Act is a great example of supposedly first world countries looking with envy on the civil liberties violating internet control in authoritarian countries like China. While the Investigatory Powers Act has actually been ruled against by UK court, the government is now seeking to expand access to their internet surveillance trove.

            • Nintendo Confirms Some 160,000 Accounts Might’ve Been [Cracked]

              Earlier today, Nintendo confirmed that a recent hacking attempt on its system compromised the login IDs and passwords of some 160,000 Nintendo Network ID accounts. In the wake of the hack, the company is temporarily disabling the ability to log in to Nintendo Accounts through the NNID system, which, in the labyrinthine world of Nintendo account authentications, is only one method of doing so. We’d explain in more detail, but, honestly, we don’t understand Nintendo’s online infrastructure either.

            • Facebook launches Zoom competitor

              Facebook launched a new live video conferencing service on Friday, as millions of people remain confined to their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

              The Messenger Rooms service lets up to 50 users participate in a video chat at once, a feature similar to Zoom and Houseparty, two apps that have exploded in popularity over the last few months.

            • There are many reasons why covid-19 contact-tracing apps may not work

              The principle behind contact-tracing apps is fairly simple. Once installed, they use Bluetooth low-energy (LE) technology to record when a phone has come into close proximity with anyone else using the app. If either person later reports coronavirus symptoms, the other party is notified, so they could self-isolate or seek health advice. An alert could also be sent if a medical authority certifies the other person tested positive for the virus – this would be one way to avoid users trolling the system by falsely claiming symptoms. In theory, the apps work anonymously and only store data temporarily, without collecting location.

            • Why Bluetooth apps are bad at discovering new cases of COVID-19

              Now let’s talk about what might be the most challenging piece in the entire stack: contact tracing. Public health experts tell me that getting in touch with people who may have been exposed to a known COVID-19 case is one of the most important steps we’ll need to take to contain future outbreaks. But the how of it is complicated. While we’ve seen a Cambrian explosion of contact tracing apps around the world, it remains unclear how good or effective any of them have been. And as US government officials consider asking big tech companies to consider working on contact tracing solutions — and I’m told that they have already made inquiries with Facebook — that’s worth keeping in mind.

            • [Old] Taiwan’s new ‘electronic fence’ for quarantines leads wave of virus monitoring

              In Hong Kong, location-tracking wristbands are given to those put under quarantine. In Singapore, the government uses text messages to contact people, who must click on a link to prove they are at home.

            • If Bluetooth doesn’t work for contact-tracing apps, what will?

              Bluetooth LE has a rough range of 10 to 30 metres, depending on your smartphone and the Bluetooth chipset. The NHS recommends that we stay two metres apart from each other, but with Bluetooth being able to ping other phones within a 30-metre range, without precision, there’s an increased chance of the app alerting you to false positives of people who have never even come into contact with you.

              Paul Patras, reader at the school of informatics at the University of Edinburgh says that interference could be an issue when it comes to these contact-tracing apps, which could cause the amplification of false positive reports. “You can conceivably receive a packet with good signal strength from a transmitter that is not necessarily nearby; due to reflections,” he explains. “Multiple copies of the same signal may arrive at the receiver and amplify the message. This can negatively impact the correct assessment of the range.”

            • Showdown looms between Silicon Valley, U.S. states over contact tracing apps

              U.S. states promoting apps that could prove essential to ending the coronavirus lockdown may be headed for a showdown with the two Silicon Valley companies that control key software on 99 percent of smartphones over the collection of sensitive GPS location data.

            • Mark Zuckerberg on how video chat needs to evolve for the pandemic

              On Thursday afternoon, I hopped onto a short video call with Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the news. Highlights from our discussion follow. The transcript has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

            • Democrats want to know if Amazon ‘lied’ about using platform data to create products

              Two US lawmakers spearheading an antitrust investigation into Amazon are looking into whether a top company official lied before Congress about whether the e-commerce giant uses independent seller data to create its own products and unfairly compete on its platform.

            • Nadler, Cicilline Condemn Amazon’s Apparent Lack of Candor in Response to Bombshell News Report

              “This is yet another example of the sworn testimony of Amazon’s witness being directly contradicted by investigative reporting,” Cicilline said. “First, Amazon said it does not favor its own products, which extensive reporting later revealed to be untrue. Second, Amazon said it does not use individual seller data to create competing private label products. According to this report, the company used individual marketplace sellers’ sensitive commercial data for its own benefit to enter markets, reverse engineer products, and compete directly with these sellers that rely on Amazon’s platform. At best, Amazon’s witness appears to have misrepresented key aspects of Amazon’s business practices while omitting important details in response to pointed questioning. At worst, the witness Amazon sent to speak on its behalf may have lied to Congress.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Despite the Siege, Venezuela Controls the Coronavirus

        Venezuela is under siege. The USA and its allies unleashed unjust economic sanctions against the country that have resulted in Venezuela unable to sell its oil (its main source of revenue), and to buy food or medicine in the international market. It has stopped airlines traveling to Venezuela and the country is unable to make financial transactions in international banks. The loss to Venezuela’s economy is calculated at $130 billion and rising.

      • Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 5: The Patriot Act and Maximum Security Healthcare (Cuz Every Day Is 9/11)

        It’s such a played-out cliché that it’s downright corny, but if you were born sometime before the mid-Nineties, you really do remember exactly where you were on 9/11. It was an event too cataclysmic to not happen on a normal day because everything before that surreal shit-show seemed almost Norman Rockwell normal by comparison. I was a 13-year-old 7th grader at Saint John’s the Evangelist Catholic School. Hardly a simple time for a painfully closeted obsessive-compulsive misfit, but a time before the heavy issues war, liberty and empire ran my life. I was too busy writing down Korn lyrics, washing my hands fifty times a day, and struggling to ignore the nagging suspicion that my feelings for Caitlyn Feelow were anything but heterosexual.

      • Is Pandemic the “Kairos” Moment to Stop Living as Slaves to Fear?

        We Have Always Been Unsafe

      • Newly revealed financial records show Trump owes millions to state-owned bank in China: report

        Trump’s debt stems from his 30% ownership stake in a 43-story New York skyscraper at 1290 Avenue of the Americas, the documents show. Trump has bragged that he “got” the building from China in a “war.”

        “I beat China all the time,” he said when he announced his presidential campaign in 2015. “I own a big chunk of the Bank of America building [in San Francisco] and 1290 Avenue of the Americas that I got from China in a war. Very valuable. I love China.”

        But The New York Times reported in 2016 that Trump only owned 30% of both buildings. And Trump’s financial ties to the country do not end with his ownership stake in the building. Chinese state-owned companies are developing two luxury Trump buildings in Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates. The president and his daughter, Ivanka, have also been granted numerous trademarks by the Chinese government since he took office. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has sought Chinese investment in at least one real estate deal.

      • Disinformation attack on Poland [scroll down to English part]

        The [attackers] replaced one of the articles posted with the website with a false letter by the War Studies Univeristy’s Commander. The letter, targeted at U.S.-Polish relations, called on the Polish soldiers to fight against American occupation”. The content of the letter matched the main narratives Russian propaganda constantly pushes against Poland and the United States.

      • Bangladesh: ‘Not a Single Rohingya Will be Allowed to Enter’

        “As we guard our borders, we cannot let people die, moreover they are the victims of tyranny by their own government,” Anwar said, referring to the Rohingya. “I hope the government will consider keeping them in the form of limited controls but not evict them, leaving them to drown or leave them starving,” he said.

      • Why the Democratic Party Must Support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

        If the Democratic leadership is serious about uniting the wings of the party for a decisive November victory, then it must recognize that AOC is a necessary part of this effort. 

      • AOC Takes Brave, Lonely Stand Against ‘Unconscionable’ Covid-19 Relief Package That Doesn’t Sufficiently Help Those Hurt the Most

        “We are so grateful for the unapologetic moral clarity and political courage,” said Sunrise Movement, questioning when House Democrats will “use their leverage to fight for us.”

    • Environment

      • Organizing on the Coasts Won’t Save the Planet

        For the past 30 years, national climate groups have focused their education, energy, and financial resources organizing in urban communities and mostly on the coasts. Their outreach has yielded amazing results—from shuttering coal plants in cities to blue-state governors signing historic climate change laws. Yet most of our fights against fracking, pipelines, and other fossil fuel infrastructure are happening in rural communities. The land needed to build out projects to provide the massive amounts of renewable energy we’re going to need to kick our fossil fuel addiction is in rural communities. And the unlikely alliance we need to build for a true climate change movement is in rural communities.

      • America’s Great Greenwashing
      • US coasts face far more frequent severe floods

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

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Larry Summers as Joe Biden Advisor Adding to ‘Major Trust Gap’ Between Dem Nominee and Progressives

        “If Summers were to land a top job in the Biden administration it would signal a clear shift to the right.”

      • In a Pandemic, Health Inequities are Even Deadlier

        There’s an old saying in the black community I’ve heard my parents and grandparents repeat many times: “When white people catch a cold, black people catch pneumonia.”

      • Climbing the Revenue Mountain: Google, Facebook and the Publishers’ Right

        They are rather good at raking in the cash; rather poor at sharing it. Google and Facebook have radiated, strafed and shrivelled hundreds of news outlets across the globe with their information sharing platforms while celebrating choice, advertising revenue and traffic. The idea of whether such content is news is irrelevant: what is shared, be it news, rumour or supposition, is what matters.

      • Russia’s COVID-19 outlier The Yaroslavl region is reopening businesses and allowing people to leave their homes, rising number of coronavirus cases be damned

        The Yaroslavl region is one of the few places left in Russia (along with the Tver and Tula regions and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug) where the local authorities’ containment measures against the spread of coronavirus haven’t gone beyond verbal recommendations to self-isolate. For weeks, Yaroslavl’s incidence rate of COVID-19 was one of the lowest in the country, but the number of cases spiked in mid-April, roughly around the time that major enterprises started returning to work after a mandatory three-week shutdown and beauty salons, car washes, and other small- and medium-sized businesses began reopening. The authorities say the situation is under control, but the local opposition argues that Governor Dmitry Mironov — Vladimir Putin’s ex-security guard and a former deputy interior minister — lacks the necessary experience and understanding to respond properly to the coronavirus crisis. 

      • Bailout the People

        As the global pandemic of the novel coronavirus rages around the world there are copious amounts of finger-pointing and blame. There is value in considering what leadership steps were successful or failed. China should have shared information at least three weeks earlier than they did. The World Health Organization should have been more robust in alerting the world on January 5, sounding the alarms may have saved lives. President Donald Trump could have listened to expertise and taken steps to contain the virus before it spread. He could have mitigated the impact after it had spread—too little too late was effectively meaningless.

      • Strike, Sick Out, Slow Down: the General Strike and You

        The strike, sick out, and slowdown are among the most effective weapons in the arsenal of class struggle. They disrupt production and interrupt the flow of profits. But the most effective weapons are also the most demanding. Strikes require discipline, sacrifice, and struggle. Strikes are short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s not a coincidence that as strikes fell out of use over the last few decades the US working class fell too.

      • Massive Backlog of Unpaid Jobless Benefits Leaves ‘A Nightmare’ for Millions on Brink of Financial Ruin

        “I was finally able to sit on hold almost four hours. Then I got disconnected,” said one Arizona man attempting to apply for benefits.

      • Undocumented Workers Need a Bailout, Too

        I was a child when I understood my immigrant family was wanted for labor — and for labor only.

      • After $16 Billion of Stock Buybacks, a Tech Company Seeks Government Aid

        The anger isn’t focused solely on Booking.com. Stricken airline Air France-KLM has also come under fire for its executive bonus policy. In response, CEO Ben Smith said on Thursday he was forfeiting the variable component of his pay.

        The public outcry shows how governments are walking a tightrope by handing taxpayers’ money to support jobs in the private sector and cushion the economic shock from the pandemic. It’s an especially sensitive issue in the Netherlands, a country that mixes a strong welfare state with a liberal economic tradition and some of Europe’s lowest effective corporate tax rates.

        Facing criticism from political rivals, Prime Minister Mark Rutte told members of parliament on Wednesday it was “obvious” that companies applying for a second round of financial help from June should stop paying shareholders and forfeit management bonuses in the near future.

      • Postal Union Slams Trump for Holding Funds Hostage to Force “Draconian Cuts”

        The 200,000-member American Postal Workers Union accused President Donald Trump of plotting to “sacrifice our public Postal Service at the altar of private profit” after the Washington Post reported late Thursday that the White House is considering using a $10 billion relief loan approved by Congress last month to impose long-sought changes on the popular agency.

      • Ten Things You Can Do Now to Curb Wall Street’s Wealth Transfer System

        This article has been updated from one that originally ran in 2012.  Please consider emailing it to friends and family members who have given up hope on their ability to create change in America.

      • Millions of People Face Stimulus Check Delays for a Strange Reason: They Are Poor

        Last week, a group of angry and desperate Citi Tax Financial customers gathered outside the company’s storefront in Augusta, Georgia. Millions of Americans had received a big deposit from the IRS in their bank accounts, but they had not. The IRS website told them their coronavirus stimulus checks were deposited in an account they didn’t recognize.

        With an officer from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office beside him and another officer shouting for people to be quiet, the tax preparation company’s owner told the crowd of about 60, only a few of whom wore masks, that he didn’t have their money.

      • Democrats Are Insulting American People by Repeatedly Saying ‘Next Time’ on Real Covid-19 Relief

        The challenges that millions of Americans are facing right now are real, life-threatening, and demand immediate, far-reaching action by our elected officials. It shouldn’t be too much to ask that they act like it.

      • ‘We Need Congress to Get a Grip’: Democrats Urged to End Delay, Fight Like Hell for Covid-19 Relief That Puts People First

        “If these are truly legislative priorities for members of Congress, as they should be, they need to start fighting for them.”

      • May Day, Mayday!

        The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

      • Capitalism and the Illusion of Democracy

        Something to consider while suffering through the daily barrage of fabulist blather from Donald Trump is that if the Democrats thought it would benefit their cause, they would be putting Joe Biden front and center to counter this pain. That they aren’t suggests that they understand exactly how politically tenuous Mr. Biden is. In turn, that Joe Biden is their choice suggests that all isn’t what it could be in duopoly-party land. And coming in the midst of serial trillion-dollar bailouts, capitalism is looking a bit iffy as well.

      • New Stimulus Must Include Benefits for Immigrant Essential Workers

        As soon as it passed, Congressional lawmakers realized the $2.2 trillion CARES stimulus package to help the country through the COVID-19 pandemic would not suffice. Yes, U.S.-born workers would eventually get $1,200 checks and significantly expanded unemployment insurance. But some essential workers have been left out in the cold.

      • If Farmworkers Are “Essential,” Why Are They Treated So Badly?

        On March 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, spurred to action by the coronavirus pandemic, issued a memorandum that identified the nation’s 2.5 million farmworkers as “essential” workers. Soon thereafter, agribusinesses began distributing formal letters to their farm laborers, also declaring that they were “essential.”

      • Highest Levels Since Great Depression, ‘Sobering’ CBO Analysis Projects 16% Unemployment in US This Year

        “For the first time a federal agency is saying we likely face a major economic downturn for well over the next year and a half.”

      • Calling US Postal Service ‘A Joke,’ Trump Demands Four-Fold Price Hike for Customers Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

        Such a move, say critics, “would be a disaster for millions of Americans who rely on USPS.”

      • COVID-19 through the Lens of Terror Management Theory

        As I write this (on April 22, 2020), the United States has been ravaged by COVID-19: over 827,000 confirmed cases and over 45,000 deaths. Though the U.S. comprises just 4.2% of the world’s population, it has 32% of the world’s confirmed COVID cases and 25% of COVID deaths worldwide. The especially heavy toll COVID-19 has exacted on the U.S. can, of course, be largely attributed to the egregiously poor leadership displayed by Donald Trump. Trump initially dismissed the COVID threat as a “Democrat hoax” ginned up by his political opponents to embarrass him. Many precious weeks were wasted in inaction until Trump was forced to bow (somewhat) to the reality of exponential COVID infections and deaths. Even so, the government response to date has been haphazard and ineffectual, as evidenced by woefully inadequate testing and a scandalous lack of ventilators and PPE supplies. But it wasn’t Trump’s infantile narcissism alone that rendered American society especially susceptible to the COVID pandemic. The patient, if you will, was already saddled with a number of preexisting conditions that made the sickness much worse: rampant income and wealth inequality that has left tens of millions of Americans extremely vulnerable to the economic disruption caused by forced sequestration; a costly and inefficient for-profit health care system ill-equipped to handle a pandemic; an outmoded system of employer-provided health care insurance that has rendered millions of the suddenly unemployed also without any medical coverage. Obviously everything is still in flux right now but it’s clear that COVID-19 will take a devastating toll in lives while it lays waste to the economy. What isn’t clear is how this new plague will play out socially and politically.

      • Food Security in the Time of COVID-19

        16.8 million Americans applied for unemployment insurance over a three week period. Will the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic be a one time bump the world will get over and continue as it was, or will this be a permanent change, and if so, to what? Of course these millions of Americans are only those who had jobs with unemployment insurance. Many others are designated “independent contractors,” for example real estate agents and other salespeople. They will not be unemployed, but they won’t have jobs or money coming in, because unable to work or make deals because of the pandemic. Then there are the small business owners. I think it is fair to say that these events were a wake up call to everyone who needs to work to pay the bills. Your income may not be there tomorrow.

      • Their Second Recession: For the Second Time in Their Lives, Millennials Will Head to the Polls with an Economic Depression Looming – Censored Notebook

        On Election Day 2020, millennials face a difficult choice: vote or stay home. Either way, their decision will need to be accompanied by wide-spread activism, something they regularly engage in more than voting. The reason is that millennials, those born between 1981-1996, and Gen Z, those born since 1996, are facing the second recession of their lifetime and the political class remains disinterested in creating economic opportunity for them. This is especially odd considering that millennials are now the largest generational chunk of eligible voters. Although an economic slump was developing prior to the pandemic, the current recession is being largely attributed to the COVID-19 outbreak, and is the second in 12 years. Not since the early 20th century, during the Great Depression, has America had two large economic collapses occur in such a short span. So far, Wall Street has lost the gains made during the Trump presidency and experts predict a 14 percent decline in GDP and a 20 percent unemployment rate will follow. Needless to say, millennials need a transformative political agenda in 2020, not another opportunity to engage in the “lesser of two evils” electoral strategy.

      • Pandemic may give Bank of Japan excuse to take out obsolete bond target

        The coronavirus may offer the Bank of Japan justification to scrap what has become an obsolete, largely symbolic bond-buying target as it takes stronger action to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic, analysts say.

        [...]

        The central bank also has loose guidance to buy government bonds so its balance of holdings increases at an annual pace of roughly 80 trillion yen ($743 billion) – a remnant of the previous quantitative easing policy.

        The BOJ will discuss scrapping that guidance at its policy meeting on Monday, the Nikkei newspaper reported, in a show of resolve to buy unlimited amounts of bonds.

        Finance Minister Taro Aso knocked down the report, telling reporters on Friday that nothing had been decided on how the finance ministry could cooperate with the BOJ.

        A government official declined to confirm or deny the report. But the official, who was familiar with the bank’s thinking, told Reuters that YCC was already an “almighty program” that allows the BOJ to ramp up or scale down bond buying flexibly.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Two Mentally Challenged Candidates to Choose Between for US President?

        The US is hurtling into uncharted waters as a polity, with the two likely candidates for president this November both clearly suffering from significant cognitive impairment and evidence of continuing mental decline. 

      • Election Protection in 12-18 States Will Decide the Fate of the Earth

        The 12-18 states that will decide the presidency this fall are already being primed for voter suppression and election theft by the Trump GOP. Our ability to overcome will decide the fate of the Earth.

      • Group Promoting COVID-19 “Liberate” Protests Tied to Hydroxychloroquine Push

        A prominent Koch network group that is helping to organize protests calling for states to reopen is tied to a campaign that promoted misleadingly optimistic information about a drug it claimed could effectively treat Covid-19.

      • “Grim Reaper” Mitch McConnell Is Using COVID-19 Crisis to Punish Blue States

        Thursday’s White House coronavirus rally will go down in history as the day the president directed the scientists to investigate whether ultraviolet light can somehow be put inside COVID-19 patients to kill the virus, or whether disinfectant can be injected into their lungs to clean them. He was very proud of himself, obviously believing that he’d discovered some kind of breakthrough after hearing a briefing about how ordinary people can kill the virus in their homes.

      • Tabloid Goes TV: the Foxification of America

        It has been known that Fox Populism relentlessly enforces the four-legged stool of US conservatism: national defence, an ideological code-word for aggressive attacks on other countries (e.g. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq); anti-communism, another code-word for the uncompromising persecution of anyone suspected of not supporting the prevailing system of capitalism; the engineering of anti-government attitudes that follow Ronald Reagan’s dictum of “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem”; and finally the free-market ideology – the much-used euphemism for neoliberal capitalism even though the odious free market has never been seen.

      • Orthodox volunteers detained in Moscow while handing out food to the homeless

        Police in Moscow detained several members of an Orthodox volunteer group during the evening of April 23, as they were handing out food to the homeless. The volunteer organization in question, “Kursky Vokzal. Bezdomny, Deti” (“Kursky Railway Station. Homeless, Children”), reported the detentions on its Facebook page.

      • Australian Court Says Raid Of Journalist’s Home Was Illegal… But Allows Federal Police To Keep The Evidence They Seized

        Last year, the Australian government decided journalists just weren’t feeling chilly enough. In response to the publication of leaked documents detailing the government’s plan to allow more domestic surveillance, the Australian Federal Police started raiding journalists’ homes.

      • Joe or No?

        Here we go again. Now that Bernie Sanders has completed his predictable circuit of loss and capitulation, leftists—those who stand for socialist and anti-imperialist, or even serious social-democratic and antiwar, politics—again confront the quadrennial quandary: Must one vote for the thoroughly neo-liberal and imperialist Democratic presidential nominee?

      • A VP for the VP

        In what we now look back upon as “normal” times, a presidential candidate’s choice of a running-mate mattered in theory because the Vice President is only, as the saying goes, “a heartbeat away” from the presidency.

      • “Please Don’t”: Doctors Forced to Speak Out as Trump Ponders Aloud Whether Injecting Disinfectants Could Treat Covid-19

        “ALERT! Please do not ingest, inject, inhale, or otherwise use any disinfectant outside of its labeled instructions. And do not start using tanning beds or sunning without sunscreen.”

      • ‘A Power Grab’: Postal Union Slams Trump for Holding USPS Funds Hostage to Force ‘Draconian Cuts’

        “This administration is committed to fulfilling the decades-long pursuit by some to sacrifice our public Postal Service at the altar of private profit.”

      • News Networks Must Provide Equal Time to Rebut Trump’s Daily Campaign Events

        The long U.S. tradition of providing equal time to the opposition party after a president’s yearly State of the Union (SOTU) address must now apply to Trump’s daily COVID-19 “briefings.”

      • Now Do You See How Evil They Are?

        The Lieutenant Governor of Texas is happy to sacrifice the lives of old people for “the economy.” A Congressman from Indiana doesn’t discriminate; he’s willing to let anybody lose their life to maintain what he calls their “way of life.” How they can have a way of life without a life becomes clear when he explains that by “way of life” he means the economy. The President of the United States is afraid that the cure of isolating ourselves is worse than the disease, even though the latter is deadly for some who get it. Trump also tries claiming, though nobody believes him, that protecting ourselves from a deadly disease will result in more deaths, not fewer.

      • Sweden to Shutter Last Confucius Teaching Program Amid Souring Ties

        China is putting financial, political and diplomatic pressure on British universities to comply with Beijing’s political agenda, both directly and indirectly, the U.K. parliament warned in a November 2019 report.

      • Autocrats see opportunity in disaster

        Everywhere people are scared. Many wish to be led to safety. Wannabe strongmen are grabbing coercive tools they have always craved—in order, they say, to protect public health. Large gatherings can be sources of infection; even the most liberal governments are restricting them. Autocrats are delighted to have such a respectable excuse for banning mass protests, which over the past year have rocked India, Russia and whole swathes of Africa and Latin America. The pandemic gives a reason to postpone elections, as in Bolivia, or to press ahead with a vote while the opposition cannot campaign, as in Guinea. Lockdown rules can be selectively enforced. Azerbaijan’s president openly threatens to use them to “isolate” the opposition. Relief cash can be selectively distributed. In Togo you need a voter ID, which opposition supporters who boycotted a recent election tend to lack. Minorities can be scapegoated. India’s ruling party is firing up Hindu support by portraying Muslims as covid-19 vectors.

      • Facebook ads, conspiracy theorists pushed bleach consumption and UV ray cures

        Around that misinformation, a cottage industry of fake coronavirus treatments has emerged.

        Facebook pages created in late March sold UV “sanitizer” lights, promising “a proven impact on COVID-19” and to be the “most effective way to kill viruses.” The companies, which had names like “Beam Sanitizer,” ran ads on Instagram and Facebook in March, according to Facebook’s ad library. Some ads, including ones from companies including UV Sanitizers, and Uvlizer, were still active as of Friday morning. The products apparently evaded the company’s ban of ads for coronavirus miracle cures instituted last month.

      • Citing ‘Utter Inability to Discharge Duties of His Office,’ MoveOn Demands Trump Removal Under 25th Amendment

        “It’s not just Trump’s words but his actions that reveal his utter inability to discharge the duties of his office.”

      • On the Trail of Jorge Luis Borges in Buenos Aires

        I am uneasy writing about Jorge Luis Borges (b.1899, Buenos Aires, d. 1986, Geneva). Borges wrote so much that I have not read; yet his world of myth and fantasy and magic and metaphysics has so influenced me that since I am here in his city where I can feel Borges the man rather than only Borges the artist and writer I have known from afar, I feel I have to record something about him in flesh and blood.

      • Corporate Media Deny Their Own Existence, Despite Driving Biden’s Primary Victory

        If someone were to tell you that major and influential business sectors like the fossil fuel and health insurance industries simply don’t exist, or imply that major corporations like ExxonMobil and Cigna don’t try to manipulate public opinion and advance a political agenda in order to protect and maximize their profits, you might find it hard to contain your laughter.

      • President Trump and “just asking questions” about disinfectants and UV light to treat COVID-19

        I noted over a month ago that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted the lives of so many people all over the world with severe illness and death, stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19), and economic devastation, with massive job losses, business closures, and worse, has been a golden opportunity for quackery. This is not surprising, as any new disease that is killing many thousands of people will always be a magnet for quacks. Even if the overall case fatality rate turns out to be a lot lower than originally estimated, when hundreds of millions are infected, hundreds of thousands to millions of people can die, and when there are no effective disease-specific treatments for such a disease the quacks run wild. That’s why we have antivaxxers claiming that the influenza vaccine increases the risk of contracting COVID-19 (a conspiracy theory that appeared very early in the pandemic, as did the false claim that SARS-CoV-2 arose as a result of a failed SARS vaccine or as a failed attempt to make an HIV vaccine) while anti-GMO cranks are blaming glyphosate and 5G cranks blame—surprise! surprise!—the rollout of 5G networks. Meanwhile, quacks are promoting herbal “cures,” while a “brave maverick scientist” named Didier Raoult is promoting an unproven drug combination, hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, as a “silver bullet” treatment for COVID-19 based on the thinnest of evidence, aided and abetted by President Trump, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and the whole Fox News propaganda machine, led by Laura Ingraham. Last night, President Trump was at it again. In an appearance even more unhinged than his usual appearances on the nightly COVID Clown Show, he, well, just look at the video and news story for yourself:

      • A Light Against the Darkness

        Bernie Sanders claimed to have won the war of ideas in his unsuccessful quest for the Democratic Presidential nomination by introducing new concepts like class struggle to our political vocabulary and making universal health care and debt-free higher education subject to mainstream debate. If this is victory, then we have a long road ahead. America will only be where it should have been a generation ago if, by some miracle, a more robust political debate results in these and other humane policies becoming law.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Public Colleges Are Violating The 1st Amendment In Using Facebook Filters

        We’ve discussed in the past the various court rulings that say that public officials (such as the President) cannot block users on social media as it violates the 1st Amendment. There has been vigorous debate on this (as well as plenty of confusion) but the basic concept is that the courts view the space beneath a social media post — where people comment — as a “designated public forum” and as such, bars any content-based discrimination.

      • From Tiger King To Censorship King: Copyright Lobbyist Cheers On SLAPP Copyright Suit Featured In Tiger King

        If there’s one thing that nearly everyone can agree on while locked down during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s that Netflix’s show Tiger King is the most batshit thing to watch. Everything about the documentary series played as if it was a Christopher Guest mockumentary, except in real life (and, incredibly, with characters even more colorful than Guest’s usual crew). I watched it about a week after it came out (i.e., a week after everyone else in the world had watched it) and was surprised that no one mentioned to me that amidst all the other craziness regarding various competing keepers of “big cats,” there was a copyright lawsuit.

      • I Believe Tara Reade for the Reasons You Don’t

        George Orwell wrote in his novel, 1984: “If you want to keep a secret, you must hide it from yourself.”

      • Saudi Arabia to abolish flogging – supreme court

        The last time that flogging in Saudi Arabia hit the headlines was in 2015 when blogger Raif Badawi was subjected to the punishment in public, reportedly after being convicted of cybercrime and insulting Islam.

        He had been due to receive 1,000 lashes in weekly beatings but global outrage and reports that he nearly died put a stop to that part of his sentence.

      • China is tightening its grip on coronavirus research

        The education ministry seems to have issued another order after a meeting of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism on 25 March, according to a second notice that also appears to come from the MOE and has been posted on Pincong, a Chinese-language forum. This notice, dated 7 April, states that studies on the virus’s source must be approved by a university academic committee and the education ministry’s science and technology department before being published in a journal or posted on a preprint server or blog. Academic committees must evaluate all other COVID-19 papers for “academic value and timing”, the notice states. It also warns that studies must not exaggerate the efficacy of vaccines or treatments.

      • OONI: An app for detecting Internet censorship

        On April 21, the Open Observatory of Network Interference (OONI) therefore launched the OONI Probe App.

        The app allows users to discover various forms of Internet censorship and at the same time, to control network speed and performance as well as video streaming performance.

        “The goal is to detect website blocking worldwide,” says DW IT-expert Oliver Linow.

      • Journalists at Russian business newspaper complain of pro-Kremlin censorship

        In an editorial posted on the newspaper’s website, journalists complained that Acting Editor-in-Chief Andrei Shmarov had banned the publication of opinion polls carried out by a research firm that has irritated the Kremlin.

        A day earlier, Vedomosti’s media reporter, Kseniya Boletskaya, had publicly complained that Shmarov had banned negative coverage of President Vladimir Putin’s plans to change the constitution to allow him to extend his rule until 2036.

        Anyone who flouted the ban would be fired, she said.

      • Facebook Bowed to ‘Vietnam’s Extortion’ by Censoring Content, Human Rights Watch Says

        The Vietnamese government said Thursday that Facebook should operate according to local laws, just a day after the social media giant was called out by human rights organizations for caving to Hanoi’s demands to remove unfavorable content.

        Reuters news agency reported Tuesday that Facebook’s local servers in Vietnam were taken offline earlier in the year until the company gave in to the demands of the government to remove posts, a period of about seven weeks when the website was often not usable by Facebook’s 65 million users in Vietnam.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The Assange case raises questions about the balance of power between America and Britain

        The Julian Assange saga is due to reach some sort of conclusion today when Woolwich Crown Court begins hearing a request from the US government to extradite him on charges of publishing classified documents. The Wikileaks founder was arraigned almost 10 years ago under a European Arrest Warrant issued by Sweden alleging rape and three sexual assaults. Rather than surrender himself to the British police he sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for eight years. Mr Assange and his followers said the warrant was a ruse to get him into custody, whereupon he would be sought by America over the leaking of cables and other diplomatic papers connected to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

        Sweden has now dropped the charges against him and yet he still faces removal to the US which suggests that his suspicions were well founded. However, the Swedes say they only discontinued the case because the memories of witnesses had faded and they still regarded the evidence as credible and reliable. Assange has always denied the charges. His supporters detect “dark forces” at work to mete out punishment for the role

        Wikileaks played in exposing American abuses during the conflicts. When Assange was trying to evade the charges against him in Sweden he was placing himself above a law that applied to everyone else. But now that these have been dropped, is he any different to a journalist publishing secret documents that exposed state shortcomings and wrong-doing? The issue is how he came about the documents. The US allege he conspired with Chelsea Manning, then a US intelligence analyst, to hack into a secret Pentagon network to access classified material.

        Were a journalist to do that in Britain it would be illegal, though a public interest defence could be mounted. This case will raise questions over the balance of power in the 2003 Extradition Treaty between the UK and the US. The family of Harry Dunn, killed in a collision with a car allegedly driven by Anne Sacoolas, an American claiming diplomatic immunity to avoid extradition, are angry at what they see as the lack of reciprocity.

      • Assange court hearing scheduled for April 27th

        Julian Assange’s lawyers will return to court on Monday to argue that his extradition trial should be postponed.

        The hearing is due to resume in the court attached to Belmarsh prison on 18 May. But Assange’s lawyers will argue that they have not had full and unfettered access to their client.

        The onset of the coronavirus crisis has reduced that already restricted access to unacceptably low levels.

        Julian Assange will not even be able to appear by video link at Westminster court on Monday because he has been advised on medical grounds that moving to, and using, the video link room in the prison is too great a risk.

        Two prisoners have already died in Belmarsh and inmates are now locked down 23 hours a day. The government has halted its prisoner release programme which was already too restricted to reduce the prison population to safe levels.

      • Pandemic potentially a ‘death sentence’ for many prison inmates, experts warn

        Chronic overcrowding and underfunding have left prisons around the world vulnerable to being ravaged by coronavirus, criminal justice experts have warned.

        The challenges of a record global prison population of 11 million have been brought to light in a report published by Penal Reform International (PRI) which found that 102 countries have prison occupancy levels of more than 110%.

        Social distancing and personal infection control are almost impossible in overcrowded settings where poor ventilation and sanitation are likely increase the speed at which the virus spreads.

        Florian Irminger, executive director of PRI, said: “Prison systems globally were at crisis point before the coronavirus pandemic. Now prisons across the world are ticking time bombs set to be devastated by this virus because of overcrowding, lack of basic healthcare, limited access to clean water … and inhumane living conditions.”

        In Bangladesh 10 doctors serve 68 prisons, while Ghana has two doctors covering 46 prisons with 15,000 inmates.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The System Works: Deputy Who Randomly Fired His Gun Through His Windshield Into Rush Hour Traffic Fined $2

        This is the story of a person who should have never been allowed to be a law enforcement officer. He wasn’t one for long, but he was one long enough to do something so batshit crazy, it nearly requires the suspension of disbelief asked of us by fiction writers.

      • The Settler Colonialism Project

        I had this fantasy that the New York Times would follow up its 1619 Project look at slavery with a comparable examination of Settler Colonialism. Instead, they made a pivot from slavery to what they are calling the “Inequality Project.

      • Sheriff Sued After Threatening To Arrest A High School Student Over Her Coronavirus-Related Instagram Posts

        Law enforcement officers and officials are given a considerable amount of discretion. Too bad they so rarely use it.

      • The immigrant era Seven Soviet-born writers who made it big in the U.S. reflect on their lives and careers

        In the past, Russian writers who achieved success in the United States have had little in common with each other. Ayn Rand, Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Sergey Dovlatov — each belongs to a separate era, and each has a distinctive biography. Since the turn of the 21st century, however, an entire generation of writers has appeared in the U.S. who all have Russian roots but rarely write in Russian. Almost all of these writers immigrated as children or adolescents in the 1980s and 1990s at the end of the third wave of Russian emigration, when large numbers of Jews were leaving the Soviet Union. By the mid-2000s, they had collectively become a notable phenomenon in American literature. Meduza asked journalist Svetlana Sachkova to profile a few of this literary generation’s most prominent members.

      • As Allegations of Mistreatment and Unsafe Conditions Mount, Amnesty International Declares It Stands With Amazon Workers

        “Amazon is one of the world’s wealthiest companies and its profits are surging as a result of this crisis. It is repugnant that the company’s workforce feel their safety is not being taken seriously.”

      • SCOTUS Just Found a Way to Inflict More Terror on Immigrants

        Instilling fear is a tactical choice by this society. We’ve all seen those tactics put on display: the raids and the deportations, the walls and the cages, the ripping apart of families and the separations of children from parents. These tactics are familiar to anybody with a working understanding of how apartheid was enforced in South Africa or how slavery was enforced here in America. These are the tactics of terrorism: the physical, well-publicized violence against some to carry out psychological violence and trauma against all.

        On Thursday, the Supreme Court affirmed the validity of these terror tactics yet again when it ruled against an immigrant named Andre Barton in a 5-4 ruling that broke along the standard ideological lines. The case is a purposeful reminder that white people can reach into your life and destroy it, if they feel like it.

      • ‘Everyone’s drinking, from grandmas to kids’ Moscow police union chairman describes what cops themselves think about crowds at subway entrances and arresting people for walking their dogs

        The Moscow police have been sharply criticized since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Police routinely arrest citizens under questionable circumstances for violating the quarantine and permit rules. Police action in mid-April resulted in huge lines at subway entrances — at a time when social distancing is particularly important. At the same time, police officers themselves are increasingly falling ill with COVID-19. Meduza spoke with Mikhail Pashkin, the chairman of the Moscow Interregional Police Union, about how the epidemic is affecting the work of law enforcement.

      • Beyond Prisons: COVID-19 Hoax Against Mumia Abu-Jamal Supporters feat. Johanna Fernández
      • Militarization in a Time of Pandemic Crisis

        We live at a time when the terrors of life suggests the world has descended into darkness. The COVID-19 crisis has created a dystopian nightmare which floods our screens and media with images of fear. Bodies, doorknobs, cardboard packages, plastic bags, and the breath we exhale and anything else that offers the virus a resting place is comparable to a bomb ready to explode resulting in massive suffering and untold deaths. We can no longer shake hands, embrace our friends, use public transportation, sit in a coffee shop, or walk down the street without experiencing real anxiety and fear. We are told by politicians, media pundits, and others that everyday life has taken on the character of a war zone.

      • Judge Rejects Reality Winner’s Request For Release As COVID-19 Spreads At Women’s Prison

        Federal Judge Randal Hall rejected NSA whistleblower Reality Winner’s request for release from a federal prison. Hall contended Winner is in a “medical prison, which is presumably better equipped than most to deal with any onset of COVID-19 in its inmates.” “Winner has not carried the burden of demonstrating that her specific medical conditions under the particular conditions of confinement at [Federal Medical Center] Carswell place her at a risk substantial enough to justify early release,” Hall declared [PDF]. Repeating an argument put forward by the Justice Department, which opposed her request, Hall added, “The court would be remiss not to point out Winner’s incongruous complaint that she is at greater risk because of the preventative measures undertaken by the prison in response to COVID-19.”

      • The Courts Won’t Free Migrant Children Because of COVID-19. We Must.

        Migrant child detention is in the national spotlight again. Because of COVID-19, a U.S. District Court is considering mass release of children from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) custody. Like many times before, coverage of this story has not included voices of community and family members who have resisted migrant child detention for years. My organization, Little Village Solidarity Network (LVSN), a Chicago-based group fighting migrant child detention, obtained copies of the judge’s initial opinions. The opinions do not inspire trust that the court will ensure the children’s safety, and community groups will continue direct pressure on ORR and ICE facilities. However, this court case is a rare moment – advocates have said “free them all” for years, and this is the first time we are seeing that possibility debated in court, though centered on COVID-19.

      • Feds Fight Efforts to Release Reality Winner From Prison With Reported COVID-19 Outbreak

        Federal prosecutors are fighting efforts to release Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor, from a prison where inmates have contracted COVID-19.

        Bobby Christine, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, argued against commuting the remaining 19 months of the sentence for Winner, who was convicted for tipping media about Russian efforts to hack the 2016 election.

        Christine argued that District Chief Judge Randal Hall has no jurisdiction to consider the motion, because Winner has not yet exhausted administrative remedies with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

        Prosecutors also argued that 30 days have not elapsed since Winner first requested release to home confinement, after two fellow inmates at Federal Medical Center-Carswell, in Forth Worth, Texas, contracted the virus.

      • Former diplomat charged with contempt of court over Salmond trial blog

        A former diplomat has been charged with contempt of court over his blogs on the trial of Alex Salmond.

        Proceedings have been brought against Craig Murray, former ambassador to Uzbekistan, who attended two days of the trial in the public gallery and blogged on the proceedings.

        Mr Salmond was acquitted of the various sexual offence charges made against him by nine women.

      • Craig Murray Defence Fund Launched

        I know of four pro-Independence folk who were last week phoned or visited by Police Scotland and threatened with contempt of court proceedings over social media postings they had made weeks back on the Alex Salmond case. Then on Monday, a Scottish journalist I know had his home raided by five policemen, who confiscated (and still have) all his computers and phones. They said they were from the “Alex Salmond team” and investigating his postings on the Alex Salmond case. He has not to date been charged, and his lawyer is advising him at present to say nothing, so I am not revealing his name.

      • The Annihilation Of International Law and the Right to Freedom of Speech: Julian Assange

        Julian Assange is an Australian hacker, famous for revealing US secrets relating to war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan. A whole cache of classified information was published by Assange’s organization WikiLeaks, which revealed the details of the ruthless murders of innocent civilians and the capture of hundreds of innocent civilians in the US’s Guantanamo Bay Prison. Assange was able to do this with the help and assistance of whistle-blower Chelsea Manning, a former US Army Intelligence analyst. She had access to the classified information and passed it on to WikiLeaks.

        Assange was able to procure such confidential information through a program he developed. As a programmer, he created a platform for whistle-blowers to send information to WikiLeaks anonymously. This technological finesse helped him get his hands on top-secret information without compromising the security and identity of the information provider. Chelsea was exposed not through WikiLeaks, but through online correspondence, Adrian Lamo sent this information to the US Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. Chelsea was arrested and tried on twenty-two separate charges and subsequently jailed for them. She may be considered a hero since her original sentence was commuted and she preferred to go to jail again rather than testifying against Assange.

      • Julian Assange in bid to postpone court hearing

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will make a bid to postpone his US extradition hearing due to ongoing lack of access to his lawyers in London’s locked-down Belmarsh prison.

        The Australian met his lawyers in person for the first time in a month in the holding cells of Woolwich Crown Court earlier this week.

        Assange directed them to ask District Court Judge Vanessa Baraitser to postpone his next hearing, which is set for May 18.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Notifications Run Your Life – Turn Them Off

        Notifications Run Your Life – Turn Them Off I have faced a difficult challenge this past year with productivity. I didn’t realize all the notifications I had, so let’s go over them and which ones you need to never have on!

      • Decentralized Web and P2P Networking Explained

        At this point in time, the internet is a boon for all of us. It has made everything more convenient and better: exchanging files, messaging, and even being social. It has also added a few more services that now look like they have always existed, like video calling, social networking, blogging, etc. While it does seem all good, is it, really?

        Let me begin by taking an example here.

        Suppose you send an image to one of your friends through an online service. What is happening here? The image that you sent is actually uploaded to a central server of the service that you are using. Your friend basically gets a link to that file and can see it or download it from there. While it looks like the image is just between you and your friend, the image is really on the server of the service provider. Now, one may wonder what the problem is in such communication? There are a few, actually. Let us see what those are and how decentralization provides a solution.

      • What Happened to IPv5? Why there is IPv4, IPv6 but no IPv5?

        If you have spent any amount of time in the world of the internet, you should have heard about the IPv4 and IPv6 protocols that our computers use every day.

        One question that you might be asking is: Why there is no IPv5? Why IPv6 came after IPv4 and not IPv5? Was there ever a IPv5 and if yes, whatever happened to IPv5?

        The answer is yes, there was an IPv5…sort of. Let me quickly explain a few things around it.

    • Monopolies

      • International Coalition of Public Health Advocates Denounces Any Big Pharma Effort to Profiteer Off Covid-19 Treatments, Vaccines

        “Health is a human right. Medical knowledge is a public good. No one should be left behind.”

      • NY AG Opens Inquiry After Charter Spectrum Bungles Its Coronavirus Response

        By and large, most major ISPs have handled the labor angle of COVID-19 relatively well, with giants like Comcast and AT&T offered hazard pay, and Verizon slowing new broadband, phone, and TV installations altogether.

      • Uber faces criticism for stopping food deliveries to low-income neighborhood in San Francisco

        Uber has informed residents of San Francisco’s Treasure Island neighborhood it will no longer make Uber Eats deliveries to the area because of new city regulations temporarily capping delivery commissions.

      • SF supervisor says Uber is retaliating for delivery-commission caps

        Uber, which is headquartered in San Francisco, said its delivery service just added Treasure Island on April 3 — meaning Uber Eats was available there for only three weeks. It said that the island is the only part of its San Francisco service area affected now.

        Haney blasted the move, noting that Treasure Island is 10 minutes from downtown without traffic and includes low-income communities of color.

        “This isn’t about cost. This is retaliation,” he tweeted. “And it is blatantly discriminatory. I’m disgusted by this. … This is redlining for political intimidation so they can make bigger profits in a global pandemic.”

      • FibroGen v. Akebia: Arnold LJ addresses insufficiency, equivalence, second medical use claims, and much more

        Courts, lawyers and legal scholars in many places across the globe have adjusted to the new normal that COVID-19 has imposed. It’s far from ideal but with a range of special measures, from extended deadlines [here] to virtual hearings [here], we make do as well as we can. At the end of the day, we are fortunate to be able to continue our work despite the unfolding of a global crisis of near-Lovecraftian proportions and that, for many of us, it’s business as usual—even in unusual circumstances.

        [...]

        Disclosed but not claimed is disclaimed? The principle that, where the specification discloses several ways in which a particular technical effect can be achieved only one of which is claimed, the other ways to achieve the technical effect cannot amount to infringement (“disclosed but not claimed is disclaimed”) seems settled in German case-law and is followed by Arnold LJ in this decision. Indeed, describing an embodiment but failing to claim it will normally be a strong indication that the patentee chose not to seek protection for that embodiment.

        But this rule should not be applied mechanically and exceptions can arise. In this respect, two of this Kat’s former colleagues have advanced the following hypothetical [Den Hartog & Blomme, BIE 2016/15 – in Dutch]: suppose a claim protects a nucleotide sequence with 600 base pairs, and the specification states that deviations in some of the pairs have no influence on the effects of the claimed amino acid. In such a case, it seems unreasonable to deny the patentee protection against sequences which deviate minimally from the claimed sequence.

      • Compulsory licenses granted by public authorities: an application in the Covid-19 crisis in France? Part 1 [Ed: UPC boosters from August Debouzy promote the "Compulsory licence" nonsense instead of patent revocation]
      • Compulsory licenses granted by public authorities: an application in the Covid-19 crisis in France? Part 2
      • Who’s Afraid of Section 1498?: Government Patent Use as Versatile Policy Tool

        From vaccines to ventilators to diagnostic tests, technology has dominated response strategies to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Where technology leads, patent law and policy follow. Recently, some attention has turned to federal government patent use under 28 U.S.C. § 1498. Jamie Love of KEI has called on the federal government to explore use of section 1498 in its response to COVID-19, to reduce prices, expand supplies, and ensure widespread, equitable access to patented technologies. (We have, too.) There is a long line of scholarship, including Amy Kapczynski and Aaron Kesselheim, Hannah Brennan et al., Dennis Crouch, Daniel Cahoy, and others discussing the relevance of section 1498 in a variety of contexts.

        Yet others have encouraged the government to “tread lightly” and described use of section 1498 as a “nuclear option”—potent but dangerous—because it can be used to make massive interventions in the market for patented products—e.g., by issuing compulsory licenses to patents on high-priced brand-name drugs, “breaking” patent monopolies and accelerating the entry of numerous generic competitors. One recent example: a few years ago, Gilead’s high prices on hepatitis C drugs exacerbated a different public health crisis and prompted a chorus of voices, including Senator Bernie Sanders and the New York Times editorial board, to call on the federal government to exercise its section 1498 power to “break” Gilead’s patents in just this way, which might have saved tens of billions of dollars in public spending. (The federal government did not do so.)

      • Patents

        • Samsung has highest number of granted 5G patents, study reveals

          The granted patents are those that are enforceable, which means that Samsung has exclusive rights to 1,728 of its 2,795 5G patents. Samsung has 905 patents which are filed in at least EPO, PCT, or USPTO. The company also has 162 patents that are declared in the 5G patent families. You can see the complete graph in the infographic below.

          The joint study, which was cited by Samsung, was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) in Germany. Samsung has been working with various cellular network operators in Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, the US, and various other countries in rolling out 5G networks to consumers. It was recently unveiled that Samsung will use Xilinx’s chips in its 5G network equipment for beamforming technologies.

          The company has also launched various high-end and mid-range smartphones with 5G connectivity and plans to launch even more 5G products, including the Galaxy Z Flip 5G, in the future.

        • Changes To Examining Division Oral Proceedings

          Effective immediately, Oral Proceedings before the Examining Divisions will be held by videoconference (see here). Oral Proceedings in person will now only take place in exceptional circumstances. So far, this announcement only relates to Oral Proceedings held by the Examining Divisions. It remains to be seen if the Boards of Appeal follow suit for examination matters.

          While this will allow the work of the Examining Divisions and representatives to continue during the lockdown, the EPO recognizes that there may be technical difficulties when attending and hosting virtual Oral Proceedings. Consequently, the EPO announcement notes that if such technical difficulties cannot be overcome, a new Summons will issue with a new hearing date. However, in the case of non-attendance for non-technical reasons, the Oral Proceedings will continue in the absence of the Applicant as before.

          The EPO has recognized that both the Applicant and their representative may wish to be present at the Oral Proceedings, and on request will allow both parties to connect from different locations. If the members of the Examining Divisions are in different locations, they will hold a separate videoconference for their deliberations.

        • COVID-19 Accelerates Digital Transformation at the European Patent Office

          Oral proceedings before examining divisions (“EDs”) of the European Patent Office (“EPO”) will now be held by videoconference pursuant to the April 1, 2020, decision by the EPO president. The decision applies to all oral proceedings with a summons date of April 2, 2020, or later.

          [...]

          The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has undoubtedly been a catalyst for the digital transformation of hearings before EDs; however, the April 1 decision is not a temporary one due to the current disruptions caused by the pandemic. The shift to videoconference as the standard for all examination proceedings is a permanent measure intended to promote a modern, efficient, and sustainable EPO. In a year-long pilot project starting on May 4, 2020, oral proceedings may also be held by videoconference in first-instance opposition proceedings if all parties and the opposition division agree.

          Under the new practice, an applicant can still request oral proceedings to take place on the EPO premises in Munich, The Hague, and, in the rare occasion, Berlin. Such requests may be allowable only where “serious reasons,” such as direct taking of evidence, necessitate a vis-à-vis hearing. Furthermore, where serious technical problems cannot be overcome, the ED will issue a new summons to ensure the applicant’s right to be heard.

        • TELEMATIC Awaits Patent From EPO for Touchless Payments on Public Transport

          The company TELEMATIC has developed a patented technology of touchless payment for transport which allows ticket payment with any smartphone at point of payment at the entrance to a bus or underground while the phone is situated in a passenger´s pocket or his bag.

        • The Great Recession Resulted in an Explosion of NPE Assertions

          As the world reels from the impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic, Unified Patents decided to examine the past to see if it could be any indicator of the future. Though no two economic cycles are the same, Unified Patents surprisingly found that the results showed (controlling for changes in measurement) that the number of Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs) and Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) nearly doubled. There could be a number of reasons, but some factors could be investors looking for alternative or non-cyclical vehicles to get a return, cheaper and higher quality portfolios available, and more attorneys willing to take contingency or lower fees. One takeaway is that if the economy weakens further, NPE assertions will likely increase significantly if the previous pattern repeats.

          Using the Stanford NPE Litigation Database, Unified Patents examined the number of lawsuits brought by NPEs and PAEs. The database accounts for the America Inventors Act (AIA) joinder rules, by using the total number of defendants rather than lawsuits. Using this method, researchers were able to detect a spike of NPE activity in 2011 that other studies simply missed. By missing this spike in 2011, most attributed the jump in assertions to the AIA joinder rules. However, with this spike in NPE activity, before the AIA was enacted, would mean NPE activity was on the rise despite the joinder rules. In general, the Stanford NPE Litigation Database found that the number of distinct patent disputes nearly doubled between 2000 and 2015. 21 Stan. Tech. L. Rev. 235 (2018).

        • Federal Circuit Affirms Denial of Injunction

          The Federal Circuit has been keeping me unusually busy this week with a number of remedies-related opinions. Today’s entry is Verinata Health, Inc. v. Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc., nonprecedential opinion by Judge Reyna, joined by Judges Wallach and Hughes. Verinata, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Illumina (also a party plaintiff), makes and sells tools for DNA analysis. Illumina owns the ’794 patent, directed to DNA assay optimization techniques, and Verinata owns the ’430 patent, “which is directed to methods for NIPT screening of fetal chromosomal abnormalities.”

          [...]

          As readers of this blog are aware, I believe that the eBay standard is an improvement over the near-automatic injunction rule that preceded it; but I believe that an even better standard would be one that focused on economic substance, rather than a slog through the eBay factors. For that reason, I’ve long had some reservations over court’s analysis in ActiveVideo, which is reaffirmed here. Here’s my reasoning. On the one hand, I can see the logic of assuming that, where the plaintiff licenses its patent to third-party licensees, the infringement deprives the plaintiff of the royalty it would have earned from authorized sales by those licensees; so there’s no uncertainty over the amount the plaintiff lost. But I’m not sure that the presence of third-party licensees necessarily dictates that result. I would want to know, for example, whether the plaintiff licensed to any company that wanted a license; if so, whether it charged them all the same rate; whether the licenses were exclusive or nonexclusive; whether the plaintiffs considered licensing this defendant on the same or similar terms, or on other terms; and whether there was any reason to think that patent holdup was a serious concern (e.g., the defendant was unable to bargain prior to launch, the product embodies numerous other patented features, etc.). To be fair, the lower court opinion does appear to address some of these issues (see here, pp. 57-61), finding that Illumina did want to license the defendant and others on a nonexclusive basis. I just wish the Federal Circuit had noted these points too (though I recognize this is a nonprecedential opinion).

        • Broad Reply No. 4 to CVC’s Opposition No. 4 to Broad’s Motion No. 4 for Priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/736,527

          On March 23rd Senior Party The Broad Institute, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively, “Broad”) filed its Reply to Junior Party the University of California/Berkeley, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively, “CVC”) Motion No. 4 in Opposition to Broad’s Substantive Motion No. 4 for priority to U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/736,527.

          Broad in its substantive Motion No. 4 argued that it had satisfied the standard for priority to USSN 61/736,527 to Zhang (termed “Zhang B1″ in the motion).

        • Will the Court Correct the Mess that is GS CleanTech Corp. v. Adkins Energy LLC?

          When inequitable conduct is asserted, often it is bifurcated from validity/infringement. Where either a jury finds invalidity, or as in CleanTech the judge did on summary judgment, and that finding is based upon allegedly withheld art, the patent owner will need to appeal (to avoid CleanTech). But, there is, under those circumstances, no final judgment.

          Nor will any judgment fall within any exception — at least not very often. The patentee likely won’t be able to seek appeal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b), because it only applies if there are multiple claims or multiple parties, so in a single-patent-single-defendant case, it wouldn’t likely be available. While possibly a trial court could certify a case for appeal under 1292(b), that requires there be a controlling question of law and substantial ground for disagreement, that won’t often be the case and the Federal Circuit has to also agree to certification. The collateral order exception won’t apply because the order won’t be separate from the merits. Any judgment will not (unless a preliminary injunction was granted and then dissolved because of an invalidity finding) grant or deny, an injunction (it will decide no liability and that’s not the same as denial of an injunction). Mandamus won’t be available.

          [...]

          But what does make sense is that any litigator representing a patentee who loses on invalidity must do whatever is reasonably possible to appeal because otherwise the CleanTech approach will apply. And, of course, it will permit creative defense lawyers to argue to trial courts that (somehow) determining the propriety of summary judgment is not conducted as the Supreme Court has repeated admonished (most recently in Tolan v. Cotton).

          I hope the full court realizes the panel decision — whether the result is right or not — is from a procedural view irreconcilable with Therasense and settled standards of review, and, further, will result in efforts to try piecemeal appeals that will waste judicial resources and, if uncorrected, lead to improper findings of inequitable conduct.

        • Software Patents

          • Fact Check: Fact And Fiction About Microsoft Patent Application ‘WO2020060606 – CRYPTOCURRENCY SYSTEM USING BODY ACTIVITY DATA’

            Did Microsoft file a patent application with the number 060606 for body-interfaced cryptocurrency to be implanted in humans, as well as include 5G wireless technology and vaccines? No, that’s not entirely true: Microsoft did file a patent application for “cryptocurrency system using body activity data” and was given the number W020200060606, but the application was actually filed in 2019 and does not mention implants, 5G or vaccines.

          • Microsoft wants to ‘read people’s brain waves’ to mine cryptocurrency

            Microsoft has proposed a method to generate cryptocurrency by monitoring people’s brain activity and other personal biometric data.

          • Cancelling Pre-AIA patents and the Takings Clause

            Since its passage in 2011, the America Invents Act has been subject to numerous Supreme Court decisions. But thus far, the major constitutional challenge to the Act in Oil States Energy Servs v. Greene’s Energy Group has failed. But while the Court the, upheld the AIA’s post-issuance review system against an Article III challenge, left a major question open. The Oil States Court stated that it was not resolving whether the application the AIA-created procedures to patents issued prior to the AIA’s effective date violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. This question is now squarely presented to the Court in Celgene v. Peter. (There are also pending cases that in addition to the Takings issue raise a Due Process challenge).

            Celgene owns two patents “generally directed to methods for safely distributing teratogenic or other potentially hazardous drugs while avoiding exposure to a fetus to avoid adverse side effects of the drug.” These patents were issued in 2000 and 2001, or more than a decade prior to the enactment of the AIA. These patents were challenged before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in 2015 in an Inter Partes Review (IPR), and the proceeding resulted in cancellation of all but one of the challenged claims in both patents. As with other post-issuance proceedings, but unlike district court litigation, Celgene’s patents enjoyed no presumption of validity, and could be cancelled upon preponderance of evidence. Furthermore, in construing Celgene’s claims, PTAB utilized the “broadest reasonable interpretation” (BRI) approach, as was called for by the then-current rules. The interplay of lower standard of proof for cancellation and the BRI standard, combined with the lack of a meaningful opportunity to amend the claims, left patents challenged in IPR particularly vulnerable. (Since that time, the Patent Office issued new rules to amend its procedures and now measures the claims under the Phillips framework—the same standard in use by Article III tribunals).

            [...]

            Before closing, it should be acknowledged that there is a significant issue that is antecedent to the question presented in Celgene’s petition. That is whether the Federal Circuit has jurisdiction to hear such claims absent filing of a claim for compensation in the Court of Federal Claims (CFC) and if so, how the Claims Court is supposed to evaluate the value of property lost. That question is embedded in a separate petition before the Supreme Court. The Federal Circuit has recently concluded that the CFC does have jurisdiction to hear such claims, even if on the merits it must reject them. The Government has advanced a contrary view (which the CFC endorsed, though this endorsement is at odds with the Federal Circuit’s later opinion). It may be that this issue may need to be resolved before (or concurrently with) the issue presented by Celgene.

            In sum, the Supreme Court should answer the question whether retroactive application of the AIA’s post issuance review procedures to patents issued prior to the passage of the AIA, and which results in their invalidation, constitutes a taking within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment—a question the Court explicitly left open in Oil States. And in my view, the answer should be “yes.”

          • $5,000 Cash Prize for Prior Art on SaveltSafe Patent

            On April 24, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $5,000 cash prize, seeking prior art for at least claim 4 of US Patent 8,929,552, owned by SaveItSafe, LLC, an NPE. The ’552 patent relates to securement of electronic information and cryptographic keys. SaveItSafe is currently asserting the ’552 patent against Oracle and Ultra Electronics Holdings in the Western District of Texas. However, the prior owner, No Magic, Inc., previously asserted the patent against Futurex, Atos IT Solutions and Services, SafeNet, Townsend Security, and Thales e-Security in 2015 through 2017. Litigation history can be found here.

      • Trademarks

        • Is there any connection between unlawful competition founded on trademark infringement in South Africa and the press publishers’ rights debate?

          Discovery Limited, a holding company of Discovery Life Limited (Discovery Life) and Discovery Vitality (Pty) Limited (Discovery Vitality), is the proprietor of two trademarks, “Discovery” and “Vitality” – registered in relation to insurance services, among others. Discovery Life offers life insurance services while Discovery Vitality offers a vitality wellness and rewards programme. Under the vitality wellness programme, members of a medical scheme offered by Discovery Life may pay a monthly membership fee to Discovery Vitality and are required to lead a healthy lifestyle to gain vitality points with status rising as more points are earned. The vitality status will enable a Discovery Life policyholder to receive discounts on her premium and also a refund of a percentage of premiums paid.

          In 2019, Liberty Group Limited (Liberty) – a direct competitor of Discovery Life – introduced an insurance offering called the “Wellness Bonus”. The Wellness Bonus refunds Liberty’s customers a portion of premiums paid on their life insurance policies if they are members of an existing wellness programme recognised by Liberty. Liberty’s Wellness Bonus recognises two external wellness programmes: Discovery Vitality, and Momentum Multiply. The amount refunded is dependent on a wellness score determined by the policyholder’s status on her external wellness programme.

          [...]

          The Court correctly identified the elements that must be proved in actions for trademark infringement and unlawful competition, respectively.

        • Profit Disgorgement Allowed in TM Cases Without Showing Willfulness

          15 U.S.C. §1117(a). The statute appears to require willfulness as a prerequisite to profit disgorgement in the dilution context, but not for typical trademark infringement. However, the award must also conform “to the principles of equity.”

          In this case, Romag proved its §1125(a) TM infringement case against Fossil, but the District Court refused to disgorge profits — holding that willfulness is a prerequisite to profit disgorgement in TM cases based upon a long line of pre-and-post Lanham Act decisions. The Federal Circuit then affirmed.

          [...]

          I will note that IP Remedies Professor Thomas Cotter has posted a short note about the opinion with the following to-the-point statement: “To say I am disgusted would be an understatement.” Prof. Cotter recalls that the Patent Statute also doesn’t say anything about willfulness, but that the Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that willfulness is a requirement for enhanced damages under Section 284 (“the court may increase the damages up to three times the amount found or assessed.”).

        • Disgorgement of Infringer Profits as an Equitable Remedy

          Yesterday, Dennis Crouch provided an overview of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil, Inc. and the various opinions of the Justices.

          Today I consider the implications of Romag for whether juries or only judges can decide about disgorgement of a trademark infringer’s profits in trademark cases. None of the Justices addressed that issue directly. Yet, the majority opinion repeatedly characterized disgorgement of profits as an equitable remedy and emphasized transsubstantive principles of equity as lodestones for the exercise of equitable discretion in granting this remedy. Because of this, I believe the Court implicitly decided that disgorgement is a matter for courts, and not for juries, to decide. This has very important implications for disgorgement awards in intellectual property (IP) cases more generally.

          This implicit ruling in Romag is consistent with the Court’s ruling in Petrella
          v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 572 US. 663 (2014). Although holding that laches was not a complete defense to copyright infringement, the Court in Petrella stated that disgorgement was an equitable remedy. Id. at 668 n.1. It opined that “the District Court, in determining appropriate injunctive relief and assessing profits, may take account of [Petrella’s] delay in commencing suit. In doing so, however, that court should closely examine MGM’s alleged reliance on Petrella’s delay.” Id. at 687. The Court was, moreover, receptive to “any other considerations that would justify adjusting injunctive relief or profits.” Id. at 687-88.

      • Copyrights

        • YTS Agrees to a Million Dollars in Piracy Settlements and Remains Online

          Popular torrent site YTS has ‘settled’ another piracy lawsuit, this time with seven movie companies. The site’s operator and an associated business agreed to a consent judgment totaling $1,050,000 in damages. YTS removed the relevant movie torrents from the site but remains online. The site’s users are not in the clear though, and risk being sued as well.

        • ‘Popcorn Time Kids’ Launches to Keep Children Occupied During COVID-19 Pandemic

          Keeping children occupied during the global coronavirus pandemic is a daily struggle for millions of parents around the world. Services like Netflix and Disney+ are obvious entertainment choices but there are other, less legal options too. A popular fork of the famous Popcorn Time software has now released a special edition – Popcorn Time Kids – which only offers family-friendly movies and TV shows.

Greenwashing and Peace-washing Patents We Can Never Coexist With (and the Law Forbids Anyway)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO, 10 July 1977; EPO in 2020

Summary: The increasingly-embarrassing (to Europe) EPO is far too busy openwashing its data, greenwashing its patents and whitewashing its abuses; in the meantime it continues granting far too many ruinous and often illegal patents, causing Europe a lot more harm than the general media cares to recognise (because the EPO also bribes/threatens it)

WE HAVE already published about half a dozen articles about greenwashing tactics of the European Patent Office (EPO), both in the Benoît Battistelli years and the António Campinos years. As far as we’re aware and are able to see, the US patent system hardly does anything like it. We haven’t seen the British (another English-speaking country) doing it. Same for Australia, Canada, South Africa and so on. It’s almost a uniquely EPO thing…

“Heck, how many EPO managers came from the military? How many of them have killed people (but won’t speak about it)?”A lot more can be said about the EPO’s exploitation of disasters (earthquakes, terror attacks) as if they have anything whatsoever to do with patents. But let’s face it, today’s EPO is run by dishonest politicians and their mates, who are blindly loyal (and indebted) to them, as opposed to truly qualified managers with scientific background. Heck, how many EPO managers came from the military? How many of them have killed people (but won’t speak about it)?

Don’t laugh, this is serious stuff! These people sent yours truly threats!

Today’s EPO is very happy to support patent trolls (extortion artists) and even bring the world’s most notorious ones to EPO panels. Just like that!

A European Parliament question, as Benjamin Henrion has just noted, brought up issues “about Patent trolls here [and to quote] “they buy up patents with the aim of litigating against innovative companies, including SMEs, in order to obtain high settlement fees. This upward trend was particularly marked in ICT” (buzzword).

“ICT means software patents,” Henrion added. He’s correct. The thugs whom the EPO hired from the British Army call software patents “ICT”; they don’t even have much (or any) experience in that discipline. They only know how to discipline (read: bully) people and threaten critics. They name-drop buzzwords like “ICT” in their shallow talks — speeches that focus on “posh accent” over actual substance.

This is today’s EPO. It has become a total embarrassment to Europe and its status in the world. It’s also a threat to each and every software developer in Europe, Henrion and myself included.

Just before the weekend Henrion took note of this newly-uploaded (days ago) English presentation from LibrePlanet 2020 [PDF]. It mentions EPO guidelines and is summarised as follows: [via]

For many years, the existence of software patents, and the threat that certain entities would use them against free software, was an issue of significant concern to the free software community. Since then, there have been many court decisions that have altered the landscape of what may be patented, procedures allowing challenges to patents outside of the court system, industry initiatives to create “patent peace” around parts of the free software world, and changes in the behaviors of certain patent holders once thought to present the greatest threat to free software. This presentation will give an overview, designed for a non-legal audience, of the latest developments, and suggest where the future of patents and free software may be headed.

This whole “patent peace” part is IBM- and Microsoft-backed PR; there cannot be software patent peace and all they mean to say is that they’ll carry on pursuing — something also suing with — abstract patents. And somehow we’re supposed to tolerate all that and quit pushing for abolition of such patents. This is what LOT and OIN are all about (and for).

The “European Patent Office, Guidelines for Examination,” as noted here, are very problematic. These guidelines are clearly illicit (November 2019 revisions made those yet worse) and they compel examiners to violate the EPC, leveraging buzzwords such as “HEY HI!” (AI) to undermine the law and let through fake patents such on patents on algorithms.

“Given enough free software, prior art is shallow,” says the talk, but Henrion correctly notes that “developers cannot enjoy freedom of programming” if/when these patents prevail (even outside the court system).

As we noted several times this month, the EPO keeps marketing software patents with newer buzzwords and deliberate misnomers, designed to hide the fact they violate the EPC and therefore break the law. The EPO has just tweeted: “In 2019, #digitalcommunication became the new leading field for #patent applications at the EPO, while computer technology was the 2nd fastest-growing. What development trends are behind the surge? Who are the key players?”

For those who missed our prior articles, Campinos made it rather clear that these patents are on software. He spoke about it with IAM about a month ago. They’ve move from “ICT” to “digital” or “digitalisation” (sometimes “videogames” or just “games”).

And if all that nonsense wasn’t already bad enough, watch these two greenwashing tweets the EPO posted yesterday. One said: “The world currently faces tremendous challenges, but #innovation enables us to look forward to a prosperous, healthy and safe future for our planet. https://bit.ly/2KwNQws Celebrate #WorldIPDay with us on 26 April! Stay tuned!”

The second said: “We were honoured to make a pledge for a green future on the occasion of #WorldIPDay! Have a look at what we commit to achieve in the near future: https://worldipday.wipo.int/map/public?year=2020&id=63 …”

There’s even a ridiculous stock photograph to accompany this shallow greenwash.

Notice how they are exploiting a pandemic to promote monopoly… “for our planet.”

“If anything,” I’ve told them, “this #WorldIPDay mindset poses a threat to this planet and human civilisation.”

One could bring up patents on ventilators, medication and the ridiculousness of the term “IP” — a propaganda term that ascribes to patents properties they legally and practically lack. Patents are not properly, they’re a time-limited monopoly.

The EPO is greenwashing monopoly with this #WorldIPDay nonsense, celebrating for the monopolists with their law firms. No wonder the EPO can no longer attract any talent (if they look for any; hiring procedures nowadays seem to be based on connections and kickbacks rather than merit).

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