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05.01.20

Free Software Institutions Are Only as Good or as Valuable as Their Credibility

Posted in Microsoft, OSI at 10:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Today’s OSI works for Microsoft (and Microsoft pays for it)

We don't always accept Microsoft bribes. But when we do, our credibility sinks to zero.
When you take Microsoft’s money it becomes your client (strings are attached)

Summary: Yesterday the OSI revealed, in two posts (look closely at the texts [1, 2]), that it is still participating in Microsoft's monopolistic efforts; it didn’t do this until Microsoft paid the OSI; these people don’t seem to grasp the self-harm this is causing (or maybe they don’t care as long as they bag that money)

EPO is Killing Free Software and Personal Privacy During Quarantine or Lock-Down

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 10:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO ‘Stasi’ follows people into their own homes with their families

Skype backdoor

Skype access

Summary: European Patent Office (EPO) management forces staff to use Microsoft malware at home; that’s like a 24/7 watcher inside your house, checking your health (a longstanding controversy) and it is very clearly illegal

THE COVID-19 pandemic is good for nobody. Nobody. Maybe except for sadists…

Having said that, there’s something to be said about the effect on software freedom — an issue we already alluded to several days ago. Unfortunately, as we’re seeing in Europe, António Campinos exploits the pandemic to outsource the patent office to Microsoft, which isn’t even European; it’s not ethical (it still commits many crimes) and its record on privacy — not to mention patents — is appalling. The latest two comments about it include: “we examiners know that we’re very likely violating Article 113 EPC in this regard, but internal instructions bind us to do so. We’re sorry, and we hope this Corona times pass soon, so that the DG3 can remit all these cases summarily to us again.”

“Even the USPTO has not gone that crazy!”Reuven then wrote: “In my opinion the epi now faces the consequences of their compliance-at-all-costs with the decisions of the former President of the EPO. Did they protest against the firing of the judge? Nope. Did they cry out when the Boards of Appeal were “reformed” and their independence destroyed? Nope. Did they alert the Administrative Council when less and less applications were refused and quality was only given lip service? Of course not.The President has seen that they are spineless and that they would kill their granny in exchange for a keynote speech at the European Inventors Award. So, very naturally, he gives them what they deserve: contempt.”

Absolutely. We wrote a lot about the role a Battistelli-friendly epi actively played in cracking down on actual EPO staff.

The above comments were taking stock of EPO violating the EPC (the usual) by outsourcing everything of significance and forcing EPO staff to do the same — from their own homes! SUEPO updated its public site for the first time in more than a month to highlight this. Watch what happens to people who install Skype, based on a blog post published just two days ago:

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

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

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

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

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

The EPO now expects EPO staff to install such malware on personal equipment used by employees in their own homes (together with family members and sometimes kids). It beggars belief. Even the USPTO has not gone that crazy!

The High Cost of Taking Microsoft Cash to Sell Them Keynotes in Copyleft Conf

Posted in GPL, Microsoft at 9:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The money came with strings of course and the warnings are very old

Look at us! We have money! Microsoft money! Nobody wants to become a member anymore

Summary: The real cost of Microsoft’s tainted money may take time to become apparent; Software Freedom Conservancy will learn that the hard way (the Linux Foundation was a cautionary tale)

Who Owns Your Computer? The Free Software Fallacy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Article by figosdev

Man and computersSummary: “A right long enjoyed, fought against and left undefended, is worth advocating. It’s a pity that the FSF refuses to defend implicit and de facto rights that Free software can largely attribute its success to. Perhaps they would rather have the IBM money.”

The Free Software Fallacy is an often-used retort against complaints regarding uppity, unethical developers. It goes like this:

“If the license is free, the software is free, therefore the user is free.”

As a proof, this is crap. Even the FSF knows that it’s not this simple, but sometimes it almost is. A free license is certainly the first and most vital step towards software (thus the user) being free, hence the way people tout its importance. But the license isn’t everything.

For more than 20 years, developers from GIAFAM (Google, IBM, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft — though mostly Microsoft) have tried to find ways to make freely-licensed software “less free”. IBM (FSF sponsor) and Microsoft (FSFE sponsor) have tried to use patents as a way to thwart existing Free Software licenses.

Microsoft, through a front group, lobbied to thwart the FSF gaining GPL3 traction with the Linux kernel. To this day, both companies continue to attack and stifle free software with bogus patent claims. Will sponsoring CopyleftConf keep advocates quiet about patent abuse? We can look to the corporate takeover of OSI and the Linux Foundation, for possible and likely outcomes.

The Free Software Fallacy may not be the FSF’s official stance on the importance of licenses, but it becomes the de facto stance when only license threats are acknowledged and all others are allowed through unprotested. It’s the silence from these organisations that spells out their de facto stance — their lack of will to stand up against new threats, implying through inaction that only traditional warnings and philosophy apply to anything.

“We can look to the corporate takeover of OSI and the Linux Foundation, for possible and likely outcomes.”Up to a certain point, this conservative stance is reasonable. Everyone should take care not to overload the meaning of “Free Software” with too much cruft, as it would then pose a contradiction with Freedom 0: The right to use the software for any purpose.

I once asked Stallman if a license restriction against DRM would violate Freedom 0. Perhaps he misunderstood my question (or I misunderstood his reply) but he seemed to suggest that Freedom 0 did not include a right to impose DRM. While I would agree this seems like common sense, I’m not sure whether it logically follows or not. It’s got a sort of Zen koan-like quality to it. Can software be so free that it takes away control from the user?

Regardless, I think we need to pay more attention to extra-licensing efforts to limit user freedom.

To avoid misunderstandings, it’s vital to know who the “user” is. When you are using your own computer, you are the user. When you are at work and using a company computer, you ought to have certain rights — but it is their computer. It’s a fact that many companies reserve the right to read employee emails, and that employees should know that this happens in many companies. To a certain degree this issue is relevant whether using free software or not.

Nobody is suggesting, however, that an administrator doesn’t have the right to place restrictions on servers or functionality, for purposes of privacy or security. In this scenario, the administrator is “the user”.

A grey area exists with websites, where the website often presents code to be run locally on the user’s computer. Both the user of the client is the user (with regards to the client software) and the website admin is the user, on the server side.

This grey area leads to a situation where the website admin is given some amount of control over what the client does, and since the client-side user has no control over what happens on the server, the FSF correctly informs people to be sceptical of hype and solutions involving “Cloud” (more like “Clown”) computing.

And still, the FSF has practically no solution to offer regarding uppity developers.

“A straw man often thrown out is that developers are not obligated to write or do anything. This is not an excuse for terrible ethics or terrible mistreatment of the user, however.”I talked about uppity developers in my article about Software Disobedience. The take-it-or-leave-it, our-devs-know-best attitude is deeply patronising, authoritative and negates the entire notion that the user is free and even sovereign.

This attitude, which used to come primarily from monopolies like GIAFAM, emulates the arrogance of developers of non-free software, and treats the user as a digital serf — or customer (or downloader of gratisware).

Just because the user isn’t a developer of a particular piece of software doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re talking about. It isn’t actually the developers’ say whether a user knows what they’re talking about or not — an outside researcher may know of a security flaw, and it is certainly a fallacy to reply “you don’t know that this is a security flaw because you aren’t a developer on our project.”

Ideally this would be a hypothetical problem, not a well-known attitude that Lennart Poettering won a Pwnie for. Of course this isn’t just about one piece of tyrannical software, but an attitude that exists among developers of several projects.

A straw man often thrown out is that developers are not obligated to write or do anything. This is not an excuse for terrible ethics or terrible mistreatment of the user, however.

On the matter of ethics that have nothing to with development, such as being against illegal wars, this is a matter that people ought to stand up for, but a license change (like some of those recently proposed) would be ineffective, vague and contradicting. This is no endorsement of such poorly-written licenses.

People should stand up to such abuse, but separately from license clauses, where their actions will be more effective and not threaten free software with chilling effects, vague legalese and guaranteed unintended consequences.

But it’s probably worth pointing out some examples of developers not respecting the user’s freedom:

1. Privacy settings that are so complicated, they make it impossible to know what is or isn’t private

Example: Facebook (who develop React on Microsoft Github)

Facebook is not free software, but even if it were, their design may deliberately make it impossible for the user to have privacy. Notoriously, Facebook privacy settings were or are hopelessly complex — to the point where a literal PhD in computer science or an expert software developer may not be able to figure out what’s shared or with whom.

Since Facebook has alternatives in the free software world, such as Diaspora, this example is relevant. If the Diaspora devs introduced a similar design, privacy would be a hopeless endeavour for users. While the license may imply freedom, the de facto effect for users would be practically the same if there were none.

“You used to be able turn updates off, but then there were increasing layers of stuff you would have to turn off to prevent Windows from taking the “liberty” of installing or disabling software on your computer anyway.”This is a situation where a free license means you have POTENTIAL freedom — actual freedom is something different, when people are able to either code a solution or find someone who can.

Past a certain amount of complexity, you get closer to the only relevant freedom created by the licenses as the “right to fork”, and beyond there one could argue that you might as well write new software yourself.

“You’re free to write new software yourself” is basically the same “freedom” you have with a non-free license, so past a certain point, this “potential” freedom can become a bit cynical in some contexts. It’s quite relevant as a rule, but we are talking about extreme instances.

It’s these extreme instances that are the subject of this article. Unfortunately, as GIAFAM continues its takeover of free software, we are finding an increasing number of such instances.

This doesn’t apply to security issues, as nice as that would be. Security is already “impossible” and the sort of “privacy settings” discussed here can be simple. “Complete” security and “Complete” privacy involve more than one piece of software, and are perhaps hopelessly complex, but not in a way that we can necessarily blame developers for. (Maybe we can sometimes).

2. Update settings with several layers of “gotcha”

Apart from wanting to run free software, this was one of my main motivations to stop using Windows.

You used to be able turn updates off, but then there were increasing layers of stuff you would have to turn off to prevent Windows from taking the “liberty” of installing or disabling software on your computer anyway.

Mark Shuttleworth once famously implied that Ubuntu is trustworthy beyond question, because people already trust them with updates. This is a fascinating and laughably dishonest response to people wondering if Canonical can CONTINUE to be trusted in light of their actions against user privacy.

Example: Mozilla (who develop Rust on Microsoft Github)

Mozilla’s ethics are completely in the toilet. You may have 100 tabs open, while a plugin restricts what sort of bad things those tabs do — from spying to running possible malware to simply crashing the browser or (sometimes) the operating system.

Mozilla took it upon themselves to forcefully disable plugins on the behalf of the user, quietly. I made valiant efforts to prevent Mozilla from having any access to such “updates” — from changing several about:config settings to outright preventing various domains from resolving via /etc/hosts. Despite at least TEN LAYERS of protection against these updates, Mozilla still killed my plugins. The next time the browser opened, it had no protection against the websites it opened, compared to before the update.

Mozilla is being run into the ground, and its developers are taking part in a crime against users. If you work for Mozilla, I have no respect for you as a person or as a developer. You are doing something hateful and destructive and unethical by assisting their abuse of users. If you feel ashamed, you ought to. You’re helping to destroy the web.

Mozilla’s hype around security and helping the user is no different from when Microsoft does marketing. A lot of their “solutions” make things even worse. The Mozilla that cared about the user is dead, it’s part of the history of their organisation. Please do not support Mozilla.

3. Other kinds of “forced” upgrades

“This sort of “forced” upgrade isn’t a technical issue as much as it’s about an attitude no different than the one that resulted in Microsoft trying to trick people into upgrading to Windows 10 — even if their computer did not support it.”This is one the FSF appears like it might get right now or in the future, so credit where credit is due. This sort of “forced” upgrade isn’t a technical issue as much as it’s about an attitude no different than the one that resulted in Microsoft trying to trick people into upgrading to Windows 10 — even if their computer did not support it. This goes beyond technical coercion and leans on the social.

Example: Python Foundation (who develop CPython on Microsoft Github)

If I have a perfectly good claw hammer, and you want everybody to upgrade to a double hammer and crowbar, guess who’s interested in your pivot? Not me.

I have no interest in your Google-flavoured enterprise version of Python. I’ve tried it. I’ve followed its development for years, and I made a fork of my favourite project that used it. I spent hours and hours on tutorials, I spent an obscene amount of time editing code, making it more complex without any real need just to make use of the new shiny bullshit you guys were pushing — I evaluated that fork of my own software for 6 months — and when I went back to Python 2, Python 2 was BETTER!

Better for me, that is. You might not care about that metric, though I don’t know why you can’t understand that I DO.

No, the Python Foundation has no obligation to maintain old versions of their software. But when there are countless users who don’t care about the direction the language has gone in (this includes some career developers and people who can draw from a firm grasp of computer science to critique the changes) the Python Foundation chose to push aggressive marketing instead of being honest.

If they were honest, they could have easily proposed alternatives like PyPy. But the Python Foundation is acting like a corporate, for-profit monopoly instead — not a non-profit org with a mission to do good. When people imply that you have no choice but to upgrade, they’re basically lying to everybody. I have no respect for the Python Foundation or its dishonest, gaslighting fanboys.

4. Stamping out boycotts

This one pisses me off more than anything else, and if the FSF can’t get this right, then they’re going to become increasingly useless in the fight for free software.

People who are unhappy with the software on their computer basically have three choices:

1. learn to code and fix the software

2. hire someone who can fix the software

3. boycott the software — switch to something else

Example: Freedesktop.org (who develop systemd on Microsoft Github)

“Features are nice, but as a strategy they can lead to lock-in.”I’ve coded for years, but I’ve rarely done much with C or C++. Without developing skills I simply don’t have the patience for, I’m not going to be fixing any giant C or C++-based projects. When possible, I like to find projects that are easy to “take control” of via scripting or edits. Simple software is often arguably “more free”, as more people can learn to fix or change it.

Of course some software really is justified in its complexity. Rather than a ban on complex software, I think we should try to be conservative about complexity, whenever feasible. People are easily tempted by features — that’s part of Microsoft’s known strategy against competition.

Features are nice, but as a strategy they can lead to lock-in. Features are thus a double-edged sword. We should be wary of this being used against us as users, at least. Making software modular means less lock-in (and it makes it easier to remove features we don’t want or need.)

In a perfect world, all you would need to do to fix software created by uppity developers (to add, bugfix or make it more modular) is run a crowdfunding campaign and collect money for certain features to be fixed or developed. This doesn’t always work out in practice — either because the money doesn’t come, or the developers don’t deliver. The second problem isn’t a rule, but it’s certainly relevant.

If you can’t code, and can’t hire someone to code something in particular, then your last option as a sovereign user is to vote with your feet and boycott software that does things you hate. I’ve recommended this for years, both in general and with regards to specific projects, and I’ve watched it become harder and harder to do.

Software Disobedience is an important part of being free. Developers are not free to dictate your personal computing via the development of free software. But some are openly antagonistic, aggressive and condescending (even mocking) of users and user rights.

Some developers act like they own your computer, instead of you. Not only are they jerks, many openly shill for monopolies that create non-free software.

This is a takeover, both politically and in terms of design. The more entrenched projects become on our free operating system, the less free we are.

Boycott should not be hard. It should be as simple as uninstalling what you don’t like. Only a fool or a liar would deny that this is becoming more and more difficult in practice. But in theory, the gaslighting jerks insist, you are free.

I know what software freedom is; it’s something we used to have.

If you are disappointed with the FSF either refusing to listen, or saying they’re listening but refusing to respond in a way that is meaningful or reassuring, I recommend taking a look at FACiL. FACiL is a Free Software organisation based in Quebec, who promote “Free Computing”, including “Free Software” as well as Free culture.

I do not know much about them, so if they are taking money from a dubious GIAFAM sponsor or are promoting something foolish like the newly proposed (non-)Free software plus vague ethical requirement licenses (These only defeat free software licensing, they are not effective towards their stated goals) I hope you will mention or better yet link to evidence in the comments.

“A right long enjoyed, fought against and left undefended, is worth advocating. It’s a pity that the FSF refuses to defend implicit and de facto rights that Free software can largely attribute its success to. Perhaps they would rather have the IBM money.”I have long said that the Free software movement doesn’t get this problem. In fact, Many free software advocates do understand these problems — and that number is growing. Unfortunately, we are both in the minority and remain effectively unheard (openly and often dismissed) by the FSF and most of its advocates.

We have the same options about this that we always had, only the ability to boycott is significantly diminished.

Also, who noticed that every example given of these supposedly-free software projects that are emulating Microsoft’s notorious developer arrogance, are developing their software on Microsoft’s own servers?

The freedom to NOT run the software was inherent, de facto and implicit for most of the time the Free software movement has existed.

Now that too many developers fight against this de facto right, it may prove necessary to make it more explicit.

A right long enjoyed, fought against and left undefended, is worth advocating. It’s a pity that the FSF refuses to defend implicit and de facto rights that Free software can largely attribute its success to. Perhaps they would rather have the IBM money.

Long Live Stallman (he’s still the person who created this movement) and Happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

New Cartoon: EPO Dialogue

Posted in Europe, Humour at 7:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO dialogue

Summary: Another caricature from inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where the dictator is always right

Links 2/5/2020: Xfce Switches to GitLab, GNOME 3.37.1, Simplicity Linux 20.4, GhostBSD 20.04

Posted in News Roundup at 7:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • The 6 best Linux distributions for developers and programmers



      Linux is a popular platform for those who develop software or are avid programmers. The trouble is, not many programmers and developers know what Linux operating system to use for development purposes. For this reason, we’ve created a list of 6 best Linux distributions for developers and programmers.

      In this list, we covered the 6 best Linux distros for developers and programmers. That said, there are many other excellent Linux operating systems out there for developers. What is your favorite Linux distro to use for software development or programming? Tell us in the comment section below!

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Ubuntu Super Keys Are the Perfect Gift for the Hardcore Linux User



        The Ubuntu super keys look absolutely brilliant and fit the keyboard almost perfectly, albeit I’m not sure I like this type of keys with the side letters rather than on front. However, as someone who types without looking at the keyboard, it’s all just a matter of time until you get used to such a keyboard anyway.

        As for the Ubuntu keys themselves, it’s actually quite easy to get one for your own keyboards.

        While the redditor says they got them from an online store for only a few bucks per key, one potential solution that doesn’t involve buying them from the Internet is just creating your own custom model using a 3D printer. Obviously, some other skills would be required too, including building a 3D model of the key in the first place, but there are already lots of resources online on how to do this.

    • Server

      • virt-viewer version 9.0 released

        I am happy to announce a new bugfix release of virt-viewer 9.0 (gpg), including experimental Windows installers for Win x86 MSI (gpg) and Win x64 MSI (gpg).

        Signatures are created with key DAF3 A6FD B26B 6291 2D0E 8E3F BE86 EBB4 1510 4FDF (4096R)

        With this release the project has moved over to use GitLab for its hosting needs instead of Pagure. Instead of sending patches to the old mailing list, we have adopted modern best practices and now welcome contributions as merge requests, from where they undergo automated CI testing of the build. Bug reports directed towards upstream maintainers, should also be filed at the GitLab project now instead of the Red Hat Bugzilla

      • Couchbase automates cloud-native database management

        New version of open source NoSQL database vendor Couchbase’s Autonomous Operator brings more management to cluster administrators.

      • Top Docker best practices for container management

        Containerization in and of itself offers various benefits, such as reduced overhead, improved portability and better application development. Docker helps increase the advantages of containers while also providing repeatable development, build, test and production systems.

        To ensure successful Docker deployments, admins should implement several Docker best practices that include the use of Dockerfile commands, container backup procedures, Nginx load balancer basics and cloud container deployments.

        [...]

        Without proper management techniques, admins risk complicating their container deployments. If backups are not correctly handled, admins risk misplaced restorations and incompatible components. There are a few container backup best practices that admins can use to ensure their Docker containers remain organized and available.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Episode #179: Guido van Rossum drops in on Python Bytes
      • LHS Episode #342: The Weekender XLVII

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

      • RAID Reality Check | TechSNAP 428

        We dive deep into the world of RAID, and discuss how to choose the right topology to optimize performance and resilience.

        Plus Cloudflare steps up its campaign to secure BGP, and why you might want to trade in cron for systemd timers.

      • Windows 10 to Linux Mint | Configuration

        This video walks through the entire configuration of Linux Mint.

      • 2020-05-01 | Linux Headlines

        Pop!_OS 20.04 is out, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launches a camera add-on board, Java and Python are both planning some welcome changes, and Valve ends VR for macOS.

      • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #7: AsyncIO + Music, Origins of Black, and Managing Python Releases

        Want to learn more about AsyncIO in Python, with an example where you can see and hear events being triggered in real-time? This week Christopher interviews Łukasz Langa. Łukasz has created a talk for PyCon 2020 about using AsyncIO with Music. In this talk he shows live examples of coroutines, gathering, the event loop and events being triggered to create a piece of music. They talk about his role as the release manager for Python 3.8 and 3.9. He also provides background on the origins of his very popular, uncompromising code formatter, Black, and the types of problems it can solve inside of an organization.

        Łukasz previously worked for Facebook, which is where he started Black. He talks about recently moving back to Poland. Łukasz discusses his current work for Edge DB, building a new generation object-relational database.

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel

        • Intel Graphics Code Seeing More Tiger Lake Action, Power Efficiency Work For Linux 5.8

          Intel’s graphics driver team continues amassing more changes for Linux 5.8.

          Intel already began sending in graphics driver changes to DRM-Next in preparation for Linux 5.8. This week they sent in another batch of new feature material. The work this round includes:

          - Additional workarounds for Gen12 Tiger Lake graphics.

        • Intel Sends Out Rocket Lake Linux Graphics Driver Patches – Confirms Gen12 Platform

          A day after announcing the 10th Gen Core “Comet Lake” S-Series CPUs, the Intel open-source engineers have volleyed their first patches for bringing up the graphics on next-gen Rocket Lake.

          The initial set of 23 patches were just sent out for bringing up the i915 Linux kernel driver with Rocket Lake. This re-uses the driver’s existing code paths for Tiger Lake / Gen12, thus adding in Rocket Lake comes in at just over 700 lines of code.

        • Intel’s Cloud Hypervisor 0.7 Adds More Hotplug Capabilities, Musl Libc, SECCOMP Sandbox

          Intel’s server software team continues working on Cloud-Hypervisor as a Rust-written hypervisor for modern Linux VMs. Cloud-Hypervisor has been picking up a lot of features and out today is another pre-1.0 feature release.

          Cloud-Hypervisor 0.7 adds greater hot-plug capabilities with now being able to handle block, network, persistent memory, VirtIO-FS, and Vsock hot-plugging.

    • Applications

      • Linux at Home: Keeping in Good Health with Exercise



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

        We are starting to see some positive news. More than 1 million people known to have the Covid-19 virus have recovered. And we’ve seen a few European countries begin to relax restrictions. It appears the UK is also past the peak of its outbreak, and the UK government is set to publish its lockdown exit plan next week. While there are currently no details in this respect, we can be certain that relaxing restrictions will be a gradual process.

      • The 15 Best Conky Themes for Linux System in 2020

        Conky themes help you to customize the look and feel of the Conky software entirely. There is barely any Linux guy out there who doesn’t know about Conky. Conky is an amazing piece of freeware that runs on Linux. It is used for monitoring the system variables of the computer. It can show different parameters of the current state of the system, including processor load, temperature, RAM usage, network uplink-downlink speed, and many more. This powerful tool can visualize almost 300 different parameters of your computer either in text or in graphical visualizations.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • No Mans Sky | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Steam Play

        No Mans Sky running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Seems to run very nice without issue so far.

      • Challenging platformer WarriOrb where you’re a weaponized talking ball is out now

        WarriOrb invites players to take on the role of a mighty demon trapped in an unlikely host: a weaponized talking ball with agile limbs and a taste for violence. Forced into a strange ball-body by some Wizard attempting to bring their daughter back to life, you get the blame for the failure. Something like that, it’s a little short on the explanations as you go in and as a result you’re tasked with trying to sort out the mess.

      • FNA 20.05 (XNA4 reimplementation) is out with a brand new 3D graphics library ‘FNA3D’

        Ethan Lee, porter of many games to Linux (and macOS) and the creator of the XNA4 reimplementation FNA today announced the release of FNA 20.05 and a brand new 3D graphics library FNA3D.

        FNA, originally a fork of MonoGame, is actually what’s used in a lot of Linux game ports like: Owlboy, TowerFall Ascension, Axiom Verge, Bastion, MidBoss, Cryptark and the list continues on for quite a while. Even the recent Windows release Streets of Rage 4 uses FNA.

        The actual FNA release 20.05 is quite small, adding in support for the YUV 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 formats to the video player and an update of FAudio plus a few bug fixes. More exciting is the announcement of FNA3D.

        What is FNA3D? FNA3D is a pure C99 library that provides an XNA4-like graphics API, which can be rendered with one of many available graphics backends, including backends for OpenGL (2.1, 4.6, and ES3) and Metal. In addition to providing significant performance improvements to FNA’s existing graphics implementation, it is significantly easier to add new backends and is now completely decoupled from FNA itself, meaning all the years of work that have been put into FNA’s rendering speed and reliability can now be used by other projects!

      • Humble Choice for May gives out XCOM 2, Rise of Industry and more

        The latest monthly Humble Choice has been revealed today and with it a fresh selection of good games to pick from. This is the curated bundle from Humble Bundle, that replaced Humble Monthly.

        You pick a tier with different prices to get access to the huge Humble Trove (a collection of DRM-free games) plus a Humble Store discount and then you pick between 3-9 games from a curated list each month.

      • Nimbatus – Drone Creator allows you to test building drones free and use in the full game

        Nimbatus is a really fun game that mixes in building drones (autonomous or otherwise) and now you can try it free, using the Nimbatus – Drone Creator that just released.

        With the full game of Nimbatus – The Space Drone Constructor releasing on May 14, this is a good move. It’s long been since demos were commonplace, so this gives you at least a good idea of what to expect from it. Expect a lot too, it’s crazy. I’ve seen some truly exceptional creations with it. From massive ships that build smaller ships, to almighty long worms that shoot lasers from all sides. The possibilities are huge.

      • Roots of Pacha brings the village farming RPG sim back to the stone age

        You’ve played modern life farming sims, you’ve played high fantasy versions but what about one set in prehistorical times? Roots of Pacha is coming to Linux from Soda Den and Crytivo.

        Crytivo (The Universim) continue building up their publishing portfolio and Roots of Pacha will support Linux, as confirmed by the developer on Steam. Built with multiplayer in mind, Roots of Pacha will enable you and friends to live and build together to help your primal clan evolve. Filled full of building, farming, crafting, fishing, festivals and a whole lot more.

      • Silmaris: Dice Kingdom will have you rule over a kingdom using dice

        Silmaris: Dice Kingdom caught my attention recently when it was announced this week, a story-based game full of random events where you’re trying to restore your kingdom using…dice. So there’s likely plenty of RNG involved but the idea seems interesting.

        Pyrogen announced the desktop release after having some success on mobile, with the original game seeing some high ratings. This desktop release for Linux (confirmed!) seems to be much expanded both visually and on the gameplay content.

      • Proton 5.0-7 Released With New Game Support, Updated VKD3D/DXVK

        Following the Proton 5.0-7 release candidate from a few days ago, this critical part of Valve’s Steam Play is now available for weekend gamers.

        New games known to be working with Proton 5.0-7 include Street Fighter V, Grand Theft Auto 4, and Streets of Rage 4. There are also fixes for TrackMania Nations/Ultimate Forever, Plebby Quest: The Crusades, Borderlands 3, and others.

      • Steam Play Proton 5.0-7 is officially out – Street Fighter V and more now playable on Linux

        Valve and CodeWeavers have released the latest version of the Proton compatibility layer for Steam Play today.

        Looking to get started with Steam Play on Linux? Have no idea what it is? Be sure to check our Steam Play page for some tips and explanations. We’ll be keeping that up to date with any major changes.
        Proton 5.0-7 follows the brief Release Candidate testing period we wrote about recently, as they’re now getting a bit more public testing before a full release. This should help find major issues and give everyone a better experience on Linux.

      • Zoria: Age of Shattering Prologue is a promising early look at an upcoming tactical party-based RPG

        Zoria: Age of Shattering Prologue is a chance to try out a new in-development party-based tactical RPG, as it’s out now with Linux support.

        With a mix of action-adventure exploration, party management and turn-based battles where positioning is key it’s quite satisfying. While the battles are turn-based, they take place directly on the map exactly where you are. Not only that, it’s not tile based either. Instead you get freedom of positioning based on each character’s action points. It has a feel quite like Divinity: Original Sin.

      • Proton Reviews: Them’s Fightin’ Herds

        Ever thought of four-legged, talking female animals duking it out in a fanciful fantasy realm? Think nothing more than Them’s Fightin’ Herds.

        Now, I know, the idea sounds really corny, but I’ve been hooked. It’s a fighting game that’s fantastically designed, and the combat mechanics are very complex, yet polished to make the sure every character is balanced.

        Today (or yesterday, depending on what time zone you’re in right now) the Mane 6 dev team has brought to us the official 1.0 release. Being a fan of fighting games, as well as the game working exceptionally well with Proton, I thought I’d leave my thoughts on the game here. There’s a native Linux version planned sometime in the future (more on that later).

      • Steam has multiple big sales going with the Golden Week Sale, Tower Defense Tag and tinyBuild

        There’s certainly never a shortage of a game sales and Steam today has three major big sales going. Taking a look, there’s a lot of excellent games discounted. With so many on sale, you’re spoilt for choice, I know I am. Trying to pick the next game is getting so difficult.

      • Apple OSX support cut for SteamVR; Windows and Linux remain

        This week Valve made clear they’re not in a position where it makes sense to continue supporting Apple’s OSX for their SteamVR platform at this time. They’ve suggested that the SteamVR platform will continue to receive support, but all support will be focused on Windows and Linux. Users of Apple computers, running OSX, will need to use use “legacy builds” from this point forward.

      • Valve drops support for SteamVR on macOS to focus on Linux & Windows

        Today Valve made quite a big announcement about the future of VR, including an entire platform being dropped.

        In a really short post on the official SteamVR page on Steam, Valve said “SteamVR has ended OSX support so our team can focus on Windows and Linux.” with there now being a legacy branch of SteamVR for macOS. This is not long after the release of SteamVR 1.11, the “Spring Cleaning” update on April 20.

      • The amazing Streets of Rogue gains six new fun sounding characters in a first DLC

        Streets of Rogue, one of the best games of last year, just had the first proper DLC release with a Character Pack that adds in some really fun sounding character types.

        With six entirely new characters, each with new abilities it adds quite a lot to the base game, especially since all the extras can be used in custom-made characters too.

      • Stadia Pro games for May are up with Zombie Army 4: Dead War, The Turing Test and SteamWorld Heist

        Google continue to expand the Linux-powered game streaming service, Stadia, with a fresh set of games you can claim today with Stadia Pro. Right now, that means everyone on Stadia since Stadia is now officially open in supported countries, and everyone gets two months of Stadia Pro free when they sign up.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce switches to GitLab

        Starting today, May 1, we’re switching from our cgit/gitolite setup to GitLab. Our old server, git.xfce.org, is now a ready-only in-sync mirror (so you can still pull code). Our new server is gitlab.xfce.org.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Kubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa – Purrs like a bear

          Overall, Kubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa is a good distro. One, it’s very similar to what we’ve seen with Kubuntu over the past three or four releases. Like say Disco or Eoan. No surprises, either way. Very consistent. This is a good start for the LTS, as point releases will undoubtedly bring in polish and some fixes to the in-between-cracks woes that have come out in the first official image.

          Speaking of woes – Samba printing, battery life, uninspiring installer. Speaking of goodies – everything else really. Stability, performance, out-of-the-box usability. The Plasma desktop is slick and refined, and this sure helps. And I definitely intend to upgrade my Slimbook. Grade wise, something like 8.5/10. Which is much more than Beaver got from me, and yet I did eventually end up using it. So things are only bound to improve. Very cool, and definitely worth testing. Bye bye for now.

        • Krusader KDE File Manager Is Now 20 Years Old

          Krusader, the file manager that comes bundled with KDE, is now 20 years old, but despite being launched two decades ago, it continues to be one of the best applications of its kind.

          What makes Krusader so special? It all comes down to the feature lineup that makes it the best choice not only for power users, as many advertise the app, but for pretty much everybody who wants to work with files with some of the best advanced tools around.

          Krusader, which the developing team itself says is similar to Total Commander, comes with an impressive feature lineup that includes everything from file content comparisons to batch renaming, an internal viewer and editor, file transfers, mounted filesystem support, and directory synchronization.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.37.1 Released



          GNOME 3.37.1 is now available. This is the first unstable release leading to 3.38 stable series.

          If you want to compile GNOME 3.37.1, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot. Thanks to BuildStream’s build sandbox, it should build reliably for you regardless of the dependencies on your host system…

        • GNOME 3.37.1 Released As The First Step Towards GNOME 3.38
        • Custom widgets in GTK 4 – Actions

          Many things in GTK can be activated: buttons, check boxes, switches, menu items, and so on. Often, the same task can be achieved in multiple ways, for example copying the selection to the clipboard is available both via the Control-C shortcut and an item in the context menu.

          Inside GTK, there are many ways things can proceed: a signal may be emitted (::activate, or ::mnemonic-activate, or a keybinding signal), a callback may be called, or a GAction may be activated. None of this is entirely new in GTK 4, but we are moving towards using GActions as the primary mechanism for connecting actions.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • EndeavourOS 2020: Possibly the Best Arch Linux Option



          Isaid at the start of this review that several factors make EndeavourOS a better choice for using Arch-based Linux distros. One final example is solving the infamous multi-boot snafu in Arch-based distros.

          This is an upstream issue. The developer put a downstream fix into play. Using the EndeavourOS grub in all Arch distros should result in no more multi-boot failures.

          EndeavourOS might well be the perfect solution to getting the best that Arch Linux offers. It is an ideal starting point to begin exploring what makes Arch-based distros different from the rest of Linux Land.

          Depending on your choice of desktop environment, you can run EndeavourOS 2020 on computers with a minimum of either 2 GB or 4 GB ofRAM.

      • New Releases

        • Simplicity Linux 20.4 Release

          We are pleased to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 20.4. This time there are four versions, all based on the excellent Buster Dog. (https://debiandog.github.io/doglinux/zz03busterdog.html).

          First we have Mini, which uses LXDE and Openbox and is running the 5.6.4 XanMod Kernel. As usual with Mini, there isn’t a lot of software preinstalled, instead it uses web based apps which run as a Chrome instance. We have preinstalled Google Docs, Taiga.io Project Management software, Spotify, Mega, Gmail and Facebook Messenger.

          For those looking for something with locally based applications, we have Desktop which also uses the 5.6.4 XanMod Kernel. Unlike Mini, it uses Cinnamon as it’s desktop. It comes preinstalled with Pidgin, LibreOffice, GIMP, Chrome, Thunderbird, Audacity, Spotify and MPV.

          When we released Simplicity 20.1, we put X Edition on hiatus and replaced it with the experimental Gaming Edition. It seemed quite popular, so we have kept up work on Gaming Edition. It should still be classed as experimental, but we’re planning on making it a stable release for 20.7. Simplicity 20.4 Gaming Edition uses the Debian Backports 5.4.0 Kernel for stability, and comes with Brave Browser, OBS, Discord, Blacknut Cloud Gaming, Vortex Cloud Gaming, Wine, Steam, and Spotify as full local applications.

        • Q4OS 4.1 Gemini, testing

          A significant update to the Q4OS Gemini testing version is available for download, you can find 64bit iso image at the dedicated Testing releases site. Anybody is invited to try it out and report bugs and glitches.

          This release brings some significant changes and improvements, the most important one is that Plasma and Trinity desktops are even more separated by default. That means Trinity main repositories are no more included within Plasma systems by default, however the option to operate Trinity and Plasma desktop side by side is still enabled, even supported. So users have an option to explicitly ask Desktop profiler tool to add Trinity repositories, and install it alongside Plasma. We are working to improve the Desktop profiler to make possible to create custom profiles in an easy way, use local, as well as remote desktop profiles and other advanced features. Another important change is a move to the just new Trinity desktop 14.0.8 development version.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.04 Now Available

          I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.04, but first thanks to all people that gave feedback and reported issues. We fixed a couple of problems that were found in 20.03. This release comes with kernel and OS updates and numerous software applications updates and many improvements like replacing gnome-mount and hald with FreeBSD devd and Vermaden automount which make auto mounting and unmounting of external device way more stable and supports more filesystems.

        • GhostBSD 20.04 Released With Fixes, Updated Kernel

          Besides updating against the latest kernel and FreeBSD package updates, GhostBSD 20.04 has added the 4k block size default when creating a ZFS partition with the installer’s partition editor, replaced gnome-mount/hald with devd, improved the auto-create partition option, new boot loader options, and various other fixes and improvements.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/18

          This week, we released a few snapshots less. But we released GNOME 3.36.1 which also contained a minor font change for cantarell. And as openQA compares reference screen shots, a font change results in a lot of mismatches, that need to be confirmed. This takes easily a bit of time. This resulted in three snapshots being published (0425, 0427 and 0428), bringing those changes:

          GNOME 3.36.1
          KDE Applications 20.04
          Linux kernel 5.6.6
          Mesa 20.0.5
          openSSL 1.1.1g
          The list looks short, but GNOME and KDE Applications both consist of numerous applications. So all in all the snapshots were actually rather large.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Linux 7 (2003) now available based on RHEL 7.8 code



          Just a couple of days back, the CentOS team announced the release of CentOS Linux 7 (2003) for the x86_64 architecture. So, let’s see how those owning an x86_64 architecture-based system will benefit from this OS.

          However, before we begin talking about this update, we should tell you guys a bit about this operating system. First of all, CentOS is based on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), but what separates the two has to be the fact that the former is driven by the community and cuts off the vendor branding and artwork. With that being said, what it lacks is enterprise-level support that comes with RHEL. Still, CentOS is one of the best Linux distros out there for web hosting purposes.

        • NTT Data Intellilink – Powering Mission Critical Workloads with Oracle Linux

          This article highlights customer NTT Data Intellilink and their use of Oracle Linux. As an NTT DATA group company, they aim to provide value for their customers through design, implementation and operation of mission-critical information and communication systems platform built with the latest technologies.

          Within NTT Data Intellilink, there is a business unit which focuses on providing customers with Oracle solutions, support, and implementation services using a wide range of Oracle products such as Oracle Database, Oracle Fusion Middleware, Oracle Linux, and Oracle Engineered Systems. These solutions are deployed on premise or in Oracle Cloud.

        • Red Hat Accelerates Open Hybrid Cloud Technologies to Meet Customer Needs, From Weathering the Storm to Scaling Critical Services

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced new offerings to help organizations of all sizes and industries optimize, scale or simply protect IT operations in the face of shifting global dynamics.

          [...]

          More than ever before, Red Hat sees a need for IT to evolve to meet rapidly expanding demand for always-on digital services and ever-present connectivity. Nearly every industry, including healthcare, logistics, retail, financial services, government, education and more, is adapting in real-time to meet demand for faster, more widespread access to essential applications and services while maintaining operational stability. In the telecommunications industry, for example, traffic has spiked by more than 50% in some global regions. This surge has led telecommunications and service providers to expand capacity and speed up 5G deployments and edge computing, in turn driving examinations of network and cloud infrastructure readiness.

        • Demos you saw this week at Red Hat Summit

          “Gather your children around the monitor.” Burr Sutter, Red Hat’s global director of developer experience, incited Red Hat Summit attendees to get their families around the computer for day two’s live demo of Red Hat technologies. Was it worth it? Yes indeed.

          In less than an hour, Sutter and team delivered a demo that took us from developing a new feature to deployment to production in a multicloud environment, enhancing security policy, and testing failover capabilities. Note that Burr and team did it live and with audience participation, just like Red Hat customers do every day in production.

          The demo environment emulated a large financial services company that started in North America and did “exceptionally well,” expanding to London, Sydney, São Paulo, Singapore and back around to San Francisco.

        • New Red Hat CEO Thrives on Channel Partner Relationships
        • Red Hat honors women’s contributions to open-source community

          A couple of decades ago, the thought of open-source software being embraced by traditional enterprise was almost laughable. But, as the value of collaboration becomes accepted by the corporate world, companies are increasingly putting diverse sets’ of open-source experts on the payroll.

          “Open source is no longer the disruptor,” said DeLisa Alexander (pictured, left), executive vice president and chief people officer at Red Hat Inc. “Now, you think about most companies, there is some form of open source that is part of their infrastructure.”

          Alexander spoke with Stu Miniman, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, during the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience. They introduced the recipients of the 2020 Women in Open Source Awards and discussed how Red Hat is encouraging diversity and inclusion in open-source communities. During the interview, Minimian also spoke with award winners Megan Byrd-Sanicki (right), manager of research and operations for Google LLC’s Open Source Program Office and Netha Hussain (center), Ph.D. candidate in clinical neuroscience at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

        • Red Hat’s new CEO on surviving inside Big Blue: ‘We don’t participate in IBM’s culture. It’s that simple’

          Red Hat’s new CEO is feeling confident. It’s a pretty good time to be the head of a company whose entire business is virtual: virtual machines, hybrid cloud, operating system support, Kubernetes containers. These are boom times.

          If there’s a downside for Paul Cormier, it’s that after nearly 20 years with the company he wasn’t able to celebrate taking the top job on stage in front of his staff at Red Hat’s annual summit this week. Instead, he’s communicating via webcam from his home office; the conference has gone online-only mid-pandemic.

          But, just as with the world outside, there is a lot of flux within Red Hat. Cormier took over from Jim Whitehurst on April 6; Whitehurst is now president of IBM following Big Blue’s purchase of Red Hat for $34bn, a deal completed in July.

          IBM also got a new CEO this month, Arvind Krishna, and the first thing he did was tell the world that the tech behemoth’s main focus from now on would be the hybrid cloud; the very department and technology Cormier sits atop.

          And so the culture clash between the buttoned-up, bureaucratic Big Blue that lives on consultancies, services, and hardware, and the employee-empowered Red Hat that moves fast and thrives on open-source software – a clash many have warned about since IBM’s purchase was announced in October 2018 – looks as though it is about to hit fast-forward.

        • New Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier faces a slew of challenges in the midst of pandemic

          This week was Cormier’s first Red Hat Summit as CEO, one that like so many conferences had to pivot from a live event to virtual fairly quickly. Customers have been nervous, and this was the first chance to really reconnect with them since things have shut down. He says that he was pleasantly surprised how well it worked, even allowing more people to attend than might pay to travel to a live event.

        • Red Hat Enterprise Linux still central to Red Hat’s strategy

          While it may be overshadowed by OpenShift and Kubernetes, Red Hat Summit attendees were reminded that Red Hat Enterprise Linux still has a strategic role to play.

        • Rich Sharples Talks About 25 Years of Java | Red Hat Summit
        • Linux and Kubernetes: Serving The Common Goals of Enterprises

          For Stefanie Chiras, VP & GM, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Business Unit at Red Hat, aspects such as security and resiliency have always been important for Red Hat. More so, in the current situation when everyone has gone fully remote and it’s much harder to get people in front of the hardware for carrying out updates, patching, etc.

          “As we look at our current situation, never has it been more important to have an operating system that is resilient and secure, and we’re focused on that,” she said.

          The recently released version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.2 inadvertently address these challenge as it makes it easier for technology leaders to embrace the latest, production-ready innovations swiftly which offering security and resilience that their IT teams need.

        • Keep your IMS COBOL applications thriving

          If you have your finger on the pulse of IT, you can’t help but notice the rising visibility of COBOL and its implications in the coronavirus pandemic. If you’ve been in IT long enough and understand the implications of the word “legacy,” you have firsthand knowledge as to why many banks, governments, and global companies continue to rely on their COBOL application programs. The evidence of their durability and resilience is now front page news, and the call for COBOL skills has become an imperative.

          COBOL is about 10 years older than IBM Information Management System (IMS), a hierarchical database and transaction management system that, likewise, has been doing yeoman’s work for over 50 years, including processing lots and lots of COBOL application programs. As IT has evolved, IBM IMS has made strides to ensure that users can continue to rely on their COBOL investments. Many enhancements and capabilities have been introduced over the years to keep the COBOL and IMS partnership thriving.

          The primary capability is COBOL and Java interoperability. A great example of this solution comes from Fiducia & GAD IT AG, which introduced Java alongside COBOL in IBM IMS, enabling them to create new services and extend the life and value of their applications.

        • CodeTheCurve: Final winners announced

          Over the past week, we’ve had the fortunate opportunity to collaborate with hundreds of people from all over the world to fight back against COVID-19 through a gender-inclusive global hackathon with youth at the center. CodeTheCurve was organized by UNESCO, SAP, IBM Z, UN EQUALS, iHackOnline, AngelHack, Internet Society, and many other collaborators. We were lucky enough to be part of the leadership team that created the concept, and we can say that we felt like we were living our best lives — and that best life is still not over!

          Nearly 200 project teams from all over the planet submitted innovative CodeTheCurve proposals. Of the 40 participating teams selected as CodeTheCurve quarterfinalists, 34 teams from 26 countries submitted their solutions following a week of intense and hands-on virtual learning, hacking, and collaborating with mentors and speakers. More than 400 people played a role in participating, speaking, mentoring, judging, and/or organizing our CodeTheCurve magic. Three winners were selected … let’s take a look at them now!

      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan McDowell: Let’s talk about work/life balance in lock down

          A SYNCNI article passed by on my Twitter feed this morning, talking about balancing work life balance while working from home in these times of COVID-19 inspired lock down. The associated Twitter thread expressed an interest in some words of advice from men to other men (because of course the original article has the woman having to do all the balancing).

          This post does not contain the words of advice searched for, but it hopefully at least offers some reassurance that if you’re finding all of this difficult you’re not alone. From talking to others I don’t think there’s anything particularly special we’re doing in this house; a colleague is taking roughly the same approach, and some of the other folk I’ve spoken to in the local tech scene seem to be doing likewise.

          First, the situation. Like many households both my wife and I work full time. We have a small child (not even a year and a half old yet). I work for a software startup, my wife is an HR business partner for a large multinational, dealing with employees all over the UK and Ireland. We’re both luckily able to work from home easily – our day to day work machines are laptops, our employers were already setup with the appropriate VPN / video conferencing etc facilities. Neither of us has seen any decrease in workload since lock down; there are always more features and/or bugs to work on when it comes to a software product, and, as I’m sure you can imagine, there has been a lot more activity in the HR sphere over the past 6 weeks as companies try to work out what to do.

        • [Former DPL's] Free software activities in April 2020

          Here is my monthly update covering what I have been doing in the free software world during April 2020 (previous month’s report). Looking it over prior to publishing, I am surprised how much I got done this month — I felt that I was not only failing to do all the extra things I had planned, but I was doing far less than normal. But let us go easy on ourselves; nobody is nailing this.

          [...]

          One of the original promises of open source software is that distributed peer review and transparency of process results in enhanced end-user security. However, whilst anyone may inspect the source code of free and open source software for malicious flaws, almost all software today is distributed as pre-compiled binaries. This allows nefarious third-parties to compromise systems by injecting malicious code into ostensibly secure software during the various compilation and distribution processes.

          The motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced during this compilation process by promising identical results are always generated from a given source, thus allowing multiple third-parties to come to a consensus on whether a build was compromised.

        • Paul Wise: FLOSS Activities April 2020
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla Daily Builds Now Available For Download

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

          Meanwhile, If you want to try the daily builds of Ubuntu 20.10 Groovy Gorilla then it is available for the download.

          As Ubuntu 20.10 daily builds are not the final, do not install it in your regular system or don’t use it for you day to day work. It might crash or not be stable enough to perform various tasks.

        • Pop OS 20.04 Review: Best Ubuntu-based Distribution Just Got Better

          Pop OS 20.04 is an impressive Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. I review the major new features in this review and share my experience with the latest release.

          Now that Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and its official flavours are here – it’s time to take a look at one of best Ubuntu-based distro i.e Pop!_OS 20.04 by System76.

          To be honest, Pop!_OS is my favorite Linux distro that I primarily use for everything I do.

          Now that Pop!_OS 20.04 has finally arrived. It’s time to take a look at what it offers and whether you should upgrade or not?

        • Pop!_OS 20.04 Released — Get The Best Ubuntu-Based Linux Distro

          System76 — one of the most well-known PC manufacturers that build Linux-based Laptops, Desktop, and Servers — has finally launched Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS. And there is no doubt about their claim of Pop OS 20.04 being their biggest OS release so far.

          Pop!_OS 20.04 is truly a masterpiece release not just for System76’s laptops, but for any normal computer as well. It packs unique features to provide fast navigation, easy workspace organization, and smooth workflow. This is the reason that Pop!_OS is climbing up among the best Ubuntu 20.04-based Linux distros. So, let’s get to know what it has to offer more than Ubuntu Linux.

        • System76 Launches Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS, the “Biggest OS Release Yet”

          For example, the OS includes an improved keyboard navigation, which means you can work with the computer without having to touch your mouse as often as before. There are new keyboard shortcuts for common things like toggling settings and switching between applications.

          “In place of the default shortcuts, you can also use Vim shortcuts to navigate your desktop—without having to leave home row,” the developing team explains.

          Furthermore, the new version of the OS also introduces a new feature called auto tiling that organizes the windows for you when a new application is launched.

        • Linux distribution Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS from System76 is out now with awesome Auto Tiling

          Hardware vendor System76 have just released Pop!_OS 20.04, their Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 20.04 with all their fancy tweaks and it’s a brilliant release.

          Pop isn’t just a skin on top of Ubuntu, the fantastic folks over at System76 are really focused on make everything easier to use and have a good workflow. Part of this is of course due to making their own hardware, which they sell with Pop!_OS. One of these major changes is Pop!_Shell, a collection of tech acting as a layer on top of GNOME Shell to provide a keyboard-centric workflow experience with Auto Tiling (amongst other things).

          “Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS introduces new and unique technologies to enhance our customers workflow and efficiency,” says Carl Richell, Founder and CEO. “No matter what you use your computer for, be it teaching machines to drive, discovering new medicines, coding, creating, or gaming, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS will make your experience more seamless and enjoyable.”

        • Forget about Ubuntu Linux, because the superior Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS is here

          Hamburgers are wonderful, but there is something even better — cheeseburgers. Yes, by simply putting a piece of cheese onto a hamburger, you create something different and better. In the Linux world, Ubuntu is a hamburger, System76 is a slice of American cheese, and Pop!_OS is the cheeseburger. Jeez Louise, I am hungry now… but I digress. In other words, Pop!_OS is based on Ubuntu, and System76 (the Pop!_OS developer) essentially makes Ubuntu better by adding tweaks and other improvements.

          Today, Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS becomes available for download. This is only a week removed from the official Ubuntu 20.04 release, but System76 has obviously been working on it for much longer. It features some really cool new features, such as “Auto-tiling” which arranges and organizes all of your open app windows to best maximize your screen real estate. There is even improved graphics options plus Flatpak support being baked into the Pop!_Shop.

        • System76 Releases Pop!_OS 20.04

          System76 released today Pop!_OS 20.04 as their in-house Linux distribution built off Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but with many customizations on top.

          Besides their usual theming and other cosmetic changes and various optimizations for System76 hardware that have been in place from the start, Pop!_OS 20.04 introduces some new improvements on top of the re-based against Ubuntu 20.04.

        • What’s New with Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS

          Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS is our biggest OS release yet. We’ve got lots of new features and improvements for you to enjoy, including the talk of the town, Auto-tiling! Read on for more info on all our favorite new features from Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS.

          While most operating systems use the mouse as the main navigator, Pop!_OS takes full advantage of your keyboard. New and expanded keyboard shortcuts create a fluid experience—one in which your hands rarely have to leave the keyboard. Seriously. You can be just like those Hollywood hackers who never ever ever ever ever ever ever use their mouse at all. Ever.

        • Download Now: Pop!_OS 20.04 is here, and it boasts impressive new features

          The latest version of Pop!_OS is based on the recent Ubuntu 20.04 LTS release. This provides users with a solid, stable software foundation complete with five years of ongoing security fixes and core app updates courtesy of Canonical.

          For those unfamiliar with it, Pop!_OS is Linux distro developed and maintained by System76, a US-based Linux hardware company. Their home-spun OS (naturally) includes a range of tweaks tailored towards their own laptops and PCs — but the distro is building a bigger fan base for itself, one that extends well beyond System76’s core customer base.

        • Linux Mint 20 Reveals New Mint-Y Theme Changes And More Features

          Another important update is the continuation of Home directory encryption in Linux Mint 20. Though Ubuntu now doesn’t include an option to encrypt the home directory, you can still do the same in both LMDE 4 and Mint 20.

          Moving to the default Mint-Y theme, last month, Linux Mint 20 introduced two new colors, Pink and Aqua. To further enhance the theme experience, the Mint dev team has now brightened the theme color.

        • Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” due in June with fractional HiDPI scaling, brighter icons and better performance

          The team behind popular Linux distribution Linux Mint have a monthly update out to go over what their plans are and their funding, and it’s all sounding great.

          Built upon Ubuntu, the main Linux Mint edition will see a fresh release with Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” this June. It will come officially with three different desktop environment choices: Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce plus it’s going to be 64bit only.

          For their Cinnamon edition, the desktop environment that the Linux Mint team created, Linux Mint 20 will come with some big adjustments. Improvements will include better performance for the file manager Nemo, a new monitor refresh rate picker along with fractional HiDPI scaling support and an improved system tray icon system with wide support for both indicators and StatusNotifier.

        • Monthly News – April 2020

          Work continues on Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana” which is planned for June this year. Some of the features which were introduced in LMDE 4 were added to it, such as the live resolution bump in Virtualbox and the activation of APT recommends by default.

          Linux Mint 20 will be available in 3 editions (Cinnamon, MATE and Xfce) but only in 64-bit. It will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and use a Linux 5.4 kernel.

          Home directory encryption, which was removed in Ubuntu, will continue to be available.

          In Cinnamon the most notable features will be the increased Nemo performance, the ability to change the monitor refresh rate and support for fractional HiDPI resolutions. The systray applet will also delegate support for indicators (libAppIndicator) and StatusNotifier (Qt and new Electron apps) icons to the Xapp StatusIcon applet directly.

          On the desktop we’ll introduce a new file sharing tool which makes it really easy to send and receive files across the local network. As you know, we used a ridiculous sounding name to start working on this project and we were looking for a new name for it. We received a huge number of suggestions, which we considered and which we matched against one another. There were quite a few good names, but the funny ones didn’t sound as good as the original and the serious ones sounded too much like a Web 2.0 service. So after looking at names such as “Ethernator”, “Datanator”, “XFiles”, “Overcast”, “Capsule”, “DropZone”, we finally went back to the original name and decided to stick to it. “Warpinator” does sound ridiculous, but many people liked it and after hearing it so much we kind of get used to it.

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS Review: Refinement at its Best



          If you have been looking for a Linux distro that has tremendous community support, minimalistic in nature, lightweight, and actively being developed and updated, I’m confident that Ubuntu MATE should easily be on your list.

          Ubuntu MATE is an official derivative of Ubuntu. The main difference from Ubuntu is that it uses the MATE as its Desktop Environment (DE) instead of the GNOME 3 user interface used by Ubuntu. MATE DE is based on a fork of GNOME 2 that got branched due to differences in the thoughts between the dev team.

          The reason for the split is because of the new interface called the shell that was being developed for GNOME 3. The design was nothing like the traditional desktop seen in most OSes at that time in the year 2013-14, primarily Windows. A group of devs wanted to keep the conventional desktop elements like the taskbar, start button, quick-access icons on the status bar, and keep the DE lightweight. Thanks, the MATE desktop environment was born. Without wasting much time, the team rolled out the first release of Ubuntu MATE in July 2015. Though it took some time to gain traction, the team managed to do first release as an official Ubuntu flavor as version 15.04 in Jan 2016. Since then, the distro has a community and userbase of its own with good prospects.

        • Xubuntu has made a video to show off its latest release

          With the weekend approaching you might be planning to take some of the official Ubuntu 20.04 flavours for a spin — if so, Xubuntu has a little something to tempt you its way.

          As revealed in the Ubuntu user survey results Xubuntu is now one of the most popular Ubuntu flavours around, commanding a sizeable chunk of the overall Ubuntu user base— so I know there’s a lot of interest in it.

          Which is why I knew I had to share the following video, put together by the Xubuntu team and narrated by prolific podcaster Joe Ressington, the second I saw it.

          [...]

          During a release week my focus is (understandably) on the regular version of Ubuntu — but ten years and twenty releases in I think I’m less prepared for each release than the last.

        • Ubuntu Advantage Offerings in 20.04 LTS

          Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distro today. Developers love it for it’s flexibility and reliability. You can find Ubuntu everywhere – from IoT devices to servers and on the Cloud. Yet, most Ubuntu users are not yet subscribed to Ubuntu Advantage program, which for many is (and will remain) available for free.

          Ubuntu Advantage (UA) offers key services, security, and updates from Canonical to Ubuntu users. In 20.04, a new user experience arrives to simplify users’ access to these key offerings. With the UA client embedded users can access all commercial services from Canonical with a single-token.

          At the release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa), users have immediate access to the Canonical Livepatch service and ESM for Infrastructure updates via UA Infrastructure.

          Anyone can use UA Infrastructure Essential for free on up to 3 machines (limitations apply). All you need is an Ubuntu One account. And if you’re a recognised Ubuntu community member, it’s free on up to 50 machines. To learn more and subscribe to UA Infrastructure, visit ubuntu.com/advantage. Enterprise users can purchase tokens to increase this limit or request additional support via UA Standard or UA Advanced.

        • Today I learned How to Freeze Ubuntu By Pressing F11

          Fool around with function keys in Ubuntu at your own peril folks, ‘cos today I came across a frustrating (if middle funny) bug that can freeze the desktop.

          We’re talking full-on cryogenic style freezing here: the Ubuntu desktop becomes totally unresponsive save for my mouse cursor being able to roam freely without consequence.

          And there’s a good chance you can reproduce this bug on your system (I imagine some of you are itching to try it out).

        • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) Server Installation Guide

          On 23rd April 2020, Canonical has released its latest Ubuntu Operating system as “Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)”. It has been released for desktop and Servers. In this article we will demonstrate Ubuntu 20.04 LTS server installation steps with screenshots. Before initiating the Installation process, let’s see what are the new features that have been included in this release.

        • The State of Robotics – April 2020

          So, we’ve passed the first quarter of 2020. What have we learned? You don’t need us to tell you that, but robots are still cool As usual, this State of Robotics post discusses work the Ubuntu robotics team has done this past April, and some interesting projects we’ve seen in the community. Unfortunately, we had a total of zero submissions to be included this month, hopefully not a sign of the times. If you are a roboticist reading this or a member of a robotics team working from home, and you have a project using Ubuntu or ROS, get in touch. Especially during times like this, we would love to feature your project in next months post and put your robot on our stage. Just send a brief summary to robotics.community@canonical.com and let’s talk.

          A snappy TurtleBot3

          A while ago now the Ubuntu robotics team got its hands on some TurtleBot3 robots. And since we are doing a lot of ROS development with it, we often find ourselves reinstalling it clean. Whether you own one yourself or have simply installed ROS a couple of times, you know the hassle a full installation can be. To address this, we created a snap for the TurtleBot3 which vastly simplifies the installation process while exposing all of the main features this great platform has to offer. You can install the snap right now on your robot and start working right away!

        • 3.5-inch Whiskey Lake SBC ships with Ubuntu image

          Advantech’s 3.5-inch “MIO-5373” SBC runs Ubuntu or Win 10 on an 8th Gen Whiskey Lake CPU and offers up to 32GB DDR4, up to 64GB eMMC, triple display support, 2x GbE, 4x USB 3.0, 2x M.2, and MI/O expansion.

          The MIO-5373 follows a long list of other 3.5-inch SBCs with Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake processors (see farther below). It may be late to the party, but the SBC is one of the more feature-rich models we have seen.

          Although it lacks USB 3.1 Gen2, you get all the usual features plus triple and 4K displays, eMMC, CAN, ruggedization features, M.2 with NVMe, and Advantech’s MI/O expansion interface. The SBC is designed for high-powered, but space-constrained embedded applications such as medical equipment, automation control systems, outdoor kiosks, CNC machines, and factory automation add-ons for AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles).

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Abby Kearns takes over as Puppet CTO

        After more than a decade as the head of the popular open-source, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud Cloud Foundry, Abby Kearns is now the CTO of top DevOps program Puppet.

        Kearns recently left Cloud Foundry in the capable hands of Chip Childers. At Puppet, Kearns will oversee Puppet’s product growth and help its product portfolio evolve. Part of that involves getting Puppet to deliver on the promise of helping enterprises modernize and manage their infrastructure — and, based on earlier comments by Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar, making Puppet more cloud and open-source friendly. Kearns is ideally suited for this job.

      • Puppet Appoints Abby Kearns As Its New CTO

        Portland-based infrastructure automation company Puppet has appointed Abby Kearns, the former Cloud Foundry Foundation executive, as its CTO.

        Kearns brings 20 years of deep expertise in cloud computing and growing open source communities.

        Most recently, Kearns served as the Executive Director of the Cloud Foundry Foundation where she focused on driving the Foundation’s vision and growing the open source project.

        Prior to Cloud Foundry, Kearns drove the adoption of Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and at Verizon, she led the Product Management teams dedicated to the early days of cloud services. Her background also includes operations spanning companies such as Totality, EDS, and Sabre.

      • Transparent, open source alternative to Google Analytics



        Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics tool. Millions of developers and creators turn to it to collect and analyze their website statistics.

        More than 53% of all sites on the web track their visitors using Google Analytics. 84% of sites that do use a known analytics script use Google Analytics.

        Google Analytics has, for years, been one of the first tools I installed on a newly launched site. It is a powerful and useful analytics tool. Installing Google Analytics was a habit I didn’t think much about until the introduction of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other privacy regulations.

      • Here are the 3 Open Source Prototyping Tools



        The open source ecosystem is continuously improving. Many years ago we didn’t have specialized apps for engineering, banking, accounting, designing or other type of use cases, but now we do. Each day, new developers are starting to introduce more niche apps for the open source app catalog.

        In the case of UX and UI designers, open source alternatives are extremely important because…

      • Chef Infra 16 adds YAML recipe support

        Infrastructure-as-code specialist Chef has released a new version of its platform – Chef Infra 16 – as it aims to reduce the learning curve for new customers, while also addressing common pain points for existing users.

        Chef Infra 16 adds the ability to now write recipes in YAML, the popular data serialization language commonly used for configuration files. Chef Infra 16 also introduces support for several Linux distributions on ARM processors including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, Amazon Linux 2, Ubuntu 20.04, and Suse Linux Enterprise 15.

      • Be part of our Live Studio Audiences for our ChefConf Online sessions

        Hello Chefs! Wherever you are in the world, you’re likely not in the place you usually are when you’re working. Sadly, we also won’t be where we usually are for ChefConf this year; ChefConf will be online, like so many other events that can no longer happen in person. Registration is open right now at chefconf.io.

      • Daniel Stenberg: The state of curl 2020

        As tradition dictates, I do a “the state of curl” presentation every year. This year, as there’s no physical curl up conference happening, I have recorded the full presentation on my own in my solitude in my home.

        This is an in-depth look into the curl project and where it’s at right now. The presentation is 1 hour 53 minutes.

      • Committing to Community throughout the COVID-19 Crisis

        Each year the Open Source Initiative relies on the dedicated contributions of individual open source developers and advocates, OSI members, and corporate sponsors. This year, with the global pandemic now affecting so many communities, funding priorities have rightly changed: new initiatives that need dedicated support have emerged, yet many fundamental organizations still need continued support to deliver core services.

        Each year the OSI attends over 20 events to meet with sponsors and secure annual funding. With so many events now canceled, our primary channel for fundraising and development has simply disappeared. We recognize many organizations may be struggling themselves and unable to contribute. Individuals too are facing unprecedented pressures, facing professional uncertainties and personal loss.

      • Jitsi

        • Jitsi Meet: A futuristic video conferencing app you should check out

          Enter ‘Jitsi Meet,’ a state-of-the-art free and open source project that deploys a scalable and secure video conferencing solution for all the social activities you have been missing. By making it an open-source project that runs on Java WebRTC application, the creators have provided an option for developers to work on the code, improve quality, and develop better iterations of the product.

          Jitsi has no limit on the number of participants or the duration of calls, and the user will never be asked to create an account whatsoever. All you need to do is to create a string of characters to start a new meeting or join one that already exists.

        • What Is Jitsi and Is it More Secure Than Zoom?

          The Jitsi Meet web app and smartphone apps are incredibly simple to use. You don’t have to worry about having a username or signing up for the service. Type a name for your Jitsi video conferencing room, and press Go. Share the name of the room with your friends, family, or colleagues, and they can begin joining you.

        • OSS video conferencing service ‘Jitsi Meet’ will support end-to-end encryption

          End-to-end encryption (E2EE) solves this problem. WebRTC E2EE can be implemented simply by adding the encryption function to the existing application. It can be used by enabling the function ‘ Insertable Streams ‘ under development in the Chromium engine, which makes it possible to process the data exchanged with WebRTC with a browser, and it will be possible to pass JVB encrypted communication as it is thing.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Extensions in Firefox 76



            Alot of great work was done in the backend to the WebExtensions API in Firefox 76. There is one helpful feature I’d like to surface in this post. The Firefox Profiler, a tool to help analyze and improve Firefox performance, will now show markers when network requests are suspended by extensions’ blocking webRequest handlers. This can be useful especially to developers of content blocker extensions to ensure that Firefox remains at top speed.

            Here’s a screenshot of the Firefox profiler in action…

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Starting today: The Month of LibreOffice, May 2020 – get cool merchandise!

          Thanks to our worldwide community of developers and supporters, every release of LibreOffice includes new features, bugfixes, compatibility boosts, translations, and other improvements. This month, we want to show our appreciation to everyone who helps out – and encourage more people to join our projects! So how are we going to do this?

      • CMS

      • FSF

        • The FSF reveals the tools they use for chat, video, and more



          After taking the LibrePlanet 2020 conference online, we received a number of requests asking us to document our streaming setup. As the pandemic grew worse, this gave way to more curiosity about how the Free Software Foundation (FSF) uses free tools and free communication platforms to conduct our everyday business. And while the stereotype of hackers hunched over a white-on-black terminal session applies to us in some ways, many of the tools we use are available in any environment, even for people who do not have a lot of technical experience. We’ve started documenting ethical solutions on the LibrePlanet wiki, in addition to starting a remote communication mailing list to help anyone advocate for their use.

          A few of the tools we recommend here depend upon some self-reliance; that is, steering clear of proprietary network services by hosting free software solutions yourself or asking a technical friend to do it for you. It’s a difficult step, and the benefits may not be immediately obvious, but it’s a key part of preserving your autonomy in an age of ubiquitous digital control.

        • Virtual LibrePlanet raffle: Encourage others to join FSF and win prizes!

          For the past few years, the LibrePlanet conference has featured a fundraiser raffle with prizes donated from the free software community. The raffle is always a great opportunity for us to highlight the companies and groups selling products of interest to free software activists. Importantly, it also helps pay for the many costs associated with planning the preeminent two-day free software conference, including scholarships, logistics, and staff time.

          Even though LibrePlanet was held online this year, we still have the raffle prizes generously donated by Technoethical, Vikings, JMP.chat, No Starch Press, and ThinkPenguin. For a limited time, you have a chance to win these prizes while helping us grow the free software community and supporting next year’s LibrePlanet conference.

      • Public Services/Government

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • Monthly Report – April

            The month of fasting, Ramadan, started last month and today, 1st May 2020, is the 8th day of Ramadan in UK. It has been nearly 2 months since I have been working from home. COVID-19 is taking a toll already. I have developed sleeping disorder in the last 2 months. In fact, it is not just me, the whole family as kids are also staying home all day, thanks to school closure. I just hope and pray, we get hold of the situation quickly. Earlier, I used to glue to TV watching Indian reality shows. Even that has stopped now because of the pandemic affect. I decided to buy Netflix subscription to give me company when I feel low. And when I am bored of web series, I get my hand dirty doing Raku programming. Although I am not there but I feel comfortable with Raku now. I have been doing the Perl Weekly Challenge every week in Perl and Raku. I am even blogging about my Raku learning experience. I hope doing weekly challenge will help me learn the many magics of Raku.

          • # Perl Weekly Challenge 58: Compare Versions and Ordered Lineup

            These are some answers to the Week 58 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a couple of days (May 3, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

          • New release of RT::Client::REST

            A very welcome PR for adding the new SLA parameters for RT 4.4.3 was provided to RT::Client::REST on githib, which went out in v0.57 just earlier this week.

            However this spurred me to take care of another PR that was been floating which allowed more verbose error messaging to be enabled. I also returned to my proposed fix for RT118729 which is because of mishandling of RT’s strange “REST” (it’s not really) interface.

        • Python

          • qutebrowser development blog: Paving the road towards qutebrowser v2.0

            I wanted to use this opportunity to update everyone on what has been going on, on my plans for qutebrowser’s future, and on various other bits and bytes – I have a lot of things I …

          • The path forward for typing – Python Language Summit 2020

            “There are a lot of PEPs about typing!” said Guido van Rossum at the Language Summit. Since 2014 there have been ten PEPs approved for Python’s type-checking features. Two of them have been approved already this year: the relatively “esoteric” PEP 613: Explicit Type Aliases, and another that will have widespread impact, PEP 585: Type Hinting Generics In Standard Collections, written by Łukasz Langa and mainly implemented by Van Rossum. Thanks to this PEP, types which had been defined like List[int] can now be spelled list[int], with a lowercase “L”. As Van Rossum told the Python Language Summit, “We want to avoid a world where users have to remember, ‘Here I have to use a capital-L List and here I use a lowercase-L list.’”

          • The 2020 Python Language Summit

            The Python Language Summit is a small gathering of Python language implementers (both the core developers of CPython and alternative Pythons), as well third-party library authors and other Python community members. The summit features short presentations followed by group discussions. In 2020, the Summit was held over two days by videoconference; questions were asked by a combination of voice and chat.

          • Replacing CPython’s parser – Python Language Summit 2020

            Since its start, Python’s grammar has been LL(1): it needs only a left-to-right parser that looks one token ahead to resolve ambiguities. The standard CPython parser is produced by a simple custom parser generator. There are some costs to this simplicity, however. First, the official Python grammar file does not capture the language exactly.

          • Lightning Talks Part 1 – Python Language Summit 2020

            Python packaging has seen relatively quick development in recent years as a result of increased funding; most famously the new PyPI.org website was launched in 2018. The current work in progress includes malware detection and signed packages on PyPI, a new dependency resolver for pip, and a revamp of virtualenv. Much of this work is funded by grants from companies. (Details on the Working Group page.) Sumana Harihareswara from the Packaging Working Group is prolific grant proposal writer; she presented ideas for further development.

          • HPy: a future-proof way of extending Python? – Python Language Summit 2020

            Antonio Cuni presented HPy (pronounced “aitch pi”), an attempt at a replacement C API that is compatible and performant across several interpreter implementations. The idea was born at EuroPython last year from a discussion among CPython, PyPy, and Cython developers.

          • CPython Documentation: The Next 5 Years – Python Language Summit 2020

            “Documentation is the way we communicate with each other,” said Willing. “Historically, we’ve done a great job with documentation.” But the environment is changing: Python’s BDFL has retired, and Python’s user base is expanding, becoming more global, and moving away (to some degree) from lower-level programming to higher-level applications. These changes impose new documentation burdens on the small core team. Willing said, “We don’t scale well.”

          • All Strings Become f-strings – Python Language Summit 2020

            The first language change proposed this year was the most radical: to make f-strings the default. Eric V. Smith, who wrote the PEP for f-strings in 2015, said they are the killer feature of Python 3.6, and they are the motivation for many of his clients to move to Python 3.

          • A formal specification for the (C)Python virtual machine – Python Language Summit 2020

            Mark Shannon began his presentation saying, “This should actually be titled A Semi-Formal Specification. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the stage of ML,” a language described with mathematical rigor. However, a more formal definition of Python would be useful. Authors of alternative Python implementations would have a standard to go by, besides reading CPython’s source and testing for equivalent behavior on a variety of programs. “It seems to work for Java so I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for Python,” said Shannon. It would be particularly helpful for anyone who wants to examine a part of the language. Today, one cannot understand CPython’s bytecode interpreter without studying all its quirky interactions with the C API, the code loader, and so on; a Python specification would break down the language into domains that could be grasped separately.

          • Pip 20.1 has been released

            On behalf of the PyPA, I am pleased to announce that a new version of pip, pip 20.1, has been released.

          • Exception handing in Python

            When we run any code that contains error then the error displays in the output by stopping the execution of the program. Some errors may not be recognized by the users and create an undesirable situation for them. But if the error can be displayed in an understandable format for the users then it is easy for them to know the reason for the error. In any object-oriented programming, try-catch or try-catch-finally block is used to handle errors and display them in a readable format which is called exception handling. How exception handling can be done in Python script is shown in this tutorial.

          • How to connect a Raspberry Pi to a serial USB port with Python from the terminal
          • How to use python time.time() method
          • How to capitalize the first letter of a string with python and other uses of capitalize() function

            Python has a built-in method named capitalize() to convert the first character of a string into uppercase and change the rest of the characters into lowercase. This method can be used on string data in various ways without just capitalizing on the first characters. How you can apply this method in python script in different ways are shown in this article.

          • Taking backup for znc instance in Python
          • The 2020 Python Language Summit

            The 2020 Python Language Summit was held virtually this year, over two days, via videoconference, with discussions via voice and chat. The summit is a yearly gathering for developers of CPython, other Python implementations, and related projects. As with last year, A. Jesse Jiryu Davis covered the summit; his writeups are being posted to the Python Software Foundation (PSF) blog. So far, all of the first day’s session writeups are up, as well as two (of six) from the second day. Topics include “All strings become f-strings”, “The path forward for typing”, “A formal specification for the (C)Python virtual machine”, and more.

          • Yellowbrick Update – April 2020

            Yellowbrick released Version 1.1 on February 25, 2020. If you haven’t yet upgraded simply type pip install yellowbrick -U or conda install -c districtdatalabs yellow-brick into your terminal/command prompt to get it. The major improvement in v1.1 is introducing quick methods or one-liners to generate your favorite ML plots more quickly with Yellowbrick. Dr.
            Rebecca Bilbro, our co-founder, gave a talk “Visual Diagnostics for Machine Learning” (featuring Yellowbrick!)in Washington, D.C. on February 25, 2020 (presentation recording link) for an open source/startup incubator based in Washington, D.C. HatchIT.

          • 4 Things Every Full Stack Developer Should Know

            What comes to your mind when you hear the word, full stack developer? Well, you might probably be thinking about someone who codes for a living. Where it is true up to a point, a full stack developer is much more than that. A full stack developer is an engineer who can handle everything from databases, servers, system engineering, to clients. A full stack developer is more skilled, and when you look at the current market, you will see that they are in much more demand as compared to front end or back end developers. If you are on your way towards becoming one, let me tell you that the road is not easy, but when you do reach your destination, your whole life will be set. In this article, I am going to highlight four things that you must know if you want to become a skilled professional in your field.

          • 6 Python Projects for Beginners

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

          • The PyCharm YouTube channel is (soft)launched!

            Good news for Python developers and the PyCharm community! We are soft-launching today a dedicated YouTube channel for PyCharm where we will share weekly curated content including quick tips & tricks, webinars, interviews, and much more!

          • @staticmethod considered a code smell

            Python offers quite a few built-in decorators that can be used to give methods of classes certain superpowers. @property turning method into a read-only field-like attribute is a classic example. Or @classmethod – a method that receives a class as a first argument, not an instance. Fun fact, this kind of method is usually called static method in other languages (e.g. Java, C#, C++ just to name a few).

  • Leftovers

    • Tales From The Quarantine: ‘Queer Eye’ Guy Now Offering Support And Advice On Your Video Game Home Furnishings

      The COVID-19 crises has changed most of our lives. Working from home is now the norm for many, rather than a perk. Sports is mostly gone, replaced by esports simulacrums. Schools are shut down, as are most non-essential businesses.

    • Science

      • The Power and Plight of Science

        The Greeks used the word episteme for science. Episteme means knowledge, techne (craftsmanship), understanding, and experience. Episteme / science was primarily knowledge from the observation of nature and natural phenomena, which slowly eclipsed the role of the divine and superstition in the organization and understanding of life and the cosmos.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Doctors under quarantine at Ufa hospital appeal to Russian authorities to investigate mass COVID-19 outbreak

        Doctors at the Kuvatov Republican Clinical Hospital in Ufa are calling for an investigation into the mass coronavirus outbreak at their facility, appealing to President Vladimir Putin, the head of the government, and the Investigative Committee chairman. The medics shared their appeal in the form of a video, uploaded to the YouTube channel BashMEDpersonal. It was then picked up by the independent television station Dozhd.

      • A “Wild” Tale of Two Nations

        “The coronavirus pandemic has made abundantly clear that if life is to thrive on this Earth, human and nonhuman, we need cooperation at all scales—global, regional, binational, within a nation, interstate, and in our local communities. And we need to learn how to coexist with and have compassion for our nonhuman relatives—and acknowledge in the midst of this pandemic that bats are not our enemies.”

      • Russian Supreme Court advises against jailing people accused of minor offenses due to COVID-19 pandemic

        In light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Russian Supreme Court has issued a recommendation advising judges to only detain people suspected or accused of non-serious crimes in exceptional cases. 

      • If We’re at War, the Weapons We Need Are Tests and PPE, Not Pork

        As President Trump invokes the Defense Production Act to bar local governments from closing meatpacking plants around the United States, we get response from a longtime adviser to the World Health Organization. “When Congress passed that act, it certainly did not have in mind that the president has the power or the right to put workers’ lives and health at risk,” says Lawrence Gostin, professor of global health law at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization Center on National and Global Health Law. Gostin also discusses why he joined 40 leading center directors in a declaration this week that urges Trump and Congress to restore and increase WHO funding.

      • Jared Kushner Calls US COVID Death Toll of 60,000 a “Great Success Story”

        Jared Kushner, much like his father-in-law President Donald Trump, wants the American people to believe that the administration’s response to the coronavirus has been stellar so far, in spite of the fact that tens of thousands have died of the disease within the United States.

      • The Coronavirus Pandemic Has Exposed the “Violence of Social Inequality”’

        As nearly 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in just six weeks and millions worldwide face hunger and poverty, we look at the global economic catastrophe triggered by the pandemic and its impact on the most vulnerable. As the World Food Programme warns of a massive spike in global hunger and more than 100 million people in cities worldwide could fall into poverty, can this crisis be a catalyst for change? We ask French economist Thomas Piketty. His 2014 internationally best-selling book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, looked at economic inequality and the necessity of wealth taxes. His new book, Capital and Ideology, has been described as a manifesto for political change.

      • Russia’s coronavirus infection count passes 100,000 and the official death toll now exceeds 1,000

        On the morning of April 30, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 7,099 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 106,498 patients.

      • Levada Center: 48 percent of Russians dissatisfied with the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic

        A new survey that Open Media commissioned from the independent Levada Center reveals that 46 percent of Russians approve of the president and the government’s measures to fight the coronavirus epidemic. However, 48 percent of respondents remain dissatisfied: 30 percent think that current measures are insufficient and 18 percent think they are excessive.

      • Bernie’s Army Redeploys to Support COVID-19’s Frontline Workers

        As shoppers crowded into the McAllen, Texas, branch of Sprouts Farmers Market in mid-March to stockpile food, store clerk Josh Cano grew alarmed at the lack of safety precautions in place.

      • Organized Indigenous Communities and Indigenous Knowledge Can Prevent the Spread of Covid19

        With the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in Latin American countries, indigenous peoples and communities face the challenges that this disease brings, the contagion of which has proven to be highly rapid and aggressive. Faced with government neglect, the absence of social investment in their regions and the lack of access to regional or national hospitals, indigenous people are in a position of total disadvantage as governments focus on controlling the disease in the cities. Indigenous communities are forced to face the crisis alone and ensure for themselves the care of all their members.

      • In Chicago, Urban Density May Not Be to Blame for the Spread of the Coronavirus

        Asiaha Butler was disturbed when coronavirus cases started to climb in her neighborhood, but she wasn’t surprised. A longtime housing advocate in Englewood, she knew the area was at high risk, even though it’s sparsely populated. Vacant lots and empty houses dot the neighborhood, leaving homes spaced farther from one another than in other parts of the city.

        “People I talk to say, ‘Well, Englewood looks no different after the shelter-in-place order,’” said Butler, executive director of the Resident Association of Greater Englewood, or RAGE. “It’s always very isolated. There’s always tons of land. … But I knew from so many reports and from the work that we do that we would be hit hard.”

      • Texas Still Won’t Say Which Nursing Homes Have COVID-19 Cases. Families Are Demanding Answers.

        As elderly and vulnerable citizens continue to die from COVID-19 in closed-off long-term care centers around the country, many of their relatives have begged elected leaders to release the locations of these outbreaks.

        Their pleas have carried weight with governors in Georgia, New York, Oklahoma and Florida, among others, who mandated an accounting of where the virus had spread.

      • Why Did the World Health Organization Wait Until March to Declare a Global Pandemic?

        When U.S. President Donald Trump cut off his government’s funding to the World Health Organization (WHO), one of his grievances was that the WHO—under Chinese tutelage—failed to declare the global coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic soon enough. Not long after the virus brought patients to Hubei Provincial Hospital, the Chinese medical and public health authorities brought it to the notice of the WHO. The WHO investigated the virus over the course of early January, sending a team into Wuhan and making public whatever credible information it could report.

      • COVID 19: Think Science and the People

        The people need science. The teaching is a legacy of pathologist Rudolph Virchow who was at the barricades in Berlin in 1848. A journal entry in that year of revolutions reads, “Medicine is a social science, and politics nothing but medicine on a grand scale.” The pioneering Virchow first pronounced upon the biological importance of cells in health and disease. He was the “chief founder of modern scientific medicine.” (William H. Welch, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine 1902),

      • Mathilda Cuomo vs. Peter Singer: Sympathy for the Old or Utilitarian Rational Decisions

        The COVID-19 pandemic has presented several ethical dilemmas. Which country, state or city should have first access to made-in-China masks? Stories abound that the United States paid cash three times the going price for masks ordered by France. If countries incrementally reopen, which stores or businesses should have priority? Children and schools? Which factories? And the list of tough ethical choices goes on. Officials from around the world are delicately balancing public health and business reopening.

      • The Fatal Folly of a Premature “Grand Opening”

        Politicians across the nation are pushing the premature removal of social restrictions that have produced solid results in flattening the upward curve of coronavirus infections and deaths across the nation. Goaded by the greedy moguls of Wall Street, these so-called “leaders” are moving to “re-open the economy” while leading medical professionals warn it is folly to do so. But the politicians and their lackeys are ignoring science in favor of commerce — and will have to live with the responsibility for the additional fatalities that will undoubtedly result from their foolish moves.

      • Progressives Urge Congress to Stop ‘Disgraceful’ GOP Effort to Grant Corporations Immunity From Covid-19 Lawsuits

        “This is obscene. Mitch McConnell thinks the most pressing threat facing our nation right now is that people might need to take a company to court for doing something dangerous or illegal during this pandemic.”

      • Episode 80 – The COVID Chronicles #3: Washington D.C. – Along The Line Podcast
      • COVID-19 and Technology: Commonly Used Terms

        New technical proposals to track, contain, and fight COVID-19 are coming out nearly every day, and the distinction between public health strategies, technical approaches, and other terms can be confusing. On this page we attempt to define and disambiguate some of the most commonly used terms. Bookmark this glossary—we intend to update it with new terms and definitions regularly.

        For more information on COVID-19 and protecting your rights, as well as general information on technology, surveillance, and the pandemic, visit our collection of COVID-19-related writing.

      • By ‘as Successful as Most Other Nations,’ NYT Means Sweden Is 10th Worst in the World

        Reporters Thomas Erdbrink and Christina Anderson went on to marvel at “Sweden’s apparent success in handling the scourge without an economically devastating lockdown,” presenting it as a model for other countries:

      • Trump’s Immigration Suspension Doesn’t Prevent Unemployment or COVID-19 Spread

        Late on the evening of April 20, President Trump tweeted that he was temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. For justification he cited what he called “the attack from the Invisible Enemy” — that is, COVID-19 — and “the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens.”

      • “It’s Gonna Go, It’s Gonna Leave”: Trump Claims Covid-19 Will Disappear Even Without Vaccine as US Cases Top 1 Million

        “Magical thinking and downplaying of the virus has led to over 61,000 American deaths. Saying the virus is gonna leave doesn’t make it go away.”

      • Trump Says COVID Will Disappear Even Without Vaccine as US Cases Top 1 Million

        Having apparently learned nothing about the novel coronavirus since February — when he predicted the contagion would disappear “like a miracle” by April — President Donald Trump insisted during a roundtable with corporate executives Wednesday that Covid-19 will soon “be gone” even in the absence of a vaccine, a view that is not shared by public health professionals.

      • A Pandemic Is Not a War

        Though many public officials and media outlets seem increasingly convinced that we are fighting a war against Covid-19, framing the pandemic in military terms obscures what we need to know and how we can cope with this virus.

      • Jared Kushner’s “princely arrogance” set back the coronavirus response by weeks: report

        As the outbreak continued to grow, Trump blamed the media for amplifying the threat and claimed to aides that journalists would try to intentionally infect him with the virus.

        “This is full-blown, pathological, paranoid-level delusion,” a former West Wing official told Sherman.

      • How open-source medicine could prepare us for the next pandemic

        In recent history, pharmaceutical companies have failed to deliver treatments for devastating illnesses because they cannot easily profit from them. While they may investigate diseases for which there is no treatment or cure and even find compelling insights, they won’t necessarily turn those findings into medicine. Furthermore, all that discovery stays locked away in proprietary company files, which means no one else can take these learnings to the next level. This has led some scientists and researchers to advocate for a more open approach to drug development. Despite interest, open-source medicine has only materialized in one-off projects.

        But a human rights lawyer named Jaykumar Menon is now building out a platform where scientists and researchers can freely access technological tools for researching disease, share their discoveries, launch investigations into molecules or potential drugs, and find entities to turn that research into medicine. If the platform succeeds, it would allow drugs to succeed on their merit and need, rather than their ability to be profitable.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Riccardo Padovani: Introducing Daintree.app: an opensource alternative implementation of the AWS console. [Ed: This won't sole the problem of AWS itself being a proprietary software surveillance trap]

              Daintree.app is a website to manage some of your AWS resources: since this is an early preview, at the moment, it supports a subset of Networking, EC2, SQS, and SNS

              The AWS Console is an amazing piece of software: it has hundreds of thousands of features, it is reliable, and it is the front end of an incredible world. However, as any software, it is not perfect: sometimes is a bit slow, so many features can be confusing, and it is clear it has evolved over time, so there are a lot of different styles, and if it would be made from scratch today, some choices would probably be different.

            • Tern 2.0.0 now available [Ed: VMware 'open' projects are controlled by Microsoft]

              Tern is a VMware-originated open source container inspection tool. Since Tern’s last release, new features and command line options have been added as a part of Tern 2.0.0, which is now generally available from PyPI. You can also clone the latest changes from GitHub.

            • Open Source Tern Locks Dockerfile to Container Image

              The team behind the open source Tern tools for scanning container images has released an update that adds the ability to lock the base image of a Dockerfile to the packages installed. Every subsequent package installed is then pinned to a specific Dockerfile.

            • Facebook releases its ‘Blender’ chatbot as an open-source project
          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Backfilling Learning Opportunities in Light of Cancelled Events

                Conferences, summits, forums, and other events have been canceled worldwide in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. These events are one of the most common ways technology professionals keep their skills and knowledge up to date, so these cancellations have a huge impact on the community. We’ve compiled some alternative ways of meeting this need below.

              • Announcing Vitess 6

                Vitess now understands much more of MySQL’s syntax. We have taken the approach of studying the queries issued by common applications and frameworks, and baking them right into the end-to-end test suite.

                Common issues such as SHOW commands not returning correct results or MySQL’s SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS feature have now been fixed. In Vitess 7, we plan to add support for setting session variables, which will address one of the largest outstanding compatibility issues.

              • A guide to open source software for procurement professionals

                The first and most important step in negotiating any agreement is always to get the facts. For example, when negotiating a software development agreement, the developers for both parties probably assume that the software will include many pre-existing components written by third parties. If the procurement and legal personnel negotiating the agreement assume that there should be no code that is not written by the vendor, the process will be inefficient and waste a lot of everyone’s valuable time.

                If developers are confronted with ridiculous assumptions about writing software from scratch, the credibility of the procurement process is undermined, and, in the future, they will find ways to avoid or delay involving procurement and their legal counsel.

                The Linux Foundation recently published a whitepaper written by Karen Copenhaver and Steve Winslow that aims to help procurement professionals and their legal counsel avoid making erroneous factual assumptions that will undermine their credibility and delay negotiations through a better understanding of software development and the use of open source software assets. This is a summary of its findings.

                [...]

                A common perception of the GPL and its variants as being unworkable open source licenses is inaccurate. Keep in mind that the GPL, like all free and open source licenses, does not restrict your usage. As a recipient of GPL software, you have far more expansive license rights to use the software than you have under a proprietary software license agreement. Compliance with the GPL upon a redistribution of the code may be a factor to consider but should be compared with the fact that you would likely not have the right to redistribute proprietary software at all.

                A company can have a “no GPL policy,” yet it cannot operate in most industries without dependence upon the Linux operating system, which is GPL-licensed software.

                Unless your technical people agree that there should be no GPL or copyleft licensed code of any kind used in its development or provided in the work product, do not ask for a representation or warranty that there will be no copyleft software. Once again, the relevant questions related to the selection of the code, maintenance of the code, and compliance with the applicable license terms in the relevant use case.

        • Security

          • Parrot 4.9 Release Notes
          • Parrot 4.9 Ethical Hacking Linux Distro Released

            Parrot Security on Thursday announced the release of Parrot 4.9, an important new version of its security-oriented GNU / Linux distribution for penetration testing and ethical hacking along with newly added Linux 5.5 and hardware support.

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (git, java-1.7.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, python-twisted-web, and thunderbird), Debian (dom4j, miniupnpc, otrs2, pound, ruby2.1, vlc, w3m, and yodl), Fedora (git, java-latest-openjdk, mingw-libxml2, php-horde-horde, pxz, sqliteodbc, and xen), Gentoo (cacti, django, fontforge, and libu2f-host), openSUSE (cacti, cacti-spine, chromium, python-typed-ast, and salt), Red Hat (gnutls and kernel), SUSE (kernel), and Ubuntu (edk2).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Hard Pass: Clearview Offers To Help Out With COVID-19 Contact Tracing

              Clearview AI is inserting itself into a discussion no one invited it to participate in. The discussion around contact tracing to manage and (hopefully) impede the spread of the coronavirus involves multiple governments around the world. It also includes Google and Apple, who are partnering to create a platform for contact tracing apps.

            • Clash of tech titans: Zuckerberg praises coronavirus lockdowns, Musk sees ‘fascism’

              Silicon Valley billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg offered dueling views on lockdown measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus on Wednesday, with Facebook’s Zuckerberg endorsing the measures while Tesla’s Musk condemned them as anti-democratic./

            • NSO Employee Abused Phone Hacking Tech to Target a Love Interest

              “There’s not [a] real way to protect against it. The technical people will always have access,” a former NSO employee aware of the incident told Motherboard. A second former NSO employee confirmed the first source’s account, another source familiar confirmed aspects of it, and a fourth source familiar with the company said an NSO employee abused the company’s system. Motherboard granted multiple sources in this story anonymity to speak about sensitive NSO deliberations and to protect them from retaliation from the company.

              NSO sells a [intrusion] product called Pegasus to government clients. With Pegasus, users can remotely break into fully up-to-date iPhone or Android devices with either an attack that requires the target to click on a malicious link once, or sometimes not even click on anything at all. Pegasus takes advantage of multiple so-called zero day exploits, which use vulnerabilities that manufacturers such as Apple are unaware of.

            • Centre tells its employees to download Aarogya Setu app

              The central government has ordered all of its departments to ensure their staff install the Aarogya Setu mobile application and attend offices only if they have been classified as “safe” or “low risk” according to it, according to an order issued on Wednesday.

              The measure comes ahead of what may be a phased return-to-work period over the next month when the nationwide lockdown meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) is relaxed in some places.

              According to the order, all officers and staff, including outsourced resources, must install the application. “Before starting for office, they should review their status on Aarogya Setu and commute only when the app shows ‘safe’ or ‘low risk’ status,” the order says.

            • When Your Freedom Depends on an App

              The app Layla was forced to download upon her release, Guardian, is part of the latest wave of surveillance technologies utilized by enforcement agencies to monitor the recently incarcerated or those awaiting trial. Launched in 2015, it’s marketed as a way for agencies to cut down costs and take advantage of the existing tracking technology in smartphones for more seamless and convenient parole. Based on the terms of their supervision, users are prompted to check in with their parole officers at certain intervals by reading a random series of numbers into the app. Guardian then analyzes that check-in using a combination of geolocation data and voice or facial recognition. The idea is to accurately track where parolees are at a given moment, and report the results to the case manager, who has the authority to decide whether they can remain out in the world.

              According to federal spending records, at least 10 cities have contracts to use Guardian for “re-entry” services, and it has been downloaded up to 50,000 times, according to data from the app analytics firm App Figures. [...]

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dissenter Weekly: Whistleblowing Employees Say Bureau Of Prisons Misled Public On COVID-19 Response

        On this edition of the “Dissenter Weekly,” host and Shadowproof editor Kevin Gosztola highlights a whistleblower complaint submitted by Regina Warren, the president of AFGE Local 1006, on behalf of 400 correctional officers in Texas. The officers allege the Bureau of Prisons knowingly misled the public on the agency’s response to the coronavirus.

        In particular, the complaint from Warren claims correctional officers at Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, which is a women’s prison hospital, were not protected. The facility did not initially go on complete lockdown. It also reveals details related to the case of Andrea Circle Bear, who was the first woman prisoner to die in a federal facility.Later in the show, Gosztola highlights a whistleblower lawsuit filed by Azanean Petty, a 23 year-old black mother who lives in Detroit. She was a specialist at the Wayne County Detention Facility until she resigned on April 6 because management of the facility would not let her wear a mask. “In denying her request,” according to the lawsuit, “the director of the Medical Division told plaintiff that she was protected by God and that she had to have faith that she would be protected. The director of the Medical Division told plaintiff that her mother had already lived her life, and plaintiff only needed to worry about financially taking care of her son. plaintiff’s mother is only 49 years old.”

      • A Video of California Doctors Stoking Conspiracies Should Never Have Gone Viral

        Earlier this week, YouTube deleted a video of two California emergency room doctors who criticized the state’s COVID-19 shutdown. By the time it was deleted, it had been tweeted by Elon Musk, viewed more than 5 million times, and texted to me by conservative family members. The doctors had become heroes among a sect of the right that wants to immediately re-open the economy regardless of the human toll. The video was and is dangerous, but by deleting it, YouTube made these two men martyrs in the right’s ongoing war in which they claim Silicon Valley and The Left are censoring conservatives.

      • How Did Facebook Beat a Federal Wiretap Demand?

        Facebook Inc. in 2018 beat back federal prosecutors seeking to wiretap its encrypted Messenger app. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to find out how.

      • Facebook Beat a 2018 Wiretap Case. The ACLU Wants to Know Why

        The entire proceeding was confidential, with only the result leaking to the press. Lawyers for the ACLU and the Washington Post on Tuesday asked a San Francisco-based federal court of appeals to unseal the judge’s decision, arguing the public has a right to know how the law is being applied, particularly in the area of privacy.

        “It’s already publicly known that the Justice Department can’t wiretap Facebook’s messaging services,” Jennifer Granick, an attorney representing the ACLU, told the judges. “What isn’t known is the reason why.”

    • Environment

      • VOA Films Illegal Logging Inside Mexico Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

        In the Mexican state of Michoacan this year, the suspicious death of a prominent communal leader at the Monarch butterfly’s World Heritage reserve rocked the conservation world. VOA’s Veronica Balderas Iglesias went to Michoacan and found that in this place of beauty, there was an underside of lawlessness, corruption and poverty that could threaten the sustainability of the biosphere.

      • ‘Microplastic Hot Spots’ Are Tainting Deep-Sea Ecosystems

        Off the coasts of Corsica and Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea swirls an omnipresent yet vanishingly small menace: microplastics. By this point, it comes as no surprise to scientists that they would find the tiny bits of plastic in seafloor sediments—last year researchers found them in samples off the coast of Southern California. But in the Mediterranean, the sheer concentration of them is astounding: Writing today in the journal Science, researchers report finding 1.9 million microplastic particles in a single square meter of seafloor sediment only 5 centimeters thick.

        They also surveyed local ocean currents and seafloor topography to show how microplastic is accumulating in “hot spots,” creating Mediterranean deep-sea equivalents of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—and it’s safe to assume it’s happening elsewhere around the world. These are the same currents that transport the oxygen and nutrients that support bustling ecosystems. That means these ecosystems are now corrupted with microplastic, which itself may be toxic for the species that sift through the sediment. Even worse, microplastics are known to accumulate additional toxins, plus viruses and bacteria, as they float around the ocean. This could be problematic for baby fish in particular, which researchers have found can mistake microplastic particles for prey.

      • What’s Michael Moore’s Actual Agenda?

        In place of highlighting the Green New Deal as the Mother Lode option, the film offers no options to the climate deadlock.

      • Energy

        • IEA Projects Demand for Renewable Energy to Surge Post-Pandemic While Fossil Fuels Collapse

          “Only renewables are holding up during the previously unheard-of slump in electricity use.”

        • The Beginning of the End for Oil? Energy in a Post-Pandemic World

          Energy analysts have long assumed that, given time, growing international concern over climate change would result in a vast restructuring of the global energy enterprise. The result: a greener, less climate-degrading system. In this future, fossil fuels would be overtaken by renewables, while oil, gas, and coal would be relegated to an increasingly marginal role in the global energy equation. In its World Energy Outlook 2019, for example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that, by 2040, renewables would finally supersede petroleum as the planet’s number one source of energy and coal would largely disappear from the fuel mix. As a result of Covid-19, however, we may no longer have to wait another 20 years for such a cosmic transition to occur — it’s happening right now.

        • Expansion of Fed Lending Program Blasted as Bailout for ‘Toxic and Reckless’ Fossil Fuel Industry

          “Rescuing fossil fuel production is absolutely the wrong direction for public health amid a global pandemic.”

        • ‘Energy Policy Advocates’ and the Fossil Fuel Boosters Attacking Legal Efforts to Hold Climate Polluters Accountable

          ExxonMobil has itself argued that attorneys general and municipal officials that have sued the company are engaged in a conspiracy to take down Big Oil. That argument hasn’t gained traction in court, but this hasn’t stopped operatives tied to fossil fuel funding from trying to take up that charge.

        • U.S. Moves to Ban Use of Some Foreign Power Gear

          President Trump declared a national emergency for the nation’s power grid Friday, and signed an order to ban the import and use of equipment that poses a threat to national security if installed in U.S. power plants and transmission systems.
          The move boosts U.S. efforts to protect the grid from being used as a weapon against American citizens and businesses, attacks that could have “potentially catastrophic effects,” Mr. Trump said in the order. While the order doesn’t name any country, national-security officials have said that Russia and China have the ability to temporarily disrupt the operations of electric utilities and gas pipelines.
          The executive order gives the Energy Secretary more power to prevent the use of such equipment that is influenced by foreign adversaries or creates an “unacceptable risk to the national security.” It also gives the secretary responsibility over determining what parts of the system are already at risk and possibly need to be replaced.
          U.S. officials will later determine what equipment is most at risk. But they will examine anything used at power plants and the nation’s transmission system, potentially including what goes into the grid’s transformers and substations, said a senior Energy Department official.
          The move aims to shore up a potential vulnerability in a power supply that depends extensively on foreign-made parts. Officials are expected to use U.S. intelligence agencies’ threat assessments to help determine what equipment is most likely a risk and what may need to be banned, the official said.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Joe Biden Needs an Intervention: An Open Letter to DNC Chair Tom Perez

        Right now, Biden is idling in the cockpit of a political aircraft with one wing.

      • Russia’s prime minister has coronavirus and government sources say he might have permanently lost his position as cabinet head

        Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The prime minister himself made the announcement during a broadcast conversation with President Putin on April 30. “I just learned that my test results for coronavirus came back positive. In view of this, and in accordance with the requirements implemented by the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare, I must self-isolate and follow the doctors’ instructions. This is essential to protect my colleagues,” Mishustin told the president. During that conversation, Putin said the government will not make any final decisions about federal economic aid without Mishustin’s input and participation.

      • Trump Reportedly Lashed Out at His Campaign Manager Over Grim Reelection Polls

        President Donald Trump is denying reports that he erupted last week at his own campaign manager over numbers that showed he was down in the polls in a head-to-head general election matchup against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

      • ‘We Should All Be Alarmed’: McConnell to Bring Senate Back Not to Fight Covid-19 But to Confirm More Trump Judges

        “McConnell cares more about ushering his unqualified 38-year-old crony onto one of the country’s highest courts than about ensuring Americans’ health in the middle of a pandemic.”

      • Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin diagnosed with COVID-19

        Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, Interfax reports, citing a statement from Mishustin himself. According to RBC, this has also been confirmed by President Vladimir Putin.

      • America’s Pact with the Devil

        You know you are in a dark place when you must cite Adolf Hitler to support your side of the argument.

      • Whether the Ballot You Mail Is Counted May Depend on Where You Vote

        The April 6 guidance from the U.S. Supreme Court seemed final: Election officials in Wisconsin should only count absentee ballots postmarked on or before the next day’s voting. Then, in the days after the chaotic primary, thousands of ballots poured in with missing or illegible postmarks — an issue the court had not directly addressed. Throwing up its hands, the Wisconsin Elections Commission left it to local officials to decide if ballots had been mailed on time.

        The result was a troubling disparity. Janesville, longtime home of former Republican U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, received 65 ballots without postmarks after primary day, but before an April 13 deadline. “Consistent with the order from the U.S. Supreme Court,” Janesville officials rejected them all, according to City Clerk David Godek.

      • For Trump, Covid-19 Is Perfect Cover to Seize More Power, Increase Reelection Chances

        It doesn’t matter that this is a global pandemic. Abusing his power for personal gain is Trumps MO.

      • How Biden Clipped Sanders on Race

        After the South Carolina loss to Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders’ opponents effectively used the African American vote against him. The political moves that clipped his chances of winning, revolved around the following opportunistic argument: because Sanders ran a campaign with a racial justice and anti-racist approach that lost to huge African American majorities, how could it be anything but wrong; this, with the people that most mattered.

      • The Autocratic Son-in-Law and His Madness

        For a long time, the movement was slow. Small steps. Limited change, as if we had all the time in the world. The movement was clear to everyone affected, as well as the outside world, but the outside world kept its eyes closed.

      • #FireChrisHayes Trends as MSNBC Anchor Attacked for Covering Biden Accuser Story

        Journalist Glenn Greenwald said the reaction to Hayes reporting on a news story which reflects poorly on the former vice president “shows what MSNBC has cultivated.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • How Can Anyone Argue With A Straight Face That China’s Approach To Speech Online Is Better Than The US’s During A Pandemic

        We’ve been writing a number of pieces lately about how incredibly dangerous China’s internet censorship has been during COVID-19, from silencing medical professionals to hiding research results tod trying to ignore Taiwan’s success in fighting COVID-19, it’s shown a pretty clear pattern that Chinese internet censorship is literally killing people. This is not to say that the US government’s response has been much better — it’s obviously been a disaster, but at least we have more free speech online and in the press, which is enabling all sorts of useful information to spread.

      • Alexey Navalny will debate the Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson tomorrow

        Russian state officials do not typically acknowledge individual anti-Kremlin oppositionists (let alone share the spotlight with them) but Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, has challenged opposition politician Alexey Navalny to a debate. And he has accepted. 

      • Being Too Aggressive At Policing COVID-19 Disinformation Risks Breaking The Important ‘Collective Sensemaking Process’

        As the pandemic got worse and worse earlier this year, many internet platforms sprang into action — spurred by many calls to do exactly this — to ramp up their content moderation to fight off “disinformation” attacks. And there is no doubt that there are plenty of sophisticated (and even nation state) actors engaging in nefarious disinformation campaigns concerning the whole pandemic. So there’s good reason to be concerned about the spread of disinformation — especially when disinformation can literally lead to death.

      • The Constitution Does Not Allow Courts to Silence Criticism of Local Police Departments

        EFF has filed an amicus brief urging the Tennessee Supreme Court to overturn a court order that would otherwise ban a victim from disclosing that she was subject to domestic violence or from speaking out about the police department’s handling of the investigation. The court order was issued under a Tennessee law that authorizes preliminary injunctions against speech in divorce cases. Importantly, the order banned the statement without any judicial determination that the allegations were false or in any way legally actionable. Pamela Stark is in the midst of a divorce from her husband, Memphis Police Officer Joe Stark. The court prohibited her from making any public allegations against her husband on social media. Pamela Stark then shared a Facebook post criticizing the Memphis Police Department’s investigation into her domestic violence allegations against Joe Stark, asking “who do you turn to when those sworn to uphold the law, don’t.”

        As a result of that post, the court held Pamela in contempt of court, arrested, and jailed her. She was released only after she agreed to remove her Facebook post.

      • China Tried To Get The EU Not To Release A Report On China’s COVID-19 Disinformation Efforts

        It’s becoming an unfortunate regularity that we keep writing posts highlighting how China is trying to suppress criticism around the globe regarding its terrible handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we’ve said over and over again, what the world needs right now is radical transparency regarding the disease and various responses, and instead we’re getting standard operating procedures from the Chinese government which is all about suppressing bad information and denying everything (with a healthy does of spreading more disinfo everywhere — make sure you check the comments here a few hours after we post this, because it seems to show up in a timely manner).

      • As Coronavirus Sweeps Through Jails and Prisons, Officials Crack Down on Inmate Speech

        Jails and prisons now account for many of the largest clusters of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. Two prisons in Ohio now have more than 1,500 cases each; nearly a thousand cases are connected to the Cook County jail in Chicago; and a prison in Arkansas has recorded nearly 700 cases. Prisons are, in the words of one inmate, a “death trap.”  

        As the virus continues to sweep across the country, and as jails and prisons seal themselves off from society (even more than usual), incarcerated people must be allowed to share their stories—of life on the inside during a pandemic, to raise awareness about or to protest conditions, or just simply to connect with friends and family. Many states have draconian rules that stand in the way of that: these rules unduly limit prisoners’ ability to express themselves and share their stories through the Internet. Nearly a month ago, we called on jail and prison officials to relax the enforcement of rules limiting an inmate’s ability to connect with the outside world during the pandemic.

      • Pulling this blog out of Planet MySQL aggregator, over community concerns

        I recently noticed how a blog post of mine, The state of Orchestrator, 2020 (spoiler: healthy), did not get aggregated in Planet MySQL. After a quick discussion and investigation, it was determined (and confirmed) it was filtered out because it contained the word “MariaDB”. It has later been confirmed that Planet MySQL now filters out posts indicating its competitors, such as MariaDB, PostgreSQL, MongoDB.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Greta Thunberg Advances Fight Against Another ‘Child-Rights Crisis’ With UNICEF Campaign to Support Kids Impacted by Covid-19

        “I’m asking everyone to step up and join me in support of UNICEF’s vital work to save children’s lives, to protect health, and continue education.”

      • California City Was Accused of Police Brutality Weeks Before Cop Beat Black Teen

        A federal lawsuit alleging that the California city of Rancho Cordova “fostered a culture of violence” among local police was filed just weeks before videos showing a white Rancho Cordova police officer pummeling a Black teenager sparked national outrage on Monday. Local law enforcement officials are investigating the latest incident, which reportedly began when the officer stopped a 14-year-old boy for buying a cigar. The encounter escalated, and now-infamous videos circulating widely online show the officer pinning the boy to the ground and punching him several times.

      • A United World Must Break Out of Prison

        Because few countries are investing in different—more complex—forms of social safety, the prison system is growing globally to a serious level of insanity.

      • Inside the Jail With One of the Country’s Largest Coronavirus Outbreaks

        The Cook County Jail in Chicago is one of the largest in the country. Sprawling across 96 acres on the Southwest Side, the facility houses more than 4,000 people, most awaiting trial. Its cramped living conditions made it a perfect petri dish for COVID-19.

        Today, the jail is home to one of the largest known outbreaks in the country and has been a flashpoint in the national debate over how to contain the virus in correctional facilities. More than 9,400 cases have emerged in prisons across the U.S., according to an analysis by The Marshall Project. In the Cook County Jail, nearly 500 detainees and more than 300 correctional officers have tested positive. Seven people have died: six inmates and one guard.

      • Native Tribes’ Rights to Permanent Homelands Are at Risk

        When the Pilgrims arrived in the 1600s, there were about 40,000 Wampanoag alive. Today, the Mashpee Wampanoag are one of only three surviving Tribes of the original 69 in the Wampanoag Nation, and about 2,600 Tribal members remain.

        One would think that the Mashpee Wampanoag have been through enough, but they’re still under attack. In March, the Trump administration notified the Mashpee Wampanoag that their Reservation will be disestablished, and the Tribe could lose sovereign control of the ancestral lands it has lived on for centuries.

      • Black man shot dead while jogging in Georgia, and two months later, no arrests

        Arbery was killed in Brunswick, a coastal city about midway between Savannah and Jacksonville, Fla., on Feb. 23 as he was running through the quiet neighborhood of Satilla Shores.

        The two men who chased down Arbery, identified by police as Brunswick resident Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, have not been charged and the investigation is ongoing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • AT&T CEO Steps Down After Bungled, Megamerger-Fueled TV Failure

        So we’ve noted a few times how giant telecom providers, as companies that have spent the better part of the last century as government-pampered monopolies, are adorable when they try (then inevitably fail) to innovate or seriously compete in more normal markets. Verizon’s attempt to pivot from curmudgeonly old phone company to sexy new ad media darling, for example, has been a cavalcade of clumsy errors, missteps, and wasted money.

      • Frontier’s Bankruptcy Reveals Why Big ISPs Choose to Deny Fiber to So Much of America

        Even before it announced that it would seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Frontier had a well-deserved reputation for mismanagement and abusive conduct. In an industry that routinely enrages its customers, Frontier was the literal poster-child for underinvestment and neglect, an industry leader in outages and poor quality of service, and the inventor of the industry’s most outrageous and absurd billing practices. As Frontier’s bankruptcy has shown, there was no good reason they—and all old big Internet service providers—couldn’t provide blazing-fast fiber on par with services in South Korea and Japan.

        Frontier’s bankruptcy announcement forced the company to explain in great detail its finances, past investment decisions, and ultimately why it has refused to upgrade so many of its DSL connections to fiber to the home. This gives us a window into why ISPs like Frontier—large, dominant, with little-to-no competition—are choosing not to invest in better, faster, and more accessible Internet infrastructure. The reason American Internet lags so far behind South Korea, Japan, and Norway isn’t because fiber isn’t profitable. It just falls under the old adage “you have to spend money to make money,” an anathema to American ISPs’ entrenched position of prioritizing short-term profit over making lasting investments.

      • Comment to FCC: Accelerating American 5G Innovation FEATURED

        I started my industry career working for AT&T in 1993 where I first learned the term FUD as part of an official sales strategy – I was working in their newly acquired computer division NCR and the first product release document I ever wrote was for AT&T MP-RAS Unix. At the time there were dozens of Unix variants – we argued ours was better, we argued Linux was not reliable, and we mutually prevented competitors from running their version of Unix on our hardware. The incompatible Unix software meant that once you wrote an application for one system, it required substantial investment to “port it” to another. This created a lock-in for a particular vendor’s equipment – identical in effect to the wireless radio lock-in. The vendors relying on this lacked new customer growth because they stagnated on the innovation front and eventually merged together, creating HP-Compaq-Tandem-Digital in 2000, which caused a lot of incompatibility pain for CIOs around the world – the CIOs eventually fought back and then overnight in 2001, Linux became the default choice, and innovation in the datacenter market flourished.

      • Senate Democrats to introduce bill boosting funding for student [Internet] access

        That has moved many classes online, highlighting the millions of students in American who do not have [Internet] access at home.

        The so-called digital divide affects students every week, but has gained added importance and attention with the school closures.

      • Announcement

        This is an official communication from the Big-8 Management Board. Please note that followups are set to news.groups.

        After a careful review of the Big 8 Management Board’s activity and process, all remaining members of the Big 8 Management Board opted not to consider re-election and instead have voted to install two new volunteers as the new members of the Big 8 Management Board. These two volunteers are:

        Tristan Miller Jason Evans

      • Dot Org is still a safe haven for the folks depending on dot org

        In the last quarter of 2019 there was a major shift that appeared in the.ORG Registry Agreement. The agreement came up with the following policies:

        The registry can hike the registration fees for the .org with the assent of the .org community or ICAAN.
        Registry can design and implement the Rights Protection Mechanisms without any input from the community.
        All these powers are inherently harmful to the community at large. The .org domain is home to many NGOs and groups fighting for fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression, equality, justice and human rights. The price hike would endanger their meagre finances and consequently their existence. The thoughtful crafting of Rights Protection Mechanisms is necessary to maintain a stable community. The new policy gave the registry the power to make processes for the suspension of domain names, simply on accusations of “activity contrary to applicable law.” These policies, without any input from the community, put registry in a dangerous position to abuse power (knowingly or otherwise). ICAAN came up with a deal of $1.1bn tonearly a billion dollars to sellsale the .org registry to Ethos Capital. The deal will take the .org away from The Internet Society, putting in private hands, tossing equilibrium of the network away.

        The protest

        The community started protesting about these policies. The SAVE.ORG campaign was initiated to create awareness among the community. The EFF played a pivotal part to raise the concerns of the community. Amy Sample Ward, CEO of non-profit NTEN, was raising her concerns since the very begining. She did hand-delivered a petition against the policies to the ICANN board. Recently, the California Attorney General said the deal with Ethos Capital “puts profits above the public interest”. This is completely contrary to the goals of ICCAAN, a non profit organisation.

        The victory

        On 30th April, 2020 ICAAN a came up with post saying that the Board has come to a decision of not to go ahead with the deal. They released a blogpost to that effect. The board came with a resolution rejected the suggested change of Public Interest Registry(PIR).

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • AI cannot be recognised as an inventor, US rules

          The US Patent and Trademark Office rules only “natural persons” can legally be inventors.

        • EUIPO and EPO: Update on deadline extensions

          As per EUIPO’s guidance, “the reference to ‘all time limits’ is to be read literally and encompasses all procedural deadlines, irrespective of whether they have been set by the Office or are statutory in nature (i.e. set forth directly in the Regulations)”. In addition, it is stressed that “the expression ‘proceedings before the Office’ only relates to trade mark and design matters” handled only before EUIPO.

          Included in these time limits are the payment of the application fee, the right of priority, the opposition period, the payment of the opposition fee, the request for renewal, the filing of an appeal and of the statement of grounds and, among others, the payment of the appeal fee.

          The effect of the new expiry date is automatic; therefore, it is not required that affected parties request this extension.

          Regarding European Patent Office (EPO), following the previous deadline extension until 17 April 2020, EPO has issued a Notice stating that all time limits expiring on or after 15 March 2020 are further extended until 4 May 2020. This deadline extension also applies to periods for paying fees, including renewal fees.

          EPO has also issued a Notice informing that oral proceedings will not be held in the premises of the Boards of Appeal until 15 May 2020 and the concerned parties will be contacted accordingly by way of a communication.

      • Copyrights

        • Joe Biden Picks Former Senator Who Was Accused of Sexual Assault to Help Lead VP Search
        • Joe Biden’s ‘strange choice’ for VP search committee has a sordid sexual scandal of his own

          Chris Dodd represented the state of Connecticut in the Senate from 1981 to 2011, after which he became a lobbyist. Dodd “opted out of reelection in 2010 after being linked with a multibillion-dollar bailout of corporations during the financial crisis,” The Federalist recalled.

        • [Old] MPAA Chief Chris Dodd Leaves Complicated Legacy

          Under Dodd, the MPAA had to confront the realities of the digital age as it coordinated efforts to combat piracy around the world. Early on, Dodd suffered a major setback when the MPAA pushed for the Stop Online Piracy Act, the proposed federal law that was tabled in early 2012 after coming under fierce attack from Google and other online players. The Hollywood studio bosses had tapped Dodd because they wanted a high-profile political name, but it also meant that Dodd couldn’t personally lobby on Capitol Hill for two years after his retirement from the Senate on Jan. 2, 2011, per congressional rules. Insiders say SOPA might not been derailed had Dodd been able to speak personally to lawmakers.

        • >[Old] Chris Dodd Breaking Promise Not To Become A Lobbyist Just Weeks After Leaving Senate; Joining MPAA As Top Lobbyist

          One of the worst kept secrets in DC and Hollywood over the last month or so is the news that former Connecticut Senator and failed Presidential candidate Chris Dodd is set to become the MPAA’s new boss (salary: $1.2 million per year). This came after a failed attempt to get former Senator (and failed presidential candidate) Bob Kerrey to take the role last year.

        • [Old] MPAA Revenue Grows, Chris Dodd Gets $2.4 Million

          When former senator Dodd was appointed early 2011 the New York Times estimated his salary at $1.5 million, but this figure turned out to be $900,000 light. During his first year Dodd received a little over $2.4 million in compensation.

        • >[Old]MPAA’s Chris Dodd Earns $2.4 Million Salary

          The movie association’s lobbying arm has cut its staff, but tax records show revenue, salaries and other expenses are growing.

        • Amazon Joins Pirate Bay and FMovies on US Govt’s “Notorious” Markets List

          The US Government has classified some of the largest websites as notorious piracy and counterfeiting venues. The report includes pirate sites such as 1337x, FMovies, RARBG, and The Pirate Bay. Surprisingly, Amazon is also tagged for providing a platform to copyright infringers. For the first time, the USTR also lists an advertising company as a “notorious” actor in the piracy ecosystem.

        • German Anti-Piracy Outfit GVU Files For Bankruptcy, Despite Many Historic Victories

          After 35 years of chasing pirates of all kinds, infamous anti-piracy group GVU has filed for bankruptcy in Germany. Perhaps best known for its participation in the unprecedented EU raids that took down Kino.to in 2011, GVU – the Society for the Prosecution of Copyright Infringement – has now come to the end of the road after becoming financially unviable.

        • EU Joins In The Bullying Of South Africa For Daring To Adopt US-Style Fair Use Principles

          As part of its copyright reform, South Africa plans to bring in a fair use right. Despite the fact its proposal is closely modeled on fair use in American law, the copyright industry has persuaded the US government to threaten to kill an important free trade deal with South Africa if the latter dares to follow America’s example. If you thought only US copyright companies were capable of this stunningly selfish behavior, think again. It seems that the European copyright industry has been having words with the EU, which has now sent a politely threatening letter to the South African government about its copyright reform (pdf). After the usual fake compliments, it gets down to business in the following passage:

        • AMC Theaters Pouts Like A Child Because NBC Universal Proved Movie Release Windows Are Nonsense

          There’s a laundry list of shoddy arguments and business structures that have been exposed as nonsense and folly during the pandemic. One of them is the traditional Hollywood film release window, which typically involves a 90 day gap between the time a move appears in theaters and its streaming or DVD release (in France this window is even more ridiculous at three years). The goal is usually to “protect the traditional film industry,” though it’s never been entirely clear why you’d protect traditional theaters at the cost of common sense, consumer demand, and a more efficient model. Just because?

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, April 30, 2020

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

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