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05.09.20

Microsoft GNU-Hub (Part 4)

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:20 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Catch me if you can

Summary: Following the first 3 parts [1, 2, 3] we look more closely at individual GNU projects and their Microsoft-hosted dependencies

In the previous article, the overall methodology for this series was discussed, and Tom has since written this article outlining some of the reasons these things are problems, and what can and probably ought to be done about them.

He also mentioned that the "gnu.org/software" url for Fribidi immediately redirects to the Microsoft-controlled GitHub repo. Let me tell you what I think of this fact.

The processes and policies of the GNU Project are certainly not up to me, though if I (or anybody in charge of policies for the GNU Project) were a lawyer, there would be some sane, ethical limits on what I can support simultaneously.

I couldn’t represent people on opposite sides of a court case, because I would basically be taking their money for performing the service of fighting against myself. No matter who wins that one, I’ve taken their money and thrown the fight for one side or the other!

“Microsoft doesn’t say they love your freedom, because their model isn’t based on freedom.”Microsoft claims to “Love Linux”, but lots of very bad people claim to love their victims. Microsoft doesn’t say they love your freedom, because their model isn’t based on freedom.

They don’t say “free software” because they aren’t trying to make you free. In fact Techrights has covered the money they paid to politicians to get the City of Munich to ditch free software — and go back to Microsoft instead! Then there are the bogus patents and royalty-seeking attacks on free software, which both FSF-sponsor IBM and Microsoft have continued to support.

More than a year before Microsoft purchased it, the FSF gave GitHub an “F” in its evaluation of code repo criteria: https://www.gnu.org/software/repo-criteria-evaluation.en.html. They cited:

* Important site functionality does not work without running nonfree JavaScript.
* Specific information may not be available in all countries
* The worst thing that GitHub does is to encourage bad licensing practice

The FSF also links to other reasons for avoiding GitHub, which were valid before the acquisition but are all the more relevant now.

“In fact Techrights has covered the money they paid to politicians to get the City of Munich to ditch free software — and go back to Microsoft instead!”The lock-in for some users (or perhaps we should consider a different term for people stuck with GitHub — useds, because Microsoft is using them more than they’re using Microsoft) could be enough to create tension between developers and GNU leadership, as of the 33 people on this anti-rms petition nearly 2/3 of them have remained active on GitHub since they were purchased by Microsoft.

We are going to avoid using the names of individuals (though they already name themselves) but some of the people on the list have even contributed to the connections between GitHub and the GNU project. What isn’t being said here is that this is definitely the reason for the petition. While the timing “seizes the day” in terms of trying to kick out rms while he was already stepping down from FSF leadership, the real motivations of the signed are unknown unless we take them at their word.

When no fewer than 20 of them have written or forked code on Microsoft GitHub in the past year, in some instances even for the GNU Project — (at least 7 of them appear to work for Red Hat, which develops on GitHub and is now owned by the FSF’s largest sponsor) we have to point out the possibility that opportunism was a factor.

Either way, trusting one of the most infamous opponents of software freedom with moderation of projects like GNU Bison, GNU Fribidi and other projects key to the GNU project seems like either hiring or working for your own client’s opponent — this sounds like textbook conflict of interest to me, though Tom is the person I would go to for his greater experience with organisational process. Perhaps instead of formally being a conflict of interest, crossing the GNU project with GitHub is merely a really terrible idea — one of those instances where “compromise” isn’t a word denoting reason and cooperation as much as failure.

A bit outside the reach of GNU developers to be certain, GNUzilla is built with rust, which is developed on GitHub.

I’m now trying to catch projects that include jpeg, pdf and postscript files. Why? Because pdf and postscript files use ghostscript, which is typically compiled with png support and brings in zlib1g from GitHub. Help me find a way that’s not so.

“…of the 33 people on this anti-rms petition nearly 2/3 of them have remained active on GitHub since they were purchased by Microsoft.”For a week or two I was saving screencaps as jpeg instead of png, but it looks like OpenJPEG is GitHub-based as well. Does anybody still use libj2k?

Packages that include one or more png files include gnuschool, GNUjump, GNUbik, GNU remotecontrol, GNU Optical design and simulation library, GNU mifluz, GNU Chess and GNU libmicrohttpd.

GNU Crypto, GNU Astronomy Utilities and Gnu Circuit Analysis Package have png and pdf in docs. GNU Generic Security Service Library has png, pdf and postscript.

GnuTLS has Perl and png in the docs, GNUtrition has Python, png, and pdf.

GNUspool and GNUbatch have Perl, Python and png.

GNUsound has png files, as well as modules for ALSA and Jack, both of which are GitHub based — though I still don’t believe that and will have to check it a few more times before I do.

GNUpod is Perl based.

GNUnet uses Perl, and wolfssl from GitHub.

GNUlib uses https://github.com/gnulib-modules/bootstrap which I found because gnu-pw-mgr uses bootstrap.

GnuCOBOL has a scanner generated by flex, and Perl in tests and docs.

With gnubg, I’m hoping someone can explain this one. It contains Python scripts, there’s code written in C which is alright (I’m not going to check how these are related) and someone who appears unrelated to the project is working on something on GitHub which is also called “GNU Backgammon” at ytani01/ytBackgammon–

This is free software, so it’s certainly alright if someone forks it or creates what appears to be a Javascript project (if it is indeed a fork). It’s unfortunate that they’ve chosen GitHub for this, but if it’s not one of the actual GNU maintainers, we can’t blame the GNU Project for this. We can only hope that ytani01 decides to DeleteGithub and move their project somewhere else.

“GNU Smalltalk really shouldn’t be developed on Microsoft Github.”GNU Zile has Perl in tests and build.

GNU Wget has png in docs and could be compiled with support for brotli (from Google’s GitHub) or zstd (Facebook’s GitHub) or libpsl for cookie domain checking, which appears to be from GitHub.

GNU VCDImager is being developed on GitHub.

GNU Typist has Perl and Perl modules in tools.

GNU troff and GNU Stow use Perl.

GNU tar calls GNU bison, which is GitHub-based.

GNU SpaceChart uses Perl and contains a parser made for or with bison.

GNU source-highlight has Python and Perl in tests.

GNU Source Release Collection will depend on GitHub as long as any official GNU software does, as its purpose is to “maintain a rolling release of the latest version” of GNU projects.

I would be more comfortable with someone trying to make an official distro-like collection of all GNU projects if the project admin wasn’t someone who has continued to develop on Microsoft GitHub for the past year. Why not just bring the entire GNU project into a GitHub staging area?

What is this, anyway? https://github.com/gitGNU

“gnu_bash C GPL-3.0 37 61 0 2 Updated 5 days ago”

“I stopped counting things that use flex or bison for building because there are so many.”GNU Solfege uses Python and png.

GNU social uses HTTP_Request2, from GitHub.

GNU Smalltalk has a story, of sorts. It was being developed on GitHub as far back as 7 years ago, well before the Microsoft purchase but by now-inactive contributor bonzini/smalltalk. I only noticed this because of a dead link to MrGwen/gst-visualgst in the /packages folder of the GNU Smalltalk sources.

The current GNU maintainer is also active on GitHub, though it does not seem to be where the most recent Smalltalk development has taken place. For clarity, here is a quick timeline…

* The most recent commit from the actual GNU Smalltalk maintainer on GitHub appears to be from 2015 on janvrany/gst, except for the following fork:

* The most recent commit on GitHub related to GNU Smalltalk appears to be on a fork of Smalltalk at Synss/smalltalk (it also includes a more recent commit from the current GNU maintainer) in 2017 — this is before the GitHub purchase.

* After the 2018 acquisition, the most recent commit to GNU Smalltalk (typo fixes in the tutorial) appears to be on the GNU git — this is ideal if it’s accurate. GNU Smalltalk really shouldn’t be developed on Microsoft Github. http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/smalltalk.git/commit/

So there’s probably nothing sinister there, but it’s worth watching. The /examples include Gtk, cairo (either gtk1/github or cairo2 < zlib1g) and it uses png.

Gnu Slip uses or used bison, uses or used flex, includes a pdf user manual.

GNU Shishi is a Kerberos 5 implementation with pdf, png and postscript in the docs.

GNU sed uses Perl in tests.

“Even without being based on nixos, the fact that Guix is/has a package manager with package data means that its going to pull in applications from GitHub.”GNU Screen includes postscript in docs, while GNU Scientific Library includes Python and png in the docs.

GNU Rush includes cflex.c which is generated by flex, which is from GitHub.

I suppose there are two ways you can treat a parser or lexer created with bison or flex. You can treat them as compiled output of bison or flex, or as a program or fork in their own right. How you decide to think of them determines how vital bison or flex is to changing that project.

You can certainly change the output of bison or flex without running bison or flex again. Anybody who has written their own parsers understands this. But if the source includes the input for bison and flex or calls it from a script, then it’s difficult to say they aren’t required as well.

I stopped counting things that use flex or bison for building because there are so many.

GNU Robots uses Gtk. When you see Gtk, it pretty much means glib2 or gtk1 — one of which needs libffi, the other of which is on GitHub. This is irritating — somebody show the way out of this. I don’t love GNOME at all, but I do like Gtk.

GNU radius has a scanner written by flex, it also uses Perl. GNU Pth uses Perl and includes postscript documents.

GNU Prolog has Perl in examples, pdf and png in docs. GNU Pem uses Perl.

GNU patch appears to use bison. GNU Parted uses Perl and Python in tests.

“As to whether Guix depends on GitHub, I would say so.”GNU Parallel is based on Perl, and has pdf in /src.

GNU Paint is written in Vala, and uses glib, cairo and Gtk.

GNU Octave uses Perl and png, GNU Networking Utilities use Perl.

GNU nano has OS/2 support which comes from GitHub, and seems to need flex. The Debian package inexplicably requires zlib1g, I was unable to determine why (it’s not mentioned in the source) https://packages.debian.org/buster/nano

GNU MIX Development Kit has png in the docs, a scanner generated by flex, and uses Gtk.

GNU Midnight Commander uses Perl and optionally builds with glib2 (which needs libffi which is from Github).

The NEWS file in GNU Mes says: “Mescc now depends on M1″ from mescc-tools on GitHub, and “Mescc now depends on the hex2 linker” from mescc-tools on GitHub.

GNU MediaGoblin uses Python, as well as Docker (Docker is based on GitHub).

GNU Mailutils uses lots of Python and may need bison or flex.

GNU Mailman uses Python and png.

GNU Linear Programming Kit has pdf in examples, /doc.

GNU LilyPond Music Typesetter uses Python, postscript, has png in docs.

GNU Libtasn1 may need bison, has postscript, png and pdf in docs.

“First, I use basic automation and string matching to isolate relevant data, then to present it to me one project at a time so I can process hundreds of projects.”GNU Internationalized Domain Names Library has Perl in tests, pdf and png in docs and may have other components from GitHub.

GNU Hyperbole uses Python, png — this one is worth watching with regards to GitHub.

GNU Health is largely Python-based.

GNU HaliFAX uses Gtk. GNU gzip uses Perl. GNU gv has a parser generated with bison and uses Perl.

GNU Guix has png in docs, pdf in docs and probably needs libffi from GitHub.

NixOS being Github-based means GitHub is probably impossible to avoid for Guix — though that wouldn’t mean Guix had no potential as a fork.

Even without being based on nixos, the fact that Guix is/has a package manager with package data means that its going to pull in applications from GitHub. No effort is being made to make that more than it is, because practically every known distro pulls in packages that are GitHub-based — like Python, for example. Also libgd (GitHub) which the changelog says was added then removed. Very relevant to Guix? Perhaps not, but due to looking it up I know libgd is GitHub-based.

As to whether Guix depends on GitHub, I would say so. Elogind is forked on GitHub for guixSD: https://github.com/elogind/elogind The fork is for a good cause, but why use GitHub for this?

From README.md: “All of the credit for elogind should go to the systemd developers.” “All of the blame should go to Andy Wingo, who extracted elogind from systemd.” “All complaints should go to Sven Eden, who is maintaining elogind.”

The readme for GNU Guile-CV says Guile-CV is based on vigra (which is based on GitHub).

GNU GRUB uses Python, png, jpeg. Riscv-isa-manual is GitHub-based. The changelog implies that zstd from Facebook’s GitHub is supported, which possibly means it’s included. And m4/intl.m4 says “dnl because plural.y uses bison specific features”.

“As to how to devote hours at a time to this, it really takes a soundtrack. Half of this research was not possible without Green Velvet and Tiësto sets on loop — I would have gotten really bored.”GNU gradebook uses png and Gtk. GNU Go uses Perl, Python and has png in docs and pdf in docs.

GNU GLOBAL uses Python and Perl. It also appears to include jQuery, which is GitHub-based.

GNU Enterprise and GNU EDMA use Python.

GNU C Library uses Perl and Python. Serious question — what is it like if you remove them? I’m glossing over a lot of details there, sorry about that.

This was incredibly tedious work to research and put together, how did I sit through this?

“With a soundtrack, it’s also quite interesting to discover all these Lilliputian strings linking the GNU project with stuff developed increasingly on GitHub — Microsoft tries, as it always has year after year — to take all the marbles and win.”First, I use basic automation and string matching to isolate relevant data, then to present it to me one project at a time so I can process hundreds of projects. The automation and results prove nothing — they only show where to pay more attention. I take the data and go from there.

As to how to devote hours at a time to this, it really takes a soundtrack. Half of this research was not possible without Green Velvet and Tiësto sets on loop — I would have gotten really bored. With a soundtrack, it’s also quite interesting to discover all these Lilliputian strings linking the GNU project with stuff developed increasingly on GitHub — Microsoft tries, as it always has year after year — to take all the marbles and win.

Will Part 5 have some good news? You tell me.

Long live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 9/5/2020: Debian Stable Release (10.4), Bison 3.6 and Wine 5.8

Posted in News Roundup at 2:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • MNT Reform Open Source Hardware Laptop Launched for $999 and Up (Crowdfunding)


      MNT Reform DIY Arm Linux laptop has been in the works at least since 2017. The open source hardware laptop is also fully modular with Boundary Devices Nitrogen8M SoM featuring NXP i.MX 8M quad-core Cortex-A53 processor and 4GB RAM, M.2 NVMe SSD storage, and standard, replaceable 18650 batteries.

      The good news is the laptop is now almost ready for prime-time and has been launched on Crowd Supply with price starting at $999 in DIY kit form without storage, and $1,300 for a complete, assembled system with 256GB NVMe storage. If you don’t have that amount of money to spend, but would like to support the project, a $40 MNT Reform T-shirt is also offered. Alternatively, the motherboard only goes for $550.

    • Is Linux Marketshare Rising? (Spoiler: It’s Actually Dropping)

      Multiple Linux and tech news outlets have, this week, reported that Linux marketshare has doubled over the last month – from 1.36% to 2.87%. Linux markeshare doubling! In a single month! That’s huge news! … If it’s true. Let’s dig into the hard numbers to find out, for sure. First, it should be noted that these numbers are all based on the monthly web browser usage reports from NetMarketshare.com. To make this easier to analyze, below is the last roughly 5 years of results (one year intervals) for Linux, Windows, and MacOS using NetMarketshare’s numbers.

    • Microsoft Warns Surface Laptop Owners: Your Screen Might Crack
    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux Doubles Market Share

        Linux usage more than doubled during April, increasing from a share of 1.36 percent of all desktop operating systems in March to 2.87 percent in April. Much of the increase was seen in Ubuntu.

        Potential reasons put forward for the increase include people working from home so having more freedom to choose their operating environment. Another potential reason is Microsoft ceasing support for Windows 7 at the end of January – our own Windows 10 avoider thought long and hard about moving to Linux as their desktop system before caving in to Windows 10, and we reckon other people might have jumped the other way.

      • The Kubuntu Focus Team is Pleased to Announce The Kubuntu Focus 20.04 Enterprise Laptop

        All sales help make the Kubuntu Distribution even better and fund continual improvement of the Focus. This device is authorized by Kubuntu and a major portion of each sale is donated to the Kubuntu Council.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Full Circle Weekly News #170

        The Structure and Administration of the GNU Project Announced

        https://www.gnu.org/gnu/gnu-structure.html

        CTO calls for patience after devs complain promised donations platform has stalled

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/02/22/npm_funding_source/

        Arch Linux Has a New Leader

        https://www.archlinux.org/news/the-future-of-the-arch-linux-project-leader/

        Microsoft Previews Defender ATP for Linux

        https://www.zdnet.com/article/microsoft-previews-microsoft-defender-atp-for-linux/

        Unity 8 Renamed to Lomiri

        https://ubports.com/blog/ubports-blog-1/post/lomiri-new-name-same-great-unity8-265

        Raspberry Pi 4 with 2GB RAM Reduced to $35

        https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/new-price-raspberry-pi-4-2gb/

        DNS Over HTTPS Default for Firefox Users in USA

        https://blog.mozilla.org/blog/2020/02/25/firefox-continues-push-to-bring-dns-over-https-by-default-for-us-users/

        Freespire 6.0 is Out

        https://www.freespirelinux.com/2020/02/freespire-60-released.html

        Kernel 5.6 rc3 is Out

        https://lkml.org/lkml/2020/2/23/336

        Wayland 1.20 is Out

        https://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/wayland-devel/2020-February/041269.html

        DXVK 1.55 is Out

        https://github.com/doitsujin/dxvk/releases/tag/v1.5.5

        Wine 5.3 is Out

        https://www.winehq.org/announce/5.3

        IP Fire 2.25 Update 141 is Out

        https://blog.ipfire.org/post/ipfire-2-25-core-update-141-release

        Latte Dock 0.9.9 is Out

        https://psifidotos.blogspot.com/2020/02/latte-bug-fix-release-v099.html

        Manjaro 19, Kyria, is Out;

        https://forum.manjaro.org/t/manjaro-19-0-released-gnome-kde-xfce-architect/126010

        GIMP 2.10.18 is Out

        https://www.gimp.org/news/2020/02/24/gimp-2-10-18-released/

        Netrunner “Twenty” is Out

        https://www.netrunner.com/netrunner-20-01-twenty-released/

        Android x86 9.0-r1 is Out

        https://www.android-x86.org/releases/releasenote-9-0-r1.html

        Credits:
        Ubuntu “Complete” sound: Canonical

      • A new way to enjoy LibrePlanet 2020 sessions: Podcast format

        Looking for some audio entertainment to get you through a slow afternoon, or to accompany you on a walk through the park? LibrePlanet 2020: Free the Future sessions are now available as audio files! We have uploaded them in conjunction with an RSS feed you can import into your favorite podcasting app or RSS reader, enabling you to discover new talks and catch all of the ones that you might have missed using a free podcast app like AntennaPod via Android, or gPodder, if you are on your desktop computer.

        As of today, the videos and slides, and audio from LibrePlanet: Free the Future sessions are available in the LibrePlanet archives, a treasure trove of shareable talks and panels from past years of the annual conference on current issues in ethics, social justice, and technology.

        The LibrePlanet 2020 program page has links to all recorded videos, audio, and the accompanying slides. For more information about the sessions, particularly how the FSF tech team was able to transform a popular in-person conference to a fully livestreamed event using only free software, visit our page on the LibrePlanet wiki or read our detailed blog post, “How to livestream a conference in just under a week.”

      • Test and Code: 112: Six Principles of Readable Tests – David Seddon

        “Code is read much more often than it is written.” – Guido van Rossum
        This is true for both production code and test code.

        When you are trying to understand why a test is failing, you’ll be very grateful to the test author if they’ve taken the care to make it readable.

        David Seddon came up with 6 principles to help us write more readable tests.
        We discuss these, as well as more benefits of readable tests.

      • 2020-05-08 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla halts the rollout of Firefox 76 after several prominent bugs are discovered, the GNU project unveils GCC 10.1 with the long-awaited inclusion of static analysis tooling, Telegram’s TON troubles continue with a new offer to backers in lieu of repayment, and ScyllaDB 4.0 arrives with better Kubernetes support and a DynamoDB compatible API.

    • Benchmarks

      • Crucial P2 Performance On Ubuntu Linux – An Affordable 500GB NVMe SSD

        Last month Crucial introduced their P2 NVMe SSD series as their new low-cost successor to their prior P1 series. The Crucial P2 500GB NVMe solid-state drive retails for $60~65 USD which offers good value and yields better performance than their prior low-cost P1 SSDs.

        The Crucial P2 employs a Phison controller and Micron QLC NAND chips. The 500GB P2 is advertised as offering up to 20% faster sequential reads than its predecessor but with similar sequential writes.

    • Applications

      • Jarnal – An Open-Source Digital Note-Taker and PDF Annotator

        Jarnal is not perfect and there are some missing features like support for other graphical export formats besides JPEG and PDF, resizing images using the text function, adding information like authorship and bookmarks to the undo stack. The beauty of open-source software is that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Expect to see improvements to the app soon.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine 5.8 Released

        The Wine development release 5.8 is now available.

        What’s new in this release:

        Support for Plug & Play device notifications.
        More support for building with Clang in MSVC mode.
        Still more progress on the WineD3D Vulkan backend.
        Initial implementation of a GIF encoder.
        Vulkan spec update.
        Various bug fixes.
        The source is available now. Binary packages are in the process of being built, and will appear soon at their respective download locations.

      • Wine Announcement
      • Happy hour has arrived at bar GOL with the Wine 5.8 release and it’s a real corker

        Did you miss our Wine release day puns? Well good news! I’ve pressed them into service and aged them to perfection so they have returned along with the Wine 5.8 release that’s now available.

        Hold up. What’s this Wine then if not an incredibly tasty liquid that you need to drink responsibly? Wine is a compatibility layer that can enable Windows software (and plenty of games) to run on Linux.

      • Wine 5.8 Released With GIF Encoder, More WineD3D Vulkan Progress

        Wine 5.8 continues the recent CodeWeavers work on plumbing the Vulkan back-end for the WineD3D code path as an alternative to the default OpenGL code-path. This WineD3D Vulkan approach is akin to DXVK but is still very much a work in progress and not nearly as mature as DXVK.

        In addition to the WineD3D Vulkan work, there is now support for plug-and-play device notifications, support for building with the LLVM Clang in the MSVC mode, an initial implementation of a GIF encoder, updating against the latest Vulkan spec, and various bug fixes.

      • Wine-Staging 5.8 Is Smaller Thanks To Upstreaming More Patches

        Wine 5.8 was released on Friday with a GIF encoder, more WIneD3D Vulkan progress, and other changes while out today is Wine-Staging 5.8 for this experimental blend.

        Wine-Staging this time around isn’t introducing any new staging/experimental patches, but has updated a number of their patches around NTDLL, WineD3D indexed vertex blending, Winebuild fake DLLs, and other bits. But making this release a bit more notable is that it’s on the smaller size in recent times.

    • Games

      • Crash N. Sane Trilogy | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Steam Play

        Crash N. Sane Trilogy running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs pretty perfect!

      • If you feel the need to take down capitalism then Tonight We Riot is out now

        It’s clearly political (although what isn’t?) and leans fully into it. You won’t be pulling any punches here, in fact you’re using bricks and petrol bombs and all sorts to take down riot police firing great big crowd-control water cannons at you. Tonight We Riot is all about liberation! You control a group of people, and as long as one is left you can keep going. You take over buildings while amassing more into your group as you go.

      • PocketCars: Early Access Impressions

        Like the idea of controlling a RC car and racing against other RC cars, with rockets, mines, and other weapons at your disposal? Look no further than PocketCars.

        Judging by the current Steam reviews, it seems the game has taken a lot of inspiration from the 1999 classic Re-Volt. We could say, in effect, PocketCars is the spiritual successor, albeit some adjustments have been made, such as the handling of the cars to give the game a more arcade-like experience.

        I have to say, even for an early access title, the game is hell of a lot of fun. The cars handle relatively well, the environments are beautifully detailed, and the use of weapons and ramps make the gameplay exciting.

      • Super Powered Battle Friends Gets Update, Drops (For Now) Linux Support

        Yesterday I happened to be browsing through the backlog of my Steam library. A little notification from the lower-right of my screen tells me one of the games I have had uninstalled for a while — Super Powered Battle Friends — has been updated.

        For those unaware, Super Powered Battle Friends (SPBF) is a pixelated platform fighting game that heavily borrows elements found in the Super Smash Brothers series, although certain features haven’t been incorporated yet, such as grabbing, teching, and running. It’s been in Early Access for about a year now. Currently there’s six characters and five stages, with a training mode along with local and online multiplayer. An interesting tidbit is that the game is built with Unreal — I’ve never come across a 2D game made with Unreal Engine before.

      • Indivisible gains a first DLC adding in a ton of extra challenges to test your skill

        Was the furious button-bashing in Indivisible not enough for you? Well there’s now a first DLC out with Razmi’s Challenges. Although if you are just button-bashing, you’re playing Indivisible completely the wrong way…

        Razmi’s Challenges, as the name suggest, extends the game in a new way. Adding in 40 new levels to test both platforming and combat skills. Making it a bit different, you’re given pre-selected abilities so you have to work with what you’ve got. To access it you need to of course have unlocked Razmi, with the challenges available from Ajna’s special inner realm.

      • Battle through a hostile alien planet in a massive mech, BE-A Walker is out now

        BE-A Walker from Tequilabyte Studio puts you in the pilot seat of a massive mechanized walker, as you battle through a hostile alien world. Out now with Linux support.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma Desktop 5.18.5 Released with 50+ Changes

          KDE Plasma desktop environment 5.18 released on Feb 2020 with many refinements and features. Recently KDE Plasma released the latest 5.18.5 version which is a bugfix point release and contains under the hood bug fixes.

          Although the majority of the fixes in KDE Plasma 5.18.5 is for stability and fixes crashes, however, these are some of the important changes picked up from the changelog.

        • Progress on Plasma



          With our release announcement for Ubuntu Studio 20.04 LTS, we revealed that it would be our last version with the Xfce desktop, and that we would be moving to the KDE Plasma desktop starting with 20.10. Interestingly enough, that news took nearly two weeks to get noticed. When it did, it hit big.

          In the release announcement, we talked about the reason for our decision. One of those was resource usage being comparable. On a fresh boot of the 20.04 LTS Live Image with Xfce, Ubuntu Studio was using approximately 620MB of RAM. On a fresh boot of the 20.10 Daily Live Image with KDE Plasma, Ubuntu Studio was using approximately 670MB of RAM. That ~50MB difference is extremely negligible, especially if you are running a machine with higher RAM availability. For reference, Ubuntu Studio is created for more powerful computers, is not meant to run on low-powered or older hardware, and is not meant to give an old computer new life. For that reason, from our perspective, the RAM usage between the two desktops is nearly the same.

        • Ubuntu Studio Making Good Progress On Their Transition To KDE Plasma
        • Krita and me by Saurabh Kumar

          Krita is my first interaction with the open source community and the experience has been truly spectacular. The community of developers and artists around Krita is very warm and friendly. They answer the dumbest of your questions. Starting from helping me build Krita to getting my GSoC proposal ready, they were always helpful. I feel like I have been nurtured by this community to have a more open minded perspective. I have seen how patiently they answer questions that are asked by me and others, no matter how stupid it may sound, and this has made me kinder to people. I am no more the cold fish that I used to be, the warmth is changing me. Krita has enabled me to use my skills to solve problems that would help a lot of people. The effect of open source is not only limited to my development skills, it has spilled over to other parts of my life as well.

          On the more technical side, I have become more confident with multiple files, classes and functions that interact with each other in complex manner. I have become better at finding and understanding the code that affects the relevant problem. I have learned the value of good documentation and good comments. The feeling of gratitude towards the developer when trying to understand a piece of code and finding a relevant comment is immense.(Note to self: write good comments). I have a lot to learn, and after contributing to Krita I have gained a new confidence in my ability to learn.

          I have been selected to participate in GSoC 2020 to work on a Storyboard docker for Krita. I would be mentored by Agata Cacko, Boudewijn Rempt and Scott Petrovic. This project would aim to build a storyboard docker that would let animators and storyboarders create a storyboard easily and quickly. They would also be able to export the storyboard in commonly used formats. I look forward to working with my mentors and the community to complete this project.

        • This week in KDE: Get new clipped subsurface Dolphin folder sizes

          This week a lot of work was put into improving the reliability of the “Get new [thing]” feature integrated into many KDE apps and System Settings pages. Also, several Wayland improvements landed, including subsurface clipping. Finally, a major Dolphin feature request was implemented, allowing the display of on-disk folder sizes!

        • KDE KWin Finally Sees An Important Fix For Addressing Visual Glitches

          It’s been another busy week for KDE developers even with everything happening globally around the coronavirus there are a lot of open-source desktop innovations continuing.

          KDE developer Nate Graham put out his weekly summary of the prominent feature and fixing work accomplished by the global KDE team.

        • Selected For GSoC 2020 :) by Shubham Mishra

          Part 1 – I am blessed to announce that I have been selected for Google Summer of Codes 2020 with GCompris! I would really like to thank my mentors for giving me this opportunity. So yeah, I am really excited to begin one more journey with Gcompris after successfully completing SoK this year. loads of fun and a very productive summer is waiting for me ahead. I am ready to grasp it with both hands. I would say the key factor for my selection in GSoC is my involvement with community. I have been contributing since last December, I was active on IRC, discussing stuffs and also submitted my proposal for reviews, quite early which gave a decent amount of time to mentors to review it properly and suggest appropriate changes. Stay tuned, I will share my goals and further journey with Gcompis in upcoming blogs.

        • Welcoming our Google Summer of Code Students for 2020

          We are so grateful to the GSoC program for offering this opportunity to the KDE Community and our students. By the end of the summer, we hope that each of these students will be a confident KDE Developer, happy with their summer of work, and looking forward to supporting their code and newfound friends far into the future.

          Krita is KDE’s professional free and open source painting program. The Krita team will mentor four students this year: L. E. Segovia will work on adding dynamic fill layers, Saurabh Kumar will implement a storyboard feature, Sharaf Zaman will bring SVG Mesh Gradients to Krita and Ashwin Dhakaita will integrate the MyPaint brush engine.

          GCompris is a high quality educational software suite which includes a large number of activities for children aged 2 to 10. This year GCompris will have two students with Deepak Kumar adding multiple datasets to several activities and Shubham Mishra will complete the multiple dataset task.

          digiKam is KDE’s professional photo management software. This year digiKam will be mentoring two students: Nghia Duong will bring DNN based face recognition improvements to the app and R Kartik will make improvements to the face management workflow.

        • Krita Weekly #14 | GSoC is on

          After an anxious month, I am writing a Krita Weekly again and probably this would be my last one too, though I hope not. Let’s start by talking about bugs. Unlike the trend going about the last couple of months, the numbers have taken a serious dip. The net change in the number of bugs was 40 last week and is pretty obvious from the graph. I will just hope that this continues so that finally we can have the magical number 0.

          [...]

          Saurabh, a new contributor would be working on adding storyboard support to Krita. Psst, you can give the credit of popping in the idea to me btw, I needed a drawing software to create pdf slides and tada. Last but not the least Ashwin will be working on supporting MyPaint’s brush engine inside Krita.

          I would have been working on SVG flowing-text too, but got a job, will be starting next Monday so I had to withdraw from GSoC. And regularly blogging with a full-time job while not impossible would cramp my schedule, so I won’t promise any Krita Weeklies from now on. :wq for now.

        • Improving KNotifications on Android



          Since last year KDE’s KNotification framework has support for Android. And while that generally works, there were still a number of things to polish in order to improve the experience on Android, e.g. when using KDE Itinerary there.

          [...]

          Still active notifications can be updated when the event they are about changed or more information becomes available. That’s way less bothersome for the user than issuing a new notification each time. KNotifications’ Android backend was however missing support for this until now, which is rectified by D29339, in time for KF 5.70

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Connections: A New Remote Desktop Client for GNOME

          A new and modern remote desktop client for GNOME named “Connections” is announced.

        • Alexandru Băluț: Presenting Our Google Summer of Code Students!

          Google has published the list of students accepted in the Google Summer of Code program. The accepted students work on open-source software. Pending monthly evaluations, the students receive a stipend from Google. Like last year, we’re mentoring three students!

          [...]

          Vivek R will implement face/object tracking and blurring. A new GStreamer plugin will allow tracking a specified region in the video using OpenCV. The obtained tracking information is presented to the user to be reviewed and adjusted in a new UI Perspective. The user can apply the adjusted positions to a blur effect applied to the clip.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • MakuluLinux Delivers Modernity With New Core Platform


          Through the years MakuluLinux developer Raymer has tried to make his distribution easy to use. He wanted to maintain simplicity with complexity and beauty at its Core. That involved combining a unique balance of stability, raw power, extreme speed, pure beauty and absolute ease of use, he said.

          The MakuluLinux 2020 releases solidly hit those marks. While a matter of personal preference, the Core edition surpasses the accomplishments of LinDoz and Flash.

          Core’s minimum Ram requirements are 1 GB or more. It should be installed with at least 15 GB storage space available.

          Check out the Easter Eggs hidden within. Right-click on the desktop menu. It is packed full of goodies.

        • Pop!_OS 20.04 Review: Professional Linux Distribution Ever Made

          Linux is growing faster than ever. As per the latest report, there is a drop in the Windows 10 market share for the first time, and Linux’s market share has improved to 2.87% this month.

          Honestly, it isn’t a huge surprise. Linux has started to take off from 2019 onwards due to several reasons. To quickly put it together, in a nutshell, Linux is growing due to its reliability, security, faster user experience, customization, and the myriad of Linux options for the user.

          Introduction

          When I say “Linux options,” it’s the number of Linux distros to choose from as per the user’s taste. One such distro we are going to review today is Pop!_OS. System76, one of the growing Linux systems maker, has unleashed the latest and greatest Pop!_OS 20.04 that is grabbing a lot of attention these days.

      • New Releases

        • Elive 3.8.12 beta released

          Debian Buster-based, 2 Kernel options, optional 64BIT, rock solid like never seen before, and much more…

        • Elive 3.8.12 Beta Released With Outdated Enlightenment 16 Desktop

          live is a faster, friendlier, and feature-rich Linux distribution built on top of Debian GNU/Linux. The Elive team recently released its beta version 3.8.12 with an old and yet intuitive Enlightenment 16 as a temporary desktop environment.

          [...]

          You can download the latest beta version 3.8.12 from the official site here. The ISO images are available for both 32-bit and 64-bit devices. For the next process of creating a bootable USB and installation, head over to the instruction page here.

          [...]

          You can download the latest beta version 3.8.12 from the official site here. The ISO images are available for both 32-bit and 64-bit devices. For the next process of creating a bootable USB and installation, head over to the instruction page here.

      • Gentoo Family

        • Reviving Gentoo Bugday

          Reviving an old tradition, the next Gentoo Bugday will take place on Saturday 2020-06-06. Let’s contribute to Gentoo and fix bugs!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Community Account Migration

          The authentication system behind the following services are expect to changed this month. Here is a list of services the might be affected. An email about this topic was sent out on the openSUSE Project Mailing List. More information about this topic will be updated on the Account Migration Wiki page.

          [...]

          The services using the Community Accounts will migrate step-by-step. This means that for some days you need to use the old and new credentials until the services are migrated.

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/19

          During this week, we managed to set a new record: the most broken Tumbleweed snapshot handed over to openQA. W whopping 9 tests out of > 220 passed, everything else failed. What a luck we have openQA, right? Nothing of that was mirrored out and sent out to users. Fur the curious ones: the issue came from an incomplete rebuild after the switch to Ruby 2.7. Still, we managed to release 6 snapshots during this week (0429, 0501, 0502, 0503, 0504 and 0506)

      • Slackware Family

        • Old box, dumb code, few thousand connections, no big deal

          I wrote up a load testing tool, too. It will create any number of worker threads, each of which opens a TCP connection back to the server. Each one of those will fire a request down the pipe, wait for the response, sleep a configurable period, and then go again.

          Let’s say I stand up the server and a loadgen instance on the same machine. In this case it’s my nine-year-old workstation box running Slackware64. I tell the load generator to hit the server (on localhost), run 2000 workers, and wait 200 milliseconds between queries.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The success of virtual conferences, Retropie comes to Raspberry Pi 4, and other open source news

          The technology industry, and non-profits supporting open source software, greatly depend on conferences to connect their community together. There has been an open question of whether moving to an online alternative would be effective or not. The last two weeks have given us reason to say virtual conferences are a huge success, and there are multiple paths to getting there.

          The first success goes to Red Hat Summit, a conference put on by Red Hat to showcase their technology and interact with the open source community each year. Last year it held at Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in Boston, MA with a record-breaking 8,900 people in attendence. This year, due to COVID-19, Red Hat took it virtual with what they called Red Hat Summit 2020 Virtual Experience. The final attendance numbers, as reported by IT World Canada, was 80,000 people.

        • BlockMap helps you find the safest route avoiding COVID-19 hotspots

          Running simple errands during a crisis like that of the COVID-19 pandemic can be fraught with risk. Knowing which areas of a crowded city to avoid when picking up a prescription gives us a degree of personal safety and helps limit the spread of the virus at a societal level.

          This is where BlockMap comes in. The key feature of this blockchain-powered app is the “Smart Navigator,” providing a vantage point of at risk locations in the user’s area through a detailed map. The app goes even further, and leverages GPS capabilities to alert you if you’re in an area of high risk. Retailers and other organizations can utilize this feature to detect branches in high-risk areas that may need extra support to protect customers and employees.

        • IBM Launches Tech Preview Of Cloud Satellite

          IBM Cloud Satellite enables you to run workloads where it makes the most sense. Unlike other public clouds, IBM Cloud is architected with an open source Kubernetes foundation for greater portability to IBM Cloud Satellite locations. As the company puts it, customers can run workloads, data, and services across any environment—whether that is public cloud, your data center, or an edge location—to achieve consistent application operations and improved performance across their environments.

        • IndiGo builds a real time data platform with Red Hat Fuse
      • Debian Family

        • Updated Debian 10: 10.4 released



          The Debian project is pleased to announce the fourth update of its stable distribution Debian 10 (codename buster). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 10 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old buster media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

          Upgrading an existing installation to this revision can be achieved by pointing the package management system at one of Debian’s many HTTP mirrors. A comprehensive list of mirrors is available at…

        • Debian 10.4 Released With Many Fixes, Security Updates
        • And again – CD release for Buster release 4 is going to happen over the weekend …

          And for our regular readers – it’s happening again. I’m sitting here with two laptops, a desktop, a connection to IRC – and friends in Cambridge and elsewhere involved in this too.

        • CD image testing for Buster release 4 – 202005091538 – Coming along nicely

          We’re most of the way through testing the various installs, with good success. Waiting on a few things to be built. It’s a good way to pass an afternoon / evening.

        • CD / DVD image testing happening now – 202005091330

          The usual suspects very much involved – Isy, myself, RattusRattus, schweer and Sledge. Image testing going on to good effect. Update pulses are starting to hit mirrors: just done a dist-upgrade on one of the machines here. All good

        • Thorsten Alteholz: My Debian Activities in April 2020

          This month I accepted 384 packages and rejected 47. The overall number of packages that got accepted was 457.

        • Use Speedtest CLI to test your Internet Speed on Debian 10

          In order to fix problems with slow connections that lead to poor Internet access, we first want to check the Internet speed on our system. E.g. when you have switched to a new internet connection and want to make sure that you are getting what the provider offers, it is useful to check the internet speed. In this article, we will use a Linux command-line tool called speedtest-cli. It is written in Python and uses the website speedtest.net to check bandwidth by uploading and downloading data to and from your system.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The best way to protect the US electrical grid is with open source



        Recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect the US electricity grid from cyber attacks by blocking power-equipment imports from “foreign adversaries.” Presumably, that includes Russia, Iran, and — most important of all — China. There’s only one problem with that: The vast majority of high-end electrical equipment is built outside of the US.

        In specific, China is leading the way in advanced electrical grid technology. State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the world’s largest power company, is building the first ultra-high-voltage DC (UHVDC) electrical lines, which can carry over a million volts. China is doing this in partnership with the Swiss-Swedish ABB Group. Are Switzerland and Sweden “foreign adversaries” too?

      • 5 Open Source Tools Every Digital Nomad Needs

        We’ll start off with a tool you’ll probably need to enable collaboration as a part of your daily grind. Even though you might have chosen to go solo, chances are at some point you’re going to have to work with others. On top of that, you’ll probably want a cloud server that isn’t directly tied to Google, Apple, or Microsoft. So why not have your very own cloud solution, one that gives you full control over every aspect?

        That solution is Nextcloud. With the latest release, Nextcloud includes more tools than you’ll probably need as a digital nomad. In fact, once you have this cloud-based server up and running, you’ll find most everything you need is at the ready. And with Nextcloud 18, you’ll also enjoy a fully featured office suite included, so you can take care of all your writing and collaboration tasks within a single web-based tool.

        The only caveats to using Nextcloud is that you’ll have to pay for hosting the service and, depending on your skill level, you might have to hire an IT outsourcing company like BairesDev to get the server up and running. So even though you’re not going to be paying a single dime for software, you do have to host that free software somewhere.

      • Open Source And Automotive Safety Critical Systems: What Are The Tradeoffs ?



        As discussed in “Linux Beat IBM IBM, Will Open-Source Software Beat Waymo And Tesla TSLA ,” the power of open source systems to crowd-source innovation across a community has been demonstrated with a whole host of IT applications such as linux, wordpress, and others. In the area of autonomous vehicles, “Will A Small Open-Source Effort From Japan Disrupt The Autonomous Space ?” outlined a fledgling open-source effort in Japan called Autoware. One of the most interesting comments from the Autoware team was the ongoing challenges of maintaining a coherent software system while dealing with a variety of contributors. Maintaining a coherent software system is very important for safety-critical applications. Further, in “Is Automotive CyberSecurity a National Defense Issue ?” we discuss the potential of autonomous vehicles to not only cause issues for the safety of the driver, but the potential for an advisory to turn fleets of vehicles into robots of mass destruction. Thus, the stakes become even higher.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Ludovic Hirlimann: Recommendations are moving entities

            At my new job we publish an open source webapp map systems uxing a mix of technologies, we also offer it as SAS. Last Thursday I looked at how our Nginx server was configured TLS wise.

            I was thrilled to see the comment in our nginx code saying the configuration had been built using mozilla’s ssl config tool. At the same time I was shocked to see that the configuration that dated from early 2018 was completely out of date. Half of the ciphers were gone. So we took a modern config and applied it.

          • Update Firefox again – more RCEs and an Android “takeover” bug too

            This weekend, we were urging you to check your Firefox version to make sure you were up to date…

            …and now we’re urging you to check again.

            The update that came out over the weekend was an emergency patch, issued for a security hole that was found because it was already in use by criminals in real life – what’s known in the trade as a zero day because there were zero days on which you could have patched in advance.

            This one is a bit less dramatic, being a scheduled update of the sort you expect to see issued on a regular basis.

          • Mozilla Security Blog: May 2020 CA Communication

            Mozilla has sent a CA Communication and Survey to inform Certification Authorities (CAs) who have root certificates included in Mozilla’s program about current expectations. Additionally this survey will collect input from CAs on potential changes to Mozilla’s Root Store Policy.

            [...]

            With this CA Communication, we reiterate that participation in Mozilla’s CA Certificate Program is at our sole discretion, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to keep our users safe. Nevertheless, we believe that the best approach to safeguard that security is to work with CAs as partners, to foster open and frank communication, and to be diligent in looking for ways to improve.

          • This Week in Glean: mozregression telemetry (part 2)

            This is a continuation of an exploration of adding Glean-based telemetry to a python application, in this case mozregression, a tool for automatically finding the source of Firefox regressions (breakage).

            When we left off last time, we had written some test scripts and verified that the data was visible in the debug viewer.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Bison 3.6 released
            We are extremely happy to announce the release of Bison 3.6: 
            - the developer can forge syntax error messages the way she wants. 
            - token string aliases can be internationalized, and UTF-8 sequences 
              are properly preserved. 
            - push parsers can ask at any moment for the list of "expected tokens", 
              which can be used to provide syntax-driven autocompletion. 
            - yylex may now tell the parser to enter error-recovery without issuing an 
              error message (when the error was already reported by the scanner). 
            - several new examples were added, in particular "bistromathic" demonstrates 
              almost all the existing bells and whistles, including interactive 
              autocompletion on top of GNU readline. 
            Please see the much more detailed release notes below. 
            Many thanks to testers, bug reporters, contributors and feature requesters: 
            Adrian Vogelsgesang, Ahcheong Lee, Alexandre Duret-Lutz, Andy Fiddaman, 
            Angelo Borsotti, Arthur Schwarz, Christian Schoenebeck, Dagobert Michelsen, 
            Denis Excoffier, Dennis Clarke, Don Macpherson, Evan Lavelle, Frank 
            Heckenbach, Horst von Brand, Jannick, Nikki Valen, Paolo Bonzini, Paul 
            Eggert, Pramod Kumbhar and Victor Morales Cayuela.  The author also thanks 
            an anonymous reviewer for his precious comments. 
            Special thanks to Bruno Haible for his investment into making Bison 
            portable. 
            Happy parsing! 
                   Akim 
            
      • Programming/Development

        • Term of the day: builder gloves

          Another in my continuing series of attempts to coin, or popularize, terms that software engineers don’t know they need yet. This one comes from my apprentice, Ian Bruene.

          “Builder gloves” is the special knowledge possessed by the builder of a tool which allows the builder to use it without getting fingers burned.

          Software that requires builder gloves to use is almost always faulty. There are rare exceptions to this rule, when the application area of the software is so arcane that the builder’s specialist knowledge is essential to driving it. But usually the way to bet is that if your code requires builder gloves it is half-baked, buggy, has a poorly designed UI or is poorly documented.

          When you ship software that you know requires builder gloves, or someone else tells you that it seems to require builder gloves, it could ruin someone else’s day and reflect badly on you. But if you believe in releasing early and often, sometimes half-baked is going to happen. Here’s how to mitigate the problem.

        • Retro Nixie tube lights get smart
        • Perl/Raku

          • CY’s take on Perl Weekly Challenge #059

            (Finally, I installed a Linux distribution in my laptop — my choice is Linux Mint (a distribution forked from earlier Ubuntu) .) (In Hong Kong, there are no shops selling Linux-installed/Linux-Windows-dual-boot laptop. People[1] are too rich and just buy Windows pre-installed laptops or MacBooks.(???) ) (This is not my first time to own a laptop with Linux but this time I am more serious about the system setting.)

            The COVID-19 virus pandemic is under control in Hong Kong these two week. What a piece of good news.

  • Leftovers

    • The Most Beautiful House In the World

      In 2009, I concluded an essay titled The Ten Principles of Bandung, with the following lines:

    • Brick-by-Brick: An Ode to My Mexican Mother, Carmen Mejía Huerta

      My late mother, Carmen Mejía Huerta, built her own home, brick by brick, in Mexico. Too poor to secure a piece of the “American Dream” in el norte, during the mid-1980s, while residing in East Los Angeles, she decided to build her own home.

    • Beyond Time: Ellsie Kay, Connie Converse and a Musical Lineage

      The singer-songwriter Connie Converse was born in 1924 and raised in New Hampshire. Her musical and creative aspirations took her, along with so many others, to Greenwich Village and the city at large. Much of her oeuvre was self-recorded in the early 1950s in her Greenwich Village apartment, accompanying her vocals with guitar. Other informal recordings were made under the aegis of legendary animator and music lover Gene Deitch (who, as of this writing, died a few days ago). Converse was a guest on Walter Cronkite’s Morning Show. She created a small niche as a singer-songwriter before the term singer-songwriter even existed.

    • We Are Movie Cameras, Lucidly Dreaming

      Recently, I re-watched the classic experimental film, Man With A Camera (1929), written and directed by Russian Dziga Vertov (and marvelously edited by his wife, Elizaveta Svilova). Voted the number one documentary of all time by the British Film Institute’s Sight and Sound magazine, it’s a gem of a flick, the vibrancy of an early industrialized city on full display (actually, four cities spliced together: Kiev, Kharkov, Moscow and Odessa) and flaunting every known (and, until then, unknown) cinematic technique in the book — fades, reverse angles, crane shots, train shots, trick photography, panoramics, close-ups, nudity, births, deaths, marriages, divorces. And leitmotifs of self-referentiality: cameras filming cameramen at work (clambering, risking), or slyly turned on the audience, as if winking at us, camera to camera.

    • Corona Music

      Spring has been slow to come to Upstate New York. There have been snow flurries in April, and the yearned-for arrival of green in the landscape has been halting. Like the humans, the leaves seem afraid to enter the public sphere.

    • Pete Zaitcev: Recruiter spam

      A few days ago, a Facebook recruiter, JP, sent me a form e-mail to an address that I do not give to anyone. It is only visible as a contact for one of my domains, because the registrar does not believe in privacy. I was pondering if I should propose to give him a consideration in exchange for the explanation of just where he obtained the address. Purely out of curiosity.

      Today, an Amazon recruiter, Jonte, sent a message to an appropriate address. But he did it with addresses in the To: header, not just the envelope. He used a hosted Exchange of all things, and there were 294 addresses in total. That should give you an idea just how hard these people work to spam and at what level of being disposable I am in their eyes.

      It really is pure spam. I think it’s likely that JP bought or stole a spam database. He didn’t write a Python script that scraped whois information.

    • Education

      • Defcon Is Canceled

        Defcon’s more buttoned-up sister conference, Black Hat, which takes place in the days leading up to Defcon every year, has been called off as well. Both events will host online conferences instead that include research talks and social events. The founder of both conferences, Jeff Moss, who is also known by his hacker name the Dark Tangent, said in a forum post that the 28th Defcon will be known as “Safe Mode,” referencing the name most operating systems use for their diagnostic and recovery mode.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Probe by Federal Agency Finds ‘Reasonable Grounds to Believe’ HHS Whistleblower’s Ouster Was Retaliation by Trump Officials

        “This country is in an unprecedented health crisis and needs the expertise of Dr. Bright to lead the nation’s efforts to combat Covid-19,” said whistleblower’s lawyers.

      • Russia overtakes Germany in reported coronavirus cases, as total patient count nears 200k

        On the morning of May 8, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 10,699 new coronavirus infections in the past day (there were 11,231 new cases the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 187,859 patients.

      • Russian courts set to resume work on May 12

        Courts in Russia will resume regular working hours on May 12, following a break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Kommersant reports.

      • Faint Praise for the Pandemic

        I have not been touched, not really. No one I know has died or even sickened. At most I’ve experienced petty annoyances. I am 81 years old, white, male, an attorney for poor and unhoused people. I own my home. From my comfortable perch on top of a pyramid of suffering, I wrote this piece, originally entitled In Praise of a Pandemic, suggesting that, on balance, this coronavirus may accomplish more good than harm. There are too many variables to know for sure, and it is certainly true that if good is accomplished at the price of so much misery, it’s hardly grounds for praise – regret perhaps that no good comes without a terrible price, but not praise. I realized, once I finished the writing, that I could not stand at the entrance to an emergency room, as exhausted nurses, paramedics and doctors tend to terribly sick people who may die without the benefit of human touch, and feel comfortable, should someone ask, saying I had just written an article with the title, In Praise of a Pandemic. And yet that’s what I’d done. What was I thinking? That I was being daring? That the shock value of the title would draw readers? I’m sure that was a part of it. Now calling the praise “faint,” hardly helps matters. But that’s where I’ve landed. Distance from suffering is a privilege. Distance may provide perspective, but at what cost?  I wrote what I wrote, believing there is truth in it, and the speculation morally defensible. It is what it is, a document of the times.

      • ‘Huge Moment for the Movement’: New Orleans City Council Unanimously Backs Medicare for All

        The resolution passed Thursday endorses federal legislation ensuring comprehensive healthcare coverage both for the duration of the pandemic and beyond.

      • Russian Secret Service officer dies from COVID-19 after paramedics refuse to answer his calls for two days

        Alexey Titov, a 42-year-old major in Russia’s Federal Protective Service (FSO) and an assistant at the Moscow Kremlin on-call Commandant’s Office, died of pneumonia at an FSB hospital on April 30. After his death, his relatives received his test results showing that he’d tested positive for COVID-19. A source in the FSO reported this information to Meduza, and it was confirmed by two of his friends. Another source close to the FSO confirmed information about the major’s death, but emphasized that he was unaware of Titov’s coronavirus diagnosis. 

      • Trump Isn’t the First to Threaten WHO, Merely the Most Dangerous
      • Whistleblower complaint details Trump administration’s corruption and obstruction of anti-pandemic efforts

        On Tuesday, Dr. Rick Bright, the ousted director of the government agency overseeing the development of a coronavirus vaccine, filed an 89-page whistleblower complaint that provides further details on the Trump administration’s cover-up of the dangers from the virus and opposition to any coordinated effort to prevent its spread. It also catalogues corruption and insider dealing in awarding government contracts to drug firms and other companies, including those with ties to the Trump family.

        Bright, who headed the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) since 2016, was removed from his post on April 20 after he leaked information concerning his opposition to the promotion of hydroxychloroquine by the White House and top officials in the Department of Health and Human Services to a Reuters reporter, who published an article on the internal administration conflict on April 16.

        His formal complaint was filed with the Office of Special Counsel, which is tasked with shielding whistleblowers from retaliation by government officials. In it, Bright asks to be restored to his position at the head of BARDA and for the launching of an investigation into his removal.

      • One Mardi Gras Story Lays Bare How COVID-19 Is Devastating Black People

        We look at the deadly disparate impact of the pandemic on African Americans as told through an in-depth story for The New York Times Magazine by writer Linda Villarosa in her new piece, “’A Terrible Price’: The Deadly Racial Disparities of Covid-19 in America,” that tells what happened to the Zulu club, a Black social organization in New Orleans, during and after Mardi Gras. She reports that the experience is usually a joy, but the coronavirus made it a tragedy.

      • Racial Fault Lines and the Coronavirus

        Along with millions of other Southern Californians, my family and I have been learning to live with the probability in our lifetimes of a mega-quake, a massive earthquake generated not only by sudden movement in the southern sector of the 800-mile long San Andreas Fault, but also possibly triggered and magnified by the countless other faults that crisscross our region.

      • Jared Kushner Reportedly in Charge of Push for Vaccine — What Could Go Wrong?

        President Trump has turned to Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser — whose shadow White House coronavirus task force is currently the subject of a congressional whistleblower complaint — to captain the administration’s effort to fast-track a coronavirus vaccine.

      • V-E Day Plus 75: From a Moment of Victory to a Time of Pandemic

        The 75th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender in May 1945 ought to prompt thoughtful reflection. For Americans, V-E Day, as it was then commonly called, marked the beginning of “our times.” The Covid-19 pandemic may signal that our times are now coming to an end.

      • COVID-19 and a New, Better World

        Indian writer Arundhati Roy writes that the COVID-19 pandemic is a “portal”—a “gateway”—to a new world. “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.”

      • Twitter Making It Easier To Study The Public Discussions Around COVID-19

        There has been a lot of talk about how this moment in history is going to be remembered — and as Professor Jay Rosen has been saying, a key part is going to be an effort by the many people who failed to respond properly to rewrite the history of everything that happened:

      • System Failure: Our Food System is Not Set Up to Handle a Global Crisis

        As we face empty grocery shelves the fragility of our highly consolidated food system has become clear during the crisis of COVID-19. We see a market that lacks the resiliency to shift supply lines and fill those shelves, but also a food system that does not provide (and in most cases never has provided) fair wages or adequate safety protection to workers. While farmers have worked below their cost of production for decades, they now face the prospect of lost markets and even lower prices for livestock. Milk and produce that cannot move to processing plants must be destroyed.

      • It’s Not Even Clear If Remdesivir Stops COVID-19, And Already We’re Debating How Much It Can Price Gouge

        You may recall in the early days of the pandemic, that pharma giant Gilead Sciences — which has been accused of price gouging and (just last year!) charging exorbitant prices on drug breakthroughs developed with US taxpayer funds — was able to sneak through an orphan works designation for its drug remdesevir for COVID-19 treatment. As we pointed out, everything about this was insane, given that orphan works designations, which give extra monopoly rights to the holders (beyond patent exclusivity), are meant for diseases that don’t impact a large population. Gilead used a loophole: since the ceiling for infected people to qualify for orphan drug status is 200,000, Gilead got in its application bright and early, before there were 200,000 confirmed cases (we currently have over 1.3 million). After the story went, er… viral, Gilead agreed to drop the orphan status, realizing the bad publicity it was receiving.

      • Visions of a Post-Covid-19 World

        While most of us sit at home, the planet continues to warm – polar ice melts, oceans acidify, glaciers disappear, and seas rise. Plants, animals, and humans continue to be displaced from their accustomed habitats. Life in our climatological greenhouse goes on, but now, one of a trillion microbial species has our attention.

      • The Plot to Blame China for COVID-19

        The Trump lot—Steve Bannon, Peter Navarro, Mike Pompeo—and their media cheerleaders are as fanatically anti-China as the Biden crew is anti-Russia. Just like George W. Bush’s WMD lies in the early-2000s, there is a developing timeline of Trumpian efforts to bend intelligence on COVID to the administration’s anti-China policy.

      • A Waking Nightmare: Today’s Jobs Report Shows 20.5 Million Jobs Lost in April

        It’s as if all the jobs in all of the states beginning with the letter “M” simply disappeared in the last month. That’s all the jobs in Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Montana combined.

      • NYT’s ‘Real Coronavirus Death Toll’ Is Anything But

        The New York Times graphics department has done some great work translating the data of the Covid-19 pandemic into visual form, allowing readers to get an intuitive sense of the scope and course of the outbreak.

      • Ricardo Salvador on the Food System & Covid-19

        This week on CounterSpin: While you may be forgiven for seeing dysfunction in the image of farmers dumping produce while people are lining up at food banks, that actually is the dominant US food system functioning: It just isn’t set up to adapt quickly and responsively in a crisis. But what does that say about the resiliency of the system by which food is produced and distributed, and its relationship to human (and planetary) needs and health?

      • Slaughter of the Innocents: COVID-19 & the Future of Agriculture

        It’s early days yet, but the COVID-19 pandemic has already proven to be revelatory, exposing much that is ugly about the “normal” functioning of the US: the sorry state of health care, the unresponsiveness of corporate-owned government, the hyper individuality of the populace, the high levels of ignorance among the same, and the racism of the entire system.

      • Internet Giants to Staff: Plan to Work From Home for 2020

        Two weeks ago, Pichai wrote an email to his workforce that said some offices would open as soon as June. On Friday, Pichai told employees only about 10% to 15% of the workers would be on-site in June, with more returns varying by division and location, according to an internal memo. About 5% of employees now are working in Google offices, Pichai said. CNBC reported earlier on the memo. Most of the workforce won’t return until at least the end of October, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

      • Health workers warn social media misinformation is threatening lives

        The doctors and nurses said the companies should go further and retroactively notify users when they have been exposed to health misinformation.

      • I Left Norway’s Lockdown for the US. The Difference Is Shocking.

        And here’s the key that escapes political leaders in America: In Norway, testers and tracers were on the job from the start. As February rolled into March, they were already testing and tracking some 500 Norwegian skiers returning from the Austrian Alps and Northern Italy. Some had frequented convivial après-ski taverns there and, once back home, were quick to catch up with friends. One Norwegian tracer labeled such skiers “very sociable people.”

      • [Older] Trump’s botched coronavirus response has been 3 years in the making

        As should be clear by now, the president has spent his entire time in office sabotaging the infrastructure designed to protect us from pandemic threats. Faced with COVID-19, Trump has proven that he is more concerned about creating the appearance that the outbreak is under control than he is about actually getting it under control.

      • [Old] Exclusive: U.S. slashed CDC staff inside China prior to coronavirus outbreak

        The CDC’s China headcount has shrunk to around 14 staffers, down from approximately 47 people since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, the documents show. The four people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the losses included epidemiologists and other health professionals.

        The material reviewed by Reuters shows a breakdown of how many American and local Chinese employees were assigned there. The documents are the CDC’s own descriptions of its headcount, which it posts online. Reuters was able to search past copies of the material to confirm the decline described by the four people.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Launches Free Edge Computing Training Course

                From cars that drive themselves to robots that restock the warehouse and sensors, today’s world is all about the convergence of 5G, IoT, AI, machine learning and the Edge. If you want to know what Edge Computing is and how it works, here’s a handy resource from the Linux Foundation.

                In partnership with edX, the non-profit online education platform started by Harvard and MIT, the Foundation is offering a free online training course, Business Considerations for Edge Computing. The course explains what Edge Computing is, what problems it’s solving, data privacy and security considerations, and examples of where we see business innovation with Edge.

        • Security

          • Hacker gains access to a small number of Microsoft’s private GitHub repos

            A hacker has gained access to a Microsoft employee’s GitHub account and has downloaded some of the company’s private GitHub repositories.

            The intrusion is believed to have taken place in March, and came to light this week when the hacker announced plans to publish some of the stolen projects on a hacking forum.

            While ZDNet has confirmed with multiple Microsoft employees that at least a small portion of the stolen files are authentic, we have been told that the hacker did not gain access to the source code of any major Microsoft core projects, such as Windows and Office.

            Microsoft employees who commented on the leak have told ZDNet that such major projects are hosted internally at Microsoft and not on the company’s public GitHub portal.

          • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook Users Find Excellent Value in $550 Million Privacy Deal

              Facebook Inc. users asked a judge to approve a $550 million settlement in their class-action lawsuit that claimed the social-media giant illegally gathered biometric data through a photo-tagging tool.

              The class members will get from $150 to $300, or between 15% and 30% of the possible recovery on an individual claim, according to their lawyers. The settlement provides “excellent value” and “dwarfs every previous settlement” in a U.S. consumer privacy class-action suit, the lawyers said in a filing Friday.

              The users’ endorsement of the settlement comes as U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco expressed skepticism over the recovery amounts given that the Illinois privacy law, which the company was accused of infringing, sets a “benchmark” of $1,000 to $5,000 for damages arising from privacy violations.

            • How a Facebook Bug Took Down Your Favorite iOS Apps

              And lots of apps that don’t use Login With Facebook still use the SDK, which is why the issue Wednesday was so widespread. “It is extremely common for apps to connect to Facebook, regardless of whether they use a Facebook-related feature, mainly for ad attribution,” says iOS security researcher Will Strafach, whose Guardian Firewall app automatically blocks online trackers. “It’s something people are not made aware of, and what’s more frustrating is that attempting to block it will break things a user may actually want, such as Login With Facebook.”

              But for developers, using an SDK also means ceding control when things go wrong, both in identifying the problem and resolving it. Even though Crashlytics identified the problematic code right away, those details were of little help to Jones and others. “It’s Facebook’s code,” says Jones. “It’s not like it’s something we wrote or something we know a whole lot about. You can try to parse out what’s going on by how the code is written, but it’s not our code.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump Death Clock: Times Square Billboard Tallies Lives Lost to COVID-19 Inaction
      • Gun Violence Increases in the US Amid COVID-19 Shutdown

        At a time when millions of Americans are following the advice of public health experts and sheltering in place to protect themselves and their neighbors, some officials continue to ignore existing public health data related to another grave threat to public safety: gun violence.

      • Pressuring Iran Is Not the Answer to the US’s Middle East Woes

        Military escalation against Iran would be reckless and counterproductive. It would keep the U.S. bogged down in a permanent confrontation against what is fundamentally a weak country that poses no clear threat to U.S. national security.

      • Why It’s Wrong (and Racist) to Blame Covid-19 on Chinese ‘Wet Markets’

        It’s easy to point fingers at Chinese “wet markets” to distract from the US’s failures, but US journalists should prioritize holding their own government accountable, and connecting seemingly isolated issues to larger causes.

      • The Green New Deal Is the Key to Ending Forever Wars

        The fossil fuel industry is a current casualty of the coronavirus pandemic, with oil prices briefly dipping below zero at the end of April. With the oil industry on the ropes, progressives see a path toward a green economic renewal. Could that spell a whole new approach to international conflict and the U.S. military endeavor, too?

      • Venezuela Confronts Intimidation, Myth-making, and Dirty War

        Venezuela’s story currently is of vulnerability and precariousness amidst signs of rising U.S. aggression. The imperialist U.S. government wants the socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro removed and insists that Venezuela’s massive oil reserves and the entire continent remain within the fold of international capitalism. Crucial to these U.S. designs is junior partner Colombia with its stable of drug-trafficking criminals specializing in destabilization.

      • The Hybrid War on Venezuela Moves to a New Stage of Aggression

        In the early morning of last May 3 Venezuela has witnessed the first attempt of a raid by speedboats with armed mercenary forces on the central coast of Venezuela, just a few kilometres from the capital city, Caracas. The response by the Venezuelan armed forces and the almost continuous updates about the action including photos and videos were quick.

      • US Wants Release of Two Special Forces Veterans Who Led Failed Coup Invasion of Venezuela

        Imperial overreach was on full display this week as the US government demanded that a pair of US citizens — former Special Forces soldiers leading a 60-man invasion of Venezuela with the goal of fomenting a coup and/or capturing or killing that country’s elected president — be released from arrest and returned to the US.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • State Department: China Working With Russia to Spread Coronavirus Disinformation

        “One of the things we have to consider right now is what’s essentially a one-way megaphone from the Chinese Communist Party into free, open and democratic societies,” she said. “General populations just aren’t aware enough of this.” Photos: The Global Coronavirus Outbreak Biologist doctor Caroline Gutsmuth gives a phone call in medical biology laboratory who opened a coronavirus drive-thru testing site, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, near Paris, Monday, March 23, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in supermarkets, production sites and other businesses that need to keep running amid stringent restrictions of movement due to the rapid spreading of the new coronavirus in the country. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

        China appears to be employing automated “bot” networks to create artificial Twitter accounts on a massive scale that boost the effect of government social media posts, Gabrielle said, such as those for foreign ministry spokespeople or official accounts for Chinese embassies abroad.

    • Environment

      • It’s already getting too hot and humid in some places for humans to survive

        A combination of heat and humidity so extreme that it’s unendurable isn’t just a problem for the future — those conditions are already here, a new study finds. Off-the-chart readings that were previously thought to be nearly nonexistent on the planet today have popped up around the globe, and unyielding temperatures are becoming more common.

        Extreme conditions reaching roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit on the heat-index scale — a measurement of both heat and humidity that’s often referred to as what the temperature “feels like” — doubled between 1979 and 2017, the study found. Humidity and heat are a particularly deadly combination, since humidity messes with the body’s ability to cool itself off by sweating. The findings imply that harsh conditions that scientists foresaw as an impending result of climate change are becoming reality sooner than expected.

      • The Extinction Crisis Devastating San Francisco Bay

        But it’s not just the salmon that are suffering. The whole San Francisco Bay ecosystem—that enormous estuary with its maze of bays, rich delta, and associated rivers and streams—is in the midst of an ecological calamity. Decades of dam building and water extraction to quench the thirst of California’s growing population and the needs of its mighty agriculture industry have starved the state’s waterways, as well as the bay itself, of crucial freshwater supplies. As a result, the entire estuary is under enormous stress. Its water quality is dicey, in some places too stagnant or too saline or beset by algal blooms. Its aquatic food web is fraying, threatening bird species and marine mammals, including orcas. And its fish populations, from the imperiled salmon to tiny smelt, have plummeted. “The fisheries for Chinook salmon, starry flounder, and other species are collapsing,” said Jon Rosenfield, a senior scientist at San Francisco Baykeeper, a water quality organization.

        The Bay Area, in other words, is grappling with a local manifestation of our global mass extinction crisis.

        “We have pillaged that ecosystem,” said Felicia Marcus, a former chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board. “We have diverted more water from the ecosystem than any estuary that has survived. We are on the brink of losing the salmon, the smelt—all of it.”

      • Water and Cadillac Deserts

        My lengthy experience at the US Environmental Protection Agency brought me face to face with the terrors of our “modern” times. One of those awful realizations was that the leaders of America – and the leaders of other countries — are not telling the truth about the impact of people and industries  have been having out there, on the natural world. For example, water.

      • Energy

        • Beyond the Uproar Over Planet of Humans

          Ever since Mother Jones owner Adam Hochschild fired Michael Moore for refusing to publish Paul Berman’s attack on the Sandinistas in 1986, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for him. But when he got down on his knees on the Bill Maher Show in 2008 to beg Ralph Nader not to run for President, a lot of that affection disappeared. For the past dozen years, I had grown weary of his conventional Hollywood liberalism that smacked of Rob Reiner and all the other millionaires who always ended up pleading for a vote for the lesser evil.

        • Hot rocks can help to cool the warming Earth

          Energy from hot rocks below the Earth’s crust will help to replace fossil fuels and speed Europe’s path to carbon neutrality.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Communities Forced to Fight Planned School Closures, Privatization Amid COVID-19

        Since mid-March, public school students in Minnesota have had to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, according to the state’s governor, Tim Walz, schools will remain closed until the end of this school year, with no guarantee that they will reopen in the fall for anything other than online teaching and learning.

      • What A Coincidence! Same Day Senator Burr Dumped His Stock, So Did His Brother-in-Law!

        Senator Richard Burr’s potential insider trading issues, for which he’s being investigated, may have gotten quite a bit worse this week. A new report notes that on the same day Burr sold off a “significant percentage” of his stock holdings (while also telling the public not to worry about COVID-19), it turns out his brother-in-law just coincidentally decided to dump a bunch of stock too. Amazing!

      • That This System Would Fail Was Entirely Predictable

        Our food system is not set up to handle a global crisis.

      • Because One Check ‘Not Nearly Enough,’ Harris, Sanders, and Markey Bill Would Provide $2,000 Monthly Payments for Rest of Covid-19 Crisis

        “If we can bail out large corporations, we can make sure that everyone in this country has enough income to pay for the basic necessities of life.”

      • Trump Signs Executive Order Greenlighting ‘Corporate Takeover of Our Oceans While They Hope We Aren’t Paying Attention’

        “Trump is exploiting a public health crisis to help an industry known for pumping diseases and antibiotics into oceans.”

      • What is the General Strike?

        The General Strike in the US is a multi-faceted, poly-centered resistance movement responding to the general crisis of capitalism and corporate power triggered by the Covid-19 crisis. The pandemic is revealing to millions what was always well hidden: America is a house of cards.

      • Is The New York Times Trying to Foster Working Class Consciousness?

        A recent lead editorial in The New York Times reads “Another Way the 2020s Might Be Like the 1930s.” Written by Jamelle Bouie, an African-American millennial (age 33) ) on the paper’s editorial staff, the piece contains the following opening and closing paragraphs:

      • Rich Corporations Get $500 Billion, No Strings Attached

        It is beyond obscene that the U.S. government used the Covid-19 panic to ram through a $500 billion loan giveaway to rich corporations. Loans with no strings attached. How did the geniuses in Washington conclude that stuffing cash into the pockets of oligarchs would help the 30 million dumped out of work? Those plutocrats have proved time and again, since Ronald Reagan first started throwing money to them, that when you give them dollars it does not trickle down to ordinary people. It goes to stock buybacks and multimillion-dollar ceo bonuses and raises. It is money flushed down the toilet.

      • If Small Businesses Aren’t Essential, Neither is Collecting Rent

        When I was a child, I remember having to dress up in my church clothes when I went to the bank to deposit my birthday checks or money I saved from my allowances.

      • Pandemic Crash Shows Worker Co-ops Are More Resilient Than Traditional Business

        While we have no way to know yet the full extent of the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, by all accounts it could be as bad — if not far worse — than the 2008 crash. In fact, in terms of unemployment alone, the numbers are already staggering: more than 33 million jobs have been lost so far in the U.S. during the coronavirus shutdowns, compared to the roughly 8.6 million lost in the Great Recession.

      • ‘What a Rigged Economy Looks Like,’ Says Sanders, as Stock Market Enjoys Best Month in 33 Years Despite 20%+ Unemployment

        “We need to start valuing human life over corporate profits,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar.

      • ‘Most Cataclysmic’ Jobs Report of Our Lifetime Shows US Unemployment Soaring to Level Not Seen Since Great Depression

        While the official government figure is 14.7% for April, some economists estimate the actual unemployment rate is around 23.6%.

      • Poor People’s Campaign: We Refuse to Allow Politicians and Big Corporations to Balance State Budgets by Denying Rights

        Leaders are using the lie of scarcity to place the burden of the crisis on the poor while billionaires are becoming even richer and large corporations are getting bailouts.

      • Trump Says Lost Jobs “Will All Be Back” Very Soon. Economists Disagree.

        Amid dire unemployment numbers that were released Friday morning, President Donald Trump made a bold promise that “those jobs will all be back and be back very soon” — an outcome that many economists over the past few weeks have said is highly unlikely.

      • “They Are Expendable”: Who’s Paying to Reopen Business?

        In late March, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick (R) made a bold, revealing, statement on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” in support of Pres. Trump’s call for businesses to reopen and relaunch the national economic recovery. “Let’s get back to living,” Patrick said. “Let’s be smart about it. And those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country.”

      • Why COVID-19 is the Great Unequalizer

        In his now must-see-TV daily press conferences, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has referred to COVID-19 as “the great equalizer.” In the sense that anybody can be infected by the virus, the governor is right. Yet after several months, the data shows clearly the impact is unequally landing on the shoulders of people of color and all but the most wealthy. The health impacts and absence of economic measures to protect them are so extreme that Cuomo’s statements are more than hollow—they are cruel cover-ups.

      • Without an Economic Recovery, Argentina Cannot Repay Its Debt

        For those following Argentina’s debt saga, the current situation might seem eerily familiar: after the implosion of an IMF program, Argentina finds itself at the brink of default, with a debt burden, denominated in foreign currencies, that it simply cannot pay. In contrast with Argentina’s default in 2001, when it reached agreements with most of its creditors years later,  this time Argentina’s government is doing its best to avoid default by attempting to find agreement with its lenders for an orderly restructuring.

      • Congress Sets Up Taxpayers to Eat $454 Billion of Wall Street’s Losses, Where is the Outrage?

        Beginning on March 24 of this year, Larry Kudlow, the White House Economic Advisor, began to roll out the most deviously designed bailout of Wall Street in the history of America. After the Federal Reserve’s secret $29 trillion bailout of Wall Street from 2007 to 2010, and the exposure of that by a government audit and in-depth report by the Levy Economics Institute in 2011, Kudlow was going to have to come up with a brilliant strategy to sell another multi-trillion-dollar Wall Street bailout to the American people.

      • Warren Calls Out ‘Economic Disaster’ and ‘Moral Failure’ Brought on by Ineptitude and Cruelty of Trump and the GOP

        “Trump wants to close his eyes and pretend that sending people back to work right now will magically solve all our problems. But every day that he refuses to lead on the public health crisis killing thousands of Americans daily is adding years to our economic recovery.”

      • Trump’s 4-Step Plan for Reopening the Economy Will Be Lethal

        He’s trying to force the economy to reopen in order to boost his electoral chances this November, and he’s selling out Americans’ health to seal the deal. This is beyond contemptible.

      • This Script Sends Junk Data to Ohio’s Website for Snitching on Workers

        An anonymous hacker has released code that allowed anyone to automatically submit junk data to Ohio’s controversial COVID-19 Fraud website, which prompts employers to report workers who refuse to work during the deadly pandemic so they won’t receive unemployment benefits.

        The script, which began circulating on social media earlier this week, automatically fills out a “fraud reporting” form on the state of Ohio’s unemployment insurance website. State officials created the form to encourage companies to snitch on workers who are refusing to work under unsafe conditions, drawing outrage from workers and labor rights advocates. The script’s creator says the goal is to overwhelm the site with a flood of fake submissions, making it harder to process claims and thus deny people their benefits.

        [...]

        Unemployment benefits have been a critical lifeline to millions of Americans who have been laid off or furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic. 33.5 million people have filed for unemployment since March, and many of those whose jobs have been deemed “essential” face unsanitary and dangerous working conditions which put them at elevated risk of contracting the virus.

        Despite these risks, many large companies have continued business as usual while failing to provide employees with masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment. Meanwhile, several states including Georgia have begun prematurely reopening business against the advice of health experts, forcing more people to return to work or face termination. According to the Washington Post, about 600 companies have already reported around 1,200 employees in Ohio since the state’s “fraud” website opened earlier this week.

        The junk data script appears to have gained the attention of state officials since being released earlier this week. On Friday, the Ohio website swapped out its weak authentication method for a Google-provided CAPTCHA, which is harder to bypass than the system the state was previously using. But the hacker who wrote the script says they are working on updating it to defeat the improved security measures.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • House Democrats Call on Inspector General to Investigate “Improper Political Interference” of Barr’s DOJ

        “The American people deserve to know the full extent of the politicization of the Department of Justice. They deserve a Department that is guided by the facts and the law, and not by the President’s political interests.”

      • ‘About As Evil As It Gets’: As State Reopens, Ohio Urges Employers to Snitch on Workers Who Stay Home Due to Covid-19 Concerns

        Less than a week after some industries reopened, about 1,200 workers across the state have been reported to the government. 

      • Presidential Irresponsibility in Spades

        The president of the United States says he’s not responsible for dealing with the pandemic that has savaged America and already has killed tens of thousands of his countrymen. If he’s not ultimately responsible, who is? Who runs the country?

      • Why Trump and Anti-Lockdown Protesters’ Calls to Return to Normal Are Acts of White Supremacy

        When the coronavirus pandemic was first declared, Americans dutifully stayed at home to prevent outbreaks like the ones playing out in China and Italy. Although a majority of Americans continue to support quarantine orders intended to quell the spread of the virus, a growing number of anti-lockdown protests across the nation are sending a clear message that they don’t care about spreading infection or the rising death toll. The whiteness of the protests alongside the stark racial disparities in COVID-19 mortality underscores that the desire to reopen businesses is rooted in white supremacy. As if it weren’t already clear, in Michigan where the nation’s most prominent protest took place, armed white men demanded an end to the lockdown while carrying Confederate flags, swastikas, and nooses.

      • Tara Reade, the Democrats and Joe Biden’s Women Problem

        The Me Too movement was meant to be more than a howl or rage with a trending hash tag. It was a surge that threatened to pulverise all before it, arming accusers with weapons of merit and disarming predators who had, for decades, acted in beastly fashion from positions of power. It did net some mighty scalps and also, at stages, ruined careers without trial and tested evidence. But paradoxically, it failed to make an impression on the Trump phenomenon, where genital grabbing and locker room humour exhibited in the Access Hollywood tape made little impression upon his candidacy for the White House.

      • Trump Admits He ‘Learned A Lot’ From Disgraced President Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre

        Trump’s comments suggest “he learned from Nixon’s mistakes how not to get caught,” said Kate Brannen of Just Security.

      • What Rough Beast Slouches Towards Washington and Beijing?

        As the smoke slowly settles on the bucolic hills of my farmland community and many others, the Coronavirus nightmare may be far from over but the worst of it appears to be in the rearview mirror of the pickup. The worst also appears to be far less horrific than the self-appointed television experts had predicted, at least in the parts of the country already skeptical of such institutions, further dredging the chasm of trust between us simpleton country folk and the metropolitan slumlords who always seem to know better. Maybe if we had taken a page from Sweden and displayed a little more trust in our citizenry… Nah, never mind such strategically fruitless distractions. Never mind the swelling police state behind the curtain. The important thing now is who do we blame? What monster of the week do we scapegoat to keep people from asking the annoying questions about transparent democracy and honest journalism?

      • Republicans Say They’d Break Rule They Invented to Derail Obama’s SCOTUS Pick

        Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was discharged from Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins hospital on Wednesday evening after having been treated for an infection in her gallbladder.

      • The State Attorney General Is Scrutinizing This Assisted Living Facility Over Its Handling of COVID-19. Some Residents Are Suing It, Too.

        New York Attorney General Letitia James is looking into allegations that a Queens adult care facility has failed to protect residents from the deadly coronavirus and misled families about its spread, according to two lawmakers who asked for the inquiry and a relative of a resident who spoke to an investigator with the attorney general’s office.

        In a separate action Tuesday, three residents of the Queens Adult Care Center sued the facility in federal court over similar allegations.

      • A Very Political Prosecution

        We are looking for potential witnesses who would be willing to give a sworn statement, and if necessary swear on oath in court in my trial for contempt, that they followed my reporting of the Alex Salmond trial and were unable to work out any of the identities of the accusers from my reports. It is particularly helpful if you can say more than this in one of two ways:

      • Remembering Our Empathy

        I’ve held off saying what I have to say for a while because I don’t want to engage in “both sides-ism.” When one side is Nazis, there are not “very fine people on both sides.” There are very fine people on one side, and Nazis on the other.

      • Gov. Hogan’s Purchase of Korean Covid Tests Looks Like a PR stunt—and Media Fell for It

        Despite being the governor of a small state, Larry Hogan secured coronavirus test kits from “13 time zones away,” thanks to “nearly a month of diplomacy talks” and “middle of the night” negotiations. His “tell it like it is” approach provides “a contrast with the president.”

      • Why We Need Postal Democracy

        If state legislatures fail to allow people to vote by mail during a pandemic, they will effectively deny them their right to vote.

      • Jackson State Shootings, 1970

        It’s hard to explain the situation in May 1970. I was in ninth grade at a junior high school administered by the US Department of Defense for what are known as dependents in military jargon. In plain English, they are family members of those in the military. Even from that seemingly remote environment, the events taking place in the mother country affected us—high school walkouts, GIs refusing to work, junior high students wearing black armbands and demanding an assembly, German students and workers marching on the IG Farben building where at least three US military commands were headquartered. We were not immune from the strikes, protests and battles raging across the United States in the wake of the US invasion of Cambodia on April 30, 1970. Given my experience thousands of miles away from the United States, I still can only imagine the considerably more intense climate there.

      • ‘A Cancer on Justice in This Nation’: Fresh Demand for Barr’s Resignation—or Impeachment—After Flynn Charges Dropped

        “We renew our call,” said Common Cause’s president Friday, for Congress “to impeach William Barr before he does irreparable damage to the system of justice in our nation.”

      • New York State Tries to Suspend Democracy; NYT and WaPo Shrug

        Blaming health risks due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the New York State Board of Elections announced last week that the state would simply cancel its Democratic presidential primary, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden to be proclaimed the victor without a vote. The response from the country’s two most prominent newspapers? Meh.

      • Democrats: Dump Biden Now

        Listen up Democrats: dump Joe Biden; dump him now.

      • Ex-Google Engineer Who Became Right-Wing Hero Quietly Ends Suit

        Former Google engineer James Damore and three other men who worked for or applied for jobs at the Alphabet Inc. unit asked a court to dismiss their lawsuit. Their written request was joined by Google.

        A lawyer for the men, Harmeet Dhillon, said they’re prohibited as part of their agreement with Google from saying anything beyond what’s in Thursday’s court filing. Google declined to comment.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • More Information Wars

        I am subject to a very peculiar hidden censorship by Twitter. I have long noted that many of the articles I deem most important were reaching far fewer people than I might expect through Twitter, whereas inconsequential tweets reach large numbers with ease. I decided to do a controlled test on this, with a content free tweet.

      • Tunisia arrests young woman who made up fake Quran verses about coronavirus

        Tunisian authorities have arrested a young woman for publishing fake verses of the Quran about the novel coronavirus.

        Amna Al-Sharqi will be investigated by the Tunisian public prosecution, El Bashayer reported, for posting a text on her Facebook page entitled “Surah Corona”.

        Al-Sharqi sparked outrage on social media for the fake verses and even received death threats.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • F**k the Pulitzer: A Russian investigative journalist says his team deserves recognition for breaking one of the stories that won ‘The New York Times’ its latest reporting award

        On May 4, 2020, the Pulitzer Prize Board announced the latest winners of the most coveted award in journalism. The staff of The New York Times won prizes in three different categories: international reporting, investigative reporting, and commentary. The first honor was awarded for “a set of enthralling stories, reported at great risk, exposing the predations of Vladimir Putin’s regime.” The winning work includes six articles and two videos. Not one of the stories is actually set inside Russia: the reports are about wars in Libya and Syria, elections in Madagascar and the Central African Republic, and murders in Bulgaria and Ukraine.

      • Anti-Trump Ad Demonstrates Both The Streisand Effect & Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem

        Well, this one hits the sweet spot of topics I keep trying to demonstrate: both a Streisand Effect and Masnick’s Impossibility Theorem. As you may have heard, a group of Republican political consultants and strategists, who very much dislike Donald Trump, put together an effort called The Lincoln Project, which is a PAC to campaign against Trump and Trumpian politics. They recently released an anti-Trump campaign ad about his terrible handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, called Mourning in America, which is a reference to Ronald Reagan’s famous Morning in America campaign ad for the 1984 Presidential election. The new ad is, well, pretty powerful:

      • The EARN IT Act Also Threatens Journalists And Their Sources

        The EARN IT Act is dangerous. It threatens speech on the internet and tech companies’ ability to provide secure communications for their users. There may not be anything about encryption in the dry text of the bill, but the threat is there all the same. No one knows what “best practices” the law will demand from online services, but the bill’s focus on child porn strongly suggests any platform that “allows” this information to be transmitted using encrypted communications will be targeted by the government.

      • Russia’s coronavirus information center allegedly attempting to charge journalists for interviews

        In a newly released documentary about the coronavirus pandemic in Russia, journalist Irina Shikhman claims that an assistant to Dr. Alexander Myasnikov, the head of the country’s government-run coronavirus information center, demanded 88,000 rubles ($1,200) for an interview with the doctor. 

      • Putin Bans Armed Forces Members From Carrying Electronic Devices, Gadgets

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree banning members of the armed forces from carrying smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets capable of recording and storing information while on duty.

        According to the decree, signed on May 6, military personnel may not possess gadgets that can track locations and transmit audio and photo materials.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • We Honor What We Value – Entertainers Over Saviors

        “We honor what we value,” goes the old saying. In our hedonistic culture we value most those who can put a ball in a hole. We ignore those who save lives through civic action.

      • European Court of Human Rights orders Russia to provide life-saving medicine to infant with rare neuromuscular disorder

        The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ordered the Russian authorities to provide six-month-old Ada Keshishyants — an infant diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) — with access to the life-saving medication nusinersen (marketed as Spinraza). This was reported to Meduza by the human rights organization “Justice Initiative.” 

      • Attacking the Messenger

        When it comes to global warming, there continues to be plenty of magical thinking going on. And such magical thinking is not exclusive to the conservative side of the political spectrum.

      • Strange and Excessive Abuses by Corporations, Officials, and Narcos are Slipping Under the Radar in Mexico

        It was basically a coup attempt and nobody noticed.

      • Let’s Pretend

        I believe retaining  a vision of how you viewed the world in earlier moments  of life is an essential element of navigating mindfully through the challenges of the present. It is only through a thoughtful and unsentimental rendering of how one’s patterns of cognition have evolved—or not—that we can gain—or not—the capacity to  face new  challenges with equanimity, wisdom  and confidence.

      • UN Chief Warns Against Global ‘Tsunami of Hate and Xenophobia’ Unleashed by Covid-19

        The fresh statement from the United Nations secretary-general is an appeal to “strengthen the immunity of our societies against the virus of hate.”

      • Can COVID-19 Positively Change Perceptions on Migration?

        The awareness that threats do not stop at borders and that migration is essential, might open avenues for a renewed debate on migration.

      • Humankind is Our Business: A Case for Poetic Disobedience
      • Barr Says “History Is Written by the Winners” After Flynn’s Charges Were Dropped

        “My god.”

      • Episode 83 – Shelter-in-Place Protests; Implicit Bias and Medical Schools During COVID-19 with Robin Andersen and Colleen Sweeney – Along The Line Podcast
      • This is Not a Conspiracy, It is a Terrifying Opportunity

        Every catastrophe and crisis are followed by a litany of conspiracy theories. The Covid-19 pandemic has proved no exception. From tales concerning transmission of some lethal agent through 5G infrastructure, to grand theories concerning a mastermind plot to destabilise the world, the fantastical and the absurd have spread almost as quickly as the virus. While the early culprits ranged from the Bill Gates to the Iranians, George Soros to the Eco-fascists, it’s becoming more and more common to suggest either some orchestrated Chinese plot or a planned pandemic (yes, the Plandemic) to begin a massive vaccination program.

      • Early Data Shows Black People Are Being Disproportionally Arrested for Social Distancing Violations

        On April 17 in Toledo, Ohio, a 19-year-old black man was arrested for violating the state stay-at-home order. In court filings, police say he took a bus from Detroit to Toledo “without a valid reason.” Six young black men were arrested in Toledo last Saturday while hanging out on a front lawn; police allege they were “seen standing within 6 feet of each other.” In Cincinnati, a black man was charged with violating stay-at-home orders after he was shot in the ankle on April 7; according to a police affidavit, he was talking to a friend in the street when he was shot and was “clearly not engaged in essential activities.”

        Ohio’s health director, Dr. Amy Acton, issued the state’s stay-at-home order on March 22, prohibiting people from leaving their home except for essential activities and requiring them to maintain social distancing “at all times.” A violation of the order is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine. Since the order, hundreds of people have been charged with violations across Ohio.

      • Why Meatpacking Plants Have Become Covid-19 Hot Spots

        But Moore County isn’t an outlier. In recent weeks, beef, pork, and poultry processing plants across the US have emerged as dangerous new hot spots for the deadly respiratory disease, which can also cause damage to the heart, kidneys, and brain. Dozens of plants have been forced to temporarily halt operations amid skyrocketing numbers of cases and fatalities. According to a report released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 5,000 plant workers in 19 states had tested positive for the virus as of April 27. In Iowa and South Dakota, close to a fifth of the workforce in the states’ largest slaughterhouses have fallen ill.

        And it’s not just the US. Large Covid-19 clusters have also appeared in meatpacking plants around the world, including Canada, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, and Australia. “One, two, or three meatpacking plants—fine, you might expect that. But these outbreaks are clearly a worldwide phenomenon,” says Nicholas Christakis, head of the Human Nature Lab at Yale where he studies how contagions travel through social networks. “To me, that’s evidence that there’s something distinctive about meatpacking that’s adding to people’s risks of catching Covid-19.”

      • Responses

        “Can we get on the phone so I can ask you some questions?” · A variation on the theme, from non-broadcast organizations.

        They all got the same answer: “Hmm, I’m not that interesting, just a grumpy old one-percenter white-guy engineer with a social media presence. If you want to go live with this story you should do it with the actual people who got fired, who are young, fresh-faced, passionate, and really at the center of the news story. I recommend reaching out to Emily Cunningham (contact info redacted) or Maren Costa (same) or Chris Smalls (same).”

        “OK, we talked to them. Now will you talk to us live?” · These people were nice and just trying to do their job. I agreed to answer a couple of email questions in a couple of cases, but mostly just said “For complicated reasons, I don’t want to be the public face of this story. Sorry.”

        “Complicated reasons?” · Yeah, the story is about firing whistleblowers, not about a random Canadian Distinguished Engineer’s reaction to it. So news organizations should follow the primary sources, not me.

      • Ahmaud Arbery Was Killed for Jogging as a Black Man in America

        But video footage shows Arbery being boxed in, trying to avoid the men, before an altercation breaks out and he’s shot multiple times — at least once at point-blank range. By the time police arrived, Arbery was dead.

        This is another story of Black death and of a criminal justice system that fails to take the loss of Black lives seriously, until it is forced to.

      • “It Could Be Something We Didn’t See On The Tape”—Ahmaud Arbery and the Eternal Guilt of Black Victims

        The presumption of normality (let alone decency) is a luxury of privilege.

      • Two Men Arrested and Charged With Murder for Killing of Ahmaud Arbery After Video Sparked Nationwide Demands for Justice

        “These men were vigilantes, they were a posse, they were performing a lynching in the middle of the day.”

      • After Months of Inaction, 2 White Men Are Charged With Murder of Ahmaud Arbery

        The two white men caught on camera shooting and killing Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed 25-year-old African American man, were arrested and charged Thursday with murder. The arrests came two days after video of the attack in February was shared with the public, sparking widespread outrage. Today would have been Arbery’s 26th birthday. We speak with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who represents the Arbery family and formerly represented Trayvon Martin.

      • ‘My God,’ Says US Senator After William Barr Deploys ‘History Is Written by the Winners’ Trope

        “The head of the American justice system now saying publicly that there is no good or bad except what the strongest want,” said another critic. “The definition of autocracy.”

      • ‘Essentially, a war is going on’ Doctors in St. Petersburg are dying from the coronavirus, but not all of their deaths are officially recorded. Here’s how this is happening.

        In St. Petersburg, hundreds of healthcare workers have already contracted the coronavirus. There are currently 190 specialists undergoing treatment at the Botkin Infectious Diseases Hospital — four of them are on ventilators. Over a dozen St. Petersburg doctors between the ages of 30 and 84 years old have already died during the pandemic. Meduza spoke to their relatives and colleagues about what’s happening to Russia’s medical workers when they become infected with COVID-19.

      • Live and Let Die

        Real Time Reflections from Sheltered Radicals in the Time of the Most Dangerous Criminal in Human History

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • COVID-19 Is Exposing A Virulent Strain Of Broadband Market Failure Denialism

        A few weeks ago, the US telecom industry began pushing a bullshit narrative through its usual allies. In short, the claim revolves around the argument that the only reason the US internet still works during a pandemic was because the Trump FCC ignored the public, ignored most objective experts, and gutted itself at the behest of telecom industry lobbyists. The argument first popped up over at AEI, then the Trump FCC, then the pages of the Wall Street Journal, and has since been seen in numerous op-eds nationwide. I’d wager that’s not a coincidence, and I’d also wager we’ll be seeing a lot more of them.

      • The Netiquette 2020 Project

        The original 1995 Netiquette document (published by Sally Hambridge) was a critical piece of Internet culture during the mid to late 1990s (and even into the early 2000s). At the time, new users were rapidly discovering the Internet and all of the various services it offered. But most of those users were unaware of both the usage of the systems and the expected cultural norms around them. Netiquette provided a simple, easy to reference set of minimum guidelines for utlizing Internet systems – focused on communication platforms.

      • Torrent Traffic Surpasses Netflix in Europe, Middle East and Africa

        Canadian broadband management company Sandvine has published a new Internet traffic report, zooming in on changes that took place during the Covid-19 pandemic. This reveals some interesting geographical changes. Torrent traffic lost relative market share in some places, but in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, it grew and surpassed Netflix.

      • New Developments in Digital Services: Short- (2021), medium- (2025) and long-term (2030) perspectives and the implications for the Digital Services Act [Warning for PDF]

        The study lays out predictions for digital services in the next one to ten years and provides recommendations for action for the European Parliament in preparation for the Digital Services Act.

        This document was provided by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies at the request of the committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection.

    • Monopolies

      • To Prevent ‘Monopoly Free-for-All,’ Congress and Fed Urged to Bar Use of Covid-19 Funds for Corporate Mergers

        “We can’t afford to allow big corporations to further consolidate power in this moment of crisis.”

      • Facebook posts from 2012 show early Iranian attempts to manipulate U.S. politics

        Newly released social media posts show that Iran experimented with trying to influence American voters on Facebook in 2012, years earlier than generally understood, a new report from the social media analytics firm Graphika shows.

        The 2012 attempts, documented by Graphika and recently taken down by Facebook, seem to be experiments that were quickly abandoned, and none of those identified received substantial engagement. But they do highlight Iran as an early adopter of the tactic of sharing politically charged posts with pseudonymous accounts to a U.S. audience — before even Russia’s Internet Research Agency, widely associated with that tactic, is known to have used it.

      • Patents

        • [Older] UPC Future Uncertain Amid News from Germany and UK [Ed: PETOŠEVIĆ’s Nada Herak knows UPC is dead, not merely “uncertain”]

          On March 20, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court issued a long-awaited decision upholding the German patent attorney Dr. Ingve Stjerna’s complaint against Germany’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA) claiming that the ratification would be unconstitutional.

          In June 2017, the German Federal Constitutional Court asked the German president not to sign the legislation implementing the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and unitary patent because of the German attorney’s complaint. After nearly three years, the court finally issued a decision stating that the German act by which it was to accede to the UPCA violated the German populace’s constitutional rights, because it was not passed with the parliamentary majority required by the German legislation.

          Although this decision represents a considerable setback for the implementation of the UPC, it could be overcome by a two-thirds majority vote in the parliament. In a press release issued on March 26, Germany’s Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection Christine Lambrecht said that she will work to ensure that the UPC project moves forward.

        • Facebook IP head revisiting priorities amid lockdownIn an interview, Allen Lo sets out how COVID-19 has made speed a priority, how Facebook considers diversity in outside counsel and why more patents aren’t always better
        • Royalty Pharma ‘throws grenade’ into patent filing calculations

          Lawyers lay out how the CJEU decision has provided some clarity on SPC law but raised confusion around the terms ‘developed’ and ‘independent’

        • First-in-Class Antibiotic Receives Patent Protection

          Novel antibiotic developer Nosopharm (France) has been granted a US patent for its clinical candidate NOSO-502, which is aimed at eradicating resistant bacteria. NOSO-502 is listed under a new class of antibiotics, Odilhorhabdins that inhibit the bacterial ribosome with a new mechanism of action. It is intended for treating nosocomial infections caused by Enterobacteriaceae, including polymyxin– and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE).

          A patent has also been granted in Russia and a notice of acceptance has recently been issued in Australia. In addition patent applications have also been filed in in Canada, China, Europe (EPO), Japan, Hong Kong, Brazil, South Korea, India, Israel and Mexico. Apart from Canada and South Korea, which start examining patent applications later than other countries, decisions are pending in all these territories and are expected to be announced during the course of this year.

        • COVID-19 Related IP Office Closures and Extensions

          As governments around the world work to stem the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, intellectual property (IP) offices in jurisdictions around the globe are temporarily closing and/or extending deadlines.

          At Morgan Lewis, we are actively tracking these closures and new deadline policies to assist our clients in protecting their valuable IP rights. Our lawyers and other IP professionals, as well as our network of seasoned counsel around the world, remain available to help you to prosecute, maintain, and enforce your IP rights during this trying time.

          The charts below provide information we have received from local counsel and/or local patent and trademark offices with regard to office closures, extensions, and other reactions of relevant government authorities as of the designated date. The information in these charts is believed to be current and accurate as of the date below, and will be updated periodically as new information becomes available.

        • Added matter matters in Australia: Impermissible amendments to patent specifications after Raising the Bar

          CSIRO v BASF Plant Science GmbH [2020] FCA 328 is the first decision of an Australian court which specifically concerns amendments to patent specifications under s 102(1) of the Patents Act 1990, as amended by the ‘Raising the Bar’ Act.[1] In this case, Beach J applied the same strict test used by UK courts in relation to added matter and found that BASF’s proposed amendments were impermissible because they claimed and disclosed matter that extended beyond the specification as filed.

          As Beach J indicated in his decision, the Raising the Bar Act aimed to align Australian law with the strict approach taken by the UK courts and EPO in relation to added matter. It should therefore come as no surprise to those familiar with the legislative changes in Australia that Beach J used such a strict approach in determining that BASF’s amendments were impermissible. Nevertheless, his Honour’s decision clearly marks an end to Australia’s generous approach to amendments prior to Raising the Bar.

          The amendments

          BASF’s application relates to genes from a species of unicellular algae that encode enzymes which can be used to create transgenic plants for recombinant production of polyunsaturated fatty acids. In a passage referred to by the parties as the ‘bridging paragraph’, the specification as filed stated that:

        • Does An Invention Discovered With Artificial Intelligence Obtain Patent Protection?

          While this blog regularly discusses Section 101 issues relating to Alice and its progeny, a recent decision from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) addresses the first word of the section – “Whoever.” The question presented was: can an artificial intelligence (AI) entity be an ‘inventor’ in the United States? The USPTO’s answer was a resounding “no.” However, the decision leaves open the possibility that AI-derived inventions may be patentable, at least as far as Section 101 is concerned.

          Statutory Background

          Section 101 states “[w]hoever invents or discovers…may obtain a patent therefore…” According to 35 U.S.C. § 100, an inventor is defined as an individual or individuals. As technology has advanced and the possibility that AI would invent something became a probability, the question has arisen whether AI can be an inventor under United States law.

          AI Listed as Inventor on Application

          On July 29, 2019, Stephen Thaler, as assignee, filed a utility patent application listing the inventor’s given name as “DABUS” and family name as “Invention generated by artificial intelligence.” DABUS – the erstwhile “inventor” – is a “creativity machine,” a series of neural networks created by Thaler. The USPTO issued a Notice to File Missing Parts because the application did “not identify each inventor by his or her legal name.”

          Thaler sought supervisory review, arguing the application was complete because inventorship should not be limited to natural persons, and thus, listing DABUS as the inventor was appropriate.

        • EPO Board of appeal remits to examining division when prior art search is needed (T-1159/15)

          The examining division of European Patent Office (EPO) has refused the European patent application No.10007106.7 on the ground that claim 1 of the application lacks inventive step. The claimed invention relates to a system and a method for creating mathematical models based on stored information, variables and assumptions (conditions) to forecast information for an objective. As an example, models related to sales of a product are described. Based on variables like price, geographical distribution, advertisement cost, and assumptions, models estimating future sales are generated and used in order to create a business plan.

          The examining division rejected the application for lack of inventive step over a general purpose computer. No prior art search was carried out during the first instance procedure and no prior art documents were cited during the examination procedure.

          The appellant argued that some of the features the examining division concluded as non-technical features (i.e. the way of storing data in a multidimensional data storage with a meta data layer and a data layer) are not notorious and therefore a prior art search should have been carried out. The applicant argued that the technical effects of using less storage space and faster response to queries were obtained.

        • New Patent Act Enters into Force in Croatia

          The main change brought by the new Act is the introduction of the “utility model” concept to replace the previous “consensual patent”, which was often misleading because of the word “patent” contained in it. The clear distinction between the utility model and patent concepts improves legal certainty, in particular when it comes to enforcement.

          The Act also limits the utility model subject matter, excluding processes, inventions in the field of biotechnology, chemical or pharmaceutical substances, and inventions the commercial use of which would be contrary to public order or morality.

          The new Act introduces separate registration procedures for patents and utility models, thus significantly shortening the registration procedure for utility models – a utility model application will be published as a registered right as soon as the formal examination is completed.

          Another novelty is that utility model holders cannot request civil protection on the basis of an unexamined right, and that they are allowed to file a request for substantive examination of the utility model in order to convert it into a patent, within seven years from the utility model application date, instead of ten years as was the case for consensual patents.

        • This week in IP – SCOTUS streams arguments, China publishes copyright law, new German FRAND rules

          In a decision handed down on Wednesday that could raise the bar for rules on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms for implementers in Germany, the Federal Court of Justice ruled that home-appliance company Haier had infringed two of Sisvel’s standard essential patents.

          Justice Meier Beck, one of Germany’s most renowned patent judges, made it clear that an infringer is obliged to make a concrete licence offer to an SEP owner, even under the Court of Justice of the EU’s FRAND rules set out in 2015’s Huawei v ZTE.

          The implementer, he said, should demonstrate this through its overall conduct in negotiations with the SEP holder.

          “It is not enough to simply declare your willingness to take a licence. You have to be more specific,” said Meier-Beck.

          In a blog on this ruling, Linklaters managing associate Bolko Ehglen said the issues addressed in the case will probably cover only a small portion of the uncertainties around FRAND rules.

          “In particular, one should not expect a statement from the court on what a FRAND licence is,” he said.

          The written judgment on this matter is expected in a couple of weeks.

        • Videoconferencing in EPO oral proceedings

          At the European Patent Office (EPO), the term “oral proceedings” is used for occasions on which parties present their arguments verbally. Oral proceedings typically occur at the end of a process, after written submissions. There are three occasions when oral proceedings are used by the EPO, namely during examination of patent applications (before examining divisions), during oppositions to a patent by another party (before opposition divisions), and during appeals (before a board of appeal).

          With effect from 2 April 2020 all new oral proceedings before examining divisions will be held by videoconference. With effect from 4 May 2020 oral proceedings before opposition divisions can be held by videoconference with the agreement of the opposition division and with the agreement of all parties. The use of videoconferencing before boards of appeal is possible in theory, but is currently not done in practice. We discuss videoconferencing in each of these three areas separately below.

        • Finnish-developed, open-source coronavirus vaccine nearly ready for testing

          The team of professors developing the vaccine are foregoing [patents] to their work. In practice, they have gathered together research data in the field, refined it, added their own observations and are making it freely available.

          This is much the same principle as that behind the open source Linux computer operating system, originally developed by Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki. Professor Saksela has described the goal of his team’s project as the “Linux vaccine”.

          The downside is that it will be harder to generate profits off an open source vaccine. The profits of international pharmaceutical companies come from their patents and exclusive rights. This being the case, these pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to find the Finnish and free vaccine appealing, preferring to do their own proprietary R&D.

        • Can AI Be Considered an Inventor? USPTO, EPO Say No [Ed: This does not deal with patent quality, it only tells people to put a real name on applications]

          The EPO decision involved two patent applications directed to inventions that were allegedly developed by an AI system called DABUS (Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience). Upon filing the EPO patent applications, the applicant did not identify an inventor as required by EPO procedure, and the EPO sent the applicant invitations to correct those deficiencies. The applicant responded by stating that DABUS was the inventor. In addition, the applicant argued that (i) inventorship should not be restricted to natural persons, (ii) patent law policy allows for identifying machines as inventors as long as the inventorship criteria are met, and (iii) an invention made by a machine should be assignable to the machine’s owner. The EPO disagreed. In its decision, the EPO explained that certain articles and rules of the European Patent Convention safeguard the inventor’s rights (e.g., Articles 60, 62, 81 EPC and Rule 19 EPC), including vesting to the inventor the initial right to a European Patent. The EPO clearly articulated that “AI systems or machines have at present no rights because they have no legal personality comparable to natural or legal persons.” A legal person, such as a corporation, is a creature of law, and because no legislative or court issued law categorizes AI as a legal person, AI cannot be an inventor. As such, the patent application was refused because the formal requirement of designation of inventorship could not be satisfied. The EPO case is currently under appeal.

        • Coronavirus Deadline Extensions

          In view of the ongoing Coronavirus situation, the UK Intellectual Property Office, European Patent Office, the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland and European Union Intellectual Property Office, are providing extensions to a number of key deadlines. However, this is not true across the board – it is important to know which deadlines are extended and which are not. As a rule of thumb it is advisable to speak to a qualified attorney to check if your deadlines are amongst those extended.

          European Patent Office (EPO)

          At the time of writing the EPO has provided a general extension of deadlines falling on or after 15 March 2020 to a new deadline of 2 June 2020. This includes filing deadlines, procedural deadlines, response deadlines and renewal fee deadlines.

          There are two limited exceptions to the EPO’s general extension: the deadline for filing divisional applications (which must always be filed before the parent application’s date of grant), and the final date for making written submission in preparation for oral proceedings.

        • JW CreaGene wins European nod for new bio-drug

          JW CreaGene, a subsidiary of JW Shinyak, said Friday that it has won approval from the European Patent Office (EPO) for technology to develop new biotreatment using semi-mature dendritic cells (DC).

          The patent relates to a method to make semi-mature DC by processing autoantigens and activating substances to immature DC. The technology is used to develop treatments and vaccines for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and bags.

          DCs play the role of activating or suppressing the immune cells, depending on the maturation stage.

        • SeaTwirl Names New CEO

          At the end of March, SeaTwirl entered into a cooperation with Crest Consultants AB for the offshore wind market in Brazil.

          In January, the company secured a patent from the European Patent Office (EPO) for its divisible offshore wind turbine. The solution includes a turbine that is divisible above and below the house that holds the generator and bearing, meaning that their entire housing can be replaced just above the water surface by boat, according to the developer.

        • Software Patents

          • Prior art found for E-Attach ’993

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winners, Rajesh Singh and Rahul Vijh, who split the winning cash prize of $1,400 for prior art submissions for U.S. Patent 7,092,993. The ’993 patent, generally directed to a method and system for customizing e-mail transmissions based on content detection, is owned by E-Attach LLC and has been asserted in district court.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Court Of Appeals Affirms Lower Court Tossing BS ‘Comedians In Cars’ Copyright Lawsuit

          Six months ago, which feels like roughly an eternity at this point, we discussed how Jerry Seinfeld and others won an absolutely ludicrous copyright suit filed against them by Christian Charles, a writer and director Seinfeld hired to help him create the pilot episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. What was so strange about the case is that this pilot had been created in 2012, whereas the lawsuit was only filed in 2018. That coincides with Seinfeld inking a lucrative deal with Netflix to stream his show.

Free/Libre Software is Greener Pastures for Dell

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, Hardware at 10:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A lot of people do not want Windows

What Microsoft tells you GNU/Linux is like; What OEMs tell you GNU/Linux is like when it's their expensive hardware

Summary: Dell’s overpriced computers will have more of GNU/Linux on them (announcement in 10 days); at the moment they’re working behind the scenes to get sites to produce a bunch of promotional puff pieces for them

SOME CULTURAL references aside (e.g. [1, 2, 3]), Free software has historically been aligned with the antiwar movement, green movement and so on. This is well documented and we mentioned it before. Microsoft is the antithesis of it, as we noted earlier today as well as last year. There’s ample evidence of this. So more people are attracted to GNU/Linux for ethical/moral reasons, not just technical or purely pragmatic reasons.

“Dell doesn’t care about Software Freedom, but Dell understands that Software Freedom-oriented folks are worth money to Dell.”After discussing the matter with a few people, and considering the fact I never at all agreed to any embargo, I’ve decided to publish what Dell is going to announce some time soon, based on an E-mail sent to me out of the blue a few days ago.

The message below shows that Dell is moving further away from Windows, which is a positive sign for sure.

Hi Roy – As a special offer to TechRights, I can give a sneak preview of Dell’s new lineup of Linux-based Precision workstations for developers. Dell Technologies already ships 150+ different Ubuntu-based PC models to over 100+ countries. Linux models will be available on Precision 5550/5750/7550/7750 being announced at this launch.

If you agree to an embargo of May 19 @ 9 a.m. CT, I can send you a virtual press kit outlining all the products that will be released. Admittingly, it will be light on the Linux news so if you want to focus just on that I recommend a 1:1 interview with Chris Ramirez, Strategic Alliances Manager and Engineering Industry Strategist at Dell who can elaborate on the developer features.

I never agreed to an embargo (I never would); maybe they don’t know how embargoes work. You give away the secrets before consent? Anyway, as one can see (it’s explicit), they’re manipulating and playing with the media — justifying our longstanding cynicism about how the media works. It’s like coverage for sale, not journalism. PR agencies ‘liaising’ with so-called ‘journalists’ and bloggers to manufacture a bunch of puff pieces using a “virtual press kit”.

Of course we never participate in these PR stunts. We suppose they send this to a lot of publishers right now. Will that be a surprise? Probably not. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is good news. Dell studies the market (it throws major resources at it) and it clearly finds out growing demand for GNU/Linux. It’s all about money; Dell doesn’t care about Software Freedom, but Dell understands that Software Freedom-oriented folks are worth money to Dell.

Microsoft Still Stands for Poverty, Racism, and Militarism

Posted in Microsoft at 8:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

The real Microsoft; Microsoft when you criticise it

Summary: Despite overt censorship attempts it remains abundantly clear that Microsoft is very much in bed with the military, working cohesively with those whose agenda is openly and blatantly racist, oppressive, greed-driven and sometimes murderous

Martin Luther King Jr. was a clever man. Microsoft would never hire him. Even if it tried, he would certainly decline (he died before Microsoft committed its many crimes).

“I am not interested in power for power`s sake,” he famously said, “but I`m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

“Microsoft is abundantly imperialistic and a report from the US could not rule out Microsoft’s foul play in relation to JEDI.”“Injustice must be exposed,” he said separately, “with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.”

As readers are aware, an intern recently volunteered herself to help us pursue justice, which is what she wanted to do as an author at Techrights. She was working on a story about how Microsoft had ‘stolen’ the Pentagon contract (JEDI), likely by cheating and sucking up to Donald Trump with racist ICE work — work that it repeatedly refused to walk away from. There was evidence of this, even in the media.

“Peace and justice are two sides of the same coin,” Dwight Eisenhower said. Well, Microsoft chose both militarism (Pentagon) and racism (ICE). It’s all about money. We could remark also on the Gates family in relation to multi-generational eugenics work (Bill Jr. isn’t the first). But let’s leave that aside for today…

“Microsoft has a broad network of and for direct and implicit censorship, working hard to ensure domination of the press and the narrative in the public minds.”Microsoft is, as documentation shows, sexist, racist and pro-military. Microsoft is abundantly imperialistic and a report from the US could not rule out Microsoft’s foul play in relation to JEDI.

The intern was forced (more or less) to not publish her work after an advisor at a university that works closely with Microsoft (e.g. on so-called ‘studies’) strongly discouraged her, partly by means of libeling yours truly (anonymously of course!). Microsoft has a broad network of and for direct and implicit censorship, working hard to ensure domination of the press and the narrative in the public minds. The European Patent Office (EPO) did the same to European media. Benoît Battistelli bribed the media many times and almost every day (weekdays) the EPO under António Campinos openly advertises bribes for academia. To twist the above quote from Eisenhower, power and money are two sides of the same coin, and money begets power (also vice versa). This means that those with the money can muzzle their critics. In the long run, however, they’re doomed to lose the arguments because facts are on our side and they cannot eternally pay off the media to pass lies. People aren’t dumb enough to absorb everything that corporate media (funded by corporations) tells them.

Microsoft Trolls as a Reflection of Microsoft’s Demise (and Resort to Entryism, Hoping to Conquer the Competition That’s Already Taking Over)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deception, Microsoft at 7:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No, Bill, not every critic of yours is a “conspiracy theorist” and Microsoft isn’t losing to Linux (e.g. Android) because of “the government” (he actually said this to the media recently)

Gates animation

Summary: Techrights seems to have attracted the attention of the higher levels at Microsoft (likely executives/Board) and we’re being targeted with ad hominem attacks — the last resort when factual rebuttals (refutations) are not possible

THE attack waged by GitHub has long been explored and explained by us, for we have a number of people researching those things. One person has machines running and processing data for days at a time, gathering statistics and pulling in tons of data for analysis.

“GitHub is still costing Microsoft billions in losses.”We recently published a number of revelations about WSL2 — revelations that Microsoft struggled with and was unable to refute. We typically know we’ve struck a nerve when anonymous Microsoft trolls (who later turn out be be employees, though it takes unmasking efforts) come to our IRC channels. That happened again yesterday. We also saw some ad hominem attacks on Twitter. When the facts don’t suit them they then starting attacking people and/or sites’ reputation. And apparently having a campaign called “boycott Novell” somehow disproves what we wrote about WSL2? Even Microsoft’s Project Management and levels above them have become involved. It means they’re hurt. The entryism is exposed for the sham (and technically a failure, too) that it is. GitHub is still costing Microsoft billions in losses. They operate at a massive loss (it’s about control/domination/coercion, not direct profitability). The same is habitually said about Azure.

Pertinent details are, as usual, in IRC logs (which we publish each morning).

I am still blocked by GitHub’s CEO in Twitter even though I never spoke to him.

“Maybe some time in the future Microsoft will also block Techrights, preventing its employees in over 100 countries from accessing information about Microsoft.”We saw it as a badge of honour when the European Patent Office’s (EPO) Benoît Battistelli decided to block Techrights on every EPO PC in several countries, impacting about 7,000 workers, preventing them from accessing information about their employer, including authentic leaks. António Campinos, now at the Office for 2 years, maintains that censorship, which is half a decade old now. Staff of the EPO cannot even access material crucial for prior art search or opposition to software patents in Europe.

Maybe some time in the future Microsoft will also block Techrights, preventing its employees in over 100 countries from accessing information about Microsoft. At the moment they just actively discourage them, typically using arguments that boil down to nothing of substance, only personal attacks.

“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

Robert X. Cringely

When People Realise Food and Medicine Exceed in Importance (Essentiality) Luxury and Travel Expenditure They Will Come to Accept Free Software as Basic Commodity

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Hardware at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

OEMs are increasingly abandoning Microsoft Windows

Puts on a tux; Realises a tux isn't edible
Early carrier of novel Coronavirus

Summary: With more announcements on their way, it is becoming apparent that people are tired of Windows and OEMs adopt Free (as in freedom) software as the default operating system

THE WORLD’S economy is in a state of turmoil. Worshippers of the market (an abstract concept, like man-made money) panic and those whose supposed “capital” is huge stand to lose at least some of their power. The illusion of endless growth is coming to an end. It’s simply not sustainable anymore. COVID-19 was merely a trigger, not the cause.

“For companies like Apple it has become harder to convince people to spend over a thousand dollars on a laptop or a so-called ‘phone’ (mostly a surveillance apparatus, more so in recent years or months).”More people are now ‘stuck’ at home (willfully, if not by imposed de facto curfews). They realise all they really need is shelter, food, and their basic health, which is related to the first two. Happiness is related to anxiety or lack therefore; for many people reduction in spendings means peace of mind and thus it can be beneficial to mental health.

For companies like Apple it has become harder to convince people to spend over a thousand dollars on a laptop or a so-called ‘phone’ (mostly a surveillance apparatus, more so in recent years or months). Even if more people waste their time ‘online’ — in social control media such as Facebook — turning that ‘screen time’ into money has become harder. People lack access to physical shops and many people lack a source of income (those who still have a salary aren’t sure for how much longer).

The ‘perfect storm’ breeds or leads to a reassessment of one’s spendings, one’s habits, one’s source of pride and identity. People aren’t being judged so much by what car they drive; many who bought a car no longer use it much. Where do they take it? To work? To dine somewhere? To visit a friend or loved one in quarantine?

“Dell contacted me a couple of days ago. They’re about to announce a bunch of new products with GNU/Linux preinstalled.”Techrights has long dealt with issues like abundance, digital rights, planned obsolescence, standards and artificial scarcity (copyrightd, patents et cetera are monopoly and induced scarcity, sometimes price-fixing). It hardly surprises us to learn that more people are nowadays installing GNU/Linux. One can see this in Valve statistics, Web statistics and even distro developers (who measure the number of downloads). People sit at home, mostly bored, hoping to learn new things, striving to lower the cost of living.

Our projection, which is likely more realistic than optimistic, would be huge upsurge for GNU/Linux in 2020. Dell contacted me a couple of days ago. They’re about to announce a bunch of new products with GNU/Linux preinstalled. Expect the embargo on that announcement to lapse/expire just over a week from now. It would be insincere and unfair to ‘leak’ out what they sent me. But after what Lenovo and others said last month it’s clear that OEMs too are seeing the growth in demand for such products. Their market intelligence exposes the evolving dynamics.

Oh…

And those who want a ‘leak’ of the Dell stuff, watch our IRC logs closely.

RMS (Richard Stallman) said he had been hit, but not knocked out; his vision is coming closer to fruition and deep inside he knows it. Prosperous times may be ahead for Software Freedom activists.

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

EFF Should Also Speak About the EPO Granting Software Patents Against the Law

Posted in America, Courtroom, EFF, Europe, Law, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: USPTO and EPO Openly Brag About Breaking the (Case)Law to Grant Software Patents That Courts Would Reject, Even the Very Highest Courts

Software patents and AI patents

Summary: While it’s commendable and very much appreciated that the EFF opposes software patents in the US, it has truly missed the boat, which is the crossing of the Atlantic by EPO practices, reframing software patents as something they’re not (or mindless buzzwords)

THE ABOVE-MENTIONED article already took note of similiarities if not overlaps in the way the main system in Europe and in the sole one in the US generally bypass the law itself. We continue to worry that the EFF ignores European Patent Office (EPO) abuse by António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli — abuse which includes illegal granting of software patents in Europe. They only care about copyright policy in Europe while pocketing Google money. That money comes from surveillance — something the EFF proclaims to be against and which emboldens EFF critics. Inquisitive readers can find more rants about this in yesterday’s IRC logs.

“They only care about copyright policy in Europe while pocketing Google money.”We’re generally thankful for the EFF; it has just published, if not weeks belatedly, this blog post about misguided 35 U.S.C. § 101 guidance, designed to overcome Alice (SCOTUS) rather than integrate it into common practice. In the EFF’s own words: (it was included in Daily Links already)

In 2014, the Supreme Court decided the landmark Alice v. CLS Bank case. The Court held generic computers, performing generic computer functions, can’t make something eligible for patent protection. That shouldn’t be controversial, but it took Alice to make this important limitation on patent-eligibility crystal clear.

Last year, the Patent Office decided to work around that decision, so that the door to bogus software patents could swing open once again. The office issued new guidance telling its examiners how to avoid applying Alice. In response to that proposal, more than 1,500 of you told the Patent Office to re-consider its guidance to make sure that granted patents are limited to those that are eligible for protection under Alice. Unfortunately, the Patent Office wouldn’t do it. The office and its director, Andre Iancu, refused to adapt its guidance to match the law, even when so many members of the public demanded it.

As we said at the start of last year, this won’t change how courts deal with such patents, but how many people and companies can afford a legal battle? This especially harms individuals and small businesses. To them, spending millions of dollars on one single lawsuit makes no sense at all. So they might instead settle over patent threats which they know to be bogus, baseless, and outright frivolous.

“They redefined “certainty” in the same way EPO redefined “quality” (to mean the opposite of it).”We’ve thankfully seen some supportive feedback about the EFF’s post. The CCIA said: “The Patent Office is promoting certainty in getting patents at the expense of making issued patents far less certain, with negative impacts on manufacturers and patent owners alike.”

There’s also a blog post about it (among several others) in our Daily Links.

The EFF tweeted that USPTO “should follow Supreme Court rulings, but the office’s own data show that it’s avoiding them to issue more patents.”

They redefined “certainty” in the same way EPO redefined “quality” (to mean the opposite of it).

Why does the USPTO do this?

“The EFF does get involved in European politics and even Latin-American politics when the EFF’s paymasters request that. How many times did it write about copyright law in Europe? Like a hundred times? Yet nothing (ever) about patents…”“Because it can,” said Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat/IBM (he was a campaigner against software patents in Europe before Red Hat hired him). “The USPTO and other patent offices around the world have granted patents on a lot of things that shouldn’t deserve a 20 year monopoly.”

“USPTO is ignoring Alice, Iancu has reopened the floodgates of software patents,” Benjamin Henrion said before shaming Wildeboer into leaving IBM in protest, noting that IBM played a big if not the biggest role in lobbying for what Iancu did. Our general position is that Wildeboer can perhaps persuade the former Red Hat CEO, now a President at IBM, to change IBM’s patent policy. Time will tell if that can happen…

From what we’ve heard from Wildeboer, he is at least trying.

It would be counterproductive to shame the EFF and Wildeboer, knowing that they’re generally on our side. But we shall continue asking — as we have politely done for a long time — why the EFF refuses to comment on EPO matters. The EFF does get involved in European politics and even Latin-American politics when the EFF’s paymasters request that. How many times did it write about copyright law in Europe? Like a hundred times? Yet nothing (ever) about patents…

IRC Proceedings: Friday, May 08, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:35 am by Needs Sunlight

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