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05.18.20

Why is the EPO Advertising Microsoft?

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 11:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“These procedures allegedly included helping the NSA to bypass encryption on the Outlook.com email client; providing the FBI and the NSA with easier access to SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, and helping the NSA to boost their capability threefold to intercept video calls made via Skype.”

Edward Snowden claims Microsoft collaborated with NSA and FBI to allow access to user data

EPO Microsoft Skype

Summary: The European laws are being ignored and the European Patent Office (EPO) has become shameless about outsourcing legal processes to the United States, where the spying is intensive and detrimental to fair and accessible legal proceedings

Free Software Will Become a Critical Discussion Point When ‘Commercial Spaces’ Perish Temporarily (or Are Permanently Phased Out)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Territorial differentiations blurred

Smog: Work from the office; Work from home

Fat man: What your boss thinks of you at work; What your boss thinks you do at home

Summary: The move from offices to homes is beneficial to the planet; it may not, however, prove beneficial at all to our human rights (especially if we’re governed by malicious gadgetry)

THE DAILY Links we post here contain some non-tech news, including purely political news picks. Suffice to say, we watch these things closely. We limit ourselves to tech only when it comes to articles we publish originally. We must focus on subjects we understand better and topics that suit our longstanding audience. Having worked from home since 2007 I feel comfortable covering this subject.

“Suffice to say, those ‘apps’ are proprietary software (Free software would enable removal of malicious ‘features’) and suddenly we come to consider the ramification of non-free, user-hostile, malicious proprietary software in the context of “remote work” (actually, working from one’s home is more local than remote).”Now, without going into all the pertinent details and references, set aside politics, let’s just say it has become apparent (in several large nations) that jobs people can do from home will be done from home for the “foreseeable future” (to quote or at least paraphrase London’s Mayor) if not permanently. At the same time we’ve learned about increasing levels of surveillance, even inside one’s own home, using so-called ‘apps’ particular employers will force workers to install and keep running. Hardly the ‘win’, eh? The pertinent details may not matter as much as the intention or these attitudinal aspects. Bosses assume they ‘own’ their workers and are coming to expect that it’s acceptable to know what people are doing while ‘outside work’ (or ‘working hours’) in their own private spaces. This is bad. It’s regressive and potentially dangerous to one’s liberties, including freedom of expression, movement and association.

Suffice to say, those ‘apps’ are proprietary software (Free software would enable removal of malicious ‘features’) and suddenly we come to consider the ramification of non-free, user-hostile, malicious proprietary software in the context of “remote work” (actually, working from one’s home is more local than remote). Is there “no place to hide” so to speak, not even one’s own bathroom?

We urge readers and encourage everyone out there to raise the possibility that Free (as in freedom) software would ensure a transition from “the office” to “the home” can still secure all the same labour/workers’ rights that were guaranteed in the “older” workplaces. There’s no reason for us to accept degradation, such as spying on our loved ones, spying outside working hours, and surveillance in our private spaces, including bedrooms.

“What next? Employers forcing staff to wear “smart” bracelets and maybe microchips with secret code? Pacemaker-like implants that can be remotely taken over? (A subject often discussed by the SFC’s Ms. Sandler).”When it comes to the environment — an issue I care about greatly and many geeks generally relate to — this whole “remote work” thing (the word “remote” is misleading as the false supposition is that you’re “away” whilst home) is a positive thing. But there’s potential for harm, especially to our basic privacy, dignity and intimacy.

Debian’s Erich Schubert has just published this very detailed article on why “Contact Tracing Apps are Useless” (with focus on Germany) and we recently remarked on the way António Campinos as President of the EPO in Munich violates the privacy of staff in their own homes (Benoît Battistelli violated privacy of staff, visitors, and applicants, even in their own homes, e.g. doctor visits). This is not acceptable. The move to eliminate unnecessary commute isn’t meant to be accompanied by abundantly unnecessary ‘tradeoffs’, such as elimination of personal privacy in one’s private space. What next? Employers forcing staff to wear "smart" bracelets and maybe microchips with secret code? Pacemaker-like implants that can be remotely taken over? (A subject often discussed by the SFC‘s Ms. Sandler).

Funnily enough, in the push for public panic the governments now try to encourage people to install “Contact Tracing” so-called ‘apps’ and transmit our heartbeats for medical assessment in real time (yes, some already push this far!) whilst openwashing tactics are being used to make these ‘apps’ sort of ‘feel’ almost “ethical”. They typically outsource the code to a proprietary platform of Microsoft (GitHub), never mind the elephants in the room. Will rhetoric escalate to the point where people without a mobile ‘phone’ (surveillance device that can also make calls) cannot make any payments because “cash is dirty” (or dumb, or for criminals only) and those who reject “Contact Tracing” be treated like unvaccinated lepers? Stigma is a powerful social control mechanism/driver, just like self-loathing/shame.

The public health crisis is real; but those in positions of power — looking to oppress for fun and profit — will not let it “go to waste…”

We must fight back.

A Poem to Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 9:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

YOU told us you loved us

But forth came the lawsuits
You promised you would change
And all you changed was the CEO (suits)

You told us you loved us
You then bought GitHub
You said it proved you loved “Open Source”
But actually it was a proprietary sub

You told us you loved us
I thought you did
Then you phoned my boss
So I knew you hadn’t, indeed

You said you had changed
But then you killed Novell, Yahoo, Nokia…
You said you were trying to help them
But who would ever trust ya?

You said Linus was rude
You called Richard radical
Unlike your pseudo-mascot
Who flew the Lolita Express, what a rascal!

Your critics all live in some basement, you told us
Pimple-faced, basement-dwelling stinkin’ conspiracy nuts
What is their theory exactly
Is their main weakness just having some guts?

“Bill Gates cites copyright enforcement to justify Chinese censorship. Microsoft executives used to call us communists, but they are now clearly revealed as the ones who support communist-style dictatorship.”

Richard Stallman

Look Who’s Back in MIT

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 8:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Mansion of Pedophilia – Part II: Dr. Stallman Defamed in the Media One Day After Request Made for King County Sheriff’s Office to Divulge Information About Pedophilia in Home of Bill Gates

These past few days in the ‘news’:

Brad Smith at MIT in The Register
The Register

Brad Smith at MIT in a Microsoft advocacy site
Microsoft advocacy site

Brad Smith at MIT in Phoronix
Phoronix

Brad Smith at MIT in ZDNet
ZDNet

Brad Smith at MIT in The Verge
The Verge

Months ago (when the media’s attention was starting to shift to a phony RMS ‘scandal’ at MIT):

Recode on Gates MIT scandal
Recode

Business Insider on Gates MIT scandal
Business Insider

Telegraph on Gates MIT scandal
Telegraph

New Yorker on Gates MIT scandal
New Yorker

Summary: Sometimes news clippings are all one needs to grasp a narrative change and potential motivations for it

The Radicals Are the Patent Boosters, Not the Sceptics and Rationalists

Posted in America, Europe, Law, Patents at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Do not fall for their projection tactics, reinforced through their propaganda sites that equate critics with “pirates” or “theft” (sometimes even leveraging the Red Scare)

Make Patents Great Again

Summary: Contrary to insulting old myths, the zealotry comes from the patent maximalists rather than antagonists of theirs (opposing monopolies on life, nature and mathematics, as per the underlying laws and rulings from the highest courts)

IN AN ARTICLE already mentioned last week in Daily Links (“Trump takes early edge over Biden on IP” [sic]) the psyche of patent zealots is made rather apparent. Political turmoil is OK as long as they get their way. That article was shelved behind a paywall, but now there’s more on that in the think tank known as “MIP” — a site that only ever speaks to (and for) patent zealots. “Fifty four in-house counsel took our survey on how the US patent pendulum has moved and how the courts and the USPTO have changed,” it says. As usual, they speak only to people who make a living from litigation (and preparation for it). “The 54 in-house lawyers who took our survey weighed in on Andrei Iancu’s appointment to director of the USPTO, the PTAB and where the patent pendulum is swinging,” it added.

“So maybe these so-called ‘IP’ counsels should put on a “MAGA” hat, join a “liberation” ‘protest’ to “reopen America” and “make patents great again” (some of these nuts already made red hats that say that).”The 35 U.S.C. § 101-hostile USPTO Donald Trump crony Iancu has been what we once called “American Battistelli” (and António Campinos is of course much of the same). These people never met a patent troll they did not like or a patent they didn’t approve of. They’re patent maximalists. Just like the people surveyed by MIP, which has just said: “In part one, more lawyers thought President Donald Trump’s views on IP were better for their business than those of the Democratic Party’s Joe Biden, but the majority of respondents said either that they ‘didn’t know’ whose IP views among the two men would be better for their businesses or that neither’s were. And while most counsel said the US is not too patent friendly, they were divided on how the pendulum is swinging.”

When the term “patent friendly” is thrown around they basically refer to leniency or deviation from the law. Granting lots of fake patents would be “patent friendly” whereas adherence to underlying laws/science would be a “patent-unfriendly” approach.

So maybe these so-called ‘IP’ counsels should put on a “MAGA” hat, join a “liberation” ‘protests’ to “reopen America” and “make patents great again” (some of these nuts already made red hats that say that or don cowboy hats).

In the meantime, to us at least, sites like MIP and the people they front for (like those counsels and patent trolls) will be seen as a major problem. Sadly, as we’ve been explaining for months if not years (even this past Sunday), the other site founded by a scholar (founder of MIP and IP Kat) is still boosting Battistelli’s CEIPI (as recently as yesterday) and all we’re left with for actual signal are the comments. Here’s a new one hypothetically quoting NGOs regarding the latest EBA (EPO Enlarged Board of Appeal) outcome “because there should be no patents on life”. It focuses on Rule 28(2):

Also, did anyone think about how Rule 28(2) is supposed to work in practice?

The method of making a product (a plant) is now decisive for the patentability of that product, while at the same time this method of making the product has no direct impact on the features of the product.

A plant is patentable if the causal mutation was induced. The same plant is not patentable if the causal mutation was “merely” identified in an existing plant. In the latter case, the causal mutation could still originally have been the result of induced mutagenesis, since untargeted mutagenesis techniques have been common in plant breeding for decades and have induced countless background mutations.

Just to give a practical example: say I have identified a new and inventive trait in an existing plant. This plant is not patentable under Rule 28(2). I identify the causal mutation and file a patent application claiming the same plant and provide an enabling disclosure to obtain said plant by induced mutagenesis. Now, exactly the same plant claim is patentable under the EPC. There is no obligation to disclose how a given trait was originally obtained (provided that the plant is not regulated as a GMO). There is only an obligation to provide an enabling disclosure. The disclosure requirement is met by describing the mutagenesis method. The knowledge that a native trait exists which has the same effect as the man-made trait can be kept secret without further ado.

The blessing of Rule 28(2) by the Enlarged Board is a bad joke, which will only lead to creative patent drafting and subsequent outcries by NGOs that the agrochemical industry is still patenting plants that should not be patentable (“because there should be no patents on life”).

A requirement to disclaim plants exclusively obtained by an essentially biological method does not remove the fundamental flaws in Rule 28(2). A claim directed to a plant “with the proviso that the plant is not exclusively obtained by means of an essentially biological process” only disclaims plant that do not comprise any induced mutations. Who can realistically argue that a given domesticated plant does not comprise any induced mutations? (I refer to the decades-long use of untargeted mutagenesis techniques in plant breeding.)

And what about patent infringement? An assumed infringer can (and will) state to his or her defense that he/she did not use induced mutagenesis. He/she simply crossed plants (most likely obtained from the patent holder) and obtained a new plant variety exclusively by using an essentially biological method. It is simply not possible to determine whether a given mutation was originally induced or occurred spontaneously. Would this scenario be confirmed in infringement proceedings, all plant patents have become worthless even if the patented trait has been obtained by technical mutagenesis techniques like gene editing. I sometimes believe that this scenario is exactly the objective of certain supporters of Rule 28(2) since they truly believe that patents in general and particularly plant patents are bad for society.

Plant breeding has developed from an unreproducible process of chance to a technical process that is reproducible, and which can be described in such way that it can be reworked by a person skilled in the art. The proper IP [sic] right [sic] to protect technical processes and the products obtained by technical processes are patents. I do not see any valid reason why (bio)technology in plant breeding should be regarded differently than, let’s say, in medicine. Despite the fact that the development of plant breeding into a biotechnology process is regarded undesirable by many, this can neither be negated nor reversed. Certainly not by the implementation of Rule 28(2).

We already wrote about it 4 times in recent days [1, 2, 3, 4]. The very fact that blogs like Patent Docs constantly lobby for patents on life (maybe a quarter of the total posts there) says a lot. There are even dedicated sites for such lobbying, one of which being/acting as a ‘sister’ site of WIPR. They use nonsensical terms like “life science”…

All those litigation think tanks disguised as news sites (check their ownership!) sort of sicken us. They sicken society. And once we all get sick they hope to profit by selling us patented drugs at 1,000 times (or more) the price of manufacturing. Making prices “great again…”

Constitutional Court’s Justice Huber Reaffirms Substantial Concerns About Viability of the Unitary Patent/UPC

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Before JoJo's, after JoJo's: Rejection based on formality, Rejection based on substance

Summary: If UPC wasn’t already dead in the water, now we have another blow to push it down under because, as per a new interview, the “Constitutional Court’s reservations against the UPC Agreement are not limited to the formal errors which were made when passing the German ratification act in parliament. Rather, it appears that the court’s concerns also relate to the substance of the UPC Agreement.” (To quote Dr. Simon Klopschinski)

WHEN THE European Patent Office (EPO) spoke of the outcome of the FCC complaint back in March it merely quoted António Campinos cherry-picking a ludicrous political statement, in effect parroting an outrageous lie. It took the EPO more than a week to come up with that spin — something we had become accustomed to in the Benoît Battistelli days.

“Not a single blog posts in almost 2 months…”Almost nobody talks about the UPC anymore. The Daily Links from yesterday included an article we had missed from about a month ago — basically more lies from core Team UPC people. In May the UPC is hardly even named. It’s presumed dead except when they come up with ridiculous spin — distortion of facts designed to make it seem like the UPC still stands a chance. We’ve seen it all before. Bristows did that every week. Now? Not a single blog posts in almost 2 months…

Radio silence.

Hours ago, published via Thomas Musmann (Rospatt Osten Pross) was this relatively short post by Dr. Simon Klopschinski. In it there’s an English translation of relevant German text and it says:

On February 13, 2020 the German Federal Constitutional Court decided that the German law ratifying the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court is void (see here). In the meantime the Constitutional Court has issued another sentence which deals with the European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme (see here). On May 13, 2020 the daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) published an interview with Judge Huber, who was involved in both proceedings as judge rapporteur, on the ECB decision, in which Judge Huber also commented on the court’s UPC verdict.

In its ECB decision the Constitutional Court decided that it was not bound by a previous CJEU ruling. Therefore, the European Commission is currently thinking about initiating infringement proceedings against Germany under Article 258 TFEU. When asked by FAZ on this issue Judge Huber made the following comment on the primacy of EU law and the court’s UPC verdict…

[...]

In its decision of February 13, 2020 the Constitutional Court had left open the question whether the unconditional primacy of EU law, as stipulated in Article 20 of the UPC Agreement, violates the German constitution, even though the court held that there may be indications for such a finding (see para. 166 of the decision).

Judge Huber’s comment in the FAZ reaffirms that the Constitutional Court’s reservations against the UPC Agreement are not limited to the formal errors which were made when passing the German ratification act in parliament. Rather, it appears that the court’s concerns also relate to the substance of the UPC Agreement. Thus, if the second attempt to ratify the UPC Agreement is confined to organizing the required two-thirds majority in parliament (and some formal rectifications due to Brexit), the fate of the UPC Agreement in another constitutional complaint before the Federal Constitutional Court will remain uncertain.

“Concerned observer” soon added a comment to say: “It will be interesting to see how the question regarding the unconditional supremacy of EU (case) law is resolved with regard to Germany. One option might be to amend the Basic Law … but that might not help in all cases as it is hard to see how such an amendment could apply retroactively. However, perhaps of more immediate interest will be whether, despite the clear views expressed by the FCC, any of the UPC’s supporters will continue to lobby the German government to pass legislation enabling ratification of the UPC Agreement. The answer to this is likely to depend upon whether those supporters are prepared to actively encourage the German government to pass a law that would almost certainly be unconstitutional.”

“Justice Huber’s words can be interpreted as another nail on the UPC coffin.”Benjamin “NO Software Patents” Henrion (FFII) repeatedly told me something to that effect, citing nothing but unsourced rumours. “I have the impression that the German Government will mull the UPC through the Bundestag, ignoring Brexit, in order to get the UPC into force. And “fix it” afterwards,” he eventually wrote in Twitter. “Rumour that UPC will be back for a vote in front of the Bundestag soon #upc #Germany despite a clear violation of AETR and the UK being in,” he had said earlier. However, there’s no actual evidence of that and the above article from Dr. Klopschinski makes it more apparent that even if the Bundestag pulled a fast one it would not suffice.

Unfortunately, to us at least, the EPO still grants illegal software patents in Europe. Today’s patent courts reject those, but how many can afford the legal battle/s? Ideally we can put an end to all these ludicrous patents. As for the UPC? It’s a dead end. Justice Huber’s words can be interpreted as another nail on the UPC coffin.

Links 18/5/2020: Linux 5.7-rc6, Skopeo 1.0 and More

Posted in News Roundup at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop Linux: Why open source is heading for a new breakthrough



      It’s been a long time since anyone thought Linux could seriously challenge Windows for domination as a desktop operating system. But that doesn’t mean that interest in having Linux on your laptop has entirely vanished.

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

      “It’s very exciting,” Matthew Miller, project lead for Fedora, tells TechRepublic.

      “Going to a manufacturer and saying, ‘Hey, we want you to do our thing’ is not nearly as powerful as them coming to you and telling you their customers are asking for it.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Windows 10 to Linux | Updating Programs and System

        Updating Programs and System This video is about using the Update Manager in Linux Mint. This goes over repositories, kernel upgrades, and backups inside of Mint.

      • GNU World Order 354

        **dmapi**, **dmidecode** and related tools, and **dvd+rw-tools** from the **ap** software series in Slackware.

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 197 – Beer, security, and consistency; the newer, better, triad

        Josh and Kurt talk about what beer and reproducible builds have in common. It’s a lot more than you think, and it mostly comes down to quality control. If you can’t reproduce what you do, you’re not a mature organization and you need maturity to have quality.

      • Podcast.__init__: Easy Data Validation For Your Python Projects With Pydantic

        One of the most common causes of bugs is incorrect data being passed throughout your program. Pydantic is a library that provides runtime checking and validation of the information that you rely on in your code. In this episode Samuel Colvin explains why he created it, the interesting and useful ways that it can be used, and how to integrate it into your own projects. If you are tired of unhelpful errors due to bad data then listen now and try it out today.

      • How to install Xtreme Download Manager – XDM on Ubuntu 20.04

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Xtreme Download Manager – XDM on Ubuntu 20.04.

      • 2020-05-18 | Linux Headlines

        openSUSE board elections are still causing friction in its community, Audacity rolls back its 2.4 update, the curl project seeks participation in its annual survey, the bootiso Bash script hits version 4.0, and Sunflower lands its first release in four years.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7-rc6
        Another week, another rc.
        
        Last weekend, we had a larger-than-usual rc5, which I expected because
        rc4 had been small and so there was some pent-up fixing work that
        ended up in rc5.
        
        This weekend, we had an even bigger rc6, and I really hoped we were in
        the calming down period.
        
        So I'm not entirely happy about this. That said, there's nothing
        particularly scary in here, and it's not like this rc6 is outrageously
        big or out of control. I was just hoping for less.
        
        About a quarter of this is arch updates (arm[64], csky, x86, powerpc,
        risc-v) with an additional 5% being some x86 kvm selftests.
        
        The rest is mostly driver updates (gpu, usb, networking, rmda, clk)
        with a random mix of other stuff (filesystem updates, tracing, mm, and
        core networking).
        
        Nothing really stands out, but let's hope things calm down now.
        
                         Linus
        
        PS. On a personal note, my middle daughter graduated college
        yesterday. Congrats to her - and to me. Two down, one to go!
        
      • Linux 5.7-rc6 Released – Torvalds Is Not Entirely Happy Over Its Size

        While the past few weeks have seen relatively smaller than usual weekly release candidates, Linux 5.7-rc6 is out this evening and it’s bigger than normal.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.7-rc6

        Linus has released the 5.7-rc6 kernel prepatch, which contains a bit more churn than he would like. “That said, there’s nothing particularly scary in here, and it’s not like this rc6 is outrageously big or out of control. I was just hoping for less.”

      • XSAVES Supervisor States For Linux 5.8 To Support Future Intel CPU Features

        Queued up this weekend as part of the x86/fpu changes slated for the upcoming Linux 5.8 cycle is low-level functionality necessary for supporting other current and future Intel CPU features.

        The XSAVES supervisor states (Save Processor Extended States Supervisor) support is now queued up ahead of the Linux 5.8 kernel. These patches have been on the mailing list for a while and now deemed ready for mainline inclusion after being queued by Borislav Petkov.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Laval Virtual: OpenXR master class in VR!

          Collabora’s long-standing tradition of presenting talks at conferences took an unexpected turn in the last few months, with numerous events deciding to go virtual for their 2020 editions. Collaborans have been up to the challenge however, presenting online talks at a number of events including foss-north (“FOSS Virtual & Augmented Reality”) and Linaro Tech Days (“Wayland and Weston: 8 years of production devices” & “Open Source GPU Drivers BoF”).

          In addition to these online conferences, Collaborans also had the opportunity to speak at a event held entirely in VR! Laval Virtual World, which took place at the end of April, brought the concept of “virtual conference” to a new level with over 11,000 attendees from 110 countries taking part in a fully immersive experience! Here’s a short highlight reel from the organizers, to give you an idea of what the event was like.

    • Benchmarks

      • Xeon Gold 6250 vs. EPYC 7F32 – 8-Core Server CPU Performance On Ubuntu 20.04



        Launched last month were the AMD EPYC 7Fx2 CPUs as new high frequency SKUs and with larger L3 cache sizes. Following our initial EPYC 7F52 benchmarking we moved on to testing the EPYC 7F32 and today are putting it head-to-head against the Xeon Gold 6250 and other EPYC/Xeon SKUs while running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        The AMD EPYC 7F32 is an eight core / sixteen thread part with a 3.7GHz base frequency and 3.9GHz boost clock while having a 128MB L3 cache and 180 Watt TDP rating. The list price on this processor is $2100 USD.

    • Applications

      • Audacity 2.4 Released with New Audio Effects, New Time Toolbar

        A new version of Audacity, the open source audio editor, is available to download.

        Audacity 2.4.0 features many changes, including a new multi-view mode that allows you to view both waveform and spectrogram for a single track at the same time.

        Though this particular change is described as an ‘advanced’ feature it is an option will make it easier for editors to perform precision cutting and splicing particularly of vocal content like podcasts (for which spectrograms are considered useful).

      • Best Linux Text-Based Browsers

        In the past, the Internet was mostly made up of simple pages and text. These pages could be accessed by low powered computers that used slow dial up connections. People used text-based browsers to visit sites and surf the Internet. Over time, things have progressed greatly and now, the world of Internet has become fully graphical.Powerful browsers such as Chrome and Firefox have introduced and a huge transition in the world of browsing. Even so, text-based web browsers are still alive and kicking; specifically, in Linux. Users of Linux consider themselves to be Command Line experts, and often prefer to do their work through the help of the terminal, rather than using the GUI.

      • Excellent Utilities: fontpreview – search and preview fonts

        In the days when Linux was a fledgling operating system, font handling was often identified as a major weakness. It was true that Linux then had problems with dealing with TrueType fonts, its font subsystem was prehistoric compared to its competitors, there was a dearth of decent fonts, difficulties in adding and configuring fonts made it almost impossible for beginners to improve matters for themselves, and jagged fonts with no anti-aliasing just added to a rather amateurish looking desktop.

        Fortunately, the situation is considerably better these days, with a better quality of user interface typography. With the continuing improving FreeType font engine producing high quality output, natively supporting scalable font formats like TrueType, Linux is making great strides although there’s still some way to go. Dealing with fonts under Linux can sometimes be tricky.

        Are you looking for a simple command-line tool that lets you search for fonts and preview them with no fuss and bother? fontpreview might just be the ticket.

      • Best music players for Linux

        Music lovers are always looking for the best tools to listen to their favorite albums. And while streaming music services are becoming increasingly popular, many of us still have gigantic music libraries on our hard drives that we can hardly replace or abandon altogether. Many players are able to combine both functions and allow us to play our favorite music.

        In this article we outline some of the best Linux music players.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Wizardry action game Wizard of Legend has a big anniversary update

        Wizard of Legend has dungeon crawling, fast-paced action and a lot of different spells to choose from and on its second anniversary it just got even bigger.

        Originally released with Linux support on May 15 in 2018, it’s grown quite a lot now, while keeping the gameplay as tight and focused as it was originally. As a dungeon-crawling action focused game it’s a huge amount of fun. Especially great when you have someone else to run around with you in local co-op.

      • Try out some strategy, superpowers and sabotage in Jumpala

        “Originally released with #Linux support on May 15 in 2018, it’s grown quite a lot now, while keeping the gameplay as tight and focused as it was originally.” https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2020/05/wizardry-action-game-wizard-of-legend-has-a-big-anniversary-update

      • An Open Letter to Our Readers

        While I tend to mostly focus on fighting, racing, and RPGs, with occasional reviews for Linux distributions and hardware, Ekianjo is more so a general news reporter who likes to cover market trends. With your help, we could start covering things like strategy games, simulators, or obscure indie titles that have never seen the light of day.

        [...]

        While we can’t exactly compensate your time by monetary means, you’ll have your voice heard in one of the few places on the Internet that is dedicated to Linux gaming. We may also be able to send you a Steam key from the developer of a game that you want to review.

        We know that, just as you care about having multiple distributions to choose from and what software you use, you also care about having multiple sources for your Linux gaming news. We’d love the help! Get in touch if you have a couple of ideas in mind.

        And even if you don’t have any desire to write, your continued feedback on our articles is greatly appreciated. Send us a hello on our Matrix channel: #boilingsteam:matrix.org, or reach us on Mastodon / Twitter if you prefer.

      • Beautiful puzzle game Lumote plans to support Linux through Proton

        Released back in February, Lumote is an incredibly vibrant and quite beautiful looking puzzle game and it seems
        Luminawesome Games plan to support Linux with Steam Play Proton.

        Play as Lumote a squishy bioluminescent creature on a quest to overthrow the Mastermote. Possess, jump and think your way through this beautiful 3D puzzle platformer with vivid visuals and quirky characters.
        Initially, the game didn’t work at all when run through the Proton compatibility layer. After getting reports, the developer went back and ensured it did actually work well.

      • Wasteland 3 characters can have super powerful quirks

        The first developer diary for Wasteland 3, which comes to Linux on August 28, shows off some of the customization and combat that’s possible and it sounds ridiculous.

        As expected there’s plenty of normal attributes to adjust, with a focus on clearly explaining what each one does but more exciting is the big new Quirk system, meant to represent all the weird things that’s happened to people after the apocalypse they can each have some insane special ability. This will give characters a super powerful bonus but the downside is that they appear to have downsides. An example given is the Pyromanic who gets a big bump to their fire and explosive damage but they also have a chance to catch fire.

        There’s even a big combo system, so you can make super-powerful melee brawlers who build up their power the more they attack and they eventually get immensely powerful punches that can smash everything around them which looks like a lot of fun.

      • Ancient board game Hnefatafl arrives on Linux

        Hnefatafl, the ancient ‘board game of the vikings’ just recently had a version ported to Linux from developer Philippe Schober and it sounds like quite a complete package. An ancient Scandinavian board game, whose variants were played all over medieval Europe before Chess was even invented and it’s history goes far back.

        It’s an interesting game because of the difference in layout, setup and team sizes. The defending team starts in the middle of the board and their main objective is to let their King escape by reach any of the corners. Meanwhile the attackers have double the numbers but they’re spread out across each side of the board.

      • Veloren, an open source RPG inspired by Cube World has a new release

        Need a new place to meet up with friends? Veloren is a free and open source open-world RPG that just recently had a massive new release with a focus on firming up the content.

        Written in the increasingly popular Rust language, it’s inspired by the likes of Cube World and Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild while being incredibly accessible since it’s FOSS. The 0.6.0 release, as the version number would suggest means it’s still not finished and in many ways has to do quite a lot before it’s truly ready for the masses but it gives a good and impressive idea of where it’s going.

      • Chapter 8 of Higurashi When They Cry Hou out now, first chapter free

        Higurashi When They Cry Hou, a very popular series of anime styled novels has the first chapter set temporarily free to claim and the final chapter is out now with Higurashi When They Cry Hou – Ch.8 Matsuribayashi.

        If you’ve never played them, they’re not like traditional visual novels. They’re what’s been commonly known as a sound novel. Meaning the “music, backgrounds and characters work together to create a world that is the stage of a novel for the user to read” and there’s little in the way of interactivity. It’s supposed to be much more like reading an actual novel with the extra elements to help engross you in it.

      • Spiritfarer, the cozy management game about dying is coming to GOG

        Spiritfarer might have a seemingly depressing theme but it appears to handle it in such a beautiful way. It also looks gorgeous and it’s one of my most anticipated games.

        You play Stella, a ferrymaster to the deceased, a Spiritfarer. You’re someone who befriends spirits before being able to release them into the afterlife. Pulling in some elements from casual crafting games you will be farming, fishing, mining and building up your boat. It’s supposed to be quite a relaxing game, one where you have to say goodbye eventually.

        They just announced recently that it’s going to be releasing on GOG in addition to Steam, so that as many people as possible can enjoy the adventure.

      • Estranged: Act II to leave Early Access on May 22

        Estranged: Act II is an impressive and currently free first-person adventure game with certain horror and puzzle themes that has been a labour of love from developer Alan Edwardes and it’s done.

        Need a reminder? Estranged: Act II follows the story of a fisherman, stranded on a mysterious island during a violent storm. The game continues after the events of Estranged: Act I, which followed our hero’s adventure in a search for a way to get home. Experience what the island has in store as you uncover the secretive Arque Corporation, burrowing ever deeper into their dangerous and haphazard operations.

      • Explore the beautiful Canadian wilderness in Ruth’s Journey

        Ruth’s Journey is an upcoming prologue for another bigger upcoming game called The Long Way Home from Nifty Llama Games. The trailer they just put out is quite mesmerising.

        After sitting in an office all day long doing paperwork, your boss lets you off on a break and from here you go and explore the beauty and wonders of the Canadian wilderness in search of the famed Golden Finch. Apparently this is also to help save the company from financial ruin.

      • Half Life: Alyx Lands on Linux

        I mentioned it already a few days ago on Mastodon/Twitter (that’s why you should follow us there), Half Life Alyx, the latest VR sensation, has finally landed on Linux, not too long after the Windows version. Based on anecdotal reports it seems like it works much better in its native client than with Proton. That’s a relief, since VR is at the extreme spectrum of performance needs and does not allow for much margin to keep the illusion going. Here’s how the game runs according to this video on Youtube…

        [...]

        I like the fact that they also released the Vulkan backend support for Windows, while early reports seem to indicate DX11 is better so far on Windows (less stutters). Since the game will be updated after release we should expect the performance profile of Vulkan to improve somewhat as well on Windows.

        Personally I would be interested to hear from anyone reading this article who has tried Alyx on Linux, what kind of configuration they used, and what kind of performance they can expect on Linux with Nvidia-based and AMD-based setups.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Enlightenment 0.24 Released with Assorted Changes

        A new version of the Enlightenment desktop for Linux and BSD has been released.

        Users of the EFL-powered desktop shell get to enjoy a number of improvements in Enlightenment 0.24, including a new and improved screenshot tool; external monitor backlight and brightness controls; and better handling of crashes through a new mediator tool.

        Also on offer in the E24 release are ‘seamless’ restarts with fade in and out effects; ‘smoother’ startup with I/O prefetch; and better memory handling in low memory conditions which results in lower overall memory usage.

        Bluetooth connections are now handled by Bluez5; there’s “easier config of specific desktop wallpaper straight from pager”; and a new core module in the form of a Polkit auth agent is included.

      • Enlightenment Desktop Environment Sees Major Release, Here’s What’s New

        More than four months in the works, the Enlightenment 0.24.0 release is finally here and brings lots of goodies. Major features include a new and improved shot module that includes editor and cropper, the ability to control external monitor backlight and brightness, as well as new and improved crash handling guru meditation.

        Furthermore, the resolution of thumbnails displayed in the EFM file manager has been bumped to 256×256, which is now the default, the number of setuid tools was reduced by merging many of them into a single system tool, and the Bluetooth daemon was upgraded to Bluez5.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Must Read: KDE Plasma 5.19 Arrives This Week, Here’s What’s New

          With a beta build already available for public testing I figured I should roundup the key features and significant improvements that KDE Plasma 5.19 plans to offer. That way, those of you who ride the plasma wave will have a much better idea of what to expect when you’re able to upgrade to it.

          If there’s a notable change or improvement you know of but which I’ve missed in this list then please do let me know about them in the comments section at the bottom and I’ll add it in!

        • “Why don’t you just fix [thing] already?”

          The title of this post is a somewhat common gripe among users. Its obvious answer is that resources are limited and people were working on other things.

          Duh! Not very helpful.

          We need to dig deeper and find the implicit question, which is “Why wasn’t [thing that I care about] prioritized over other things?” This is a more accurate and useful question, so we can arrive at a more accurate and useful answer: because other things were deemed either more important or more feasible to fix by the people doing the work.

          Why would other things be deemed more important? For bugs, it’s because they affect everyone and are trivially reproducible. The ones that get overlooked tend to be more esoteric issues that are not easily reproducible, or only affect niche use cases or hardware. Put bluntly, it’s appropriate that such issues are de-prioritized; it should be obvious that issues which affect everyone and are trivially reproducible are more important to fix.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • 25 Best GNOME Extensions



          GNOME is a very popular desktop environment among Linux users, and rightly so. With the addition of many useful tools, GNOME becomes an extremely powerful Desktop Environment. To enhance the GNOME experience, we have GNOME extensions. There are thousands of extensions available for GNOME, so that you can use them according to your needs. You can tweak everything on the GNOME desktop, from the appearance to the functionality, to match your needs.
          Today, I will introduce you to the 25 best GNOME extensions to enhance your GNOME Desktop experience. All 25 extensions are tested on latest Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, so all these extensions should also work on older Ubuntu releases. So, let’s get going!

    • Distributions

      • Best Linux distros 2020: The finest open source operating systems around



        While Windows and macOS are the most widely used desktop operating systems, they don’t offer much in the way of personalisation. Linux, on the other hand, is a fully customisable OS, allowing you to tailor your software to your liking.

        However, it’s not that simple. Linux is a blanket term for a group of popular and versatile operating systems, or distros, and knowing where to begin can be complicated, even for the most seasoned of developers.

        The Linux Kernel is built on the open source foundation, which has proved to be extremely popular with developers and engineers. This is partly because they can tweak and share the code it’s built with giving Linux more of an ongoing collaborative feel. As such, there are different versions of the software which are known as ‘distros’ (short for distributions). Regardless of the distro you use, however, it still uses the same fundamental Linux code structure.

        Distros are incredibly lightweight and can be launched from a CD or USB using your computer’s BIOS instead of uninstalling your usual OS. All that’s left to ask is which Linux distro to use? There are many to chose from and we’ve pulled together some of the best available today, to help you pick the one that suits you best.

      • Reviews

        • Review: Fedora 32 Workstation

          If you are already a Fedora user, Fedora 32 is something you should upgrade to immediately. Fedora 32′s improvements far outweigh the few minor issues (e.g. GNOME Software complaining about being unable to install English). If you are currently using a different distribution or if you are new to Linux, I still recommend Fedora 32, but with the caveat that you need to know about RPM Fusion and be able to follow the instructions on the RPM Fusion website to install the repositories and install the multimedia codec packages to have an experience on par with other distributions. While not as crucial, it also helps to enable Flathub, which provides a much larger set of packages than Fedora’s own Flatpak repository, including many applications that are not available as standard RPM packages. There are valid reasons for a Red Hat sponsored project not enabling those things by default, but it does make the Fedora installation process and user experience more complicated that it could be. Even with the extra work needed to set everything up, Fedora 32 Workstation is a great choice for general desktop computing, development work, or for learning the ins and outs of how Red Hat-style distributions work.

      • BSD

        • ZFS versus RAID: Eight Ironwolf disks, two filesystems, one winner



          This has been a long while in the making—it’s test results time. To truly understand the fundamentals of computer storage, it’s important to explore the impact of various conventional RAID (Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks) topologies on performance. It’s also important to understand what ZFS is and how it works. But at some point, people (particularly computer enthusiasts on the Internet) want numbers.

          First, a quick note: This testing, naturally, builds on those fundamentals. We’re going to draw heavily on lessons learned as we explore ZFS topologies here. If you aren’t yet entirely solid on the difference between pools and vdevs or what ashift and recordsize mean, we strongly recommend you revisit those explainers before diving into testing and results.

        • OpenBSD Seeing Initial Work Land On Enabling 64-bit POWER

          It’s arguably long overdue but OpenBSD is seeing initial work on POWERPC64 enablement landing in its source tree.

          OpenBSD is joining the ranks of other BSDs and Linux distributions in supporting recent 64-bit IBM POWER / OpenPOWER hardware. It’s still a journey ahead but as of last week the initial pieces of the architecture enablement were merged.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE CaaS Platform Adds Kubernetes Backup and More

          Have you noticed that the SUSE CaaS Platform team has been adding significant new enhancements to our Kubernetes container management platform every few weeks? It’s true! The team has been releasing new capabilities at a rapid pace, responding to specific needs of our enterprise customers and delivering upstream Kubernetes advances.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IBM launches Equal Access Toolkit to help developers build accessible websites and applications

          Although nearly 1 in 4 adults in the U.S. face some type of disability, an industry sample has found that in 2020 over 98 percent of home pages had a detectable accessibility error. Accessibility can be forgotten or left until too late in the process when it is difficult to retrofit the site or application. Knowledge, discipline, and tools are all essential to building in accessibility throughout a development process.

          As we near Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I am excited to announce a new open source offering and design toolkit that give designers and developers the tools they need to make their websites and applications accessible.

        • Deploy and bind enterprise-grade microservices with Kubernetes Operators

          Deploying enterprise-grade runtime components into Kubernetes can be daunting.

        • Modularity survey results

          The purpose of this survey was to get feedback on Modularity. The survey was published on public Fedora devel and an internal Red Hat mailing lists in April 3, 2020, and also shared on Fedora’s devel-announce and epel-devel mailing lists. We received 193 responses in 3 weeks. Read more below or download the PDF of the results.

          [...]

          33.5% of respondents answered that their primary role is developer, 32.5% packager, 11.5% system administrator and 7.9% power user (can use shell, has some admin skills). The remaining part was fragmented in other various roles. Because the survey was published on devel and rhel-devel mailing lists, the developers are mostly system components developers. Many of developers/packagers cover a packager/developer role as the secondary one. It means that the survey did not cover developers of end user applications.

        • Open positions: NeuroFedora is looking to take on trainees

          After the recent release of the Computational Neuroscience installable OS image, the NeuroFedora team is looking to work on to the next set of deliverables. For this, we need to expand the team.

          I want to note that we are not only looking for people that may already have the necessary skills. We are looking for anyone interested in working in these areas that would perhaps like to acquire the required skills. We will teach the skills that we can, and where we cannot, we will involve experienced members of the Free/Open Source software community to help us. All one really needs is a few hours a week of free time.

          [...]

          I also have first hand experience of how busy a PhD candidate can get, but in my experience I also found it possible to free up a few hours a week to work on developing general skills that one may not necessarily be able to learn from daily research work. So, I also strongly encourage undergraduate/postgraduate research students and Ph.D. candidates to do the same.

        • Using Fedora to implement REST API in JavaScript: part 2

          In part 1 previously, you saw how to quickly create a simple API service using Fedora Workstation, Express, and JavaScript. This article shows you the simplicity of how to create a new API.

        • David Cantrell: rpminspect-0.13 released

          I released rpminspect-0.13 today. This release took a little longer to finish up than I was anticipating, but I am pleased with the bug fixes and new features present.

        • Skopeo 1.0 released [Ed: Red Hat keeps outsourcing its work to a proprietary software trap controlled and exploited by Microsoft]

          I often talk about all of the new container tools that we have developed over the last few years, and often skim over Skopeo. But Skopeo was the first one, and really has some cool features.

          Skopeo is a tool for moving container images between different types of container storages. It allows you to copy container images between container registries like docker.io, quay.io, and your internal container registry or different types of storage on your local system. You can copy to a local container/storage repository, even directly into a Docker daemon.

        • Kafka Monthly Digest – April 2020

          In this 27th edition of the Kafka Monthly Digest, I’ll cover what happened in the Apache Kafka community in April 2020.

        • Ben Williams: F32-20200518 updated Live isos released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200518-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.12-200 kernel.

          Welcome to Fedora 32.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 776+MB of updates)).

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

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Tablet PineTab With Ubuntu Touch OS: All You Need To Know

          PINE64 is advancing to build an ecosystem of Linux native support devices such as PineBook laptop, PinePhone mobile, PineTime smartwatch, and PineTab tablet. The development of most of these devices is undergoing and the company is also shipping pilot products.

          They recently announced pre-orders for PineBook Pro and PinePhone Community Edition, whose shipping will begin this month. In addition to the same, PINE64 is now ready to open pre-orders for its Linux tablet PineTab. In their latest monthly blog, they also mentioned that PineTab pre-orders will start at the end of this month. So, let’s tell you all about PineTab before you place an order.

        • PineTab Linux tablet pre-orders soon opening from $100

          Pine64 has announced that later this month pre-ordering will start for its new PineTab Linux tablet. Pre-orders will be available from $100 and manufacturing inChina is now recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic delays.

          “The PINETAB is similar in both form, function and underlying ARM64 architecture to the original 11.6″ PINEBOOK. It is powered by the same Quad-Core ARM Cortex A53 64-Bit Processor used in our popular PINE A64 Single Board Computer. The optional keyboard and trackpad – which doubles-up as a screen cover – effectively converts the PineTab into a petite on-the-go laptop with a touch screen functionality. It runs numerous mainline Linux distributions as well as *BSDs and Android.”

        • PineTab Linux Tablet Coming Soon for $100. Watch an Ubuntu Touch Demo in the Meantime

          People have been trying to launch Linux tablets for years from PenPod 700 to Jolla Tablet, or more recently NTablet. You may not know or remember about those, as Linux tablets that actually shipped never really gained traction.

          But in early 2019, Pine64 started to mention development work on PineTab, an Allwinner A64 powered BSD/Linux tablet, and the company/community is really good at developing low-cost hardware and providing decent firmware support, so hopes were high. After COVID-19 related delay, Pine64 has now announced the first PineTab tablets would go for pre-order at the end of the month for $99.

        • Ubuntu-friendly POS system has up to two 15.6-inch screens

          Avalue’s Ubuntu-ready, IP65-protected “RiVar-1501” is a 15.6-inch, HD all-in-one POS terminal with an Apollo Lake processor, GbE, 6x USB 3.0, 2x COM, and support for a second touchscreen.

          Avalue announced a point-of-sale (POS) capacitive touchscreen terminal called the RiVar-1501 that runs on a quad-core Celeron J3455 from Intel’s Apollo Lake generation. The 15.1-inch, HD capacitive touch system supports HMI and POS applications including self-service ordering systems, ticket machines, kiosks, digital displays, cash registers, and kitchen display system (KDS).

        • Ubuntu Blog: Managed OpenStack cheaper than self-managed? [Ed: Canonical trying to emulate the Red Hat business model]

          OpenStack is known to be complex, especially when it comes to post-deployment operations. For example, OpenStack upgrades used to be so difficult that most vendors would never support them, offering only re-deployments instead. Organisations deploying OpenStack usually struggle with a lot of challenges when it comes to the maintenance of the cloud. These can include lack of knowledge, experience, human resources, time constraints and high risks associated with production-grade SLAs (service level agreements).

          Managed services are a solution to this problem. By outsourcing OpenStack operations to a service provider, organisations can benefit from the knowledge and experience brought by a dedicated team of cloud experts. They also do not have to worry about human resources as humans are provided in the contract. Managed services allow organisations to fully transfer the risk associated with OpenStack operations. Finally, time constraints get relaxed too, as the deployed cloud can be moved into production immediately.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 631

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 631 for the week of May 10 – 16, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • LanguageTool Review: Free and Open Source Grammar Checker



        This week’s open source software highlight is LanguageTool. It is a proofreading software that checks the grammar, style and spelling in more than 20 languages.

        I have been using it for past several days and I feel confident enough to review it and share my experience with it. I have used the popular proofreading tool Grammarly in the past and I’ll make some comparison between these two tools.

      • PeaZip 7.3.0

        PeaZip is an open source file and archive manager. It’s freeware and free of charge for any use. PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

      • wolfSSL Announces Release of wolfSSL Version 4.4.0 and Updates to Related Products

        wolfSSL, a leading provider of TLS cryptography and the world’s first commercial release of TLS 1.3, is proud to announce wolfSSL v4.4.0, the embedded TLS library for devices, IoT, and the cloud.

      • Help curl: the user survey 2020

        The annual curl user survey is up. If you ever used curl or libcurl during the last year, please consider donating ten minutes of your time and fill in the question on the link below!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Designing a content-first experience on Firefox Monitor

            As a UX content strategist at Mozilla, I support not only our browsers, but also stand alone products like Firefox Monitor. It’s a service that notifies you when you’ve been in a data breach and what steps to take to protect your personal info.

            Designing content for a product that delivers bad news presents unique challenges. Data breaches are personal. They can be stressful. Sometimes the information exposed can be sensitive. How we organize, structure, and surface content in Firefox Monitor matters.

            When we had the opportunity to redesign the end-to-end experience, content strategy played a key role. I identified ways our users were struggling with the current site, then worked in collaboration with interaction designer Ryan Gaddis to re-architect and design a new experience. These are a few of the tools and methods I leveraged.

          • We got your back-ground

            Always protect your accounts with strong, unique passwords. Whenever available use a password to protect your calls too so you can be sure only the people you absolutely want to join can join.

            Thinking about or already using Zoom? We have a few Zoom-specific best practices you can follow to keep your calls secure.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • CMS

        • 8 must-have WordPress plugins for virtual classrooms

          Once you have WordPress installed, you may be eager to see how you can use it in your school or classroom. As more schools switch to online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic, WordPress is a go-to content management system.

          The features are limitless. Teachers and schools using WordPress can provide differentiated instruction for their students. You can write short stories and poems, and provide image galleries that function as story starters. Enabling students to write stories and poems is straightforward, and each student can create their own account so they have the ability to comment on the material you have shared (though student commenting can and should be moderated).

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GCC 11 Adds CPU Detection For Newer Intel Families

            Adding to the early changes accumulating for the GCC 11 development cycle is automatic CPU detection support for newer families of Intel CPUs.

            The updated Intel processor detection merged today in GCC 11/Git is for Airmont, Tremont, Comet Lake, Ice Lake, and Tiger Lake families.

          • GCC 11 Picks Up A New Option For Large Source Files

            When seeing GCC 11 in its early development state pick up a new -flarge-source-files option I was curious what that was all about….

            The “-flarge-source-files” option was recently merged into what will become version 11 of the GNU Compiler Collection. Does it do anything to speed-up the compilation of large source files or other improvements? No. It’s actually about allowing GCC to track line/column numbers for larger source files.

            To now by default GCC will bail out on tracking column numbers after having gone through a lot of line numbers in a source file. But when it bails out on the column tracking in large source files, it also means warnings around misleading indentations and the like will no longer work.

          • denemo @ Savannah: Release 2.4 now available
            New Features 
                    Omission Criteria 
                        A lightweight alternative to Score Layouts 
                        A single flag turns on/off features of the score 
                    Swing Playback 
                        Playback with altered note durations 
                        Use for Jazz swing and note inègales 
                    Page Turner/Annotater 
                        Annotate while playing from digital score 
                        Page turn digital score from pedals 
                    New from Current 
                        Create a new score using the current one as template 
                        Use for books of songs, sonatas etc to keep style uniform 
            Bug Fixes 
                    Easier object edit interface 
                    After Grace command now fully automatic 
                    Crash on Windows during delete measure all staffs 
                    Template save bugs fixed 
                    Assign Instrument command in score with voices fixed.
            
        • Licensing/Legal

          • Clojurists Together Foundation Launches

            Clojurists Together, in conjunction with Software Freedom Conservancy, announces today the formation of the Clojurists Together Foundation, a new trade organization, dedicated to funding and supporting open source software, infrastructure, and documentation that is important to the Clojure and ClojureScript community. For the past four years, Conservancy, a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, managed Clojars’ development grant program, known as “Clojurists Together” has been managed by Conservancy, a charitable 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Clojurists Together program, under Conservancy’s auspices, funded creation of free and open source software, infrastructure, and documentation that the Clojure/ClojureScript community relies on, licensed freely for use, modification, and redistribution by the general public.

      • Programming/Development

        • Create a patch for LibreOffice directly in gerrit

          Possibly, you are a great C++ developer or conversely you write your first strings in C++ and you want make LibreOffice better with pair (or more!) string of code.
          We’ll suppose you already know what strings and in which file(s) of the LibreOffice source code you age going to change.
          I’ll talk here about using gerrit for that change making.

        • Multiple screens support in Qt for Android

          It has been a while since I last wrote about Qt on Android, mostly because the things were quite, a few bug fixes here and there but no features that it worth to mention. Today I have a pleasure to tell you about multiple screen support in Qt for Android.

          This feature is very useful for apps that can use a second screen (e.g. your big screen TV, the rear sit screen of your car, etc.) to present their content. These apps can be anything from a photo viewer, or an Impress(PowerPoint) presentation to a game*. The phone usually turns into a remote control for the application on the second screen.

          Before we proceed I want to highlight the fact that this is work in progress and hopefully it will be part of Qt 5.12 release (at least as a private API).

          Traditionally Android had only one screen (your phone) but starting with API 17, they added support for multiple screens.

        • A better Toolforge: upgrading the Kubernetes cluster

          One of the most successful and important products provided by the Wikimedia Cloud Services team at the Wikimedia Foundation is Toolforge. Toolforge is a platform that allows users and developers to run and use a variety of applications that help the Wikimedia movement and mission from the technical point of view in general. Toolforge is a hosting service commonly known in the industry as a Platform as a Service (PaaS). Toolforge is powered by two different backend engines, Kubernetes and GridEngine.

          This article focuses on how we made a better Toolforge by integrating a newer version of Kubernetes and, along with it, some more modern workflows.

          The starting point in this story is 2018. Yes, two years ago! We identified that we could do better with our Kubernetes deployment in Toolforge. We were using a very old version, v1.4. Using an old version of any software has more or less the same consequences everywhere: you lack security improvements and some modern key features.

          Once it was clear that we wanted to upgrade our Kubernetes cluster, both the engineering work and the endless chain of challenges started.

          It turns out that Kubernetes is a complex and modern technology, which adds some extra abstraction layers to add flexibility and some intelligence to a very old systems engineering need: hosting and running a variety of applications.

        • 8 CI/CD best practices to set you up for success

          Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) are usually associated with DevOps, DevSecOps, artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps), GitOps, and more. It’s not enough to just say you’re doing CI and CD; there are certain best practices that, if used well and consistently, will make your CI/CD pipelines more successful.

          The phrase “best practices” suggests the steps, processes, ways, iterations, etc. that should be implemented or executed to get the best results out of something like software or product delivery. In CI/CD, it also includes the way monitoring is configured to support design and deployment.

          [...]

          Incorporating telemetry, a “highly automated communications process by which measurements are made and other data collected at remote or inaccessible points and transmitted to receiving equipment for monitoring, display, and recording,” is one option to build continuous metrics, monitoring, and alerting into your CI/CD pipelines.

          [...]

          Best practices around responding to failure should be built into a build, test, deploy, analysis, and design system. This is not only about considering which failure-response systems should be designed, built, and deployed; the ways organizations or teams will respond should also be well thought out and executed.

          The ideal culture considers failures to be features and an opportunity to learn, rather than a way to place blame. Blameless retrospectives or postmortems are a best practice that allows teams to focus on facts, consider many perspectives, assign action items, and learn.

          Creating a culture of learning and innovation around continuous integration and delivery is another best practice that will result in continuous experimentation and improvement in the short term and sustainability, reliability, and stability in the long run.

        • Python

          • Roll Your Own Frameworks

            When I build an application, I build frameworks along the way. I recently realized that not everybody thinks this is normal, so I thought I’d give a description of what I do and why I think it’s a good idea.

            But let’s stop for a moment and briefly discuss what I understand to be a software development framework. Examples of frameworks are frontend web frameworks like React, backend web frameworks like Django, UI component frameworks like Ant Design, an ORM like SQLAlchemy, or a form library like mstform (which I helped create), and so on.

            A framework can be large or small, but in the end it’s code that fulfills some task that you can control by plugging in your own code and declarations. Frameworks are declarative in nature, and declarations tend to be easier to understand and maintain than code that has a lot of moving imperative parts. This way frameworks also help you structure your application. My article Framework Patterns discusses a bunch of ways frameworks let you do that.

          • Python vs JavaScript for Pythonistas

            If you’re serious about web development, then you’ll need to learn about JavaScript at some point. Year after year, numerous surveys have shown that JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, with a large and growing community of developers. Just like Python, modern JavaScript can be used almost anywhere, including the front end, back end, desktop, mobile, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Sometimes it might not be an obvious choice between Python vs JavaScript.

          • Assertions About Exceptions With pytest.raises()

            I got some feedback related to Bite 243 recently. Since that’s a testing bite, it means working with pytest and specifically checking for exceptions with pytest.raises(). The comment got me to look at this handy feature of pytest with fresh eyes, and it seemed like a trip worth sharing!

          • PyDev of the Week: Qiusheng Wu

            This week we welcome Qiusheng Wu (@giswqs) as our PyDev of the Week! Qiusheng has developed several Python packages that you can check out on Github. Specifically they are geemap, lidar, whitebox and they are used for advanced geospatial analysis. Qiusheng also has a website where you can learn more about his research and interests.

            [...]

            My name is Qiusheng Wu. I obtained my Ph.D. degree in Geography from the University of Cincinnati in 2015. Currently, I am a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Geographic Information Science (GIS) in the Department of Geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK). Prior to joining UTK, I was a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at Binghamton University, State University of New York (2015-2019).

            My research interests include Geographic Information Science (GIS), remote sensing, and environmental modeling. More specifically, I am interested in applying geospatial big data, machine learning, and cloud computing (e.g., Google Earth Engine) to study environmental change, especially surface water and wetland inundation dynamics. I am a strong advocate of open science and reproducible research. I have developed and published various open-source packages for advanced geospatial analysis (e.g., geemap, lidar, whitebox), which are available on GitHub. I recently created a YouTube channel to share video tutorials for using the Earth Engine Python API and geemap Python package. My goal is to make geospatial technologies and GIS programming easier and more accessible. More information about my research and teaching can be found at https://wetlands.io.

        • Rust

          • Michael Catanzaro: Patching Vendored Rust Dependencies

            Recently I had a difficult time trying to patch a CVE in librsvg. The issue itself was simple to patch because Federico kindly backported the series of commits required to fix it to the branch we are using downstream. Problem was, one of the vendored deps in the old librsvg tarball did not build with our modern rustc, because the code contained a borrow error that was not caught by older versions of rustc. After finding the appropriate upstream fix, I tried naively patching the vendored dep, but that failed because cargo tries very hard to prevent you from patching its dependencies, and complains if the dependency does not match its checksum in Cargo.lock. I tried modifying the checksum in Cargo.lock, but then it complains that you modified the Cargo.lock. It seems cargo is designed to make patching dependencies as difficult as possible, and that not much thought was put into how cargo would be used from rpmbuild with no network access.

        • Java

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Everything you need to know about Night mode in Samsung Internet

        Here’s a quick refresher on SVG images before we dig into this topic: SVG images are XML documents with different shapes (like rectangles, circles, etc.) and paths described as positioned objects with styling applied to them. Unlike a bitmap image, the individual objects the image consists of remains. You can target and e.g. animate or change the color of different parts of an SVG image.

        The same color filtering that is used on bitmap images should have been used for SVG images. That’s what they appear to have done as well. However, they didn’t abandon the idea of the HSL lightness inversion for SVG images. I’ll let these examples of day and night renderings of some SVG images speak for themselves…

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Russell Coker: A Good Time to Upgrade PCs

        PC hardware just keeps getting cheaper and faster. Now that so many people have been working from home the deficiencies of home PCs are becoming apparent. I’ll give Australian prices and URLs in this post, but I think that similar prices will be available everywhere that people read my blog.

        From MSY (parts list PDF ) [1] 120G SATA SSDs are under $50 each. 120G is more than enough for a basic workstation, so you are looking at $42 or so for fast quiet storage or $84 or so for the same with RAID-1. Being quiet is a significant luxury feature and it’s also useful if you are going to be in video conferences.

        For more serious storage NVMe starts at around $100 per unit, I think that $124 for a 500G Crucial NVMe is the best low end option (paying $95 for a 250G Kingston device doesn’t seem like enough savings to be worth it). So that’s $248 for 500G of very fast RAID-1 storage. There’s a Samsung 2TB NVMe device for $349 which is good if you need more storage, it’s interesting to note that this is significantly cheaper than the Samsung 2TB SSD which costs $455. I wonder if SATA SSD devices will go away in the future, it might end up being SATA for slow/cheap spinning media and M.2 NVMe for solid state storage. The SATA SSD devices are only good for use in older systems that don’t have M.2 sockets on the motherboard.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Now Chrome Can Block Ads That Leach Power From Your CPU

          In a post published on Thursday, Chrome Project Manager Marshall Vale said that while the percentage of abusive ads is extremely low—somewhere around 0.3 percent—they account for 28 percent of CPU usage and 27 percent of network data.

        • What Happened When I Switched From Mac to Windows

          I’ve mostly loved this HP laptop I selected that day at Best Buy, but it does this weird thing. It has a tendency to randomly turn itself on when it’s supposed to be asleep, even when the lid is closed. It just suddenly fires up, and the fan is screaming, so you can tell it’s working hard. But what the hell is it doing? And why? It woke up like this once when it was plugged in, and it whirred all night and was too hot to pick up in the morning. The bottom of the laptop had two rubber strips to keep it from sliding around on a table. It’s gotten so hot at times that the glue has melted and both strips have fallen off. Impressive!

          It’s also done that when unplugged, tucked away in my backpack. I once put it in, fully charged, then pulled it out on a flight only to discover that it had awakened for reasons unknown, was blazing hot, and that the battery had drained to 17 percent. Unacceptable. I had a ton of work to do that day, and there were no outlets on that five-hour flight. I’ve also had it refuse to charge past 87 percent (or sometimes 93 percent), only for it to charge all the way to 100 the next time I plug it in. Why? Who knows.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Stepping WebAssembly up a notch with security

            WebAssembly (also known as Wasm) is taking the world by storm. It started off as technology for browsers, “doing JavaScript right,” but has developed into so much more than that. It provides a platform-independent runtime with binaries that can be compiled from many different languages and run (without any further changes or recompilation) on any platform with runtime support. You can find more about WebAssembly and why it’s becoming so popular in an article that Gordon Haff and I wrote, Why everyone is talking about WebAssembly. In this article, I will explore a new step toward securely running WebAssembly.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache-log4j1.2, exim4, libexif, and openconnect), Fedora (chromium, condor, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-1.8.0-openjdk-aarch32, mingw-ilmbase, mingw-OpenEXR, sleuthkit, and squid), Mageia (jbig2dec, libreswan, netkit-telnet, ntp, and suricata), openSUSE (mailman and nextcloud), SUSE (autoyast2, file, git, gstreamer-plugins-base, libbsd, libvirt, libvpx, libxml2, mailman, and openexr), and Ubuntu (dovecot and json-c).

          • Slackware introduces PAM into its core

            Remember the date! On May 18th of 2020, PAM got added to the Slackware-current core. In case that makes you worry, wonder or causes you to ponder leaving Slackware behind, don’t let this change scare you. PAM has come a long way, it is safe and in Slackware, it is not getting in your way. You won’t have to change a single thing to your computer except installing three new packages (slackpkg install-new) before you reboot. Adding PAM should finally remove the self-imposed writer’s block in Patrick’s mind and open the path to long-awaited renewals in the KDE and XFCE areas.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Facebook’s Giphy acquisition might have big implications for iMessage and Twitter

              Facebook is buying Giphy, and that means how you send and receive GIFs on the internet could change forever. The service claims that more than 700 million people see Giphy content every day, and many of those views come from some of the internet’s most popular apps— from Apple’s iMessage to TikTok and Twitter — most of which rely on Giphy’s API and archives to let users share and post GIFs.

            • Asking companies to clarify surveillance of consumers

              The Norwegian Consumer Council is asking the companies FluxLoop, Fysical, Neura, Placed/Foursquare, Placer, Receptiv/Verve, Safegraph, and Unacast, to clarify their collection of personal data from the makeup app Perfect365 and period tracker app MyDays.

              – These companies have a business model that is, according to our analysis, clearly in breach of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It is impossible for consumers to know what data is being collected, who it is shared with, and how it is used, says Gro Mette Moen, acting head of unit, Digital services in the Norwegian Consumer Council.

            • Your Boss Is Watching You: Work-From-Home Boom Leads To More Surveillance

              After two weeks of working from her Brooklyn apartment, a 25-year-old e-commerce worker received a staffwide email from her company: Employees were to install software called Hubstaff immediately on their personal computers so it could track their mouse movements and keyboard strokes, and record the webpages they visited.

              They also had to download an app called TSheets to their phones to keep tabs on their whereabouts during work hours.

              “There are five of us. And we always came to work. We always came on time. There was no reason to start location-tracking us,” the woman told NPR. She spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing she could lose her job.

            • Restaurant Worker Suspended After Using Customer’s Coronavirus Contact Tracing Details to Hit On Her

              An employee at a New Zealand Subway restaurant has reportedly been suspended after allegedly sexually harassing a woman online after she shared her personal information as part of a coronavirus contact tracing effort.

            • Woman stalked by sandwich server via her COVID-19 contact tracing info

              As the local news outlet Newshub tells it, the worker has been suspended after the woman – who, understandably enough, declined to give her name and was only identified as “Jess” – complained to the restaurant chain.

              Jess told Newshub that Subway required her to put her contact details on a contact-tracing form so as to place her food order. She didn’t think anything about it: we all want to stop the spread of the pandemic, after all. The form asked for her name, home address, email address and phone number, all of which she put down.

            • Auckland woman ‘creeped out’ after restaurant worker uses her contact tracing details to hit on her

              The Privacy Commission says businesses should only be custodians of the information they’re given for public health purposes and it’s concerned this sort of incident could make the public wary of leaving their details.

            • Since I Met Edward Snowden, I’ve Never Stopped Watching My Back

              months earlier. “I thought you’d be more serious but less reliable. I put you through a hell of a lot more vetting than everybody else. God, you did screw me, so I didn’t vet you enough.” He was referring to my profile of him in The Washington Post that June, in which I had inadvertently exposed an online handle that he had still been using. (After that he had disappeared on me for a while.)

              When we broke for the night, I walked into a hotel stairwell and down two floors, where I found an armchair in a deserted hallway. I might or might not have been under surveillance then, but I had to assume I would be once back in my room, so this was my best chance to work unobserved.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Do we really want a new Cold War with China? Mainstream media thinks so

      Corporate media distortions and bombast are priming the American public to see China as a treacherous villain that has to be forcefully confronted, perhaps with violence. Presenting China — and Chinese people — as a threat to the United States and its people is that much more reckless at a moment when there is an “alarming surge in anti-Asian racism related to COVID-19″ (NBC, 4/16/20). But such considerations don’t trouble those who are in the business of ginning up the hatred necessary for a new cold war.

    • Corporate Media Setting Stage for New Cold War With China

      The idea that China is a threat to Americans’ security is baseless.

    • Harry Dunn’s mother calls on UK to stand ground against America

      The mother of the motorcyclist Harry Dunn has said that Britain will be on the “road to ruin” if it backs down in its row with the US over the extradition of the driver charged with killing him.

      Charlotte Charles described the US government as bullying and said “we have to stand up to them” as it emerged that Britain has agreed to extradite two fugitives to America. The US government refuses to hand over Anne Sacoolas, the wife of a US intelligence official, who has admitted causing the crash.

      American officials are said to be furious that British police issued an international wanted notice for Mrs Sacoolas, who was charged in December with causing death by dangerous driving.

  • Environment

    • Transport for London reveal plans to transform central parts of London into ‘car free zones’

      The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced plans to transform central parts of the capital into one of the largest car free zones in the world.

      Transport for London say these measures are necessary to enable safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restriction are eased.

      They said it will also help to encourage more people to cycle and walk – improving the city’s air quality.

      The Mayor stresses public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary. He said everyone who can work from home must continue doing so for foreseeable future.

    • EPA emails reveal talks between Trump officials, chemical group before 2017 settlement

      When the chemical company Brenntag received a fine in 2017, the National Association of Chemical Distributors asked for help from two new Trump administration appointees who previously worked in chemical lobbying, according to emails obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request.

      The two appointees were Mandy Gunasekara, a former NACD lobbyist who is now chief of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Nancy Beck, former president of the American Chemistry Council. Beck, now detailed at the White House, has been nominated by President Trump to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

      Brenntag was ultimately fined, although the penalty it received was roughly 20 percent lower than the one initially proposed by the EPA.

    • Energy

      • Big Oil Takes $1.9 Billion in CARES Act Tax Breaks Intended for Small Businesses

        Sen. Bernie Sanders was among critics outraged that the fossil fuel industry is using tax breaks in the CARES Act meant to help businesses keep workers employed to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes — and then delivering that money to executives.

      • Oil Price Crash Revives Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaigns

        Resolution 1286 specifically calls on JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Liberty Mutual, and other banks and insurers “to stop lending to, investing in and insuring the fossil fuel industry.” Though it’s nonbinding, other more permanent actions taken by New York City, including divesting the city’s pension fund from the fossil fuel industry, indicate there’s some bite to it.

        To be clear, while this oil crash is near unprecedented in its severity and outside of anyone’s predictions, it hasn’t caused a revolution in thinking: Those monitoring the energy sector have suspected for a decade that oil and gas companies were likely to underperform in a greener global economy. But the present oil shock has driven home the point climate activists have been trying to make for a decade—oil is risky business.

        “Like with pandemics, scientists are warning us, desperately warning us, to get ready and stop a disaster,” Sikora said. “It’s up to corporations to make the changes necessary to avoid worldwide catastrophe.”

        Moreover, fossil-free funds have turned out to be an even better investment than many investors expected. Since the financial crisis over a decade ago, the energy sector has fallen to its lowest share of the S&P 500 since the 1990s. Index funds without fossil fuel investments have outperformed those with fossil fuel companies in their portfolio over the past five years, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

    • Wildlife/Nature

    • Overpopulation

      • [Old] 5 Realistic Overpopulation Solutions We Need to Implement

        The society many of us know is incredibly young when considering how long it’s taken us to get here. Throughout human civilizations, we’ve struggled to survive and had to weather multiple setbacks in our advancements. These cataclysmic events are part of the reason religious texts preach having offspring.

        When we were still developing, the problem was sustaining the population. We needed to survive and procreate, just like any other species. Now, we’re facing the opposite problem: we have an overpopulation crisis on our hands.

        Overpopulation is an interesting topic since we’ve been fighting to survive for most of human history. Now, our survival relies on the ability to curb procreation instead of add to it. If we don’t implement some of these overpopulation solutions, we may be responsible for our extinction.

      • It’s Hard to Practice Social Distancing in an Overpopulated World

        The world has 33 cities with populations of over 10 million. How can they socially distance themselves? How do they get to work or take care of their shopping and keep everyone six feet apart? I know of a couple who lived in an expensive high rise in downtown Minneapolis but moved away to the suburbs because just riding the elevator felt risky. So how do you advise 330 million people in those overpopulated cities to move out of the density? Where are they going to go?

        Covid 19 is a harsh mirror but we need to do a better job of looking into it, even if it means shedding tears. It is better to mourn our old stories of endless growth than it is to succumb to the chaos we are just tasting now in 2020.

      • Overpopulation, Nature’s Revenge, & Pandemic

        From our observations, we know governments and corporations have not looked after our collective interests; rather, the establishment has been built to work on behalf of capital gains. Here in a time of need, states and countries are bidding against each other for medical equipment in short supply, and companies are driving up the price while they can rather than looking out for the greater good. Meanwhile, tax dollars are sent to save ill-prepared billion-dollar industries that have been destroying the planet. While it would be wonderful to have a centralised system that looks after its citizens and workers, we would be bad designers to continually sow our seeds the same way. We have to adjust based on the results, the same we’ve seen again and again and again.

  • Finance

    • Nearing Bankruptcy, Sears Claimed Fast-Food Workers and Baristas as Employees to Keep Tax Breaks

      Jobs, thousands of them. That’s the principal reason state and local officials awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks over 30 years to keep Sears in Illinois.

      Under a 2012 law designed to keep the company from leaving the state, Sears was required to maintain at least 4,250 employees at its sprawling offices in Hoffman Estates and a small satellite office in Chicago. In return, the retail icon received tax breaks worth an estimated $275 million.

    • Russia appeals decision of Hague Court of Appeal on Yukos

      Moscow has appealed the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal, which ruled to recover $57 bln from Russia for the benefit of former shareholders of Yukos oil company, a spokesperson with Russia’s Justice Ministry told reporters on Friday.

      “On May 15, the Russian Federation filed a cassation appeal with the Supreme Court of the Netherlands, demanding the cancellation of the decision of the Hague Court of Appeal on the lawsuit of the former majority shareholders of the Yukos oil company, obliging Russia to pay $57 bln in compensation for the damage it allegedly caused,” the ministry official said.

      The ministry asserted that Russia would consistently defend its interests both in the cassation court of the Netherlands and in other jurisdictions.

      On February 18, The Hague Court of Appeal reinstated an order of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which obliged Russia to pay more than $50 bln to the companies associated with former Yukos shareholders in 2014.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Secretive Right-Wing Nonprofit Plays Role in COVID-19 Organizing

      CNP’s founders include multiple members of the conspiracist John Birch Society and Paul Weyrich, co-founder of the Heritage Foundation and ALEC.

    • Eric Trump Goes on Fox News to Claim That Coronavirus Lockdowns Being Used to Hurt His Father’s Re-Election Bid

      MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle wondered why, in that case, the interview was not being held face-to-face.

    • Formerly Incarcerated People Should Be Compensated for Telling Their Stories

      During the 19th-century emancipation movement, some of the most important voices were those of Black abolitionists. “This was especially true of those who had experienced slavery,” Roy E. Finkenbine told NPR.

    • Are the Democrats Dead (Again)?

      For election after election, the Democrats failed to present either an effective counter to the Republican myth-makers or a program that would effectively address the needs of workers who felt left out.

    • Missouri GOP Votes to Gut Anti-Gerrymandering Reform Approved by Voters

      While most people are focused on their health and livelihoods amid the pandemic, Republican legislators in Missouri are working to overturn a voter-approved measure meant to make legislative redistricting more fair. If they succeed, their efforts could give state Republicans an electoral advantage by excluding immigrants and other residents who are not eligible to vote from district counts, possibly setting the stage for other states to follow suit.

    • Trump Escalates War on Government Watchdogs

      Linick’s dismissal represents the latest move by Trump to fire federal watchdogs deemed insufficiently loyal to the administration. In early April, the president sacked the inspector general of the U.S. intelligence community, who drew the president’s ire after receiving a whistleblower complaint that kick-started the impeachment process against the president for unduly pressuring the Ukrainian government into investigating his Democratic rival. Days later, he fired the Defense Department’s acting inspector general, who was tasked with overseeing the administration’s $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package on a federal panel established by Congress. He then removed a senior watchdog at the Department of Health and Human Services, Christi Grimm, shortly after her office issued an unflattering report on how ill-prepared the United States was in its coronavirus response.

      “That failure to pushback means the president feels untethered,” said Irvin McCullough, a national security analyst at the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit whistleblower protection group. “The president doesn’t have to provide any added explanation when he removes an [inspector general] because he doesn’t feel the pressure when he does.”

      Linick’s firing was met with a mixture of anger, shock, and fear from the State Department’s diplomatic corps, according to four State Department officials. All expressed fear that the department would be put through a new wave of politicization just months after the diplomatic corps was dragged into a nationwide scandal with the impeachment trial.

      “[We] rely on offices like this to protect us,” one State Department official said. “That’s clearly not happening.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Shows Lynching Remains a Reality for Black America

      On May 4, Ida B. Wells received a posthumous Pulitzer award. The Pulitzer board shared that she was awarded for “her outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching.” The news rang out internationally and was widely celebrated. A Financial Times headline said that Wells’s “overdue” award “helps rebalance history.” Yet shortly after this happened, lynching was a trending topic across the United States.

    • The Choice

      I came across this 2007 interview I did for BBC Radio 4 with Michael Buerk. He is a good interviewer and challenges me directly and critically at several points. The interview is particularly fascinating for the fact that the British government was still lying through its teeth and issuing desperate denials that torture and collusion with extraordinary rendition had ever happened.

    • Tibetans demand China reveal fate of boy taken away in 1995

      Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was elected by the Dalai Lama as the Panchen Lama – the second most important position in Tibetan Buddhism’s largest school – on May 24, 1995 at the age of six. Authorities took him in for questioning three days later, and he has not been seen since.

    • Pakistan girls murdered over phone video footage

      “At the moment, our topmost priority is to secure the life of the third girl and the man before taking any action,” the officer said.

      Human Rights Watch says that violence against women and girls remains a serious problem in Pakistan.

      Activists believe about 1,000 such “honour killing” murders are carried out across the country every year.

    • Two teenage girls in Waziristan village killed for ‘honour’ over leaked mobile video

      The area where the incident took place is far-flung and considered risky in terms of security, the police official said, adding that a police party has been dispatched to the area to further investigate the case.

      “The names of the females are still not known as their families shifted the bodies to South Waziristan. A police party along with the area tehsildar has already been directed to visit the area and submit a final report,” he said.

      “At the moment, our topmost priority is to secure the life of the third girl and the man before taking any action.”

    • J.C. Penney offers top execs million-dollar bonuses as it faces possible bankruptcy

      J.C. Penney is giving millions of dollars in pay bonuses to top executives as the ailing department store chain reportedly teeters on the edge of bankruptcy.

      CEO Jill Soltau received $4.5 million while chief financial officer Bill Wafford, chief merchant officer Michelle Wlazlo and chief human resources officer Brynn Evanson each got $1 million, the company disclosed in a May 10 regulatory filing. The payments are to ensure J.C. Penney can “retain and continue to motivate its named executive officers and other employees through the volatile and uncertain environment affecting the retail industry,” according to the company.

    • J.C. Penney’s board approves awards totaling $9.9 million to keep CEO Jill Soltau and her team

      J.C. Penney’s board has approved $9.9 million in new awards to its C-suite officers because its previous stock awards and financial performance-tied compensation lost their value as its stores were forced to close during the pandemic.

      The incentives are “to retain and continue to motivate its named executive officers and other employees through the volatile and uncertain environment affecting the retail industry,” the Plano-based retailer said in a filing late Tuesday.

    • JCPenney gives executives bonuses ahead of deadline for possible bankruptcy filing

      JCPenney won’t comment on its bankruptcy plans, but it disclosed that it missed two recent debt payments: $12 million due to bond holders on April 15, and a $17 million payment due on a credit line this past Thursday. The grace periods for those missed payments are Thursday and Friday this week, suggesting a bankruptcy filing could be imminent.

      But the company announced Monday evening it has paid a $4.5 million bonus to CEO Jill Soltau, and bonuses of $1 million each for CFO Bill Wafford, Chief Merchant Michelle Wlazlo and Chief Human Resources Officer Brynn Evanson. JCPenney said the big paydays are designed to keep its top talent on board.

    • He criticized the government on Facebook, and was taken from his home by police at dawn
  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • How fast was your first internet connection?

      Thinking back, almost all of us can remember a time when our connection to the internet was something less than it is today. Whether you came of age in the era of BBSs and other pre-internet dial-up experiences, or just had to deal with flaky DSL before getting fiber at home, you almost certainly have memories of a different time to look back on.

      Personally, I remember the modem days quite fondly. I laugh out loud when I see videos of teens reacting to ’90s Internet. For me, those were the golden days of the internet – when you could still browse a site with images and JavaScript disabled and get something usable. When even my 2400 baud modem would load a page in a reasonable amount of time. When you tied up your only phone line, a land line, for so many hours on end that your friends assumed you’d left town with the phone off the hook.

  • Monopolies

    • ‘Long Overdue’: Antitrust Cases Reportedly Brewing Against Google at State and Federal Level

      “If you thought the antitrust cases of big tech were a memory, you’d be mistaken.”

    • Life Sciences Court Report & COVID-19 Impact on District Court Filings

      The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world economy to a standstill and the U.S. legal industry has not been immune. Firms continue to implement cost-saving measures by reducing salaries, implementing furloughs, and in dire situations, reducing staff and attorney numbers. The legal industry is now clearly a COVID-19 work-from-home profession. District courts, in an effort to adapt to the changing landscape while maintaining a sense of normalcy, have been forced to shift dockets, institute remote hearings, and postpone cases.

      A review of patent-related district court filings over the past eight weeks reveals that, starting in late March, the number of new district court cases in the pharmaceutical industry began to show a COVID-19-related slowing of new filings. As shown in the graph below, while total new district court filings remained steady, and have even trended upwards in the last two weeks, pharmaceutical-related filings, including ANDA filings, have seen a significant decline. The drop is accompanied by an increase in statewide stay-at-home orders, many of which are being partially lifted in the month of May, reflecting an industry-wide conservative litigation approach in the pharmaceutical industry during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

    • Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation in the Times of Corona Epidemic – Policy Brief

      This paper discusses emerging issues in enabling affordable access and incentivization in the context of Corona Epidemics. It discusses proposed ideas on Patent Pools and Patent Pledges. The option of using Compulsory Licensing, particularly in India is discussed. The challenges for India are analyzed.

    • US and UK ‘lead push against global patent pool for Covid-19 drugs’

      Ministers and officials from every nation will meet via video link on Monday for the annual world health assembly, which is expected to be dominated by efforts to stop rich countries monopolising drugs and future vaccines against Covid-19.

      As some countries buy up drugs thought to be useful against the coronavirus, causing global shortages, and the Trump administration does deals with vaccine companies to supply America first, there is dismay among public health experts and campaigners who believe it is vital to pull together to end the pandemic.

      While the US and China face off, the EU has taken the lead. The leaders of Italy, France, Germany and Norway, together with the European commission and council, called earlier this month for any innovative tools, therapeutics or vaccines to be shared equally and fairly.

      “If we can develop a vaccine that is produced by the world, for the whole world, this will be a unique global public good of the 21st century,” they said in a statement.

    • Patents, Innovation, and Development

      I survey some recent research on the role of patents in encouraging innovation and growth in developing economies, beginning with a brief history of international patent systems and facts about the current use of patents around the world. I discuss research on the implications of patents for international technology transfer and domestic innovation. This is followed by a review of recent work by myself and co‐authors on regional patent systems, the impact of patents on firm performance, and the impact on pharmaceutical patenting and domestic innovation. The conclusion suggests that patents may be relatively unimportant in development, even for middle income countries.

    • Patents

      • Access to the Patent System

        How likely is it that the average American will become an inventor? With a novel idea and hard work it should be a possibility for all Americans. The data suggests otherwise. Most patents are obtained by inventors that work for large corporations. Small businesses, solo inventors, women, and minorities lag behind their counterparts in patenting. A common explanation for this phenomenon is that it is a “pipeline” issue. However, evidence suggest that the patent system is not accessible to underrepresented innovators for more problematic reasons.

        At almost the same time as information about the concentration of patenting activity has garnered attention, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has become more vocal about its interest in Artificial Intelligence (“AI”). AI will transform how the USPTO examines patent applications. It may also transform how people invent. What has been absent from the conversation about AI and patenting is the negative effect AI has had when introduced in other social systems. For example, AI models can exhibit bias that concentrates power around incumbents. In addition, leaders overestimate the ability of AI models to solve human issues. This Article refers to these problems collectively as “AI enthusiasm.”

        This Article argues that AI enthusiasm threatens to make the patent system less accessible for underrepresented innovators. In response, this article presents a framework for improving access to the patent system given the emergence of AU. First, limits must be placed on AI assisted examination informed by best practices that combat AI bias. Second, the USPTO should grant patents to inventions that are created with the assistance of AI only if the AI involved adheres to a set of best practices that reduce the chance of biased outcomes. Finally, true access involves removing obstacles to the innovation culture that has historically been closed to underrepresented inventors. Thus, AI tools should be deployed to assist underrepresented innovators in the patenting process. Collectively, these measures may provide U.S. innovators from all walks of life the opportunity to call themselves an inventor.

      • A Book of Wisdom

        Alfred E. Mann Foundation & Advanced Bionics v. Cochlear Corporation, Docket No. 19-01201 (Fed. Cir. 2020). This case involves a $268 million damage award that the Federal Circuit affirmed on appeal in no-opinion R.36 judgment. The appeal focused on the damages calculations associated with Mann’s patented cochlear implant testing system. U.S. Patent Nos. 5,609,616 and 5,938,691. Following the R.36 affirmance, Cochelar then petitioned for en banc rehearing that has now also been denied (again without opinion).

        The petition delves into the patent damages ‘book of wisdom.’ With the ‘book of wisdom’ courts recognize that the their judgment of the ‘hypothetical negotiation’ could be informed by post-infringement information that may reveal the underlying state of affairs at the time of infringement.

      • Patent troll Sisvel files second case against Tesla in Delaware, asserting nine standard-essential patents from Nokia, LG, and BlackBerry

        So this is a typical “privateering” case, with operating companies–especially a couple whose core business (handsets) failed miserably–having transferred patents to a patent troll for the purpose of extracting royalties from makers of innovative products.

      • Munich court to hand down key Nokia v. Daimler patent decision on Wednesday (5/20)

        This morning, a spokesman for the Munich I Regional Court (“Landgericht München I”) confirmed to me that the 7th Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Dr. Matthias Zigann) is still on schedule to announce a decision in a Nokia v. Daimler standard-essential patent (SEP infringement case on Wednesday (May 20) at 10 AM local time. The trial was held in early February, and the original ruling date was postponed by about six weeks.

        “Decision” doesn’t necessarily mean final judgment; the case could also be stayed or the proceedings might be reopened. So what are the most plausible possibilities?

        [...]

        But an injunction could set off a massive news cycle in Germany. Theoretically, that could benefit the camp pushing for patent injunction reform, but as I explained before, the pro-reform movement in Germany is so ridiculously incompetent (and the worst part is they don’t even know how bad they are) that even the most spectacular German patent injunction ever (or at least in a long time) probably wouldn’t change the political dynamics. But one never knows.

      • COVID 19 Update: CIPO Extends Office Deadline

        The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (“CIPO”) has taken further action to accommodate COVID-19 related delays and interruptions to businesses. On April 27, 2020, CIPO announced another blanket extension of all deadlines fixed under the Trademarks Act, the Patent Act, and the Industrial Design Act, such that all deadlines falling between March 16 and May 15 (inclusively) have been automatically extended to the next regular CIPO business day. As Monday, May 18 is a statutory holiday under CIPO rules, this means that the new due date is Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

        CIPO has also advised that the new deadline in May may be further extended if warranted by circumstances.

        Of note, although CIPO and its online solutions continue to operate as normal, CIPO warns that applicants and rights holders can expect significant delays in respect of all CIPO services.

        Stikeman Elliott is operating well under remote work protocols for both lawyers and staff, and we will continue to meet original CIPO deadlines upon receipt of timely instructions from clients.

      • Software Patents

    • Copyrights

      • 6 Ways to Download Torrents with your Web-Browser

        Downloading torrents can be a daunting process for novices. Wouldn’t it be much easier if I could just download a torrent directly from my web browser, they often ask? It’s a valid question and one that is easily answered. Yes, for some people it’s easier, and there are plenty of options to do so.

      • Do Justifications For Content Piracy Really Hold Up Under Scrutiny?

        Anyone who pirates content has motivations for doing so from the basic “I can’t afford it” through a rainbow of other explanations. Some call these reasons, others believe they’re dressed-up excuses. But when people feel piracy is justified, a reasonable response to a set of unfair circumstances, it becomes much more difficult to have then change their habits.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, May 17, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:49 am by Needs Sunlight

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