05.24.20

Links 24/5/2020: TUXEDO Computers on AMD, Ardour 6.0 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 9:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Munich Says It’s Now Shifting Back From Microsoft to Open Source Software — Again

      Newly-elected politicians in Munich “have decided its administration needs to use open-source software, instead of proprietary products like Microsoft Office,” reports ZDNet…

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Linux laptop vendor uses a very surprising hack to protect your privacy

        Several years ago, it was revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) will sometimes intercept networking gear during shipping in order to modify it to provide backdoor access to the hardware. To get around this, one company has devised a clever hack to ensure that its laptops arrive to customers without being tampered with.

        Just six months ago, the social purpose company Purism decided to formalize its anti-interdiction services so that they appeared as a drop-down choice as opposed to being a “hidden menu item” that was difficult to find. The laptop and smartphone maker is one of if not the only hardware vendor that offers a complete suite of custom anti-interdiction measures to prevent its devices from being tampered with during shipping.

      • TUXEDO Computers Unveils Their First AMD-Only Linux Laptop


        Thin and elegant, the TUXEDO Book BA15 is the first Linux-powered laptop from TUXEDO Computers that comes only with AMD components. It features only an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU and an AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU.

        On top of AMD’s power-efficient and energy-saving Ryzen 5 3500U mobile processor with 8 threads and 4 cores, the laptop also comes with a huge 91Wh battery for long-lasting performance throughout the entire day.

      • TUXEDO Computers Launches Their First AMD Linux Laptop

        TUXEDO Computers has launched their first AMD-powered Linux laptop! The excitement quickly faded though when seeing it’s not a Renoir design.

        While announcing the TUXEDO Book BA15 this weekend as their first AMD laptop, sadly it’s based on a Ryzen 5 3500U and not the current Ryzen 4000 series with its mighty impressive performance and power efficiency gains thanks to the Zen 2 CPU cores. This though still should be a decent showing with the Ryzen 5 3500U with Vega graphics, metal chassis, 91 Wh battery, up to two SSDs, up to 32GB RAM, and 15.6-inch 1080p display. But given the timing just a shame it’s not a current generation Ryzen 4000 laptop given the enticing performance from the latest hardware. Also a bummer with this design is that it seems to be relying upon single channel memory.

    • Kernel Space

      • Async Buffered Reads Support Yielding Promising Results

        Linux I/O expert Jens Axboe who oversees the kernel’s block layer and is employed by Facebook while working on IO_uring and other storage innovations has recently been working on async buffered reads support.

        Axboe sent out his latest work on async buffered reads support to replace a less than ideal implementation currently for IO_uring. XFS, EXT4, and Btrfs are the file-systems initially supported by this async buffered reads but handling additional file-systems should be easily possible.

      • Intel ComboPHY Support Coming With Linux 5.8 For Their Gateway SoC

        Published back in February were the Linux kernel enablement patches for a new “ComboPHY” driver for supporting the company’s forthcoming Gateway SoC. That code is now set to be included in the next kernel cycle, Linux 5.8.

        As outlined back then, we’ve been seeing a lot of patches for an Intel “Gateway” SoC that supports the Intel Gateway Datapath Architecture that is optimized for network handling. The initial Gateway SoC appears based on the company’s Lightning Mountain platform.

      • Intel Engineer Proposes Software-Based KVM Protected Memory Extension

        While modern AMD EPYC CPUs support Secure Encrypted Virtualization (SEV) and Intel more recently has been working on MKTME for similarly offering hardware-backed total memory encryption, an Intel open-source engineer has now proposed a software-based solution for protected memory support for KVM virtualization.

        The proposed KVM protected memory extension is a software-based solution for protecting guest memory from unauthorized host access, at least in partial form. This prevents the host kernel from accidentally leaking guest data, host user-space access to guest data, and similar solutions. But unlike Intel MKTME and AMD SEV, this does not provide full protection against the host kernel being compromised or hardware-based attacks.

      • Many MediaTek Wireless Driver Improvements On Deck For Linux 5.8

        There is a lot of wireless (and wired) networking activity each kernel cycle but for the upcoming Linux 5.8 merge window it looks like there will be particularly a lot for MediaTek drivers.

        The MediaTek MT76 driver work now queued in wireless-drivers-next ahead of Linux 5.8 has around 14 thousand lines of new code. Among the MediaTek wireless highlights are:

        - New device support for MediaTek MT76x0 and MT76x2 hardware.

        - MT7615 and MT7663 fixes.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Announces Nsight Graphics 2020.3

          Nsight Graphics 2020.3 is now available for download. We’ve added a number of features that dramatically expands the functionality of our tools.

          Applications that use the provisional VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension can be captured, profiled and exported to a C++ Capture. While the extension is still evolving, the NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver will allow for experimentation before it is fully ratified (and is required).

        • NVIDIA Nsight Graphics 2020.3 Supports Profiling KHR Ray-Tracing

          NVIDIA on Friday released Nsight Graphics 2020.3 as the newest version of their proprietary tool for profiling and debugging Direct3D / Vulkan / OpenGL / OpenVR software.

          One of the big changes with Nsight Graphics 2020.3 is now supporting the VK_KHR_ray_tracing extension, the official Vulkan ray-tracing extension compared to the prior NVIDIA-specific vendor extension. Nsight Graphics can now capture and profile VK_KHR_ray_tracing using software and export it to a C++ capture.

    • Benchmarks

      • Dav1d 0.7 Speedups Are Looking Great On Various Intel + AMD CPUs

        This week marked the release of the dav1d 0.7 AV1 video decoder with more performance optimizations thanks to more hand-tuned Assembly and other tweaking of this leading CPU-based AV1 video decoder. Here are benchmarks compared to the prior dav1d 0.5 and 0.6 releases.

        The past few days I have been benchmarking dav1d 0.5, 0.6, and 0.7 releases on various Intel and AMD Linux systems. Here are those benchmarks for those curious about this AV1 decoder.

      • GCC 10.1 Compiler Optimization Benchmarks

        With the recently minted GCC 10 compiler there was a request to see some fresh benchmarks at different compiler optimization levels and flags like LTO.

        For those wondering about the general impact of the different compiler optimization levels and likes of LTO, here are some quick benchmarks I whipped up for your weekend analysis. Tests were done on an Intel Core i9 10980XE with different optimization CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS off an Intel Core i9 10980XE workstation running Ubuntu Linux.

      • PostgreSQL 13.0 Beta 1 Released With Parallel Vacuum, Security Improvements + Benchmarks

        The first beta of the forthcoming PostgreSQL 13.0 is now available for evaluation. PostgreSQL 13 is coming with many new features with this article serving as a quick look plus some very preliminary benchmarks.

        PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 was released this week with performance tuning work on its B-tree indexes, incremental sorting capabilities, parallel vacuum support, trusted extension capabilities, continued enhancements to PostgreSQL on Windows, and various security improvements.

        All of the PostgreSQL 13 Beta 1 changes are outlined via the release announcement on PostgreSQL.org.

    • Applications

      • OnlyOffice Desktop Editors 5.5.1 – Good but can be better



        Several months ago, I wrote my review of OnlyOffice Desktop Editors, a free, cross-platform office suite. This turned out to be a nice, fresh product, with lots of goodies, solid Microsoft Office compatibility, plus a range of unique and useful points like plugins, encryption and such. In between the costly but powerful Microsoft solution and the somewhat tenacious but occasionally erratic LibreOffice, this comes as a nice, flexible compromise, a sort of best of both worlds.

        Recently, I got an email from the company, asking me, pretty please, to do another review of the product, and I decided to go for it. There’s a new version of the office suite, some improvements, some bug fixes, so maybe this could be the version that makes it into my production setup. Maybe. Let’s examine.

      • Transmission 3.0 Open-Source BitTorrent Client Released with Major Improvements



        Transmission 3.0 comes more than two years after version 2.94, which probably many of you are currently using on your personal computers to download torrent or magnet files from the Internet.

        As you can expect, this is a massive update that brings new capabilities to Transmission, along with new features, bug fixes, and other enhancements to make your torrenting more pleasant.

        The GTK+ client received keyboard shortcuts for queue up and down, a modern .desktop file, AppData file, a symbolic icon variant for GNOME desktop’s top bar and the High Contrast theme, gettext support for language translations, and a new translation for Portuguese (Portugal).

      • Transmission 3.00 Released! How to Install in Ubuntu 20.04

        Transmission, Ubuntu’s default BitTorrent Client, released new major 3.00 version a days ago. Here’s how to install it in Ubuntu 20.04, Ubuntu 19.10, Ubuntu 18.04.

        Transmission 3.00 features:

        Allow RPC server to listen on IPv6.
        Limit incorrect authentication attempts to prevent brute-force attacks.
        Add Peer ID for Xfplay, PicoTorrent, Free Download Manager, Folx, Baidu Netdisk torrent clients
        Make transmission slightly faster by adding TCP_FASTOPEN support
        Add support for mbedtls and wolfssl, LibreSSL
        Add queue up/down hotkeys
        Improve Qt UI look on hi-dpi displays
        And much more other changes.

      • Ardour 6.0 is released

        Ardour 6.0 is now released. Sorry for the wait!

        You can download it from http://ardour.org/download

        See what’s new at http://ardour.org/whatsnew.html

        We hope to return to bi-monthly releases going forward, and there’s a lot of stuff to do!

      • Ardour 6.0 Digital Audio Workstation Released

        Ardour 6.0 has a lot of low-level changes in improving the architecture of this digital audio workstation software. Ardour 6.0 now provides full latency compensation throughout the stack, global varispeed support, cue monitoring, major MIDI workflow improvements, better plugin management, ALSA back-end improvements for Linux audio engineers, a new virtual MIDI keyboard, native recording format support for FLAC, better HiDPI user-interface support, and many other fixes and general improvements. There is also prep work done in Ardour 6.0 for supporting an experimental web interface moving forward.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • King is making its Defold game engine open source

        King’s mobile and web game engine Defold is to be made available as an open source project.

        As part of the move, King is spinning out a new software foundation called the Defold Foundation. The foundation’s board will be headed by Candy Crush Saga producer Sara Cederberg, who was formerly the director of engineering for the engine.

        With Defold going open source, King hopes that it will bring more transparency to game development, and that external developers will lend their expertise to make the engine better for everyone who uses it.

      • King makes Defold engine open source

        The engine is primarily used to make 2D games for mobile and browsers, such as King’s own Blossom Blast Saga.

        King’s aim is to invite external developers to help improve the engine and make its ongoing development more transparent.

        To lead these efforts, the company has formed a new organisation: the Defold Foundation.

        This will be headed by King’s principal engineer and Defold product owner Björn Ritzl and Candy Crush Sada’s producer and director Sara Cederberg, with Women In Tech Sweden’s Elin Erksson also on the team.

      • Oxygen Not Included | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Native

        Oxygen Not Included running natively through Linux

      • 2 Essential Gaming Utilities for Linux

        This goes over MangoHUD and Using Custom Proton for steam games on Linux.

      • Even more Linux games confirmed for the Steam Game Festival

        We’re getting close to the launch of the Steam Game Festival, running from June 9 – 15 and we have more games confirmed to get a Linux demo for you.

        As more events go online because of the Coronavirus, it’s giving a lot of people chances to play games early they wouldn’t perhaps normally be able to. Valve’s festival is one for a global audience to get involved thanks to many developers putting up demos for it.

        For a quick round-up on Linux game demos we already have confirmed: the literary mystery Sarawak, the racing game DRAG, a supernatural horror with ASYLUM and also the curious looking point and click adventure Nine Noir Lives. Today, we have more confirmed to share with you!

      • How to play Nintendo 3DS games on Linux

        The Nintendo 3DS is a handheld video game console built by Nintendo. It was released in February 2011, and is one of Nintendo’s most successful video game consoles, selling millions of units.

        If you love the Nintendo 3DS and want to experience it on your Linux PC, you can, thanks to the Citra emulator. In this guide, we’ll go over how to set up Citra to play 3DS games, how to save, and even how to configure a controller!

        Note: Addictivetips in no way encourages or condones the illegal downloading or distribution of ROM files for Citra. If you want to play Nintendo 3DS games with Citra, please use your own game ROM files you’ve backed up to your PC, legally

      • When Will Civilization 6′s New Frontier Pass Work on Mac and Linux

        Civilization 6′s New Frontier Pass is a way for players to continue to enjoy Firaxis Games’ acclaimed turn-based strategy title, adding a bevy of new civilizations, leaders, and game modes. This new content will be delivered on a bimonthly basis until March 2021, and many players are now enjoying the first part of Civ 6′s New Frontier Pass, the Maya and Gran Colombia Pack. That is not the case for Mac and Linux users, though, as indeed the DLC has launched without support for these platforms.

        This has left some players quite irritated, as the Civilization 6 New Frontier Pass press release did suggest that the DLC would launch with Mac and Linux support alongside PC. This led some fans with these platforms to purchase the Civ 6 New Frontier Pass at launch only to discover that the DLC is not operable on their systems, and these players may now be wondering when the situation will be rectified.

      • Half-Life: Alyx , Valve has released a tool for creating mods and a Linux version of the game

        Valve has published mode tools for “Half-Life: Alyx” and their release in Steam Workshop. They can be used to develop new levels, models, textures, and animations for the game.

      • Command and Conquer Remasters are Getting Source Code Released as Well

        Electronic Arts and Petroglyph Studios have been working and are now weeks away from releasing the remaster of Command and Conquer: Tiberian Sun, and Red Alert in the Remaster Collection. One question that Petroglyph Studios has avoided answering up to now is if Command & Conquer Remastered Collection will support mods at launch. Producer Jim Vessella finally gave an answer on Reddit.

        Electronic Arts and Petroglyph Studios will be supporting mods for Command & Conquer Remastered Collection at launch and they are taking a step further as they are releasing the source codes for both games to facilitate an easier time building mods. TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code will be available under the GNU General Public License version 3.0 license.

      • ‘​Command & Conquer’ Source Code To Be Released By EA

        Electronic Arts has confirmed plans to release the source code for two instalments of its classic real-time strategy (RTS) series, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert.

        “We are proud to announce that alongside the launch of the Remastered Collection, Electronic Arts will be releasing the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll and their corresponding source code under the GPL version 3.0 license,” said creative director, Jim Vessella.

        By releasing these open-source DLLs, the C&C team hopes that – along with a new map editor – the fan community can “design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data” in order to create mods and “fun experiments” by tinkering with the code.

        [...]

        EA and Westwood Studios recently confirmed the release date for its long-awaited Command & Conquer remaster – 5th June, 2020. The snappily titled Command & Conquer Remastered Collection is bringing back the fan-favourite real-time strategy series for Windows PC via Steam and Origin.

      • EA open sources C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert

        We have been watching the development of the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection quite closely and there has been some big news for the hallowed RTS franchise this week. In a blog post EA’s Jim Vessella, producer on Command and Conquer Remastered, announced that mod support is coming to the 4K remasters. Additionally, Vasella shared that EA will be open sourcing the C&C Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert code under the GPL version 3.0 license.

        “Along with the inclusion of a new Map Editor, these open-source DLLs should assist users to design maps, create custom units, replace art, alter gameplay logic, and edit data,” wrote Vasella. To demonstrate the possibilities this provides to would-be developers, Petroglyph created a new modded unit to play with – the Nuke Tank – an imagined Brotherhood of Nod captured and modified Mammoth Tank (see image below).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • This week in KDE: We have migrated to GitLab!

          After years of using Phabricator, KDE has officially begun the migration to GitLab! So far we are using it for patch review, and developer task tracking will be migrated soon. We are still using Bugzilla for bugs and feature requests as migrating those functions to GitLab is a significant project in and of itself! Already the KDE community is enjoying GitLab’s smoother workflow; why not take advantage of this and submit a merge request?

        • KDE Begins Its Transition To GitLab, Plasma 5.20 Seeing Early Activity

          With KDE Plasma 5.19 due for its stable release in early June, development efforts are beginning to focus on Plasma 5.20 for release later this year.

          But beyond Plasma 5.20 seeing early development work, the KDE project has begun its transition to making use of GitLab for development. KDE developer Nate Graham has posted his latest weekly recap outlining the various accomplishments for KDE this week:

          - The KDE project has begun its transition from Phabricator to GitLab.

          - The Free Space Notifier has various improvements.

        • UPnP DLNA support in Elisa

          It has been a long time since I have written about Elisa. In the meantime, I have been busy working on Elisa and also some other personal side projects. I plan to write about them later.

          One area, Elisa is not fulfilling my needs is the support for UPnP DLNA. I am working actively on that but this is a lot of work and my plan is to probably release a preview of it in the next release to get feedback on it.

        • First Krita Beta for Android and ChromeOS in Play Store

          Thanks to the hard work of Sharaf Zaman, Krita is now available in the Google Play Store for Android tablets and Chromebooks (not for Android phones).

          This beta, based on Krita 4.2.9, is the full desktop version of Krita, so it doesn’t have a special touch user interface. But it’s there, and you can play with it.

          Unlike the Windows and Steam store, we don’t ask for money for Krita in the store, since it’s the only way people can install Krita on those devices, but you can buy a supporter badge from within Krita to support development.

        • Efficient Coordinate to Timezone Mapping

          For KDE Itinerary it’s crucial we know the correct timezone for each element in the timeline, precisely enough to also handle complex situations like daylight saving time changes during an international flight. How can we reliably determine the timezone though, e.g. given a geographic coordinate, offline and on a resource-constraint mobile device?

          [...]

          The use of an image format has the advantage that precision/cost trade-offs are pretty obvious, it’s very easy to create using the above mentioned timezone shapefiles and QGIS, and debugging can be done visually with an image viewer.

          This approach has been in use for the offline preparation of KDE Itinerary’s extractor engine knowledge base so far. Not so much for it’s runtime efficiency though (as we are using a gigantic 27942 x 13968 map), but for its ease of use.

          The efficiency of this comes from the run-length encoding of scanlines, which is very good at leveraging one-dimensional spatial proximity of the encoded features, ie. a typical scanline only contains few continuous regions, independent of the resolution. It however doesn’t use the same property in the second dimension at all. Image formats that exploit this like e.g. PNG achieve an even better compression, but at the cost of constant memory decoding.

        • Last week in Kube

          You can now view “flagged”/”starred” messages per account. This is a short-cut to getting that functionality eventually folded into the todo view (I think…), and allows you to quickly show a list of messages that you have marked as important so you can deal with them. The view works best if there is a small number of marked messages, and you unflag them once you have dealt with them.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Is More Polished, Beautiful & Stable Than Ever

          We chose Ubuntu MATE 19.10 to be the distribution of the year back in 2019 on the FOSS Post. The release was quite unique and full of newly-introduced features back then. With Ubuntu MATE 20.04 LTS, the comfortability of using Ubuntu MATE as a daily driver for most consumer users has reached new levels.

          The Ubuntu MATE 20.04 release focuses more on the appearance & bug-fixing side than previous releases. And while there are many new features – that you will read later on in this article – it looks like the development team saw that an LTS needs to be stable above all else, and they are quite right in that.

          The base/core packages of Ubuntu MATE 20.04 will be supported for 5 years, and the MATE desktop packages will be supported for 3 years, just like most other Ubuntu flavors.

          We’ll take you today in a tour in Ubuntu MATE 20.04 to see together how more polished and stable it became, what newly-introduced features are there and whether you should consider it for using it as your daily driver.

          As a side note, we recommend reading our Ubuntu 20.04 LTS review first, as there are some important changes to the core Ubuntu 20.04 release that affect all flavors, which you may need to know before deciding to switch to any 20.04 flavor.

          At FOSS Post we continue to publish reviews of all the major Ubuntu 20.04 flavors, so that as a reader, you can decide on which one you should use by yourself. Stay connected for other reviews of Xubuntu, Lubuntu and Ubuntu Budgie!

      • New Releases

        • Introducing GoboLinux 017

          GoboLinux was created out of a desire to try new approaches in the Linux distribution design space: the innovative filesystem organization allows us to use a radically different approach in package management — effectively doing away with the package manager.

          GoboLinux 017 continues this journey. One of the principles of software freedom is the ability to modify and customize. Software isn’t truly free if you need to rely on third-parties to integrate it for you. As Linux distributions get more and more complicated, GoboLinux asks this question: can a Linux system still be built from scratch by a small team — and most importantly, customized in non-trivial ways — and remain understandable by a single person?

          The GoboLinux structure allows you to see how every building block of a Linux system is composed, and installs every package in a way for which they were never originally designed. The longevity of the GoboLinux project, 18 years in the making, puts the promise of free and open source software to the test, and continues to deliver.

      • BSD

        • Has the home server gone the way of the Dodo?

          I used FreeNAS, which is a fork of FreeBSD, essentially a Unix-like operating system. It required me to hook up a monitor to the PC for setup, hence the need for the cheap video card.

          After that I disconnected the monitor, the server runs headless. Just enter a URL into the browser on another PC and you can access the dashboard and have control of everything.

          If I did this again, I’d save money by skipping the sound card. But now I want know if this is still worth it? My files are backed up in OneDrive and Google Drive. It’s nice to have a home-based copy and a cloud copy, though.

      • Debian Family

        • RadioStation

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: RadioStation

          What is RadioStation?

          RadioStation is a fork off RadioTray-Lite, a lightweight clone of the original RadioTray online radio streaming player rewritten in C++.

          Online radio streaming player:
          – Runs on a Linux system tray.
          – Has minimum interface possible.
          – Plays most media formats (it uses gstreamer).
          – Supports PLS, M3U, ASX, RAM, XSPF playlists.

        • Freexian’s report about Debian Long Term Support, April 2020

          Like each month, here comes a report about the work of paid contributors to Debian LTS.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppSimdJson 0.0.5: Updated Upstream

          A new RcppSimdJson release with updated upstream simdjson code just arrived on CRAN. RcppSimdJson wraps the fantastic and genuinely impressive simdjson library by Daniel Lemire and collaborators. Via some very clever algorithmic engineering to obtain largely branch-free code, coupled with modern C++ and newer compiler instructions, it results in parsing gigabytes of JSON parsed per second which is quite mindboggling. The best-case performance is ‘faster than CPU speed’ as use of parallel SIMD instructions and careful branch avoidance can lead to less than one cpu cycle use per byte parsed; see the video of the recent talk by Daniel Lemire at QCon (which was also voted best talk).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • My Unity Rig You Could Use

          Let me share with you my favorite Ubuntu Unity Desktop setup that works for me for years. You can have this enjoyable desktop style easily by practicing my tips below. Yes, of course this is practiced on 20.04 Focal Fossa already. Enjoy the innovative desktop once again!

        • Ubuntu 20.04 For Teachers and Students

          Let me share with you my Ubuntu tips for teaching and studying you could practice easily at school. Of course these tips are based more on free/libre open source software principles so you will see alternatives like PeerTube among mentioned tools. However, all software mentioned below are Free Software exclusively and available in 20.04 Focal Fossa. I hope websites other than UbuntuBuzz follow by exposing Ubuntu education capability like this. Happy studying!

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Is it possible to run a conference using only free software?



        The Free Software Foundation’s (FSF) annual conference LibrePlanet went fully virtual in 2020 due to ongoing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic. In our last week of preparations before the live event, increasingly disturbing news related to the virus made us realize we could not responsibly hold our usual conference on software freedom in person while protecting the safety of our participants and their communities. So we turned everything around to eventually bring 35 free software presentations to our community through the filter of a computer screen. After the conference, we had many people writing to ask us for more details about what we used to do it, so we wanted to take this opportunity to share how we were able to create a fully free interactive and educational virtual experience for the first time, but likely not the last.

        LibrePlanet 2020 videos were recorded from the live stream and have been posted online for everyone to enjoy. For the sessions not entirely dependent on visual information from slides, we also provide the audio over an RSS (Atom) feed for anyone to listen to while they exercise, bake, garden, or otherwise seek distraction from stressful times.

      • Open source observability, meet data transformation: Grafana 7.0 promises to connect, unify, and visualize all your data

        Today’s release brings enhancements to simplify the development of custom plugins and increase the power, speed, and flexibility of visualization. Open source Grafana is among the world’s most popular dashboard solutions and boasts nearly 600,000 active installations and millions of dashboards in use across the globe.

      • Grafana 7.0 Delivers Major Visualization Upgrades and Makes Significant Progress in Uniting & Transforming Data from All Sources ranging from Metrics and Logs to Traces and Beyond
      • 8 Top Free and Open source Desktop GIS mapping software

        Well, in the term “Open source GIS Software”, opensource refers to a program that is available to use free of cost; along with source code that one can modify either to improve the existing project or creating a new one under GPL. Whereas GIS means Geographical Information Systems, in terms of software, it is a program that one can run on their PC or server to analyze, store, manipulate, process and visualize data in a spatial context; and describes relevant geographical distribution data in the space of all or part of the earth’s surface (including the atmosphere), supported by computer hardware and software systems.

        [...]

        QGIS desktop geographic information system (GIS) application was earlier known as Quantum GIS. It supports cross-platform Windows, Linux and macOS. We can integrate it with other open-source GIS packages such as PostGIS, GRASS GIS, and MapServer. It supports extensions that are written in Python or C++ to extend its functionality.

        [...]

        SAGA stands for System for Automated Geoscientific Analyses that designed to implement spatial algorithms. It provides easy to understand and usable graphical user interface with a set of tools and with many visualisation options. It runs under Windows and Linux operating systems.

        It includes standard modules such as File access, Filter for grids, Gridding, Geostatistics, Grid calculator, Grid discretisation, Grid tools, 3D mapping, Projections, Terrain analysis and more…

      • Marketing Is Becoming Technology-Driven, and the Future Is Open Source

        The idea of buying proprietary software is arguably questionable. Still, the choice to acquire it could be driven by the lack of a talent pool to customize or integrate non-proprietary software, or peer pressure to go for bigger, bulkier proprietary applications.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome 83 is rolling out and full of changes big and small

            Chrome 83 is now rolling out to Windows, macOS, and Linux with Chrome OS 83 on the way next week. In light of the pandemic, Google paused development for a bit and when it resumed, an announcement was made that Chrome 82 would be removed and version 81 would simply update to 83 and encapsulate what amounts to 2 rounds of updates in one.

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.5a13

            Tor Browser 9.5a13 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory.

            Note: This is an alpha release, an experimental version for users who want to help us test new features. For everyone else, we recommend downloading the latest stable release instead.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

      • Funding/Fund-raising

      • FSF

      • Public Services/Government

        • Open source gets Munich agreement

          In an uncharacteristic notable U-turn, newly elected politicians in Munich have decided that its administration needs to use open-source software, instead of proprietary products like Microsoft Office.

          Munich was the poster child for open saucy software and had been moving away from Voleware since 2006. By 2013, 80 percent of desktops in the city’s administration were meant to be running LiMux software. In reality, the council continued to run the two systems – Microsoft and LiMux – side by side for several years to deal with compatibility issues. Then in 2017 the local government suddenly changed its mind and started installing the Voleware again.

          In interviews, a former Munich mayor, under whose administration the LiMux programme began, has been candid about the efforts Microsoft went to retain their contract with the city. The migration back to Microsoft and to other proprietary software makers like Oracle and SAP, costing an estimated €86.1million, is still in progress today.

        • Building resiliency in government services with open source
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • F1 News: F1 set for vote on aero handicap and open source ideas

          Radical rules including an aero development handicap system and the use of open source parts in Formula 1 could be approved later on Friday.

          [...]

          Beyond the budget caps, team are also set to vote on a range of other rules tweaks to reduce costs – including potential for tokens on chassis developments.

          Longer term, there is also a proposal for a radical aero development handicap system, where the worst performing teams are allowed more windtunnel and CFD development time compared to the more successful outfits.

          While F1 has previously steered clear of more obvious handicap systems such as success ballast, it is understood that the aerodynamic development plan has gathered support as it is felt to be much less artificial. The hope is that it will help close up the grid.

        • Bitcoin wallet makers SatoshiLabs now building open-source chips

          New Tropic Square company, founded by SatoshiLabs, seeks to produce truly open-source crypto wallets and more via fully-auditable custom chips.

        • SpaceChain Foundation Invests in Core Semiconductor to Produce Open Hardware Platform for Direct Satellite-to-Devices Communication

          SpaceChain Foundation today announced it has contracted and invested in Core Semiconductor, an innovator in provably secure computing platforms for all connected devices, to produce the world’s first open-source hardware platform capable of providing a downlink to mobile phones and small devices directly from satellites in orbit, without the use of a satellite dish on Earth or a third-party network.

          With security inherently built-in, the technology is designed with the blockchain industry in mind and to bring blockchain applications to a global user base.

          Core Semiconductor has designed the platform to be small enough to fit inside any handheld device. With a commodity price point, the platform is affordable and is easy to deploy, making it perfect for any company or hobbyist to incorporate. The technology is designed for low bitrate applications of around 1250 bytes per minute, making it ideal for verifying blockchain hashes and encrypted signatures.

        • design your own bee house with IKEA’s bee home open-source project

          may 20, 2020 marks world bee day and to celebrate it, SPACE10 — IKEA’s external innovation hub — is launching bee home, their latest open-source design project in collaboration with bakken & bæck and designer tanita klein. bees are vital for life on planet earth; in fact a third of what we eat depends on these busy, buzzing insects and other pollinators. but due to human impact, these hard-working insects are in danger of going extinct as we have unwittingly destroyed their homes and natural habitats when building our own homes, cities and landscaped our gardens.

      • Programming/Development

  • Leftovers

  • Education

    • The University of California Suspended SAT and ACT Requirements, Will Develop Its Own Admissions Test for 2025

      According to a press release from the UC president’s office, the suspension of standardized testing requirements extends until fall 2024. But this isn’t necessarily an end to standardized testing for admission to UC schools yet, as the release also says UC will endeavor to develop its own test by January 2021 for implementation in 2025. Only if that test doesn’t meet “specified criteria” will the UC system fully eliminate standardized testing requirements for applicants.

    • Betsy DeVos openly admits she’s using the pandemic to impose her private school choice agenda

      DeVos’ comments came as she defended her decision to redirect coronavirus relief funds away from public schools with high numbers of impoverished students to private schools which tend to serve wealthy students. Congress allocated about $13.5 billion to help schools, most of which was intended to go to schools based on a formula that determines how many poor children they serve.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cuomo Denounced for Order Sending Thousands of COVID Patients to Nursing Homes

      New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is facing new criticism after the Associated Press reported Friday that a state directive led to over 4,300 still recovering coronavirus patients being sent to New York’s “already vulnerable nursing homes.”

    • Make a Resilient, Localized Food System Part of the Next Stimulus
    • I’m a Frontline Medical Worker. I Contracted COVID — and It Took My Grandfather.

      “CAC Foreman 8th floor.” “Rapid response Klau 4th floor.” The voice that echoes in my head is the voice that blares overhead every few seconds in my workplace, indicating where to go for yet another cardiac arrest or another patient on the verge of death.

    • The Pandemic and the Trumps
    • Secretive Right-Wing Nonprofit Plays Role in COVID-19 Organizing

      A shadowy right-wing nonprofit is helping coordinate coronavirus response strategy and promoting the lockdown protests.

    • Nike Turned Away a Public Health Official From Its Warehouse Days After a Worker With COVID-19 Died

      The security guard said no. It didn’t matter that the visitor was from the Shelby County Health Department.

      It didn’t matter that she was there to investigate health conditions at a Nike distribution center where, five days earlier, company officials learned a temporary worker had died after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

    • What Parents Should Know About Coronavirus as Kids Return to Babysitters, Day Cares and Camps

      Reopening states after the COVID-19 lockdown raises unnerving questions for working parents who depend on some form of child care, from nannies to day camp.

      Instead of coming home with a snotty nose, is your child going to bring back the coronavirus? And how do you know your in-home babysitter or nanny, even your child’s teacher, isn’t a symptom-free spreader?

    • As Nation Mourns 100,000 Dead, Trump Goes Golfing

      “100,000 Americans dead. 40,000,000 unemployed. So let’s go golfing.”

    • Roe v. Wade Was Bigger Than Jane Roe

      “I was the big fish,” she told director Nick Sweeney of her recruitment by an anti-abortion pastor. “I think it was a mutual thing. I took their money, and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say. That’s what I’d say.” The filmmakers were able to find evidence of $456,911 in payments.

      If you’ve spent some time in the movement, you’ve seen this happen. An effective but cash-strapped grassroots leader abruptly stops speaking out and soon buys a house. A politician starts out championing labor rights and ends up championing corporate rights.

      Among these ordinary sellouts, McCorvey was an overachiever. She went from being an abortion rights activist, working at a clinic and living with her girlfriend, to getting baptized by an anti-abortion, anti-gay evangelical Christian pastor in a backyard swimming pool. Three years later she converted again, to Catholicism. Before a Senate subcommittee in 1998 she said she was “dedicated to spending the rest of my life undoing the law that bears my name.”

    • NY Times reporter Davey Alba on covering COVID-19 conspiracy theories, facing online harassment

      Over the course of Davey Alba’s career as a tech reporter, her beat has transformed from covering the latest gadgets and phones to investigating the creeping influence and massive power wielded by tech companies over peoples’ everyday lives. As the coronavirus pandemic has spread across the globe, Alba, who covers tech and disinformation at The New York Times, has also been reporting on how conspiracy theories about the virus have flourished on social media.

  • Integrity/Availability

    • Proprietary

      • Zeus’s legacy lives on as crooks target banking customers in the US and Europe [iophk: Windows TCO]

        Since the beginning of the year, various criminal [criminal] groups have been using a descendant of Zeus in more than 100 phishing campaigns and some 700,000 emails against people in Australia, Canada, Germany, Poland, and the U.S., email security company Proofpoint said this week. Like countless other [attackers] around the world, they are trying to capitalize on fears around the coronavirus to slip their code onto victim computers.

      • [Attackers] Attempted to Deploy Ransomware in Attacks Targeting Sophos Firewalls

        The script would perform various tasks, including parsing the contents of the firewall’s ARP cache, where the (internal) IP and MAC addresses of host on the local network are stored. Next, it would use the list to scan for port 445/tcp on the hosts and determine if they were reachable Windows systems.

        Furthermore, a file deceptively named “hotfix” would determine whether the machines were running 32-bit or 64-bit Windows, and then attempt to leverage an EternalBlue exploit and DoublePulsar shellcode to deliver and execute a DLL directly into memory (targeting explorer.exe).

        The DLL would then attempt to fetch an executable payload from 9sg[.]me over HTTP port 81/tcp. The IP address hosting the domain and serving the hotfix payload was involved in attacks going back to 2018, and is associated with a threat actor known as NOTROBIN.

      • Developers find new flaws in source code of NHS contract-tracing app [Ed: outsourced to Microsoft]

        New shortcomings in the NHSX contact racing app could further limit effectiveness and scare away users. E&T investigated concerns raised by computer engineers about timestamp and Google Analytics tracking.

      • Mercedes-Benz onboard logic unit (OLU) source code leaks online

        The researcher says he downloaded more than 580 Git repositories from the company’s server, which he made publicly available over the weekend, uploading the files in several locations such as file-hosting service MEGA, the Internet Archive, and on his own GitLab server.

      • #ERNW says source code for for #HUAWEI #5G core network UDG is “Good Quality”

        ERNW, an independent IT security service provider in Germany, has conducted a technical review of the source code for Huawei’s unified distributed gateway (UDG) on 5G core networks.

        ERNW senior auditors reviewed the source code by using leading tools and methods as well as the industry’s best practices, and released a review report. The report showed that the source code quality is a good indicator that Huawei has established a mature and appropriate software engineering process for UDG.

      • Pseudo-Open Source

      • Security

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • OpenSAFELY: more proof that tackling the coronavirus pandemic does not require privacy to be compromised

            In recent weeks, there has been an intense focus on the use of contact tracing apps as a way to emerge safely from the lockdowns that are in place around the world. A key question is whether to use a centralized or de-centralized architecture. After some division, the balance has firmly swung towards the latter, with only a few hold-outs such as the UK and France sticking with centralized approaches. That’s clearly good news for privacy, since it’s riskier to keep data in one location, both in terms of leaks and abuse by governments. But it’s not the only area where some see a tension between data protection and tackling the Covid-19 pandemic effectively.

          • Google searches for ‘immigration,’ ‘Taiwan’ spike in HK over Chinese law

            Reuters video journalist Pak Yiu noticed that starting at around 5 p.m. that evening, Hong Kong saw a massive surge in searches for the Chinese word for “immigration” (移民). By 11 p.m., the term reached 100, the maximum on the Google Trends rating scale for the popularity of a given search term.

            Simultaneously, the Chinese characters for “Taiwan” (台灣) also began surging dramatically in Hong Kong as well, with the term maxing out at 100 by midnight. In 2019, as the anti-extradition bill protests raged in Hong Kong, the number of Hong Kong citizens emigrating to Taiwan surged by 28 percent.

          • Right to Privacy Extends to Foreign Internet Users, German Court Rules

            A group of journalist and civil liberties organizations brought the case before the Constitutional Court, arguing that the 2016 law handed too much power to the state and failed to uphold universal human rights to privacy guaranteed by Article 10 of the Constitution. The ruling is the first time that the court has extended rights guaranteed in the Constitution to non-Germans abroad.

            “The ruling sets new standards in international human rights protection and for the freedom of the press,” said the Society for Civil Rights, a Berlin-based nonprofit organization that filed the suit along with several journalists’ organizations.

          • Facebook Is Punishing Employees For Working

            Say what you will about Mark Zuckerberg, but the man is an innovator. Not in tech so much, but when it comes to screwing over people, there’s no one more creative than Zuckerberg. And yeah, it’s hard to feel sorry for Facebook employees who are making huge salaries in their own right, but isn’t it alarming that a corporation can take advantage of your personal cost-saving measures? If you brought lunch every day to ensure that you saved money by not eating out, wouldn’t it be weird if the company paid you less based on lower food expenses?

            It is yet another example of socialism for the corporations and capitalism for the people. I guarantee that if Facebook moved its headquarters to Wyoming they would not then give a pay increase to anyone who decided to remain in Silicon Valley. But politics aside, what truly fascinates me is Zuck’s ability to stab you in the back, while doing it with a smile. “We’re going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale,” Zuckerberg said, and he’s right. But for Zuckerberg forward-leaning means leaning his foot on the throats of his employees.

          • Report: Chinese Construction Projects Create Opportunity to Spy on African Leaders

            A new report is warning that China may be spying on African government officials from within their own buildings.

            The report by the Heritage Foundation, a U.S.-based conservative think tank, found that Chinese companies built at least 186 government buildings in Africa and 14 “sensitive intragovernmental telecommunications networks.” These buildings include residences for heads of state, parliamentary offices, and police or military headquarters.

            The author of the report, Joshua Meservey, senior policy analyst for Africa at the Heritage Foundation, said the research does not prove there is spying going on at these buildings, but he believes the possibility should be explored.

            “The Chinese government has a long history of all types of surveillance and espionage globally,” Meservey told VOA via Skype. “So we know this is the sort of thing they want to do, the sort of thing they have the capacity to do. And also, Africa is important enough to them to do it.”

            Meservey noted that even private Chinese companies are “legally obliged” to help the Chinese Communist Party gather intelligence.

          • Congress Has No Idea How Much Web Browsing Data the FBI Collects

            But as usual, fighting the government’s secretive spying powers means taking shots in the dark. For one, Congress doesn’t even really know how much web browsing data federal agencies are collecting.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Iran Warns US Not to Interfere with Venezuelan Oil Flotilla

      “We hope the Americans will not make a mistake.”

    • ‘Good kids don’t become cops’: Get ready for a dark new era of unchecked police power in Hong Kong

      Ho jai ng dong chaai (好仔唔當差) – “Good kids don’t become cops” is our own Cantonese version of “All Cops Are Bastards.” It is a saying that I first heard from my grandmother, whose favourite sons ironically became policemen. These days in Hong Kong, this idiom seems to be coming true once again.

      In recent weeks, the Hong Kong Police Force – once known as “Asia’s finest” – have found themselves in a bottomless well of scandals.

    • China’s Plan to Impose Draconian Law on Hong Kong Sparks International Outcry

      “The decision to bypass Hong Kong’s well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong,” he said, referring to the legally binding 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which the Chinese Communist Party has said is no more than a “historical document.”

      “These actions push Hong Kong’s autonomy to the breaking point, violating the PRC government’s obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, an international treaty,” said Rep. James McGovern and Sen. Marco Rubio, the chair and cochair of the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China,

    • ‘Hungary is no longer a democracy,’ says Hungarian legal scholar

      So far, Brussels has not taken any legal steps. On Thursday, EU Values and Transparency Commissioner Vera Jourova reiterated that the EU Commission was concerned and that it is daily “assessing whether we can take legal action.”

      DW spoke with Gabor Halmai, a constitutional expert, on the dangers of the law and the EU’s calls for action.

  • Environment

    • Energy

      • Oil Companies Are Pumping Worthless Oil Back Underground

        For the first time in history, oil prices went negative last month due to plummeting demand and oil traders running out of space to store their oil.

        As a result, some oil and gas companies are now resorting to desperate measures. They’ve reportedly started to pay buyers to take oil off their hands — and in some instances, have even started pumping it back into the ground, the Texas Observer reports.

        The oil isn’t going back to precisely where it came from. Instead, producers are exploring options to store it in underground geological formations that can hold oil and liquefied gas.

      • Louisiana Breaks Ground on Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Project Amid Pandemic

        The Isle de Jean Charles received worldwide attention in 2016, when the Isle de Jean Charles Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw (IDJC) Tribe helped the State of Louisiana secure a $48 million federal grant to resettle the island’s residents, who face increasing danger with each hurricane season.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Hong Kong lawmaker mourns ‘end of homeland’ as China mulls anti-protest law

      China’s National People’s Congress — the country’s annual grand political convention where major policy is passed by the ruling Communist Party — announced on Thursday it would deliberate a bill on “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms” for Hong Kong in order to “safeguard national security.”

      The bill would allow China to sidestep the territory’s own legislative body to crack down on activity Beijing considers subversive and represented a major turning point. It is widely expected to pass.

    • Twitter’s new reply-limiting feature is already changing how we talk on the platform

      Limiting how users can interact with live Twitter interviews does mean that emergent conversations won’t occur as easily in the replies — you can theoretically still quote tweet messages even if those tweets have replies limited, and conversations could be started that way. Still, the limitation means interviews may not feel quite as organic as they sometimes were before.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Digital Safety: Protecting against targeted online attacks

      Journalists reporting on misinformation, conspiracy theories, and/or false news are frequently left vulnerable to online attacks by those who originate or support these views, as well as by people with strong political leanings. People supporting the spread of this type of information online may organize coordinated attacks with the aim of forcing journalists offline and discrediting their reputation. Media workers who cover these issues can take steps to manage their online profile and protect their accounts to limit the harm caused by online attackers.

    • Khashoggi’s family forgives his killers, but will the world forget the Saudi scandal?

      Jamal Khashoggi’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting for him outside the consulate while he was murdered, is unlikely to be as forgiving of his killers as his son. She tweeted Friday that “no one has the right to pardon his killers.” Ms. Cengiz has been conducting an energetic campaign, most recently trying to block the Saudi sovereign wealth fund from purchasing an English soccer team. Such an investment fits in with MbS’s “Vision 2030” plan for diversifying away from reliance on oil. Whether Ms. Cengiz is successful or not, that “Vision” looks increasingly likely to be slipping by a decade or more because of the coronavirus pandemic and this spring’s low oil prices.

    • Man Without A Country

      A decade ago, WikiLeaks shocked the world with revelations of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. How Assange’s popular following was reversed, his reputation trashed, and his health ruined is a saga which is still playing out.

      Publisher Julian Assange became an instant celebrity. In 2011 he received the popular vote for Time magazine’s Person of the Year, became Le Monde’s Man of the Year, and was repeatedly nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. Robert Manne called him the most consequential Australian of the time, and “one of the best-known and most-respected human beings on earth.” Yet, successive Australian governments have refused to intervene on Assange’s behalf, making him, as the New Yorker reported, a man without a country. What happened to him could happen to anyone, and that’s apparently the point the three Anglo-allies want to make.

      American politicians, without explaining how an Australian could commit treason against the US, called Assange a traitor and wanted him dead. Both Republicans and Democrats labelled Assange a “high-tech terrorist.” The US closed down internet donations to WikiLeaks. After allegations of rape against Assange by two Swedish women were reported, he offered to be interviewed in Stockholm and in London with no result. Both women withdrew their claims, and the Swedish prosecutors dropped the case, although their UK counterparts pressed them to pursue it.

      [...]

      In the decade since Chelsea Manning passed the cache of 740,000 US documents to Assange, she has been jailed twice and released twice. A brigadier-general in the Pentagon has admitted that no one is known to have died as a result of the cables’ publication, names redacted or not, and Australian authorities have made similar statements. For invigilation of Assange in the Embassy by UC Global, Spanish authorities are investigating apparent breaches of the Vienna Convention. Ecuador’s President Evo Morales reportedly discussed having Assange executed. All this should undermine the US case for his extradition, but it may not.

      The US is determined to charge Assange with 18 counts of conspiracy and computer intrusion, obtaining and disclosing national defence information without authorisation, and espionage. The trial will be in West Virginia, where most jury members are likely to have ties to defence industries, and the judge, who will come from the same constituency, can impose a total of 175 years imprisonment. This, effectively, is capital punishment.

      As the years have dragged on, Assange has been defended by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, PEN International, the UK Foreign Journalists’ Association, and British journalists including Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, and recently Peter Oborne, who wrote that the British Foreign Secretary should be “resisting the US attempt to get its hands on Assange with every bone in his body.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Immigrants Jailed by ICE Are Winning Court Battles to Get Free

      By the time the coronavirus pandemic reached a crisis level in the United States in March, José Velásquez had already spent almost 900 days in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention. A Guatemalan asylum seeker, Velásquez had celebrated his 18th and 19th birthdays behind bars, and, as the pandemic worsened, he worried about making it to his 20th. Over the course of two years in the notorious Adelanto detention center in California, the teenager had developed serious hypertension, a condition that put him at high risk of dying if he caught COVID-19. Fearing for his safety in the cramped conditions of the detention center, his attorneys requested ICE consider paroling him in light of the pandemic. (Velásquez had never been accused of a crime and had legally asked for asylum.) ICE refused, even as prisons and jails across the state released prisoners to prevent outbreaks behind bars.

    • COVID-19 Reveals Viral Discrimination, Higher Ed Should Pay Attention
    • Jeff Bezos Shouldn’t Be a Billionaire, Much Less a Trillionaire

      Amazon, which employs nearly 1 million people worldwide, is the second-largest private employer in the United States. While the company brags about the way it treats its employees — a $15 minimum wage, “comprehensive health care,” paid time off — Amazon workers tell a much different story. From tech workers to warehouse workers, Jeff Bezos’s employees have been ringing alarm bells about both their working conditions and the company’s wider practices.

      In Amazon’s “fulfillment centers,” employees are on their feet for their entire shift, finding, grabbing, and moving items that eventually make their way to customers. A worker can expect to walk twelve miles per shift, and it’s not uncommon for people to collapse or get sick from heat or exhaustion. The company “suggests” that workers only use the bathroom during designated breaks, which has led some to resort to urinating into bottles and others to wear diapers during their shift. Because these warehouses are massive — ranging from four hundred thousand to 1 million square feet — walking to the bathroom ends up being a fair amount of “time off task,” which Amazon tracks automatically. Too much time off task can result in termination, even if that time was just used to go to the bathroom. And because so many workers are temporary employees, hoping to be made permanent, they face significant pressure to stay as productive as humanly possible.

    • Republican corruption and carelessness led to devastation in Michigan: Does Trump care?

      Nevertheless, the salient point here is that the president of the United States, after witnessing the flooding of an entire region amid a major public health crisis, was to suggest, in public, that the government and people of Michigan owed him something in exchange for federal aid. Trump then traveled to a Ford plant in Michigan on Thursday and offered this explanation for the failure of the privately-owned dams: “Perhaps there was a mistake.”

      Like many disasters, the beginnings of the Michigan dam failures are far removed in time from the actual event, so this event can hardly be described as a mistake. All indications are that this week’s historic flooding was caused by years of neglect and mismanagement of a public good that was co-opted for private profit. It doesn’t help that the headquarters of Dow Chemical, including a Superfund site with known cancer-causing chemicals, is directly downstream of all this floodwater.

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Aon’s big IP insurance move; Huawei, Qualcomm, Samsung back new pool; US patent sales soar; Iancu covid-19 licensing exclusive; Uber patenting secrets; plus much more

        EPO enlarged board decision that plants produced by biological processes are unpatentable has shocked – and worried – many in the IP profession.

        [...]

        Japan’s Shiga International Patent Office was the top PCT filer in 2019, with Fish & Richardson and Epping Hermann Fischer leading for the US and Europe respectively.

      • Software Patents

        • ‘Patent Troll’ Will Stop Suing Over Open Source Software

          Free-software nonprofit the GNOME Foundation and alleged “patent troll” Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC have reached a deal to end infringement litigation in California federal court, with RPI making a broad promise not to sue over open source software.

          RPI released GNOME from infringement allegations and signed a covenant not to sue the organization over any patent in its portfolio, the nonprofit said Wednesday. Additionally, RPI granted a release and covenant to anyone releasing software under a license approved by the Open Source Initiative, at least if that software “forms a material part of the infringement allegation,” GNOME said.

        • Troll Settles Patent Clash With GNOME

          The open source GNOME Foundation has won the right to freely use a patent it was being sued over by notorious patent troll, Rothschild Patent Imaging (RPIL) — one of 30+ subsidiaries created by Leigh Rothschild.

          The tiny foundation, which supports an open source, Linux-based desktop environment, was hit in September 2019 with a court case by RPIL — which the EFF describes as a “poster child for patent litigation abuse” .

          RPIL had claimed that GNOME’s “Shotwell” system was in breach of US Patent No. 9,936,086, which essentially claims the patent rights a smartphone that can receive images that a user can filter.

          (The EFF blames the US’s Patent Office for issuing “more stupid software patents to fuel patent trolling” — many companies, if not all, settle with Rothschild for circa $50,000; cheaper than fighting in courts).

    • Copyrights

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