EPO ‘Killing the Young’ for So-called ‘Production’ (of Patent Monopolies for the Rich)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Young and restless, working into the night if not during the night for almost no financial gain

Young and nocturnal

Summary: The EPO doesn’t seek to attract valuable workers anymore; this assures self-destructive outcomes, which IAM helps the EPO deny

THE European Patent Office (EPO) hardly advertises jobs anymore. When it does, it's truly unbelievable how little they pay new workers; no wonder they cannot attract any talent anymore. The pay is low and apparently the world's worst among international organisations.

“It’s quite a racket, but nobody is doing anything to stop this.”So while granting more patents than ever — including loads of bogus ones such as software patents — the staff is rewarded less and less. Piles of money are stacked up in the EPO’s coffers, only to be enjoyed or stolen by António Campinos, Benoît Battistelli and their cohorts, who gamble this money away. It’s quite a racket, but nobody is doing anything to stop this.

Of course the EPO has enough money in the bank to let staff have a few months off (paid leave), but will it do that? Of course not! SUEPO has just explained what it’s like for people who relocated — along with family — to Dutch/German residency on a 5-year EPO contract (time limits are probationary and contribute to stress):

Use of Flexible Parental Leave

The Staff Representation welcomes any measure to help parents cope with the lockdown. Last 18th of April, almost one month after the closure of the Dutch schools, management made flexible parental leave available. This measure aims at supporting staff with (primary) school age children or younger, facing hardship during this unprecedented and extraordinary situation.

However, it is worth having a closer look at the typical parents who are mentioned in the publication “Help for parents with young children”. These are in majority relatively young colleagues in the lowest grade of their job groups, possibly hired on a 5-year contract. They typically have lower salaries, (large) monthly mortgage payments, and pay for the crèche, which in the Netherlands costs around 1900 euros/month.

How can those colleagues meet their financial obligations if they have to make systematic use of parental leave? Evidently, the impact may be different depending on the conditions of employment and grade, but it is clear that young families are particularly vulnerable under these circumstances that no one expected. These colleagues have no true safety net; they might find themselves broke-down.

The situation is so exceptional that even conventional ways of coping with tough times cannot be applied. Grandparents are
a risk group; other family members are also living in a similar lockdown.

Colleagues with young children in lockdown cannot perform as the others. They are in a very different situation than colleagues with grown-up children, or without children. They are faced with little choice, either they don’t produce and they bear the consequences, or they pay for it by taking parental leave.

On top of these financial consequences, colleagues who normally rely on parental leave to cover their children’s school holidays and who used a large number of them during the crisis may no longer be able to face future needs.

This is a clear case where the principle of “Substantive equality” endorsed by the EPO1, applies: “[...] the perception that treating all people in the same way is not sufficient to achieve genuine equality.“.

Although any measure to help parents is welcome, the use of parental leave is not an adjusted tool to deal with these exceptional circumstances. Civil servants, such as EPO employees are, from different European countries or other IO’s have been granted with Special Leave with full salary, and such an instrument should be put in place urgently.2

1 Inclusion policy for people with disabilities; definition
of “Substantive equality”, see [...]

2 See also [...]

When staff is treated this badly, the quality of the hires won’t be high and therefore the quality of patents will suffer as well, irrespective of quotas or “targets”. This is how institutions die.

[Humour] Rendering the FCC, Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, Obsolete

Posted in Europe, Humour, Patents at 9:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thufir Hawat: UPCA unconstitutional? What if we pretend Germany lacks a constitution?

Summary: When courts don’t buckle under the pressure of lobbyists can you just pretend those courts do not exist?

FFII Takes Stance Against the German Federal Ministry of Justice for Breaking the Law to Appease Team UPC

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 9:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A banana market

Summary: Like a ‘third world’ country, Germany decides to attempt something which it very well knows to be illegal as well as unconstitutional, severely harming the reputation of the EU in the process (not only Germany’s)

THIS is a quick highlight of an issue that’s not likely to be mentioned in the corporate media, only in blogs controlled by Team UPC. We’ve mentioned this before, expressing the view that a constitutional crisis is likely imminent in Germany because its “Ministry of Justice” actively works to undermine justice.

“Why they’re willing to put themselves in such an embarrassing position can only be explained by asserting that lobbyists control this government.”The following statement was issued yesterday by Benjamin Henrion, bearing the headline “Brexit: FFII rejects the proposal by the German Ministry of Justice to present the Agreement on the Unified Patent Court (UPCA) to the German Parliament for ratification” (“AETR” is brought up again):

The United Kingdom has ratified the UPC Agreement, and unless a formal request is sent by the UK government to the Council of the EU expressing its decision to undo the earlier ratification of the UK of the UPCA, the UK must still be considered a Contracting Party to the UPCA.

This means that the German Federal Ministry of Justice is proposing to the German Parliament, the ratification of an agreement with a “third state” of the European Union. In view of case law “AETR”, 22/70 of the Court of Justice, EU Member States may not enter into obligations with “third states” which affect European Union rules.


In view of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention (1969) on the law of the Treaties, a Treaty shall be interpreted in good faith in accordance with the ordinary meaning to be given to the terms of the treaty in their context and in the light of its object and purpose.

This means that the UPCA must be read as it is written, and a likely witdrawal of the UK can not result in an interpretation of how UPCA may be interpreted if the UK would no longer be there.

This means:

1) that the Federal Republic of Germany may not (in view of case law “AETR” of the CJEU) ratify the UPCA, as long as the status of the UK, as ratifying party of UPCA, has not been clarified.

2) In view of Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on the law of the Treaties, the German Government may not present UPCA for ratification to the German Parliament with an interpretation of how the UPCA would be interpreted if the UK would no longer be party to it.

Presenting a Treaty for ratification to the German Parliament with an interpretation of how the UPCA will be interpreted if the UK is no longer participating, is clearly violating the spirit of the Vienna Convention on the Law of the Treaties.

There’s also this new press release, “Unitary Patent: Germany is ignoring Brexit, European law, its Constitutional Court and Italians” (we covered this last week) and to quote:

The German government is pushing for a second vote on the Unitary Patent at the Bundestag. By signing an internal treaty with the UK as signatory, Germany is ignoring Brexit, and will violate EU law. The government has resorted to a very creative interpretation of the agreement in order to ignore the Brexit problem, showing its dedication to see the UPC agreement entering into force ‘whatever it takes’, at the risks of alienating Italy, with an automatic relocation of the UPC court from London to Paris instead of Milan. With the German Presidency starting in a few weeks, Germany risks to undermine [sic] the functioning the European Union.


If Germany ignores all those problems and push the ‘ignore’ button on all this issues, there will be second constitutional complaint filed immediatly. [sic]

Concerned people should trigger a debate in each national parliament and ask their politicians to request a debate in the Council of Ministers, in the European Parliament, and in each and every parliament in Europe, asking for a legal opinion of their legal service, like the European Parliament did in 2007 with the resolution on EPLA.

Germany’s government is only doing something shoddy here; it’s self-harming and it’s unlikely to let the UPCA through. Why they’re willing to put themselves in such an embarrassing position can only be explained by asserting that lobbyists control this government.

Links 16/6/2020: CentOS Linux 8.2 and PinePhone postmarketOS Community Edition

Posted in News Roundup at 9:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • SpaceX: We launched 32,000 Linux computers in space for ‘Starlink Internet’ [Ed: Not sure if this site is original]

      The company intends to dispatch an open beta of the satellite web access before the finish of the northern half of the globe’s mid year and has won endorsement to convey one million end-client terminals in the US.

      SpaceX as of late applied to the Federal Communications Commission to dispatch 30,000 second-age satellites far beyond the 12,000 that had just been endorsed. Expecting the second-age satellites convey a similar number of Linux PCs, it would mean SpaceX plans to send in any event 2,000,000 Linux PCs into space in the following barely any years.

      It likewise implies that it’s currently sent 32,000 Linux PCs to space for the current heavenly body.

      “The constellation has more than 30,000 Linux nodes (and more than 6,000 microcontrollers) in space right now,” composed Matt Monson, SpaceX’s chief of Starlink software.

    • Why the Success of Edge Computing Relies on a Linux Legacy

      Twenty-five years ago, innovation was a slow, laborious, bug-filled crawl — with any advances crippled by proprietary technology. The breakthrough that paved the way for the continuous, rapid pace of innovation possible today was Linux.
      We need to heed the lessons from the early days around private cloud adoption and, more recently, Linux containers with regards to adaptability. Many man-hours were lost in slash-and-burn style rebuilding of infrastructures. The logistics at the edge make it impractical to have the same learn-as-we-go freedom we had inside the datacenter.
      As we’re likely to see edge computing evolving quickly, the only adaptable architectures will be the ones that can avoid a total tear-down. Adaptable architectures will also be well-positioned to take advantage of the newer capabilities as they become available.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Laptops Now Available with Elementary OS Pre-Installed

        The developers of the elementary OS operating system announced that you can now buy select laptops with the OS pre-installed. The move is part of their effort to make elementary OS more “gettable.”

        Rather than build computers themselves, the developers have partnered with the following companies and intend to add more partners in the coming months…

      • System76 Launches Powerful New Linux Laptop

        System76 has announced the new Serval WS laptop, featuring powerful desktop performance driven by AMD Ryzen processors. According to the System76 blog post, the device features “a large selection of performant components to choose from, such as NVIDIA GeForce GPUs and new 3rd Gen AMD Ryzen CPUs.”

        The Serval WS is the company’s highest performing laptop. According to the blog post, it “combines speedy components together to create the ultimate computing experience. Take high-powered AMD processors, NVIDIA GeForce graphics, NVMe storage and up to 64GB RAM, and figuratively dump the components into a blender for a smoothie reminiscent of the esteemed Roadrunner. Or, to put it simply: The Serval WS is fast.”

      • My Linux Story: remixing distributions at 17 years old

        The Lumina desktop was originally developed by iXSystems for TrueOS, which later became Project Trident. It’s well-known as the BSD desktop environment but has been ported to Linux. It introduces desktop elements like a panel, system tray, and so on, to the Fluxbox window manager, and is highly portable. It’s a good desktop, and while it’s generally easy to install, there aren’t many distributions offering it by default.

        I’m the sole contributor and maintainer to the Ubuntu Lumina remix. My work on the Ubuntu Lumina project has been a lengthy process, and much of it has been learning along the way. As of this writing, I’m 17 years old, but I’ve been a technology enthusiast since age six when a friend of mine helped me write my first ever “Hello, world” script.

      • Why I Still Use Linux on the Desktop

        It’s 2020, and there are fewer reasons than ever to use Linux on the desktop. Yet, I am still doing just that–as I have been for the past 15 years. Why? Let me explain

        Let me start by pointing out why using Linux on the desktop may no longer seem as appealing as it once did.

        Back when I started using desktop Linux, circa 2005, the world of computing looked wildly different. Windows Vista loomed on the horizon, and everyone knew it was going to be a disaster. (We didn’t yet know that Microsoft would keep supporting Windows XP all the way through 2014, nor did we know how quickly Microsoft would roll out Windows 7 to provide an alternative to Vista.) Not wanting to use Vista was one of the major reasons why I started exploring the world of Linux on the desktop.

      • Laptop update 2

        Here’s an update on the trials and tribulations encountered with my new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga gen 4.

    • Server

      • A better Toolforge: a technical deep dive

        In the previous post, we shared the context on the recent Kubernetes upgrade that we introduced in the Toolforge service. Today we would like to dive a bit more in the technical details.


        With the Ingress controller, we want to ensure that Ingress objects only handle traffic to our internal domains, which by the time of this writing, are toolforge.org (our new domain) and tools.wmflabs.org (legacy). We safe-list the kube-system namespace and the tool-fourohfour namespace because both need special consideration. More on the Ingress setup later.

        The registry controller is pretty simple as well. It ensures that only our internal docker registry is used for user-scheduled containers running in Kubernetes. Again, we exclude from the checks containers running in the kube-system namespace (those used by Kubernetes itself). Other than that, the validation itself is pretty easy. For some extra containers we run (like those related to Prometheus metrics) what we do is simply upload those docker images to our internal registry. The controls provided by this admission controller helps us validate that only FLOSS software is run in our environment, which is one of the core rules of Toolforge.

      • A Better Docs UX With Docsy

        I’m pleased to announce that the Kubernetes website now features the Docsy Hugo theme.

        The Docsy theme improves the site’s organization and navigability, and opens a path to improved API references. After over 4 years with few meaningful UX improvements, Docsy implements some best practices for technical content. The theme makes the Kubernetes site easier to read and makes individual pages easier to navigate. It gives the site a much-needed facelift.

        For example: adding a right-hand rail for navigating topics on the page. No more scrolling up to navigate!

      • OVHcloud drives flash storage strategy with LXD

        OVHcloud offers a wide range of cloud-based services, and two of them – Public Cloud Block Storage, and Cloud Disk Array – rely on Ceph. About a year and a half ago, the company set its sights on creating a next-generation Ceph solution with all flash storage. However, this kind of solution would require newer versions of Ceph – versions that OVHcloud’s existing software environment could not support.

        Filip Dorosz, DevOps Engineer at OVHcloud, explains: “We quickly realised that it would be impossible to run newer Ceph releases on our legacy software because they required systemd, and we didn’t run systemd at all: neither inside the containers nor on the hosts.”

        OVHcloud effectively uses containers as lightweight VMs and, at the time, it utilised Docker as an entry point. But this was an unusual use case for Docker, and not one that it was well-suited for in the long-term. It became clear that the company needed a new solution, with systemd support, that was designed for running a complete operating system within a container.


        LXD had emerged as the ideal solution, and now all that remained was to industrialise it for use on the enterprise scale. OVHcloud’s key requirement was a Puppet module for LXD so that it could manage containers via the host. At the time, there was no such module, so OVHcloud decided to build one itself – and it has recently open sourced the module on GitHub.

        The company is now moving to production with the new solution, enabling the switch to all flash storage with no HDDs.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-06-15 | Linux Headlines

        The Linux Mint 20 beta is available for testing, RiskSense warns of an increasing number of open source security vulnerabilities, and Pine announces that the next Community Edition of its phone will ship with postmarketOS.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Patches Provide Corsair Commander Pro Support For Thermal / Fan / RGB Controller

        The Corsair Commander Pro is a controller that offers six 4-pin fan ports with PWM control, two RGB LED channels for RGB LED light strips and fans, and four thermistor inputs. This thermal/cooling/lighting controller is seeing Linux support via a third-party driver.

        With Corsair not having ported their Corsair Link software to Linux, an interested user has reverse-engineered the USB protocol and provided support for this controller on Linux via an open-source driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Running Linux 5.8-rc1 Benchmarks On The Intel Core i9 10900K + Radeon RX 5700 XT

        Since yesterday’s big release of Linux 5.8-rc1 I have begun benchmarking this new kernel on various systems. Here are some tests on the first system that was being vetted, the Intel Core i9 10900K Comet Lake with Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics.

        See our Linux 5.8 feature overview to learn about all of the changes for this next kernel version. When it comes to overall performance, at least with this i9-10900K system in most benchmarks there wasn’t broad performance differences compared to Linux 5.7/5.6 stable series.

    • Applications

      • Perform Common PDF Editing Tasks Like Merge, Split, Rotate With Free and Open Source PDF Mix Tool

        PDF Mix Tool is a simple, lightweight open-source PDF editing application that lets you extract pages from PDF, merge two PDFs, delete pages from PDF files among a few other things.

      • Entangle 3.0 Improves Tethered DSLR Shooting on Linux

        Entangle, for those not familiar with is, free, open source software for tethered shooting on Ubuntu (and other Linux distros, obviously). The app lets you control a fleet of popular DSLR cameras including Canon and Nikon models, from the the desktop, over USB.

        Entangle 3.0 pulls a few existing features into sharper focus while also adding a couple of new ones. For instance, you can now flip image in preview (handy for selfies); see remaining shot count & ETA in the repeat shooter plugin; and set up a countdown timer when using the photobox plugin.

      • Entangle 3.0 Released For Tethered Shooting With DSLR Cameras On Linux

        Entangle 3.0 has been released as the newest feature update to this software for controlling your DSLR camera under Linux with tethered shooting capabilities.

        Entangle allows connecting many popular DSLR cameras to Linux systems and obtain a live preview, triggering the shutter from the computer, and other controls are exposed for this open-source tethered camera control solution. In particular, many Canon and Nikon DSLR cameras are supported by this GNOME/GTK-focused desktop application.

      • Linux-Fu: Automation For Chrome And The Desktop By Matching Screenshots

        I will be the first to admit it. This is almost not — at least not specifically — a Linux article. The subject? An automation tool for Chrome or Firefox. But before you hit the back button, hear me out. Sure, this Chrome plugin started out as a tool to automatically test web pages and automate repetitive tasks in the browser. However, it can extend that power to all programs on your computer. So, in theory, you can use it to graphically build macros that can interact with desktop applications in surprisingly sophisticated ways. In theory, anyway; there are a few problems.

        The program has a few different names. Most documentation says UI Vision RPA, although there are some references to Kantu, which appears to be an older name. RPA is an acronym for Robotic Process Automation, which is an industry buzz word.

      • Transmission review

        Transmission is one of the rare torrent clients that comes with a solution for embedded hardware like NAS and home servers. It is free, open source, and offers impressively fast performance levels.


        Transmission provides a better user experience compared to the complexity of competing services such as uBittorrent, Tixati and Vuze.

        What makes Transmission great from the user experience standpoint is that it can be configured to download files from folders, RSS feeds or any other source without having to control it manually. Downloading automatically from preferred sources as soon as the content is made available is a very helpful feature indeed.

        Transmission desktop clients can be remotely controlled, too, like most other torrent apps.

        Transmission’s interface is easy to use. In fact, it has the most barebones UI of all torrent clients, and strikes the right balance between functionality and simplicity. Its minimal UI, with no distracting adverts, is another highlight.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Morrowind lives on with a major new OpenMW release out

        Morrowind is a much loved RPG classic and thanks to open source it continues living on modern platforms with OpenMW. The team behind OpenMW just release version 0.46 and it’s one of the biggest updates ever.

        We’ve been waiting on this one for what feels like forever, especially as it finally brings in real-time shadows making it look a whole lot better. There’s plenty of other changes both big and small and it continues be a very impressive game engine recreation. Modding even got improvements to the point that some previously unplayable mods should now work.

      • ATOM RPG Trudograd is now available for Linux in Early Access

        ATOM RPG Trudograd, the standalone followup to the very well received ATOM RPG is now available for Linux.

        Following in the footsteps of Fallout and Wasteland, the previous game was often compared to being a Russian version of Fallout and in some ways that was very much true. Nice to see Linux support continue in their future games after the first game was crowdfunded. With ATOM RPG Trudograd available in Early Access since early May, it arrived on Linux across the weekend on June 13.

      • Combo-driven roguelite action platformer Fury Unleashed is getting online play

        After launching in May with added Linux support, Fury Unleashed is set to get a big update in a few months adding in online play based on feedback from players.

        Seems the launch went well with Fury Unleashed getting some pretty high praise all around.They had a clear vision with wanting it to feel something of a mix between the likes of Dead Cells, Rogue Legacy and shooters like Metal Slug and they’ve mostly succeeded in that. I’m continually impressed by the visuals in it. This is not a run-of-the-mill action platformer, some of the visuals are absolutely incredible and it’s worth playing for that alone.

      • Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart Of The Forest coming from ex-Witcher devs

        Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Heart Of The Forest was announced recently with a very brief teaser, coming from Different Tales and Walkabout.

        Heart of the Forest was designed by Jacek Brzeziński and Artur Ganszyniec, who you might recognise as top names behind the original Witcher game. Also known for working on Dying Light and Hitman so they certainly know their games. If you don’t recognise the name together they recently released Wanderlust: Travel Stories and Wanderlust: Transsiberian, two book-like narrative stories and Heart Of The Forest will seemingly be continuing that same style of story telling with a much different theme.

      • Dear Devere is a beautiful & free voiced visual novel set in 1930s Scotland

        Start your week off with something free and quite sweet. Jasmine Osler released Dear Devere recently, a free voiced visual novel set in 1930s Scotland and it’s quite special.

        Nothing like the Anime styled visual novels you find elsewhere, Dear Devere is a romance / mystery novel told through letters between people. It’s a bit strange and yet I couldn’t help but just continue along to the conclusion. That’s a testament to the great world building, music and voice acting found in Dear Devere. It’s quite a new release too from this year that you might have missed.

      • Little Devil Inside still confirmed for Linux despite PlayStation exclusivity

        During the PlayStation 5 reveal recently, Neostream Interactive had their 2015 crowdfunded title Little Devil Inside shown off as a timed exclusive and they’ve now clarified their plans for platforms.

        The timed exclusive deal caused a bit of a ruckus with backers, with quite a few angry comments aimed at the developers. However, according to what they said, this PlayStation 5 timed exclusive deal will not be affecting the release of the PC version so they’re still firmly aiming for a concurrent launch on PC – the exclusive deal only affects console.

        After reaching out to Neostream directly, they mentioned to me today that the Linux version is still planned to launch alongside Windows, “We’ll be trying to get it to Linux at the same time as Windows. We will be clarifying again on all the precise platforms soon.”.

      • A little preview of the upcoming supernatural horror adventure ASYLUM

        With a full demo of ASYLUM upcoming for the Steam Game Festival, we were given advanced access to a small slice of what to expect so here’s a look.

        ASYLUM was funded on Kickstarter and is one of the most successful campaigns to come from Argentina, although this was way back in 2013 where they managed to get $119K in funding. Since then they’ve continued desperately hacking away at the code to bring it to release and recently managed to get an Epic MegaGrant.

        The full demo is due to go live tomorrow June 16, along with the Steam Game Festival. The game is of course not fully finished with more to come like voice-over, dialogue tweaks and so on. Now I’ve finally had change to get my hands on it, I have to say I’m genuinely intrigued by it and impressed. A first-person point and click adventure, with a thoroughly dark setting that’s pretty unnerving to go through.

      • Don’t Starve Together gets a new free character plus an animated short

        Klei have updated their great co-op survival game Don’t Starve Together with a free update for everyone.

        Arriving today is the new character, Walter, who seems like quite the seasoned explorer. Walter has a Slingshot which is pretty darn handy, as you can get special ammo for it to do things like freeze enemies or fire poop pellets at them to slow them down. I’ll admit the sound of that makes me want to play as Walter because that’s just hilarious.

        Walter is also not afraid of things like other characters, except getting hurt. So Walter doesn’t lose sanity from the dark but will lose sanity while health is below 100%. Since they’re a seasoned explorer, Walter can also craft a portable camping tent too. Just be aware of the bees, they’re allergic.

      • Open source shape-factory building sim shapez.io is now on Steam

        After discovering shapez.io on the game store itch.io recently, and finding out it was open source, I fell a little in love with the idea and now it’s on Steam.

        Taking inspiration from other factory building sims like Factorio, shapez.io takes a more relaxed and casual approach to it with a pretty sweet idea. You’re building up a factory that cuts shapes into other shapes and after a while adds in a splash of colour and then builds up the complication. It’s very cool and wonderful to see more developers choose open source too.

      • Quadrilateral Cowboy, Thirty Flights of Loving & Gravity Bone all now on GitHub

        This follows the same path they went with Flotilla back in February, although this time it’s a little different. These three are under the GPL v2/3 rather than the zlib license, which would be because each of these actually use some form of open source game engine release from id Software (Quake or Doom engines). Each had the source available before from Blendo’s own website but putting it on GitHub now makes them far more accessible and I bet plenty didn’t even know any of it was open source previously.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.20 Bringing this Stunning Taskbar Feature in Next Release

          KDE Plasma 5.20 which is scheduled to be released later this year, just announced a new taskbar feature for this gorgeous desktop.

        • Interview with Albert Weand

          Acouple of years ago, I started to gain interest in GNU/Linux and even considered using it as my main OS. One of my priorities was to find a good painting application compatible with the system. I tried MyPaint and Gimp, but Krita was definitely the best option.

          I really like the user interface, it’s very flexible. I like to keep things simple and just focus on the artwork. The shortcuts to navigate around the canvas are great, they feel very natural. There’s no need to change tools in order to zoom in, zoom out or move around the canvas. I also like the default brushes, they feel organic and the textures help to simulate real brushes in traditional painting.

        • KDE Applications Release Meta-data

          kde.org/applications now has latest release versions and dates on it. Finally you can check your app store or distro is up to date

          This was added to the website by elite new contributor David Barchiesi and there’s been a year of faff in the background getting it added to the release process in various places, but if apps are missing it then talk to the app maintainers to get it added.

        • OpenUK Future Leaders Online Talk on Friday

          Jonathan Riddell will be talking about KDE’s “All About the Apps” goal this Friday at OpenUK’s Future Leader’s Training.

        • GSoC’ 20 Progress: Week 1 and 2

          It’s been two weeks since the coding period began and I would love to share with the community the progress I have made so far.

          In the past two weeks, I focused on implementing a basic class for handling subtitles.

          First, I created a class called SubtitleModel. This class would contain the list of subtitle content included in the uploaded subtitle file. Since the SubtitleModel class would be utilized to implement a basic model based upon a list of strings, the QAbstractListModel provided an ideal base class on which to build. Subtitle files are usually of two basic formats: SubRipText file (.srt) and SubStation Alpha (.ass) type. Subtitles are maintained in these files in totally different formats based on their file type, so the function ought to parse through each file type in a distinctive way.

        • Weekly Report 2

          In the second week of GSoC, I worked on handling projections, instance rendering for multiple stars, updating SkyObject coordinates and worked on porting the existing grid system in KStars to Qt3D.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • New Patches Aim To Improve Smoothness & Latency Of NVIDIA On GNOME

          Canonical’s Daniel van Vugt who is known for his prolific contributions to GNOME the past several years particularly in regards to performance has a new merge request open for helping with the “smoothness” of the NVIDIA driver on GNOME Shell.

          Stemming from bug reports over non-ideal frame clocks if swap events not supported and NVIDIA on X.Org spending 75% of its time blocked, these are two of the areas Daniel van Vugt has been working to address for GNOME 3.38 / Ubuntu 20.10.

    • Distributions

      • EasyOS 2.3 – The Modern Prometheus Tux


        EasyOS looks like a Frankenstein edition of Puppy, in a good way. But as an experimental project, it’s also not something you want to inflict on your unsuspecting grandparents. Actually, it’s not suitable for the majority of users, including nerds, because it does require a fair deal of manual labor early on. I guess that explains the difficulty in getting the image.

        But if you think this happy madness ends there, you be mistaken. There’s an even more Frankensteiny creation, and that’s EasyPup! So there. Anyway, EasyOS 2.3 looks like a really ambitious and quite unique distro, and largely, it works great. If you’re a tinkerer, I’d recommend you grab this and have a thorough go. Otherwise, it’s worth waiting until it matures a bit more, the stack gets rock solid, and some of the usability niggles are resolved. All in all, something super cool and worth following. Stay tuned.

      • Reviews

        • AutoTux Review: A Linux Distro That Fully Automates Installation Process

          There are tons of Linux-based operating systems with each designed for specific use cases. Like, if you’re a beginner, you have Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Pop!_OS. If you’re a more advanced user and want full control of your OS, you have Arch Linux and Gentoo. Or if you’re an ethical hacker and penetration tester, you may choose Kali Linux, Parrot OS, or Tusurugi Linux.

          But the common thing that each of them possesses is the installation step that everyone has to go through first. Some have the easiest installation process like Ubuntu while others like Arch are a tough nut to crack. So, if you have ever wished someone could install Linux and configure settings for you so that you can just get on and start using it, AutoTux is a perfect Linux distro for you.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • CentOS Linux 8.2 Officially Released, Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2

          Derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2‘s source code, CentOS Linux 8.2 packs all the new features, improvements, and software updates released since the launch of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 operating system series across all supported architectures and all the enhancements included in version 8.2.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 8.2 brought enhanced security by implementing new OpenSCAP profiles for DISA STIG (draft) and Australian Cyber Security Center (ACSC) Essential Eight, by allowing users to specify their own permitted ciphers, and by adding support for custom SELinux policies to containerized workloads.

        • CentOS Linux 8.2 (2004) released and here is how to upgrade it

          CentOS Linux 8.2 (2004) released. It is a Linux distribution derived from RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) 8.2 source code. CentOS was created when Red Hat stopped providing RHEL free. CentOS 8.2 gives complete control of its open-source software packages and is fully customized for research needs or for running a high-performance website without the need for license fees. Let us see what’s new in CentOS 8.2 (2004) and how to upgrade existing CentOS 8.1.1199 server to 8.2.2004 using the command line.

        • Release for CentOS Linux 8 (2004)

          Release for CentOS Linux 8 (2004)

          We are pleased to announce the general availability of CentOS Linux 8.
          Effectively immediately, this is the current release for CentOS Linux 8
          and is tagged as 2004, derived
          from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 Source Code.

          As always, read through the Release Notes at :
          http://wiki.centos.org/Manuals/ReleaseNotes/CentOS8.2004 – these notes
          contain important information about the release and details about some
          of the content inside the release from the CentOS QA team. These notes
          are updated constantly to include issues and incorporate feedback from
          the users.

        • CentOS 8 Rebased Against RHEL 8.2

          The CentOS crew maintaining this community enterprise Linux operating system rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux have announced their RHEL 8.2-based release.

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 released back in April with tooling improvements to enhance the management capabilities, container/cloud improvements, cgroup v2 was promoted to full support, support for setting NUMA policies for services using systemd, and various other changes.

          CentOS Linux 8 Version 2004 is the new version of the free operating system built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2 sources.

        • Build a recommendation engine using Apache Spark and Elasticsearch

          Recommendation engines are among the most well-known, widely used, and highest-value use cases for applying machine learning. Despite this, while there are many resources available for the basics of training a recommendation model, there are relatively few that explain how to actually deploy these models to create a large-scale recommender system.

          The IBM Developer code pattern Build a recommender with Apache Spark and Elasticsearch illustrates how to build and deploy just such a recommender system.

        • Supersonic, Subatomic Java Hackathon: June 15 – July 22 2020

          The Quarkus community is excited to announce the Supersonic, Subatomic Java Hackathon for developers to create Kubernetes-native applications for a chance to win $30,000 in prizes. This hackathon is a great opportunity to learn about the future of cloud-native Java development and showcase your coding skills.

        • Jakarta EE: Multitenancy with JPA on WildFly, Part 1

          In this two-part series, I demonstrate two approaches to multitenancy with the Jakarta Persistence API (JPA) running on WildFly. In the first half of this series, you will learn how to implement multitenancy using a database. In the second half, I will introduce you to multitenancy using a schema. I based both examples on JPA and Hibernate.

          Because I have focused on implementation examples, I won’t go deeply into the details of multitenancy, though I will start with a brief overview. Note, too, that I assume you are familiar with Java persistence using JPA and Hibernate.

        • Cockpit 221

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 221.


          This pre-compiled stylesheet will be dropped in the future in favor of projects shipping their own CSS. This API is not maintainable, as Cockpit cannot offer a PatternFly 3 API forever, and PatternFly 4 also changes quickly enough that one style sheet for all projects is not robust enough.

          The Cockpit plugins that are using only PatternFly 4 should follow the example from starter-kit on how to import PatternFly 4 stylesheets. g The Cockpit plugins which are still relying on PatternFly 3 should follow the migration from the deprecated API to the new PatternFly stylesheet import approach as implemented in this cockpit-podman commit.

        • Tracking COVID-19 using Quarkus, AMQ Streams, and Camel K on OpenShift

          In just a matter of weeks, the world that we knew changed forever. The COVID-19 pandemic came swiftly and caused massive disruption to our healthcare systems and local businesses, throwing the world’s economies into chaos. The coronavirus quickly became a crisis that affected everyone. As researchers and scientists rushed to make sense of it, and find ways to eliminate or slow the rate of infection, countries started gathering statistics such as the number of confirmed cases, reported deaths, and so on. Johns Hopkins University researchers have since aggregated the statistics from many countries and made them available.

          In this article, we demonstrate how to build a website that shows a series of COVID-19 graphs. These graphs reflect the accumulated number of cases and deaths over a given time period for each country. We use the Red Hat build of Quarkus, Apache Camel K, and Red Hat AMQ Streams to get the Johns Hopkins University data and populate a MongoDB database with it. The deployment is built on the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP).

        • Curious case of image based email signatures and Kmail
        • Compressed RAM disks
        • Join us for the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience Open House

          On July 15 Red Hat is opening its virtual doors for an Open House, building on the Red Hat Summit 2020 Virtual Experience from April with an additional set of sessions, more “Ask the Experts” sessions, and live access to C-level tech experts.

          If you missed the Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience the first time around, that content is still available on demand. You can log back in, or register for the first time, and watch the on-demand content through April of 2021. Registration is still free and grants access to hundreds of sessions about Red Hat’s technologies, customer successes, and much more.

        • Red Hat CEO: we have a ‘head start’ over VMware, competitors in Kubernetes

          After 19 years at Red Hat, Paul Cormier, employee 120 and longtime product chief, ascended to the top job at the open-source software giant.

          But plans for the traditional world tour taken by new CEOs looking to confab with customers and partners were clipped by a global pandemic—Cormier took the helm of Red Hat as he and most other employees were working from home and grounded from travel.

          While the coronavirus crisis limited his ability to meet-and-greet and was replaced by virtual platforms, Cormier, who previously was responsible for roughly 60 percent of the company as president of products and technologies, already knew almost every facet of Red Hat’s business and had deep relationships with the ecosystem.

        • IBM Cloud Now: Intellect Design, IBM Edge Application Manager v4.1, and Watson Annotator
      • Debian Family

        • Lampone Pi, a live readonly Raspbian

          Lampone Pi is a live Debian GNU/Linux Buster arm64 operating system for the Raspberry Pi microcomputer boards. At the time of writing, it’s the only live operating system for the Pi. Although it is not affiliated or derived from Raspbian, it’s the homologous of Raspbian Lite (they both derive from Debian), but differently it’s a 64bit live OS.

          Why this project? If the header image looks familiar to you, you already have the answer : )

          So, technically it’s a Debian derivative with a unique partitioning scheme crafted for maximizing the strength against filesystem corruption: the ISO9660 system partition is read-only by design at filesystem-level. The data persistence partition contains only the delta: system updates and your data lay there. The data partition mounted on top of a read-only system partition makes the resulting operating system resistent to filesystem-corruption. Moreover, you can do complete system backups by just tar-ring only the files contained within that partition.

        • Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 3 Switches to LXQt, Now Based on Debian GNU/Linux 10.4

          The Emmabuntüs Collective announced today the release and general availability of Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 3 version 1.02, a release that brings new features and apps, as well as improvements and latest software updates.

          Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10.4 “Buster” release, Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 3 1.02 is here exactly three months after the previous Emmabuntüs Debian Edition 3 1.01 release to replace the LXDE desktop environment with the more modern LXQt by default, along with the Xfce desktop environment.

          If you choose to use Emmabuntüs DE with the LXQt desktop, there are a few perks compared with the LXDE desktop, such as Falkon as default web browser, updated installation and presentation tutorials, as well as support for all of the in-house built scripts that are preset in the distribution for various tasks.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Unity 20.10 “Groovy Gorilla” Enters Development, First Alpha Is Ready for Testers

          Last month, I wrote about a new, unofficial Ubuntu flavor called Ubuntu Unity Remix, which had its first ever release based on the Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system, but featuring the good old Unity 7 user interface as default desktop environment.

          You remember Unity, right? Well, Ubuntu Unity Remix brought back good old memories for me, back when Unity was a thing and promised to be the future of the Linux desktop. But it didn’t happen, at least not on the Linux desktop, as Canonical decided to terminate the project.

        • Ubuntu Unity brings back one of the most efficient desktops ever created

          I will admit, Ubuntu Unity isn’t everyone’s cup o’ tea, but for those that did appreciate what Ubuntu was doing, prior to the Unity 8/Mir debacle, you’ll welcome Ubuntu Unity with fingers ready to remain on the keyboard. Ubuntu Unity was a thing of efficient beauty and no other desktop could compare to what it offered. Now, thanks to Ubuntu Unity, we can all go back in time when the Ubuntu desktop interface was something unique and unifying.

          Although the Linux community is widely divided on which desktop/distribution/file system/init system/text editor/browser/cursor/theme is best, there can be no doubt that choice is generally considered a good thing and when using Linux, choices abound. To me, that’s always been one of the best selling points of the open source desktop operating system: If there’s something you don’t like about what you’re using, change it. For those that did enjoy the Unity desktop, you can once again enjoy that incredibly efficient and elegant interface, thanks to Ubuntu Unity.

        • Small Things that Bug Me in Ubuntu: The Blank Snap Folder

          I had to take new screenshots for our list of the best GTK themes this weekend and in doing become acutely aware of how much the “Snap” folder bugs me.

          Petty, I know.

          But you don’t need a magnifying glass or a particularly pedantic persuasion to appreciate why the directory irk. Heck, a quick glance at the hero image above should avail you of what the gripe is.

          Perhaps you’ve even noticed it yourself.

          See, Ubuntu badges each of the default Home directories (e.g., Downloads, Music, Videos etc) with a symbolic emblem to denote the content type apart from two: Desktop (which is shaped like a desktop, so it gets a pass), and the (annoyingly lowercase) ~/snap folder.

          Now appreciate I’m stating the obvious here but wouldn’t adding the Snapcraft logo to the Snap folder help roundup the aesthetic?

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Devs can now dig around in the source code for three games from Blendo Games
      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Friend of Add-ons: Juraj Mäsiar

            Our newest Friend of Add-ons is Juraj Mäsiar! Juraj is the developer of several extensions for Firefox, including Scroll Anywhere, which is part of our Recommended Extensions program. He is also a frequent contributor on our community forums, where he offers friendly advice and input for extension developers looking for help.

            Juraj first started building extensions for Firefox in 2016 during a quiet weekend trip to his hometown. The transition to the WebExtensions API was less than a year away, and developers were starting to discuss their migration plans. After discovering many of his favorite extensions weren’t going to port to the new API, Juraj decided to try the migration process himself to give a few extensions a second life. “I was surprised to see it’s just normal JavaScript, HTML and CSS — things I already knew,” he says. “I put some code together and just a few moments later I had a working prototype of my ScrollAnywhere add-on. It was amazing!”

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • What is PostgreSQL? How Does PostgreSQL Work?

          PostgreSQL is the world’s most advanced enterprise-class open source database management system that is developed by the PostgreSQL Global Development Group. It is a powerful and highly-extensible object-relational SQL (Structured Query Language) database system popular for its reliability, feature robustness, and high performance. It is known to be highly scalable both in the amount of data it can store and manage and in the number of concurrent users it can accommodate.

          PostgreSQL is available and distributed under the PostgreSQL License, a liberal open source license. This implies that you can download the software, use, modify, and distribute it free of charge for any purpose. It is also cross-platform, it runs on Linux, Windows, and macOS, and many other operating systems.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Simulated Animation Effects – Week #2

          Last week my implementation lacked creating the current slide environment in the box2d world, meaning for the demo in the last blog post I had to hard code the environment.

          So this week I wanted to get rid of this big flaw and start creating the environment from the slide on the fly. To achieve this goal, I needed current shapes in the slide. Therefore, to get shapes in the current slide I’ve implemented a new getter for ShapeManager and LayerManager classes. You can check out the patch at: https://gerrit.libreoffice.org/c/core/+/95967

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Guix Further Reduces Bootstrap Seed to 25%

            We are delighted to announce that the second reduction by 50% of the Guix bootstrap binaries has now been officially released!

            The initial set of binaries from which packages are built now weighs in at approximately 60~MiB, a quarter of what it used to be.

            In a previous blog post we elaborate on why this reduction and bootstrappability in general is so important. One reason is to eliminate—or greatly reduce the attack surface of—a “trusting trust” attack. Last summer at the Breaking Bitcoin conference, Carl Dong gave a fun and remarkably gentle introduction and at FOSDEM2020 I also gave a short talk about this. If you choose to believe that building from source is the proper way to do computing, then it follows that the “trusting trust” attack is only a symptom of an incomplete or missing bootstrap story.

          • Alternate options for Adobe Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign

            GIMP (GNU Picture [sic] Manipulation System) provides 130-furthermore awesome filters and exclusive consequences. See Alvin Alexander’s blog for all the neat stuff GIMP can do. I especially like the Borders Sparkles, Reflections, and Gradient Flare consequences and the Whirl and Pinch attributes. I also appreciate that GIMP is effective on several platforms, works by using minimum system resources, and is super-effortless to use.

      • Programming/Development

        • First Qt 6.0 Snapshot Available

          While Qt 5.15 LTS release is just out, we have also been working for some time now towards the next major version of Qt. Today, we are releasing a snapshot of Qt 6.0 for the first time. While we are still very early in the release process, and far from having the feature freeze, the first snapshot is offering binaries for a limited set of platforms and focused on the essential Qt modules. Given that we are approximately six months from the planned release date for Qt 6.0, we cannot guarantee all parts of the pre-release snapshot will work as intended.

          In the first snapshot, we are providing binaries for desktop platforms only. The mobile platforms and embedded Linux are being worked on; therefore, to test those you need to build from source. Qt 6.0 requires C++17 support from the compiler and we are in general focusing on fairly recently released compilers. If you want to use an older compiler, Qt 5.15 is the way to go.

        • Qt 6.0 Sees Its First Development Snapshot

          Being about six months out from the planned release of Qt 6.0, The Qt Company has issued its first snapshot of this forthcoming tool-kit update.

          This first Qt 6.0 snapshot offers a current look at the state of Qt 6 on various supported platforms. These pre-release snapshots are available through The Qt Company’s Qt Installer.

        • Programming languages: Java still rules over Python and JavaScript as primary language

          JetBrains makes the popular IntelliJ IDEA Java IDE, which is also the foundation for Google’s Android Studio, as well as Kotlin, a programming language that Google officially supports for Android development, and the widely used PyCharm IDE.

          JetBrains’ survey of almost 20,000 developers found on the other hand that JavaScript is the most used overall programming language.

          JetBrains asked developers to pick up to three languages they consider their primary programming language. In this context, JavaScript comes out on top (39%), followed Java (37%), and Python (31%).

          JetBrains analyst Sichkarenko Anastassiya explained the apparent discrepancy by saying each languages’ position – first, second or third – was assigned a weighting to produce an overall popularity ranking.

          The company also told The Register that Java’s superior ranking as a primary language comes down to lots of developers using JavaScript as part of a project, but its use falls when considering where developers spend most of their time.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Report of the Debian Perl Sprint 2020

            Eight members of the Debian Perl team met online between May 15 and May 17 2020, in lieu of a planned physical sprint meeting. Work focussed on preparations for bullseye, and continued maintenance of the large number of perl modules maintained by the team.

          • Contacting author of Net::Azure::StorageClient

            I have sent two emails now to the public email address listed in his public github profile and have received no bounce or response.

          • The Perl Ambassador: Gabor Szabo

            This is the launch interview of a monthly series of interviews I’ll publish on perl.com. I can promise you, fun and entertaining interviews every month. So please watch this space. If you’d like me to interview you, or know someone you’d like me to interview, let me know. Take the same set of questions and send me your answers!

            Gabor Szabo is a long time Perl developer and DevOps trainer and the author of the Perl tutorial and of Perl Maven and on Code Maven. He received a White Camel Award in 2008. He teaches training courses in Israel and around the world. He wears the hat of the chief editor of Perl Weekly newsletter, and is always happy to receive notable Perl news items for inclusion in its next issue.

        • Python

          • Django 3.1 beta 1 released

            Django 3.1 beta 1 is now available. It represents the second stage in the 3.1 release cycle and is an opportunity for you to try out the changes coming in Django 3.1.

            Django 3.1 has a potpourri of new features which you can read about in the in-development 3.1 release notes.

            Only bugs in new features and regressions from earlier versions of Django will be fixed between now and 3.1 final (also, translations will be updated following the “string freeze” when the release candidate is issued). The current release schedule calls for a release candidate in a month from now with the final release to follow about two weeks after that around August 3. Early and often testing from the community will help minimize the number of bugs in the release. Updates on the release schedule schedule are available on the django-developers mailing list.

          • How to Convert JSON to Excel in Python with Pandas

            The post How to Convert JSON to Excel in Python with Pandas appeared first on Erik Marsja.

            In this Pandas tutorial, we will learn how to import data from JSON to Excel in Python. This guide will cover 4 simple steps making use of Python’s json module, and the Python packages requests and Pandas.

            The structure of this tutorial is as follows. In the first section, we will have a quick look at a basic example of how to convert JSON to an Excel file with Pandas and Python. After we have seen and briefly learned, the syntax we will continue with a section covering some examples on when this knowledge may be useful. In the third section, we will have a look at the prerequisites of this Python tutorial and how to install Pandas. After we are sure we have everything needed, we will go through four steps on how to save JSON to Excel in Python. Here, we will start by reading the JSON file from the hard drive and saving it as an Excel file. Furthermore, we will also look at an example when reading JSON from a URL and saving it as a .xlsx file. Finally, we will also use the Python package JSON to excel converter.


            Now, there is one very easy way to install both Python and Pandas: installing a Python scientific distribution such as Anaconda, ActivePython, or Canopy (see here for a list of Python distributions). For example, if you install Anaconda you will get a library with useful Python packages, including Pandas.

          • PyDev of the Week: Kyle Stanley

            This week we welcome Kyle Stanley (@Aeros1415) as our PyDev of the Week! Kyle is a core developer of the Python programming language.


            Hi, my name is Kyle Stanley. I’m a 23 year old college student finishing up the last year of my B.S. degree (Information Systems Technology, Programming spec.). Most notably, I was recently promoted to the role of core developer for CPython, the default/reference implementation of the Python programming language (in April 2020). I mostly contribute to the standard library through reviews and my own authored changes, as both a hobby that I enjoy and a means of building my professional experience in the software development industry. Most of my significant contributions have been to the modules asyncio and concurrent.futures.


            I have a few ongoing CPython projects, but my most substantial current project is probably asyncio.ThreadPool, which is a high-level asynchronous thread pool designed to be used as a context manager (e.g. “async with asyncio.ThreadPool() as pool:“). The primary use case for it in CPython is concurrent execution of long-running, IO-bound subroutines (non-async functions/methods) that would normally block the event loop (such as for network programming, DB connectors, inter-process communication, file IO, etc.), particularly for existing code or libraries that can’t be easily converted to use async/await. Threads have a bit more overhead than using coroutines (`async def` functions/methods), but when it’s not a realistic or available option to convert the existing code to use them, it’s often far more efficient to execute the subroutine in a thread pool rather than blocking the event loop for a significant period of time.

          • hashin 0.15.0 now copes nicely with under_scores

            tl;dr hashin 0.15.0 makes package comparison agnostic to underscore or hyphens

          • Richer Django logging

            Note the file and line at the right hand of the terminal which shows were the log function was called. If your terminal supports hyperlinks, you can click that link to open the file!

          • Python Keywords: An Introduction

            Every programming language has special reserved words, or keywords, that have specific meanings and restrictions around how they should be used. Python is no different. Python keywords are the fundamental building blocks of any Python program.

            In this article, you’ll find a basic introduction to all Python keywords along with other resources that will be helpful for learning more about each keyword.

          • PyCharm: Tutorial: Visual testing with pytest

            If you are like many Python developers out there you LOVE writing code! Tests? Not so much. Whether it’s the concept of testing or the interface of testing tools, testing is a chasm not all developers cross. The Visual Testing with pytest tutorial aims to bring Python testing to the masses, taking a new approach to first contact with Python testing.

            Join this journey with us and improve your testing skills in this 9-step tutorial!

          • Anwesha Das: PyLadies India June meetup

            We, PyLadies, have started our journey for quite a sometime now. Every year since 2016, we are growing in numbers and chapters. Currently, we have eight active chapters and counting. The COVID pandemic has somehow stopped our course of having physical meetups. But on a brighter note, the situation has opened up a new opportunity for us—the chance to be united. Therefore we, the PyLadies groups in India, have decided that we are going to have one collective meetup every month.

            This month we are having our PyLadies India meetup on 20th June 2020, coming Saturday at 8 pm. I will be talking about who we are, PyLadies India, and explain our course of action.

          • Build A Personal Knowledge Store With Topic Modeling In Contextualize

            Our thought patterns are rarely linear or hierarchical, instead following threads of related topics in unpredictable directions. Topic modeling is an approach to knowledge management which allows for forming a graph of associations to make capturing and organizing your thoughts more natural. In this episode Brett Kromkamp shares his work on the Contextualize project and how you can use it for building your own topic models. He explains why he wrote a new topic modeling engine, how it is architected, and how it compares to other systems for organizing information. Once you are done listening you can take Contextualize for a test run for free with his hosted instance.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in | GSoC’20 | #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #2
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 2 Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Second Weekly Check-In
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Check-in for week 2
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Images Images Images – Weekly Check-in 3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In 2
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Weekly Check-In #2
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week 3: Awaiting the Future
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 3: try except finally:
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Inside look of the EOS feature request system in GSOC’20
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 2 : Complete Migration to Fastkml
          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 045

            Wrote a basic login form today.
            Short story short, it shows up, but it does not respond like Miguel shows in the course. It justs sits there … staring back at me … like an obstinate goat.

            Will go spelunking into what I could have done wrong, tomorrow.

            Learnt about adding routes and creating views and making templates.
            Thoroughly confused though.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

  • Leftovers

    • Book Club: Zettlekasten

      Recently I was part of a call with Daniel and Lars to discuss Zettelkasten, a system for building up a cross-referenced archive of notes to help with research and study that has been getting a lot of discussion recently, the key thing being the building of links between ideas. Tomas Vik provided an overview of the process that we all found very helpful, and the information vs knowledge picture in Eugene Yan’s blog on the topic (by @gapingvoid) really helped us crystalize the goals. It’s not at all new and as Lars noted has a lot of similarities with a wikis in terms of what it produces but it couples this with an emphasis on the process and constant generation of new entries which Daniel found similar to some of the Getting Things Done recommendations. We all liked the emphasis on constant practice and how that can help build skills around effective note taking, clear writing and building links between ideas.


      We were all concerned about the idea of using any of the non-free solutions for something that is intended to be used long term, especially where the database isn’t in an easily understood format. Fortunately there are free software tools like Zettlr which seem to address these concerns well.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Hard lessons from COVID-19 on looking after the dead

        Gaps in dead body management have been left badly exposed by COVID-19: bodies left outside homes for days before being collected; family members picking through piles of decomposing corpses outside hospitals to try to identify loved ones; mass, unmarked graves dug for the poor and the homeless.


        Oran Finegan, head of forensics for the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the ICRC aimed to remind authorities of the importance of communicating clearly with people about care after death, and of helping people deal with what was a “traumatising situation”.

        “We have to look at the impact this has on the communities, in terms of uncertainty, the loss of their loved ones, and the need to ensure the dignity of the dead,” he said. “The dead themselves matter, and it is very important that they be afforded a dignified burial, or a process aligned with their cultural or religious beliefs.”

        Data collected by the Financial Times shows the scale of the problem that morgues in the worst-hit urban areas have been dealing with. In Guayaquil, deaths increased 332 percent compared to previous years; in New York, 364 percent; and in Bergamo, in northern Italy, 496 percent.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • GitHub to replace master with main across its services

              GitHub will drop the term “master” as the default branch name from its hosted repositories in response to protests about ingrained racism.

              Activists in the software community have long campaigned to replace the terms “master” and “slave” with terms that don’t invoke actual human slavery. They argue that continuing to use such terms isn’t inclusive, is insensitive, and highlights the tech industry’s problems with diversity.

              Nat Friedman, the GitHub’s chief exec, confirmed the upcoming change in a Twitter post saying that the Microsoft-owned outfit would change the default branch name from “master” to “main”, or perhaps something similar.

        • Security

          • It’s Time to Step Up Linux Server and Container Workload Security

            Linux Security Pros, are you happy with the state of Linux Server security? Can you reliably secure your server and container workloads across multiple distributions with real-time visibility into suspicious and malicious activity? Do Linux security tools tend to “break” whenever you upgrade your operating system? And finally, can you query for incidents and alerts across your estate, with IOCs aligned to the MITRE ATT&CK Framework for Linux?

          • Wailing Wednesday follows Patch Tuesday as versions of Windows 10 stop playing nicely with plugged-in printers

            Windows 10 users woke up to borked printers following the monthly Microsoft bugfix party, Patch Tuesday.

            The issues appear connected to KB4557957 and KB4560960 for Windows 10 2004 and 1903/1909 respectively.

            “KB4560960″ was “stopping users from printing to [the] locally attached Brother printer,” according one Reg reader. The resolution was to remove the offending cumulative patch. Those connected to a network printer, he reported, continued rocking along as normal.

          • Another Attack Vector Uncovered For Bypassing Linux Lockdown Via ACPI Tables

            This weekend we reported on how injecting ACPI tables could lead to bypassing Linux’s lockdown / UEFI Secure Boot protections and let attackers load unsigned kernel modules. That earlier issue was found on a patched version of the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS kernel while now a similar attack vector has been discovered on the mainline Linux kernel.

            WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld discovered both of these vulnerabilities in recent days. This newest discovery is more pressing in that it works on a current mainline Linux kernel rather than just Ubuntu’s heavily patched older kernel code-base. Fortunately, Donenfeld has already sent off a patch to the mailing list for addressing this issue.

          • Nordic Semi nRF52 WiSoCs are Susceptible to Debug Resurrection using APProtect Bypass

            Nordic Semi nRF52 are popular wireless Cortex-M4 SoCs with Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.15.4 radios. APProtect (Access Port Protection) is a new security feature of nRF52 MCUs designed to enable readback protection and disable the debug interface. This is supposed to prevent an attacker to obtain a copy of the firmware that would allow him/her to start the reverse engineering process or access some sensitive data such as keys and passwords.

            It’s all good, except “LimitedResults” managed to bypass APProtect and permanently resurrect the debug interface on nRF52840-DK and a Bluetooth mouse. This requires physical access to the hardware and relies on a fault injection technique.

          • Latest Intel CrossTalk Vulnerability Now Patched in Debian GNU/Linux, CentOS and RHEL


            The recent SRBDS (Special Register Buffer Data Sampling) hardware vulnerability (CVE-2020-0543) also known as CrossTalk, was discovered by researchers from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in some Intel processors. The flaw could allow local attackers or virtual machine guests to expose sensitive information like cryptographic keys from other users or VMs.

            Already patched in all supported Ubuntu releases, the vulnerability has also been patched last week in the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster,” Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch,” CentOS Linux 7, CentOS Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 operating system releases.

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (intel-microcode, libexif, mysql-connector-java, and thunderbird), Fedora (gnutls, grafana, kernel, kernel-headers, mingw-gnutls, mod_auth_openidc, NetworkManager, and pdns-recursor), Gentoo (adobe-flash, ansible, chromium, firefox, glibc, mailutils, nokogiri, readline, ssvnc, and webkit-gtk), Mageia (axel, bind, dbus, flash-player-plugin, libreoffice, networkmanager, and roundcubemail), openSUSE (java-1_8_0-openjdk, kernel, nodejs8, rubygem-bundler, texlive-filesystem, and thunderbird), Oracle (libexif and tomcat6), Red Hat (chromium-browser, flash-plugin, and libexif), Scientific Linux (tomcat6), SUSE (libEMF), and Ubuntu (fwupd).

          • Intel Confirms CET Security Support For Tiger Lake

            CET works by preventing ROP and COP/JOP style attacks through indirect branch tracking and a shadow stack. For nearly three years we have been talking about Control-Flow Enforcement Technology with the open-source Intel developers doing a fairly punctual job plumbing it into the open-source compilers, the necessary Linux kernel changes, etc. Just last month I provided the current state of Intel CET on Linux with most patches under review or landed but due to the GCC 11 requirement will not be all stabilized until early next year.

          • Customizing System-wide Cryptographic Policies in RHEL 8.2
          • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Defence/Aggression

      • In the news: ‘Horror’ and ‘shock’ at Libya mass graves

        Last week’s discovery of at least eight mass graves in a town southeast of the Libyan capital of Tripoli has led to expressions of “horror” and “shock” from the UN, and the promise of an investigation in the midst of war.

        On Thursday, the UN’s mission in Libya said it “notes with horror reports” of the graves in a town called Tarhouna, a former stronghold of eastern forces led by Khalifa Haftar that was retaken last week by groups loyal to the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

        The two sides have been fighting for control of Tripoli and the country since last April, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to go on the run, and, in recent months, leaving doctors and nurses to try to fight the spread of COVID-19 at the same time as they treat the war-wounded.

      • 35 years after MOVE bombing, communities denounce police terror

        A protest against Philadelphia Police Terror on June 13 drew around 1,500 demonstrators to the Osage Avenue site where Philadelphia police dropped a military-grade bomb on the MOVE organization on May 13, 1985. Eleven Black men, women and children were murdered after police and city officials ordered fire fighters to “let the fire burn.” Police shot at MOVE members who tried to escape.


        Mike Africa, whose parents, MOVE 9 members Mike Africa Sr. and Debbie Africa, spent over 40 years in prison, called out city officials who are currently offering up apologies for prior blatant acts of racism, as if they were enough to stop the growing movement. “The politicians are dragging their feet as if nothing has happened. People want justice, and we want it now!” Africa said. “And we want Mumia free now!”

        Following the rally, a spirited march made its way through predominantly Black neighborhoods in West Philadelphia. The response from community residents was electrifying. People came out on their porches to cheer and join in chants. Several joined the march.

        At a closing rally at Malcolm X Park, speakers raised 13 demands from the radical Black organizing community in Philadelphia. Among the final speakers were high school students from the Philadelphia Student Union who demanded that “every single cop in schools must be out by the time schools reopen. The $30 million used to keep police in schools should go to have safe learning environments. We want police abolition — not more reforms!”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Doing good and being racist

        His original logic was sound. Honestly, I’m glad to hear the UN acknowledge it. But owning up to racism while simultaneously denying your staff of colour the right to openly protest felt particularly cruel. It also feels incredibly familiar from my time in the humanitarian world.

        During my time as an employee of a UN agency in Geneva, I was the only black person on my team. In fact, I’d often be the only black person in many meeting rooms. Although I would describe each of my former colleagues as “good people”, I would be lying if I said I never experienced any racism while at the UN. Because, yes, it’s everywhere. And, while we’d like to think we’re good people because of the very nature of our work, our humanitarianism does not preclude us from exhibiting racism. In many ways our humanitarianism reinforces it.

      • Bostick v. Clayton County Georgia

        It is a slow patent news day, but the Supreme Court offered a big employment discrimination decision in Bostick v. Clayton County Georgia (Supreme Court 2020).

        The opinion joins together several cases challenging employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity (transgender) and also sexual orientation (homosexuality). Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of an “individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” Here, the Supreme Court holds that gender identity and sexual orientation both fall with the ambit of “sex” and thus are also protected against discrimination.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • USPTO Announces Extension for Petitioning for Restoration of Right of Priority or Benefit

          In a notice posted on its website on Thursday, June 11, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it was extending the time period for petitioning for certain rights of priority or benefit, as well as waiving the corresponding petition fee. As the result of the President’s declaration on March 13, 2020 of a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the notice indicates that USPTO Director Andrei Iancu “determined that the emergency prejudiced the rights of applicants, patent owners, or others appearing before the USPTO in patent matters and may have prevented them from filing documents or fees with the Office,” and that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic created an extraordinary situation for affected patent applicants and patentees. Therefore, the USPTO, pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and 37 C.F.R. § 1.183, is providing an extension for petitioning for the restoration of certain rights of priority or benefit.

          The notice explains that to be entitled to a claim of priority to or benefit of a prior-filed foreign or provisional application, an application seeking priority or benefit must be filed within twelve months (or six months in the case of a design application claiming foreign priority) of the prior-filed foreign or provisional application. After that period expires, U.S. patent law allows an applicant to two more months to file an application seeking priority or benefit along with a petition for restoration of the right to claim priority to or benefit of a prior-filed foreign or provisional application under 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.55(c) or 1.78(b), provided that the delay in filing the application seeking priority or benefit was unintentional.


          The notice advises applicants who file a petition under 37 C.F.R. §§ 1.55(c), 1.78(b), or 1.452 in accordance with the above provisions via the USPTO’s patent electronic filing systems (EFS-Web or Patent Center) to use document code PET.RELIEF for the petition. The Office also highly recommends that applicants use form PTO/SB/449 to make the required statement that the delay in filing was due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

        • Japan: Guidelines on the ‘Fair Value Calculation of SEP for Multi-Component Products’

          The guidelines represent an important intervention into the ongoing debate concerning the tension between standard essential patents (SEPs) (which offer their owners R&D incentives/rewards in the form of monopolistic rights) and technology standards (which should be widely used by all players in the market to ensure interoperability). Without a framework to promote harmonious licensing, SEPs owners could, if they wished, use the patent enforcement system to ‘hold up’ or prevent their competitors from launching rival products that use the same standards. There is a related risk that the exercise of monopoly power by SEP owners could lead to the need for implementers to obtain multiple licences – this is known as the problem of ‘royalty-stacking’.

          The need to obtain multiple licences is particularly evident when it comes to multi-component products that contain many parts, such as game machines, construction machines, personal computers, and automobiles. In these circumstances a variety of manufacturers are involved in the production process, thus forming a hierarchical supply chain. The risk of ‘hold-up’ is therefore very high in these industries. To minimise risks SEP owners typically must commit to licensing their SEPs on ‘FRAND’ terms (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory). At times the parties cannot agree on what the FRAND terms should be, which can lead to acrimonious disputes and costly litigation. Guidelines on FRAND from independent policy-makers or courts can be useful to provide a measure of clarity to negotiating parties.

          Against this background, the Japanese Study Group proposes three general principles, which could be useful for determining the FRAND royalty for multi-component products to be paid to SEP owners.


          Attention to the needs of SMEs is not unusual when it comes to SEPs. The EU institutions have also paid heed to these companies. For example, concerns were expressed by the Commission in its Communication of 29 November 2017 on the EU approach to SEPs. One of the burning issues highlighted in that document is the lack of transparency in the context of SEP licensing frameworks managed by standard setting organisations (SSOs). Indeed, the Commission states that being able to access accurate information on the scale of exposure to SEPs is vital to the users of standards, especially SMEs that have little experience of licensing practices and seek to enter the relevant markets looking for connectivity. However, this information is not always easy to access. The Communication notes, in particular, that ‘… currently the only information on SEPs accessible to users can be found in declaration databases maintained by SSOs which may lack transparency’ – a scenario that leaves companies, particularly SMEs and start-ups, in a difficult situation with respect to licensing negotiations and risk management.

          Overall, the Guidelines produced by the Japanese Group Study are a positive intervention in this field. They should assist implementers of standardised and patented technology to strike favourable licensing deals, thus counter-balancing the strong monopolistic position SEP owners often find themselves in. This in turn can benefit final consumers via better value products capable of interoperability.

        • Assignor Estoppel

          In Hologic, Inc. v. Minerva Surgical, Inc., 957 F.3d 1256 (Fed. Cir. 2020), the court upheld the doctrine of “assignor estoppel” but also found that it could be collaterally attacked via IPR since the PTO does not enforce the doctrine. The panel – led by Judge Stoll — also called for reconsideration of the doctrine “as it applies both in district court and in the Patent Office.”

          The patentee in this case want the the court to broadly hold that assignor estoppel cannot be circumvented via IPR proceeding; the defendants are asking that the court go the other way and narrow assignor estoppel associated with claims added or amended after the assignment.

        • Software Patents

          • $3,000 for Trust & Verify Data Protection LLC prior art

            On June 15, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $3,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claims 37 (system) and 25 (method) of U.S. Patent 7,137,140. The patent is owned by Trust & Verify Data Protection, LLC, an NPE. The ’140 patent generally relates to a customer computer and vendor computer that are interconnected by means of a network. The customer can initiate a transaction, such as the purchase of information from the vendor, however, the vendor will not proceed until verification of the transaction has been received from the site.

      • Copyrights

        • US Copyright Office Review Board allows registration of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Store Front Sculpture

          In a decision issued in June 2020, the US Copyright Office Review Board (CORB) reversed the earlier findings of the US Copyright Office concerning an application to register Abercrombie & Fitch’s Store Front Sculpture. The CORB found that this work exhibits copyrightable authorship.


          Furthermore, in Atari Games Corp. v. Oman, 888 F.2d 878, 883 (D.C. Cir. 1989), the US Court of Appeals (District of Columbia Circuit) considered that simple shapes, when selected or combined in a distinctive manner indicating some ingenuity, have been accorded copyright protection both by the Register and in court. For instance, the choice of location, orientation, and dimensions of glass panes in a work has showed “far more than a trivial amount of intellectual labour and artistic expression” and the earlier use of “geometric shapes like squares, triangles, and trapezoids has not precluded copyright protection”.

          In the present case, the Store Front Sculpture combines multiple geometric shapes – a circle and a square – with letters, symbols, and lighting elements created from several different materials into a sculpture that exhibits creative choices in the selection, positioning, and arrangement of elements in the overall work. In line with Feist, copyright protection is available so long as there is at least some creative spark, ‘no matter how crude, humble or obvious’ it might be. Therefore, considered as a whole, the work satisfies the originality requirement.

          The CORB pointed out that the protection only relates to the work as a whole, and does not extend individually to any of the standard and common elements depicted in the work, such as a circle, rectangle, “A,” “F,” “&,” or “Co.,” the choice of materials, or the lighting elements. It is the overall combination of those elements into the work that makes it protectable.

Is Free Culture As Important As Free Software?

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:24 pm by Guest Editorial Team

By figosdev

Letters of language

Summary: “If you have ever created a programming language specification before coding the actual language, then you’ve already written code for a language that doesn’t exist yet.”

Funny thing about the Free Software movement — while many of us care about Free Culture as well, it’s taken ages for the FSF to recognise its legitimacy.

The position of rms in the past (and likely the present) is that while software is a “practical” work — this point has relevance for copyright eligibility (software was not even copyrightable in the United States until 1980) other “non-software” works are not practical in this sense — they don’t “do stuff.”

“While rms has given some support to free licenses for other works (game assets for free games being one example) this division is sometimes considered less important by advocates of free culture.”Code describes computer instructions — and other works do not. While rms has given some support to free licenses for other works (game assets for free games being one example) this division is sometimes considered less important by advocates of free culture.

My own opinion — and this is quite sincere, because I think some might interpret it as sarcasm or being cynical — is that the brain is a sophisticated, self-rewiring biological computer, and culture helps to alter our programming as much as psychotropic drugs or traumatic experiences do. This idea that “culture is software too” isn’t something I invented, but it’s the way I’ve felt for many years.

There are simple programming languages and there are esoteric programming languages, but just today I wrote a simple — rhetorical programming language to make this point:

    # % turn on/off printing
    # @ quit program
    # a, A cycle colour backwards
    # b, B cycle colour
    # c, C copy next variable value to following character variable
    # d, D move down most recent variable value
    # e, E toggle print default upper/lower (starts lower)
    # f, F move to 1, 1
    # g, G get next character variable value
    # h, H append next variable value to following character variable
    # i, I set next variable to empty string
    # j, J fi
    # k, K if most recent variable value is true, do the following
    # l, L move left most recent variable value
    # m, M convert most recent value to uppercase
    # n, N convert most recent value to lowercase
    # o, O set next variable to 0
    # p, P print most recent variable value
    # q, Q exit loop early (limited)
    # r, R move right most recent variable value
    # s, S turn off print default case
    # t, T set next variable to random number 0 to 99
    # u, U move up most recent variable value
    # v, V set next letter to following character
    # w, W loop most recent variable value times
    # x, X mark end of loop
    # y, Y wait next value seconds
    # z, Z clear screen

Behold, a language!

Plato once defined man as a “featherless biped” — the response from Diogenes was to pluck a chicken for Plato and say “Behold, a man!” In this spirit, I have named this programming language Diogenes. Having written it, there seems to be a text-searching app of the same name. Not that I expect this language to catch on.

“Not that I expect this language to catch on.”Diogenes compiles verbatim-copying-only essays by Richard Stallman into non-free software. The only thing that makes this software non-free, is that the source code (the essays) are non-free. Therefore if the essays were free, the resulting program code would be as well. I know this isn’t really very clever, but I did start laughing when I had coded most of the functions.

I like Logo, and I like languages inspired by Logo, so I wanted Diogenes to have some very basic Logo functionality. You can move up, down, left, right — it draws as you move, you can cycle forwards or backwards with 8 colours including black, you can write a Hello World program, set, clear and append variables, and it has a conditional, loop and limited loop breaking function.

“%” toggles print output, “@” quits the program, and the rest of the commands are single letters. So for example, if we want to create a nice Hello World program, VAH sets the Variable A to H, and P prints the most recent variable set:


Will print h. We can cycle the colours with “b”, we can set a variable to an empty string with “i”, so by the time we have this little program:

    %bbvahpbvaepbvalpbvalpbvaopibap vawpbvaopbvarpbvalpbbvadp

This compiles to about 120 lines of Python code, and when you run it it looks like this:

Hello World

If we take the text of the recent essay, “Saying No to unjust computing even once is help” and we only use the body of the essay from “A misunderstanding” to “awareness of the issue”, this essay is the first “program” ever compiled with Diogenes. Given that each letter is a command, it compiles to 16 KLOC and the output, while minimal, looks like this:


“The Right to Read,” from the headline and byline to “one of its central aims” compiles to 29 KLOC of Python, and the output looks like this:


If we remove 352 spaces of indentation from the last dozen lines or so, they look like this:

    if locolour < 0: locolour = 7
    colour(locolour, 0)
    xy(locx, locy, locolour)
    for loop747 in range(figure('r', vars, 'n')):
        if locx > 0: locx -= 1
        xy(locx, locy, locolour)
    locolour -= 1
    if locolour < 0: locolour = 7
    colour(locolour, 0)
    vars['r'] = ''
    lutog = 0
    colour(7, 0)

This is compiled from code that Stallman wrote, where he said “central aims”. Those two words alone are not copyrightable, so we can compile that much of the essay for this article. The loop variable is named “loop747″ because it is the 747th loop in the program, compiled from the letter “l” (for “move left”).

You probably don’t want to say that unintentionally writing non-free program code is unethical, when the author isn’t aware that it’s program code. But if anything can be program code, where do we draw the line? The fact is, this language compiles non-free works into software that I’m not free to publish. If you think that’s a joke, look up “de minimis” and the 1990s Supreme Court decision on sampling music.

For me to publish the program I compiled today as free software would be impossible; it certainly uses too much of the source essay to be protected by a “fair use” argument — and you could almost certainly “decompile” the source back into all or most of the essay.

“The line between written work and program code is probably thinner than most free software advocates would like to admit.”Stallman’s essays were not written for a computer to run, but for a person to put in their mind — what they do with it is largely up to the person. On the other hand, POW camps have used forced written and forced spoken confessions in part to get the prisoners to convince themselves that they are guilty of the crimes they are accused of. The line between written work and program code is probably thinner than most free software advocates would like to admit.

Like with “real” software, you can “scan” this writing and it may not “run” in your own mind. You may find it is simply incompatible with your environment and setup. I’ve written plenty of things that did not convince the audience of anything at all. Maybe it was just too much work to “port” to their platform, or they decided to reject part of it and put the rest in mental quarantine.

All the same, these essays will compile to program code. If you have ever created a programming language specification before coding the actual language, then you’ve already written code for a language that doesn’t exist yet. If we are all doing that, hopefully these programs can be released under a free license before they are turned into code — or at least after someone turns them into code.

“If you have ever created a programming language specification before coding the actual language, then you’ve already written code for a language that doesn’t exist yet.”How would that work?

Some of the arguments made here are a little bit silly, though they are still inspired by a serious argument — our culture needs to be free-as-in-freedom.


Hey, it was worth a try.

Long live rms, and appthis = vars['a'] \n vars['p'] = app(vars['p'], appthis) \n if togprint: print lu(vars['p'], lutog) \n sleep(figure('h', vars, 'n')) \n locolour -= 1 \n if locolour < 0: locolour = 7 \n colour(locolour, 0) \n copythis = vars['k'] \n vars['i'] = copythis \n if type(vars['i']) == str: vars['i'] = vars['i'].lower()
Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 15/6/2020: Linux 5.8 RC1, 4MLinux 33.0 and digiKam 7.0.0 RC Released

Posted in News Roundup at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Mainframes and Open Source Tools

        Mainframes used to be hard enough to get right – all the issues with IMS fast path databases, etc, etc – but you could understand it. Certainly, after about 40 years, it became second nature. And like Luke and the Force, you could feel what sort of effect a change was likely to have on the running of the system. You could bring up a green screen and work your magic. And younger mainframers and outsiders would look on with awe.

        But, nowadays, the arcane world of the mainframe is being opened up to youngsters with their open source software knowledge and they can make changes. They are able to develop new applications using their arcane techniques. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the products that younger (and, to be fair, some more experienced) people were using to interact with the mainframe. You can think of it as a beginner’s guide to the brave new world we live in.

        In many ways, the mainframe first embraced the world of open source back in 1990s when sites began to turn their back on SNA and moved to TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol), and we’re all perfectly used to that now. Then in 2000, IBM announced Linux on mainframes. Linux is an open source operating system. Linux on Z is free software under the GNU General Public License. Again, we’re all very used to that.

      • AWS CEO Andy Jassy: 6th-Gen EC2 instances a ‘Game-Changer’

        The C6g instances were designed for compute-intensive workloads, including high-performance computing, batch processing, video encoding, gaming, scientific modeling, distributed analytics, ad-serving and CPU-based machine learning inference. The R6g instances are for workloads that process large data sets in memory, including open-source databases such as MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL; in-memory caches such as Redis, Memcached and KeyDB; and real-time, big data analytics.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 358

        Listener email about **simple-mtpfs**, and then **groff** and **groffer** from Slackware **ap** software series. $ simple-mtpfs –list devices $ sudo simple-mtpfs –device “1: blah (MTP)” –verbose /mnt/floppy/

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8 Kernel Features Include New Intel/AMD Capabilities, Security Improvements, Optimizations

        Linus Torvalds is expected to release Linux 5.8-rc1 following the two week long Linux 5.8 kernel merge window. Here is our overview of all the big changes coming with this next version of the Linux kernel.

        Linux 5.8 won’t be out as stable until early to mid August but there is a lot coming for this summer 2020 kernel upgrade from many processor improvements, a fair amount of new hardware enablement, a variety of security enhancements, and other new kernel infrastructure like the general notification queue, cable testing infrastructure in the network code, and continued advancements to the open-source Intel/Radeon graphics drivers. Given the release timeline for Linux 5.8, this will likely be the kernel version shipped by the likes of Ubuntu 20.10 and Fedora 33 this autumn. Here are the highlights for Linux 5.8 based on my original reporting.

      • EXT4 Per-Inode DAX Support Sent In As A Last Minute Linux 5.8 Addition

        Hours ahead of the expected Linux 5.8-rc1 release that also marks the merge window closure of new features for this next kernel version, a secondary EXT4 file-system set of changes were just mailed in.

        Ted Ts’o sent in this last minute pull request as first he was waiting on the necessary DAX infrastructure bits to land as part of the XFS pull request and wrapping up some regression/bug fixes. The main feature of this pull is enabling per-inode DAX support for EXT4, similar to the XFS functionality that came this window as well.

      • Linux 5.8-rc1
        So I didn't really expect this, but 5.8 looks to be one of our biggest
        releases of all time.
        As of -rc1, it's right up there with v4.9, which has long been our
        biggest release by quite a bit in number of commits. Yes, 5.8-rc1 has
        a couple fewer commits than 4.9-rc1 did, but in many ways it's a much
        more comprehensive release despite that.
        The 4.9 kernel was artificially big partly because of the greybus
        subsystem that was merged in that release, but also because v4.8 had
        had a longer rc series and thus there was more pent up development. In
        5.8, we have no sign of those kinds of issues making the release
        bigger - there's just simply a lot of development in there.
        And there are other kernel releases that have had more new lines -
        v4.12 ends up being the undisputed size champion in that regard,
        simply because it had a _huge_ number of new lines due to lots of
        register descriptions for the AMD GPU drivers. Other kernels have been
        similarly big due to particular subsystems (v4.2 had another AMD GPU
        driver line count bump, 2.6.29 had a big staging driver additions,
        But again, 5.8 is up there with the best, despite not really having
        any single thing that stands out. Yes, there's a couple of big driver
        changes (habanalabs and atomisp) that are certainly part of it, but
        it's not nearly as one-sided as some of the other historical big
        releases have been.
        The development is really all over the place: there's tons of fairly
        fundamental core work and cleanups, but there is also lots of
        filesystem work and obviously all the usual driver updates too. Plus
        documentation and archiecture work.
        In fact, while 5.8-rc1 is "up there with the best" when it comes to
        both number of commits and number of new lines, it's actually the
        outstanding champion when it comes to number of files changed.  And
        again, that's not because of some single tree-wide simple scripting
        thing (the kernels with lots of SPDX license line changes have a lot
        of files changed), but simply because of lots and lots of development
        So in the 5.8 merge window we have modified about 20% of all the files
        in the kernel source repository. That's really a fairly big
        percentage, and while some of it _is_ scripted, on the whole it's
        really just the same pattern: 5.8 has simply seen a lot of
        IOW, 5.8 looks big. Really big.
        In pure numbers: over 14k non-merge commits (over 15k counting
        merges),  ~800k new lines, and over 14 thousand files changed.
        It's worth noting that despite the size, it doesn't necessarily look
        like a particularly troublesome release at least so far. Yes, the pure
        size made this merge window a bit more stressful than I like, because
        I _really_ like to have a few days of calm at the end to look at some
        of the pull requests in more detail. This time around that never
        really happened. But I only really had two pull requests I ended up
        wanting to go through in more detail, so it all worked out fine.
        So the pure size of this merge window did make me (once again)
        consider making it more of a hard rule that pull requests with new
        features (as opposed to the second wave of pull requests with just
        fixes) absolutely _have_ to come in during the first week of the merge
        window, but honestly, _most_ of the pull requests did in fact do that.
        No, not all, and it could have been a bit more organized, and maybe I
        got snippy with somebody, but on the whole things were pretty smooth
        despite the large size.
        Famous last words. Let's see what happens during the rest of this release.
        But at least right now, while 5.8 looks like a very large release, I
        don't get the feeling that it's particularly troublesome.
        Knock wood.
        Appended is the merge-log as usual. If you didn't get the idea yet
        (IT'S BIG!) the shortlog would be much too unwieldly, even more so
        than usual.
      • Linux Kernel 5.8-rc1 Released: “One Of The Biggest Releases Of All Time”

        Following the release of Linux Kernel 5.7, Linus Torvalds has now announced the first release candidate of the Linux kernel 5.8. During the two-week merge window for the upcoming Linux Kernel 5.8, it has received one of the highest numbers of merge commits.

        With v5.8-rc1, Linux 5.8 has become the second biggest version with over 14k non-merge commits, 800k new lines, and 14k file changes (about 20% of all kernel source repository files). Currently, Linux 4.9 is the biggest ever release in the number of commits owing to a large greybus subsystem and merging of some of the v4.8 pent up codes.

      • Linux 5.8-rc1 Arrives As One Of The Biggest Releases Of All Time

        Linus Torvalds just released the Linux 5.8-rc1 test build as what he describes as one of the biggest releases of all time.

      • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Development of Linux Kernel 5.8 as the “Biggest Release of All Time”

        Linus Torvalds has kicked off the development cycle of the upcoming Linux kernel 5.8, which he dubbed it as one of the “biggest releases of all time”.

        Two weeks after the release of the Linux 5.7 kernel series, the merge window for the upcoming Linux 5.8 kernel is now officially closed and the first Release Candidate (RC) milestone hit the streets for public testing.

        And it looks like Linux 5.8 is shaping up to be one of the “biggest releases of all time,” according to Linus Torvalds, who said that it’s almost on par with the Linux 4.9 kernel and could be even bigger due to a lot of development for new features and improvements across all components, including architecture, file systems, drivers, and documentation.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.8-rc1

        Linus has released 5.8-rc1 and closed the merge window for this release. By the end, 14,206 non-merge changesets found their way into the mainline repository, making this one of the busiest development cycles ever.

    • Benchmarks

      • GNOME X.Org vs. Wayland Performance + Power Usage On Fedora 32 With AMD Renoir Laptop

        As part of our ongoing testing of the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U and Ryzen 7 4700U “Renoir” mobile processors, here is some Wayland vs. X.Org data with the GNOME desktop on Fedora Workstation 32.

        Here are a collection of metrics when testing the GNOME Wayland vs. X.Org performance and related power / usage statistics on Fedora Workstation 32 running off the Lenovo laptop with Ryzen 5 4500U.

    • Applications

      • Top Screen Recorders on Ubuntu 20.04

        Screen recording is one of the most important activities for users who wish to make tutorials, create a presentation, or share videogame screenshots, or record screen videos. There are many screen recording tools present in Ubuntu Linux. In this article, I have compiled the best and reliable screen recording software tools for Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa.

      • HandBrake 1.3.3 Open-Source Video Converter Brings Better SSA and Flatpak Support, More

        This release improves support for MKV files by fixing an issue that made ISO 639-2/B language codes not to be set correctly, which affected Hebrew, Indonesian, Japanese, and Yiddish languages, and improves Intel QSV memory footprint and H.265 memory buffer size as needed by newer Intel Media SDK.

        HandBrake 1.3.3 also adds better support for SSA (SubStation Alpha) subtitles by fixing a handling issue of overlapping imported SSA subtitles and improving support for out-of-order SSA subtitles. Also improved is Flatpak support, especially the build efficiency of the Intel QSV Flatpak plugin.

      • HandBrake 1.3.3

        HandBrake is an open-source, GPL-licensed, multiplatform, multithreaded video transcoder, available for MacOS X, Linux and Windows. Handbrake can process most common multimedia files and any DVD or BluRay sources that do not contain any kind of copy protection.

      • HandBrake 1.3.3 Released with Improved Intel QSV Support

        HandBrake video transcoder 1.3.3 was released today with a number of bug-fixes and improvements.

      • HandBrake 1.3.3 Released

        The HandBrake Team is pleased to announce the release of HandBrake 1.3.3. This release focuses on fixing a number of bugs and issues with the 1.3.1 release.

      • 3 Tools for PDF manipulation

        PDF (Portable Document Format) is one of the most used document format for exchanging information due to its great flexibility and portability, here anothers feautures we can mention:

        - It allows encapsulating text, fonts, images and other information necessary to view the document.

        - It is platform independent, both software and hardware, so as its name implies it is extremely portable.

        - It is a standard and open format.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Battle for Wesnoth 1.14.13 Fixed 2 Major Long-standing Bugs

        Battle for Wesnoth 1.14.13 was released today as the new maintenance release for the turn-based strategy game.

        The new release fixed two major long-standing issues affecting all Wesnoth players, with effects varying from the innocuous to the game-breaking depending on the game content being played as well as the system configuration.

      • The itch.io charity bundle hits over $6 million and ends soon

        The incredible itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality has just continued growing but it will all be ending soon.

        When mentioning it a few days ago, it had only recently broke four million dollars for charity. Now? It’s hitting closer to seven million dollars. That’s incredible and itch have done a great job at bringing creators together to enable it to happen. For a $5 minimum purchase to support the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Community Bail Fund there’s around 1,659 items included from games to art assets and all sorts of stuff in between.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma is Switching to a Windows-style Icon-only Task Bar

          In KDE Plasma 5.19 and earlier the “task manager” applet included on the bottom desktop panel (often referred to as a ‘desk bar’) uses a “buttoned” layout by default. This shows a separate horizontal “chip” for each open application and window, and usually displays the app or window’s title.

          But for Plasma 5.20 the KDE development team want to use an icons-only task manager layout by default.

        • digiKam 7.0.0-rc is released

          Just few words to inform the community that 7.0.0 release candidate is out and ready to test two month later the third beta release published in April.

          After a Covid-19 containement stage at home, this new version come with more than 740 bug-fixes since last stable release 6.4.0 and look very promising. We are in finalisation stage now to be ready to publish the 7.0.0 final final release while this summer.

          A good new is the availablity of digiKam in official FlatPak repositories to help end-users to install quickly the application under a compatible Linux systems.

          Thanks to all users for your support and donations, and to all contributors, students, testers who allowed us to improve this release.

          digiKam 7.0.0 source code tarball, Linux 32/64 bits AppImage bundles, MacOS package and Windows 32/64 bits installers can be downloaded from this repository. Don’t forget to not use this beta in production yet and thanks in advance for your feedback in Bugzilla.

        • Top 10 reasons to use KDE as your Desktop Environment

          If you are a big fan of Linux desktop environments, you must have seen how rough the journey has been for KDE desktop 4.x iteration. Upon launch in 2008, KDE 4 came with a lot of issues. From bugs, low quality features to poor performance. Were it not for the improvements and minor releases, KDE desktop would have slowly faded away into the books of history.

          From early releases to the current version 4.5, KDE Desktop has risen to become one of the most fantastic Linux desktop environments. Take a look at the Top 10 reasons why you should use KDE as your Desktop Environment.

        • An Air Cooler For The 21st Century

          The next item on my list was the compute element. Now most sane people would use an Arduino or some sort of microcontroller. I needed something a bit more versatile. For what its worth, I have a few smart home accessories at home, and I’m more or less a full-time Apple user at this point. All my smart home devices are HomeKit compatible, and I wanted to be able to yell at Siri to control my cooler. So I needed something that would be comparitively easier to program, would have enough oomph to run a server to respond to HomeKit Accessory Protocol – which, by the way, is now a fully open protocol so anyone can create non-certified accessories and even create control apps for non-Apple platforms – requests and had WiFi. So of course, the only logical choice was a Raspberry Pi. I chose a Raspberry Pi 3 A+ – it’s smaller than the regular models but still has the full GPIO array, has only 512MB RAM (which seems enough, I mean, do I really need a 4GB air cooler), and is, most importantly, really cheap – at just 27 EUR.


          I’m currently really happy with the way the cooler now works, and I find myself exclusively using HomeKit to control it. The Web UI definitely needs some work, and I might end up adding scheduling features to it, or automatic control based on the weather outside. I will definitely add a few temperature sensors – one for the water temperature, one for ambient temperature, and one probe right in front of the fan to measure effective wind temperature.

          Because Go produces statically linked binaries and I need no operating system dependencies to run them, I was finally able to move to an Aarch64 (ARMv8) distribution, currently running Ubuntu Server 20.04. Yes, my cooler runs Ubuntu and I don’t know how I feel about it. Amongst other things (like having a more recent kernel and packages than Raspbian and being 64-bit), I also found it really easy to set up the network for first boot so that I never needed a monitor and keyboard and could just SSH in right after plugging the SD card in and turning on the machine. I also set up systemd-resolved to expose Multicast DNS so that even with a dynamic IP I can address my cooler with its hostname. The only thing I currently don’t like about Ubuntu Server is its forced use of Netplan, but I don’t know if I’m bothered enough to replace it with NetworkManager yet.

        • Virtual Plasma Sprint 2020

          This weekend the Plasma team’s annual sprint took place. Due to the Corona pandemic we had to cancel our original week-long in-person meet up end of April in Augsburg, Germany hosted by our friends at TUXEDO and settled for an online sprint instead. In anticipation of more virtual sprints KDE has set up its own BigBlueButton instance – an open source web conferencing system for online learning.


          The meeting notes are being refined a little right now and should arrive on the plasma-devel mailing list in the coming days. This week’s experience made me confident that Akademy 2020 – also happening online – will work out great! Nevertheless I hope that eventually we’ll be able to catch up on our original sprint plans and meet in Augsburg again, physically.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Implementing Gtk based Container-Widget: Part — 1

          The widget that I’ll be implementing will go into the GNOME’s new widget library, Handy. Handy is a library that packs widgets for developing adaptive applications.

          The name of the widget is not yet final, so for now, I’ll call it NewWidget. This NewWidget is a container widget for managing layout; therefore, its implementation starts by sub-classing GtkContainer.
          A container widget is something which can take in other widgets as its child and based on the properties the widget has to handle their sizes and positions of the children, among other things.

        • 33 Excellent GNOME Desktop Extensions (Updated 2020)

          Freedom of choice is a central plank of open source software. It should be the user who decides how their computer is configured. That’s very relevant when choosing and configuring a desktop environment. One of Linux’s best features is its modularity.

          Extensibility relates to the ability to customize a desktop environment to an individual’s preferences and tastes. This flexibility is offered by themes, extensions, and applets. The principle provides for enhancements without impairing existing system functions.

          GNOME ships with a System Settings tool which isn’t as diverse as some of its peers. There’s still useful options such as a simple way to enable remote access and file sharing. If you’re serious about customizing GNOME, you’ll need the Tweaks (previously known as GNOME Tweaks) utility. It’s not an official GNOME app, but it offers some advanced tinkering for GNOME Shell. But when it comes to micro-configuring the GNOME desktop to your preference, Tweaks is not a complete solution. Fortunately, there’s an awesome range of extensions that provide additional functionality.

    • Distributions

      • EndeavourOS community, you are incredibly awesome!

        At this moment we live in a shaken up world and its effects are brutally visible, whether it is in front of your doorstep, in your own home, at work or on the news. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bring you our view on the state of the world, that isn’t our intention. After all, we’re a Linux distro where everybody is welcome from several walks of life.

        No, the reason for my somewhat doom and gloom intro has all to do with something we as devs of this distro already knew, but it has reached far beyond the Endeavour realms. I’m talking about our booster rockets and fuel tank that keeps Endeavour orbiting in the Linux universe: Our incredible community…

        Only a year ago, Joe, Fernando, Manuel and I were figuring out how to develop the platform Endeavour was going to use. With that all sorts of questions and doubts surrounding it.

      • Reviews

        • Review of Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

          Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa was released by Canonincal on April 23, 2020. Focal Fossa is named after a feline creature from Madagascar and includes a wide range of improvements and new features. We have been testing this distribution for nearly a month, and from our experience, this distro offers a promising user experience and is ultra-fast compared to Ubuntu 19.10.Focal Fossa has many new and exciting improvements, some of which are discussed below.


          Ubuntu 20.04 has added most of the apps in its official repository and recommends installing these apps via the APT package manager. Canonical developed the snap framework as a package management tool for installing packages or snaps via snapd, a REST API DAEMON.


          Ubuntu 19.10 introduced ZFS technology, a new file system, and Ubuntu 20.04 has improved on this technology a lot in the latest update.

        • Review: Regolith Linux 19.10.0-R1.3 and distri

          The distri package manager downloads software very quickly. With the possible exception of Alpine Linux’s package manager, this may be the fastest package manager I have encountered. I suspect this is in part because of the way distri packages are organized. The packages appear to be entirely self-contained, bundling their dependencies inside a single SquashFS archive. (I could not confirm dependencies are bundled, but it seemed this way in the packages I downloaded.) This means the package manager can skip resolving dependencies and unpacking the archive. Instead it seems the bundle is downloaded as a single file and then mounted or accessed as needed. Whenever I ran a new command, such as vim or bash, a message would appear on the console indicating the software was being mounted.

          Again, there is not much documentation on how distri works, but it looks as though new software is downloaded into the /roimg directory. Then unpacked or accessed through the /ro directory. Symbolic links are set up in /sbin which point to the executables. For instance, when I install the vim package, the SquashFS archive appears under /roimg and a directory containing the bundled programs is placed in /ro. A symbolic link, called vim, is placed in /sbin which points to the appropriate program in /ro. This may seem a little complicated, but it works and appears to side-step dependency issues. This makes distri an interesting alternative to other portable packaging approaches, such as AppImage and Flatpak as distri integrates software into the rest of the operating system more seamlessly.

          Most of the available packages appear to be simple command line tools or developer utilities. There are a handful of graphical utilities and applications, but most are low-level command line programs.

          As the project’s website warns, distri is not intended to be used as a day to day operating system. It is an experimental platform and one that does not offer support or much in the way of documentation. Some interesting ideas are presented (such as fast, minimal, portable package management). I certainly can get behind the idea of transferring programs and their dependencies through SquashFS archives. It is fast, portable and, with the use of symbolic links, seems to avoid breaking conventions the way other distributions like GoboLinux do. I’m curious to see if distri can complete with alternatives like AppImage, though first I suspect the interface and documentation will need to expanded.

      • New Releases

        • 4MLinux 33.0 Released with Hybrid ISOs, nnn File Manager, and Mesa 20

          With the 4MLinux 33.0 release, the developer added a set of new features and functionality to the distribution. The most important one being the fact that the ISO images are now hybrid, which means that you can write them to USB sticks using the dd command and boot them on both UEFI and BIOS systems.

          Other new features present in the 4MLinux 33.0 release include support for Brotli compressed data streams, a new TFTP daemon for the 4MLinux Server edition, and nnn file manager installed by default in the 4MLinux (desktop) edition.

        • 4MLinux 33.0 STABLE released.

          The status of the 4MLinux 33.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Edit your documents with LibreOffice and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.4, GIMP 2.10.18, Gnumeric 1.12.47), share your files using DropBox 96.4.172, surf the Internet with Firefox 76.0.1 and Chromium 81.0.4044.92, send emails via Thunderbird 68.8.1, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 4.0.3, watch your favorite videos with VLC 3.0.10 and mpv 0.32.0, play games powered by Mesa 20.0.1 and Wine 5.8. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 5.4.41, Apache 2.4.43, MariaDB 10.4.12, PHP 5.6.40 and PHP 7.4.5). Perl 5.30.1, Python 2.7.17, and Python 3.8.2 are also available.

        • 4MLinux 33.0 is here with Brotil Support, Hybrid data streams

          The lightweight Linux distribution 4MLinux released the latest stable version 33 with new features and latest app updates.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu-based Linux Mint 20 ‘Ulyana’ BETA is here, but the 32-bit version is canceled and Snapd is removed

          Back in March, we told you about the upcoming Linux Mint 20. Code-named “Ulyana,” it was a very controversial announcement as the developers decided to cancel the 32-bit version. After that bombshell, the devs further shocked the world by revealing their intention to remove Snapd starting with version 20 of the operating system. Don’t forget, all of this follows the unpopular decision by the developers to pull both GIMP and VLC from Mint too.

          And now, the BETA of Linux Mint 20 is officially here. The pre-release operating system comes with Linux kernel 5.4 and is based on Ubuntu 20.04. Linux Mint 20 even has official support until the year 2025! Best of all, you can choose among three desktop environments — Cinnamon (4.6), MATE (1.24), and Xfce (4.14). What really has the developers hot and bothered, however, is a new program called “Warpinator.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • PostgreSQL 12.3

          PostgreSQL is a widely-known relational database system. We evaluated PostgreSQL using Jepsen’s new transactional isolation checker Elle, and found that transactions executed with serializable isolation on a single PostgreSQL instance were not, in fact, serializable. Under normal operation, transactions could occasionally exhibit G2-item: an anomaly involving a set of transactions which (roughly speaking) mutually fail to observe each other’s writes. In addition, we found frequent instances of G2-item under PostgreSQL “repeatable read”, which is explicitly proscribed by commonly-cited formalizations of repeatable read. As previously reported by Martin Kleppmann, this is due to the fact that PostgreSQL “repeatable read” is actually snapshot isolation. This behavior is allowable due to long-discussed ambiguities in the ANSI SQL standard, but could be surprising for users familiar with the literature. A patch for the bug we found in serializability is scheduled for the next minor release, on August 13th, and the presence of G2-item under repeatable read could be readily addressed through documentation. This work was performed independently, without compensation, and conducted in accordance with the Jepsen ethics policy.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • [LibreOffice GSoC] Week 2 Report

          The last week was the second week of coding weeks in GSoC program. I continued adding support for the non supported items.

          The last week I left the cell background color item in this patch not merged. But now it’s merged.

          I worked this week on adding support to Comments option in Writer You can find the work in this patch. And Also extending the ability of ComboBoxUIObject selection modes in this patch.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Open Search Foundation

            recently I learned about the Open Search Foundation in the public broadcast radio (Bayern 2 Radio Article). That surprised me: I had not heard about OSF before, even though I am active in the field of free software and culture. But this new foundation made it into the mainstream broadcast already. Reason enough to take a closer look.

            It is a very good sign to have the topic of internet search in the news. It is a fact that one company has a gigantic market share in searching which is indeed a threat to the freedom of internet users. The key to be found in the web is the key to success with whatever message or service a web site might come up with, and all that is controlled by one enterprise driven by commercial interests. That should be realized by a broad audience.

            The Open Search Foundation has the clear vision to build up an publicly owned search index as an alternative for Europe.

      • Programming/Development

        • OpenBLAS 0.3.10 Released With Initial BFloat16 Support, x86_64 Optimizations

          A new feature release is now available for this leading open-source BLAS linear algebra library.

          With this Sunday’s release of OpenBLAS 0.3.10 there is initial BFloat16 (BF16) support and initial implementation in SHGEMM, imported various LAPACK bug fixes, thread locking improvements, an API for setting thread affinity on Linux via OpenBLAS, CMake build system improvements, support for MIPS 24K/24KE processors based on P5600 kernels, optimized SGEMM kernel for Cortex-A53, improved ThunderX2 performance, various performance improvements for recent x86_64 CPus, AVX-512 fixes, and other fixes throughout and various optimizations.

        • irk Eddelbuettel: T^4 #6: Byobu Sessions

          The next video in our T^4 series of video lightning talks with tips, tricks, tools, and toys (where we had seen the announcement, shells sessions one, two, and three, as well as byoby sessions one and two) is now up at YouTube. It covers session management for the wonderful byobu tool that is both a ‘text-based window manager’ and a ‘terminal multiplexer’:

        • Evgeni Golov: naked pings 2020

          But IRC is not the only means of communication. There is also mail, (video) conferencing, and GitHub/GitLab. Well, at least in the software engineering context. Oh and yes, it’s 2020 and I still (proudly) have no Slack account.

          Thankfully, (naked) pings are not really a thing for mail or conferencing, but I see an increasing amount of them on GitHub and it bothers me, a lot. As there is no direct messaging on GitHub, you might rightfully ask why, as there is always context in form of the issue or PR the ping happened in, so lean back an listen ;-)

        • RVowpalWabbit 0.0.14: More Keeping CRAN happy

          Another maintenance RVowpalWabbit package update brings us to version 0.0.14. This time CRAN asked us to replace the (long obsoleted C-library) function ftime(). Along the way, we also updated links in the DESCRIPTION file to the (spiffy!!) new vowpalwabbit.org website, updated Travis use and fine-tuned some autoconf code in configure.ac.

          There is a newer package rvw based on the excellent GSoC 2018 and beyond work by Ivan Pavlov (mentored by James and myself) so if you are into Vowpal Wabbit from R go check it out. It should go to CRAN “eventually” once we have better mechanisms to support external libraries.

        • Writing a brainfuck compiler.

          So last night I had the idea that it might be fun to write a Brainfuck compiler, to convert BF programs into assembly language, where they’d run nice and quickly.

          I figured I could allocate a day to do the work, and it would be a pleasant distraction on a Sunday afternoon. As it happened it only took me three hours from start to finish.

        • Daniel Berrange: Announce: Entangle “Potassium“ release 3.0 – an app for tethered camera control & capture

          I am pleased to announce a new release 3.0 of Entangle is available for download from the usual location:


          This release has a mixture of new features and bug fixes, as well as improved translations….

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Conditionally Logging Expensive Tasks

            Imagine you want to log something that is, potentially, expensive to calculate. For example, in DEBUG mode, you would like to count the classes of the objects in gc.get_objects() and log those counts: this is often a useful technique for diagnosing reference leaks. This is pretty heavy to calculate, and logging it always sounds wasteful.

          • Making Python Integers Iterable

            Iterables in Python are objects and containers that could be stepped through one item at a time, usually using a for … in loop. Not all objects can be iterated, for example – we cannot iterate an integer, it is a singular value. The best we can do here is iterate on a range of integers using the range type which helps us iterate through all integers in the range [0, n).

          • 10 Best Python IDEs for Linux Programmers in 2020

            Python is a general-purpose programming language for building anything; from backend web development, data analysis, artificial intelligence to scientific computing. It can also be used for developing productivity software, games, desktop apps, and beyond.

            It’s easy to learn, has a clean syntax and indentation structure. And an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) can, to some extend, determine one’s programming experience when it comes to learning or developing using any language.

          • Python 3.9.0b3

            Python 3.9 is still in development. This release, 3.9.0b3, is the third of five planned beta release previews. Beta release previews are intended to give the wider community the opportunity to test new features and bug fixes and to prepare their projects to support the new feature release.

          • Python 3.9.0b3 is now available for testing

            On behalf of the entire Python development community, and the currently serving Python release team in particular, I’m pleased to announce the release of Python 3.9.0b3.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: [Week 2] Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In: Week 3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #2 ( 7th Jun – 14th Jun )
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 2 Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week #3
          • Auto-link a Host-provided Package into a Virtualenv

            There are Python packages that are basically a PITA to get compiled into your virtualenv. The one I constantly hit when doing GStreamer, DBus, IBus, etc is gobject-introspection (a.k.a. gi).

          • Search your favorited tweets and articles with Twitter Discover

            If you’re like me, you use Twitter’s likes or favorites as bookmarks, to help you come back to a tweet or article later. If you’re also like me, you’ve been using Twitter way too much and after more than ten years you have amassed over 2,000 likes and many more retweets with useful links and articles that you wanted to find later.

            But you never found them again. Because Twitter doesn’t give you a way to search your own retweets or favorites. And even if it would, a text search based on tweet contents would probably not be good enough, when you consider tweets that only contain a link, or tweets that have a comment that’s not representative of the article they link to. Ideally, you’d be able to find links to articles based on the text in the tweet, but also based on the text of the actual article.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • New Vulkan Extension Proposed For DirectFB Support

        The DirectFB library once popular with embedded systems and other environments needing formerly a full X11 stack (or now, Wayland) remains in an abandoned state with no real upstream development any longer and the project site long dead, but with a newly proposed Vulkan extension could allow this modern graphics API to run on top of it.

        VK_EXT_directfb_surface was proposed for allowing Vulkan to support surfaces for DirectFB consumption.

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Hospital’s COVID-19 Policy Separated Native American Mothers From Their Newborns

        A prominent women’s hospital here has separated some Native American women from their newly born babies, the result of a practice designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 that clinicians and health care ethicists described as racial profiling.

      • Amid Growing Death Toll in Brazil, Bolsonaro’s Handling of the Covid-19 Pandemic Condemned as ‘Pitiful’

        “This is the worst public health crisis we’ve faced—and it has come at a time when we have the worst government in the world.”

      • State Investigating Hospital With Coronavirus Policy That Profiled Pregnant Native American Mothers and Separated Them From Newborns

        New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced on Twitter Saturday that state officials would investigate allegations of racial profiling of pregnant Native American women at a top hospital in Albuquerque.

        Lujan Grisham was reacting to a story published Saturday by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica revealing that Lovelace Women’s Hospital had a secret policy for screening Native American women for coronavirus based on their appearance and home ZIP code, according to several clinicians who work there.

      • Coronavirus: Do I have to go back to the office when it reopens?

        With state and local governments allowing more businesses to re-open, employers and employees have questions about what they should — and shouldn’t — expect in the workplace.

        The state has issued guidelines for various types of business, but little has prepared most of us for navigating a return to work during a pandemic when missteps could kill.

        We contacted employment law experts and state authorities to help answer questions about the new rules, including everything from disclosing workplace cases to temperature screening.

      • Death by Crosspollination: the Uncontrollable Natural Occurrence that Could Kill Organic Farming and the Legal Solutions to Save An Industry

        Overall, this note’s objective is to advance legally sound approaches that protect the dignity of the farmer, preserve the integrity of their crops, and hold multinational agribusinesses accountable for crosspollination infringing upon private lands. Part I briefly examines the history of agriculture from the discovery of domestication of plants to today, where humans are now able to manipulate genome structures in order to create crops that are resistant to chemical products and insects. In addition to the evolution of agriculture itself, Part I examines the accompanying evolution of law surrounding agriculture with emphasis placed on the evolution of laws related to the patenting of plants and GMOs. The goal of Part I is to provide a foundation to understand how far humans have come in growing food and how that has affected the farmer. Part II explores the problems that existing GMO laws have created for organic-crop farmers and the farming community as a whole, while highlighting the need to protect the rights and integrity of the minority organic growing community. Part III further illustrates these problems with case examples that demonstrate the practical implications of our GMO laws. Part IV offers proposed legislative changes aimed at alleviating the problems that organic farmers now face. Suggested legal changes include: (1) Federal legislation modeled after California and Maine’s agriculture codes, which create a requirement of intent for any patent infringement suit against organic farmers; and (2) State legislative action to codify the relationship between Monsanto and its growers as an agency relationship. Finally, Part V explains how the policies suggested in Part IV are legally and constitutionally sound and how they will help alleviate the problems for organic farmers, as explained in Parts II and III.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Ubuntu 18.04′s Heavily Patched Kernel Opens Door To Lockdown Bypass, Breaks Secure Boot

            With Ubuntu 18.04 when running on its Linux 4.15 kernel and not one of the newer hardware enablement kernels, in the mess of patches back-ported to the release it ends up being vulnerable to bypassing the kernel lockdown security and compromising UEFI Secure Boot that is persistent across reboots.

            WireGuard lead developer Jason Donenfeld discovered a security issue with the Ubuntu 18.04 default kernel. The current kernel is not protecting the SSDT EFI entry point and that can lead to injecting ACPI tables and subsequently loading unsigned kernel drivers into the system even with UEFI Secure Boot enabled. A proof-of-concept attack disables KASLR address space layout randomization in the process and also survives kernel reboots.

          • Josh Bressers: Episode 201 – We broke CVSSv3, now how do we fix it?

            Josh and Kurt talk about CVSSv3 and how it’s broken. We started with a blog post to explain why the NVD CVSS scores are so wrong, and we ended up researching CVSSv3 and found out it’s far more broken than any of us expected in ways we didn’t expect. NVD isn’t broken, CVSSv3 is. How did we get here? Are there any options that work today? Where should we go next?

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Covid 19: “massive data-sharing contracts”

              Making the rounds on Twitter is news of the UK government’s release of the “massive data-sharing contracts” that it has entered into with various tech companies, relating to Covid 19.

              According to the OpenDemocracy website, this release occurred only after pressure from openDemocracy, and “hours before” they were due to issue legal proceedings to demand their release.

              The web page linked above has on it links to what are said to be the contracts that the UK government released. The contracts are with Google, Faculty, Palantir and Microsoft, respectively. According to openDemocracy, the contracts are concerned with an…


              Faculty is allegedly a company that has connections with Dominic Cummings, and has received several government contracts. OpenDemocracy alleges that the disclosed contract is worth £1M.

              The contract is headed with the “Crown Commercial Service” name and logo, and is described as a “G-Cloud 11 Call-Off Contract (version 4)” – whatever that means. It appears to be a typically turgid form of government contract, running to 48 pages. Most of it is boilerplate language.

              The “call-off contract value” is stated to be “£930,000 excluding VAT”, and the “call-off contract description” is “provision of strategic support to the NHSX AI Lab”.

            • Cell data: Coloradans getting out more, staying home less

              As restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus have been eased, Colorado residents are spending their days at home far less than in recent months, recently collected cellphone data show, nearing pre-pandemic levels.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Judge orders Seattle to stop using tear gas during protests

        Durkan, a former U.S. attorney, “believes the court struck the right balance to protect the fundamental constitutional right to exercise protest, with the need to also ensure public safety,” spokeswoman Kamaria Hightower said in an email.

        Durkan also has requested reviews of police actions from the Office of Police Accountability and the city’s inspector general. Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste also said Friday the agency will stop using gas until further notice, particularly amid the pandemic.

        This week, demonstrators have turned part of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood into a protest center with speakers, drum circles and Black Lives Matter painted on a street near a police station. Police largely left the station after the chaos last weekend, when officers tear-gassed protesters and some demonstrators threw objects at them. Police sprayed tear gas just two days after the mayor and police chief said they were temporarily halting its use.

      • London protests: ‘We stopped somebody from being killed’

        The individual pictured carrying a white man to safety following a clash between protest groups in London has said he and his friends “stopped somebody from being killed”.

        Patrick Hutchinson was widely praised after a photo of him helping the man on Saturday went viral.

        Describing the events behind the image, he told the BBC the situation “wasn’t going to end well” without their help.

        “I scooped him up into a fireman’s carry and marched him out,” he said.

        A number of peaceful anti-racism protests took place in London and other cities across the UK on Saturday.

        But groups including some far-right activists also congregated in the capital, and more than 100 people were arrested after violence broke out and police were attacked.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • From Hurricane Maria to COVID, Gas Lobbyist-turned-Trump Energy Lawyer Uses Crises as ‘Opportunity’

          On May 1, the DOE issued a proposal to limit environmental reviews for LNG export permit proposals so that the review applies to only the export process itself — literally “occurring at or after the point of export.” The rule would take off the table for consideration lifecycle greenhouse gas analyses, broader looks at both build-outs of pipelines and power plants attached to the export proposals, and other potential environmental impacts.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Migrant crossings into Europe spiked in May: report

          In May, there were almost 4,300 illegal border crossings, newspapers from the Funke Media Group reported, citing figures from Frontex. That’s almost three times as many compared to the previous month.

          The EU’s asylum agency has previously warned that the pandemic could ultimately trigger more arrivals in the future — particularly if it leads to food shortages and more turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Monopolies

      • Pause On PMPRB Reform: Implementation Of New Pricing Regulations Delayed To 2021

        The Regulations were published in August 2019, touted by the government as “the most significant reforms to the regulations since their introduction in 1987″, and being necessary to give the PMPRB “the tools to protect Canadians from excessive prices and make patented medicines more affordable”.

        The industry has been speculating for weeks that the coming-into-force date for the Regulations would be delayed, since the details of how industry would report sales of patented medicines to PMPRB under the amended Regulations have still not been established. Draft Guidelines, which establish price tests and reporting requirements, were first published in November 2019. However, PMPRB received extensive feedback on those draft Guidelines, and stated that it would be making “significant” changes to the Guidelines before they are finalized. Without the final Guidelines, a delay in the coming-into-force date for the Regulations seemed inevitable.

        The announcement from PMPRB indicates that stakeholders will be given “…a limited period of time in which to submit their views in writing prior to the Guidelines being finalized.” This suggests that PMPRB will not engage in wide consultation on the draft before settling on the final Guidelines.

      • Patents

        • The Admissibility of Patent Prosecution History as Evidence in Canada

          This past May, the Federal Court of Canada published two additional decisions (the CCM and the Jempak decisions)[1],[2] that provide additional guidance and clarity on the admissibility of “prosecution history”[3] evidence in a patent proceeding under Section 53.1 of the Patent Act[4] (the “Act”). This bulletin provides a summary of what we have learned about this relatively new Section thus far, and how the application of this Section by the courts may impact the manner in which Canadian patent applications are prosecuted. This bulletin will be of interest to inventors, patentees, and patent counsel.


          In addition, claims construction in Canada is no longer necessarily limited to the “four corners of the specification”. Rather, with the introduction of section 53.1 of the Act, “purposive construction of patent claims in Canada now includes three prongs: (1) the claims themselves; (2) the disclosure [in the patent]; and (3) the prosecution history in Canada, when used to rebut a representation made by the patentee as to the construction of a claim in the patent”.[17] Such expanded scope will likely affect how patent practitioners prosecute patent applications in Canada, including how and when to appropriately request accelerated examination under the patent prosecution highway program.

        • Patent Office Aggregates Covid-19 Information on Its Site

          The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office created a web page aimed at easing the process for companies and inventors during the coronavirus pandemic.

          The webpage, dubbed the USPTO COVID-19 Response Resource Center, contains aggregated virus-related information on patent licensing, consumer fraud and international invention efforts.

          The Patents 4 Partnerships program, a database created by the PTO for coronavirus-related patents available for licensing, is part of the new website, the office said in a statement Wednesday. So is a link to an expedited patent examination program for small businesses working on coronavirus-related drugs or treatments.

        • Why Patents Don’t Stop People From Stealing [sic] Your Invention

          I used to believe that patenting an invention meant no one could steal it from me.

          This was when I was new to the intellectual property game, and naïve. Soon enough, I discovered that’s not the way patents work.

          It was 2003, and spring in San Francisco. I remember walking up the steps of the federal courthouse and finding the room with my name it: Stephen Key Design V Lego.

          How did I get here? I’d done everything right! Or so I thought….

          Let me explain.

        • Patent Law’s Purposeful Ambiguity

          The ambiguity of language is an unremarkable, yet persistent force within our legal system. In the context of patent law, ambiguity presents a particularly acute dilemma; namely, while describing technological innovations is a salient feature of the patent system, affecting the validity and scope of one’s property right, the blunt nature of language makes this task particularly difficult. This paper argues to address this vexing fixture, patent doctrine purposely embraces ambiguity as a linguistic accommodation that provides measured flexibility for actors to claim and describe their innovations. It should not be surprising, therefore, that some of patent law’s most venerable doctrines, such as the requirements for enablement and definiteness reflect this form of ambiguity — two doctrines directly tethered to the disclosure function of patent law.

          At first blush, it may seem ironic that purposeful ambiguity would find a home in patent law, given that patent jurisprudence is a property rights regime so closely related to technological fields steeped in empirical certainty. But from a greater remove, ambiguity has an important role in a well-functioning patent system, providing judges, practitioners, and policymakers with room to lithely navigate the ex ante-ex post incentive continuum.

        • A Call for a Relaxation of IP Rights during Coronavirus Pandemic

          Aimed to ensure people´s health, Colombian congressmen together with a group of citizens have requested the President of the Republic to take the appropriate measures for allowing the use of medicines and technologies protected by intellectual property rights to address the challenges posed by the current pandemic situation.

          Based on the text of the Political Constitution, the petitioners have requested to adopt, within the shortest possible time, the measures required for relaxing the current intellectual property rules and the patent system, to facilitate access to medicines, technologies, chemical reagents, vaccines, and the medical devices used to diagnose and treat the coronavirus. In their opinion, the rising infection rates put human lives at risk and jeopardise the health system, which justifies a decision of this kind.


          While the petitioners recognise the declaratory of public interest for medicines, technologies, vaccines, medical devices and supplies, as a step forward in fighting the virus, for them, it is yet not clear whether such declaratory will be enough for issuing compulsory and statutory licences or, if a resolution from the Ministry of Health will also be required.

        • Webinar: EPO Case Law on Priority

          Christopher Rennie-Smith, European Patent Consultant, former Chairman and legal member of a Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO; former member of the Enlarged Board of Appeal of the EPO

        • Deadly pitfalls and lessons learned – claiming priority at the EPO

          In a recent high stakes CRISPR/Cas patent opposition case, the EPO Boards of Appeal have once again confirmed their strict and formalistic approach towards the (in)validity of priority claims. It is essential to know the EPO’s strict requirements for validly assigning the priority right.

          Within 12 months of filing a first patent application, the applicant or its successor in title can file subsequent applications throughout the world, benefitting from the first application’s early filing date if priority is validly claimed. In a recent high stakes CRISPR/Cas patent opposition case, the EPO Boards of Appeal have once again confirmed their strict and formalistic approach towards the (in)validity of priority claims. It is essential to know the EPO’s strict requirements for validly assigning the priority right, particularly if the applicants are different between the priority and the subsequent application. Most importantly, the assignment must occur prior to filing the subsequent application. A late or missing assignment cannot be remedied retroactively. As in the recent CRISPR/Cas case, finding the priority claim to be invalid for formal reasons can lead to the invalidation of the entire patent if relevant prior art was filed or published in the priority year. This chapter explains the EPO’s requirements for a valid transfer of the priority right and summarises the relevant case law.

      • Trademarks

        • Private or infringing use? Cigars, cognacs and ball bearings in CJEU’s tale of counterfeiting

          On 30 April 2020 (C-772/18), the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) addressed a contentious issue in trademark enforcement. It discussed the definition of “use in the course of trade”, especially as opposed to storing or importing in counterfeit trade. The CJEU examined Article 5(1) and (3)(b), (c) of Directive 2008/95 at the request of a Finnish court. The CJEU’s position is in line with the trend of expanding the notion of ‘use in the course of trade’ and limiting the margin of manoeuvre for counterfeit traders.

          The case facts were that a resident of Finland received a consignment from China containing 150 ball bearings for spare parts. Each of these bearings was marked with a counterfeit trademark. The goods were released from customs and the Finnish resident kept them at his home, after which he sent a consignment of the goods to Russia. His only involvement was in the storage of the infringing goods as an intermediary. In return he did not receive money, but payment in kind – cigars and cognacs.


          The term “use in the course of trade” is vague, but plays an essential role in limiting trade mark protection

        • Punitive damages in China’s new Civil Law

          On 28 May, the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China was officially adopted, and it will come into force on January 1, 2021. This is a milestone in the history of civil legislation in China.

          There are seven parts and 1260 articles in the Civil Law, which are general principles, property rights, contracts, personality rights, marriage and family, inheritance, tort liability and supplementary provisions.

          As a kind of private right, intellectual property belongs to civil law. Although intellectual property does not appear in the Civil Law as an independent chapter, there are many provisions related to intellectual property and technology contract in the Civil Law.

          Punitive damages for IP infringement

          In order to strengthen the protection of IP rights and to increase the cost of infringement, the Civil Law stipulates that the owner of the infringed right can request punitive damages if the infringement is conducted intentionally and the circumstances are serious.

      • Copyrights

        • The Internet Archive has ended its ‘emergency library’ early

          The Emergency Library is part of the Open Libraries initiative, in which the Internet Archive scans libraries’ books, allowing digital “check-outs” via a waiting list. But the Emergency Library did away with the waiting lists and made the scanned books immediately available.

          The intent was to keep the Emergency Library up and running through June 30th. But on June 1st, publishers Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley, and HarperCollins sued the Internet Archive for copyright violations. The Authors Guild said in March that the Internet Archive was “acting as a piracy site” that violates authors’ rights to their works.

        • Popular Pirate Sites Slowly ‘Disappear’ From Google’s Top Search Results

          Google doesn’t always show the most relevant results to users. Much to the delight of copyright holders, popular pirate sites have started to ‘disappear’ from the search engine. This goes far beyond traditional DMCA takedown notices and is not without collateral damage.

        • What Are IPTV Resellers and Why Has Reddit Just Banned Them, Twice?

          This week Reddit banned the popular /r/iptvresellers sub-Reddit for violating the site’s rules. When a new sub-Reddit was created covering the same topic, Reddit quickly banned that too. So what exactly is an IPTV reseller, how do they operate, and why is Reddit so keen to get rid of them?

        • Australian copyright law is inhibiting the development of AI – what options does the Australian government have?

          The five fair dealing provisions (s 40-43 Copyright Act 1968) covering use for research and study, news reporting, criticism and review, parody and satire, and in judicial proceedings are unlikely to apply for various reasons. For instance, fair dealing for research and study is unlikely to apply when large amounts of entire works are reproduced for machine learning purposes, since it generally only allows use of parts of works (see, e.g. the position of the Australian Law Reform Commission Report 122, par 11.65). As another example, developing AI to be used in judicial proceedings or for providing legal advice is unlikely to be covered by the fair dealing exception when such an AI system is developed by a third party rather than by judges, lawyers or other qualified persons. Certain specific exceptions might be of some use but would not eliminate the infringement risk entirely. For instance, temporary copying exceptions available in s 43A and 43B of the Copyright Act 1968 may cover some of the temporary reproductions accruing during the process of machine learning. However, they are unlikely to cover copies made when creating a data set since these copies are not temporary or incidental.

          As a result, when Australian AI developers need to use copyright-protected content for machine learning purposes, they generally need to get licenses from copyright owners. In some cases this might be quite feasible. For instance, Facebook’s broad Terms of Service probably allow Facebook to use any content uploaded by its users for AI training purposes, as long as it is used to ‘make [the] service better’. In many other cases, when large amounts of content belonging to different right holders (known and unknown) is needed, licensing is not a viable option.


          There are generally two options that the Australian government could consider: the first is facilitating licensing of content for machine learning/TDM purposes by e.g. introducing compulsory or extended collective licensing; and the second is introducing new (or amending existing) copyright exceptions to cover machine learning. The paper cited below assesses these options and reaches a conclusion that a specific exception for text and data mining, similar to that in the EU, is best capable of reaching a balance of interests between AI industries and right holders whose content is being used in the training of AI systems.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, June 14, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:01 am by Needs Sunlight



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[Humour] According to Whose Plan?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The princess/bride: Microsoft loves Open Source, Microsoft loves Linux; Oops. That sure went according to plan...

Summary: Microsoft has ideas and plans; they’re no good for those whom Microsoft claims to “love”…

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

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