Free Software Will Need a Public Face Like RMS or It May Face Extinction

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux at 11:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Tear down the man first, the ideals he promoted will follow.”LWN comment

RMS page in 2020
Yesterday I spent over an hour browsing YouTube for Stallman videos more recent than his departures (MIT and FSF); it’s hard to find any at all (even prior to COVID-19 lock-downs and apparently his speaking engagements too are curtailed)

Summary: Richard Stallman (RMS), the founder of the FSF and GNU Project, has hardly been visible since mid-September/early October; “Open Source” continues to perish as well because “Open Source” nowadays refers more often than not to proprietary software with an openwashing marketing slant

Yesterday I came not even close and ended up almost empty-handed, having researched Stallman’s activity since what some Free software enthusiasts dub “Free software 9/11…” (notice when the media started its attacks on Stallman, twisting his words and distracting from the real MIT scandal)

“Seeing what I saw yesterday, which was actually rather depressing an experience (I hadn’t expected this negative outcome or low yield, results-wise), I am growing more worried about Free software as a concept and as a movement.”There were two things I wasn’t able to find: 1) good videos about what actually happened with Stallman at the time and 2) videos of Stallman made since then.

As the screenshot at the top shows, his talks are being canceled or postponed (for reasons other than himself) and months ago he told me he’d come again to the UK; but I cannot see any evidence that he did at the end.

Some right-wing-leaning “Media Action Network” posted this video about how the media had dealt with Stallman at the time. It’s the only video I was able to find that was marginally OK if one ignores the right-wing slant.

Maybe it’s premature and hasty a conclusion to reach, but it certainly does feel — and based on shallow (unscientific) evidence also seems — like he was ‘canceled’ to the point where his main activity (public speaking, speaking to television etc.) nearly came to a stop/halt. An FSF without a face or an effective, recognisable spokesperson won’t manage to attract supporters; maybe corporate ‘supporters’ (like “campaign contributions”), but not sponsors who pay out of their salaries. Seeing what I saw yesterday, which was actually rather depressing an experience (I hadn’t expected this negative outcome or low yield, results-wise), I am growing more worried about Free software as a concept and as a movement. Free software without a public voice would allow “Open Source” (nowadays just openwashing redefined) to take over the narrative entirely. I find solace in the fact that more blogs than ever before (that I read daily) nowadays say “Free software” (they mean libre, not gratis) rather than “Open Source” — I presume because they recognise “Open Source” became a junk term.

Spongebob Memes About Yesterday’s Microsoft Googlebombing Campaign Against ‘Linux’ (Pushing WSL, or Vista 10, by Misusing the Trademark)

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Please note: As discussed in IRC a few hours ago, we’re omitting all links that would otherwise aid the googlebombing. We hope our humour is based sufficiently on the underlying facts and helps rebuttal/refutation of Microsoft’s misinformation and subtle hostility (disguised thinly and superficially as “love”).

ZDNet googlebomb

Ubuntu extend

The Spongebob: Gets 'Linux', Realises it's Windows

Buff Spongebob: Microsoft loves Linux, Microsoft puts GNU inside Vista 10, Microsoft takes over Github, along with GNU projects, Microsoft adds Linux, rebrands it WSL2, Microsoft adds proprietary DirectX, tells media it's much better, Microsoft compels OEMs and hardware companies to optimise for WSL, not GNU/Linux

Spongebob Strong: Embrace: we come in peace, Extend: Linux sucks! Let us fix it!, Extinguish: Nobody likes it anymore, Discard the original, back to monopoly

Spongebob Diapers: Kill Linux! Taking Linux Foundation to the cleaners, LF, Microsoft-controlled LF, FSF, OSI, Mozilla, GAFAM

Summary: Microsoft’s strategy against GNU/Linux is going according to plan, thanks to the Linux Foundation‘s staff, Canonical's leadership and various clueless blogs that fail to recognise that this ‘support’ from Microsoft is actually an attack in disguise

Germany Has a Major Constitutional and Reputational Crisis Due to Team UPC

Posted in Courtroom, Deception, Europe, Law, Patents at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

All the ‘lobbyism’ has revealed the German republic to be little better than some ‘third-world’ countries or ‘Trumpland’

The drill team

Summary: When BMJV is willing to go ahead with something which is unconstitutional (UPCA was already intercepted by Germany’s constitutional court) it says more about BMJV than about the true prospects of the UPC, which for a variety of reasons remains dead in the water

THE MEDIA may not be saying much about it, but comments in this post (likely fluff from Bristows) include: “Why is the ministry not doing a public consultation? A public consultation was apparently denied in the past by some CDU or CSU member of the Bundestag who then became a judge on the Stjerna complaint. What a coincidence.”

We wrote about this several times before.

The same person later added: “The legal arguments raised there [in Belgium] were that the EPO cannot be sued for maladministration (rule of law, art2 TFEU), the discrimination of languages (difference of treatment between french and dutch speaking companies) and equality before the law (legally binding for french speakers vs non-legally binding for dutch speakers). The language of the defendent under the UPC can also be forced, which seems to be contrary to some international treaties. Any ideas which treaties are covering this problem?”

Another person said: “If the German Government – as a major driver behind the reform – wants to stand the slightest chance of bringing the UPCA in force in unamended form, it must happen before the UK finally leaves the EU, currently envisaged for the end of this year. After this has taken place, amendment becomes plainly inevitable. They know that any UPCA revision will require highly unwelcome concessions from their side, causing them to beat this dead horse as if there was no tomorrow.

“Part of the problem is that many of the individuals involved have a personal stake in the fate of the UPCA as it stands, be it of a merely financial nature, be it career prospects, be it both. As long as the major decisions are made by the always same people, who also bear the responsibility for what has happened so far and are thus strongly biased towards the one particular outcome serving their needs, unlikely as it may be to achieve it, reason will have no place in this.”

“Concerned observer” then wrote: “So let me summarise. The German government passes a law that the BVerfG voids the grounds of unconstitutionality. Subsequently, a written question is submitted to the European Commission, asking them to confirm whether CJEU case law precludes Germany from ratifying the UPC Agreement. The German government responds to all of this by presenting a draft law that the BVerfG has very clearly warned would also be unconstitutional. In other words, the German government has decided to press on despite very clear reasons to believe that the end goal would be unlawful. And all of this carried out in public, where an informed (and, in parts, highly sceptical) profession can clearly see what is going on. You have got to hand it to the persuasive powers of those pro-UPC lobbyists!”

The same person later added: “To quote the BMJV’s statement: “Es kann aber nicht so verstanden werden, dass es einen Kammerstandort in einem Nicht-Vertragsmitgliedstaat errichten beziehungsweise belassen möchte”. (“It cannot, however, be understood to mean that it wishes to establish or maintain a chamber in a non-contracting Member State”)

“This statement is clearly contrary to the position adopted by the BMJV between the Brexit vote and issuance of the UK government’s statement regarding non-participation in the UPC. However, it also makes no sense.”

“Each participant to the UPC Agreement is designated as “Contracting Member State”. Thus, a NON-“Contracting Member State” is simply a State that is not party to the UPCA. The BMJV’s statement is therefore based upon the false premise that the UK is no longer a “Contracting Member State” to the UPC Agreement.”

“It is so unbelievably disappointing to see such misdirection and misrepresentation emanating from a body that is supposed to be tasked with upholding the rule of law in Germany. Frankly, this has all of the makings of a major scandal.”

The reply said: “Why overlook the wording “Member State”? The UK cannot be a Contracting Member State any longer for the simple reason that it is not a Member State.”

MaxDrei said: “You only realise how precious was The Rule of Law after you have dumped it.”

He later also said: “The irony is that the UPC as presently constituted will help non-European corporations to dominate the European market, more than ever. Just look at what has happened with the EU Registered Designs regime.”

There’s lots more in those 27 comments. “Comments are closed.” The final comment said: “In case you hadn’t realised, most freedom of information legislation includes exemptions for information relating to … wait for it … international organisations …

“And the EPO is an international organisation.

“So the BMJV has a perfect get-out-of-jail card to prevent any embarrassing disclosures on that front.”

Benjamin Henrion dumped in this meme, having written a couple of FFII pages about a looming complaint, which hours ago he told me he was seriously pursuing. He says “we will launch a crowdfunding campaign to sack the UPC in Germany” and at this moment “I am looking at which “platform” to use…” (asking for recommendations)

A meme by Benjamin Henrion
A meme by Benjamin Henrion

Myles Jelf (Bristows) has just mentioned this. Why does Bristows mention something like that? One wonders….

The FFII (Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure) has published a press release commenting on the German government’s consultation on a new draft bill to enable Germany to ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement (reported here). The FFII lists problems that it considers arise with the unitary patent and UPC system, and maintains that if Germany ignores those problems “there will be a second constitutional complaint filed immediately”.

Our understanding is that Stjerna would follow up as well. So the whole thing would end up being a stain on the name of BMJV. No, we don’t expect BMJV to succeed, except in soiling or spoiling what's left of its reputation.

Despite the Silence, EPO Staff May be More Repressed Than Ever, Hope is Being Lost

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hype versus hope

Hope Dies Last

Summary: Insider confessions and testimonies (from staff, union, representatives) reveal a rather grim picture of what goes on in the underbelly of EPOnia (while media totally turns a blind eye to it*)

THE Benoît Battistelli calamity isn’t a thing of the past (or legacy) but a thing of the present. António Campinos continues Battistelli’s job…

The European Patent Office (EPO) no longer mentions the staff’s dissatisfaction; they hope nobody notices and believe that can carry on bribing and blackmailing media that mentions this. Techrights has been blocked for 2 years by Campinos (not so effective a block when people work from home) and later he’ll wonder why only 3% of the staff trusts him (even people whom he met in person and sat down with). The EPO’s fear of facts and truth is rather revealing and reminiscent of the Nazi Party.

Techrights has been blocked for 2 years by Campinos (not so effective a block when people work from home) and later he’ll wonder why only 3% of the staff trusts him (even people whom he met in person and sat down with).”“Very good,” a source told us regarding our coverage of EPO internal affairs, noting that there “there are still a few brave people in [the patent] office.”

SUEPO Observer, we’re told, was published this month for the first time since 2014, i.e. six years ago.

“A lot is happening behind the scenes,” the source added, “behind the EPO’s seemingly so clean facade, but unfortunately, thanks to censorship very little little to nothing is made public today.”

Among the trends: “Attack / censorship of the trade unions, attack on the right to strike, repression, harassment / bullying, destruction of working conditions, reform of salaries and pensions, reform of the BoA, suppression of the audit committees, lack of transparency, lack of clear future strategy, complete failure of the president to maneuver / guide the office through the Covid19 era … should I continue? The list has now become endless, and with it the list of frustrations and demotivation of employees and their affected families.”

“So-called ‘reforms’ that are just further attacks on the EPO’s staff.”About the union and staff representatives (not the same thing, albeit overlaps exist): “The social dialogue with the staff representatives and the trade unionists has come to a complete standstill, to put it simple, there is NO DIALOGUE. One wonders if there was ever a dialogue since Mr Campinos took over the presidency, right? Or was it all just a smokescreen designed to blind the members of the Board of Directors at their meeting at the end of June? Is it just a matter of letting the reforms happen?”

So-called ‘reforms’ that are just further attacks on the EPO’s staff. By extension, these attacks are directed at staff everywhere; they lower the bar, universally, by extrapolation and example/precedence.

Our source continued: “See the [below] illustration of Campinos related to the upcoming Administrative Council meeting at the end of June, titled “Come to Daddy!”

Come to Daddy

We apologise in advance if this offends some of our readers; we didn’t make this graphic, but it circulates inside the Office and explains the staff’s sentiments. There’s no oversight, only complicity.

As for SUEPO? Earlier this month it issued the following appeal for support:

Unions in Corona times

Unite and be stronger together! A typical union motto (not to be mistaken with the “strong together” slogan currently used in management’s communication). But how can we get together if we can’t gather physically in these pandemic times? Even floor meetings are currently no longer possible. And the floors are rather empty these days… How can we reach out to you if nobody is out there?

We miss feedback from you. Interaction is difficult, and without interaction – is there a way for action? It is obvious that Covid-19 represents a huge challenge to union work.

A picketed strike for instance sounds like a joke today. Demonstrations outside the Office are not possible either, as local authorities do not allow them for the moment.

We are in a weak position organisationally, and the administration is simply taking advantage of it. But there will be a price to pay: Staff will be further disconnected. Identification of staff with the goals of the Office, loyalty to the organisation, motivation will erode further. And instead of building up trust and create unity in the circumstances of a general crisis, the office continues to disrespect staff and derail social dialogue. Sadly, our bosses missed an opportunity to behave like true leaders!

What can we do? Feedback and support from your side is paramount for SUEPO. For example, a high participation in the ballot for the Staff Committee elections and a strong support for the candidates of the SUEPO list is an important signal you can give!

Please get back to your union and share your concerns, needs, and expectations. We are open to all possible form of collective actions. Please share your ideas with us. Our only strength is our ability to act collectively against damaging reforms. Only by being united will we be able to defend our rights and working conditions!

What started with our opposition to software patents in Europe (well before 35 U.S.C. § 101 in the US) has turned into something rather creepy. Now we deal with attacks on human rights, on constitutions and on the rule of law. Our next post will deal with the latest stunning developments regarding UPC. Germany reveals itself to be little better than so-called ‘banana republics’, not just by turning a blind eye to human right abuses at the EPO but by ignoring its very own constitutional court. Maybe there’s a German ‘Trump’ waiting around the corner, even if just to ‘foster’ dialogue. Who with? Nationalists perhaps, not compassionate unionists.
* When the media itself is failing, great harm can and will be caused. “Germans,” as this page explains, “increasingly could not reconcile official news stories with reality, and many turned to foreign radio broadcasts for accurate information. With moviegoers beginning to reject the newsreels as blatant propaganda, Goebbels even ordered theaters to lock their doors before projecting the weekly episode, forcing viewers to watch it if they wanted to see the feature film.”

Microsoft Insider: Microsoft is Full of Nationalists and Gun Enthusiasts

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 8:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft firearms

Summary: Political correctness-leaning policies are keeping this under the radar, but Microsoft is hardly what it seems to the outside world

“The irony,” told us a reader who had worked for Microsoft, is that Microsoft is totally hypocritical when it comes to tolerance. In his own words, based on what he saw at Microsoft: “People think I’m joking when I say that Microsoft is ironically full of weird hypocritical nationalists. I.e. people who take an undue amount of pride in their country that dare not question the merits or intentions of the government entities using their products while simultaneously taking great pride in working and living for a company notorious for skirting taxes and anti-trust laws established by the very same government.

“However, I often get the last laugh when the look of deep concern consumes their face after reminding them that the Microsoft gun club had like 20k members before being closed down for PC purposes and that I don’t use the term “nationalist” lightly.”

Links 17/6/2020: Intel’s IWD 1.8 and Qt Creator 4.12.3

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo upgrades ThinkPad lineup with Intel, X1 Extreme Gen 3 starts at $1,749

        Lenovo just refreshed to its mobile workstation lineup, which includes the ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 3 laptop and the company’s ThinkPad P series. In total, five ThinkPad mobile workstation models are getting the upgrade to the latest Intel 10th-generation processors and Nvidia graphics, and you’ll be able to pick one up next month in July when they become available.

        If you value a balance between productivity and mobility, the ThinkPad X1 Extreme will be the model you’ll want. Boasting a similar silhouette from the iconic ThinkPad X1 Carbon series, the third-generation Extreme model comes with a slightly larger 15.6-inch display in various configurations ranging from a standard FHD panel to a 4K OLED touchscreen model that supports HDR 500 True Black. And at just 0.72-inches thick, the 3.75-pound Extreme looks more like a standard Ultrabook than a workstation, but don’t let that fool you.

      • Lenovo’s New ThinkPad P1 Gen3 for Professionals: OLED, 8-core Xeon, Quadro

        Operating system options include Windows 10 Home, Pro, Pro for Workstations, Ubuntu, Red Hat (certified), or Fedora.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel’s IWD 1.8 Wireless Daemon Released With WiFi P2P Support

        The iNet wireless daemon (IWD) software developed by Intel’s open-source team have released IWD 1.8.

        IWD 1.8 release is the latest version of this Linux wireless daemon developed by Intel as an alternative to WPA_Supplicant and supports integrating with the likes of NetworkManager, systemd’s networkd, and Intel’s ConnMan software.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA, Intel Post New Windows 10 Graphics Drivers For WSL2 Linux App Support

          Intel and NVIDIA have both published new Windows 10 graphics drivers that support the new experimental capabilities coming to Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL2) for running Linux GUI applications atop Windows and ultimately for exposing GPU compute capabilities as well inside the WSL2 environment.

        • Intel Vulkan Driver Adds Pipeline Creation Cache Control Extension

          Intel’s open-source “ANV” Vulkan driver has landed support for the recent VK_EXT_pipeline_creation_cache_control extension.

          VK_EXT_pipeline_creation_cache_control was introduced back in March with Vulkan 1.2.135. VK_EXT_pipeline_creation_cache_control exposes information on pipeline creation costs for helping to notify in advance of potentially expensive hazards during Vulkan pipeline creation.

    • Applications

      • sndcpy Forwards Audio From Android 10 To Linux, Windows Or macOS Desktop (Like scrcpy But For Audio)

        sndcpy is like scrcpy, but for audio. This new tool forwards audio from an Android 10 device to a desktop computer running Linux, Windows or macOS.

        You can use sndcpy to enable audio forwarding while mirroring your Android device to your desktop with scrcpy, the low-latency, high performance, free and open source tool to display and control android devices from a desktop. scrcpy (“screen copy”) itself doesn’t do audio forwarding, and this is where sndcpy (“sound copy”) comes in.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Drink More Glurp blends hilarious physics with ridiculous sports

        Drink More Glurp is currently in the Steam Game Festival and it’s as hilarious as their original announcement trailer made it out to be.

        If you need a good laugh, the demo that’s available for Linux is absolutely brilliant—a proper riot. It’s a hot-seat party game set on a distant world where aliens have copied Earth’s summer games and got everything slightly wrong. So wrong it’s difficult not to laugh as you try to wave your arms around and do whatever challenge it sets from running to throwing and all sorts in between.

      • Alwa’s Legacy is an incredibly charming retro action-adventure out now

        I do love a good non-linear action adventure and Alwa’s Legacy has everything it needs to be enjoyed. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Released today, June 17 after a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019 from developer Elden Pixels it sort-of acts as a follow-up to the previous game Alwa’s Awakening. It’s entirely standalone though and can be enjoyed without playing the other. While they stuck with pixel-art to keep it retro, style wise and graphically Alwa’s Legacy is a big colourful improvement and a joy to play and it feels very much like a metroidvania.

      • Attentat 1942, a ‘historically-accurate’ World War 2 adventure is now on Linux

        Attentat 1942 from Charles Games is a World War 2 adventure with an aim to be historically-accurate and give it a different face to what you might expect.

        It’s a multiple award-winning title too, so great to see it on Linux. Told through the eyes of survivors it’s a story of love, friendship and heroism among the horrors of a world conflict. Confront witnesses, experience the everyday life under Nazi rule and uncover the fate of your family in this award-winning game about World War II.

        From what the developer told me, they “tried to do something different with the topic that is arguably ubiquitous, showing a humane side to the world conflict and involving professional historians in writing”.

      • Block-pushing puzzle and exploration game Akurra funded and coming to Linux

        Retro-styled block-pushing puzzle adventure Akurra has now been funded on Kickstarter, so it’s on the way to Linux. Originally Linux support was going to be a stretch goal, which the developer decided to remove as they decided it wasn’t needed which was nice to see.

        What is Akurra? Inspired by a few classics like Chip’s Challenge, Star Tropics, Sokoban, and Zelda it has you explore different islands and solve various puzzles. Push blocks into holes and over pits, avoid spikes, explore caves, and ride sea turtles in order to find keys, gems, and stars that unlock new paths and friends to aid you as you explore a collection of islands chock-full of puzzles and secrets.

      • DRAG certainly seems like a promising upcoming racing game

        With very pretty graphics and a slick looking vehicle, DRAG is one of the titles you can currently try a demo of during the Steam Game Festival.

        From the indie team of two brothers at Orontes Games, DRAG is not your usual simple arcade racer. Using ‘deep and challenging driving dynamics’, like their 4CPT-technology (4-way contact point traction technology) and every component of the vehicles being simulated (including damage!) it all sounds very promising.

      • Stadia gets The Elder Scrolls Online free on Pro, Premiere Edition price cut

        Stadia fans can now jump into The Elder Scrolls Online as it has released on Stadia and it’s free to claim on Stadia Pro. It seems it’s only for a limited time though and will leave Stadia Pro on July 16 so if you are interested you might want to grab it now.

        The Elder Scrolls Online on Stadia has cross-play with Windows/macOS, cross-progression and if you own the expansions on Steam it appears they’re picked up on Stadia fine too. That’s about where the good parts end though really.

        We tested it here and it repeatedly put us into 720p and we had to use the Stadia Plus plugin to force 1080p. Stadia really, badly, needs a built-in resolution picker as I’ve seen games do this repeatedly with no other way than the external Stadia Plus plugin to help. Their own performance picker doesn’t force a resolution, only set the limits of what it will do overall.

      • Strategic zombie apocalypse rogue-lite Deadly Days has a massive update

        Released back in September last year, Deadly Days put a fun spin on mixing together a rogue-lite gameplay loop, a zombie apocalypse and strategic group action. It also just got a lot bigger.

        If you’ve not played it the loop is simple enough: you have a crew that you send to different locations, and then engage in real-time combat and looting before it turns to night and you need to escape back home. Your people level up, gain different weapons and eventually you might find the cure. When you fail (or win) you level up and gain extras through different specializations for future runs.

      • Valve update Team Fortress 2 to deal with bots and chat abuse

        Like Valve did recently with CS:GO and Dota 2, they’ve introduced new options in Team Fortress 2 to help deal with community issues and bots. TF2 has sadly been left on life support for some time now, even though it’s one of the longest running shooters available on PC.

        In Team Fortress 2, this wasn’t just the usual problems of having a big community and having some toxic behaviours. They’ve been under attack by bots spewing racism, sexist, homophobic and all sorts of varied hate-speech that made TF2 a pretty terrible place. It took Valve a while to do anything, as it had been a problem for multiple months.

      • Cities Skylines: 200K people, surplus money, fun

        Remember my mega city built in SimCity 4? An endeavor that took me three years to complete, and resulted in a beautiful region with some 4.3 million citizens? Well, I decided to try something similar in Cities Skylines, a most excellent city building simulation.

        If you’ve been reading my game reviews, then you know that I really like Cities Skylines. Over the past several years, with many an hour spent warming up my house with excess heat from the intense CPU and GPU workloads generated by the ravenous Cities Skylines simulation engine, I set about cracking the game’s secrets, including compiling three traffic optimization guides. These should help you create the perfect road grid for your city to flourish and grow. And by grid I mean roundabout. Now, implementing my own advice, I went about building a lovely city, and the result is now here before you.


        Here we go. A beautiful, flourishing, dynamic city, with extra cash, good traffic flow, and continuous demand for growth. I managed to do this without using third-party network mods, as I did in SimCity 4, or any other prop or asset that would alter the default balance of the game. Cities Skylines can sometimes be quite frustrating, especially when cars start doing crazy U-turn maneuvers just to save 2px worth of distance and none of the time, but it is manageable. The flaws in the path finding actually make the game unpredictable and thus even more enjoyable.

        I was able to hit the 200K mark after about 20 hours of playing. I’m thinking of starting a fresh city, with an even more optimized layout. My goal is to try to hit 85% network efficiency, remain cash positive, and push through onto an even higher citizen mark. Maybe do this with one of the Boreal maps, and also try some of the custom assets, which might make the city layout even more realistic and fun. All in all, I’m enjoying this a great deal. If you have any asks or suggestions, feel free to email me. And away, me goes, onto me next building adventure!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Automatic Assignment of Tag Icons in DigiKam

          Last week I implemented Automatic Addition/Removal of Tag Icons. DigiKam provides users with the option to assign Icons to Tags, to allow easy visibility of these tags. For Face Tags in particular, Users may assign a Face associated with that Tag as the Tag Icon. However, in the current implementation, most users don’t make use of the Tag Icon assignment.


          These two processes can be easily automated, so that whenever a new Tag is created (as a consequence of Face Confirmation), then the Face is automatically assigned as the Tag Icon. A similar process can be implemented in the reverse process, that is if the User deletes the last Face associated with the Tag, then the Tag Icon should be deleted.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How the future of robotics will be built on open tools

          Premiering today is part one of, “How to Start a Robot Revolution”—a five-part documentary in the Open Source Stories series from Red Hat. The films explore how open source software has created a revolution in robotics. In the mid-2000’s Robot Operating System (ROS) was first designed at the incubator, Willow Garage, as a common platform for building advanced robotic hardware. But in 2014 Willow Garage shut down. Those involved in ROS could have let the project end there, but they didn’t. Thanks to open source software, ROS not only survived, it thrived. In this five-part documentary, we showcase the people behind ROS’s creation and the community that’s turned it into a global phenomenon.

        • Introduction to Application Streams in Red Hat Enterprise Linux

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 comes with a new feature called Application Streams (AppStreams), in which multiple versions of packages are provided, with a known period of support. These modules can be thought of as package groups that represent an application, a set of tools, or runtime languages.

          Each of these modules can have different streams, which represent different versions of software, giving the user the option to use whichever version best suits their needs. Each module will also have installation profiles, which help to define a specific use case, and will determine which packages are installed on the system.

        • Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform expansion pack 1.0 released

          Red Hat recently released the first Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform expansion pack (JBoss EAP XP) version 1.0. This version enables JBoss EAP developers to build Java microservices using Eclipse MicroProfile 3.3 APIs while continuing to also support Jakarta EE 8. This article goes into detail on the nature of this new offering and an easy way to get started.


          You can think of MicroProfile as a minimal standard profile for Java microservices. As with Jakarta EE, MicroProfile implementations across different vendors are fully interoperable. You can read more about MicroProfile in the free e-book Enterprise Java microservices with Eclipse MicroProfile.

          By using this expansion pack with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform, which is part of Red Hat Runtimes, developers can use JBoss EAP as a MicroProfile-compliant platform. This release simplifies the inherent complexity of developing cloud-native applications on JBoss EAP with MicroProfile. The expansion pack is a separate downloadable distribution that can be applied on top of existing JBoss EAP servers, or you can use the container images available for use with Red Hat OpenShift when deploying JBoss EAP on OpenShift.

        • Red Hat Runtimes brings Vert.x and Dekorate to Spring Boot 2.2.6

          The latest update to Red Hat Runtimes features support for Spring Boot 2.2.6, along with the Dekorate project and Spring Reactive. Together, these technologies are a boost for developers building Spring-based applications on the Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform. In this article, I present the highlights of this update.

        • Support for GraphQL with Open Liberty

          The Open Liberty release brings new features, updates, and bug fixes. This article introduces the new features in Open Liberty, including support for developing “code-first” GraphQL applications, provisioning features from a Maven repository, and using a server configuration to control application startup.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Apache Hudi grows cloud data lake maturity

          The Apache open source data lake project has matured, as organizations around the world embrace the technology.

          Apache Hudi (Hadoop Upserts Deletes and Incrementals) is a data lake project that enables stream data processing on top of Apache Hadoop-compatible cloud storage systems, including Amazon S3.

          The project was originally developed at Uber in 2016, became open source in 2017 and entered the Apache Incubator in January 2019. As an open source effort, Hudi has gained adoption by Alibaba, Tencent, Uber and Kyligence, among major tech vendors.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference Update

          Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Conference have been slightly adjusted the conference dates from the original dates of Oct. 13 – 16 to the new dates of Oct. 15. – 17.

          The new dates are a Thursday through a Saturday. Participants can submit talks for the live conference until July 21 when the Call for Papers is expected to close.

          The length of the talks for the conference have also been changed. There will be a 15-minute short talk, a 30-minute normal talk and a 60-minute work group sessions to select. Organizers felt that shortening the talks were necessary to keep attendees engaged during the online conference. The change will also help with the scheduling of breaks, social video sessions and extra segments for Questions and Answers after each talk.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Software Licenses : Legalese to English

            When I was doing a licensing survey in the Fedora ecosystem. I asked a few developers, “What is license according to them?” I got some interesting answers:

            “I do not care about the license; it bores me.” – a super senior developer says this. (not a very good example to follow)

            “You have to fill up the name of a license to make the package in Fedora unless they won’t accept the package” (sadly)

            “License is something that protects your code.” (Ahh finally some optimism)

            The answer appeared as a ray of hope to me that yes, there are developers (still) who do care about code ( both their code and law).

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt Creator 4.12.3 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.12.3 !

          In this release we fixed that when installing OpenSSL for Android via the Android options page, Qt Creator could recursively delete the current working directory without giving the user an informed choice.

          Have a look at the change log to find out which other bugs were fixed.

        • Open Beta Program for Tracealyzer 4.4

          Percepio has launched an open beta test program for the upcoming Tracealyzer version 4.4, which provides much improved support for visualization and analysis of embedded Linux software, packaged in an intuitive and modern user interface.
          The beta program runs until 1 August 2020, and anyone interested in participating can download Tracealyzer with embedded Linux support from percepio.com now.

          A free 45-day evaluation license is included in the program and all participants also qualify for exclusive discounted offers on Tracealyzer licenses up until 1 August.

        • My favorite 10 Node.js projects

          Experienced developers, much like skilled artisans, rely on a set of tools to help them get their job done effectively and efficiently. However, trying to select the right tools can be intimidating, especially when you have many options to choose from.

          Such is the case with Node.js, which is famous for its vibrant community that contributes code and tools for others to use, adding significant value to new generations of apps. However, with so many options out there, it isn’t easy to find the most dependable projects to suit your development needs.

          To give you some help, I’ll share the 10 most useful open source Node.js projects to consider using in your development project.


          Express is one of the most popular Node.js frameworks. It has been around for a while and is known for its simplicity and minimalism. Express offers tremendous value since it makes HTTP requests efficient even when you are working with JavaScript, an out-of-browser and server-side language.

          Some of Express’ more popular features include handlers to manage HTTP requests with diverse URL routes, rendering-engine integration for inserting template data, and middleware-request processing. Express is also an unopinionated framework, which means you won’t have issues executing it because you are not confined to any “right way” of using it to solve a problem.

        • How to declare a qHash overload

          Today’s blog post is about something that should be simple and apparently it causes trouble: how to declare a qHash overload for a custom datatype. This is necessary when we want to use custom datatypes as keys in a QHash.

        • Python

          • DjangoCon Europe 2020 goes virtual

            These have been difficult times, we hoped for better news, but as time goes by it seems unlikely they will come. Airline companies all around are struggling, there are several border controls in place, and big events are restricted until further notice. As an example, in Portugal all festivals have been canceled until the 30th of September; other smaller events can follow or keep severe distancing rules which drastically reduces the maximum number of possible attendees. Long story short, the current schedule is no longer viable. More information regarding the tickets and sponsors policy on our website.

            Now for some good news, DSF allowed us to keep the conference in Porto for another year, so we will host DjangoCon Europe 2021 with as much enthusiasm as we had for this year. Nevertheless, since no one wants to go one year without DjangoCon Europe, we will have the very first Virtual DjangoCon Europe ever, open for everyone free of charge. This will allow us (Django Community) to have some of the needed interaction, while keeping everybody safe.

          • Calculating Mean, Median and Mode in Python

            When we’re trying to describe and summarize a sample of data, we probably start by finding the mean (or average), the median, and the mode of the data. These are central tendency measures and are often our first look at a dataset.

            In this tutorial, we’ll learn how to find or compute the mean, the median, and the mode in Python. We’ll first code a Python function for each measure followed by using Python’s statistics module to accomplish the same task.

          • Python 101 – Exception Handling

            Creating software is hard work. To make your software better, your application needs to keep working even when the unexpected happens. For example, let’s say your application needs to pull information down from the Internet. What happens if the person using your application loses their Internet connectivity?

            Another common issue is what to do if the user enters invalid input. Or tries to open a file that your application doesn’t support.

            All of these cases can be handled using Python’s built-in exception handling capabilities, which are commonly referred to as the try and except statements.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 047
          • 4 essential tools to set up your Python environment for success

            Python is a wonderful general-purpose programming language, often taught as a first programming language. Twenty years in, multiple books written, and it remains my language of choice. While the language is often said to be straight-forward, configuring Python for development has not been described as such (as documented by xkcd).

  • Leftovers

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Whitelisting explained: How it works and where it fits in a security program

            A blacklist is a slightly more familiar concept — a list of things that are dangerous and need to be blocked from the machines you’re trying to protect. Many antivirus and anti-malware programs are, essentially, blacklists: they include a list of known malicious code, and automatically leap into action when those programs are detected on the protected computer. Blacklists have a fairly obvious disadvantage in that they need to be constantly updated to stay ahead of the latest attacks. By definition, antivirus software can’t protect you against a zero-day attack.

          • What is a Site Reliability Engineer (SRE)?

            In a previous article for the Life in Tech section of FOSSlife, we looked at the duties and responsibilities of a system administrator. This time, we’ll look at the role of site reliability engineer (SRE), which is related to system administration but goes beyond that role and requires a markedly different skillset. We’ll explain what you need to know and provide an overview of the job expectations to help you understand this relatively new career path.


            The site reliability engineering concept originated at Google. The idea is closely related to the principles of DevOps and was conceived as a way to reduce tension between software engineers and product developers (Dev) and sys admins and operations staff (Ops) that can arise at scale due to differing costs, timelines, and perceived priorities. The SRE role can also serve as a bridge between development and operations and is rooted in the approach of applying a software engineering mindset to system administration concepts.

          • BountySource have turned evil – alternatives ?

            They will try to say “oh it’s all governed by US law” but of course section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act makes the card company jointly liable for Bountysource’s breach of contract and a UK court will apply UK consumer protection law even to a contract which says it is to be governed by US law – because you can’t contract out of consumer protection. So the card company are on the hook and I can use them as a lever.

          • Ubuntu 20.10 Looking At Restricting Access To Kernel Logs With dmesg

            Ubuntu 20.10 will likely join other Linux distributions in restricting access to dmesg by unprivileged users.

            Due to dmesg able to leak kernel addresses and other sensitive information, the plan is to not allow dmesg access for unprivileged users. We previously covered the situation more at length within In 2019, Most Linux Distributions Still Aren’t Restricting Dmesg Access.

          • Software available through Extrepo

            Just over 7 months ago, I blogged about extrepo, my answer to the “how do you safely install software on Debian without downloading random scripts off the Internet and running them as root” question. I also held a talk during the recent “MiniDebConf Online” that was held, well, online.

            The most important part of extrepo is “what can you install through it”. If the number of available repositories is too low, there’s really no reason to use it. So, I thought, let’s look what we have after 7 months…

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Arch Linux (dbus and intel-ucode), CentOS (libexif), Debian (vlc), SUSE (xen), and Ubuntu (dbus, libexif, and nss).

          • Why CII best practices gold badges are important

            In June 2020, two different projects managed to earn a gold badge: the Linux kernel and curl. Both are widely depended on, and yet in many other ways, they are radically different. The Linux kernel has a large number of developers, and as a kernel, it must directly interact with a variety of hardware. Curl has a far smaller set of developers and is a user-level application. They join other projects with gold badges, including the Zephyr kernel and the CII Best Practices badge application itself. Such radically different projects managed to earn a gold badge and thus demonstrated their commitment to security. It also shows that these criteria can be applied even to such fundamentally different programs.


            There are three badge levels: passing, silver, and gold. Each level requires that the OSS project meet a set of criteria; for silver and gold that includes meeting the previous level. Each level requires effort from an OSS project, but the result is reduced risks from vulnerabilities for both projects and the organizations that use that project’s software.

            The “passing” level captures what well-run OSS projects typically already do, and has 66 criteria grouped into six categories. For example, the passing level requires that the project publicly state how to report vulnerabilities to the project, that tests are added as functionality is added, and that static analysis is used to analyze software for potential problems. Getting a “passing” badge is an achievement, because while any particular criterion is met by many projects, meeting all the requirements often requires some improvements to any specific project. As of June 14, 2020, there were 3195 participating projects, and 443 had earned a passing badge.

    • Finance

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Beyond lip service: Tackling racism in your development organisation

        As a black American woman and international development professional, my first thought when I am deployed is: “how do they perceive and treat black people there? Will I be safe?”

        Fortunately, I have yet to experience any overt acts of racism while overseas. However, I only needed to engage with one seasoned white male team leader to learn that not all international development professionals share my commitment to social justice.

        This was an admittedly naïve perspective for a young black woman entering a career in international development. The senior leaders of international development organisations, as in many other industries, are overwhelmingly white and male.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • How Long May a Judge Delay in Explaining its Order?

          On June 16, Apple petitioned the Federal Circuit for writ of mandamus on forum non-conveniens. Uniloc has apparently sued Apple in 24 different lawsuits in E.D. Tex. and W.D. Tex. The vast majority of those cases have been transferred to N.D.Cal. (21 of them — transferred by Judges Gilstrap and Yeakel; 2 are stayed but likely to transfer or be dismissed later). This lawsuit is the last active case.

          The particular claims of this lawsuit were originally before Judge Yeakel (W.D.Austin), but Uniloc dismissed that case and refiled it before Judge Albright (W.D.Waco). Judge Albright then refused to transfer the case. Note here that Judge Albright is a former patent litigator and is apparently hoping to hear more patent cases, but Waco is not exactly a major industrial-innovation hub. (Aerial view of Waco shown below).

        • Willful Infringement Allegations Require More Than Conclusory Statements

          In a recent decision from the United States District Court for the District of Nevada, the court granted a motion to dismiss willful infringement allegations for lacking plausible factual allegations. IP Power v. Westfield , No. 2:19-cv-01878-MMD-NJK (D. Nev. June 4, 2020). This case centers around U.S. Patent No. 6,817,671, which is directed to a collapsible, reclining camp chair with a footrest and cupholders.

          The plaintiff sued the defendant after multiple correspondences were exchanged between the parties. In its complaint alleging patent infringement, the plaintiff also asserted that the defendant engaged in conduct rising to the level of willful infringement.

        • Shure Infringement Claims Against ClearOne Survive Motion to Dismiss Based on Civil Procedure Rules

          In the latest development in extensive litigation between Shure and ClearOne over audio and conferencing equipment, the District of Delaware rejected a motion to dismiss Shure’s claims over multiple civil procedure grounds, including as compulsory counterclaims to an earlier suit and as failing to be the first to file.

          The conflict between Shure and ClearOne began not in the District of Delaware but in the Northern District of Illinois. In 2017, Shure filed a declaratory judgment of noninfringement of ClearOne’s U.S. Patent No. 9,635,186, and ClearOne responded with counterclaims for infringement of the ’186 patent and of U.S. Patent No. 9,813,806. Both patents relate to beamforming microphones in ceiling arrays, an area in which the parties compete. ClearOne got a preliminary injunction for the ’806 patent (but not the ’186 patent), specifically against Shure’s MXA910 product “in its drop-ceiling mounting configuration.” In 2019, ClearOne filed a second infringement suit against Shure in the Northern District of Illinois over U.S. Patent No. 9,264,553, also related to beamforming microphones. Shure got an inter partes review instituted by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board against the ’553 patent, but the PTAB ended up upholding the challenged patent claims.

        • Attorney-Client Privilege Granted to Canadian In-House Counsel on U.S. Law

          The District of Kansas held that documents produced by a Canadian attorney working as in-house counsel on U.S. patent infringement matters qualify for attorney-client privilege in a U.S. patent infringement case. Sudenga Indus., Inc. v. Global Industries, Inc., No. 18-2498-DDC (D. Kan. May 15, 2020).

          Plaintiff Sudenga Industries sent a cease and desist letter alleging patent infringement to Defendant Global Industries. Defendant is based in Canada, and their General Counsel is licensed in Canada, but not in any U.S. state.

          Plaintiff filed a motion to compel documents from Defendant drafted by the Canadian General Counsel regarding the cease and desist letter. Plaintiff argued that the Canadian attorney did not have attorney-client privilege for this U.S. matter. Defendant argued that privilege attached because Canadian privilege would attach in this situation if it involved a Canadian patent and no U.S. case has held that communications from Canadian counsel on U.S. patent matters were not privileged.

        • Software Patents

          • On Remand, Software Patents Held Invalid for Lacking Sufficient Factual Allegations

            While software patents have recently survived Rule 12 motions to dismiss on the pleadings, a lack of an inventive concept doomed a set of software patents as ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. MyMail Ltd. v. ooVoo, LLC, 17-cv-04487 (N.D. Cal. May 7, 2020).

            Plaintiff MyMail sued Defendants ooVoo and IAC for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 8,275,863 and 9,021,070. After remand by the Federal Circuit vacating the Court’s judgment on the pleadings for lack of claim construction on the term “toolbar,” the parties briefed the claim construction and Defendants refiled motions to dismiss under Rule 12(c). As with Rule 12(b)(6), factual allegations in a complaint are considered true and construed in favor of the movant, and if no dispute of fact remains, the motion to dismiss is granted.

          • Patent Claims to 3D Virtual Environment Held Ineligible at Pleadings Stage: Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic Inc.

            Patent claims directed to a 3D virtual game environment were held ineligible on a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. Barbaro Technologies, LLC v. Niantic Inc., Case No. 18-cv-02955-RS (N.D. Cal. May 21, 2020). The plaintiff had alleged that defendants infringed claims of two patents, US Patent 7,373,377 and US Patent 8,228,325. Asserted claims of the ’325 patent were held ineligible.


            Under Alice step one, these claims were directed to an abstract idea because they claimed a result, i.e., that “the user interacts with the three-dimensional virtual thematic environment as a simulated real-world interaction.” The ’325 patent specification disclosed “thousands of embodiments of the claimed result, accomplished by a variety of existing technologies,” but offered no technological improvements. The claims here were distinguishable from those in Enfish, LLC v. Microsoft Corp., (Fed. Cir. 2016), Thales Visionix, Inc. v. United States (Fed. Cir. 2017), and Visual Memory, LLC v. NVIDIA Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2017), because the ’325 patent claims recited a result, “simulated real-world interaction ,” rather than being directed to how the result was achieved.

          • CAFC Easily Invalidates Mobile Device Search Patent under Alice: British Telecommunications PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp.

            Patent claims directed to presenting a user with a “short list” of “information sources” for selection based on a user location are patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. British Telecommunications PLC v. IAC/InterActiveCorp., No. 2019-1917 (Fed. Cir. June 3, 2020) (opinion by Judge Taranto, joined by Judges Dyk and Hughes) (non-precedential). The Federal Circuit panel upheld the district court’s decision, on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, that all claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,397,040 are ineligible under § 101. (The underlying lawsuit involves six patents, but only the § 101 eligibility of the ’040 patent was at issue in this appeal.)

          • Barcode Patent Fails Alice § 101 Test: Coding Technologies, LLC v. Mississippi Power Co.

            Patent claims directed to scanning a code pattern for billing information and then processing a bill based on billing information obtained thereby have been held ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo test. In Coding Technologies, LLC v. Mississippi Power Co., No. 1:19-CV-994-LG-RHW (S.D. Miss. June 4, 2020), the court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss based on § 101 invalidity of U.S. Patent No. 9,240,008.


            Under Alice step two, the plaintiff tried to argue that whether there was a patent-eligible improvement was a question of fact. But the court said that resolution on a motion to dismiss was permissible where a patent “recites nothing more than basic or generic computer functions and components.” Here, the claims simply recited conventional receiving, analyzing, and processing steps. Barcodes were conventional well before the ’008 patent.

            Moreover, the court took the ’008 patent to task for simply reciting what computing tasks were to be performed, without reciting how they were to be performed. The plaintiff’s argument that the claimed invention had an inventive concept in “a system of units” operating “in a non-generic manner” was to no avail. The claims simply used existing technology “to effectuate a long-standing commercial practice.”

Links 17/6/2020: Qt 5.12.9, Plasma 5.19.1 and FreeBSD 11.4

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Raspberry Pi 4: Chronicling the Desktop Experience – Desktop Searching – Week 34

        This is a weekly blog about the Raspberry Pi 4 (“RPI4”), the latest product in the popular Raspberry Pi range of computers.

        Desktop search is a software application which searches the contents of computer files, rather than searching the internet. The purpose of this software is to enable the user to locate information on their computer. Typically, this data includes emails, chat logs, documents, contact lists, graphics files, as well as multimedia files including video and audio.

        Searching a hard disk can be painfully slow, especially bearing in mind the large storage capacities of modern hard disks. To ensure considerably better performance, desktop search engines build and maintain an index database. Populating this database is a system intensive activity. Consequently, desktop search engines will carry out indexing when the computer is not being used.

      • 8 GB of RAM for every Chromebook? Not so fast…

        Over the weekend a headline at Android Police caught my eye: “Chromebooks desperately need more than 4GB of RAM in 2020”. That was followed by “8GB RAM or bust”. Despite the provocative title, which I think is an extreme position, the article does make sense. But we shouldn’t ask for every new Chromebook to come with 8 GB of memory.

        Let’s start with the data to see if it supports the position of requiring 8 GB of memory on new Chromebooks. There aren’t many hard numbers in the article, but it’s true that if you use Android apps on a Chromebook, you’ll be using memory even when you aren’t running those apps.

        I verified that by doing several memory tests on my Chromebook: When I removed the Google Play Store option, less memory was used upon the next bootup.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 337 – Bread Winner

        First up, in our Wanderings, Dale’s been driving, Dann’s been migrating, Leo’s been checking out the beta, Tony Hughes spreads the car love, Moss is doing double-duty distrohopping, Joe reads again

      • Our Fragmented Favorite | LINUX Unplugged 358

        It’s time to challenge some long-held assumptions.

        Today’s Btrfs is not yesterday’s hot mess, but a modern battle-tested filesystem, and we’ll prove it.

        Plus our thoughts on Github dropping the term “master”, and the changes Linux should make NOW to compete with commercial desktops.

      • This Week in Linux 106: Linux 5.7, SpaceX, Plasma 5.19, Mint vs Snaps, PineTab, Lenovo, System76

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, we’ve got so much news it’s kind of ridiculous! We’ve got a new kernel release with Linux 5.7. SpaceX Used Linux to send NASA Astronauts into Orbit. KDE released the latest version of their Plasma desktop environment with Plasma 5.19. We’ve got a lot of hardware news this week because Pine64 announced that the PineTab is now available for PreOrder. Lenovo announced that they will certify their full ThinkPad line for Linux. System76 announced their New 12-Core AMD Ryzen powered laptop, the Serval. Linux Mint has been in the news with a controversial topic related to Snaps and Chromium. Destination Linux, a podcast that I co-host, had a livestream this week at the SouthEast LinuxFest conference. Peertube announced the release of version 2.2.0 which brings some much needed improvements to this YouTube alternative software. I found some really interesting projects that we’re going to talk about. The first being a project called Weylus, which lets you use a touchscreen tablet as a drawing tablet in Linux. The other being a Linux Distro with a python userland called Snakeware. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • [Older] 80 Character Line Limits Do Not Matter So Says Linus Torvalds
      • Eight Features Not In Linux 5.8 From The DirectX Kernel Driver To FSGSBASE & DAMON

        FSGSBASE – The long-standing FSGSBASE patches that can offer some performance advantages for some workloads were recently revised as recently as v13 at the end of May. But it didn’t land for Linux 5.8 sadly but perhaps in 5.9 we’ll finally see this ability come to mainline for this instruction set extension around since Intel Ivy Bridge days.

        AMD Radeon “Navi 2″ / Sienna Cichlid – Since the start of June AMD has been publishing “Sienna Cichlid” GPU enablement patches that appear to definitely be for Navi 2 graphics cards launching later this year. The patches were sadly a few weeks too late for being reviewed and queued in DRM-Next for Linux 5.8. In turn this work will come in Linux 5.9. Unfortunately though this means the patches won’t be in a stable mainline kernel until October rather than with 5.8′s debut in August. We’ll see when Navi 2 graphics cards end up launching but there is good chances we could see Navi 2 debut before October and thus no mainline stable kernel release with that support. If the patches came earlier for 5.8, it would also allow for out-of-the-box support in the likes of Ubuntu 20.10.

      • Linux 5.8 ‘Biggest Releases of All Time’ as 20 Percent of Repository Files Will Be Modified

        “The pure size made this merge window a bit more stressful than I like”

        Nearly 20 percent of the files in the Linux kernel source repository are about to get an overhaul as Linux kernel 5.8 is set to be its biggest stable release ever with more than 800,000 lines of new code.

        The head of Linux Kernel development Linus Torvalds has stated that Linux 5.8, due to have a stable release over the summer, will be the ‘biggest releases of all time’ with 14,000 file changes, 14 non-merge commits and more than 800,000 new lines of code.

      • Linux Lands And Then Reverts Usage Of Flexible Array Members

        As a change past the Linux 5.8 merge window now that the flurry of code activity has settled down was changing the use of zero-length arrays in structs with flexible array members. Linus Torvalds did pull the change into Linux 5.8 but then decided shortly afterwards to drop the change at least for the time being.

        The pull request replaced all the existing zero-length array usage within the kernel with C99 flexible array members for dynamically-sized trailing elements in a C structure. Using flexible array members is intended to provide proper sizeof() calculations, the ability for the code compiler to generate errors when improperly used, and avoid potential undefined behavior scenarios.

      • Paul E. Mc Kenney: Stupid RCU Tricks: So you want to torture RCU?

        Let’s face it, using synchronization primitives such as RCU can be frustrating. And it is only natural to wish to get back, somehow, at the source of such frustration. In short, it is quite understandable to want to torture RCU. (And other synchronization primitives as well, but you have to start somewhere!) Another benefit of torturing RCU is that doing so sometimes uncovers bugs in other parts of the kernel. You see, RCU is not always willing to suffer alone.

        One long-standing RCU-torture approach is to use modprobe and rmmod to install and remove the rcutorture module, as described in the torture-test documentation. However, this approach requires considerable manual work to check for errors.

    • Applications

      • Getting started with Double Commander

        Double Commander is a free and open source dual pane file manager. It is an excellent file manager, especially for those who prefer a consistent file manager experience, while trying out different Linux desktop environments. This article assists you with getting Double Commander installed and configured on your Linux system.

        Each desktop environment ships with its own file manager: Nautilus on Gnome, Dolphin on KDE, Thunar on XFCE, etc. Working in the file manager forms and integral part of my daily PC work flow. Therefore I do not enjoy being forced to switch to a different file manager, each time I try out a different desktop environment on Linux. Additionally, I really enjoy dual pane file managers. If you recognize yourself in these file manager preferences, then I can highly recommend giving Double Commander a try.

        Alexander Koblov develops and maintains Double Commander and he selected the Lazarus IDE for programming Double Commander. Here is an appetizer of what Double Commander looks like, while I am writing this article:

      • FFmpeg 4.3 Released With AMD AMF Encoding, Vulkan Support, AV1 Encode

        FFmpeg 4.3 is out as the latest version of this key open-source multimedia library. FFmpeg 4.3 is quite a big release.

        FFmpeg 4.3 ships with support for handling TrueHD in MP4, Intel QSV accelerated MJPEG and VP9 decoding, and on Linux the Vulkan-powered AMD AMF encoder is now supported. AMD’s AMF is the Advanced Media Framework that has been around for a few years and can support Vulkan. It will be interesting to see if FFmpeg’s support of AMD AMF will spur further Linux adoption of it.

      • New release: Tor

        There’s a new alpha release available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for from the download page. Packages should be available over the coming weeks, with a new alpha Tor Browser release by early July.

        Remember, this is an alpha release: you should only run this if you’d like to find and report more bugs than usual.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Desperados III confirmed to be coming to Linux this Summer

        Today, Desperados III from Mimimi Games and THQ Nordic releases on PC for Windows but it’s now confirmed to be heading to Linux and macOS too.

        On Twitter, THQ Nordic mentioned how multiple big updates are already planned to launch across July and August and in the same tweet they also said, “Additionally, there will be an update this summer, adding Mac & Linux support.”—awesome! Considering Mimimi Games did a great job on Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun I’m keen to see Desperados III on Linux.

      • Humble launch the Fight for Racial Justice Bundle with 100% going to charity

        Here’s just a few of the Linux games included:

        Baba Is You
        Company of Heroes 2

      • Steam Game Festival – Summer Edition is live, lots of Linux demos

        Want to get a peek at some upcoming games? The Steam Game Festival – Summer Edition is live now with lots to have a look at for the interested Linux fan.

        Currently Steam appears to be having issues rolling out demos, we will update this with a Linux list as and when we see them appear. Please check back often. We will not be listing all demos, just what looks interesting.

      • How to improve the performance of games in Linux using GameMode

        Feral Interactive is a company and distributor of games for different platforms (macOS, Linux, iOS devices, Android devices and Nintendo Switch) to which we can attribute several quite good titles.

        Well, for some time now the company has been working and improving its tool called “GameMode” which is an impressive tool that can improve performance while playing on Linux.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • The 20 Reasons To Use KDE Desktop Environment in 2020

          From the AT&T Bell Labs to personal smartphones, Unix systems have come a long way since their inception. Earlier Unix systems did not provide users with any sort of graphical interactions that we see in modern Linux distros. However, the GUI has become an important part for many, and it’s hard to imagine life without it today. The KDE desktop environment is arguably the most innovative and popular choice for users who want a cutting-edge graphical experience. Continue reading if you want to know what contributes to KDE’s enormous popularity and if it’s the right choice for you or not.

          There are a plethora of desktop environments available for Linux. Some popular ones are GNOME, XFCE, Cinnamon, Mate, Unity as well as our beloved KDE plasma. This guide highlights some of the reasons KDE outshines many of these desktop environments.

        • Qt 5.12.9 Released

          We have released 9th patch release to Qt 5.12 LTS today. As usual it doesn’t bring any new features but many bug fixes & other improvements.

          Qt 5.12.9 has more than 90 changes and it fixes ~ 40 bugs. There is couple of security fixes (CVE-2020-11655 & CVE-2020-11656) to sql lite 3rd party component as well. Please check details from Qt 5.12.9 Change Files.

          Qt 5.12.9 can be updated to existing online installation by using maintenance tool. For new installations, please download latest online installer from Qt Account portal or from qt.io Download page. Offline packages are available for commercial users in the Qt Account portal and at the qt.io Download page for open-source users. You can also try out the Commercial evaluation option from the qt.io Download page.

        • KDE Plasma 5.19.1 Desktop Arrives as First Point Release, 30 Bug Fixes Included


          KDE Plasma 5.19.1 is here just one week after the launch of the KDE Plasma 5.19 desktop environment series, which brought more polished features, consistency changes, and improved usability.

          As expected from a first point release, KDE Plasma 5.19.1 includes only bug fixes. These address various important issues reported by users, such as the battery applet not being displayed in the system tray area or the Bluedevil applet tooltip displaying the wrong name for connected devices.

          Moreover, OpenVPN support was improved in the Plasma NetworkManager (plasma-nm) applet to avoid enabling TCP if the remote has been set on another line, the former default action of the Plasma Vault applet has been restored, and KRunner KCM now opens in System Settings.

        • Plasma 5.19.1
        • QML Online – A new home!

          Now that the project is under KDE organization, I’ll start with the planned new capabilities, such as the Kirigami support and the html element to help with online documentation of qml snippets.

          And to finish this quick update, be invited to help with the project and send Merge Requests, feature requests and opinions.

        • QML Online Now Hosted By The KDE Project For Qt/QML On The Web

          QML Online is a Qt/QML adaptation for the web powered by EmScripten / WebAssembly.

          Last month marked the first stable version of QML Online for running QML code within the web browser thanks to WebAssembly compilation.

          This QML Online open-source project is now being hosted under the KDE organization. QML Online is continuing to work on Kirigami support and other improvements for developing QML on the web.

        • Week 2: GSoC Project Report

          This week I worked on making the UI interactive and configuring the interaction between the comment model and the storyboard model. I also implemented the switching of modes.

          The comment model stores the name and visibility of comment fields. It is responsible for the comments menu’s items. Storyboard model’s items have fields to store the contents of each comment field. So whenever a comment is added to the comment model we need to add a child to each storyboard item. Similarly with removing and moving (reordering) of comment items. I connected signals for removing, adding and moving items from the comment model to storyboard model. This signals were used to perform the required actions. Remove and add signals were easy, but qt does not use the moveRows(..) function for drag and drop. Instead it inserts the row to be moved in the desired place and deletes the row. So basically the moving is faked. This results in rowsAdded, dataChanged and rowsRemoved signals. To get the rowsMoved signal I had to reimplement the mimeData and dropMimeData and call moveRows explicitly. Also we must return false in the dropMimeData function otherwise the row at previous position will be deleted as qt assumes the default actions are being followed.

        • Hello once again!

          First of all, sorry for not making a blog post early on during the community bonding period. I couldn’t because I was mostly busy with Krita’s Android release.

          Secondly, some of you might remember me from the previous year. I was GSoC student for Krita. Now it is my second time! :-)

        • The MyPaint Brush Engine is now working

          It has been more than 2 weeks since the coding period began and I didn’t post much because the project was just begun and there was no big progress. Coming to the project, the MyPaint brush engine plugin has been integrated into Krita and is working. Though, it is very rudimentary as of now, we can’t customize it, we can’t load/save brushes and there is no settings widget. All we can do as of now is just use the default settings for painting. The rest of the things will be taken care of during this summer.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36.3 Desktop Environment Released with Various Improvements

          Coming five weeks after GNOME 3.36.2, the GNOME 3.36.3 stable update continues to fix bugs, update translations and add various other smaller improvements to the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment in an attempt to offer users a more stable and reliable release.

          As expected with any point release, GNOME 3.36.3 addresses numerous bugs reported by users since previous versions across numerous components and apps, and updates many language translations.

          But there are also some improvements. For example, the Mutter window manger adds better monitor screencast on X11, implements touch-mode detection for the X11 backend, and removes external keyboard detection from touch-mode heuristics.

        • [Older] Adwait Rawat: The project I’ll be working on

          Currently, when a game which needs a firmware to run is added to GNOME Games, the user has to manually make a new platforms directory (if it does not exist already), make a directory corresponding to the name of the firmware being added, then copy the firmware file and rename the firmware file to match what’s written in the core.

        • Adwait Rawat: Task 1: Refactor existing code

          First task towards completion of the GSoC project was to refactor existing code such that it can be used later in the project.

          Originally, GNOME-Games handled firmware checks directly through the retro core source. While refactoring, GNOME Games’ model of individual modules must be kept in mind. But firmware are predominantly used by retro consoles (libretro) such as Game Boy Advance, Famicom Entertainment System, Super NES etc. So, to not break the model an abstract was needed such that retro consoles are able to use the refactored code easily, keeping the new code generic such that it theoretically works for any given platform.

          To achieve this, a Core interface was made with abstract functions which will be used by the check sum code. But since Core is an interface, it can not have function bodies. Which is why a subclass called RetroCore was also made, which defines all the abstract prototypes defined in Core that will be used by retro platform.

          The reason an abstract was needed in the first place was because of the fact that a Retro.CoreDescriptor object is needed to conduct check sums of firmware. But because it’s a Retro class function, it will be against GNOME Games programming model. Hence the need for Core interface. Which is intended as a wrapper for Retro.CoreDescriptor. These wrappers are then defined in RetroCore and used when needed.

        • Apoorv Sachan: The First Milestone

          GTK+ supports the separation of user-interface layout from your business logic, by using UI descriptions in an XML format that can be parsed by the GtkBuilder class. So what GtkBuilder does is it processed a UI definition given in XML format and does all the heavy-lifting that needs to be done for allocating widegets, styling them ID-ing, packing etc. and than allows you to obtain a reference to the concerned widget in C code which allows for tweaking or manipulating the behaviour of the widget based on business logic. Thus importantly keeping the UI definitions seperate from the business logic. Thus very similar to what Bob The Builder does, takes a blueprint and turns it into real houses and building. GtkBuilder parses objects definitions in XML and creates real runtime objects of the same property, thus sparing us the part where we call the same functions again and again to create, destroy and style widgets.

    • Distributions

      • Top 10 Linux Distribution for Security Practice – 2020

        Do you want to start your learning on hacking with a perfect toolbox in the format of Linux box, you come to the right place. Here I have listed 10+ Linux distro, which can help you to learn ethical hacking.

        Whether you want to learn security practices or pursue your career in cyber/information security or already working as a security professional, you need a perfect Linux distro that helps you.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 11.4-RELEASE Announcement

          The FreeBSD Release Engineering Team is pleased to announce the availability of FreeBSD 11.4-RELEASE. This is the fifth and final release of the stable/11 branch.

        • FreeBSD 11.4 Released: A UNIX-like Free And Stable Operating System

          Glen Barber, release engineering lead at FreeBSD, has announced the fifth and final version 11.4 of the FreeBSD 11-STABLE branch. The new FreeBSD 11.4 comes with several changes and updates to userland applications, hardware support, devices, and device drivers. FreeBSD has supported the ZFS filesystem for longer than any operating system. To further enhance its functionality in FreeBSD, v11.4 now includes support for renaming ZFS bookmarks. Additionally, it has improved the latency of synchronous 128KB writes to increase 15 to 20% performance.

        • FreeBSD 11.4 Released With Various Hardware Support Improvements, Tooling Enhancements

          For those not on the current FreeBSD 12 stable series but currently relying on FreeBSD 11, the FreeBSD 11.4 stable release is now available.

          FreeBSD 11.4 ships with various updates for this N-1 stable series. There are many bug and security fixes, camcontrol utility improvements, the ZFS utility now supports renaming bookmarks, the certctl utility is now available, support for newer JMicron AHCI controllers, D-Link DWM-222 LTE dongle support, and lower latency for ZFS synchronous 128KB writes while also allowing the ZFS ZIL max block size to be configurable.

      • Haiku

        • Haiku R1/beta2 has been released

          After about 20 months of hard work, the Haiku team has finally released, a few days ago, the second beta version of Haiku, the BeOS-inspired open-source operating system that aims to offer a fast, simple to use, and powerful alternative for personal computing. This time, I am particularly happy, even a bit proud myself, because I have also been contributing with Portuguese translations for the user interface, and this is the first beta which includes those translations. So, let’s celebrate!

          I first wrote about Haiku back in 2018, right after the first Haiku beta was released. As an old time BeOS user, I had been waiting for that moment. You can read my review of Haiku R1/beta1 in case you’re curious. So, today, I will write a few paragraphs about some things that have changed and share with you some of my impressions on what there’s to love on this new operating system. And, just because it can be done and it’s more fun, I will be writing, editing, and publishing this article just using Haiku R1/beta2. I will include a brief note explaining what software I used and if there were any difficulties.

        • Haiku R1 Beta 2 overview | simple and efficient personal computing.

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of Haiku R1 Beta 2 and some of the applications pre-installed.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Plasma “5.19″, Virtualbox, Kernel “5.7.1″ update in Tumbleweed

          An exciting week of openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots have brought even more KDE software, a new stable kernel and more.

          A week ago Plasma 5.19 arrived in the 20200609 snapshot and just a couple of days ago in snapshot 20200614 KDE’s 20.04.2 Apps Update arrived.

          A large amount of the packages updated in snapshot 20200614 were Applications 20.04.2 packages, which included improvements to the music player Elisa, search tags for the file manager Dolphin and faster editing with KDE’s advanced video-editing application Kdenlive. Several other packages were included in the snapshot like an update to image editor gimp 2.10.20, which now allows the tool-group menu that hovers to expand. The Generic Graphics Library, gegl, 0.4.24 added new horizontal and vertical shapes for vignettes. Other packages updated in the snapshot were autoyast2 4.3.13, pam 1.4.0, instant messaging client pidgin 2.14.1 and GNOME document reader evince 3.36.5. The snapshot is trending unstable with a few known issues like a bootloop and a failure to build vmware modules. The current rating was at 68 during the release of this article, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • HP Linux Imaging and Printing Drivers Now Support Fedora 32, RHEL 8.2

          HPLIP 3.20.6 arrives exactly a month after the HPLIP 3.20.5 release, which added support for Canonical’s Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) operating system series, and introduces support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, Fedora Linux 32, and Manjaro Linux 20.0 distributions.

          That means you can now use your HP printer or scanner on these distributions if you install the HPLIP 3.20.6 release, which you can download right now from the official website. Select your favorite distro from the list and download the automatic installer, which can be easily installed using these instructions.

        • HPLIP 3.20.6 Released with New Printers, Fedora 32 Support

          HPLIP, HP print, scan, and fax drivers for Linux, released 3.20.6 today with new printers and Linux distributions support, though it still does not install on Ubuntu 20.04.

        • F32-20200615 updated live iso released

          The Fedora Respins SIG is pleased to announce the latest release of Updated F32-20200601-Live ISOs, carrying the 5.6.18-300 kernel.

          This set of updated isos will save considerable amounts of updates after install. ((for new installs.)(New installs of Workstation have about 900+MB of updates)).

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

        • Tuning Red Hat Satellite using predefined profiles

          A few common questions which we hear from Red Hat Satellite users are “do I have adequate hardware?” and “Is my Satellite environment tuned as per my environment needs?” Let’s take a look at some options to tune Satellite and how to choose the right profile for your environment.

          There is no one size fits all for Satellite tuning because the usage differs a lot among customers. If you don’t have enough hardware or if proper tunings are not applied, you may see performance degradation of the Satellite server.

          The Satellite tuning guide is a great resource to identify and tune specific Satellite components. Over the years working with several large customer installations, we learned that we can standardize some common tunings based on the environment size. In this post we’ll review the Satellite predefined tuning profiles of Satellite 6.7 which help you automatically apply Satellite tuning based on your environment size.

          Last year, Satellite 6.6 introduced pre-defined tuning profiles which provided Satellite customers with ready to use custom-hiera.yaml tunings that can be applied in their deployments. Now, with Satellite 6.7 these tuning profiles are integrated into the satellite-installer for ease of use.

        • How to build a secure Call for Code solution

          As a developer participating in the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge taking on two of the world’s most urgent issues, security in your solution might not be at the top of your mind. But it should be if you want your application to be deployed to address the impact of COVID-19 or climate change.

          A successful Call for Code solution might involve health records, personal information, or other sensitive data. It might be implemented at an enterprise, federal agency, or other organization where security concerns are paramount. As such, Call for Code submissions using proven and popular open source technologies as well as IBM Cloud and Red Hat OpenShift are more likely to be secure and have a leg up in their journey to real-world deployment.

        • Peter Hutterer: It’s templates all the way down – part 2

          In Part 1 I’ve shown you how to create your own distribution image using the freedesktop.org CI templates. In Part 2, we’ll go a bit further than that by truly embracing nested images.

          Our assumption here is that we have two projects (or jobs), with the second one relying heavily on the first one. For example, the base project and a plugin, or a base project and its language bindings. What we’ll get out of this blog post is a setup where we have…

        • Adam Williamson: On inclusive language: an extended metaphor involving parties because why not

          So there’s been some discussion within Red Hat about inclusive language lately, obviously related to current events and the worldwide protests against racism, especially anti-Black racism. I don’t want to get into any internal details, but in one case we got into some general debate about the validity of efforts to use more inclusive language. I thought up this florid party metaphor, and I figured instead of throwing it at an internal list, I’d put it up here instead. If you have constructive thoughts on it, go ahead and mail me or start a twitter thread or something. If you have non-constructive thoughts on it, keep ‘em to yourself!

        • Undiscovered machine learning frameworks, new IT bootcamps, and more industry trends

          As part of my role as a senior product marketing manager at an enterprise software company with an open source development model, I publish a regular update about open source community, market, and industry trends for product marketers, managers, and other influencers. Here are five of my and their favorite articles from that update.

      • Devuan Family

        • A First Look At Devuan 3.0 “Beowulf”

          Devuan is a “protest distro” that is a fork of Debian but without systemd. I’ve never looked at Devuan before, so I downloaded their standard desktop-live ISO and run through a quick installation.

      • Debian Family

        • Utkarsh Gupta: GSoC Phase 1

          Earlier last month, I got selected as a Google Summer of Code student for Debian again!

        • Ampere donates Arm64 server hardware to Debian to fortify the Arm ecosystem

          The donated servers have been deployed at the University of British Columbia, our hosting partner in Vancouver, Canada. The Debian System Administrators (DSA) have configured them to run arm64/armhf/armel build daemons, replacing the build daemons running on less powerful development-grade boards. On virtual machines with half as many allocated vCPUs, the result has been that the time to build Arm* packages has been halved with Ampere’s eMAG system. Another benefit from this generous gift is that it will allow DSA to migrate some general Debian services currently operating in our present infrastructure, and will provision virtual machines for other Debian teams (e.g.: Continuous Integration, Quality Assurance, etc.) who require access to Arm64 architecture.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 will block Ubuntu Snap by default

          The team behind the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint plans to release Linux Mint 20 next month. The release features several changes and improvements. One of the changes was announced in the June 2020 news roundup on the official Linux Mint blog.

          According to information posted there, the team behind Linux Mint is worried about the direction that Ubuntu Snap is taking, and decided to block snap by default in Linux Mint 20.

          Snap offers one way of installing applications on Linux systems. Its main advantage over traditional installation systems is that it bundles the application and its dependencies. In other words, less worries about missing dependencies when installing applications.

        • Ubuntu Server Vs. Desktop: What’s the difference?

          For quite some time, Ubuntu has held the position of being the most popular Linux Operating System in the market. To ensure it keeps this status and keep customers coming back, Ubuntu comes in several variations.

          The first is that Ubuntu comes in two flavors; Ubuntu Stable release and Ubuntu (LTS) Long Term Support iteration. It splits further into Ubuntu Cloud, Core, Kylin, Desktop, and Ubuntu Server. Let’s focus on Ubuntu Server and Ubuntu desktop for now and look at the difference between the two.

        • Canonical Launches the Ubuntu Appliance Initiative for Raspberry Pi and PC

          The Ubuntu Appliance initiative provides the Linux community with a new class of Ubuntu derivatives, build by Canonical and designed for the Raspberry Pi in collaboration with well-known Open Source projects like Nextcloud, OpenHAB, Mosquitto, AdGuard, and others.

          They come in the form of specialized appliance images that you can install on a Raspberry Pi single-board computer to instantly transform it into a smart device that’s secure, updates itself automatically and does exactly what you want. If you don’t have a Raspberry Pi, the appliances also work on PCs.

        • First Ubuntu 20.04 Point Release Delayed; It Will Now Arrive On August 6

          Are you waiting to try the latest long-term Ubuntu 20.04 after its first point release? Well, then you still have to hold on to your patience for extra two weeks.

          Yesterday, Steve Langasek, Ubuntu release manager, informed on the Ubuntu mailing list that the new point release date of Ubuntu 20.04 and 18.04 has now been rescheduled. The target date for the first 20.04.1 is now 6 August 2020 instead of the previous 23 July; for 18.04.5, the release date is now 13 August 2020 instead of 6 August.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Computers as I used to love them

        I tried Syncthing, a free and open-source alternative. And you know what? It’s been liberating. The sanity, the simplicity, the reliability, the features. It brings the joy of use and makes you believe the collapse of civilization can be slowed down a bit.

        Syncthing is everything I used to love about computers.

        It’s amazing how great computer products can be when they don’t need to deal with corporate bullshit, don’t have to promote a brand or to sell its users. Frankly, I almost ceased to believe it’s still possible. But it is.


        Another ugly thing both iCloud and Dropbox routinely do is trying to scare you from walking away.

      • Prokopov: Computers as I used to love them

        Nikita Prokopov reviews Syncthing (a file-synchronization system) and, seemingly, rediscovers free software…

      • Brendon Chung releases three of his games’ source codes for developers to use

        I’ve made no bones about being an ardent fan of Brendon Chung and his work under the Blendo Games moniker. While only clocking in at only 15 minutes, Thirty Flights of Loving does more cinematically in its short time than any triple-A game could hope to. Quadrilateral Cowboy, an id Tech 4 game released in 2016, enthralled me so much that it was my personal game of the year.

        On top of making some truly stellar games, Chung is also an avid supporter of the art of game development and giving hobby programmers a leg up. Keeping in line with this, Chung has released the source codes for three of his games for all to see and use on GitHub. The newly-released games are Quadrilateral Cowboy, Thirty Flights of Loving, and Gravity Bone. All three were released under the GNU license which is the gold standard of open source, so have at it. The games join Flotilla which also had its source code released a few months ago on the same platform, under the zLib License.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Ten years to a bachelor’s degree in computer science

            Yes, I’ve spent the last ten years working on a bachelor’s degree. That’s because I’ve been working full-time as a software engineer, and going to school part-time. It’s long overdue, but California State University, East Bay has just awarded me a bachelor’s of science degree in computer science, with a minor in mathematics and cum laude honors.

            With no college debt, to boot.

          • And now for something completely different: The dawning of the Age of Apple Aquarius

            An interesting document has turned up at the Internet Archive: the specification to the Scorpius CPU, the originally intended RISC successor to the 68K Macintosh.

            In 1986 the 68K processor line was still going strong but showing its age, and a contingent of Apple management (famously led by then-Mac division head Jean-Louis Gassée and engineer Sam Holland) successfully persuaded then-CEO John Sculley that Apple should be master of its own fate with its own CPU. RISC was just emerging at that time, with the original MIPS R2000 CPU appearing around 1985, and was clearly where the market was going (arguably it still is, since virtually all major desktop and mobile processors are load-store at the hardware level today, even Intel); thus was the Aquarius project born. Indeed, Sculley’s faith in the initiative was so great that he allocated a staff of fifty and even authorized a $15 million Cray supercomputer, which was smoothed over with investors by claiming it was for modeling Apple hardware (which, in a roundabout and overly optimistic way, it was) and to see, in Al Kossow’s words, “what could be done if you had a Macintosh with the power of a Cray.”

          • Firefox UX: Remote UX collaboration across different time zones (yes, it can be done!)

            Even in the “before” times, the Firefox UX team was distributed across many different time zones. Some of us already worked remotely from our home offices or co-working spaces. Other team members worked from one of the Mozilla offices around the world.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • Router Freedom in Europe +++ Hamburg pro Free Software +++ European Parliament

            In our June Newsletter read among other things about the FSFE’s achievements regarding Router Freedom in Europe, about a new coalition agreement in Hamburg that puts a focus on Free Software and about the European Parliament demanding “Public Money? Public Code!”. As always, also read about our diverse community activities.
            Router Freedom in Europe challenged by new set of rules
            Since 2013, the FSFE has been advocating for Router Freedom in Europe with outstanding results in Germany and with positive influence across Europe. Now, a new set of rules comes into play regarding Router Freedom, the new Guidelines on the Location of the Network Termination Point (NTP). These are the draft results by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC). In a next step, these guidelines have to be implemented locally by states’ National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs). We summarised the positive outcomes as well as the challenges ahead.

            On the positive side, BEREC acknowledged the contribution brought into the discussion by the FSFE. Most important, BEREC modified the official text in order to adopt our position to the extent that Router Freedom should be the rule when determining the NTP. BEREC also explicitly recognised a lot of other arguments we brought into the discussion in favor of real Router Freedom – from net neutrality to end-users’ digital sovereignty to improved innovation and competition. Unfortunately, the new guidelines from BEREC still grant the different NRAs the discretionary power to restrict Router Freedom if they decide that there is an “objective technological necessity” for routers to be part of the ISP’s network.

            These vague terms used by the guidelines will probably cause discrepancies during the national implementations of 27 different countries. Now help us monitor their implementation. The next six months will be essential to understanding if the NRAs’ approach will benefit or harm Router Freedom.

      • Programming/Development

        • An Adventure in Codeberg.org – A Review by A Non-Programmer

          Reading Dr. Roy’s Techrights.org made me want to write more about Help Quit GitHub in general and Codeberg.org in particular. What is Codeberg? It is a free home for free projects. It is like GitHub.com, but unlike GitHub, it is powered by Free Software for Free Software Projects without Microsoft proprietary software giant behind it. I am not a programmer, but live within a worldwide community of programmers, and care about Free/Libre Open Source Software just like you do. So I make this short review of Codeberg and I wish everybody to know it and helped to make switch. Happy hacking!

        • Using Nano Because Vim Is Scary? Use Micro Instead!

          Not leet enough to learn Vim or Emacs? OK, but don’t settle on being just another “nano noob.” There is a middle ground. And that middle ground text editor is called micro! It is a modern and intuitive terminal-based text editor that features syntax highlighting, splits, tabs, multiple cursors and a plugin system.

        • Getting Started With Haskell

          Some of the viewers have asked me to take a closer look at Haskell since I’ve done so much content regarding Xmonad, a tiling window manager written in Haskell. Well, I’m not a programmer by trade. And I certainly wouldn’t say I “know” Haskell.

        • Jussi Pakkanen: The human brain comprehends atoms but it does not comprehend electrons

          The most common thing people know about software projects is that they fail. They might get delayed for months and years. They might be ten times more expensive than expected. They might be completely unusable pieces of garbage. And so on. Over the past 50 or so years many theories have been presented on why that is and how things could be made better. A lot of progress has been made, but no fundamental breakthrough has been made. Software projects still fail fairly often for unexpected reasons.

          Typically this implies that there is some fundamental issue (or, more likely, several of them) causing these problems. Since nobody really knows what the real cause is, we are free to wildly speculate and hypothesize that the problem lies somewhere in the human brain. Not any single person’s brain, mind you, but fundamental properties of the brain itself.


          This is the essence of creating software. Since it exists purely in the realm of logic and mathematics, you can’t really see it, smell it, touch it or feel it. It has failure modes unfathomable with physical processes and these problems occur fairly regularly. This means that all the builtin functionality of your brain is useless in evaluating the outcome and quality of a software project. Code can only experienced through thinking, which is slow, difficult and error prone. As opposed to cars, comparing two different code bases for quality and suitability is a big undertaking. But it gets worse.

          The output of code, like the web browser you are using to read this blog post, look and feel a lot like physical objects made of atoms. This means that when people who have no personal experience in programming either buy or manage software projects, they are going to do it as if they were dealing with physical real world objects. That is what they are trained to do and have years of experience in after all. It is also actively harmful, because software is electrons and, as such, beyond the immediate instictive grasp of the human brain. It does not play by the rules of atoms and trying to make it do so will only lead to failure.

        • Python

          • direnv and pip-tools together

            I have been experimenting with using pip-tools to manage my python project dependencies. If you’re not familiar with it, I encourage you to read Hynek Schlawack’s excellent introduction to dependency management in Python which introduces it and offers some comparisons to other alternatives like Poetry and Pipenv.

            The simple explanation, though, is that pip-tools offers two commands: pip-compile and pip-sync that work to keep a virtualenv’s dependencies both reproducible and in sync with the expressed requirements. This is done by having the developer edit a requirements.in file, which is compiled into requirements.txt, and then synced into the project virtualenv.

          • How to Add Empty Columns to Dataframe with Pandas

            Now, in all the examples here we will both insert empty strings and/or missing values as both could be considered being empty. In the first section, however, we will create a dataframe from a dictionary. After we have created a dataframe we will go on to the examples on how to create empty columns in a dataframe.

          • Python 101 – Working with Strings (Video)

            This video is based on a chapter from my book, Python 101 2nd Edition.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #3
          • Montreal Python User Group: Montréal-Python 78 – Ingenious Rewrite

            At Montréal-Python, everyone is welcome.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #425 (June 16, 2020)
          • Python Generators 101

            Have you ever had to work with a dataset so large that it overwhelmed your machine’s memory? Or maybe you have a complex function that needs to maintain an internal state every time it’s called, but the function is too small to justify creating its own class. In these cases and more, generators and the Python yield statement are here to help.

          • Python Modulo Operator

            The modulo operation is an arithmetic operation that finds the remainder of the division of one number by another. The remainder is called the modulus of the operation.

            For example, 5 divided by 3 equals 1, with a remainder of 2, and 8 divided by 4 equals 2, with a remainder of 0.

        • Rust

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Department of Commerce Clears Huawei for Standards Development – Part Way

        The long face-off between the Trump administration and Huawei involving standards development has finally been resolved. Well, yes and no, on which more below.

        Initially the issue was whether standards setting organizations (“SSOs”) would be able to permit the Chinese 5G technology company and scores of its affiliates (collectively, “Huawei”) to participate in their working groups. But over time, the political landscape shifted – many of the SSOs where the action was taking place took the position that their processes were sufficiently open to make the issue moot. But some of the most active American technology companies came to a different conclusion, thereby making it impossible for them to participate without risking liability to their own government (more details can be found here).

        The saga began in May of 2019, when Huawei was added to the Bureau of Industry and Security (“BIS”) Entity List, making it illegal for U.S. companies to share many kinds of technology with Huawei without a special BIS license. Initially, a Temporary General License (“TGL”) was provided that included a clause that allowed Huawei to continue to participate in (only) 5G standards development, but in August 2020, that clause was removed. At the same time, BIS released a General Advisory Opinion, noting its determination that existing regulations sufficiently addressed how the Entity List-based license requirements applied to standards development bodies, including 5G. That left SSOs in the difficult position of determining whether their standards development rules were sufficiently open to meet the requirements of one of two safe harbors (participating in meetings and contributing to journals), neither of which was a very good fit.

  • Leftovers

    • Dirty Hairy
    • Comix Nation
    • I used a tool to reach…

      I used a tool to reach a tool I used to make a tool I used to make a metaphysics. The crows, those rocket scientists, those medieval scholars, were exhaustively doing and knowing the heavy spatial world, writing their summa, scolding us, singing while dreaming, knowing foe from friend. I used the body to make beliefs I used to renounce others I spoke to in words I thieved from trash and made further rips in the system and I went on flying with a slice.

    • eBay Execs Thought Sending Dead Pigs, Live Spiders To Small News Website Was A Good Idea

      Pop quiz: a couple publishes a relatively small news website critical of your massive and hugely profitable corporation.

    • Bodies & Water

      I think about my kneecaps, my ear canal, the slight webbing between toes & fingers; I think about brown bodies, my body; how my belly ebbs & sinks & floats & calms in water; I think about black bodies, about statistics, how 65% of black American children cannot swim; 60 for Latinx children; 79 from low income families. How statistics hold history in the sharp end of a tack; my brother & me thrown out of swim lessons for causing trouble; limbs reach & tread, lacking know-how; how a statistic takes a term like access, wads it into a crumpled shape, in search of any receptacle other than a docket; our cells contain wet & wombing history of sea & salt in our nervous systems; our cells crave water & in turn crave equity; no magic equation exists to explain why what’s made of water wants water; no need. The human body consists of organs & tissues & hydrogen & calcium & sodium & chlorine & water & water & water & water. Why must my water offend your water? Fuck your count of my offensive features—labia, mustache, mammary glands, black hair on my nipples, thoughts in my cranium, uterus, hopes sewn in cerebrum, words readied at tongue— you dominate narrative: a scratched record caught in dilapidated loop, white noise that coats ammonia down my throat to attempt erasure; history of attempts. You cannot remove water from water, sea from sea.

    • Science

      • Dexamethasone and hydrochloroquine: A tale of two drugs for COVID-19

        This is a tale of two drugs, whose individual fortunes have taken very different turns just this week. (And it’s only Wednesday!) The first is a drug that I’ve written quite a lot about going back to March, while the second one came out of nowhere in a press release announcing clinical trial findings just yesterday. Those of you who follow the news can no doubt immediately identify the two drugs. The first drug is hydroxychloroquine, while the second drug is a steroid called dexamethasone. From an evidence-based perspective, the first has, other than a blip, nearly completed its cycle of a meteoric rise followed by a punishing fall.

    • Education

      • How the New York City School System Failed the Test of Covid-19

        When Mr. Smith, a teacher at Crotona International High School on the Grace Dodge Campus in the Bronx in New York City, started to feel sick, he thought it might be because he’d been training hard. (Smith is a pseudonym, to protect the teacher from reprisals.) An avid runner, he didn’t at first think that his achiness might be the novel coronavirus he’d been hearing about. That was Monday, March 9.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Starburst, Startup Built Off Facebook Open-Source Project, Raises $42 Million From Ex-Facebook PR Chief

              Based in Boston, Starburst is the second collaboration of Borgman and cofounder Matt Fuller, who sold an enterprise software startup called Hadapt to Teradata in 2014. Borgman was intrigued by an open-source project in data analytics that had come out of Facebook called Presto. “What struck me about Presto was that it allows you to do data warehousing analytics, essentially SQL analytics, without storing data,” Borgman says. “And I think that’s what makes it so fundamentally different from any other database in history.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (galera, grafana, libjcat, libvirt, mariadb-connector-c, and perl), Gentoo (asterisk, bubblewrap, cyrus-imapd, faad2, json-c, openconnect, openjdk-bin, pcre2, PEAR-Archive_Tar, thunderbird, and tomcat), Mageia (mbedtls and scapy), openSUSE (libntlm, libupnp, prboom-plus, varnish, and xen), Oracle (libexif), Red Hat (kpatch-patch), Scientific Linux (libexif), SUSE (mariadb, nodejs6, and poppler), and Ubuntu (apport).

          • Does Signal’s “secure value recovery” really work?

            If you care about privacy, Signal messenger is currently the gold standard of how messenger services should be build. It provides strong end-to-end encryption, without requiring any effort on the user’s side. It gives users an easy way to validate connection integrity via another channel. Its source code is available for anybody to inspect, and it’s generally well-regarded by experts.

            The strong commitment to privacy comes with some usability downsides. One particularly important one was the lack of a cloud backup – if you ever lost your phone, all your messages would be gone. The reason is obviously that it’s hard to secure this sensitive data on an untrusted server. That isn’t an issue that other apps care about, these will simply upload the data to their server unencrypted and require you to trust them. Signal is expected to do better, and they finally announced a secure way to implement this feature.

          • Onion service v2 deprecation timeline

            On Monday June 15, the developers of the Tor Project announced the initial plan for the deprecation of Onion services v2. You can identify v2 addresses easily as they are only 16 character long, where as the v3 addresses are 56 character long.

          • Linux security: Intrusion detection and prevention

            How these tools work varies from vendor to vendor, but the basics are the same. The network-based tool monitors traffic on the network and matches it to a long list of known signatures. These signatures describe a variety of attacks ranging from simple corrupt packets to more specific attacks such as SQL injection.

            Host-based tools tend to have more capabilities as they have access to the entire host. A host-based IPS can look at network traffic as well as monitor files and logs. One of the more popular tools, OSSEC-HIDS, monitors traffic, logs, file integrity, and even has signatures for common rootkits.

            More advanced tools have additional detection capabilities such as statistical anomaly detection or stateful protocol inspection. Both of these capabilities use algorithms to detect intrusions. This allows detection of intrusions that don’t yet have signatures created for them.


            The second EPEL package is fail2ban. Fail2ban is more of an IPS style tool in that it monitors and acts when it detects something awry. One common implementation of fail2ban is monitoring the openssh logs. By building a signature that identifies a failed login, fail2ban can detect multiple attempts to login from a single source address and block that source address. Typically, fail2ban does this by adding rules to the host’s firewall, but in reality, it can run any script you can come up with. So, for instance, you can write a script to block the IP on the local firewall and then transmit that IP to some central system that will distribute the firewall block to other systems. Just be careful, however, as globally blocking yourself from every system on the network can be rather embarrassing.

          • More than 100K HiChip Wireless Cameras in UK Vulnerable to Hacking

            It’s a very ironic world when the very products we buy to help keep us safe and secure are themselves vulnerable and not secure. This is the situation with more than 100,000 HiChip wireless cameras in the UK that have been identified as being prone to hacking. HiChip Wireless Cameras Vulnerable A consumer watchdog has found that more than 100,000 cameras that were manufactured by HiChip, a Chinese company, have security flaws, leaving them vulnerable.

          • Python Backdoor, fully undetectable and rich in features

            Python-Backdoor is a fully undetectable backdoor written entirely in Python with the main purpose of contributing to the cybersecurity field. Rich in features, although it’s server can be operated from the whole range of well known operating systems, it targets the Windows machine.

            Having tested this cyber weapon on my own lab, I came to the conclusion that such tool is worth being shared with anyone who is passionate about computer security, or penetration testing.

          • LinuxSecurity Celebrates 24 Years of Serving as the Linux Community’s Central Security Resource

            LinuxSecurity.com, the open-source community’s go-to source for security news and information, celebrates providing the Linux community with timely, authoritative industry content for nearly two and a half decades. LinuxSecurity.com is a valuable resource for Linux users, system administrators and ethical hackers – informing community members of the latest cyber security-related news, trends and advisories.

            The comprehensive website design is packed with informative guides and articles to help system administrators, security analysts and developers get answers to their top Linux and open source security questions.

          • James Morris: Linux Security Summit North America 2020: Online Schedule

            Just a quick update on the Linux Security Summit North America (LSS-NA) for 2020.

            The event will take place over two days as an online event, due to COVID-19. The dates are now July 1-2, and the full schedule details may be found here.

          • Intel Releases New Microcode For Skylake CPUs (20200616)

            While Intel updated the CPU microcode for Skylake and other affected generations last week as part of the SRBDS / CrossTalk vulnerability that was made public last week Tuesday, today Intel quietly released another microcode revision but this time just for Skylake.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • All Russian schools to install new ‘Orwell’ surveillance camera systems

              All schools in Russia are set to install surveillance cameras with facial recognition technology, Vedomosti reports. 

            • Tradeoffs: Facebook Helping The FBI Hack Tails To Track Down A Truly Awful Child Predator Raises Many Questions

              Last week, Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai at Vice had a bombshell of a story about Facebook helping the FBI track down a horrible, horrible person by paying a cybersecurity firm to build a zero-day attack on Tails, the secure operating system setup that is recommended by many, including Ed Snowden, for people who want to keep secrets away from the prying eyes of the government.

            • MTV Fires ‘Siesta Key’ Star Alex Kompothecras After Alleged Racist Social Media Posts

              Several scripted and unscripted shows have recently fired cast members over racist comments and behavior in light of the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

              Last week, MTV cut ties with another reality show cast member, Dee Nguyen from “The Challenge,” over insensitive comments she made about the Black Lives Matter movement. Bravo fired four cast members, including Stassi Schroeder and Kristen Doute, for past racist actions. “The Flash” star Hartley Sawyer was cut after racist and misogynistic tweets from his past resurfaced as well.

            • MTV Fires Siesta Key’s Alex Kompothecras for Allegedly Sharing Racist Posts

              Racist comments and white supremacist posts allegedly made by Kompothecras recently resurfaced and have been circulating by fan accounts online.

            • Zuckerberg Hopes Facebook Will Help Register 4 Million Voters

              The company has made the 2020 election one of its top priorities after foreign actors used the social network to sow division among voters in 2016. It has made numerous changes to protect the integrity of elections, including a new application process for running political ads, but has still been criticized for enabling misinformation on the platform. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden castigated Facebook last week, saying the company has allowed Trump “and his allies” to lie on the service. Facebook has a policy that the company will not fact-check political ads from politicians.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Time to ‘Reinvest in People’ and ‘Cut Weapons of War’: Barbara Lee Unveils Plan to Cut Up to $350 Billion From Pentagon

        “Redundant nuclear weapons, off-books spending accounts, and endless wars in the Middle East don’t keep us safe.”

      • Cold War Bully: the Life and Crimes of Roy Cohn

        Ever since the spring of 1954, when I was a precocious 12-year-old kid who watched the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV, I have loved to hate Roy Cohen (1927-1986), Joe McCarthy’s co-conspirator and dark twin. One year earlier, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg died in the electric chair at Sing Sing—the single most significant event in my boyhood. Even more important than when the Dodgers beat the Yankees, the Russians launched Sputnik and Beatniks appeared on the scene.

      • Not the Way It Was: Spike Lee’s Shallow Film on Viet Nam

        It is now 2:00AM in Portland, Oregon. I just got through  watching Spike Lee’s 2hr. and 35min. film on Viet Nam. I have two words to describe this film:  EXTREMELY SHALLOW.

      • Barbara Lee Unveils Plan to Cut Up to $350 Billion From Pentagon

        Demanding that Congress “prioritize our safety and our future, not more war,” Rep. Barbara Lee on Monday unveiled a resolution proposing up to $350 billion in cuts to the Pentagon budget by closing U.S. military bases overseas, ending ongoing conflicts, scrapping weapons programs, and eliminating President Donald Trump’s Space Force.

      • Demonstrator Shot in New Mexico as Right-Wing Militia Attacks Protest Over Monument to Brutal Conquistador

        “These extremists cannot be allowed to silence peaceful protests or inflict violence.”

      • 47 UN Human Rights Experts Condemn US Support for Israel’s ‘Unlawful’ Annexation Plan

        “Accountability and an end to impunity must become an immediate priority for the international community,” the experts wrote. “Palestinians and Israelis deserve no less.” 

      • Militia Member Opens Fire on Protester Demanding Removal of Conquistador Statue

        A demonstrator at a peaceful protest in Albuquerque demanding the removal of a statue of a controversial Spanish conquistador was shot by a right-wing militia group member on Monday night.

      • The Miracle of Salisbury

        It turns out that the BBC really does believe that God is an Englishman. When the simple impossibility of the official story on the Skripals finally overwhelmed the dramatists, they resorted to Divine Intervention for an explanation – as propagandists have done for millennia.

      • Portugal finally recognises consul who saved thousands from Holocaust

        As Portugal’s consul in Bordeaux, Aristides de Sousa Mendes faced a moral dilemma. Should he obey government orders or listen to his own conscience and supply Jews with the visas that would allow them to escape from advancing German forces?

        Sousa Mendes’ remarkable response means he is remembered as a hero by survivors and descendants of the thousands he helped to flee.

        But his initiative also spelt the end of a diplomatic career under Portuguese dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, and the rest of his life was spent in penury.

        Portugal finally granted official recognition to its disobedient diplomat on 9 June, and parliament decided a monument in the National Pantheon should bear his name.

      • ‘Unprecedented’ Border Clash Between China and India Leaves at Least 20 Dead as Dangerous Tensions Rise

        “It is an extraordinary escalation. No shots fired for 45 years, and then at least 20 soldiers dead in one evening in rock-throwing and bludgeoning.”

      • ‘Violent Face-Off’ Sees Multiple Soldiers Killed on China-India Border

        hree Indian soldiers have been reported killed after a clash with Chinese troops along the disputed Himalayan border between the two countries on Monday.

        The Indian army announced Tuesday that one officer and two soldiers have been killed in the violence, and claimed there were also casualties on the Chinese side. The Chinese government has not yet confirmed the assertion, though the editor of the state-run Global Times newspaper said on Twitter he believed there were Chinese casualties.

        The Indian army said that military officials are now meeting at the site of the fighting to defuse the situation.

      • India and China have their first deadly clashes in 45 years

        The Indian and Chinese armies had been locked in a stand-off at three sites in Ladakh, an Indian territory at the northernmost tip of the country, for over a month. In April the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) broke off from exercises and occupied a series of remote border posts along the disputed frontier, known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Both sides quickly moved troops and heavy weapons towards the LAC. As troops squared off, punch-ups erupted twice in May, at Pangong lake, in Ladakh, and at Naku La in Sikkim, 1,200km to the east, resulting in serious injuries on both sides. In total, the PLA grabbed around 40 to 60 square kilometres of territory that India considers to be its own, estimates Lieutenant-General H.S. Panag, a former head of the Indian army’s northern command.

      • India-China clash: Two sides blame each other for deadly fighting

        Monday’s confrontation in the Ladakh region was the first deadly clash in the border area in at least 45 years.

        India said China had tried to “unilaterally change the status quo”. Beijing accused Indian troops of “attacking Chinese personnel”.

        The two armies later held talks to try to defuse tensions.

      • During the Korean War, captured American soldiers found themselves in POW camps run by Chinese Communists…

        During the Korean War, captured American soldiers found themselves in POW camps run by Chinese Communists. The Chinese treated captives quite differently than their allies, the North Koreans, who favored savagery and harsh punishment to gain compliance

        The Red Chinese engaged in what they called “lenient policy,” which was a sophisticated psychological assault on their captives. After the war, American psychologists questioned the returning prisoners intensively, because of the unsettling success of the Chinese program

        The Chinese were very effective in getting Americans to inform on one another, in contrast to the behavior of American POWs in WWII. For this reason, escape plans were quickly uncovered and escape attempts themselves were rarely successful.

      • In Yemen, families suffer as COVID-19 dries up money from abroad

        In a small corner shop on a back street in Aden, 17-year-old Mohammed fills the shelves of a glass-fronted refrigerator with cartons of juice. It’s a futile task when the fridge is little more than a warm display cabinet, after 12 hours without electricity in 36 degrees Celsius of sweat-filled heat.

        Added to the daily grind of climbing temperatures, the lack of regular power, and recent flash floods – and amidst a war now in its sixth year – the southern city of Aden has recently become the epicentre of Yemen’s COVID-19 outbreak.

        Officially, cases in Yemen are below 850, with 209 deaths, but – with minimal testing capacity and a health system that has largely collapsed – aid agencies warn the real figures are likely far higher.

      • Civilians in Kenya’s northeast targeted by both jihadists and the state

        On a stifling night in April, Ibrahim Abdi was sitting outside his home in Wajir, trying to catch a breeze after evening prayers, when his Kenya Police Reserve unit came for him. They said a group of al-Shabab jihadists had been spotted in a nearby village in the remote northeastern region, close to the Somali border, and he should get his gun and come with them.

        Abdi’s wife remembers he was reluctant. He asked why he always had to prove his loyalty by confronting the Somali-based insurgents, but he went nonetheless. The next morning, Abdi was dead: killed in an ambush 15 kilometres from his home, along with six other reservists in the eight-man unit.

        Abdi was an unlikely member of the KPR, an auxiliary home guard that in the rest of Kenya usually chases poachers. He was a relatively well-to-do shop owner – not the economic profile of a typical rough-and-ready recruit.

        But Abdi, a Somali-speaking Kenyan, was struggling with a reputation problem. His brother’s body had been found in a shallow grave two years earlier, and the government alleged he had been al-Shabab. The suspicion in Wajir was that he had been killed by the security forces. For Abdi, that meant a dangerous guilt by relation.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Google bans website ZeroHedge from its ad platform over comments on protest articles

        “We have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on and explicitly prohibit derogatory content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race from monetizing,” the spokesperson wrote. “When a page or site violates our policies, we take action. In this case, we’ve removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google.”

        After publication of this story, Google backtracked Tuesday, clarifying that The Federalist had been warned about policy violations but still had time to address them. It now has three days to remove the violations before a ban goes into effect.

        Google notified ZeroHedge of the policy violations last week and banned the website from its ad platform.

      • Google bans ZeroHedge from its advertising platform, issues citation against The Federalist

        The two sites were found to be in violation of Google’s policies on content related to race when they pushed unsubstantiated claims about the Black Lives Matter protests sparked in recent weeks by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25, NBC News first reported.

      • Former Reuters journalist speaks out about US attack that killed colleagues

        Thirteen years ago in Iraq, US soldiers in an attack helicopter killed 11 people in what the US described at the time as a firefight — nine were insurgents and two were employees of the Reuters news agency — a photojournalist and a fixer.

        A cockpit video captured the killings and was later leaked to Wikileaks.

        The release of that footage, called “Collateral Damage”, showed the US military targeting the journalists and made WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange a household name.

        He’s now detained in a British prison, facing extradition to the US on espionage charges.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘We Must Act Now’: 180 House Democrats Urge Pelosi to Save Clean Energy Industry ‘Decimated’ by Pandemic

        The lawmakers’ letter came as a new analysis showed at least 620,590 clean energy workers in the U.S. lost jobs from March through May.

      • ‘They insulted us’ Dijon, France sees ongoing unrest due to fighting between immigrants from Chechnya and North Africa

        French law enforcement decided to send reinforcements into the city Dijon in eastern France due to ongoing unrest that arose against the backdrop of a confrontation between two minority groups — immigrants from Russia’s Chechnya and from North Africa.

      • Leaked documents reveal Moscow government’s involvement in forced voter registration

        Moscow’s Department of Information Technology (DIT) is using an online system to track how many government employees have registered to vote in Russia’s July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments. Now, opposition politician Alexey Navalny has published copies of tables containing this data, claiming that the documents were sent to him from the Moscow DIT. 

      • But Where Can We Shelter?

        After the fifth debate of the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, The Washington Post published one of its infamous fact-checks highlighting those moments when, in the paper’s estimation, someone got too loose with the truth. Among the 10 claims flagged by the Post was Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s remark that the United States has “500,000 people sleeping out on the street.” This statement was “exaggerated,” the Post admonished, because while it’s true that in 2018 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that there were 553,000 people experiencing homelessness in America, not all of them were technically on the streets; some 360,000 were in shelters or transitional housing.

      • Dim Reaper
      • No, Google Didn’t Demonetize The Federalist & It’s Not An Example Of Anti-Conservative Bias

        So, earlier today, NBC reported that Google had “banned” two well known websites from its ad platform, namely The Federalist and Zero Hedge. The story was a bit confusing. To be clear, both of those sites are awful and frequently post unmitigated garbage, conspiracy theories, and propaganda. But, it turns out the story was highly misleading, though it will almost certainly be used to push the false narrative that the big internet companies are engaged in “anti-conservative bias” in moderation practices. But that’s wrong. Indeed, it appears what happened is exactly what Google has done to us in the past, in saying that because of certain comments people put on our stories, they were pulling any Google ads from appearing on that page. Now we’ve explained why this is a dumb policy, that only encourages bad comments on sites to try to demonetize them, but it’s not got anything to do with “anti-conservative bias.” Also, it’s just pulling ads from a single page, not across the board.

      • Too Many African American Children Are Born in Shackles

        Led by the passion of a young and diverse generation, the country must finally address the systemic inequality that increasingly endangers all of us.

      • Donald Trump: Finally Caught Crossing A Red Line

        Donald Trump has crossed many red lines over the past three and a half years, but he has finally crossed one that could cost him politically.  The trappings of his fascist march to St. John’s Episcopal Church and his blasphemous display of a bible (held backwards and upside down) in front of the church have elicited significant criticism, including from the highest military and civilian leaders of the Pentagon.  The military obviously didn’t share the view of Trump’s press spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnaney, who compared the president’s bible-toting stroll to something “Like Churchill…inspecting bombing damage….”

    • Tough-Talking Trump

      If he’s so tough, one asks, why did he hunker Inside that White House armor-plated bunker? With protests peaceful, why did it make sense To build a fence around the White House fence? Because, perhaps, he must have shelter when Those bone spurs get to acting up again.

    • Donald Trump’s Baseball Career Showed Us What a Terrible President He Would Be
    • The Right Is Scared of the Protests
    • Trump Willing to Kill Hundreds of Thousands of Americans in Effort to Win Election

      If 100% of the population would simply wear masks when they go out, evidence shows, the rate of transmission falls below 1 and the number of cases dwindles. Why don’t so many people? Because the president has told them not to.

    • ‘No Words Can Describe’: Ilhan Omar’s Father, Nur Omar Mohamed, Dies of Coronavirus Complications

      Omar arrived in the U.S. with her father in 1995 as a Somalian refugee, and was elected to Congress 23 years later. 

    • The Fight to Remove Georgia’s Secretary of Voter Suppression Has Begun

      LaTosha Brown, the cofounder of Black Voters Matter, was out until past midnight last Tuesday, helping Georgians who had waited in line for five hours or more to cast ballots in a primary where voters in predominantly African American precincts faced unconscionable delays. Now, she wants answers—and action. “The voter suppression we witnessed in Georgia,” she says, “is a dress rehearsal of what will come in November unless we work together and demand accountability now.”

    • This Isn’t the Way to Push Warren as Biden’s VP

      Let me say this first: I don’t know who Joe Biden should pick as his running mate. If you forced me to choose, I’d say Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris. Or Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren. Just in case you count my choice to list one first as evidence of my real preference.

    • GOP Purges Right-Wing Members From Congress in Favor of More Radical Candidates

      Under cover of the coronavirus chaos and amid our national uprising, Republicans have quietly uprooted some of their most controversial right-wing members of Congress — only to replace them with even more radical contenders for federal office, including devotees of the nonsensical QAnon conspiracy theory, ahead of this fall’s election.

    • Western Media Rehabilitate Brazil’s Criminal Ex-Justice Minister for Presidential Run

      Brazilian Justice Minister Sergio Moro resigned from his post in the far-right Bolsonaro government on April 24, accusing the president of “political interference” in the country’s police force.

    • If The Supreme Court Lets The Electoral College Vote However It Wants, Will Chaos Ensue?

      Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging state laws that bind Electoral College electors to vote for the presidential candidate they are selected to support. The case was brought in response to four 2016 electors — three from Washington and one from Colorado — who tried to vote against their state’s popular vote winner, and, in the case of the Washington electors, faced fines for having broken their pledges.

      These so-called “faithless electors” have long been a feature of American presidential elections, but it’s possible that the Supreme Court could shake up the Electoral College system, striking down state laws that try to guarantee electors’ votes by replacing or punishing those who don’t vote as they promised to. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the overall lack of enforcement of electors’ pledge to vote for the winner of their state troubled her, saying, “I made a promise to do something, but that promise is unenforceable.” But Justice Samuel Alito said that overturning the state laws could “lead to chaos where the popular vote is close.”

    • The Disgrace of Donald Trump

      The early 1930s resembled the present moment in some striking ways. The nation’s economy was in free fall, connected to a global economic downturn, with no clear end in sight. Previous years of national prosperity had badly deepened economic inequality, making the crisis all the more severe for those left behind during the boom times. At home and abroad, authoritarian movements were on the march, demonizing ethnic and racial minorities and trashing liberal democratic values. Dissatisfaction was rampant, but it remained unclear who or what would replace the status quo.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Senator Hawley’s Latest Dumb Anti-230 Plan Would Wipe Out The President’s Advantage On Facebook

      After having his little whine fest in the form of a toothless Executive Order about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, it was reported that the President has directly tasked Senator Josh Hawley to introduce a law that attacks 230. This was a fairly obvious choice. Hawley is a big Trump supporter, and Trumpian in his tactics. And, also, Hawley has been confusingly attacking 230 with questionable legislative ideas for quite some time now.

    • WWE Lawyers DMCA Tweet With Video Of Independent Wrestling Event, Probably Over A Hashtag That Promotes WWE

      I think it’s fair to say that the lawyers for wrestling’s WWE have found themselves playing the heel in the past. Perhaps it’s the result of the company being run by known crazy person Vince McMahon, who has found his way to our site by being an IP protectionist among other things. WWE’s lawyers have tried some pretty nefarious methods for going after those they believe violated WWE’s intellectual property rights. For instance, they tried to get the mailing address of the operator of a streaming site by falseloffering a gift bag.

    • ‘Facebook doesn’t care’: Activists say accounts removed despite Zuckerberg’s free-speech stance

      Dozens of Tunisian, Syrian and Palestinian activists and journalists, many of whom use the platform to document human rights abuses in the region, say their Facebook accounts have been deactivated over the last few months.

      Civil liberties and human rights groups have argued this shows that Facebook appeals to free speech principles only when they are politically advantageous.

    • Gov’t aims to limit Yle web publications

      The proposal was sent out for comment by various bodies and the public on Tuesday.

      The plan stems back to a complaint filed by the Finnish Media Federation (Finnmedia) with the European Commission three years ago.

      Commercial media wants less competition

      “The complaint focuses on question of how much online publication-type content Yle can have. There was a desire to have space for commercial media to offer lifestyle-type articles,” says Yle’s CEO, Merja Ylä-Anttila.

    • Trump administration sues Bolton over memoir

      The memoir’s release has been delayed for months as a result of a prepublication review process spearheaded by the White House National Security Council (NSC) that began when Bolton submitted the book for review in late December.

      According to the Justice Department’s complaint, NSC official Ellen Knight had completed her review of Bolton’s book around April 27 “and was of the judgment that the manuscript draft did not contain classified information.” Knight informed Bolton that the process remained ongoing when he asked for an update thereafter, the complaint states.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Trial of Russian journalist charged with ‘justifying terrorism’ begins in Pskov

      Journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva’s criminal case is back in session. On June 16, a court in Pskov heard preliminary arguments against the reporter, who is accused of “justifying terrorism” in written comments about a suicide bomber who attacked federal agents in Arkhangelsk in October 2018. Prokopyeva now faces up to seven years in prison for her remarks.

    • ‘Frankly, this is a catastrophe’ Outgoing ‘Vedomosti’ editor explains how his newspaper fell from grace

      On June 15, five deputy chief editors resigned from Vedomosti, after the newspaper’s new parent company made Andrey Shmarov its permanent editor-in-chief. Shmarov was named acting editor-in-chief three months ago, in the midst of a deal with another buyer. Almost immediately, Shmarov came into conflict with the newspaper’s other editors, who openly stated that they could not work with him. In an interview with Meduza, outgoing Vedomosti deputy chief editor Dmitry Simakov explains why the newsroom’s leadership held out hope until now.

    • Voice of America top officials resign as Trump-appointed CEO takes over international network

      Some journalists at VOA fear that Pack — best known for making films with a conservative bent — will interfere with the organization’s independent newsroom and turn it into a pro-Trump messaging machine.

    • If you’re despairing at staff sharing admin passwords, look on the bright side. That’s CIA-grade security

      The CIA was so focused on developing whizzbang exploit code, it left any thought of basic computer security principles on the kitchen counter before dashing off to work each morning.

      That oversight led to the super-agency inadvertently spilling its hacking tools ultimately into the hands of WikiLeaks, which duly disclosed details of the spies’ malware, viruses, remote-control software, and other materials under the Vault 7 banner in 2017.

      If you followed our coverage of the trial of Joshua Schulte, the CIA sysadmin accused of passing the files to WikiLeaks, this much will already be known to you. The fact the virtual machine that held all of the tools apparently used 123ABCdef as its password is perhaps all you need to know. Schutle’s trial ended with a hung jury, though he was found guilty of contempt and lying to FBI.

      Don’t just take our word for it. An internal CIA report into the embarrassing affair came to much the same conclusion: Uncle Sam’s snoops lost control of at least 180GB of hacking tools and documentation, which ended up in the lap of WikiLeaks, due to lax security. From shared admin passwords to no limitations on removable storage, the agency broke or snubbed virtually every rule in the book.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Return of the ‘Hamburgs’? White Vigilantes, the Chicago Police, and Anti-Fascism in Chicago

      Chicago has seen some of the largest and most militant demonstrations in the United States during the two weeks that followed the murder of George Floyd. Thirty thousand people marched and rallied on June 6 in Union Park, for example. While demonstrators have suffered repeated acts of violence by the Chicago Police Department and seen their constitutional rights trampled on by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, others were menaced by self-appointed “neighborhood protectors.”

    • In the Face of Powerful Protests, Parts of Middle America Enter the Twilight Zone

      Trump and Barr are at the forefront, trying to scare the citizenry with tales of anarchy and destruction.

    • Independent Probe Finds NOAA Officials Violated Ethics Rules by Bowing to Trump Foolishness During ‘Sharpiegate’

      The report comes as White House and state officials have been accused of manipulating scientific data regarding Covid-19 deaths and infections. 

    • Time to Act on Dr. King’s Call to Tackle Evils of Racism, Economic Exploitation, and War

      Mother Earth is giving us a time out, sending us all to our rooms to reflect on how we address the triple evils about which Dr. King warned us.

    • Trump at West Point: Un-Policing the World

      Donald Trump claims to be the law-and-order president of the United States. There does not seem much sign of this as the stitching of the Republic gets undone. Protestors have been given a considerable roughing up across several states; police forces are in retreat before proposals of defunding while protocols for arrests are being changed. Police chiefs are resigning and, in the rarest of cases, officers are being charged for police brutality.

    • Cars, Guns, Cider, And Snapchat Don’t Cause Crime

      A carefully posed photo of dangerous driving attracted some attention online in early May. The photo shows a picture from the driver’s seat of a Nissan. The photographer is driving, doing 90 mph as he brandishes a handgun with his finger resting on the trigger. To make matters worse, there’s an alcoholic cider propped against the dash. This extensive set of unsafe behaviors was intended to outrage, offend, and attract attention — all goals it undoubtedly met. And such foolishness is an invitation to a lengthy imprisonment. But it would be a mistake to treat Nissan, Heckler & Koch, Angry Orchard Hard Cider, the driver’s cell phone manufacturer, and whatever platform he used to share the photo as responsible for his misbehavior.

    • Systemic Racism and the Killing of Rayshard Brooks

      The killing of 27 year old Rayshard Brooks on Friday, June 12th, in Atlanta, Georgia, occurred less than three weeks after the murder of George Floyd. Both were killed by a white police officer. It seems that 18 days of protests over the May 25 murder of Floyd did not deter from this new heinous murder. Brooks was shot in the back as he was running away from the two police officers who had fooled him by their seemingly cordial demeanor only to suddenly and unexpectedly handcuff him from the back.

    • Minneapolis City Council Votes Unanimously To Disband Its Police Department

      In response to one of its own officers killing an unarmed, cuffed black man by kneeling on his neck until he was long past dead, the Minneapolis City Council pledged to defund the police department. It did this as the city burned and protests erupted around the nation. It maintained this pledge as city schools said “no thanks” to offers of assistance from police officers seeking to bring this level of violence to public schools and state colleges.

    • In Authoritarian Tirade, Trump Claims Americans ‘Want Law and Order’ Policing Whether They Know It or Not

      Civil rights advocates slammed the president’s law enforcement executive order as “a band-aid for a bullet wound.”

    • Congressional Reps Demand Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Stop Surveilling Protesters

      Protests linked to the George Floyd killing are still occurring on a daily basis around the nation. With increased citizen activity comes increased police activity. Apparently, police departments can’t handle these protests on their own. In some states, the National Guard has been called in. In others, surveillance tech on loan from federal agencies is being deployed to keep an eyes on protesters.

    • We Are Witnessing an Uprising Against a World Built on Anti-Blackness

      How we understand the current uprising in the wake of multiple police killings is critical. It is not only a protest. If we are fortunate, it stays an uprising — against a whole system built on anti-Blackness. This is not about a few “bad apples,” but an entire institution that has a monopoly on the definition of “justice.” It is about people’s psychic, emotional and economic investments in a heavily resourced system that functions to protect white supremacy through anti-Black violence. It is about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd and so many others, as well as the hundreds of years’ worth of violence against Black communities. As such, and as the world is witnessing — because of the gravity and depth — every strategy to disturb, let alone upend this world, will be taken.

    • Northrop Grumman Accused Of Fueling False ‘Revenge Porn’ Allegations Against CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou

      Northrop Grumman, the third largest military contractor in the world, was allegedly involved in falsely accusing CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou of “revenge porn.”

      The false accusation allegedly resulted in his arrest, improper charges, and a police raid that violated his privacy rights.

    • ‘Immunity Shouldn’t Be Part of the Conversation’
    • NBA Players Face the Question: To Boycott or Not to Boycott

      Kyrie Irving, the All-Star point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, is often mocked in the press for being, shall we say, “out there” with his opinions on a wide array of subjects. It’s been debated whether he has been sincere or engaged in performance art, mocking the media’s willingness to take him seriously and furtively chase like mice whatever crumbs he throws in their direction. Yet there is nothing performative—not a hint of artifice—in the ideas that Irving is currently expressing.

    • NYPD Wrongly Claims Shake Shack Employees “Intentionally Poisoned” Officers

      After three police officers in New York City had consumed milkshakes that made them ill, police unions in the city alleged the incident was a purposeful “attack” on cops. But an investigation of the matter later found that it was accidental, not criminal.

    • Checking Off Stephen Miller’s Wish List
    • Even in the Darkest Days of Trump’s Misrule, Hope Is Still Alive

      Across the nation, protesters fill the streets outraged by police brutality and systemic racism. At least 114,000 and counting lie dead from the novel coronavirus. Thirty million have been tossed out of work. Thousands of businesses large and small have closed forever. Midland, Mich., is flooded by a collapsing dam. And hurricane and wildfire seasons are still to come. Events feel increasingly biblical: plagues, fires, floods, chaos—a reckoning of sorts. “Make America Great Again” this is not.

    • Goodbye, Columbus: Bree Newsome Bass on the Movement to Topple Racist Statues Across the Globe

      As protesters worldwide continue to topple monuments to racists, colonizers and Confederates as part of the wave of demonstrations against racism and state violence, we speak to Bree Newsome Bass, artist and antiracist activist based in North Carolina, who five years ago was arrested at the state Capitol in South Carolina after scaling a 30-foot flagpole to remove the Confederate flag. She says the current backlash against racist symbols reflects “impatience with the pace of incremental progress” both in the United States and elsewhere. “People are tired of centuries of colonialism and white supremacist ideology.”

    • From Emmett Till to George Floyd

      Several years ago a man called me and apologized for taking my time, but explained he had to speak with me since he was writing about the Emmett Till murder trial and “you are the only one who was there who is still alive.”

    • British Leaders Have No Idea How Bad Slavery Was

      Conservative leaders snigger at protesters seeking the removal of statues memorialising those whose fortunes came from the exploitation of slaves.

    • Police Departments Attempt a Charm Offensive Amid Uprisings

      As uprisings ignite across the United States in response to decades of racist and biased policing that exacerbates an unjust social order, police departments are going on the offensive. To complement nationwide violent tactics of unnecessary and excessive force roundly condemned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, police departments have adopted a more subtle charm offensive.

    • The Black Lives Matter Protests Are a Tipping Point in US History

      They were relegated to the protest equivalent of a ghetto. Their assigned route shunted them to the far fringes of the city. Their demonstration was destined for an ignominious demise far from any main thoroughfare, out of sight of most apartment buildings, out of earshot of most homes, best viewed from a dinghy bobbing in the Hudson River.

    • Henry Giroux: Black Lives Matter Rebellions Are Pushing for Structural Change

      In this interview, Henry A. Giroux argues that the current rebellions taking place across the globe offer new hope for both educating people about the interrelated registers of racism, militarism, neoliberalism and scandalous inequality. This is a diverse political rebellion inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement that is arguing not simply against police violence, but for real structural change that begins with defunding the police to changing the totalizing infrastructures of power and injustice that have been used against people of color since the time of slavery.

    • #LetHerSpeak: Northern Territory Moves Closer To End Silencing of Sexual Assault Survivors

      In April, Tasmania amended its archaic sexual assault victim ‘gag law’. Now, as the Northern Territory considers amending a similar law, Dr Zahra Stardust discusses the case of ‘Sandra’ – a woman who was raped while working at a buck’s party near Darwin in 2017 – who now wishes to speak out under her real identity, but is prohibited from doing so.

    • Who Benefits From Racism?

      And so on across the highest reaches of corporate America, an outpouring of solidarity with those protesting brutal police killings of black Americans and systemic racism.

    • Will Native Americans be left out of conversations about racial injustice?

      Throughout our nation’s history, racial inequality has hit our tribal nations the hardest. From the inception of the United States, native people have had to face unprovoked attacks from the American military again and again, endure the manifest destiny philosophy of American territorial expansion that removed us from our homelands, to the stealing of our children and taking them to government boarding schools in attempts to eliminate the essence of our cultural heritage. Of course, there’s the ongoing racial disparities many tribal members face today in the forms of poverty, health disparities and inadequate housing.

    • Trump says Obama didn’t reform policing — but he did. Then the president ditched it.

      But Obama, the nation’s first Black president, who confronted and addressed race and racism frequently, did take action to reform police and try to reduce bias in law enforcement. The Trump administration is well aware of that, too: It unraveled those changes

      “He said President Obama did nothing on police reform, but the fact is they made a lot of progress and President Trump rolled it back,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday..

    • Buffalo’s Police Brutality Didn’t Start With Martin Gugino

      The spotlight—the harsh glare that erases nuance—has moved on to new outrages in bigger cities. The local aftermath has fallen into familiar and frustrating tropes: police circling the wagons, a package of ill-defined reform proposals, and attempts at scapegoating that serve politics rather than progress.

    • George Floyd death: ‘The same happened to my son’

      An old, Russian-made Baikal .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun was found about three feet from Fong’s left hand, free of fingerprints or blood.

      In 2004, a man reported his gun stolen in a burglary. He was later told by Minneapolis police that his gun had been recovered in a snowbank and it would be in police custody until an investigation had concluded. The gun matched the serial number on the Baikal .380 caliber found by Fong Lee’s body.

      When that was pointed out at trial by Padden, the police provided an explanation — the gun found in the snowbank was not the Baikal .380. There had been a mix-up with the identification and the paperwork, and the Baikal had never been in their custody.

      The Minneapolis Police Department did not respond to questions from the BBC about the case.

    • Statement of Support for Legal Observers Targeted and Brutalized by Police

      The Mass Defense Committee (MDC) Steering Committee and NLG National Office have been concerned about an increasing number of reports of police targeting Legal Observers (LOs) in a variety of ways, either with chemical or projectile weapons, physical force and brutality, or arrest and/or questioning. We strongly condemn these actions against any LO and against any participant in the movement for Black Lives. The NLG recognizes the brunt of police violence is aimed at Black, Brown, Trans, gender non-conforming people, and that police killing people is a public health pandemic.

      We also want to take this moment to let all MDC members and LO volunteers know that we stand in solidarity with you and are here to help and support whenever the police target you in any way. We know that donning our neon green and being clearly marked with “Legal Observer” is both a crucial way of supporting movements in the streets and an easy way to be targeted by the forces that seek to maintain the status quo. This support might look like working with your local chapters to help you figure out your options for dealing with legal, physical health, or mental health needs after surviving police harassment or brutality. It might look like the MDC issuing more public statements decrying police violence and the targeting of LOs. It might look like adapting our mass defense resources to better support LOs in this constantly evolving political moment. It might look like things we have never done before that this political moment calls for.

  • Monopolies

    • Facilitating Innovation to Fight Coronavirus Act

      S. 3630. I wonder what percentage of patentees would take this trade-off. Patents covering COVID-19 related inventions rights don’t begin until the National Emergency officially ends; 10 years is then added to the patent term.

    • Proposed Legislation To Delay, Then Extend Coronavirus Patents

      Among the issues to be clarified are whether the proposed legislation would apply to existing patents or only patents granted after its effective date, and what it means for a patent to be “used or intended for use in the treatment of … COVID–19.”

      The proposed legislation would delay the term of such patents “until the date on which the national emergency declared by the President under the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) with respect to that disease terminates.”

      The proposed legislation would extend the term of such patents thereafter, “for 10 years longer than it otherwise would” be under Title 35. Also among the issues to be clarified is whether the extended term could be added onto an FDA review-based patent term extension granted under 35 U.S.C. § 156.

    • Patents

      • Supreme Court Denies Another Certiorari Petition on Doctrine of Equivalents

        The Federal Circuit during 2019 and 2020 has issued a spate of decisions on the proper application of the Doctrine of Equivalents (see, e.g., UCB, Inc. v. Watson Laboratories Inc. and Galderma Laboratories, L.P. v. Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC) and its related limiting doctrines, prosecution history estoppel (Amgen Inc. v. Coherus BioSciences Inc. and Pharma Tech Solutions, Inc. v. Lifescan, Inc.) and the dedication-disclosure doctrine (Eagle Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Slayback Pharma LLC and Indivior Inc. v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, S.A.). There then followed, like night follows day, a slew of petitions for certiorari. The Supreme Court has already denied cert in Actavis Laboratories FL, Inc. v. Nalproprion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and on Monday, the Court showed equal disinterest in the issue, denying certiorari in Eli Lilly & Co. v. Hospira, Inc.

        To recap, this case arose in ANDA litigation over Eli Lilly’s U.S. Patent No. 7,772,209 directed to “improved” methods for administering its anticancer drug Alimta® (pemetrexed disodium), a frequent target for generic drugmakers. The drug itself, an antifolate metabolic inhibitor of thymidylate synthase, inhibits cell growth (normal and malignant) by interfering with production of DNA precursors and hence inhibiting replication. The anticancer efficacy for this drug (like many anticancer drugs) relies on the greater replicative activity of cancer cells compared with normal cells.

        Pemetrexed, and its disodium salt, is not a new drug, being disclosed and claimed in U.S. Patent No. 5,344,932, and Eli Lilly’s licensed U.S. Patent No. 4,997,838, that disclosed a large genus of structurally related compounds that encompass pemetrexed but did not disclose the molecule itself. This reference also taught that “pharmaceutically acceptable bases,” such as “alkali metals, alkali earth metals, non-toxic metals, ammonium, and substituted ammonium” could be prepared from the disclosed antifolate inhibitors.


        The Federal Circuit reversed-in-part (regarding literal infringement) and affirmed-in-part (regarding infringement under the Doctrine of Equivalents), in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judges Moore and Taranto. With regard to DOE infringement, the Court found that the District Court had not erred in finding the substitute salts to be equivalents. With regard to prosecution history estoppel, under Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushki Co., 535 U.S. 722, 733 (2002) the question was whether the amendments made in the earlier patent from which the ’209 patent claims priority were made for reasons related to patentability and do not fall within Supreme Court-recognized exceptions.

        Eli Lilly did not dispute that its amendments satisfied the fundamental requirements of behavior that raises the estoppel: that “the amendment in question was both narrowing and made for a substantial reason relating to patentability.” But the District Court found and the Federal Circuit affirmed that prosecution history estoppel did not bar DOE infringement because the amendments made to the claims during prosecution “[bore] no more than a tangential relation to the equivalent in question,” citing Festo. Hospira and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories colorfully argued that “the tangential exception is not a patentee’s-buyer’s-remorse exception” and that the tangential relationship exception should be construed narrowly, but the Federal Circuit held that appellants had advanced a “too rigid” application of prosecution history estoppel. The Court agreed with the District Court’s assessment that Lilly had narrowed the claims of the earlier, related application to overcome rejection based on treatment with methotrexate, and that “the particular type of salt to which pemetrexed is complexed relates only tenuously to the reason for the narrowing amendment,” which was to avoid prior art directed to methotrexate administration. The panel also refused to adopt Dr. Reddy’s position as a bright-line rule, stating that “such a bright-line rule is both contrary to the equitable nature of prosecution history estoppel, [citing Festo], and inconsistent with the equitable spirit that animates the doctrine of equivalents,” citing Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Prods. Co., 339 U.S. 605, 608 (1950).

      • Software Patents

        • $2,000 for SITO Mobile prior art

          On June 16, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 9,026,673. The patent is owned by SITO Mobile R&D IP, LLC, an NPE. The ’673 patent generally relates to the transmission of multiple digital media streams from a server to a client device, e.g., where one media stream may be a piece of requested media, and another media stream may be an advertisement.

    • Trademarks

      • USPTO v. Booking.com – A Linguistic Justification for ‘Generic Trademarks’

        I want to thank Lisa Ouellette for inviting me to blog about United States Patent & Trademark Office v. Booking.com, a trademark case argued before the Supreme Court in May, with a decision expected soon. The Court selected that case for its first live telephonic oral argument. The night of the historic oral argument, Christine Farley of American University Washington College of Law hosted a discussion where I joined Rebecca Tushnet, Marty Schwimmer, and Cara Gagliano to recap the argument and discuss the case. Below, I summarize the oral argument in some detail (with page and line references to the transcript) and offer my prediction of what the forthcoming opinion might hold.


        Like the recently decided Romag Fasteners, Inc. v. Fossil Group, Inc., this case exposes tension between an older, more restrictive judicial rule and the more recent and arguably less restrictive federal statute. The PTO’s support for its categorical rule is drawn primarily from a pre-Lanham Act Supreme Court opinion, Goodyear’s India Rubber Glove Manufacturing Co. v. Goodyear Rubber Co., 128 U.S. 598 (1888). The Court in Goodyear’s held that a mark combining a generic or descriptive term (‘Goodyear’s’ for vulcanized rubber products) and ‘Company’ or ‘Co.’ cannot qualify for trademark protection. Following that logic, the PTO argues courts and examiners are required to ignore evidence that consumers see a ‘generic.com’ mark as a source signifier, because ‘.com’ is the functional equivalent of ‘Co.’

        Erica L. Ross, Assistant to the Solicitor General, made an outstanding argument for the PTO, repeatedly pointing the Court back to Goodyear’s as providing an easy disposition for these issues. Some of the Justices, however, seemed inclined to turn to the primary significance test Congress embedded in the cancellation provision of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1064(3), which states that “[t]he primary significance of the registered mark to the relevant public rather than purchaser motivation shall be the test for determining whether the registered mark has become the generic name of goods or services on or in connection with which it has been used.” Courts look for primary significance when considering whether a source signifying mark has become generic. In Kellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co., 305 U.S. 111 (1938), another pre-Lanham Act decision, the Supreme Court held that secondary meaning required a showing that the “primary significance of the term in the minds of the consuming public is not the product but the producer.” Id. at 118. The search for primary significance typically includes survey evidence in ex post genericness cases. The Fourth and Federal Circuits have used the primary significance test to assess genericness in registration proceedings. As Justice Roberts observed, “it makes more sense to follow the language that Congress chose in the statute rather than a 130-year-old case of ours.” Tr. 6:6-8. Justices Alito (Tr. 18:18-20), Sotomayor (Tr. 22:3-11), Kagan (Tr. 29:2-11), and Gorsuch (Tr. 30:13-17) also pressed petitioner’s counsel on the government’s preferred alternative to the primary significance test.

    • Copyrights

      • German Public Broadcaster ZDF Releases Dozens of Videos Under CC Licenses

        In practice, however, advocates of open licenses in the realm of public-service media face several hurdles, such as:

      • Senator Thom Tillis Seems Really Pissed Off That The Internet Archive Bought A Record Store To Make Rare Recordings Accessible

        Senator Thom Tillis (or perhaps some staffer in his office who is desperate for a job as a legacy copyright industry lobbyist in his next job) really seems to have it in for the Internet Archive. Beyond trying to rewrite copyright law to make it favor the legacy players even more than it already does, and beyond telling copyright experts that they shouldn’t even dare think of commenting on the state of copyright law today, Tillis really seems to have an infatuation with the Internet Archive wanting to help people by providing them information. I don’t know what the library ever did to Tillis as a child, but as a Senator he sure seems to hate the very concept. He sent one very confused, misinformed, and angry letter to the Internet Archive over its National Emergency Library, and now he’s sent another one after news broke that the Archive had purchased the distressed, but famed, Bop Street Records in Seattle.

      • Manga Anti-Piracy Campaign Hopes Artists Can Persuade Fans Ahead of New Law

        With a new law criminalizing the downloading of manga content set to come into force in 2021, a new anti-piracy campaign in Japan is hoping to persuade fans to go legal. Spearheaded by anti-piracy group CODA with the assistance of well-known manga artists, the campaign will project its message through the medium of manga itself.

      • Cricket Australia Retracts Mass Twitter Takedown of Greatest Fan Video Archive

        Cricket fans were welcomed with a shocking message a few hours ago when the largest fan-created Cricket video archive on Twitter was targeted. Rob Moody, whose videos generate hundreds of thousands of views every month, was told to remove all copyrighted videos or lose his Twitter account. This threat prompted public outrage and soon after Cricket Australia retracted its claims.

[Humour] Showing Love With Lovely Patent Lawsuits

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 5:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TIGHTEN MEGAMIND: THERE IS NO ESTER BUNNY: Microsoft says it loves Linux, Microsoft sues OEM over Linux

Summary: As recently as a year ago Microsoft wasn’t just blackmailing but also suing over Linux; feel the love… (they love it only when it pays them patent royalties)

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