Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 25/6/2020: Grml 2020.06, MariaDB 10.5.4, Mesa 20.1.2 Release

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Canonical’s Ubuntu 20.04 Linux now available on Dell XPS 13

        2020′s Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is a great Linux laptop. Now it’s better than ever. On June 23, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu Linux, announced the latest Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition is now available in North America and selected EMEA countries with Ubuntu 20.04 Long Term Support (LTS) pre-installed.

        This makes the Dell XPS 13, with its speedy Ice Lake Intel Core i7-1065G7 and up to 32GBs of RAM and Hynix 512GB NVMe Solid State Drive (SSD), the first shipping Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system. This is a great combination. I’ve upgraded my Dell XPS 13 to Ubuntu 20.04 from 18.04 and it runs like a top.

      • Netbooks: The Next Generation — Chromebooks

        Netbooks are dead, long live the Chromebook. Lewin Day wrote up a proper trip down Netbook Nostalgia Lane earlier this month. That’s required reading, go check it out and come back. You’re back? Good. Today I’m making the case that the Chromebook is the rightful heir to the netbook crown, and to realize its potential I’ll show you how to wring every bit of Linuxy goodness out of your Chromebook.

        I too was a netbook connoisseur, starting with an Asus Eee 901 way back in 2009. Since then, I’ve also been the proud owner of an Eee PC 1215B, which still sees occasional use. Only recently did I finally bite the bullet and replace it with an AMD based Dell laptop for work.

        For the longest time, I’ve been intrigued by a good friend who went the Chromebook route. He uses a Samsung Chromebook Plus, and is constantly using it to SSH into his development machines. After reading Lewin’s article, I got the netbook bug again, and decided to see if a Chromebook would fill the niche. I ended up with the Acer Chromebook Tab 10, codename Scarlet. The price was right, and the tablet form factor is perfect for referencing PDFs.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 584: IEEE SA Open

        IEEE SA Open is the gap between global standards development and open-source developer communities. Doc Searls talks with Simon Phipps and Silona Bonewald, the Executive Director of the IEEE SA Open about the meaning of “open.” As well as how the IEEE SA Open is available to anyone. They discuss the different opportunities that the IEEE SA Open gives to those looking to create “open” project as well as how to get involved with IEEE SA OPEN.

      • User Sovereignty and Decentralization

        Doc Searls, Katherine Druckman and Petros Koutoupis talk to Dave Huseby about User Sovereignty and Decentralization, Hyperledger, blockchain and security.

      • Testing the 8GB Raspberry Pi Desktop Kit from CanaKit

        With the Raspberry Pi finally available with 8GB of RAM, new possibilities have opened up, including a much better experience using a Pi as a desktop replacement.

      • 2020-06-24 | Linux Headlines

        The Open Mainframe Project announces the first LTS release of Zowe, Microsoft’s Defender Advanced Threat Detection is now available for Linux, New Vector plans to rebrand several of its Matrix-related products, and a new Raspberry Pi powered laptop has been funded.

    • Kernel Space

      • 5.8 Merge window, part 2

        By the time Linus Torvalds released 5.8-rc1 and closed the merge window for this development cycle, 14,206 non-merge changesets had been pulled into the repository for 5.8. That is more work than was pulled for the entire 5.7 cycle; clearly development work on the kernel has not (yet) slowed down in response to events in the wider world. The nearly 6,700 changes pulled since the previous summary include huge numbers of fixes and internal cleanups, but there were a number of significant features added as well.

      • Rethinking bpfilter and user-mode helpers

        Bpfilter is yet another in-kernel packet-filtering system; like netfilter and nftables, it exists for the creation of firewalls and related infrastructure. Rather than try to provide all of the filtering primitives that a user might want, bpfilter simply allows the loading of BPF programs to inspect and accept (or reject) packets. In theory, the benefits of bpfilter could be huge. It replaces a lot of firewalling code in the kernel, has the potential to be significantly faster than either of the other two mechanisms, and should be more flexible as well. It is not unreasonable to expect that something like bpfilter could eventually displace the other firewall subsystems and become the standard solution on Linux systems.

        For that to happen, though, the bpfilter developers would still have to do a lot more work. Beyond filling out the filtering functionality itself, they would need to find a way to avoid breaking the untold millions of systems out there that are currently using netfilter. Administrators of those systems have a lot of time invested in the creation of their firewall configurations and would not take kindly to the idea that they have to learn BPF and start over. Without seamless compatibility, bpfilter cannot take netfilter’s place.

        The solution that the bpfilter developers chose was to reimplement the netfilter user-space API, so that the existing tools and configurations would continue to work. Internally to the kernel, though, netfilter rules would be translated into BPF programs, which would then be attached in the appropriate places. That solution should provide the best of all worlds: a shiny new packet-filtering subsystem with no changes required of users.

        The only problem with this idea is that compiling netfilter rules to BPF is not a small job; it would be a large chunk of code running in the kernel that would have to be prepared for any kind of weirdness that user space might present to it. The memory footprint of that code would not be welcome, and making sure that it was secure would be a difficult task that would likely end up generating a fair number of CVE entries before it was done.

      • DMA-BUF cache handling: Off the DMA API map (part 2)

        Part 1 of this series, covered some background on ION, DMA-BUF heaps, the DMA API, and the concept of “ownership” when it comes to handling CPU-cache maintenance, finally ending on a conventional DMA API view of how DMA-BUF cache handling should be done. The article concluded with a discussion of why the traditional DMA APIs can perform poorly on contemporary systems. This article completes the series with an exploration of some of the approaches that DMA-BUF exporters can use to avoid unnecessary cache operations along with some rough proposals for how we might improve things.

        The first part left off with the DMA API’s viewpoint that the ownership of a DMA-BUF is transferred to the device domain with a call to dma_buf_map_attachment() and transfers back to the CPU with dma_buf_unmap_attachment(); cache-maintenance operations are done on each call. This sequence provides correctness with regard to CPU-cache handling but, for buffer pipelines that involve many devices where the CPU doesn’t actually touch the buffer, these cache operations on each map and unmap call add up and can cause dramatic performance problems.

      • How to Join the LPC Town Hall

        Please use the following link on Thursday June 25 2020 at 8am PDT/ 11am EDT/ 3pm GMT to join the LPC Town Hall…

      • Google Posts Patches So The Linux Kernel Can Be LTO-Optimized By Clang

        A Google engineer has posted patches for review so that the mainline Linux kernel can be built with Link-Time Optimizations (LTO) by the LLVM Clang code compiler.

        Years ago Intel developers had sent out patches for LTO support for the Linux kernel but Linus Torvalds was ultimately unconvinced by it. That was back in 2014 when trying to squeeze more performance out of the Linux kernel. LTO patches for the Linux kernel are brought up every so often but at last check still no material progress in getting it mainlined.

      • Intel P-State Getting Energy Efficiency Knob, EPB Knob Change

        Intel’s P-State CPU frequency scaling driver for Linux systems has been seeing a number of refinements lately including some major changes like shifting towards the “Schedutil” scheduler utilization governor by default. Further tuning with new/changed knobs is also on the way for giving users more control over their CPU power / performance preferences.

      • Graphics Stack

        • RADV ACO SMEM Patches Land – Taking ACO To Feature Parity With AMDGPU LLVM

          As of today in Mesa 20.2-devel Git, the Radeon Vulkan driver (RADV) with the ACO back-end is now effectively at feature-parity to the default AMDGPU LLVM shader compiler back-end.

          Earlier this month we reported on the matter that RADV was looking at switching to ACO by default as its shader compiler back-end in place of the common AMDGPU LLVM back-end. But for that to happen they first needed to hit feature parity.

        • Mesa 20.2 driver update due hopefully by the end of August

          The Mesa open source Linux driver team have put up their updated roadmap for the upcoming version 20.2 version.

          Much like official NVIDIA Linux drivers, Mesa has quite a regular release cycle to power your AMD and Intel chips (plus older NVIDIA) with OpenGL / Vulkan and over the past few years the quality has really come along nicely. Once one release ships, with people working on all sorts of features and improvements, the next release is open for development and code merging.

        • NVIDIA 450.51 Linux Driver Beta Adds NGX Library, PRIME Improvements

          Earlier this month a NVIDIA 450 Linux beta driver popped out as part of the CUDA 11.0 release candidate. Today though is the first public and generally available NVIDIA 450 series Linux driver beta for all users.

          With today’s NVIDIA 450.51 Linux beta driver there are many new features and fixes. Among the changes with the NVIDIA 450.51 Linux driver are:

        • NVIDIA released a big new mainline Linux Beta Driver 450.51

          Not long after the recent developer-focused 440.66.17 Vulkan Beta, NVIDIA have released the 450.51 Linux Beta Driver in their mainline series that’s for us consumers to jump in with.

          This adds in a number of new features like support for Vulkan direct-to-display on DisplayPort displays which are connected via DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP-MST). NVIDIA added support in this Linux driver for NVIDIA NGX, their deep learning powered technology stack. It also now has HEVC 10/12 bit “decode only” support for NVIDIA VDPAU, support for Image Sharpening in OpenGL and Vulkan applications, support to create 16-bit video surfaces in the NVIDIA VDPAU driver and more VDPAU additions.

          Even PRIME support was expanded to allow PRIME Synchronization when using displays driven by the x86-video-amdgpu driver as PRIME display offload sinks and support for displays connected to NVIDIA GPUs to act as PRIME display offload sinks, also known as “Reverse PRIME”. A fallback presentation path for PRIME Render Offload configurations where the DRI3 and/or Present extension are unavailable was added too.

        • Mesa 20.1.2 Release Led By Radeon Driver Fixes

          While Mesa 20.2 is the exciting development version in the works for release next quarter, those of you on the current Mesa 20.1 series now have the second point release available.

          Mesa 20.1.2 is out with two weeks worth of fixes for this stable series. This time around the Radeon Vulkan (RADV) and OpenGL (RadeonSI) driver changes make up a majority of the changes.

        • They want to be small, they want to be big: thoughts on code reviews and the power of patch series

          Code reviews are a central fact of life in software development. It’s important to do them well, and developer quality of life depends on a good review workflow.

          Unfortunately, code reviews also appear to be a difficult problem. Many projects are bottlenecked by code reviews, in that reviewers are hard to find and progress gets slowed down by having to wait a long time for reviews.

          The “solution” that I’ve often seen applied in practice is to have lower quality code reviews. Reviewers don’t attempt to gain a proper understanding of a change, so reviews become shallower and therefore easier. This is convenient on the surface, but more likely to allow bad code to go through: a subtle corner case that isn’t covered by tests (yet?) may be missed, there may be a misunderstanding of a relevant underlying spec, a bad design decision slips through, and so on. This is bound to cause pains later on.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: When Maths Get Weird

          During shader compilation, GLSL gets serialized into SSA form, which is what ntv operates on when translating it into SPIR-V. An ALU in the context of Zink (specifically ntv) is an algebraic operation which takes a varying number of inputs and generates an output. This is represented in NIR by a struct, nir_alu_instr, which contains the operation type, the inputs, and the output.

          When writing GLSL, there’s the general assumption that writing something like 1 + 2 will yield 3, but this is contingent on the driver being able to correctly compile the NIR form of the shader into instructions that the physical hardware runs in order to get that result. In Zink, there’s the need to translate all these NIR instructions into SPIR-V, which is sometimes made trickier by both different semantics between similar GLSL and SPIR-V operations as well as aggressive NIR optimizations.

    • Applications

      • Stellarium 0.20.2 Released as 20 Year Anniversary Celebration

        Free open-source astronomy software Stellarium 0.20.2 was released a few days ago as the 20 year anniversary celebration.

        Stellarium 0.20.2 contains many changes in AstroCalc tool and core of Stellarium, changes in scripting engline and Script Console, Oculars and Satellites plugins, updated DSO catalog, see release note for details.

      • Tools to improve English text

        The Grumpy Editor reviewed proselint in 2016 and compared it to “one of the world’s worst elementary-school teachers criticizing you in front of the entire class about irrelevant details”. I wanted to check whether the teacher had matured, but, alas, the project has been inactive since 2018. There are several contenders for the nagging teacher position, though. One is alex whose aim is to point out insensitive and inconsiderate writing. While alex is useful in some cases (changing “chairman” to “chair” or “chairperson” is a good improvement that doesn’t introduce unnatural language, for example), I found the tool too noisy. It complained about “simple math” and “invalid characters” in a technical manual (although “basic math” might indeed be an improvement). Computers are good at pattern matching but language is all about context. The documentation observes that “alex isn’t very smart” and I tend to agree. (Interestingly, alex doesn’t find that phrase offensive.)

        Another tool is write good which flags “weasel” words (like “very”) and passive voice. LWN previously looked at writegood-mode in the context of Emacs. Personally, I didn’t find the feedback from write-good particularly useful, but opinions differ when it comes to passive voice.

        RedPen looks like a credible alternative to proselint. It specifically mentions technical documentation and has support for several common markup formats, including Markdown, Textile, AsciiDoc, reStructuredText, and LaTeX. Installation seemed tricky at first. I couldn’t find a Debian or RPM package, no Flatpak, and the Snap image is from 2016 (while the latest release is from earlier this year).

        As I was waiting for the download of the 150MB file, I found an online instance into which text can be copied. The online version is particularly useful since it makes it easy to disable checks. One does not need to learn about the configuration file but can simply click some check boxes. Obviously, the online instance is not a solution if the text is private or has too many embarrassing mistakes to copy it to a random web site. I also found PyRedPen, which is a set of Python scripts that allow sending a file to this online instance of RedPen for analysis.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Try the demo for deck-building auto-battler ‘Hadean Tactics’ for another week

        After having a run during the recent Steam Game Festival, Hadean Tactics has a demo sticking around for another week so you can try something a little different.

        Channelling vibes from games like Slay the Spire with the node-based travel system (that really does look so similar) and the card action, with the automatic combat found in Dota Underlords, it mixes them together in a thoroughly peculiar way that I’ve found myself somewhat absorbed by.

        Before a round begins, you get to throw a few cards in to power your people up and then when ready the fights go on automatically. Units do whatever they want on the board but you can actually throw cards into it while they’re duking it out in real-time. If you win, you then pick from a few rewards like cards or gold.

      • We’re giving away two copies of 3dSen PC

        Want to try out the incredibly unique 3dSen PC emulator? Well, we have two Steam keys available thanks to a reader and perhaps one of them might have your name on it.

        Released on Steam recently in Early Access, 3dSen PC is not just yet another emulator. It turns classic NES games into full 3D and it gives you a whole new perspective and appreciation for a limited number of supported retro games, a list that will grow over time. It’s really something and you all need to give it a go.

      • Idol Manager New Game+ Expo Trailer, Launches 2020 on Windows PC, Linux, and Mac

        GlitchPitch have revealed a new gameplay trailer for Idol Manager during the New Game+ Expo live stream.

        The game tasks you with managing the career of an up and coming Japanese idol. However, rather than the joyful and pure image that the idols themselves project, there are heavy hints towards the lengths managers and idols will go for fame and fortune.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Grml – new stable release 2020.06 available

          Long time no see, but there we are – we just released Grml 2020.06 – Ausgehfuahangl!

          This Grml release provides fresh software packages from Debian testing (AKA bullseye). As usual it also incorporates current hardware support and fixes known bugs from the previous Grml release.

          More information is available in the release notes of Grml 2020.06.

          Grab the latest Grml ISO(s) and spread the word!

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Celebrate The Upcoming openSUSE Leap Release

          Having a party to celebrate an achievement is rewarding and the openSUSE community knows how to party; and get things done. This is no exception during the time of the pandemic.

          A release party is in order for the general availability of openSUSE Leap 15.2. Celebrate the release the way you like and while doing so help promote the release.

          openSUSE members can join and/or create a room to hang out with other members of the community to celebrate the release. There are already a couple planned for July 2. Just visit the launch party wiki and select or add a release party. While this list is mostly virtual, some people might be close enough to meet up for a physical party. In which case, they should add it to the list. People can also get creative make the parties purposeful like creating one room as a social media posting party.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 102

          It’s time for another development digest from The YaST team. As you can see in the following list of highlights, the range of topics is as broad as usual.

        • SUSE Cloud Application Platform 2.0 Accelerates Software Production to Increase Business Agility

          Every software expert and business leader I speak with conveys the importance of delivering meaningful software projects that accelerates the pace of innovation. Today SUSE announces the availability of SUSE Cloud Application Platform 2.0 to support those efforts. Providing full application lifecycle automation, the platform enables enterprises to shrink release cycles from months to minutes, which in turn enables them to continuously improve customer experiences and dramatically increase the agility of their business.

          A new Kubernetes Operator in this release enables easier deployment and management of the Cloud Foundry-based platform on Kubernetes infrastructure. This 2.0 release is also simpler to install, operate and maintain on Kubernetes platforms anywhere – on premises and in public clouds. It also opens an accelerated and pragmatic path for existing Cloud Foundry users to transition to a modern, Kubernetes-based architecture.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Flatpak 1.8 Released with Improved P2P Support, New Systemd Unit, and More

          Flatpak 1.8 is packed with lots of new features and improvements. Among the most important ones, there’s simplified installation of OSTree P2P (Peer-to-Peer) support, which obsoletes installation of apps from local network peers and no longer allows automatic sideloading of apps from a local USB stick.

          To enable sideloading, users will have to configure a sideload repository by creating a symlink to it from /var/lib/flatpak/sideload-repos or /run/flatpak/sideload-repos. Moreover, Flatpak 1.8 ships with a systemd unit, which isn’t installed by default, to automatically detect plugged in USB sticks with sideload repositories.

        • Flatpak 1.8 Released For This Leading Linux App Sandboxing / Distribution Tech
        • Introduction to Linux-based document management systems

          A DMS provides users and administrators with fine-grained security as well as search and version control. Search is very important to organizations whose users have stored thousands or tens of thousands of documents. Standard filesystem search can be fast for a few users, but it’s less efficient than an indexed search specifically designed for a document management system.

          There are tools such as locate but these must be manually updated. The DMS only searches within its registered files and not the entire filesystem. NFS-mounted filesystems can also slow searches to an unacceptable level. The document management system streamlines search, retrieval, and overall document management. Document management systems also include other features that simple file servers don’t, such as full-text search within all document formats, OCR, exporting, scalability, modularity, commenting, cloud connectivity, CMS integration, and mobile apps. DMSs really are the next evolutionary leap in managing corporate file repositories.

          Although document management systems can be prohibitively expensive, there are several free, open source, and community versions of commercial packages available. However, just like any community-supported application, you either can rely on the community at large, or you can have an in-house or third-party developer assist you with customizations.

        • Top telco benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8

          Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 comes with a host of enhancements to help digital service providers (DSPs) build a foundation for responding to customer requirements and seize new opportunities, particularly as they deploy 5G and edge services. From cloud portability to performance improvements and more, there are significant advantages for DSPs to explore.

        • Cockpit 222

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 222.

        • Red Hat upgrades Ansible DevOps and new Certified Ansible Content Collections

          Ansible, a leading DevOps program, may not be Red Hat’s most well-known product line, but after Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for system and cloud administrators, it may be the most important one. Thanks to its latest edition, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform with Ansible Tower 3.7 and its new Red Hat Certified Ansible Content Collections, Ansible’s more important than ever.

          This release of the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform includes new features and enhancements that help simplify automation for new and experienced users while increasing Ansible’s speed and flexibility.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • The 10 Best Ubuntu Derivatives: Choose Your Ubuntu Linux in 2020

          Ubuntu derivatives are the customized or forked builds of the original Ubuntu operating system developed by Canonical. When it comes to choosing the best user-friendly distribution of Linux, everyone will suggest Ubuntu. Since the initial release of the first public version in 2004, Ubuntu rose higher and higher with its popularity.

          Ubuntu is considered one of the most stable and beginner-friendly Linux distribution. Before the era of Ubuntu, many people had a misconception about Linux. The terminal commands and all that stuff seemed nightmare to them. But nowadays, anyone with basic knowledge can run almost any desktop distribution of Linux since many distros followed the same path as Ubuntu.

        • Data science workflows on Kubernetes with Kubeflow pipelines: Part 1

          Kubeflow Pipelines are a great way to build portable, scalable machine learning workflows. It is one part of a larger Kubeflow ecosystem that aims to reduce the complexity and time involved with training and deploying machine learning models at scale.

          In this blog series, we demystify Kubeflow pipelines and showcase this method to produce reusable and reproducible data science.

          We go over why Kubeflow brings the right standardization to data science workflows, followed by how this can be achieved through Kubeflow pipelines.

          In part 2, we will get our hands dirty! We’ll make use of the Fashion MNIST dataset and the Basic classification with Tensorflow example, and take a step-by-step approach to turn the example model into a Kubeflow pipeline so that you can do the same.

        • MAAS 2.8 – new features

          This new release of MAAS brings three key new benefits:

          Virtual machines with LXD (Beta)
          Tighter, more responsive UX
          External/remote PostgreSQL database

        • Ubuntu Masters 3: the community expands

          The Ubuntu Masters conference stemmed from a vision to bring the engineering community together to freely exchange innovative ideas, in the spirit of open source. After two hugely successful conferences, connecting IT teams across industries and countries, and featuring speakers from innovators such as Adobe, Netflix, Roblox, and more, Ubuntu Masters returns on June 30th.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Save Open Technology Fund, #SaveInternetFreedom

        The Tor Project has joined the voices around the world from the internet freedom community and in the U.S. Congress to express concerns about the rapid firing of key personnel and dissolution of the board of directors at the four agencies (Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Open Technology Fund) under the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

        Of most immediate concern to Tor is the future of the Open Technology Fund (OTF) and its crucial mission, since 2012, of providing funding for technology that enables free expression, helps people circumvent censorship, and obstructs repressive surveillance.

      • OTF’s Work Is Vital for a Free and Open Internet

        Keeping the internet open, free, and secure requires eternal vigilance and the constant cooperation of freedom defenders all over the web and the world. Over the past eight years, the Open Technology Fund (OTF) has fostered a global community and provided support—both monetary and in-kind—to more than four hundred projects that seek to combat censorship and repressive surveillance, enabling more than two billion people in over 60 countries to more safely access the open Internet and advocate for democracy.

        OTF has earned trust over the years through its open source ethos, transparency, and a commitment to independence from its funder, the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), which receives its funding through Congressional appropriations.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Immigrants Remain Core to the U.S.’ Strength

            By its very design the internet has accelerated the sharing of ideas and information across borders, languages, cultures and time zones. Despite the awesome reach and power of what the web has enabled, there is still no substitute for the chemistry that happens when human beings of different backgrounds and experiences come together to live and work in the same community.

            Immigration brings a wealth of diverse viewpoints, drives innovation and creative thinking, and is central to building the internet into a global public resource that is open and accessible to all.

            This is why the current U.S. administration’s recent actions are so troubling. On June 22, 2020 President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order suspending entry of immigrants under the premise that they present a risk to the United States’ labor market recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This decision will likely have far-reaching and unintended consequences for industries like Mozilla’s and throughout the country.

          • We’re proud to join #StopHateForProfit

            Mozilla stands with the family of companies and civil society groups calling on Facebook to take strong action to limit hateful and divisive content on their platforms. Mozilla and Firefox have not advertised on Facebook and Instagram since March of 2018, when it became clear the company wasn’t acting to improve the lack of user privacy that emerged in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

          • Celebrate Pride with these colorful browser themes for Firefox

            As June comes to a close, we wanted to share some of our favorite LGBTQ browser themes, so you can celebrate Pride well into the summer and beyond.

          • Mozilla WebThings Gateway Kit by OKdo

            We’re excited about this week’s news from OKdo, highlighting a new kit built around Mozilla’s WebThings Gateway. OKdo is a UK-based global technology company focused on IoT offerings for hobbyists, educators, and entrepreneurs. Their idea is to make it easy to get a private and secure “web of things” environment up and running in either home or classroom. OKdo chose to build this kit around the Mozilla WebThings Gateway, and we’ve been delighted to work with them on it.

            The WebThings Gateway is an open source software distribution focused on privacy, security, and interoperability. It provides a web-based user interface to monitor and control smart home devices, along with a rules engine to automate them. In addition, a data logging subsystem monitors device changes over time. Thanks to extensive contributions from our open source community, you’ll find an add-on system to extend the gateway with support for a wide range of existing smart home products.

            With the WebThings Gateway, users always have complete control. You can directly monitor and control your home and devices over the web. In fact, you’ll never have to share data with a cloud service or vendor.

          • Firefox UX: Designing for voice

            In the future people will use their voice to access the internet as often as they use a screen. We’re already in the early stages of this trend: As of 2016 Google reported 20% of searches on mobile devices used voice, last year smart speakers sales topped 146 million units — a 70% jump from 2018, and I’m willing to bet your mom or dad have adopted voice to make a phone call or dictate a text message.

            I’ve been exploring voice interactions as the design lead for Mozilla’s Emerging Technologies team for the past two years. In that time we’ve developed Pocket Listen (a Text-to-Speech platform, capable of converting any published web article into audio) and Firefox Voice (an experiment accessing the internet with voice in the browser). This blog post is an introduction to designing for voice, based on the lessons our team learned researching and developing these projects. Luckily, if you’re a designer transitioning to working with voice, and you already have a solid design process in place, you’ll find many of your skills transfer seamlessly. But, some things are very different, so let’s dive in.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Redis Labs Unveils New Open Source Project, RedisRaft

          Redis Labs has announced RedisRaft, a new strong-consistency deployment option. The RedisRaft module makes it possible to use Redis and its existing clients, libraries, and data types in beyond-cache scenarios requiring a high level of reliability and consistency.

          According to Yossi Gottlieb, chief architect, Redis Labs, the new option makes it possible to operate a number of Redis servers as a single fault-tolerant, strongly consistent cluster, and is based on the Raft consensus algorithm and an open-source C library that implements it.

        • MariaDB 10.5.4 Release Notes
      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Annual Report 2019: Updates from the Design community

          Based on LibreOffice’s Human Interface Guidelines (HIG), which provide the core framework, several significant changes were made to LibreOffice’s user interface during 2019. The most important were the improvements and the additions to icon styles, and the release of the NotebookBar in additional flavours.

      • Programming/Development

        • Loaded terms in free software

          The FSF has often refused to talk with news organizations (including LWN) without an advance promise that at least some of its word-use proscriptions would be followed in any resulting article. The loss of coverage resulting from that condition is, seemingly, considered a price worth paying in order to keep distance from perceived illegitimate use of loaded terms.

          In the wider community, terms like “master” and “slave” have been the source of discomfort for some time; some projects have moved away from those terms in recent years. Current events — and not just in the U.S. — have raised awareness and greatly accelerated efforts in this direction. The topic has recently come up in the kernel community, which has also been discussing a proposal to replace “blacklist” and “whitelist” with “denylist” and “allowlist”.

          This discussion is not just limited to the kernel, though. The Git community is debating renaming the default “master” branch to something else — a change that is already being made at major Git-hosting companies and which is almost certain to be adopted. Similar discussions are being held in the Ansible community, the curl project, the Go language community, the OpenSSL project, the PHP community, and beyond. The Python community mostly eliminated these terms in 2018.

          Needless to say, there has been opposition to these changes. Some of it comes from the usual spontaneous sock-puppet accounts that proliferate around this kind of discussion — but not all of it. Opponents make the point that words with the same spelling have different meanings in English, and that a slave device has nothing to do with an enslaved human. Making these changes, they argue, distorts the language, creates endless code churn, and confuses users in support of a sort of political correctness that does little, if anything, to address the actual problem of systemic racism. There is also a slippery-slope argument that can be heard; will one get into trouble for claiming to have mastered a difficult subject or listing one’s master’s degree on a resume? What should the kernel’s position be on red-black trees?

        • Ian Jackson: Renaming the primary git branch to “trunk”

          I have been convinced by the arguments that it’s not nice to keep using the word master for the default git branch. Regardless of the etymology (which is unclear), some people say they have negative associations for this word, Changing this upstream in git is complicated on a technical level and, sadly, contested.

          But git is flexible enough that I can make this change in my own repositories. Doing so is not even so difficult.

        • Thunar, GtkAction and a big mess

          My journey into the GtkAction abysses of Thunar began in the mid of 2019. Be warned, it is no story of success. It is rather a story about finding a way through a maze while walking into almost every dead end.

          Actually I just wanted to fix #198 (Merge all file-context-menus into one). But somehow things got weird. More than half a year later and after numerous interactive rebases I finally merged my branch into master \o/

        • Nativefier: Make Your Web Apps A Little More Tolerable
        • GNU Guile 3.0.4 released

          We are pleased but also embarrassed to announce GNU Guile 3.0.4. This release fixes the SONAME of libguile-3.0.so, which was wrongfully bumped in 3.0.3. Distributions should use 3.0.4.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Announcing Perl 7

            This morning at The Perl Conference in the Cloud, Sawyer X announced that Perl has a new plan moving forward. Work on Perl 7 is already underway, but it’s not going to be a huge change in code or syntax. It’s Perl 5 with modern defaults and it sets the stage for bigger changes later. My latest book Preparing for Perl 7 goes into much more detail.

          • Perl 7 Announced As Evolving Perl 5 With Modern Defaults

            Taking place this week is the virtual Perl + Raku “Conference in the Cloud” as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic causing the event to go virtual. A big announcement out of it is Perl 7.

            Perl 7 basically amounts to Perl 5 with more modern defaults and foregoing some of the extensive backward compatibility support found with Perl 5. News of Perl 7 comes a few days after the release of Perl 5.32.

          • The Perl 7 tl;dr

            Sawyer X, Perl’s volunteer Project Lead, announced at The Perl Conference in the Cloud that Perl will make the jump to a new major version, Perl 7. This allows the next version to accept saner, more modern default settings. So far, Perl 5 has been compatible back its first release in 1994. Perl 7, expected to be released within the next year, sets defaults and enables features that most people use today. When Perl 7 is released, Perl 5 will go into long term maintenance for an extended window far beyond its normal two-year, two version support policy. Supported Perl 5 versions will continue to get important security and bug fixes.

          • Perl 7 launches

            The Perl project has announced the upcoming release of Perl 7.

          • Perl 7, not quite getting better yet

            The proposal is presented as a linear progress, I don’t believe this is realistic. This would be fork much like the python 3 transition is (which also wanted to be a simple linear progression). As we all know, they’re currently in year 12 of a 5 year transition.

            There are several problems here. CPAN as an ecosystem is the one that is given most attention to (not without reason; it is without doubt the most important collection of Perl code), but it’s not even the biggest problem.

            The biggest problem is that /usr/bin/perl is infrastructure. We can’t do breaking changes to its basic functionality for the same reason that shell and awk can’t. Too many things in too many places are dependent on it, from system administration scripts to bioinformatics workflows to build systems (e.g. autotools, postgresql) and many more.

            And this change is vastly breaking. Enabling strict and disabling prototypes (to make way for signatures) will break vast amounts of code, especially in the scripting domain of perl. It’s quite telling that 12 years after python3 was released /usr/bin/python isn’t a python3 by default on any of the big distributions (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, Red Hat, OpenSuse); and arguably python is less entrenched than perl is. I don’t believe that /usr/bin/perl will ever be perl7. That means that perl7 can only meaningfully exist if it’s set up to coexist alongside of perl5 for a very long time. And that actually comes with a number of challenges that may not seem obvious at first (e.g. colliding script names and man pages).

            Releasing a Perl7 will not erase perl5. Perl5 will in all likelihood remain the Perl that’s available on any platform regardless of how successful perl7 will be.

        • Python

          • The Python heapq Module: Using Heaps and Priority Queues

            Heaps and priority queues are little-known but surprisingly useful data structures. For many problems that involve finding the best element in a dataset, they offer a solution that’s easy to use and highly effective. The Python heapq module is part of the standard library. It implements all the low-level heap operations as well as some high-level common uses for heaps.

            A priority queue is a powerful tool that can solve problems as varied as writing an email scheduler, finding the shortest path on a map, or merging log files. Programming is full of optimization problems in which the goal is to find the best element. Priority queues and the functions in the Python heapq module can often help with that.

          • It’s Time to Start Learning Coding: Top 20+ Best Websites To Learn Programming in 2020

            I’m sure many of us are wondering how to stay a relevant professional in the post-pandemic world. One of the ways, obviously, is learning to program. Now that the industry is at the 21% growth rate (higher than that of any other field), it’s clear that the demand for good developers is not going anywhere.

            Moreover, it’s likely to grow in the next couple of years, as more businesses will consider replacing physical processes and practices with the digital ones.

            In this post, you will find out why now is the time to master coding and collect a complete resource deck to fuel your progress — over 20 websites that help future coders get better at their jobs.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 3
          • Extend Microsoft Excel with Python Using Wing and PyXLL
  • Leftovers

    • C.O.N.Y. — Commune of New York
    • ‘To Embrace the Fucked-Up’: On Dodie Bellamy

      Dodie Bellamy is the kind of writer one knows all or nothing about. When friends asked what I was working on and I said, “Reviewing a collection of essays about Dodie Bellamy’s work,” they responded with either a blank stare or sudden, excited recognition. Tempestuous conversations about Chris Kraus and Kathy Acker arose, along with nostalgic memories of the poet Kevin Killian, Bellamy’s late husband, and the archive-like San Francisco apartment they shared. We discussed the beginnings of New Narrative, a literary movement started in San Francisco in the late 1970s in which Bellamy, Killian, and Acker were key figures. Pornography was a common topic, as was queer identity, transgression, cults, gentrification, and New Age. If someone didn’t know Bellamy, then it was up to me to explain how she strings such topics together and to impress upon them why her writing is still so influential.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Vindication’: Bayer Reaches $10 Billion Settlement Over Roundup Cancer Lawsuits

        The deal includes $1.25 billion to cover potential future settlements.

      • Are Swedes Shunned for High Covid Rates—or Is It Really ABBA?

        The New York Times reporter who offered “Sweden’s apparent success in handling the scourge without an economically devastating lockdown” (4/28/20) as a model for other nations grappling with the coronavirus is now writing about how Swedes are no longer allowed to visit other Scandinavian countries—and explaining it in a way that minimizes having to acknowledge how much he sold deadly snake oil to New York Times readers.

      • Trump’s Arizona Rally Confirms His COVID Policy Is Driven Only by His Ego

        Pretend for a moment that I’m a Hollywood writer pitching a script to a producer. It’s a tragic farce, I’d say, about the worst president in history allowing tens of thousands of his own people to die in a preventable pandemic because he thinks actually addressing the crisis will make him look bad on television.

      • J&J loses bid to overturn baby powder verdict, but damages cut to $2.1 billion

        A Missouri appeals court on Tuesday rejected Johnson & Johnson’s bid to throw out a jury verdict in favor of women who blamed their ovarian cancer on its baby powder and other talc products, but reduced its damages award to $2.12 billion from $4.69 billion.

        The decision by the Missouri Court of Appeals, in a case brought by 22 women, followed J&J’s announcement on May 19 that it would stop selling its talc Johnson’s Baby Powder in the United States and Canada.

      • Appeals Court Reduces J&J Talc Verdict but Censures Company

        The appeals court agreed that the monetary damages were needed to show other companies the consequences of endangering the public with their products.

      • Radical Mothering for Abolitionist Futures Post-COVID-19

        The initial effects of COVID-19 coupled with the current uprisings against police violence have torn us from our common sense of normalcy. This sudden shift in the toxic state of living under the violence of racial capitalism, white supremacy, and settler colonialism affords us the opportunity to uplift centuries of communal wisdom that abound all around us. The current pandemic made it increasingly apparent that capitalism, not simply COVID-19, is the disaster.

      • Whistleblowing, the Pandemic and a ‘Law and Order’ System of Injustice

        All vestiges of the current system of white moderate law and order must be obliterated.

      • COVID Testing Sites to Lose Federal Funding Even as Fauci Calls for More Testing

        The Trump administration is planning to defund a number of COVID-19 testing sites across the country, and it remains unclear whether doing so might be part of a broad plan by the president to “slow down on testing.”

      • Moscow’s exit from quarantine in photos As Russia’s capital lifts lockdown restrictions, Muscovites rush to get outside

        On June 9, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin lifted the Russian capital’s self-isolation regime, which had been in place since the end of March. Not long after, hairdressers, beauty salons, photo studios, and veterinary clinics were allowed to reopen. Since June 16, restaurants and cafes have been serving customers on summer patios. According to official data from the headquarters for the fight against the coronavirus, the number of new cases in Moscow is on the decline: the city saw 1,416 new cases on the day lockdown restrictions were lifted, June 16, and there were 1,057 new cases on the following Saturday, June 20. Despite occasional heavy rains, the Russian capital has been experiencing hot summer weather, prompting thousands of Muscovites to get outside — with many disregarding social distancing recommendations, as well as the mandatory “mask and glove” regime, which is officially still in place. In a special photo report for Meduza, photojournalist Evgeny Feldman spent an entire day wandering Moscow’s streets, beaches, and parks, to see how the city is leaving quarantine behind.

      • As EU Looks to Reopen Borders, US Covid-19 Surge Means Americans May Not Be Welcome

        “I can’t say I’m surprised,” said a pathology expert at Johns Hopkins University.

      • Trump Doubles Down on Claim He Ordered Slowdown in Covid-19 Tests Just as Fauci Testifies: “It’s the Opposite. We’re Gonna Be Doing More”

        “To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

      • Trump Responds to COVID-19 Spike by Cracking Down on Immigration

        The number of new COVID-19 cases are spiking in several states, but President Trump did not announce new public health responses on Monday. Instead, he issued an executive order extending and expanding suspensions of immigration and guest worker programs until the end of the year. The White House is also moving to push lower-wage workers out of the H-1B visa program, and it barred asylum seekers from gaining lawful employment for one year after filing a claim.

      • WATCH LIVE: Fauci and Redfield Testify Before Congress on Failures of Trump Response to Covid-19

        “There have been a lot of unfortunate missteps in the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said one Democratic lawmaker ahead of the hearing.

      • ‘Exploitation of a Pandemic to Reshape Immigration Law’: Trump Order on Worker Visa Restrictions Sparks Outrage

        “As long as the Trump administration is in office, they will continue to look for excuses to justify extending this ban.”

      • Judge Rules California Requirement of Cancer Warning Label for Glyphosate Violates Corporate ‘Free Speech’

        The World Health Organization’s cancer research arm classified glyphosate—the active ingredient in weed-killers like Bayer’s Roundup—as probably carcinogenic for humans.

      • Médecins Sans Frontières needs ‘radical change’ on racism: MSF president

        The 23 June message comes amidst heated internal debate in MSF about racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. One staffer, speaking to TNH on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issues involved, welcomed the statement as long overdue, but said it would be a “hard pill to swallow” for the white-dominated “old guard” of MSF.

        MSF is among the largest humanitarian aid agencies in the world, providing emergency medical services in low-income countries, conflict zones, and, for COVID-19, parts of Europe and the United States. Most of MSF’s staff of about 55,000 are hired locally from the countries where services are provided, but its operations are run by European-dominated senior management in five units in Western Europe and one in Senegal. It raised €1.6 billion in 2019. MSF is notable in humanitarian circles for valuing candid debate and critical enquiry on sensitive and controversial topics.

        The joint email statement from MSF’s international president, Greek Christos Christou, and Kenyan board member Samuel Bumicho, said “action… is very long overdue”. “This crisis should help us hold up a mirror to see what we are – but that will mean little unless we then act on what we see… those in leadership roles must step up to identify a process for radical change.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • What is Network Time Security and Why is it Important?

        Network Time Security (NTS) is an attempt in the NTP working group of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to change the NTP authentication to something more useful. Netnod has participated in this standardisation effort and has sponsored the development of several implementations.

        On 25 March 2020, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) of the IETF approved the NTS Internet Draft as an RFC in the Standards Track. It’s currently in RFC editor queue awaiting publication as an RFC proper.

      • Proprietary

        • The End of OS X

          Mach: Mach was a microkernel developed at Carnegie Mellon University; the concept of a microkernel is to run the smallest amount of software necessary for the core functionality of an operating system in the most privileged mode, and put all other functionality into less privileged modes. OS X doesn’t have a true microkernel — the BSD subsystem runs in the same privileged mode, for performance reasons — but the modular structure of a microkernel-type design makes it easier to port to different processor architectures, or remove operating system functionality that is not needed for different types of devices (there is, of course, lots of other work that goes into a porting a modern operating system; this is a dramatic simplification).

        • What Apple’s Mac move away from Intel means to the enterprise

          As Apple moves to a new chip, it must also rewrite its desktop OS for the new platform, something it’s begun with this year’s release of macOS Big Sur. This could potentially break any specialized or customized software running on the current version. While Apple will make an emulator available for compatibility purposes, emulators are generally not a good solution for high-performance needs as they tend to significantly slow down the processing within apps as they “translate” the software.

        • Bryan Quigley: Don’t Download Zoom!

          First, I strongly recommend switching to Jitsi Meet:

          It’s free
          It doesn’t require you to sign up at all
          It’s open source
          It’s on the cutting edge of privacy and security features

        • Opera Web Browser 69 Released with Twitter Integration

          Opera web browser released the new stable version 69 today. The new release features built-in Twitter support.

          Click the three-dot icon at the bottom of the sidebar, then you can tick Twitter in the Messengers section.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Open Mainframe Project Announces Major Technical Milestone with Zowe’s Long Term Support Release
          • Open Mainframe Project Announces Major Technical Milestone with Zowe’s Long Term Support Release

            The Open Mainframe Project (OMP) announced today that Zowe, an open source software framework for the mainframe that strengthens integration with modern enterprise applications, marks a major technical milestone with the first Long Term Support (LTS) release. The Zowe LTS release will offer vendors and customers product stability, security, interoperability as well as easy installation and upgrades.

            OMP launched Zowe, the first-ever open source project based on z/OS, in 2018 to serve as an integration platform for the next generation of administration, management and development tools on z/OS mainframes. The Zowe framework uses the latest web technologies among products and solutions from multiple vendors. Zowe enables developers to use familiar, industry-standard, open source tools to access mainframe resources and services.

          • Announcing the Relay public beta

            Today we announce Relay, an event-driven automation platform. Sign up now and try it out! Relay connects infrastructure and operations platforms, APIs, and tools together into a cohesive, easy-to-automate whole. Relay is simple enough for you to start automating common, if-this-then-that (IFTTT) style DevOps tasks in minutes and powerful enough to model multi-step, branching, parallelized DevOps processes when the need arises.

          • Lynx Analytics Releases LynxKite 4.0 to Democratize Adoption of Graph AI

            Lynx Analytics announces the open source release of its Complete Graph Data Science Platform, LynxKite 4.0, after years of development and successful deployments with customers.

            With rapidly growing availability of network and relationship data as well as new graph deep learning technologies, Graph AI is the next frontier of machine learning as advocated by leading machine learning experts. By integrating relationship information into machine learning models, graphs are a crucial component in numerous AI applications: network based attribute prediction, fraud detection, product recommendation, infrastructure and operations optimization, drug discovery, etc.

          • Lynx Analytics releases LynxKite 4.0, an Open Source Graph Data Science Platform, to democratize adoption of Graph AI [Ed: GNU Affero General Public License v3.0]
          • Openwashing

            • OpenAPI welcomes the OpenTravel Alliance as its newest member!

              OpenTravel is a not-for-profit trade association that develops data messaging structures in order to facilitate communication between the many facets of the travel industry. It is the travel industry’s only open-source, interoperability data standard. Using OpenTravel messaging, travelers can search, book, pay and check-in/out in a completely contactless environment.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (kernel, ntp, and unbound), Fedora (php-horde-horde and tcpreplay), openSUSE (chromium, java-1_8_0-openj9, mozilla-nspr, mozilla-nss, and opera), Oracle (gnutls, grafana, thunderbird, and unbound), Red Hat (candlepin and satellite, docker, microcode_ctl, openstack-keystone, openstack-manila and openstack-manila, and qemu-kvm-rhev), Scientific Linux (kernel and ntp), Slackware (ntp), SUSE (curl, libreoffice, libssh2_org, and php5), and Ubuntu (curl).

          • Trend Micro Protects Cybage Software Against Security Vulnerabilities

            Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, is providing its security solutions to Cybage Software, a global technology engineering services organization. Trend Micro Deep Security, which is implemented across 100 servers of the company, enables comprehensive protection for on-premises data centers, and prevents the spread of viruses, spyware and other threats to various internal and external endpoints. The solution currently supports over 1,500 kernels of Linux at Cybage Software, making processes faster and more efficient.

          • NVIDIA patches high severity flaws in Windows, Linux drivers

            NVIDIA has released security updates to address security vulnerabilities found in GPU Display and CUDA drivers and Virtual GPU Manager software that could lead to code execution, denial of service, escalation of privileges, and information disclosure on both Windows and Linux machines.

            Although all the flaws patched today require local user access and cannot be exploited remotely, with attackers having to first get a foothold on the exposed machines to launch attacks designed to abuse these bugs.

            Once that is achieved, they could take exploit them by remotely planting malicious code or tools targeting one of these issues on devices running vulnerable NVIDIA drivers.

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

            • Linux Ransomware – Notorious Cases and Ways to Protect [Ed: Conveniently ignoring how ransomware almost always targets Windows with its back doors and access tools that are leaked from NSA?]

              The ransomware plague has been the talk of the cybersecurity town since the emergence of CryptoLocker back in 2013. A combination of military-grade encryption and effective extortion mechanisms makes every such attack potentially disastrous as the victim runs the risk of losing essential data down the line.

              Whereas the vast majority of ransom Trojans zero in on Windows PCs, some strains focus on devices running other operating systems instead. The Linux ecosystem is a steadily expanding battlefield in this regard. This might seem like a marginal tactic at first sight, but once you explore the wiki facet of the matter, the attackers’ logic starts making a whole lot of sense.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act shows that politicians still don’t understand encryption

              Three Senators, including the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have introduced a new anti-encryption bill called the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act. The bill was introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Graham along with Senators Cotton and Blackburn – all longtime anti-encryption stance holders. The Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act would ban “warrant-proof encryption” and make it so that government agencies

            • The Senate’s New Anti-Encryption Bill Is Even Worse Than EARN IT, and That’s Saying Something

              Right now, we rely on secure technologies like never before—to cope with the pandemic, to organize and march in the streets, and much more. Yet, now is the moment some members of the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence Committees have chosen to try to effectively outlaw encryption in those very technologies.

              The new Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act—introduced this week by Senators Graham, Blackburn, and Cotton—ignores expert consensus and public opinion, which is unfortunately par for the course. But the bill is actually even more out of touch with reality than many other recent anti-encryption bills. Since January, we’ve been fighting the EARN IT Act, a dangerous anti-speech and anti-security bill that would hand a government commission, led by the Attorney General, the power to determine “best practices” online. It’s easy to see how that bill would enable an attack on service providers who provide encrypted communications, because the commission would be headed by Attorney General William Barr, who’s made his opposition to encrypted communications crystal clear. The best that EARN IT’s sponsors can muster in defense is that the bill itself doesn’t use the word “encryption”—asking us to trust that the commission won’t touch encryption. 

            • Victory! Boston Bans Government Use of Face Surveillance

              The push to minimize the government’s power to track and spy on people with surveillance technology has picked up steam as the Black-led movement against racism and police brutality continues to push politicians to reconsider the role policing plays in our lives. Thanks to the tireless efforts of activists and organizations in Massachusetts and around the country, including EFF, this week Boston joins the ranks of cities that have banned government use of face surveillance. 

              Boston will become the tenth city in the United States to ban government use of face recognition technology. Last year, the state of California passed a three-year moratorium on the use of FRT on police body-worn and hand-held cameras.

            • A black man was wrongfully arrested because of facial recognition

              The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a formal complaint against Detroit police over what it says is the first known example of a wrongful arrest caused by faulty facial recognition technology.

            • Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

              Note: In response to this article, the Wayne County prosecutor’s office said that Robert Julian-Borchak Williams could have the case and his fingerprint data expunged. “We apologize,” the prosecutor, Kym L. Worthy, said in a statement, adding, “This does not in any way make up for the hours that Mr. Williams spent in jail.”

            • U.S. activists fault face recognition in wrongful arrest for first time

              Robert Williams spent over a day in custody in January after face recognition software matched his driver’s license photo to surveillance video of someone shoplifting, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) said in the complaint. In a video shared by ACLU, Williams says officers released him after acknowledging “the computer” must have been wrong.

              Government documents seen by Reuters show the match to Williams came from Michigan state police’s digital image analysis section, which has been using a face matching service from Rank One Computing.

            • ‘The Computer Got It Wrong’: How Facial Recognition Led To False Arrest Of Black Man

              In January, police pulled up to Williams’ home and arrested him while he stood on his front lawn in front of his wife and two daughters, ages 2 and 5, who cried as they watched their father being placed in the patrol car.

              His wife, Melissa Williams, asked where her husband was being taken.

              ” ‘Google it,’ ” she remembers an officer telling her.

              Robert Williams was placed in an interrogation room and police put three photos in front of him: Two photos taken from the surveillance camera in the store and a photo of Williams’ state-issued driver’s license.

              “When I look at the picture of the guy, I just see a big Black guy. I don’t see a resemblance. I don’t think he looks like me at all,” Williams said in an interview with NPR.

            • Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm

              Mr. Williams knew that he had not committed the crime in question. What he could not have known, as he sat in the interrogation room, is that his case may be the first known account of an American being wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm, according to experts on technology and the law.

            • Senators Introduce “Balanced” Bill That Aims to End Warrant-Proof Encryption

              Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) are making another attempt with a new bill introduced on Tuesday, which they have named the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act.

            • ‘Lawful access’ bill would allow feds to legally bust into encrypted devices

              The bill, which was submitted Tuesday, appears to be a formal codification of what top judicial officials have sought for well over two decades: enhancing the government’s ability to bust through strong encryption, which can make data on a cellphone or a computer almost unreadable to anyone who does not have the password to decrypt it.

              “This is the full-frontal nuclear assault on encryption we’ve been fearing would come, but which no lawmaker previously had dared to put forth,” emailed Riana Pfefferkorn, associate director of surveillance and cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

            • Audi pulls contract with Ksenia Sobchak following comments on U.S. protests

              The German car manufacturer Audi has terminated its advertising contract with Russian television host Ksenia Sobchak, following an Instagram post that the company considered racist, the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

            • Ben & Jerry’s joins Facebook, Instagram ad boycott

              US ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s announced Wednesday that it would join a campaign to stop advertising on Facebook’s various platforms as protest against the tech company’s perceived lack of action over racist and inflammatory content.

            • German Court Orders Facebook to Rein in Data Collection

              Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) had told Facebook to rein in the data collecting in a landmark decision in 2019, but the social media giant appealed the order.

              In a fast-track proceeding on Tuesday, Germany’s Federal Court of Justice (BGH) sided with the FCO watchdog in finding that Facebook was abusing its dominant position to force users to consent to all their data being collected.

              “Facebook does not allow for any choice,” presiding judge Peter Meier-Beck said in the Karlsruhe courtroom.

            • Terrible, Dangerous EARN IT Act Set To Move Forward In The Senate; Attack On Both Encryption And Free Speech Online

              The attacks never stop. After rumors last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee has officially put the EARN IT Act onto the schedule for this week, though many expect that it will get held over and marked up next week on July 2nd, which, conveniently, is a neat time to sneak through legislation when lots of people are not paying any attention (right before July 4th). In short, this means that there’s a decent chance the EARN IT bill will be moving forward and could potentially pass.

            • Lightweight alternatives to Google Analytics

              More and more web-site owners are concerned about the “all-seeing Google” tracking users as they browse around the web. Google Analytics (GA) is a full-featured web-analytics system that is available for free and, despite the privacy concerns, has become the de facto analytics tool for small and large web sites alike. However, in recent years, a growing number of alternatives are helping break Google’s dominance. In this article we’ll look at two of the lightweight open-source options, namely GoatCounter and Plausible. In a subsequent article, we’ll look at a few of the larger tools.

              GA is by far the biggest player here: BuiltWith shows that around 86% of the top 100,000 web sites use it. This figure goes down to 64% for the top one-million web sites. These figures have grown steadily for the past 15 years, since Google acquired Urchin and rebranded it as Google Analytics. In addition to privacy concerns, GA is more complex and feature-heavy than some web-site owners need; many of them just want to see how much traffic is going to the pages on their site, and where that traffic is coming from. So it’s not surprising that a number of simpler, more open tools have taken off in the past few years.

              It should be noted that LWN does use GA, though we are evaluating other choices. Those who turn off ads in their preferences will not be served with the GA code, however.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Defund the Police. And the Military, Too.

        In the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, Americans are finally—or is it once again?—confronting the racism that afflicts this country and extends into just about every corner of our national life. Something fundamental just might be happening.

    • Environment

      • Under the Over in a Time of Cyclone and Corona

        Even when the howling wind and torrential rain brought by Cyclone Amphan was causing havoc around her on May 20, Sabita Sardar was not afraid. “We are used to dealing with bad weather. I wasn’t feeling scared. In fact, those who live in concrete homes were more scared,” she said.

      • Let’s Make Sure We Get the Green New Deal Right

        Advocates of the Green New Deal (GND) are looking to change the way we handle a range of problems facing society, especially in the wake of environmental challenges occasioned by climate change. In response, policymakers have suggested a variety of programs designed to deal with these challenges. Should any of these be reconsidered in the wake of COVID-19? And are there lessons to be learned from the original New Deal?

      • ‘A Water Emergency Threatens Every Corner of Our Country’: Analysis Shows 80% Spike in US Utility Bills Over 8 Years

        “Let us go forward together, and demand that Congress finally make the necessary investments in clean water for all Americans, putting human lives ahead of corporate profits.”

      • Nature’s accounts show what the world does for us

        People go on getting richer, and the planet pays a mounting price. There’s a better way to balance nature’s accounts.

      • Energy

        • Minnesota Attorney General Sues Exxon, Koch and API for Climate Deception

          Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the lawsuit at a press conference Wednesday. The lawsuit names as defendants ExxonMobil, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and Koch Industries as well as Koch subsidiaries Flint Hills Resources LP and Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend. The lawsuit claims these organizations violated Minnesota consumer protection laws for orchestrating a campaign of deception around climate science and the danger of fossil fuels.

        • COVID-19 causes ‘bike explosion’ as Germans long for a ride

          The bike trade in Germany has been flourishing for quite a while with sales rising 34% to €4.2 billion in 2019. But demand virtually spiked in April and May, causing waiting lists especially for customized bicycles to soar.

          “Business was brisk in the month of April and May, as bike sales grew significantly,” says Dietmar Knust, the chairman of the German Association of Bicycle Traders. Some stores sold three times as many bicycles as normal in the two months, he told DW.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Hawaii’s Invasive Predator Catastrophe
        • Savagery in the Great Basin

          The Bureau of Land Management has spent the pandemic churning out rapacious public land projects at breakneck speed. This includes egregious grazing decisions drastically increasing livestock numbers for powerful ranchers. After complaints, Idaho BLM Director John Ruhs responded that ranching was an essential service. At the same time, an avalanche of BLM deforestation projects hit. Ely BLM’s Long and Ruby Valley Watershed Restoration EA decision arrived by certified mail, authorizing more grotesque pinyon-juniper carnage and smashed roller-beaten sagebrush across 136,000 acres of public land. That’s 213 square miles laid to waste within a nearly half million-acre landscape, plus blanket tree removal around all springs. It’s the latest in a dismal series of cookie cutter projects tearing apart the Great Basin. BLM’s 2008 land use plan (the Ely RMP) is based on radical deforestation and sagebrush reduction. At that time, sage-grouse were not the primary excuse for these projects. Hazardous fuels reduction was all the rage. Nowadays, both are knotted together. The RMP has served as a springboard for watershed-by-watershed decimation of native forests and sage communities, and their migratory bird and other wildlife inhabitants across the District’s 12 million acres.

    • Finance

      • SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son Steps Down From Alibaba’s Board

        The billionaire told shareholders in Tokyo he’s leaving just as Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma himself quits SoftBank’s board, but that didn’t signify any disagreements between the two billionaires. Alibaba, in which SoftBank invested early on and is now worth roughly $600 billion, remains the crown jewel of the Japanese company’s portfolio, Son emphasized.

      • These 3 Studies Can Prove To Anyone That Systemic Racism Is Very Very Real

        Racism is like sewage. Whether we’re currently engaging in a national dialogue about it or not, it’s still there. It runs under our streets, our buildings, our society. Millions of tons of shit.

      • Billions of Children are Being Punished by the Pandemic

        The Great Lockdown lingers month upon month. The virus continues its march across the world; the disease continues to infect people and take lives. Uncertainty grips all of us, unsure if the disease’s peak has been reached and if the Great Lockdown will soon slowly lift. In places such as Brazil, India, and the United States, the irresponsible and incompetent governments are eager to open things up to galvanize economic activity; they do not appear as concerned about breaking the chain of the infection. U.S. President Donald Trump said that he wanted testing to be slowed down, a dangerous statement that goes against all the advice from the World Health Organization. No sense in ending the Great Lockdown if such an opening is only going to continue to infect people and prevent a proper end to the pandemic.

      • Report on Broken Windows Spending Bolsters Call to Redirect $1 Billion of NYPD Budget to Harmed Communities

        City leaders are urged to direct the money to “more relevant city agencies, harm reduction programs, and community-based organizations who are better trained and equipped to actually keep our communities safe.”

      • Putin announces 15 percent income tax increase for high-earning Russian citizens

        Beginning on January 1, 2021, income tax in Russia will increase from 13 percent to 15 percent for citizens who earn more than 5 million rubles per year (around $73,000), President Vladimir Putin announced during an address on June 23.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Jamaal Bowman Is on Track to Score AOC-Type Win Over 16-Term Congressman Engel

        Jamaal Bowman, a former educator and school principal from the Bronx in New York, appears to have defeated 16-term Rep. Eliot Engel Tuesday night in the Democratic primary for that seat in Congress.

      • Do Not Mourn the White Saviours of DfID

        I never write to shock. But I do relish making people think, and consider arguments out of the comfort zone of a set of group shared opinions. I am very aware that many people find this intensely annoying.

      • Bill Barr Gets Shredded: A Threat to ‘Our Rule Of Law and to Public Trust in It’

        On the same day that a Trump-appointed judge backed Attorney General William Barr and instructed trial judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn on charges to which he pleaded guilty, Assistant US Attorney Aaron Zelinsky outlined the corruption of Barr’s Justice Department in similarly meddling in the case of Trump buddy Roger Stone.

      • Unfit: Bully Billy Barr
      • The Next Politics Is All About Movements—and It’s Winning

        In June 2018, the results of a New York City congressional primary woke people up to the prospect that a new politics might upend the status quo within the Democratic Party and across the nation. A democratic socialist who had worked on the 2016 presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders, and who ran a grassroots campaign that championed economic, social, and racial justice, defeated one of the top Democrats in the House of Representatives. And suddenly everyone was talking about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      • Voting as an ‘inter-corporate event’ This is the system Russian enterprises plan to use to track employees’ participation in a nationwide plebiscite on constitutional amendments

        Meduza has learned that an electronic system is active in several regions across Russia that will monitor turnout among employees at major enterprises in the country’s upcoming plebiscite on new constitutional amendments (including reforms that could extend Vladimir Putin’s presidency to 2036). Using the website votely.ru, the executives of various organizations can preload staff rosters and assign a unique QR code to each individual. When polling stations open, volunteers on the ground will scan these QR codes under the pretext of holding quizzes and staging contests among voters in order to collect turnout data. According to Meduza’s sources, this system will be utilized in and around Yaroslavl (where it was developed) and in a handful of other regions across the country. Russia’s national postal operator is one of the enterprises that’s received instructions on how to use votely.ru. Meduza obtained access to the system’s demo version and discovered that dozens of Russia’s biggest companies are also registered with Votely, including the defense firm Rostec, the telecommunications company Rostelecom, the petrochemical company Sibur, Russian Railways, Lukoil, and others.

      • In Kentucky, 2020’s String of Election Disasters Threatens Again

        Meanwhile, the demand for vote-by-mail has swamped underfunded election boards in many states, and sometimes overwhelmed a wobbly Postal Service. As a result, tens of thousands of voters have requested absentee ballots but not received them by election day, forcing them, as well, into those already interminable waits. Also: During a pandemic.

        Endure the lines? Risk catching a deadly virus? If other nations forced their citizens to make this decision, we would watch in horror and question their commitments to democracy, fair elections, and public health. This is now the situation in America almost weekly. And that’s the backdrop for today’s election in Kentucky, where some of those same conditions exist that led to chaos in Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere.

      • YouTube suspends account of Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes

        “I’m kicked off YouTube y’all,” McInnes wrote in a Telegram post on Monday afternoon. “350k sub[scriptions], 155 videos, 30 [million] views, 15 years. I’m told they are also going after [accounts] that feature me in any positive light.”

        McInnes included an image of a message that purportedly came from YouTube in which the platform said that his account had been suspended for “content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people.”

      • Rally Fiasco

        The unusually candid photo of Donald Trump as he walked in darkness from the Marine One helicopter on the South Lawn of the White House caught him appearing dejected and defeated on return from a sparse turnout at his Tulsa rally.

      • The Rich Legacy of Autonomous Zones in the Americas

        Seattle—On the evening of June 8, the street barricades in Seattle that had encircled tear-gas-laced standoffs for over a week became the boundaries of a new social order. The city’s police department had just evacuated their east precinct on Capitol Hill, the former epicenter of protest frictions and the most densely populated residential neighborhood in Washington state. With the cops suddenly absent, activists protesting the police killing of George Floyd seized a six-block area around the police station. Before long, they had erected signs that read, “You are now entering a free Capitol Hill” and spray-painted the precinct house entrance, relabeling it: “The Seattle People’s Department.”

      • The BoJo Follies

        The ‘Five O’Clock Follies’ was the name given during the Vietnam War to US military press briefings that were infamous for announcing non-existent victories and wildly exaggerated numbers for enemy casualties.

      • Hopes Quashed: The Sudan Uprisings

        John Young has lots of guts and stamina to probe every nook, cranny and hidden crevice of the multiplex conflicts, strife, wars and struggle for power in a country, the Sudan, that lacks the necessary ingredients to call itself a viable nation-state. Young provides exacting detail demonstrating the deep fractures that disenable peace processes and turn the Sudan into a state approximating anarchy. Plunging into the literature on the Sudan, my head is barely above water, filled with factoids, dates, armies, militias, acronyms, civil society groups and too much detail. How can I make sense of all of this?

      • Lawmakers Welcome IG Probe Into Violent Police Clearing of Lafayette Square

        “The White House narrative is contradicted by video evidence, eyewitness accounts, and even its own past statements. Frankly, it has no credibility at this point.” 

      • Will Biden Remain Tone Deaf to Palestinian Rights?

        Biden’s unconditional support for Israel’s rightwing government is not only less and less popular among Americans, but it guarantees continued repression against Palestinians and continued unrest in the region.

      • Bolton Tells All Too Late

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • The Arena Was Half Empty. Trump Was Still Full of It.
      • Trump, Bolton, and Pompeo: Loathsome Peas in a Pod

        For nearly a year and a half, from April 2018 to September 2019, the Trump administration was in the hands of a “war cabinet.”  With Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State, and John Bolton as National Security Adviser, Donald Trump created one of the most aggressive foreign policy teams in the history of the presidency.  Bolton and Pompeo were fixated on going to war against Iran; were contemptuous toward our European allies and the entire European Community; and were opponents of arms control and disarmament.

      • Russian authorities investigate toy protests against constitutional plebiscite

        Criminal investigators in St. Petersburg came to the home of activist Sonya Ulyasheva, the press secretary of the “Vesna” (“Spring”) opposition movement, to talk about her “civic position.” The visit came in response to a protest action that Vesna activists held on June 21, using children’s toys to oppose the July 1 plebiscite on constitutional amendments, Ulyasehva told OVD-Info. 

      • On July 1 — we vote! Putin’s address on income tax, child benefits, and the constitutional plebiscite, in brief

        Three months have passed since the first address. Usually a quarter flies by quickly, but now everyone has a different sense of time. I want to thank you for the dignity with which you, citizens of Russia, have gone through this test. In some regions the situation remains difficult, but we already have a rapid response mechanism. “No one will ever be left in need. All Russia will definitely come to the rescue. If necessary, we will meet any challenge.” 

      • Kentucky Closes 95 Percent of Polling Places, Leaving Louisville With Just One

        As primary voters head to the polls in New York, Kentucky and Virginia, they face long lines, even as President Trump continues to attack mail-in voting, falsely claiming it leads to fraud. Kentucky has reduced the number of polling places from 3,700 to just 170 — a 95% reduction. “There’s the potential for record turnout,” notes Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of Black Voters Matter, despite such suppression tactics.

      • Trump’s Arizona Trip Showcases the Biggest Failures of His Presidency

        After his debacle in Tulsa, a huge failure with an abysmal turnout and what may still have been a super-spreader event for a deadly virus, Donald Trump needs to set low expectations. Instead, he is back out on the campaign trail Tuesday, making his third trip in five months to Arizona — a state that on Monday reported another record day for COVID-19 hospitalizations — to tout what he calls a major milestone on the long road to achieve his No. 1 campaign promise, building a “big, beautiful wall” on the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite what Trump celebrated as the “212th plus mile of completion” in a Monday tweet complaining about Fox News’ coverage of his failed border wall, what the president won’t admit on his premature victory lap is that there has still only been three miles of new border construction since he took office.

      • Trump Threatens Prison for Those Trying to Remove Slaveholder Monuments

        President Donald Trump threatened this week to imprison any protesters who dared to deface or tear down the statue of former President Andrew Jackson, which sits just outside the White House in nearby Lafayette Park.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Twitter Bans Journalist Organization for Linking to Leaked Secret Police Files

        Twitter confirmed on Tuesday night that it had permanently banned the account of Distributed Denial of Secrets, a journalist organization that earlier this week made accessible to the public one of the largest repositories of leaked U.S. law enforcement documents to date.

      • Twitter Suspends Account of Organization Behind Police Leaks

        Twitter has permanently banned the account of Distributed Denial of Secrets (@DDoSecrets) after it posted links to stolen information belonging to hundreds of law enforcement organizations in the United States.

      • Omar Abdulaziz: A critic of Saudi Arabia becomes a target

        In 2018, Abdulaziz learned through researchers at the Citizen Lab of the University of Toronto that his phone contained spyware that was apparently [cr]acked and tapped through a network connected to Saudi Arabia. Several of his family members were arrested after the suspected [cr]ack. In his recent video statement on Twitter, Abdulaziz stated that “they want to hurt me as a critic, ok. But what does my family have to do with it? Why are my parents and siblings not allowed to travel, not allowed to contact me anymore?”

      • Two Pakistani Journalists Allegedly Tortured By Paramilitary Force For Coronavirus Coverage

        They were then allegedly called to the paramilitary Frontier Corps command center on June 20 and handed over to an anti-terrorism force that took them to a jail and beat them.

      • German injunction against BuzzFeed story in place since September due to COVID-19

        In its injunction, the court said that although the doctor was only referred to by his first name and the first letter of his last name, and that there was considerable public interest in publishing the allegations, the manner of the reporting was “prejudicial,” according to a report by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

        The doctor filed a civil defamation complaint that sparked the injunction, according to that report.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • How outrage over killing of Iranian girl is helping women’s rights

        Most intrafamily murders in Iran disappear in silence, as they often do in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and elsewhere. But the barbarous details of Romina’s death spread quickly, moving the needle of outrage and change toward protecting the lives of women and children.

      • We’re Learning More About the Relationships Between Race, Class, and Police Brutality

        A new paper finds that for white Americans, socioeconomic status is a major determining factor in susceptibility to fatal police violence, while for black Americans, class is critical but not decisive. The findings underscore the need to build a movement that stands against both racist police brutality and brutal class stratification.

      • Abolish the #TechToPrisonPipeline

        Recent instances of algorithmic bias across race, class, and gender have revealed a structural propensity of machine learning systems to amplify historic forms of discrimination, and have spawned renewed interest in the ethics of technology and its role in society. There are profound political implications when crime prediction technologies are integrated into real world applications, which go beyond the frame of “tech ethics” as currently defined.[34] At the forefront of this work are questions about power[35]: who will be adversely impacted by the integration of machine learning within existing institutions and processes?[36] How might the publication of this work and its potential uptake legitimize, incentivize, monetize, or otherwise enable discriminatory outcomes and real-world harm?[37] These questions aren’t abstract. The authors of the Harrisburg University study make explicit their desire to provide “a significant advantage for law enforcement agencies and other intelligence agencies to prevent crime” as a co-author and former NYPD police officer outlined in the original press release.[38]

      • No case against Canada indigenous chief battered by police

        All charges have been dropped against an indigenous chief who was battered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

      • WikiLeaks Assange Accused of Conspiring With ‘Anonymous’ [Cr]ackers

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange conspired with [cr]ackers affiliated with the “Anonymous” and “LulzSec” groups, which have been linked to numerous cyber attacks around the world, according to new indictment by the U.S. Justice Department.

        Assange, who’s detained in the U.K. on a U.S. extradition request, gave the leader of LulzSec a list of targets to [cr]ack in 2012 and told this person that the most influential release of [cr]acked materials would be from the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency or the New York Times, according to a statement Wednesday from the Justice Department.

        The LulzSec leader was cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the time, according to the statement.

      • Julian Assange Faces New Indictment in U.S.

        The superseding indictment does not contain additional charges beyond the 18 counts the Justice Department unsealed last year. But prosecutors say it underscores Assange’s efforts to procure and release classified information, allegations that form the basis of criminal charges he already faces.

        Beyond recruiting [cr]ackers at conferences, the indictment accuses Assange of conspiring with members of [cr]acking groups known as LulzSec and Anonymous. He also worked with a 17-year-old [cr]acker who gave him information stolen from a bank and directed the teenager to steal additional material, including audio recordings of high-ranking government officials, prosecutors say.

        Assange’s lawyer, Barry Pollack, said in a statement that “the government’s relentless pursuit of Julian Assange poses a grave threat to journalists everywhere and to the public’s right to know.”

      • Bubba Wallace’s Car Is Walked to Front of Pack by NASCAR in Act of Solidarity

        NASCAR racers, their pit crews, and other racing staff at Talladega showed their support and solidarity behind Bubba Wallace on Monday, the only Black driver in the top level of the racing organization, after a symbol of hatred and racism was found in his team’s garage over the weekend.

      • ‘This Is Why We March’: Poll Shows Overwhelming US Support for Police Reform, Increased Accountability

        Among other major changes, large majorities of the American public want clear standards for police misconduct and prosecution of officers guilty of excessive force.

      • Single-person demonstrations can’t be considered rallies, Russia’s Human Rights Commissioner says

        Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova has spoken out against considering single-person demonstrations rallies, stating that they do not constitute unauthorized “mass events,” even in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. 

      • Black Immigrant Domestic Workers Share Notes on the Storm

        Between Covid-19, the resulting economic depression, and structural racism, Black immigrant domestic workers are at the epicenter of three converging crises.

      • Supreme Court DACA Decision: Was It More Concerned About Humanity or Legality?

        On June 17, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that the 700,000 immigrants, who were minors when they were brought into the US without immigration papers, would continue to be protected from being deported. The media largely focused on the humane impact the decision would have on the many lives whose future depended on it. But the decision seemed to rely more on a nuanced legal interpretation of the Trump Administration’s failure to follow the proper procedures to invalidate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). A reading of the decision reflects both were considered. And, as President Trump tweeted that it was about politics — it did come into play.

      • Nadler Says ‘Waste of Time,’ But Progressives Say ‘Impeach Barr’—and Do It Now

        “Investigating and impeaching Barr ahead of the November election would be a powerful sign that the work of restoring the rule of law in America is well underway, even before the first presidential ballot is cast.”

      • New Amnesty Map Documents ‘Shocking Extent’ of US Police Violence Against Black Lives Matter Protesters

        Denying people’s constitutional rights “with physical violence, tear gas, and pepper spray is a hallmark of repression,” said one Amnesty researcher.

      • More NYPD Reforms: Super-Violent Plainclothes Units Disbanded, Body Cam Footage Given A 30-Day Release Mandate

        A bunch of police reform efforts are underway in New York City. NYPD officers may not have been responsible for the killing that has sparked protests around the country, but they’ve provided plenty of ammo for police critics and reformers over the years.

      • Racism, Yes, But What About Militarism and Materialism?

        Martin Luther King’s giant triplets.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Two Potential FCC Rulings Could Reshape Streaming Landscape

        MVPD giant Charter filed a petition with the FCC on Monday regarding the early removal of net neutrality conditions the company is still bound by until 2023, instead asking for their removal by May next year. Despite net neutrality’s revocation in 2017, Charter is still subject to terms imposed when the company acquired Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.

        The FCC is also currently in negotiations with local TV station groups (i.e. those carrying Fox, ABC, NBC, etc.) concerning the revival of a 2014 discussion to regulate virtual MVPDs such as Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV as MVPDs.

        Charter’s argument hinges on ISPs owned by MVPDs, such as Verizon and Comcast, already having carriage agreements with big streaming services like Netflix. If they can do it, why not Charter?

      • The Fastest ISP In America Is Community Owned And Operated

        We’ve long noted that community broadband networks are just an organic response to the broken, uncompetitive US broadband market. While you’ll occasionally see some deployment duds if the business models aren’t well crafted, studies have shown such networks (there are 750 and counting now in the States) offer cheaper, faster service than many incumbents. In short, these communities grew so frustrated with America’s mediocre, patchy, and expensive broadband service, they built their own.

      • America’s Digital Divide Is an Emergency

        The virus has made us go virtual. We bank online, shop for groceries online, spend time with loved ones online, attend schools online, and even access a ballot online. Today, the Internet is an essential service, a public good. Like electricity or water, no one should be excluded from using it. But far too many Americans are cut off from access to affordable high-speed Internet even as more of our core systems go digital. Unchecked, the result will be an America even more unequal than the one we see today.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Will this Limit on Patent Term Extension Drive a Rewriting of Hatch-Waxman?

          The law allows for a limited extension of patent term based upon regulatory delays – such as FDA delay in approving a drug for sale. The statute is unfortunately complex and poorly written. 35 U.S.C. 156.

          In this case, Biogen received a patent term extension for its Patent US7619001 associated with using the drug Tecfidera (MS treatment). By the time of the litigation, the patent would have expired, but for the term extension.

        • Unified’s Patent Quality Initiative (PQI) Releases Economic Report Showing the AIA led to over 13,000 jobs and grew the U.S. economy by $3 billion since 2014

          Innovation is a key factor in U.S. economic growth and competitiveness—one balanced by transaction costs and freedom-to-operate. One critical element of the infrastructure facilitating product development and commercialization—the patent system—protects and allows profit from intellectual property and encourages its widespread adoption and implementation through well-calibrated patent scope. That system includes the Leahy–Smith America Invents Act (AIA), which rechristened the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and created the administrative post-grant review procedures in wide use today.

          In a recent study, The Perryman Group (TPG), a world-renowned group of economists widely used and respected by industry and government, measured the effect of the AIA and PTAB on the U.S. economy. TPG found the AIA and PTAB substantially reduced patent litigation and transaction costs while generating billions in economic benefit. The biggest gains were in manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities. In short, the legislation saved U.S. jobs and has helped drive substantial economic gains over the past decade.


          Economic performance in the United States over the long term is tied in large part to innovation and freedom-to-operate; this study demonstrates that the AIA and PTAB has not only supported innovation and reduced the patent tax on U.S. manufacturers, but has also generated substantial economic benefits across all sectors of the U.S. economy.

          For far greater detail, read the entire report shown below.

          The Perryman Report is part of Unified Patents’ Patent Quality Initiative (PQI), an effort to gather and provide objective data and research demonstrating how lowering patent quality will inevitably lead to even higher cost and risk for U.S. SMEs, inventors, and manufacturers, and can lead to less innovation, fewer U.S. jobs, and a drain on the U.S. economy. Our PQI aims to provide data, studies, and testimonials to give policymakers and practitioners a clear picture of the state of the patent system.

        • The Problem of the “Closest Prior Art”

          As readers of this blog will be aware, the EPO applies a quite peculiar and unique method to the analysis of inventive step, the “problem-solution approach”. This approach breaks the statutory question of Art 56 whether the invention was, having regard to the state of the art, obvious to a person skilled in the art, down into a 3-step test. This involves (1) the determination of the “closest prior art”, (2) the formulation of the “objective technical problem”, and (3) the assessment whether or not the claimed invention would have been obvious to the skilled person. One might quip that this approach has replaced a single problem (the determination of obviousness/inventive step) with three problems. This is because parties nowadays frequently argue about (i) what the closest prior art was, (ii) what the objective problem was, and of course (iii) whether the invention, expressed as the solution to the objective technical problem, was obvious or not at the priority or filing date. This contribution will focus on question (i), i.e. the question of what is (or should be) the closest prior art, and whether the EPO’s approach towards the closest prior art has changed in the last couple of years.


          The concept of the closest prior art within the problem solution approach has been invented to facilitate and objectivize the examination of inventive step. The facilitation resides in the presumption that if the invention is not obvious starting from the closest prior art document, then it will a fortiori also be non-obvious starting from further remote prior art. Thus, if and when one document can be identified clearly as being closest prior art, the examination of inventive step can be focused and limited on this one document (in combination with any further document from the state of the art). The question is what happens in cases where (a) several documents are (arguably) about equally close to the invention and (b) if no document qualifies as a sensible starting point. In scenario (a), an Opponent was, at least in the past, usually allowed to present multiple attacks for lack of inventive step even if they start from different “closest” prior art documents.


          At present, T 320/15 seems to not have been used by other Boards to prevent an Opponent from presenting more than one inventive step attack. Therefore, one should not overestimate the practical relevance of this decision, in particular for the appeal stage. This is even more so because several recent decisions rather point in the opposite direction, supporting a more liberal approach for the choice of the starting point for the assessment of inventive step.

          Albeit in a somewhat unusual context, the criteria for the determination of the closest prior art were put to a test in T 405/14. In this case, the Appellant argued that the skilled person would never start from document D2 when document D1 was available. This argument relied on the view that document D1, in addition to sharing many features with the claimed invention, also addressed the same problem as the invention, which was (arguably) not the case for D2.


          This would then no longer be so different from the inventive step approaches taken by at least some national courts in EPC member states. In Germany, for example, the concept that there is a preference of a “closest” prior art and that the examination of inventive step can be stopped once it has been shown that the invention is not obvious starting from the “closest prior art”, has long been dismissed and criticized. The prevailing opinion in Germany is that inventive step must be present vis à vis the entire prior art and should not depend on the choice of the starting point in an individual case.

        • BREAKING: Kymab caught the mouse as sufficiency strengthened by UK Supreme Court in Regeneron battle ([2020] UKSC 27)

          The UK Supreme Court today found Regeneron’s valuable antibody platform technology patents invalid for insufficiency. In doing so, the UK Supreme Court overturned the Court of Appeal decision and confirms the strong sufficiency requirement in the UK. The Supreme Court decision places emphasis on the principle of sufficiency that a patent claim should be enabled across its whole scope. As summarised by the UK Supreme Court itself, the Court of Appeal reasoning was seen as increasing the rewards obtainable by inventors in a complex, rapidly developing field like genetic engineering. The Supreme Court found in a majority ruling that the Court of Appeal swayed the balance too much in favour of patentees in a way that was not warranted by UK or EPO law. The full UK Supreme Court judgment can be read here.


          In a majority judgment, the UK Supreme Court found the Court of Appeal’s reasoning logically sound, but ultimately considered it to be inconsistent with the UK and EPO law on insufficiency. In particular, the UK Supreme Court understood the principle that a patent should enable substantially all products within the scope of a claim at the priority date to be part of the bedrock of both UK and EPO law. In the words of Lord Briggs, who led the majority judgment, “[t]o water down that requirement would tilt the careful balance thereby established in favour of patentees and against the public in a way which is not warranted by the EPC, and which would exceed by a wide margin the scope for the development of the law by judicial decision-making in a particular Convention state”.

          The Supreme Court thus did not think the patent bargain was satisfied if the benefits of an invention could only be realised after the priority date, if and when all embodiments within the range could be made. Kymab’s appeal was therefore upheld, and the Regeneron patents found invalid for insufficiency.

          In a dissenting view, Lady Black first noted agreement between the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court on the legal principles. For Lady Black, the two courts disagreed in the application of these principles to the case in question. Contrary to the Supreme Court majority, Lady Black agreed with the Court of Appeal that the invention related to a broad general principle, that this principle was employed in all mice across the range of the claim, and that the patent should be rewarded by a commensurate broad scope of protection.

          A key part of the UK Supreme Court judgment are the “principles of sufficiency” provided on paragraph 56. According to principle vi)

          “the patentee has to demonstrate in the disclosure that every embodiment within the scope of the claim has been tried, tested and proved to have been enabled to be made. Patentees may rely, if they can, upon a principle of general application if it would appear reasonably likely to enable the whole range of products within the scope of the claim to be made. But they take the risk, if challenged, that the supposed general principle will be proved at trial not in fact to enable a significant, relevant, part of the claimed range to be made, as at the priority date” (emphasis added).

        • Kymab holds off Regeneron in patent fight on home turf

          Chalk one up for antibody maker Kymab. The U.K. Supreme Court invalidated a pair of Regeneron patents around antibody-producing mice, putting to rest a lawsuit Regeneron filed against Kymab seven years ago.

          Known as patents ‘287 and ‘163, or the “Murphy patents,” they sought to cover genetically modified mice that contain chimeric human-mouse antibody genes, as well as human antibodies made using those mice. Regeneron sued Kymab in U.K. High Court in 2013 alleging that its Kymouse technology infringed patents covering its Velocimmune platform.

          The Supreme Court upheld 4-1 the decision of a High Court from 2016 to revoke Regeneron’s claims, reversing an Appeals Court’s verdict that the patents were valid.


          The U.K. verdict is just the latest in a string of decisions that have come down on Kymab’s side. In April, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trial and Appeal Board shut down a request from Regeneron to invalidate four Kymab patents. And that decision followed similar ones from patent offices in Japan and Australia—the Japanese Patent Office upheld Kymab’s patents in unappealable decisions, while IP Australia rejected Regeneron’s opposition to a Kymab patent on all grounds. Regeneron has appealed the latter decision.

          For its part, Regeneron emphasized that the Supreme Court decision applies only within the U.K.

          “The decision renders the two patents invalid and revoked in the UK only. Regeneron’s rights concerning these patents in other European jurisdictions remain in full force and effect,” the company said in a statement. “The 287 patent validity was upheld at the Europe-wide level by the Technical Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (“EPO”) in 2015, and the 163 patent validity was upheld by EPO Opposition Division in 2018. Proceedings before the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal on the 163 patent are ongoing.

        • Software Patents

          • $5,250 Awarded for DivX ’486 prior art

            Unified is pleased to announce the PATROLL crowdsourcing contest winner, Niels Thorwirth, who received a cash prize of $5,250 for his prior art submission for U.S. Patent 10,212,486. The ’486 patent is owned by DivX, LLC, a subsidiary of well-known NPE, Fortress Investment Group, and generally relates to playing back encrypted video involving cryptographic information.


            We would also like to thank the dozens of other high-quality submissions that were made on this patent. The ongoing contests are open to anyone, and include tens of thousands of dollars in rewards available for helping the industry to challenge NPE patents of questionable validity by finding and submitting prior art in the contests. Visit PATROLL today to learn more about how to participate.

          • 7 Post-Alice patent cases that survived 101 rejections – Clearing some cloud of doubts on software patent eligibility

            By the time the Alice decision marked its second anniversary, more than 8400 applications got abandoned while 60,000+ applications got rejected due to the decision. The district court decisions clocked around 247 – invalidating 70% of them – and Federal Circuit at 40 – invalidating 95% of the patents under 35 USC 101.

      • Copyrights

        • Cheez-It Issues A Bogus DMCA Notice To Nuke A Picture It Didn’t Like, Receives Dozens Of Offensive Images In Response

          I would assume big corporations have the funds to hire Top Legal Minds, but what do I know? Maybe I’m just making this assumption because it seems like the sort of thing you should do when you have lots of capital and a plethora of brands to watch over.

        • Netflix is straight up flexing at this point

          But the main factor here is that Netflix’s commitment to original content is paramount. Executives figured out early on how a streaming model has to work in order to survive, and that success is being seen now in the middle of a pandemic while others are struggling. Netflix realized early on that content, above everything else, was key to keeping people engaged with its service on a daily basis.

          That’s why the company ramped up production tenfold. By the time Netflix started to realize that other companies would want to enter the direct-to-consumer streaming marketplace for themselves instead of licensing to Netflix, the company was already knee-deep in figuring out its strategy to produce more original projects around the world.

        • President Sends South Africa’s New Copyright Bill Back to Parliament after US & EU Pressure

          South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has sent two copyright-related bills back to Parliament. The legislation, which was just a signature away from becoming law, includes broad fair use provisions that may have to be revised. The decision follows heavy opposition from rightsholders, pressure from the US Government, as well as critique from the EU.

        • The Pirate Bay: Swedish Court Throws Out Injunction That Wrongly Targeted ISP

          Two movie companies that applied for an information injunction against an ISP they claim has connections to The Pirate Bay have had their claim thrown out by a Swedish court. Obenetwork successfully argued it had no access to data relating to one of its customer’s customers, so could not comply with the order.

        • Introducing the CC Global Network Platforms!

          Following the work that started in 2017, the Open GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) Platform is currently working to provide a space to share resources, enhance collaboration, and raise awareness on open access to digital cultural heritage, working with GLAM professionals and open advocates. The plan for 2020 includes the publication of the Declaration on Open Access for Cultural Heritage and a White Paper that informs the Declaration. We also plan on providing the community with different channels to engage, network, and discuss issues regarding open GLAM.

        • Copyright Filters And Takedowns Are Broken: Questlove Says YouTube Flagged Him For Playing His Own Tracks

          Another day, another story of how broken copyright is in taking down content that shouldn’t be taken down. We’ve been talking about all of the many ways in which notice-and-takedown systems are broken of late, but this one appears to be more of the problem with filters — such as those now required in the EU, and which lobbyists are pushing for in the US, under the banner of “notice-and-staydown” (which would require a filter to function). Of course, the problem with filters is that they regularly get things wrong. And the very best of the filters is ContentID. YouTube has spent over $100 million on it, and yet… here’s Questlove, of the Roots, highlightinghow it’s taking down him playing his own music:

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DecorWhat Else is New

  1. IRC Proceedings: Friday, August 12, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, August 12, 2022

  2. IPFS at Techrights: The So-called 'Web3' Cargo Cult, Except With Some Practical Benefits

    For censorship resistance’s sake we’re increasing our embrace or adoption of IPFS; almost all our archives are there

  3. Techrights Site Migration to Alpine Linux Has Already Started

    We’ve begun upgrading our systems and tidying up the growing piles of material

  4. Microsoft Lost About 70% of Its Relative Share in the United States (for Operating Systems)

    When mobile platforms are taken into account Windows suddenly seems vanishingly small; Microsoft therefore started blocking GNU/Linux from even booting on new PCs

  5. The World Wide Web is Shrinking and Microsoft's Share in Web Servers is Down to Just 3%

    Microsoft’s presence on the server side is just a niche. No wonder there are many Microsoft layoffs (about 20,000 staff) and Microsoft divisions are being silently shut down.

  6. Warrant of Arrest for Microsoft’s Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot, Balabhadra Alex Graveley

    GitHub Copilot has been criticised for a lot of things, but blogs and the press never ever mention the "social justice" aspects of the thing (because they simply don't care)

  7. Links 12/08/2022: End of JingPad A1/JingOS, Russia Makes GNU/Linux Laptops

    Links for the day

  8. Links 12/08/2022: Kubuntu 22.04.1 LTS

    Links for the day

  9. Links 12/08/2022: PCLinuxOS Browser Refreshes

    Links for the day

  10. Links 12/08/2022: Apple Versus Telegram

    Links for the day

  11. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 11, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 11, 2022

  12. Inside the Minds of Microsoft's Media Operatives — Part V — In Deep Denial About One's Harm

    Source-burning Microsoft boosters, who vainly think of themselves as "journalists", respond to allegations of bias and dissemination of Microsoft falsehoods

  13. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XXV — Microsoft Employs Serial Strangler as a Manager, Running GitHub Copilot in Spite of Arrest for Assault on Women

    Now there is another woman saying that she was strangled by Alex Garveley; we keep hearing more and more of this, so it’s a chronic behaviour and it doesn’t seem to bother Microsoft, which provides funds to protect the strangler

  14. Links 11/08/2022: PostgreSQL Beta 3 Releases

    Links for the day

  15. Windows Falling Below 15% in Cuba This Month

    Now that Microsoft starts locking down and shutting out GNU/Linux (preventing it from even booting!) while laying off about 10% its own workers it’s important to understand that Windows is basically in serious trouble

  16. Links 11/08/2022: Point Release of Ubuntu 22.04 and GNUnet 0.17.4

    Links for the day

  17. Links 11/08/2022: Qt Creator 8.0.1 and Microsoft's 3-Year Bug Door

    Links for the day

  18. Not Everyone Buys the Latest Laptop With Microsoft Windows (Bloatware)

    In Sudan, the share of Windows fell from 99.1% to just 8.77% (in a matter of 13.5 years); Microsoft, which is collapsing (layoffs and shutdowns), is just trying to block people from booting Linux on laptops/desktops

  19. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, August 10, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, August 10, 2022

  20. Microsoft Death Spiral: Microsoft Fires 200 Employees “Working to Win Back Customers”

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission

  21. Microsoft Firing 10%, Not 1%, of Staff (Microsoft Lies to the Media, Figures One Order of Magnitude Off)

    Microsoft’s loyal servants in the media jumped onboard and leaped into “damage control” mode (PR as “media”) with this fictional “reality” where only a “small percentage” of staff gets laid off (those talking points come from Microsoft’s media operatives, who have lied for the company for well over a decade)

  22. [Meme] The Present Microsoft: Bailouts, Bailouts, Bailouts

    Microsoft’s media moles spread the lie that only “1%” of staff is affected by Microsoft layoffs (familiar old lie; they also spin that as a routine thing) while Microsoft staff is getting tight with ‘travel’ money

  23. In Addition to Microsoft Laying Off Many Workers, Entire 'Business' Units Get Shut Down Permanently

    Information has begun spilling out about the collapse of several Microsoft units (entire units); the "1% of staff" talking point is just a typical Microsoft lie (seen for over a decade already)

  24. Number of Microsoft Layoffs Vastly Higher Than Microsoft Publicly Signals (the Perma-Temp and Contractor Loopholes)

    ‘Invalid’ employee status has long been misused by Microsoft in order to misreport real headcount; the above message is one recent example of that (there are many Microsoft layoffs this summer)

  25. [Meme] No Compliance, No Quality, No Accountability at the EPO

    The EPO under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos is just rubber-stamping invalid monopolies or licences to sue

  26. The Art of Covering Up Microsoft Bug Doors

    The site Beta Noise ("News") is a GNU/Linux-hostile propaganda mill of Microsoft that's moreover posting webspam, misleading clickbait, FUD, and even shameless plagiarism

  27. Links 10/08/2022: More Microsoft Layoffs (Second Time This Summer) and Growing IPFS Adoption

    Links for the day

  28. Microsoft Windows in Turkey: From 99.45% to Not Even 9.13% (Relative Market Share Fell Tenfold in Just Over a Decade)

    Microsoft failed to evolve for a mobile era (Android runs Linux) and now there are Microsoft layoffs every month; employees are nervous based on ones we heard from and ones who speak in online forums

  29. More Microsoft Layoffs for Second Month in a Row (Those That Microsoft Even Openly Admits, Cannot Hide Anymore)

    Microsoft staff is getting more sweaty than Ballmer under the neck; Microsoft layoffs are spinning out of control and cannot be concealed from the public (usually perma-temp loopholes are used to hide that it is happening or the true extent of it)

  30. Links 10/08/2022: 'UNIX-like' Debate Revisited

    Links for the day

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