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07.07.20

Links 7/7/2020: NomadBSD 1.3.2, Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 and DRM Comes to Cars

Posted in News Roundup at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • What’s the Difference Between Linux and Unix?

      Linux is a free and open-source operating system. Unix is a commercial product, offered by a variety of vendors each with its own variant, usually dedicated to its own hardware. It’s expensive and closed source. But Linux and Unix do more or less the same thing in the same way, right? More or less, yes.

      The subtleties are slightly more complicated. There are differences beyond the technical and architectural. To understand some of the influences that have shaped Unix and Linux, we need to understand their backstories.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Getting Started with the Librem Mini

        With the Librem Mini shipping, we put together this short quickstart guide so you can know your hardware before it arrives. Dive into how the Librem Mini protects your digital freedom as well as look at the technical specs here.

        In the box, you should expect to see the Mini itself, as well as a power adapter. All of which are covered by a one-year warranty. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from expert support staff ready to ensure your Mini runs well.

      • Purism Launches a Mini PC

        For anyone looking to deploy small form factor PCs, and are wanting them powered by Linux, Purism might have what you’re looking for. The Librem Mini is a tiny device that packs plenty of features. The form factor is smaller than a Mac Mini, bigger than a Raspberry Pi, and includes everything you need to work with Linux.

      • Use Samsung DeX with a Chromebook or Linux PC (unofficially)

        Liliputing’s primary sources of revenue are advertising and affiliate links (if you click the “Shop” button at the top of the page and buy something on Amazon, for example, we’ll get a small commission).

        But there are several ways you can support the site directly even if you’re using an ad blocker and hate online shopping.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Melissa Wen: GSoC First Phase – Achievements

          Outside the context of exploring and becoming acquainted with the case, examining the anatomy of the kms_cursor_crc I caught useless parameters in a general IGT function, i.e., it requires two parameters, but never uses them within its code. I checked the author (git blame) and asked him on IRC about the need for these additional parameters, but I didn’t get a response (or maybe I missed the reply due to disconnection). Then, I sent an RFC patch to the mailing list and also nothing. Finally, my mentor took a look, and he agreed that the parameters seem useless and can be removed. He asked me to resend as a normal patch.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Fragcolors

          SPIR-V has no builtin for a color decoration on variables, which means that gl_FragColor goes through as a regular variable with no special handling. As such, there’s similarly no special handling in the underlying Vulkan driver to split the output of this variable out to the various color attachments, which means that only the first color attachment will have the expected result when multiple color attachments are present.

    • Benchmarks

      • Seagate FireCuda 520 PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD Linux Performance

        For those that have been considering the Seagate FireCuda 520 as a PCI Express 4.0 NVMe solid-state drive, here are some benchmarks under Ubuntu Linux with this ZP500GM3A002 drive.

        [...]

        With the FireCuda 520 I benchmarked it against the PCIe 4.0 NVMe Corsair Force MP600 1TB/2TB drives as well as various PCIe 3.0 Samsung SSDs for reference. With this just being a unit purchased retail and not often receiving solid-state drive review samples, this is just a collection of tests for a few drives available at the time and mostly putting out these results for reference purposes.

    • Applications

      • Handwritten Notes App ‘Write’ Adds Split-Pane View, Improved SVG Support

        Three years on and with a new release available for download I’m pleased to say that my conclusion still stands — heck, this freeware app is now even better at what it sets out to do.

        Which is what?

        Well, Write is Qt-based note-taking app for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and (new) iOS. It’s designed (ideally) for use with an active stylus. Using it on a non-touch device is possible, though with so many solid typing-based Linux note taking apps available, it’s not necessarily optimal.

        Where Write excels compared to more general purpose note-taking apps and annotation tools (like Xournalpp, a similar open source app I’ve written about before) is in its focus on catering to the scribbled word and nothing else.

        This app describes itself as “a word processor for handwriting” and the feature set it comes with is totally geared towards that aim, offering…

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The first DLC for Oxygen Not Included sounds huge, free update soon too

        Klei Entertainment have been busy working behind the scenes on the next free update and first expansion for Oxygen Not Included and they’ve detailed what’s coming.

        First, the free update coming within the next few days should fix plenty of issues, including one involving infinite digging which sounds annoying. More exciting is the DLC though, it’s sounding like it’s going to be massive!

      • VKD3D-Proton is the new official Direct3D 12 to Vulkan layer for Proton

        VKD3D was originally a project created directly by the Wine team, the compatibility layer that Proton is built upon. However, the original founder passed away and it seems Valve-funded developers are taking the torch to push it much further. It’s actually been a thing for a while but today they adjusted the name of their project as VKD3D-Proton, to give it some official status plus preventing any naming conflicts elsewhere and just be clear about their goals.

        They’re going for supporting the “full” Direct3D 12 API on top of Vulkan, with an aim of both performance and compatibility using modern Vulkan extensions and features, so this comes at the expense of compatibility with older drivers and GPUs. They’re also not looking to keep backwards compatibility with the original vkd3d.

      • Valve Starts Official VKD3D-Proton To Bring D3D12-Based Games On Linux

        Valve’s Proton compatibility tool has unarguably turned the table for gaming on Linux. As we reported months ago, Proton brought about 6,000 games to Linux in the last two years.

        Now Valve has started working on a new project to further bring Windows-exclusive games on Linux. Hans-Kristian Arntzen, a developer from Valve’s Proton team, has forked out a VKD3D library built on top of Vulkan. To mark it as Proton’s official project, he has renamed the project VKD3D-Proton.

      • Valve Working On A VKD3D Fork For Getting Direct3D 12 Advanced For Proton / Steam Play

        While upstream Wine developers continue working on VKD3D for providing a Direct3D 12 to Vulkan translation layer for Wine, a developer on Valve’s Proton team has now forked it as Proton-VKD3D for focusing their efforts on getting the D3D12 support moved along for Proton that powers Steam Play.

        While upstream Wine developers and in particular CodeWeavers do continue to work on VKD3D, VKD3D-Proton appears to be Valve’s fork or downstream of that where they can more freely work on their game-focused support for enabling Direct3D 12 Windows games to be better supported on Linux with Steam Play. Presumably it will be more along the lines of a downstream / moving fork of VKD3D rather than a hard fork, similar to Proton re-basing against Wine every once in a while.

      • GDScript progress report: Type checking is back

        After completing the new tokenizer and parser as mentioned in the previous reports, I started working on the code analyzer, which is responsible for type checking and also for used for other features like warnings and some optimizations.

        This was done before as a second pass inside the parser but it was now moved to another class to make it clear that it doesn’t happen at the same pass thus avoiding issues with functions being called out of order (which happened by a few contributions that missed this detail).

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • GSoC 2020 with KDE

          Much to my delight, the first phase of my project for GSoC has completed successully. All the goals according to my proposal timeline for the first month have been met and I’m pleased to say that I have passed my first evaluation.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Trim Video Clips on Linux Fast with This New GTK App

          I won’t pretend that it’s difficult to trim video on Linux because, honestly, it isn’t; a plethora of ace apps designed to make basic cuts and simple edits exist (with Qt-based VidCutter and the best known).

          But if you’re a GNOME user you might be on the hunt for something that feels and functions a bit more like the rest of your apps. If so, then there’s a new option worth looking in to.

          The succinctly titled ‘Video Trimmer’ is a new(ish) addition to the roster of video trimming apps for Linux and it’s incredibly simple to use.

        • Getting Things GNOME To-Do App Is Back with a New Major Release, Here’s What’s New

          Probably not many of you reading this remember Getting Things GNOME, especially because it’s been more than six years since it received an update.

          Getting Things GNOME is a personal taks and to-do list items organizer for the GNOME desktop environment, inspired by the “Getting Things Done” methodology.

          The new release, Getting Things GNOME 0.4, is here to prove that the app isn’t dead and that it is here to stay for a long time to come, helping you getting your everyday stuff done and be more productive.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MX Linux 19.2 KDE Beta 1 Run Through

          In this video, we are looking at MX Linux 19.2 KDE Beta 1. Enjoy!

        • MX Linux Releases First ISO For Its KDE Plasma Edition

          Last month, the MX Linux dev team released a new version 19.2 in its MX Linux 19 ‘Patito Feo’ series. Based on Debian Buster 10.4, MX Linux 19.2 came with Xfce 4.14 desktop environment and some other minor updates and bug fixes.

          On high user demand, MX dev team is now working on a new official edition featuring KDE Plasma desktop for the first time. Subsequently, the team has released the first Beta of MX Linux 19.2 with KDE 5.14.5 for testing purposes.

        • Stable Clonezilla live 2.6.7-28 Released

          This release of Clonezilla live (2.6.7-28) includes major enhancements and bug fixes.
          ENHANCEMENTS and CHANGES from 2.6.6-15

          • The underlying GNU/Linux operating system was upgraded. This release is based on the Debian Sid repository (as of 2020/Jun/30).
          • Linux kernel was updated to 5.7.6-1.
          • ocs-iso, ocs-live-dev: sync syslinux-related files when copying syslinux exec files.
          • When creating recovery iso/zip file, if it’s in Clonezilla live environment, we have those syslinux files. Use that first so the version mismatch can be avoided. Ref: https://sourceforge.net/p/clonezilla/support-requests/127/
          • Move grub-header.cfg from bootx64.efi to grub.cfg so that it’s more flexible.
          • To avoid conflict with the patch of grub in CentOS/Fedora, for GRUB EFI NB MAC/IP config style, the netboot file is now like grub.cfg-drbl-00:50:56:01:01:01 and grub.cfg-drbl-192.168.177.2 not grub.cfg-01-* anymore.
          • Add xen-tools
          • Partclone was updated to 0.3.14. The codes about xfs was updated to be 4.20.0.
          • Package exfat-fuse was removed since the kernel has module for that.
          • A better mechanism to deal with linuxefi/initrdefi or linux/initrd in the grub config was added.
        • Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 Released with Linux Kernel 5.7 and Improved exFAT Support

          Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 has been released today as a new stable version of this powerful and very useful live system based on Clonezilla, an open-source partition and disk imaging/cloning program.

          Coming exactly a month after Clonezilla Live 2.6.6, the Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 release is here to bump the kernel to the latest Linux 5.7 series. Linux kernel 5.7.6 is included in the new ISO image, which was fully synced with the upstream Debian Sid repository as of June 30th, 2020.

          As you probably know already, Linux kernel 5.7 comes with a new and improved exFAT file system implementation. Therefore, starting with Clonezilla Live 2.6.7 the developer removed the exfat-fuse package as it is no longer needed to support exFAT formatted drives.

          XFS file system support was improved as well in this release, which comes with the Partclone 0.3.14 tool for backing up partitions, Xen-tools for VM provisioning and installation, as well as a better mechanism for handling linuxefi/initrdefi or linux/initrd in the GRUB configuration.

      • BSD

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Top tips for making your Call for Code submission stand out

          With the deadline for the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge rapidly approaching (it’s Friday, July 31st at 11:59pm PDT), I have three last-minute tips and a checklist to review before you submit your entry.

        • IBM Cloud Pak for Applications in 2 minutes
        • Fedora Community Blog monthly summary: June 2020

          In May, we published 13 posts. The site had 3,753 visits from 1,736 unique viewers. Readers wrote 1 comment. 119 visits came from Fedora Planet, while 553 came from search engines.

          The most read post last month was Fedora 32 election results available, which published at the end of April.

        • Madeline Peck: Finished Storyboards!

          I also attended an executive talk this week which was really interesting to listen to. I believe it was by DeLisa Alexander (Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer) and hearing about her career track and how she encouraged working for cool places who actually took listened to your demands was an important thing to remember.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • ScreenKey Shows Keyboard Presses on Screen in Ubuntu

          Mac and Windows screencasters have access to a wide array of apps designed specifically to display key presses on screen as they are typed with macOS tool Screenflick perhaps the best known.

          But for Ubuntu? You’ll want to try Screenkey.

          Screenkey is a free, open-source alternative to Screenflick designed for use on Linux desktops, like Ubuntu. When run the app shows each key press on screen as it’s pressed (and while you record, perhaps using the hidden GNOME Shell screen recorder).

          The majority of Ubuntu users won’t have much use for this tool. But for the 0.25% making video tutorials, explanatory gifs, or other how-to related content? For them Screenkey will be invaluable.

          Put simply: if you need to illustrate actions associated with a specific keyboard shortcut or command in a screenshot or video clip there is nothing easier to use than this.

          Screenkey features multi-monitor support, lets you customise font size, font style, and font colour, and offers a crop of advanced settings to control position, timing, opacity, specific character key presses, and more.

          You can also choose what shortcut activates the app, and decide whether multimedia keys (e.g., volume, pause, brightness, etc) are supported or not.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 638

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 638 for the week of June 28 – July 4, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Linux Plumbers Conference: Testing and Fuzzing Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

          We are pleased to announce that the Testing and Fuzzing Microconference has been accepted into the 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference!

          Testing and Fuzzing is crucial to the stability the Linux Kernel demands. Last year’s meetup helped make Kernel CI a Linux Foundation hosted project, collaboration between Red Hat CKI and KernelCI. On the more technical side, KUnit was merged upstream, and KernelCI integration is underway, syzcaller reproducers are being included in the Linux Test Project[5], and Clang is integrated in KernelCI.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Announcing Rustup 1.22.0

            The rustup working group is happy to announce the release of rustup version 1.22.0. Rustup is the recommended tool to install Rust, a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • This Week In Servo 131

            Welcome back everyone – it’s been a year without written updates, but we’re getting this train back on track! Servo hasn’t been dormant in that time; the biggest news was the public release of Firefox Reality (built on Servo technology) in the Microsoft store.

            In the past week, we merged 44 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

          • Performance Improvements via Formally-Verified Cryptography in Firefox

            Cryptographic primitives, while extremely complex and difficult to implement, audit, and validate, are critical for security on the web. To ensure that NSS (Network Security Services, the cryptography library behind Firefox) abides by Mozilla’s principle of user security being fundamental, we’ve been working with Project Everest and the HACL* team to bring formally-verified cryptography into Firefox.

            In Firefox 57, we introduced formally-verified Curve25519, which is a mechanism used for key establishment in TLS and other protocols. In Firefox 60, we added ChaCha20 and Poly1305, providing high-assurance authenticated encryption. Firefox 69, 77, and 79 improve and expand these implementations, providing increased performance while retaining the assurance granted by formal verification.

          • Mozilla Accessibility: Broadening Our Impact

            Last year, the accessibility team worked to identify and fix gaps in our screen reader support, as well as on some new areas of focus, like improving Firefox for users with low vision. As a result, we shipped some great features. In addition, we’ve begun building awareness across Mozilla and putting in place processes to help ensure delightful accessibility going forward, including a Firefox wide triage process.

            With a solid foundation for delightful accessibility well underway, we’re looking at the next step in broadening our impact: expanding our engagement with our passionate, global community. It’s our hope that we can get to a place where a broad community of interested people become active participants in the planning, design, development and testing of Firefox accessibility. To get there, the first step is open communication about what we’re doing and where we’re headed.

          • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Next Steps for Net Neutrality

            Two years ago we first brought Mozilla v. FCC in federal court, in an effort to save the net neutrality rules protecting American consumers. Mozilla has long fought for net neutrality because we believe that the internet works best when people control their own online experiences.

            Today is the deadline to petition the Supreme Court for review of the D.C. Circuit decision in Mozilla v. FCC. After careful consideration, Mozilla—as well as its partners in this litigation—are not seeking Supreme Court review of the D.C. Circuit decision. Even though we did not achieve all that we hoped for in the lower court, the court recognized the flaws of the FCC’s action and sent parts of it back to the agency for reconsideration. And the court cleared a path for net neutrality to move forward at the state level. We believe the fight is best pursued there, as well as on other fronts including Congress or a future FCC.

            Net neutrality is more than a legal construct. It is a reflection of the fundamental belief that ISPs have tremendous power over our online experiences and that power should not be further concentrated in actors that have often demonstrated a disregard for consumers and their digital rights. The global pandemic has moved even more of our daily lives—our work, school, conversations with friends and family—online. Internet videos and social media debates are fueling an essential conversation about systemic racism in America. At this moment, net neutrality protections ensuring equal treatment of online traffic are critical. Recent moves by ISPs to favor their own content channels or impose data caps and usage-based pricing make concerns about the need for protections all the more real.

          • Frédéric Wang: Contributions to Web Platform Interoperability (First Half of 2020)

            Web developers continue to face challenges with web interoperability issues and a lack of implementation of important features. As an open-source project, the AMP Project can help represent developers and aid in addressing these challenges. In the last few years, we have partnered with Igalia to collaborate on helping advance predictability and interoperability among browsers. Standards and the degree of interoperability that we want can be a long process. New features frequently require experimentation to get things rolling, course corrections along the way and then, ultimately as more implementations and users begin exploring the space, doing really interesting things and finding issues at the edges we continue to advance interoperability.

            Both AMP and Igalia are very pleased to have been able to play important roles at all stages of this process and help drive things forward. During the first half of this year, here’s what we’ve been up to…

          • Community crossover, Rust at CNCF, and more industry trends

            The impact: The Rust community has a reputation of welcoming loveliness; increased overlap in the Rust and CNCF Venn diagrams is a harbinger of good things for both communities.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Board statement on the LibreOffice 7.0 RC “Personal Edition” label

          Thanks to the hard work put in by many individual and ecosystem contributors, working together as a team in different fields, such as development, QA, design, marketing, localisation, release engineering, infrastructure, just to mention some, in a few weeks’ time we will be welcoming our LibreOffice 7.0 milestone.

          At the same time, we are discussing our vision for the next five years, with a starting point being marketing and branding. See our marketing and board-discuss mailing lists.

          Due to draft and development work in the area of branding and product naming, some speculation, in particular related to the “Personal Edition” tag shown in a LibreOffice 7.0 RC (Release Candidate), has started on several communication channels. So let us, as The Document Foundation’s Board of Directors, please provide further clarifications:

          1. None of the changes being evaluated will affect the license, the availability, the permitted uses and/or the functionality. LibreOffice will always be free software and nothing is changing for end users, developers and Community members.

          2. Due to the short time frame we are working with, the tagline appeared on the RC and we apologise if this caused some of you to think we unilaterally implemented the change. Rest assured that the consultation with the Community is still ongoing.

        • The Document Foundation Clarifies LibreOffice 7.0′s “Personal Edition” Branding

          Yes, it’s true the LibreOffice builds in recent days — including the new LibreOffice 7.0 RC1 — have “Personal Edition” branding for the open-source builds. But given user concerns, The Document Foundation board has issued some clarifications to try to ease any immediate rumors, etc.

          The LibreOffice builds provided are indeed marked now as “LibreOffice Personal Edition” as part of planned but not yet finalized marketing changes for LibreOffice. These builds of the open-source office suite remain free and available to anyone without restrictions.

        • Linux users might find themselves paying money to use LibreOffice one day

          If you are a Linux nerd or Windows user without much money, you probably use LibreOffice. That free software is actually quite good, although Microsoft’s Office is far superior. Regardless of how you feel about the Windows-maker, its office suite of software is second to none. If you use Windows or Mac and can afford it, I always recommend using “real” Word and Excel over knockoffs, such as the aforementioned LibreOffice’s Writer or Calc. Sadly, other than the web version, Microsoft Office is not available for Linux. With that said, as a Linux user, I appreciate LibreOffice’s existence and use it regularly.

          But what if LibreOffice wasn’t free? Would people still use it if it cost money? Some folks became very worried about that exactly, as the release candidate of LibreOffice 7.0 labeled itself as “Personal Edition.” To some, it was a sign that a paid version of LibreOffice was on the horizon. Well, guess what? They weren’t totally wrong. In the future, you might find yourself paying money to use LibreOffice software. According to a new blog post from The Document Foundation Board aimed at quelling fears, however, there is no need to panic.

        • Lilbits 7-06-2020: LibreOffice Personal Edition?

          LibreOffice is a suite of office applications for creating, editing, and viewing text documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and databases, among other things. LibreOffice is free and open source software. Anyone can download it, use it, and even examine and modify the source code.

          But with version 7.0 set to launch next month, some users have been noticing unusual language in pre-release builds suggesting that LibreOffice “Personal edition” is “intended for individual use.

          That’s raised some alarms since it implies that businesses, governments, schools, or other institutions might need a different license to use LibreOffice in the future.

        • LibreOffice Writer: Page Formatting

          Page formatting is determining page size, margins, boundaries, and orientation. With this we prepare our document for printing papers and how it would look like in general. You will utilize menubar Format a lot in this case. Let’s go!

        • LibreOffice GSoC Week 5 Report

          Hello, Last week I finished this academic year. Finally, I don’t have any exam that I have to study. So, I can spare more time to my project.
          Unfortunately, I just sent a little patch. For now, this patch has some parts that need to be fixed. I will finish the solving problems on this patch.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Linux In The Machine Shop Hack Chat

          Enter LinuxCNC, the free and open-source CNC package. With support for realtime operation, one-step installations, and a huge range of capabilities provided by a team of volunteer developers and supported by an active community, LinuxCNC has democratized the world of CNC machines.

      • Programming/Development

        • Let’s make a Teeny Tiny compiler, part 3

          We are finally here. It is time to create the emitter for our Teeny Tiny compiler, which will give us a the foundation to a working compiler. The fame and fortune is so close! Previously, we implemented the lexer (part 1) and the parser (part 2). The source code from this tutorial can be found in the GitHub repo.

          The emitter is the component that will produce the compiled code. In this case, our compiler will be producing C code. Luckily, we designed our parser in such a way that will make emitting C code quite easy! Since C is so ubiquitous, we will rely on your favorite C compiler (e.g., GCC or LLVM) to produce the executable for us. This means our compiler will be platform independent without dealing with assembly code or complex compiler frameworks.

          Back before I started coding this compiler, I wrote several fictitious examples of Teeny Tiny code and the corresponding C code that I think the compiler should generate. This was a good exercise to see which things translate nicely (i.e., one line of Teeny Tiny equals one line of C) and what doesn’t.

        • A Go lesson learned: sometimes I don’t want to use goroutines if possible

          One very simple metric is how long it takes to read a little file from every NFS filesystem we have mounted on a machine. As it happens, we already have the little files (they’re used for another system management purpose), so all I need is a program to open and read each one while timing how long it takes. There’s an obvious issue with doing this sequentially, which is that if there’s a single slow filesystem, it could delay everything else.

        • [Old] How to fix the broken web as a site owner and web developer

          The web is broken. Behavioral tracking without consent, abuse of personal data, annoying walls, prompts and popups and a lot of disrespect to the web user in general.

          More technically savvy people use browser extensions and better browsers to avoid most of the noise and have a clean and distraction-free web experience. The “average” internet user on Chrome without extensions is browsing a very broken web and is regularly being taken advantage of.

          Here’s how you as a website owner and web developer can help fix this broken web so we don’t require hacks and extensions to make it usable and everyone can have a great experience.

        • Data Prep Still Dominates Data Scientists’ Time, Survey Finds

          Data cleansing – fixing or discarding anomalous or wrong numbers and otherwise ensuring the data is an accurate representation of the phenomenon it is meant to measure — accounts for more than a quarter of average day for data scientists, followed by 19% for data loading (the “L” in ETL), according to Anaconda’s annual survey.

          Data visualization tasks occupied for about 21% of their time, while model selection, model training and scoring, and model deployment each consume 11% to 12% of the day, the survey found.

        • Rcpp 1.0.5: Several Updates

          Right on the heels of the news of 2000 CRAN packages using Rcpp (and also hitting 12.5 of CRAN package, or one in eight), we are happy to announce release 1.0.5 of Rcpp. Since the ten-year anniversary and the 1.0.0 release release in November 2018, we have been sticking to a four-month release cycle. The last release has, however, left us with a particularly bad taste due to some rather peculiar interactions with a very small (but ever so vocal) portion of the user base. So going forward, we will change two things. First off, we reiterate that we have already made rolling releases. Each minor snapshot of the main git branch gets a point releases. Between release 1.0.4 and this 1.0.5 release, there were in fact twelve of those. Each and every one of these was made available via the drat repo, and we will continue to do so going forward. Releases to CRAN, however, are real work. If they then end up with as much nonsense as the last release 1.0.4, we think it is appropriate to slow things down some more so we intend to now switch to a six-months cycle. As mentioned, interim releases are always just one install.packages() call with a properly set repos argument away.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.27 Advanced Beginning

            Vadim Belman has kicked off a series of blog posts about advanced Raku subjects, but for beginners! And what a kick off it was! With already three blog posts to savour:

        • Python

          • Pure Python Configuration Management With PyInfra

            Building and managing servers is a challenging task. Configuration management tools provide a framework for handling the various tasks involved, but many of them require learning a specific syntax and toolchain. PyInfra is a configuration management framework that embraces the familiarity of Pure Python, allowing you to build your own integrations easily and package it all up using the same tools that you rely on for your applications. In this episode Nick Barrett explains why he built it, how it is implemented, and the ways that you can start using it today. He also shares his vision for the future of the project and you can get involved. If you are tired of writing mountains of YAML to set up your servers then give PyInfra a try today.

          • GraphQL – ORM

            GraphQL aims to overcome REST’s shortcomings through a flexible query language, and succeeds in doing so on the client side. But on the server side, GraphQL resolvers have effectively recreated the same over- and under- fetching problems that have long plagued ORMs. The fact that ORMs remain popular despite of their inefficiency is a testament to the benefits of having in-memory objects behave consistently. There is no such trade-off for server-side GraphQL, where the only point of the objects is to be immediately serialized.

            The so-called N+1 problem is generally acknowledged in the GraphQL community, but this article will argue only the symptoms are being addressed with workarounds like dataloader.

          • Massive memory overhead: Numbers in Python and how NumPy helps

            Those numbers can easily fit in a 64-bit integer, so one would hope Python would store those million integers in no more than ~8MB: a million 8-byte objects.

            In fact, Python uses more like 35MB of RAM to store these numbers. Why? Because Python integers are objects, and objects have a lot of memory overhead.

            Let’s see what’s going on under the hood, and then how using NumPy can get rid of this overhead.s

          • Can Anybody Become a Data Scientist?

            Introduction to Programming with Python is my first stop on this journey. RMOTR co-founder Santiago Basulto leads this course and, boy, does he cover a lot.

          • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) in Python 3

            Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a method of structuring a program by bundling related properties and behaviors into individual objects. In this tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of object-oriented programming in Python.

            Conceptually, objects are like the components of a system. Think of a program as a factory assembly line of sorts. At each step of the assembly line a system component processes some material, ultimately transforming raw material into a finished product.

            An object contains data, like the raw or preprocessed materials at each step on an assembly line, and behavior, like the action each assembly line component performs.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC 2020 Blog Post (#3)
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Weekly Blog #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: I’m Not Drowning On My Own
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Phase 2 – Weekly Check-in 6
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Blog Post #3
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In – 5
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #6
          • Understanding Virtual Environments in Python

            Most often than not, as a programmer, you will be required to work on different projects. These projects would also have different dependencies.

            Let’s say you’re building two Python application simultaneously. Each of these applications have their own set of dependencies of Python version and packages.

            One of them is a To-Do list app written in Python3 version and uses Django Rest Framework and another one is a Music Library written in Python2 version using Requests library and different/older version of Django to fetch music information from SoundCloud API.

          • CircuitPython Game Development (PewPew M4)

            Check out this open source CircuitPython game development platform based on the ARM M4 microcontroller. If you’re looking to do some homebrew game development on a handheld platform, this is a great option.

            In this video I give an overview of the hardware itself and show how the CircuitPython programming environment works on it along with some basic programming examples.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Blog post for week 5: Polishing

            Last week was another week of code and documentation polishing. Originally I planned to implement duplicate filtering with external data sources, however, I already did that in week 2 when I evaluated the possibility of disk-less external queues (see pull request #2).

  • Leftovers

    • Private Facebook groups illegally selling human remains and macabre curios

      A reporter from Live Science kept track of various private groups on Facebook and the items being sold there. They saw human body parts ranging from whole skeletons to skulls of teenagers being sold at various prices. The source of most of the items remained murky. However, the buyers did not seem to be bothered about the source of the bodies or body parts.

    • Education

      • Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

        You didn’t really even have to ask, but Bruce Perens stands in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. In 1997, I wrote non-discrimination provisions into the Debian Free Software Guidelines, which then became the Open Source Definiton. While they still stand, they have been constantly under attack.

        My personal experience with prejudice comes from how I was treated as a neurologically handicapped child. But I am also subject to ageism, and most bigots do not consider me to be “white” because of my ethnic Jewish origin.

        There has been some (fortunately unsuccessful) movement to cast aspersion on Open Source as the product of “old white men”. This is humorous because of the explicitly non-discriminatory nature of the work, and its origin within the Debian team, which has always been very diverse. Nobody should be rejecting anyone’s work due to their skin color.

      • Drastic Declines Expected in Foreign Students in US

        In May, a report from the Institute of International Education (IIE) showed that 88% of nearly 600 respondent institutions anticipate international student enrollment decreasing in the 2020-2021 academic year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

        Seventy percent of those institutions said they anticipate that some international students will not return to their campus in person in fall 2020. Three-quarters are giving students the option to defer in-person enrollment to later in the fall or spring 2021.

        And while many colleges and universities are scrambling to devise a strategy that will bring students back to school while keeping them safe and healthy, half indicated they plan to offer students online enrollment in the fall.

        If ICE enforces their statement, those students will have to withdraw.

      • ICE says international students must take in-person classes to remain in the US

        New students matriculating at schools offering fully online programs will not receive visas, per ICE. Students who are already enrolled at such schools will be required to transfer or leave the country. Eight percent of US colleges are planning for an online-only semester, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, including Harvard and Bowdoin, though some of those schools plan to invite a reduced number of students back to campus.

      • New Rules: Foreign Pupils Must Leave US If Classes Go Online

        Under the updated rules, international students must take at least some of their classes in person. New visas will not be issued to students at schools or programs that are entirely online. And even at colleges offering a mix of in-person and online courses this fall, international students will be barred from taking all their classes online.

        It creates an urgent dilemma for thousands of international students who became stranded in the U.S. last spring after the coronavirus forced their schools to move online. Those attending schools that are staying online must “depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,” according to the guidance.

    • Hardware

      • USB-C Hubs and Ethernet

        USB-C continues to be an exciting mess. And by exciting I mean frustrating and by mess I mean omnishambles. I already cycled through many, many USB-C hubs with various different degrees of success but the latest iteration of failure I think is pretty interesting that it’s worth sharing.

        For the most part my USB-C hub pains have been isolated to them just breaking eventually, overheating, not delivering the necessary power or just plain not working. The most recent breakage is that I have three hubs where if I connect an ethernet cable to it and a USB-C charger but disconnect my laptop, after about 30 seconds the network goes haywire and eventually more and more devices in it become unavailable.

        The curious bit here is debugging this mess and why it happens. Initially I thought it was a faulty switch because only devices behind a certain switch (A Netgear one) cut out, so I got it replaced but that did nothing. It’s also weird that this behavior did not immediately surface. I have been using these USB-C hubs for an extended period of time but only lately did it cause my network to completely go haywire. My hunch is that it has something to do with generally having an additional two switches on the network and changed the overall topology slightly.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Coronavirus and the Surveillance State

        The evolution of information technologies will beckon us to expand the powers of governments, especially when we believe they would serve the common good, like during a pandemic.

        [...]

        Yet changing technologies upend established compromises on these matters and force us to confront possibilities that once seemed fantastical. In the last few years, for example, political campaigns have turned to techniques like geofencing, which enable strategists to scan crowds and identify their members—without the latter’s knowledge—by the signals emitted by their cell phones. This information makes it possible to trace the presence of those targets in future public venues. Law enforcement agencies at many levels have wide recourse to related technologies, such as Stingray, that track the movements of persons of interest using the signals between the targets’ phones and the nearest towers. The legal status of these activities is unclear, and court orders are rarely sought for them. Many of these technologies have been developed not by government agencies but by advertising and marketing entrepreneurs.
        Thus far use of these capabilities in the United States has largely been scattered across different private-sector and government organizations, rather than concentrated in any single institution. By contrast, mainland China has openly deployed its considerable resources to track the movements of virtually every member of its population. During the pandemic, citizens were classified by three color codes—green, yellow, and red—based on the history of their movements. These codes were available via each person’s cell phone, which must be used for crucial transactions. When seeking access to high-speed rail service or bus connections, or entering other public spaces likely to be crowded, everyone expected to have their code checked. Those coded red or yellow were assumed to have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus carrier; the authorities would block holders of these phones from further travel and possibly assign them enforced quarantine. Those lucky enough to show a green classification faced few restrictions. An additional feature of the system enables the authorities to drill down into the detail of the person’s traveling history should suspicions remain. Citizens revealed to have traveled recently to Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, risked further investigation as possible virus carriers.

      • Bring Back Health Planning

        When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, my life as a critical care physician in a Boston-area hospital changed quickly. Massachusetts weathered the third biggest outbreak, in total cases, in the nation. Patients who had contracted the novel coronavirus filled our intensive care units. Their lungs failed; our days started early and ran late. To expand capacity, we acquired more ventilators and brought in new staff. Our surgical recovery room was converted into an open-ward ICU exclusively for critically ill COVID-19 patients.

        Another change: we began to cooperate with other hospitals in a novel way.

        The ICU capacity at our region’s mid-sized hospitals could evaporate overnight with a surge of admissions of patients in respiratory failure. Much larger institutions nearby had more space and some specialized technologies, like extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO)—a sort of external artificial lung that pushes oxygen into the bloodstream and sucks out the carbon dioxide, which can help some of those with refractory lung failure. When I wasn’t treating patients, I joined daily phone meetings with physicians working throughout the greater Boston area. We shared data and learned where we could send critically ill patients when we ran out of beds. Something similar played out in New York, where the crisis, by necessity, spurred unprecedented cooperation among the state’s hospitals.

        Pandemics lay bare the need for cooperation in health services. But cooperation, and planning, will be equally important after the pandemic is over, and must go well beyond meetings. We need to envision a health system where the distribution of infrastructure and resources is not left to the dictates of the market, but rationally planned according to the needs of communities—and the certainty of future disasters.

        Planning has been a dirty word in healthcare for decades. Competition is today’s idol. But it was not always so: in the postwar era, though the United States failed to achieve European-style reform, a “health planning” movement emerged. The Hill−Burton Act of 1946 provided billions of federal dollars to expand existing hospitals and build new ones, particularly in underserved regions. In the 1960s and 1970s, state and later federal legislation—culminating in the 1974 National Health Planning and Resources Development Act—created planning bodies tasked with assessing local community health needs, approving new capital projects, and ensuring an adequate distribution of health infrastructure. But in the absence of universal healthcare financing for patients, à la Medicare for All, the movement was only marginally effective—and the rise of a new capitalist healthcare paradigm in the Reagan era easily brushed it aside.

      • Introduction: Already Sick

        COVID-19 has produced some of the greatest social convulsions in living memory. In the early stages of the pandemic, our preceding political concerns, not to mention our daily lives, were thrown into disarray. We tried to keep up with the dizzying pace of events—both the spread of the virus (especially in our home city of New York) and the haphazard response. It often proved overwhelming.

        In this section, we have enlisted some contributors to help us think through what’s been going on. What has this pandemic changed? What has it revealed, or clarified? What assumptions do we need to revisit, and where could all of this be heading?

        In the meantime, history keeps happening. As we head to press, we are living through new days of rage over the police killing of George Floyd and so many other black Americans. Thousands upon thousands, wearing face masks, have taken to otherwise empty streets. Who imagined these scenes when they daydreamed about the end of social distancing?

        The short essays that follow offer some ways to orient our political thinking in disorienting times.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Revealed: How home router manufacturers dropped the ball on security

          The June report by Fraunhofer-Institut fur Kommunikation (FKIE) extracted firmware images from routers made by Asus, AVM, D-Link, Linksys, Netgear, TP-Link, and Zyxel—127 in all. The report (as noted by ZDNet) compared the firmware images to known vulnerabilities and exploit mitigation techniques, so that even if a vulnerability was exposed, the design of the router could mitigate it.

          No matter how you slice it, Fraunhofer’s study pointed out basic lapses in security across several aspects. At the most basic level, 46 routers didn’t receive any updates at all in the last year. Many used outdated Linux kernels with their own, known vulnerabilities. Fifty routers used hard-coded credentials, where a known username and password was encoded into the router as a default credential that asked the user to change it—but would still be there, accessible, if they did not.

          FKIE could not find a single router without flaws. Nor could the institute name a single router vendor that avoided the security issues.

        • [Attackers] Start Exploiting Recently Patched BIG-IP Vulnerability

          F5 informed customers last week that a BIG-IP configuration utility named Traffic Management User Interface (TMUI) is impacted by a critical remote code execution vulnerability whose exploitation can result in “complete system compromise.”

          The flaw is tracked as CVE-2020-5902 and it was reported to F5 by cybersecurity firm Positive Technologies. The vendor has released patches for impacted versions.

        • Taiwan’s defense science institute entangled in security breach over Chinese cloud service

          A procurement flaw has been found at Taiwan’s military technology development institute, and critics say it may have jeopardized the country’s national security because it involved a Chinese cloud service.

          For successful bidders for online storage server equipment in 2018, the National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST) required that a Beijing-based cloud service provider, Baidu, be included on a list of cloud service software to be used for backup needs. The incident was first reported by Apple Daily on Monday (July 6).

          The requirement meant NCSIST files would be synchronized automatically on the Baidu program. The revelation has stunned people in many quarters, as the leaking of Taiwanese military technology to China poses a grave national security threat, wrote iThome.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • All About CLAs and DCOs

                Of the fundamental structural questions that drive discussions within the open source community, two that continually spur fervent debate are (a) whether software code should be contributed under a Contributor License Agreement (“CLA”) or a Developer Certificate of Origin (“DCO”), and (b) whether code developed by an employee or independent contractor should be contributed under a CLA signed by the developer as an individual or by her employer under a corporate CLA.

                Are there any clear answers to these questions? As so often is the case, the answer to that question is, “it depends.”

                CLAs and DCOs serve the same basic function – to help ensure that when code is contributed to a project, company or open source foundation (“Project”) for use as part of an open source work (“Work”), the Project and its users (“Users”) have the rights needed to use and redistribute the contributed code as intended without fear of being sued.

                In part, the decision between using a CLA or DCO depends on a host of legal considerations, such as: the nature and use of the Work; whether the Project is a legal entity; whether the code is contributed by an individual, or by an employee or contractor on a company’s behalf; whether the Project needs the ability to change downstream licensing terms; User needs; developer concerns and preferences; logistical challenges of administering CLAs and DCOs; whether use of the code may infringe contributor or third party patent rights; and other factors.

                But the fervor, and the decision whether to use a CLA, DCO, or perhaps nothing, is not only about legal factors. The debate stems from fundamental differences among the stakeholders in ideology, and in their views and opinions regarding risk tolerance and their respective roles, interests, rights, responsibilities, administrative burdens, and other considerations.

              • Success Story: Linux Foundation Training Helps SysAdmin Bring Open Source to Government Applications
        • Security

          • Bryan Quigley: Wrong About Signal

            A couple years ago I was a part of a discussion about encrypted messaging.

            - I was in the Signal camp – we needed it to be quick and easy to setup for users to get setup. Using existing phone numbers makes it easy.

            - Others were in the Matrix camp – we need to start from scratch and make it distributed so no one organization is in control. We should definitely not tie it to phone numbers.
            I was wrong.

            Signal has been moving in the direction of adding PINs for some time because they realize the danger of relying on the phone number system. Signal just mandated PINs for everyone as part of that switch. Good for security? I really don’t think so. They did it so you could recover some bits of “profile, settings, and who you’ve blocked”.

            [...]

            In summary, Signal got people to hastily create or reuse PINs for minimal disclosed security benefits. There is a possibility that the push for mandatory cloud based PINS despite all of the pushback is that Signal knows of active attacks that these PINs would protect against. It likely would be related to using phone numbers.

            I’m trying out the Riot Matrix client. I’m not actively encouraging others to join me, but just exploring the communities that exist there. It’s already more featureful and supports more platforms than Signal ever did.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Claim filed against Russia at European Court of Human Rights for mass surveillance during Moscow protest

              Opposition politician Vladimir Milov and public figure Alyona Popova have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over the mass use of facial recognition surveillance during a rally in Moscow on September 29, 2019.

            • Google, Deutsche Bank Agree to 10-Year Alliance Including Cloud

              The companies will soon sign a formal contract lasting at least 10 years, according to people familiar with the accord, who asked not to be identified before the agreement was announced. They also plan to make joint investments in technology and share the resulting revenue, which could result in engineers from both firms developing products together, the people said.

            • [Old] TikTok guidelines said not to promote posts by ‘ugly’ and poor users

              The guidelines also ban videos from people who appear to be poor. Cracked walls or old decorations are enough to have a video suppressed, according to the leaked guidelines.

            • TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

              Between the lines: The move comes as TikTok parent ByteDance has looked to more clearly separate TikTok, which operates outside of China, from a similar app used within mainland China. The company has said that TikTok has not shared data with the Chinese government nor would it, a position that would be difficult — if not impossible — to maintain under the new law.

              TikTok said last September it had 150,000 users in Hong Kong. While that number has probably since increased, it remains a small market and an unprofitable one, according to the company.

            • TikTok pulls out of Hong Kong due to new security law

              TikTok says it will stop offering its social video app in Hong Kong after the region adopted a new national security law granting expanded powers to the mainland Chinese government. “In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesperson tells Axios.

              Global tech companies operating in Hong Kong have expressed concern that the new law could force them to comply with China’s draconian censorship standards and possibly send user data to the mainland. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have already stopped processing requests for user data from the Hong Kong government.

            • TikTok Pulling Out of Hong Kong After China Law Controversy

              But its retreat could also benefit the Communist Party by removing a forum pro-democracy protesters have used to post videos calling for an independent Hong Kong. The Chinese-owned company didn’t explain its decision but said its Hong Kong exit could occur within days.

            • U.S. “Looking At” TikTok Ban Says Sec. of State Mike Pompeo

              The news comes as TikTok increasingly looks to distance itself from its parent company Beijing-based ByteDance. Last week, TikTok, along with 58 other China-made apps, were banned from India over national security and privacy concerns. The ban came as a huge blow to TikTok as India was one of it fastest growing and most profitable markets. There have also been reports that Australia’s government was looking at a ban.

            • Exclusive: TikTok says it will exit Hong Kong market within days

              TikTok will exit the Hong Kong market within days, a spokesman told Reuters late on Monday, as other technology companies including Facebook Inc (FB.O) have suspended processing government requests for user data in the region.

            • [Old] The Growing Problem of Malicious Relays on the Tor Network

              I’ve a long standing interest in the state of the Tor network. In 2015 I started OrNetRadar to help detect new relay groups and possible Sybil attacks that could pose a risk to Tor users. In 2017 I was asked to join a closed Tor Project mailing list to help confirming reports of malicious Tor relays — a list where I previously submitted suspicious relays to. Soon after joining that list I suggested some improvements but things didn’t change since then. Even though I’m on that list since then, the decision process to get relays actually removed happens elsewhere (dir-auth) and remains opaque to me.

              In April 2018 a Tor core member — the most active Tor Project person on that closed mailing list — made an attempt to initiate a “do not do” relay requirements list to improve and streamline the handling of malicious Tor relay reports. (I’m not mentioning his name since he does not want to be publicly associated with bad-relays handling for safety reasons.) Unfortunately also this attempt failed since no Tor directory authority operator answered. (Tor directory authorities are required to enforce any Tor network wide rules unless it is part of the tor code itself.)

              Starting with June 2019, after multiple reports about suspicious relays remained with no reaction I stopped sending them to the list. Occasionally I sent some suspicious relay groups to the public tor-talk mailing list instead — which ironically was more fruitful.

            • [Old] Are Americans as stupid as we seem on Twitter?

              First, the banner that attracts the most people is always the dumbest version of your opinion. It has to lose all nuance to win over the most people. It’s ironic, because most people have actually pledged their sword to a smarter, more complex version of the idea that ultimately takes off, but they quickly realize they have to unite with others under a big, simplified banner if they are to get the power of accumulating members.

              Second, people only rally when there’s another, equally active side that they view as opposing theirs. You can’t win a war against indifference. If you’ve ever written an op-ed that fizzled, held a rally no one came to or got worked up on social media and no one cared, this was likely the problem: It’s not that you weren’t right; it was that no one was motivated to tell you that you were wrong.

              Third, the other side’s banner can never be the exact opposite of yours. That’s because sustained arguments aren’t over morals or facts; they are over the framing. It’s the fight about what the fight is about that keeps the fight going.

            • Mainers with data exposed in crime center’s breach have little recourse

              The Maine Information and Analysis Center has been under fire recently, both as the subject of a whistleblower lawsuit from a state trooper who alleges it has been illegally spying on residents and as the subject of a June 24 legislative hearing where lawmakers questioned how it holds itself accountable or keeps Maine people safe.

              Legislators’ questions continued in the days following news stories about the [crack], which appears to have happened through the center’s website development vendor Netsential.

            • How a coin shortage is impacting retailers and grocery stores

              Constance Nobis, director of Retail Market Operations at Comerica Bank, said the bank is limiting what it gives to customers because its supply from the Fed has been cut by 90%.

              “It’s a supply chain issue,” Nobis said. “Normally there’s a lot of recycling. Customers bring in coin to the bank, we ship it to the Fed and we fill our order out for customers.”

              Nobis said the shortage is temporary.

              “As more banks open and they are able to take those coin deposits in and the Fed is going to increase what they are minting,” she said.

              In the meantime, she said, the bank is urging customers to bring in coin. It’s also doing centralized ordering, doing half boxes and rationing.

            • Facebook Advertisers Boycott, Demand Changes

              More than 600 companies say they won’t advertise on Facebook and its sister firm, Instagram, in July, as part of a campaign called Stop Hate for Profit.

              The goal?

              Force Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to address his firm’s negative effects on society, says Jim Steyer, chief executive and founder of Common Sense Media, a children’s media education non-profit, and one of the boycott’s backers.

            • Biden campaign using Instagram to mobilize celebrity supporters

              Why it matters: The campaign, called #TeamJoeTalks, is an attempt to open up a new front on social media, drawing on celebrities’ Instagram followers to help find and motivate voters while large parts of the country remain locked down.

            • Only 9% of visitors give GDPR consent to be tracked

              If you implement a proper GDPR consent banner, a vast majority of visitors will most probably decline to give you consent. 91% to be exact out of 19,000 visitors in my study.

              What’s a proper and legal implementation of a GDPR banner?

              It’s a banner that doesn’t take much space

              It allows people to browse your site even when ignoring the banner

              It’s a banner that allows visitors to say “no” just as easy as they can say “yes”

            • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t think ad boycott will change anything

              “We’re not gonna change our policies or approach on anything because of a threat to a small percent of our revenue, or to any percent of our revenue,” Zuckerberg said in a virtual meeting with staff last Friday, according to The Information, which got hold of a recording. “My guess is that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.” Zuckerberg reportedly went on to say that the boycott was a “reputational and a partner issue,” rather than a financial issue.

    • Environment

      • Ireland looks forward to a greener future

        Often called the Emerald Isle, Ireland prides itself on its green image – but the reality has been rather different.

      • The Navajo Nation faced water shortages for generations — and then the pandemic hit

        Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Navajo Nation coped with a different public health problem: access to safe, running water. One in three Navajo citizens don’t have indoor plumbing. Now, with infections skyrocketing across the Southwest, families without running water aren’t able to easily wash their hands. They also increase their risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus each time they venture outside to buy limited supplies of bottled water from stores or haul it home from communal wells. That’s made it harder for the nation to stamp out the disease.

      • Bizarre “pink snow” in the Alps is actually a bad omen for Earth

        Watermelon snow, which takes on a reddish-pink hue, is caused by snow algae. While most fresh-water algae thrive in warmer temperatures, watermelon snow is cryophillic, meaning the organisms thrive in cold temperatures. The algae is red because of its carotenoid pigment.

        The scientific concern over the algae’s growing presence in the Alps arises because the red color increases sunlight absorption into the snows — meaning they will melt earlier and thereby exacerbate the impact of climate change. Biagio Di Mauro, a researcher at the Institute of Polar Sciences at Italy’s National Research Council, explained to Earther that the algae blooms in question here are Chlamydomonas nivalis, which is found not only in the Alps but also in both polar regions, including Greenland and the Antarctic.

      • Energy

        • Judge orders temporary shutdown of controversial Dakota Access Pipeline

          The Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down by August 5 during an in-depth environmental review of the controversial project, a district court ruled Monday in a defeat for the Trump administration.

          The rare shutdown of an operating pipeline marks a major win for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and environmental groups that have fought fiercely for years against the oil pipeline.

          In its decision, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia vacated an easement granted by the US Army Corps of Engineers that allowed Dakota Access to build a segment of the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota and South Dakota.

        • Dakota Access Pipeline to Shut Down Pending Review, Federal Judge Rules

          The Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles, must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5, a district court ruled on Monday.

          The decision, which could be subject to appeal, is a victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other Native American and environmental groups who have fought the project for years, and a significant defeat for President Trump, who has sought to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline alive.

        • Judge orders Dakota Access pipeline shut down pending review

          A federal judge on Monday sided with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and ordered the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down until more environmental review is done.

          In a 24-page order, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote that he was “mindful of the disruption” that shutting down a pipeline that has been in operation for three years would cause, but that it must be done within 30 days. His order comes after he said in April that the pipeline remained “highly controversial” under federal environmental law, and a more extensive review was necessary than the assessment that was done.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • What if water shortages destabilise China?

          The film was understood by many viewers as a coded complaint about chronic water shortages that have blighted China in recent years, despite ever-larger investments in dams, flood-defence barriers and desalination plants, and campaigns to move millions of people from one side of the country to the other.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • US Supreme Court Says States May Punish ‘Faithless Electors’ [iophk: negates the very purpose of the Electoral College]

        In a unanimous decision, the nine-member high court Monday ruled that members of the Electoral College, the body that elects the U.S. president, are not “free agents” and that states may penalize them for breaking their pledge.

      • CCP using pandemic as cover for expansionist agenda

        Would the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) use the country’s control of a large proportion of the medical supplies market to hold the world to ransom over personal protective equipment (PPE)? Will it miraculously discover a vaccine sold to the world at a sky-high price, while simultaneously claiming credit for vanquishing the disease?

        The answer is in fact simpler and much more serious. The pandemic has provided the perfect cover for Xi Jinping’s (习近平) regime to pursue its expansionist agenda more aggressively than ever before.

      • Conservative Incoherence

        As I write this, armed protesters have occupied the Michigan statehouse to protest the state’s stay-at-home orders. Men in fatigues and MAGA hats, some wielding assault-style long guns, filled the lobby outside the house floor, where lawmakers debated a twenty-eight-day extension to Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s state of emergency. Whitmer, a Democrat, has become a target of particular bile, thanks in part to President Trump’s tendency to single her out (“that woman from Michigan,” he called her, and later, “Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer”). Protesters have taken to calling her “Governor Hitler.”
        The images were chilling but familiar. Open-carrying firearms has become a mainstay of conservative protests in recent years. Some Michigan lawmakers donned bulletproof vests on the floor, from which gun-toting protesters could be seen in the rafters above. But the protest concluded peacefully. And the Republican-controlled legislature denied Whitmer’s request to extend her emergency powers.

        When this essay appears in print, this moment will either represent a passing exhibition of the inchoate ire of a small segment of conservatives, egged on by the president and funded by partisan libertarian groups, or else the first glimmers of a genuine cohering of dangerous social forces. I hope for the former, but I have learned to entertain ever darker premonitions of the future’s shape.

        Thus far, the conservative response to COVID-19 has been defined by its heterogeneity: a blur of contradictory recriminations, confirmation biases, and conspiracy peddling.

        There are those, like Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton, who have treated the crisis as an opportunity to hammer away at their ideological hobbyhorses, summoning the menace of China and blaming globalized supply chains for shortages of medical supplies. Some fringier but no less popular figures, like Candace Owens, have continued to take their cues from Trump and Fox News circa late February, when the party line on coronavirus was that it was no more dangerous than the flu, that those panicking about it were doing so with the intent of harming the economy and thereby the president’s reelection prospects. Tucker Carlson, who personally beseeched Trump to take the virus more seriously in early March, has reversed course, joining the chorus of doubters. Ever the chameleon, Carlson now says the pandemic “just isn’t nearly as deadly as we thought it was” and dismisses the role of state lockdowns in preventing healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed.

        Meanwhile, conservatives of a more bookish and spiritual self-concept have taken quarantine as an opportunity for rumination on their preferred themes. R. R. Reno, the wily anti-anti-Trump editor of the religious magazine First Things, calls the stay-at-home measures “an ill-conceived crusade against human finitude and the dolorous reality of death.” Patrick Deneen, tribune of Catholic illiberal conservatives, marshaled the late iconoclastic cultural critic Christopher Lasch to distinguish the liberal “elites” who favor the lockdowns from the “masses” protesting them. The latter, Deneen suggested, quoting Lasch, appreciate the “inherent limits on human control over social development, over nature and the body, over the tragic elements in human life and history.” Where denizens of the liberal cosmopolis do daily battle with the entropic forces of earthly existence—aging, clutter, unhappiness, inequality—the wizened common-folk accept the inevitability of decay. They will get sick and die at their warehouse jobs while Deneen and his ilk continue to tweet at a safe distance. So it goes.

      • Fox News says it ‘mistakenly’ cropped Trump out of photo featuring Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislane Maxwell
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Internet censorship increasing in Turkey, report reveals

        A report prepared by the Freedom of Expression Association in Turkey has revealed the extent of [I]nternet censorship in the country, as the debate over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks on shutting or controlling social media platforms is ongoing.

        The report prepared by Prof. Yaman Akdeniz from Istanbul’s Bilgi University said that access to a total of 408,494 web sites were blocked in 2019.

      • Hong Kong scholars may stay abroad to evade security law’s reach

        Under the legislation, authorities have been given new powers to punish “offences of secession, subversion, organisation and perpetration of terrorist activities”. Within hours of its introduction, the law had been used to arrest hundreds of protesters – including some holding placards with pro-democracy slogans – for alleged violations.

        While activists believe that the law will be used mainly to stifle dissent within Hong Kong, legal experts have also drawn attention to its “long-arm jurisdiction” which allows offences committed by non-permanent Hong Kong residents outside the city to be prosecuted.

        This could mean that internationally based Hong Kong academics who advocate for independence or for international sanctions against China could be arrested when they return, said Steve Tsang, director of the SOAS China Institute, who was born and educated in Hong Kong.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • I Need A Craig Murray

        I tried to do a public service in making available to everybody key facts from the Julian Assange extradition hearing and the Alex Salmond trial, which revealed a picture very different from that portrayed in the mainstream media. I find myself wishing now I had somebody to perform the same service for me.

      • Local councils across Australia call for Assange to be freed. Councils in the UK should follow their lead…

        Murad Qureshi from the Greater London Authority (GLA) said, ‘this is a great initiative by local councils in Australia. I hope UK local authorities follow suit in the fight to defend free speech’.

      • [Old] US indictment against Assange fails to disclose crucial information as required by UK law

        The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has issued a new superseding indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. But the indictment fails to disclose crucial information as generally required under UK law.

        This failure could be seen as highly prejudicial and therefore present another opportunity for the defence to lodge a challenge to the extradition request.

      • Russian Journalist To Appeal Ruling By Russian Court In Controversial Case

        Prokopyeva, a freelance contributor to RFE/RL’s Russian Service, has maintained her innocence throughout the trial and described the case as an attempt to “assassinate freedom of speech” in Russia.

        “Svetlana’s conviction means that there is no presumption of innocence, no protections for journalists against the brute force of the state,” said RFE/RL acting President Daisy Sindelar. “Her case recalls the show trials that were used by Soviet authorities to punish critics. It is a grim assault against free speech and the mission of an independent press.”

      • Journalists protest against new media policy in Kashmir

        However, the journalists said it is against all newspapers, news channels and other news platforms. “The policy provides for informing the government and police beforehand before carrying any story,” said a protester, Imtiyaz Ahmad.

        “In case one fails, his newspaper registration will be canceled, FIR will be filed against him or government advertisements will be stopped,” he added.

        Most of the journalist bodies in Kashmir have so-far maintained silence over the issue. While most newspaper owners refused to comment or write on the new media policy fearing reprisals from the government, some journalists have termed it as a coercive measure to silence the media voices.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Together Against Evil Personified
      • What does community control of police look like?
      • Pyramids. Plantations. Projects. Penitentiaries

        We went from Pyramids to Plantations, to Projects, to Penitentiaries and you think America has love for me/we – We went from Pyramids to Plantations, to Projects, to Penitentiaries, and you think America wants to give Us Free.

      • Episode 96 – Jewish/Black Relations And Dialogue In Contentious Times With Rabbi Dan Ain – Along The Line Podcast

        Along The Line is a non-profit, education-based podcast that provides listeners with context and analysis about various critical and contemporary issues and topics. Hosted by Dr. Nolan Higdon, Dr. Dreadlocks (Nicholas Baham III), and Janice Domingo.

      • How Netflix Beat Hollywood to a Generation of Black Content

        He attributes the show’s place at Netflix to a Black executive there, Tara Duncan. “It’s the classic thing of — you just have Black people working at your company,” he said. The director Spike Lee voiced a similar sentiment to The Hollywood Reporter in 2017: “At the other places, there were no Black people in the room.”

        In reality, Netflix didn’t necessarily have a higher proportion of Black people buying content than other studios. But it had a lot of people buying content, and an unusual approach of distributing the power to make decisions. There were five Black executives who could buy content in 2015, and some of them built relationships with Black directors and producers. One former employee said Black executives were sometimes pulled into meetings with Black directors or actors for show.

      • Let expats vote in the countries where they live

        A quirk lurks at the heart of the EU’s cherished freedom-of-movement rules. Poles who move to Spain can find work, send their children to a local school, claim benefits if they fall on hard times, or enjoy health care if they fall on a hard floor, just like any Spaniard. But they cannot vote in the elections that determine these services, even though they pay for them through their taxes. Free movement is fundamental for the EU, but it comes at a civic cost. Taxation without representation was famously a bugbear of American colonists in the 18th century. It is a fact of life for some EU citizens today.

        About 13m people live in a different EU country from the one they were born in, and are thus barred from the main democratic process in the country in which they live. If this group were a country, it would be the EU’s eighth-largest (bigger than Belgium; smaller than the Netherlands). Although they can vote in local and European elections, this gives them a say only on things like bin collections and the transnational business regulations that are still the core of EU governance. Life in between is untouched. When the democratic urge strikes, they can vote only in their home country—setting policy for others, but not themselves.

      • Union: Criminalise underpayment of workers

        “It has been well known that the exploitation of foreign labour happens, and that it takes place specifically in the service sectors,” Vilches said.

        Vilches added that she had proposed three measures aimed at addressing the exploitation of workers to a working group set up by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in early June.

      • Rethinking Humanitarianism: Welcome to the debate

        This year, The New Humanitarian marks 25 years of journalism from the heart of crises. Just the time, we thought, to look back on the world’s response to crises over the last quarter century: Had aid delivered on its promises? And what lessons could we draw for the future? We dubbed the series Rethinking Humanitarianism and set out to explore these questions.

        But then a global pandemic shook the entire world. It overwhelmed healthcare systems, even in developed countries. And it dramatically challenged the way aid is delivered, from funding models hard hit by a global recession to international aid operations severely disrupted by travel restrictions.

        If that wasn’t enough, a resurgent #BlackLivesMatter movement in the wake of the police killing of an unarmed Black man in the US led to another moment of reckoning for the aid sector. Humanitarians began asking: To what extent are we equipped to deal with these kinds of deeply rooted injustices? Is it even the role of humanitarians to relieve suffering in “the West”? Does racism exist within the humanitarian aid sector? And perhaps more fundamentally: To what extent is the sector part of — or even propping up — a world order that, for many, is designed to keep power and resources in the hands of some people and countries while keeping others poor and powerless?

      • TNH@25 | Rethinking Humanitarianism

        This year, The New Humanitarian marks 25 years of journalism from the heart of crises. Founded in 1995 as IRIN, our newsroom emerged from the ashes of the Rwandan genocide. Twenty-five years on, we are looking back on the world’s response to that genocide — and to the many crises that have followed — to explore how humanitarian aid has evolved over the last quarter century and where it goes from here. At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic and the #BlackLivesMatter movement are challenging the very concept of humanitarianism, this series invites reflections on the future of international solidarity. Revisit this page as we gather your ideas throughout 2020, and read more about the series here.

      • How the Relief Effort Ran Aground

        The goal was simple enough to print on a bumper sticker: freeze the economy. Take the economic arrangements that existed in January and have the government put them into hibernation long enough to survive the worst of the pandemic. After the outbreak was controlled, thaw the economy out, allowing it to continue on its own.

        The Trump administration was always going to be a failure when it came to containing the outbreak. But the freezing should have gone easier. It mostly involves spending money, which the government is capable of doing quickly. And private markets were screaming for the government to spend massively. Yet two of the signature recovery efforts, the expansion of unemployment insurance and creation of payroll protections, have floundered.

        To freeze businesses, you can either backstop the businesses themselves by covering their payroll, or you can cover workers by funding unemployment insurance so they can go on leave and then come back to their jobs when the crisis is over. Each course of action has run into problems of execution. We need to understand why, not just because it’s making this recovery worse, but because the headwinds fighting against both approaches will plague any and all efforts at reform going forward. It’s easy to think big and bold, but implementation matters.

        Consider the massive expansion of unemployment insurance. The idea was that everyone would be furloughed for a few months, the government would pick up the tab, and then people would go back to work. But unemployment, an essential piece of social insurance, has been neglected in the past several decades. States set the terms and execute the program, and they’ve both narrowed the scope of who qualifies and reduced the amount of workers’ income that gets replaced. The Democrats who authored the expansion in March found an ingenious workaround. First, to boost replacement, they added $600 a week onto what people would normally get. Second, they extended unemployment to those who don’t normally qualify, like contractors and the self-employed, using a simple formula that then gets the extra $600 per week added to it. It is $260 billion worth of social insurance that goes straight to workers—so generous that Republicans almost killed the entire stimulus bill at the last minute to stop it.

      • Turn Mutual Aid Into Meaningful Work

        When people ask me, as a climate reporter, what I think will happen next, my answer has been cruel and blasé in its bluntness: “More pandemics.” There will be more pandemics, driven by deforestation, habitat destruction, and disease vectors extended due to warming climates, all egged on in their spread by the global nature of our economy. We also know there will be an increase in other kinds of climate disasters: wildfire, drought, hurricane, flood. The future is pocked with relentless catastrophe.

        As of now, we have nowhere near the workforce needed to respond to this new reality. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was already running short on staff by April, with only the coronavirus on its hands. With the wildfire and hurricane seasons both set to peak over the summer, overlapping crises are inevitable, but there isn’t a plan for how to cope. “It’s an unimaginably complex set of problems,” Irwin Redlener, a physician and the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me in an interview for the New York Times in early April. He wondered what would happen if New Orleans was hit with a storm surge; at the time, it was becoming one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus. “I’m just cringing to think of what happens,” he said. “This is one of those questions we haven’t even thought about yet. . . . I think we’re out of steam.”

        Elsewhere, though, we have steam in abundance. In her 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit recounts the phenomenon of mutual aid that emerges in the wake of disasters. I read that book the year before Hurricane Sandy struck New York and then watched as its thesis came alive in hard-hit neighborhoods like the Rockaways. My friends with cars shuttled other friends to parking lots near the beach to deliver prescriptions and hand out food. Today, mutual aid has returned. Everyone I know is joining neighborhood aid groups, getting trained to make deliveries and welfare checks. Most of them are newly unemployed. The relief at having a sense of purpose is palpable. The logic is reflexive, simple, obvious: when disaster strikes, we learn how to take care of each other. And it feels incredibly good to do.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Your next BMW might only have heated seats for 3 months

        In a VR presentation streamed from Germany today, BMW ran through a series of digital updates to its cars, including more details on the new BMW digital key service announced with Apple at last week’s WWDC and confirming that current model cars will be fully software upgradeable over the air, a la Tesla. The first such update will hit BMW Operating System 7 cars in July. Packages are said to be approximately 1GB in size and will take roughly 20 minutes to install.

        But, the most notable part of the day’s presentation was the new plan to turn many options into software services. BMW mentioned everything from advanced safety systems like adaptive cruise and automatic high-beams to other, more discrete options like heated seats.

    • Monopolies

      • Uber acquires meal delivery service Postmates for $2.65 billion

        Postmates’ app will continue to run separately after the acquisition, but it’ll be able to tap into a merchant and delivery network combined with Uber Eats. Uber says this will mean more restaurant options for consumers and more efficient deliveries for drivers who pick up multiple orders at a time. The companies intend for the deal to close in Q1 2021.

        Uber desperately needs its meal delivery division, Uber Eats, to make up for the huge losses it’s been experiencing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Food delivery is not profitable, nor is Uber’s core ride-hailing business. But the company is hoping that with restaurants closed to in-person dining, more people will be ordering takeout in the future.

      • Patents

        • Biosimilars and Temporary Restraining Orders

          42 U.S.C. § 262(l)(8)(A). Here, Amgen provided notice, but then supplemented its FDA application to add an additional manufacturing facility and to make a change to its drug label.

          Genentech thought that the 180 day notice should be reset based upon the supplemented application. However, Judge Connolly (D.Del.) denied Genetech’s motion for a temporary restraining order. The Federal Circuit allowed immediate appeal — implicitly finding that the denial of a TRO was an order to refuse an injunction that is immediately appealable under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1). [See Below for my criticism of this.]

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed based upon its statutory interpretation of Section 262(l)(8)(A) (quoted above). In particular, the court looked at the statutory notice requirement — requiring notice of “commercial marketing of the biologic product.” Here, the “biologic product” – as also defined in the statute – is separate and distinct from its manufacturing facility or its product label. When Amgen changed those details it did not alter the biologic product. Thus, the original notice was sufficient.

        • Software Patents

          • IPCO wireless patent challenged as likely invalid

            On July 6, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,044,062, owned and asserted by IPCO, LLC, an NPE. IPCO, also known as IP Co., LLC and IntusIQ, is affiliated with Glocom Inc. and shares a common ownership with SIPCO, LLC.

            The ’062 patent is related to a wireless network system and is currently being asserted against Jasco Products Company and Qolsys for their use of the Z-Wave standard wireless mesh protocol. Prior litigations against Fibar USA, FrontPoint Security Solutions, Emerson Electric, Crestron Electronics, Ingersoll-Rand, Tropos Networks, and Cellnet Technology have been terminated or are currently inactive.

      • Copyrights

        • Anti-Piracy Company & Record Labels Are “Running Pirate Sites”, Investigation Claims

          An ongoing anti-piracy investigation being carried out by The Music Mission project has teased some interesting findings. According to the groups involved, the owner of one pirate site not only has its own watermarking company but also supplies an anti-virus solution. But the industry foxes inside the hen house don’t stop there.

        • Sports Streaming Site Rojadirecta Loses Appeal of Danish Site Blocking Case

          Famous sports streaming site Rojadirecta has lost its appeal against a Danish site-blocking injunction. The court upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of Spanish football league ‘La Liga’ and anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. The injunction requires local ISP Telenor to prevent users from accessing the stream-linking site.

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