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07.09.20

Racism in Technology (and Who Typically Lectures Us About the Subject)

Posted in GNU/Linux at 11:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don’t allow corporations and their front groups hijack the voices (and causes) of real victims

Star trek Enterprise: We've consulted our council about people of colour; You don't speak for people of colour

Summary: Racism is a real problem; some approaches to tackling racism, however, can also be problematic and those who take the lead ‘on behalf’ of victims tend to be opportunistic and privileged few (piggybacking others’ grievances to further advance their financial agenda)

Racism in technology is real. It’s real universally. Racism is everywhere. Not just in technology and not just in Free software (contrary to libelous myths spread by opponents of software freedom). Racism is typically defined as viewing or categorising people based on race (or appearances associated with a race) rather than objective merit. Appearances are blinding due to survival/tribal instincts, leading one to trusting those who look alike (like oneself). In nature it sometimes means sticking around one’s own species, based on perceived kinship; cannibalism or murder of one’s own kind, after all, isn’t good for a species’ long-term survival. Cooperation rewards a species better.

“It’s often said that recognising that a problem exists is the first step.”When talking about races, however, we don’t speak of speciation. We’re all the same, except some superficialities such as skin pigmentation, keratin levels and so on. Those things typically depend on climatic trend, as they vary depending on where one settled and how long for (how many generations). Different conditions lead to different adaptations, both physical and mental.

Denial that racism still exists seems irrational if not overly optimistic/idealistic. Racism doesn’t need to be expressed and shown openly/publicly. Some is closeted, which means it’s “coming out” behind closed doors. We’ve probably all witnessed some folks who without the presence of those whom they mock diverge into derogatory impersonations and politically-incorrect views. Those things are also commonplace in social control media (typically anonymous accounts) and rampant in YouTube channels — more of which Google has been cracking down on lately.

Technology is somewhat unique in the sense that it can exacerbate or conversely help tackle racism (even if by censorship — the way Google does; Facebook is under intense pressure to do the same).

“Consider, for instance, how the Linux Foundation exploited “BLM” while hiring not a single African-American person (in a country where 13.4% identify as African-American).”Revolving issues pertaining to racism would require more than recruiting “for diversity” (based on quotas) and removing words that supposedly alienate developers and users. Twitter is apparently cracking down even on the term “dummy value” as if the word dummy in its own right should become impermissible in some contexts.

It’s often said that recognising that a problem exists is the first step. Then it’s necessary to understand its true nature, then how to address it. At the moment it feels like we’re well past the denial stage, i.e. people generally accept that institutional racism exists. What sometimes follows, however, is misguided albeit well-meaning at best.

Consider, for instance, how the Linux Foundation exploited “BLM” while hiring not a single African-American person (in a country where 13.4% identify as African-American). Later on those 'masters' of the Foundation lecture us on institutional racism. Look at the bloody mirror!

To be clear, hiring people just because of their race or gender might not help, either. In fact, hiring people who perform poorly (as women or as an ethnic minority) can contribute to stigma associated with women or those ethnic minorities. And it helps neither equality nor opportunity. It becomes like a cautionary tale, leading to reluctance to repeat.

I don’t claim to have answers to these problems; in fact, there are no easy (‘slam dunk’) answers. To claim otherwise is probably to be arrogant and dishonest. Right now, based on my experience, one key problem is that consultation is done by and among the privileged; it’s like nobody bothers asking actually repressed groups what they think. Look how Intel, which attacks Africans, is quick to exploit “BLM”. And it’s shallow enough for anyone out there to see…

Links 10/7/2020: Debian 8 Long Term Support EOL, Mobian Project, Mesa 20.1.3

Posted in News Roundup at 9:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Why Windows Power Users Break Linux

        As more people come to Linux, those of us who help the Windows refugees make the switch will need to be very patient with them. The more someone knows about Windows, the more likely it is that they will break Linux. Handing them a Linux laptop and saying, “Here ya go…” is not enough if they are going to succeed. You’re going to have to hold their hand for a while and telling them to “RTFM” will just drive them back to Windows. Understanding why they struggle as much as they do will help you to help them avoid some of the common pitfalls.

        I specialize in helping people get started with Linux. I’ve helped hundreds of people over the last few years and I can pretty much spot the ones who are going to do well and those who are going to be frustrated. If a client approaches me and they start the conversation with “I’ve been using Windows for 20 years…” I know it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

        The pattern is always the same: I walk them through an install and all is well for about two weeks and then I get a frustrated message from them about how Linux is stupid and doesn’t work. I know without asking that they’ve broken something major or borked up the whole system. I usually can fix the problem and make a good lesson out of it for them. I have gone so far as to walk them through a second installation from scratch. If the system is totally hosed, that’s the best way to go. Give them a clean slate to work with and hope they learned something.

        On the other hand, if a client tells me that they know nothing about computers but they need one to get things done like writing documents, spreadsheets, web surfing and email then they usually have zero issues. I get them setup and I don’t hear from them again. I usually contact then after a month or two and they invariably tell me everything is working perfectly. I got a call from a gentleman I hadn’t heard from in a year and a half recently. He said everything was working nicely but he wanted some advice about upgrading his Linux Mint from 17.3 to 18.1 and could I help him get it right. No problem. Wonderful to hear that all is well!

    • Server

      • What’s up with the Kubernetes ecosystem

        This week’s acquisition of Rancher Labs by the veteran enterprise Linux firm SUSE neatly illustrates the growing momentum of container-based application deployment. It also underlines the importance of Kubernetes as the orchestration tool of choice for managing all those containers.

        So, what does this latest move mean for the broader Kubernetes ecosystem? When containers first garnered corporate attention six or seven years ago, Docker and its tools were the centre of attention. But the focus soon shifted to management frameworks capable of automating the deployment and scaling of containers, and Kubernetes, developed by Google from technology used in its cloud platform, quickly won out.

        Like many open source tools, Kubernetes has its share of rough edges and does not necessarily provide all the capabilities that users need to build a functioning container-based infrastructure. Companies such as Rancher sprang forth to provide a complete software stack built around Kubernetes for those who didn’t want to build it all themselves.

      • MicroK8s HA tech preview is now available
      • Ubuntu Support of AWS Graviton2 Instances
      • Ubuntu Support of AWS Graviton2 Instances

        Ubuntu is the industry-leading operating system for use in the cloud. Every day millions of Ubuntu instances are launched in private and public clouds around the world. Canonical takes pride in offering support for the latest cloud features and functionality.

        As of today, all Ubuntu Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace listings are now updated to include support for the new Graviton2 instance types. Graviton2 is Amazon’s next-generation ARM processor delivering increased performance at a lower cost. This

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E16 – Owls

        This week we’ve been re-installing Ubuntu 20.04. Following WWDC, we discuss Linux Desktop aspirations, bring you some command line love and go over all your wonderful feedback.

        It’s Season 13 Episode 16 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • BSD Now 358: OpenBSD Kubernetes Clusters

        Yubikey-agent on FreeBSD, Managing Kubernetes clusters from OpenBSD, History of FreeBSD part 1, Running Jitsi-Meet in a FreeBSD Jail, Command Line Bug Hunting in FreeBSD, Game of Github, Wireguard official merged into OpenBSD, and more

      • Bad Voltage 3×08: Petrichoronavirus
    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel to Adopt an Inclusive Code Language, Blocks Terms like Blacklist-Whitelist and Master-Slave

        In the wake of Black Lives Matter movement, Linux Kernel developers are also implementing inclusive coding guidelines by dropping words like blacklist and slave.

      • Linux 5.7.8

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.8 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.7.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.7.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.4.51
      • Linux 4.19.132
      • Linux 4.14.188
      • Linux 4.9.230
      • Linux 4.4.230
      • Linux Developers May Discuss Allowing Rust Code Within The Kernel

        A Google engineer is looking to discuss at this year’s Linux Plumbers Conference the possibility of allowing in-tree Rust language support.

        Nick Desaulniers of Google, who is known for his work on LLVM Clang’ing the Linux kernel and related efforts, is wanting to bring up the matter of in-tree Rust support for the kernel. The extent though of allowing Rust within the kernel isn’t clear yet but would likely be very limited.

      • Emulating Windows system calls in Linux

        The idea of handling system calls differently depending on the origin of each call in the process’s address space is not entirely new. OpenBSD, for example, disallows system calls entirely if they are not made from the system’s C library as a security-enhancing mechanism. At the end of May, Gabriel Krisman Bertazi proposed a similar mechanism for Linux, but the objective was not security at all; instead, he is working to make Windows games run better under Wine. That involves detecting and emulating Windows system calls; this can be done through origin-based filtering, but that may not be the solution that is merged in the end.
        To run with any speed at all, Wine must run Windows code directly on the CPU to the greatest extent possible. That must end, though, once the Windows program makes a system call; trapping into the Linux kernel with the intent of making a Windows system call is highly unlikely to lead to good results. Traditionally, Wine has handled this by supplying its own version of the user-space Windows API that implemented the required functionality using Linux system calls. As explained in the patch posting, though, Windows applications are increasingly executing system calls directly rather than going through the API; that makes Wine unable to intercept them.

        The good news is that Linux provides the ability to intercept system calls in the form of seccomp(). The bad news is that this mechanism, as found in current kernels, is not suited to the task of intercepting only system calls made from Windows code running within a larger process. Intercepting every system call would slow things down considerably, an effect that tends to make gamers particularly cranky. Tracking which parts of a process’s address space make Linux system calls and which make Windows calls within the (classic) BPF programs used by seccomp() would be awkward at best and, once again, would be slow. So it seems that a new mechanism is called for.

        The patch set adds a new memory-protection bit for mmap() called PROT_NOSYSCALL which, by default, does not change the kernel’s behavior. If, however, a given process has turned on the new SECCOMP_MODE_MMAP mode in seccomp(), any system calls made from memory regions marked with PROT_NOSYSCALL will be trapped; the handler code can then emulate the attempted system call.

      • systemd 246-RC1 Released

        With this being the first systemd release since March, there is a lot in store for the v246 milestone. There are many systemd 246 features including new unit settings, the service manager has support for the cgroup v2 freezer, the CPU affinity setting now supports a NUMA value, systemd.hostname= can be used for setting the hostname from the kernel command line during early boot, hardware database updates, systemd-journald now supports Zstd compression, numerous networkd additions, systemd-cryptsetup now supports activating Microsoft BitLocker volumes during boot, systemd-homed improvements, the new systemd-xdg-autostart-generator, and much more. Just yesterday was one of the latest additions of exposing host OS information to containers.

      • Intel Gen12/Xe Graphics Have AV1 Accelerated Decode – Linux Support Lands

        On top of Intel Gen12/Xe Graphics bringing other media engine improvements and much better 3D graphics support, another exciting element of the next-generation Intel graphics is now confirmed: GPU-accelerated AV1 video decoding!

        There has been talk of Gen12/Xe supporting AV1 at least on the decode side but a lack of hard information to date. But landing this week in Intel’s Media Driver for Linux is indeed AV1 decode wired up for Gen12. This is nice to see happen and a bit of a surprise as so far the Intel Media Driver support matrix has lacked any references to AV1.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Nvidia 450.57 Linux Graphics Driver Improves Support for Vulkan Apps, Adds New Features

          Coming hot on the heels of last month’s Nvidia 440.100 release, the Nvidia 450.57 graphics driver is here to add support for NVIDIA NGX, support for Image Sharpening for OpenGL and Vulkan apps, as well as support for Vulkan direct-to-display on DisplayPort displays connected via DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP-MST).

          Furthermore, the new release adds an implementation of glNamedBufferPageCommitmentARB extension, which was missing from the Nvidia driver’s support for the GL_ARB_sparse_buffer extension, a new documentation file that exposes a machine-readable list of supported GPUs and features, as well as a new Connector-N display connector name alias type.

        • NVIDIA 450.57 Linux Driver Released With Image Sharpening Option, NGX Library
        • NVIDIA 450.57 is out for Linux with DLSS and NGX, Image Sharpening plus more

          NVIDIA today just released a big new stable driver for Linux with 450.57. It pulls in a whole bunch of big features from the recent 450.51 Beta.

          Compared with the Beta, it looks like it’s mostly the same plus a few extra fixes. However, it’s worth a reminder now it’s stable because everyone should be able to upgrade knowing it’s a supported driver version. NVIDIA 450.57 is exciting for a few reasons. One of which is the inclusion of support for NVIDIA NGX, which brings things like DLSS to their Linux drivers.

          There’s also now Image Sharpening support for OpenGL and Vulkan, support for Vulkan direct-to-display on DisplayPort displays which are connected via DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport (DP-MST), various VDPAU improvements, PRIME enhancements like support for PRIME Synchronization when using displays driven by the x86-video-amdgpu driver as PRIME display offload sinks along with “Reverse PRIME” support too.

        • mesa 20.1.3

          Hi all,

          I’d like to announce Mesa 20.1.3, the third bugfix release for the 20.1 branch.

          There’s a lot in there, but more than half of the commits are just updates to
          our testing infrastructure; nothing out of the ordinary in the driver changes.

          The next bugfix release is planned for 2 weeks from now, on 2020-07-22.

          Cheers,
          Eric

        • Mesa 20.1.3 Brings More Fixes To The Open-Source Vulkan / OpenGL Drivers

          Mesa 20.1.3 is out as the newest bi-weekly point release for this stable Mesa3D series.

          Mesa 20.2 continues building up a lot of feature work and should ultimately see its first official release around the end of August, but for now Mesa 20.1.x is the greatest when it comes to stable material. Mesa 20.1.3 is now the newest routine update for users of these predominantly OpenGL/Vulkan drivers.

        • Deep dive into OpenGL over DirectX layering [Ed: Microsoft is attacking OpenGL again, the EEE way]

          Earlier this year, we announced a new project in partnership with Microsoft: the implementation of OpenCL and OpenGL to DirectX 12 translation layers (Git repository). Time for a summer update! In this blog post, I will explain a little more about the OpenGL part of this work and more specifically the steps that have been taken to improve the performance of the OpenGL-On-D3D12 driver.

        • Progress Being Made On OpenCL+OpenGL Over Direct3D 12 [Ed: Microsoft pays Collabora to promote proprietary vendor lock-in; see comments]

          That OpenCL/OpenGL-over-D3D12 initiative was announced earlier this year only for it then to become public later that it’s principally for the Direct3D 12 support coming to WSL2. With that there can then be the OpenGL graphics and OpenCL compute within the Linux WSL2 instances that in turn end up using the native D3D12 drivers of the host. Besides this layering library being developed with Collabora, Microsoft has also been working on a Wayland compositor as part of the GUI app support and the DirectX Linux kernel driver and Hyper-V DRM driver.

          Collabora for their part have published an update on their engineering effort of translating OpenGL and OpenCL for DirectX 12 consumption. They are making good progress and even have a Doom 3 time demo working. Obviously the resulting performance has been a big concern and focus.

        • Welcoming five new Collaborans!

          With over 15 years’ experience in working remotely, Collabora was, and continues to be, uniquely prepared to support our customers and our teams during these challenging times. Despite the many obstacles brought on by the pandemic, we have continued delivering services to our clients, and continue to build and strengthen our engineering and administration teams for the road ahead.

          Based in Canada, India, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Cyprus, these newest Collaborans join our worldwide team of highly skilled engineers, developers and managers who all share a common passion for technology and Open Source.

    • Benchmarks

      • Phoronix Test Suite 9.8 Released For Open-Source Benchmarking, New Docker Benchmarking Image

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.8 is available today as the latest quarterly stable feature release to our open-source, cross-platform benchmarking software.

        Phoronix Test Suite 9.8 brings numerous improvements as our Q3’2020 update including:

        - Improved handling of test installation failures around failed download URLs and other cases where newer minor revisions of said test profiles have corrected them. The new behavior is to seamlessly use the new minor revisions of test profile updates to correct said failures rather than requiring manual intervention over the version specified.

    • Applications

      • Notorious – A New Keyboard-Driven Note Taking App for Linux

        Notorious is an open-source note-taking app built for GNU/Linux systems using GTK and Python. As a baby application (given that it is new to the apps scene), the developer has made sure that it features the most sort after functionalities in note-taking applications and a few extras.

        Thanks to shortcuts, you can use Notorious from project launch to finish without needing to touch your mouse or trackpad. Summon the shortcuts cheatsheet by pressing ctrl + ?.

        Notes are taken in plaintext by default but you can enable Markdown syntax highlighting if that’s your fancy. You can also choose to use Notorious in light or dark mode and lastly, all notes are saved locally to any directory of your choosing. Sure, you can choose to use any cloud service directory as your storage location.

      • The 10 Best Scanning Tools for Linux System in 2020

        If you are looking for a scanning tool for Linux, then you are in the right place. From the very beginning of digitalization, scanning tools have served us in many ways. If you want to store your paper documents or photos digitally, there is no alternative to scanning tools. Although you get a default scanning tool with the scanner driver, that is not polished to work flawlessly. Besides, these default scanning tools don’t always get the best support from the manufacturers for the Linux platform. This is why you need to look for the scanning tools for your Linux system.

      • Managing tasks with todo.txt and Taskwarrior

        One quote from Douglas Adams has always stayed with me: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”. We all lead busy lives and few ever see the bottom of our long to-do lists. One of the oldest items on my list, ironically, is to find a better system to manage all my tasks. Can task-management systems make us more productive while, at the same time, reducing the stress caused by the sheer number of outstanding tasks? This article looks at todo.txt and Taskwarrior.

        The management of tasks is rather personal and people have completely different approaches and philosophies. This is, of course, reflected in the requirements for, and expectations from, a task manager. Requirements can also change as our interaction with computers changes. For example, while I put a lot of emphasis on managing tasks via the command line in the past, these days I’m more interested in a good mobile app (to add tasks on the go and to receive reminders) and web support (to get an overview of all tasks).

        A good way to filter tasks is also essential for me. One of the reasons for using task-management software is so you can stop worrying about tasks until they become relevant. This requires a way to find relevant tasks when needed, such as when the due date is coming up soon or because you’re in a relevant setting or place (often called a “context” in task-management systems). Going to the supermarket would be a good time to bring up a shopping list, for example. Task-management systems offer a number of ways to organize information that can be used in filters, such as tags, contexts (often stored as tags in the form of @tag, such as @home), and lists.

        In a series of two articles, we’ll review four systems for managing tasks and to-do items around which open-source ecosystems have formed.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • New Games You Can Play With Proton Since June 2020

        It’s now July 2020 and the Steam Summer Sale has just ended. I hope you took the chance to grab some titles at low prices! We did!

        This time around I will not delve into games with the largest number of reports on ProtonDB. Instead, I focus on recent reports for which the median rating (not the ProtonDB one, my own rating based on the raw data) is something like Platinum or Gold at least (4 or 5 on my scale).

      • SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE arrives for Linux PC on July 16

        Time moves when you move. Ready for more? SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is confirmed to be launching for Linux and it’s going to be available on July 16. Even better, if you buy the original SUPERHOT before then it will be yours free.

        It was actually already available on Windows in Early Access for some time but they’re now moving to full release for all platforms and they’re making a bit of a splash about it. Coming to Linux officially is obviously great news too!

      • Wilderness survival game ‘Vintage Story’ adding seasons, improved graphics

        Vintage Story, an uncompromising wilderness survival sandbox game inspired by lovecraftian horror themes has a new test release up that makes it an even deeper game.

        Minecraft in style, sure, someone will mention that I’ve no doubt due to the blocky style. Anything actually like Minecraft? No, quite far from it. The gameplay mechanics have a lot more depth to them and it’s quite a lot more interesting but everything also takes a lot more time to learn and get through. Vintage Story’s description of being ‘uncompromising’ certainly holds up at times.

      • Programming puzzle game Monster Logic is out now

        Based on the esoteric programming languages Befunge and Trefunge, the programming puzzler Monster Logic is out now on Steam with Linux support. Note: key provided to our Steam Curator.

        Similar to other logic-block based puzzle games, it has you redirect things around a grid in the shortest way possible. The setup here is a little odd though, instead of logic blocks you’re using monsters that do different things. The idea is very much the same though.

      • Trusted Mode is now live for everyone in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

        Valve has now launched the Trusted Mode update for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, in their attempt to reduce cheating further – here’s what’s changed.

        As we mentioned when testing out the Beta in a previous article, it now significantly restricts what’s allowed to interact with the game unless whatever it is becomes digitally signed. Well, on Windows anyway. The Linux version does have Trusted Mode but all the tweaks seem to be targeting Windows since that’s where most people appear to attempt cheating. Still, it affects everyone and less possible cheating is always a good think for a competitive first-person shooter.

      • Tropico 6 gets a new ‘Lobbyistico’ adding in a Corruption mechanic

        Not long after Tropico 6 gained a free feature update and a release for Linux arriving on GOG, Limbic Entertainment and Kalypso Media have released the Lobbyistico DLC and it’s getting a free weekend on Steam.

        Considering the setting, it’s somewhat surprising it took this long for Corruption to be a proper feature of Tropico 6 and that’s the name of the game in the Lobbyistico DLC. The European Union has arrived on the isles of Tropico and with it, new buildings such as the El Presidente Club. Invite faction leaders as lobbyists into the El Presidente Club and conduct backroom politics to unlock a unique new set of perks to boost the economy and manipulate faction standings. However, with increased lobby work comes increased corruption, all of which will impact the wider Tropican economy and society.

      • Northgard custom maps can now be played online

        After Shiro Games recently expanded their real-time strategy game Northgard to include a map editor, they’ve just made that feature even more fun.

        With the initial release of the map editor you could generate a map based on a few options like size and then edit away with different terrain, building placements, enemies, NPCs and more. Once done, upload to the Steam Workshop for anyone else to play in single-player. The map editor is quite intuitive too, with all the options cleanly presented to make some fun creations.

      • Quirky vehicle building game ‘Making it Home’ enters Early Access on August 6

        Making it Home definitely looks a bit odd. You’re a ladybug, building a big contraption to travel from one side of America to the other. Certainly is a peculiar setting that sees you bounce around your vehicle, hoisting sails, squeezing bellows, and spinning propellers. It’s the kind of bizarre that looks so quirky it might actually be quite fun.

        Pill Bug Interactive have now announced that Making it Home will be releasing into Steam’s Early Access on August 6, and they plan to stick there for around 6 months.

      • Primal Light is out now with some great pixel-art platforming action

        With artwork I instantly fell in love with, the pixel-art action-platformer Primal Light is out now. Made with Godot Engine, developer Fat Gem worked for around three years to come up with their first game.

        “Inhabit Krog, a mysterious blue creature in a red loincloth, as he traverses a labyrinth of ladders, levers, traps, and monsters. Explore the nooks and crannies of a bizarre and evocative world as you hack and slash your way to victory, leaving a graveyard of grotesque bosses in your wake.”

      • Into A Dream Releases on PC, Linux, and Mac on Steam July 30

        Filipe F. Thomaz has announced the release date of his 2D narrative-driven game, Into A Dream.

        Into A Dream is a narrative-focused adventure that follows Luke Williams, a man battling severe depression. Delve into Luke’s dreams and memories to help him overcome his inner turmoil, often by solving narrative-based puzzles.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 20 Best Free Stacking Window Managers

        A window manager is software that manages the windows that applications bring up. For example, when you start an application, there will be a window manager running in the background, responsible for the placement and appearance of windows.

        It is important not to confuse a window manager with a desktop environment. A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. They provide a collection of libraries and applications made to operate cohesively together. A desktop environment contains its own window manager.

        There are a few different types of window managers. This article focuses on stacking window managers which are also known as floating window managers. This is a type of window manager that draws all windows in a specific order, allowing them to overlap, using a technique called painter’s algorithm. All window managers that allow the overlapping of windows but are not compositing window managers are considered stacking window managers, although they can use different methods.

        Stacking window managers allow windows to overlap by drawing them one at a time. Stacking, or repainting (in reference to painter’s algorithm) refers to the rendering of each window as an image, painted directly over the desktop, and over any other windows that might already have been drawn, effectively erasing the areas that are covered. The process usually starts with the desktop, and proceeds by drawing each window and any child windows from back to front, until finally the foreground window is drawn.

        Here’s our recommended free stacking window managers. All of them are free and open source software.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s July 2020 Apps Update Improves KTorrent, KMyMoney, KDiff3, and Others

          KDE Applications 20.04.3 is now available as the third and last point release to the latest KDE Applications 20.04 series. It brings various improvements to some of the most popular KDE apps, including the KTorrent BitTorrent client, KMyMoney personal finance manager, and KDiff3 file comparison tool.

          KTorrent 5.2.0 enables faster downloads of your torrents due to the improvements made to the Distributed Hash Table (DHT) functionality. On the other hand, KMyMoney 5.1.0 adds support for the Indian Rupee symbol ₹, the ability to view all account types in the Budget view, as well as a new “Reverse charges and payments” option to OFX imports.

        • KDE’s July 2020 Apps Update
        • kde.org/applications site now with more App Stores and Downloads

          KDE is All About the Apps as I hope everyone knows, we have top quality apps that we are pushing out to all channels to spread freedom and goodness.

          As part of promoting our apps we updated the kde.org/applications pages so folks can find out what we make. Today we’ve added some important new features…

        • KDE Seeing Fresh Improvements For HiDPI Support

          It took the GNOME/Ubuntu side until Canonical developer Daniel van Vugt picked up a 4K display with Intel graphics for various 4K/Intel graphics optimizations to be discovered and continue to be addressed for the GNOME desktop. Now on the KDE side, well known contributor Nate Graham recently picked up a new laptop with HiDPI display and there he has been working to resolve a number of lingering high DPI issues on the KDE front.

          Graham last month picked up a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen4 laptop with a beautiful 4K display. Using that as a daily workhorse has led him to uncover various issues in KDE’s HiDPI handling and some fixes already in store while others still being worked on.

          [...]

          Some of the items still being addressed is Qt scaling on X11, auto detecting the scaling factor on X11, cursors respecting the scaling factor on X11, and various Plasma issues.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36.4 Brings Better Support for Sandboxed Apps, Fingerprint Authentications

          GNOME 3.36.4 comes three weeks after the GNOME 3.36.3 point release and it’s here with yet another layer of bug fixes, improvements and translation updates to beef up the stability and reliability of the GNOME 3.36 desktop environment.

          Highlights of this new GNOME 3.36 point release include better support for sandboxed apps that contain multiple .desktop files, improvements to the on-screen keyboard size in portrait orientation, as well as improvements to the performance of the Calendar applet and World Clocks styling.

        • This week in GNOME Builder #1

          Hello! My name is Günther Wagner and i try to give some insights in the current development of GNOME Builder. All these changes can already been tested with GNOME Builder Nightly so go ahead and give us feedback! This newsletter is called “This week in …” but probably we won’t post every week. So the interval will be a little bit arbitrary. Let’s start!

        • GNOME Builder ❤️ Rust Analyzer Part 2

          There are two 2 ways to trigger this action. First you can hold off Ctrl and hover the symbol you are interested in. Clicking brings you to that symbol definition.

          The second option is, if you use the vim keyboard movements, to trigger gd in normal mode. As the real vim equivalent this brings you to the definition.

        • Bilal Elmoussaoui: libhandy-rs v0.6.0 is out!

          Recently I kind of took over the maintainership of libhandy-rs, the Rust bindings of libhandy. I have since then been preparing for a new release so that Rust & GTK app developers can update to the latest gtk-rs release as soon as possible. I also heavily depend on it on my various little apps.

        • Easily speed up CI by reducing download size

          Every time a CI pipeline runs on GitLab, it downloads the git repository for your project. Often, pipeline jobs are set up to make further downloads (of dependencies or subprojects), which are also run on each job.

    • Distributions

      • Solus Stands on Its Own

        If I had to pick one operating system of the year, I would be picking Ubuntu MATE 16.04, if Solus hadn’t come along and stolen the title.

        If it was a contest (and let’s admit it; it is.) this would be nothing short of a gripping and dramatic victory for Solus’ lead developer Ikey Doherty and team, especially in this new generation of proven and truly great Linux systems. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Linux community at-large was full of such amazing and cooperative people, I would call it a distro war.

        Now, before I get called out for trying to “sensationalize”, let’s get something straight. In recent weeks I have heard the words “competition” and “competitors” used more in the interchange of “fellow developers of other distros” than I have ever heard in my years of involvement with open source.

        And I’m proud to say that I welcome it with open arms. Nothing makes you better than someone trying to outdo you. At the moment, no one is trying to outdo you like Team Solus, so you’d better eat your Wheaties.

      • New Releases

        • Debian-Based Neptune 6.5 Linux Distro Released with Improved Hardware Support, Latest Apps

          Believe it or not, Neptune 6.5 is the first point release to the latest Neptune 6.0 series, which was launched last year in August as the first to be based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series.

          Dubbed “Jet,” Neptune 6.5 is here mainly to beef up hardware support, especially for UEFI computers with Secure Boot, by bumping the kernel to the Linux 5.6 series, which actually reached end of life last month, as well as the systemd init system to version 245.6, and by updating various of the included proprietary firmware.

          Software-wise, this release comes with some of the latest apps and core components, including the LibreOffice 6.4.5 office suite, Inkscape 1.0 vector graphics editor, Chromium 83 web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird 68.10 email client, VLC 3.0.11 media player, as well as the FFmpeg 4.1.4 multimedia framework and PulseAudio 13 sound system.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Unleashing Cloud Native (and Edge!) Futures

          You will have now seen our announcement to acquire Rancher Labs. This is an incredible moment for SUSE, for Rancher, and I would dare to say for the entire industry and adoption of cloud native and container-based technologies. I personally could not be more excited to bring Rancher into the fold!
          Rancher enables computing everywhere with seamless deployment of containerized workloads from the core to the edge to the cloud. And like SUSE, Rancher is 100% open source and focused on enabling users, developers, customers and partners to successfully adopt and benefit from those open source technologies. Several years ago, when I first met the leaders of Rancher, it was already clear they had a very strong, forward looking and disruptive vision of how open source based innovation can pragmatically best serve developers and customers’ business purposes, not only today but for the future as well. We had long and intense discussions with Sheng and Shannon about this vision; we had great exchanges with Darren about the various components and directions of Kubernetes and its ecosystem – the good, the bad and the ugly – and what to do about it after the transaction closes. I’m confident that joining forces will unleash a lot of open source based innovation serving real life needs!
          Following initial Rancher success with early adopters, even before Kubernetes, enterprises worldwide now see the tangible benefits of modern, modular and easy to use Kubernetes Management solutions. As Kubernetes becomes adopted by more enterprises, it will redefine how organizations run key solutions everywhere from on-premises to the cloud to the edge. Kubernetes is the de-facto standard for container orchestration/management, with a vibrant open source community, and it is also a solid and ubiquitous connective tissue for countless open source innovations, from simplifying the life of developers and business applications, to enabling different types of infrastructures and adding AI/ML capabilities.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 103

          Before introducing the recent changes in the YaST land, the team would like to congratulate the openSUSE community for the release of Leap 15.2. It looks like a pretty solid release, and we are proud of being part of this project.

          Having said that, let’s focus on what the team has achieved during the past sprint.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Linux Desktop To Switch From EXT4 To Btrfs Filesystem By Default

          A few months ago, with the release of the latest Fedora 32, the development of the next stable version Fedora 33 started. As the development cycle of 33 is still underway, a new proposal was sent to bring major changes to the Fedora desktop variants.

          The proposal includes transitioning from ext4 to Btrfs filesystem by default for Fedora Workstations and Spins across x86_64 and ARM architectures. Subsequently, Fedora developers also organized a test day on July 8, 2020, to experiment with the new filesystem features.

        • PHP version 7.2.32, 7.3.20 and 7.4.8

          RPMs of PHP version 7.4.8 are available in remi repository for Fedora 32 and remi-php74 repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux ≥ 7 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.3.20 are available in remi repository for Fedora 30-31 and remi-php73 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPMs of PHP version 7.2.32 are available in remi-php72 repository for Enterprise Linux ≥ 6 (RHEL, CentOS).

        • Stirring things up for Fedora 33

          The next release of the Fedora distribution — Fedora 33 — is currently scheduled for the end of October. Fedora’s nature as a fast-moving distribution ensures that each release will contain a number of attention-getting changes, but Fedora 33 is starting to look like it may be a bit more volatile than its immediate predecessors. Several relatively controversial changes are currently under discussion on the project’s mailing lists; read on for a summary.

        • Making compliance scalable in a container world

          Software is increasingly being distributed as container images. Container images include the many software components needed to support the featured software in the container. Thus, distribution of a container image involves distribution of many software components, which typically include GPL-licensed components. We can’t expect every company that distributes container images to become an open source compliance expert, so we need to build compliance into container technology.

          [...]
          Package maintainers and package management tools have played an underappreciated role in source availability for over two decades. The focused nature of a package, the role of a package maintainer, and the tooling that has been built to support package management systems results in the expectation that someone (the package maintainer) will take responsibility for seeing that the sources are available. Tools that build binaries also collect the corresponding sources into an archive that can be delivered alongside the binaries. The result is that most people don’t need to think about source code availability. The sources are available in the same unit as the delivery of the executable software and via the same distribution mechanism; for software delivered as an RPM, the corresponding source is available in a source RPM.

          In contrast, there is no convention for providing the source code that corresponds to a container image.

          The many software components in a container image often include GPL-licensed software. Companies that may not have much experience with distribution of FOSS software may begin distributing GPL-licensed software when they start offering their software in the form of container images. Let’s make it straightforward for everyone, including companies who may be new to FOSS, to provide source code in a consistent way.

        • Relive summer of OSCON: Fight COVID-19 with Node-RED and Call for Code

          The first round of the Summer of OSCON may be over, but you can still answer the Call for Code and explore how you can use Node-RED and other open source technologies to create solutions that fight COVID-19.

          Join IBMer John Walicki in a replay of his OSCON live-coding session. He shows you how to use Node-RED and APIs from the Weather Channel related to Covid-19 to quickly build out a tracking application.

        • Behavior is easy, state is hard: Tame inconsistent state in your Java code

          DevNation Tech Talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions plus code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn the root cause of common inconsistent state-related bugs in your production Java code—and how to solve them—from Edson Yanaga and Burr Sutter.

          NullPointerException on a field that was never supposed to be null? A negative value on an “always positive” field? Ever wondered why these bugs happen? You’re not alone. Watch this session to learn the root cause of these common bugs in production Java code, and how to solve them by applying some interesting techniques in your business code.

        • Culture of Innovation: Using AI to Solve Problems at Red Hat

          Red Hat is continually innovating and part of that innovation includes researching and striving to solve the problems our customers face. That innovation is driven in part through the Office of the CTO and includes Red Hat OpenShift, Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage and use cases such as the Open Hybrid Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. We recently interviewed Michael Clifford, Data Scientist in the office of the CTO, here at Red Hat about these very topics.

        • Fedora documentation is now multilingual

          The Fedora project documentation website provides a lot of end-users content. All of this content is now translateable, providing a powerful tool for our multilingual communication. Writers will continue to work as usual. The publishing tools automatically convert content and push it to the translation platform. Then, translated content is automatically published.

      • Debian Family

        • Mobian Project Wants to Bring Debian GNU/Linux to Mobile Devices

          If you thought for a second that the Linux phone market lacks operating systems you can try, think again as developers are just getting started. After postmarketOS announcing their PinePhone Community Edition, now there’s a new project called Mobian, which promises to bring Debian to Linux phones.

          That’s right, you can now install and use a pure Debian GNU/Linux operating system on your PinePhone. Mobian helps you do that by integrating the standard Debian GNU/Linux packages with the GNOME-based Phosh (Phone Shell) user interface developed by Purism for their Librem 5 phone.

        • Mobian is a Linux-based smartphone OS based on Debian

          Now that there are a handful of smartphones designed to run GNU/Linux distributions, there are a growing number of developers creating phone-friendly operating systems.

          One of the latest is called Mobian, and while it’s not exactly a brand new distribution, it is a set of software that makes it possible to run the popular Debian operating system on a smartphone or tablet.

          The developers did that by adding the Phosh user interface to Debian to make it look and feel more like a smartphone operating system and also by adding a set of mobile apps for web browsing, file management, gaming and communications.

        • Debian 8 Long Term Support reaching end-of-life

          The Debian Long Term Support (LTS) Team hereby announces that Debian 8 “jessie” support has reached its end-of-life on June 30, 2020, five years after its initial release on April 26, 2015.

          Debian will not provide further security updates for Debian 8. A subset of “jessie” packages will be supported by external parties. Detailed information can be found at Extended LTS.

          The LTS Team will prepare the transition to Debian 9 “stretch”, which is the current oldstable release. The LTS Team has taken over support from the Security Team on July 6, 2020 while the final point update for “stretch” will be released on July 18, 2020.

          Debian 9 will also receive Long Term Support for five years after its initial release with support ending on June 30, 2022. The supported architectures remain amd64, i386, armel and armhf. In addition we are pleased to announce, for the first time support will be extended to include the arm64 architecture.

          For further information about using “stretch” LTS and upgrading from “jessie” LTS, please refer to LTS/Using.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Google and Canonical bring Flutter apps to Ubuntu Linux

          For all its benefits in security, performance, and openness, the Linux operating system is still avoided by many computer users because of its software catalog. It’s not that Linux lacks app but it lacks the sort of apps that people are used to on Windows and Mac or even on Android and iOS. There is no shortage of projects that try to bring some sort of compatibility with those apps, like WINE for Windows and Anbox for Android. A different strategy, however, is writing apps in a way that makes them run on all or most platforms. That’s the premise behind Flutter and it’s now coming to Linux, at least on the Ubuntu flavor of Linux.

        • Canonical and Google enable Linux desktop app support with Flutter through snap

          I welcome any additional investment in Linux or other operating systems that aren’t the macOS or Windows, but this one has a major downside: it’s all tied to Canonical’s snaps and Snap Store. In case you are unaware – snaps are quite controversial in the Linux world, and Linux Mint, one of the most popular Linux distributions, has taken a very proactive approach in removing them. Their reasoning makes it very clear why snap is so problematic:

        • SD Times news digest: Android 11 Beta 2, Instana rolls out granular role-based access control, and React Native 0.63

          This release achieves the Platform Stability milestone, which means that Android 11’s APIs and behaviors are finalized.

          From Beta 2, developers can release compatibility updates with confidence that the platform won’t change, according to Android.

          Developers can enroll to get Android 11 Beta updates over-the-air for Pixel 2, 3, 3a, and 4 devices.

          [...]

          The Ubuntu team has produced a new GTK+ based host for Flutter apps on all Linux distros.

          “For more than a year we’ve been expanding our focus to include desktop-class experiences, both for the web and for the desktop operating systems: macOS, Windows, and Linux,” Flutter wrote in a blog post.

          The Flutter SDK for Linux is available as a snap in the Snap Store. Once the Flutter SDK is installed on a Linux machine, to build a desktop app users will need to upgrade to the Flutter dev or master channel and enable Linux desktop support.

        • Google’s Flutter Apps are Coming to Desktop Linux Thanks to Ubuntu

          Flutter is Google’s open-source UI toolkit that helps developers build native apps tailored for Web, Android, iOS, and macOS (alpha stage). You might want to check out their GitHub page and documentation to learn more.

          As of now, there’s no proper support for Windows — but it’s something in-progress.

          But, the good news is — Canonical and Google are going to closely work together to bring Flutter app support to Linux distributions as per the official announcement…

        • Google And Ubuntu Join Forces To Make Desktop Linux Even Better

          Even the most beautiful, secure and intuitive operating system is effectively useless without a healthy assortment of useful apps to compliment it. Software is the holy grail. It’s the foundation of an ecosystem. It’s what primarily attracts users to iOS or Android on mobile, and Windows, macOS or Linux on the desktop. So what happened this week between Google and Ubuntu-maker Canonical is a massive step forward in improving the selection of software available on desktop Linux.

        • Google Teams Up With Canonical To Announce Linux Alpha For Flutter

          Canonical, the company behind the most popular Ubuntu Linux, has partnered with Google to enable Linux desktop app support with the Flutter UI toolkit. Subsequently, Google has released Linux alpha for Flutter.

          With this release, developers can now easily install Flutter SDK via Snap (Ubuntu’s universal package manager), develop applications for Linux desktops, and distribute them through Canonical’s app store, Snap Store.

        • Canonical enables Linux desktop app support with Flutter

          Google’s goal for Flutter has always been to provide a portable toolkit for building beautiful UIs that run at native speeds, no matter which platform you target. To validate this capability, we started by focusing on the mobile platforms Android and iOS, where we’ve seen more than 80,000 fast, beautiful Flutter apps published to Google Play.

          To build on this success, for more than a year we’ve been expanding our focus to include desktop-class experiences, both for the web and for the desktop operating systems: macOS, Windows, and Linux. This work includes extensive refactoring of the engine to support desktop-style mouse and keyboard input, as well as resizable top-level windows. It also includes new UI capabilities that adapt well to desktop, like Material Density support and the NavigationRail, and experiments with deep integration into the underlying desktop OS with experiments in Dart:FFI and access to the system menu bar and standard dialogs. All of this work was to ensure that in addition to being suitable for mobile-style experiences, Flutter is ready to handle full-featured, full-sized desktop apps.

          It has long been our vision for Flutter to power platforms. We’ve seen this manifest already at Google with products like the Assistant, so now we’re thrilled to see others harnessing Flutter to power more platforms. Today we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution.

        • What’s This New Ubuntu ‘Rolling Rhino’ And Do You Need It?

          In the project’s own words, Rolling Rhino “is a simple tool to convert Ubuntu Desktop, and the official desktop flavours, that has been installed from a daily image into a ‘rolling release’ by opting into and tracking the devel series.”

          Wimpress emphasizes that Rolling Rhino is for “the toughest of Ubuntu users.” It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. That’s because it will overhaul your Ubuntu installation with the development branch of the distro’s software packages. These are fresh, constantly updated, and not nearly as widely tested as the stable packages actually employed on Ubuntu. In gaming vernacular, we might compare the development branch to “early access” or alpha / beta builds.

        • Raspberry Pi 4: Could Ubuntu Be On The Way?

          On the surface the Raspberry Pi 4 8GB may not have been a revolutionary release, but it has finally brought the power of a low cost 64 bit desktop computer to homes around the world. From day one the Raspberry Pi has used a Linux based operating system, initially a rather limited release of Debian, called Raspbian which has evolved over the years to become Raspberry Pi OS. But there are times when a more refined desktop experience would benefit the user.

          For over 15 years Ubuntu have provided a Linux distribution that offers a more friendly and forgiving means to delve into the Linux ecosystem.

          On a recent Ubuntu Podcast, Martin Wimpress, Director of Engineering at Canonical the company which publishes Ubuntu, hinted that “maybe we’re working on Ubuntu desktop for the Raspberry Pi”. Martin Wimpress was brought in to work on the main Ubuntu release based on his work in the Ubuntu MATE community.

          There is a high chance that this will be ready for Ubuntu 20.10 due for release in October 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • [syslog-ng] Insider 2020-07: TLS; capabilities; 3.27;

        This is the 83rd issue of syslog-ng Insider, a monthly newsletter that brings you syslog-ng-related news.

      • Top 6 Open Source Bitcoin Wallets, Rated and Reviewed for 2020

        The biggest appeal of open source wallets is that their code can be reviewed and publicly audited for potential security issues. As a result, open source software is often more robust than closed-source. The same goes for bitcoin wallets.

        [...]

        Whether you’re a beginner who needs a fantastic UI to help you navigate the intricacies of an open source wallet or you’re a developer who needs a platform that allows you to build on a secure base, these wallets will give you everything you’re looking for.

      • Trademarks

        • Michael Meeks: 2020-07-08 Thursday

          Mail chew; interested to see Open Usage announced for holding and managing FLOSS trademarks in a light-weight way. If it can reduce the galloping bureaucracy and the risk of in-fighting that can come with formal governance structures, as well as avoiding the extraordinarily overheads of formal entities, that sounds rather positive. Just having the pleasant, collegial engineering relationships in a project without the overhead would be great. Then again, I guess SFC, SPI, Public Software and others already provide nice containers for projects with varying degress of flexibility, lets see what happens.

        • Google and The Linux Foundation want to help open source projects manage their trademarks

          Google and The Linux Foundation have been two major players in the open-source software community. Now, the two are independently committing to help open source projects manage their trademarks effectively and judiciously. Google has announced a new foundation called Open Usage Commons along with academicians and industry partners, while The Linux Foundation has reiterated its support for fair open source licensing and trademark ownership via its Project Hosting program.

          The efforts from both groups emphasize independent and neutral ownership of a trademark by a community instead of a single company or stakeholder. This is because trademarks such as a logo, badge, or even the name of the project are often hallmarks of quality and must be used wisely and consistently. Open Usage Commons and The Linux Foundation wish to standardize the process of using—or reusing—trademarks while also partaking in conformance testing of the open source forks.

        • Bradley M. Kuhn: Organzational Proliferation Is Not the Problem You Think It Is

          Of course, I’m thinking about all this today because Conservancy has been asked what we think about the Open Usage Commons. The fact is they’re just getting started and both the legal details of how they’re handling trademarks, and their governance documents, haven’t been released yet. We should all give them an opportunity to slowly publish more and review it when it comes along. We should judge them fairly as an alternative for fulfilling FOSS project needs that no else addresses (or, more commonly are being addressed very differently by existing organizations). I’m going to hypothesize that, like Linux Foundation, Open Usage Commons will primarily be of interest to more for-profit-company focused projects, but that’s my own speculation; none of us know yet.

          No one is denying that Open Usage Commons is tied to Google as part of their founding — in the same way that Linux Foundation’s founding (which was originally founded as the “Open Source Development Labs”) was closely tied to IBM at the time. As near as I can tell, IBM’s influence over Linux Foundation is these days no more than any other of their Platinum Members. It’s not uncommon for a trade association to jumpstart with a key corporate member and eventually grow to be governed by a wider group of companies. But while appropriately run trade associations do balance the needs of all for-profit companies in their industry, they are decidedly not neutral; they are chartered to favor business needs over the needs of the general public. I encourage skepticism when you hear an organization claim “neutrality”. Since a trade association is narrowed to serving businesses, it can be neutral among the interests of business, but their mandate remains putting business needs above community. The ultimate proof of neutrality pudding is in the eating. As with multi-copyright held GPL’d projects, we can trust the equal rights for all in those — regardless of the corporate form of the contributors — because the document of legal rights makes it so. The same principle applies to any area of FOSS endeavor: examine the agreements and written rules for contributors and users to test neutrality.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Browser Wish List – Tab Splitting for Contextual Reading

            On Desktop, I’m very often in a situation where I want to read a long article in a browser tab with a certain number of hypertext links. The number of actions I have to do to properly read the text is tedious. It’s prone to errors, requires a bit of preparation and has a lot of manual actions.

          • Mozilla Privacy Blog: Laws designed to protect online security should not undermine it

            Mozilla, Atlassian, and Shopify yesterday filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Van Buren v. U.S. asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider implications of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for online security and privacy.

            Mozilla’s involvement in this case comes from our interest in making sure that the law doesn’t stand in the way of effective online security. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) was passed as a tool to combat online hacking through civil and criminal liability. However, over the years various federal circuit courts have interpreted the law so broadly as to threaten important practices for managing computer security used by Mozilla and many others. Contrary to the purpose of the statute, the lower court’s decision in this case would take a law meant to increase security and interpret it in a way that undermines that goal.

          • Changes to storage.sync in Firefox 79

            Firefox 79, which will be released on July 28, includes changes to the storage.sync area. Items that extensions store in this area are automatically synced to all devices signed in to the same Firefox Account, similar to how Firefox Sync handles bookmarks and passwords. The storage.sync area has been ported to a new Rust-based implementation, allowing extension storage to share the same infrastructure and backend used by Firefox Sync.

            Extension data that had been stored locally in existing profiles will automatically migrate the first time an installed extension tries to access storage.sync data in Firefox 79. After the migration, the data will be stored locally in a new storage-sync2.sqlite file in the profile directory.

          • SpiderMonkey Newsletter 5 (Firefox 78-79)

            SpiderMonkey is the JavaScript engine used in Mozilla Firefox. This newsletter gives an overview of the JavaScript and WebAssembly work we’ve done as part of the Firefox 78 and 79 Nightly release cycles.

            If you like these newsletters, you may also enjoy Yulia’s weekly Compiler Compiler live stream, a guided tour of what it is like to work on SpiderMonkey and improve spec compliance.

          • Testing Firefox more efficiently with machine learning

            At Mozilla we have around 50,000 unique test files. Each contain many test functions. These tests need to run on all our supported platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android) against a variety of build configurations (PGO, debug, ASan, etc.), with a range of runtime parameters (site isolation, WebRender, multi-process, etc.).

            While we don’t test against every possible combination of the above, there are still over 90 unique configurations that we do test against. In other words, for each change that developers push to the repository, we could potentially run all 50k tests 90 different times. On an average work day we see nearly 300 pushes (including our testing branch). If we simply ran every test on every configuration on every push, we’d run approximately 1.35 billion test files per day! While we do throw money at this problem to some extent, as an independent non-profit organization, our budget is finite.

            So how do we keep our CI load manageable? First, we recognize that some of those ninety unique configurations are more important than others. Many of the less important ones only run a small subset of the tests, or only run on a handful of pushes per day, or both. Second, in the case of our testing branch, we rely on our developers to specify which configurations and tests are most relevant to their changes. Third, we use an integration branch.

            [...]

            The early results of this project have been very promising. Compared to our previous solution, we’ve reduced the number of test tasks on our integration branch by 70%! Compared to a CI system with no test selection, by almost 99%! We’ve also seen pretty fast adoption of our mach try auto tool, suggesting a usability improvement (since developers no longer need to think about what to select). But there is still a long way to go!

            We need to improve the model’s ability to select configurations and default to that. Our regression detection heuristics and the quality of our dataset needs to improve. We have yet to implement usability and stability fixes to mach try auto.

            And while we can’t make any promises, we’d love to package the model and service up in a way that is useful to organizations outside of Mozilla. Currently, this effort is part of a larger project that contains other machine learning infrastructure originally created to help manage Mozilla’s Bugzilla instance.

          • Async Interview #8: Stjepan Glavina

            Several months ago, on May 1st, I spoke to Stjepan Glavina about his (at the time) new crate, smol. Stjepan is, or ought to be, a pretty well-known figure in the Rust universe. He is one of the primary authors of the various crossbeam crates, which provide core parallel building blocks that are both efficient and very ergonomic to use. He was one of the initial designers for the async-std runtime.

          • Missing structure in technical discussions

            People are amazing creatures. When discussing a complex issue, they are able to keep multiple independent arguments in their heads, the pieces of supporting and disproving evidence, and can collapse this system into a concrete solution.

          • Thank you, Julie Hanna

            Over the last three plus years, Julie Hanna has brought extensive experience on innovation processes, global business operations, and mission-driven organizations to her role as a board member of Mozilla Corporation. We have deeply appreciated her contributions to Mozilla throughout this period, and thank her for her time and her work with the board.

            [...]

            We look forward to continuing to see her play a key role in shaping and evolving purpose-driven technology companies across industries.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice Might Delay Its “Personal Edition” Branding Or Change To “Community Edition”

          In response to the largely critical feedback of LibreOffice 7.0-RC1′s branding as “Personal Edition” for the standard version of this open-source office suite, the branding is being reconsidered to either delay it until LibreOffice 7.1 or potentially relabel it as the “Community Edition” version.

          Lothar Becker, the chairman of The Document Foundation’s Board of Directors, wrote today in an open letter to the community that they are still seeking more feedback and evaluating their options with regards to the new branding that led to LibreOffice being labeled “Personal Edition” so ecosystem partners of LibreOffice can offer “Enterprise Edition” solutions built around this open-source office suite.

        • Marketing plan draft: Discussion about options available, and timetable

          Dear community,

          thanks for the feedback on the marketing plan draft via different channels so far. We want to let you know and have you take part, as the board is discussing the options now available with that draft.

          In the meantime, some more feedback will be integrated in the document already and will be published on next Monday. This is still not the last chance for a change for version 7.0.0, but we will reach that point soon.

          The last change for all strings and tags would be possible the latest by Monday, July 20. With some preliminary phase for decision making of the board the public feedback phase on all this will end by the time of the next public board call, i.e. Friday, July 17, 1300 Berlin time.

        • LibreOffice QA/Dev Report: June 2020
      • Programming/Development

        • First PHP 8 alpha released

          The PHP project has released the first alpha of PHP 8, which is slated for general availability in November 2020. This initial test release includes many new features such as just-in-time (JIT) compilation, new constructs like Attributes, and more. One of twelve planned releases before the general availability release, it represents a feature set that is still subject to change.

          The PHP 8 release is being managed by contributors Sara Golemon and Gabriel Caruso. Dubbed “Alpha 1″, this first release of PHP 8 is one of three releases to be done prior to a feature freeze. During this time, more widespread testing of new features is performed by the community and implementation details are worked out. This process will continue until August 4, at which point the feature set will be frozen to coincide with the first beta release scheduled for August 6.

        • What you need to know about automation testing in CI/CD

          Test automation means focusing continuously on detecting defects, errors, and bugs as early and quickly as possible in the software development process. This is done using tools that pursue quality as the highest value and are put in place to ensure quality—not just pursue it.

          One of the most compelling features of a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) solution (also called a DevOps pipeline) is the opportunity to test more frequently without burdening developers or operators with more manual work. Let’s talk about why that’s important.

        • Generics for Go

          The Go programming language was first released in 2009, with its 1.0 release made in March 2012. Even before the 1.0 release, some developers criticized the language as being too simplistic, partly due to its lack of user-defined generic types and functions parameterized by type. Despite this omission, Go is widely used, with an estimated 1-2 million developers worldwide. Over the years there have been several proposals to add some form of generics to the language, but the recent proposal written by core developers Ian Lance Taylor and Robert Griesemer looks likely to be included in a future version of Go.

          [...]

          Generics, also known as “parameterized types” or “parametric polymorphism”, are a way to write code or build data structures that will work for any data type; the code or data structure can be instantiated to process each different data type, without having to duplicate code. They’re useful when writing generalized algorithms like sorting and searching, as well as type-independent data structures like trees, thread-safe maps, and so on. For example, a developer might write a generic min() function that works on all integer and floating-point types, or create a binary tree that can associate a key type to a value type (and work with strings, integers, or user-defined types). With generics, you can write this kind of code without any duplication, and the compiler will still statically check the types.

        • Fixing a common antipattern when loading translations in Qt

          I’m a Polish guy working with computers, mostly on Windows. However, the lingua franca of the IT industry is English, so every time I see a tutorial for some dev tool, it’s in that language. To lessen the burden of decoding which menu entry in the tutorial corresponds to which menu entry on my PC I decided to run the system with an English display language. I still want the rest of the i18n-related stuff (date format, keyboard, currency etc.) to be in Polish however.

          [...]

          As you can see, Thunderbird and Windows Settings show up in English but Qt Linguist is encrypted with some overengineered Slavic cipher (aka Polish language). What I further noticed, is that this incorrect language selection is particularly prevalent in Qt-based applications. Subsequent digging revealed that this antipattern is widespread in Qt world, see the relevant GitHub search (requires login).

        • Python

          • The (non-)return of the Python print statement

            In what may have seemed like an April Fool’s Day joke to some, Python creator Guido van Rossum recently floated the idea of bringing back the print statement—several months after Python 2, which had such a statement, reached its end of life. In fact, Van Rossum acknowledged that readers of his message to the python-ideas mailing list might be checking the date: “No, it’s not April 1st.” He was serious about the idea—at least if others were interested in having the feature—but he withdrew it fairly quickly when it became clear that there were few takers. The main reason he brought it up is interesting, though: the new parser for CPython makes it easy to bring back print from Python 2 (and before).

          • Release: PyCharm 2020.1.3

            PyCharm 2020.1.3 is out with some important bug fixes. Update from within PyCharm (Help | Check for Updates), using the JetBrains Toolbox, or by downloading the new version from our website.

            [...]

            If you’re on Ubuntu 16.04 or later, or any other Linux distribution that supports snap, you should not need to upgrade manually, you’ll automatically receive the new version.

          • Python Anywhere: Outage report 7 July 2020

            We had an unplanned outage the day before yesterday; it was our first big one since July 2017. It was caused by an extremely unlikely storage system failure, but despite that it should not have led to such a lengthy downtime, and should not have affected so many people. We have some plans on what our next steps should be, and will be implementing at least some of them over the coming months.

          • Using module __dir__ and __getattr__ for configuration
          • Enrolling Students – Building SaaS #64

            In this episode, we worked on a view to enroll students into a grade level for the school year. I added all the context data and used Tailwind to design the form layout to pick from a list of available grade levels. We added a variety of unit tests to prove the correctness.

            The enrollment page needed three pieces of data in the context to complete the form. We added the student, school_year, and grade_levels data to the context and wrote tests to show the data in there. We also protected that data from any erroneous access by another user.

            When the data was set, we worked on the template for the form. I set the header to make the enrollment action clear and created the radio input selectors to show the different grade level options. We cleaned up the design and user experience by including some Tailwind CSS classes which made the radio inputs much easier to select.

            At the end of the stream, we wrote the happy path test for the POST request to prove that the enrollment record exists after submission.

          • Top 8 Online Resources To Learn Anaconda In 2020
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 6: Begin the Phase 2
  • Leftovers

    • John Prine as Tender Poet: The Best That I Could Do
    • Van Gogh’s Literary Influences

      In 1888, Vincent Van Gogh sold The Red Vineyard, a vibrant field of color abuzz with laborers, to an intimate supporter of the hungry artist for today’s equivalent of $2000. These days, a single painting by Van Gogh can go for as much $66m at Sotheby’s, and Van Gogh™ is a billion dollar industry. And the topper is that The Red Vineyard, if sold today, probably would be the single most expensive painting ever bought, not because it was the most popular artist’s best, but because it’s the only one he ever sold in his lifetime. (Wow.)

    • Education

      • ICE Threatens to Deport International Students If Schools Move Classes Online

        As President Trump pressures states to reopen schools in the fall despite an alarming surge in new coronavirus cases, ICE says international students studying at U.S. universities could face deportation if their schools switch to online-only courses. The U.S. issues more than a million student visas a year, and international students account for as much as a third of the undergraduate student body at many colleges and universities and often constitute the majority of graduate students. “I have yet to see a justification for this,” says immigration attorney Fiona McEntee, who notes that international students contribute about $41 billion to the U.S. economy per year. We also speak with Jian Ren, a Chinese international student pursuing a Ph.D. at Rutgers University.

      • If Schools Reopen This Fall, More People Will Likely Die. Full Stop.

        The front page of Tuesday’s Miami Herald tells you all you need to know about the rising dread and panic being felt across the country by millions of parents with school-age children. Bang in the center of that front page is the headline, “Miami-Dade restaurants, gyms closing to fight COVID surge.” Snuggled in to the left-side column is another headline: “Florida schools ordered to reopen in August.”

      • Trump Threatens to Cut Funding for Schools If They Don’t Reopen in the Fall

        President Donald Trump threatened on Wednesday morning to cut federal funding to schools that choose not to reopen their doors this fall in response to concerns about coronavirus.

      • Teachers Say Rush to Reopen Schools Without Covid-19 Safety Plan Shows Trump and DeVos ‘Do Not Care About Students’

        “America must listen to the health experts on when to reopen schools and to educators on how to return to in-person instruction.”

      • ICE Threatens to Deport or Bar International Students If Schools Move Classes Online Due to Pandemic

        As President Trump pressures states to reopen schools in the fall despite an alarming surge in new coronavirus cases, ICE says international students studying at U.S. universities could face deportation if their schools switch to online-only courses. The U.S. issues more than a million student visas a year, and international students account for as much as a third of the undergraduate student body at many colleges and universities and often constitute the majority of graduate students. “I have yet to see a justification for this,” says immigration attorney Fiona McEntee, who notes that international students contribute about $41 billion to the U.S. economy per year. We also speak with Jian Ren, a Chinese international student pursuing a Ph.D. at Rutgers University.

      • Will COVID-19 halt asylum in the United States for good?

        Violence and persecution don’t stop for a pandemic. Every day, people arrive at national borders urgently seeking protection. While there is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused havoc around the world, there are also man-made consequences that could be avoided.

        Since the public health crisis began, more than 150 countries have closed their borders, fully or partially, to contain the spread of the virus. The problem is that at least 99 of those countries have made no exceptions for asylum seekers, according to the UN. As a result, vulnerable families and children across the globe have been halted at borders; those with pending asylum claims wait in limbo; and lives continue at a standstill for people who have already experienced trauma and instability.

        Arguably, the situation at the US southern border is among the most dire.

        For decades, the United States has been a global leader in welcoming people seeking protection from violence in their home countries. Yet, since March nearly 43,000 asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, have been turned back at the US southern border after the US government implemented travel and asylum restrictions.

        Public health experts point out that these restrictions do little to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The policy targets asylum seekers while providing broad exemptions to US citizens, permanent residents, and those travelling to the United States for education, trade, or commercial purposes. In May, the US government announced that the policy would remain in place until it was “no longer necessary to protect the public health”, extending it indefinitely.

        The current ban on asylum is one of the latest in a series of efforts by the US government to limit long-held protections inherent in the US asylum system. In January 2019, the US government announced the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as “Remain in Mexico”, which force asylum seekers to wait in Mexico while their claim is processed. New MPP cases are no longer being accepted while the border is closed, but those impacted by “Remain in Mexico” over the past year continue to live in limbo.

    • Hardware

      • Debian’s Enrico Zini: Laptop migration

        HP requires 10 business days to repair my laptop under warranty. I cannot afford that length of downtime.

        Alternatively, they quoted me 375€+VAT for on-site repairs, which I tought was very funny.

        For 376.55€+VAT, which is pretty much exactly the same amount, I bought instead a refurbished ThinkPad X240 with a dual-core I5, 8G of RAM, 250G SSD, and a 1920×1080 IPS display, to use as a spare while my laptop is being repaired. I’d like to thank HP for giving me the opportunity to finally buy a ThinkPad.

        Since I’m migrating all my system to the spare and (hopefully) back, and I might be doing more such migrations as I now have a spare laptop for experiments, I’m documenting what I need to be fully productive on new hardware.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Supreme Court Ruling Means 126,000 May Lose Contraception Coverage

        The United States Supreme Court delivered a blow to reproductive rights on Wednesday, siding with the Trump administration in a case that gave employers across the country more leeway in denying contraception to workers if it goes against the company’s morals.

      • Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy

        California is seeing a surge in coronavirus infections, and most of our government misleaders, from Governor Gavin Newsom on down, are trying to sweep the true story under the rug with the same kind of blowhard fake news that we hear from the Trump administration.

      • Trump Health Secretary Says US Healthcare Workers ‘Don’t Get Infected’ With Covid-19 (94,000 Have Contracted the Virus)

        While the true toll Covid-19 has taken on healthcare workers is not yet known, one investigation found that more than 760 have died from the virus.

      • Trump Health Secretary Says Health Care Workers Don’t Get Infected With COVID

        Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday falsely claimed that healthcare workers “don’t get infected” with Covid-19 “because they take appropriate precautions” as he attempted to make the case for reopening schools in the fall — even with coronavirus cases surging across the United States.

      • Sacrificing People to Corporate Profit

        While millions of workaday families have lost jobs, income and their future financial security, corporate bosses and billionaires are surreptitiously building new channels into the system for looting an even greater share of America’s wealth.

      • The New NYC? Houston Hospitals Struggle with “Astonishing” Rise in Coronavirus Cases

        As COVID-19 cases rise and hospitalizations are soaring, hospitals in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are running out of ICU beds. On Tuesday, Texas set a grim new record of 10,000 new cases in a single day. “It’s been astonishing,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Dr. Sheri Fink, who has been reporting from Houston’s largest hospital. “They’ve been adding unit after unit after unit just to care for coronavirus patients.”

      • 600+ Groups Warn ‘Unprecedented’ Wave of Corporate Lawsuits Could Imperil Global Fight Against Covid-19

        “A spate of cases now could result in a ‘regulatory chilling’ effect, in which governments water down, postpone, or withdraw actions to tackle the pandemic from the fear of such payments, which could be deadly.”

      • The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic

        A pandemic is not the time to be having discussions about how to design a national health care system. The fact that the United States, which has 4 percent of the world’s population, leads the world with 25 percent of all coronavirus infections, indicates at a glance that something about our nation’s health care is irredeemably broken. In just a few months, more than 40 million Americans became unemployed in a country where a majority are expected to obtain health care through employer-provided insurance. Even the New York Times has pointed out that, “Nothing illuminates the problems with an employer-based health care system quite like massive unemployment in the middle of a highly contagious and potentially deadly disease outbreak.”

      • Madeline Peck: Quarantine Slump

        You can vote by liking my comment with the video in it here on the mojo page!

        Last week I submitted some logo ideas to the Nest ticket and I had to clean up the ones they enjoyed. Went through some inkscape tutorials to refresh and see if I was doing anything slower then some tips and tricks.

        Attended Boston’s lightning talks and got me thinking of potentially doing my own towards the end of the summer.

        Going through the changes for the coloring book so I can send them out in an email to the reviewers by Friday hopefully, and speaking of the reviewers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Four years of Zephyr

                The Zephyr project is an effort to provide an open-source realtime operating system (RTOS) that is designed to bridge the gap between full-featured operating systems like Linux and bare-metal development environments. It’s been over four years since Zephyr was publicly announced and discussed here (apparently to a bit of puzzlement). In this article, we give an update on the project and its community as of its v2.3.0 release in June 2020; we also make some guesses about its near future.

                The authors are both Zephyr developers working for Nordic Semiconductor; Cufí was the release manager for the v2.3.0 release.

                [...]

                The Zephyr kernel supports multiple architectures and scheduling algorithms. There are cooperative and preemptive threads, along with facilities for reducing interrupt latencies and guaranteeing the execution of key threads. An optional user mode can use the Memory Protection Units (MPUs) typically present in microcontrollers to isolate and sandbox threads or groups of threads from one another and the kernel.

                Zephyr supports six major architectures (x86, Arm, ARC, NIOS II, Xtensa, and RISC-V) and also runs in emulation. Both 32- and 64-bit processor support exists for some architectures. Within the Arm architecture, the emphasis has been on the usual 32-bit Cortex-M cores, but experimental support for Cortex-R and Cortex-A (including 64-bit Cortex-A) exists and continues to improve. Beyond “real hardware,” Zephyr runs on QEMU, and as an ELF executable. It supports a simulated radio, which can save time and expense when testing and debugging radio frequency (RF) issues. In all, there are upstream support files for over 200 “boards”.

                Zephyr has logging and shell subsystems. These have configurable transports, including traditional serial ports (for both) and over the network (for logging). Logging is optionally asynchronous; in this case, a separate thread actually sends log messages. The logging calls themselves post compact messages to a queue, which can be done quickly, so logging can be done even from within interrupt context.

                Hardware-specific APIs are built around a lightweight device driver model that is tightly integrated with the kernel. It supports a wide range of peripherals and sensors under this common model. Multiple storage options are available. These range from basic key-value storage optimized for NOR flash to filesystems.

        • Security

          • FreeBSD Security Advisory FreeBSD-SA-20:19.unbound
          • GCC Compiler Lands Mitigation For Arm’s Straight Line Speculation Vulnerability

            It took a month after Arm disclosed the CPU “SLS” vulnerability and when the LLVM compiler landed their initial mitigation, but the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) now has mitigations as well for this Straight Line Speculation vulnerability.

            The Straight Line Speculation vulnerability could lead to instructions on ARMv8 processors being executed following a change in control flow. Mitigating SLS involves using SB instructions for a speculation barrier following vulnerable instructions.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by CentOS (firefox), Debian (ffmpeg, fwupd, ruby2.5, and shiro), Fedora (freerdp, gssdp, gupnp, mingw-pcre2, remmina, and xrdp), openSUSE (chocolate-doom), Oracle (firefox and kernel), and Ubuntu (linux, linux-lts-xenial, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon and thunderbird).

          • Mozilla Security Blog: Reducing TLS Certificate Lifespans to 398 Days

            We intend to update Mozilla’s Root Store Policy to reduce the maximum lifetime of TLS certificates from 825 days to 398 days, with the aim of protecting our user’s HTTPS connections. Many reasons for reducing the lifetime of certificates have been provided and summarized in the CA/Browser Forum’s Ballot SC22. Here are Mozilla’s top three reasons for supporting this change.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Global Privacy Regulators Probe Facial Recognition Firm Clearview AI

              The privacy regulators of the UK and Australia have announced a joint investigation into controversial facial recognition firm Clearview AI.

              “The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have opened a joint investigation into the personal information handling practices of Clearview AI Inc., focusing on the company’s use of ‘scraped’ data and biometrics of individuals,” a brief statement read.

              “The investigation highlights the importance of enforcement cooperation in protecting the personal information of Australian and UK citizens in a globalized data environment.”

              The Manhattan-based software firm leapt to notoriety early this year after a New York Times report claimed that the startup had scraped as many as three billion images from social media sites to add to its database.

              That makes it a useful resource for police and intelligence agencies, which can query images they capture against the database. The FBI’s own trove of images is said to contain little more than 600 million.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Afghanistan: What is to be Done?

        The mainstream media is asking the wrong questions regarding the possibility of Russian bounties for American soldiers.  Over and over, they ponder what did the president know and when did he know it?  These were important questions that Senator Howard Baker asked of President Nixon during Watergate, but they are meaningless questions for Donald Trump, given his ignorance and indifference.  Trump has mishandled every foreign policy and national security issue for the past three and a half years; why would anyone expect him to get this one right.  The fact that he was making a series of calls to President Vladimir Putin regarding a return to the G-7 even as his National Security Council was discussing the bounty issue and the intelligence community was providing threat warnings to NATO members with troops in Afghanistan is simply too bizarre for words.

      • Trump Is Trying to Hide US and Israeli War Crimes by Attacking the ICC

        A war crimes complaint has been filed against Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump adviser Jared Kushner in the International Criminal Court (ICC). It is now up to the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor to decide whether the complaint should be pursued. If the prosecutor launches a preliminary examination and finds reason to believe they committed war crimes, the court could then authorize a full investigation.

      • The exorcist: How a confessed murderer became one of Russia’s most famous priests, took over a convent, and started cursing the Church and the state

        Russian public life has its share of COVID dissidents, skeptics, and deniers, but Schema-Hegumen Sergii is a story of his own. The 65-year-old Russian Orthodox priest, whose title indicates a commitment to especially advanced asceticism and sacred rites, doesn’t just deny the existence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sergii has harshly criticized both secular and Church officials who have closed down cathedrals to prevent the spread of the disease. In the last two months, Sergii has become a symbol of ultraconservative resistance to the Russian government and the Russian Orthodox Church alike. After targeting anti-pandemic efforts in the clergy, he has called on voters to boycott the constitutional plebiscite that allowed Vladimir Putin to “zero out” his term count. Father Sergii has been barred from preaching since late May, but that didn’t stop him from seizing control of a convent he founded and threatening to defend it against the Russian police. Now, the Sredneuralsk Women’s Monastery is awaiting its fate with nuns, Cossacks, pilgrims, and children still inside. Meanwhile, a Church court ruled on July 3 that Sergii should be stripped of his clerical rank. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev traveled to Sergii’s hideout to follow his story and hear from his flock.

      • UN Special Rapporteur: US Drone Strike Killing Iranian Gen. Soleimani Was Unlawful

        Not only was Soleimani’s killing unlawful, it set a very bad precedent.

      • GOP Has Unhinged Meltdown After Ilhan Omar Makes Simple Call to ‘Dismantle All Systems of Oppression’

        “Just to be clear, Ilhan Omar is under attack by the rightwing media machine for statements that are utterly normal and totally uncontroversial when they’re delivered by white, non-Muslim politicians.”

      • China and Hong Kong Face Off
      • Nowhere to turn for women facing violence in Kashmir

        The threat of violence against women is escalating amid coronavirus lockdowns around the globe. But one region that has lived through a military clampdown for nearly a year – Indian-administered Kashmir – could have foretold the surge.

        Being shut in by government order is nothing new in Kashmir, nor is the resulting spike in gender-based violence, women’s advocates say.

        The region has seen decades of conflict, militarisation, protests, and violent crackdowns. Kashmir has essentially been on lockdown since August 2019, when India scrapped the region’s semi-autonomous status, bringing the former state of Jammu and Kashmir under direct control of the central government. Authorities imposed a communications blockade and security forces patrolled the streets, shut down public transportation, and closed markets.

        Though some restrictions continued to ease in early 2020, India-wide coronavirus lockdowns beginning in March extended clampdown conditions in an already militarised region – and kept survivors of domestic violence shut in with their abusers.

        Cases of domestic violence and general violence against women surged tenfold to more than 3,000 a year during a previous clampdown in 2016 and 2017, according to statistics from the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women, a now-defunct government institution established to protect women and children’s rights and ensure quick prosecutions.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Harper’s Gives Prestigious Platform To Famous Writers So They Can Whine About Being Silenced

        There’s a slightly bizarre Letter on Justice and Open Debate that Harper’s Magazine is publishing, signed by a long list of famous people (many of whom I respect, and plenty of whom I think are terribly entitled wannabe “controversial” intellectuals who are really just assholes). The framing of the letter is one I’ve heard quite a lot of late: concerns that there is some sort of “illiberal attack on free speech,” in which certain individuals and their ideas are no longer even allowed. It’s the more intellectual argument against so-called “cancel culture.” And, yes, there are examples of people being shut down for expressing their ideas, but it is much less common than people would have you believe. In many cases, what people are complaining about is not that their speech is being shut down, but that they are facing consequences for their speech being ridiculous.

    • Environment

      • What Do the Racial Wealth Gap, Police Brutality, and the Climate Crisis Have in Common? Wall Street

        The biggest banks, it turns out, are every bit as complicit in the climate crisis as they were in the slave trade.

      • Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom Forecast: 2020 Improvements

        Each summer, warming weather draws mid-Atlantic nature lovers, recreational boaters, and fishing enthusiasts to the shores of Lake Erie. The same change of season creates optimal conditions for rapid growth of algae. While most blooms of algae aren’t harmful, some such as the blue-green algae Microcystis produce toxins that have harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals, birds, and local economies. Blooms like these are called harmful algal blooms, or HABs.

        Lake Erie is more than a summer playground — it’s the primary source of drinking water for all surrounding communities. For these reasons, NOAA produces the Lake Erie HAB Forecast to aid those responding to bloom impacts and help members of the public make informed decisions if a bloom is affecting their area. Since 2016, the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products & Services has issued operational forecasts to supplement seasonal bloom severity projections from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science . Users have relied on twice-weekly forecast analysis of bloom position and potential for movement or mixing of surface bloom concentrations, in addition to forecast water currents, and recent satellite imagery.

        But many drinking water intakes and prime fishing spots are located below the lake surface, beyond the view of aerial and satellite imagery. To better accommodate the needs of resource managers and tourists alike, the Lake Erie HAB Forecast is now enhanced by the integration of a 3D hydrodynamic model developed by research partners within the Office of Oceanic & Atmospheric Research. Recent satellite imagery is used to produce an estimate of daily Microcystis bloom locations alongside a five-day forecast of bloom movement. Along with these enhancements, the Lake Erie HAB Forecast website has also been redesigned to help users more easily and quickly understand maps and key elements. Bloom movement is also now provided as an animation with plots for vertical movement of Microcystis at select sampling locations.

        HABs may continue to affect Lake Erie, but lakeshore communities now have better decision-making tools to help ensure safe drinking water and lake recreational activities.

      • Precision Marine Navigation

        NOAA’s Precision Marine Navigation team is creating new online services to enable more efficient access to the NOAA data that powers private-sector marine navigation products. The goal is to foster innovation, improve navigation safety, aid in more efficient coastal route planning, and help mariners make informed decisions as they navigate our nation’s waterways.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • “All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics

        The June 3 premiere of Hamilton on streaming service Disney+ marked the end of a five-year wait for audiences who hadn’t seen the hit musical on stage.

      • Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land

        You don’t hear much about millionaires these days in America. Which makes some sense. Add up all our nation’s personal wealth, divide by our number of people, and we have an average wealth per person in the United States today of about $300,000. At that average, a family of three worth a million dollars turns out to be barely better off than any family of three would be if our country’s wealth were spread perfectly even.

      • COVID Exposes “Significant Racial Health Inequities” as Black, Brown & Indigenous People Suffer Most

        The coronavirus continues to hit communities of color the hardest, with federal data showing African American and Latinx people are nearly three times more likely to be infected and twice as likely to die from the virus compared to their white neighbors. There were “pretty significant racial health disparities” even before COVID-19 ravaged the country, says Dr. Uché Blackstock, emergency medicine physician in New York and founder and CEO of Advancing Health Equity, a company working to fight racism and bias in health services. “What we saw in the pandemic these first few months is these really significant racial health inequities being exposed and even amplified.” We also continue to speak with award-winning New York Times correspondent Dr. Sheri Fink.

      • The ‘Camo Economy’ Hides Military Costs and Exacerbates Inequality

        Pentagon contractors like Lockheed Martin exploit their political connections to maintain a system that generates huge corporate profits and executive pay at taxpayer expense.

      • Beware the 21st Century Robber Barons

        This great shift in bargaining power from workers to corporate shareholders has created an increasingly angry working class vulnerable to demagogues peddling authoritarianism, racism, and xenophobia.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • News Company’s ‘Digital Audience Director’ Fails To Understand Embedding, Issues Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices

        Here comes DMCA abuse to ruin everyone’s retweeting. T. Greg Doucette — who has been covering acts of violence by police officers in response to George Floyd protests — was recently hit with a bogus takedown notice on behalf of Seattle’s King 5 television station. Here’s the start of Doucette’s thread on the bogus takedown, during which he begs for the opportunity to “curbstomp” Tegna, Inc. in court for being so stupid as to consider an embedded video to be copyright infringement.

      • The Great American Lie

        The Financial Times recently reviewed a slew of business books whose titles speak volumes about denial in America.

      • Just How Far Can Trump Go in an Emergency?

        In the hours after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld started executing emergency policies that would have, if they had been fully implemented, ended American democracy. The policies were a special form of executive action, dating back to the Eisenhower administration, known as “presidential emergency action documents.” These were, in essence, secret presidential orders, made without congressional oversight, setting protocol for government response to nuclear attacks or a comparable crisis.

      • Why the US-China Rivalry Is Thwarting Transnational Solidarity

        At a peaceful protest in Hong Kong in January, Keisha Brown saw few other Black faces amid the chanting protesters, colorful banners, and national flags from across the world. Although Brown, a scholar focusing on Chinese history and Sino-Black relations, couldn’t understand many of the speeches or song lyrics, she was unexpectedly moved to tears.

      • To Keep Americans Safe, We Have to Get Billionaires Out of Politics

        Billionaires and the super rich have spent 40 years, since the beginning of the Reagan Revolution, telling us how wonderful America would be if only rich people ran the show. That’s called oligarchy, not democracy.

      • What Systemic Really Means

        US multinational companies often use philanthropy to cover up the misdeeds that made them rich. Since May they have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to African American organisations, including Black Lives Matter. This generosity to a movement fighting ‘systemic racism’ looks a lot like insurance; perhaps the directors of Amazon, Apple, Walmart, Nike, Adidas, Facebook and Twitter, who know the meaning of ‘systemic’ better than anyone, are worried that activists challenging structural inequality in the US will soon find other targets, closer to home, than police brutality.

      • Charles Booker Could Have Won

        For a week now, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what just happened in Kentucky, where progressive firebrand Charles Booker almost beat all the odds in the US Senate Democratic primary race. It’s not because I’m any stranger to electoral heartbreak. When I was 20, I moved from Brooklyn to a town I’d never heard of in Wisconsin to help a Democrat named Rob Zerban run a campaign to unseat Representative Paul Ryan, then the chair of the House Budget Committee. Years later, I moved to New Hampshire to work for the first Democratic socialist in modern history to mount a serious campaign for president. I’ve had my share of heartbreak.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Why Does Richard Blumenthal Always Feel The Need To Lie About Section 230?

        Richard Blumenthal has spent years trying to undermine Section 230 of the CDA. Unlike some Senators who have only just jumped onto the silly, counterproductive bandwagon, Blumenthal has been mad about 230 since long before he was even a Senator. Back in 2008, when he was Connecticut’s ambitious grandstanding Attorney General, he attacked Craigslist because people had found some ads for sex work on the site. Again, this was protected by Section 230, so Blumenthal just kept threatening Craigslist until it finally made a change: rather than allowing its adult ads to be placed for free (as it had in the past), it required payment with a credit card, which Craigslist (quite reasonably) said would likely discourage more sketchy ads, and would leave a paper trail for law enforcement for any illegal activity. Blumenthal initially celebrated this victory… before turning around and grandstanding again two years later… that Craigslist was now “profiting” off of sex work because it was charging for those ads (ignoring that it only did so because he pressured them, even though he knew he was limited by 230).

      • Hong Kong’s National Security Law Allows Police To Censor The Internet, Compel Decryption

        The national security law the Hong Kong government passed solely with the intent of shutting down protests and local dissent is amazingly bad. It criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and foreign interference. Violators of any of these purposely vaguely defined terms face potential life imprisonment.

      • Post No Evil: Content Moderation Decisions Are Always Trickier Than You Think

        Two years ago, we told anyone who wanted to understand the impossibility of content moderation to listen to an episode of the podcast/radio show Radiolab. Obviously, content moderation questions are back in the news again, and Radiolab recently re-released the episode with some updated content. Most of it is the same, but there’s some more at the end to relate it to the latest news with the various attacks on social media coming from the president, the DOJ, and Congress.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • The End of the American Newspaper

        Since the birth of the Word Wide Web in March 1989 (at 00:00PT/ 08:00 CET) and the rise of Facebook and the like, the preferred business model of newspaper has been in steep decline as advertising revenue shifted from print media towards the Internet with Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the largest winners. This meant that many newspapers are under severe financial stress while others have closed up shop all together. American readers are faced with a tremendous decline of printed newspapers. Perhaps the decline of local newspapers started even earlier than the arrival of Google, Facebook, YouTube, etc.

      • Journalist and Pussy Riot member Pyotr Verzilov arrested in Moscow

        Pyotr Verzilov, a Pussy Riot member and the publisher of the independent legal news website Mediazona, has been arrested in Moscow.

      • Journalists in cities across Russia protest Ivan Safronov’s arrest on treason charges

        Journalists in cities across Russia have begun holding single-person demonstrations outside of regional Federal Security Service (FSB) offices, in support of Ivan Safronov — a former Kommersant and Vedomosti defense correspondent, and Roscosmos communications advisor, who was arrested on treason charges on July 7. The investigation accused Safronov of passing classified information to Czech intelligence about Russia’s military cooperation with Middle Eastern and African countries. According to his defense attorneys, however, the FSB hasn’t presented any evidence of his involvement in the crime. Safronov himself denies any guilt. Solo pickets in support of Safronov began in Moscow and St. Petersburg on the day of his arrest: Moscow police arrested at least 28 people for protesting, but in St. Petersburg no one was detained.

      • Tuesday’s shitshow: Morning, noon, and night, here’s how Russian journalist Ivan Safronov’s arrest and treason hearing unfolded on day one

        On July 7, federal agents arrested “Roscosmos” communications adviser and former Kommersant and Vedomosti correspondent Ivan Safronov on suspicion of high treason. The authorities also searched his home and office, as well as the apartment of his ex-girlfriend, Holod Media editor-in-chief Taisiya Bekbulatova (a former Meduza correspondent). Outside the Federal Security Service’s headquarters in Lubyanka Square, during Safronov’s arraignment hearing, dozens of journalists picketed, each taking turns holding up signs in his defense, and police officers arrested them, one by one, for an unlawful assembly. Here’s a detailed rundown of everything Meduza’s correspondents witnessed on day one of the Safronov affair.

      • Ivan Safronov’s defense lawyers appeal his two-month arrest

        Defense attorneys for former investigative journalist and Roscosmos communications advisor Ivan Safronov have appealed his two-month arrest, his lawyer Ivan Pavlov, the head of the human rights organization “Team 29,” told Interfax. 

      • Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Affirms Native American Rights in Oklahoma
    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘Enough Is Enough’: 44 Groups Slam House Democrats for Including Hyde Amendment in Spending Bill

        “It is long past time for our elected officials to put an end to abortion coverage bans once and for all, so no one is denied abortion care because of how much money they make or how they get their health insurance.”

      • Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme

        When President Clinton dropped 23,000 bombs on what was left of Yugoslavia in 1999 and NATO invaded and occupied the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, U.S. officials presented the war to the American public as a “humanitarian intervention” to protect Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanian population from genocide at the hands of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic. That narrative has been unraveling piece by piece ever since.

      • Pence Aide Katie Miller Admits She Was Unaffected by Seeing Family Separations

        Katie Miller, an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, says she was sent to the border to see family separations in a bid to make her “more compassionate” — but “it didn’t work,” according to a new book.

      • Abolish Policing, Not Just the Police

        WALLACE SHAWN: So, the following program is brought to you by Haymarket Books.

      • It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn

        Since Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in a jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, 2019, many wondered what happened to Ghislaine Maxwell. “I’ve heard she’s in Brazil, I’ve heard she’s in France, I’ve heard she’s in California,” Lisa Bryant, director of the Netflix docuseries Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, “Who knows where she is, really?” Some wondered if she would suffer the same fates as Epstein and her father, Robert Maxwell – death.

      • Why Has Society Failed to Integrate Grief Into Public Life?

        In 2017 the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx in New York City hired Rachel Kauder Nalebuff to investigate resilience among nursing home staffers. Why, it wondered, do some people have the fortitude to work alongside death and dying for decades, while most people burn out? Kauder Nalebuff is trained not as a social worker or an anthropologist but as a playwright; her report was to take the form of a play. In interviews, staffers of every rank and function described their work to her, its challenges, and its rewards. A housekeeper named Rosa ran errands for residents with her own money and on her own time. Keresha, a cashier in the cafeteria, insisted, “You cannot have a job like this and think it’s just a job.” Compassion and patience emerged as clear through lines, linking all care workers who were able to endure and find meaning in their profession. But so too did a deep and daily grief, which staffers had little time or support for metabolizing. Residents die every day, and there’s always more work to be done. “We’re losing money with an empty bed,” an anonymous employee noted bluntly. In the resulting play, A Knock at the Door, the staffers performed monologues drawn from these interviews, creating space for mourning out of the material of their lives.

      • Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People

        To praise a tyrant is to insult a people. López Obrador’s proposed visit to Washington is an insult to the American people, and especially to the 37 million Mexican migrants who live in the United States.

      • US Government Plays Games With Reality Winner’s Life As Coronavirus Outbreak Is Confirmed At Carswell

        As a coronavirus outbreak at Federal Medical Center Carswell spreads, the United States government maintains National Security Agency whistleblower Reality Winner did not show her confinement placed her “at a risk substantial to justify early release.” Prosecutors additionally insist Winner confused a request for a reduction in her prison sentence with a request for home confinement and never started the “administrative procedure” that must be completed before going to a district court for relief.But Winner’s attorney Joe Whitley calls this a “nonsensical theory” that her “request was not a request under the compassionate release statute.” The district court did not “embrace” this position, although it denied her appeal. “The entire colloquy is emblematic of the government position regarding Reality’s compassionate release request and its scattershot approach to the COVID-19 pandemic at large,” Whitley declares. “In short, because [the Bureau of Prisons] was not prepared for this type of pandemic, a prisoner’s last and only resort is the district court.” Billie Winner-Davis, her mother, told Shadowproof that her daughter feels she is “suffering through this hell in a black hole where nobody seems to know or care what’s happening to them.”

        She believes denying her release was wrong and “could have saved her” from the suffering she currently must endure.

      • Beyond Prisons: Historian David Stein Reflects On Ascent Of Abolition

        Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein are joined by historian and abolitionist David Stein for an episode of the Beyond Prisons podcast.

        David penned an excellent article in 2017 with Dan Berger and Mariame Kaba entitled, “What Abolitionists Do.” He reflects on this article in this moment of greater awareness of abolition and shares his thoughts and experiences from spending time in abolitionist spaces.

      • ‘It doesn’t need to be called public outcry’ The Kremlin’s spokesman responds to the controversial Safronov case

        On the morning of July 7, federal agents in Moscow arrested Ivan Safronov on treason charges. He was arraigned in court later that day and sentenced to two months in jail. Safronov had recently started working as a communications advisor to the head of Russia’s space corporation “Roscosmos,” after nearly ten years of reporting on the Russian military-industrial complex for top business newspapers like Kommersant and Vedomosti. According to the investigation, Safronov passed classified information about Russia’s military to Czech intelligence. His lawyers, on the other hand, are appealing his imprisonment, maintaining that Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) hasn’t presented any evidence of his involvement in the crime. Safronov maintains that he’s not guilty. Here’s how Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov responded to reporters’ questions about Safronov’s case the day after his arrest.

      • Russian authorities reportedly have expert testimony corroborating treason charges against journalist Ivan Safronov

        The treason case against former investigative journalist Ivan Safronov reportedly includes at least two expert testimonies, corroborating allegations that he transmitted classified information to foreign intelligence agents, Open Media reports. 

      • ‘Be ready for anything’ Lawyer and human rights defender Ivan Pavlov on treason cases in Russia

        In Moscow on July 7, federal agents arrested Ivan Safronov — a former investigative journalist for the respected Russian business newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti, who recently took a job as a communications advisor to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos.” Safronov was accused of high treason for allegedly collaborating with Czech intelligence. To find out more about treason cases in Russia and the ways Safronov’s case could develop, Meduza spoke to Ivan Pavlov, the lawyer at the head of the human rights organization “Team 29,” which specializes in these types of cases. Ivanov was also part of the team of five lawyers who represented Safronov during his arraignment on July 7 (he was sentenced to two months in jail).

      • EFF To Supreme Court: Violating Terms of Service Isn’t a Crime Under the CFAA

        Washington, D.C.—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and leading cybersecurity experts today urged the Supreme Court to rein in the scope of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)—and protect the security research we all rely on to keep us safe—by holding that accessing computers in ways that violate terms of service (TOS) does not violate the law.The Supreme Court will for the first time consider if the CFAA—which outlaws accessing computers “without authorization” or “exceeding authorized access”—also criminalizes access that violates the TOS companies impose to control the use of their websites, apps, and computer systems.Overbroad interpretations of whether someone exceeds authorized access to a computer under the draconian CFAA have turned on compliance with TOS, meaning private companies across the country get to decide who prosecutors can go after for alleged computer crimes. The Supreme Court’s decision will have far-reaching implications for many people, but especially security researchers, whose work discovering security vulnerabilities is vital to the public interest but often requires accessing computers in ways that contravene TOS.“To give a timely example, security researchers have faced legal threats from companies waving the CFAA at them after reporting flaws in voting technologies,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Andrew Crocker.

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘All Tomorrow Carry’ By Special Interest

        The New Orleans punk band released their sophomore album “The Passion Of,” which the group describes as “a precise and deranged vision of punk, an apocalyptic celebration, a step forward into a perverse and uncertain landscape.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • House Passes Massive Broadband Bill That Surprisingly Doesn’t Suck

        The majority of broadband bills that wind their way through Congress don’t actually address the most pressing problem in US telecom: a lack of meaningful broadband competition. Often the bills focus almost exclusively on heavy subsidization of incumbent telecom monopolies, an approach that requires a level of diligence the U.S. has historically not been capable of. The Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, which passed the House last week, certainly includes its fair share of subsidization, including $80 billion in fiscal year 2021 to help deploy fiber broadband networks to the underserved parts of the country.

    • Monopolies

      • CJEU completely abolishes SPCs for new therapeutic applications in Santen judgment (C-673/18)

        The question whether SPCs should be available for new therapeutic applications of previously approved active ingredients has been a matter of debate ever since the SPC Regulation for Medicinal Products came into force in the European Union more than a quarter-century ago. While a literal reading of the SPC Regulation would clearly seem to exclude any such possibility, as Article 3(d) requires that the marketing authorization relied upon for an SPC must be the “first” marketing authorization for the corresponding product and Article 1(b) defines the term “product” as simply the active ingredient or combination of active ingredients of a medicinal product, the interpretation of these provisions has been put under scrutiny in a number of referrals to the Court of Justice of the EU.

        While the CJEU had initially endorsed a restrictive approach in Pharmacia Italia (C-31/03), MIT (C-431/04) and Yissum (C-202/05), it surprisingly made a complete U-turn in the Neurim judgment (C-130/11) rendered in 2012. In this decision, the Court found that, in the case at hand, the grant of an SPC was not precluded by the existence of an earlier marketing authorization for the same active ingredient.

        Yet, the precise conditions and the scope of applicability of the Neurim approach have given rise to considerable controversy and divergent approaches in different EU member states. A referral to the CJEU aimed at clarifying these conditions was made by the Paris Court of Appeal in 2018 (as previously reported on this blog) and left practitioners in eager anticipation of the CJEU’s forthcoming judgment. The fact that this judgment has now been rendered by the CJEU as a Grand Chamber of 13 judges testifies to the significance of the issues at stake.

        [...]

        While there is no further discussion of Neurim in the Santen judgment, it appears safe to assume that Neurim has been overturned in its entirety.

        With today’s judgment in Santen, the CJEU has certainly succeeded in reducing the infamous complexity of the European SPC system, albeit at the price of significantly curtailing the incentives for pharmaceutical research and development. This adds to the CJEU’s recent and equally restrictive decisions in Abraxis (C-443/17) (discussed here) and Boston Scientific (C-527/17) (discussed here). One might take this opportunity to reflect upon Lord Justice Jacob’s emphatic admonition in his judgment [2011] EWCA Civ 228 that led to the Neurim referral:

        “In short, if Neurim are wrong, then the [SPC] Regulation will not have achieved its key objects for large areas of pharmaceutical research: it will not be fit for purpose.”

        Lastly, after the CJEU’s decision in Santen, it would appear that the pending referral in Novartis (C-354/19) has become obsolete, which was meant to address the question of whether the grant of a second SPC for a different therapeutic application is precluded if the second SPC is filed by the same rights holder who has already been granted a first SPC for the same active ingredient. For now, it seems, the long-lasting controversy over the availability of SPCs for second medical uses has finally been put to rest.

      • Patents

        • Software Patents

          • The Light That You Shine can be Seen: Federal Circuit on Seal

            This is a case about open courts and the public nature of our civil justice system. During litigation, Uniloc designated some amount of material as “highly confidential” as defined by a protective order entered by N.D. Cal. Judge Alsup. Apple then referenced the material in a motion to dismiss as did Uniloc in its brief-in-opposition. The parties filed motions to seal the material with the district court–with Uniloc indicating that the documents “contain sensitive, confidential and proprietary information related to financial data, licensing terms and business plans with respect to various Uniloc entities … disclosure of this extremely sensitive information would create a substantial risk of serious harm to the Uniloc entities.”

            EFF then intervened into the case requesting the documents be unsealed (after first asking the parties to un-seal). The sealed information related to Uniloc’s ownership of its patents. Because Uniloc was in the process of threatening and suing a dozens of of entities, that information was especially of-interest to the public.

            [...]

            On the merits the Federal Circuit affirmed the original no-seal order but then vacated to consider interests of third-party licensees who had been promised confidentiality. In its decision, the court contrasted a prior decision in Apple v. Samsung.

          • Novel, Technological, and an Abstract Idea

            The examiner actually allowed the claims back in 2014 with a notice of allowance just before the Supreme Court’s decision in Alice. The applicant paid the issue fee, but the PTO withdrew the application from issue. The examiner then issued a new rejection — finding the claims ineligible as directed to an abstract idea under Alice. That decision was affirmed by the PTAB and by the Federal Circuit (R.36 judgment without opinion). This setup leads folks to fight hard — they were given real hope via notice of allowance and that was pulled-out from under them.

            [...]

            The petition particularly point to its claims that require debiting with a e-readable device (credit card) and communication with a financial network. The petitioner argues that a benefit of the solution here is that it works with existing credit card networks and thus does not need an expensive merchant retrofit. “[T]he ability to use a conventional card reader and an existing credit card network are advantages of this technical solution, as the use of conventional electronic hardware and card networks that are already in use at most point of sale registers allows for use of this solution by retailers without purchasing or installing any new hardware.”

      • Copyrights

        • Estate Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Alleges Copyright Infringement Over Sherlock’s Emotional Awakening

          Let us do a little decuctive reasoning, shall we? Copyright law has a term length. While that term length has been extended to the point of near-bastardization, that copyright exists on a term at all leads any investigator to conclude that the makers of that law intended for copyright protections on a given work to come to an end. If distinct characters and settings are offered copyright protections, as they are, then it reasons that those, too, were intended to have those protections end after a prescribed period of time. And if Sherlock Holmes is a literary character, an assertion that cannot be doubted, then it stands to reason that the law as written intended for the copyright protections covering his character were also to end after a period of time.

[Humour] COVID-19 is Very, Very Afraid of Human Beings Making More Monopolies Instead of Fighting Together

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Picard Riker listening to a pun: We help fight the virus by granting fake patent monopolies

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) to the rescue! Fighting a dangerous pandemic one profitable monopoly at a time!

  1. EPO launches new platform to help researchers in the fight against coronavirus

    The European Patent Office (EPO) has published a new, expanding “Fighting coronavirus” platform designed to help researchers and decision-makers benefit from patent information in their fight against the new coronavirus.

  2. Sufficiency of a Range: UK Supreme Court

    This important patent decision comes from the UK Supreme with a holding that Regeneron’s patents are invalid for insufficiency of the disclosure.

The News is Never ‘Slow’, It’s Just Journalism That’s Slowing Down (and Investigative Journalism Coming Under Attack)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wikipedia formally censors The Grayzone as regime-change advocates monopolize editing

Meet Wikipedia’s Ayn Rand-loving founder and Wikimedia Foundation’s regime-change operative CEO

Summary: A mix of censorship and subtle mind control contribute to misinformed societies that shape their perception or misunderstanding of the world based on false measures of authority (where money can determine what is true and what is untrue); many topics remain completely untouched, leading to apathy in a vacuum; it’s very much applicable to international organisations, which are presumed benign by virtue of being multi-national or supranational

Investigative journalism is very expensive in terms of time. People who take months if not years to study a topic, unless someone compensates them for the trouble (and then controls them in a sense), really understand what they write about. One area we’re good at covering is the European Patent Office (EPO) because we already wrote thousands of articles on the topic, we have reliable sources, and we have deep understanding of internal affairs and the names of all the important managers (well beyond António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli). This is why we’re able to produce so much material about the EPO and all of it is accurate, as far as we’re aware. Before covering EPO scandals I wrote about software patents in Europe — a subject that perhaps caused our initial sources to come forward to us. Basically, people with concerns if not grievances decided that Techrights would be a suitable platform to expose EPO corruption. And here we are 6 years later and more than 3,000 articles/posts later. It will be 4,000 very soon.

“Basically, people with concerns if not grievances decided that Techrights would be a suitable platform to expose EPO corruption. And here we are 6 years later and more than 3,000 articles/posts later.”At times we also mentioned WIPO corruption, which is similar in a sense. SUEPO alludes to it every now and then and we wrote a number of stories about it, typically citing the better informed (with reliable sources). But we at Techrights don’t have a good understanding of WIPO affairs; we also don’t know many of the key players there. We know ILO and the USPTO a lot better than we know WIPO. In a sense, WIPO isn’t just insincere and full of corruption; it’s also exceptionally secretive.

“Remember that Techrights is still the only site (as far as we know) that Campinos is banning, expanding the ban to every employee of the EPO.”Last night someone in our primary IRC channel wrote, “I saw an article about WIPO which was issued in 2017 about Francis Gurry [...] I have evidence about Gurry and his administration covering up sexual harassment and assault at WIPO and about brutal retaliation against the victim…”

This is similar to some patterns we saw at the EPO, including the attack on Judge Corcoran. “I also have evidence of WIPO member states being well informed about the case and ignored the request to investigate WIPO administration,” the person continued. Sounds like the Administrative Council of the EPO.

We’re currently assessing what can be published — if anything — based on the above, as “the evidence is available in writing,” we’re told. But the problem is, as usual, that all the major publishers are totally ignoring it. To make matters worse, they banished the few people who wrote about this. Sounds familiar? Remember that Techrights is still the only site (as far as we know) that Campinos is banning, expanding the ban to every employee of the EPO. What is he so afraid of? Our language is family-friendly and we defame nobody.

“There’s no scarcity of news, only scarcity of time.”Journalism is in a really bad state; but that does not imply that there’s nothing to report. The way we see it, the most plausible explanation is that people in positions of power (who cynically abuse that power) prefer for media to just write puff pieces. The last thing they want is investigative journalism that actually reveals something new or refutes the puff pieces. How many years did we spend writing about the misbehaviour of the Gates Foundation before the media sort of ‘caught on’ (rather than caught money from the Foundation, in exchange for bias)?

2020, irrespective of the pandemic, will hopefully be a renaissance year for us. Although it is difficult, we still try to produce about 10 posts per day (we managed to exceed that last month). We focus on quality and accuracy, not clicks or “engagement” (or “impact” — terms of the PR industry; investigative journalists have different aims). People with information about corruption/abuses and cover-up of wrongdoing can, as always, contact us securely. We’re eager to open investigations in new and unexplored directions, including WIPO. There’s no scarcity of news, only scarcity of time.

Social Control Media is About Social Control and If It Doesn’t Ban You It’ll Shut Down Everyone’s Account (One Day)

Posted in Deception at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Everybody’s account will eventually be terminated; those who get banned are just ‘ahead of the curve’

Sir... ....We're shutting down the network... It's no longer profitable... But.... But all my 'friends' and 'followers'

Summary: It’s time to leave the ‘Internet rot’ which is social control media well behind us; blogging and RSS/XML may seem like a thing of the past, but they may as well become the future (again; if we make the correct and informed choices)

THE GAFAM ‘cabal’, companies like Facebook and Google, can censor a lot of news or bias the whole lot for Apple, for Microsoft, even for Amazon (which is buying puff pieces and whole newspapers). Google News is not news but a small slice of the news that’s available out there and Twitter no longer pretends to be neutral; the timelines are strictly moderated ‘by algorithms’, they’re not chronological. It’s impossible to display search results chronologically for instance; this means that Twitter gets to control what people see and do not see (they also de-platform certain voices). This enables control of narrative, often for Western imperial-corporate agenda; anything outside some convention or norm is laughed out and dismissed as irrational, as TechDirt recently proved when it spoke about Google dropping it over ‘standards’ (never mind if each and every page in TechDirt contains Google spyware, Google Analytics, and the site’s tone has long been positive regarding Google).

“Well, social control media is a passing/dying fad; it won’t last forever and many more people will lose everything they wrote (as happened with Google+, which was a cautionary tale).”Once we lose control over information we lose control/sense of reality. Once we lose control over information channels (medium/media) we lose the ability to even find information. We’re being spoon-fed some people’s agenda and this is exactly what they want; sometimes they even pay for it, as they can afford to buy ads in Facebook or whatever (see how much money Michael Bloomberg sank into GAFAM when he had a presidential bid going; he also has his own news sites). The concept of “timeline” is space for hire/sale.

Society cannot be properly judged and cannot maintain democratic structures if information is dominated by oligarchic structures; we’re at least gratified to see some change, such as people who decide to quit Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook. I saw several such examples this week. Well, social control media is a passing/dying fad; it won't last forever and many more people will lose everything they wrote (as happened with Google+, which was a cautionary tale).

We’ve just noticed that Red Hat’s Adam Miller, who has a Red Hat tattoo on his wrist (but now works for IBM, the company that help tattoo wrists with ‘barcodes’ 80 years ago), is “Getting Back Into Blogging”; we need more of this:

Something I’ve always told myself is that I’d start blogging again, about tech or just kind of whatever seemed interesting to me at the time. I’m now making a commitment to myself that I will blog once a week. Not every blog post will be the most amazing thing anyone has ever read and it’s reasonable to think that a lot of people will simple ignore a lot of what I say and I’m alright with that. If you’re here, welcome! If not … you don’t even know this, but that’s also cool.

A lot of sites no longer advertise their RSS feeds (even those that already have them set up). Yesterday I saw a good site of an investigative journalist who has not updated his RSS feed in 12 years! What a shame. What a loss. He’s relying on Twitter instead.

To control our future we need to control the conversation; let’s get back to blogging and RSS feeds. Let’s say goodbye to centralised communication platforms that censor us and ‘data-mine’ our conversations.

Microsoft’s Fingers in Every Pie: The Cult Mentality That Society Needs to Become Wary of

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pie

Summary: Microsoft and its co-founder (pretending to do his for-profit ‘charity’ via the Gates Foundation) are trying to control the world; in the process they’ve moved to control even their most potent competitor, according to Gates himself, which is GNU/Linux

“Behind a veil of corporate media PR, the Gates Foundation has served as a vehicle for Western capital while exploiting the Global South as a human laboratory. The pandemic is likely to intensify this disturbing agenda,” yesterday’s article said, under the headline “Why the Bill Gates global health empire promises more empire and less public health” (privatisation and predatory practices some have aptly dubbed “philanthropic racism”).

“Bad news, it has often been said, spreads faster and more widely than good news (or fluff).”It’s good to see that the Gates Foundation‘s “jig” is up (over); people are coming to realise what it’s up to and how it spent a fortune corrupting the media for puff pieces (lulling people if not getting them to play along).

Bad news, it has often been said, spreads faster and more widely than good news (or fluff). The Gates Foundation is rapidly losing control of the narrative and no amount of media bribery can stop that; it can only discredit those willing to play along.

More people now understand that the ‘new’ Microsoft is still a bribery machine. Bribery is their currency and modus operandi. As recently as yesterday we have this example wherein “University College Dublin has announced a Microsoft Newman Fellowship” (way for a company of criminals to pass bribes and corrupt academia like the EPO does).

“This is a Red Hat project, but now it’s coded by Microsoft as well; at least twice yesterday Red Hat was promoting Microsoft proprietary software (Visual Studio and SQL Server).”It is meanwhile being reported that Microsoft is again engaging in censorship of Free software (>GitHub Removes ‘Chimera13′ iOS Jailbreak After DMCA Notice from ‘Unc0ver’). To quote: “Jailbreaking tools are generally protected from copyright infringement claims through a DMCA exemption. This week, however, GitHub removed the Chimera13 jailbreak code. The takedown notice, which is disputed, doesn’t come from Apple though, but was sent by the rival jailbreak solution Unc0ver.”

We know that Microsoft controls systemd in GitHub already (but not the Linux kernel, at least not yet) and hours ago Michael Larabel wrote that “Microsoft Addition For systemd 246 Exposes Host OS Information To Containers” (guess whose agenda will be served by Microsoft’s “contributions”). To quote:

There is a last minute change from a Microsoft engineer to the upcoming systemd 246 that is now undergoing release preparations.

This change is allowing containers to access details about the host OS being run. In particular, the focus is on exposing the os-release details to container-like runtimes.

This is a Red Hat project, but now it’s coded by Microsoft as well; at least twice yesterday Red Hat was promoting Microsoft proprietary software (Visual Studio and SQL Server). Microsoft is pushing the same proprietary stuff into Planet Python this morning. Over at SUSE, which is still down to its knees for Microsoft, it’s no better than Canonical. The ‘open’ SUSE project is helping Microsoft’s attack on GNU/Linux. WSL is an attack, yet the official openSUSE blog has just published “openSUSE Leap ’15.2′ is Available for Windows Subsystem for Linux” (Microsoft seems to have infiltrated every major distribution by now).

“What the corporate media says may get a lot of readers; but that does not imply merit or accuracy. It’s all about money, connections, and power.”The media played along in Microsoft’s takeover, at times even censoring the views of people like us. They tell us that Gates or Microsoft are wonderful ‘charities’ or something to that effect. But they’re just cults looking to control everything they can.

One can hope that in defiance of all this nonsense there will still be enough of us out there who are not bribed by Gates and Microsoft (to do their biddings, spreading their lies). One can hope that the debate will change. What the corporate media says may get a lot of readers; but that does not imply merit or accuracy. It’s all about money, connections, and power. They even manage to blacklist publications which expose their abuses/wrongdoing.

Links 9/7/2020: Google’s Open Usage Commons, GNOME 3.36.4, Neptune 6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 3:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Destination Linux 181: BTRFS vs ZFS in 1st Ever DL Battledome! + Interview with Hosts of Sudo Show

        Coming up on this week’s episode of Destination Linux, we’re going to hold the first ever battle in the DL Battledome! This inaugural event will see BTRFS face off against one and only ZFS! Who will become the champion of the OCTAGON! Then we’ll answer some questions about systemd in the Community Feedback. This week we’re joined by Eric the IT Guy & Brandon Johnson, the hosts of the newest podcast on the Destination Linux Network, the Sudo Show! We’ve got some Linux News in the mix and then we’ll round out the show with our famous Picks of the Week with the Software Spotlight and our Tip of the Week. All that and so much more on this week’s episode of Destination Linux.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 865

        new goodies, microcenter, streaming shows and packages, anime, camping

      • FLOSS Weekly 586: Digital Identity

        Use of verifiable credentials and decentralized identifiers.

        Explaining Self-sovereign identity and the use of verifiable credentials and decentralized identifiers, Kaliya Young, also known as “Identity Women,” joins the show hosted by Doc Searls and Jonathan Bennet. They dive deep into what identity means and the future of identity. Kaliya is a vital part of the Internet Identity Workshop. This workshop brings talent together to design and build an identity system that empowers individuals. They also discuss the critical difference between open source and open standards and the implementations of what that means for identity.

      • 2020-07-08 | Linux Headlines

        Mozilla suspends its Firefox Send service due to misuse by hacking groups, SUSE is acquiring Rancher Labs, Google launches the Open Usage Commons, and the Flutter framework arrives on Linux.

      • What’s The Best “Linux”? It’s GNU/Linux!

        One of the most often asked questions is what is the best “Linux?” Well, the answer to this question is obvious. But first, I’d just like to interject for a moment…

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel Raising Compiler Build Requirement To GCC 4.9

        Linus Torvalds has decided to up the compiler build requirement for the Linux kernel to GCC 4.9.

        Recently the compiler requirement was upped to GCC 4.8 while as a late change for Linux 5.8 is now bumping the base compiler version supported to GCC 4.9.

        Torvalds updated the requirement on the basis of the Linux kernel currently having to workaround multiple pre-4.9 GCC bugs and other headaches. Shifting the requirement to GCC 4.9 will allow kernel developers to make better assumptions and clean-up a lot of code moving forward.

      • Graphics Stack

        • CUDA, woulda … did: Nvidia makes CUDA 11 generally available, mostly pushing its next-gen architecture

          Developers who were excited by Nvidia’s May announcement of an upcoming CUDA release can finally hop over to the company’s dev portal to download version 11 of the parallel computing platform and programming model for GPUs.

          The number of those actually able to make the most of CUDA 11 seems to be comparatively small, given that its most notable features can be subsumed under support for the newest generation of Nvidia GPUs. The A100 is one example, built with the new Ampere architecture that should now work well with CUDA. It was developed to help compute some of the more complex tasks that can be found in the realms of AI, data analytics, and high-performance computing and is also central to the company’s data centre platform.

        • NVIDIA CUDA 11.0 Released With Ampere Support, New Programming Features

          NVIDIA appears to have quietly promoted CUDA 11.0 to its stable channel.

          CUDA 11.0 was announced back in May at the virtual GTC and release candidates subsequently available. On Tuesday though a reader tipped us off that the official CUDA 11.0 binaries are indeed now available. CUDA 11.0 downloads for Linux and Windows are available as always from developer.nvidia.com.

        • Panfrost Gallium3D Driver Adds Midgard Multi-Sampling Support

          The Panfrost Gallium3D driver providing open-source OpenGL support for Arm Mali graphics hardware now has working multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA) for Arm Midgard hardware.

          Alyssa Rosenzweig has merged her work on supporting multi-sampling with Midgard using this reverse-engineered Gallium3D driver. This gets the driver close to the multi-sampling requirements mandated by the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Status Update

          I’ve been blogging pretty in-depth about Zink and related code for a while, so let’s do a quick roundup with some future blog post spoilers.

    • Applications

      • KeePassXC 2.6 Open-Source Password Manager Released with Exciting New Features

        More than a year in the works, KeePassXC 2.6 is finally here with lots of goodies for those who like to keep their passwords in a safe place. The first thing you’ll notice when installing the new version is the totally revamped user interface.

        KeePassXC’s user interface now supports both light and dark themes, monochrome tray icons, a compact mode, and a new View Menu that lets you more easily switch between themes, compact mode, as well as to toggle various UI elements.

        Linux users also get browser-like tab experience using the Ctrl+[Num] or Alt+[Num] keyboard shortcuts. Also, the built-in browser now lets Linux users define a custom browser location.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Black Ice: Early Access Impressions

        Enter a futuristic, TRON-like environment, where your goal is to try and save your friend’s daughter from…something. From getting hacked, perhaps? Who knows. Per the press sheet, Black Ice is inspired by cyberpunk novels from the 80s and 90s, including Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson and Neuromancer by William Gibson. It’s a game developed by Garrett Cooper and Eric Ford. Their company name is Super Duper Game Company and is based in Austin, Texas.

      • Like sumo wrestling with explosions, BOMBFEST is pretty amusing

        BOMBFEST, an explosive party game that released last year seems to have been missed by most and it’s seen very few user reviews which is a shame due to how fun it actually is. Note: key provided by the developer.

        The developer says it’s like ‘sumo wrestling with explosives’ and that’s hilariously accurate. Four players run around a small map, while throwing around blocks and bombs to attempt to knock the other players off. Simple, highly accessible as it only needs a few buttons and it’s also hilarious. A sweet style too, with everything made to look like children’s toys as you battle across wooden forts, on folding chairs, and inside the kitchen sink.

      • Albion Online’s upcoming Corrupted Dungeons sound fun

        With the next massive update ‘Rise of Avalon’ coming to Albion Online in August, Sandbox Int have started giving out more in-depth details about the new features coming to this MMO.

        Some big new features are arriving and one of these are the Corrupted Dungeons, finally giving solo players something truly interesting to play with as Albion has somewhat lacked dedicated content aimed at solo players. I’m genuinely excited about them too! As you explore the world, you will come across entrances that appear like regular dungeons but they look ‘a good deal more sinister’ with plenty of demons and corrupted creatures inside.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GNOME 3.36.4 released

          Hello,

          GNOME 3.36.4 is now available. This is a stable bugfix release for
          3.36. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.36 are advised to upgrade.The
          GNOME 3.36 flatpak runtimes have been updated as well.

          If you want to compile GNOME 3.36.3, you can use the official
          BuildStream project snapshot:

          https://download.gnome.org/teams/releng/3.36.4/gnome-3.36.4.tar.xz

          The list of updated modules and changes is available here

          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.36/3.36.4/NEWS

          The source packages are available here

          https://download.gnome.org/core/3.36/3.36.4/sources/

          Regards,

          Abderrahim Kitouni
          GNOME Release Team

        • GNOME 3.36.4 Released With Faster Mutter Fix Back-Ported

          A day after the GNOME 3.37.4 development release, out today is GNOME 3.36.4 as the latest stable point release for the current desktop series.

          GNOME 3.36.4 predominantly brings just a bunch of bug fixes and translation updates as used to seeing out of these point releases. But making GNOME 3.36.4 a bit more noteworthy is back-porting of the Mutter fix for addressing its previously broken windows culling that still led to fully obscured windows being rendered and thus wasting resources

        • Setting environment variables for gnome-session

          In the old days, you configured your desktop session on a Linux system by editing the .xsession file in your home directory. The display manager (login screen) would invoke the system-wide xsession script, which would either defer to your personal .xsession script or set up a standard desktop environment. You could put whatever you want in the .xsession script, and it would be executed. If you wanted a specific window manager, you’d run it from .xsession. Start emacs or a browser or an xterm or two? .xsession. It was pretty easy, and super flexible.

          For the past 25 years or so, I’ve used X with an environment started via .xsession. Early on it was fvwm with some programs, then I replaced fvwm with Window Maker (before that was even its name!), then switched to KDE. More recently (OK, like 10 years ago) I gradually replaced KDE with awesome and various custom widgets. Pretty much everything was based on a .xsession script, and that was fine. One particularly nice thing about it was that I could keep .xsession and any related helper programs in a git repository and manage changes over time.

          More recently I decided to give Wayland and GNOME an honest look. This has mostly been fine, but everything I’ve been doing in .xsession is suddenly useless. OK, fine, progress is good. I’ll just use whatever new mechanisms exist. How hard can it be?

        • The Surrealist Clock of JavaScript

          I’m aware that this blog is mostly read by the GNOME community. That’s why in this blog post I want to talk especially about how a large piece of desktop software like GNOME is affected by JavaScript Date being so terrible.

          Of course most improvements to the JavaScript language are driven by the needs of the web.1 But a few months ago this merge request caught my eye, fixing a bug that made the date displayed in GNOME wrong by a full 1,900 years! The difference between Date.getYear() not doing what you expect (and Date.getFullYear() doing it instead) is one of the really awful parts of JavaScript Date. In this case if there had been a better API without evil traps, the mistake might not have been made in the first place, and it wouldn’t have come down to a last-minute code freeze break.

          In the group working on the Temporal proposal we are seeking feedback from people who are willing to try out the Temporal API, so that we can find out if there are any parts that don’t meet people’s needs and change them before we try to move the proposal to Stage 3 of the TC39 process. Since I think GNOME Shell and GNOME Weather, and possibly other apps, might benefit from using this API when it becomes part of JavaScript in the future, I’d be interested in finding out what we in the GNOME community need from the Temporal API.

          It seems to me the best way to do this would be to make a port of GNOME Shell and/or GNOME Weather to the experimental Temporal API, and see what issues come up. Unfortunately, it would defeat the purpose for me to do this myself, since I am already overly familiar with Temporal and by now its shortcomings are squarely in my blind spot! So instead I’ll offer my help and guidance to anyone who wants to try this out. Please get in touch with me if you are interested.

        • GNOME Shell + Mutter 3.37.3 Are Out Roaring With Better Performance

          Released on Tuesday was GNOME 3.37.3 but missing the mark in time for that proper milestone were the all important GNOME Shell and Mutter components. But a few hours past the mark, they were released and come with some big changes.

          GNOME Shell and particularly Mutter bring some big performance improvements for their v3.37.3 releases plus other improvements. This work makes the forthcoming GNOME 3.38 all the more exciting. GNOME Shell 3.37.3 brings many improvements for GNOME 3.38 including:

          - Support for caching labels on the GPU that in some cases can almost double the performance.

        • 4 Useful Extensions to Make GNOME Desktop Easier to Use

          If you’ve ever used the GNOME Shell on your Linux system, you’ve probably noticed that there are some ways it works that don’t make sense right away. The workspaces are arranged vertically, and there’s no dock, panel, or desktop icons to get to your applications easily. That’s where GNOME Shell Extensions come into play. Let’s check out some Gnome extensions that make the desktop easier to use.

          [...]

          This, along with the default four-finger gesture in Wayland, makes me feel like I’m using a system that is designed for the modern user on a laptop or a user with a trackpad attached to their desktop. It would be a great way to make use of an Apple Magic Trackpad on Linux, as it would allow you to work with one of the best trackpads in the world and use it for more than just clicking and scrolling.

          Now that you’ve taken your Linux laptop to the next level with GNOME Shell Extensions, make sure you learn how to get notified of updates for your extensions, check out some of the best laptops for Linux, and fix your touchpad that is not working in Linux.

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

          Jeff Fortin Tam announced today the revival and general availability of a new version of the Getting Things GNOME free and open-source to-do list and personal tasks application.

          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

      • Reviews

        • Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Xfce – Not quite there

          Unsurprisingly, Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Xfce falls into that mid-range good category of distros. Some nice things, some average things, some bad things. The problem is, the differentiating factors by which the Linux desktop could once sway hearts and create hope – especially for wavering Windowsers – are long long gone. So having a decent desktop that checks some boxes simply isn’t enough. Mint 20 Xfce is fast and does most of the basics reasonably well.

          But then, the ergonomics are off, the printing thing is weird, the software selection can be better, there are quite a few rough spots, and at the end of the day, there are few super-awesome features that would distinguish this system over dozens of other Linux distros. But as long as there’s no ultra-rigorous QA across the entire ecosystem, as long as even simple things like the boot sequence or fonts cannot be taken for granted, the Linux desktop will not be the “killer” replacement for Windows. Anyway, on its own Ulyana Xfce get 6/10, and now, it’s time to see what the Cinnamon version can do. Stay tuned.

      • New Releases

        • Neptune 6.5 Release

          Neptune 6.5 is out now. Its codename is ‘Jet’ which is the name of the mechanic and pilot of the Bebop in the anime Cowboy Bebop.

      • Videos/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE to acquire Rancher Labs

          SUSE, a major Linux and cloud company, has announced it will acquire Rancher Labs. Based in Cupertino, Rancher is a privately held open-source company with more than 37,000 active users and 10 0million downloads of its flagship Kubernetes management program, Rancher.

          Rancher provides a complete Kubernetes software stack. This stack can handle the operational and security challenges of managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across almost any infrastructure. Specifically, it supports any Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)-certified Kubernetes distribution. This includes Google GKE, Amazon EKS, and Microsoft AKS.

        • SUSE to acquire enterprise Kubernetes management solution provider Rancher Labs

          Open-source company SUSE has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Rancher Labs. According to SUSE, it wants to use the acquisition to establish the companies as the main open source innovators for Enterprise Linux, Kubernetes, edge computing and AI.

          “By combining Rancher and SUSE, we not only gain massive engineering resources to further strengthen our market-leading product, we are also able to preserve our unique 100% open source business model,” said Sheng Liang, the CEO of Rancher. “SUSE’s strong ecosystem will greatly accelerate Rancher’s on-going efforts to transform how organizations adopt cloud native technology.”

        • SUSE Acquiring Rancher Labs

          SUSE is upping their container game by acquiring Rancher Labs.

          Rancher Labs is one of the leading enterprise Kubernetes management platforms. The six year old, California-based company has their Rancher enterprise command center for Kubernetes, RKE as their Kubernetes distribution, Longhorn as their open-source distributed block storage solution, and K3s as their Kubernetes distribution for agile development in the cloud.

          Rancher Labs says that under SUSE ownership they will continue to preserve their “100% open-source business model” and their commitment to open-source in general remains strong.

        • Linux Company SUSE Outbids Competitors for Fast-growing Startup Rancher Labs
        • SUSE To Acquire Rancher Labs: Analysis
        • SUSE to acquire Rancher Labs

          SUSE, a major Linux and cloud company, has announced it will acquire Rancher Labs. Based in Cupertino, Rancher is a privately held open-source company with more than 37,000 active users and 10 0million downloads of its flagship Kubernetes management program, Rancher.

          Rancher provides a complete Kubernetes software stack. This stack can handle the operational and security challenges of managing multiple Kubernetes clusters across almost any infrastructure. Specifically, it supports any Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF)-certified Kubernetes distribution. This includes Google GKE, Amazon EKS, and Microsoft AKS.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Cockpit 223

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. We release regularly. Here are the release notes from version 223.

        • Virtqueues and virtio ring: How the data travels

          As stated earlier, a virtqueue is just a queue of guest’s buffers that the host consumes, either reading them or writing to them. A buffer can be read-only or write-only from the device point of view, but never both.

          The descriptors can be chained, and the framing of the message can be spread whatever way is more convenient. For example, to spread a 2000 byte message in one single buffer or to use two 1000 byte buffers should be the same.

          Also, it provides driver to device notifications (doorbell) method, to signal that one or more buffers have been added to the queue, and vice-versa, devices can interrupt the driver to signal used buffers. It is up to the underlying driver to provide the right method to dispatch the actual notification, for example using PCI interruptions or memory writing: The virtqueue only standardizes the semantics of it.

          As stated before, the driver and the device can advise the other to not to emit notifications to reduce its dispatching overhead. Since this operation is asynchronous we will describe how to do so in further sections.

        • IBM Cloud Pak for Data in 2 minutes
      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical enables Linux desktop app support with Flutter

          Google’s goal for Flutter has always been to provide a portable framework for building beautiful UIs that run at native speeds no matter what platform you target. To validate this capability, we started by focusing on the mobile platforms, Android and iOS, where we’ve seen more than 80,000 fast, beautiful Flutter apps published to Google Play.

          To build on this success, for more than a year we’ve been expanding our focus to include desktop-class experiences, both for the web and for the desktop OSes: macOS, Windows and Linux. This work includes extensive refactoring of the engine to support desktop-style mouse and keyboard input as well as resizable top-level windows. It also includes new UI capabilities that adapt well to desktop, like Material Density support and the NavigationRail and experiments with deep integration into the underlying desktop OS with experiments in Dart:FFI and access to the system menu bar and standard dialogs. All of this work was to ensure that in addition to being suitable for mobile-style experiences, Flutter is ready to handle full-featured, full-sized desktop apps.

          It has long been our vision for Flutter to power platforms. We’ve seen this manifest already at Google with products like the Assistant so now we’re thrilled to see others harnessing Flutter to power more platforms. Today we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution.

        • Flutter Can Now Be Used to Create Ubuntu Linux Apps

          Canonical and Google have partnered to add Linux as one of the target platforms for the Flutter framework.

          Flutter is a popular UI framework Google created to make it easier to develop cross-platform apps. Unlike some other cross-platform frameworks, such as React Native or NativeScript, Flutter does not use the target operating system’s (OS) native controls. Instead, it uses its own rendering engine to mimic native controls.

          Until now, Flutter primarily targeted Android, iOS, Fuchsia, macOS, Windows and web apps. While it could run on Linux and be used to develop Android and iOS apps, it did not target Linux. Still, for developers looking for a fast way to develop cross-platform apps, Flutter has been steadily gaining in popularity. Google’s latest move is sure to improve that popularity even more, as it has worked with Canonical, the maker of Ubuntu, to bring full Linux support to Flutter.

        • Canonical and Google Team Up to Bring Flutter Apps to the Linux Desktop

          Flutter, the open-source and cross-platform UI toolkit and portal framework created by Google is now available on Linux, thanks to Canonical’s Snap universal software deployment and package management system for GNU/Linux distributions.

          Flutter can be used to develop and deploy cross-platform apps for some of the major mobile and desktop platforms, including Android, iOS, macOS, Windows, and even Google Fuchsia. And, as of today, it can also be used on Linux.

        • Must Read: Google & Ubuntu Team Up to Bring Flutter Apps to Linux
        • Google’s Flutter: Now developers can use it to build apps for Ubuntu Linux machines
        • Google and Canonical partner to bring Linux apps support to Flutter
        • Google and Canonical bring Flutter apps to Linux and the Snap Store
        • Google is teaming up with Ubuntu to bring Flutter apps to Linux

          Flutter is Google’s cross-platform application framework that allows developers to create responsive apps for Android, iOS, and even macOS. The toolset has already been used by countless applications, including the mobile Stadia app, and now Google is teaming up with Ubuntu Linux to bring Flutter apps to desktop Linux.

          “Today we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution,” Google said in a blog post. “Canonical is making a significant investment in Flutter by dedicating a team of developers to work alongside Google’s developers to bring the best Flutter experience to the majority of Linux distributions.”

          Canonical is making a significant investment in Flutter.

        • Google partners with Canonical to bring Flutter apps to Linux

          Google has been hard at work creating and expanding Flutter for the past few years. When we last talked about Flutter, Google rebuilt DevTools entirely from scratch in Flutter for better performance, greater versatility, and to demonstrate their confidence in this app development framework. Google envisions Flutter as a programming framework that developers can use to build apps that target multiple systems, so the team is constantly working to improve Flutter’s support for platforms. Today, Google has announced that it is partnering with the Ubuntu Desktop Team at Canonical to bring Flutter apps to Linux.

        • Google Partners with Canonical to Bring Flutter to Linux

          Google announced today that it is partnering with Ubuntu maker Canonical to bring Linux desktop app support to its Flutter developer environment.

          “For more than a year we’ve been expanding our focus to include desktop-class experiences, both for the web and for the desktop OSes [like] macOS, Windows and Linux,” Google’s Chris Sells and Canonical’s Ken VanDine write in the announcement post. “This work includes extensive refactoring of the engine to support desktop-style mouse and keyboard input as well as resizable top-level windows, new UI capabilities that adapt well to desktop, and access to the system menu bar and standard dialogs. All of this work was to ensure that in addition to being suitable for mobile-style experiences, Flutter is ready to handle first-featured, full-sized desktop apps.”

        • Google and Canonical Bring Flutter Apps To Linux and the Snap Store
        • Google’s UI toolkit Flutter comes to the Linux desktop with help from Canonical

          This might be quite big news! Flutter, the UI toolkit from Google that’s used in tens of thousands of Android applications is coming to the desktop. Google and Canonical have announced their push for Linux too.

          Why is this a big thing? Well, anything that boosts easy cross-platform development is a great thing. It can make Linux more attractive to developers to work on, plus publishing onto Linux becomes easier again. Writing in a Medium post, Chris Sells (Google) & Ken VanDine (Canonical) talk a little about what’s going on.

          They said that the goal for Flutter has “always been to provide a portable toolkit for building beautiful UIs that run at native speeds, no matter which platform you target” although initially starting on mobile. Now though, they announced “we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu”. On the Linux side, they’ve hooked it up with “a new GTK+ based host for Flutter apps on all Linux distros”.

        • Linux-based Software for Automation

          Linux has a lot to offer the automation industry. It is a stable and scalable alternative to Windows operating systems that allows for arguably greater connectivity between devices and systems. It is open-source software, which is a plus, and therefore can allow a large amount of development flexibility. Linux also generally doesn’t have as much downtime as Windows and is arguably less susceptible to cyber attacks. The fact is that as the industry leans towards Linux, so too must we adapt.

          [...]

          Well, some industries prefer Linux for the aforementioned reasons, and because of that, we could see changes in how new manufacturing technologies and techniques are designed. Overall, as Linux becomes more prevalent, we may see the OS evolve to suit a variety of needs that are specific to each industry. Advancements are in progress every day, and it’s a possibility that automation will be made much easier as the OS adapts (at an increasing rate) to the needs of its consumers. Higher quality performance, increased security, greater versatility, and many other features are being looked forward to from the next iterations of Linux.

        • Ubuntu Blog: The State of Robotics – June 2020

          ROS 2 Foxy Fitzroy was released on June 5 for Ubuntu 20.04. Foxy supports many under-the-covers performance and stability improvements. Two of our favorites that continue improving robot security include a ROS Node Definition Library (NoDL) and enhanced security monitoring.

          NoDL defines configurations for each ROS node and how it interfaces with other nodes. By defining normal behaviors, ROS now can also enforce compliance with those behaviors, and robots can be monitored for abnormal behavior.

          Foxy improves on security monitoring by enabling logging for DDS communications. Once ROS 2 security features are enabled, environment variables can be configured to log security events to a file or publish them through DDS. Now not only can you monitor operational robot behaviors, you can also monitor communications security!

          This LTS release will be supported through May 2023. See Kyle Fazzari’s blog post for more information about ROS Foxy.

          ROS 2 now also has a rolling release for preparing for the next stable distribution development. Rolling Ridley is continuously updated and will at times include breaking changes.

        • Adi Singh, Product Manager in Robotics at Canonical – Interview Series

          Adi Singh, is the Product Manager in Robotics at Canonical. Canonical specializes in open source software, including Ubuntu, the world’s most popular enterprise Linux from cloud to edge, and they have a global community of 200,000 contributors.

          Ubuntu is the most popular Linux distribution for large embedded systems. As autonomous robots mature, innovative tech companies turn to Ubuntu, we discuss advantages of building a robot using open source software and other key considerations.

          [...]

          Building anything on open source software is usually a wise idea as it allows you to stand on the shoulders of giants. Individuals and companies alike benefit from the volunteer contributions of some of the brightest minds in the world when they decide to build on a foundation of open source software. As a result, popular FOSS repositories are very robustly engineered and very actively maintained; allowing users to focus on their innovation rather than the nuts and bolts of every library going into their product.

          [...]

          Ubuntu is the platform of choice for developers around the world for frictionless IoT and robotics development. A number of popular frameworks that help with device engineering are built on Ubuntu, so the OS is able to provide several tools for building and deploying products in this area right out of the box. For instance, the most widely used middleware for robotics development – ROS – is almost entirely run on Ubuntu distros…

        • NFV, cloud-native networking and OSM: everything you need to know
        • Design and Web team summary – 8th July 2020

          The web team here at Canonical run two-week iterations. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Create Music with LMMS music production suite

        LMMS was first introduced to the world as Linux MultiMedia Studio. Today, this digital audio workstation application program is available in 20 different languages, enabling musicians around the world to use this cross-platform tool to make music. What makes it unique is that it is a completely free, open-source, community-driven project, released under the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2). So, despite the many music-making software products available online, LMMS is worth a download.

      • Trademarks

        • Why IBM doesn’t agree with Google’s Open Usage Commons

          In May 2017, IBM and Google jointly announced the launch of Istio, a merger of Google’s Istio and IBM’s Amalgam8 projects. As a founding member of the Istio project, IBM is strongly invested in the engineering, leadership, and success of the Istio project.

          Today’s announcement by Google of the creation of the Open Usage Commons (OUC) is disappointing because it doesn’t live up to the community’s expectation for open governance. An open governance process is the underpinning of many successful projects. Without this vendor-neutral approach to project governance, there will be friction within the community of Kubernetes-related projects.

          At the project’s inception, there was an agreement that the project would be contributed to the CNCF when it was mature. IBM continues to believe that the best way to manage key open source projects such as Istio is with true open governance, under the auspices of a reputable organization with a level playing field for all contributors, transparency for users, and vendor-neutral management of the license and trademarks. Google should reconsider their original commitment and bring Istio to the CNCF.

        • Open Source Communities and Trademarks: A Reprise

          Intellectual property and how it is shared have been the cornerstone of open source. Although it is more common to discuss “code” or “copyright,” there are other IP concerns around patents and trademarks that must be considered before investing time and effort in a major open-source project. There are long-established practices that govern these matters. Companies and lawyers involved in open source have been working on and evolving open source project trademark matters for decades.

          Neutral control of trademarks is a key prerequisite for open source projects that operate under open governance. When trademarks of an open source project are owned by a single company within a community, there is an imbalance of control. The use of any trademark must be actively controlled by its owner or the owner will lose the right to control its use. The reservation of this exclusive right to exercise such control necessarily undermines the level playing field that is the basis for open governance. This is especially the case where the trademark is used in association with commercial products or solutions.

          Open source licenses enable anyone to fork the code and distribute and modify their own version. Trademarks, however, operate differently. Trademarks identify a specific source of the code. For example, we all know MariaDB is not the same as MySQL. They’ve each developed their own brand, albeit they’re derived from a common codebase. The key question is who decides when a company should be allowed to associate its product or solution with the brand of the community?

          A trademark is a word, phrase or design that denotes a “brand” that distinguishes one source of product or solution from another. The USPTO describes the usage of trademarks “to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services.” Under US trademark law you are not able to effectively separate ownership of a project mark from control of the underlying open source project. While some may create elaborate structures around this, at the end of the day an important principle to follow is that the project community should be in control of what happens to their brand, the trademark they collectively built up as their brand in parallel with building up the functionality of their code.

        • Google open sources trademarks with the Open Usage Commons

          Google has announced it is launching a new organization, Open Usage Commons (OUC), to host the trademarks for three of its most important new open-source projects. These are Angular, a web application framework for mobile and desktop; Gerrit, a web-based team code-collaboration tool; and Istio, a popular open mesh platform to connect, manage, and secure microservices.

          While it only covers three Google projects, for now, OUC is meant to give open-source projects a neutral, independent home for their project trademarks. The organization will also assist with conformance testing, establishing mark usage guidelines, and handling trademark usage issues. The organization will not provide services that are outside the realm of usage, such as technical mentorship, community management, project events, or project marketing.

        • Introducing the Open Usage Commons

          Open source maintainers don’t often spend time thinking about their project’s trademarks, and with good reason: between code contribution, documentation, crafting the technical direction, and creating a healthy contributor community, there’s plenty to do without spending time considering how your project’s name or logo will be used. But trademarks – whether a name, logo, or badge – are an extension of a project’s decision to be open source. Just as your project’s open source license demonstrates that your codebase is for free and fair use, an open source project trademark policy in keeping with the Open Source Definition gives everyone – upstream contributors and downstream consumers – comfort that they are using your project’s marks in a fair and accurate way.

        • Open Usage Commons Is Google-Backed Organization For Helping With Open-Source Project Trademarks

          Open Usage Commons is a new organization announced today that is backed by Google for helping open-source projects in managing their trademarks.

          Open Usage Commons was started by Google in conjunction with academia, independent contributors, and others for helping to assert and manage project identities through trademark management and conformance testing.

        • The “Open Usage Commons” launches

          Google has announced the creation of the Open Usage Commons, which is intended to help open-source projects manage their trademarks.

        • Announcing a new kind of open source organization

          Google has deep roots in open source. We’re proud of our 20 years of contributions and community collaboration. The scale and tenure of Google’s open source participation has taught us what works well, what doesn’t, and where the corner cases are that challenge projects.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • #MoreOnionsPorfavor: Onionize your website and take back the internet
          • Anti-censorship team report: June 2020

            Tor’s anti-censorship team writes monthly reports to keep the world updated on its progress. This blog post summarizes the anti-censorship work we got done in June 2020. You can find a Chinese translation of this blog post below. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback!

          • New Release: Tor Browser 10.0a3

            Tor Browser 10.0a3 is now available from the Tor Browser Alpha download page and also from our distribution directory. This is an Android-only release.

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

          • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Criminal proceedings against Malaysiakini will harm free expression in Malaysia

            The Malaysian government’s decision to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Malaysiakini for third party comments on the news portal’s website is deeply concerning. The move sets a dangerous precedent against intermediary liability and freedom of expression. It ignores the internationally accepted norm that holding publishers responsible for third party comments has a chilling effect on democratic discourse. The legal outcome the Malaysian government is seeking would upend the careful balance which places liability on the bad actors who engage in illegal activities, and only holds companies accountable when they know of such acts.

            Intermediary liability safe harbour protections have been fundamental to the growth of the internet. They have enabled hosting and media platforms to innovate and flourish without the fear that they would be crushed by a failure to police every action of their users. Imposing the risk of criminal liability for such content would place a tremendous, and in many cases fatal, burden on many online intermediaries while negatively impacting international confidence in Malaysia as a digital destination.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 75
          • Additional JavaScript syntax support in add-on developer tools

            When an add-on is submitted to Firefox for validation, the add-ons linter checks its code and displays relevant errors, warnings, or friendly messages for the developer to review. JavaScript is constantly evolving, and when the linter lags behind the language, developers may see syntax errors for code that is generally considered acceptable. These errors block developers from getting their add-on signed or listed on addons.mozilla.org.

          • A look at password security, Part I: history and background

            Today I’d like to talk about passwords. Yes, I know, passwords are the worst, but why? This is the first of a series of posts about passwords, with this one focusing on the origins of our current password systems starting with log in for multi-user systems.

            The conventional story for what’s wrong with passwords goes something like this: Passwords are simultaneously too long for users to memorize and too short to be secure.

            It’s easy to see how to get to this conclusion. If we restrict ourselves to just letters and numbers, then there are about 26 one character passwords, 212 two character passwords, etc. The fastest password cracking systems can check about 236 passwords/second, so if you want a password which takes a year to crack, you need a password of 10 characters long or longer.

            The situation is actually far worse than this; most people don’t use randomly generated passwords because they are hard to generate and hard to remember. Instead they tend to use words, sometimes adding a number, punctuation, or capitalization here and there. The result is passwords that are easy to crack, hence the need for password managers and the like.

            This analysis isn’t wrong, precisely; but if you’ve ever watched a movie where someone tries to break into a computer by typing passwords over and over, you’re probably thinking “nobody is a fast enough typist to try billions of passwords a second”. This is obviously true, so where does password cracking come into it?

            [...]

            This design is a huge improvement over just having a file with cleartext passwords and it might seem at this point like you didn’t need to stop people from reading the password file at all. In fact, on the original UNIX systems where this design was used, the /etc/passwd file was publicly readable. However, upon further reflection, it has the drawback that it’s cheap to verify a guess for a given password: just compute H(guess) and compare it to what’s been stored. This wouldn’t be much of an issue if people used strong passwords, but because people generally choose bad passwords, it is possible to write password cracking programs which would try out candidate passwords (typically starting with a list of common passwords and then trying variants) to see if any of these matched. Programs to do this task quickly emerged.

            The key thing to realize is that the computation of H(guess) can be done offline. Once you have a copy of the password file, you can compare your pre-computed hashes of candidate passwords against the password file without interacting with the system at all. By contrast, in an online attack you have to interact with the system for each guess, which gives it an opportunity to rate limit you in various ways (for instance by taking a long time to return an answer or by locking out the account after some number of failures). In an offline attack, this kind of countermeasure is ineffective.

          • Announcing Rustup 1.22.1

            The rustup working group is happy to announce the release of rustup version 1.22.1. Rustup is the recommended tool to install Rust, a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

          • This Week in Rust 346
      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Software Defined Radio Academy Goes Virtual

            There are some older videos on the channel, too, including some GNU Radio material. We hear some of the upcoming videos will have some new GNU Radio content, too, including some on the GNU Radio implementation for Android.

      • Programming/Development

        • Philip Withnall: URI parsing and building in GLib

          Marc-André Lureau has landed GUri support in GLib, and it’ll be available in GLib 2.65.1 (due out in the next few days).

          GUri is a new API for parsing and building URIs, roughly equivalent to SoupURI already provided by libsoup — but since URIs are so pervasive, and used even if you’re not actually doing HTTP conversations, it makes sense to have a structured representation for them in GLib.

        • Sandboxing in Linux with zero lines of code

          Modern Linux operating systems provide many tools to run code more securely. There are namespaces (the basic building blocks for containers), Linux Security Modules, Integrity Measurement Architecture etc.

          In this post we will review Linux seccomp and learn how to sandbox any (even a proprietary) application without writing a single line of code.

        • Mario Sanchez Prada: ​Chromium now migrated to the new C++ Mojo types

          At the end of the last year I wrote a long blog post summarizing the main work I was involved with as part of Igalia’s Chromium team. In it I mentioned that a big chunk of my time was spent working on the migration to the new C++ Mojo types across the entire codebase of Chromium, in the context of the Onion Soup 2.0 project.

          For those of you who don’t know what Mojo is about, there is extensive information about it in Chromium’s documentation, but for the sake of this post, let’s simplify things and say that Mojo is a modern replacement to Chromium’s legacy IPC APIs which enables a better, simpler and more direct way of communication among all of Chromium’s different processes.

        • 6 best practices for teams using Git

          Everyone should follow standard conventions for branch naming, tagging, and coding. Every organization has standards or best practices, and many recommendations are freely available on the internet. What’s important is to pick a suitable convention early on and follow it as a team.

          Also, different team members will have different levels of expertise with Git. You should create and maintain a basic set of instructions for performing common Git operations that follow the project’s conventions.

        • Qt for MCUs 1.3 released

          Qt for MCUs 1.3 is now available in the Qt installer. Download it to get the latest improvements and create stunning GUIs with the newly available timeline animation system.

          Since the initial release of Qt for MCUs 1.0 back in December last year, we’ve been hard at work to bring new features to MCUs with the 1.1 and 1.2 releases. Efforts haven’t slowed down and it’s already time to bring you another batch of improvements. Besides the new features, One of the goals has been to make Qt Quick Ultralite a true subset of Qt Quick and align their QML APIs to ensure both code and skills can be reused from traditional Qt platforms to microcontrollers. With Qt for MCUs 1.3, QML code written for Qt Quick Ultralite is now source-compatible with Qt 5.15 LTS.

        • Linux, Twitter look remove ‘blacklist/whitelist’ from code

          Coding terms like ‘master’, ‘slave’, ‘blacklist’, and ‘whitelist’ could soon be a thing of the past as the likes of Linux, Twitter, Git, and IBM’s Red Hat begin purging non-inclusive phrases from their code.

          Twitter Engineering announced last week that it wanted to “move away from” certain phrases that the social media company said was not reflective of its values.

          “There is no switch we can flip to make these changes everywhere, at once,” the company said.

          “We will continue to iterate on this work and want to put in place processes and systems that will allow us to apply these changes at scale.”

          Along with terms like ‘blacklist’ and ‘whitelist’, Twitter said it wants to move away from gendered pronouns and even ‘dummy value’.

        • Help message for shell scripts

          Add your message with all the required information on top of your file, just right after the shebang.

          [...]

          Halfway done, now need to get this message in runtime with sed.

        • Timecounters available to userland in -current

          Among other programs, Office suites and browsers tend to hit the gettimeofday() very frequently, and this should lessen the CPU usage of those programs, and make things feel a bit snappier. Ted Unangst wrote about this in this post on running ktrace on a browser, and in this post about mplayer consuming lots of CPU while decoding MP3s.

        • Learn at home #4: All about Scratch
        • Python

          • Python import: Advanced Techniques and Tips

            In Python, you use the import keyword to make code in one module available in another. Imports in Python are important for structuring your code effectively. Using imports properly will make you more productive, allowing you to reuse code while keeping your projects maintainable.

            This tutorial will provide a thorough overview of Python’s import statement and how it works. The import system is powerful, and you’ll learn how to harness this power. While you’ll cover many of the concepts behind Python’s import system, this tutorial is mostly example driven. You’ll learn from several code examples throughout.

          • Python 101 – Learning about Dictionaries (Video)
          • Writing docs is not just writing docs

            I joined the Spyder team almost two years ago, and I never thought I was going to end up working on docs. Six months ago I started a project with CAM Gerlach and Carlos Cordoba to improve Spyder’s documentation. At first, I didn’t actually understand how important docs are for software, especially for open source projects. However, during all this time I’ve learned how documentation has a huge impact on the open-source community and I’ve been thankful to have been able to do this. But, from the beginning, I asked myself “why am I the ‘right person’ for this?”

            Improving Spyder’s documentation started as part of a NumFOCUS Small Development Grant awarded at the end of last year. The goal of the project was not only to update the documentation for Spyder 4, but also to make it more user-friendly, so users can understand Spyder’s key concepts and get started with it more easily.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 000 – Begin Again

            This probably is the fourth (or is it fifth) time, I’ll be attempting to learn how to program.
            And probably the same number of attempts at #100DaysOfCode.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 001 – Beginning With Classes

            Notes I’ve taken from the videos I watched, today. This is my attempt at Feynman-ing (below), what I learnt so far.

            Classes and Object Oriented Programming started to come together for me, when I saw Kushal using them.

            To use my father’s carpentry analogy, I could in theory just hammer nails into wood to join them.
            But to make a really strong joint, I could use other methods.
            I could screw pieces of wood together, which is markedly better than just nailing them.
            I could chisel wood and create a dovetail or mortise joint.

          • Object Oriented Programming in Python: Complete Tutorial

            Python is a powerful programming language used for web application development. It is also a widely popular programming language used for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications.

            With Python, complex programming problem-solving becomes simpler. There are several approaches to problem-solving in Python. OOP is one of those approaches.

            In this article, I will introduce you to some fundamental OOP principles in Python development.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #6
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 3 Blog Post
    • Standards/Consortia

      • Developing the next version of HPN-SSH

        The developers of HPN-SSH at the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC) have recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and incorporate new features and optimizations. This grant will provide direct support to developers at PSC for two years. The goal of this grant (NSF Award#: 2004012) is to provide HPN-SSH with the level of performance required in modern high performance computing.

        What is HPN-SSH?

        HPN-SSH is a series of modifications to OpenSSH, the predominant implementation of the ssh protocol. It was originally developed to address performance issues when using ssh on high speed long distance networks (also known as Long Fat Networks: LFNs). By taking advantage of automatically optimized receive buffers HPN-SSH could improve performance dramatically on these paths. Later advances include; disabling encryption after authentication to transport non-sensitive bulk data, modifying the AES-CTR cipher to use multiple CPU cores, more detailed connection logging, and peak throughput values in the scp progress bar. More information can be found on HPN-SSH page on the PSC website.

        What are you working on?

        We’ve identified six different areas where we would like to focus our efforts. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list but is more of a starting point for our deliverables. Depending on community input this list may change to develop advances of highest interest. The six initial proposed areas of work are: [...]

      • DIY SSH Bastion Host

        Bastion is a military term meaning “a projecting part of a fortification.”

        In the same way that a home WiFi router sits between the vast and perilous internet and the often insecure devices on a local network, a bastion host sits between the public internet and an internal network (a VPC, for example), acting as a gateway to reach the internal hosts while protecting them from direct exposure to the wilds of the public internet. Bastion hosts often run OpenSSH or a remote desktop server.

        A bastion host serves as an important choke point in a network. Given its position, it can take on a lot of responsibilities: auditing and session logging, user authentication for internal hosts, and advanced threat detection. But it doesn’t need to do all that. We’re going to keep things simple here and build a bastion from scratch that supports the proxying of SSH connections. Then we’ll talk about some fancier stuff we could do.

      • Intel Details Thunderbolt 4 With More Capabilities, USB4 Compatibility
      • Intel Introduces Thunderbolt 4, Showcases MultiPort Thunderbolt 4 Docks
  • Leftovers

    • Arm to spin off its two IoT businesses to SoftBank

      Arm said it will hand over its IoT Platform and Treasure Data businesses to SoftBank in order to focus exclusively on the semiconductor intellectual property business that has helped it become ubiquitous in mobile devices.

      The transfer of the IoT Services Group businesses is still pending review from the company’s board, and will also have to face standard regulatory reviews. However, Arm said it’s confident the transfers will be completed by about September.

      The move would effectively remove ISG from Arm’s brand, but the businesses will still collaborate with one another, Arm said. However, the spinoff plan doesn’t involve Arm’s IP for IoT chips.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency

        If the United States had quick-thinking and efficient leadership, the pandemic would have infected about 100,000 people and killed only a couple thousand. That’s the experience of South Korea, times seven to account for the difference in population.

      • In Mississippi’s Covid Island, Trying Not to Get Wet

        Jackson, Miss.—Before Covid-19, I would travel around the country, listening to people’s stories as we walked their block, or plotted the “beautiful next” in some center or meeting room. Now we are all in little boxes, trying to connect, trying to make it more human. People with wild virtual backgrounds or cute hats. It reminds me of freshman year moving into the dorms. There you are with your teddy bears and your posters to make your room feel a little less like the drab, institutional rectangle it is.

      • Henry Ford Hospital hydroxychloroquine trial: Not good evidence that the drug works for COVID-19

        And so it continues, the saga of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19. It’s been a while since I’ve written about this particular drug. Indeed, it’s hard to believe that it’s been well over three months since I railed against the FDA’s premature issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus and over three weeks since I noted that the FDA had finally backtracked and revoked its EUA for hydroxychloroquine. In the age of the pandemic, weeks seem like months, and months seem like years. Be that as it may, there have been…developments…that have led me to conclude that an update is in order. The saga of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine remain, as it has from the beginning, a cautionary tale about medical science in the age of a pandemic. The saga also reminded me how, in the context of this pandemic, not only has science become politicized, but narratives often not grounded in science saturate news coverage, which brings us to this Tweet from President Trump:

      • A Spike in People Dying at Home Suggests Coronavirus Deaths in Houston May Be Higher Than Reported

        HOUSTON — When Karen Salazar stopped by to check on her mother on the evening of June 22, she found her in worse shape than she expected. Her mother, Felipa Medellín, 54, had been complaining about chest pains and fatigue, symptoms that she attributed to a new diabetes treatment she’d started days earlier.

        Medellín, who had seen a doctor that day, insisted she was fine. But Salazar, 29, noticed that when Medellín lay down, her chest was rising and falling rapidly — as if she couldn’t catch her breath.

      • One Federal Agency Was Suing Him for Fraud. Another Paid His Company Millions for Masks.

        Desperate to acquire masks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, two federal agencies gave nearly $20 million in contracts to a newly formed California company without realizing it was partly run by a man whose business activities were under sanction by the Federal Trade Commission, court records show.

        On Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge froze the company’s assets, most of which had come from the Department of Veterans Affairs in a $5.4 million mask deal. A story by ProPublica revealed Jason Cardiff’s role in operating VPL Medical LLC in June.

      • Fauci Says Trump’s Focus on COVID Deaths is “False Narrative to Take Comfort In”

        Speaking during a Facebook Live event on Tuesday, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, seemingly contradicted notions put forth by President Donald Trump about the death rates from the disease.

      • Banana Republic Corruption

        The Ayanda Capital contract to supply £250 million of PPE to the NHS has not caused anything like the stir it should, because UK citizens appear to have come to accept that we live in a country with a Banana Republic system of capitalism. I suppose when you have a Prime Minister who handed out £60 million of public money for a Garden Bridge that there was no chance would ever be built, and who had no qualms about directing public funds to one of his many mistresses, the norm has changed.

      • Why the Bill Gates global health empire promises more empire and less public health

        Behind a veil of corporate media PR, the Gates Foundation has served as a vehicle for Western capital while exploiting the Global South as a human laboratory. The pandemic is likely to intensify this disturbing agenda. 

      • US exit from WHO will have big impact: Taiwan’s CECC chief

        Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) head Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said on Wednesday (July 8) that the U.S. exit from the World Health Organization (WHO) will have a serious impact on the world of public health.

        The U.S. has officially sent notification to the UN that its plan to exit the WHO will become effective as of July next year.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (roundcube), Fedora (chromium, firefox, and ngircd), Oracle (firefox and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (firefox), Slackware (seamonkey), SUSE (djvulibre, ffmpeg, firefox, freetds, gd, gstreamer-plugins-base, icu, java-11-openjdk, libEMF, libexif, librsvg, LibVNCServer, libvpx, Mesa, nasm, nmap, opencv, osc, perl, php7, python-ecdsa, SDL2, texlive-filesystem, and thunderbird), and Ubuntu (cinder, python-os-brick).

          • Exploiting F5 Big IP Vulnerability | CVE-2020-5902

            CVE-2020-5902 is a critical remote code execution vulnerability in the configuration interface (aka Traffic Management User Interface – TMUI) of BIG-IP devices used by some of the world’s biggest companies.

            So today we are going to demonstrate how it is being used.

            To exploit CVE-2020-5902, an attacker needs to send a specifically crafted HTTP request to the server hosting the Traffic Management User Interface (TMUI) utility for BIG-IP configuration.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Pressure mounts on Facebook to rein in hate speech

              Facebook came under renewed public scrutiny Wednesday with the release of an independent audit slamming the platform’s progress on civil rights issues, adding to internal and external pressure on the company to rein in hate speech and misinformation.

              The audit was the third shoe to drop this month after a group of high-profile advertisers launched a boycott of the site and following a Democratic National Committee memo bashing the company just months before a crucial election.

            • ‘Bitcoin Is Not a Privacy Coin’ Says Crypto Evangelist Andreas Antonopoulos

              Andreas Antonopoulos discussed how he desired to see Bitcoin have more “privacy features” in a recent live stream Q&A session published on Youtube on July 7. Antonopoulos discussed the privacy-centric coin monero and concepts like stealth addresses and ring signatures.

            • Reddit’s website uses DRM for fingerprinting

              The purpose of all of this appears to be both fingerprinting and preventing ad fraud. I’ve determined that udkcrj.com belongs to White Ops. I have infered this from the name of Reddit’s feature flag, and mentions of White Ops which is a “global leader in bot mitigation, bot prevention, and fraud protection”. They appear to do this by collecting tons of data about the browser, and analyzing it. I must say, their system is quite impressive.

              Back to the DRM issue, it appears that the script is checking what DRM solutions are available, but not actually using them. However, just checking is enough to trigger Firefox into displaying the DRM popup. Specfically, it looks for Widevine, PlayReady, Clearkey, and Adobe Primetime.

            • US Tech Giant Palantir Files to Go Public

              Such customers often include parts of the U.S. government and the private defense establishment. Furthermore, In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the Central Intelligence Agency, previously awarded the firm venture capital funds.

              Most recently, Palantir has worked with various countries, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Coast Guard, to coordinate coronavirus responses.

              Palantir has so far resisted calls to go public due to the secretive nature of its contracts. U.S. regulation requires that publicly listed companies adhere to a certain standard of transparency — a fact that the company is perceived to have thought of as a hindrance to their business model.

            • Facebook Flunks New Audit on Civil Rights, Hate Speech and Voter Suppression

              But Mr. Zuckerberg is not enabling free speech, he’s just privileging some of it. “When it means that powerful politicians do not have to abide by the same rules that everyone else does, a hierarchy of speech is created that privileges certain voices over less powerful voices,” the report found.

              That means posts by regular folks who are less likely to be believed and or widely read can be taken down with impunity. Mr. Zuckerberg should listen to his auditors. He should listen to his employees, some of who walked off the job in protest last month.

            • Reddit more pliant to Hong Kong government request for user data

              However, the social media site Reddit, which received US$150 million in investment from China’s Tencent in 2019, was much more reticent in its response to the new draconian law. In a statement, Reddit wrote “All legal requests from Hong Kong are bound by careful review for validity and with a special attention to human rights implications,” reported Financial Times.

            • My Take on Email

              Email has been discussed a lot lately. Perhaps it’s because we all rely on it more during this period of lockdown. Maybe it’s due to Hey being released? Or are we all realising that email is an old technology and we need to move on? Whatever the reason may be, people are talking about email; heres my take on it.

              [...]

              While some providers allow you to sign up anonymously on Tor, email will never be private. It will also never be as secure as platforms like Signal or Briar. You can improve the privacy of emails by encrypting their contents or using a provider that encrypts account data at rest. Email is not private and shouldn’t be treated as such. Instant messaging is more secure and private than email, but email still has many benefits.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • NYT Acknowledges Coup in Bolivia—While Shirking Blame for Its Supporting Role
      • NYT Acknowledges Coup in Bolivia—While Shirking Blame for Its Supporting Role

        The fatal flaws in the report the OAS used to subvert a member government, long obvious, are now undeniable even to the New York Times.

      • Meet the Venezuelan coup regime’s ‘UK ambassador,’ a pampered US heiress who threatens journalists

        Vanessa Neumann, scion of one of Venezuela’s most elite families

      • Defund the Pentagon, Too

        Think of it as a war system that’s been coming home for years. The murder of George Floyd has finally shone a spotlight on the need to defund local police departments and find alternatives that provide more genuine safety and security. The same sort of spotlight needs soon to be shone on the American military machine and the wildly well-funded damage it’s been doing for almost 19 years across the Greater Middle East and Africa.

      • Republicans Lose Their Collective Mind Over Ilhan Omar’s Call to Dismantle ‘Systems of Oppression’

        Representative Ilhan Omar was not elected to represent the status quo. The Minnesota Democrat speaks for her constituents, and for a future in which they might know economic, social, and racial justice. That horrifies conservatives.

      • Hong Kong on the road to becoming a new Tibet, says exiled leader Lobsang Sangay

        Hong Kong is heading toward the same fate as Tibet after China imposed a new security law that criminalises calls for independence, the leader of the exiled Tibetan government has told AFP.

        Lobsang Sangay said China was deceiving Hong Kong the same way it cheated Tibetan people in 1951 when it promised autonomy.

      • Ahead of peace talks, a who’s who of Cameroon’s separatist movement

        After three years of conflict, tentative ceasefire talks are underway between the Cameroon government and secessionist fighters demanding independence for the country’s two anglophone regions.

        Cameroon is a majority French-speaking country, and its Northwest and Southwest regions complain that they have been deliberately marginalised by the government in Yaounde. What began as a protest movement in 2016 calling for federalism, degenerated into fighting and a demand for full independence after the government clamped down on protest leaders.

        The conflict has since killed more than 3,000 people, forced over 900,000 people from their homes, and kept around 800,000 children out of school. In the violence, the security forces have been accused of widespread human right abuses – as have, to a lesser extent, the separatist forces fighting for an independent “Ambazonia”.

        Talks have now begun between the government and a key separatist faction headed by imprisoned leader, Sisiku Julius AyukTabe. But those ceasefire discussions have been condemned by other separatists in Cameroon and abroad, who argue that Sisiku does not have a mandate to negotiate.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests

        Each discusses strategies how the election could address minority and racial injustices that have long been ignored.

      • Why I Believe Trump is Compromised by Russia

        Trump is easily manipulated through praise and financial opportunities, and looking at the list above it appears that manipulation has worked.

        Even if Trump loses in November, Putin will have executed the most devastating attack on America ever—an attack carried out by Trump’s on America’s most precious asset. Its reputation.

      • Biden Defends Undying Allegiance to For-Profit Healthcare During Interview With Dying Medicare for All Advocate Ady Barkan

        The question: “What does preserving private insurance really do for people?” Biden’s answer: “It depends on the plan. Look…”

      • Sanders, Khanna Say SCOTUS Ruling on Contraceptives Just One More Reason to Demand Medicare for All

        “This wouldn’t even be an issue if healthcare wasn’t tied to employment.”

      • Federal agents arrest sitting governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk Territory on suspicion of organizing multiple murders

        Federal agents have arrested Sergey Furgal, the sitting governor of Russia’s Khabarovsk Territory, on suspicion of orchestrating the murder of several entrepreneurs in the region between 2004 and 2005. Officials from Russia’s Investigative Committee and Federal Security Service are reportedly cooperating in the case.

      • Internet Powers Collide in Hong Kong

        Saying no to the law could force those internet companies to shut down service in Hong Kong. It would also be a public defiance of China’s government that we rarely see from global companies. No one knows what happens next.

        Let me take a step back and talk about the constant tugs of war that U.S. online companies face between their made-in-America principles and U.S. laws, and the rules and standards of all the countries in which they do business.

      • Essential Work

        First, we should feel a certain gratification that millions of Americans have learned to appreciate the necessity, even the beauty, of solidarity. I realize that applauding and making signs of gratitude for “essential workers” are hardly the same thing as supporting them when they go on strike. Sadly, such militancy has been frustratingly rare at a time when unemployment has zoomed to a sickening rate, and people who have a job are afraid to walk out on the only one they are likely to find. Still, the conviction that the people who do the indispensable labor of society—citizens and the undocumented—should, at minimum, earn a decent wage and have job security and their health protected has always been at the moral heart of the left.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Investigating TLS blocking in India

        This report investigates Transport Layer Security (TLS)-based blocking in India. Previous research by the Centre for Internet & Society, India (CIS) has already exposed TLS blocking based on the value of the SNI field. OONI has also implemented and started testing SNI-based TLS blocking measurements.

        Recently, the Magma Project documented cases where CIS India and OONI’s methodologies could be improved. They specifically found that blocking sometimes appears to depend not only on the value of the SNI field but also on the address of the web server being used. These findings were later confirmed by OONI measurements in Spain and Iran through the use of an extended measurement methodology.

      • It Wasn’t My Cancelation That Bothered Me. It Was the Cowardice of Those Who Let It Happen

        Without a hint of irony, the Massey College statement also described the school as “a beacon for the expression of the widest range of academic viewpoints.” But as my case shows, these two goals are completely contradictory. You can raise a beacon for free expression. Or you can run a puritanical campaign to enforce moral purity and root out heretics. You can’t have both. And to an astonishing extent, the people who run places with names like the Quadrangle Society have chosen moral purity.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • New Indictment Tries To Tie Julian Assange To A Hacking He Had Nothing To Do With

        The government is still trying to get Julian Assange out of the UK so it can ring him up on a variety of charges related to obtaining and publishing a large number of sensitive documents. Most of the charges are still related to the documents obtained from Chelsea Manning. The DOJ wants to use the oft-abused CFAA to put Assange behind bars because he supposedly helped Manning hack a CIA database.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Civil Rights Groups Say Internal Facebook Audit Confirms Company Business Model ‘Relies on Racism and Hate’

        “There are real-life consequences when social media networks provide platforms for violent white supremacists, allowing them to incubate, organize, and recruit new followers to their hateful movements.”

      • This Is the Perfect Moment to Push for Reparations

        What are we waiting for? If this is not the moment to finally come to terms with the United States’ 401-year legacy of government-sanctioned, anti-Black oppression, then, pray tell, when will that moment be?

      • Cornel West interview on the Clintons and “Race Matters” (1993)
      • UK watchdog considers sanctions against Chinese broadcaster for airing alleged forced confession

        Ofcom’s ruling in the Humphrey case said CCTV’s airing of footage of him in custody “had the potential materially and adversely to affect viewers’ perception of him”.

        It “did not take sufficient steps to ensure that material facts had not been presented, omitted or disregarded in a way that was unfair to Mr Humphrey”.

      • Confederate Statues Were Never Really About Preserving History

        From around 1920 to the early 1940s, there was a second wave of statue building. Jane Dailey, professor of American history at the University of Chicago, said this period of construction coincided with more Black Americans’ fighting for civil rights and pushing back against widespread lynchings in the South. “You have Black soldiers who have just fought for their country [in World War I] and fought to make the world safe for democracy, coming back to an America that’s determined to lynch them,” said Dailey. “[T]hose were very clearly white supremacist monuments and are designed to intimidate, not just memorialize.”

        And a significant portion of those monuments were erected on courthouse grounds. According to Lecia Brooks of the Southern Poverty Law Center, placing these memorials on courthouse property, especially in the 1950s and ’60s, was meant to remind Black Americans of the struggle and subjugation they would face in their fight for civil rights and equal protection under the law.

    • Trademarks

      • Lady A, formerly Lady Antebellum, sues blues singer who goes by same name

        The day after the band’s name change announcement, White told Rolling Stone she had been shocked by the news.

        “This is my life. Lady A is my brand, I’ve used it for over 20 years, and I’m proud of what I’ve done,” she told the outlet. “This is too much right now. They’re using the name because of a Black Lives Matter incident that, for them, is just a moment in time. If it mattered, it would have mattered to them before. It shouldn’t have taken George Floyd to die for them to realize that their name had a slave reference to it.”

      • Lady Antebellum Is Now ‘Lady A.’ But So Is a Blues Singer Who’s Used the Name for 20 Years

        This Lady A — a 61-year-old black woman whose real name is Anita White — has been playing the blues under the name for more than 20 years. She began singing as a gospel performer at church and started going by Lady A for karaoke nights in the Eighties. She’s released multiple albums with the name, and on top of her day job working with Seattle Public Utilities, she’s gearing up to release another album, Lady A: Live in New Orleans, on her birthday on July 18th.

    • Monopolies

      • Facebook bans Roger Stone after linking him to fake accounts

        On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it had removed accounts belonging to Roger Stone, a friend and confidant of President Donald Trump, after having linked them to fake accounts and pages that were active throughout the 2016 election.

        [...]

        Facebook said that it removed 54 accounts, 50 pages, and four Instagram accounts on Thursday for being involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in the US. According to the company, the individuals behind these accounts would pretend to be Florida residents and would post and comment on posts in order to amplify them, including material released by WikiLeaks ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

      • Facebook Bans Roger Stone for ‘Coordinated Inauthentic Activity’

        Facebook kicked Roger Stone, the Donald Trump associate who faces prison time after being convicted of seven felonies, off Facebook and Instagram. The company said it had found evidence that Stone was behind a network of fake accounts in the U.S. designed make themselves appear “more popular than they were.”

        The company said it “identified the full scope of this network” linked to “Stone and his associates” after the public release of search warrants and other documents from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which was the product of a lawsuit filed by media organizations.

      • Top web browsers 2020: Chrome becomes third browser ever with more than 70%

        According to data published last week by analytics company Net Applications, Chrome’s share during June rose four-tenths of a percentage point to 70.2%. The browser has been on a sixth-month run, adding 3.6 percentage points to its account since January. The only other browser to end the first half of 2020 on a positive note was Opera Software’s Opera, which gained just one-tenth of a point in that time.

        More notable was that, by breaking the 70% bar, Chrome became only the third browser to reach such a dominant position, following Netscape Navigator (ancestor of Firefox) in the 1990s and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer in the first decade of this century.

        Chrome’s continued climb may not be sustainable over the long run – that would require the extinction of at least one rival – but on a strictly linear basis, the browser’s future looks rosy. Computerworld’s latest forecast, based on a 12-month average change in share, puts Chrome at 71% by September and beyond 72% by year’s end.

      • Patents

        • In re Zunshine (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          During prosecution of the application, the Examiner rejected claims 1-3 of the ’162 application as being patent ineligible under § 101. The Applicant, Mr. Zach Zunshine, appealed the rejection to the Board, which affirmed the Examiner’s rejection. In particular, the Board agreed with the Examiner that the claims recite an abstract idea, concluding that the claims describe methods of managing personal behavior, and that the claims do not recite any limitations that integrate the abstract idea into a practical application.

          In affirming the Board, the Federal Circuit similarly concluded that claims 1–3 are directed to an abstract idea. The Court explained that “[e]ach of claims 1–3 amount to nothing more than reducing food intake to achieve weight loss and snacking to curb hunger,” adding that “[h]umans have long managed their personal diets in such a manner, and thus claims 1–3 are directed to an abstract idea.” Citing Trading Techs. Int’l, Inc. v. IBG LLC, 921 F.3d 1084, 1092 (Fed. Cir. 2019), the Court also noted that “[t]he fact that the claims might add a ‘degree of particularity’ as to the amount that food intake is reduced ‘does not impact our analysis at step one.’”

          [...]

          The Court determined that the claims of the ’162 application were different from those found to be patent eligible in Vanda, pointing out that the claims at issue here “merely direct a user to manage his or her food intake according to a series of rules that humans have long followed in managing their diets,” and concluding that “[s]uch personal management of food intake is an abstract idea that is not patent eligible.”

          Turning to the second step of the Alice/Mayo inquiry, the Court determined that nothing in the claims, either individually or as an ordered combination, transformed the claims into a patent-eligible application of the abstract idea recited therein. In response to the Applicant’s argument that the elements of claims 1–3 are not found in the prior art and together the elements produce “spectacular” weight loss, the Court responded that “[t]he purported inventive concepts . . . are nothing more than the abstract ideas themselves,” and that the suggested novelty of the claims fails to transform the abstract idea of limiting food intake into a patent-eligible process. The Court therefore affirmed the Board’s determination that claims 1-3 of the ’162 application are patent ineligible under § 101.
          “/p>

        • Correcting Patents During an IPR

          Valencell’s US8923941 covers methods of generating data relating to blood oxygen level, heart rate, and other physical activity. The claimed method includes two primary steps: (1) sensing; and (2) processing. The sensing step requires a single device “attached” to a user that includes a motin sensor (accelerometer) and a pulse-oximeter (photoplethysmography – PPG). The processing step creates a signal that includes heart rate, respiration rate, and a plurality of physical activity parameters.

          This setup is now common with many millions of such devices being sold across the country. According to its court filings, Valencell repeatedly approached various major players–including Fitbit and Apple–looking for partnership & licensing opportunities. The companies refused and Valencell eventually filed a set of infringement lawsuits back in 2016. Apple & Fitbit then petitioned for inter partes review.

          [...]

          This setup is now common with many millions of such devices being sold across the country. According to its court filings, Valencell repeatedly approached various major players–including Fitbit and Apple–looking for partnership & licensing opportunities. The companies refused and Valencell eventually filed a set of infringement lawsuits back in 2016. Apple & Fitbit then petitioned for inter partes review.

          [...]

          Slip Op. On remand, the Board will correct the error and actually judge the obviousness of these three remaining claims.

        • Fast-track Appeals

          The USPTO has started its appeal fast-track program — “Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program.” The program includes a $400 cut-in-line progrea launches July 2, 2020. The required petition fee for cutting-in-line is $400. There are already a group of cases that are treated “special” for appeals, including reissues, reexaminations, and cases “made special.” But, the USPTO Examination Track-1 cases are not currently treated as special on appeal.

          The Patent Act provides a right to appeal to the PTAB once your claims have “been twice rejected” and you have “paid the fee.” 35 U.S.C. 134(a). The fee structure is a bit unusual. It costs $800 to file a notice-of-appeal at which point briefing begins. Quite often examiners withdraw their rejections after seeing the patent applicant’s brief. Once the briefing is complete the case is ready to be “forwarded” to the Board — which requires $2,240. [Current Fees] There is also a $1300 fee if you want an oral hearing rather than having the PTAB decide your case on the briefs.

          This is a good move from the PTO. A modest fee for a modest timing improvement. The current pilot is limited to 125 per quarter for the next year. 500 total before a reevaluation.

        • Transactionsecure abandons patent, terminating proceeding

          On July 7, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) terminated proceedings in Unified Patents Inc. et al. v. Transactionsecure LLC et al., after Transactionsecure abandoned all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 8,738,921. The ‘921 patent, directed to user authentication systems and methods, had been asserted in multiple district court cases against such companies as Formstack, Fitbit, Facebook, Stripe, and Github. All district court cases have been closed.

        • Software Patents

          • AutoBrilliance patent determined to be likely invalid

            On July 8, 2020, Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 6,792,351, owned and asserted by AutoBrilliance, LLC, an NPE. The ‘351 patent, directed to multi-vehicle communication, has been asserted in district court litigation against Toyota.

          • Pebble Tide (IP Edge) patent determined to be likely invalid

            On July 7, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in a PGR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 10,303,411, owned by Pebble Tide, LLC, an IP Edge affiliate and well-known NPE. The ’411 patent is directed to capturing and outputting digital content. Prior to institution, Pebble Tide already abandoned some of the challenged claims and the PTAB instituted a trial on all of the remaining challenged claims.

            The ‘411 patent has been asserted against over 25 companies, involving remote monitoring camera systems, mobile banking apps, online photo-sharing services, and auto insurance claims submission apps. All of the district court litigations have been terminated.

      • Copyrights

        • GitHub Removes ‘Chimera13′ iOS Jailbreak After DMCA Notice from ‘Unc0ver’

          Jailbreaking tools are generally protected from copyright infringement claims through a DMCA exemption. This week, however, GitHub removed the Chimera13 jailbreak code. The takedown notice, which is disputed, doesn’t come from Apple though, but was sent by the rival jailbreak solution Unc0ver.

        • Amazon, Lee Child & John Grisham Sue ‘Kiss Library’ Pirate eBook Sites

          Amazon Publishing has teamed up with publisher Penguin Random House and authors including Lee Child and John Grisham to sue ‘pirate’ sites operating under the Kiss Library brand. Filed in a Washington court, the lawsuit targets Ukraine-linked platforms while alleging rampant and willful copyright infringement.

        • Burning Man Refuses to Back Down Against the U.S. Government

          Digital Music News obtained an exclusive copy of said legal filing, which Burning Man and Black Rock City’s lawyers submitted to a Washington, D.C. federal court. Towards its beginning, the sizable document reiterates many of the previously introduced allegations, including that the Department of the Interior (DOI) charged “excessive, unjustified and unreasonable permit costs” for Burning Man events between 2015 and 2019, delayed making decisions relating to the nine-day-long gathering, and denied Black Rock City refunds for “unreasonable and unjustified charges.”

IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:13 am by Needs Sunlight

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