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07.09.20

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.”

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