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07.10.20

Links 11/7/2020: Slackel 7.3 Openbox, Kiwi TCMS 8.5, Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

      • Virtualization Is Key to the Future of IT. Therefore … What?

        If you look at commercial servers around the world, including those that provide the cloud in all its many forms to consumers of cloud-based infrastructures, platforms, services, and applications, you’ll soon learn that the vast majority of them run some version of Linux on the hardware, and consume a great many more Linux-based VMs than Windows-based ones.

        Even Microsoft has had to become more catholic in its approach: Today, its Azure cloud environment spawns Linux and Windows VMs with equal facility. Windows 10 has also become ever more accommodating of Linux, thanks to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) support for Linux within the Windows OS, along with Hyper-V’s ability to accommodate both Linux and Windows VMs.

        Specific versions of Linux have been developed as “network operating systems” that run on switches, and provide fully virtualized complex, networking environments. Thus, for example, Nvidia subsidiary Cumulus Networks offers a free virtual appliance called Cumulus VX that runs on KVM (a Linux-based or bare-metal hypervisor), Virtualbox (from a provider or as a local hypervisor), and Vagrant (from a libvirt provider).

        Cumulus Networks’ offering is based around Cumulus Linux, which adds a Network Command Line Utility (NCLU) to the basic Linux environment. This supports configuration, provisioning, and virtualization of network switches to support fully virtualized network infrastructures and let people learn about complex routing protocols such as BGP, XBGP, OSPF, and so forth.

        Other network players also offer virtualized toolsets and learning environments for their networking products and services as well, so they’re worth looking into as well, if networking is your thing.

      • Docker partners with AWS to smooth container deployments

        Docker containers, of course, can be used anywhere. But while developers may use Docker Desktop and the Docker CLI for building applications on their desktop, they may also have used Docker Compose to define and run multi-container applications via a YAML file. So far, so good.

        The problem is that there hasn’t been a simple seamless way to use Docker and deploy to AWS from their desktop. That’s because essential Amazon ECS constructs were not part of the Docker Compose specification. For instance, to run even a simple Compose file and deploy to ECS, developers are required to leave Docker tools and configure an Amazon VPC, Amazon ECS Cluster, and Amazon ECS Task Definition.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-07-10 | Linux Headlines

        Possible changes on the horizon for LibreOffice are raising concerns in the community, industry players decry Google’s gifting of Istio intellectual property to the Open Usage Commons, and both Ubuntu and Docker push further into the AWS ecosystem.

      • Tech Means Business: Best of Series 1

        Artificial intelligence with Darktrace
        Big data and Splunk
        IoT with Ubuntu/Canonical
        The Linux effect with Positive Internet
        Career paths, with DocuSign

        Thanks go to the people I spoke with, and who featured on the episodes that aren’t featured here. It was literally through lack of time that has meant this “best of” show is necessarily limited in scope.

        Series two already shaping up nicely: MasterCard, Red Hat, ARM, SuperMicro, and plenty more. Watch this space!

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Might Pursue x86_64 Micro-Architecture Feature Levels

        Stemming from the recent GNU glibc work on better handling modern CPU optimizations with newer instruction set extensions across Intel and AMD product families, the concept of x86-64 micro-architecture feature levels is being talked about by open-source/Linux developers.

        The idea of these feature levels is breaking up the supported instructions beyond base x86_64 into that of what is supported at reasonable times by both Intel and AMD processors. While newer Intel/AMD CPUs generally support more instruction set extensions, there are other headaches involved in the current handling of x86_64 CPU capabilities considering the likes of modern Intel Atom CPUs only supporting a sub-set of the extensions supported by Core and Xeon CPUs, thus coming up with these reasonably sane feature levels is being talked about by Red Hat developers with input from Intel and AMD engineers.

      • NVMe ZNS Support Coming To Linux 5.9

        NVMe ZNS is for the Zoned Namespaces support that is part of the NVMe 2.0 specification debuting in H2’2020. ZNS is similar to existing SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) and ZBC (Zoned Block Commands) with allowing applications/software to control the placement of data on the NVMe SSD within zones rather than relying upon the SSD device exclusively for data placement. NVMe ZNS aims to improve solid-state drive lifetime with reducing write amplification, reducing latency, improving throughput, and potential TCO benefits.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Extensions

          Usually I cover in-depth looks at various chunks of code I’ve been working on, but today it’s going to be a more traditional style of modern blogging: memes and complaining.

        • New VA-API H.264 decoder in gst-plugins-bad

          Recently, a new H.264 decoder, using VA-API, was merged in gst-plugins-bad.

          Why another VA-based H.264 decoder if there is already gstreamer-vaapi?

          As usual, an historical perspective may give some clues.

          It started when Seungha Yang implemented the GStreamer decoders for Windows using DXVA2 and D3D11 APIs.

          Perhaps we need one step back and explain what are stateless decoders.

        • NVIDIA open sourced part of NVAPI SDK to aid ‘Windows emulation environments’

          NVIDIA sneakily put out a little open source release recently, with a part of the NVAPI SDK now under the MIT license.

          This was mentioned by the crew working on the DXVK translation layer in the VKx Discord, who sent along word to me as well. NVAPI is NVIDIA’s core software development kit that allows direct access to NVIDIA GPUs and drivers on all Windows platforms.

          Now, that doesn’t sound interesting for Linux obviously but here’s why this actually is important: in the NVAPI Open Source SDK, it directly mentions that the contained “nvapi.h” file that’s now provided under the MIT license was done to enable “open source re-implementations of NVAPI for Windows emulation environments”—so the Wine and Proton compatibility layers are what they’re getting at without naming them directly.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Help us reach the next funding goal to ensure continued C# Support [Ed: Godot (Engine) took money from Microsoft to help prop up Microsoft monopolies and now it wants your money too (to help Microsoft's monopoly)]

        This was financed thanks to a generous donation from Microsoft. Unfortunately, due to the Covid situation, the renewal of this grant has been suspended and is uncertain.

      • Wasteland 3 for Linux (and Mac) delayed, possible by end of 2020

        inXile entertainment today put out a fresh update to go over Wasteland 3 details and they’ve decided to delay the Linux and Mac versions.

        After a successful Fig crowdfunding campaign in 2016, it saw inXile manage to pull in over three million dollars although over two million of that was monies from Fig directly. Since then, Microsoft swooped in and acquired inXile (and
        Obsidian Entertainment) as part of Xbox Game Studios back in 2018.

      • Remembering an indie gem with Osmos over 10 years later

        Ah Osmos, what an absolute gem that was back when it released for Linux in 2010. Looking back, it’s one of the first set of new-wave indie games to kick-start Linux gaming.

        I say ‘new-wave’ because there were of course indie games way before 2010, however, when thinking about the history of Linux gaming back in 2010 there wasn’t a great deal available officially at all. Hemisphere Games were practically a pioneer when it came to putting a game on Linux.

      • Go sightseeing in the upcoming Idaho DLC for American Truck Simulator

        Coming out sometime later this month, the Idaho DLC for American Truck Simulator has SCS Software trying something a little different.

        While driving around, you might often want to relax a bit and take in the sights. Rather than be focused on making deadlines, not crashing and trying to keep your business afloat. In the Idaho DLC, that’s part of the focus with a new ‘Viewpoint’ feature, that gives you in-game cutscenes with a showcase of places of interest. The locations include sites of economical and historical importance, such as the capital city of Boise. The spots are identified by a new film-camera 3D green icon visible in the world, which also appears on your GPS route advisor as a purple star.

      • Open source voxel game engine Minetest has a new release

        Inspired by Minecraft and Infiniminer, the open source and highly moddable voxel game engine Minetest has a new release available now.

        Since it’s only a game engine, out of the box it’s a little bare-bones. It does have a default Minetest Game, which is slowly expanding with more but it’s quite basic. In this latest release the Minetest Game itself gained Wild Cotton, Straw Stairs/Slabs became usable as fuel, there’s new textures for Dry Shrub and Brake Rail plus some new particle stuff for leaves and TNT.

      • Stadia round-up with F1 2020 out now, Celeste and El Hijo confirmed plus leaks

        Time for another Stadia round-up, as we have a few interesting nuggets to go over for the Linux-powered game streaming service with new games coming.

        Firstly, if you’re a big fan of racing games F1 2020 is now available on Stadia so you can play it on Linux. Looks like that’s currently the only supported way too, since there’s no word from Feral Interactive who ported some previous entries to the Linux desktop and it doesn’t work with the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma Review: The Swiss Army Knife of Desktops

          As the long-standing rival to GNOME, KDE Plasma is another one of the most popular Linux desktop environments. It’s a lot of the things people may not like about GNOME: resource efficient, unbelievably customizable, and as minimal or complex as you want it to be. This KDE Plasma review will cover performance, user interface, customization, and recommendations on how to use and who should use KDE Plasma.

          [...]

          As great as the defaults are, the strength of KDE lies in its customizability. It’s “have it your way” to the extreme.

          If you don’t like the default Breeze theme, it’s very easy to change it with the “Global Theme” application. You can choose from any that come preinstalled, or you can choose to go out and download more to suit your needs. The customization options are all about choice, and you can easily customize it to any look you want.

          Under System Settings, you can change almost every single aspect of the system, including global themes, window themes, icon themes, and more. You can make Plasma look like the following.

          [...]

          The beauty of all the customization Plasma offers is that everybody can use Plasma. It starts out spartan-simple, but you can change it to suit any workflow or appearance you want. You can make a very resource-efficient Windows or macOS clone. Additionally, those looking to try out Wayland without using GNOME should try out Plasma. It’s the only other full Desktop Environment that supports Wayland (with the addition of some other packages), and it’s a great place to test and experience Wayland on your system.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Nour E-Din ElNhass: An Appointment Up the Hill

          In my last post I showed screenshots for contacts appearing in Evolution, and explained that the .source file was created manually and that the credentials were hard coded for retrieving a specific journal form a specific EteSync account.

          After finishing this, I extended so that I can also retrieve calenders and tasks in the same manner which was quite easy as I already understood what should be done. Then I created an etesync-backend file, which generally handles the user’s collection account in evolution (retrieving/ creating /deleting) journals which are address-book or calenders .source files.

          The next step was then to make a user enter his credentials, So it isn’t hard coded. In this stage I had faced some issues regarding the implementation, I asked for my mentors help. Some of the problems that I faced were I needed to create a new dialog that will appear ask the user for his credentials and retrieve the data from EteSync, this had some implementation problems for me at first. Other issues appeared while integrating had to change some pieces.

    • Distributions

      • Linuxfx: an Ubuntu-based operating system that looks like Windows 10

        One of the things that keeps GNU/Linux-based distributions interesting is the fact that you can often customize the look and feel of the operating system by changing desktop environments or themes.

        You can even make a Linux distribution that looks like Windows. And I don’t think I’ve seen one that does that quite as well as Linuxfx, a Brazillian Linux distribution based on Ubuntu.

        A new version released this week is based on Ubuntu 20.04 and skinned to look a lot like Windows 10.

      • New Releases

        • Slackel 7.3 Openbox

          Slackel 7.3 Openbox has been released. Slackel is based on Slackware and Salix.

          Includes the Linux kernel 5.4.50 and latest updates from Slackware’s ‘Current’ tree.

          The new version is available in 64-bit and 32-bit builds.

          The 64-bit iso image support booting on UEFI systems.
          Iso images are isohybrid.
          Iso images can be used as installation media.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE buys Rancher Labs for Kubernetes expertise

          Enterprise Linux provider SUSE plans to acquire Rancher Labs in a bid to gain credibility within the Kubernetes container management market.

          Cupertino, Calif.-based Rancher Labs helps enterprise customers manage their Kubernetes environments at scale. Terms of the pending deal were not disclosed.

          Rancher’s open-source based products include Kubernetes distributions, multi-cloud management software as well as operating systems and storage for containerized workloads.

          “The Rancher acquisition allows SUSE to support containerized workloads more effectively across on-premises, public cloud and edge environments based on OSS,” said Arun Chandasakaran, a Gartner analyst. “It also provides SUSE a pathway to better engage with platform engineering teams, who are often at the forefront of DevOps efforts.”

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/28

          This week I have been fighting a bit with the size of the DVD. Due to some mistake in the pattern definition, it was for a good chunk ignored. Serves me right for fixing the error and then getting an ISO file that would not ever fit on a DVD, eh? Well, long story short: I needed to save some space, so looked at what the ‘fix’ newly brought on the DVD and aligned to what the DVD looked like before.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora program update: 2020-28

          Here’s your report of what has happened in Fedora this week. The Nest With Fedora Call for Participation is now open.

          I have weekly office hours in #fedora-meeting-1. Drop by if you have any questions or comments about the schedule, Changes, elections, or anything else.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Tiny modules unlock i.MX8M Mini and Nano

        Keith & Koep’s Linux-friendly 48 x 32mm “Myon II” and “Myon II Nano” modules feature the i.MX8M Mini and Nano with 8GB and 4GB LPDDR4, respectively, along with eMMC expansion, GbE, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, and up to -40 to 85°C support.

        Germany-based Keith & Koep has added two new members to its 48 x 32 x 4.2mm Myon family of compute modules. While the Myon I runs Linux on a Snapdragon 4.0, the pin-compatible Myon II and Myon II Nano integrate NXP’s i.MX8M Mini and i.MX8M Nano, respectively. The company previously showcased the i.MX8M Mini in its larger, SODIMM-style Trizeps VIII Mini, which was announced last year along with an i.MX8M-based Trizeps VIII module.

        [...]

        Since Keith & Koep does not post press releases, we are not sure when the Myon II arrived, but they are listed as “new” and we have yet to see any coverage of the modules. Both the Myon II and Myon II Nano support Linux Kernel 4.14, Android 9, and Windows 10 IoT Core.

      • Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

        The battery shipping with dogwood is 3600mAh, roughly 80% more battery than previous batches. Combined with early kernel optimizations usage is now measured in multiple hours, and with additional kernel work will continue to see leaps forward.

        A diffuser has been added between the screen and the indicator light. This makes notifications easier to notice at extreme viewing angles and overall better appearance.

        The volume buttons have become a volume rocker increasing usability.

        In previous versions, the headphone jack was recessed and not centered. In Dogwood it’s now flush with the top of the phone and centered in the frame.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • RFCat N32 Long Range nRF52832 Bluetooth Board Delivers 30x the Transmission Power with an Amplifier

          Bluetooth 5.0 has two main new features: high speed (2Mbps) and long-range. But as we’ve seen in our nRF52840 vs nRF52832 vs nRF52810 comparison is that only nRF52840 supports Bluetooth 5.x long range.

          Bluetooth 5 long range is achieved with two new lower bit rates of 500 kbps and 125 kbps. So what do you do if you’d like a longer range and keep using the higher bit rates? You add a power amplifier and LNA to your board, and that’s exactly what Nikolaj (RFCat) did with RFCat N32 board based on Nordic Semi nRF52832 wireless SoC.

          [...]

          The board is pre-loaded with Adafruit NRF52 bootloader supporting OTA, FreeRTOS, and Arduino. Source code and samples are available on Github. The Arduino library is based on Adafruit nRF52 Arduino Core and for some reason, only shared as a zip file (rfcat.zip in the Github repo).

        • Meet MrK_Blockvader, a little mobile robot that’s lots of fun

          One of the simplest ways to make a mobile robot involves differential steering, where two wheels move at different speeds as needed to turn and a ball caster keeps it from tipping over. The MrK_Blockvader is an excellent take on this type of bot — demonstrated in the first clip below — featuring a nice blocky body comprised out of 3D-printed parts, RC truck wheels driven by tiny gear motors, and an integrated roller on its back.

          The MrK_Blockvader is controlled via an Arduino Nano, along with an nRF24 breakout that allows it to receive signals from a radio transmitter unit. The build includes LED lighting as well as a piezo buzzer for all the beeps and boops. It can also take advantage of various sensors if necessary.

        • PoE FeatherWing Brings PoE, Unique MAC Address to Adafruit Feather Boards (Crowdfunding)

          After the launch of Microchip SAMA5 powered Giant Board last year, Silicognition LLC (Patrick Van Oosterwijck) is back with another Adafruit Feather compatible board.

          PoE FeatherWing is an expansion board that adds PoE support to Adafruit Feather board and can handle up to 4 Watts of power. The expansion board also comes with a built-in globally unique MAC address. It’s similar to the official Ethernet FeatherWing, but with the addition of PoE and a unique MAC address.

          [...]

          Since the board re-uses the same WIZnet W5500 Ethernet controller, it is fully compatible with existing software written for the Adafruit Ethernet FeatherWing meaning it can easily be programmed with Arduino or CircuitPuthong using standard libraries.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Trademark and the Tempest

        Of the four core legal intellectual property protections, trademarks haven’t received the least attention from the open source community – that title belongs to trade secrets. Relative to copyright and patents, however, trademarks have been paid far more limited attention, historically. It’s not that they’ve been ignored. As has been noted elsewhere, there are specialists that have devoted decades to thought and study around the practice.

        But the industry has typically handled them via common consensus rather than explicit legal mechanism as it has for, say, copyright. For this reason alone, the announcement of the Open Usage Commons (OUC) this week by Google was an interesting development for those who follow the mechanisms that underlie and gird open source ecosystems the world over. Setting the real and legitimate questions of control, execution and implementation aside for a moment, if the question is whether trademark should be an elevated towards a similar status with its copyright and patent counterparts, at least, the answer here at least is clear.

        The most obvious justification is that trademarks have been a brushfire of an issue for open source historically. Never elevated into a legitimate crisis, but igniting without warning every so often and leaving collateral damage like Iceweasel in their wake. From Canonical to Mozilla to Red Hat, trademark has been a chronic issue, an issue that would presumably benefit from some explicit clarification whether or not one believes the OUC is the appropriate mechanism to provide it.

      • What is Application Definition?

        Application definition is the process of creating a codified operational runbook. It formalizes the process of describing in code everything an application needs to be built, run, and managed.

      • Open source contributions face friction over company IP

        Now, the overwhelming majority — more than 90% — of proposed open source contributions are approved by the council, said Nithya Ruff, the head of the Comcast open source program office. Under the current advisory council process, once engineers are approved to contribute to existing projects, they can make further contributions without having to go through the process all over again, according to Ruff. The process typically takes a few days at most. And since 2016, Comcast has donated several entire projects to open source, such as its Traffic Control CDN and Web PA client-server interface.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla GFX: moz://gfx newsletter #54

            Bonjour à tous et à toutes, this is episode 54 of your favorite and only Firefox graphics newsletter. From now on instead of peeling through commit logs, I will be simply gathering notes sent to me by the rest of the team. This means the newsletter will be shorter, hopefully a bit less overwhelming with only the juicier bits. It will also give yours-truly more time to fix bugs instead of writing about it.

            Lately we have been enabling WebRender for a lot more users. For the first time, WebRender is enabled by default in Nightly for Windows 7 and macOS users with modern GPUs. Today 78% of Nightly users have WebRender, 40% on beta, 22% release enabled. Not all of these configurations are ready to ride the trains yet, but the numbers are going to keep going up over the next few releases.

      • CMS

        • Kiwi TCMS 8.5

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 8.5!

          [...]

          Our website has been nominated in the 2020 .eu Web Awards and we’ve promised to do everything in our power to greet future FOSDEM visitors with an open source billboard advertising at BRU airport.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Light OpenStreetMapping with GPS

            Now that lockdown is lifting a bit in Scotland, I’ve been going a bit further for exercise. One location I’ve been to a few times is Tyrebagger Woods. In theory, I can walk here from my house via Brimmond Hill although I’m not yet fit enough to do that in one go.

            Instead of following the main path, I took a detour along some route that looked like it wanted to be a path but it hadn’t been maintained for a while. When I decided I’d had enough of this, I looked for a way back to the main path but OpenStreetMap didn’t seem to have the footpaths mapped out here yet.

            I’ve done some OpenStreetMap surveying before so I thought I’d take a look at improving this, and moving some of the tracks on the map closer to where they are in reality. In the past I’ve used OSMTracker which was great, but now I’m on iOS there doesn’t seem to be anything that matches up.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Magit Git Client Is The “Killer Feature” In Emacs

          Users of other text editors often ask “why should I switch to Emacs?” or, more specifically, “what is the killer feature that Emacs offers?” Depending on your workflow, the killer feature for Emacs could be a number of things, one them being Magit!

        • Alder Lake-S Compiler Update Points to big.LITTLE Desktop Chips

          This design builds upon the big.LITTLE (Big.BIGGER in Intel parlance) design that debuted in the company’s 3D Lakefield chips. These designs incorporate one large Sunny Cove core combined with four Atom Tremont smaller cores in an ARM-like design. With the architecture proven and already working its way through the ecosystem, it’s rational to expect Intel to scale it up to tackle desktop PCs, too.

          The GNU compiler updates include a list of compatible instructions for both Intel’s upcoming data center Sapphire Ridge chips and Alder Lake desktop chips, with the latter noticeably missing support for AVX-512, a SIMD instruction that Intel recently introduced to its desktop chips. These instructions are disabled in Intel’s hybrid Lakefield chips to keep the instruction set consistent between cores (Atom doesn’t support AVX instructions), therefore easing operating system scheduling routines that target different workloads at the cores best suited for the task. Therefore, the lack of AVX-512 support for Alder Lake could serve as further evidence that Intel will bring its hybrid architecture to desktop PCs.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Listen to Larry Wall’s State of the Onion 2000 on YouTube

            It’s a typical Larry talk filled with quirky, humorous observations about life and programming, and notably he announces the Perl 6 project.

            Unfortunately the audio is low quality (hey it was 20 years ago at a low-budget conference); you can read a transcript of the talk here (with mp3 download links at the bottom). We also have collection of attendees’ reports from the conference.

          • Chicago.pm Virtual Meeting: July 23

            In case you are not familiar with gather.town, after you join the conversation, you will have a small avatar on a 2d map and can walk around. When you are close to somebody or a group of people, you can video chat with them over video. Perlmongers is supposed to be a social gathering, and we are experimenting with this venue to see if it’ll make that possible!

        • Python

          • The Real Python Podcast – Episode #17: Linear Programming, PySimpleGUI, and More

            Are you familiar with linear programming, and how it can be used to solve resource optimization problems? Would you like to free your Python code from a clunky command line and start making convenient graphical interfaces for your users? This week on the show, David Amos is back with another batch of PyCoder’s Weekly articles and projects.

          • Managing Python Environments with direnv and pyenv
          • wxPython by Example – Creating a wx.Notebook (Video)

            In this tutorial, you will learn how to add a wx.Notebook to your GUI application using wxPython. The notebook widget is how you would add a tabbed interface to your application.

          • 12+ Free (or Low-Cost) Websites to Empower Your Programming Education

            Although we still talk about programming as a standalone career, the dominance of technology in our lives makes it clear that coding is much more than a career path. In my opinion, computer science is more than a college major or a high-paid job – it’s a skill, essential for thriving in a modern-day economy.

            Regardless of what you want to do for a living – work in healthcare, marketing, business, or other fields – you will see more coding and have to deal with the growing number of technologies throughout your entire life.

            Now that we live in a tech-driven world, asking “Should I learn to program” is almost synonymous with “Should I learn to speak, read, or count?”. The short answer is: yes.

            How to start your journey in coding? The good news is, there are plenty of resources to support you all the way through. To save you the trouble of looking them up and choosing the right ones, I created my list of learning platforms that offer well-rounded programming education and help you stay competitive on the job market.

            Here are 12+ useful educational resources every coding student should check out.

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 003 – Methods

            My understanding about methods? They are functions in classes that help me manipulate the data the objects contain when they are created.

            I have been using something them subconsciously all along.
            The __init__ method, that is called/run automatically every time an object is created.

          • Another try at a new Python module for OpenPGP aka johnnycanencrypt

            Using OpenPGP from Python is a pain. There are various documentation/notes on the Internet explaining why, including the famous one from isis agora lovecraft where they explained why they changed the module name to pretty_bad_protocol.

            sequoia-pgp is a Rust project to do OpenPGP from scratch in Rust, and as library first approach. You can see the status page to see how much work is already done.

            Using this and Pyo3 project I started writing an experimental Python module for OpenPGP called Johnny Can Encrypt.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #4
  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How will the FDA’s new COVID-19 vaccine guidance affect development efforts?

        The FDA’s June 30 guidance broadly details the agency’s requirements for clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. These include considerations for trials’ designs and subject populations, measures of efficacy, statistical considerations, and safety thresholds, among other requirements. Notably, the guidance is the first from the FDA to establish such measures for a COVID-19 vaccine specifically. Besides providing vaccine developers, well, guidance for vaccine development, guidances issued early in the development process also bind the FDA to its own evidentiary mast against the siren song of political pressure. (In this way, guidances, too, can serve as an instrument in augmenting public trust.)

        The guidance clearly specifies current areas of scientific uncertainty and expresses what evidence the agency is looking for and how to obtain it. For example, the guidance admits that “[u]nderstanding of SARS-CoV-2 immunology, and specifically vaccine immune responses that might predict protection against COVID-19, is currently limited and evolving”—and, as a consequence, the goal of COVID-19 vaccine trials is not necessarily to demonstrate immunogenicity but “efficacy in protecting humans from SARS-CoV-2 infection and/or disease.”

        More specifically, the June 30 guidance notes a preference for vaccine trials with a 1:1 randomization of vaccine candidate:placebo, rather than trials investigating multiple different treatment arms. It also encourages following up with study participants for “at least” one or two years to determine the length of protection provided by the vaccine as well as to watch for potential adverse events. And the guidance suggests using a lab-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection as a trial’s primary endpoint, with incidences of severe COVID-19 as at least a secondary endpoint. The guidance also acknowledges the racial disparity in COVID-19 outcomes by “strongly encouraging” enrolling racial and ethnic minorities in any vaccine clinical trials. Developing a vaccine that is less effective when administered to Black patients, for example, would only exacerbate differential COVID-19 outcomes and contribute to health inequities.

        More controversially, however, the guidance pegs studies’ primary efficacy endpoint at “at least 50%”—a far cry from the 90%+ efficacy for vaccines against polio or HPV. This means, of course, that at least some vaccinated individuals (including high-risk individuals) would become infected. At the same time, an efficacy endpoint of 50% is not unheard of for vaccine development, and is used routinely for seasonal influenza vaccines. In cases like the flu, the goal is not necessarily to inoculate everyone, but to flatten the curve enough (i.e., to bring down R0) so that transmission is effectively halted. Mandating a coronavirus vaccine to demonstrate 90%+ efficacy while the pandemic rages would be allowing the perfect to be the enemy of the good.

        [...]

        The legal and policy issues arising in the context of vaccines for COVID-19 are not entirely unique to the vaccine context. The federal government has already faced questions around the FDA’s approval standards, regulating in the face of uncertainty, and ensuring access to other new healthcare technologies for COVID-19, such as drugs and diagnostics. But the particular facts underlying the development of new vaccines counsel in favor of solutions to this problem that differ from those the federal government has already considered. Now, several months into COVID-19’s spread into the United States, federal policymakers should work to ensure that plans specifically encouraging innovation into and access to vaccines are developed and implemented.

      • Fauci: United States ‘is in the middle, right as we speak, of a very serious problem.’

        Living with the coronavirus until a vaccine is developed will require unprecedented community engagement along with onerous individual sacrifices for the common good, global infectious disease experts said Friday at the first major conference on COVID-19.

        International authorities have figured out how to co-exist with the virus and keep it contained. But that takes enormous effort, and many countries — most notably the United States — are flailing, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

        “What we saw before us was the somewhat frightening but nonetheless real emergence of a true global pandemic,” said Fauci of the emergence of the new coronavirus in December and January — and the alarmingly explosive increase in cases worldwide.

        “It just went on and on and got worse and worse. And worse,” he said, clicking through slides showing the spread of disease across the globe in his virtual presentation Friday morning. “There were responses that were sometimes favorable, in that countries got it under control. But my own country is in the middle, right as we speak, of a very serious problem.”

      • ‘People would have starved’: how young volunteers saved Melbourne’s towers

        With officials failing to provide adequate food or care to people living in COVID-19 lockdown of public housing in Melbourne, the job of looking after the community fell to young volunteers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Malware in Proprietary Software – Latest Additions

          The initial injustice of proprietary software often leads to further injustices: malicious functionalities.

          The introduction of unjust techniques in nonfree software, such as backdoors, DRM, tethering and others, has become ever more frequent. Nowadays, it is standard practice.

          We at the GNU Project show examples of malware that has been introduced in a wide variety of products and dis-services people use everyday, and of companies that make use of these techniques.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation launches Community Specification for creating standards and specifications [Ed: This misses the point that the Linux Foundation outsourced this to Microsoft (Github) proprietary software and monopoly]

                According to the Linux Foundation, Open Standards are “specifications made available to the public, developed, and maintained via an inclusive, collaborative, transparent, and consensus-driven process.” These standards allow for interoperability and data exchange among different products or services.

                The Linux Foundation believes it’s important to have a standards project because items like due process, balance, inclusiveness, and intellectual property clarity are important for developing open-source projects, and a standards project ensures there aren’t any surprises regarding intellectual property down the line.

                “The Community Specification builds on these best practices and brings them to the Git repository development environments that developers are already using. And it makes it easy to get started. You can start using the Community Specification by bringing its terms into your repository and getting to work — just like starting an open source project,” the Linux Foundation wrote.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Friday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (curl, LibRaw, python-pillow, and python36), Mageia (coturn, samba, and vino), openSUSE (opera), and Ubuntu (openssl).

          • Comparing 3 Great Web Security Books

            I thought about using a clickbait title like “Is this the best web security book?”, but I just couldn’t do that to you all. Instead, I want to compare and contrast 3 books, all of which I consider great books about web security. I won’t declare any single book “the best” because that’s too subjective. Best depends on where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to achieve.

          • Hardening Firefox against Injection Attacks – The Technical Details

            In a recent academic publication titled Hardening Firefox against Injection Attacks (to appear at SecWeb – Designing Security for the Web) we describe techniques which we have incorporated into Firefox to provide defense in depth against code injection attacks. Within this blogpost we are going to provide insights into the described hardening techniques at a technical level with pointers to the actual code implementing it. Note that links to source code are perma-linked to a recent revision as of this blog post. More recent changes may have changed the location of the code in question.

            [...]

            Firefox ships with a variety of built-in pages, commonly referred to as about: pages. Such about: pages allow the user to view internal browser information or change settings.

            If one were able to inject script into a privileged about: page it would represent a complete browser takeover in many cases. To reduce this injection attack surface, we apply a strong Content Security Policy (CSP) of default-src chrome: to all about: pages. The applied CSP restricts script to only JavaScript files bundled and shipped with the browser and accessible only via the Firefox internal chrome:// protocol. Whenever loading any kind of JavaScript, Firefox internally consults its CSP implementation by calling the function ShouldLoad() for external resources, or GetAllowsInline() for inline scripts. If the script to be executed is not allow-listed by the added CSP then Firefox will block the script execution, rendering the code injection attack obsolete.

            Further, we verify that any newly added about: page within Firefox exposes a strong CSP by consulting the function AssertAboutPageHasCSP(). This function basically acts as a commit guard to our codebase and ensures that no about: page makes it into the Firefox codebase without a strong CSP.

            Before we started to protect about: pages with a CSP we faced a bug where text and markup controlled by a web application was reused in a permission prompt, which led to a Universal Cross-Site Scripting (UXSS) attack in the browser interface (CVE-2018-5124). These scripts run with elevated privileges that get access to internal APIs and can result in a full system compromise. What raises the severity of such bugs is the high-level nature of the vulnerability and the highly deterministic nature of the exploit code which allowed comparably trivial exploitation.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • What’s behind the mass protests in Mali?

        Protesters took to the streets of Mali’s capital on Friday afternoon for the latest in a series of mass demonstrations calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has struggled to stem rising jihadist and inter-communal violence in northern and central parts of the country after seven years in power.

        Malian analysts say the protests – which began last month – represent the most serious threat 75-year-old Keita, commonly known as IBK, has faced since he was elected president a year after a military coup helped extremist groups take control of large chunks of Mali’s desert north.

        Political tensions have been rising across Mali since a disputed legislative election in March. Some of the results were later overturned by the country’s constitutional court in a decision that was perceived to benefit Keita’s party, sparking protests in different cities.

        Ibrahim Maïga, a Bamako-based researcher at the Institute for Security Studies said the protests have since grown to encompass a broader set of concerns among Malians, in particular a “dissatisfaction linked to the deterioration of the security situation” in the country.

        “This protest movement… was able to crystallise the disappointments, anger, and frustrations of many Malians,” said Maïga.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • USPTO Grants

          For patent issuance, we are just over 1/2 way through the calendar year after passing through 27 of 52 tuesdays. (The USPTO always releases newly issued patents on Tuesday morning just after midnight). The chart below shows the number of utility patents issued per calendar year for the past decade. For 2020, the blue portion shows thus-far in 2020 and the orange forecasts the rest of 2020 based upon the year thus far.

        • New Federal Circuit Appeal Claims PTAB Unconstitutional Because Of Fee Funding—But Ignores The Patent Examination Process

          New Vision argues that, because a portion of the PTAB’s budget depends on post-institution fees that are only collected if the proceeding is instituted, the judges are biased towards institution. But this argument ignores the cost of the work performed by PTAB judges after institution. As a fee-funded agency, the USPTO is supposed to recover the entirety of its costs through the fees it charges, with the fees being commensurate with the costs. Fortunately, the USPTO publishes a unit-cost breakdown of major aspects of everything it does—including IPRs and other AIA trial proceedings.

          The USPTO receives $15,500 pre-institution when an IPR request is filed, but it costs the agency $15,922 to complete all of the work through the institution decision. If instituted, the IPR costs the agency $16,206 to complete the work, but the USPTO only collects $15,000. In other words, if PTAB judges were driven by financial considerations of the agency, the financial incentive would actually be to deny institution, because every grant of institution actually represents a net loss to the agency and there’s no possibility of appeal of a denied institution.

          If PTAB judges are responding to financial incentives, we would expect the institution rate to be artificially low, not high, meaning that a petitioner might have a viable challenge, but New Vision does not.

          [...]

          So if structural financial incentives create due process violations, as New Vision alleges in their appeal, then the entire patent granting process is suspect.

          Every patent in force is a potential due process violation.

          And every patent defendant in existence would bring a due process defense, claiming that the patent granting process deprived them of their liberty to create without receiving due process of law because of the financial incentives of examiners and the USPTO to grant patents.

        • Vaporize your Fingerprints: Toyota’s Invention Inherently Obvious

          Toyota’s US8394618 covers a method of removing fingerprints using a lipase “capable of enzymatically degrading a component of the fingerprint” by vaporization.

          Reactive had previously attempted to trigger an interference proceeding at the PTO and then unsuccessfully sued in Federal Court to have the patent rendered unenforceable (or to transfer ownership rights). Those approaches failed.

          This inter partes review is what worked. After granting the IPR petition, the Board conducted a trial and then issued a Final Written Decision that the challenged claims were unpatentable as obvious.

Education Without Free Software is Training or Indoctrination

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not every adult will have a computer

A programme in school

Summary: Kids need to decide for themselves what they want to do and what they wish to use when they grow up; schools need to provide general tools and the mental capacity to make good decisions (rather than make these decisions for the kids, sometimes at the behest of foreign monopolists)

TRAINING. What is it really? How does that differ from education?

What about indoctrination? Well, the former tends to allude to relatively simple tasks, which do not necessarily require profound understanding. It tends to be something mechanical, associated with muscle memory, subconscious reflexes and skilled art. The term “indoctrination” is a lot more loaded because of political connotation and association with cults. When people affiliate themselves with bad things that cause them to do/say bad things we tend to call them “indoctrinated”.

There’s nothing wrong with training. Cops undergo training, barbers are trained for even longer periods of time than cops (in the US at least), and artists gain experience by apprenticeships, practice, inspiration and one might say “training”. No “indoctrination” to it; creativity is inspired by various outside influence(r)s and artists are rarely forced to follow one single “genre” or “style”.

“Skills that are dependent on menu layouts and GUIs (which change over time; see what we said about AWS a month ago) aren’t really skills and they won’t stay in the minds of young people, unlike analytical skills.”Enter the realm of software and what we typically deal with is either programming or the use of a program (application). There has long been that debate about whether we should teach kids/adolescents to code (at school level) and whether we should teach them how to use particular applications (and, if so, what kind/s of applications). Many schools still teach students/pupils how to use spreadsheets and word processors (not typesetting programs). They tend to focus on only Microsoft products, albeit with ‘clown computing’ hype being a ‘thing’ and with Chromebooks becoming very ubiquitous in schools, Google Docs also became an option.

If a school’s job is to prepare youngsters for “jobs”, then that might make pragmatic sense. The problem is, the schools become pipelines of proprietary software giants, a peripheral ‘training camp’ of sorts, teaching kids to become vendor-controlled and indebted to monopolies. This is morally wrong.

I share the sentiments of figosdev when he says that schools need to focus on teaching the nature of programming (even if at some abstract/basic level such as LOGO). Skills that are dependent on menu layouts and GUIs (which change over time; see what we said about AWS a month ago) aren’t really skills and they won’t stay in the minds of young people, unlike analytical skills. Teachers ought to sternly insist their students are taught general skills. Public education is otherwise merely an extension of “the industry” and this is ripe for abuse (cushioning corporate investment at the taxpayers’ expense).

Say no to proprietary software in schools. Say no to monopolies. Let kids decide for themselves what they want to do after they end their actual education period. Schools are not mills/factories.

Links 10/7/2020: Wayland-Info, diffoscope 151 and Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

Posted in News Roundup at 11:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Chromebook that acts like a computer (but isn’t quite)

        Chrome OS, you see, was originally little more than the Google Chrome browser, with a minimal operating system wrapped around it to make the browser go.

        [...]

        (I should add here that, at the time of writing, the Linux feature was still in “beta”, and exhibited a couple of bugs. Though, as I will get into in a moment, those bugs may well be hardware-related, rather than a problem with Chrome OS itself.)

    • Server

      • Best Business Intelligence Software and Business Operating System Options for 2020

        2020 is not just the year of further technical advancement if anything, 2020 seems to be more business-centric than anything else regardless of the subject area or nature. The technological progress of businesses can only be ensured if the in-house IT infrastructures are up to date. For cloud computing though, Linux is proving to be an unparalleled fit and rather an inexpensive fit for businesses.

        You will also find that the integration of Linux systems is quite simple depending on the specific Linux distribution – distro – you select in coordination with your computing requirement.

        The best still is the fact that you don’t have to discard your standing infrastructure to appropriate the flexibility that open-source software and cost-effective functionality of Linux provides. It is literally a free replacement for other OSs, which businesses find more than a little hard to comprehend.

        Linux does not require purchase prizes even for the applications unless you are a kind of business that needs expert help from paid tech support. Even that can be worked away, given the variety of Linux system administrator training programs available today which effectively ticks an overhead off the list of businesses’ overall cost.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • More Accurate Load Tracking Being Worked On For the ACPI CPPC CPUFreq Driver

        The ACPI CPPC (Collaborative Processor Performance Control) Linux CPUFreq driver continues to be improved upon.

        CPPC is the ACPI specification around OS management of describing abstract performance scales and a means of being able to request higher/lower performance levels and measuring per-CPU performance. The Linux kernel for a while has offered the ACPI CPPC CPUFreq driver for making use of this standard on supported systems for frequency scaling. So far mostly Arm Linux systems have leveraged ACPI CPPC CPUFreq while last year AMD proposed their own CPPC driver albeit at the moment appears stalled.

      • Intel Media Driver Q2-2020 Ships With Better Tiger Lake Support

        The Intel Media Driver Q2’2020 release continues evolving the Gen12/Xe Graphics support for forthcoming Tiger Lake systems as well as for the likes of Rocket Lake and DG1. New on the Gen12/TGL front is HEVC SCC encoding, 16-bit format support, better performance via utilizing the media BLT engine for surface hardware copies, engine-to-engine (E2E) compression support, and surface sharing.

      • Corsair Commander Pro Driver On-Deck For Linux 5.9 Kernel

        For those looking for an RGB lighting and fan speed controller system that works under Linux, the Corsair Commander PRO is slated to see support with the upcoming Linux 5.9 kernel cycle.

        A new driver for the Corsair Commander Pro was queued up on Thursday into hwmon-next as material for the Linux 5.9 merge window in August. The Corsair Commander PRO supports commanding up to six cooling fans, two LED channels, and sports four temperature sensors while interfacing with the system via USB.

      • Graphics Stack

        • weston-info as a standalone utility
          Hi all,
          
          A long time ago [1], I suggested that we move weston-info out of the
          Weston source tree because this is a very useful tool which gives
          important information about any Wayland compositor, not just Weston.
          
          The general consensus was it was a good idea, unfortunately other more
          important things happened, people (including me) eventually forgot
          about that and it never actually came to fruition…
          
          But the need remains, I think we should have a compositor agnostic
          tool that gives the general information about the running compositor.
          And we should not need to install Weston for that alone.
          
          So I took the liberty to uproot weston-info, rename it as wayland-info
          and put it on its own repo:
          
          https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/ofourdan/wayland-info
          
          As you can see, I took great care to preserve the git history of
          weston-info in the process.
          
          In the meantime, Peter has already submitted patches to wayland-info
          (thanks Peter!) so the tip of wayland-info is different from
          weston-info (basically, we have diverged already).
          
          Eventually, if nobody has objections, we could move that repo to the
          wayland domain…
          
          Cheers,
          Olivier.
          
        • Wayland-Info Spun From Weston Code For Offering Wayland Helper Tool

          Wayland’s Weston compositor has provided a weston-info utility to display information on supported Wayland extensions and versioning along with other details of the Wayland compositor environment. That utility is now being spun out as wayland-info as a Wayland compositor-agnostic utility for displaying this information.

          Olivier Fourdan of Red Hat has been working on spinning out weston-info as wayland-info for serving as its own standalone utility while some other common Wayland utilities/examples may end up being added to its source tree as well, akin to mesa-utils.

        • NVIDIA Vulkan Beta Driver 450.56.01 out, Ray Tracing and bug fixes

          Shortly after giving us a brand new stable mainline driver, the NVIDIA driver team have released a new developer-focused Vulkan Beta Driver.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Restart

          The last remaining feature for GL 3.1 was primitive restart, which allows an indexed draw command to end the current primitive when a specified index is processed, beginning a new one of the same type with the next index.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT vs. Intel Core i9 10900K Linux Gaming Performance

        Following the 130+ benchmarks of the AMD Ryzen 3000XT series earlier in the week looking at the CPU/system performance on Ubuntu Linux, here is our first look at the Linux gaming performance with putting the Ryzen 9 3900XT up head-to-head against the Intel Core i9 10900K.

        This Linux gaming bout is looking at the Core i9 10900K vs. Ryzen 9 3900XT for Linux gaming while also looking at the CPU power consumption and performance-per-Watt.

    • Applications

      • The 10 Best Linux Network Monitoring Tools

        Having total control over your network is essential to prevent programs from overusing your network resources and slowing down the overall performance. This is why you should install a network monitoring tool on your system, giving you a visual overview of everything that’s happening on your network.

        To help you out, we have put together a list of the ten best Linux network monitoring tools. All the tools mentioned here are open-source and follows an easy and intuitive UI (mostly command-line based) to help you monitor the bandwidth usage on your network.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours details lots of cancelled Valve projects

        Here’s one for serious Valve enthusiasts and people wanting to get juice details on their cancelled projects, and everything that led up to Half-Life: Alyx.

        Half-Life: Alyx – Final Hours is an interactive storybook, written by Geoff Keighley, that takes fans inside Valve Software to chronicle the company’s past decade of game development, including the return of Half-Life. There’s so much detail in there it’s crazy, it’s also pretty amazing to learn it all with this new Valve Software that doesn’t seem to mind talking a bit more. If you’re curious, that does include a cancelled Half-Life 3. Yes, it really actually was a thing (as if there was any doubt) but it along with a lot more didn’t make the cut.

      • More progress on Easy Anti-Cheat in Wine / Proton coming

        With the current in-progress community development effort to get Easy Anti-Cheat working in the Wine / Proton compatibility layers, they continually hit new milestones.

        Starting off getting one game to progress at low performance back in late June, they shared another big update recently. Going by what they said on Twitter it appears multiple titles have become playable on Linux including: Apex Legends, For Honor, Paladins, Cuisine Royale, Halo: The Master Chief Collection (single-player already works fine though), Rust and Dead By Daylight.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • High DPI update

          I’d like to share a brief update regarding the state of high DPI support. Since getting a laptop with a 4K screen, I’ve found all sorts of subtle papercuts and have been doing my best to fix them or at least file bug reports.

        • Adding EteSync calendars and tasks to Kontact – GSoC 2020 with KDE and EteSync [Part 4]

          Last month, I wrote about adding EteSync address books to Kontact. Since then, I have been working on extending this functionality to calendars and tasks as well. I am happy to report that fetching and modifying EteSync contacts, calendars and tasks is now possible in Kontact. If you want to test it out, skip to ”Testing the resource” section below.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • IT careers: How to get a job as a DevOps professional

          Editor’s note: In this ongoing series for IT job hunters, we’ll explore in-demand roles, necessary skills, and how to stand out in an interview. Here, Pete Sosnowski, co-founder and VP people at Zety, shares insights on getting a DevOps role.

        • Nest With Fedora CfP open

          In a normal year, we’d be getting ready for my favorite event: Flock to Fedora. But as we’re all aware, this is anything but a normal year. Despite this—or perhaps because of this—we still want to bring the community together to share ideas, make plans, and form the bonds that put the Friends in Fedora. Instead of Flocking to Fedora, we’re going to Nest With Fedora. I’m happy to announce that the Call for Participation is now open.

          Nest With Fedora features five tracks. I included a few examples for each one, but don’t limit yourself. What do you want to share with the Fedora community?

        • Performance and usability enhancements in Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2.2

          Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 2.2 is now available. For the improvements in this release, we focused on performance and configuration, plus updating CodeReady Workspaces 2.2 to use newer versions of the most popular runtimes and stacks. We also added the ability to allocate only the CPU that you need for IDE plugins, and we introduced a new diagnostic feature that lets you start up a workspace in debug mode.

          CodeReady Workspaces 2.2 is available on OpenShift 3.11 and OpenShift 4.3 and higher, including tech-preview support for OpenShift 4.5.

        • What does the future hold for edge computing?

          That being said, edge computing is still in its infancy and not quite ready for primetime yet. Gartner’s report admitted as much, noting that just 10 percent of enterprise data was generated and processed at the edge in 2018.

          For “the edge” to become as ubiquitous as “the cloud” in the tech industry, a myriad of technical challenges will need to be tackled. These include the development of compact devices with outsized processing power, the creation of software that enables companies to remotely monitor and update a limitless number of edge devices from across the world and new security technology and protocols to keep everything safe.

          Many companies are actively working to solve these problems, including Red Hat, Nutanix and Cloudera, all of which have developed their own edge technology. We recently spoke with senior leaders at each to learn what the future holds for edge computing — and what it will take to realize it.

        • Red Hat: Migrating To The Cloud And The Risk Of Sticking With The Status Quo

          The ability for companies to immediately respond to the need to support a work-from-home environment depended, in large part, upon where those firms were already in terms of their digitization journeys. For some, the shift was relatively easy, thanks to an existing embrace of cloud-based platforms and systems.

          For others, not so much: Continued reliance on legacy infrastructure, which itself often depends on manual intervention to function properly, created a panic for some companies unable to make the move to remote working without major roadblocks.

          Speaking with PYMNTS, Tim Hooley, chief technologist, EMEA, FSI at Red Hat, explained why organizations continue to delay their cloud migrations, and offered a guide to overcoming the sense of being overwhelmed and making progress in the journey toward fully automated back offices.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian based Mobian Linux OS Brings Librem 5 Phosh Shell to Pinephone

          2020 is the year of the Linux phone. Sort of… At least, we now have smartphones that ships with Linux thanks to PinePhone and Librem 5, and several Linux mobile operating systems with Ubuntu Touch based UBPorts, postmarketOS, and others.

          Mobian is another Linux distribution which as its name implies is based on Debian and targets mobile devices. Interestingly, the project relies on Purism Phosh phone shell/user interface used in Librem 5, but the first Mobian image has been released for PinePhone with plans for PineTab and Librem 5 support coming later.

        • Debian LTS Team Will No Longer Support Debian 8 ‘Jessie’ GNU/Linux

          On June 30, 2020, the long-term Debian 8 “Jessie” reached its end-of-life (EOL). Subsequently, the Debian Long Term Support (LTS) Team has officially announced that it will no longer provide further security patches or any other updates to Debian 8.

          Hence, if you’re using Debian 8, you should upgrade your system to the next long-term Debian 9 “Stretch.” However, you can still extend the lifetime of Debian 8 for a further five years under the Extended Long Term Support (ELTS) by paying some money.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Google partners with Ubuntu to bring Flutter apps to Linux

          Since the inception of Android, Google has always supported app development with its open-source Android Studio and also developed Flutter, more recently. Flutter is an application framework for the development of cross-platform applications that are compatible with Android, iOS, and macOS too.

          Flutter is being used by many developers these days because of its simplicity and the ease of coding only once to support on all platforms. There are so many applications developed using this framework but now, Google is now partnering with Ubuntu Linux aiming to bring Flutter apps to Linux OS. As we know Linux is not an application rich platform but if Flutter apps come to Linux then we may have a richer Linux experience.

        • This Ubuntu-Based Linux OS Looks Shockingly Similar To Windows 10

          If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I can confidently say that an Ubuntu-based Linux OS called “WindowsFx” really admires the appearance of Microsoft’s Windows 10. In fact, this distribution goes to such painstakingly detailed lengths to emulate the look and feel of Windows 10, I’m surprised Microsoft hasn’t called in the army of lawyers to shut it down. But is WindowsFx a comfortable gateway into Linux for Windows users, or merely an Ubuntu clone with a clever Windows skin?

        • Google joins Canonical to bring Flutter apps to Linux

          Google has announced that it is partnering with open source software operating system Ubuntu maker Canonical to bring its open-source UI software development kit Flutter to Linux desktop operating system.

          Google”s goal for Flutter has always been to provide a portable framework for building beautiful user interfaces (UIs) that run at native speeds no matter what platform.

          “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,” said Google”s Chris Sells and Canonical”s Ken VanDine.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • How open source will affect the future of our energy use

        Humanity depends upon the energy furnished by our environment. Without powerful energy sources, we would not be able to digitally communicate with people from anywhere and feel as if we’re in the same room.

        According to the 2019 edition of the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, we are still heavily relying on non-renewable energy sources such as coal, gas, and oil (by a share of 85%) to maintain our lifestyle. The slight 8% share renewable resources represent is obviously not sufficient to match today’s queries. With that knowledge, at what price are we leading this lifestyle? We’re meeting the needs of the present, but are we compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs?

      • Events

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New releases: Tor 0.3.5.11, 0.4.2.8, and 0.4.3.6 (with security fixes)

            We have new stable releases today. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for 0.4.3.6 on the website. Packages should be available within the next several weeks, with a new Tor Browser by the end of the month.

            There are also updated versions for older supported series. You can download 0.3.5.11 and 0.4.2.8 at https://dist.torproject.org/.

          • New alpha release: Tor 0.4.4.2-alpha

            There’s a new alpha release available for download. If you build Tor from source, you can download the source code for 0.4.4.2-alpha from the download page on the website. Packages should be available over the coming weeks, with a new alpha Tor Browser release around the end of the month.

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

      • CMS

        • Hugo: a static-site generator

          Static web-site generators take page content written in a markup language and render it into fully baked HTML, making it easy for developers to upload the result and serve a web site simply and securely. This article looks at Hugo, a static-site generator written in Go and optimized for speed. It is a flexible tool that can be configured for a variety of use cases: simple blogs, project documentation, larger news sites, and even government services.

      • Programming/Development

        • GCC 11 Compiler Lands Intel Sapphire Rapids + Alder Lake Support

          Landing in the GNU Compiler Collection 11 (GCC 11) codebase this morning is the Sapphire Rapids and Alder Lake enablement.

          GCC 11 is bringing the compiler support for these 2021 Xeon and desktop CPUs succeeding Ice Lake Xeon and Rocket Lake, respectively. This is exposed via new -march=sapphirerapids and -march=alderlake compiler switches for generating binaries optimized for these CPU families.

        • Call for Code Daily: Virtual classrooms, contact tracing, weather tips

          The power of Call for Code® is in the global community that’s been built around this major tech-for-good initiative. Whether it’s the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers leveraging the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all of the amazing #TechForGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you. Check out the stories from the week of July 6, 2020.

        • Python

  • Leftovers

    • Three Amigos
    • Not Catharsis but Vengeance: The Startling Fiction of Fernanda Melchor

      Earlier this year, police on the northern outskirts of #MexicoCity encountered a grisly scene: A 46-year-old man, Francisco Robledo, was covered in blood, with the mutilated body of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old woman, laid out before him.

    • A collection of Forum Posts I Don’t Want to Sink into Oblivion

      Sometimes I get a creative kick when writing a reply on some forum, and then I feel a little sorry to think that this “gem” will soon be forgotten and unfindable.

      So I decided to copy-paste some of these outbursts to a dedicated page.

      It’s a little narcissistic.

    • Education

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Spiked Concerns: The Melbourne Coronavirus Lockdown

        It all looked like it was going so well for Australia and Victoria, in particular. They could point to the mishandling of the Ruby Princess, a cruise ship that docked in Sydney and whose passengers disembarked chocked with coronavirus, precipitating 700 cases and some 21 deaths across the country. It had, till now, been the single most contagious incident in the COVID-19 annals of the antipodes. Victorians could hold their heads hubristically high.

      • NEA President: Trump’s Plan to Reopen Schools Is Dangerous for Students and Teachers

        The White House pressure campaign presents a false choice between the health of our students and the health of our economy. It’s appallingly reckless.

      • The Dangers of Persecuting Doctors

        The detention in Egypt of nine doctors and paramedical personnel is only the latest attack on doctors dealing with the corona virus pandemic. The doctors were denouncing the deaths of front-line health care workers, as the country is struggling to control the pandemic and energize the economy with limited resources.

      • The World Can Show How Pharma Monopolies Aren’t the Only Way to Fight COVID-19

        The U.S. has bought up almost all of the stock of remdesivir from Gilead, making it nearly impossible for this COVID-19 drug to be available anywhere else in the world. After making America sick again, Trump is trying to compensate for his administration’s failure by buying Gilead’s production for the next three months for the U.S., leaving nothing for the rest of the world.

      • No “Revision” of Guidelines for School Reopenings, CDC Director Says

        Following complaints from President Donald Trump about recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how schools across the country should reopen in the fall while the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Vice President Mike Pence suggested on Wednesday that the agency would be issuing out new protocols in line with the president’s thinking.

      • ‘The Last Straw’: As Pandemic Rages, Oxfam Warns 12,000 Could Die Per Day From Hunger

        “Meanwhile, those at the top are continuing to make a profit.”

      • Protest and Survive!

        Let’s face it. We’re on a Covid-19 Republican death march heading into the rest of the summer and fall. We cannot wait for January 2021 to shift course. Our lives depend on disruption now. Indeed, our survival hinges on making it impossible for our leaders to ignore us: We have to shift the political

      • What It Means When You Wear a Mask—and When You Refuse To

        Covid-19 spread is accelerating across the country. In states as politically divergent as Texas, Oregon, Florida, California, and Arizona, daily case counts are soaring and test positivity rates are up—indicators that portend the grave possibility of an ensuing increase in Covid-19-related deaths.

      • Coronavirus Relief Funds Are About to Run Out for the Child Care Industry

        Workers in the U.S. are staring down the precipice as lawmakers fail to address the economic ravages of the pandemic. Even as some 21 million people remain unemployed, the $600 per week in additional unemployment insurance created by Congress’s coronavirus relief package, the CARES Act, is set to expire on July 31. Student debt payments will resume on October 1 for the 34 million federal student loan borrowers whose loans were suspended by CARES. But perhaps no cliff is as steep as the early care and education sector, which may be cut in half by the time the pandemic is over. To save it, the sector will need an infusion of at least $50 billion. But so far, despite how essential child care is to restarting the economy, Congress has been unwilling to meet the crisis with the resources required to stave off a crisis.

      • ‘Connect the Dots’: Tulsa Health Official Points to Trump Rally as ‘Likely’ Source of Covid-19 Spike

        “May this stand as wakeup call against future mass gatherings/rallies, especially without masks.”

      • With Rhyme and Reasons: Rap Songs for COVID Migrants

        That’s Duleshwar Tandi’s singing. “I expressed my anguish and anger through my rap,” he says, about why he wrote and sang ‘Sarkar, tui jabab de’.

      • ‘Step in the Right Direction,’ Say Healthcare Advocates as Biden Vows to Share Any Covid-19 Vaccine With the World

        Biden must go further, said advocacy group Health GAP, by releasing a concrete plan to dismantle Trump’s “misguided, dangerous current policy of ‘America first, everyone else to the back of the queue.’”

      • Undercover Patriots

        Trump, Tulsa, and the rise of military dissent.

      • Health Official Says Tulsa’s Spike in COVID Cases Likely Linked to Trump Rally

        A public health official in Tulsa, Oklahoma, suggested this week that President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in the city last month likely caused a spike in new cases of coronavirus seen in the jurisdiction.

      • Viagra? Yes. Birth Control? No. SCOTUS Sides with Trump & Limits Free Contraception Under Obamacare

        The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to reproductive rights when it sided with the Trump administration in letting employers deny people access to free birth control based on religious or moral grounds, hollowing out a mandate under the Affordable Care Act that requires most private health insurance plans to provide cost-free birth control. “It’s a really deeply disappointing ruling,” says Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. “These individuals are effectively on their own to find and pay for their contraception.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Zoom vs JioMeet: Indian competition faces new heat with uncanny UI and app resemblance

          Commenting on if Zoom plans to file a legal lawsuit against JioMeet, Raje hinted that there have been a lot of internal discussions by the Zoom team, and said, “I would not like to comment on this because it is a matter for my legal team to look into it. I will leave it to them.”

          Realizing the need to introduce itself to the Indian market, Zoom said it is a US-based company publicly traded on the NASDAQ, founded and headquartered in San Jose, California. Raje added, “We have two data centers in India; people tend to forget that.”

        • Linus Torvalds longs for Apple’s ARM-based Mac

          Torvalds said he was more interested in an eventual Apple ARM desktop system over a laptop; he sees laptops as primarily something to use when travelling. The main selling point for ARM thus far has been low power, not performance, making the laptop space the more natural fit, Torvalds said. But ARM has the potential to grow beyond the low-power realm, a direction he expects Apple to take.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • diffoscope 151 released

            The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 151.

          • New German law would force ISPs to allow secret service to install trojans on user devices

            A new law being proposed in Germany would see all 19 federal state intelligence agencies in Germany granted the power to spy on German citizens through the use of trojans. The new law would force internet service providers (ISPs) to install government hardware at their data centers which would reroute data to law enforcement, and then on to its intended destination so the target is blissfully unaware that their communications and even software updates are being proxied. Specifically, Netzpolitik pointed out that the law calls for the following:

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Maine Broadband Privacy Law Passes Early First Amendment Test

              When you send an email or browse the web, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may track what sites you visit and when, as well as any unencrypted information you read or send. So Maine requires ISPs to get their customers’ opt-in consent before using or disclosing this and other personal information. ISPs would rather harvest and monetize your data without restraint, so they filed a poorly conceived First Amendment lawsuit against this Maine law. EFF filed an amicus brief in support of the privacy law, along with ACLU, ACLU of Maine, and CDT.

              This week, a federal judge rejected the ISPs’ initial legal attack, denying their motion for judgment on the pleadings. This is great news for internet users in Maine. For now, the Maine law, and its important privacy protections, will stand, even as the case moves on to its next stage.

            • Facebook Gets Supreme Court Review in Text Message Lawsuit

              The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Facebook Inc.’s bid to stop a lawsuit that accuses the social-media giant of sending unwanted text messages in violation of federal law.

            • Can Facebook Be Fixed?

              To better understand what to expect from Facebook now, in the months leading up to the election and beyond, Rolling Stone spoke with Claire Wardle, executive director of First Draft, a nonprofit organization specializing in misinformation (First Draft has received funding from the Facebook Journalism Project). Though Wardle believes social media platforms have the capacity to allow for more transparency and better regulate hate speech and misinformation, she isn’t very optimistic they’re going to do play ball as long as their primary focus is making maximizing profits. “Ultimately, you’ve got shareholders, and you just want to make as much money as possible,” she says. “You don’t care.”

            • Why Facebook is well placed to weather an advertising boycott

              Yet the damage to Facebook is likely to be small. After a brief boycott-induced dip its share price is back up near its all-time high. Its $70bn ad business is built on 8m advertisers, most of them tiny companies with marketing budgets in the hundreds or thousands of dollars and often reliant on Facebook as an essential digital storefront. The 100 largest advertisers on the site account for less than 20% of total revenue, compared with 71% for the 100 largest advertisers on American network television (see chart 1). And so far only a handful of Facebook’s top 50 ad-buyers have joined the boycott (see chart 2).

            • Facebook Fuels Its Users’ Ignorance With Lies

              This is no accident. Yaël Eisenstat, Facebook’s former head of global elections integrity, explained in The Washington Post that the company “profits partly by amplifying lies and selling dangerous targeting tools that allow political operatives to engage in a new level of information warfare. Its business model exploits our data to let advertisers custom-target people, show us each a different version of the truth and manipulate us with hyper-customized ads.”

              Ask yourself: [...]

            • Top Gamer Ninja Deletes TikTok Over Privacy Concerns

              TikTok recent streak of bad news continued on Thursday after elite gamer and YouTuber Tyler “Ninja” Blevins tweeted that he had deleted the China-made app over privacy concerns.

              “I have deleted the TikTok app off all my devices. Hopefully a less intrusive company (data farming) that isn’t owned by China can recreate the concept legally, such funny and amazing content on the app from influencers,” Ninja tweeted to his 6 million followers.

            • U.S. Investigating Whether TikTok Violated Rules on Child Privacy

              The FTC enforces the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which requires websites and apps to get parental permission to collect data on kids under age 13, and calls on online services to prevent such data from entering the hands of third parties. Early last year, Tiktok paid a $5.7 million civil penalty for collecting childrens’ names, phone numbers, email addresses and photos.

            • Exclusive: U.S. probing allegations TikTok violated children’s privacy – sources

              The Center for Digital Democracy, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and others in May asked the FTC look into their allegations TikTok failed to delete videos and personal information about users age 13 and younger as it had agreed to do, among other violations.

            • Facebook heavily criticized after civil rights audit

              The auditors for the most part took a dim view of Facebook’s efforts to tackle civil rights issues, such a dim view that the auditors said it was “heartbreaking.”

              “Unfortunately, in our view Facebook’s approach to civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal,” said the report. “Many in the civil rights community have become disheartened, frustrated and angry after years of engagement where they implored the company to do more to advance equality and fight discrimination, while also safeguarding free expression.”

              As for the fixes, recommendations were aplenty. The report said Facebook first needed civil rights experts working in-house. It also needs to work on preventing voter suppression and hate, the report said.

            • US Officials Warn Americans Against Using TikTok

              U.S. officials and lawmakers are warning Americans against using Tiktok, a popular video-sharing application owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, citing privacy and security concerns.

            • No Cookies, No Problem — Using ETags For User Tracking

              While ETags serve a useful purpose when used for caching, the feature can also be hijacked and intentionally misused for user tracking.

            • New forum

              In 2018 we closed our original forum and started using Linux Questions due to GDPR legal concerns. Bodhi Team member Gareth ‘hippytaff’ Williams has been gracious enough to set up a new forum for us, much like the old one. The forum is hosted by ProBoards and the GDPR compliance is not a concern, as they are compliant. LQ has served us well, and we will continue to offer support there. However, I would like to encourage all current and past forum users to join the new forum. Let us rebuild our community!

            • Police Are Buying Access to [Cr]acked Website Data

              Some companies are selling government agencies access to data stolen from websites in the hope that it can generate investigative leads, with the data including passwords, email addresses, IP addresses, and more.

              Motherboard obtained webinar slides by a company called SpyCloud presented to prospective customers. In that webinar, the company claimed to “empower investigators from law enforcement agencies and enterprises around the world to more quickly and efficiently bring malicious actors to justice.” The slides were shared by a source who was concerned about law enforcement agencies buying access to [cr]acked data. SpyCloud confirmed the slides were authentic to Motherboard.

            • Member News: Chapters Focus on Encryption

              Lock it down: Several Internet Society chapters across the globe have written about the importance of encryption in recent weeks. The Namibia Chapter wrote about the way encryption can improve privacy and fight against the big business of criminal hacking. “Cybercrime is a global business, often run by multinational outfits,” the Chapter wrote. The Hong Kong Chapter, meanwhile, wrote that “encryption matters to all of us.” Internet users need to work together to protect encryption, the Chapter added. “No party can stand alone to persuade governments to stop creating laws or policies that harm encryption and digital security.”

    • Defence/Aggression

      • “Pinning Down Putin” Biden, the Democrats and the Next War

        The latest Foreign Affairs features a piece by former Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, “Pinning Down Putin: How a Confidant America Should Deal With Russia.” A protege of former secretaries of state Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, she is a notorious “liberal interventionist,” married to neocon pundit Robert Kagan. She is perhaps best known for aiding the neofascist putsch in Ukraine in February 2014 that produced regime change, a revolt in Ukraine’s east, the Russian seizure of Crimea, and Hunter Biden getting offered a seat on the board of Ukraine’s largest gas company making $ 50,000 a month for three years.

      • The West Bank Is Already Annexed

        The truth is that Israel rarely behaves as an ‘Occupying Power’, but as a sovereign in a country where racial discrimination and apartheid are not only tolerated or acceptable but are, in fact, ‘legal’ as well.

      • Electoral Interventions: a Suspiciously Naïve View of U.S. Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War World

        If there has been one overarching silver lining to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, it is that it has sparked a broader discussion of U.S. intervention abroad. In his new book, Rigged: America, Russia, and 100 Years of Covert Electoral Interference, David Shimer, a New York Times correspondent, pursues the ambitious agenda of examining the last century of U.S. and Soviet/Russian electoral interference. In doing so, Shimer conducted dozens of interviews with high-ranking U.S. foreign policy elites, including CIA members and individuals who served in recent U.S. presidential administrations. In the end, though, he offers up a highly naïve and suspiciously uninformed portrait of U.S. foreign policy, particularly as it involves U.S. state activities in the post-Cold War world.

      • Cold War with China and the Thucydides Trap: a Conversation with Richard Falk

        Should there be a Second Cold War an alleged US concern for human rights would indeed become another ongoing tool of propaganda. In this interview, International Relations scholar Richard Falk breaks down the grave dangers and prospects for a New Cold with China. Falk worries that tensions and rivalries both regionally and economically could result in a series of hot war conflicts set off by nuclear complacent countries that fail to recognize the catastrophic risks at stake.

      • Biden’s vision for Venezuela is virtually indistinguishable from Trump’s

        A recent Biden campaign event demonstrated that when it comes to Venezuela, policies of regime change, sanctions and a refusal to engage in dialogue, VenezolanosConBiden and MAGAzuela are two sides of the same coin.

      • International Union Of Muslim Scholars, Backed By Qatar And Turkey, Calls For Jihad And Self-Sacrifice To Foil Israel’s Plan To Annex Parts Of The West Bank

        On July 2, 2020, the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), backed by Qatar and Turkey, and other Islamic organizations affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood issued a statement calling on Muslims to wage jihad and self-sacrifice in order to foil the plan of the Israeli government to annex parts of the West Bank. The statement, issued following a Zoom conference on this topic, includes many quotes from the Quran and the Hadith calling on Muslims to perform jihad for the sake of Allah by sacrificing their lives, giving of their wealth, holding demonstrations or in any other way.

        [...]

        The following are translated excerpts from the IUMS statement:[2]

      • Swiss indict 2 for alleged ties to IS recruitment ring

        Swiss prosecutors are currently conducting some 70 criminal proceedings linked to “jihadist-motivated terrorism,” mostly involving propaganda, recruitment and financing of radical groups, the office said. Switzerland did not face any major violent extremist attacks like those other parts of Europe during the heyday of IS in the mid-2010s.

      • Nigerian church leader demands urgent action to halt relentless Boko Haram killings, abductions and rapes

        Pastor Joel Billi, head of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria (EYN), said that more than 700,000 EYN members had been displaced, over 8,370 church members and eight pastors had been killed and countless abducted during the insurgency, “with the numbers increasing on a daily basis”.

      • A Burkinabe ‘killing field’, Uighur legal ‘pathway’, and an aging arms cache: The Cheat Sheet

        A town in northern Burkina Faso has been turned into a “killing field,” with bodies dumped on roadsides, under bridges, and strewn in fields, according to Human Rights Watch – which points the finger at government security forces in a report this week. The bodies of at least 180 men have been found in the town of Djibo since November. The majority of the men were from the Fulani ethnic group, which is regularly stigmatised for allegedly collaborating with extremists. US Africa envoy, Tibor Nagy, called the report “very troubling” and threatened to withdraw security assistance to the country. Extrajudicial killings by Sahelian security forces are becoming increasingly common as jihadist attacks surge in the region. In neighbouring Mali, soldiers conducted 101 executions in the first three months of the year, according to the UN’s peacekeeping mission in the country, while more than 100 people were reportedly killed by Nigerien soldiers between March and April. Meanwhile, the number of internally displaced Burkinabe is approaching almost one million – up from 90,000 in early 2019 – with children facing particularly severe hardships, as our latest on the ground reporting explores.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Return of “Sharpiegate”: Inspector general battles Secretary Wilbur Ross over release of report

        Freedman and Samenow report that on Wednesday, July 1, Gustafson sent a memo to Ross expressing “deep concern” that the Commerce Department is infringing on her office’s independence by preventing the release of a final report on an investigation of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration statement about Dorian last year.

      • Ronald Reagan Wasn’t the Good Guy President Anti-Trump Republicans Want You to Believe In

        It’s difficult to boil an entire administration’s worth of economic policy down to a few words, but for a working definition of Reaganomics, let’s look at a few key features of Reagan’s policies: cutting taxes (especially for the rich) for trickle-down economics, cutting social welfare spending, increasing military spending, and deregulating economic activity in the name of “free” markets. Reagan’s path to American greatness meant making rich people pay less in taxes, giving poor people less help, building the imperial forces he used in foreign policy, and making life easier for the capitalist class.

    • Environment

      • How to Stop the Next Pandemic: U.N. Report Links Outbreaks to Climate Crisis & Industrial Farming

        As the unprecedented global health emergency continues to unfold, a new United Nations report says humans must lower stress on the natural environment to prevent the next pandemic. COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has a zoonotic origin, meaning it jumped from animals to humans, and the U.N. report finds that such diseases are spreading with greater frequency due to human activity, including industrial farming and the climate crisis. “Rather than focusing on the symptoms, we were looking at the causes,” says Delia Grace, lead author of the report, veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya and professor of food safety at the U.K. Natural Resources Institute.

      • UN Report Links Disease Outbreaks to Climate Crisis and Industrial Farming

        As the unprecedented global health emergency continues to unfold, a new United Nations report says humans must lower stress on the natural environment to prevent the next pandemic. COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has a zoonotic origin, meaning it jumped from animals to humans, and the U.N. report finds that such diseases are spreading with greater frequency due to human activity, including industrial farming and the climate crisis. “Rather than focusing on the symptoms, we were looking at the causes,” says Delia Grace, lead author of the report, veterinary epidemiologist at the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya and professor of food safety at the U.K. Natural Resources Institute.

      • Warming oceans deter more fish from spawning

        When the moment to mate arrives, fish like to play it cool. So warming oceans create special problems for the generation game.

      • The Arctic Is on Fire Again, and It’s Even Worse This Time

        The rapid and early spread suggest that remnants of last summer’s Arctic wildfires, which were also far-reaching and intense, may have survived underground over winter and reignited with the spring thaw, a phenomenon known as “zombie fires.”

        Frigid Arctic winters normally extinguish these smouldering embers, but Siberia has been experiencing alarmingly hot weather in 2020.

        From January to May, the region logged temperatures that are about 8°C (14°F) higher than average, according to the Associated Press. At the summer solstice in June, the Arctic community of Verkhoyansk topped 38°C (100°F) for the first time in recorded history. These new peaks follow a broader global trend of warmer temperatures with each passing year, though the consequences of the climate crisis are particularly pronounced in the Arctic.

      • Siberia had its warmest June ever as wildfires raged and carbon dioxide emissions surged

        June temperatures across all of Siberia were more than five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) higher than average and more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the same month in 2018 and 2019, the two previous warmest Junes.

        CS3 estimated that eastern Siberia hit a maximum hourly Arctic temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) on June 20. That’s a new high for the Arctic, being one to two degrees Celsius warmer than earlier records set in Alaska in 1969 and in eastern Siberia in 1973.

      • A Climate Movement Turning Point?

        May more and more of us join this so-desperately-needed political and cultural revolution and keep the victories coming. Let’s seize the time!

      • Humanity on Track to Soon Hit 1.5ºC Paris Accord Limit as Atmospheric CO2 Nears Level Not Seen in 15 Million Years

        “It’s still not too late to avoid the worst effects of the #ClimateEmergency. But governments need to act NOW,” tweeted Greenpeace.

      • Shrink-Wrapped: Plastic Pollution and the Greatest Economic System Jesus Ever Devised

        When exactly I began putting plastic items in a special tub for recycling I don’t remember. Probably in the 1980s when I moved to Princeton. Then my wife and I separated plastic items, tin cans and newspapers from the regular garbage and put them in a special can to be recycled. Then too certain plastic bottles were separated from all of the other plastic items and joined with aluminum cans in a large leaf bag—plastic of course—because we took those to the supermarket where they earned us a nickel a piece. And all of this continued in Rochester after we moved there and bought a house where I live now—by myself since my wife and I parted ways. I continued to separate the plastic bottles from the rest of the plastic items, mostly food containers and plastic bags from the supermarket which I put in the blue plastic tub that on garbage day I set on the curb beside the garbage can. All of this recycling I continued to do without ever giving it any more thought than I did the garbage until one garbage day the wind blew the recycle tub into the street where a vehicle hit it. It did not completely shatter it—the well-known durability of plastic is why it finds so many uses. I tried to salvage the tub with duct tape—whose top layer I might add in passing is made of a plastic called polythene. Polythene, polystyrene—there are more kinds of plastic than you can shake a stick at.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Chinese Fishing Trawlers Cleaning Out The Persian Gulf, Iran Daily Reports

          Under the cover of night, Chinese vessels are illegally cleaning out fish resources in the Persian Gulf, a pro-reform Iranian daily, Sharq (Orient) disclosed on Wednesday, July 8.

          Meanwhile, Iranian fishermen are forced to pay ten thousand dollars in bribes to Somalian pirates to let them fish on the African shores, Sharq reported.

          Citing a farmers’ representative, Khalilollah Derakhshan, the daily says, “Since the Chinese vessels are equipped with ‘fish-detecting’ machines, they identify schools of fish at night and catch them all.”

    • Finance

      • ‘An Absolute Outrage’: Sanders Rips ‘Wealthy Tax Cheats’ as CBO Estimates $381 Billion in Annual Unpaid Taxes

        “The richest 1% is responsible for 70% of all unpaid taxes… Congress is leaving hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes uncollected from the wealthy.”

      • COVID-19 Exposes the Weakness of a Major Theory Used to Justify Capitalism

        A cornerstone of orthodox economics is the idea that capitalists’ decisions about investing and producing are inherently “efficient.” This means that capitalists select among all alternative courses of action those whose costs are minimal and whose benefits are maximal. Keeping costs to the lowest possible level while producing goods and services that yield the most possible revenue is what maximizes profit, the difference between costs and revenues. Capitalism, we are told, is the best system because it drives all those in charge of production (the owners and top executives of enterprises) to maximize profits and thus economic efficiency. Capitalists get profits, and the rest of us benefit from the efficiency of production within a capitalist system.

      • Eroding Private Border Wall To Get an Engineering Inspection Just Months After Completion

        The builder of a privately funded border wall along the shores of the Rio Grande agreed to an engineering inspection of his controversial structure, which experts say is showing signs of erosion that threatens its stability just months after the $42 million project was finished.

        Tommy Fisher, president of North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, had bragged he could build faster and smarter than the federal government, calling his wall design method a “Lamborghini,” compared with the government’s “horse and buggy.”

      • Sanders: “Richest 1 Percent Is Responsible for 70 Percent of All Unpaid Taxes”

        A Congressional Budget Office report commissioned by Sen. Bernie Sanders and published Wednesday found the amount of unpaid taxes from 2011 to 2013 averaged around $381 billion per year, a revenue shortfall the Vermont senator called an “absolute outrage” that is largely the result of big corporations and “wealthy tax cheats” dodging their obligations.

      • The Most Common IRS Tax Forms You’re Likely to Come Across When Filing

        With the 2020 tax deadline pushed to July 15th because of the coronavirus outbreak, American taxpayers were given three extra months to finish filing their taxes. The IRS has been busy sending out stimulus checks, while paid tax services like TurboTax have used it as an opportunity to recruit new users.

        For those who haven’t filed yet, we recommend checking out our guide to filing your state and federal taxes completely for free, looking to see if you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or learning how to track your refund. Though the IRS offers the option of paper filing, with the current COVID-19 state of affairs — and a backlog of 11 million paper returns and documents — the agency is encouraging taxpayers to file electronically to ensure prompt payment of refunds and avoid filing errors. Most paid and free tax prep services will tell you which forms you need to file, but if you’re still confused, see below for a list of the most commonly used tax forms.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Americans Disagree On What Content Should Be Moderated, But They All Agree Social Media Companies Suck At Moderation

        No one agrees on how tech companies should perform the impossible job of moderating their platforms. But almost everyone agrees platforms are doing it wrong.

      • Now That USMCA Is In Effect… Can Congress Even Reform Section 230 Without Violating The Agreement?

        It seems like every other day we see yet another proposal to dismantle, revoke, or otherwise undermine Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. But doing so might actually create massive international problems. That’s because, as you may recall, despite some last minute attempts to remove it, the final USMCA retained language that suggests that any signatory to USMCA must have Section 230-like laws in place to protect intermediary liability. And, while it got surprisingly little attention, the USMCA went into effect last week. And thus, any change to Section 230 may raise at least some questions about whether or not they violate the agreement.

      • Our EU Policy Principles: Platform Liability

        As the European Union is gearing up for a major reform of the current backbone of the EU’s Internet regulation—the e-Commerce Directive will be replaced by the Digital Services Act (DSA)—there are choices to be made. Rather than following in the footsteps of recent disastrous Internet legislation (such as the Copyright Directive), the EU should focus on how to put users back in control of their online experiences. Rather than giving more executive power to large platforms that have monopolized the digital space, the EU should protect the public interest Internet by focusing on users’ rights to self-determination and measures on transparency, anonymity, and interoperability.

        We are hopeful that the EU will move in the right direction on Internet policy, especially given that member countries have championed Internet bills that seek to create  a more restrictive European Internet. In a recent victory for free speech and the Internet, EFF helped to strike down core provisions of a French bill meant to curb hate speech, arguing that it would unconstitutionally catch legal speech in its net. Meanwhile, the infamous German law NetzDG, which requires companies to respond to reports of illegal speech within 24 hours, has been toughened to make platforms not only delete suspected criminal content, but also send reports to the federal police, including information about the user.

      • What Is the EARN IT Act and Why Is It Bad for the Internet?

        Graham amended the bill just before the Judiciary Committee hearing, changing the language to call for the use of state-by-state laws and removing the clause that tech platforms would need to undergo a certification process to avoid penalties. But the bill still has the potential to be seriously damaging to free speech and directly harmful to anyone who uses encryption-based communication services, experts say—including sex workers and any already-marginalized internet users who are dependent on encrypted messaging to stay safe.

      • The internet is changing drastically for Hong Kong’s citizens

        The fallout: Effectively, this brings Hong Kong into China’s Great Firewall, a tightly controlled and censored version of the internet that blocks most foreign internet tools and mobile apps. Foreign companies are permitted to operate only if they comply.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Another day of raids Officials search multiple homes and offices tied to journalism and activism projects by Mikhail Khodorkovsky in renewed Yukos case

        On the morning of July 9, law enforcement raided the homes of staff at MBK Media and Open Russia. Around 6 a.m., Moscow police showed up at the homes of MBK Media chief editor Sergey Prostakov, Open Russia coordinators Tatyana Usmanova and Olga Gorelik, and municipal deputy Yulia Galyamina. In Tomsk, meanwhile, officials searched the apartment of “Open Russia Human Rights” project coordinator Alexey Pryanishnikov. According to MBK Media, the authorities threatened to break down the front doors when individuals asked to delay any searches until the arrival of their lawyers. When the attorneys finally did come, the police reportedly kept them waiting outside for extended periods of time.

      • U.S. Broadcasting Agency Will Not Extend Visas For Its Foreign Journalists

        Dozens of foreign nationals working as journalists in the U.S. for Voice of America, the federal government’s international broadcaster, will not have their visas extended once they expire, according to three people with knowledge of the decision.

        Those people — each with current or past ties to the agency — said the new CEO of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, Michael Pack, signaled he will not approve the visa extensions.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • The Long Goodbye to Organized Religion

        It was the notice of an online meeting of a local chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace that made me think of my long and troubled relationship with organized religion.

      • Where are Our Political Leaders When We Really Need Them?

        We just celebrated the founding of this nation in which truly great leaders took up arms against the overwhelming power of the British Empire, fought a bloody war of independence, and at a huge cost in lives, homes and businesses, somehow prevailed.

      • Defunding the Police Is an Immigrants’ Rights Issue, Too

        Black and brown lives are under attack by law enforcement.

      • When All the Protesters Have Guns

        As soon as we pull the trigger, we’ve dehumanized the enemy and gone to war.

      • Supreme Court Makes Debt Collection Robocalling Illegal (Again)

        While the US government often makes a lot of noise about their efforts to crack down on robocalls, the reality is they never actually do all that much. While the FCC often goes out of its way to advertise “record” fines levied against smaller companies and scammers, the vast, vast majority of those fines are never actually collected. The Pai FCC has claimed to have made great strides fighting the menace, despite the fact that most of its recent and well-hyped countermeasures are neither new nor effective.

      • A Bad Day for Trump Is a Good Day for the Country

        If you were hoping to see Donald Trump’s financial records before the 2020 election, today was not your day. If you were hoping to go to bed tonight in a nation with a president and not a sovereign, sleep tight, because you won.

      • Racism in America: Police Choke-Holds Are Not the Issue

        The American project was founded on rank hypocrisies. On the one hand, President Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the stirring words in the Declaration of Independence which upheld “these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal”, did not free his own slaves (not even Sally Hemings, who bore him six children).

      • In fiery speech in Russian Parliament, Vladimir Zhirinovsky condemns arrest of Khabarovsk governor, threatens mass resignations and even ‘revolution’ in response

        In a speech at the State Duma, LDPR party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky condemned the arrest of fellow party member Khabarovsk Governor Sergey Furgal, who’s accused of organizing multiple contract killings more than a decade ago. Zhirinovsky even threatened to stage mass resignations by all LDPR members in response to what he says is the unjust case against Furgal.

      • How a Key Federal Civil Rights Agency Was Sidelined as Historic Protests Erupted

        In recent weeks, as protests against police violence and systemic racism have swept across the nation, a key federal civil rights agency — an agency created to bridge racial divides — has been largely absent.

        Dubbed “America’s Peacemaker,” the Community Relations Service was established in 1964 as civil rights protesters across the South came under attack. The service, which is part of the Justice Department, is credited with helping to avert bloodshed during some of the most contentious demonstrations of the 1960s.

      • Conservative Elites Are Fighting for “Values” Invented to Justify Slavery

        Throughout its history the U.S. has had two very different ruling elites, motivated by very different definitions of liberty. Let’s call them the New England Yankees vs. the Old South Planters. Their radically different definitions of “liberty” still divide liberals and conservatives today.

      • Hate Groups Rake In PPP Loans as Racial Justice Movement Expands

        As millions took to the streets in all 50 states last month to protest against systemic racism and police brutality, several organizations that are considered hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) were enjoying new six- or seven-figure Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from the federal government.

      • Protecting Our Vulnerable Front Line Workers

        Protecting frontline workers and their families is a matter of both economic justice and racial justice. 

      • Lead the Way: a Call to Youth

        Lead the Way: a Call to Youth

      • ICE The Latest Agency To Be Blessed By The Administration With The ‘Security Agency’ Accountability Shield

        ICE has joined Customs and Border Protection as a full-fledged security agency. ICE, like the CBP, has been hoping to upgrade from customs enforcement to NatSec machinery for several years now, possibly with an eye on backdoor-searching all the communications and data the NSA hoovers up.

      • Colorado Government Dumps Qualified Immunity For Cops

        Since qualified immunity isn’t actually a law — but rather a Supreme Court construct — states are under no obligation to adopt this doctrine and apply it to lawsuits against law enforcement officers. But most states have, with Iowa’s top court being the latest to inflict this atrocity on the populace.

      • Belgian Princess Condemns Her Family’s Brutal Colonial History in Congo & Calls for Reparations

        Black Lives Matter protests in the U.S. have sparked a reckoning about racism and colonialism across the world, including in Belgium, where a growing movement is demanding the country address systemic racism and make amends for its violent colonial legacy. King Philippe issued an unprecedented statement “expressing regret” for Belgium’s brutal colonial rule in Congo under Leopold II, who ran the country as his personal fiefdom and under whose command millions of Congolese were enslaved and killed. “It’s an erased history,” says Belgo-Congolese journalist and activist Gia Abrassart. We also speak with Princess Esméralda, a member of the Belgian royal family and great-grandniece of Leopold II, who says the country has taken an important first step, but adds that “we have to go much farther.”

      • Join EFF’s 30th Anniversary Livestream and Party Like It’s 1990!

        On Friday, July 10, 1990, the Electronic Frontier Foundation was officially born. It’s safe to say that on that day, co-founders Mitch Kapor, John Perry Barlow, and John Gilmore, with critical help from Steve Wozniak, were ahead of their time in imagining that there needed to be an organization that fought to protect ordinary people’s access to new technology that could instantly erase distance, create connection, and access much of the world’s knowledge. Today—thirty years later—that technology affects and is affected by most everything we do. 

        Throughout those thirty years, EFF has been on the frontlines, fighting thousands of battles in courts, in Congress, on the streets, and across the globe to ensure that when you go online, your rights go with you. We’re excited to celebrate our victories. and the lessons we’ve learned, during our 30th Anniversary Party on Friday—and you’re invited!

      • Nine Female Cyclists in Indonesia’s Banda Aceh Were Tracked Down by Police For Wearing ‘Sexy’ Clothes

        Over the weekend, a group of nine women and a man went for a bike ride around the Indonesian city of Banda Aceh, shooting—as one does—some group photos and videos to memorialize the carefree jaunt.

        Little did they know, however, that those ostensibly harmless mementos would go viral, cause a public outcry, and result in their being tracked down by religious police and compelled to issue a public apology for what authorities characterized as their “revealing” and “sexy” attire.

        All 10, it should be noted, appeared to be wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

      • Canada’s 1% Is Incredibly Rich. Their Wealth Needs to Be Taxed.

        This includes different forms of inequality, from those originating in the country’s inception as a colonial enterprise to extreme disparities of wealth and income. Though public opinion surveys suggest many Canadians are at least somewhat aware of these realities, they also suggest that quite a few continue to underestimate just how unequal Canadian society really is.

        The data certainly lends weight to this conclusion, at least as far as disparities of wealth are concerned. A 2014 report, for example, identified strong public support for redistributive policies designed to rectify the country’s economic divides, while also noting widespread misperceptions about just how serious they really are.

      • Amnesty International Calls For Immediate Release Of Anti-Hijab Activist

        In a letter to the head of the Islamic Republic’s Judiciary on Monday, July 6, Amnesty International (AI) called for the immediate and unconditional release of a civil rights and a women’s rights activist.

        Saba Kordafshari, an activist who took part in s campaign against compulsory hijab was arrested in Tehran in August 2018 and transferred to Qarchak Prison a few days later. According to civil society activists, in the early days of her arrest, she was under intense pressure for a “television confession.”

      • Mauritanian Anti-Slavery Activist Maryam Bint Al-Sheikh: Slavery Still Exists in Mauritania; Slaves Can Be Bequeathed From Father To Son; I Was Arrested And Tortured Multiple Times

        Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Maryam Bint Al-Sheikh of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA) said in a June 18, 2020 interview on BBC Arabic (U.K.) that there is still slavery in Mauritania, and that ownership of other people can even be passed from generation to generation. She said that 20% of people in Mauritania still suffer from slavery, and she named the Beydanes cast, which she said constitutes 10 percent of the Mauritanian population, as the caste of “masters” that controls Mauritania, its economy, and its people. Explaining that the Beydanes caste arrests and tortures people who speak out against it, Al-Sheikh said that in the past, she herself had been arrested, tortured, and forcibly separated from her child and her family. In addition, Al-Sheikh listed the Haratins, the Fulanis, the Wolofs, and Soninkes, the Bambaras, and Lamalmins, and the Igaouen as the persecuted ethnic groups in Mauritania. Furthermore, she said that the IRA has created awareness surrounding slavery in Mauritania, and that it gives people the courage to protest slavery and racism. She added that slavery and racism can only be abolished through protest. For more about slavery in Mauritania see MEMRI TV clip no. 3429.

      • Holding US Government to Its Treaty Promises ‘For Once,’ Supreme Court Rules Nearly Half of Oklahoma Still Native American Territory

        “The big news at the Supreme Court today will be Trump’s taxes,” said Cherokee writer Rebecca Nagle. “But for Indians in Oklahoma, we’ll be talking about today for decades.”

      • Supreme Court Affirms Tribal Jurisdiction on Oklahoma Reservation Lands

        The United States Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that nearly half the entire state of Oklahoma, as far as federal criminal law is concerned, is still under the jurisdiction of Native American tribes.

      • Supreme Court Rules That About Half Of Oklahoma Is Native American Land

        The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that about half of the land in Oklahoma is within a Native American reservation, a decision that will have major consequences for both past and future criminal and civil cases.

        The court’s decision hinged on the question of whether the Creek reservation continued to exist after Oklahoma became a state.

        “Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of fed­eral criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

        The decision was 5-4, with Justices Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer in the majority, while Justices John Roberts, Brett Kavanaugh, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

        The ruling will have significant legal implications for eastern Oklahoma. Much of Tulsa, the state’s second-largest city, is located on Muscogee (Creek) land. The Muscogee (Creek) Nation cheered the court’s decision.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Old School TV Gatekeepers (AT&T, Comcast), Struggle With Modern Streaming Gatekeepers (Amazon, Roku)

        In years past, incumbent broadband and television giants like Comcast and AT&T enjoyed life from a comfortable position of dominance. If you want to subscribe to broadband, such companies are often your only option. If you wanted to subscribe to television service, you were required to rent a locked down, highly proprietary cable box courtesy of the industry’s cable hardware monopoly. Want to have your cable channel in a conspicuous position in the lineup? You could also expect headaches.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Right-to-repair advocates say hospitals need new rules to keep equipment working

        The PIRG report surveyed 222 biomedical professionals, many of whom work at hospitals. Nearly half said they’d been denied access to necessary repair parts and information during the pandemic. And nearly all said that removing restrictions on repairs was “critical” or “very important” to their work.

        According to the survey, manufacturers frequently restrict third-party repairs. Around 92 percent of the respondents said they’d been denied service information about equipment like ventilators and defibrillators, with around half of those people saying it happened “somewhat frequently.” Around 89 percent said manufacturers had refused to sell spare parts.

      • Sony Takes Minority Stake in Epic Games with $250 Million Investment

        Sony has made a $250 million investment to acquire a minority stake in Epic Games, the developer of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine used increasingly in Hollywood production.

      • Sony Invests $250 Million in Unreal Engine Maker Epic Games

        The PlayStation maker and Fortnite proprietor didn’t disclose the new value of the games company. Bloomberg News first reported last month that Epic was close to securing funding at a valuation of about $17 billion.

        The Unreal Engine is used to create many popular game franchises, such as Borderlands and Gears of War, along with Epic’s own Fortnite. The fifth iteration, Unreal Engine 5, made its debut this summer and was demonstrated on PlayStation 5 hardware, signaling the close collaboration between Epic and Sony.

      • [Old] Sony’s DRM Rootkit: The Real Story

        On Oct. 31, Mark Russinovich broke the story in his blog: Sony BMG Music Entertainment distributed a copy-protection scheme with music CDs that secretly installed a rootkit on computers. This software tool is run without your knowledge or consent — if it’s loaded on your computer with a CD, a hacker can gain and maintain access to your system and you wouldn’t know it.

        The Sony code modifies Windows so you can’t tell it’s there, a process called “cloaking” in the hacker world. It acts as spyware, surreptitiously sending information about you to Sony. And it can’t be removed; trying to get rid of it damages Windows.

    • Monopolies

      • Is it Impossible to Envision a World Without Patent Monopolies?

        Apparently, at the New York Times, the answer is no. Elisabeth Rosenthal, who is a very insightful writer on health care issues, had a column this morning warning that we may face very high prices for a coronavirus vaccine. She points out that this is in spite of the fact that the government is paying for much of the cost of the research. Rosenthal then argues we should adopt a system of price controls or negotiations, as is done in every other wealthy country.

      • Patents

        • This week in IP: Sisvel ruling unpacked, CJEU kicks out Neurim, new PTAB opinion
        • German ruling levels the FRAND playing field [Ed: A patent trolls-funded publisher supports the patent troll Sisvel and the likes of it]

          In-house counsel from Sisvel, Nokia and a German carmaker explain how the Federal Court of Justice’s decision changes the rules of the FRAND negotiation game

        • Nokia getting nowhere: two more infringement cases against Daimler stayed as declared-essential patents-in-suit are likely invalid

          Sometimes I wonder whether the S in “SEP” stands for “scam” rather than “standard.”

          Everyone who deals with patents professionally knows that, at least with respect to information and communications technologies, the system is broken beyond repair. Patent offices issue far too many patents and treat mass filers as “key accounts” whose “demand” for weapons of extortion they seek to satisfy. Unlike its U.S. counterpart, the European Patent Office isn’t run by a trolls’ lawyer, but it’s also part of the problem.

          But standard-essential patents take the issues facing the patent system to an even higher level. Companies overdeclare (though some have higher “hit rates” than others). No scrutiny is performed. And besides countless patents that aren’t essential from an infringement point of view, the vast majority of those who may claim a standard-essential technique are simply invalid as granted.

          Nokia failed to deliver a great smartphone user experience, then increasingly resorted to patent monetization. But it concluded license deals without a lot of patents actually coming to judgment. They monetize a portfolio that contains a huge amount of hot or even not-so-hot air. Where’s the substance?

          For a while, everything appeared to be working out according to plan for Nokia with respect to the Daimler dispute. They knew they were facing a 19th-century company that they hoped would cave at some point. Daimler certainly failed to put the necessary pressure behind its EU antitrust complaint, while Nokia found political opportunists of the worst kind in Brussels who were–and potentially still are–perfectly prepared to do lasting damage to the European Commission’s reputation as a competition watchdog. After so many years of having been accused of protectionism, the Commission couldn’t vindicate its critics more effectively and convincingly than by condoning Nokia’s conduct.

        • Apple, Intel must amend antitrust complaint against Softbank-owned industrial-scale patent troll conglomerate Fortress Investment

          This outcome–a dismissal, but with a chance for Apple and Intel to amend the pleadings–is consistent with what Law360 expected to happen based on a mid-June hearing.

          Short of knowing what exactly the order says, I can’t elaborate, but the decision per se warranted a post. It’s a safe assumption that Apple and Intel will give it a new try, and Fortress will likely argue that even the amended pleadings are lacking and wanting. They may get support once again from Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan “Macomm” Delrahim, whose primary objective it is to strengthen the owners of weak patents–never mind if it involves siding with foreign and foreign-owned entities against some of America’s most innovative and iconic companies (Make America Great Again, anyone?). However, “Macomm” won’t have too many more months in office, judging by the polls (which I find very disappointing, though I can relate to many voters’ disenfranchisement with the Trump Administration given what went wrong this year in a couple of extremely important contexts).

        • Means-Plus-Function Construction Can Lead to Indefiniteness

          Most notable of the construed claim terms was “limiting shaft.” Plaintiff and patent owner Unicorn conclusorily asserted that the term should be given its plain and ordinary meaning. Defendant and alleged infringer Golab argued that “limiting shaft” was means a plus-function term and could not be defined. The court started by stating that the term “sounds like a structural element” and was presumed not to be means-plus-function because there was no specific recitation of “means.” However, the court determined that the presumption was rebutted because “limiting shaft” clearly described a function, i.e., limiting relative rotation between two objects connected by the shaft, and further because Unicorn failed to provide evidence that described a structure of the “limiting shaft” or what a person skilled in the art would understand as a plain and ordinary meaning of the term. After construing “limiting shaft” as means-plus-function recitation, the court found the term was indefinite under section 112 because Unicorn failed to identify structure.

          Golab also argued that “rotating mechanism” was means-plus-function. Both Golab and Unicorn provided their own expert testimony regarding whether the term would connotate particular structure to a person skilled in the art. Ultimately the court found Unicorn’s expert more persuasive, highlighting portions of Unicorn’s expert testimony that included portions of the patents and prior art describing structure that a person of ordinary skill would recognize as a “rotating mechanism. The court also pointed to claim differentiation and other court cases construing “mechanism” as not a nonce word that invokes means-plus-function construction and concluded that “rotating mechanism” is not a means-plus-function recitation.

        • In re Boloro Global Ltd. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Under Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the Constitution, Congress has the authority to vest power in the President or in the Heads of Departments to appoint inferior officers, but must retain its power for principal officers. The Supreme Court considers certain hallmark factors of inferior officer status, including removability by a principal officer. In Arthrex, in the context of IPR proceedings, the Federal Circuit severed a portion of Title 35 to give the PTO Director, a principal officer, the power to fire APJs without cause, explaining that such authority would create the necessary oversight to consider APJs inferior officers. The Court denied petitions for rehearing en banc in March.

          [...]

          The Board’s judgment in Boloro issued before the date that the Federal Circuit in Arthrex severed a portion of the AIA to remedy the Appointments Clause violation. It is unlikely that the Federal Circuit would apply Arthrex to Board judgments in ex parte appeals that issued after Arthrex was decided because the Court in Arthrex ruled that it corrected the appointments issue at that time. The Court has also held that normal rules of waiver and forfeiture apply to Appointment Clause challenges in IPRs and is likely to do so as well for ex parte appeals.

          Nevertheless, patent applicants should still carefully consider the impact of Arthrex and Boloro to their ex parte appeals in the event that the Supreme Court grants certiorari on whether APJs were properly appointed. If the Supreme Court concludes that there is a violation of the Appointments Clause and affirms the Federal Circuit in that respect, the Court could conclude that the remedy for that violation is different than what the Federal Circuit did in Arthrex putting into question all actions by the Board.

        • Software Patents

          • Patent Claims to Authenticating Users in Transactions Lack Technical Improvement, Fail Patent-Eligibility: Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc.

            Claims directed to authenticating users for a transaction are not patent-eligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and the Alice/Mayo patent-eligibility test, and therefore the court granted a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in Universal Secure Registry LLC v. Apple Inc., Civ. No. 17-585-CFC-SRF (D. Del. June 30, 2020). The court overruled a Magistrate Judge’s report and recommendation that the motion be denied, and came just a week after another decision by the same judge (Colm Connolly) in another case holding patent claims directed to authenticating users to transactions ineligible.

          • Conclusory Legal Statements are not Factual Allegations to Survive Section 101 Eligibility: Dropbox Inc. v. Synchronoss Techs, Inc.

            Conclusory legal statements that attempt to invoke a factual allegation do not sufficiently allege an inventive concept to satisfy patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101. Dropbox Inc., Orcinus Holdings, LLC v. Synchronoss Techs. Inc, 2019-1765, 2019-1767, 2019-1823 (Fed. Cir. June 19, 2020) (nonprecedential).

            Plaintiff Dropbox asserted infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,178,505, 6,058,399, and 7,567,541 against Defendant Synchronoss. The patents are directed to data security and data uploading to websites and networks. The district court granted Defendant’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), holding that all three patents as ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101. In particular, the district court held that Plaintiff failed to allege an inventive concept to satisfy the second part of the two-part Alice test.

          • Claimed Improvement Not Patent-Eligible Where Reducible to Mental Steps: Money and Data Protection Lizenz GMPH & Co. KG v. Duo Security, Inc.

            A Rule 12 motion to dismiss was granted where patent claims directed to “authenticating a user to a transaction at a terminal” failed the 35 U.S.C. § 101 and Alice/Mayo patent-eligibility test. Money and Data Protection Lizenz GMPH & Co. KG v. Duo Security, Inc., Civil Action No. 18-1477-CFC (D. Del. June 24, 2020). Notably, the plaintiff attempted to rely on a purported improvement to computing technology that the court discounted because the purported improvement to network authentication processes, the court said, could be performed mentally.

          • Patent Claims for “Two-step Pick and Place” fail § 101 at Rule 12 stage.

            The plaintiff Palomar sued defendant MRSI for infringement of Palomar’s U.S. Patent No. 6,776,327. MRSI petitioned the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) for inter partes review (IPR) of the patent. The PTAB upheld validity of claims 1-47 and held claim 48 invalid. Following the IPR, MRSI moved for summary judgement on the basis of patent-ineligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101.

            The ’327 patent discloses a method which utilizes “double pick and place” wherein a first workpiece is first moved to an intermediate location close to a target attach location on a second workpiece, and then, moved to the final attach location.

            [...]

            held that the claims of the ‘327 patent were directed to the abstract idea of placing an item at a final location more accurately by first moving it to an intermediate location. Per the court, examples of this in daily life abound: in golf you first hit the ball to the green and then putt it into the hole; when you put a nut on a bolt, you first move it close to the bolt, and then line it up; etc.

            Plaintiff Palomar argued that the claimed invention improved a process for accomplishing a known technical problem, similar to claims found to be patent eligible in McRO, Inc. v. Bandai Namco Games AM. Inc., 837 F.3d 1299 (Fed. Cir. 2 and Diamond v. Diehr, 450 U.S. 175 (1981). For example, in McRO, the court found claims relating to a “specific asserted improvement in computer animation” and were not directed towards a patent-ineligible abstract idea. (McRO at 1314).
            The court found the claims of the ‘327 patent accomplish a much broader goal in a much less specific way than the disclosures of Diehr and McRO, and that Ultramercial, Inc. v. Hulu LLC, 772 F.3d 709 (Fed. Cir. 214) is more analogous. In Ultramercial, an 11-step process was directed to the abstract idea of “displaying an advertisement in exchange for access to copyrighted media.” Ultramercial at 714. A process or method patent may nonetheless be directed toward an abstract idea if “the majority of the limitations” are “devoid of a concrete tangible application.” Id. at 715.

          • Use of Passive Voice Insufficient to Connote Structure in MPF Analysis

            The District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued a claim construction order in Zoho Corporation v. Sentius International, LLC, finding that the claim limitation “means for compiling the source material image from at least the plurality of discrete pieces” was indefinite. The present action arose from a declaratory judgement action brought about by Zoho alleging that it did not infringe Reissued Patent No. RE43,633.

            While both parties agreed that 35 U.S.C. ¶ 6 (means-plus-function) applied, the parties diverged on the question of whether the specification disclosed sufficient structure for the compile function. During a means-plus-function analysis, the court engages in a two-step inquiry to construe the claim limitations at issue as set forth in Williamson v. Citrix Online, LLC. First, the court identifies the claimed function, and, second, the court determines “what structure, if any, disclosed in the specification corresponds to the claimed function.” The Federal Circuit, in Noah Sys., Inc. v. Intuit, Inc., has stated that a structure corresponds to the claimed function if “the specification or the prosecution history clearly links or associates the structure to the function recited in the claim.”

            [...]

            ….the court stated that a “computer … programmed to compile” was insufficient structure, and that, if the Patent Owner wanted to rely on a specially programmed computer, the Patent Owner had to specify an algorithm the computer is programmed…

          • Providing Software for User Device Insufficient to Adequately Plead Infringement of Method Claim

            The Northern District of California dismissed a complaint of patent infringement for failing to adequately plead direct or joint infringement. Sentius Int’l LLC v. Apple Inc., No. 4:20-cv-00477 (N.D. Cal. June 2, 2020). The Court held that merely selling software did not constitute direct infringement and that Sentius did not adequately allege the requisite direction or control required for joint infringement.

            Plaintiff Sentius alleged infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. RE43633 and 7,672,985 by Defendant Apple. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), alleging that Plaintiff failed to sufficiently plead direct and joint infringement of the asserted patents. Claim 62 of the ‘633 patent is too long to recite in full, but the relevant part to consider is “a computer-implemented method for linking textual source material to external reference materials for display….” Of note is that a “computer-implemented method” has specific requirements for direct and joint infringement, as the Court discussed in the decision.

      • Trademarks

        • Brave forces rival browser ‘Braver’ to change its name

          Braver, which forked from Brave back in June, is now named Bold Browser after a member of the project’s team was threatened with financial harm, the team behind the browser said in a tweet today. The dispute stemmed from the fact that “Braver” looks and sounds a little too much like “Brave.”

          In a tweet of his own, Brave CEO Brendan Eich appeared to confirm that Brave indeed took legal action against the browser formerly known as Braver over trademark infringement.

      • Copyrights

        • Announcing Creative Commons’ New CEO, Catherine Stihler

          Catherine has been a champion for openness as both a legislator and practitioner for more than 20 years. She currently serves as CEO of the Open Knowledge Foundation, an organization whose work is fully aligned with the values and mission of Creative Commons. During her tenure, she has successfully redefined OKF’s vision and mission, reengaged its global chapters, and increased its international profile.

        • Libtorrent Adds WebTorrent Support, Expanding the Reach of Browser Torrenting

          Libtorrent has bridged the gap between WebTorrent and traditional torrent clients. The open-source BitTorrent library, used by clients including Deluge, qBittorrent, rTorrent and Tribler, will help to widely expand the reach of browser-based WebTorrent tools and services.

        • EU Court: YouTube Not Required to Share Email and IP-Addresses of Movie Pirates

          A judgment handed down by the EU Court of Justice this morning has found that online platforms, including YouTube, do not have to hand over the email addresses, IP addresses, or telephone numbers of alleged pirates following a request from copyright holders. The ‘address’ referenced in the Copyright Directive relates to postal addresses only.

        • Supreme Court affirmance of API copyrightability ever more likely–deference to jury (with respect to “fair use”) is Google’s last line of defense

          For a few years I’ve limited my commentary on the Oracle v. Google Android-Java copyright case to procedural matters, without reiterating the reasons for which I believe the thousands of lines of Java API code asserted in that case are protected by copyright, and their use by Google was unfair. While I agree with Oracle on substance, I did publicly support Google’s successful cert petition because I care about the key issues far more than about specific cases.

          I’m going to continue to steer clear of arguing the issues. But I am still following the proceedings, and I have bad news for those who hated the Federal Circuit’s copyrightability holding: with respect to copyrightability, it looks like Google is more likely than not to lose.

          [...]

          If the Supreme Court answered the “fair use” question in Google’s favor on the basis of jury deference, it might or might not discuss the standard for software copyrightability in detail. Whether the Federal Circuit’s copyrightability holding would be affirmed explicitly or (by reaching “fair use”) mostly implicitly, the copyrightability of API code would continue to be a reality in the United States.

          In the same scenario (and I’m not suggesting that it’s likely–the fact that the SCOTUS requests additional briefing doesn’t mean it will necessarily agree with Google on jury deference), those opposing the protection of API code under copyright law wouldn’t really make headway beyond this particular case (and even in that one, there’d simply be a remand to the Federal Circuit). It would be a procedural decision, centered around the standard of review, far short of agreeing with Google’s “fair use” defense in its own right–and next time a different jury, ideally instructed by a different (more balanced) judge, might simply find otherwise. It wouldn’t be precedential with respect to the substantive issue.

          After Oracle won the first of two rounds in the Federal Circuit (with Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe’s Joshua Rosenkranz as lead counsel), Google already requested certiorari, but the Supreme Court declined. That fact, combined with the May 4, 2020 order that implies copyrightability, suggests quite strongly that Google is facing an uphill battle in that regard.

        • U.S. Court Of Appeals Hears Arguments That Lawsuit Against Disney For ‘Pirates’ Shouldn’t Have Been Dismissed

          Back in 2019, we wrote about a lawsuit filed against Disney by two writers that pitched a piratey movie to the company. The writers’ screenplay about Davey Jones, they said, was so similar to Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean movies so as to constitute copyright infringement. Much of this appeared to stem from the fact that the two writers had pitched the screenplay to Disney a few years before the Pirates franchise began, but the similarities laid out in the lawsuit were classic idea/expression dichotomy stuff.

European FRAND (Related to SEP) Proponent and Famed Programmer Comes to Realise That It’s Actually a “Scam”

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents, RAND at 10:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Programmers are badly hurt by these loopholes by which illegal patents are imposed in bulk without scrutiny/challenge

Programmer

Summary: Even people who have long promoted the practice of mandatory “licensing” (in effect patent tax one is unable to work around) are apparently changing their minds and their tune

THIS site has had its ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ when it comes to Florian Müller, who at times took money to lobby and mislead. He even set up an event for FRAND some months back, albeit he warned me well in advance that he did not agree with some of the invited speakers (firms that front for Microsoft and the UPC). Müller became well known because of some early books of his, as well as campaigning in the area of patent law. He certainly understands that some companies — Microsoft being a noteworthy example — are sneaking European software patents into a package or bundle or “pool” of patents (what Fraunhofer is still doing). He certainly knows what Microsoft did with Nokia‘s patents. Some of them Nokia was instructed by Microsoft to pass to patent trolls, which would later attack Android with those patents.

“The EPO doesn’t care about scientists and science anymore.”The links below were originally intended for the next batch of Daily Links, but we thought it’s worth a mention aside from the editorial comment that says “patent trolls-funded publisher supports the patent troll Sisvel and the likes of it” [1,2] (that’s Managing IP, which in recent days became a megaphone for other patent trolls as well, even InterDigital; “In-house counsel from Sisvel, Nokia” cannot be considered journalists).

The good news is, regarding Müller, he now says that “the S in “SEP” stands for “scam” rather than “standard.”” [3] (or so he wonders). Sometimes the “scammers” combine 4 euphemisms (FRaND) to make “SEP” sound 1) fair 2) reasonable and 3) not so bad 4) nor discriminatory. Pure marketing. They used to call it “RaND” (or “RAND”) before adding an additional euphemism. Then there’s “Z-RAND” and other nonsense (always with many lies stuffed in, like “IP”/”IPR” and “AI”, deliberately loaded with misnomers).

If looked at closely enough, one quickly realises the underlying injustices, even if one is a proponent of monopolies. It’s worth noting that both António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli, in their capacity as European Patent Office (EPO) presidents, habitually meet “licensing societies” — which are basically patent collection cartels that are fronting for a bunch of unproductive parasites. Examiners are likely aware of the fact that they’re not governed by scientists and their so-called ‘leaders’ almost never meet actual scientists. The EPO doesn’t care about scientists and science anymore.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. This week in IP: Sisvel ruling unpacked, CJEU kicks out Neurim, new PTAB opinion
  2. German ruling levels the FRAND playing field

    In-house counsel from Sisvel, Nokia and a German carmaker explain how the Federal Court of Justice’s decision changes the rules of the FRAND negotiation game

  3. Nokia getting nowhere: two more infringement cases against Daimler stayed as declared-essential patents-in-suit are likely invalid

    Sometimes I wonder whether the S in “SEP” stands for “scam” rather than “standard.”

    Everyone who deals with patents professionally knows that, at least with respect to information and communications technologies, the system is broken beyond repair. Patent offices issue far too many patents and treat mass filers as “key accounts” whose “demand” for weapons of extortion they seek to satisfy. Unlike its U.S. counterpart, the European Patent Office isn’t run by a trolls’ lawyer, but it’s also part of the problem.

    But standard-essential patents take the issues facing the patent system to an even higher level. Companies overdeclare (though some have higher “hit rates” than others). No scrutiny is performed. And besides countless patents that aren’t essential from an infringement point of view, the vast majority of those who may claim a standard-essential technique are simply invalid as granted.

    Nokia failed to deliver a great smartphone user experience, then increasingly resorted to patent monetization. But it concluded license deals without a lot of patents actually coming to judgment. They monetize a portfolio that contains a huge amount of hot or even not-so-hot air. Where’s the substance?

    For a while, everything appeared to be working out according to plan for Nokia with respect to the Daimler dispute. They knew they were facing a 19th-century company that they hoped would cave at some point. Daimler certainly failed to put the necessary pressure behind its EU antitrust complaint, while Nokia found political opportunists of the worst kind in Brussels who were–and potentially still are–perfectly prepared to do lasting damage to the European Commission’s reputation as a competition watchdog. After so many years of having been accused of protectionism, the Commission couldn’t vindicate its critics more effectively and convincingly than by condoning Nokia’s conduct.

Not Even a Single Corporate Journalist Has Written Anything About These Very Important Bits of News (Updated)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Is the public actually being given news of importance and relevance to make informed decisions and get involved in the process?

Spock Watching TV: What are you doing? Ssssh. Watching the news.

Summary: Constant propaganda from patent maximalists has long infested the media, which is sometimes controlled and even bribed to set the tone and the agenda; important developments are being tucked away and require very deep digging for ordinary citizens to find

YESTERDAY we bemoaned the lack of journalism about corruption at the European Patent Office (EPO). There’s also that utter lack of proper coverage about the UPC, which threatens the vast majority of people and businesses in Europe. The coverage and the publishers behind that coverage are controlled by Team UPC. It’s like a “media of occupation”. Hey, when was the last time a major European press outlet said anything at all about software patents in Europe? How many years ago was that?

“We’ve also just noticed that Managing IP is defending WIPO’s biggest thug, Francis Gurry, by collectively calling articles that expose WIPO’s abuses “fake news”…”The state of journalism, especially in the area of patents, is appalling.

We’ve also just noticed that Managing IP is defending WIPO‘s biggest thug, Francis Gurry, by collectively calling articles that expose WIPO’s abuses “fake news” (check who’s funding this publisher and you’ll find firms standing to gain from such face-saving spin). So WIPO has its own Donald Trump, who rejects reality.

Over the past few weeks we saw both in German and in English numerous articles serving as a megaphone/loudspeakers for BMJV (despite its attack on the rule of law, as well as the German constitution). Not even once did we see coverage about the actual situation, wherein Brexit dooms the UPC/A. Patrick Breyer (a German MEP) brought this up — he did so even in the public record of the European Parliament. But nobody even noticed until weeks later; nobody in the media mentioned this. Nobody bothered.

Bristows’ Gregory Bacon has again decided to mention Patrick Breyer and say:

The reasoning behind Mr Breyer’s view that Germany can no longer ratify the UPCA (Agreement on a Unified Patent Court) is that the UK (which has ratified the UPCA) is, since Brexit, a “third country” under article 216 TFEU and, according to EU case law (C-22/70), member states cannot enter into agreements with third countries that affect EU rules or alter their scope. However, as the UK government has confirmed that the UK will not be participating in the UPC, if the UK withdraws its ratification of the UPCA before Germany ratifies that issue should not arise.

According to the European Parliament website, written non-priority questions must be answered within 6 weeks of notification to the institution concerned. However, this time limit is often not met. The European Commission’s answer is already overdue (even assuming it was not notified on 5 May but by 20 May, when the question was published). It has been reported that Mr Breyer has recently said that he plans to take legal action should he receive no answer or an unsatisfactory one.

This was mentioned before, even by Bristows, after the May 5th question that we covered not too long afterwards. Why they keep bringing up that question depends on how to interpret the motivation (they also mentioned that FFII had been working on a complaint). A lot of the old Bristows UPC boosters are gone (silent, retired or left the company to join another). The names are changing (a new one emerged lately), so maybe the communication policies changed as well, seeing what terrible prospects UPC has.

Why is the media not covering this? Weeks ago the Financial Times (FT) published a ludicrous piece entitled “UK and Germany hinder court launch”. This is the very same FT which was bribed by the EPO for lots of UPC lies and puff pieces. Where’s the actual journalistic value? This is lobbying. This is a piece shaming two countries into doing something illegal and unconstitutional. And it’s not the first time.

Another item that not a single site has mentioned (not even sites that focus on patents, except perhaps one blog) is the situation of SUEPO’s Laurent Prunier — a subject we wrote about several times over the years. Earlier this week SUEPO wrote once again about the Laurent Prunier settlement (first mentioned two months ago); SUEPO’s message was the first public message in months (the image at the top of the page is suggestive of censorship) and it updated the site one day later with a link to Laurent Prunier’s letter in French [PDF] which was also included here in Union Syndicale’s Web site. SUEPO just copied the first paragraph that said:

In recent years, social dialogue at the European Patent Office has been badly damaged. Since 2014, the EPO has been strongly criticised for its directives which go against the rights and interests of employees. Legal actions have multiplied as the suffering of staff members has increased. Today, a settlement agreement has been reached at the EPO concerning Laurent Prunier.

The remainder of the page says “USF recalls that Mr. Campinos has all the necessary room for manoeuvre to act ex gratia.” António Campinos has thus far been hardly better than Benoît Battistelli and in some respects he was even worse.

Excessive production pressure, a climate of fear, intimidation, harassment, abusive disciplinary procedures against staff and trade union representatives, censorship and non-respect of the right to strike shook the institution in particular during the mandates of Benoit Battistelli. USOEB-SUEPO*, the trade union representing half of the staff at the EPO, has constantly opposed these authoritarian abuses and has tried to find common ground with the administration.

Despite the appointment of a new president of the EPO, António Campinos, in July 2018, a return to normalcy has been slow to materialise. USOEB-SUEPO hoped that the new president would quickly restore social peace by, among other things, putting an end to the unacceptable situation of union representatives, who were unjustly targeted and sanctioned by his predecessor, especially Laurent Prunier. Former secretary of USOEB-SUEPO The Hague and elected member of the Central Staff Committee, he was at the end of 2016 the last of the staff to be unfairly dismissed in connection with his trade union activity. This situation, unprecedented in its scale in the discreet environment of International Organisations, had attracted the full attention of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In 2018, after having commissioned legal studies on International Organisations, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concluded in resolutions addressed to member states that the values enshrined in its instruments were insufficiently reflected in the EPO.

Union Syndicale supported Laurent Prunier as soon as he was dismissed because he was, like all the other staff representatives sanctioned, innocent. USF wrote several times to the President and the Administrative Council of the EPO inviting the new management to find a solution to this injustice. We have been informed that the two parties have finally reached a settlement agreement.

However, this agreement at the EPO, which we welcome, only concerns Laurent Prunier. If Mr. Campinos is sincere in his claim that he wants to re-establish a constructive dialogue with USOEB-SUEPO, the large majority union at the EPO, it is high time to ensure that the last two staff representatives who were unfairly sanctioned by his predecessor are now restored to their rights.

USF recalls that Mr. Campinos has all the necessary room for manoeuvre to act ex gratia. Indeed, as a former high-ranking official of the European Union with a legal background, it would be surprising if Mr. Campinos were not able to exercise his political power and use his prerogatives by pronouncing an amnesty for these two staff members in order to restore a productive social climate by drawing a line under the errors of the past.

The role of the trade unions remains more essential than ever to bring the demands of the staff to management while protecting their rights. Solidarity remains a priority for USF as well as for all European public service staff.

At the end they mention a SUEPO contact address, suepothehague@gmail.com.

We’re a bit surprised SUEPO would still entrust this to Google after what happened with “FOSSPatents” and Els Hardon, who used GMail to communicate EPO abuses, according to the EPO’s accusations against Hardon. Google is also a close partner of the EPO and some time in the future we’ll show how GMail hands over entire E-mail accounts to law enforcement (not over terrorism or anything remotely like that). We have a lot of material about this, owing to a police FOIA, and Ryan is working through it to study the material, which we can hopefully publish in a tidy fashion.

All we can say about the above is, the media really ought to have covered it. Years ago it still did (about half a decade). But then the EPO started to bribe and blackmail various publishers. Nowadays they all look the other way and pretend everything is rosy at the EPO; they want us to believe — to the point of deleting critical comments — that Campinos solved all the problems. It’s a lie. It’s a big, massive, shameful lie. If the media exists to perpetuate lies, then well done… mission accomplished.

Update (12/07/2020): SUEPO has just published an English translation of the letter from SUEPO’s Laurent Prunier.

english-prunierl-letter

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 09, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:51 am by Needs Sunlight

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