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07.13.20

Links 14/7/2020: Claws Mail 3.17.6 and RSS Guard 3.7.0 Released

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Star Lite Mk III Linux Laptop Is Now Available for Pre-Order from Star Labs

        Star Labs just informed me today that they’ve launched the pre-orders for the lightweight Star Lite Mk III Linux laptop from only $428 USD.

        Featuring a lightweight design with a redesigned chassis, the Star Lite MK III Linux laptop features an 11.6-inch LED-backlit Arc IPS matte display with Full HD (1920×1080) resolution and 16:9 aspect ration, which users offers glare-free viewing thanks to the a hard coat that also boasts durability.

        Under the hood, the Linux laptop is powered by a 1.1GHz Quad-Core Intel Pentium Silver N5000 processor that can go as high as 2.7GHz when boosted and promises up to 29% performance increase. It also features 8GB 2400MHz LPDDR4 RAM for up to 33% faster memory.

        It also features Intel UHD 605 graphics, a fanless design, a smoother glass trackpad, improved audio system, backlit keyboard, as well as an ultra-fast 240GB over-provisioned Star Drive SSD with up to 560MB/s read speeds and up to 540MB/s write speeds.

      • The next generation of the Purism Linux laptop is on its way

        For most Linux desktop users who want a ready-to-run Linux laptop, I recommend the latest high-end Dell XPS 13. I can also suggest System76 or ZaReason PCs or laptops for those who want top-of-the-line Linux hardware. But if privacy, security, and free software are at the top of your “Want” list, then you should check out Purism, maker of free software and Linux-powered laptops, and its next-generation Librem 14 laptop.

    • Server

      • CentOS Vs. Ubuntu Server : Everything You Need to Know

        Choosing the perfect Linux distribution to set up your server can be confusing since Linux provides a limitless number of options. The main reason behind these many distributions is because Linux is an opensource platform. Anybody with the required skills can contribute to the development or build and release their distribution. Currently, there are more than 600 Linux Desktop and Server distributions in the market.

        Despite these many distributions, there are two principal Linux server distributions dominant in the market – CentOS and Ubuntu Server. Both are excellent choices for a server, and they both have their advantages over the other.

        In this CentOS vs. Ubuntu comparison, we will look at the key features of both operating systems to guide you in choosing the right distributions for your Virtual Private Server.

        Before shedding light on these two well-matched opponents’ features and services, let’s have a brief look at each of them.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux founder tells Intel to stop inventing ‘magic instructions’ and ‘start fixing real problems’

        Linux Torvalds, the creator of Linux, offered up some interesting thoughts on Intel’s Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) instruction set, calling it a “power virus” that was only created to make the company’s CPU hardware perform well in benchmarks. He also admitted to being “biased” and “grumpy” in his assessment.

        His comments came in a mailing list (via Phoronix) discussing an article suggesting AVX-512 might not be part of Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake architecture. If that comes to pass, it will be just fine by Torvalds.

        “I hope AVX512 dies a painful death, and that Intel starts fixing real problems instead of trying to create magic instructions to then create benchmarks that they can look good on. I hope Intel gets back to basics: gets their process working again, and concentrate more on regular code that isn’t HPC or some other pointless special case,” Torvalds said.

        Intel introduced AVX-512 in 2013, initially as part of its Xeon Phi x200 and Skylake-X processor lines. It has also found its way into more current CPU architectures, including Ice Lake.

      • Linus Torvalds: I hope Intel’s AVX-512 ‘dies a painful death’

        He notes that “in the heyday of x86″, Intel’s rivals always outperformed it on FP loads.

        “Intel’s FP performance sucked (relatively speaking), and it matter not one iota. Because absolutely nobody cares outside of benchmarks,” Torvalds said.

        “The same is largely true of AVX-512 now – and in the future. Yes, you can find things that care. No, those things don’t sell machines in the big picture.”

        He continued his criticism by saying AVX512 has real downsides.

        “I’d much rather see that transistor budget used on other things that are much more relevant. Even if it’s still FP math (in the GPU, rather than AVX-512). Or just give me more cores (with good single-thread performance, but without the garbage like AVX-512) like AMD did.”

        Web performance firm Cloudflare has written about the performance impact of AVX-512. It advised customers who don’t need AVX-512 for high-performance tasks to disable AVX-512 execution on the server and desktop to avoid its “accidental” throttling.

      • Kernel prepatch 5.8-rc5

        The 5.8-rc5 kernel prepatch is out for testing; it’s a relatively large set of changes. “Maybe I’m in denial, but I still think we might hit the usual release schedule. A few more weeks to go before I need to make that decision, so it won’t be keeping me up at night.”

      • Linus Torvalds Approves Inclusive Terminology for Linux Kernel

        As reported previously, many companies and organizations are reviewing their use of racist and exclusionary language, and the Linux kernel development team has been doing the same.

        Last week, Linux creator Linus Torvalds approved an “inclusive terminology” proposal from Dan Williams for the Linux 5.8 repository, saying he “did not see a reason to wait for the next merge window.”

        This change means that, going forward, Linux developers will “avoid introducing new usage” of the terms “master/slave” and ‘’blacklist/whitelist.”

      • systemd-oomd Looks Like It Will Come Together For systemd 247

        Systemd-oomd is the out-of-memory daemon developed by Facebook and systemd developers. They are aiming for this to be better Linux handling of out-of-memory / low memory situations. Facebook originally wrote their OOMD code for their servers and since then has continued to be refined and adapted so it works out equally as well on desktops and more.

        Systemd-oomd polls systemd for OOMD-enabled cgroups to monitor them and kill based on memory pressure or swap usage. The systemd-oomd behavior is controlled via a new oomd.conf configuration file. Cgroups will need to employ EnableOomdKill if they want to be killed when under pressure.

    • Benchmarks

      • Radeon RADV+ACO Vulkan Performance Is In Great Shape For Mesa 20.2

        With the Mesa Radeon Vulkan driver “RADV” recently switching its default to the ACO shader compiler back-end that is developed with the support of Valve rather than the existing AMDGPU LLVM back-end that is the official open-source AMD shader compiler solution, here are some fresh Linux gaming benchmarks of the RADV driver on the in-development Mesa 20.2 comparing the now-default RADV+ACO configuration against that of the RADV AMDGPU LLVM back-end.

        Using Mesa 20.2-devel as of 7 July and Linux 5.8 Git, these fresh RADV ACO vs. AMDGPU LLVM banchmarks were carried out on the Intel Core i9 10900K system running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS with these software modifications. For those curious how RADV stacks up against AMDGPU-PRO and AMDVLK, there will be some benchmarks comparing those Vulkan driver options as well later this month closer to the Mesa 20.2 branching.

    • Applications

      • Claws Mail 3.17.6 Released with Phishing URL Warning, More Privacy Options

        Coming about five months after the release of version 3.17.5, Claws Mail 3.17.6 is here to implement a new Phishing warning that will prompt users whenever they copy a phishing URL, in addition to clicking a phishing URL.

        New privacy options are also in place starting with this release. Users will now be warned when sending an email if the selected privacy system is set to “None” and the automatic signing and/or encrypting is enabled.

      • espanso: An Open Source Cross-Platform Text Expander That Will Help You Type Faster and be More Productive

        If you’re using keyboard macros or mouse macros, you’re probably already saving a lot of time to get things done.

        But, you can’t just use macros to type everything. Yes, maybe a thing or two, but not a lot of things. And, for that very reason, a text expander should come in very handy.

        In this article, I’ll take a look at espanso, which is an open-source text expander.

      • CopyQ Clipboard Manager 3.12.0 Released (Ubuntu PPA)

        Advanced clipboard manager CopyQ 3.12.0 was released yesterday with new script function, dark mode improvements, and various bug-fixes.

        CopyQ is a free open-source clipboard editor with editing and scripting features.

      • Avidemux 2.7.6 Brings New Encoder/Decoder and Enhancements

        The free and open source video editor, encoder Avidemux introduces new encoder/decoder in its new release version 2.7.6 and many improvements.

        Avidemux is a free and open source non-linear video and audio editor used for simple filtering, cutting and encoding jobs. If you want a basic and lightweight video/audio editor, encoder for Linux, this the utility you should use. Along with the basic features, it has the ability to automate tasks using jobs and scripting. Avidemux supports popular file formats for editing e.g. AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF.

      • RSS Guard 3.7.0

        RSS Guard is a simple (yet powerful) feed reader. It is able to fetch the most known feed formats, including RSS/RDF and ATOM. It’s free, it’s open-source. RSS Guard currently supports Czech, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian. RSS Guard will never depend on other services – this includes online news aggregators like Feedly, The Old Reader and others.

      • Lf File Manager: Image Previews Sort Of Work I Guess
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Godot community poll 2020

        It’s this time of the year again! Help us better understand who is using Godot, what are your needs and towards where Godot usage is trending by completing the anonymous community poll! This is a short poll that should take a few minutes to complete.

      • Inspired by Settlers II, the open source Widelands has a new test build up

        Settlers II is an absolute classic and Widelands does a pretty good job of carrying the torch. Recently, a huge new update went out in the form of a Release Candidate. A Release Candidate means it’s not quite finished but ready enough for more public testing. Build 21 of Widelands is absolutely massive too, full of new features and fixes.

        The changelog is frankly ridiculously long, too long to fully go over. Safe to say though, it’s going to feel like a whole new game. The AI is smarter, there’s new official maps, the build system to compile it has been upgraded, support for advanced graphical features in the game engine like mipmaps, some new graphics throughout the game like road textures and footbridge eye candy, a complete overhaul of the sound handler and a ridiculous amount more.

      • The fab retro tactical RPG ‘Fates of Ort’ in now on GOG

        Fates of Ort, a retro RPG with a tactical approach to the combat and one where time only moves where you move is now available on GOG.

        This is not turn-based in the traditional sense, it’s more like everything is just paused. Perhaps a little closer to SUPERHOT than anything else, except it’s an RPG not a shooter. It’s so ridiculously fluid in action too, and honestly it’s just great. A welcome entry into the RPG genre. With a unique magic system too, one that requires a little thought, as it can suck your own life away to use it.

      • Narrative-heavy RPG ‘Vagrus – The Riven Realms’ has a free Prologue out now

        Vagrus – The Riven Realms, an upcoming turn-based narrative exploration RPG now has a Prologue available to get a feel for if it might be your thing.

        It has a strong emphasis on the narrative side of it, with a fair amount of reading being needed while you explore and travel across a dark fantasy world as the leader of a caravan. This is a world that was absolutely annihilated by the gods, who didn’t like what they saw, and now unspeakable horrors roam the lands. This Prologue contains the beginning sections of the game – both from the more narrative-driven introductory part and from the open-world main campaign.

      • CARRION brings on the grisly reverse-horror on July 23

        Phobia Game Studio and Devolver Digital recently announced that CARRION, a reverse-horror where you’re the thing lurking in the dark will release on July 23.

        I couldn’t be any more excited about this, seriously I’m so hyped about it after playing through the demo three times because it’s just so brilliantly designed. You are an amorphous creature of unknown origins, stalking and consuming those that imprisoned you.

      • Cloud Miners is an upcoming 2D co-op space mining and exploration game

        Inspired by Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, the upcoming Cloud Miners looks like it could be a fun blend of genres to play in some local co-op sessions.

        “You and your shipmates have been attacked and your ship destroyed! A Cloud Corp ship was nearby and able to save the crew at the last minute, and now you are indebted to Cloud Corp. In order to buy a new ship, and your freedom back, you must toil away mining asteroids and planets of their valuable resources, running on suspicious missions for Cloud Corp and entertaining spectators in the C.L.A.A.S.H. Coliseum battle arena. Your lives now belong to Cloud Corp, and it’s up to you to take your power back!”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Early Work On KDE Frameworks 6 Continues

          KDE developer Kevin Ottens has offered a fresh KDE Frameworks 6 progress report after acknowledging some months have passed without any update.

          While Qt 6.0 isn’t shipping until late in the air and KDE Frameworks 6 is still in the early stages of development, they are still making progress in avoiding use of deprecated code and other big code changes/clean-ups reserved for major version bumps. This includes recent changes like replacing KIO’s KLocalSocket usage with QLocalSocket, dropping KStatusBarOfflineIndicator, commit tooling to check for SPDX headers, and many other technical changes. Development on KF6 is expected to really heat up following the availability of Qt 6.0, currently scheduled for November.

        • CMake-Based Qt Creator Snapshots

          About a year ago we started porting the build system that we use for building Qt Creator itself from qmake to CMake. Nowadays we are in the state that many Qt Creator developers use CMake for building Qt Creator for their daily work, but the official packages are still based on the qmake build.

        • Week #6 Progress [MyPaint Engine]

          Last week my prime focus was to add more and more settings in the preset editor and so as to make mypaint brushes a bit more customizable. I used KisCurveOptionWidget class which Krita already has and modified it so that it can accomodate the settings and dynamic mypaint brush options. This went on to become a lot more complicated than I anticipated. Although, it works fine there are still a lot of bugs and finishing required to mark this as complete.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Cover Thumbnailer Shows Folder Thumbnails For Image And Music Directories (Nautilus, Caja, Thunar)

          For music folders (needs to have cover.jpg/png inside the folder), the application lets you choose the thumbnail resize method (crop or preserve), and if to allow mosaic or not. For the pictures folder, you can choose the maximum number of pictures to show on the thumbnail. Besides the default Pictures and Music folders, you can add extra folders, and ignore folders if you wish.

        • GNOME Optimizations Continue In Striving For Faster 4K Experience

          Canonical’s Daniel Van Vugt has been engaged in several weeks now in optimizing GNOME for a faster 4K experience particularly when using Intel graphics but many of these optimizations pan out for other GPUs and resolutions too. Over the past week he’s been working on yet more optimizations.

          We have been reporting on many of Daniel’s significant performance optimizations and he’s seemingly had no shortage of finding areas to optimize. As part of his status update for the weekly Ubuntu desktop team reports, Daniel noted, “Continued progress toward making 4K (or any resolution) faster and smoother…”

        • Molly de Blanc: (Some) Highlights from GUADEC

          I positively adore my coworkers. I’ll spare you how great they are, and instead focus on some of the talks they’ll be giving.

          GKT Core Developer Emmanuele Bassi will be giving two talks: Being a GNOME Maintainer: Best Practices and Known Traps and Archaeology of Accessibility. Being a GNOME Maintainer will discuss what it means to be a GNOME maintainer, and Archaeology of Accessibility will be a technical deep dive into the accessibility work Emmanuele and others have been doing around accessibility. (Note: “Accessibility” refers to the ability of technology to accommodate the needs of users who have disabilities, visual impairments, etc.)

          Melissa Wu, who is organizing the Community Engagement Challenge, will give two sessions as well. In her first, Remember What It’s Like to Be New to GNOME, she’ll talk about her experience coming to the GNOME community only a few months ago, getting to know people, and making things happen.

          Melissa will also join me for A Year of Strategic Initiatives at GNOME, during which we’ll talk about a range of things that have happened at GNOME over the past year (and some future plans), with a focus on organizational sustainability and the initiatives that make us excited to work here.

          Executive Director Neil McGovern will lead the Annual General Meeting, to provide everyone with an overview of what we’ve been doing and what we will do, and answer your questions.

    • Distributions

      • RaspEX Kodi Linux OS Now Supports the Latest Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM

        Arne Exton informs me today about a new release of his RaspEX Kodi Linux OS for Raspberry Pi computers, which is now supported on the latest 8GB RAM Raspberry Pi 4 model.

        Based on the Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system and the official Raspberry Pi OS, the new RaspEX Kodi build is here mainly to add support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 4 with 8GB RAM single-board computer.

        Arne Exton tells me that the new RaspEX Kodi build runs very well, offering excellent video and sound performance, especially on the Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB and 8GB RAM. The system is fast and responsive, and it’s better than other Raspberry Pi/Kodi systems, said the developer.

        Under the hood, the latest RaspEX Kodi release ships with the lightweight LXDE desktop environment, Kodi 18.7 “Leia” media center with Amazon Video, Netflix, Plex and YouTube add-ons, VLC media player, NetworkManager for configuring your wireless network, as well as many other useful apps.

      • A Quick Look At Slackel 7.3 Openbox

        Slackel is a Linux distribution based on Slackware and Salix. It is fully compatible with Slackware but the difference is that it is based on the development branch. Slackel comes in three editions, KDE, Openbox and MATE. Today, I’m taking a look at the recently released Slackel 7.3 Openbox.

      • BSD

        • Fuzzing Rumpkernel Syscalls Part

          It has been a great opportunity to contribute to NetBSD as a part of Google Summer Of Code ’20. The aim of the project I am working on is to setup a proper environment to fuzz the rumpkernel syscalls. This is the first report on the progress made so far.

          Rumpkernels provide all the necessary components to run applications on baremetal without the necessity of an operating system. Simply put it is way to run kernel code in user space.

          The main goal of rumpkernels in netbsd is to run,debug,examine and develop kernel drivers as easy as possible in the user space without having to run the entire kernel but run the exact same kernel code in userspace. This makes most of the components(drivers) easily portable to different environments.

          Rump Kernels are constructed out of components, So the drivers are built as libraries and these libraries are linked to an interface(some application) that makes use of the libraries(drivers). So we need not build the entire monolithic kernel just the required parts of the kernel.

        • Fuzzing the NetBSD Network Stack in a Rumpkernel Environment Part 1

          The objective of this project is to fuzz the various protocols and layers of the network stack of NetBSD using rumpkernel. This project is being carried out as a part of GSoC 2020. This blog post is regarding the project, the concepts and tools involved, the objectives and the current progress and next steps.

        • Make system(3) and popen(3) use posix_spawn(3) internally Part 1

          This is my first report for the Google Summer of Code project I am working on for NetBSD.

          Prior work: In GSoC 2012 Charles Zhang added the posix_spawn syscall which according to its SF repository at the time (maybe even now, I have not looked very much into comparing all other systems and libcs + kernels) is an in-kernel implementation of posix_spawn which provides performance benefits compared to FreeBSD and other systems which had a userspace implementation.

          After 1 week of reading POSIX and writing code, 2 weeks of coding and another 1.5 weeks of bugfixes I have successfully implemented posix_spawn in usage in system(3) and popen(3) internally.

          The biggest challenge for me was to understand POSIX, to read the standard. I am used to reading more formal books, but I can’t remember working with the posix standard directly before.

          The next part of my Google Summer of Code project will focus on similar rewrites of NetBSD’s sh(1).

        • GSoC Reports: Curses Library Automated Testing Part 1

          My GSoC project under NetBSD involves the development of test framework of curses library. Automated Test Framework (ATF) was introduced in 2007 but ATF cannot be used directly for curses testing for several reasons most important of them being curses has functions which do timed reads/writes which is hard to do with just piping characters to test applications. Also, stdin is not a tty device and behaves differently and may affect the results. A lot of work regarding this has been done and we have a separate test framework in place for testing curses.

          The aim of project is to build a robust test suite for the library and complete the SUSv2 specification. This includes writing tests for the remaining functions and enhancing the existing ones. Meanwhile, the support for complex character function has to be completed along with fixing some bugs, adding features and improving the test framework.

        • GSoC Reports: Extending the functionality of NetPGP Part 1

          NetPGP is a library and suite of tools implementing OpenPGP under a BSD license. As part of Google Summer of Code 2020, we are working to extend its functionality and work towards greater parity with similar tools. During the first phase, we have made the following contributions

          Added the Blowfish block cipher
          ECDSA key creation
          ECDSA signature and verification
          Symmetric file encryption/decryption
          S2K Iterated+Salt for symmetric encryption

        • Enhancing Syzkaller support for NetBSD, Part 1

          I have been working on the project – Enhance the Syzkaller support for NetBSD, as a part of GSoc’20. Past two months have given me quite an enriching experience, pushing me to comprehend more knowledge on fuzzers. This post would give a peek into the work which has been done so far.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Will Bring Hyper Growth To Rancher: Sheng Liang

          Last week SUSE announced its intent to acquire one of the powerhouses of the Kubernetes world – Rancher Labs. We sat down with the co-founder of Rancher Labs: Sheng Liang, to talk about what it means for the two companies, their products, projects and communities.

        • Storage solution and engaged partnership between Fujitsu and SUSE

          Fujitsu and SUSE have been partners for many years, and we are strategically collaborating on the needs and issues of customers in enterprise environments such as SUSE Business Critical Linux.

          At the online event SUSECON digital started from May 20, Fujitsu Keynote session will explain the solution development of both companies to the future market. At last year’s SUSECON, a technical session was conducted based on verification information on how to achieve system update and non-disruptive data migration to SUSE Enterprise Storage without stopping service and user access by Fujitsu and SUSE for existing Ceph environment. Please don’t miss Fujitsu Data Driven transformation sessions at SUSECON digital this year.

        • Updating Documentation for openSUSE Leap 15.2

          After having a Virtual Live Installation Party on YouTube yesterday (02 Jul 2020). I realized, I have to test and update documentation out there on my site as well as the openSUSE Wiki. This is one of those things that I do as I have time, generally. Essentially, this is what I have done for the last several years, not 100% consistently but generally speaking, I keep on top of it. In order to stay organized, I have a “personal” wiki page that I keep track of what it is that I maintain.

          [...]

          If you are using a “free” operating system, it isn’t free. It has taken work and love to make it possible for you to use it. People are making personal sacrifices, often without pay, to bring this wonderful tool for you to use. Find a way to contribute back, in whatever way is within your abilities and pay the good will forward.

          [...]

          I openly admit my almost unhealthy obsession for the openSUSE project, it is in my obsession that I feel compelled to contribute where ever I can. I am forever thankful for everyone that takes the time to make openSUSE, Linux and all the software that I use possible. The freedom and ability to use my computer that suits my requirements best is something for which I am continually grateful.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Council policy proposal: Process for promoting Fedora deliverable to Edition

          With several Fedora deliverables ready (or nearly ready) to be promoted to Edition status, we need a policy for how this will work. After consulting with representatives from QA, Release Engineering, and Fedora IoT, I drafted a proposed process. The Council will begin voting on Tuesday 28 July in accordance with the policy change policy.

      • Debian Family

        • SolydXK 10.4 overview | Stable and Secure.

          In this video, I am going to show an overview of SolydXK 10.4 and some of the applications pre-installed.

        • Shutter Encoder

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Shutter Encoder

          What is Shutter Encoder?

          Shutter Encoder is a free encoding software for converting images, videos, and audio files, allowing you to choose from a large number of functions.
          Encode your files, replace audio, burn to DVD, analyze audio Loudness, download web videos, make your own timelapse etc…

        • Debian Long Term Support (LTS) users and contributors survey

          On July 18th Stretch LTS starts, offering two more years of security support to the Debian Stretch release. Stretch LTS will be the fourth iteration of LTS, following Squeeze LTS which started in 2014, Wheezy LTS in 2016 and Jessie LTS in 2018.

          However, for the first time, we have prepared a small survey about our users and contributors, who they are and why they are using LTS.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Cinnamon – Reasonable but not chipper

          I would say Linux Mint 20 Ulyana Cinnamon is a slightly more useful edition than the Xfce one. It feels more carefully put together, it’s visually more distinctive, and while the other is a bit faster and offers more juice, the delta isn’t cardinal enough to justify the less integrated, less polished setup. All in all, this is an okay distro, but again, it ain’t no killer, and there are no fireworks. Some solid stuff, some average stuff, a basket of bugs and problems, with the ergonomics being the top culprit.

          There’s also a philosophical angle. With these two Mint editions so similar, is there really any need for the Xfce one? I think Mint would do better with just one version, where all the effort and labor goeth. Then, there’s also the problem of distinction. I was super-impressed with Mint in the past, and it often topped my best-of charts at the end of the year. But now, the value delta isn’t big enough to make it stand out above the crowd. It’s a difficult situation, because the Linux world is really drowning in lethargy.

          If you want a simple, classic desktop, you might want to try Ulyana. It’s fairly consistent, which can’t be said of most distros, it stays true to its identity, but then, it ain’t exciting, and there are some rough edges, which mar the experience. I’d say 7/10. We’ve seen better, and I expect more, but I’m not sure that perfect brilliance is ever going to happen again. So there you go, from the most optimistic distro reviewer on this planet.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 639

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 639 for the week of July 5 – 11, 2020.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Stack Abuse: What’s New in Tensorflow 2.0?

        If you are a Machine Learning Engineer, Data Scientist, or a hobbyist developing Machine Learning Models from time to time just for fun, then it is very likely that you are familiar with Tensorflow.

        Tensorflow is an open-source and a free framework developed by Google Brain Team written in Python, C++, and CUDA. It is used to develop, test, and deploy Machine Learning models.

        Initially, Tensoflow did not have full support for multiple platforms and programming languages, and it was not very fast and efficient for training Machine Learning models, but with time and after a few updates, Tensorflow is now considered as a go-to framework for developing, training and deploying machine learning models.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Improving Firefox Startup Time With The about:home Startup Cache

            We’re working on a thing to make Firefox start faster! It appears to work! Here’s a video showing off a before (left) and after (right):

            Improving Firefox Startup Time With The about:home Startup Cache

            For the past year or so, the Firefox Desktop Front-End Performance team has been concentrating on making improvements to browser startup performance.

            The launching of an application like Firefox is quite complex. Meticulous profiling of Firefox startup in various conditions has, thankfully, helped reveal a number of opportunities where we can make improvements. We’ve been evaluating and addressing these opportunities, and several have made it into the past few Firefox releases.

            This blog post is about one of those improvements that is currently in the later stages of development. I’m going to describe the improvement, and how we went about integrating it.

            In a default installation of Firefox, the first (and only) tab that loads is about:home.

          • A look at password security, Part II: Web Sites

            In part I, we took a look at the design of password authentication systems for old-school multiuser systems. While timesharing is mostly gone, most of us continue to use multiuser systems; we just call them Web sites. In this post, I’ll be covering some of the problems of Web authentication using passwords.

            As I discussed previously, the strength of passwords depends to a great extent on how fast the attacker can try candidate passwords. The nature of a Web application inherently limits the velocity at which you can try passwords quite a bit. Even ignoring limits on the rate which you can transmit stuff over the network, real systems — at least well managed ones — have all kinds of monitoring software which is designed to detect large numbers of login attempts, so just trying millions of candidate passwords is not very effective. This doesn’t mean that remote attacks aren’t possible: you can of course try to log in with some of the obvious passwords and hope you get lucky, and if you have a good idea of a candidate password, you can try that (see below), but this kind of attack is inherently somewhat limited.

            [...]

            Leaked passwords aren’t the only threat to password authentication on Web sites. The other big issue is what’s called phishing. In the basic phishing attack, the attacker sends you an e-mail inviting you to log into your account. Often this will be phrased in some scary way like telling you your account will be deleted if you don’t log in immediately. The e-mail will helpfully contain a link to use to log in, but of course this link will go not to the real site but to the attacker’s site, which will usually look just like the real site and may even have a similar domain name (e.g., mozi11a.com instead of mozilla.com). When the user clicks on the link and logs in, the attacker captures their username and password and can then log into the real site. Note that having users use good passwords totally doesn’t help here because the user gives the site their whole password.

            Preventing phishing has proven to be a really stubborn challenge because, well, people are not as suspicious as they should be and it’s actually fairly hard on casual examination to determine whether you are on the right site. Most modern browsers try to warn users if they are going to known phishing sites (Firefox uses the Google Safe Browsing service for this). In addition, if you use a password manager, then it shouldn’t automatically fill in your password on a phishing site because password managers key off of the domain name and just looking similar isn’t good enough. Of course, both of these defenses are imperfect: the lists of phishing sites can be incomplete and if users don’t use password managers or are willing to manually cut and paste their passwords, then phishing attacks are still possible

          • This Week In Servo 132

            In the past week, we merged 64 PRs in the Servo organization’s repositories.

            The latest nightly builds for common platforms are available at download.servo.org.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

        • Java

          • Why Java and Quarkus are important for your business

            Java has been the workhorse of enterprise software application development for the past 25 years. During this time, we have also seen some drastic changes to application infrastructure technologies – ones that are not always compatible with the Java framework. We have seen it all: from monolithic application servers, to API-driven programmable infrastructure, to just-in-time intelligent serverless infrastructures. We have gone from extensive setup and dynamic configuration for peak workloads, to expressing the ideal operational model as code for our applications. Now with serverless computing, developers can focus on providing the application code and letting an intelligent application infrastructure run and scale up and down for use, without even thinking about infrastructure concerns.

            Increasingly, modern application infrastructure tends to be immutable, meaning that servers are not able to be modified after they have been deployed. Immutable infrastructure can help simplify operations and lead to simpler, more predictable, and consistent deployment processes. When changes are required, the old configuration can be replaced with a new configuration to keep the environments consistent and easily reproducible across development, test and production. However, the traditional Java framework was designed for changeable application infrastructure that is no longer required in modern cloud environments.

  • Leftovers

    • 3 best practices for working on a distributed team

      I have mixed feelings about instant messaging platforms. Pulling quick conversations out of email and into Slack often does improve resolution times for small issues, but a successful rollout requires some setting of expectations. Fundamentally, I do not believe it is reasonable to expect prompt responses to IM messages during the workday. Giving employees time for focused, uninterrupted work is vital. These tools provide functionalities to customize alerts, including muting all notifications (with a configurable option that lets others force alerts through as needed), muting individual channels, setting up various keyword notifications, and a wide range of other options not covered here.

      However, these controls are meaningless if there is an organizational expectation of prompt responses. Too frequently, I see folks asking a question like “Is anyone working on the database?” and, after less than five minutes, following up with “Okay, sounds like nobody is working on it, I am going to make my changes.”

      Not only does this assume everyone has the same working hours, which immediately breaks down when you have remote team members in different time zones, it also ignores the reality of work both in and out of the office. Packages get delivered, coffee needs to be prepared, meetings are attended, and, sometimes, real work is being done! Take an empathetic look at your co-workers’ needs and build expectations that allow for async work.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Kenya’s teen pregnancy crisis: More than COVID-19 is to blame

        Kenyan media exploded with a disturbing story last month: “Close to 4,000 school girls impregnated in Kenya during COVID-19 lockdown”, read one headline. “Alarm as 3,964 girls impregnated in Machakos County in five months”, stated another.

        The articles all cited data from a recently released Kenya government health information survey, and most attributed the high pregnancy numbers to the COVID-19 lockdown. That seemed to make sense. Since the pandemic hit Kenya in mid-March, healthcare providers have been warning about its potential to increase rates of teenage pregnancies.

        School closures have cut off girls from teachers who can sound the alarm in suspected cases of abuse at home, and students have been left idle and often unchaperoned by busy parents. Restrictions on movement have also made it harder for girls to access contraceptives and family planning services, and mandatory curfews have trapped girls in homes with predatory family members and neighbours.

      • Deep Problems

        The COVID-19 crisis, like other recent and ongoing crises, makes visible what had tended to be invisible, or at least easily ignored. Like many crises, it accelerates structural trends that were already in place, particularly in economic and technological organization. It also highlights some hopeful qualities in people. Life under distancing shows how quickly our social world can change in the face of felt need. We see everywhere that solidarity is real and people are hungry to help and support one another. Although these are rudiments of left politics, the crisis has caught the left at a moment of weakness, despite remarkable national campaigns and local victories. Meanwhile the right has the political initiative, and the center retains a hegemony that belies recent perceptions of its downfall.
        First, what the crisis has disclosed:
        1. The American working class now substantially populates the provisioning economy. This includes the logistics workers who sustain Amazon’s invisible supply lines. The middle-class isolate who imagines being autonomous in a detached home depends on this sorting, carting, and toting labor. The new provisioning economy has swung into high gear and gathered market power through the crisis—for the owners, but not for the workers.
        2. American labor is also the labor of caregiving, from hospitals to nursing homes and beyond. Caregiving and provisioning are the bloodstream of the economy and, more broadly, the society. Essential as they are, these workers remain, individually and collectively, relatively powerless. Sporadic labor actions among logistics workers for basic safety, and similar demands from healthcare workers facing overwork and shortages of protective equipment, have been at best fugitive examples of what systemic worker power would look like in this crisis.
        3. The U.S. strategy for the crisis has been to draft the working classes to the epidemiological front lines, producing high levels of exposure, illness, and death for people who take the subway or bus to work, interact with lots of customers, or provide basic healthcare. This has bent the proverbial curve, on the backs of those who cannot afford to bend.
        4. Economic power means, among other things, the power to withdraw and stay inside, or to get to the country or the shore. The billionaire prepper who buys land in New Zealand now seems only the emblematic extreme of a much broader pattern of stratified survival strategies.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft Visual Studio gets .NET Core debugging – on WSL2 [Ed: Microsoft Tim reminds us again that WSL and WSL2 are an ATTACK on GNU/Linux the EEE way]
        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (chromium, mailman, openjpeg2, ruby-rack, squid3, tomcat8, and xen), Fedora (botan2, kernel, LibRaw, mingw-OpenEXR, mingw-podofo, podofo, seamonkey, squid, and webkit2gtk3), Mageia (ffmpeg, mbedtls, mediawiki, and xpdf), Oracle (kernel), Red Hat (bind, dbus, jbig2dec, and rh-nodejs12-nodejs), and SUSE (graphviz and xen).

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Decolonising aid, again

        This year, calls for reform of the humanitarian system are proliferating. What’s unusual is that they are not just calls for technocratic fixes but for urgent engagement with real world issues: a new model for humanitarian aid that puts anti-racism at its centre.

        Two years ago, I wrote a paper for the Overseas Development Institute, Network Humanitarianism, about the systemic challenges facing humanitarian organisations, the underlying origins of those challenges, and possible solutions. It was widely ignored, but it was exactly what people have been asking for – a new model for humanitarian aid.

        I didn’t use the word “racism” once in that paper.

        Looking back, I realise I have never written about racism in the aid industry. Yet as the product of a mixed marriage, I have wrestled with my own questions about racism for most of my life. In my personal life, I’ve never been afraid to speak up against racism, even at the expense of friendships. In my professional life, meanwhile, I’ve never been afraid to speak up on other issues, even at the expense of my career.

        So the question I now ask myself is: Why? Why did I never put this critical question at the forefront of my writing?

        I didn’t because my work focused on those technocratic fixes in aid reform. I didn’t because I thought that the aid industry wasn’t ready to talk about racism. I didn’t because I didn’t think it was my place to. I didn’t because I didn’t want to offend my friends and colleagues. I didn’t because nobody else was talking about it, at least not loudly. I didn’t because I was a coward.

      • My Turn: Pro-Black is pro-White

        Thankfully, my children are a little too young to really understand racism. Yet the time is fast approaching when we will have to have that conversation with them explicitly – hopefully, before they are rudely introduced to the reality of racism through some “micro”-aggression perpetrated against them by another preschooler.

        After all, research shows that, while children recognize skin color differences as early as two to three months old, they do not assign normative value to those physical traits until later when, around preschool age, they start to show distinct racial bias and even perpetrate racist interpersonal acts.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Impact of Notice-of-Allowance in Parallel IPR

          In its original decision, the Federal Circuit affirmed a PTAB IPR decision invalidating ESIP’s claimed essential-oil-diffuser and “method for introducing a scent into breathable air,” US9415130; IPR2017-02197.

          [...]

          PTAB Final Decision. On appeal, the Federal Circuit panel decision did not address the issue even though it had been fully briefed. Now, the Federal Circuit has also refused to consider the issue via rehearing or en banc.

          So, the question remains: What deference or consideration should be given to a contemporary examiner determination involving the same patentee and the same prior art?

          The issue here is similar to what the PTAB has been working through over the past five years regarding prior decisions by Article III courts, just closer to home.

        • Asking about Upcoming Bar Dates
        • Software Patents

          • $5,000 for prior art on GE Video Compression patent

            On July 13, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $5,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claims 1 of U.S. Patent 10,250,913, owned by GE Video Compression LLC.

            [...]

            The ’913 patent generally relates to coding schemes for coding a spatially sampled information signal using sub-division and coding schemes for coding a sub-division or a multitree structure are described, wherein representative embodiments relate to picture and/or video coding applications.

            APEX STANDARDS has shared US and non-US prior art as well as corresponding claim charting against the patent. Interested professionals may take them and craft work product from there. The link can be found here:

          • The Rise of the Super NPE and the Western District of Texas

            For years, the Eastern District of Texas (EDTX) was the hot spot for NPE patent litigation, reaching a peak of 2,411 cases in 2015, or roughly half of all filings, nearly all going to Judge Gilstrap. Since 2015, however, NPE cases have fallen off in that district by almost 93%. Meanwhile, the Western District of Texas (WDTX) has seen a 892% increase in NPE litigation, going from very few cases just a few years ago to being the dominant venue for patent cases nationwide. Most of these cases, brought in the last year and a half, began when Judge Albright was appointed to the bench and implemented new local patent rules. The WDTX has now become the leading patent litigation venue (Figure 1).

            [...]

            Obviously, financing and third-party economic backing is shrouded in secrecy, so our numbers likely underestimate the total percentage of cases funded by third parties, whether through private capital groups like Magnetar, Starboard, or Burford Capital, or by private sources unwilling or unable to acknowledge their stake. But what is clear from an honest assessment of the cases filed is that if a case is funded or part of an aggregation scheme, chances are that it will be filed in the WDTX, to the exclusion of plenty of competitor-competitor suits.

          • $2,000 for prior art on GreatGigz Solutions patent

            On July 13, 2020, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 7,490,086. The patent is owned by GreatGigz Solutions, LLC, an NPE. The ’086 patent generally relates to job searching services, including a system for storing, processing, and transmitting job-related information (e.g., job openings, assignments, contracts, etc.) based on a job search request. This patent has been asserted in district court against LinkedIn and Grubhub for their respective job searching and job assignment platforms.

            APEX STANDARDS has shared US and non-US prior art as well as corresponding claim charting against the patent. Interested professionals may take them and craft work product from there.

Microsoft Has Put the String “0xBIGBOOBS” Inside Linux (Kernel Driver for Microsoft’s Windows-Only Proprietary Software, Formerly a GPL Violation); Reddit (Condé Nast) Bans You For Mentioning Such Things

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent/Related: Detecting and Undoing/Reversing Censorship of Microsoft Critics at Reddit | Censorship on Reddit Has Gotten (Condé) Nasty and Silent, Even Actively Silenced | [Humour] Things You Can’t Say on Reddit | Beware Mozilla and Rust, They’re Not Friends of Free Software or Even of Free Speech

Reddit ban
This happened 19 hours ago. One might think that it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say in the “Linux” subreddit. This wasn’t only censored; “They won’t say which moderator did the ban, or why,” the banned person has told us.

Summary: In this increasingly crazy atmosphere of mass sanctioning and permanent banning (removing everything or everyone that’s perceived to be impolite) even “Linux” forums are banning people who point out Microsoft being a rogue corporation that’s attacking GNU/Linux

There’s Apparently a New Boss (or Policy) at Red Hat/IBM

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, KDE, Red Hat at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rex Dieter bans Kevin Kofler

Summary: The Fedora project doesn’t seem to care much about free speech, no matter one’s seniority in the project; as the person who relayed it to us has just put it, “they even eat their own.” (Longtime contributors) “He’s not a troll. He’s a contributor who rubbed some people the wrong way and now the banhammer is coming out. Fedora KDE was already collapsing and now it finally will.” (Note: Rex Dieter leads or led this project)

There Cannot be Software Freedom Without Free Speech (Which is Nowadays Being Wrongly and Creatively Conflated With Racism)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, Red Hat at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thin-skinned or patently dishonest corporations and people (unable to endure the slightest of criticism) will doom a fundamental cornerstone in order to muzzle dissenting voices that are both honest and sincere

Star Trek City Edith Keeler: Poor boy, his feelings are hurt. He's not a boy, he's a grown-up.

Summary: The time to speak out in favour of free speech is now; because the next phase typically involves removal (to be sold as “voluntary”) of people whose political views are seen as professionally inadequate (recall what they did to Richard Stallman last September)

THE Free Software Movement (FSM) is inherently political. How is that so?

OK, let’s start with the simple observation that its core values conflict with or contradict pretty much all the largest companies, which also control the political system (by means of bribery, euphemised as “campaign contributions” and other non-starters).

“Recently we’ve heard a lot discussions about how Free software is racist, sexist and all sorts of other irrational bigotries.”As a longtime reader of ours from Argentina puts it, the moment you speak of software freedom the discussion becomes political, not just technical. It’s almost inevitable.

Recently we’ve heard a lot discussions about how Free software is racist, sexist and all sorts of other irrational bigotries. Of course the code of proprietary software is equally ‘rude’, but it’s being hidden away from us. Microsoft even put the string “BIG BOOBS” inside the Linux kernel (in a driver for its proprietary software, which contains who-the-hell-knows-what inside its secret code…)

“As for FUD, watch how IBM and Red Hat try to present themselves as a “professional” and “tolerant” GNU/Linux vendor; as if to choose Debian instead of RHEL is to rely on a bunch of reckless misogynists who eat babies… that’s just classic IBM FUD.”There’s a coordinated and profound attack on the image of Free software. It’s not a new attack. It goes a very long way back. As for FUD, watch how IBM and Red Hat try to present themselves as a “professional” and “tolerant” GNU/Linux vendor; as if to choose Debian instead of RHEL is to rely on a bunch of reckless misogynists who eat babies… that’s just classic IBM FUD. It’s IBM that led to the invention of FUD as a concept (a former IBM employee was its victim).

At the moment we’re getting close to the point where particular words aren’t just banned from kernel code; they’ll soon be banned from mailing lists too (depending on context). Code, comments, and documentation watered down first because “slave” is a bad word; then they add all sorts of other seemingly innocuous words (mission creep). The same people who push this into the kernel itself also control the Linux Foundation‘s Linux Kernel Code of Conduct (CoC). Yes, Intel (same employer, which has just been blasted by Torvalds on purely technical grounds).

Moments ago in IRC Ryan told us, “I called Nvidia a bunch of jerks and got CoC blocked.” He was referring to the Fedora (i.e. Red Hat) discussions. He’s a Fedora user and longtime GNU/Linux proponent, not a troll. Maybe ‘doing a Torvalds’ isn’t OK for everybody, even with omission of the “F word” (the word “jerk” isn’t forbidden too, is it?).

We’ve occasionally written here in Techrights about Intel’s serious crimes (including an attack on African children’s education). Can one bring those up in mailing lists without risk of being reprimanded? Nobody wants to receive bollocking for merely stating a fact. It’s unfair. Months ago at work I used the slang “bollocking” and was told off for it at my job; is the world moving into some sort of post-English era?

“At the moment we’re getting close to the point where particular words aren’t just banned from kernel code; they’ll soon be banned from mailing lists too (depending on context).”Cowardice isn’t our ally here; if people lack the courage to speak out about free speech (and no, bringing up the subject does not make one a racist), then little by little we’ll lose ‘permissible’ words and the ability to express ourselves, even if we merely speak about ethical considerations, factually. If you’re a Linux kernel developer and you cannot safely and openly speak about Microsoft’s crimes and Microsoft’s attacks against Linux (still an ongoing problem), then there’s something very wrong. Remember that Linus Torvalds is already bossed by several high-level Microsoft employees; can he too (in spite of his high profile in the project, being its founder) get a sense of fear, self-censorship or subconscious restraint? Hey, it’s not like he was temporarily ‘ousted’ (seemingly ‘voluntarily’) before, right? Oh wait, he was.

[Humour/Meme] ‘Offensive’ Jokes

Posted in Site News at 1:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Erosion of free speech rights: It won’t be long before humour too is said to contain forbidden language

Offensive Joke Quokka: not funny, will attack joker

Cartoon cancel culture

Summary: Even humour itself is under attack now; people who cannot take/tolerate cartoons and banter are targeting the stand-up comedians, the cartoonists and so on

The Media Does Not Like Talking About Linux (Which It Doesn’t Understand Anyway). It Makes the News All About Linus.

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 12:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Technical journalism replaced by gossip and drama, including wars over choice of words

Torvalds article in Techradar

Torvalds article in Phoronix

Torvalds article in BetaNews

Torvalds article in Slashdot

Torvalds article in The Register

Summary: Just like back in May (or every other week) the news about Linux itself is being ignored and the subject is getting personified to make Linux seem rude and unruly

THE PAST 24 hours have been rather interesting, especially for a news watcher or neophile (news addict). They served to reinforce what we wrote back in May about media ignoring the actual Linux news and making some gossip about what computer Linus Torvalds had bought, instead. We’re seeing this again today.

“And later they wonder why many people cannot take “professional” news sites seriously anymore.”About 16 hours ago Mr. Torvalds announced the fifth Release Candidate (RC) of the upcoming Linux release [1]. Did the media cover that? No. Only Phoronix did [2]. LWN dropped a quick note and link a few hours ago [3].

As for the corporate media? Nothing!

In [4] and [5] Torvalds is presented as rude and outspoken. This is what people see in Google News and other mainstream channels. In [6] we see echoes of that. Then, in [7-10] it’s about language wars. But nothing at all about the fifth RC of the upcoming Linux release. Nothing.

Is this unusual? No, it’s typical. It’s happening all the time. And later they wonder why many people cannot take “professional” news sites seriously anymore.

ZDNet‘s “LINUX” section says nothing about Linux (the RC); the sole headline is, “Linus Torvalds: I hope Intel’s AVX-512 ‘dies a painful death’” (he actually said a lot more than that, explaining why AVX-512 is technically bad).

References from today’s news:

  1. Linux 5.8-rc5
    Ok, so rc4 was small, and now a week later, rc5 is large.
    
    It's not _enormous_, but of all the 5.x kernels so far, this is the
    rc5 with the most commits. So it's certainly not optimal. It was
    actually very quiet the beginning of the week, but things picked up on
    Friday. Like they do..
    
    That said, a lot of it is because of the networking fixes that weren't
    in rc4, and I'm still not hearing any real panicky sounds from people,
    and things on the whole seem to be progressing just fine.
    
    So a large rc5 to go with a large release doesn't sound all that
    worrisome, when we had an unusually small rc4 that precedes it and
    explains it.
    
    Maybe I'm in denial, but I still think we might hit the usual release
    schedule. A few more weeks to go before I need to make that decision,
    so it won't be keeping me up at night.
    
    The diffstat for rc5 doesn't look particularly worrisome either. Yes,
    there's a (relatively) high number of commits, but they tend to be
    small. Nothing makes me go "umm".
    
    In addition to the outright fixes, there's a few cleanups that are
    just prep for 5.9. They all look good and simple too.
    
    Anyway, networking (counting both core and drivers) amounts to about a
    third of the patch, with the rest being spread all over: arch updates
    (arm64, s390, arc), drivers (gpu, sound, md, pin control, gpio),
    tooling (perf and selftests). And misc noise all over.
    
    The appended shortlog gives the details, nothing really looks all that
    exciting. Which is just as it should be at this time.
    
    Go forth and test.
    
    Thanks,
    
                     Linus
    
  2. Linux 5.8-rc5 Released As A Big Kernel For This Late In The Cycle
  3. Kernel prepatch 5.8-rc5

    The 5.8-rc5 kernel prepatch is out for testing; it’s a relatively large set of changes. “Maybe I’m in denial, but I still think we might hit the usual release schedule. A few more weeks to go before I need to make that decision, so it won’t be keeping me up at night.”

  4. Linux founder tells Intel to stop inventing ‘magic instructions’ and ‘start fixing real problems’

    Linux Torvalds, the creator of Linux, offered up some interesting thoughts on Intel’s Advanced Vector Extensions 512 (AVX-512) instruction set, calling it a “power virus” that was only created to make the company’s CPU hardware perform well in benchmarks. He also admitted to being “biased” and “grumpy” in his assessment.

    His comments came in a mailing list (via Phoronix) discussing an article suggesting AVX-512 might not be part of Intel’s upcoming Alder Lake architecture. If that comes to pass, it will be just fine by Torvalds.

    “I hope AVX512 dies a painful death, and that Intel starts fixing real problems instead of trying to create magic instructions to then create benchmarks that they can look good on. I hope Intel gets back to basics: gets their process working again, and concentrate more on regular code that isn’t HPC or some other pointless special case,” Torvalds said.

    Intel introduced AVX-512 in 2013, initially as part of its Xeon Phi x200 and Skylake-X processor lines. It has also found its way into more current CPU architectures, including Ice Lake.

  5. Linus Torvalds: I hope Intel’s AVX-512 ‘dies a painful death’

    He notes that “in the heyday of x86″, Intel’s rivals always outperformed it on FP loads.

    “Intel’s FP performance sucked (relatively speaking), and it matter not one iota. Because absolutely nobody cares outside of benchmarks,” Torvalds said.

    “The same is largely true of AVX-512 now – and in the future. Yes, you can find things that care. No, those things don’t sell machines in the big picture.”

    He continued his criticism by saying AVX512 has real downsides.

    “I’d much rather see that transistor budget used on other things that are much more relevant. Even if it’s still FP math (in the GPU, rather than AVX-512). Or just give me more cores (with good single-thread performance, but without the garbage like AVX-512) like AMD did.”

    Web performance firm Cloudflare has written about the performance impact of AVX-512. It advised customers who don’t need AVX-512 for high-performance tasks to disable AVX-512 execution on the server and desktop to avoid its “accidental” throttling.

  6. “Let Intel begin to solve real problems, instead of creating magical instructions.” Linux creator criticized Intel

    Torvalds wrote this statement against the backdrop of rumors that, in Intel’s Alder Lake processors, the AVX-512, apparently, will not be. By the way, Torvalds himself recently for the first time in 15 years replaced the Intel processor with AMD product.

  7. Linus Torvalds Approves Inclusive Terminology for Linux Kernel

    As reported previously, many companies and organizations are reviewing their use of racist and exclusionary language, and the Linux kernel development team has been doing the same.

    Last week, Linux creator Linus Torvalds approved an “inclusive terminology” proposal from Dan Williams for the Linux 5.8 repository, saying he “did not see a reason to wait for the next merge window.”

    This change means that, going forward, Linux developers will “avoid introducing new usage” of the terms “master/slave” and ‘’blacklist/whitelist.”

  8. Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

    Linux overlord overseer principal developer Linus Torvalds has signed off on a new policy to adopt inclusive language across the project.

    A Git commit adopted changes recommended by kernel developer Dan Williams, with the result that Linux will no longer refer to masters, slaves or blacklists.

    In their place coders will be expected to use alternatives such as “primary” and “secondary” relationships, or refer to “leaders” and “followers”, or even “directors” and “performers”.

    Blacklists are to become either “denylists” or “blocklists” and whitelists will become “allowlists” or “passlists”.

    Torvalds’ commit was made on July 10th and said he thinks there’s no need for the change to wait for the next merge window for a new cut of the Linux kernel.

    Torvalds later offered his weekly state of the kernel post in which he perhaps tremulously observed that while last week’s Linux 5.8-rc4 was “small”, “now a week later, rc5 is large.”

  9. Linux Kernel Will Stop Using ‘Master/Slave’, and ‘Blacklist/Whitelist’ in Code

    Similarly, the recommended alternatives for ‘blacklist / whitelist’ are ‘denylist / allowlist’ and ‘blocklist / passlist’. As you can see, Torvalds has given developers the choice to adopt any of the suggested ones.

    “The discussion has tapered off as well as the incoming ack, review, and sign-off tags. I did not see a reason to wait for the next merge window,” reads the commit on Linux 5.8 repository.

    According to the commit, old terms will be allowed only when developers are updating code for an existing (as of 2020) hardware or protocol, or when devs are dealing with specifications that mandate those terms.

    The decision comes after Linux maintainer Dan Williams raised a proposal that read, “Recent events have prompted a Linuxposition statement on inclusive terminology. Given that Linux maintains a coding-style and its own idiomatic set of terminology here is a proposal to answer the call to replace non-inclusive terminology.”

  10. Linux kernel will no longer use terms ‘blacklist’ and ‘slave’

    Linus Torvalds, the principal engineer of the Linux kernel, has approved new terminology for its code and documentation to promote the inclusive language. The change abolishes terms such as blacklist, master, and slave.

    There are no formal alternatives in place, but Torvalds suggested plenty of choices. Suggested replacements for master/slave are primary/secondary, controller/device, requester/responder, and main/replica.

    Alternatives for blacklist/whitelist are denylist/allowlist and blocklist/passlist.

    [...]

    In May, after George Floyd’s death in the US, a string of protests sprung up worldwide to support Black Lives Matter initiatives. In a way to show solidarity, the tech community proposed to get rid of terms such as blacklist and slave.

    Several major product and programming language teams including Twitter, Chrome, Android, Curl, Go, and Microsoft have also adopted alternative terminology.

Links 13/7/2020: Linux 5.8 RC5, Qt Creator Beta, Mexico Threatens GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • My Linux story: From Linux user to contributor

        I am an IT professional with over 15 years of experience in a number of different roles—systems administrator, senior Linux administrator, DevOps engineer, automation consultant, and senior scrum master. I started learning Linux on Ubuntu but shifted to CentOS as a sysadmin, and later I moved to Fedora for personal use. But my joy for technology started much earlier than my first Linux distribution, and it came in the form of a movie.

        My favorite movie is Hackers. The best scene occurs at the beginning of the movie. The movie starts with a group of special agents breaking into a house to catch the infamous hacker, Zero Cool. We soon discover that Zero Cool is actually 11-year-old Dade Murphy, who managed to crash 1,507 computer systems in one day. He is charged for his crimes, and his family is heavily fined. Additionally, he is banned from using computers or touch-tone telephones until he is 18.

    • Server

      • Nokia Launches New Linux-based Network Operating System

        Nokia, born in 1865 in Finland, is the answer to the IT history trivia question: What company made the world’s No. 1-selling smartphone (well, they were sort of smart back in the 1990s and early 2000s) before BlackBerry, iPhone and the Androids?

        When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in 2007–which subsequently ran rings around every other mobile phone available at the time and, as it turned out, for years to come–Nokia took the hint and did what other smart businesses have done: It pivoted. 2007 was the year it started investing heavily in telecom hardware and software, and in 2013 it sold its mobile phone division to Microsoft for €5.4 billion. In 2015 it acquired Alcatel-Lucent, a respected U.S. provider of IP and cloud networking and ultra-broadband fixed and wireless access solutions for service providers.

        While consumers have been buying iPhones and various makes of Android smartphones, Nokia has quietly been rebuilding its fortunes on the enterprise side, and it’s done well. It has thousands of customers–mainly in Europe and Asia–and provides telecom equipment for modest little companies such as British Telecom, Apple, Equinix and others like them.

        [...]

        That’s where Nokia SR Linux, launched this week, comes into play. Nokia claims it is the first fully modern microservices-based NOS, and the SR Linux NDK (NetOps development kit) exposes a complete set of programming capabilities. Applications are easily integrated through modern tools like gRPC (remote procedure call) and protobuf, with no recompiling, no language limitations and no dependencies.

        SR Linux also inherits Nokia’s battle-tested Internet protocols from the service router operating system (SROS), which is the trademark of the huge installed base of Nokia carrier-grade routers. SR Linux is in effect the industry’s first flexible and open network application development environment.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • GNU World Order 362

        **Gutenprint**, **HPLIP**, and **htop** from Slackware software set AP.

      • Talk Python to Me: #272 No IoT things in hand? Simulate them with Device Simulator Express [Ed: "Talk Python to Me" appears to be boosting Microsoft monopolists and proprietary software again]

        Python is one of the primary languages for IoT devices. With runtimes such as CircuitPython and MicroPython, they are ideal for the really small IoT chips.

        Maybe you’ve heard of the Circuit Playground Express, BBC micro:bit, or the fancy Adafruit CLUE. They aren’t too expensive (ranging from $25 to $50 each). But for large groups such as classrooms, this can be a lot of money. Moreover, getting your hands on these devices can sometimes be tricky as well.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.8-rc5
        Ok, so rc4 was small, and now a week later, rc5 is large.
        
        It's not _enormous_, but of all the 5.x kernels so far, this is the
        rc5 with the most commits. So it's certainly not optimal. It was
        actually very quiet the beginning of the week, but things picked up on
        Friday. Like they do..
        
        That said, a lot of it is because of the networking fixes that weren't
        in rc4, and I'm still not hearing any real panicky sounds from people,
        and things on the whole seem to be progressing just fine.
        
        So a large rc5 to go with a large release doesn't sound all that
        worrisome, when we had an unusually small rc4 that precedes it and
        explains it.
        
        Maybe I'm in denial, but I still think we might hit the usual release
        schedule. A few more weeks to go before I need to make that decision,
        so it won't be keeping me up at night.
        
        The diffstat for rc5 doesn't look particularly worrisome either. Yes,
        there's a (relatively) high number of commits, but they tend to be
        small. Nothing makes me go "umm".
        
        In addition to the outright fixes, there's a few cleanups that are
        just prep for 5.9. They all look good and simple too.
        
        Anyway, networking (counting both core and drivers) amounts to about a
        third of the patch, with the rest being spread all over: arch updates
        (arm64, s390, arc), drivers (gpu, sound, md, pin control, gpio),
        tooling (perf and selftests). And misc noise all over.
        
        The appended shortlog gives the details, nothing really looks all that
        exciting. Which is just as it should be at this time.
        
        Go forth and test.
        
        Thanks,
        
                         Linus
        
      • Linux 5.8-rc5 Released As A Big Kernel For This Late In The Cycle
      • Linus Torvalds banishes masters, slaves and blacklists from the Linux kernel, starting now

        Linux overlord overseer principal developer Linus Torvalds has signed off on a new policy to adopt inclusive language across the project.

        A Git commit adopted changes recommended by kernel developer Dan Williams, with the result that Linux will no longer refer to masters, slaves or blacklists.

        In their place coders will be expected to use alternatives such as “primary” and “secondary” relationships, or refer to “leaders” and “followers”, or even “directors” and “performers”.

        Blacklists are to become either “denylists” or “blocklists” and whitelists will become “allowlists” or “passlists”.

        Torvalds’ commit was made on July 10th and said he thinks there’s no need for the change to wait for the next merge window for a new cut of the Linux kernel.

        Torvalds later offered his weekly state of the kernel post in which he perhaps tremulously observed that while last week’s Linux 5.8-rc4 was “small”, “now a week later, rc5 is large.”

      • Linux Kernel Will Stop Using ‘Master/Slave’, and ‘Blacklist/Whitelist’ in Code

        Similarly, the recommended alternatives for ‘blacklist / whitelist’ are ‘denylist / allowlist’ and ‘blocklist / passlist’. As you can see, Torvalds has given developers the choice to adopt any of the suggested ones.

        “The discussion has tapered off as well as the incoming ack, review, and sign-off tags. I did not see a reason to wait for the next merge window,” reads the commit on Linux 5.8 repository.

        According to the commit, old terms will be allowed only when developers are updating code for an existing (as of 2020) hardware or protocol, or when devs are dealing with specifications that mandate those terms.

        The decision comes after Linux maintainer Dan Williams raised a proposal that read, “Recent events have prompted a Linuxposition statement on inclusive terminology. Given that Linux maintains a coding-style and its own idiomatic set of terminology here is a proposal to answer the call to replace non-inclusive terminology.”

      • Linux kernel will no longer use terms ‘blacklist’ and ‘slave’

        Linus Torvalds, the principal engineer of the Linux kernel, has approved new terminology for its code and documentation to promote the inclusive language. The change abolishes terms such as blacklist, master, and slave.

        There are no formal alternatives in place, but Torvalds suggested plenty of choices. Suggested replacements for master/slave are primary/secondary, controller/device, requester/responder, and main/replica.

        Alternatives for blacklist/whitelist are denylist/allowlist and blocklist/passlist.

        [...]

        In May, after George Floyd’s death in the US, a string of protests sprung up worldwide to support Black Lives Matter initiatives. In a way to show solidarity, the tech community proposed to get rid of terms such as blacklist and slave.

        Several major product and programming language teams including Twitter, Chrome, Android, Curl, Go, and Microsoft have also adopted alternative terminology.

      • Android Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

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

        A few years ago the Android team announced their desire to try to set a path for creating a Generic Kernel Image (GKI) which would enable the decoupling of Android kernel releases from hardware enablement. Since then, much work has been done by many parties to make this vision a reality. Last year’s Linux Plumber’s Android microconference brought about work on monitoring and stabilizing the Android in-kernel ABI, solutions to issues associated with modules and supplier-consumer dependencies have landed in the upstream Linux kernel, and vendors have started migrating from using the ION driver to the DMA-BUF heaps that are now supported in upstream Linux. For a report on progress made since last year MC see here.

      • “Let Intel begin to solve real problems, instead of creating magical instructions.” Linux creator criticized Intel

        Torvalds wrote this statement against the backdrop of rumors that, in Intel’s Alder Lake processors, the AVX-512, apparently, will not be. By the way, Torvalds himself recently for the first time in 15 years replaced the Intel processor with AMD product.

    • Applications

      • Introducing Minuit

        I was thinking how I can build a musical instrument in software. Nothing new here actually, there are even applications like VMPK that fit the bill. But this is also about learning as I have started to be interested in music software.

        This is how Minuit is born. The name come from a mix of a play on word where, in French, Minuit is midnight and MIDI is midday. MIDI of course is the acronym Musical Instrument Digital Interface, which is the technology at the heart of computer aided music. Also minuit sounds a bit like minuet which is a dance of social origin.

      • Love RSS? Check out NewsFlash Feed Reader for Linux Desktops

        I rely on desktop feed reader apps to keep tabs on the multitude of projects, repos, blogs, and developer postings needed to feed this site (and thus you) with fresh content regularly.

        Overall I prefer the simplicity of Feeds (formerly GNOME Feeds, sometimes referred to as gFeeds) to NewsFlash. While the former isn’t as featured as the latter it feels leaner in use, renders posts cleaner, and yields to convention more.

        But if NewsFlash ever adds Feedly support though, I’d adopt it in a heart beat!

        One small note: this app uses its own built-in scraper to ‘fetch’ blog posts so that you can read them in-app, without needing to use a browser. This is convenient but be aware that when reading our site you won’t be able to see in-article ‘elements’ such as info boxes, review boxes, image comparisons, image galleries, in-post callouts, themed Flatpak, Snap and other buttons, one-line article summaries, or pull quotes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Gig economy firefighter parody ‘Embr’ has a new game mode

        Embr, a game that pokes fun at the rise of the gig economy by letting anyone tackle fires adds a whole new game mode.

        With my initial look at the game on Stadia I found it to be pretty amusing, although it does still feel a little basic. This update appears to be the start of Muse Games expanding on the promise of it, putting a new spin on it by combining the firefighting with food delivery.

      • Darkest Dungeon: The Butcher’s Circus for Linux is getting really close

        Darkest Dungeon: The Butcher’s Circus, the free DLC that adds in an online PvP mode will be coming to Linux really soon going by their latest update.

        This special PvP mode is entirely separate to the campaign, giving you access to a new set of heroes to fight with. While it’s currently only available for Windows officially, Red Hook Studios have been working to iron out all the kinks that came with it before rolling it out to other platforms.

      • WW1 top-down survival horror ‘CONSCRIPT’ gets a Kickstarter extension

        Currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter, the promising looking top-down WW1 survival horror CONSCRIPT has been granted an extension to their campaign. Originally due to finish on July 16, they’ve now got until July 23 to hit the $30,000 Australian dollars (about £16,559) goal.

        “During the First World War, a lone French soldier must navigate twisted trenches, scavenge for limited supplies and solve complex puzzles – all whilst fighting for survival in the midst of mankind’s most brutal and horrifying conflict.”

      • Tilekit looks like a great tilemap editor with auto tiling

        Some parts of developing games can end up quite tedious like manually placing down tiles for 2D games, and it seems Tilekit might be able to help with that.

        Tilekit is a tilemap editor, one that’s centred around pattern-based auto tiling. It’s quite clever and could end up being a nice time-saver. Tilekit works by using an input map of basic tiles and a set of user-defined rules to create the resultant output map from your tileset.

      • OBS Studio – Stream From Linux Distribution

        OBS Studio is the all-in-one tool for streaming your video in real-time. It is free to use, open-source, and supports all major platforms including Linux. In this article, I will walk you through a tour of OBS Studio. You will learn how easy it is to stream your video from your Linux computer.

      • What have you been playing lately? It’s chat time

        Wow, the end of another week over here in the surprisingly hot and sunny UK. Perfect weather to be sat inside playing games and there’s been plenty of that here.

        Thanks to the news of Celeste coming to Stadia, I was reminded of the fact that Celeste was in the recent itch.io charity bundle so I’ve been able to give it a thorough go after only previously playing it at a friends PC. I already liked it a lot but now I’ve sunk plenty more hours into it I’m totally blown away by it. It’s truly no surprise to me now why it has amassed such a following, like on Steam where it has over twenty thousand views an an overall Overwhelmingly Positive rating.

      • [Older] How to Play PC Games on Linux

        If you’re new to Linux, check out our switcher’s guide before reading this, as it helps to know the basics. There’s no one distro that’s “best” for gaming, but Ubuntu-based distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Pop!_OS are good options for their widespread support and helpful communities. If you have a different Linux environment on your system, you may have to research the best way to install the right packages and drivers. However, you can almost certainly get games working.

        Before trying anything, you should make sure your distro comes with the requisite graphics drivers. If not, Nvidia users should grab the company’s official proprietary drivers, and AMD users should install the open-source Mesa drivers. The procedure for installing drivers may vary from system to system, so we won’t get into it too deeply here, but I used these instructions for Linux Mint for the drivers and these instructions for some extra Vulkan packages, which produced good results.

        Now, before we continue, temper your expectations just a tad. While Linux gaming is easier than ever, it still isn’t on par with Windows. Some games won’t run at all, and others may have small graphical quirks, or decreased performance. Others may require some Googling and command-line tweaking to get playable. The experience isn’t exactly smooth as butter yet-it’s still very Linux-y-but once you have the basics down, you might be surprised at how many games you’re able to run. Here are your options.

      • The 20 Best MOBAs for Android Device to Try in 2020

        In comparison to different Android gaming genres, MOBA is a newcomer. But this short time of presence is enough for this extensively exciting game to get immense popularity. However, MOBA is the short form of a long name gaming genre that we know as Multiplayer Online Battle Arena. The uniqueness of this game lets you enjoy fighting on the battlefield side by side with your friends though you are staying far away from each other. It’s like maintaining a connection without friends in the gaming world. If you love to try one, it should be one of the best MOBAs for Android. Otherwise, you may not find the true excitement of playing these games.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.13 Beta released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.13 Beta!

          Here are some excerpts from our change log:

          New Experimental Plugins

          Thanks to Alexis Jeandet for initial support for the Meson build system!

          Thanks to IncrediBuild for contributing their Qt Creator integration!

          You need to open Help > About Plugins (or Qt Creator > About Plugins on macOS) and enable these plugins before you can use them.

          Editing

          We updated LLVM for the C++ code model to LLVM 10, implicitly improving support for C++20 features.

          We fixed many smaller issues with the C++ code model…

        • Qt Creator 4.13 Beta Released – Finally Offers Meson Build System Integration
        • Qt Design Studio – Sketch Bridge Tutorial Part 2

          Welcome back to this Sketch Bridge for Qt Design Studio Tutorial, in the last part we created our first button and got it working with it’s different states in Qt Design Studio (referred to as qds for the rest of the tutorial). In this part we’re going to go back in and create a menu component from instances of this button and look at overriding the icons and text for each instance.

          [...]

          Here we can adjust the size and colors of our rectangle until we are happy with it and in this case we can leave the single settings set to merge as we just want a simple single asset for this to begin with.

    • Distributions

      • Haiku Repository Files and Identifiers

        Software on a computing platform such as Haiku is typically distributed as a package. Without a packaging system it would be hard for users to install software and because software often depends on other software, the chain of dependencies would be difficult for a user to resolve themselves. To orchestrate the distribution and management of the packages, Haiku has a packaging system which consists of applications, online tools, on-host tools and software libraries. One aspect of the packaging system is the coordination and identification of repositories.

      • IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL “PUPPY” LINUX USERS : the end of an era….

        This is going to come as something of a shock to most of you, I’m afraid. Some of you may even know this already from the Puppy Linux Users Group page on Facebook.

        It is with great sadness that I have to report the passing, on the 22nd May this year, of the revered host of the Murga-Linux Puppy Linux Discussion Forum….John de Murga. The man who hosted, and paid for the Murga-Linux Forum out of his own pocket for nearly 16 years, and without whom the current Puppy Linux membership wouldn’t have become what it is today.

        https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeXNd0sLYPDRBTa8eMW9CTQO266wfVKCssSWkPB0UAY9KoSXA/viewform

        JM spent many years as an analyst/programmer in the banking sector, and was single-handedly responsible for some of the sector’s cornerstone software which is still in use today.

        It’s unclear at this point in time whether John’s passing was directly related to Covid-19 or to other, unrelated causes. Hopefully, further details will emerge in due course.

        As of yesterday afternoon, the Murga-Linux forum, without warning, went into automatic “maintenance mode”…..and since there’s no-one around to fix it any longer, we witness the passing of an era, in addition to the loss of an awful lot of useful information.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE 15.2 Leap

          In my opinion openSUSE is a distribution which does a lot of things right. The project offers a lot of download options, covering a range of CPU architectures and desktop environments without its download options becoming overwhelming. The project’s documentation is usually easy to find and read.

          The project has an unusual style and its installer, menu layouts, and YaST administration panel are all a little alien when coming from other Linux distributions. This is not to say that openSUSE does things in a way that is better or worse, but it does have a distinct style that can take a little adjustment.

          I think the project has a great set of configuration modules and YaST is a gem of a tool. I especially like that it integrates with Btrfs to automatically take snapshots whenever we make a configuration change in case we need to undo an action. This makes openSUSE virtually bullet-proof. In fact, openSUSE appears to be one of the only Linux distributions making use of Btrfs and its powerful features like snapshots and multi-disk volumes.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • With Fedora 33, Nano Will Be The Default Terminal Text Editor

          Which is your favorite Linux terminal text editor? I guess it must be one from the never-ending list of candidates, including Vim and Nano. Even if you’re free to install and use any editor, sometimes you chose the one installed by default. That’s why the default text editor matters.

          Speaking of the Fedora system, Vi is the current default terminal text editor in most cases, such as git commit and command-line text editing. Now if you want Nano in Fedora, you have to run a single command dnf install nano. But with the upcoming Fedora 33, you no longer need to run any command to get Nano.

        • Improved navigation in the OpenShift 4.5 Developer perspective

          The new Red Hat OpenShift 4.5 release includes a more streamlined and customizable navigation experience in the web console’s Developer perspective. In this article, we quickly share the highlights of the new navigation features that we added based on user feedback.

        • What’s new in the OpenShift 4.5 console developer experience

          Each new release of Red Hat OpenShift includes usability improvements and features to help developers meet their goals. In OpenShift 4.5, we’ve improved navigation and added a mechanism for customizing navigation and accessing frequently used resources from the Developer perspective.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Robotics Recap: Learning, Programming & Snapping ROS 2

          Robotics@Canonical puts a strong focus on the migration from ROS to ROS 2. ROS 2 benefits from many improvements, especially robot security. Our goal is to make it easy for you to transition to ROS 2, whether you’re completely new to ROS or a seasoned engineer retooling for a new environment. Your new platform should be secure-by-default, and we expect you’ll need to pivot between different environments as you migrate from ROS to ROS 2.

          Along the way we’ve encountered some friction points, some mild surprises, and some opportunities to better leverage existing tools. Whenever that happened we tried to fix them and share our experiences so you didn’t run into the same problems! This has resulted in blog posts and videos in three key focus areas: getting started with ROS 2, software development in ROS 2, and building snaps for ROS. Let’s recap some of our recent output.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • The Linux Foundation’s First-Ever Virtual Open Source Summit

          The success of The Linux Foundation‘s first virtual summit may well have set the standard for new levels of open source participation.

          Summit masters closed the virtual doors of the four-day joint gathering on July 2. The event hosted the Open Source Summit + Embedded Linux Conference North America 2020 and ended with more than 4,000 registrants from 109 countries.

          The online attendance platform offered registrants a virtual experience that provided an immersive experience for event participants, according to The Linux Foundation (LF).

          That virtual attendance feeling was as close as possible to what they would have received at a face-to-face event, Kristin O’Connell, director of event marketing at The Linux Foundation, told LinuxInsider.

          One of the newcomers in technical trendsetting at this first virtual conference was the FinOps Foundation. The FinOps Foundation includes 1,500 individual members across the globe, representing more than 500 companies with more than US$1 billion in revenue each.

          In the same way that DevOps revolutionized development by breaking down silos and increasing agility, FinOps increases the business value of cloud by bringing together technology, business, and finance professionals with a new cultural set, knowledge skills and technical processes, LF maintained.

        • Kubernetes from cloud to edge: A US virtual event

          After the huge success of its latest virtual event on Kubernetes for the EMEA region, Canonical brings its expertise to the US with another educational discussion.

          On July 31st, Canonical’s panel of experts come together to share their insights from years of working with developers and enterprises on various Kubernetes use cases and interact with the audience live.

          For all the benefits it offers around container orchestration, Kubernetes remains a significantly complex platform to deploy and operate. As developers and enterprises alike turn to Kubernetes for more and more types of use cases, available Kubernetes solutions often fail to meet their exact needs. Canonical’s extensive Kubernetes portfolio is centered around Charmed Kubernetes and MicroK8s, designed to provide full flexibility from cloud to edge in order to facilitate efficient innovation and scaling.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Igalia’s contribution to the Mozilla project and Open Prioritization

            As many web platform developer and Firefox users, I believe Mozilla’s mission is instrumental for a better Internet. In a recent Igalia’s chat about the Web Ecosystem Health, participants made the usual observation regarding this important role played by Mozilla on the one hand and the limited development resources and small Firefox’s usage share on the other hand. In this blog post, I’d like to explain an experimental idea we are launching at Igalia to try and make browser development better match the interest of the web developer and user community.

          • Sustainability needs culture change. Introducing Environmental Champions.

            Sustainability is not just about ticking a few boxes by getting your Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) inventory, adopting goals for reduction and mitigation, and accounting in shape. Any transformation towards sustainability also needs culture change.

            In launching Mozilla‘s Sustainability Programme, our Environmental Champions are a key part of driving this organisational culture change.

            Recruiting, training, and working with a first cohort of Environmental Champions has been a highlight of my job in the last couple of months. I can’t wait to see their initiatives taking root across all parts of Mozilla.

            We have 14 passionate and driven individuals in this first cohort. They are critical amplifiers who will nudge each and every one us to incorporate sustainability into everything we do.

            [...]

            Daria, Head of Product Design in Emerging Technologies, says: “There are many opportunities for designers to develop responsible technologies and to bring experiences that prioritize sustainability principles. It’s time we unlocked them.” She is planning to develop and apply a Sustainability Impact Assessment Tool that will be used in decision-making around product design and development.

            We’ll also be looking at Firefox performance and web power usage, starting with explorations for how to better measure the impact of our products. DOM engineer, Olli will be stewarding these.

            And the behind the scenes editorial support thinking through content, timing, and outreach? That’s Daniel for you.

            We’ll be sharing more initiatives and the progress they are all making as we move forward. In the meantime, do join us on our Matrix channel to continue the conversation.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Document Foundation looking at ways and means to pay the LibreOffice bills

          The foundation that looks after LibreOffice, a free open-source software suite that is based on the code from the former Star Office, is being forced to look at a commercial edition because developers from companies who are working on it are not being paid by those companies, a senior developer says.

        • Ahmed ElShreif: Week 6 Report

          1) The last week I left 5 patches without merging. They are mainly the patches that add support for Calc-comments and Vertical Tab Control. Also the patches of the Calc-comment demo , Writer-comment demo and insert hyperlink demo. The five patches now are merged after working on solving all the comments. The patches can be found in patches status section in the report .

        • Community Member Monday: Khairul Aizat Kamarudzzaman

          I’m from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I started exploring and using FOSS way back in 2004 (Debian, Red Hat, the BSD family and sticking with Ubuntu till today) when I was studying at the university. From there I started exploring and contributing to Ubuntu, which you can find here, and I was accepted to be an Ubuntu Member, Kubuntu Membes (merits as Ubuntu contributor). Finally I was appointed to be part of the Asia Oceania Membership Board.

          A a FOSS community member, I work in a few IT companies in Malaysia and was one of the engineers working at Open Source Competency Centre (OSCC) under Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU). Now I own my own IT company, namely Informology Sdn Bhd. Not stopping there, I continue actively being a FOSS enthusiast in Malaysia. When the cloud computing era came, I was involved by leading Malaysia OpenStack User Group, and I’ve recently been exploring and leading the Endless OS user group for Malaysia.

      • Programming/Development

        • Perl/Raku

          • The Weekly Challenge #068

            The Week #068 is my 23rd week in a row participating the weekly challenge. For the first time, I created a package to deal with the “Reorder List” task. It really helped me in thinking straight when dealing with linked list. With the help my favourite CPAN module Moo, creating class is like piece of cake as shown below.

        • Python

          • Hey, Back Off!

            The choice in parameters for back-off configuration is important. It can be the difference between a barely noticable blip in service quality and an hours-long site outage. In order to explore the consequences of the choice, I wrote a little fictional ditty about a fictional website.

            I hope you enjoy escaping into this fictional reality as much as I enjoyed writing about it.

            Your recipe site is different. After all, recipe sites are a dime-a-dozen. With today’s modern technology, any kid can put a quick mock-up together with Django, React, and MongoDB to store recipes and retrieve them by various attributes.

            In order to make your recipe site stand above the rest, you made sure it uses really cutting edge techniques. From details of the web requests coming in, using sophisiticated language parsing and machine learning algorithm, with just a few words about the user’s likes and dislikes, you find the perfect recipe just for them.

            HackerNews called it “just a bunch of buzzwords”, of course. But once the graphs went up into the right, with 50% month-over-month growth rates, everyone explained that they knew that this one was different. Popularity sky-rocketed, the engineers worked on scaling up the site, and though it was not the world’s most sophisticated microservice architecture, it was medium-service architecture, at least.

            The web front end would call the machine learning cluster, running on special GPU machines, to get the appropriate keywords by which to look up the recipe. Maybe not a the kind of 50-microservices-architecture that takes three whiteboards to explain, but at least it was easy enough to scale up horizontally. You hired a great Site Reliability Engineer, who built a sophisticated continuous delivery machine. As your machine learning team fine-tuned the model, it would slowly roll out into the cluster, running continous A/B tests that would immediately roll back the change if the model performed worse than before.

          • Python map() Function

            The Python’s map() function takes an iterable object, along with a function, and applies that function to each element in the iterable.

          • Analyzing covid-19 data with pandas and matplotlib

            Some time ago, I was talking to Martin on the Pybites Slack about a challenge that involved the pandas library.

            I never really looked at data analysis, but triggered to complete the challenge ahead, I dove into the library and immediately noticed how strong it was to manage large data collections.

            Throughout this article we’ll have a basic look at collecting data to handle with pandas, normalizing it so that it becomes more representative, and I’ll have a small stop at Jupyter notebooks.

          • Introduction to Python for Data Science

            Recently, we published an introduction to data science in R for the beginner in programming. This is a complementary article written using the same approach, but this time focusing on Python, which is another open source programming language.

            Python has an even larger following than R, so both articles should get the beginner up to speed in the two main languages for doing data science. The differences in the tutorials highlight how R and Python tackle the same task. Often it is your own experience, and the data science task that you want to do, that determines which language to choose.

            The tutorial requires some basic knowledge of Linux, but other than that we shall go through the steps to set up the tutorial.

          • PyDev of the Week: Dr. David Pena

            This week we welcome Dr. David Pena as our PyDev of the Week! David is the author of StremeCoder, a Graphical Python Programming Editor.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Fourth Check-In
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 4 (belated)
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 5
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 6 : Refining the KML UI Features
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #4 (5th Jul – 12th Jul)
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In: Week 7
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week #7
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #7

            Hello and welcome to my 7th weekly check-in. I will be sharing my progress with single actor physics simulation and TextBlock2D sizing issue which was pending for quite a while now. I will also be sharing my thoughts regarding the TAB UI component. The official repository of my sub-org, FURY can always be found here.

        • Javascript

          • Introduction to Javascript loops

            Nowadays Javascript can be easily defined as the world most used programming language: it is used on a variety of platforms, it is integrated in web browsers and thanks to the Node.js runtime it can also be used server-side. In this tutorial we will see the loops we can be used in modern Javascript.

  • Leftovers

    • Manchester City overturn two-year ban from European competition on appeal to Cas

      Cas’ ruling means City, who are guaranteed to finish second in the Premier League this season, will play in the 2020-21 Champions League.

      In this year’s competition, Pep Guardiola’s side face Real Madrid in their last-16 second leg at Etihad Stadium on 7 August. They lead 2-1 from the first leg and will face Juventus or Lyon if they progress.

      Cas, who will provide full written reasons for the ruling “in a few days” said the decision “emphasised that most of the alleged breaches reported by the adjudicatory chamber of the CFCB were either not established or time-barred”.

      It added that in clearing City of the more serious charges surrounding “dishonest concealment” of sponsorship deals it was “not appropriate to impose a ban on participating in Uefa’s club competitions” for the lesser charge of “obstructing the CFCB’s investigations”.

      On reducing the fine, Cas said that, while it considered “the importance of the co-operation of clubs in investigations conducted by the CFCB” and Manchester City’s “disregard of such principle and its obstruction of the investigations”, the Cas panel “considered it appropriate to reduce Uefa’s initial fine by two-thirds”.

      It added: “The final award with reasons will be published on the Cas website in a few days.”

      Uefa said it noted there was “insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred”.

      The governing body added: “Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and Uefa and the European Club Association remain committed to its principles.”

    • Education

      • Post-Pandemic Education Must Move Beyond Mere Job Training

        Roughly 11 years after the Great Recession, the social and economic inequality of the U.S. has been laid bare by a pandemic. This time, however, there is no skills gap to blame for job losses and unemployment: Workers in all sectors of the workforce are losing jobs and careers. As a result, community college students — 35 percent of undergraduates, including a high percentage of low-income and non-white students — who have followed expedited and limited curricula to a place in the existing economy, have found themselves, again, at the whims of the economic, political and cultural interests that have little concern for their future role in determining what we do next. They also face cultural and political crises that call into question the very idea of what it means to live in a democracy.

      • US Teachers and Pediatricians Demand Major Federal Investment In Schools to Allow for Safe Reopening

        “It’s incredible to me that the federal government would see the necessity of bailing out airlines and banks and not see the need to do something similar for the public schools in this country,” said one San Diego teacher.

      • If You Weren’t Afraid to Send Your Kids Back to School, DeVos’ Disastrous Interview Might Change That

        The secretary’s focus was on the single message that schools need to re-open. But other than threatening to defund schools that refuse, she provided no answers for how they might deal with a possible outbreak and placed that responsibility on the institutions themselves.

      • “You can’t do that”: Betsy DeVos gets schooled by Fox News host

        Wallace continued: “And secondly, isn’t cutting off funding exactly the wrong answer? Don’t you want to spend more money to make schools safer, whether it’s with plastic shields or health checks, various other systems?”

        “Doesn’t it make more sense to increase funding for schools where it’s unsafe rather than cut off funding?” he asked.

        DeVos doubled down on her threat to defund the education system.

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Corporate Media Team With Trump to Disparage Public Health Experts

        Contrary to a recent New York Times headline, it’s clearly not a question of “who” is protesting, when it comes to public health recommendations. It’s “what” is being protested.

      • Racism in the U.S. Healthcare System Is Costing Black Lives

        Health inequity for Black people in the U.S. is not a new phenomenon. But Covid-19 shined a light on the problem—and it’s costing lives.

      • Which parts of Africa will be hit hardest by covid-19?

        A new index from the Surgo Foundation, a non-profit firm, offers a glimpse of what the answer might be for countries in Africa. The researchers have built a model which takes into account a number of socioeconomic and demographic factors to work out which parts of the continent Africa will suffer most if the pandemic takes hold. These include the age and density of populations, political fragility and the quality of health systems. Their data indicate that health risks will be fairly evenly spread across countries. Richer states such as South Africa and Egypt have much better health-care systems than say, Mali and Niger, but also have older populations.

      • Will the schools open? Behind that unanswerable question lies a national catastrophe

        We appear to be stuck in a circular conundrum, which everyone can perceive but no one can fix: Kids have to go to school because their parents have to go to work, because that’s the only way society can possibly function — but none of that stuff is possible amid a massive public health emergency that seems to be getting worse rather than better, especially under a federal government whose official policy is that reality does not exist.

        Given all that, what will actually happen? Nobody knows, but it won’t be good. Most big school districts, including New York’s — by far the largest in the country — are trying to cobble together some version of “blended” or “hybrid” learning, which means a combination of limited, socially-distanced in-person instruction and the largely disastrous online-learning experiment of the spring.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Audible’s New Head of Original Programming Is Out After Just a Month

          While Audible is the dominant player in audio books, it has struggled to get its listeners to embrace its original content and faces competition from Spotify, which is spending more than $1 billion to transform its music service into a broader platform for original programs.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • IBM donates AI ethics tools to Linux Foundation

                The Linux Foundation is a nonprofit technology consortium dedicated to protecting and advancing Linux, an open source operating system. The group provides support to numerous open source projects and communities. As part of the Linux Foundation, the LF AI Foundation supports open source projects in AI, machine learning and deep learning.

                Open source projects, while open to the community, are still controlled by an individual or vendor. They individual or vendor can limit who works on the project, the direction the project takes and how quickly it updates.

                With this latest move, IBM concedes control of the three AI toolkits to the vendor-neutral LF AI Foundation. Linux Foundation’s open governance model, in theory, eliminates single-vendor control of open source projects, broadens the community working on them and helps accelerates their growth.

              • SODA Foundation launches to unify open source data management

                A new Linux Foundation hosted group will support open source data management and promote interoperability between applications and data sources, on premises or cloud-based.

        • Security

          • sudo with TouchID and Apple Watch, even inside tmux

            Fast forward three years to today, and while griping to a friend about how it didn’t work inside tmux, I discovered that technology has advanced and there is now a fix, named pam_reattach! It’s a PAM module that you configure to run before the built-in pam_tid.so, and it makes the sudo command able to find and use the TouchID module to authenticate, even from inside tmux.

          • Excel spreasheet macro kicks off Formbook infection

            Formbook has been around for years. According to FireEye, Formbook has been “..advertised in various hacking forums since early 2016.” My previous diary about Formbook was back in November 2019, and not much has changed since then. It still bears documentation, though, if only to show this malware is still active and remains part of our threat landscape.

          • Report: Most Popular Home Routers Have ‘Critical’ Flaws

            A new report reveals that common home routers from Netgear, Linksys, D-Link and other vendors contain serious security vulnerabilities that even updates don’t fix. While Linux can be a very secure OS in theory, researchers have found that many of these vulnerable routers are powered by very old versions of Linux that lack support and are riddled with security issues as a result.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Virus Boosts Digital Payments in India Where Cash Ban Failed

              Digital payments initially did surge as people struggled to get banknotes, but they reverted to cash as the amount of notes in circulation rose again. Now the pandemic, which has made people wary of close personal interactions, is giving online payments a fresh boost.

            • Email has never been huge in China, and it’s down to a combination of cultural factors and timing.

              But in China, it’s a different picture. Deloitte’s 2018 China Mobile Consumer Survey showed that Chinese people checked their email 22% less than users globally. Instead WeChat is dominant; some 79.1% of smartphone owners are regular users of the app, while 84.5% of people who use messaging apps in China use WeChat. And that preference extends into the office: the 2017 WeChat user behaviour report compiled by Penguin Intelligence, a research arm of Tencent (which created WeChat), found that almost 88% of 20,000 people surveyed used WeChat in their daily work communication. Phones, SMS and fax were used by 59.5%. Email was a distant third on 22.6%.

              Eva Hsu, who runs a digital branding business, is Taiwanese and spent some of her youth living in the US. She’s been working in Shanghai for six years. For her foreign clients, Hsu says she communicates via email and LinkedIn, but for her Chinese clients it’s a different story. “Chinese clients tend to use WeChat and send files on WeChat as the main way of communication,” she says.

            • Antoine Beaupré: On contact tracing

              I have strong doubts about the efficiency of any tracing app of the sort, and even less in the context where it is unlikely that a majority of the population will use it.

              There’s also the problem that this app would need to work on Apple phones, or be incompatible with them, and cause significant “fracture” between those who have access to technology, and those who haven’t. See this text for more details.

              Such an app would be a security and privacy liability at no benefit to public health. There are better options, see for this research on hardware tokens. But I doubt any contact tracing app or hardware will actually work anyways.

            • So Darned Kind of you, Facebook: SDK bug sends popular iOS apps crashing earthwards

              Those using Facebook to log into services such as Spotify on their iOS devices are having a bad Friday, as something has gone awry with Zuckerberg’s ad-slinging platform.

              A glance at social media reveals a howl from those affected by the problem which appears to have started early this morning (UK time) and hit iOS devices. Those running Android seem to be unaffected.

              The issue looks to be related to Facebook’s Software Development Kit (SDK), used by many popular apps, including TikTok, Tinder and Spotify. It manifests itself by the app crashing at login.

              Even the likes of Call of Duty: Mobile have been unable to put a bullet in the borkage (although its players would doubtless be keen to wreak the same levels of despair caused by the failure.)

    • Defence/Aggression

      • How Many Ways Can Israel Wage War on Iran Before the Media Reports Israel Is Waging War on Iran?

        Two recent attacks seem to add dropping missiles from the sky and walking bombs in on the ground to Israel’s resume of acts of war on Iran. And the resume is long. 

      • Jihadists in the Sahel threaten west Africa’s coastal states

        Jihadists seized control of chunks of Mali in 2012 and were stopped from overrunning Bamako, its capital, only after thousands of French troops were hurriedly flown in. The insurgents have since pushed across the border into Niger and Burkina Faso (see map). In those three countries alone, 4,800 people lost their lives in the conflict last year. Fully 1.7m people have been forced to flee their homes. Now the war is beginning to jump borders again, putting at risk some of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, including Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • BangBros Is Staging a Public Relations Campaign Against Mia Khalifa

        The site, registered on Monday, states:

        “Although Mia makes many false statements, innuendos, and accusations, we have tried to stay silent and allow Mia to have her publicity stunt without responding. Mia has taken our silence as an ‘all clear’ to not only continue but ramp up her false statements. We therefore have no choice but to respond to the most glaring, objectively false statements. The following are facts over Mia’s fiction.”

        The design of the site is similar to that of a negative political ad, with edited footage turned black-and-white. BangBros suggests that it believes Khalifa has manufactured outrage at the company in order to raise her own profile, and published Google Trend results tied to news events in order to attempt to illustrate this.

    • Environment

      • The Cure of the Earth

        “Love of life is the guide and motivator of ecological healing on Earth. Next comes learning how to put that love into action. How do we do that for that most alive of all places, the Amazon?”

      • Better-Than-Before Climate Plans Still Aren’t Good Enough

        The fact that climate plans from the House Democrats and the “unity task forces” set up by Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are better than anything we’ve seen in over a decade does not make them good enough.

      • Energy

        • I’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing

          As the roads became freer of cars, they grew full of possibility. Rollerblading and skateboarding have come back into fashion. Sales of bicycles and electric bikes have skyrocketed.

          But there is a catch: Cities are beginning to cautiously open back up again, and people are wondering how they’re going to get in to work. Many are worried about the spread of the virus on public transit. Are cars our only option? How will we find space for all of them?

          In much of Manhattan, the average speed of traffic before the pandemic had fallen to 7 miles per hour. In Midtown, it was less than 5 m.p.h. That’s only slightly faster than walking and slower than riding a bike. Will traffic soon be worse than ever?

          Not if we choose another path.

          Rather than stumble back into car dependency, cities can begin to undo their worst mistake: giving up so much of their land to the automobile.

        • Bicycle sales up 70% in June as e-bikes gain traction

          The business lobby says that sales of e-bikes have risen briskly, though they still only represent about one tenth of total sales. However it forecasts that this year’s sales may double compared to last year.

          Riku-Pekka Mikkonen, head of sales at Finnish bike manufacturer Tunturi-Hellberg, says that this year many people have replaced their second car with a regular or electric bicycle.

        • Expert warns China’s Three Gorges Dam in danger of collapse

          In his interview with Radio France Internationale, the Chinese water expert also criticized the Chinese government and state media for refusing to acknowledge the potential danger of the reservoir. He said that scientists who have spoken the truth have been criminalized by Beijing, resulting in a society with no communication.

        • Return of the Bomb Trains

          July 6th also was the 7th anniversary of the disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec when a train full of Bakken oil from North Dakota derailed and exploded — resulting in 47 fatalities and the destruction of much of downtown Lac-Mégantic. 

    • Finance

      • COVID Crisis Highlights Urgency of Canceling All Student Debt

        44 million Americans hold over 1.6 trillion dollars of student debt and the cost of higher education continues to skyrocket. And it’s the poor, people of color and women who are most severely impacted. The COVID-19 crisis highlights the vulnerability of debt when people are unable to find jobs or pay off loans. We look at two urgent solutions to the debt crisis. First, reporter Kathryn Styer Martinez takes a look at a free school called Berea College in Kentucky. Then, we discuss the politics of debt and how to organize a debt strike, with Thomas Gokey from the Debt collective.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Says He “Disagreed” With Privately Funded Border Wall, So Why Did His Administration Award the Builder $1.7 Billion in Contracts to Erect More Walls?

        President Donald Trump complained via Twitter on Sunday that a privately constructed border wall in Texas was a bad idea and poorly done — not mentioning that his administration has awarded the builder a $1.7 billion contract to build more walls.

        This story is part of a collaboration between ProPublica and the Texas Tribune. Learn more

      • Adding Insult to the ‘Injury of Colonialism,’ Trump Suggested Selling Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria, Former Advisor Says

        “You may try to sell the office you hold, your personal integrity and your soul, Mr. President—but I assure you Puerto Rico is not for sale!” tweeted Rep. Nydia Velazquez.

      • Stone Walks Free in One of the Greatest Scandals in American History

        Stone could not have been more different. He clowned, he cavorted, he demanded limelight—which made it in some ways impossible to imagine that he could have done anything seriously amiss. Bank robbers don’t go on Twitter to announce, “Hey, I’m going to rob a bank, sorry, not sorry.” Or so you’d expect.

        Yet Stone is the central figure in the greatest scandals in U.S. history. Ames, Hanssen, the Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss—none of them worked with a foreign intelligence service to help a candidate for president of the United States. Stone did. And now he will receive a commutation of his sentence from the president he served.

        The amazing thing about the Trump-Stone story is how much of it happened in the full light of day. A (very) partial timeline:

      • Wikileaks-like organisation’s server exposing US police excesses seized in Germany

        At the behest of the U.S. government, German authorities have seized a computer server that hosted a huge cache of files from scores of U.S. federal, state and local law enforcement agencies obtained in a Houston data breach last month.

        The server was being used by a WikiLeaks-like data transparency collective called Distributed Denial of Secrets to share documents _ many tagged “For Official Use Only” _ that shed light on U.S. police practices.

        The data, dating back to 1996, include emails, audio and video files and police and FBI intelligence reports. DDoSecrets founder Emma Best said the data, dubbed “BlueLeaks,” comes from more than 200 agencies. It has been stripped of references to sexual assault cases and references to children, but names, phone numbers and emails of police officers were not redacted, said Best, who uses they/their pronouns.

      • US warns citizens of ‘arbitrary detention’ risk in China

        In a security alert issued to U.S. citizens in China on Saturday, the State Department advised Americans to “exercise increased caution” to avoid possible detention without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. It said U.S. citizens could face “prolonged interrogations and extended detention” for “state security” reasons.

        Without citing specific examples, the State Department pointed out that Chinese security personnel may “detain and/or deport” U.S. nationals for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government. It added that individuals who are detained or arrested should ask prison officials to notify the U.S. embassy immediately.

        The State Department did not explain what had prompted the alert, according to Reuters.

      • Why they voted yes We asked ‘Meduza’ readers who voted for the constitutional amendments extending Putin’s reign, banning same-sex marriage, and more to explain their reasoning

        Of the Russians who went out to the polls to decide whether Vladimir Putin could stay in power until 2036, whether to ban same-sex marriage in the Constitution, whether ethnic Russians are uniquely integral to the Russian state, and more, almost 80 percent allegedly voted “yes.” Turnout for the nationwide plebiscite was reported at 65 percent. Independent experts believe the actual turnout among Russian citizens between June 25 and July 1 was significantly lower, as was the actual number of people who voted in favor of the constitutional amendments on the table. Still, those “yes” votes represent a significant portion of the Russian population. We asked some of that group who also read Meduza why they supported the amendments. Here are a few of the most representative or intriguing responses we received, with minimal edits for style and concision.

      • Donald Trump’s niece: He lies, cheats, is cruel, incompetent and cheap
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • 75 years old man arrested for Facebook post after the Prime Minister of Mauritius lodges police complaint

        I certainly have no fun in posting these images but I had to make a point when I read that that a 75 years old fellow, irrespective of the political party he adheres to, was arrested for posting, IMHO, a not-so-offensive photo & text about the Prime Minister.

      • Social media restricted in Mali amid protests against president

        Social media platforms Twitter and Facebook and messaging apps WhatsApp and Messenger remained restricted with Mali’s leading cellular operator Orange 10:30 p.m. UTC / local time Friday as tensions peaked.

        The disruption has significant but not total impact and affected users are able to regain access via VPN services which circumvent internet censorship by tunnelling to other countries. Listed platforms remain blocked or degraded as of Saturday afternoon while other online services and websites continue to function normally.

      • Care About Free Speech? Take on the Power of Facebook and Twitter.

        The episode followed a now-familiar arc: Facebook receives criticism for the way its platform operates, promises to do better, makes some inconsequential tweaks, and then media attention moves on to something else.

        In this particular interlude, corporations, which have long butted heads with Facebook and were happy to spend a bit less money this summer anyway, got a chance to appear woke. Many are likely still quietly advertising through Facebook internationally, on Instagram, and on third-party apps using the Facebook Audience Network.

        Yet the predictability of the episode belies a broader shift. Slowly but surely, public opinion is moving toward the idea that online digital platforms and social media content should be more strictly regulated.

      • Who Gets the Banhammer Now?

        What’s popular on YouTube is a reflection of what its users want to see, but also what YouTube wants them to see, what YouTube wants them to want to see, and what advertisers want them to see.

        “So much of the confusion about YouTube comes from the fact that we use these public-square metaphors for what is fundamentally a commercial space,” Ms. Lewis said. “Thinking about it through market frameworks is more accurate.”

        YouTube isn’t so much the marketplace of ideas as a marketplace for some ideas, if those ideas work well in video format, in the context of a subscription-driven social environment consumed mostly on phones, in which compensation is determined by viewership, subject matter and potential for sponsorship.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • TV Interrogation Of Jailed Iran Dissident Facing Execution Amounts To ‘Torture’ – RSF

        Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has lambasted the Islamic Republic of Iran for interrogating the jailed director of the now-defunct dissident website AMAD News on TV.

      • Hong Kong police vs. journalists: One set of rules for us, and another for them

        And the press vest, handy though it may be, has no formal status at all. We know this because whenever someone complains about journalists being injured when covering street protests, the Force’s response is always that journalists have no special status. Along with first aiders, social workers, human rights observers, and wandering members of the public they are liable to be shot, soaked, or pepper-sprayed at any time they are in the wrong place at the wrong time in one of the Force’s shooting galleries, or streets as we used to call them.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Trump Commutes 40-Month Sentence of Longtime Ally Roger Stone

        Government ethics watchdogs and congressional Democrats were among those outraged late Friday after President Donald Trump announced his commutation of his longtime associate Roger Stone’s 40-month sentence, in what Democratic leaders called a “transparently corrupt” move.

      • Organizing Against Police Unions Has Invigorated Hollywood’s Labor Movement

        The labor movement is split on the question of cops. While union officials have signaled their tempered support for police unions, the push to expel law enforcement from the movement has grown quickly in the rank-and-file.

      • Man Killed by Mexican Police for Not Wearing Mask Sparks Protest Movement

        In Mexico the police will kill you for not wearing a mask and the state will disappear you for demanding justice. This is the conclusion drawn by Alejandro Puerto, a young grassroots political activist in the state of Jalisco, who spoke with Truthout about the violence and repression doled out by the state government of Gov. Enrique Alfaro.

      • Our Lighted Path to Totalitarianism

        To survive this bursting convergence of technology, inequality, and populism we must come together as humans on this planet. We must unify and evolve.

        The alternatives are as obvious as they are terrifying.

      • Sudan: Female Genital Mutilation Officially A Crime

        The Justice Minister, Nasredeen Abdulbari, announced on his twitter account that a series of laws had been finally approved by the council, among them, the amendment to the Criminal Law article 141.

        The draft law, which criminalizes Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), had been previously approved by the cabinet in April. It establishes a possible three-year prison term and a fine to those who perform FGM.

      • Millions of Americans going hungry as pandemic erodes incomes and destroys communities

        “The demand is unprecedented and unlike any challenge that we’ve faced in food bank history in the United States. We’ve really never seen the level of need that we’re seeing now, and having seen it come about as quickly as it’s come about, it’s been a real shock,” said Katie Fitzgerald, chief operating officer at Feeding America. “It’s been a perfect storm in that the demand has been unprecedented and the supply of food has been pretty significantly disrupted.”

        “It’s just a mad dash to make sure nobody’s going hungry during COVID,” said Christopher Robertson, director of Market to HOPE, a food pantry that operates within Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas. “The folks we’re seeing now are new people. A little less than half of the people who came in during the month of June were brand new people.”

      • More Than 20 Million People in US Face Eviction by the End of September

        One in five Americans who live in rentals could face eviction by the end of September as Congressional Republicans move to cut off unemployment assistance and other coronavirus relief, according to an analysis by the Aspen Institute.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Links: July 12, 2020

        The first story comes from Mexico, where apparently everything our community does will soon be illegal. We couch that statement because the analysis is based on Google translations of reports from Mexico, possibly masking the linguistic nuances that undergird legislative prose. So we did some digging and it indeed appears that the Mexican Senate approved a package of reforms to existing federal copyright laws that will make it illegal to do things like installing a non-OEM operating system on a PC, or to use non-branded ink cartridges in a printer. Reverse engineering ROMs will be right out too, making any meaningful security research illegal. There appear to be exceptions to the law, but those are mostly to the benefit of the Mexican government for “national security purposes.” It’ll be a sad day indeed for Mexican hackers if this law is passed.

        The other story comes from Germany, where a proposed law would grant sweeping surveillance powers to 19 state intelligence bodies. The law would require ISPs to install hardware in their data centers that would allow law enforcement to receive data and potentially modify it before sending it on to where it was supposed to go. So German Internet users can look forward to state-sponsored man-in-the-middle attacks and trojan injections if this thing passes.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Smith & Nephew File Certiorari Petition in Arthrex Case

          While the Federal Circuit’s decision last fall in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. raised issues about the appointment of Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) serving on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), it should be remembered that it also wiped out a PTAB decision in favor of Smith & Nephew in the underlying inter partes review of Arthrex’s U.S. Patent No. 9,179,907 on anticipation grounds (which, given the deferential nature of Federal Circuit review on factual issues, the challenger had every expectation the PTAB decision would be affirmed). At the end of June, Smith & Nephew (S&N) had its opportunity to explain to the Supreme Court why the Federal Circuit was wrong and why the Court should grant certiorari and reverse.

          [...]

          The petition also applies these supervisory roles to the IPR context, including several that are not reviewable (initiation, reconsideration, termination). The consequence of these controls, S&N argues, is that “‘[t]he Director’—a principal Officer who is removable at will—’bears the political responsibility’” for the work APJs do,” citing Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe v. Mylan Pharm. Inc. (Somewhat amusingly, S&N cites one of the more vociferous commentators for “regularly tak[ing] the Director to task” for his decisions as an example of the “political accountability” intended under the Appointments Clause.)

          If the Director’s control isn’t enough, S&N contends that the Secretary of Commerce is another principal officer who exerts control over the APJs sufficient to render them inferior officers, providing in likewise all the tools at the Secretary’s command to exert such control, for example “failure to follow instructions,” citing Cobert v. Miller.

          The Federal Circuit failed to properly consider these indicia of supervision and direction, according to S&N, and instead applied the multipart test. This was error, according to S&N, because the panel misapplied Supreme Court’s Edmond precedent. The petition analogizes the Director’s level of control over APJs with that asserted by the Judge Advocate General over military judges in Edmond, contending that both superiors had the power to remove the respective judges under their control from their assignments and that the Federal Circuit erred in interpreting the removal power to apply to being able to discharge them from employment.

          And the petition characterizes the Federal Circuit as having “elevated form over substance in asking whether ‘the Director [has] the power to single-handedly review, nullify or reverse’ a Board decision,” again analogizing the lack of finality by the adjudicators here and in Edmond (“APJs cannot, in any meaningful sense, speak the last word for the Executive Branch ‘unless permitted to do so by other Executive officers,’” citing Edmond). Of course, even the Director (and the Secretary) are subject to supervision by the Federal Circuit, where the Director has the right to be a party in any appeal. 35 U.S.C. § 143.

          [...]

          Finally, the petition acknowledges the forfeiture issue contained in the government’s petition and provides its reasoning why this issue is another reason for the Court to grant certiorari (and notes that it will write more fulsomely in response to the other petitions submitted to the Court in this case.

      • Copyrights

        • Trump’s Meme Post Survives on Facebook Despite New York Times Complaint

          Last week, the New York Times had a meme, posted by President Trump, removed from Twitter. The newspaper also asked Facebook to remove the same image but thus far the social media platform has yet to take action. At the same time, the Times has yet to act against others who shared the same meme, which could raise a fair use debate.

        • ISP Cox Hands Six Month Internet Ban to Alleged Repeat Infringer

          After finding itself on the wrong end of a $1 billion copyright infringement verdict, Cox Communications is under pressure to combat so-called repeat infringers. Today, a former Cox customer reveals that after receiving multiple copyright infringement complaints from copyright holders, this month his ISP handed him a six-month Internet ban.

[Humour/Meme] Embrace, Extend, and Curl

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10 at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Curl EEE

Aquaman: Curl, made in Sweden, Curl, 'reinvented' by Microsoft

Summary: The Curl project, a high-profile prisoner of GitHub, is again being ‘embraced’ by Microsoft (which already controls the project through GitHub)

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