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07.14.20

Links 14/7/2020: More Laptop Models With GNU/Linux and WordPress 5.5 Beta 2 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 3:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Star Lite Mk III Linux laptop up for pre-order for $426 and up

        That puts this little computer in budget/low-mid range laptop category, which makes sense when you look at its specs.

        The Pentium Silver N5000 processor is a 6-watt, 4-core/4-thread processor that uses Intel’s Atom-based “Gemini Lake” architecture. It’s not exactly a speed demon, but it is one of the better Gemini Lake chips released in 2017. And it’s an x86 processor which should have wider software compatibility than the ARM-based chips used in other budget Linux laptops like the $100 PineBook or $200 PineBook Pro.

        [...]

        The Star Lite Mk III measures about 11.1″ x 7.6″ x 0.5″ and weighs about 2 pounds, making it a fairly compact notebook.

        But there are a few underwhelming features on the spec sheet. The computer only has a 480p webcam, and the RAM cannot be upgraded. The 30.4 Wh battery is also only expected to offer up to 7 hours of battery life.

      • Star Labs’ Newest Linux Laptop is Small But Perfectly Formed

        Big-name brands like Dell and Lenovo serve up hard-to-beat, high-end powerhouses. But a growing club of Linux-specific laptop vendors sell affordable and equally attractive devices.

        Companies like Slimbook, Entroware, and Star Labs offer competitively priced, well spec’d Linux powered PCs, notebooks, and convertibles that cater to needs other than “workstation”.

      • The sleek Star Lite Mk III 11-inch Linux laptop is now taking orders

        Star Labs have announced their latest Linux laptop refresh with the Star Lite Mk III 11-inch now available to order.

        Not long after their recent Star LabTop Mk IV 13-inch release, this smaller model is just as mighty looking. I’m happy to see more vendors do proper matte displays too, as glare is a huge nuisance with laptops. Star Labs say it has ‘both a 21% Haze and a hard coat which boasts both durability and glare-free viewing’.

      • Not recommending Purism

        This is just a quick note to mention that I have updated my hardware documentation on the Librem 13v4 laptop. It has unfortunately turned into a rather lengthy (and ranty) piece about Purism. Let’s just say that waiting weeks for your replacement laptop (yes, it died again) does wonders for creativity.

        [...]

        I realize that some folks (particularly at Debian) might still work at Purism, and that this article might be demoralizing for their work. If that is the case, I am sorry this article triggered you in any way and I hope this can act as a disclaimer. But I feel it is my duty to document the issues I am going through, as a user, and to call bullshit when I see it (let’s face it, the anti-interdiction stuff and the Purism 5 crowd-funding campaign were total bullshit).

        I also understand that the pandemic makes life hard for everyone, and probably makes a bad situation at Purism worse. But those problems existed before the pandemic happened. They were issues I had identified in 2019 and that I simply never got around to document.

        I wish that people wishing to support the free software movement would spend their energy towards organisations that actually do honest work in that direction, like System76 and Pine64. And if you’re going to go crazy with an experimental free hardware design, why not go retro with the MNT Reform.

      • My Linux story: breaking language barriers with open source

        My open source journey started rather late in comparison to many of my peers and colleagues.

        I was pursuing a post-graduate degree in medicine in 2000 when I managed to fulfill a dream I’d had since high school—to buy my own PC. Before that, my only exposure to computers was through occasional access in libraries or cyber cafés, which charged exorbitant prices for access at that time. So I saved up portions of my grad student stipend and managed to buy a Pentium III 550 Mhz with 128MB RAM, and as came standard in most computers in India at that time, a pirated version of Windows 98.

      • How I balance features and performance in my Linux terminal

        I am a big fan of command-line applications, and I spend a lot of time working in a terminal. Terminal-based applications are, in many cases, faster, more flexible, and more intuitive than their graphical user interface (GUI) counterparts.

        Having a flexible and powerful terminal with many command-line tools makes me more productive. This is one of the main reasons I moved to Linux several years ago and never looked back.

        Because I spend so much time in the terminal, I invested some time to make it a pleasant environment to work in. My goal is to find a balance between having a feature-rich terminal without wasting too many system resources.

      • Nokia Releases Service Router Linux Network Operating System

        Nokia recently launched the new Service Router Linux (SR Linux), an open, massively scalable network operating system (NOS) for data center networks.

        The product data sheet states that SR Linux was “designed to solve challenges in modern data center networks, where the primary challenges are lack of scalability, inflexibility and the need for operational simplification.”

        According to the website, SR Linux, which uses an unmodified Linux kernel, provides complete programmability, comprehensive application management, extensive telemetry, and advanced IP routing features. SR Linux is also a key component of the Nokia Data Center Fabric solution, which includes the Kubernetes-based Fabric Services Platform (FSP).

    • Kernel Space

      • Linus Torvalds Approves Using New Inclusive Terminology For Linux Kernel

        On July 04, 2020, Linux maintainer Dan Williams proposed new guidelines to replace non-inclusive terminology. Though Linux already has its coding style and set of terminology, the proposal came amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.

        After a lengthy discussion, Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, has finally merged the new inclusive terminology into the Linux source tree. And with the release of the latest Linux 5.8-rc5, all Linux developers are advised to avoid using ‘master/slave’ and ‘blacklist/whitelist’ terms in kernel code and documentation.

      • Linux 5.9 To Allow For Toggling Energy Efficiency Mode On Kaby Lake CPUs

        The patches talked about last month for a new “energy efficiency” tunable for the Intel P-State driver for Kabylake / Coffeelake CPUs is set to go into Linux 5.9 for those wanting to increase the energy efficiency of these CPUs on Linux albeit with reduced performance.

        The existing behavior with Intel Kabylake / Coffeelake CPUs on Linux has been for the P-State driver to set the relevant MSR for ensuring maximum performance with opening up all of the high performance states. But now slated for introduction with Linux 5.9 is the “energy_efficiency_enable” node via sysfs that can allow setting the CPU in its more energy efficient mode. This is for those wanting lower energy use and heat output albeit with slower performance on these select Intel CPUs.

      • Linux 5.9 Set To Bring ARMv8 TTL Support

        In addition to Linux 5.9 poised to bring ARMv8 Memory Tagging Extension support (MTE), another ARM architectural feature now queued up for introduction in this next kernel cycle is Translation Table Level support.

        Translation Table Level, or TTL, is a feature supported in ARMv8.4+ for reducing the cost/overhead of TLB invalidation. TTL can speed up the translation lookaside buffer invalidation process as it contains a level hint of the page table walk holding the leaf entry for the address being invalidated.

      • F2FS Preparing To Introduce New “Secure Erase” Functionality

        A new feature that’s been in development for a while with the Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) looks set to land with the forthcoming Linux 5.9 cycle.

        F2FS_IOC_SEC_TRIM_FILE is a new ioctl for allowing secure TRIM/DISCARD erase of specific files. In case of DISCARD not being supported, zeroing out of the data range for the regular file is performed.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 20.2′s Nouveau Enables HMM, OpenCL SVM Now Supported

          The open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver stack reached a new milestone today with the user-space code in Mesa 20.2 finally flipping on the Heterogeneous Memory Management (HMM) support.

          It’s been a long road with the work done by Red Hat, NVIDIA engineers themselves on the open-source Nouveau HMM bits too, and the community in getting heterogeneous memory management mainlined and working. This has also been part of Red Hat’s broader OpenCL/compute upbringing in recent years for the Nouveau driver stack. But finally today the HMM caps are set in exposing it in user-space for the NVC0 driver with Pascal GPUs and newer.

        • RADV Driver Lands Support For Vulkan Extended Dynamic State

          The newest addition to Mesa’s RADV Radeon Vulkan driver is support for the recently published VK_EXT_extended_dynamic_state extension.

          VK_EXT_extended_dynamic_state debuted in late June with Vulkan 1.2.145 as an extension developed by the likes of Valve, Intel, NVIDIA, Google, AMD, and others. VK_EXT_extended_dynamic_state adds additional dynamic state for accommodating games/applications needing to reduce the number of pipeline state objects they compile and bind. The details are laid out in full via the Khronos spec.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: aNIRtomy

          I’ve spent a lot of time talking about NIR and writing passes, so let’s take a shallow dive into what exactly that means.

          To start, there’s this idea of a “lowering” pass, where “lowering” means reducing or changing some part of the shader representation. These passes are run for various reasons, ranging from handling compatibility (e.g., the gl_FragColor -> gl_FragData[n] pass I discussed previously) to optimizing the shader by removing unused variables and instructions.

          [...]

          In this, the pass iterates over the shader’s functions, then creates a nir_builder (an object used for altering shader internals) while it iterates the blocks within the function. A function block is a group of instructions contained within a given scope, e.g., a conditional. The pass iterates into each block, looping over all the instructions and passing them to the lower_impl internal function for the pass, which is where all the work happens.

    • DDR

      • AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT Memory Scaling Performance Under 100 Different Tests

        For those thinking of picking up one of the new AMD Ryzen 3000XT series processors and weighing whether it’s worthwhile on your budget picking up DDR4-3600 memory or other higher frequency DDR4 modules, here are some fresh benchmark results with the Ryzen 9 3900XT looking at 100 different tests on Linux and showing how the performance changes from DDR4-2133 through DDR4-3800.

      • JEDEC Publishes DDR5 Standard – Launching At 4.8 Gbps, Better Power Efficiency

        The DDR5 standard is expected to see the first DIMMs launching at a speed of 4.8Gbps, the Vdd is down to 1.1V (compared to 1.2V with DDR4), support for on-die ECC and other new features like decision feedback equalization, usage of MIPI I3C as the system management bus, and other improvements over DDR4.

    • Applications

      • The 5 Best Command Line Music Players for Linux

        The terminal is usually used to accomplish administrative tasks on a Linux system such as installing packages, configuring services, updating, and upgrading packages to mention a few.

        But did you also know you can enjoy playing your favourite audio files straight from the terminal? Yes, you can, thanks to some cool and innovative console-based music players.

        In this guide, we shine the spotlight on the best command-line music players for Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Markus Koschany: My Free Software Activities in June 2020

        Welcome to gambaru.de. Here is my monthly report (+ the first week in July) that covers what I have been doing for Debian. If you’re interested in Java, Games and LTS topics, this might be interesting for you.

      • The Ethiopia Pack launches for Civilization VI on July 23

        The New Frontier Pass expands on July 23, the Ethiopia Pack launches for Civilization VI as part of their plan to continue pushing out content over the next year. If you purchased the New Frontier Pass, this DLC will be free for you but like with the Maya & Gran Colombia Pack it will also be available as a single purchase.

      • Steam Labs hits 1 year, Community Recommendations launches

        After about a year of Steam Labs now being a thing, Valve have written up a blog post to celebrate and to go over what’s shipped, what’s not happening and more.

        Steam Labs is the new area of Steam where Valve put up various experimental features, sometimes made with external developers, to attempt to improve Steam as a whole. We’ve seen upgrades to Steam’s searching tools for finding games, which has been great to see more filters like price and excluding games already owned. Then there’s Play Next to give you options from your big Steam Library to go through, the Interactive Recommended and more.

      • Open source space trading and combat game ‘Naev’ has a fresh build up

        Another wonderful classic free and open source game had a fresh update recently. This time it’s Naev, a game inspired by the classic Escape Velocity.

        Naev is an open-world space trading and combat game, giving you the freedom to explore space and do pretty much anything you want. The first Beta of Naev 0.8.0 is out now, which is the first major release in around three years so naturally it includes a lot of changes.

      • Eagle Island’s big Summer update brings better controls and checkpoints

        Developer Pixelnicks continues to update and refine the beautiful rogue-lite platformer Eagle Island with a new update out focussing on dealing with lots of little issues.

        “With its falconry-inspired gameplay & procedurally generated worlds, Eagle Island is set to a beautifully modernized pixel art aesthetic and provides a breath of fresh air to the character platforming genre. Eagle Island is a roguelite, it can be played in either Story Mode (progress) or Rogue Mode (permadeath).”

        I definitely enjoyed Eagle Island but it wasn’t without difficulty, sometimes annoyingly so. Pixelnicks said they’ve been closely monitoring issues and taking on feedback, with this Summer Solstice update aimed to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. They also put out a slightly silly video (below) to go over a bunch of the changes, with the ending showing off some content coming to a DLC that’s apparently so big it’s on the scale of a sequel.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • 2nd video review of Zenwalk 15.0 Milestone 2020

          Here’s a nice video review which can also be useful as a step by step setup tutorial (thanks to DJ Ware).

          Note that the DJ didn’t use netpkg : the Zenwalk package manager, and he should have ;) (flathub is NOT a package manager : it’s more to be considered as a “play store”).

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Command Line Heroes: Becoming a Coder
        • Bank of America, Google, and Red Hat Executives Join OASIS Board of Directors

          OASIS, the international standards and open source consortium, today announced that three new members were elected to its Board of Directors: Jeremy Allison of Google, Rich Bowen of Red Hat, and Wende Peters of Bank of America. Their depth of experience in the open source and open standards communities bolsters the Board’s reach and establishes OASIS as the home for worldwide standards in cybersecurity, blockchain, privacy, cryptography, cloud computing, IoT, urban mobility, emergency management, and other content technologies.

          These three new members join the continuing members of the Board: Martin Chapman of Oracle, Bruce Rich of Cryptsoft, Jason Keirstead of IBM, Beth Pumo of Kaiser Permanente, and Daniel Reidel of New Context. Reelected Board members Frederick Hirsch, Individual member; Gershon Janssen, Individual member; and Richard Struse of Mitre will each serve a two-year term starting in July 2020.

        • OpenStack @ 10: Red Hat’s take on a decade of customer defined clouds and an update on Red Hat OpenStack Platform

          From the early days, Red Hat has supported the OpenStack project and we’ve built a platform of our own with Red Hat OpenStack Platform. This month, we look back at how far OpenStack has come in the last 10 years, how Red Hat has contributed and lastly, we celebrate the general availability of our next version with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 16.1, available later this month.

          [...]

          By 2014, Red Hat was already a major contributor to the project. This not only brought enterprise support from a heavily-invested contributor, but also helped drive community input from customers who may not otherwise have participated. The increasing diversity and chorus of voices within the community helped bring forth new projects and features to solve problems. In addition, the introduction of Red Hat OpenStack Certification widened industry support, launching with more than 100 tech industry leaders as members.

          The Icehouse (I) and Juno (J) releases coincided with Red Hat OpenStack Platform’s three-year support life cycle, launched with Red Hat OpenStack Platform 5. This meant that enterprises could choose a platform and standardize on it for an extended period, providing stability for the workloads that need it. Red Hat OpenStack Platform 6 kept the ball rolling with more than 700 enhancements, updates and changes to the platform as it continued to grow and mature.

        • How Automation can help banks improve security, compliance, and productivity

          FSIs spend a lot of time responding to auditors. Compliance with regulatory mandates often dictates processes. However, variance in processes can increase tension between developers working to improve the organization’s agility; teams responsible for maintaining operations; and security and compliance teams.

          Without a clear joint process, each of the teams may develop their own. Inconsistent IT configurations, patching and testing can make management and reporting difficult. A lack of shared processes can also allow technical debt to build, which inhibits change and introduces risk.

          In addition to managing digital transformation, IT systems are upgraded regularly, entailing an intense period where the IT team focuses on configuration and testing every piece of technology. While this work is critically important, and because the risk exposure is significant if each component is not updated and tested, it is also stressful and can be tedious.

          The challenge is further increased because many financial organizations are operating across a range of different environments, like Windows, Linux, public and private clouds, virtualized and container environments, increasing the complexity of their IT footprint.

        • My Outreachy Internship: The journey so far…

          I’ve gotten stuck with many issues over the coding period, some more facepalm than others. For example, I wasted almost a week trying to get my setup running on docker-compose only to realize that the problem was just mislabelled services. In another one, while writing a script to initialize a MySQL db I put a space after the ‘-p’ so my builds kept failing.

          Of course, these issues shouldn’t have taken more than a couple of hours to figure out but more often than not it took days. All this reminds me of the struggle I had when I started learning JavaScript. Trusting the environment/ecosystem did not come easy. It was normal for me to think that the bugs that I was getting were because of a bigger force that I did not understand yet. This would force me to blindly go on an expedition to really understand what’s going on.. only to realize that the issue was right in front of me and I never needed to read anything beyond the files that I wrote. However, even after the time I had lost the net result was always positive. The more ‘blind expeditions’ I went on the more knowledge I accumulated and the more confidence I gained to commit.

          A bigger hurdle for me has been adjusting to the work-from-home lifestyle. Especially with the pandemic my entire routine has been disrupted and finding a balance has been a challenge.

        • Introduction to Red Hat Insights

          Red Hat Insights is a SaaS application that is available free of charge to everyone with a valid Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) subscription.

          This article provides a brief introduction to Red Hat Insights, shows how RHEL systems are integrated into the cloud service, and lists key documents and resources related to the service.

          Author’s note: I’m testing the service as part of my job at the Bielefeld IT Service Center (BITS) at Bielefeld University. This article reflects my personal view of Red Hat Insights. Furthermore, I would like to clarify that I am a member of the Red Hat Accelerators community.

        • Developing and testing on production with Kubernetes and Istio Workspace

          Due to container-orchestration platforms like Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift, developers have become very efficient about deploying and managing distributed and containerized applications. But can we say the same about application development and testing?

          In this article, I briefly discuss how cloud-native development is transforming the traditional development cycle of coding, building, and testing. I then introduce the idea of testing on production, not as a meme but as a necessity. Finally, I introduce Istio Workspace, a tool for developers working with distributed systems running on Kubernetes or OpenShift.

          [...]

          Testing new functionality before it reaches production has always been hard, but the shift from monoliths to microservices has brought scale, which has increased the challenge of testing locally. We see developers trying to use tools like Red Hat CodeReady Containers or Minikube to spin up whole applications composed of multiple services. While this approach works well when projects are relatively small, it’s not so easy when you introduce more fine-grained services, and the graph starts to grow. It is not feasible to spin up even a medium-sized distributed system on your own machine.

          Using replicated environments such as staging or quality engineering (QE) gives some confidence, but it’s expensive in terms of both cost and maintenance. Despite the effort of defining infrastructure as code, there are still potential differences in the target machines’ configuration; they just show up on the operating system and hardware level. It is also frequently impossible to get the same load and volume of data on the test system that is in the actual system. Therefore, testing on production is no longer a meme: It’s a reality and a necessity.

          What’s needed is a way to use your favorite tools to develop, build, and debug your code locally, but have your application behave as if it were running in the production cluster.

      • Debian Family

        • Release UCS 4.4-5 brings improvements in Single Sign-on, Self Service, more performance for LDAP and compatibility with Python 3

          The release of version 4.4-5 of Univention Corporate Server (UCS) brings a series of technical innovations for the Single Sign-on of users to applications connected to UCS. There are also new functions for the UCS Self Service. Users can now register themselves at a UCS domain via the User Self Service and create a user account, assign a user name and password, and store further information. Performance improvements in the LDAP directory service have accelerated the replication of groups. And in preparation for UCS 5.0, which is scheduled for release at the end of this year, our development department has made more than 45 UCS packages compatible with Python 3. So when you upgrade to UCS 5.0, the corresponding code parts in UCS will run for both Python 2 and Python 3. In addition, we have also published a preview of the new UCS 5 portal as an app in the App Center for testers. It already brings important new technical features such as embedding apps directly into the portal page.

        • MessagePack vs CBOR (RFC7049)

          I recently wanted to choose a binary encoding. This was for a project using Rust serde, so I looked at the list of formats there. I ended up reading about CBOR and MessagePack.

          Both of these are binary formats for a JSON-like data model. Both of them are “schemaless”, meaning you can decode them without knowing the structure. (This also provides some forwards compatibility.) They are, in fact, quite similar (although they are totally incompatible). This is no accident: CBOR is, effectively, a fork of MessagePack.

          Both formats continue to exist and both are being used in new programs. I needed to make a choice but lacked enough information. I thought I would try to examine the reasons and nature of the split, and to make some kind of judgement about the situation. So I did a lot of reading [11]. Here are my conclusions.

        • Debian PPC64EL Emulation

          In my post on Debian S390X Emulation [1] I mentioned having problems booting a Debian PPC64EL kernel under QEMU. Giovanni commented that they had PPC64EL working and gave a link to their site with Debian QEMU images for various architectures [2]. I tried their image which worked then tried mine again which also worked – it seemed that a recent update in Debian/Unstable fixed the bug that made QEMU not work with the PPC64EL kernel.

          Here are the instructions on how to do it.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Brume-W Pocket-Sized Wireless Gateway Runs OpenWrt or Ubuntu (Crowdfunding)

          GL.iNet Brume-W (GL-MV1000W) is a “pocket-sized wireless gateway for edge computing” that supports high-speed VPN up to 280Mbps with WireGuard, AdGuard ad-blocking software (AdGuard), and Tor.

          The device features three Gigabit Ethernet ports and built-in 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 connectivity, but it also supports Alfa AWUS036AC and AWUS036ACS USB WiFf USB dongles for users wanting dual-band WiFi 5 (AC) networking. The router ships with OpenWrt pre-installed, but also supports Ubuntu.

        • Ubuntu MATE 20.04 Beta Release Optimized for Raspberry Pi 4
        • Ubuntu MATE for Raspberry Pi

          Ubuntu MATE 20.04 beta 1 is available for Raspberry Pi Model B 2, 3, 3+ and 4 with separate images for armhf (ARMv7 32-bit) and arm64 (ARMv8 64-bit). We have done what we can to optimise the builds for the Raspberry Pi without sacrificing the full desktop environment Ubuntu MATE provides on PC.

          Ubuntu MATE for the Raspberry Pi provides a complete, familiar, desktop environment that can be used for basic desktop computing. It is also of interest to makers and device hackers who want to target Ubuntu for their projects. You can prototype homebrew ARMv7 or ARMv8 based IoT devices in a comfortable desktop environment, including building and testing your apps as snaps. The full Ubuntu archive is available to you.

          For hobbyist projects, you can stick with Ubuntu MATE for “deployment”. But, if you have something more professional in mind then the applications and snaps you’ve prototyped with Ubuntu MATE can be used with Ubuntu Server or Ubuntu Core. You might want to check out the Ubuntu Appliance Portfolio too.

        • Linux Mint drops Ubuntu Snap packages

          The Linux Mint distribution is based on Debian and Ubuntu, providing over 30,000 packages from these projects. These packages are provided using the well-known APT packaging system used by both upstream distributions. Ubuntu, however, in 2014 started distributing software in parallel to APT using a technology called Snap.

          Snap is a self-contained package-deployment system designed to make it easier to manage dependencies of an application in a Linux environment. Developed by Canonical, Snap is designed so that its packages contain all of the specific dependencies a software package needs to run, bundled into a single filesystem image. This allows a software package to run on a system that has otherwise incompatible versions of needed libraries, or even to have two different versions of a single software package with different dependencies easily coexist on a single machine. Essentially, it allows one package to be created per architecture that can run on any common Linux distribution.

          The technology solves important package-management problems for Canonical and Ubuntu. It also has a strategic business value, as it allows Canonical-managed software to be installed on a competing distribution. The technology problem Canonical wants to solve is to simplify support for software packages, such as Chromium, across the multiple versions of Ubuntu. Relying strictly on APT requires independent packages to be maintained for each Ubuntu version, since various Ubuntu releases ship with different and potentially incompatible libraries. This represents a large workload that Canonical would rather not deal with, and to which Snap provides an elegant technical solution.

          From a business perspective, widespread adoption of Snap as a universal package-distribution technology would put Canonical in a strong position to control Linux software distribution. This fact is not lost by Canonical’s competition — Red Hat supports a similar Flatpak technology. Unlike Snap, however, the Flatpak project aims to be an independent community and a “true upstream open source project, dedicated to providing technology and services that can be used by all, with no vendor lock-in.”

          The problems with Linux Mint came to a head when Ubuntu moved Chromium to Snap distribution in Ubuntu 19.10. On the surface, that isn’t a problem in and of itself — the Linux Mint project can always start providing its own Chromium APT packages. The problem was the decision to change the Ubuntu chromium-browser APT package itself upstream in Ubuntu. Previously, that package would simply install Chromium directly. With the change, it would instead install the Snap package-management tools first and then install the Snap equivalent of the Chromium package — without making it clear to the user what was happening.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 things to look for in an open source alternative to SharePoint

        We’re entering a collaboration platform renaissance as remote work becomes the norm for enterprises large and small. Microsoft SharePoint—a collaboration platform available on premises or in the cloud—is the de-facto standard for corporations and government agencies. However, SharePoint implementations are infamous for the challenges that prevent their completion. Combine those common speedbumps with shrinking IT budgets and rising collaboration requirements because of remote work, and open source alternatives to SharePoint become well worth a look.

      • Bringing Microsoft Media Foundation to GStreamer

        NOTE : Strictly speaking, the UWP video capture implementation is not part of the Media Foundation API. The internal implementation is based on the Windows.Media.Capture API.
        Due to the structural similarity between Media Foundation and WinRT Media API however, it makes sense to include the UWP video capture implementation in this plugin.

        Media Foundation is known as the successor of DirectShow.

        As DirectShow does, Media Foundation provides various media-related functionality, but most of the features (muxing, demuxing, capturing, rendering, decoding/encoding and pipelining of relevant processing functionality) of Media Foundation can be replaced with GStreamer.

      • ReactOS Hires Developer To Work On Their Open-Source Windows Storage Stack

        The storage capabilities for ReactOS as the “open-source Windows” project has long been in poor shape relative to the other subsystems, but ReactOS Deutschland has hired a developer to work full-time on making improvements in storage and related areas.

        For at least the next quarter, ReactOS Deutschland is funding a former GSoC ReactOS contributor to work on making their scsiport driver plug-and-play-aware, fixing plug-and-play bugs within their kernel and related work to improve USB storage support and compatibility with Windows storage drivers. Victor Perevertkin previously wrote the Btrfs boot sector code for ReactOS and has been making other improvements over the past two years.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Announcing elections for the next TDF Membership Committee

          we hereby officially announce the upcoming elections for the next Membership Committee of The Document Foundation.

          As per § 12 II of our statutes (binding version in German and non-binding translation), the Membership Committee’s term lasts two years. The current Membership Committee started its duty on September 19, 2018. Therefore, the old Membership Committee remains in charge until the end of September 18, 2020, so the new MC will be in charge the day after that, which is September 19, 2020.

          That upcoming term will then (regularly) end on September 18, 2022, so the next election of the Membership Committee will take place before.

          As per § 6 III, only members of the Board of Trustees of The Document Foundation, as well as current members of any of its bodies, are eligible to be elected into the Membership Committee, and the election is overseen by the Board of Directors (§ 12 II).

          The active electoral right is reserved to those who have been members of the Board of Trustees before this announcement (§ 12 II).

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5 Beta 2

          This software is still in development, so it’s not recommended to run this version on a production site. Consider setting up a test site to play with the new version.

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Programming/Development

        • 10 Excellent Free Books to Learn XML

          XML is a set of rules for defining semantic tags that describe the structure and meaning of a document.

          The user of XML chooses the names and placement of the tags to convey the nature of the data stored in a document. XML can be used to markup any data file to make it easier to understand and process.

          In addition, it has been applied to many special domains of data: mathematics, music, vector graphics, the spoken word, financial data, chemical symbols, and web pages among others.

          Here’s our recommended free books to master XML.

        • Perl/Raku

          • 2020.28 Bridges 7

            Arne Sommer, inspired by a solution of a previous Weekly Challenge, wrote a small series of blog posts about the seven bridges of Königsberg:

          • A tour with Net::FTP

            When we want to have a way to exchange files between machines, we often think about rsync, scp, git or even something slow and complex (looking at you Artifactory and S3), but the answer is often right in front of your eyes: FTP!

            The “File Transfer Protocol” provides a very simple and convenient way to share files. It’s battle-tested, requires almost no maintenance, and has a simple anonymous access mechanism. It can be integrated with several standard auth methods and even some virtual ones, none of which I show here.

            [...]

            I got the idea to backup and centralize automatically the configuration file during the creation of the build pipeline workspace. It was intended to help both developers (configuration “samples”) and support team (see history, versioned then we can check diffs, file to replay). The constraints were to be able to exchange file from various places with variable users. The FTP protocol is a perfect fit for that.

            I added also a cronjob to autocommit and push to a git repository and we had magically a website listing versioned configurations files.

            In addition, FTP proved later to also require zero support. I mean really zero maintenance!

          • Perl Mongers, Unite!

            pm.org is great for resources, but there’s no obvious way to promote your meeting. Not that there needed to be when the meetings were local events, but now, thanks to Covid-19, these meetings are taking place virtually. Why limit yourself to your local members? I am convinced that there are plenty of pockets of mongers that, if united and connected, would make the world realize that Perl Is Not Dead.

        • Python

          • Kushal Das: Introducing pyage-rust, a Python module for age encryption

            age is a simple, modern and secure file encryption tool, it was designed by @Benjojo12 and @FiloSottile.

            An alternative interoperable Rust implementation is available at github.com/str4d/rage

            pyage-rust is a Python module for age, this is built on top of the Rust crate. I am not a cryptographer, and I prefer to keep this important thing to the specialists :)

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 007 – Python Basics, Variables, Basic Data Types, Strings and Loops

            Started with the Reuven Lerner, Intro Python:Fundamentals course today.
            Made surprising headway, even though today was crazily demanding with work and personal stuff.

          • An Overview of JupyterLab (Video)

            Learn the basics of using JupyterLab which is the replacement for Jupyter Notebook, in my latest video tutorial.

          • Pip team midyear report

            The plan that we proposed last year said that, by now, we would have finished Foundational work (Phase I) and Resolver work (Phase II), and the team would be doing Maintenance and Sustainability work (Phase III). Please see the timeline for user experience work and the timelines for development work.

            We are behind where we had planned to be in the work roadmap. This is partially because the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our work, but also because of policy and architecture decisions the project needed, and because foundational user experience research work has taken more time than we originally allotted. Thus, we have finished the Phase I and Phase II sections of the development work, and are approximately 75% of the way through the Phase I and Phase II user experience work. See below for accomplishments so far.

            Funding: we predicted that we would be approximately 80% of the way through our one-year project budget (since the second half of the year has a slower work pace, primarily focusing on maintaining and deepening the work we started in the first half). We are now approximately 71% of the way through the budget, which gives us flexibility for the second half of the project.

            [...]

            Phase III development work commences next month. We will continue to improve the pip dependency resolver in response to testers’ feedback. This will help us prepare to release pip 20.3, with the new resolver on by default, in October. We’ll also review and respond to code contributions and new issues, to keep up with the pip code and issue review queue, help new contributors develop into continuing contributors, and help existing contributors grow into co-maintainers.

            And our user experience work will also enter Phase III, deepening and expanding foundational research in Python packaging. We will recruit more users for interviews and surveys, develop user journey maps & workflows, work with maintainers to write documentation and help messages, develop templates for UI bugs, commands, error messages, output, documentation, and configuration files, and teach pip maintainers UX practices.

          • Python 3.8.3 : Short intro to Appium-Python-Client python package.

            This is a short intro of the Appium-Python-Client python package and Appium based on Client-Server Architecture.
            The Appium Server can be installed using two ways: using NPM or using Appium Desktop.
            I download and run the desktop version from here.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In | Gsoc’2020 | #7
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Check-in for week 6
        • Rust

          • Programming languages: Now Rust project looks for a way into the Linux kernel

            The makers of systems programming language Rust are looking at how to adapt the language for use in the Linux kernel.

            Josh Triplett, an Intel engineer and lead of the Rust language project, says he’d “love to see a path to incorporating Rust into the kernel”, as long as it’s done cautiously and doesn’t upset Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Measure The Impact Of The ONC’s New Interoperability Rules Now

        We begin with measures available or implementable now to assess current behaviors and whether they begin to shift in line with the regulations. These initial indicators have shortcomings, however, and we describe ways to address them and improve future measurement.

  • Leftovers

    • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Perry Mason Moment

      We challenged Lin-Manuel Miranda’s depiction of slave owners and brokers as abolitionists in his billion dollar plus musical “Hamilton, The Revolution,” with our play, “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” in which Miranda is taught the truth by slaves, Native-Americans and others whose views are not represented in “Hamilton.”

    • Defending One Brooklyn Brownstone Is Just the Beginning

      “This is very lovely,” Imani Henry said, stepping out of the gate at 1214 Dean Street in Brooklyn. Though it was past midnight, a crowd of over 30 remained of those who had gathered that night to defend the tenants of the building, in the Crown Heights neighborhood, against an illegal eviction. “A typical part of our lives is illegal lockouts,” said Henry, the founder of Equality for Flatbush (E4F), the anti-gentrification and anti-police-brutality organization that initially sent out a call to action. For most New York City tenants, the most they can do in that situation is make a call to 311, the city’s government services line, and hope to be connected with a housing lawyer. But that night was unusual. Within three hours, almost 100 people assembled outside the house, demanding that the tenants be allowed to stay in their homes. Even after a season under the threat of the coronavirus and a month of racial justice uprisings, this felt new—and, as one person at the blockade put it, like “the start of a long summer.”

    • The Human Obsession With Rarity

      Sun, coffee, smiles, and the voice of a friend—despite their availability—really are the ultimate experiences in life.

      Don’t let evolution trick you into believing they’re seagulls.

    • Power, Knowledge and Virtue

      I was working on a powerpoint presentation on the history of the Greek Revolution and came across the Memoirs of John Makriyiannis. This was an important fighter and leader who sacrificed everything for the cause of freeing Greece from its abominable Turkish tyrants.

    • Goodbye Lucky Country

      You’ve really got to wonder what we all thought would happen, writes Mike Dowson.

    • Admiral: Bonhomme Richard fire believed to have started in the ‘Deep V’ cargo hold [iophk: Tweets in place of real communications :( ]

      At about 5:20 p.m. local time Sunday, Naval Base San Diego’s official Twitter account ordered non-first responders to “shelter in place” in sector A, wet side, north of pier 5.

    • Biden campaign hires ex-White House official Chris DeRusha as CISO

      Biden’s campaign said Friday it had hired Chris DeRusha, who served as a White House cybersecurity adviser when Biden was vice president, as the campaign’s chief information security officer. DeRusha, who has also held cybersecurity positions with the State of Michigan, the Department of Homeland Security and Ford Motor Co., will be charged with safeguarding the campaign’s digital assets in an election that U.S. officials expect to draw continued foreign interference.

      The Biden campaign has also hired software engineer Jacky Chang as its chief technology officer. Chang worked as a technologist for the Democratic National Committee and for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

    • Xerox PARC: 50 years of innovation

      On July 1, 1970, the doors opened at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), with the charter to create “The Office of the Future”, and fifty years later, the impact of that opening still resonates. Computing wouldn’t be the same without the developments that emerged from what is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xerox Corporation. Why? Check out this sampling and see how much of what we take for granted today originated at PARC. Unless otherwise specified, all images in this slideshow are courtesy of Xerox Corporation.

    • Education

      • Covid-19 Reveals Global Need to Improve Education Systems

        Governments should focus resources, attention on inclusive education.

      • Citing Covid Threat, LA Public Schools—2nd Largest District in US—Won’t Resume In-Person Teaching This Fall

        “The skyrocketing infection rates of the past few weeks make it clear the pandemic is not under control.”

      • 17 States Sue Trump Over Deportation Threats to International Students

        More than a dozen states joined together on Monday to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration, following an announcement last week from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stating that international students could be deported if universities allowed them to utilize online-only options for their education.

      • Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper

        President Donald Trump’s belligerence toward China and his administration’s heartless and ill-thought-out Executive order to throw out foreign college students whose colleges, for health reasons, opt for another semester of on-line classes, could cast another wrench into the already clanking engine of the US economy.

      • Trump’s Stance on Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper

        President Donald Trump’s belligerence toward China and his administration’s heartless and ill-thought-out Executive order to throw out foreign college students whose colleges, for health reasons, opt for another semester of on-line classes, could cast another wrench into the already clanking engine of the US economy.

      • In Defence of the Humanities

        Because, once again, the real purpose of education is not to acquire skills. It is to develop the mind. Fill it with knowledge, yes—but also charge it with fire, like a torch, so that, long after we have left the student bench, the mind still gleams and glares and throws a challenge to the maddening mysteries of the world. So what did a world-class degree in humanities really give me? It gave me a front row seat to the extraordinary spectacle of the evolution of human spirit. It exposed me to beauty, meaning, and perfect form. Every day, for five years, I descended into mankind’s formidable past and confronted matters of metaphysical significance. I wrote myself into the great books that I read, and, like Proteus, I lived a thousand different lives. This experience had a purging effect. The veil over the world had lifted somewhat. I may have discovered happiness. Occasionally, I brushed the transcendental. How dare anyone reduce this experience to “skills”? How foolish would that be?

    • Hardware

      • MechBoard64 | Replacement Commodore 64 Keyboard

        Every day, when I walk back to my “healing bench,” the place I fix my kids toys or things I break around the house, I see my extra, empty bread-bin box Commodore 64 shell. It has been sitting empty since sometime in the early 90s and my mind will wonder to a place where that would be a functional computer once again. Not that I need another Commodore 64, but I am thinking, often, I would like to have a modern re-implementation of the Commodore 64, specifically, with that Ultimate 64. When I play games or do IRC with the Commodore 64, I am periodically reminded that old hardware can have some unwelcome hiccups and remind me why we moved beyond the 8-bit era. Some behaviors of it are just not very welcome. Glitching out, occasional crashing after hours of usage, lack of complete drive compatibility with the SD2IEC device and so forth. I would like to have the best of both worlds, 8-bit fun and charm along with the modern conveniences of storage and reliability. Is that too much to ask?

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Lives and Livelihoods Are on the Line’: Progressive Ad Campaigns Target GOP Senators for Blocking Relief as Covid-19 Rages

        “This is not the time for senators to go on vacation. Mitch McConnell’s partisan games are an act of violence and recklessness against the American people.”

      • “No Return to the ‘Old Normal’ for Foreseeable Future,” Warns WHO Chief

        “If the basics aren’t followed, there is only one way this pandemic is going to go. It’s going to get worse and worse and worse.”

      • ‘Critical Win for People in Tennessee’: Federal Judge Immediately Blocks Sweeping State Abortion Ban

        “Abortion is an essential health service, and this law clearly violates the constitutional rights of patients and disproportionately harms communities of color.”

      • Mistrust Compels Anti-Authoritarian Epidemiology in the Time of COVID-19

        Now more than ever, we must welcome anti-authoritarian epidemiology.

      • To Fund Covid-19 Recovery and Better Future, 83 Super Rich People Say Tax Us More ‘Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.’

        “The problems caused by, and revealed by, Covid-19 can’t be solved with charity, no matter how generous. Government leaders must take the responsibility for raising the funds we need and spending them fairly.”

      • Trump Accused of Burying CDC Warning on Risk Posed by Full School Reopenings

        The leader of one of the largest teachers’ unions in the U.S. accused President Donald Trump over the weekend of “trying to bury” federal guidelines warning that fully reopening schools and universities in the fall poses a high risk of spreading Covid-19 and endangering the health of students, faculty, and parents.

      • The Coronavirus Seal: Victoria’s Borders Close

        The state of Victoria is being sealed off from the rest of Australia. On Tuesday, at 11.59pm, the border with New South Wales will be shut with publicised resoluteness. It is happening at the insistence of politicians across the country with a panicked urge. On the way are reminders about the miracle that was federation in 1901. That a Commonwealth was ever formed from the Britannic nuts and bolts of an invasive penal settlement was remarkable, given the otherwise innate hostilities, not to mention competitiveness, the states had shown to each other.

      • Mass Death By Public Policy: We Are All Grieving
      • Trump Elevates a Game Show Host’s Views on COVID While Stifling Fauci

        “The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19,” read the Monday morning retweet on Donald Trump’s Twitter page. “Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most that we are told to trust. I think it’s all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I’m sick of it.”

      • Unless We Take Urgent Action, Covid-19 Won’t Be the Last Virus That Jumps From Animals to Humans

        Although Trump may enjoy and thinks he profits from rhetorical trashing of China the hands of western U.S. corporate agriculture and global capitalism are all over the many pandemics and likely to be many more.

      • Trump Shares Tweet Calling CDC, Doctors Liars After Surpassing His 20,000th Lie

        President Donald Trump shared a tweet on Monday morning from a former game show host which claimed that lies about the coronavirus were being spread to harm the economy and influence the 2020 election.

      • Trump Accused of Suppressing CDC Warning That Full School Reopenings Pose ‘Highest Risk’ of Covid-19 Spread

        “By trying to bury what the CDC recommends, Trump is betraying every student, teacher, and parent in this country. Shame on him. Shame on those who enable him.”

      • COVID Catch-22: They Got a Big ER Bill Because Hospitals Couldn’t Test for Virus

        Fresh off a Caribbean cruise in early March, John Campbell developed a cough and fever of 104 degrees. He went to his primary care physician and got a flu test, which came up negative.

      • As COVID Deaths Soar in Texas, Ted Cruz Seen Without a Mask on Commercial Flight

        Social media was abuzz over the weekend after an image of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appeared to show him on a plane without a mask on.

      • Airborne transmission of COVID-19: The controversy

        One of the biggest mysteries early on in the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to some extent even today is how SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, spreads. While it’s always been known to spread primarily through respiratory droplets (and that is still thought to be the primary method of spread), there are still so many questions that remain. For instance, you might remember that early on in the pandemic, fomites (objects on which virus-laden respiratory droplets could land and thereby harbor the virus) were thought to be a major source of infection, as people would touch such objects and then touch their face, and no doubt many of you remember all the breathless stories in March about studies showing that SARS-CoV-2 could survive up to three days on plastic and metal surfaces and up to 24 hours on cardboard. Then, a month ago, the CDC published a news release and updated its website to say that indirect contact from a surface contaminated with coronavirus is a potential way to contract COVID-19 but not the most prominent way that the virus infects people, emphasizing that the “primary and most important mode of transmission for COVID-19 is through close contact from person-to-person” and stating that fomite transmission is not “thought to be the main way the virus spreads.” None of this makes it any less of a good idea or any less imperative that you wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face. The virus can still spread that way; it’s just not the primary driver of infection. The real debate though bubbled up in the news over the 4th of July weekend in the form of a story in The New York Times entitled “239 Experts With 1 Big Claim: The Coronavirus Is Airborne“:

      • Witnessing the Pandemic From the Front Lines at New York City’s Oldest Public Hospital

        “This will define your life,” my attending physician said. it was the middle of an April night in the intensive care unit. Covid-19 was surging through New York City, overwhelming hospitals. Earlier that evening, another of our patients died. Our team had worked desperately to save his life. When I called his wife to give the news, she wailed into the phone in horror and disbelief.

      • Oil Comes First in Peru, Not Coronavirus Danger, Not Indigenous Rights

        As of July 7, 10,772 people had died of COVID 19 infection in Peru, which is the 8th most severely affected country in the world. The actual toll is probably far greater, especially in Peru’s Amazonian region. Indigenous inhabitants there, isolated from medical care, suffer from the pandemic and from an environment poisoned by oil extraction.

      • Disability Rights Activists Take on Twin Pandemics of Police Brutality and COVID

        Two months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked an international uprising, we look at the underreported but devastating impact police violence has on people with disabilities, especially Black disabled people. According to at least one study, up to one half of people killed by law enforcement in the U.S. have a disability. “People with disabilities have always been attacked by police. And people with disabilities and poor people have our own answers,” says Leroy Moore, a Black disabled activist and artist, POOR Magazine co-founder and founder of the Krip-Hop Nation. “Our own answer is to really get rid of police.” We also speak with POOR Magazine co-founder Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia and discuss challenges they’ve faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Disability Rights Activists Take On Twin Pandemics of Racist Police Brutality & COVID-19

        Two months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked an international uprising, we look at the underreported but devastating impact police violence has on people with disabilities, especially Black disabled people. According to at least one study, up to one-half of people killed by law enforcement in the U.S. have a disability. “People with disabilities have always been attacked by police. And people with disabilities and poor people have our own answers,” says Leroy Moore, a Black disabled activist and artist, POOR Magazine co-founder and founder of the Krip-Hop Nation. “Our own answer is to really get rid of police.” We also speak with POOR Magazine co-founder Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia and discuss challenges they’ve faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • As COVID Infections Soar, Trump Attacks Dr. Fauci, CDC & Pushes Schools to Reopen at All Costs

        As the world and the United States shatter the daily records of COVID-19 infections, President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to push for public schools to reopen in the fall without a plan to adhere to CDC guidelines. “We need to be doing this safely,” responds emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen. “We’ve already seen what happens when we use shortcuts.” Meanwhile, the White House continues to attack the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Wen says, “I fear that at this point we are not even seeing the peak of this epidemic.”

      • Wriggling Roundworm Found in Woman’s Tonsil After She Ate Sashimi

        In a new case report, doctors describe the unfortunate experience of a 25-year-old woman in Japan who had a particularly nasty surprise after eating sashimi. Five days after enjoying her meal, she rocked up to St. Luke’s International Hospital in Tokyo with pain and irritation in the back of her throat.

        Her blood tests were normal, and she seemed otherwise fine – but closer physical inspection revealed something awry – something black and squirming in her left tonsil. A short tweezer extraction later, the culprit was wriggling in a dish.

      • COVID-19 sparks push for immigration reform in Brazil

        Brazilian lawmakers are being urged to pass an emergency regularisation bill for undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers whose precarious position has been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.

        The outbreak here is one of the worst in the world, with the second most confirmed cases – approaching two million – and more than 72,000 people dead, as of 13 July.

        Migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees are disproportionately exposed to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, and UN agencies have urged governments to “leave no one behind” in their responses by exploring options for regularisation.

        Brazil already has a progressive immigration law that guarantees basic rights – including healthcare access and welfare benefits – regardless of status. But the pandemic has laid bare shortcomings in its implementation as undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers whose applications have been put on hold struggle to access relief funds and medical assistance.

        Now, civil society groups have launched a movement called Regularização Já (Regularisation Now), joining a growing number of campaigns around the world pushing for immigration amnesties during the pandemic.

      • UN coronavirus appeal to top $10 billion

        Over $10 billion will be needed this year to deal with the worst effects of COVID-19 in the hardest-hit countries, the UN is to say, according to a draft of its updated coronavirus response plan obtained by The New Humanitarian ahead of its publication later this week.

        As the pandemic spreads, the world body is increasing its emergency funding appeal by about 50 percent above the previous edition announced in May. The impact of the virus if left unchecked in low-income countries could be “appalling“, and the appeal, aimed at donor countries, says that famine prevention is a must to avoid “a major catastrophe”.

        Tackling the threat early is “better, cheaper and more dignified” than letting it spin further out of control, the document argues. The threat of instability, refugee flows, and more costly crises in future means that “containing COVID-19 in poorer countries is in the national interests of richer countries”, it adds.

      • Turn Mutual Aid Into Meaningful Work

        When people ask me, as a climate reporter, what I think will happen next, my answer has been cruel and blasé in its bluntness: “More pandemics.” There will be more pandemics, driven by deforestation, habitat destruction, and disease vectors extended due to warming climates, all egged on in their spread by the global nature of our economy. We also know there will be an increase in other kinds of climate disasters: wildfire, drought, hurricane, flood. The future is pocked with relentless catastrophe.
        As of now, we have nowhere near the workforce needed to respond to this new reality. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was already running short on staff by April, with only the coronavirus on its hands. With the wildfire and hurricane seasons both set to peak over the summer, overlapping crises are inevitable, but there isn’t a plan for how to cope. “It’s an unimaginably complex set of problems,” Irwin Redlener, a physician and the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, told me in an interview for the New York Times in early April. He wondered what would happen if New Orleans was hit with a storm surge; at the time, it was becoming one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus. “I’m just cringing to think of what happens,” he said. “This is one of those questions we haven’t even thought about yet. . . . I think we’re out of steam.”
        Elsewhere, though, we have steam in abundance. In her 2009 book A Paradise Built in Hell, Rebecca Solnit recounts the phenomenon of mutual aid that emerges in the wake of disasters. I read that book the year before Hurricane Sandy struck New York and then watched as its thesis came alive in hard-hit neighborhoods like the Rockaways. My friends with cars shuttled other friends to parking lots near the beach to deliver prescriptions and hand out food. Today, mutual aid has returned. Everyone I know is joining neighborhood aid groups, getting trained to make deliveries and welfare checks. Most of them are newly unemployed. The relief at having a sense of purpose is palpable. The logic is reflexive, simple, obvious: when disaster strikes, we learn how to take care of each other. And it feels incredibly good to do.
        What if that drive to care could be the new meaning and substance of work at a mass scale?
        Saket Soni, the longtime labor organizer and founder of the National Guestworker Alliance, has lately put his focus on advocating for a “resilience force”—a New Deal–style federal jobs program designed to staff disaster recovery efforts. He and his colleagues at Resilience Force originally imagined their initiative as a response to wreckage caused by climate change. Crucially, it would do away with the citizenship requirement currently barring non-citizen workers from joining FEMA’s ranks. Already, the workers hired in places like coastal Florida to rebuild after storms tend to be undocumented, and as the New York Times has reported, they are prone to abuse by their employers, who can withhold pay without consequence. These workers are crucial to recovery; they’re often the first to arrive to scenes of devastation. They cart away the rubble.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Apple Silicon: The Passing of Wintel

          Apple isn’t simply dropping a proudly designed homegrown CPU in place of an Intel chip on Mac motherboards. Moving to Apple Silicon is an expensive undertaking that affects hardware and software engineering, developer relationships, marketing… If the switch to Apple Silicon were a mere CPU replacement, billions of dollars would burn in a bonfire of vanity.

          No. Apple sees its SoC as a means to make the Mac better. Of course, “better” is a dangerously vague adjective that needs some evidence.

        • Security

          • German bill provides network traffic redirection to install state trojans

            Preliminary note: This post primarily affects users falling under German jurisdiction, but may apply to other countries as well, where similar laws are already in place or about to be introduced. Unfortunately, some primary sources are German only.

            According to current status and local knowledge, the German government is about to establish a law that provides the redirection of network traffic through a intelligence agencies’ infrastructure in order to exploit security vulnerabilities and, for example, to install a certain type of malware known as Staatstrojaner (state trojans).

            The bill lists both end-user devices and servers as potential targets, and requires “telecommunication service providers” to establish and maintain infrastructure for transparently redirecting traffic of certain users, households, or IP addresses. “Telecommunication service providers” covers any company providing telecommunication services, thus ranging from cable, DSL or fiber providers to mail, VoIP and messaging vendors. Ultimately, even backbone providers or internet exchanges are covered by this definition.

            [...]

            The state trojan was meant to be the ultima ratio when it was introduced in 2009. It could only be used by the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) in case of international terrorism and preventing terrorist attacks.

            Once such laws were introduced, governments usually get a taste for it. As of today, any police authority may use it even in cases of less severe crimes than terrorism such as counterfeiting money or violations against the Narcotics Act (Betäubungsmittelgesetz, e. g. drug consumption or trafficking).

            As you can see, compromising devices became increasingly common as a measure at law enforcement agencies. It is probably going to be extended to intelligence agencies within a short amount of time. For obvious historical reasons, the German state only gives certain rights to police and intelligence agencies to avoid too much power being concentrated in one organisation, which could turn it against their people.

            [...]

            At IPFire, we fight to protect your network. Frankly, this was complicated enough before governments legalised hacking by intelligence agencies. This German bill will not make anything more secure. Instead, it will turn defense against security vulnerabilities even more into an arms race.

            This is not an example of “the opposite of good is good intentions”. This is beyond dangerous.

            Imagine, for example, cyber criminals or foreign intelligence agencies (ab)using that redirection infrastructure in order to deploy their malware. Perhaps they will be able to take advantage of some zero day exploits left on some servers in that infrastructure as well (the CIA suffered from a similar breach in 2017). With a blink of an eye, arbitrary malware could be placed on a significant amount of computers compromised that way. Ransomware attacks such as WannaCry or NonPetya come to mind…

            Imagine compromised machines being vulnerable to other attacks as well, as some security measures have been turned off. Image surveillance abuse. Imagine future governments abusing this feature for persecution of unwanted people or political opponents – with a view at current political events, one may be concerned about personal liberties being restricted.

            [...]

            We will start next week by providing advice on whom to trust and how to establish a security-focussed mindset. Afterwards, we focus on specific technical aspects and advise how to configure IPFire machines as secure as possible – as it already implements effective mitigations against those attacks.

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Fedora (mingw-podofo and python-rsa), openSUSE (LibVNCServer, mozilla-nss, nasm, openldap2, and permissions), Red Hat (dovecot, sane-backends, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (dbus), and SUSE (firefox and thunderbird).

          • Strange SSH Denial of Service on AWS

            I checked the logs and it didn’t look like some massive number of SSH attempts.

            Has anyone else heard of some light SSH bruteforce leading to a TCP lockup of an entire system?

          • Top Tips for Securing Your Linux System in 2020

            Regardless of this discouraging trend, Linux still offers notable security and privacy advantages over proprietary operating systems like Windows or MacOS. Because of the availability of its open-source code and the constant, thorough review that this code undergoes by a vibrant worldwide community of developers and security experts, vulnerabilities are found and fixed very quickly and reliably compared to in the closed-source code of proprietary OSes. However, despite the notable security benefits that Linux offers due to the transparency of its source code, the OS is still vulnerable to compromise as a result of frequent misconfigurations and poorly managed services.

            While all Linux distros offer inherent security advantages over Windows or MacOS, pentesters, security researchers and users who are simply looking to maximize their security, privacy and anonymity online can achieve this by choosing a specialized secure Linux distro.

            Regardless of the disto you choose, there are certain behaviors and best practices that all system administrators should engage in to secure their system against malware, viruses and other exploits. Here are our top tips for optimizing the security of your Linux system in this modern, ever-evolving threat environment.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Fear of a Chinese social network

              If TikTok is different, it’s because of China. Although TikTok is operated from within the US, it’s owned by the China-based ByteDance, and much of the anxiety comes from uncertainty over exactly how much control ByteDance has over TikTok’s daily operations. Like Huawei before it, TikTok has become an avatar of US anxieties over Chinese espionage, spurred on by decades of increasingly aggressive hacking and intellectual property theft. Those concerns mean that many users will simply never accept a China-backed social network on US phones. So while the last week’s defections might look like the standard privacy scandal, they’re part of something much thornier and harder to solve, with scarier implications for the internet at large.

              In terms of individual data collection, it’s not clear TikTok is doing anything out of the ordinary. The app does collect a lot of data, and a lot of it for no clear purpose, whether that’s keystroke data, background location, or other apps installed on your phone. But that kind of data collection is depressingly common, and security researchers have struggled to show that TikTok is doing anything outside the norm. When CNET talked to security researchers about TikTok permissions in the wake of the scandal last week, they found mostly shrugs.

            • TikTok a privacy threat? Sure, but so are most of your smartphone apps

              But that doesn’t mean the company is unique in how it handles user data, said John Davisson, counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a think tank that advocates for online privacy for consumers.

              “I think TikTok’s actions are alarming, and it is good that federal regulators are paying close attention to it,” Davisson said. “But it is ultimately one of many platforms that collect, and use, and analyze, and rely on, and profit off of personal data.”

            • DNC issues another warning on TikTok, citing data security risks

              The fresh warning, which DNC officials have been making for months, is the latest move by the political party to protect its data from compromise following the Russian hack of the DNC in 2016. It comes as TikTok faces greater scrutiny for its security practices from both U.S. government agencies and corporations. CNN was first to report on the DNC guidance.

            • [Old] TikTok Censored ‘Ugly, Poor or Disabled’ People to Attract More Users

              As The Intercept reports, TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, moderators looked for users that had an “abnormal body shape,” “ugly facial looks,” had an “obvious beer belly” and many other aesthetic qualities, in order to stop them reaching the “For You” section of the app — the landing page users come to when they open the app which algorithmically promotes content. The internal documents state that “the only focus of the video [is] if the character’s appearance or the shooting environment is not good, the video will be much less attractive, not worthing [sic] to be recommended to new users.”

            • The Future of Online Identity is Decentralized

              Authenticity and anonymity aren’t mutually exclusive and that is the beauty of the [I]nternet. In the physical realm, you are (mostly) limited to a single social identity. In the digital space, there are no such restrictions. While you can’t embody multiple persons in the offline world, you can have several identities online. In fact, you can even have multiple accounts on the same platform, opting for a different balance between authenticity and anonymity for each one of them.

            • 13% of my website visitors block Google Analytics

              Out of the almost 28,000 unique visitors in my sample from June 2020, 13% blocked Google Analytics. This ranged from 6% on a lifestyle site, 9% on a foodie site to 26% on a tech site (the website you’re on).

              21% of laptop/desktop users, 57% of Firefox users, 53% of Linux users and 65% of DuckDuckGo users block Google Analytics.

              Despite Apple’s marketing being focused on data privacy, only 5% of Safari and 6% of iOS users block Google Analytics. More Windows users (19%) block Google Analytics than macOS users (18%).

              Let’s look into the details.

            • Introducing IOXY: an open-source MQTT intercepting proxy

              When performing assessments on IoT solutions, we realized that despite MQTT’s recent spike in popularity, tools to pentest MQTT applications were lagging behind. For example, we couldn’t find a tool allowing us to easily intercept, inspect and interact with MQTT traffic…

              This realization was the spark behind IOXY (IoT – Proxy), an MQTT intercepting proxy! It’s a tool we developed internally, and used successfully in IoT pentests. We decided to open source it, hoping it will prove useful to the IoT security community.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Russian prosecutors uphold murder charges in the Khachaturyan sisters’ landmark sexual abuse case

        The Russian Attorney General’s Office has approved the indictment in the case of the Khachaturyan sisters, who stand accused of murder “committed by a group following a premeditated conspiracy,” Alexey Parshin, a lawyer to one of the sisters, told RIA Novosti.

      • Doing a Coup

        Popular protest has been raging around the world for years now, but the streaming services and networks are still churning out shows about monarchs. Absolute power never loses its appeal, at least where television is concerned. The Last Czars, The White Princess, Victoria, The Spanish Princess, Versailles, Reign, The White Queen, Wolf Hall—take your pick. Female rulers have proved especially alluring, giving screenwriters a chance to hash out contemporary anxieties about women and politics against a palace background.

      • Remembering the Nuclear Freeze Movement and Its Futility

        It’s ironic that something that so much effort went into in the early 1980s came to amount to less than nothing. The problem with the movement to reverse the global arms race was that while it raised consciousness about nuclear war and nuclear proliferation, it made no demands on power. It was like a gigantic coffee klach. And it was a very expensive endeavor.

      • Exclusive: Bill Richardson undertakes private mission after State Dept abandons families of mercenaries detained in Venezuela invasion

        The brother of Luke Denman, a former Green Beret detained after a failed invasion of Venezuela told The Grayzone ex-US diplomat Bill Richardson has embarked on a private mission after the State Department failed to assist his family.

      • As Schumer Endorses Sanders Proposal to Slash Pentagon Budget by 10%, Other Senate Democrats Urged to Follow Suit

        “A big thanks to Sen. Sanders for helping Schumer begin to see the light. We must urge more of Congress to defund the Pentagon.”

      • Veterans Go to Washington, So What?

        The vet conundrum and America’s wars.

      • Trump’s Harsh Sanctions Lead to Iran-China Partnership

        China and Iran have drafted a “sweeping economic and security partnership,” according to The New York Times. China will get a regular, heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil for the next 25 years, as well as an expanded role in Iranian banking, ports, railways, telecommunications and myriad other projects. Iran and China will also increase their military cooperation.

      • Max Blumenthal: ‘Cancel Culture’ hypocrites cancel open debate and foreign countries
      • ‘Extremely Regrettable’: Okinawa Governor Rips US for Letting Covid-19 Infections Surge on American Military Bases

        “Infections are rapidly spreading among U.S. personnel when we Okinawans are doing our utmost to contain the infections.”

      • Trump Confirms U.S. Launched Cyberattack on Russian [Astroturfer] Farm in 2018

        Officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said at the time that the attack took the IRA offline. The goal was to prevent Russia from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections, similar to how it meddled in the 2016 presidential elections. The operation against the IRA was considered a success by at least some officials.

      • QAnon’s Madness Is Turning Canadians Into Potential Assassins

        QAnon is the movement organized around the anonymous Q, a poster on the far-right trolling site 4chan who purported to be a high-level Trump administration official detailing a secret war against the deep state. While the QAnon movement started as a boisterous defense of Trump, it has taken on a life of its own. It has stretched its tendrils into a sprawling, fantastical, and dangerous conspiracy movement that alleges the rich and powerful of the world, from Beyoncé to George Soros, operate an elaborate child-trafficking organization. The only one standing in their way is the president of the United States.

        In recent months, the movement has been boosted by some high-level adherents. On July 4, QAnon followers began posting videos of themselves taking the oath of allegiance—a show of fealty to the cause. They were joined by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Former Trump associate Roger Stone has further went on a QAnon podcast to say he hoped Q was, in fact, out there.

      • How women’s roles are changing in Kashmir’s conflict

        Photojournalist Masrat Zahra has documented women’s shifting roles amid the conflict in her homeland. Her photos, shown below, capture the drastic impacts of violence on women’s lives, and the hidden pressures they face in a patriarchal society.

        Civilians in Indian-administered Kashmir have lived through decades of violence. An insurgency pushing against Indian rule, and years of military clampdowns and rights abuses, have killed some 40,000 people. The population has spent much of the last year on lockdown, starting months before COVID-19. India stripped the former Jammu and Kashmir state of its semi-autonomous status last August, and the coronavirus pandemic has now extended clampdown conditions.

        The women in Zahra’s photos are both victims and survivors. They are widows who have lost husbands and sons, or pregnant women unable to reach crucial health services during lockdowns.

    • Environment

      • 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.

      • South Africa: ‘SLAPP’ Suit to Define Legal Landscape in Environmental, Mining Cases Forever?

        SLAPP, an acronym for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, is a lawsuit brought in order to “censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition,” according to National Public Radio’s Nazanin Rafsanjani.

        Research conducted by global non-governmental environmental organization Greenpeace has found that 92.8 percent of SLAPPs in Europe have been presented as defamation suits, according to Jessica Ni Mhainin of Press Gazette. The objective of these lawsuits is not necessarily judgment in favour of the companies issuing the suit but rather the financial damage done to the defendants.

      • Satellite images show Three Gorges Dam opening all floodgates

        However, a satellite image from July 9 appears to show all flood gates at the dam to have been opened. The Three Gorges Dam spillway is comprised of 23 bottom outlets and 22 surface sluice gates.

        Vinayak told Taiwan News that based on his estimation, all the flood gates were at least partially open with at least five large gates fully open. He said that given that the dam had the structural integrity to withstand much higher water levels in the past, there was no need to open the floodgates as soon as June 24.

        He then alleged that the purpose of opening the floodgates so early was “so that all evidence is washed away before the WHO representatives visit the Wuhan hospitals and lab.” Two World Health Organization (WHO) experts went to Beijing over the weekend to discuss their plans to visit Wuhan to investigate the origins of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

        The latest satellite images come from open-source imagery provider Sentinel, while the older maps are sourced from Google Earth, according to Vinayak.

      • Biomass And The ‘Renewable-Sustainable’ Con: Greens Fiddle While Global Forests Burn

        Burning ‘biomass’ to create electricity and reduce your carbon footprint is a fancy way of saying you’re chopping down forests to tackle climate change. Geoff Russell weighs in on an industry that continues to expand under a cover provided by faux environmentalists.

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Democrats Will Be Lost Without the Senate

        It’s looking pretty good for Joe Biden. Polls have been putting the presumptive Democratic nominee well ahead of President Trump in the 2020 campaign, and a New York Times survey in late June saw Biden opening up a comfortable lead in each of the half-dozen battleground states that will decide things in November. But before Democrats start making too many plans for undoing the damage done by four years of Donald Trump, let alone for the “big structural change” that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and other progressives propose, they need to consider an unfortunate truth.

      • Russian doctors’ union spokesman detained and drafted into army

        Ivan Konovalov, the press secretary for the medical workers’ union “Doctors’ Alliance,” was arrested and drafted into military service in Arkhangelsk (northern Russia), the union’s leader, Anastasia Vasilyeva, told MBKh Media. 

      • The Enduring Case for Demanding Trump’s Resignation

        Today’s New York Times headline boldly exclaimed, “PRESIDENT IS ‘NOT ABOVE THE LAW,’ JUSTICES DECIDE.” But then the Supreme Court majority found a way not to apply the law to Trump’s defiance of Congress.

      • Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk sees third day of protests in support of arrested governor

        Russia’s Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk witnessed its third day of demonstrations in defense of regional governor, Sergey Furgal, who was arrested last week on suspicion of orchestrating multiple murders. During the evening of Monday, July 13, hundreds of protesters gathered near the regional administration building in Khabarovsk, chanting “Freedom!” and “Furgal is our choice.” Law-enforcement officials arrested one person, but generally police abstained from interfering in the gathering. Monday’s rally marks the third day in a row that demonstrators have come out in defense of Furgal, but the number of protesters is diminishing. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered for the first protest on Saturday, July 11 — the biggest public assembly of its kind in the region’s history, according to media reports. Between 1,000 and 3,000 protesters participated in demonstrations on Sunday, July 12, while hundreds of regional residents took to the streets on Monday, July 13. 

      • Is AIPAC Losing Its Grip on Democrats?

        AIPAC made no secret of their displeasure with elected officials who were supportive of Palestinian rights and often threatened Members of Congress that if they didn’t back off, they would be defeated.

      • The Russiagate Spectacle: Season 2?

        If it’s an election year, there must be a Russiagate story. The Clintons and their neoliberal progeny, including the current standard bearer for corporate liberalism, have turned the Democratic Party into a branch office of the Deep State Inc., whose propaganda drones, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC act like hired guns for the Office of War Information.

      • Friedman at 50 Friedman Units: What Did We Do to Deserve This?

        In a recent dispatch on coronavirus, three-time Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman complains that he is “stunned by the criticism that anyone talking about saving lives and jobs in the same breath is an unfeeling capitalist.” Given that Friedman has long opposed job security as an impediment to progress, innovation and national competitiveness—even lambasting the US Congress in 2004 for being “out to lunch—or, worse, obsessed with trying to keep Susie Smith’s job at the local pillow factory that is moving to the Caribbean” (how’s that for unfeeling capitalism?)—it’s not clear why he’s suddenly concerned with saving US jobs in the middle of a pandemic.

      • Germany found to have raised white flag for Taiwan

        The Federal Foreign Office website recently deleted the flag of Taiwan and replaced it with a plain, white rectangle. During a press conference on Friday (July 10) the foreign ministry representative claimed the change was in keeping with Germany’s “one China policy.”

      • Twitch unbans Trump after two-week suspension for ‘hateful conduct’

        The question now is how much longer Trump can last on Twitch. Should his campaign continue to broadcast rally streams, it’s sadly probable the president will make additional disturbing racist comments — bannable offenses under Twitch’s guidelines, which prohibit any language that promotes harassment based on race, gender, and other personal characteristics.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Uganda cracks down on media ahead of elections in 2021, watchdog says

        Uganda’s security forces are cracking down on authors and journalists who challenge the 34-year-old rule of President Yoweri Museveni ahead of elections next year, a watchdog told Reuters.

      • Journalists, Free Speech Activists ‘at Risk of Dying’ in Chinese Jails

        At least 10 free-speech activists are at risk of dying behind bars in China, a Paris-based press freedom group said on Friday, as the authorities continued their crackdown on online speech across the country.

        Three years after the death of Nobel peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published a list of ten defenders of press freedom whose lives it said were “in grave danger” if they remained behind bars.

      • Killing Free Speech in Austria

        ECRI is an unelected body with members designated by their governments (one for each member state) who are supposed to have “in-depth knowledge in the field of combating intolerance…. and recognised expertise in dealing with racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance”. It was founded in 1994 by the heads of state of the Council of Europe with the mandate, among other things, to “review member States’ legislation, policies and other measures to combat racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, and their effectiveness”.

        Thanks in large part to the efforts of ECRI and the Council of Europe, Europe now has a huge web of hate speech laws and policies. Gatestone has previously reported on ECRI’s monitoring of Germany and of Switzerland.

      • Twitter Wages War On… Grandfathers?

        Twitter is censoring. Not just speech, but thought.

        This will encourage people to look for work… anywhere but Twitter.

        Which means that Twitter’s employee base will increasingly go downhill. They will have less talent to pick from, as people with “Grandfathers” and “genders” look for work in places where they are less likely to be fired, or otherwise punished, for accidentally mentioning those facts during conversations (which Twitter now regulates).

        This also sets a bad precident for thought control. We’re not talking about a few words that people find offensive here. We’re talking about non-offensive words that apply (equally) to all people being banned from usage in all contexts.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Tear Down the Monuments, Bring Our Cities to Life

        The Nation and Magnum Foundation are partnering on a visual chronicle of untold stories of the coronavirus crisis and the struggle for racial justice—read more from The Invisible Front Line. —The Editors1

      • St. Petersburg ‘Network’ case defendant files lawsuit over prison conditions

        Yulii Boyarshinov, a defendant in the “Network” (“Set”) terrorism case, has filed a lawsuit demanding compensation for violations related to conditions in pre-trial detention, Znak.com reports.

      • Citing Likelihood of ‘Extreme Pain and Needless Suffering,’ US Judge Halts Resumption of Federal Executions

        “We haven’t had a federal execution in 17 years: There is absolutely no reason for the government to rush forward with such a reckless and dangerous plan.”

      • From Uprising to Reconstruction

        Though it may feel like a new catastrophe happens every day, the catastrophic failure of our institutions to assure the basic safety and security of marginalized people is a historic phenomenon traceable to the origins of our republic. The pandemic and economic collapse have disproportionately affected Black, brown, and indigenous communities, immigrants, and women. The people who flooded the streets in the wake of yet more police killings of Black people understand that these reverberations are nothing new. That’s why they are demanding a fight not for piecemeal reforms but for liberation.

      • ‘Freedom for Safronov’ banner hung near Moscow’s Lefortovo Pretrial Detention Center
      • Why Do All These Racists Keep Working for Tucker Carlson?

        Blake Neff graduated from Dartmouth in 2013, and according to his school’s alumni magazine, “never applied to any job he’s landed.” Within four years of graduating, he was a top writer for Tucker Carlson’s nightly show on Fox News, the most watched cable news show in history. Neff’s quick ascent was due to the fact that he plugged into the right-wing media network even as an undergraduate, when he wrote for The Dartmouth Review. This storied publication, infamous for its incendiary pranks, was set up for the express purpose of cultivating right-wing journalistic talent. Just as the Review had earlier launched Dinesh D’Souza and Laura Ingraham, so it gave Neff an entry point that led to a job at The Hill, followed by work for The Daily Caller. Carlson founded the Caller in 2010 and sold his stake in it only last month. Carlson poached Neff from the paper in 2017 and brought him to Fox News.

      • Inciter in Chief
      • On Coronavirus and the Anti-Police-Brutality Uprising

        An investigative reporter, Arun Gupta has been consistently ahead of the news. In September 2011, he founded The Occupy Wall Street Journal with the help of the Yes Men to help build support for the fledgling occupation in Zuccotti Park. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he warned that if elected Trump would carry out “the ethnic cleansing of America by eliminating Muslims and many immigrants through walls, bans, barriers and deportations.”

      • Washington NFL Team Drops Its Racist Name Following Decades of Activism

        The Washington NFL franchise officially retired its racist name and logo.

      • ‘A Change That Should Have Been Made a Long Time Ago’: After 87 Years, Washington’s NFL Team Drops Racist Name

        “This is the result of decades of Native activism, mostly led by Native women.”

      • No, Trademark Trolls Collecting Various Fake Names For A Washington Football Team Will Not Get In The Way Of The NFL Team’s Renaming

        As was widely expected, the NFL team based in Washington DC, formerly using the “Redskins” as their team name, will be renaming themselves after years of people pointing out that the name is racist, and the team being so obnoxious that it has literally sued native Americans who had previously sought to cancel the team’s trademark. Either way, what finally got the Dan Snyder-owned team to ditch the name was… money, of course. The biggest sponsors of the team began to threaten to pull support, and that finally convinced Snyder to do something he should have done a long time ago.

      • WoW Alters Its Character Creation System to Add Diversity

        For some years, we have been banging the drum repeatedly pointing out that video games need to be viewed through the lens of artwork. There a variety of headwinds in solidifying this stance, but they mostly revolve around older generations repeating the sins of their forefathers in declaring any art they aren’t “in to” to not be art at all. And, yet, thinking about this for ten seconds will reveal just how silly that is. Video games include elements of drawing, storytelling, creative modeling, and music. Any one of those is most certainly art in and of themselves, yet combining them to make something entertaining somehow throws a lot of people for a loop. And, yet, we see revolutionaries turning to games these days to make compelling artwork, while museums have already begun curating the output of this relatively young industry.

      • Trump Financial Regulator Quietly Shelved Discrimination Probes Into Bank of America and Other Lenders

        In the spring of 2018, bank regulators trained to spot discriminatory lending detected something alarming at Bank of America.

        The bank was offering fewer loans to minority homebuyers in Philadelphia than to white people in a way that troubled examiners from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, according to two people directly involved in the probe and internal documents reviewed by ProPublica and The Capitol Forum.

      • EFF Launches Searchable Database of Police Agencies and the Tech Tools They Use to Spy on Communities

        San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, today launched the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies, created as a tool for the public to learn about facial recognition, drones, license plate readers, and other devices law enforcement agencies are acquiring to spy on our communities. The Atlas of Surveillance database, containing several thousand data points on over 3,000 city and local police departments and sheriffs’ offices nationwide, allows citizens, journalists, and academics to review details about the technologies police are deploying, and provides a resource to check what devices and systems have been purchased locally. Users can search for information by clicking on regions, towns, and cities, such as Minneapolis, Tampa, or Tucson, on a U.S. map.

      • Attempted Lynching in Indiana. No Arrests? Meet the Survivor: Human Rights Commissioner Vauhxx Booker

        We go to Bloomington, Indiana, to speak with the African American human rights commissioner for Monroe County, Vauhxx Booker, who says he survived an attempted lynching when a group of white men pinned him against a tree over the Fourth of July weekend. “You have to be aware of George Floyd and how many other Black folks in our history have heard their executions spoken before them in real time,” Booker recalls. “I felt myself want to cry out ‘I can’t breathe’ with these men on top of me, and I just couldn’t say the words.” Police were called, but no arrests were made. “These men remain loose in my community,” says Booker. The FBI is investigating the encounter as a potential hate crime, and Bloomington’s mayor has condemned the incident in a statement. But Booker is now calling on the U.S. District of Southern Indiana to convene a grand jury to take up the case. “At this point, I’m not sure that we can find justice in our local system,” he notes, “so we’ve asked for the federal government to step in.”

      • ‘How Islam moderated slavery’: BBC blasted for piece explaining the ‘nice’ way to treat humans as property

        The article resurfaced after reports emerged that Al-Qaeda had begun to rebrand itself as a “champion of the oppressed” to capitalize on the groundswell of support for anti-racism, anti-establishment, and anti-colonialist movements across the Western world in the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the Minneapolis police department.

      • Rape Victims Accused of Racism

        Ella’s attempts to highlight the “religious and racist aspects” of her and many other girls’ similar abuse led only to “a lot of abuse from far-left extremists, and radical feminist academics,” she said. Such groups “go online and they try to resist anyone they consider to be a Nazi, racist, fascist or white supremacist”.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Understanding The ‘Splinternet’

        In recent years, technologists have coined the phrase “splinternet” to describe the internet’s supposed evolution from a unified, borderless realm into a fragmented set of parallel internets, divided by national borders.

      • On the Consolidation of the Web

        In recent years, the web has been consolidating. From the servers to the apps, a growing majority of the web is controlled by a small pool of companies. When AWS was founded in 2006 I was just starting out with my first VPS, running this blog on WordPress (the good ol’ days!). For the last 10 years I have part-run a small VPS (“cloud server”) host called Afterburst. Throughout these years I have watched this consolidation, and these are my observations.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Joint Inventorship: Court Maintains Low Standard for Joint Inventorship

          In an interesting inventorship dispute, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a lower court ruling that two scientists should be added to the list of inventors on a set of patents obtained by Ono Pharmaceuticals. The change in inventorship means a change in ownership rights as well, and these are valuable patents.

        • Patent case: B/E Aerospace Inc. v. C&D Zodiac Inc., USA

          The PTAB did not err in finding that airplane interior designers would have been motivated to combine prior art to arrive at the space-saving configuration disclosed by the challenged patents.

          Challenged claims of patents related to space-saving technologies for aircraft lavatories and other aircraft enclosures were correctly determined by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board to be invalid for obviousness, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held. According to the court, the Board, in reaching its conclusion in an inter partes review proceeding, did not erroneously incorporate a limitation not disclosed in the prior art. Nor did the Board err by considering design drawings submitted by the review petitioner as proof of design elements that were known in the art at the critical time of the challenged patents (B/E Aerospace, Inc. v. C&D Zodiac, Inc., June 26, 2020, Reyna, J.).

        • U.S. Government Petitions for Certiorari in Arthrex Case

          Last fall, the Federal Circuit decided in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc. that Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) serving on the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) were principal officers and thus had been improperly appointed under the Appointments Clause, and accordingly vacated a PTAB determination in an inter partes review proceeding and remanded for consideration by a panel of properly appointed APJs (see “Federal Circuit Holds APJs Are Principal Officers”). Thereafter, in Polaris Innovations Ltd. v. Kingston Technology Co., the Federal Circuit relied on its Arthrex decision to vacate and remand a PTAB determination in an IPR. One significant difference in the procedural posture of these cases is that in Arthrex the constitutional issue was raised for the first time on appeal, where in Polaris the patentee had raised the issue before the PTAB in the first instance. The U.S. Government has now petitioned the Supreme Court for certiorari to review, and overturn, the Federal Circuit’s decision, supported by a brief by the Solicitor General.

          [...]

          The government criticizes this “checklist” approach as being inconsistent with the Edmond admonition that the proper calculus is to determine “whether, when all of the existing control mechanisms are considered together, the officer’s ‘work is directed and supervised’ by superiors to a sufficient degree.” In particular, the brief asserts that the inability to remove an APJ without cause (which the Federal Circuit considered in determining that a PTAB APJ is a principal officer) is an indirect means of “induc[ing]the subordinate to do the superior’s will,” which is much less significant when the superior has direct means to do so (e.g., by inter alia “establish[ing] binding substantive rules that administrative patent judges must follow and to choose which judges will apply them in every case”). The brief argues that the removal power here is just as robust as in Edmond, as is the ability of the Director to review PTAB decisions.

          The government synthesizes these arguments by stating that the Federal Circuit erred by “considering each mechanism of supervision and direction separately, and by discounting prerogatives that did not independently satisfy the panel’s benchmarks, [thereby] overlook[ing] the ways that the various powers the Secretary and Director possess work together.”

          The Federal Circuit’s second error requiring Supreme Court review identified in the government’s brief was its “willingness to excuse the patent owner’s administrative forfeiture” by not raising its constitutional objection before the PTAB in the first instance. In addition, the Solicitor General argues that the Federal Circuit erred by adopting a “categorical exception to ordinary rules of administrative exhaustion” in this case.

          The government begins its argument be enunciating the consequences of the Federal Circuit’s decision, which permitted appellants to challenge PTAB decisions on Appointment Clause grounds without having raised the issue below, resulting in the Court vacating “more than 100 [PTAB] decisions.” This has “unwound the significant efforts of the agency and the litigants in the administrative proceedings—often spanning a year or longer—to determine the patentability of the challenged claims” and “[i]f allowed to stand, the Federal Circuit’s forfeiture ruling in Arthrex will force the prevailing parties in many other cases to relitigate issues before newly constituted Board panels,” leading to “duplicative proceedings.” The government reminds the Court that there is a public interest involved here, wherein “duplicative proceedings are unlikely to yield any meaningful public benefit, and many patent claims that the Board has found unpatentable will remain in force, creating uncertainty in numerous patent-reliant industries throughout the Nation’s economy.”

          [...]

          The brief concludes by reminding the Court that these two cases present different issues (e.g., Polaris does not implicate the forfeiture issue, a decision on which regarding Arthrex could prevent the Court from reaching the separation-of-powers issue) and thus the Court should grant certiorari in both cases.

        • Software Patents

          • Quibi Wins Court Fight as Judge Refuses to Disable Turnstyle

            Eko also alleges that it shared the details of its technology with employees at Snap, while exploring a partnership with that company. Three Snap employees subsequently left to join Quibi, and two of them were listed on Quibi’s patent applications for Turnstyle. Eko alleges that the two employees appropriated its trade secrets, which had been protected by a non-disclosure agreement.

            Quibi has said that it developed Turnstyle independently. The company also denied that the Snap employees who later joined Quibi were ever exposed to Eko’s trade secrets.

          • Quibi Outplays Eko In First Round of Dispute Over Turnstyle Technology

            Quibi in March sued interactive media company Eko for allegedly engaging in “a campaign of threats and harassment” that involved accusing the mobile startup of patent infringement and stealing trade secrets. Quibi’s Turnstyle feature, which detects the orientation of a user’s smartphone to determine whether they see a video in landscape or portrait mode, is the tech the company is accused of ripping off.

            Eko filed its own suit the same day. Quibi wants a declaration that it doesn’t infringe Eko’s patent and that it hasn’t misappropriated any trade secrets and is seeking an injunction barring Eko from continuing to make such allegations. Meanwhile, Eko wants the court to give it ownership of Quibi’s patent and bar the company from using the trade secrets its accused of stealing.

          • In Eligibility Doctrine – What Claim Elements do you Ignore?

            Doug Thomas is a silicon valley patent attorney at a small (and thriving) firm. Thomas is also a prolific inventor and entrepreneur. In April 2020, I wrote about the Federal Circuit’s opinion affirming a USPTO rejection of his claimed method of “notifying users having patents of subsequent publications that reference the patents.”

            [...]

            The application here claims priority back to a 1996 provisional application filed by Thomas. The provisional was followed by a non-provisional application that was prosecuted for 8 years before being abandoned following a Board decision affirming an obviousness rejection. (At the time, the process only had steps a-f). At that time, Thomas filed the present continuation and prosecution kept going for 15 more years. Much of this time has been occupied by two appeals. The first appeal was actually successful with the examiner being reversed with the Board finding no prima facie case of obviousness. [11253299 First Board Decision]. However, by that time Alice had been released and the examiner added the new eligibility rejection.

      • Copyrights

        • When Piracy Literally Saves Lives

          Early on in the pandemic we wrote about how some makers of medical equipment, such as ventilators, were making it difficult to impossible to let hospitals fix their own ventilators. Many have used software locks — DRM — and refuse to give the information necessary to keep those machines online.

        • Bright House Doesn’t Directly Profit From Pirating Subscribers, Court Rules

          A federal court in Florida has dismissed the vicarious copyright infringement claims against ISP Bright House Networks. The company is being sued by a group of prominent record labels who argue that the Internet provider directly profited from piracy. The court disagrees, characterizing the accusations as “a sort of ‘dog-whistle’ theory.”

        • Number of Online Pirates in Italy Steady But Research Summary Downplays Big Success Story

          An Ipsos study carried out in Italy has found that the number of people engaged in piracy dropped slightly in 2019. Films remained the most popular content with pirates followed by TV shows. However, the report report summary almost succeeds in glossing over a big success story after individual acts of piracy dropped by a massive 28%.

        • The Increasingly Open World of Photography: A Conversation With Exposure’s Luke Beard

          A lot has changed since the dawn of photography in the 19th century—when Nicéphore Niépce (a.k.a. the “Father of Photography”) peered through his camera obscura from his upstairs window in France and created the oldest surviving photographic image in 1826. At that time, and for over a century, photography was restricted to (primarily white and Western) wealthy hobbyists and career professionals. However, photography has become more democratized, digitized, and open over time. This process began in the 1940s with Kodak’s “Brownie” camera, then quickened with the invention of the digital camera in the late 1980s, and finally culminated with the smartphone in the early 2000s. In 2019, the Pew Research Center estimated that 1/3rd of the world’s population has a smartphone. This means that billions of people have access to a camera! 

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