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07.17.20

Links 18/7/2020: Monado Work, Wine 5.13 Release, and Social Events at GUADEC 2020

Posted in News Roundup at 9:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Michael Larabel: I’ve Been Running The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U + Ubuntu 20.04 As My Main System

        For about one and a half months now I have been using the AMD Ryzen 7 4700U as my main laptop paired with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. It’s been working out very well for not even being the top-of-the-line AMD Renoir SKU. Here is some additional commentary for those thinking about one of the new AMD laptops with Linux use.

        Back in May I picked up a Lenovo IdeaPad 5 in order to deliver AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Linux benchmarks. This laptop for just over $800 USD came with a Ryzen 7 4700U, 16GB of RAM, 1080p display, 512GB NVMe storage. The performance of the Ryzen 7 4700U as an 8-core part with 2.0GHz base clock and 4.1GHz boost has been quite good and better than the Intel Whiskeylake Core i7 Dell XPS laptop I had been using as my daily driver. The Renoir graphics are also quite good for desktop use-cases.

        [...]

        So all in over one month after moving to a Lenovo IdeaPad with Ryzen 7 4700U running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, I am quite happy with the laptop itself, the performance out of the Ryzen 7 4700U, and Ubuntu 20.04 for that matter as my daily OS these days. This IdeaPad has even been probably the cheapest laptop I’ve used as my daily system at least in many years if not ever yet the performance with the Ryzen 7 4700U has been great, the build quality of the laptop is good enough when being predominantly in the office attached to a keyboard and 4K display, and the Linux support is there if using a new enough kernel. This is also the first time in more than one decade my main laptop has been AMD powered. As for using Ubuntu again as the OS on my main production system, I am very happy with how Ubuntu 20.04 LTS turned out.

      • Star Lite Mk III Laptop is Now Available with 6 Linux Distributions

        UK-based laptop company Star Labs announced the pre-order of its new Linux laptop named Star Lite Mk III.

    • Server

      • Understanding open source governance models

        Open source projects usually operate according to rules, customs, and processes that determine which contributors have the authority to perform certain tasks. Understanding those rules can increase your chances of contributing successfully and positively to a project.

        In open source software projects, the rules and customs that define who gets to do what (and how they are supposed to do it) is called a project’s “governance model.” Understanding a project’s governance model can help you make a successful, positive contribution to a project.

        [...]

        The founder-leader governance model is most common among new projects or those with a small number of contributors. In these projects, the individual or group who started the project also administers the project, establishes its vision, and controls permissions to merge code into it.

        Some projects refer to their founder-leaders as “Benevolent Dictators for Life” or “BDFL” for short. In projects following the founder-leader model, lines of power and authority are typically clear; they radiate from founder-leaders, who are the final decision-makers for project matters.

        This model’s limitations become apparent as a project grows to a certain size. Founder-leaders can become bottlenecks for project decision-making work—and in extreme cases, the model can give rise to a kind of “caste” system in a project, as non-founders begin feeling like they’re unable to affect changes that aren’t in line with a founder’s vision.

      • Oracle Linux 8 support with Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c release 13.4

        We are excited to announce support for Oracle Linux 8 within the Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c Oracle Linux Home portal and as a host target. This support is achieved with Release Update (RU) 4 of Oracle Enterprise Manager 13c release 13.4; for further details on RU4 please refer here.

        [...]

        All previous monitoring, administration and configuration features are available for Oracle Linux 8.

      • How a Linux VPS Can Help Thrive Your Business?

        VPS or Virtual Private Server has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Since the introduction of the internet over two decades ago, more and more people have taken to the online world to market and sell all kinds of products. The Internet has successfully brought the world within the palms and fingertips of an individual. This has brought all kinds of markets from the offline world of TV promotional, billboards, and newspapers to the online world. Lots of well-established businesses are as easily taking to the internet as an entrepreneur or a student.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Open Printing Microconference Accepted into 2020 Linux Plumbers Conference

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

        Building on the work already done in driverless printing since last year’s microconference session; driverless scanning has emerged as an active new topic since last year’s Plumbers. We’re seeing many new printer application projects emerge that will benefit 3D printing as well. With Driverless scanning and printing making good progress and improvements, now is the time to talk about driverless/IPP fax as well.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Lighthouse positional tracking in Monado with libsurvive

          Many consumer VR headsets have been sufficiently reverse engineered to develop open source drivers. But the crucial feature of positional tracking (“6DOF” tracking) remains a problem for many. For Monado we began developing an extensible positional tracking framework with the comparably simple task of tracking the glowing sphere of a Playstation Move Controllers using a stereo camera like the Playstation 4 camera. The result of this work can be tried out by following the setup guide. As a next step we are expanding this tracking to the PSVR HMD, and have completed a prototype implementation.

          We also wanted to provide a means for users with HTC Vive (Pro) or Valve Index hardware to experiment with positional tracking. For this purpose we implemented a driver using the libsurvive library developed by Charles Lohr, David Berger and many contributors.

          The video below shows Monado with Libsurvive in action on the godot engine, running on a fully open source stack.

        • FOSS OpenXR runtime ‘Monado’ gets Lighthouse positional tracking with libsurvive

          Collabora, the team of seriously clever open source developers that work with various companies (including the likes of Valve Software) have written up a new blog post about the work going into Monado and as usual it’s impressive. Monado can now work with the HTC Vive (Pro) or Valve Index hardware to provide positional tracking, thanks to the libsurvive project. Confused? Lighthouse positional tracking is the tech used by Valve for their VR kits. It uses positional sensors known as a ‘Base Station’ to track you while you’re playing with your fancy VR headset and controllers.

          [...]

          Nice to see the open source Godot Engine being used even more for stuff like this too, being free and open source means anyone can jump in with it. This is using the godot_openxr GDNative driver for OpenXR and a fork of the Godot OpenXR FPS.

        • Monado Working On Positional Tracking Support Via Libsurvive To Further Open-Source AR/VR

          The Monado open-source OpenXR runtime for AR/VR headsets is making progress on integrating open-source positional tracking capabilities.

          This open-source OpenXR implementation has integrated a driver using the libsurvive library in order to provide open-source positional tracking for the Lighthouse tracking system with the HTC Vive / Vive Pro and Valve Index.

          The libsurvive library is working well to provide an open-source Lighthouse tracking system. Monado can now be built with libsurvive and in turn when running with the likes of the Godot Game Engine’s OpenXR support can lead to quite an open-source/libre VR experience.

        • Melissa Wen: Increasing test coverage in VKMS – max square cursor size

          To develop my GSoC project proposal, I inspected the coverage of kms_cursor_crc on VKMS.

          [...]

          As a first step, I decided to examine and solve issues that affected the test results in a general way. the instability. Solving the instability first (or at least identify what was going on) would make the work more consistent and fluid, since I would no longer need to double-check each subtest result and, in one running of the entire kms_cursor_crc test I could check the absent features or errors. However, in this investigation, some problems were more linked to IGT and others to VKMS. Identifying who is the “guilty” was not simple, and some false charges happened.

        • DC Display Support Continues To Be Worked On For Radeon GCN 1.0 With AMDGPU Driver

          On top of the recent UVD video decode for AMD Radeon “GCN 1.0″ GPUs with the AMDGPU kernel driver to complement the existing Radeon kernel driver support, these aging “Southern Islands” graphics cards also continue to see patchwork on enabling “Display Core” (DC) display support with the AMDGPU driver option.

          A new round of patches were sent out today for enabling AMDGPU DC support for GCN 1.0 GPUs in this modern driver alternative to the classic “Radeon” DRM driver. DC is the display code used by modern Radeon GPUs and is shared with their Windows driver. GCN 1.0 supporting DC would allow usage of this unified code path and potentially supporting some new features or at the very least using this more properly tested code path. DC was formerly known as DAL prior to being upstreamed in the kernel and going through a major rework.

        • Cage Wayland Compositor For Kiosk Use-Cases Updated With Direct Scan-Out, New Protocols

          Joining Sway 1.5 for an exciting week in the Wayland space is an update to Cage, the Wayland compositor designed for kiosk-like experiences.

          Cage is the Wayland effort for kiosk and full-screen, one-application usage environments. Cage is built off WLROOTS and has seen a lot of work over the past year into making it suitable for various kiosk setups.

    • Benchmarks

      • The Linux Performance For AMD Rome vs. Intel Cascade Lake One Year After Launch

        The Xeon Platinum 8280 2P and EPYC 7742 2P servers were first re-tested using Ubuntu 19.04 as the software state around the time of the Cascade Lake launch and also what the software experience was like for the AMD Rome launch as the newest Ubuntu version at the time.

        Following that was then testing using an Ubuntu 20.10 development snapshot for the very latest Ubuntu software packages. Additionally, the Linux 5.8 Git kernel was pulled in for the very latest Linux kernel code as of right now. Additionally, the GCC 10.1 code compiler was also used for the newest C/C++ compiler as of this year.

        On both Ubuntu 19.04 and the “Ubuntu 2020″ software stack, the CFLAGS/CXXFLAGS were set to “-O3 -march=native” but otherwise was a rather stock software setup except where otherwise noted. Both servers were similarly equipped with 32GB DIMMs populating all memory channels and at their respective optimal memory frequencies. A Micron 9300 4TB NVMe solid-state drive was used on both servers.

    • Applications

      • NoiseTorch is another tool to remove background noise while recording on Linux

        NoiseTorch is another recent discovery that can help you remove background noise in real-time while recording with a microphone on Linux.

        Much like Cadmus which we covered recently and were very impressed with, it makes use of the Real-time Noise Suppression Plugin for PulseAudio based on Xiph’s RNNoise (a noise suppression library based on a recurrent neural network).

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.13 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Re-mapping of INI files to the registry.
          - System call thunks in NTDLL.
          - Reimplementation of floating point numbers printing.
          - Beginnings of a restructuration of the console support.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.13.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.13.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
        
      • Wine 5.13 Released – Fixes 15 Year Old Bug To Support Windows NT INI Files To Registry Re-Mapping

        The INI file re-mapping to the registry is a bit interesting and rather late… This stems from the advent of the Windows Registry back with Windows NT in place of relying on INI files. Windows 9x era applications use INI files with a set of functions that since Windows NT were converted to make use of the registry rather than INI files. Wine 5.13 in 2020 now supports re-mapping of INI files to the registry, thereby closing this bug report from 2005.

        The Windows-style syscall thunks in NTDLL, changing around the floating point numbers printing, and starting on a restructuring of the console support all make for Wine 5.13 quite exciting on a low-level.

    • Games

      • Simply Puzzles: Junctions is a fresh logic puzzle game to test your brain

        Out now with Linux support, Simply Puzzles: Junctions is another streamlined and easy to learn logic puzzle game. This is the second Simply Puzzles release on Steam following on from Codewords in June.

        The aim their games they said are to be ‘easy to understand, uncluttered and relaxing’, as they think there’s not enough high-quality simple puzzle titles like it. Simply Puzzles: Junctions features 100 hand-tested puzzles, each presented with the same relaxing, uncluttered presentation as Simply Puzzles: Codewords.

      • The pretty looking Idaho DLC and 1.38 update for American Truck Simulator are out

        A big free patch and an expansive new DLC are now available for American Truck Simulator. Prepare to travel through Idaho and take in the sights.

        Firstly, the free 1.38 update for ATS is out that brings with it Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), a redesigned route advisor, navigation ETA to the next waypoint in route advisor and in world map, a major revamp to the city of Las Vegas with new road networks and more detailed scenery, improved Truckstops and quite a bit more. The patch is so big that they gave it a dedicated video.

      • Have a chat and work on your relationship in We should talk. out now

        Spin the conversation wheel of fortune in the short-form narrative game We should talk. that’s out now with Linux support. Released after a successful Kickstarter campaign, it’s nice to see more experimental games that try to push the boundaries in different ways like this.

        We should talk. is certainly a game that’s quite intriguing, with a pretty unique speech feature that has you construct your answers in conversations with multiple parts you can switch around. Quite clever actually, I’ve not really seen such a feature used often at all. You’re only usually given specific whole things to say but this is designed to get you to slow down, think things through and practice some social skills all while listening to some rather chilling tunes in a bar with friends.

      • Dead Age 2 brings party-based tactical zombie survival to a more open world

        Now available in Early Access, Dead Age 2 is the sequel to the 2016 hit and brings with it a much expanded game.

        Developed by Silent Dreams with Headup helping out as publisher, Dead Age 2 follows a group of determined survivors who have fled to Freedom City in search of a cure for the plague that triggered the zombie apocalypse ten years ago. You will be completing quests, scavenging for resources and building up a base to survive.

        In between all that, you also have the tight and fast-paced tactical turn-based combat against Zombies, gangs of looters and more. While death for characters is permenaent, it offers some outside progression in the form of persistent upgrades to go with in another run.

      • Robo Instructus: 1 Year Later

        I’m a game developer. I made robot engineering puzzle game Robo Instructus. For my previous posts look here.

        One year ago today Robo Instructus was released on Steam & itch.io. It’s received regular updates since then, the latest version 1.28 landing in late May. But how did it do?

      • Developer of Robo Instructus gives out sales info after a year

        Now that the programming-puzzle game Robo Instructus has been out for just a year, the developer has written up a blog post talking about sales and how it went.

        What is it? Robo Instructus is a puzzle game in which players manoeuvre a robot by issuing instructions via a simple programming language. As players progress through the game they unlock new functions to overcome new puzzles, each of which can be solved in multiple ways. The more you master the robot, the more elegant and powerful your solutions will be. This is not a game of moving logic blocks around, it needs actual programming.

        So now you know what it is, how did it do after a whole year? Not well in terms of sales or even player progression. Going by achievements, only 5% managed to complete 2 of the 4 acts. As for sales: in total it sold 2,571 copies which is just over 200 a month. Split across stores that was 2,544 sold on Steam and a mere 27 came from itch.io. Across different operating systems on Steam, keeping in mind this was developed on Linux and launched with Windows/Linux support and macOS came ~2 months later:

        Windows – 89.7%
        Linux – 7.6%
        Mac – 2.7%

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita, OpenGL and Qt

          Adrian Page first coded an OpenGL-based canvas implementation for Krita in 2005. That was back in the Qt3 days. OpenGL was fairly simple back then, but we had to duplicate all our canvas handling code, once implemented in OpenGL, once implemented with QPainter.

          Krita’s canvas code executes in three phases. There’s the image projection, that is, the result of combining all the layers, which is drawn first. Then we draw the canvas decorations: that’s the selection outline, the guides, the assistants, the reference images and so on. Then we draw the tool decorations: that’s the outline cursor, the line for the straight line or ruler tool and so on.

          Obviously, implementing all of that twice, once in OpenGL, once with QPainter isn’t ideal.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Molly de Blanc: Social Events at GUADEC 2020

          Wednesday (22 July) at 21:10 UTC you can join Melissa Wu for drinks. She’ll be teaching us some fun cocktail and mocktail recipes. Thank you Woodlyn Travel for making this happen! (See Notes below.)

          Sriram Ramkrishna, every GNOMEie’s fun uncle, is also quite the cook. Join him Thursday (23 July) at 21:00 UTC to learn some of his kitchen secrets. I recommend getting the ingredients ahead of time so you can cook along and then we can all snack together. (See Notes below.)

          You might know Sumana Harihareswara from her work with Python, GNOME, Zulip, Mailman, MediaWiki, or many other places in the free software world. She’s also hilarious. If you like to laugh, check out Sumana on Friday (24 July) at 21:00 UTC to hear Sumana’s stand-up comedy.

          There might not be a Museum BoF this year, but Ayanna Dozier will be bringing the museum experience to us on Monday (27 July) at 21:00 UTC. Ayanna Dozier is a scholar, filmmaker, and performance artist, and the Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University. She’ll be introducing us to modern art (1930 – 1965) through key artists and important historical events.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/29

          The week started a bit bumpy for Tumbleweed, as openQA was having some technical difficulties over the weekend. But nothing that our skilled epxerts could not solve within a few hours. Once every thing was back in shape, Tumbleweed started rolling full steam ahead and we managed to release 5 new snapshots (0710, 0713, 0714, 0715 and 0716)

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora program update: 2020-29

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

        • Call for Code Daily: Remote learning, water sustainability, and answered calls

          The power of Call for Code® is in the global community that we have built around this major #TechforGood initiative. Whether it is the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers using the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all of the amazing #TechforGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you.

          [...]

          These are unprecedented and difficult times, which makes it all the more inspiring to see people stepping up and using their ingenuity to take positive action. On June 12, in Seoul, South Korea, over 215 people on 50 different teams put their innovative ideas to the test in the 2020 Call for Code Korea Hackathon.

        • IBM Research works with industry to architect and prototype trusted container platforms

          When it comes to highly regulated industries, it is critical to maintain high assurances and compliance around computation. Enterprises must ensure that there is governance of data and processes.

          Virtualization and containerization has brought about many benefits to efficiency, adaptability, and scalability of workloads. However, it brings with it challenges in security and compliance.

          For example, workloads might be hosted in an environment that shares a pool of physical platforms in a data center or in multi-tenant cloud. Enterprises have security concerns on whether workloads are being run on platforms that are trustworthy, in terms of the integrity of the platform, its locality and metadata, and its ability to establish itself in a root of trust.

        • My first look at Red Hat Insights: Advisor

          In my Introduction to Red Hat Insights, I briefly outlined what this SaaS application does and how to set up your Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) systems to use the service. This article is dedicated to the “Advisor” in the Insights dashboard.

          The Insights dashboard itself is available here.

          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.

        • Flexible single sign-on authentication and more in Open Liberty 20.0.0.7

          Open Liberty 20.0.0.7 lets you disable the default of returning Lightweight Third-Party Authentication (LTPA) cookies for authentication when using Trust Association Interceptor (TAI) or Simple and Protected GSS-API Negotiation Mechanism (SPNEGO) authentication. You can also disable JSON Web Token (JWT) cookies when using JWT’s single sign-on (SSO) feature.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Studio 19.10 Support Ends Tomorrow!

          Ubuntu Studio 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) was released October 17, 2019 and will reach End of Life on Friday, July 17, 2020. This means that after that date there will be no further security updates or bugfixes released. We highly recommend that you update to 20.04 LTS immediately if you are still running 19.10.

          After July 17th, the only supported release of Ubuntu Studio will be 20.04 LTS. All other releases of Ubuntu Studio will be considered unsupported, and will no longer receive any further updates from the Ubuntu Studio team.

        • Kubuntu General News: Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine reaches end of life

          Kubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine was released on October 17th, 2019 with 9 months support.

          As of July 17th, 2020, 19.10 reaches ‘end of life’.

          No more package updates will be accepted to 19.10, and it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

          The official end of life announcement for Ubuntu as a whole can be found here [1].

          Kubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa continues to be supported.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) End of Life reached on July 17 2020

          This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent earlier this month to confirm that as of today (July 17, 2020), Ubuntu 19.10 is no longer supported. No more package updates will be accepted to 19.10, and it will be archived to old-releases.ubuntu.com in the coming weeks.

          The original End of Life warning follows, with upgrade instructions:

          Ubuntu announced its 19.10 (Eoan Ermine) release almost 9 months ago, on October 17, 2019, and its support period is now nearing its end. Ubuntu 19.10 will reach end of life on Friday, July 17 2020.

        • Canonical partners with global systems integrators

          Canonical, publisher of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, is pursuing the 12 largest global systems integrators as it positions itself as an alternative to VMware and Red Hat.

          The London-based company this week launched a global integrator program, which spans Canonical’s open source offerings for data centers, multi-cloud environments, edge computing and IoT. The Canonical partner program provides pricing discounts through deal registration, as well as aggregated volume discounts across partners’ combined customer bases. Other features include an updated portal and dedicated account management, sales, engineering and marketing support resources.

          Regis Paquette, vice president of alliances at Canonical, estimates a dozen companies based in the U.S., Europe and India represent two-thirds of the global SI market. Canonical has “selected those 12 as the starting line” for its integrator initiative. “We are really taking a targeted approach,” he said.

          Canonical in recent years has focused its partner efforts on building closer relations with hardware vendors such as Dell, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM, while also revamping its value-added-reseller strategy. Integrators, however, began to approach Canonical as their customers sought open source alternatives to VMware, Paquette explained. In addition, two large integrators have tapped Canonical’s open source technology to build digital transformation platforms.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird 78 Released with OpenPGP Support, Integrated Lightning Calendar

            A major new version of Thunderbird, the open source email client, is now available to download.

            Thunderbird 78 carries a host of major changes, new features, and usability improvements — though not all are enabled by default.

            Add-on users should note that this version of Thunderbird only supports MailExtensions. Older XUL-based add-ons are not supported.

            On the topic of extensions the Lightning calendar and tasks add-on for Thunderbird is now part of the app itself, no additional downloads required.

            The client’s reworked compose window is said to be ‘faster and more straightforward’ to use, while improvements to the account setup wizard make it easy to get the app up and running with an existing email address.

          • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 76
          • Mozilla Reps at the VirtuAllHands 2020

            This year ‘s Virtual All Hands (aka VirtuAllHands) was different from any other.

            Some things were also familiar: plenaries, plenty of interesting conversations, new things to learn, and yes, even a bit of exhaustion. It was even possible to meet and chat with other people, even if using your avatar using MozillaHubs! All in all, as we were assured by a Mozilla Rep veteran of numerous All-Hands, that although virtual, “it really feels like a real All Hands”.

            During the VirtuAllHands, the Mozilla Reps program organized four meetings each led by a Reps Council member. These meetings focused on a review of history, and future challenges for three central issues: communication, ‘activities & campaigns’, and mentorship. The meetings uncovered many challenges, but also successes and progresses.

            [...]

            The last meeting was led by Faisal and focused on mentorship within the reps program. Faisal presented a brief history of the mentorship program, and led a discussion over its issues. Again the need for clarity emerged, as the reps discussed how mentors role and activities should be better defined and, in some areas, re-defined.

            Thanks to you all for taking the time to participate, lead and organize these meetings. All the feedback collected during these discussions will be of crucial importance to focus our work going forward!

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.0 RC2 is available for testing

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 7.0 RC2 is available for testing!

          LibreOffice 7.0 will be released as final at the beginning of August, 2020 ( Check the Release Plan for more information ) being LibreOffice 7.0 RC2 the fifth pre-release since the development of version 7.0 started in the beginning of June, 2019. Since the previous release, LibreOffice 7.0 RC1, 73 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 57 bugs have been fixed. Check the release notes to find the new features included in LibreOffice 7.0.

        • Annual Report 2019: Marketing community activities

          Marketing at The Document Foundation and LibreOffice is a large team effort, with contractors paid for their activity – thanks to the money made available by our generous donors – and several volunteers, carrying out actions both at global and local levels to increase visibility and brand awareness.

          One of the main ongoing projects has been the improvement of the donation page, with several test of page design and wording and of suggested donation amounts. In addition, statistics have been monitored on a daily basis, to trigger a quick reaction to negative fluctuations. As a result, the unexpected low number of donations in February 2019 was counterbalanced by the positive numbers of the following months.

          Another ongoing project has been the Community Member Monday Series, with a weekly interview to one or more community members about their contributions to the project, especially within their native language community. Looking at the interviews, it’s rather easy to realize how diverse and geographically spread are the contributors to the LibreOffice project.

      • CMS

        • Drupal drops first big upgrade in five years and looks forward by looking backwards

          Open-source CMS software Drupal has unveiled its first major update in five years by launching a new version 9.0.

          The biggest update is backwards-compatibility from version 8.0: the project’s developers have styled the upgrade as not much more complex than adopting a point release.

          “If you’ve kept your Drupal 8 site up to date, and have experience with updating your site to the latest minor version (e.g: 8.9.0) then you know everything you need in order to successfully upgrade to Drupal 9,” says the release FAQ.

          Upgrades are more complex for those using Drupal 7, the other currently-supported version of the CMS. Users are advised the 7-to-9 move “… can be thought of as a migration or re-platforming, although not as severe as moving to a complete different platform.”

          “Though there are major differences under the hood, the fundamental approach to managing structured data is quite similar. Significant work was also put into the Migration APIs over the course of the Drupal 8 life cycle, so the upgrade to Drupal 9 is easier than upgrading to 8 was a few years ago.”

        • A brief history of the Content Management System

          CMS have gone from static page to JAMstack, and its history is at the heart of open source and the evolution of the web.

          Content management system (CMS) is a prolific software category that covers all types of applications for the creation and modification of digital content. So it should come as no huge surprise that the history of the CMS traces back to the first website in history, by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, which was modeled on an internet-based hypertext system HTML, which represented just text and links.

          [...]

          The emergence of the open source CMS was consistent with infrastructure built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP/Perl/Python) stack. This new structure represented the start of monolithic web development that enabled the creation of dynamic websites that use database queries to deliver unique content for different end users. At this point, the previous model of static sites sitting on a server—where individual files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript) consisting of text and links are delivered the same way to all end users—really started to disappear.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • GNU Guix: Running a Ganeti cluster on Guix

            The latest addition to Guix’s ever-growing list of services is a little-known virtualization toolkit called Ganeti. Ganeti is designed to keep virtual machines running on a cluster of servers even in the event of hardware failures, and to make maintenance and recovery tasks easy.

            It is comparable to tools such as Proxmox or oVirt, but has some distinctive features. One is that there is no GUI: third party ones exist, but are not currently packaged in Guix, so you are left with a rich command-line client and a fully featured remote API.

            Another interesting feature is that installing Ganeti on its own leaves you no way to actually deploy any virtual machines. That probably sounds crazy, but stems from the fact that Ganeti is designed to be API-driven and automated, thus it comes with a OS API and users need to install one or more OS providers in addition to Ganeti. OS providers offer a declarative way to deploy virtual machine variants and should feel natural to Guix users. At the time of writing, the providers available in Guix are debootstrap for provisioning Debian- and Ubuntu-based VMs, and of course a Guix provider.

            Finally Ganeti comes with a sophisticated instance allocation framework that efficiently packs virtual machines across a cluster while maintaining N+1 redundancy in case of a failover scenario. It can also make informed scheduling decisions based on various cluster tags, such as ensuring primary and secondary nodes are on different power distribution lines.

          • It Needs A Restart: GLIBC Drops Support For Restartable Sequences

            Well this is a huge Friday morning bummer: the GNU C Library (glibc) is dropping support for the very interesting Restartable Sequences (RSEQ) as some design changes need to be made, thus restarting work on restartable sequences.

            Restartable Sequences were introduced into the kernel back in Linux 4.18 for allowing various performance benefits with this system call allowing for faster user-space operations on per-CPU data by avoiding expensive atomic operations. For work like querying the current CPU number, incrementing per-CPU counters, writing/reading to the per-CPU ring buffers, and other work can all be made faster by RSEQ. The performance improvements are looking very good with RSEQ in the kernel when taken advantage of.

      • Programming/Development

        • RcppArmadillo 0.9.900.2.0

          Armadillo is a powerful and expressive C++ template library for linear algebra aiming towards a good balance between speed and ease of use with a syntax deliberately close to a Matlab. RcppArmadillo integrates this library with the R environment and language–and is widely used by (currently) 757 other packages on CRAN.

          Conrad just released a new minor upstream version 9.900.2 of Armadillo which we packaged and tested as usual first as a ‘release candidate’ build and then as the release. As usual, logs from reverse-depends runs are in the rcpp-logs repo.

        • Python

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 010 – Python Functions, Basics Done!
          • Episode 18: Ten Years of Flask: Conversation With Creator Armin Ronacher

            This week on the show we have Armin Ronacher to talk about the first 10 years of Flask. Armin talks about the origins of Flask and the components that make up the framework. He talks about what goes into documenting a framework or API. He also talks about the community working on the ongoing development of Flask.

            He also shares his thoughts about Python, and how it contrasts with Rust and TypeScript. Armin talks about what he would do differently if he were to start development of a project like Flask now.

          • Python String Constants

            A constant is used to define a fixed value in a variable that cannot be modified anywhere in the code following declaration. The Python string module contains some built-in string constants that can be used for various purposes. You can also define a custom string constant in Python. Custom string constant declaration is different in Python than in other standard programming languages, such as c++, Java, etc. This article covers some uses of built-in string constants of the Python string module.

          • Polymorphism in Python

            Polymorphism means “many forms.” Polymorphism an important feature of Object-Oriented Programming (OOP). When the same method is declared multiple times, for multiple purposes, and in different classes, then it is called polymorphism. Another feature of OOP is inheritance, through which the child class can be created by inheriting the features of the parent class. Sometimes, it requires the programmer to declare a method of the same name in both the parent and child classes for various purposes. This type of task can also be implemented by using polymorphism. This article explains how polymorphism can be defined in object-oriented programming (OOP).

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Haitian mental health needs rise yet again with COVID-19 trauma

        For Delva Fleurjest, the coronavirus has made it even harder for his brother to receive the mental healthcare he needs. Haiti’s two psychiatric hospitals have stopped accepting patients since the pandemic, and Fleurjest makes less money now to pay for doctors or medication.

        When he isn’t working as a motorcycle taxi driver, Fleurjest cares for his younger brother, feeding and bathing the 36-year-old, who began hearing voices shortly after the 2010 earthquake that killed between 100,000 and 300,000 people.

        “I’m trying to hustle together some money to pay for a consultation with a doctor,” said Fleurjest, who has yet to receive a diagnosis for his brother. “But it’s really expensive.”

        Haiti’s investment in health has dropped from 16.6 percent in 2004 to 4.4 percent in 2017, and although the Ministry of Health created a mental health unit in 2011, it receives little funding, its coordinator, René Domersant, told The New Humanitarian. For a country of nearly 11 million, Haiti also only has 23 psychiatrists and 124 psychologists, Domersant said.

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • [Older] Fawlty Towers: The Germans episode to be reinstated by UKTV

        A classic episode of the comedy Fawlty Towers will be reinstated to streaming service UKTV with a warning about “offensive content and language”.

        A 1975 episode titled The Germans was taken off the BBC Studios-owned platform because of “racial slurs”.

        In it, the Major character uses highly offensive language, and John Cleese’s hotel owner Basil Fawlty declares “don’t mention the war”.

        UKTV had temporarily removed the episode while it carried out a review.

        The move had been criticised by Cleese who wrote on Twitter: “I would have hoped that someone at the BBC would understand that there are two ways of making fun of human behaviour.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Apocalypse Again

        For many people, the world has ended again and again.

        [...]

        Rastignac, in Balzac’s nineteenth-century novel Père Goriot, plays a philosophical game with his friend Bianchon, asking the latter what he would choose if all he needed to do, in order to become instantly rich, was simply wish the death of “a mandarin in China.” Bianchon, a capitalist entrepreneur a little ahead of the times, replies that he is already on his thirty-third mandarin. With similar globalized indifference, we watched as the virus intersected with the Chinese New Year. Then, we watched, with a little more familiarity, as it spread to Italy, where Thomas Mann’s hero Aschenbach, in the early-twentieth-century novella Death in Venice, observes how the authorities go about covering up evidence of plague that has arrived from the East (although the Orient in Mann’s text is represented by the Indian subcontinent rather than China).

        We still watched—I watched—as the virus came to cruise ships moored off the state of Washington, on the distant West Coast of the United States. Until suddenly, it was here, in New York, announcing its presence through wailing ambulances and the 7 p.m. cheer when the city’s residents lean out of their windows to clang bells and plates and celebrate our heroes. Now, after months of lockdown in New York, what is striking about the early outbreak in China is that the state felt it had any role at all beyond policing, and that even an authoritarian state like China’s felt responsible for providing groceries and healthcare.

        The Western media and governmental accounts of the early outbreak naturally missed the point out of their devotion to neoliberal capitalism and Western supremacy. And as the tragedy unfolded, I felt a mounting sense of bewilderment at the numbers in New York. The United States is still the wealthiest country in the world, militarily the most powerful, but apparently without the capacity or will to provide surgical masks to its health workers, healthcare to its people, or much of any kind of needed support at all.

        But it remains easier, as Fredric Jameson remarked, to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism. As the virus spreads through the United States, the enrichment of mammoth corporations and fossil fuel behemoths continues, and Donald Trump stokes the violence of white nationalism while asking us to drink bleach. A military hospital ship arrives with fanfare to New York, achieves little, and departs quietly. Hospital tents are set up in Central Park, run by an evangelical organization devoted to discrimination against LGBTQ people. Months into the crisis, we do not know when we can get tested, or which of the many tests released by private corporations are reliable.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Cross Armory loses its Mandamus Appeal against AR Maglock

          Evolution Concept’s U.S. Patent No. 8,756,845 covers an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle converted to have a small fixed-magazine. (Sold as the AR Maglock). The patent explains that the motivation for the change is to avoid the proposed “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting. That Bill (never passed) would have banned certain semi-automatic weapons with a detachable magazine. However, California’s assault weapon ban created a market for the modification. My understanding is that the proposed modification here is easy to undo as well in case someone wanted to go-back to having removable magazines.

          [...]

          Right to Appeal: The court began its brief analysis with discussion of Cross’s waiver of its right to appeal. The court explained “That agreement would seem on its face to waive further review of these decisions, or at least suggest that we should not exercise our discretion to review them.”

          On the merits: The court went on to look a bit into the merits of the case — holding that “Cross has not shown a clear and indisputable right to its requested relief” and thus is not deserving of a mandamus order.

          Cross’s basic argument was that its “kits” were not supposed to be included in the term ‘accused products.’ On appeal, the Federal Circuit noted that the original courthouse settlement agreement did not define the term. However, Cross “consented” to having the Magistrate Judge decide all disputes regarding the settlement. Further, there is no presentation of “any judicial usurpation of power or clear abuse of discretion” that might require action by a superior court.

      • Trademarks

        • Linux Modular Concept Can Travel by Water, on Land, on Snow and in the Air [Ed: Misuse of the Linux trademark, I think]

          Unveiled earlier this year, Lazzarini’s Linux concept eyes a possible 2021 launch date, with the designer asking people from other industries to chip in. The idea is simple: Lazzarini Design, with partner ArchItaly, can deliver a module (the Linux) that can be adapted to suit a variety of purposes.

        • SkyKick Episode IV: a new hope

          Quite recently, in a courtroom not far away, SkyKick returned. In an unexpected twist in the context of a long-running saga, judgment #4 ([2020] EWHC (Ch) 1735), from Lord Justice Arnold, directly followed judgment #3 [how confusing].

          [...]

          SkyKick argued that the court should not grant an injunction, for two reasons. First, to reflect Sky’s partial bad faith in applying for the infringed trade marks and therefore to dissuade others from making similarly overbroad filings in future. Second, that it would be disproportionate to grant an injunction. SkyKick’s best-case scenario was that the court would simply refuse to grant an injunction, but it offered undertakings in terms more limited than the standard form of an injunction, or damages in lieu, as back-up options. To address these points, the judge considered the TRIPS Agreement, the EUTMR and Directive, the IP Enforcement Directive, the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the usual English law principles on injunctive relief [and the analysis is well worth a read in full if you have time].

Sacha Chua is Both Right and Wrong

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 6:26 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Summary: A response by figosdev to the graphic below

Normally when I find a new bit of propaganda from the now-Fake Software Foundation, I either ignore it with disgust, or make a pissed-off comment that rarely leads (directly) to a conversation. Sometimes I’ll talk to a few people about it. Writing articles about a specific thing the FSF has said is an exception.

What causes this one to stand out in my opinion, is its sincerity. At first I reacted like I would to any other soundbite or snippet from the FSF. It’s the context that pisses me off more than the content, most of the time. But this time around, the context is only saddening.

If I thought this was another glib attempt to gloss over what’s happened at the FSF, I would respond to it as such. Instead, I have to say that it echos many of the ways I felt about the FSF in the past — and how I would like to feel about free software again in the future. Of course this seems unlikely now that we are in the Free Software Dark Ages.

What I wanted to do was recreate the comic to tell things how they are. There’s not much to stop me, not only is it fair use, the comic is licensed for remixing. I’ve got a license that doesn’t require me to treat the subject matter a certain way, but no desire to be unfair.

Instead of some crude, angry parody, I thought I’d just address the points with an article. Besides, if I make it look like I entirely disagree, people will think there are things I disagree with that I actually don’t.

The comic is already under a free license that I don’t dislike and I intend to address most or all of its points, So to keep things simple I’ll include it here and give the same license to the article. I note with slight amusement that although the principal content of the page is licensed CC-BY 4.0 (which is non-revocable, but allowed in non-free works) the page is still stupidly licensed CC NoDerivs 3.0, along with the FSF’s usual anti-Free-Culture propaganda that led to me dropping membership in the first place.

You can find it on this page.

Love FS

So let’s get to it:

1. Free software is like having more gifts that I can even imagine.

What saddens me about this one is that it used to feel like this to me, as well. Free software has so few limits, and you can share it with anyone. This doesn’t reflect my feelings at the moment, though it does reflect my feelings about Free software in general. Hypothetically, as I don’t think Free software is very free right now.

It also saddens me that the gifts appear to be on library shelves. I’m not going to assume this was the intent of the author — they could be any type of shelves, really. But the appearance of the presents with a line down the middle, along with the height and spacing of the shelves makes them look a lot like books on library shelves to me.

What’s sad about this has nothing to do with how appropriate the image is — it’s extremely appropriate. I wish the Free software movement took more cues from libraries, because librarians are fierce protectors of free speech, inclusion (the more literal, less contrived variety of inclusion — the type that the Free software community has always offered before it became fodder for corporate propaganda) and public access to data — along with the privacy of its patrons in the face of government overreach.

Librarians are doing more to look out for your freedom than the FSF, with the exception (which I’ve bothered them about on countless occasions) of promoting DRM-infested e-books. Libraries are guilty of that, but the American Library Association is better about this than the libraries and they should have taken more cues from the ALA. The only person who can grant exceptions to the DMCA anti-circumvention clause is the Librarian of Congress. But if it were up to me, they would grant blanket exemptions for all librarians. (Tricky, but still a worthwhile goal.)

I would expect the Free software movement to agree with me on this comparison, but all I got for it was some parrot telling me that that Free software has no obligation to do what libraries do. Great, you’re really defending freedom there, buddy. Way to get the point and do something useful with it.

I mostly agree with Sacha on this point, but what it misses is how little even Free software really stands up for freedom anymore. They stand up for licenses, but in a way that I find increasingly superficial.

I’m not the only person who says the new FSF pays lip service to freedom, in fact someone just today said to me:

“And I reply to every such email: FSF is no more. It’s the Fake Software Foundation, they outsourced almost all of its projects to Microshaft and ousted Stallman, in a very ugly coup.”

I agree on the coup and they do outsourced too much to Microsoft, though I would say Most GNU projects are “dependent” on projects that are outsourced to Microsoft — rather than outsourced themselves.

It’s hard to feel good about all these “gifts” when corporations are constantly tying more strings to them. Maybe a more accurate picture would be a lot of worms on hooks, and a fish marveling at all the “free food” within reach.

But the fact remains that Free software promised — and delivered — on basically this for so many years. So we can’t say that Sacha is entirely wrong, either.

2. Each gift is a building block that I can have fun with.

Ah, yes — celebrating modularity while Red Hat wages war against it. Again, Sacha is pointing to a real advantage of Free software, but not one that we can fully enjoy anymore.

In fact I’ve argued for a Fifth Freedom to maintain this “building blocks you can have fun with” nature of free software, explaining that it was a de facto freedom that made Free software possible, and without it we are Less Free. Since this de facto freedom is under attack, we can and ought to make it more explicit. But just saying we have it when we don’t as much as we used to (because they don’t want us to have it) is a bit saddening.

I wanted to draw someone throwing the 4 fun blocks away and giving Sacha a couple of concrete blocks labelled “Systemd” and “GNOME” instead, but it made me too sad.

Lennart will save us from having too many Lego sets! Star Wars, Harry Potter, Technic, Bionicle and Mindstorms? NO, NO, NO! From now on, everybody will use Flexiblocks, and they’ll learn to like them! Flexiblocks are Far Superior and Every Piece Moves. “Not just one or two special pieces!”

So Sacha was really close: Each gift was a building block, and we had fun with that. But as even Half-President Oliva has noted, we aren’t just given instructions to build cool stuff anymore, it’s more like we are being told how to play with our Legos.

It’s time to replace all your old pieces with Lego 5! Lego 4 is deprecated and you should upgrade your creations to the new version immediately.

Also, please remove all white, black, red, yellow and brown pieces — as someone may take offense to the context in which they are used.

3. “Whee!”

Yeah, those were the days. Honestly, Microsoft and IBM are not the new kids helping us build cooler stuff. They’re the big bullies who go around kicking people’s sandcastles down. Every creation is a block in GIAFAM’s corporate pyramid now (or another Brick in the Wall.) But you can’t call them on it, because CoC forbid, and those are our Sponsors, man!

I feel bad that those of us who know better can’t have the same amount of fun that we used to. But also that it’s impossible to share as much of the fun as we had, because the companies that have taken it over are always attacking. I loved it too, but what we have to offer our kids (Sacha is a parent now) is the compromised version of Free software — the “Free but less free” version. We had more fun when we weren’t putting sponsors first, but if you take too much money from them you know they’re going to make demands in return. (Even rms concedes this.)

Where’s the fun in that?

4. More than that — each block is a glimpse into Someone else’s life.

Mostly Torvalds, though. Microsoft (the people Sacha hosts her own code with) have spent decades helping to rebrand the work of both rms and the FSF as the work of Torvalds and ultimately Microsoft. So whose life are you getting a glimpse into? People have attacked the founders personal page and professional life, and the glimpse we got into his life was full of bad reporting and unfair mischaracterisations.

People will say they were fair attacks, but as We The Web noted:

“Many failed to make any distinction between what Stallman had done, question age-of-consent laws, and an actual pedophile or child rapist. They took his questioning of the wisdom of the terms ‘First Nation’ (‘presumes that the concept of ‘nation’ was applicable to all peoples in the Americas ever since the humans first migrated there’) and ‘People of Color’ (‘endorses a racist outlook towards humanity by treating ‘color’ as a matter of essence, as if it were a substance a person is made of, rather than as the superficial detail it really is’) as proof of colonial apologia and racism.”

Was this “glimpse” accurate? The first female president of the American Civil Liberty Union contends:

“I find it so odd that the strong zeal for revenge and punishment if someone says anything that is perceived to be sexist or racist or discriminatory comes from liberals and progressives! There are so many violations [in cases like Stallman’s] of such fundamental principles to which progressives and liberals cling in general as to what is justice, what is fairness, what is due process.”

To me, this doesn’t sound like an accurate or representative take on his life or personal nature at all. If you really want a proper glimpse into Someone else’s life, try this article.

More of these days, people are “blocking” glimpses into each others lives, by cancelling some of the (who often happen to be outspoken) among us. I would count Nadine Strossen among those great and outspoken people, not just for standing up for her own principles and making excellent arguments, but for defending a great person against a terrible and very corporate attack.

5. I can combine things with bubblegum and string…

Okay, I can’t argue with this one. Many of my projects are held together with Lego, tape and superglue.

6. … to make something that fits me so well.

Referring back to #2, this used to be better. Today, people talk like you have some obligation to port all your stuff to new things, just because someone has taken over a project and forced a new direction.

Projects that let us keep or retrofit our beloved workflows, like Trinity, Devuan or Mate are often treated as second-tier citizens, when (overall) the people who preserve our choices should often be treated as heroes.

We are expected to fit the developers now, rather than use software for our own needs, and that shift is EXTREMELY Microsoft-like.

7. I try to leave notes along the way.

Yes, you leave them with Microsoft on your GitHub issues tracker. Whatever you have to say about that, it gives Microsoft more power, which they invariable use to fight against the very things you talk about loving in your comic.

So many people have put a lot of work into getting away from Microsoft’s abuse of users and freedom, just to have people drag us back to their servers and ask us to support their takeover efforts. C’mon, Sacha!

8. Sometimes I can even make my own gift.

That’s a nice feeling, isn’t it?

We should stop finding stupid and dishonest reasons to kick people out of the opportunity to share such things. I am not fond of the idea of fighting implicit and graded (and contested) exclusion with explicit (and complete, permanent and unappealable) exclusion. It denies this to people we know are good, but are no longer allowed to say so (Because the FSF censored the emails from people who did. Why have they not apologised for this? It was less than a year ago.)

We should also (despite Matt Lee’s tweet to the contrary) stop taking the gifts that the FSF and rms gave to the world, and writing “From Linus” on all the tags, because that just sucks.

When you talk about GNU, people call it Linux. When you look up Linux, you get mostly results about Windows.

What kind of gifting is this, Matt? Yankee Swap?

“We call it Dirty Santa” — The Office

9. There’s always space.

Maybe not at LibrePlanet!

10. Sometimes people find my things helpful… just as I find other people’s things helpful.

I didn’t read this one until I typed it. I think Microsoft finds it helpful for everyone to use GitHub, so they can use this as part of their (very typical, well-documented, longstanding) efforts to control and surveil competitors.

I was busy paying attention to the long road, which I pictured rms walking down. Technically he’s still the head of the GNU project, the FSF has no real president (no one I’ve talked to about it seems to disagree with me on this, but please feel very welcome to explain something to the contrary in the comments section) and technically, Elizabeth II is the British head of state.

But neither are allowed to hand down very much as a political decree, they are mostly given the opportunity to wave their hand and grant power to other people. Which is alright in and of itself, except that the power taken away was the power to defend the GNU Project from exactly the sort of corporate takeover that displaced the head of the FSF itself.

So that kind of sucks. The GNU Project may still have rms, but what it doesn’t have is any real defense against being taken over and turned into a GitHub organisation.

I hope it’s perfectly clear here that the problem has many different angles and different players. We are still waiting for IBM to make their next move, though right now they do not appear to be sponsoring the FSF (yet?) this year, as they did for the past two. Perhaps this year it will be Microsoft instead.

11. So, bit by bit, we grow.

… Corporate. Compromised. Complacent.

This is, I want to be very clear about this — not an attack on the comic’s sincerity. I frequently point out how glib and empty the rhetoric from the FSF feels these days. This is definitely an exception, as far as I can tell.

Here I think what’s said is at worst, misplaced. Not even in error, except as something a bit anachronistic.

These are, truly — the real benefits of participating in Free software.

Were. They still are sometimes, I guess.

Be nice if any of this meant more than the FSF’s horrible corporate sponsors. Together they’re turning Free software into Open Source. And these days, Open Source just means GIAFAM.

If you’re going to be GIAFAM, you don’t really need Free software. Because it won’t really be free when they control it, so all it is then is Software.

Oh well, Sacha — long live rms, and happy hacking.

P.S. Please, please move from GitHub. It will make everything you’re saying a little more true. I feel confident you mean it to be.

Licence: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Links 17/7/2020: FSF Raising Money, LibreOffice Wants More Income, Thunderbird 78 and WirePlumber 0.3 Formally Out, DebConf20@Home

Posted in News Roundup at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Star Lite Mk III Pentium N5000 Laptop Ships with a Choice of 6 Linux Distributions

        There aren’t that many companies shipping Linux laptops, and often it’s either at the entry-level of the market with Arm-based Pine64 PineBook or PineBook Pro, or at the higher-end with products such as Dell XPS 13 developer edition or System76 Linux laptops.

        If you’d like something in between, you could install Ubuntu on a laptop yourself, but drivers are not always working, and sometimes when the laptop is confirmed to work, the manufacturer may decide to completely redesign the hardware.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Command Line Heroes – Season 5, episode 1: Becoming a coder

        Saron Yitbarek and Clive Thompson start the season by exploring some ways coders start their tech careers—some common, many unexpected. You might be surprised who answers the call to code, where they come from, and how much they’ve already accomplished.

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E17 – Knitting outside

        This week we’ve been filling in forms and doing kitchen renovations. We discuss popularity contest being removed from Ubuntu, 19.10 going EOL, KDEs cross-platform storefront and Linux adopting inclusive language. We also round up our picks from the wider tech news and share an event; remember those!

        It’s Season 13 Episode 17 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.9

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.9 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

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

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

      • Linux 5.4.52
      • Linux 4.19.133
      • QEMU 5.1 Bringing Many CPU Improvements From Loongson To RISC-V To s390

        QEMU 5.1-rc0 is available as the first step towards this next feature release of this important component to the Linux virtualization stack.

        The QEMU 5.1-rc0 release marks the hard feature freeze for this next release. Weekly release candidates will continue until QEMU 5.1 is ready to ship around the middle of August.

      • Sleepable BPF programs

        When support for classic BPF was added to the kernel many years ago, there was no question of whether BPF programs could block in their execution. Their functionality was limited to examining a packet’s contents and deciding whether the packet should be forwarded or not; there was nothing such a program could do to block. Since then, BPF has changed a lot, but the assumption that BPF programs cannot sleep has been built deeply into the BPF machinery. More recently, classic BPF has been pushed aside by the extended BPF dialect; the wider applicability of extended BPF is now forcing a rethink of some basic assumptions.
        BPF programs can now do many things that were not possible for classic BPF programs, including calling helper functions in the kernel, accessing data structures (“maps”) shared with the kernel or user space, and synchronizing with spinlocks. The core assumption that BPF programs are atomic has not changed, though. Once the kernel jumps into a BPF program, that program must complete without doing anything that might put the thread it is running in to sleep. BPF programs themselves have no way of invoking any sort of blocking action, and the helper functions exported to BPF programs by the kernel are required to be atomic.

        As BPF gains functionality and grows toward some sort of sentient singularity moment, though, the inability to block is increasingly getting in the way. There has, thus, been interest in making BPF programs sleepable for some time now, and that interest has recently expressed itself as code in the form of this patch set from Alexei Starovoitov.

        The patch adds a new flag, BPF_F_SLEEPABLE, that can be used when loading BPF programs into the kernel; it marks programs that may sleep during their execution. That, in turn, informs the BPF verifier about the nature of the program, and brings a number of new restrictions into effect. Most of these restrictions are the result of the simple fact that the BPF subsystem was never designed with sleepable programs in mind. Parts of that subsystem have been updated to handle sleeping programs correctly, but many other parts have not. That is likely to change over time but, until then, the functionality implemented by any part of the BPF subsystem that still expects atomicity is off-limits to sleepable programs.

        For example, of the many types of BPF programs supported by the kernel, only two are allowed to block: those run from the Linux security module subsystem and tracing programs (BPF_PROG_TYPE_LSM and BPF_PROG_TYPE_TRACING). Even then, tracing programs can only sleep if they are attached to security hooks or are attached to functions that have been set up for error injection. Other types of programs are likely to be added in the future, but the coverage will never be universal. Many types of BPF programs are invoked from within contexts that, themselves, do not allow sleeping — deep within the network packet-processing code or attached to atomic functions, for example — so making those programs sleepable is just not going to happen.

      • Btrfs at Facebook

        The Btrfs filesystem has had a long and sometimes turbulent history; LWN first wrote about it in 2007. It offers features not found in any other mainline Linux filesystem, but reliability and performance problems have prevented its widespread adoption. There is at least one company that is using Btrfs on a massive scale, though: Facebook. At the 2020 Open Source Summit North America virtual event, Btrfs developer Josef Bacik described why and how Facebook has invested deeply in Btrfs and where the remaining challenges are.

        Every Facebook service, Bacik began, runs within a container; among other things, that makes it easy to migrate services between machines (or even between data centers). Facebook has a huge number of machines, so it is impossible to manage them in any sort of unique way; the company wants all of these machines to be as consistent as possible. It should be possible to move any service to any machine at any time. The company will, on occasion, bring down entire data centers to test how well its disaster-recovery mechanisms work.

      • WirePlumber

        • WirePlumber 0.3 released, now ready for the desktop

          It is with great pleasure that we announce the availability of WirePlumber – the PipeWire session manager – version 0.3.0, which was made available a few weeks ago.

          This release brings support for desktop use cases and is a working drop-in replacement for PipeWire’s pipewire-media-session example session manager. At the same time, it introduces configurability and other features that pipewire-media-session lacks, such as the use of session, endpoint and endpoint-stream objects to orchestrate the graph. If you are curious about what this means, my previous blog post is a good starting point to read about endpoints.

          [...]

          Finally, another noteworthy feature in this release is the use of the org.freedesktop.ReserveDevice1 D-Bus API to arbitrate the capture of audio devices between PipeWire and JACK. If a JACK server is started while PipeWire running or is found already running when PipeWire is started, WirePlumber releases the audio device that JACK wants to control and sets up the PipeWire JACK source & sink nodes so that audio in PipeWire is routed through JACK to access that audio device.

        • WirePlumber Ready For The Linux Desktop As Replacement To PipeWire’s Session Manager

          Announced earlier this year was WirePlumber as a new session manager for PipeWire with its role in managing of audio/video streams to/from hardware/software components as well as handling security/permissions, device monitoring, and other session management functionality.

          While only a few months have passed since the WirePlumber announcement, today’s v0.3 release announces that it’s “now ready for the desktop.”

    • Benchmarks

      • The Linux Performance For AMD Rome vs. Intel Cascade Lake One Year After Launch

        With the Intel 2nd Gen Xeon Scalable (Cascade Lake) processors having turned a year old in April and next month marking one year since the launch of the AMD EPYC 7002 (Rome) series, here are fresh benchmarks of the dual Xeon Platinum 8280 versus the AMD EPYC 7742 when testing the Linux software stack from early 2019 and then again using a bleeding-edge Linux software stack as of this month. This shows how the Linux software performance has evolved over the past year for both Intel and AMD on the server front as well as how the current top-end SKUs are competing right now.

      • Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud, 2nd Edition

        Eight years ago I wrote _Systems Performance: Enterprise and the Cloud_ (aka the “sysperf” book) on the performance of computing systems, and this year I’m excited to be releasing the second edition. The first edition was successful, selling over 10k copies and becoming required or recommended reading at many companies (and even mentioned in [job descriptions]). Thanks to everyone for their support. I’ve received feedback that it is useful, not just for learning performance, but also for showing how computers work internally: essential knowledge for all engineers. The second edition adds content on BPF, BCC, bpftrace, perf, and Ftrace, mostly removes Solaris, makes numerous updates to Linux and cloud computing, and includes general improvements and additions. It is written by a more experienced version of myself than I was for the first edition, including my six years of experience as a senior performance engineer at Netfilx. This edition has also been improved by a new technical review team of over 30 engineers.

    • Applications

      • The 6 Best Linux File Recovery Software

        It’s fair to say that most of us lose essential data in our computers either through accidental deletion, virus attacks, permanent removal of files, etc. at some point. Some of these files contain critical information that cannot be assumed and needs recovery. In this post, we will discuss some of the best data recovery available for Linux systems. The fantastic part is that most of them are opensource and freely available for use.

      • Calibre 4.21 E-book Manager Released with Support for Kobo Nia, Improvements

        It’s been almost two weeks since the release of Calibre 4.20 and the new version is here just in time for the launch of Kobo’s Nia e-reader, which targets newcomers and sells for only $99.99 USD. Calibre 4.21 is the first release of the popular e-book manager to add support for Kobo Nia.

        On top of Kobo Nia support, Calibre 4.21 adds support to vertically center e-book covers in the cover grid for those smaller than the available space, and implements a new checkbox that lets users easily apply virtual libraries in the Quickview panel.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Kernel Patch Revved For Syscall User Redirection To Help Newer Windows Games On Wine

        It looks like the syscall user redirection support could soon be mainlined to the kernel for this new Linux feature that was originally motivated by helping Windows games running on Wine.

        The syscall user redirection support is needed for newer Windows games on Wine that are executing system call instructions without going through the Windows API. Due to avoiding the traditional API calls, Wine has an issue intercepting and emulating those system calls and thus this user redirection support will allow Wine to properly intercept them. In particular it appears to be the DRM / copy protection systems of modern games where this syscall user redirection support will help out the most.

      • Drive-In Esports Arenas Being Developed in Four U.S. Cities

        Drive-in esports arenas may soon be the latest attraction.

        Real estate investment company Horizon Group Properties has partnered with esports analytics company Harena Data L.L.C., which operates the brand USA Drive-Ins, to develop esports arenas and drive-in movie theaters in four major U.S. cities.

        On the esports side, the idea is for consumers to watch tournaments and compete in events from the safety of their vehicles. Initially, the arenas will be located in Horizon-owned malls in Louisville, Kentucky, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and El Paso and Laredo in Texas.

      • R&A’s The Open Golf Tournament This Year Will Be Virtual In Multiple Ways And It’s Going To Be Amazing

        For golf fans such as myself, one of the great joys over the past few weeks has been the return of live golf to the television screen. As one of the sports that is most naturally aligned with the need for social distancing and crowdless events, it was also one of the first to come back. Still, with COVID-19 running rampant throughout the world and America in particular, not every last thing is coming back. For instance, the pandemic has led organizers for the R&A’s signature gold event, The Open in the U.K., to at least delay it from its July 16th start, or possibly cancel it altogether.

      • Dead Age 2 Available Today on Steam and GOG for PC, Mac & Linux
      • Point & click adventure ‘Whateverland’ let’s you steal your way through it

        Whateverland, an upcoming point and click adventure from Caligari Games just recently finished a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and it’s fully funded. It’s also sounding pretty bizarre.

        The game follows Vincent, an engineer by profession and a thief by trade who attempts to steal a necklace from a lonely old woman. As it turns out, she’s some sort of witch and banishes Vincent to a parallel world where people are compelled to languish indefinitely, reflecting on their life choices—Whateverland.

      • 3D adventure thriller ‘Beyond a Steel Sky’ is out now for Linux PC

        Beyond a Steel Sky, the big 3D sequel to the much loved classic Beneath a Steel Sky is out now with Linux support. A long awaited sequel too, since the original was from way back in 1994. A long time between them of course, with Beyond a Steel Sky being a much prettier game in full 3D with nice WASD controls and an absolutely fantastic style to it.

        What is it? From Charles Cecil, creator of the Broken Sword series, with art direction by Dave Gibbons, legendary comic book artist behind ‘Watchmen’ it’s an adventure set within a dynamic world, populated by wilful characters driven by motivations that the player can subvert. In combination with a unique hacking tool, multiple solutions to puzzles emerge from player choices. Playing as Robert Foster, you attempt to track down an abducted child that leads you back to Union City, one of the last remaining mega-cities in a world ravaged by shattering wars and political meltdown.

      • SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE is out now for Linux PC

        SUPERHOT: MIND CONTROL DELETE, a full length standalone first-person shooter where time doesn’t really move much until you do is out now and it’s pretty magnificent.

        The feeling of being able to duck and weave through bullets, like something out of the Matrix is what truly makes SUPERHOT MCD so fine. Being able to throw a bottle at an enemy resulting in them dropping their weapon, so you can run in and grab it mid-air is just so ridiculous and enjoyable.

      • Ultra Hat Dimension is a puzzle game about getting constantly punched

        Kitsune Games, developer of the rather fantastic roguelike MidBoss (see Scaine’s review) just released one of their older titles Ultra Hat Dimension on Steam with a bunch of upgrades and added Linux support.

        It’s a very sweet puzzle game about fancy hats and people getting punched for wearing them. Although, reading that back, saying it’s sweet and then talking about throwing punches probably sounds quite strange. You, the player, are actually unable to do any punching yourself. Instead you get bounced around various levels while constantly hearing these little Spluff creatures go “POW” as they send you flying in each direction. It’s like they’re just mocking me.

      • Aeolis Tournament launches today on Steam (PC, MacOs, Linux) and in a few days on Nintendo Switch
      • Fantastic one-button action-packed party game ‘Aeolis Tournament’ out now

        When it comes to party games, some attempt to do a little too much and some not enough. Aeolis Tournament seems to fit pretty much perfectly in between. With an extremely accessible control scheme that only needs movement and a single button, it’s seriously easy to pick up and enjoy for a few hours at a time. Up to 8 players total can join various game modes with or without bots and there’s online play too.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Konsole in 2020

          Konsole is having a resurge in the moment, it’s the terminal emulator of choice for the power user that wants to break the 4th wall in *nix systems. Right now it can do almost all the things I want it to do, and a few more.

          Since last year you can use splits in Konsole, with full drag & drop support between tabs and windows.

        • KDE’s Konsole Continues Seeing New Features

          In recent months KDE’s Konsole terminal emulator has been seeing a lot of new features while even more are in the works.

          Konsole over the past year picked up support for splits, support for showing image thumbnails when hovering over filenames, easy support for capturing a full file path to the clipboard, “open with” from the context menu for files, and other improvements.

          Looking ahead though there are more Konsole features coming like the ability to dim unfocused terminals, improved broadcast support, and support for URL escape codes.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Download Now: Get GNOME 3.38’s New Default Wallpapers Right Now

          Just don’t expect much of a deviation on what’s gone before. What’s that saying again? Ah yes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

          Jakub Steiner’s GNOME 3.38 wallpaper sits in vogue with previous background designs. It is predominately blue, it features a variety of geometric shapes, and uses fractal lighting for texture and effect.

          As with the GNOME 3.36 wallpaper and earlier there are 3 distinct variations of the main design: morning, day, and night. You can use each of these on their own, or use them as part of a dynamic wallpaper slideshow that subtly transitions between then over the course of the day…

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • ArcoLinux Review – A Bloated Arch Linux-Based Distribution

          Many distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora have different flavors (mainly different desktop environments) of the same Linux core. ArcoLinux, on the other hand, has three different versions – ArcoLinux, ArcoLinuxB and ArcoLinuxD – which serve different needs. The main ArcoLinux comes with all the GUI and niceties, while both ArcoLinuxB and ArcoLinux D are minimal distributions that either come with one desktop or none. They are more similar to Arch Linux and are designed to help users learn more about Linux so that they’re able to handle a more command-line based experience in Arch Linux.

          [...]

          ArcoLinux’s aim of “educating users about Linux” is mainly about installation of software and packages, not the usage of the desktop. I would appreciate it more if they would provide on-screen tutorials on how to use Xfce, Openbox or i3. While the ability to select (tons of) applications during installation is good, it can be overwhelming for beginners.

        • AutoTux is a Real Distro With a ‘No Hands’ Linux Installer

          AutoTux is a fully automated Linux distribution that is literally a hands-off event from start to finish. It goes a long way to adopting Linux a no-brainer for Windows and macOS converts.

          AutoTux’s self-installing approach is also the kind of Linux operating system that makes you wonder why more distribution developers do not use similar strategies to make their Linux offerings such a foolproof proposition.

          After all, installing an operating system as a newcomer is scary and fraught with missteps and frustration. Some other Linux distro families have scripted installation routines that somewhat semi-automate the installation process. This is one of the hallmarks found with Arch Linux distro varieties.

          But Arch and other Linux families are not intended for Linux newcomers. Plus, the scripted installations are more like a patchwork of segmented batch commands initiated with command line interactions in a terminal window.

          This is not very user friendly. AutoTux, on the other hand, fully automates an installation of the Debian 10 Linux system. What else could any newcomer to the Linux operating system want or need?

          How about out-of-the-box performance and a fully-stocked software inventory? Well, AutoTux has that covered too!

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD Back To Seeing Progress On 802.11ac WiFi Support, Ath10k Driver

          Longtime FreeBSD/Linux network stack developer and former Qualcomm Atheros engineer Adrian Chadd is back to working on FreeBSD wireless networking improvements.

          Adrian Chadd has announced his return to working on FreeBSD’s wireless networking stack with a particular focus on the 802.11ac support (or there the largely lack of at the moment) and the porting of the Ath10k driver from Linux to FreeBSD.

        • [Old] Throw-Away Browser on FreeBSD With “pot” Within 5 Minutes

          pot is a great and relatively new jail management tool. It offers DevOps style provisioning and can even be used to provide Docker-like, scalable cloud services together with nomad and consul (more about this in Orchestrating jails with nomad and pot).

          When using FreeBSD on your desktop, you can also use it simply to easily create “throw away” browser jails. That way, the browser environment is reliably and completely erased and reset each time you re-create it with one single, simple command.

        • [Old] Questions and Answers (by Jesse Smith)

          Comparing-apples-to-BSDs asks: I was reading one of the old articles from the archive. One of the things mentioned was how the BSDs have a distinct approach in terms of packaging the base system relative to userland apps, and that the Linux distros at the time were not following the same practice. Are there Linux distros that have adopted the same approach in modern times? If not, are there technical limitations that are preventing them from doing so, such as some distros supporting multiple kernel versions maybe? [...]

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • GNOME, KDE, libvirt Packages Update in Tumbleweed

          The desktops had a big week of updates in openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshots this week.

          Among the packages updated for the desktops this week were GNOME’s 3.36.4 version and the July 7 release of KDE’s Plasma 5.19.3, Applications 20.04.3 and the July 4 release of Frameworks 5.72.0.

          Tumbleweed snapshots are trending stable this week and snapshot 20200714 is trending at a 99 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer. Both Frameworks and Applications were in the most recent snapshot. Applications had updates for the open-source video editing software Kdenlive. Fixes were made to new clips that could possibly crash and/or make clips disappear. The Akonadi storage framework had a server fix for the fetching of attributes with empty data; the topic need to be revisited, according to the commit. Frameworks 5.72.0 added a new DAV protocol implementation with KJobs. KDE’s input/output system library KIO and the user interface builder Kirigami had multiple updates. The Kirigami update provided better collapsing handling for UI and better presentation for list header items. The virtualization package Xen had a small update for its 4.13.1 version to fix incorrect error handling in event channel port allocation; A few patches were added and a handful of Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures were addressed. The hxtools collection of tools and scripts updated to 20200712 and added a new utility for arpeggio/polyphonic mixing of bsvplay/qplay outputs. Rubygem also had several different packages updated in the snapshot.

        • Release Team Asks for Feedback on openSUSE Leap “15.2″

          The openSUSE release team is would like feedback from users, developers and stakeholders about the release of the of community-developed openSUSE Leap 15.2 through a survey.

          The survey is available at https://survey.opensuse.org.

          openSUSE Leap 15.2 was released on July 2. Two weeks of people installing the release and using it is a good timeframe to capture fresh ideas and thoughts about how people felt about the release. The survey centers on these two questions: what went well and what didn’t go well?

          That is the question the release team is asking of those who installed and used openSUSE Leap 15.2.

          The team hopes the feedback will provide enough information to help improve the release processes and other elements people found important.

          The survey will close on August 4.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Developing at the edge: Best practices for edge computing

          Edge computing continues to gain force as ever more companies increase their investments in edge, even if they’re only dipping their toes in with small-scale pilot deployments. Emerging use cases like Internet-of-Things (IoT), augmented reality, and virtual reality (AR/VR), robotics, and telecommunications-network functions are often cited as key drivers for companies moving computing to the edge. Traditional enterprises are also looking at edge computing to better support their remote offices, retail locations, manufacturing plants, and more. At the network edge, service providers can deploy an entirely new class of services to take advantage of their proximity to customers.

          In this article, we consider edge computing from the perspective of application developers. The developer perspective is vital because the applications being developed today—leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)—reveal new opportunities to deliver services and optimize costs.

        • Improved navigation in the OpenShift 4.5 Developer perspective

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

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

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

        • Side-by-side Extensibility with Red Hat and the IBM Evolution Platform for SAP

          IBM and SAP just announced a collaboration to deliver accelerated digital transformation, leverage the SAP intelligent suite as well as SAP Cloud and on-premise solutions and decrease time to S/4HANA migration, all while extending and enhancing SAP solutions. Red Hat Integration is at the heart of the side-by-side extensibility solutions from SAP, specifically Red Hat Fuse and Red Hat 3scale API Management.

        • GSOC Progress Report for Linux System Roles

          June was my first month as a GSOC student, and I must say is has been a tough but fun ride! I’ve been working at improving the Linux System Roles Network Role. My main focus for this summer is being able to improve the testing systems. In order to achieve that, I will introduce Pytest as a tool for the integration tests.

          About Me

          I’m a 23 years old student based in Spain. I discovered the world of free software just two years ago, while finishing my degree. After that, I decided to study a master in Computation and joined SUGUS/GNU Linux, the free software group of my University. Thanks to their support I was able to discover Fedora and other cool software, too.

        • Madeline Peck: (Practically!) Half Way Through Internship

          Can you believe that tomorrow on the 17th it’s officially half way through my summer internship?! I can’t :O

          Let’s see what have I been up to?

          Over the weekend I finished creating a really low key zine for my 11 year old neighbor.

        • Fedora 33 Is Shaping Up To Be One Of Its Biggest Releases Ever

          Fedora 33 is easily shaping up to be one of the biggest releases ever for this long-time Linux distribution formerly known as Fedora Core. It’s just not a few big features like Fedora desktop variants defaulting to Btrfs but even just on feature count alone it’s looking by far to be one of the biggest at least in a number of years if not ever.

          Fedora 33 has seen 40 system-wide changes submitted and 18 self-contained changes. For the broad system-wide changes, at 43 it’s nearly double that of usual Fedora releases with the likes of F32 seeing only 23 changes or 21 for F31. The second highest release for number of system wide changes was 31 for Fedora 28… Seeing above 40 is rather historic as outlined by this mailing list post via Zbigniew Jędrzejewski-Szmek.

      • Debian Family

        • DebConf Videoteam Sprint Report — DebConf20@Home

          DebConf20 starts in about 5 weeks, and as always, the DebConf Videoteam is working hard to make sure it’ll be a success. As such, we held a sprint from July 9th to 13th to work on our new infrastructure.

          [...]

          For DebConf20, we strongly encourage presenters to record their talks in advance and send us the resulting video. We understand this is more work, but we think it’ll make for a more agreeable conference for everyone. Video conferencing is still pretty wonky and there is nothing worse than a talk ruined by a flaky internet connection or hardware failures.

          As such, if you are giving a talk at DebConf this year, we are asking you to read and follow our guide on how to record your presentation.

          Fear not: we are not getting rid of the Q&A period at the end of talks. Attendees will ask their questions — either on IRC or on a collaborative pad — and the Talkmeister will relay them to the speaker once the pre-recorded video has finished playing.

        • Abhijith PA: Workstation setup

          Recently I’ve seen lot of people sharing about their home office setup. I thought why don’t I do something similar. Not to beat FOMO, but in future when I revisit this blog, it will be lovely to understand that I had some cool stuffs.

          There are people who went deep down in the ocean to lay cables for me to have a remote job and I am thankful to them.

          Being remote my home is my office. On my work table I have a Samsung R439 laptop. I’ve blogged about it earlier. New addition is that it have another 4GB RAM, a total of 6GB and 120GB SSD. I run Debian testing on it. Laptop is placed on a stand. Dell MS116 as external mouse always connected to it. I also use an external keyboard from fingers. The keys are very stiff so I don’t recommend this to anyone. The only reason I took this keyboard that it is in my budget and have a backlit, which I needed most.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 Reaches End of Life. Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 As Soon As Possible!

          I have explained Ubuntu release cycle and end of life in detail earlier. I’ll reiterate what it means to you and your system if continue using Ubuntu 19.10 beyond this point.

          Software usually have a predefined life cycle and once a software version reaches end of life, it stops getting updates and support.

          Beyond the end of life, Ubuntu 19.10 won’t get system updates, security updates or application updates from Ubuntu anymore.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” Reached End of Life, Upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Now

          Ubuntu 19.10 “Eoan Ermine” was released nine months ago, on October 17th, 2019. Highlights included the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment series, the Linux 5.3 kernel series, as well as initial support for ZFS as the root file system, an implementation available via the Ubiquity graphical installer.

          Other highlights included WPA3 support, DLNA sharing support, LZ4 as default compression algorithm for the Linux kernel and initramfs on all supported architectures for improved boot speed, as well as additional default hardening options enabled in GCC for stronger security.

        • Flutter is Coming to Linux

          Google and Canonical have joined forces to bring Flutter to the Linux desktop.

          Google’s open-source UI framework for building Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows has added another platform…Linux. And with over 500,000 developers working with Flutter (and over 80,000 apps built with the framework), this could mean a boon for apps on Linux.

          But that’s not all. Canonical (the creators and maintainers of Ubuntu) have dedicated developers to the task. In fact, Ken VanDine, Canonical engineering manager, said this of the move:

          Canonical is making a significant investment in Flutter by dedicating a team of developers to work alongside Google’s developers to bring the best Flutter experience to the majority of Linux distributions. Canonical will continue to collaborate with Google to further improve Linux support and maintain feature parity with the other supported platforms.

        • Ubuntu Will No Longer Ship “Popularity Contest” Package By Default

          Eventually, PopCon’s statistics help Ubuntu developers determine which packages should be included by default in Ubuntu ISO and which package bugs need to be fixed first.

          Since PopCon is broken and no longer works, Ubuntu will remove the package from the default installation. For the end-users, it’s neither a loss nor an advantage from the removal of PopCon.

          [...]

          If you uninstall the Popularity Contest package, it will also remove the ubuntu-standard package, which is not recommended. Hence, I would say you don’t have to do anything as the package doesn’t compromise your privacy and security.

        • No More “Popularity Contest” Package By Default : Ubuntu

          New installs of Ubuntu desktops will be without any “Popularity Contest” package. Popularity Contest Or PopCon will be removed from the standard seed as mentioned by the Ubuntu. Ubuntu will remove the package from the default installation.

          [...]

          PopCon or Ubuntu Popularity Contest is a pre-installed package in Ubuntu. It has been installed by default Linux since 2006 (Ubuntu 6.10). You can vote on your popular and most-used application every week.

        • Linux Mint 20 Continues to Excel in All Tasks

          The Linux Mint distribution has always shipped with a classical desktop layout through its history all the way since 2007; A panel on the bottom having a menu, launchers and opened windows on the left side, with system tray icons on the right side.

          The consistency of the desktop design and the general workflow in Mint is an invaluable comfort for most average PC users and even advanced users who do not want to bother with their desktop environment’s philosophy, and instead, prefer to use a practical one throughout the ages to just do their work on their PCs. It is more important especially these days where other Linux desktops/distributions typically destroy the entire UX consistency in each few releases.

        • Best practices for an effective remote team in the world of cloud delivery

          Effective communication between customers, engineers, and project managers is the most critical element of successful cloud delivery. This has always been the case, but it is doubly important in the absence of regular, face-to-face contact.

          For remote teams, instant messaging is an invaluable tool. Internally, we use instant messaging both to keep in touch with one another and to coordinate on projects. However, it’s important to keep these two purposes separate. Maintaining one social channel and one business-focused channel prevents casual conversation from disrupting work.

          For communication with customers, the use of email is the standard tool. Indeed, official design decisions should not be made lightly and need to be documented. In order to avoid delays and have everyone stick to action points, we make sure to chase up through phone or message, but always need to communicate through email. This helps ensure that both parties stay up-to-date on a project’s status and that we have written confirmations.

        • Canonical Lets Global SIs Resell, Integrate Entire Portfolio

          An enhanced partner program from Canonical, publisher of the Ubuntu open-source operating system, will enable global systems integrators to resell and integrate the company’s entire portfolio of products and services for data centers, multicloud environments, the edge, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Home Assistant improves performance in 0.112 release

        The Home Assistant project has released version 0.112 of the open-source home automation hub we have previously covered, which is the eighth release of the project this year. While previous releases have largely focused on new integrations and enhancements to the front-end interface, in this release the focus has shifted more toward improving the performance of the database. It is important to be aware that there are significant database changes and multiple potential backward compatibility breaks to understand before attempting an upgrade to take advantage of the improvements.

        According to the release notes written by contributor Franck Nijhof, better performance has been a major goal of this release with a focus on both the logbook and history components. This builds on the work of the previous release (v0.111) from a performance perspective, which focused on reducing the time it takes to initialize the hub at startup.

      • tint2 – simple and light open source taskbar

        One of the many qualities that makes Linux so attractive is that the user decides how their desktop functions.

        Desktop environments like GNOME, KDE, etc appeal to many users. They provide their own window manager, system software that controls the placement and appearance of windows within a windowing system. They also provide a file manager which organizes, lists, and locates files and directories. Other aspects include a background provider, a panel to provide a menu and display information, as well as a setting/configuration manager to customize the environment.

      • Open source accounting software developed by accountants

        Over the last six months, I have been working on GoDBLedger, an open source accounting system that I feel addresses some of the issues that plague current accounting software solutions. Even in my first year as a graduate accountant, the software frustrated me because I have seen what good software can be like and how much it can improve your productivity.

        A great example of “good software” is a software developer’s Editor/IDE. Developers love their editors, and there is a huge range that is highly customizable and allows for seamless coding experience. One of the major influencing factors for the existence of great software in this area is because developers are themselves the end users—they scratch their own itches and have immediate feedback on their designs.

      • Open source success has everything to do with innovation, not vendor lock-in concerns

        The good news is that no one seems to be waiting around on the “avoiding lock-in” argument.

      • BigQuery and the Middleware Play

        A year ago this past April, remember, Google announced Anthos. Anthos was interesting not because it was a Kubernetes-based platform for hosting applications – there were many such then and there are more today. What differentiated the platform was that it was a cloud-independent piece of middleware offered by one of the cloud vendors themselves. Historically, a core approach of cloud vendors to the market has been attracting workloads to their platforms via proprietary offerings.

        With Anthos, Google inverted that model, taking the proprietary software platform and decoupling it from the underlying cloud. This is notable because it represented a change of strategy, as noted, but also because it’s a heavy lift technically. It’s much easier to get a platform stack operating in one environment than it is in multiple.

        Now with BigQuery, Google is doubling down on this approach, extending it beyond its GCP roots into other environments. This may weaken the argument for GCP compute at the margins, but it inarguably expands BigQuery’s addressable market dramatically.

        It is also suggestive of a broader shift in strategy from Google. It is possible, of course, that the Anthos-enabled cross platform BigQuery is merely a tactical announcement, one that opportunistically seeks to capitalize on Google’s database prowess but is not more broadly representative.

      • Zulip, Leading Open Source Team Chat App, Releases Version 3.0

        Zulip, the open source threaded team chat app, today announced the release of Zulip Server 3.0, with new features to help distributed and remote teams stay productive and focused.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • What’s New in Thunderbird 78

            Thunderbird 78 is our newest ESR (extended-support release), which comes out yearly and is considered the latest stable release. Right now you can download the newest version from our website, and existing users will be automatically updated in the near future. We encourage those who rely on the popular add-on Enigmail to wait to update until the automatic update rolls out to them to ensure their encrypted email settings are properly imported into Thunderbird’s new built-in OpenPGP encrypted email feature.

            Last year’s release focused on ensuring Thunderbird has a stable foundation on which to build. The new Thunderbird 78 aims to improve the experience of using Thunderbird, adding many quality-of-life features to the application and making it easier to use.

          • Thunderbird 78 Rolls Out With UI Updates, New Features

            The Thunderbird 78 mail client redesigns the message compose window, the dark mode is much improved and is now in good shape, the calendar and tasks components are now properly integrated in Thunderbird itself, the account setup area has seen improvements, end-to-end encrypted email support is now easy to setup, and a wide range of other improvements.

          • Announcing Rust 1.45.0

            The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.45.0. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

            [...]

            There are two big changes to be aware of in Rust 1.45.0: a fix for some long-standing unsoundness when casting between integers and floats, and the stabilization of the final feature needed for one of the more popular web frameworks to work on stable Rust.

          • Mozilla Telemetry in 2020: From “Just Firefox” to a “Galaxy of Data”
          • Mozilla Telemetry in 2020: From “Just Firefox” to a “Galaxy of Data”

            In the last year or so, there’s been a significant shift in the way we (Data Engineering) think about application-submitted data @ Mozilla, but although we have a new application-based SDK based on these principles (the Glean SDK), most of our data tools and documentation have not yet been updated to reflect this new state of affairs.

            Much of this story is known inside Mozilla Data Engineering, but I thought it might be worth jotting them down into a blog post as a point of reference for people outside the immediate team. Knowing this may provide some context for some our activities and efforts over the next year or two, at least until our tools, documentation, and tribal knowledge evolve.

            [...]

            The only type of low-level object that was hard to keep track of was the list of probes: Firefox is a complex piece of software and there are many aspects of it we wanted to instrument to validate performance and quality of the product – especially on the more-experimental Nightly and Beta channels. To solve this problem, a probe dictionary was created to help developers find measures that corresponded to the product area that they were interested in.

            On a higher-level, accessing this type of data using the python API quickly became slow and frustrating: the aggregation of years of Firefox ping data was hundreds of terabytes big, and even taking advantage of PySpark’s impressive capabilities, querying the data across any reasonably large timescale was slow and expensive. Here, the solution was to create derived datasets which enabled fast(er) access to pings and other derived measures, document them on docs.telemetry.mozilla.org, and then allow access to them through tools like sql.telemetry.mozilla.org or the Measurement Dashboard.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Companies toiling away the most on LibreOffice code complain ecosystem is ‘beyond utterly broken’

          The companies that do most to develop and evolve the LibreOffice productivity suite, both for desktop and cloud, say the project’s business model is “beyond utterly broken” and that The Document Foundation (TDF), the charity that hosts the project, has to change its approach.

          The matter is a subject of intense debate within the board of the foundation, set up in 2010 to oversee LibreOffice, a fork of Oracle’s OpenOffice. It touches on a question that crops up repeatedly in various contexts: as usage of open-source software continues to grow, what is the right business model to fund its development?

          The TDF’s manifesto promises “to eliminate the digital divide in society by giving everyone access to office productivity tools free of charge.” The document adds that “we encourage corporate participation” but there is nothing about providing an incentive for such companies.

          Michael Meeks, managing director at Cambridge-based Collabora, the company that contributes most full-time developers to LibreOffice, has set out the situation in (opinionated) detail here and here. “Words fail me to express how beyond-utterly-broken the existing TDF / desktop model is for the ecosystem around selling desktop LibreOffice,” he wrote.

          Meeks is an open-source veteran, having worked on GNOME, OpenOffice, and other prominent projects. Everything was fine at LibreOffice to begin with, and he calls 2012-2014 “the flourishing years.”

          Alongside Collabora, there were 15 developers from SUSE, five from Red Hat, one from Canonical, seven from the city of Munich (part of its embrace of open source), and some 40 others from various companies. Many of those have now dropped out, or reduced their commitment, leaving around 40 paid developers in total – of whom Collabora provides 25 and CIB, a Munich-based specialist in document management, seven.

        • LibreOffice chief outlines issues facing free software project

          Veteran free software and open source developer Michael Meeks has expanded on the issues faced by the LibreOffice project which were briefly touched on by iTWire recently, drawing from a post on the popular Linux Weekly News website.

          The essential issue is that money which is supposed to be paid to companies that provide support for LibreOffice is not being paid. And since that makes up most of the funds that enable development, The Document Foundation, the agency that manages LibreOffice development, has had to put together a plan for raising funds.

          Meeks, who works as general manager at Collabora Productivity, a company that sells LibreOffice support, told iTWire: “I think the community reaction in summary is ‘go slower’, there are a lot of moving pieces that intersect here – the board has been talking about them for a long time, but the community have come fresh to them, and need time to digest them, to interact and ask questions before coming up with proposals.

          “That’s very positive, I think. At the core of the situation currently we have the problem of the perception that LibreOffice either creates itself (via the magic of volunteers), or that TDF creates it (by unknown means or by donations).”

      • FSF

        • Free software is what unites us

          This spring, as the time for planning our biannual appeal came around, we discussed the difficult time all of us are experiencing: charities like us, the free software community, and every individual. And it led us to consider why people from all walks of life cherish user freedom.

          The socially distant, digital way in which we are carrying on our work and private lives is affecting our software freedom. Globally, decisions to transition to an online and remote life were made with less consideration than we normally put into them, giving proprietary corporations access to parts of our lives we normally protect. Lately, we have been pointing to grim examples of bulk surveillance and privacy violations in the realms of education and communication to help everyone understand why this fight is so important.

          But we shouldn’t forget that free software is an inherently positive story. It celebrates the creativity and skill that come from collaboration, and the freedom that you have if you understand a program or can freely choose to rely on information about it from someone you trust. Having the right to read, modify, contribute to, and share software we use has changed our lives, and countless others. There are so many people who continue to motivate us to fight for free software with their work, so we decided to ask them to share their stories on why they love free software, and what user freedom means to them or their business.

      • Programming/Development

        • The Most Remarkable Legacy System I Have Seen

          Good news, this wasn’t a regression due to the recent upgrade and this was easy to sort out. Blocked Internet Explorer and sent a notice to the 5000 developers that Internet Explorer is no longer supported. Problem solved!

          [For reference: It’s best to hard block IE for user experience, IE users are used to retrying in another browser. Maybe one third of internal apps developed in the last years don’t work at all outside of Chrome, the page remains blank or has broken widgets all over the place.]

          The upgrade continued as planned.

        • Perl/Raku

          • The Swiss Raku and Perl Miniconf 2020 Will Not Take Place

            Hello from the Swiss Alps, where we have been working from home and avoiding all but essential trips out like so many others over the last few months.

            The current situation has led to the cancellation of several community events, including this year’s main Raku and Perl conferences in North American and Europe. We have been following the situation closely in Switzerland, and have also decided not to go ahead with our event this year.

        • Python

          • Flask Dashboard – AdminLTE

            This article presents a freebie dashboard coded in Flask, on top of iconic AdminLTE, a well-known design actively supported by 150+ contributors and 35k Github stars.

            [...]

            Flask is a lightweight WSGI web application framework. It is designed to make getting started quick and easy, with the ability to scale up to complex applications. Classified as a microframework, Flask is written in Python and it does not require particular tools or libraries. It has no database abstraction layer, form validation, or any other components where pre-existing third-party libraries provide common functions.

          • Test and Code: Better Resumes for Software Engineers – Randall Kanna

            A great resume is key to landing a great software job.
            There’s no surprise there.
            But so many people make mistakes on their resume that can very easily be fixed.

            Randall Kanna is on the show today to help us understand how to improve our resumes, and in turn, help us have better careers.

          • ReportLab 101: Intro to the Canvas (Video)

            In this video, you will get an introduction to ReportLab’s Canvas object. You use ReportLab to create PDFs using Python and this tutorial will show you one way to accomplish that

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 009 – Python Functions, Basics
          • PyCharm 2020.2 EAP#4

            The last PyCharm EAP build before the release candidate is ready and comes with a lot of new functionalities! Let’s take a look into three UX-related improvements that will make your development experience smoother.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 7: Templates Tutorial

            I researched for the HTML Report design that is good looking and more feature rich. I have been working on and developing it. The new HTML Report will have support for Triage stuff. So that the user can quickly navigate to CVEs with specified remarks. I have also added a footer with useful links like our github, community IRC, and instructions on how to raise an issue.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #7

            This week I added checkers for avahi and bind libraries. Also there were some changes that had to be made in the out of tree checker, so I completed work on that too.

        • Java

          • Migrating Spring Boot tests to Quarkus

            As developers, we don’t always consider test migration when we think about adopting a new framework. Tests are important, however, because they ensure that our code meets its requirements and works as desired, especially when we add new features and functionality.

            Test migration is an essential part of migrating to a new application development framework. This article is for developers who are migrating a Spring Boot application to Quarkus. I will use three sample tests to demonstrate a test migration from Spring Boot to Quarkus. While Quarkus is compatible with Spring Boot Web, not all of Spring Boot’s test functionalities map to Quarkus. I will introduce you to other test dependencies and Quarkus capabilities that you can use in these cases.

  • Leftovers

    • Blue Steak on Lygon Street: The Mario Corniola Effect

      “Is it blue enough?” he growled in affectionate inquiry, referring to the rib eye steak with pepper sauce. Suitably well, came the reply to Mario Corniola. The dish was a specialty that, till the coronavirus struck, made Il Cantuccio on Melbourne’s Lygon Street the most darling of places, a jewel on a stretch of restaurants famed for matters Italian. Mario, the proprietor, had been the chief of the kitchen, the garrulous owner who managed to charm patrons for decades. Aided by his formidable wife, Lori, and other members of the family clan, the restaurant became a Calabrian sanctuary on an island continent.

    • I Want to Make Art

      So this is a message to myself, and a reminder to you, that this is the path I am becoming increasingly drawn to.

      Please, don’t let me ignore the call for too long.

    • No Room for Design

      Internet culture has evolved in numerous ways over the years, from its chaotic roots on Usenet and bulletin boards into the modern social networks that have become key to our digital interactions. But one thing that’s been lost along the way is design—not the design of the platforms, themselves, but the freedom to take a piece of internet land and make it your own. Sites like Geocities and MySpace get mocked today because of their often ugly looks, but these sites were some of the most important and fundamental for digital creativity, that encouraged people to experiment and try things. And our modern social networks have moved away from this. To me, that’s sad. I want that back. Today’s Tedium ponders social media, customization, and design (or lack thereof). — Ernie @ Tedium

    • Google blew a ten-year lead.

      Back when there were rumors of Google building an operating system, I thought “Lol.”

      Then I watched then-PM Sundar Pichai announce Chrome OS. My heart raced. It was perfect.

      I got my email through Gmail, I wrote documents on Docs, I listened to Pandora, I viewed photos on TheFacebook. Why did I need all of Windows Vista?

      In 2010, I predicted that by 2020 Chrome OS would be the most popular desktop OS in the world. It was fast, lightweight, and $0.

      “Every Windows and OS X app will be re-built for the browser!” I thought. Outlook->Gmail. Excel->Sheets. Finder->Dropbox. Photoshop->Figma. Terminal->Repl.it.

      All of your files would be accessible by whoever you wanted, wherever you wanted, all the time. It was obvious. Revolutionary.

      I haven’t installed MSFT Office on a machine since 2009. Sheets and Docs have been good enough for me. The theoretical unlimited computing power and collaboration features meant Google Docs was better than Office (and free!).

      Then something happened at Google. I’m not sure what. But they stopped innovating on cloud software.

    • Microsoft Prepares For A Life With Google

      Microsoft has been working to ensure that Android itself is able to support the dual-screened devices, offering code back to the open source project with additions including those to the browser and to the base Android Open Source Project. These support the non-standard display tech that Microsot is relying on to help the Surface Duo stand out.

    • Science

      • The New Lysenkoism in Washington

        Trofim Lysenko was a Soviet scientist born in 1898. Lysenko didn’t believe in evolution or modern genetics. In a story for The Atlantic in 2017, Sam Kean described how Lysenko believed that the environment “shaped” animals and plants and thought that he could “educate” Soviet crops to germinate at different times of the year by subjecting them to extreme conditions; soaking plants in freezing water was supposed to confer a resistance to cold in future generations. These ideas, as preposterous as growing orange trees in Siberia, caught the attention of a powerful politician, none other than Joseph Stalin himself, who put Lysenko in charge of Soviet agricultural policies. To the millions killed deliberately in the Holodomor—Stalin’s man-made famine in Ukraine—Lysenko added millions more who perished when the imposition of his policies led to widespread crop failure. When bad science meets politicians looking for easy answers, you can get a whole lot of trouble.

    • Education

      • There Are Literally No Good Options for Educating Our Kids This Fall

        After the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, President Barack Obama delivered what I have always believed to be the best speech of his presidency. He talked about what it’s like to be a parent, and the critical realization, experienced by most parents, that you can’t keep your children safe or teach them well without the help of your friends and neighbors. Then he expanded that idea to include the whole of society. He said, “This is our first task—caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.”

      • Schools: To Open or Not to Open? That Is Not the Question.

        The US safety net is made up of an interlocking network of means-tested programs (like Medicaid or food stamps) and government entitlements (like Social Security). It guarantees the welfare of folks rendered vulnerable—by deprivation, devastation, or deterioration. Yet this vital state function is chronically defunded and nearly defunct. As a result, inequality is extreme and growing in the United States.

      • Racial Disparities in Science and Math Education Are Hurting Black Communities

        In conjunction with the global uprising against white supremacy and the ongoing murder of Black people by police, academics and educators are mobilizing to bring awareness to deep educational disparities around science and math education for Black students and other students of color — a dynamic that perpetuates structural inequalities along racial lines.

      • Despite Trump Reversal on Visas, Struggles of International Students Haven’t Ended

        If the violence or discrimination doesn’t seem as spectacular as the recent ICE directive to the U.S. liberal taste, it too often gets normalized and remains ignored.

      • ‘The Science Should Not Stand in the Way’ of Reopening US Schools, Says White House Press Secretary

        Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday argued that schools should ignore Centers for Disease Control guidance on reopening. 

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Petnet ‘Smart’ Feeder Customers Are Stuck In ‘Internet Of Broken Things’ Purgatory

          Back in February, $130 “smart” pet feeders from a company named Petnet simply stopped working. When customers reached out to the company to complain, they hit a complete and total brick wall in terms of functioning customer service. Emails and phone calls weren’t returned (or wound up undeliverable), and the company simply refused to answer annoyed customer inquiries on Twitter or Facebook.

        • Facebook Beats NSO’s Attempt to Crush WhatsApp Malware Suit

          The case is WhatsApp Inc. v. NSO Group Technologies Limited, 19-cv-07123, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (Oakland).

        • Netflix names content chief Ted Sarandos as co-CEO

          Sarandos, who joined Netflix in 1999 and has been with the company for more than 20 years, has long served as chief content officer, a role that has involved overseeing Netflix’s massively successfully originals program starting with series like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards. Since then, Sarandos has transformed the company into one of the biggest power players in Hollywood. As part of the move, Sarandos has also been elected to the board of directors.

        • Oh No, Microsoft, Don’t Mess With Notepad and Paint

          Microsoft just can’t catch a break with all its updates that seem to cause more problems. The company rolled out a Windows 10 update yesterday which fixed a major DNS security flaw (and a few other things), but in the process might have removed Notepad, Paint, or WordPad for some users if they were updating to version 2004 at the same time.

          Over the last month, there have been several Windows 10 user reports on the Microsoft forms of those apps disappearing after updating to version 2004, so it seems like yesterday’s update isn’t actually the root cause of the problem. Gizmodo has reached out to Microsoft for more clarification, and we’ll update this article if/when we hear back.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Netflix releases open-source crisis-management tool

              Earlier this year, Netflix developed and released a new Apache-licensed project named Dispatch. It is designed to coordinate the response to and the resolution of security-related incidents, but the project aims for more than just that. Rather, it hopes to be valuable for any type of one-off incident that needs coordination across an organization, such as a service outage.

              The idea behind Dispatch is to serve as a central clearinghouse for incidents, specifically focusing on four areas: resource management (Netflix’s phrase describing both the data about the incident and the data about the response), individual engagement, incident life-cycle, and what Netflix calls “incident learning” — the ability to build off past incidents to inform future ones. Under the hood, the project runs on Python 3.7+ with FastAPI for the server, a PostgreSQL database, and VueJS for the web-based UI.

              End users configure and interact with Dispatch primarily through a web interface, and the provided user documentation explains day-to-day use of the tool. For lower-level administrative and development needs, multiple tools are accessible via the command-line.

              Fundamentally, Dispatch is a dispatcher and coordinator of data across many pre-existing tools within an organization. Rather than taking the approach of creating a “batteries included” solution, Dispatch takes advantage of the existing APIs provided by common tools used in an organization, such as Google’s office suite (GSuite), Jira, and Slack. Unfortunately, the project does not currently support any open-source alternatives to these tools out-of-box.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • The Linux Foundation develops certification to enable cloud native pros demonstrate competence

                “The Certified Kubernetes Security Specialist exam will help grow the pool of qualified talent, while also providing employers with confidence that their teams are able to handle the challenges of securing these technologies.”

                “As the use of Kubernetes in production soars, it is critical that those who are managing it understand how to do so securely,” said Priyanka Sharma, general manager, Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

        • Security

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (evolution-data-server and webkit2gtk), Fedora (kernel, snapd, and xen), openSUSE (thunderbird and xen), Oracle (dbus and thunderbird), Red Hat (java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, jbig2dec, sane-backends, and thunderbird), Scientific Linux (kernel), SUSE (cairo, containerd, docker, docker-runc, golang-github-docker-libnetwork, google-compute-engine, mailman, mercurial, openconnect, openexr, and xrdp), and Ubuntu (libvpx and snapd).

          • A container security checklist: 5 key questions to answer

            Enterprises are increasingly running applications in cloud-native environments using containers, along with orchestration tools such as Kubernetes, to facilitate scalability and resilience. If your organization falls into this category (and the chances are good that it does today, or plans to soon), you must make securing the deployment a top priority.

            If you’re uncertain about your current security posture, begin by answering these five key questions that address security requirements across the entire container lifecycle, from the point where you’re building container images to where they are running live.

          • ROS Security Benchmark open for public comment

            We’re pleased to announce that the Center for Internet Security (CIS) has publicly released the ROS Security Benchmark for community discussion. When published, this benchmark will document community best-practice configuration settings to properly secure ROS Melodic running on Ubuntu Bionic. Hopefully this is just the beginning of an ongoing effort to define different security profiles for all ROS LTS distributions. Please join the community and help define the right security settings that both protect and enable ROS!

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Surveillance pandemic Russia carried out surveillance on an unprecedented scale during the coronavirus lockdown

              The Russian authorities organized unprecedented, large-scale surveillance over the country’s citizens during the coronavirus pandemic, says a new report titled “Surveillance Pandemic” from the human rights organization “Agora.” In many cases, this was carried out not only in violation of personal data laws, but also by organizations that cannot and should not be responsible for monitoring. 

            • As Expected, US Surveillance Of Social Media Leads To EU Court Of Justice Rejecting EU/US Privacy Shield

              This one sounds boring, but stick with it because it’s important. Because the US and the EU have vastly different privacy regulation regimes, there has always been some conflict over how (mainly) US internet companies handle data from the EU. For years, this was “settled” by a weird and mostly useless “EU-US data protection safe harbor” agreement, in which US companies would have to get “certified” that they kept EU-originated data protected at an “equivalent” level to how it would be protected in the EU when transferring it across the Atlantic to US-based data centers. It was a bit of a nuisance as a company (we went through the process ourselves), but in 2015 the entire safe harbor agreement was invalidated by the EU Court of Justice because of the NSA’s ongoing snooping on data from those internet companies, as revealed by Ed Snowden.

            • ‘A Victory for Us All’: In Rebuke to US Mass Surveillance, EU Court Blocks Data Transfers by Web Corporations

              “U.S. surveillance violates fundamental privacy rights and continues to be a massive financial liability for U.S. companies trying to compete in a global market.”

            • EU Court Again Rules That NSA Spying Makes U.S. Companies Inadequate for Privacy

              The European Union’s highest court today made clear—once again—that the US government’s mass surveillance programs are incompatible with the privacy rights of EU citizens. The judgment was made in the latest case involving Austrian privacy advocate and EFF Pioneer Award winner Max Schrems. It invalidated the “Privacy Shield,” the data protection deal that secured the transatlantic data flow, and narrowed the ability of companies to transfer data using individual agreements (Standard Contractual Clauses, or SCCs).

              Despite the many “we are disappointed” statements by the EU Commission, U.S. government officials, and businesses, it should come as no surprise, since it follows the reasoning the court made in Schrems’ previous case, in 2015.

            • Amazon, Google, Microsoft sued over photos in facial recognition database

              Amazon, Google parent Alphabet and Microsoft used people’s photos to train their facial recognition technologies without obtaining the subjects’ permission, in violation of an Illinois biometric privacy statute, a trio of federal lawsuits filed Tuesday allege.

              The photos in question were part of IBM’s Diversity in Faces database, which is designed to advance the study of fairness and accuracy in facial recognition by looking at more than just skin tone, age and gender. The data includes 1 million images of human faces, annotated with tags such as face symmetry, nose length and forehead height.

              The two Illinois residents who brought the lawsuits, Steven Vance and Tim Janecyk, say their images were included in that data set without their permission, despite clearly identifying themselves as residents of Illinois. Collection, storage and use of biometric information is illegal in the state without written consent under the Biometric Information Privacy Act, passed by the Illinois legislature in 2008.

            • Twitter Revises Strategy on Data Sharing for More Developers

              The social-media company has long offered three versions of its API, or application programming interface, which allows outside developers to access large numbers of public tweets for activities such as research and customer service. Twitter plans to create more free and paid versions of those offerings as a way to entice more customers to use them, including a special set of APIs specifically for researchers, the company said Thursday in a statement.

              An updated version of the “standard” API, which is free for all developers, was supposed to launch Thursday with new data from some of Twitter’s features, like poll results and threaded conversations. But the company delayed the rollout until next week after Wednesday’s security breach in which [cr]ackers took over many of the service’s most popular accounts, including those of former President Barack Obama and Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, in a scam to gain Bitcoin.

            • CJEU invalidates “Privacy Shield” in US Surveillance case. SCCs cannot be used by Facebook and similar companies.

              Facebook and similar companies may also not use “SCCs” to transfer data as DPC must stop transfers under this instrument. Schrems: “We need US surveillance reform. The Court has clarified that there cannot be any transfer of data in violation of EU law.”

              Max Schrems’ (chair of noyb.eu and party to the case) first reaction to the judgment:

              Schrems: “I am very happy about the judgment. It seems the Court has followed us in all aspects. This is a total blow to the Irish DPC and Facebook. It is clear that the US will have to seriously change their surveillance laws, if US companies want to continue to play a major role on the EU market.”

            • Europe’s Top Court Strikes Down Key Rules Of U.S.-EU Data Transfer

              In other words, the deal’s principal flaws rest not so much with its member companies’ practices, as with the U.S. government itself. Justices found that federal laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “cannot be regarded as limited to what is strictly necessary” and fail to meet “minimum safeguards” guaranteed by the EU.

              “The requirements of US national security, public interest and law enforcement have primacy, thus condoning interference with the fundamental rights of persons whose data are transferred,” the court wrote in a press release explaining the decision.

            • Max Schrems case: EU court rejects data transfer tool

              Europe’s top court has declared an arrangement under which companies transfer personal data from the European Union to the United States invalid due to concerns about US surveillance powers.

              The ruling in the long-running battle between Facebook, Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, and the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems found that the so-called Privacy Shield agreement does not offer sufficient protection of EU citizens’ personal data.

            • In a victory for privacy, the EU Court of Justice bins EU-US Privacy Shield

              Today, in a landmark decision, the Court of Justice of the European Union struck down the EU-US Privacy Shield as it fails to protect people’s rights to privacy, data protection and access to remedy.

              The decision comes as part of the ruling on the “Schrems II” case, which deals with larger EU-US data transfer questions, and led to the invalidation of this deal under which companies can self-certify to move data from the EU to the US.

              Since the adoption of the Privacy Shield in 2016, Access Now has repeatedly called for the suspension of this deal due to its failures. Each year since, we have provided extensive comments to the European Commission on the annual review of the functioning of the deal. We have repeatedly highlighted legal and policy developments that called into question the validity of the arrangement, including enhanced US surveillance that show disregard for human rights globally.

            • A Tangled, Twisted Route to Privacy Shield Invalidity?

              The latest case, dubbed “Schrems II” – Case C-311/18 — was in fact brought by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner against both Facebook Ireland Limited and Maximillian Schrems. Facebook’s European headquarters is in Ireland making the Irish DPC the relevant authority.

              There is a provision in EU law – so-called Article 4 – that allows individual data protection authorities to suspend data transfers to other countries if there is evidence of data protection rights being breached. Schrems says the onus was on the Irish DPC to do this, and it was negligent in failing to act. Hence the case by the Irish Data Protection Commission was referred to the ECJ via the Irish High Court.

              [...]

              Whatever the outcome, it may not be the final word on the matter of EU-U.S. data transfers and the Privacy Shield – a forthcoming case, T-738/16, La Quadrature Du Net and Others v Commission, will rule directly on the validity of Privacy Shield.

            • Background on CJEU “Schrems II” Case

              Therefore, as a potentially useful aide-mémoire, see as follows for a timeline of the key events (with links to relevant documents provided for any ardent individuals wishing to squeeze in some last-minute reading!) leading up to tomorrow’s judgment – [...]

            • Key EU Data Transfer Tools in Focus in Facebook, Schrems Clash

              In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), introduced in 2018, seeks to increase individuals’ control over their personal information. Companies that fail to comply are liable to fines of up to 4% of global annual turnover.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘A Tragic Illusion’: Did the Atom Bomb Make the United Nations Obsolete Three Weeks After its Birth?

        The failures of the atomic age were clear from the very start—as w. And the burden remains.

      • Veterans Go to Washington: So What?

        If you still follow the mainstream media, you’re probably part of the 38% of registered voters who knew something about the op-ed Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) published in the New York Times early in June, exhorting the president to use the Insurrection Act to “restore order to our streets.” This was in response to what he called “anarchy” but others saw as peaceful Black Lives Matter protests. And yet that op-ed was actually less incendiary than an earlier tweet of Cotton’s demanding “no quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters” or his Fox News call to send the 101st Airborne onto the streets of America.

      • In Another Dead-of-Night Ruling, US Supreme Court’s Right-Wing Majority Approves Execution of Man With Dementia

        “Proceeding with Purkey’s execution now, despite the grave questions and factual findings regarding his mental competency, casts a shroud of constitutional doubt over the most irrevocable of injuries.”

      • Cut the Pentagon 10 Percent, Invest in Public Health

        Tanks and ships can’t save us from our greatest dangers, so let’s pay for the things that can.

      • The U.S. Struggle for Justice for Palestine Begins a New Chapter

        2020 has indisputably been a chaotic year. From the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent disruption of daily life, to the killing of George Floyd and the passionate resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement that followed, to the looming general election: there has been plenty occupying the minds and newsfeeds of Americans. But in between all the headline-grabbing stories, another movement has been gaining traction: the effort to end the United States’ enablement of Israeli apartheid and finally bring peace and justice to the Palestinian people.

      • Over 200 National DNC Delegates Call for Withholding of US Military Aid to Israel if Further Annexation Goes Forward

        “It is past time for the Party to reaffirm the position of Democratic voters and support human rights and self-determination for Palestinians.”

      • US Intelligence Turns to the Boogaloo Movement

        The intelligence report, dated June 1, 2020, and marked “For Official Use Only,” was provided by a federal law enforcement official on condition of anonymity to avoid professional reprisal. The DHS did not respond to a request for comment.

        The Boogaloo movement has been implicated in a string of horrific murders in the past several months, so it’s not surprising that federal agencies would be monitoring them. The report does not disclose which agencies produced the intelligence, but the Intelligence Community isn’t a typical organization—it includes within it top-tier intelligence bodies like the CIA, the NSA, and the FBI.

      • An American Warship Has Been on Fire for 48 Hours

        The USS Bonhomme Richard is a Wasp-_class amphibious assault ship. _Wasp_-class ships look like miniature aircraft carriers, and though aircraft launch from them, they’re primarily used to make amphibious assaults. A ship like the _USS Bonhomme Richard can come right up to shore and deploy Marines and ground vehicles.

        The ship has a crew size of around 1,000, but only 160 Sailors were present when the fire started. According to the Navy, 36 Sailors and 23 civilians have been injured in the fire but no one has died. Most of the injuries are due to heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Most have recovered after brief stays in a local hospital. As of this writing, the Navy has said that 17 sailors and four civilians are still recovering from non-life threatening injuries related to the fire.

        The Navy is hopeful that the ship is salvageable, but as the hours tick by and the fire continues, that’s looking like a distant possibility. The ship’s forward mast has collapsed and Navy officials are describing an inferno inside where temperatures are reaching as high as 1,000 degrees fahrenheit.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Thousands of Small Business Owners Have Not Gotten Disaster Loans the Government Promised Them

        A $360 billion stimulus program that offers disaster relief to small businesses has been hobbled by delays and confusion, leaving millions of applicants harmed by the coronavirus pandemic waiting months for grants and loans — if the funds ever came at all.

        The Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, or EIDL (pronounced “idle”), was supposed to give small businesses grants and low-cost loans to help with the economic fallout from COVID-19. Though EIDL has gotten less attention than the $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, 8 million small businesses have applied since it was opened to coronavirus-related applications in March. Unlike PPP, the EIDL loans come directly from the government and small businesses can use them for six months’ worth of general operating expenses, not just payroll.

      • It’s Time to Shut the Country Down — and Pay People to Stay Home

        The school districts for the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, San Francisco and Atlanta have announced that all fall classes will be held online because of the current eruption of new COVID-19 cases across the South and West. Last night, however, Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp issued an order nullifying all locally declared mask mandates in the state, including in Atlanta.

      • Money Capital vs Life Capital: the War of Values We Live or Die By

        Author of UNESCOs ‘Philosophy and World Problems’, Professor John McMurtry is questioned on the planetary life-system crisis by media critic Dr. Jeffery Klaehn.

      • Bolstering Case for Extending Unemployment Relief—and Higher Wages Overall—Study Shows Recipients Spent More During Pandemic

        “Shocker: Working people spend money when they have it.”

      • With Unemployment at Historic Heights, Congress Must Extend $600 Lifeline to Workers

        The millions who will remain jobless after the extra $600 is cut off will have no choice but to drastically cut their spending, causing a sharp decline in their living standards, an increase in poverty, and completely unnecessary suffering. 

      • Bernie Sanders Is Right, Now Is the Time for Free College

        With youth unemployment and student debt skyrocketing, young people need free higher education.

      • It’s Going to be a Long, Hard Recession

        When the unemployment rate goes up, a standard theme in the media is that workers don’t have the right skills. We saw that yesterday in the New York Times when an article told us “The Pandemic Has Accelerated Demands for a More Skilled Workforce.” It tells us how the growth of telecommuting in response to the pandemic has led to more demand for skilled labor and less demand for less-skilled workers.

      • Disturbing Memo Reveals Trump’s USPS Chief Has Slowed Delivery

        President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed U.S. postmaster general ordered the endangered public service Monday to make major cost-cutting changes, which could slow mail delivery.

      • Laos Has Tackled COVID-19, But It Is Drowning in Debt to International Finance

        On June 11, Laos (Lao People’s Democratic Republic)—a country of 7 million in Southeast Asia—said it had temporarily prevailed over COVID-19. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said that his country had “gained an important victory in the first campaign against this vicious enemy.” The first cases of COVID-19 detected in Laos were registered on March 24; a total of 19 people had been infected with the virus by April 12, and—after 58 days of no new cases—the last patient was discharged on June 9. There were no new cases of COVID-19 in Laos since April 12 (93 days of no new cases as of July 14). There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in Laos.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Cancel Culture’ Cannot Erase a Strong Argument

        I’m not concerned about myself but about the progressive community’s capacity for critical thinking and respectful debate.

      • Sudan finally repeals death penalty for quitting Islam

        Sudanese Justice Minister Nasredeen Abdulbari revealed during a televised interview on 11 July, 2020 that the government is currently working to drop all discriminatory provisions in its constitution. Al-Bashir pushed for the Sharia law after he took power in 1989.

        “We cancelled the Article 126 of the Sudanese Criminal Law and have ensured religious freedom and the equality in citizenship and rule of law,” he said.

      • Amid Sri Lankan elections, YouTube censors Tamil-language WSWS posts

        In recent weeks, YouTube has censored several podcasts of Tamil-language WSWS articles uploaded to the Tamil WSWS Facebook page via YouTube. The administrators of the Tamil WSWS Facebook page challenged each of these acts of censorship, and each video has been made publicly available again, but after several days’ delay. Even though YouTube’s decision to re-post each video after censoring it makes clear that the Tamil WSWS is not violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines, this censorship is continuing.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • How Protester Occupations Can Succeed

        Nationwide demonstrations, mobilized around the Black Lives Matter movement’s response to the killing of George Floyd, were held in all fifty states and in 5,000 cities. Rallies were held in public squares and larger cities saw their freeways and bridges blocked. Only a few cities ( Richmond, Va.; Philadelphia; Oakland, CA, and New York City ) experienced occupations of a public space. None of them were sustained for long, except Seattle, which went on for a month.

      • Moscow police arrested more than 100 protesters during a peaceful march
      • The Michigan Supreme Court Is Reviewing the Case of a Teenager Incarcerated After Not Doing Online Schoolwork During the Pandemic

        The Michigan Supreme Court said Thursday it is reviewing the circumstances of a case involving a 15-year-old girl who has been in detention since mid-May after a judge determined she violated her probation by not doing her online schoolwork during the pandemic.

        That news came the same day attorneys for the teenager filed a motion in court seeking an emergency review and reconsideration of her case and more than 200 people formed a car caravan to protest on her behalf outside the Oakland County Courthouse.

      • Protesters supporting ‘New Greatness’ case defendants arrested outside Moscow FSB headquarters

        Moscow police have begun arresting protesters for carrying out single-person demonstrations outside of the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters on Lubyanka square. At least six people have been detained, including literary critic Anna Narinskaya.

      • Shaking Up Your Perceptions

        Yes, people, I know. The concept of universal human rights is a time-bound, culture-bound idol, hammered out by the European bourgeoisie in a forge of hypocrisy. I will not bend the knee. But as a student of Marx, I also know that nothing useful ever comes into our world unless somebody invents it. Each day, in a purely secular spirit, I remember to thank the European bourgeoisie and Eleanor Roosevelt for having developed the idea behind the idol: the proposition that there ought to be enforceable limits to authority’s sway over every person, no matter where.

      • A New Generation of Protest Holds Great Promise for America

        The inspiring rise of a new generation protesting against racial injustice is driving a new era of change in America, like the generation that emerged 60 years ago to build the civil rights movement of that time.

      • Three LAPD Officers Facing Criminal Charges For Faking Gang Database Records

        Law enforcement “gang databases” are a joke. And definitely not a funny one. Officers can convert innocent citizens into gang members just because they live in the same neighborhood or attend the same schools as gang members. Wearing the “wrong” clothes can get people “nominated” for extra law enforcement harassment. So can simply talking to gang members, like volunteers of outreach programs often do.

      • 87 Face Felony Charges for Kentucky Sit-In for Breonna Taylor

        In Louisville, Kentucky, civil rights groups are calling on prosecutors to drop felony charges against 87 people who held a peaceful sit-in protest Tuesday outside the home of Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The demonstrators were demanding the arrest and prosecution of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, a Black Louisville resident who was shot inside her own home in March. Among those arrested: the president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills and Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour. If convicted on felony charges, they could face up to five years in prison. “What they’re attempting to do is intimidate protesters,” says Marc Lamont Hill. “They’re attempting to send a message that nobody should be out here investigating something that clearly needs investigation.”

      • In Attempt to “Intimidate Protesters,” 87 Face Felony Charges for Kentucky Sit-In for Breonna Taylor

        In Louisville, Kentucky, civil rights groups are calling on prosecutors to drop felony charges against 87 people who held a peaceful sit-in protest Tuesday outside the home of Attorney General Daniel Cameron. The demonstrators were demanding the arrest and prosecution of the officers who killed Breonna Taylor, a Black Louisville resident who was shot inside her own home in March. Among those arrested: the president of the Minneapolis NAACP, Houston Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills and Women’s March co-founder Linda Sarsour. If convicted on felony charges, they could face up to five years in prison. “What they’re attempting to do is intimidate protesters,” says Marc Lamont Hill. “They’re attempting to send a message that nobody should be out here investigating something that clearly needs investigation.”

      • CBP Updates Privacy Impact Assessment On License Plate Readers; Says Opting Out Involves Not Driving

        The last time the CBP delivered a Privacy Impact Assessment of its automated license plate readers, it informed Americans as far as 100 miles inland that there’s really no privacy being impacted by the deployment of tech capable of capturing millions of plate images every year. If you don’t want to be on the CBP ALPR radar (which is shared with the DEA and other law enforcement agencies), don’t drive around in a properly licensed vehicle.

      • Southern Poverty Law Center Adds Stephen Miller to Its List of Extremists

        The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization that documents the activities of hate groups across the U.S., added a new entry to its database of extremists: White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.

      • Calling all NUJ Members

        When a country’s main union for journalists polices the Overton window, you are in a society well on the way to authoritarianism. For four months I have been excluded from the National Union of Journalists and, despite repeated requests, the NUJ even refuses to tell me the nature of the objection.

      • Anti-Semitic Comments by Athletes Demand a Better Response

        I’ve waited a week to write about this, a lifetime in our sports-hot-take universe. But I wanted my feelings as a Jewish writer to settle, in order to achieve some kind of clarity amid an altogether ugly situation.

      • #MeToo, round two Social scientists dissect Russia’s latest wave of activism against sexual violence

        On July 12, a hairdresser named Violeta Sharipkulova wrote on Twitter about her experience in an abusive relationship. The tweet touched off a firestorm of revelations on social media that has continued for three days now. Internet users responded to Sharipkulova’s account with their own stories about sexual, physical, and psychological abuse, most often naming current and former journalists in Moscow (for more details, click here). For a scholarly perspective on this new wave of #MeToo activism, Meduza asked three social scientists about what sets the latest movement apart.

      • Austin, Texas, Just Voted to End the Drug War

        “On day one, we will end the prosecution of low-level drug offenses here in Travis County,” announced district attorney candidate José Garza, at a February forum on criminal justice reform in Austin. “We will end the prosecution of possession and sale offenses of a gram or less.”

      • DR Congo bloggers launch campaign to teach positive masculinity
      • ‘The Islamic Republic Of Execution’: Iran Executed At Least 8,000 In 20 Years

        Iranian officials appear to have only one solution for all problems from drug trafficking to social protests: Execution. The Islamic Republic has been using execution as a solution and a preventive measure.

      • Are Your Virtual Meetings Accessible for People with Disabilities? Start with This Checklist

        All of these disabilities affect interactions with digital products and services in different ways. People need to consider accessibility any time they communicate information digitally. Accessibility is not just a concern for websites, apps, and social media. It needs to be front and center for all digital products, whether they are PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, or even virtual events. For virtual meetings and webcasts, it is important to choose a platform that supports accessibility for people that have mobility, vision, hearing, and cognitive disabilities.

      • The FBI opens investigation into Twitter attack over national security concerns

        The FBI is concerned that the coordinated attack and the vulnerabilities it exposed in Twitter’s systems may pose serious security risks, due to the widespread compromising of sensitive accounts, including those of President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. President Donald Trump’s account was not affected, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tells the WSJ, but it’s unclear if Trump’s account has special protections. Twitter tells The Verge it is in communication with the FBI regarding its investigation and intends to fully cooperate.

      • Key Evidence From Sean Monterrosa Police Shooting Destroyed, FBI Asked to Investigate

        The city discovered that the windshield from the Vallejo Police vehicle involved in the June 2 killing of Monterrosa was destroyed and the unmarked vehicle placed back into service “without prior consultation with the Police Chief or City Attorney’s Office.”

        Officials have said they have asked the FBI or another agency to take over the investigation into the officer-involved shooting and that destruction of evidence now form part of the criminal inquiry.

      • Evidence destroyed in fatal police shooting of California man who was half-kneeling

        An attorney for Sean Monterrosa’s family said examining the windshield was necessary for an accurate scene recreation in his June 2 death in the city of Vallejo.

      • Can a chief executive ‘apologise’ for racism and stay?

        White supremacy culture is alive, in excellent shape, and is the prevailing stance in international aid and development. And it’s more resilient than the patriarchy. Here’s how you can tell.

        After a very public outing of allegations of racism, the fomenting of a toxic work culture, and the mistreatment of Black women staff at Women Deliver hit Twitter, CEO Katja Iversen made what appeared to be a heartfelt apology: “I was and am shaken, heartbroken, and tremendously angry with myself. I am in charge of this organisation, and I apologise and take full responsibility for these experiences and for my role in it.”

        Women Deliver is a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for gender equality and women’s health; its work “drives investment – political, programmatic and financial”, according to its website. Iversen “offered” to take a “leave of absence” until a third-party investigation commissioned by the NGO’s board was complete. She did not resign. The board has, however, accepted her leave offer, appointed an interim CEO, and announced other steps. Iversen has been accorded all the rights and privileges of someone “accused” but not really viewed as culpable – despite her mea culpa. (In case you were wondering, Iversen – the Danish-born CEO, who rose by way of media and communications work at several UN agencies – is not a Black woman.)

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Verizon Has To Walk Back Bogus 5G Coverage Claims

        We’ve talked a lot about how while fifth-generation (5G) wireless is a good thing (in that faster, more reliable networks are always good), it’s been comically over-hyped by cellular carriers that have taken every opportunity to misrepresent what the technology is capable of, the kind of real world speeds users will actually see, and where the technology is actually available.

    • Monopolies

      • Seattle’s Socialists Are Now Enemy Number One for Jeff Bezos and Amazon

        When corporations threaten to economically punish a region for raising taxes or tightening regulation, capitulation leads to “nothing but a race to the bottom for the working class in cities around the country and around the world.” Sawant views the Fight for $15 movement as an illustration of the principle in reverse.

      • Twitter and the big bitcoin scam: what happened next

        Twitter is continuing to look into the incident, and the FBI has launched its own investigation, so there’s sure to be more news about the unprecedented attack on the social media platform. Follow along with all of the latest updates in our StoryStream below.

      • [Attackers] Convinced Twitter Employee to Help Them Hijack Accounts

        The accounts were taken over using an internal tool at Twitter, according to the sources, as well as screenshots of the tool obtained by Motherboard. One of the screenshots shows the panel and the account of Binance; Binance is one of the accounts that [attackers] took over today. According to screenshots seen by Motherboard, at least some of the accounts appear to have been compromised by changing the email address associated with them using the tool.

        In all, four sources close to or inside the underground [cr]acking community provided Motherboard with screenshots of the user tool. Two sources said the Twitter panel was also used to change ownership of some so-called OG accounts—accounts that have a handle consisting of only one or two characters—as well as facilitating the tweeting of the cryptocurrency scams from the high profile accounts.

        Twitter has been deleting some screenshots of the panel and has suspended users who have tweeted them, claiming that the tweets violate its rules.

      • Patents

        • ITC: Non-Party has No Right to Challenge Injunction against Its Product

          Mighty Mug owns U.S. Patent 8,028,850 — a self-anchoring mug (suction). Back in 2017, the company petitioned the ITC to investigate competing imports and the ITC eventually issued a General Exclusion Order (GEO) “barring importation of infringing goods by any party.” The ITC’s preferred practice is to issue “limited exclusion orders” only against the parties actually investigated. However, here the agency found a pattern of violations and difficulty in identifying the source of infringing products.

          [...]

          Standing to Appeal: Mayborn is actually still importing its allegedly infringing product. Apparently, Customs & Border Patrol is waiting for additional information from the patentee before moving forward with enforcing the exclusion order. Because of continued imports, the ITC challenged Mayborn’s standing to bring the appeal to the Federal Circuit.

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit found sufficient injury-in-fact to allow the appeal to move forward. “Mayborn imports products that potentially infringe the ’850 patent and therefore violate the GEO. . . . [And] CBP may at any moment determine that Mayborn’s products violate the GEO and halt their importation.
          § 1337(d)(1).” Mayborn has also alleged lost-sales and business relationships due to the exclusion order (Mighty Mug sent letters to Target + Amazon). Collectively this was enough injury to allow the appeal to move forward under the Constitutional standing requirement.

        • Software Patents

          • Electronic Communication Technologies, LLC v. ShoppersChoice.com, LLC (Fed. Cir. 2020)

            ShoppersChoice moved that the claim was invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and the District Court granted this judgment on the pleadings. ECT appealed.

            In Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l, the Supreme Court set forth a two-part test to determine whether claims are directed to patent-eligible subject matter under § 101. One must first decide whether the claim at hand involves a judicially-excluded law of nature, a natural phenomenon, or an abstract idea. If so, then one must further decide whether any element or combination of elements in the claim is sufficient to ensure that the claim amounts to significantly more than the judicial exclusion. But elements or combinations of elements that are well-understood, routine, and conventional will not lift the claim over the § 101 hurdle. While this inquiry is generally carried out as a matter of law, factual issues can come into play when determining whether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional.

            Notably, procedure for the proper application of this test with the abstract idea exception has been inconsistently defined and is confusing in practice. A potentially more workable definition of patent eligibility is that a claim is directed to an abstract idea if all of its elements are either non-specific, address a non-technical problem, or known in the art. Thus, a claim is more likely to survive a § 101 challenge if it has three qualities: specificity, a technical problem that it solves, and some degree of novelty.

            Applying part one of Alice, the Court rapidly determined that the claim is directed to the abstract idea of “providing advance notification of the pickup or delivery of a mobile thing.” Particularly, the Court agreed with the District Court judge that “business practices designed to advise customers of the status of delivery of their goods have existed at least for several decades, if not longer.” And as we know from Alice, claims to longstanding business practices are given a dim view under § 101.

      • Copyrights

        • YouTube & Uploaded Not Liable For Pirate Uploads Advises EU Advocate General

          Platforms such as YouTube and Uploaded are not directly liable for the copyright-infringing uploads of their users. That’s according to an opinion from Advocate General Saugmandsgaard Øe published by the EU Court of Justice today. Importantly, however, the advice relates only to current EU law, which will change next year with a new liability regime under Article 17.

        • Netflix Blockade Boosted Piracy Searches, Research Finds

          It’s no secret that legal options are key in decreasing a country’s piracy rates. This is confirmed by a new academic study, which finds that Netflix’s failure to launch in Indonesia in 2016 lead to a 20% increase in piracy-related searches compared to other countries. This boost doesn’t only apply to Netflix exclusives.

        • YouTube Rippers Request Full Rehearing of Jurisdiction Case at Appeals Court

          YouTube rippers FLVTO.biz and 2conv.com are requesting a full rehearing of the jurisdiction matter, which relates to the ongoing piracy lawsuit filed by several major record labels. The Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court dismissed the case in error but the operator of the two sites disagrees and warns of a dangerous precedent.

Microsoft “Declined to Elaborate on the Roles Which Had Been Eliminated” Means Microsoft Left Leeway for Spin and Lies (But We Know Azure Has More Layoffs)

Posted in Microsoft at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It was also reported (albeit it’s harder to find now) that they were shutting down datacenters because Azure failed to meet targets (they don’t reveal concrete numbers, only proportions, as that helps fool shareholders and inflate value based on perceived growth)

Secret Microsoft layoffs

Summary: Microsoft is laying off many people, but it is super-secretive about the whole thing (and refuses to talk about it even after the media does); Microsoft staff I spoke to today is totally unaware of these layoffs (that’s how secretive this is)

[Humour/Meme] Meddling and Socially-Engineering the Competition, Microsoft Boosters Love Mocking Linus Torvalds Not for Bad Code But for Style or Dress Code

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

Kirk Spock Star Trek III bathrobe: Linus, we can't keep you in charge unless you conform

Kirk Spock Star Trek III bathrobe: I don't care what Microsoft says; But... but Microsoft loves Linux

Summary: While Microsoft puts “0xBIGBOOBS” inside Linux it’s trying to lecture the world’s Linux coders how to behave, how to be “inclusive” or “professional” and so on (it’s a shame game — a hypocritical hyperbole)

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, July 16, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:12 am by Needs Sunlight

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