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07.21.20

Links 22/7/2020: SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 and WordPress 5.5 Beta 3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Lemur Pro review

        I loved my time with System76’s Lemur Pro. This is an amazing Linux workhorse built by Linux people for Linux people. I know it’s not for everyone, but I hope I was able to raise some awareness to some of our Android and Chromebooks fans that may have never considered Linux as a viable option.

        With that said, it’s also not for everyone’s wallet. The Lemur Pro starts at $1099 and can be configured all the way to over $3000. That will run many off but is in the same starting price of Galaxy Chromebook, Pixelbooks, Macbooks, and many high-end Windows machines. The Lemur Pro is also similarly priced to it’s main US competitor, the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition.

        Despite these hurdles, System76 has built an incredible marriage of software and hardware with the Lemur Pro. If you want a full development rig or a completely open-sourced premium laptop, this device should be on your shortlist. You can find more information and configure your own at System76’s website.

      • Pinebook Pro: Cheap laptop with Linux support is orderable again for US$199.99

        The Pinebook Pro has been around for over a year now, with PINE64 having made the laptop available to order last July. Initial orders started shipping in October and now PINE64 has announced that it is producing another run of units. The price remains US$199.99, while PINE64 is selling ISO and ANSI keyboard layouts for the device.

        The Pinebook Pro is based around a Rockchip RK3399, which features four ARM Cortex-A72 cores and two ARM Cortex-A53 cores. There is also an ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU onboard, along with 4 GB of LPDRR4 dual-channel RAM, 64 GB of eMMC 5.0 flash storage and a host ports.

      • Pine64 Linux laptop available once again for $200

        If you missed out on the first production run of the hugely popular and affordable Pinebook Pro Linux laptop priced at just $200. You will be pleased to know that it is now once again available to purchase, with shipping of the latest production run expected to take place in late August 2020.

        To recap the PineBook Pro Linux laptop is equipped with a 14.1 inch full HD display, a Rockchip RK3399 processor, and 4GB of RAM, together with 64GB of eMMC 5.0 storage, support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5, a 2MP camera, and a 10,000 mAh battery.

      • TUXEDO Computers announce the Pulse 15, a high-end AMD Ryzen laptop

        It seems every time we write about hardware lately, the comments here and elsewhere are always “AMD RYZEN WHEN?!” or something to that effect. TUXEDO Computers listened closely and they’ve delivered with the new TUXEDO Pulse 15, which you can choose to be powered by a high performance AMD Ryzen 7 4800H (eight core) or the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H (six core). Thanks to the integrated RX Vega 6/7 Graphics, you should get some good overall power out of it.

      • TUXEDO Computers Launches A Linux Laptop With Ryzen 7 4800H / Ryzen 5 4600H

        Back in May the folks at TUXEDO Computers in Germany launched their first AMD Linux laptop. That device though was a letdown in being based on a previous-generation AMD Ryzen 3000 series mobile processor rather than the far better Ryzen 4000 “Renoir” processors. Fortunately, today they announced the Pulse 15 laptop that comes in Ryzen 5 4600H and Ryzen 7 4800H processor options.

        TUXEDO’s Pulse 15 laptop is the Renoir laptop we’ve been waiting on for those wanting Linux pre-loaded on a compatible laptop rather than loading Linux on your own on the many other Renoir laptops already available.

      • TUXEDO Computers Unveils the TUXEDO Pulse 15 Linux Ultrabook with AMD Ryzen 4000H Series

        Meet TUXEDO Pulse 15, a super thin, lightweight, portable and powerful Linux machine featuring a 7 nm AMD Ryzen 7 4800H APU with 8 cores and 16 threads, a thermal design power of up to 54 W, a maximum clock rate of up to 4.2 GHz (single core), and integrated Radeon RX Vega 7 graphics with 7 GPU cores.

        The Linux laptop can also be ordered with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H APU that features 6 cores and 12 threads, as well as integrated Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics. Both CPUs are listed at 45 W, which means that the machine can achieve higher TDPs of up to 54 W for short periods of time.

      • Chrome OS 84 brings new features for tablets, Linux users (and everyone else)

        Google is rolling out a new version of its operating system for Chromebooks and Chromeboxes. Among other things, Chrome OS 84 brings new features for arranging windows, a new way to snap photos using your device’s camera, and support for saving video recordings as MP4 files so they’re easier to share with other apps or send to other people.

        [...]

        Linux (Beta) microphone access: You can now go into the Settings for Linux (Beta) and flip the switch to allow Linux applications to access your microphone. This is disabled by default.

    • Server

      • Server-Oriented Omarine 7.0 Linux OS Released with Enhanced Security

        Omarine 7.0 comes about ten months after version 6.2 and more than a year after the 6.x series. It’s a major release that implements a new security policy to enhance the overall security of the operating system and make it easier to use SELinux.

        Of course, the toolchain has been updated in this release, which ships with Glibc (GNU C Library) 2.31, GCC (GNU Compiler Collection) 9.3.0, systemd 245, Python 3.8.2, PHP 7.4.5, MySQL 8.0.17, QEMU 5.0.0, BIND 9.16.4, NFS-Utils 2.4.3, Krb5 1.18.1, Qt 5.14.2, and OpenJDK 14.0.1.

      • 5 Open-Source Blockchain Technologies That Linux Users Need to Know About

        As such, it only makes sense that developers explore blockchain use within the Linux environment. In this article, we delve into five open-source blockchain technologies for Linux. But first, let’s examine what blockchain is and how this technology works, and take a look at how the application of blockchain has evolved over the years.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #357: Lethal Weapon

        Welcome to the 357th installment of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts talk about the new amateur radio youth database, Mortty, the Icom IC-705, an open-source COVID-19 tracker, TrueNAS, SDR++ and much more. Stay safe and sane out there and thank you for listening.

      • This Week in Linux 109: Flutter Apps to Linux, 3GB RAM PinePhone, Mobian, Stop Using BountySource!

        On this episode of This Week in Linux, Google & Ubuntu teamed up to bring Flutter Apps to Linux. We’ve got a LOT of news in the Mobile Linux world with a New more powerful PinePhone from Pine64 that even comes with a USB Convergence Dock, then we’ll talk about Mobian: Mobile OS based on Debian, and then we’ve. even got some news from Gentoo about using Gentoo on Android. We’ve got some great distro news this week from EndeavourOS & MX Linux. Then we’ll jump into the App News realm to cover the Personal Edition branding for LibreOffice, Riot has chosen the name Element as their branding replacement, and we’ll talk about even more branding with some news about a fork of Brave browser getting threatened with legal action. Then I’ll let know about some concerning news about BountySource and why projects should abandon the service. All that and much more on Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews!

    • Kernel Space

      • Latest Linux Patch Further Confirms Intel Alder Lake As A Hybrid Core Design

        Jiving with all the recent rumors, the latest Linux kernel patch work further spells out clearly that Intel Alder Lake will feature a hybrid core design akin to Arm’s big.LITTLE architecture.

        As covered previously Intel’s own documentation has outlined a HYBRID bit coming and with Alder Lake having a shortened up list of supported instruction set extensions, among other open-source patch material, has been going along with the recent rumors of Alder Lake packing a mix of Atom and Core processors.

      • Graphics Stack and Input Devices

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q3.1 Vulkan Driver Brings More Performance Tuning

          AMD has just issued their first new open-source AMDVLK Vulkan driver release in several weeks.

          AMDVLK 2020.Q3.1 is now shipping as their first tagged open-source Vulkan driver snapshot of the third quarter. Exciting with this update are several performance optimizations / tuning improvements. The Talos Principle, Doom: Eternal, and Mad Max have all seen focused performance tuning work while other titles may indirectly benefit as well.

        • FreeBSD Qt WebEngine GPU Acceleration

          FreeBSD has a handful of Qt WebEngine-based browsers. Falkon, and Otter-Browser, and qutebrowser and probably others, too. All of them can run into issues on FreeBSD with GPU-accelerated rendering not working.

        • Custom Keyboards with QMK

          The Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) firmware offers some powerful options for customizing your keyboard configuration.

          Most free software projects are targeted directly at users, however, a minority support other projects, and may be widely used without being well-known. A case in point is Quantum Mechanical Keyboard (QMK) Firmware, which provides the firmware for input devices – not just keyboards, its main focus, but also mice and MIDI sequencers. While unknown to most, QMK supports over 315 devices. The free software projects-turned-companies dependent on QMK include Atreus, Clueboard, and Ergodox EZ.

          QMK is part of the little-known free software keyboard community. This community focuses on mechanical keyboards in which each key is soldered separately from the rest and which emphasizes customization, including individual keybindings or definitions, and multiple layers or complete keyboard layouts. Recent keyboards have includedup to 32 keyboard layouts, which allows the same keyboard to be used for QWERTY or Dvorak users, or for different gaming shortcuts. Many of the keyboards developed in the community are minimalist keyboards, and an increasing number in recent years are ergonomic. The major division in the community is between those that run on an Atmel AVR or ARM controller and require QMK for flashing, and those that use single board controllers that are compatible with the Arduino IDE and the avrdude command for flashing firmware, such as Keyboardio. However, the main difference is in the software – in both camps, the goal is to customize keybindings and to create layers.

          QMK itself is noteworthy for its complete and clear documentation. Most of the work setting up is done from the command line, although an online configurator works on Chrome and Firefox.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Gross Restarts

          Now on a wildly different topic, I’m going to talk about indirect drawing for a bit, specifically when using it in combination with primitive restart, which I already briefly talked about in a prior post.

          In general, indirect drawing is used when an application wants to provide the gpu with a buffer containing the parameters to be used for draw calls. The idea is that the parameters are already “on the CPU”, so there’s no back-and-forth needed with the CPU for cases where these parameters may be derived in the course of GPU operations.

          The problem here for zink is that indirect drawing can be used with primitive restart, but the problem I brought up previously still exists, namely that OpenGL allows arbitrary values for the restart index, whereas Vulkan requires a fixed value.

    • Applications

      • Download Now: Glimpse 0.2.0 Beta Available for Testing

        Glimpse 0.2.0 is based on GIMP 2.10.18. Like previous releases Glimpse iterates on the popular image editor to broaden its appeal, soften its image, and “back port useful functionality”.

        “A new name and logo, a cleaner UI, and fewer “easter eggs” make an already amazing open source software package feel more enterprise-ready,” states the official website.

        While there isn’t a user-facing overview of what changes are specifically new to Glimpse 0.2.0 at the time of writing most of GIMP’s recent feature additions (like new 3D transform tool, faster .abr loading, etc) are present and working here.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Emulating Nintendo Switch Games on Linux

        Yes, believe it or not this is an actual thing. Emulating a modern console such as the Nintendo Switch is possible thanks to Yuzu and the lesser-known emulator Ryujinx. The best part is, both emulators are open-source and available for Linux.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, emulating the Nintendo Switch isn’t as simple as downloading the emulator and opening a game file to play it. The process involves dumping several files from your Switch system and transfering those files to your PC in order to decrypt the games.

        Before doing any of the following, put your Switch in airplane mode. There’s no telling if Nintendo can actually identify what you’re about to do with your Switch from here on out and whether they will ban your Nintendo account for it, so it’s best to keep the device offline.

      • Kart Racing Game SuperTuxKart 1.2 RC1 Released (Ubuntu PPA)

        SuperTuxKart 1.2 Release Candidate, free and open-source kart racing game, was released today with many great new features and performance improvements.

      • SuperTuxKart’s New Release is Ready for Testing

        Everyone’s favourite open source kart racing game is gearing up for a new release and if you’re feeling bold you can take it for a test drive.

        SuperTuxKart 1.2 features a number of key improvements when compared to the previous release, which the team unwrapped near xmas of last year.

        For instance, the game now boasts better gamepad handling. This includes much-needed hot plugging support so that you can connect/disconnect controllers during the game without needing to restart it. The game also adds the ability to use SDL2 controller mapping (which is ideal if you’re using an Xbox-style controller).

        Visual quality is another area that’s been improved. SuperTuxKart uses a new “modern” theme that, aside from looking a bit fresher, should look much sharper too. This is becasue the theme now uses SVG icons instead of PNG assets, allowing for seamless scaling on high-resolution displays.

      • 5 games for hosting your own Free RPG Day

        Since 2007, game publishers and game stores have teamed up to provide free samples of RPG gameplay to the uninitiated. Last year, Free RPG Day was an official, multi-publisher, worldwide event that welcomed people who were either entirely new to tabletop roleplaying games, or who were just new to specific games, to get together with new friends and play new games.

      • BallisticNG, the anti-gravity racer inspired by Wipeout gets a big update and DLC

        Miss the classic Wipeout and feel the need for speed? BallisticNG is a fine choice and it just expanded with a DLC and a huge free upgrade for everyone.

        First, the expansion! BallisticNG – Outer Reaches adds in 6 seriously cool looking tracks, each of which can be played in reverse giving you 12 options in total. A pack for big fans of the game who want more official tracks and looks to be worth picking up.

        [...]

        I definitely don’t remember Wipeout being as challenging as I find BallisticNG. Even getting to grips with the correct amount of acceleration and good braking with the flaps is difficult enough, once you get it down though it’s totally exhilarating and it works so wonderfully with good performance too. If you love retro-inspired racers like this, you should check it out.

      • General Horse and the Package of Doom might be the dumbest FMV I’ve ever played

        Released back in June, General Horse and the Package of Doom is a Full Motion Video game that might just be the dumbest FMV I’ve ever put time into.

        [...]

        If their aim with it was to put me into a loop of smiling, chuckling and cringing from embarrassment at the acting then they did well. Games don’t need to be serious, we have enough of that everywhere else in life and General Horse and the Package of Doom certainly doesn’t shy away from being completely ridiculous.

        To put it into perspective it’s like picking out a B-movie you know is not going to win awards or be talked about for years to come. It’s stupid but it’s fun and that’s the point. Grab a bottle of your favourite drink, a tasty snack and settle in for the ride.

      • Linux support for ASUS ROG laptops is coming along nicely

        Back in April we revealed the ROG-Core project, with an aim to better support ASUS ROG laptops on Linux and it seems it’s really coming along nicely now.

        This special ‘Republic Of Gamers’ brand of ASUS laptops (available here) comes with a bunch of flashy features, most of which are only directly supported on Windows. Frustrating for Linux buyers of course but great to see a community project spring up to allow Linux users to fully appreciate their kit.

        [...]

        While I have no need of it, I suddenly feel like I need it. How could you not love that though? Brilliant bit of useless flashy tech for the super nerd to show off a bit.

        See the ROG-Core project here and the ZephyrusBling project here. Going even further, there’s even now another project aimed at supporting AMD based ASUS laptops.

      • Shape-shifting casual bird sim ‘Fugl’ adds Vulkan support and ‘High-detail’ biomes

        Experience serenity with the peaceful bird flying sim Fugl, now with added support for Vulkan and more updates.

        Currently in Early Access while they build up the world and the core experience, it’s already quite a wonderfully relaxing game if a bit thin on encounters and things to actually do. It’s like a bit of a walking sim, except, well—you’re flying. It’s a bit wonderful though and one I keep a keen eye on to see what they do with it in the end.

        Recently, it had an update in late June that overhauled a bunch of the rendering to bring in Vulkan API support across Linux and Windows. This came with a few problems initially that they’ve been cleaning up, although the last patch makes it run great overall here. The major update also added in pretty high-detail biomes, new addition biomes, some tweaks to avatars and ‘many’ bug fixes.

      • War Selection is a free to play Early Access RTS now available for Linux

        Currently in Early Access, War Selection from Glyph Worlds is a somewhat promising looking real-time strategy game and they just released it for Linux officially…

      • The Humble Daedalic Bundle 2020 is live with some really good experiences

        Daedalic are usually pretty good supporters of Linux too, with plenty of their modern titles being made available for Linux officially.

      • Turn-based classless RPG ‘Dark Bestiary’ has left Early Access

        With tons of customization and a classless progression system, the turn-based RPG ‘Dark Bestiary’ has left Early Access.

        The main aim of the game here is combat, and lots of it. If you enjoy turn-based character building with plenty of loot then you’re likely going to feel right at home. It’s quite a streamlined game one that does away with forcing you down the path of specific skill sets and big open worlds to explore. Instead you go through various smaller maps picked from a board of missions, with each one being a series of encounters to battle through.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce Review: A Lean, Mean Linux Machine

        One of the best parts about Xfce is that it’s flexible enough for anybody. Whether you’re a GNOME user looking for something lighter, someone with an old machine that struggles under heavier Desktop Environments, or just looking to keep things simple, I cannot recommend Xfce enough. It will serve you well, and with just a little customization and tweaking, it can look and work however you want it to.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Improve MAVLink Integration of Kirogi – Progress Report 2

          This is my second progress report about GSoC 2020 project.

        • [Krita] Week 7: GSoC Project Report

          This week I completed unit-tests for interactions between storyboard docker and timeline docker. Also now thumbnails will only be updated when the image is idle, meaning if the image is not painted upon for some time, say a sec, the thumbnail will update. This will improve performance when using the canvas. I also wrote some functions that would help when implementing updating of affected thumbnails.

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 is Generally Available
        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 Officially Released, This Is What’s New

          Coming more than a year after SP1 and two years after the launch of the SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 operating system series, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 is here to help businesses further accelerate innovation and improve productivity by adding new layers of functionality, updated components and modern technologies.

          Highlights of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 include updated cloud images for Alibaba, Azure, AWS, Google, IBM, and Oracle, the ability to deploy large-scale HPC systems in AWS with support for ARM-based Graviton2 CPUs and Elastic Fabric Adapter network interfaces in Amazon EC2 instances, as well as enhanced security with FIPS 140-2 certification-ready packages.

        • Suse Unveils Major Enhancements To Its Enterprise Platform

          Suse unveiled enhancements to two of its leading enterprise technology solutions that simplify, modernize and accelerate the business of customers around the world.

          Suse Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 and the latest in infrastructure management from Suse Manager 4.1 are now available.

        • SUSE Unveils Major Enhancements to Its Enterprise Platform, Helping Customers to Realize Measurable Business Value

          Michael Desens, vice president of offering management, IBM Z and LinuxONE, IBM, said, “Today’s announcement of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 adds support for new capabilities of IBM z15 and LinuxONE III including IBM Secure Execution for Linux – a Trusted Execution Environment that is designed to run large numbers of workloads in full isolation at scale, with enterprise-grade features engineered to protect sensitive data from internal and external threats across the hybrid cloud environment. SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 also includes SUSE Linux Enterprise Live Patching for IBM Z and LinuxONE, which can help to maximize system uptime and availability for mission-critical systems.”

        • What’s new in SUSE Linux for Arm 15 Service Pack 2

          SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 15 Service Pack 2 delivers support for new 64bit Arm processors and enhancements to previous Arm support. SUSE uses a “Refresh” and “Consolidation” approach to Service Pack releases: Every “Even” release (e.g., SP0, SP2,…) is a “Refresh” release that will include the latest stable Linux kernel. For SLES 15 SP2, we are using the 5.3 Linux kernel as the base with backports from later kernels as needed.

          SUSE’s uses an “upstream first” approach to hardware enablement. That means that SUSE will not use “out of tree” or proprietary Board Support Packages is to enable new hardware, SUSE will only use drivers that has been enabled in upstream Linux. SUSE does work with the community to get new hardware support accepted upstream, but our “upstream first” approach reduces the risk of regression in a later Linux release.
          Not all device drivers for new hardware is available upstream at the time SUSE ships a new release. In those cases, SUSE does as much enablement as possible in the current Service Pack, and implements additional drivers in later releases.

        • What’s new for High Performance Computing in SLES 15 Service Pack 2

          SUSE Linux Enterprise for High Performance Computing (SLE HPC) 15 Service Pack 2 has a lot of new capabilities for HPC on-premises and in the Cloud.
          SUSE uses a “Refresh” and “Consolidation” approach to Service Pack releases: Every “Even” release (e.g., SP0, SP2, …) is a “Refresh” release that will include the latest stable Linux kernel. For SLES 15 SP2, we are using the 5.3 Linux kernel as the base with backports from later kernels as needed. Updating to a new kernel every two releases allows SUSE to provide our customers with the Linux features and enhancements.

        • SUSE Manager and SUSE Manager for Retail 4.1 – NOW AVAILABLE

          Catering for all of your software infrastructure management needs SUSE Manager 4.1 is a best-in-class open source infrastructure management solution for your software-defined or mode 2 infrastructure.

        • SUSE releases major Linux update

          SUSE, one of the three major enterprise Linux distribution companies, released on July 21, 2020, the next versions of its flagship operating system, SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) 15 Service Pack 2 and its latest infrastructure management program, SUSE Manager 4.1.

          SLE 15 SP2 is available on the x86-64, Arm, IBM POWER, IBM Z, and LinuxONE hardware architectures. This new Linux server edition is based on the Linux 5.3 kernel. This new kernel release includes upstream features such as utilization clamping support in the task scheduler, and power-efficient userspace waiting.

        • Rancher Labs and Fujitsu Form Kubernetes Partnership as Suse Readies Merger

          Rancher Labs and Fujitsu on Tuesday announced an alliance to hasten the adoption of Kubernetes container orchestration technology industry-wide, starting within public sector institutions in the U.K. and Ireland.

          The alliance was forged partly in response to the growing requirement by the U.K.’s Government Digital Service for public organizations to embrace a ‘cloud first’ policy. Dealing with the urgent need for an agile DevOps approach to digital transformation was another driving factor of the alliance.

          With the global economy and cloud storage providers extending beyond national borders, the innovations will influence uses in other countries as well. Rancher Labs has offices in London and California. Fujitsu is headquartered in London.

          In a related development, Rancher Labs CEO Shang Liang announced on July 8 an agreement for Suse to acquire the six-year-old company. However, that planned acquisition is not expected to change the goals of the Rancher Labs – Fujitsu partnership, company officials said.

          “We have been open-source advocates for many years. Rancher is a monumental fit for us in monetizing Kubernetes,” Jason Daniels CTO, Public Sector, Law and Order at Fujitsu UK, told LinuxInsider.

          Daniels said his company is asked the question often about the impact of the Suse acquisition. The three companies are all huge advocates of open-source, and Fujitsu has partnered with Suse in the past. He called the acquisition a win-win deal for all involved.

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 104

          As the YaST team keeps implementing new features and bug fixes we also keep delivering our small activity reports. As you may remember, we ran a small survey to collect our readers’ opinion about the recent changes introduced in these reports. We will today take a look to the results of the survey. But first things first, let’s go over the most relevant pull requests in the YaSTphere from the latest two weeks.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Using source-git to maintain packages in Fedora

          Some time ago, we initiated a discussion on the devel list if dist-git is a good place to work. This thread received a great amount of wonderful feedback from you and we are so grateful for every message—it demonstrates the passion of the Fedora community.

          If you are not familiar with how packages are being maintained in Fedora or what dist-git is, let me give you a quick summary. Every Fedora package has a dedicated git repository—a dist-git repository. It contains files needed to compile the sources and produce a binary RPM package which you can install on your Fedora Linux system. As an example, you can look at firefox dist-git repository.

        • Fedora Developers Brainstorming Options For Better Memory Testing

          In looking beyond the massive Fedora 33 release in development, Fedora developers have begun discussing options for allowing better memory testing on their distribution for evaluating possible faulty RAM issues that otherwise often get mixed in with other software bugs and other sporadic behavior.

          Currently Fedora does ship memtest86+ on all installations, but that only works on legacy/BIOS setups and not modern UEFI-enabled systems. It’s only the proprietary memtest86 that has UEFI support right now and not the open-source memtest86+. Thus memtest86+ is inaccessible to those on modern platform booting from UEFI, but even if/when memtest86+ offers UEFI support there are other potential obstacles around Secure Boot and similar potential blocks. Additionally, while memtest86(+) is great at rooting out faulty memory scenarios, it can often take some time to spot any issues as another obstacle for end-users.

        • Fedora Looks To Make DXVK Their Default Back-End For Direct3D 9/10/11 On Wine

          Fedora like most distributions ship their Wine packages as-is at the defaults, but for Fedora 33 we could see DXVK used by default on Wine in place of the conventional WineD3D back-end for Direct3D 9/10/11 usage.

          While upstream Wine is working to ultimately support Vulkan with their WineD3D back-end, for now at least DXVK generally offers a far better and more performant experience for gamers by translating D3D9/D3D10/D3D11 calls to Vulkan rather than WineD3D that currently relies upon translating to OpenGL. Steam Play and Proton have shown the success and tremendous capabilities of DXVK while now Fedora is looking at possibly using DXVK by default with their Wine package.

        • Cloud platforms lead the way for banking innovation

          Leadership should be ready to embrace new organizational models that help development teams contribute not only new ideas but also to encourage experimentation. Developers in banks should know that it’s okay to experiment, because innovation doesn’t always happen in a planned or serial way. This means encouraging participation and accepting risks — which isn’t easy in an industry that traditionally is hierarchical and risk-averse.

          Within banks, cloud platforms can offer technology needed for banks to be more collaborative and to try out new ideas quickly. That can be critical, given the increased competition, not only from challenger banks, but also from large technology companies who are providing seamless digital banking services with their own platforms.

        • Adobe, IBM and Red Hat Announce Strategic Partnership to Advance Customer Experience Transformation

          Adobe (Nasdaq: ADBE), IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Red Hat today announced a strategic partnership to help accelerate digital transformation and strengthen real-time data security for enterprises, with a focus on regulated industries. The intent of the partnership is to enable companies to deliver more personalized experiences across the customer journey, driving improved engagement, profitability and loyalty.

          [...]

          “The reality is that today, businesses across industries are operating in an experience first world where it is possible to gain immense value from data if trust and technology flexibility are central to the equation,” said Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Markets. “It is with these principles as the focus of our partnership – bringing Adobe’s marketing expertise, IBM’s industry domain knowledge and the open innovation of Red Hat –that will give clients the confidence to use their data for new competitive advantage.”

        • Red Hat Insights: Vulnerability management

          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.

          After introducing Red Hat Insights and taking a look at the Advisor, it’s time to take a look at Insights’ vulnerability management.

          [...]

          As of today, we don’t have an active vulnerability management. We try to ensure a certain level of security with a patch management for RHEL with Ansible, which I developed with tools included in RHEL and the Ansible Engine. This ensures that available Red Hat Security Advisories are compulsorily installed on all RHEL systems once a month if they are missing.

          Thanks to this patch management, there are only 13 vulnerabilities on the connected test systems, and none of them had a score greater than eight.

          Among the systems listed in the dashboard were systems of a test infrastructure that are not connected to the central patch management and are only irregularly patched. Insights showed me here that the risk is far too great, and that these systems will simply be forgotten. For this reason, these hosts were now immediately included in the patch management.

        • IBM Db2 Warehouse on the Cloud performance validation using OpenShift Container Storage

          IBM delivers solutions designed to mitigate risk and facilitate cloud adoption. In particular, organizations deploying production IBM Db2 workloads need scalable and performant persistent storage that provides their applications with universal application and data mobility. Cloud and container-based solutions must support all of their data, without forcing arbitrary compromises.

          The IBM Db2 team has spent the last several years transforming its delivery and infrastructure toward a Kubernetes-native Db2, tailored for hybrid and multi-clouds and managed by Red Hat OpenShift. One of the most important aspects of this transformation is integration with Red Hat OpenShift Container Storage.

        • Latest release of Red Hat Integration advances connectivity for event-driven, Kubernetes-based applications

          The world of enterprise IT has seen a massive shift over the last decade as cloud computing has changed the way we work and do business. Today, microservices, application programming interfaces (APIs) and containers are the predominant approach to building, connecting and deploying applications, and Kubernetes has become the undisputed standard for managing them at scale in any environment.

          These technologies are core to cloud-native application development, and emerged from the need for organizations to better match the speed of the world around them. The digital experience, delivered through software, has become one of the leading factors in competitive differentiation for companies today. Being able to rapidly respond to dynamic market conditions, incorporate user feedback, or deploy new products and features is crucial to success.

        • New features in Red Hat CodeReady Studio 12.16.0.GA and JBoss Tools 4.16.0.Final for Eclipse 2020-06

          JBoss Tools 4.16.0 and Red Hat CodeReady Studio 12.16 for Eclipse 4.16 (2020-06) are now available. For this release, we focused on improving Quarkus– and container-based development and fixing bugs. We also updated the Hibernate Tools runtime provider and Java Developer Tools (JDT) extensions, which are now compatible with Java 14. Additionally, we made many changes to platform views, dialogs, and toolbars in the user interface (UI).

          This article is an overview of what’s new in JBoss Tools 4.16.0 and Red Hat CodeReady Studio 12.16 for Eclipse 4.16 (2020-06).

      • Debian Family

        • Screen ghosts

          This is happening on two different laptops, an HP EliteBook x360 G1, and a Lenovo ThinkPad X240, one that I’ve been using since 3 years, one that I’ve been using since a week, and whose only thing in common is a 1920×1080 IPS screen and an Intel GPU.

          I have no idea where to start debugging this. Please reach out to me at enrico@debian.org if any of this makes sense to you.

        • Lite Editor

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Lite Editor

          What is Lite Editor?

          Lite is a lightweight text editor written mostly in Lua — it aims to provide something practical, pretty, small and fast, implemented as simply as possible; easy to modify and extend, or to use without doing either.

        • New Debian Developers and Maintainers (May and June 2020)

          The following contributors got their Debian Developer accounts in the last two months:

          Richard Laager (rlaager)
          Thiago Andrade Marques (andrade)
          Vincent Prat (vivi)
          Michael Robin Crusoe (crusoe)
          Jordan Justen (jljusten)
          Anuradha Weeraman (anuradha)
          Bernelle Verster (indiebio)
          Gabriel F. T. Gomes (gabriel)
          Kurt Kremitzki (kkremitzki)
          Nicolas Mora (babelouest)
          Birger Schacht (birger)
          Sudip Mukherjee (sudip)
          The following contributors were added as Debian

          Maintainers in the last two months:

          Marco Trevisan
          Dennis Braun
          Stephane Neveu
          Seunghun Han
          Alexander Johan Georg Kjäll
          Friedrich Beckmann
          Diego M. Rodriguez
          Nilesh Patra
          Hiroshi Yokota

          Congratulations!

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Comet Lake-S computers support Ubuntu

          OnLogic’s fanless, $768-and-up “Helix 500” and larger, PCIe x16 enabled, $859-and-up “Helix 600” run Ubuntu or Windows on Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake-S with triple display support, 2x M.2, 2x GbE, and 6x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports.

          OnLogic has launched two Helix Series embedded computers that support Ubuntu. The fanless, Linux-ready Helix 500 (HX500) and Helix 600 (HX600) share the same choice of 10th Gen Comet Lake-S processors and a base feature set. The Helix 600 adds a PCIe x16 slot and 2x expansion I/O slots for custom modules.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Safely reviving shared memory (Mozilla Hacks)

            The Mozilla Hacks blog covers some recent Firefox changes that will allow code from web sites to use shared memory and high-resolution timers in a (hopefully) safe manner.

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Safely reviving shared memory

            At Mozilla, we want the web to be capable of running high-performance applications so that users and content authors can choose the safety, agency, and openness of the web platform. One essential low-level building block for many high-performance applications is shared-memory multi-threading. That’s why it was so exciting to deliver shared memory to JavaScript and WebAssembly in 2016. This provided extremely fast communication between threads.

            However, we also want the web to be secure from attackers. Keeping users safe is paramount, which is why shared memory and high-resolution timers were effectively disabled at the start of 2018, in light of Spectre. Unfortunately, Spectre-attacks are made significantly more effective with high-resolution timers. And such timers can be created with shared memory. (This is accomplished by having one thread increment a shared memory location in a tight loop that another thread can sample as a nanosecond-resolution timer.)

          • Extension Spotlight: SponsorBlock for YouTube

            Have you ever been engrossed in music or a great video when YouTube suddenly interrupts your experience to inject an ad? It’s jarring and ruins the mood of any moment.

            [...]

            A new SponsorBlock feature offers the ability to skip different types of unwanted sections like intros, outros, and those incessant pleas to subscribe to the channel. Ajay says future plans involve developing distinct section categories that will allow users to submit labels for different parts of the video, in case you want to skip forward or back to certain spots.

            The SponsorBlock extension for Firefox is one of the more original content blockers we’ve seen developed in some time. It’s a perfect example of the creative problem-solving potential of browser extensions. So give SponsorBlock a spin and enjoy fewer interruptions while you let loose for your solo living room dance party set to YouTube music.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5 Beta 3

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

          [...]

          WordPress 5.5 is slated for release on August 11th, 2020, and we need your help to get there!

          Thank you to all of the contributors who tested the beta 2 development release and gave feedback. Testing for bugs is a critical part of polishing every release and a great way to contribute to WordPress.

          [...]

          WordPress 5.5 has lots of refinements to polish the developer experience. To keep up, subscribe to the Make WordPress Core blog and pay special attention to the developers’ notes for updates on those and other changes that could affect your products.

      • Programming/Development

        • Arm Backporting SLS Vulnerability Mitigation To Existing GCC Releases

          Back in June when Arm disclosed their Straight Line Speculation (SLS) vulnerability affecting their modern ARM processor designs there wasn’t a whole lot of attention. It seems SLS is serious enough that Arm is working on bringing their compiler-based mitigations to existing GCC releases beyond it already being in the current development code.

          This vulnerability can lead to ARMv8 CPUs speculatively executing instructions following a change in control flow. Mitigating SLS is currently done via compilers with inserting speculation barrier (SB) instructions around vulnerable instructions.

        • Eclipse OpenJ9 v0.21 Released With Many Fixes, Big Performance Improvements For AArch64

          A new version of the Eclipse OpenJ9 JVM implementation was released last week with many fixes and other improvements over its prior release.

          OpenJ9 continues advancing as an alternative Java Virtual Machine that is performing fairly well and with a robust community. OpenJ9 v0.21 continues to be offered with binaries built for OpenJDK versions 8, 11, and 14. OpenJ9 0.21 not only brings many bug fixes but also has a variety of performance improvements. On the performance front, their AArch64 JIT compiler is expected to deliver significant throughput improvements of at least +20% on various applications. There is also performance work to make OpenJ9 behave more appropriately when running within containers.

        • New features in CMake 3.18

          On 15th of July Kitware has released CMake version 3.18. The release notes contain the list of changes.

          Below you have some changes that should improve the life of a Qt developer using CMake.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn XML

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

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

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

          Here’s our recommended free tutorials to help you master XML. If you need more in-depth material, try our recommended free XML books.

        • A comparison of 6 top programming languages

          Developers have numerous programming languages to choose from, so much so that it can be overwhelming. Choosing the right — or wrong — language can make the difference between a software project’s success and its failure.

          While many programming languages may seem similar, no two languages behave the same way. Developers and architects need to look closely at the strengths and weaknesses of each option, including the tools, libraries and support behind those languages.

          [...]

          Python is an object-oriented programming (OOP) language commonly used for web app development, scientific research, machine learning and FinTech. It’s renowned for its easy code readability, access to well-documented libraries and large user community. Also, its repeatable code and automation capabilities promote simplified build processes. Its standout feature is the glue code it uses for server-side scripting, which helps strengthen communication between front-end and back-end components.

          However, because it is an interpretive language, the conversion from source code to bytecode can create lag for compile times, system calls and kernel requests. And even though it runs on every major OS and domain, it is not the best choice for mobile apps right out of the box. Keep in mind, though, it is possible to find tool and library updates that can improve its mobile capabilities.

        • Python

          • Creating a Presentation with Jupyter Notebook and RISE (Video)

            In this tutorial, you will learn how to use Jupyter Notebooks to create slide show presentations. This allows you to run and edit live code in your slides.

          • How to Listen for Webhooks with Python

            Webhooks run a large portion of the “magic” that happens between applications. They are sometimes called reverse APIs, callbacks, and even notifications. Many services, such as SendGrid, Stripe, Slack, and GitHub use events to send webhooks as part of their API. This allows your application to listen for events and perform actions when they happen.

            In a previous article, we looked at how to consume webhooks with Node.js and Express. In this article we’ll look at how you can listen for webhooks using Python (v3+) with the Flask or Django frameworks.

          • EuroPython 2020: Presenting our Conference Booklet [Ed: EuroPython sold Microsoft 2 whole pages of Azure ads in this new booklet (I’ve checked)]

            We’d normally give out the booklet as part of the conference bag, but since we’re running the event online, we’ve put up the PDF of the booklet instead for your to enjoy.

            If you feel like there something in our program which you may benefit from or you just want to get a feeling for what a EuroPython conference is like, please consider joining the event.

          • Python 3.8.5 released as a security hotfix. 3.9.0b5, the last beta before 3.9.0, also available

            This is a combined release of Python 3.8.5 and 3.9.0b5. Both are significant but for different reasons. Let’s dig in!

          • Quansight Labs: what I learned in my first 3 months

            I joined Quansight at the beginning of April, splitting my time between PyTorch (as part of a larger Quansight team) and contributing to Quansight Labs supported community-driven projects in the Python scientific and data science software stack, primarily to NumPy. I have found my next home; the people, the projects, and the atmosphere are an all around win-win for me and (I hope) for the projects to which I contribute.

            I am not a newcomer to Open Source. I originally became involved in PyPy as an after-hours hobby to hone my developer skills, and quickly became enamoured with the people and the mission. Over the years my efforts in the open source world moved more mainstream, and in 2018 I took on a full-time position working on NumPy, funded through a grant to BIDS. Since April 2020, I have moved to Quansight Labs as a full-time developer.

          • Mastering Python’s Built-in time Module

            The Python time module provides many ways of representing time in code, such as objects, numbers, and strings. It also provides functionality other than representing time, like waiting during code execution and measuring the efficiency of your code.

          • PyCoder’s Weekly: Issue #430 (July 21, 2020)
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Blog Post | Gsoc’2020 | #8

            This week was full of learning. Like seriously I learnt a lot this week specially because I got stuck on something which took me while to figure out.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • A year with no school: Mental health fears rise for Kashmir’s children

        Military clampdowns and the coronavirus pandemic have closed schools in Indian-administered Kashmir for nearly a year, raising warnings from educators about the mental health toll on students whose lives have been repeatedly disrupted.

        Child psychologists and teachers say extended school closures have compounded stress and anxiety for children already on edge after years of erratic education, conflict, and civil strife. Schools were shuttered last August, when India stripped the state of Jammu and Kashmir of its semi-autonomous status and put the region on lockdown – escalating a campaign to quell a decades-long insurgency. Classes resumed briefly in February, only to pause indefinitely a month later due to the pandemic.

        Frequent disruptions in formal schooling, limited opportunities to socialise, and erratic schedules are leading to a rise in depression and behavioural issues among children, said Dr. Syed Karrar, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (IMHANS) in Srinagar, Kashmir’s largest city.

        “Routines of children have been disrupted and families find it overwhelming at times to engage with their children, who are confined to their homes for long periods,” Karrar said.

        “It gets worse if it’s prolonged amid uncertainties in the backdrop of living in a conflict zone like Kashmir.”

    • Old Hardware

      • FlashFloppy OLED display

        I haven’t made any substantive progress on my Amiga floppy recovery project for a while, but I felt like some retail therapy a few days ago so I bought a rotary encoder and OLED display for the Gotek floppy disk emulator along with a 3D-printed mount for them. I’m pleased with the results! The rather undescriptive “DSKA0001″ in the picture is a result of my floppy image naming scheme: the display is capable of much more useful labels such as “Lemmings”, “Deluxe Paint IV”, etc.

      • Computer history and modern computers for sysadmins

        The stored program is one of the primary defining characteristics of the Universal Turing Machine as envisioned by Alan Turing and is a key attribute of modern computers. Most of the mechanical calculators used external devices to store their programs. For example, the IBM 402 Accounting Machine and its successor, the IBM 403, represent one final expression of the external program devices used in many businesses up through the 1970s. They used plugboards to program their machine calculating cycles. They had just enough internal memory registers (in the form of relays) to store a few cumulative totals such as “department totals,” “weekly totals,” “monthly totals,” “yearly totals,” and so on. As a CE at IBM, I used to work on these devices.

        Modern computers use random access memory (RAM) to store their programs while they are executed. The stored program concept opens up some powerful and interesting possibilities, including the ability to modify the sequence of the program execution and the content and logic of the program.

        [...]

        The punched card was the primary storage medium for both data and programs for over a century. As a result, the paradigm for data processing in the first digital computers was the same as that for the mechanical calculators they replaced. In this paradigm, each punched card represents one record. Data was still stored on punched cards even after computers were well-entrenched in modern business processes in the 1960s. That data included customer information, employee data, accounting transactions, hours worked, and more. The cards were used to perform many offline tasks, such as sorting the cards (records) into the proper sequence, extracting only cards that met specific criteria, merging cards from multiple sources into a single deck in the desired order, and more. All this was to prepare a particular set of records for use as input to whatever program would use them as input on the computer itself.

        In fact, this record-based approach is so pervasive in the mainframe world that even today, IBM’s MVS operating system still uses a record-based filesystem related to many of the same concepts as punched cards.

        One early language, Report Program Generator (RPG), was intentionally designed to mimic the IBM accounting machines’ calculation cycle for IBM’s mid-range and small computers. This design was explicitly intended to appeal to the many smaller companies still using the IBM accounting machines in the late 1970s.

        Any machine that used punched cards is generically referred to as a “unit record” type of device.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Coronavirus vaccine trials in South Africa no ‘magic bullet’ as cases soar

        The launch this month of human trials of a promising COVID-19 vaccine in South Africa has coincided with a surge in the country’s coronavirus cases, with the South African outbreak now ranked the fifth worst in the world.

        The vaccine, developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute, is seen by researchers and governments as the front-runner in the race to find an effective vaccine against the coronavirus, which is now confirmed to have infected almost 15 million people globally – including more than 373,000 South Africans.

        Final “Phase 3” human trials are currently underway in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa, and if all goes well, a viable COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by early next year.

        However, Jeffrey Mphahlele, vice president of the South African Medical Research Council, the country’s leading health research body, cautioned against viewing an effective vaccine as “the magic bullet to solve everything”.

        [...]

        The year-long South African trial is recruiting 2,000 volunteers aged 18-65 years at hospital testing sites in Johannesburg, Tshwane, and Cape Town – South Africa’s second city. Half of the participants will receive a placebo.

        Before being accepted on the programme, the volunteers first get a medical check-up, and then have to demonstrate both an understanding of the health risks and a commitment to the intensive schedule.

        “There is a lot of blood work involved,” said Anthonet Koen, the trial’s principal investigator at Baragwanath hospital. But what is most disliked is the “swab up your nose” of the repeated COVID-19 tests, he told TNH.

        The trial design prioritises participants who live within walking distance of the testing sites, to avoid any COVID-19-related public transport disruptions. But as they are all in high-density suburbs, this has led to an almost exclusively Black African trial demographic.

        To address that, four senior white clinicians were vaccinated on 14 July at Baragwanath – their decision a combination of professional integrity, and to counter the narrative of “poor people” serving as “guinea pigs”, said François Venter, deputy executive director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand – one of the four volunteers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • SFC and Linux Foundation

              • The Institute for Computing in Research Joins Conservancy!

                Conservancy is proud to welcome in a new member project that both fills in a critical opportunity gap for young scientists and introduces the next generation of researchers to essential free software tools. The Insititute for Computing in Research runs a mentoring program that trains students finishing 10th, 11th and 12th grade to do rigorous scientific research using free software. This year’s round of internships began last week with ten students and, while based in New Mexico, is fully remote for 2020.

                [...]

                Karen Sandler, Conservancy’s Executive Director added, “Providing opportunities for young scientists while teaching them how important software freedom is for research and data analysis is incredibly important. We’re so proud Conservancy can have a role in leveling the playing field for these students and can’t wait to help the program grow.”

              • Linux Foundation announces open source exposure notification apps initiative to combat COVID-19 [Ed: This is Microsoft-connected surveillance]

                The Linux Foundation introduced its latest project that uses open source technologies to help public health authorities (PHAs) fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative, announced on Monday, focuses on the use of open source exposure notification applications.

              • Tech Leaders Launch Health Initiative to Help Fight COVID-19

                The new Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative, which counts Cisco, IBM, Tencent, and VMware among its charter members, aims to help public health authorities around the world fight COVID-19.

              • Tech Leaders and Health Authorities from Around the Globe Collaborate to Combat COVID-19
              • Linux Foundation announces COVID-19 exposure notification application initiativ
              • OpenAPI Initiative Welcomes Postman as Newest Member
              • Open source ACRN v2.0 hypervisor focuses on IOT

                Project ACRN has released v2.0 of its open source IoT and automotive hypervisor with a new hybrid-mode architecture for simultaneous deployment of safety critical and resourcing sharing VMs. ACRN v2.0 also adds OpenStack and Kata support.

                In 2018 when the Linux Foundation launched its Project ACRN for developing a lightweight hypervisor for safety critical embedded applications, the chief use case was an automotive system in which safety critical functions are the dominant concern. With ACRN v2.0, the project focuses more on IoT applications that require a mix of safety critical and more general purpose Virtual Machines (VMs).

              • The ACRN™ Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Development Announces ACRN v2.0 and Functional Safety Certification Concept Approval

                “The ACRN project is moving fast to address the increasingly complex requirements for IoT devices, networks and environments,” said Mike Dolan, senior vice president and general manager of projects at the Linux Foundation. “This speed and agility in development can only be achieved through collaboration and we’re happy to be able to support this important work.”

                [...]

                Eddie Dong, senior Principal Engineer, architect, and maintainer of Project ACRN said, “The rapid evolution and development from version 1.0 to 2.0 in a year demonstrates the momentum of this project and the demand for a flexible, real-time, safety-critical, open source hypervisor for industrial players that are architecting mission-critical technologies.”

              • 3MF Consortium Joins Linux Foundation
              • 3D Printing Effort Becomes Linux Foundation Open Standards Project, Announces New Executive Director

                The 3MF Consortium, the organization dedicated to advancing a universal specification for 3D printing, today announced it is becoming a Linux Foundation member and that HP’s Luis Baldez is its new Executive Director (ED). Baldez supersedes Microsoft’s Adrian Lannin, who has served as ED since the 3MF Consortium was founded in 2015. Among the original creators of the 3MF Consortium, Lannin will remain a strategic advisor to the group.

                [...]

                Baldez was recently elected Executive Director by the 3MF Consortium membership to expand upon the technical progress and success of the 3MF standard by building new functionalities for the standard through collaboration with Linux Foundation and JDF. Baldez is a 3D printing veteran with experience across new technology business development. It is this combination of expertise that makes him well-suited for the ED role at 3MF Consortium, where the focus is maturing from standards development to implementation and adoption. Baldez has also held R&D engineering leadership positions at other multinationals and startups.

              • Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp from The Linux Foundation Helps IT Professionals Move Into Cloud Careers

                Building on the popularity of its beginner Cloud Engineer Bootcamp launched last month, The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of an Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp program, designed to help experienced IT professionals move into cloud engineering roles in as little as six months. Additionally, the foundation has announced a new training course, LFS243 – Service Mesh Fundamentals, which will be available beginning July 31, will also be a part of this new bootcamp.

                The Linux Foundation Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp bundles self-paced eLearning courses with certification and dedicated instructor support for a comprehensive and well-rounded educational program.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (ksh), openSUSE (ant, chromium, ldb, samba, and LibVNCServer), Red Hat (dbus, kernel, kernel-rt, and NetworkManager), and SUSE (cni-plugins, firefox, openexr, Salt, salt, SUSE Manager Client Tools, and tomcat).

          • Update your Google Chrome browser now to avoid hackers, says CERT-In

            The government’s cybersecurity agency has warned Google Chrome users in the country to immediately upgrade to the new Chrome browser version to avoid remote hackers from intruding into their machines.

            Google has released Chrome 84.0.4147.89 upgrade that contains 38 fixes and improvements against vulnerabilities.

            “Multiple vulnerabilities have been reported in Google Chrome that could allow remote attacker to execute arbitrary code, bypass security restrictions, access sensitive information, contact spoofing attack and denial of service (DoS) attack on the targeted system,” the Computer Emergency Response Team-India (CERT-In) warned in its latest advisory.

          • State-of-the-art crypto goes post-quantum

            Secrecy is one of the most important functions of computer science. Should electronic secrecy suddenly collapse into total transparency, we could not engage in electronic commerce, we would be unable to communicate privately, our past communications would be globally visible, and we would be critically impacted in myriad ways that would fundamentally change our ability to work and live. Consider the time we spend every day maintaining our secrecy with passwords, lock patterns, wireless fobs, and biometrics that restrict access to protect us and the ramifications of their failure.

            Public-key cryptosystems form a critical aspect of our secrecy. The ability to establish private communications over a public medium is exercised billions of times per day. Should technology arise that unmasks this private discourse, the consequences could be incalculable.

            In quantum computing, such a technology is rising. Potential hardware that can execute Shor’s algorithm to directly threaten commonly used public-key schemes (RSA, conventional Diffie-Hellman, and elliptic curve) may be far nearer to realization than we would expect. D-Wave corporation has promised to deliver an adiabatic quantum computer this year with 5,000 qubits; this machine is not capable of directly running Shor’s algorithm, but if it were, TLS and SSH would be severely compromised. There is some urgency to correct our cryptosystems.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Apple Has No Tolerance For Webcam Covers

              This support page addition was picked up in the media and as some media outlets have reported, apparently enough customers have damaged their screen by closing it with a webcam cover that the issue justified this public guidance.

              One on hand it’s encouraging to see that enough people are concerned about their privacy, and webcam covers are so ubiquitous, that it’s an issue worthy of its own support page. What’s discouraging is Apple’s security advice on the issue, which is to rely on MacOS webcam software permissions to restrict what apps can access the webcam and combine that with a hard-wired green LED that should always turn on when the webcam is in use. While this advice is consistent with Apple’s overall “just trust us” approach to security, it completely misses the point of why people used webcam covers to begin with: to claw back the tiniest bit of control over their privacy from hardware and software companies.

              It’s this issue of control that I want to discuss in this post. Apple and Purism take completely different approaches to security. Apple’s approach is to require customers to hand over all trust and control to Apple and depend upon Apple for all of their security. Purism’s approach is to give customers control over their own computers and provide security without depending upon Purism. Webcam security is a great lens through which to view these completely opposite approaches.

            • Siri, Alexa Targeted as EU Probes ‘Internet of Things’

              Voice assistants such as Apple Inc.’s Siri and Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa are at the center of a sweeping European Union antitrust inquiry into how Silicon Valley uses data to gain a tight grip on growing markets.

              EU watchdogs already see signs that tech giants might be restricting access to data or making products that don’t work well with those made by other companies, the European Commission said in a statement on Thursday announcing the probe into the so-called internet of things.

              “Once big companies use their power, they can very, very quickly push markets beyond the tipping point where competition turns into monopoly,” EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters in Brussels. “If we don’t act in good time, there is a serious risk that this will happen again with the internet of things,” she said.

              Voice assistants are “the center of it all,” she said. “That could be Apple’s Siri, Google’s assistant, Amazon’s Alexa.” A voice assistant “changes how you interact with things” because users may only “be presented with an option” instead of the full choice of products they’d get standing in a store, she said.

              The Dane cited fitness trackers, where she’s separately probing Google’s takeover of health-data assistant Fitbit. Thursday’s probe will also cover connected fridges, washing machines, smart TVs and lighting.

    • Finance

      • Europe: Will This Crisis Be Different?

        As the 2008 financial crisis made clear, without major change at the European level, social democratic responses to the coronavirus crisis will be out of reach for many countries across the continent.

        [...]

        The crisis has also reminded citizens that dealing with global health requires well-resourced, efficient government capacities and resilient welfare states. For this to remain at the forefront of political consciousness, the left will need to recommit to its opposition to neoliberalism’s insistence on the “the primacy of economics”—the view that globalization, or markets, or any other economic imperative inexorably dictates particular policies or social outcomes—and instead again champion the “primacy of politics”—the view that it is both possible and desirable for democratic governments to promote more equitable societies and economies.
        A reorientation of the left’s policy profile and appeal at the national level is necessary but not sufficient to catalyze transformation. As the financial crisis made clear, without major change at the European level, progressive responses to the crisis or a more social democratic future for Europe overall will be impossible.
        Committed Europeans often reference Jean Monnet’s famous quote: “Europe will be forged in crises and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises.” But Europe’s last crisis “solution” forged political resentment, economic decay, and intra-European tensions. Today’s crisis is more serious than the one Europe faced in 2008; nothing less than a Marshall Plan−type effort is necessary. A proposed German−French “recovery fund” is a step in the right direction, but it is unclear how much pushback it will receive from northern EU members. Moreover, the fund should only be a first step toward a new understanding of European solidarity, not an end point. Thus far, however, the European left has not been able to unite around any transformative plans. Indeed, many left parties, including the “solidaristic” Scandinavian ones, have long resisted providing further aid to struggling European nations. Putting national interests first, they have not devoted much energy to rethinking how Europe could be restructured to assist the continent’s most needy as well as protect the power of governments to limit markets and ensure that all citizens receive the social support they need. But if the EU cannot help Italy, Spain, and other countries through this crisis, it will fan anti-European sentiments and thus likely the fortunes of anti-EU, nativist populists.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Black Lives Matter: The emotional toll of speaking up

        I’m tired. A lot of us are. The events of the past seven weeks have forced us to relive and reflect on our own experiences with racism, while shouldering our loved ones and communities going through the same pain.

        These feelings of exhaustion and injustice can be soul shattering. Usually, when I revisit my own experiences, I find comfort by focusing on what the Black community has achieved and on my own successes and blessings. This time, counting silver linings isn’t soothing. It just isn’t enough.

        The scale of the worldwide demonstrations prompted by the Black Lives Matter movement is something I’ve never seen before. People around me are becoming more vocal, sharing their efforts to educate themselves. Many of our aid institutions have also publicly taken a stand against racism and relaunched internal conversations in order to do – and be – better.

      • NLG Announces Federal Defense Hotline

        Since May, the NLG has continued to support the movement for Black lives, organizing to support legal defense efforts and provide Legal Observers for demonstrations. In the last week, we have seen the use of anti-protest shock troops by the federal government, such as Portland, where federal grab squads have arrested activists and taken them away from demonstrations in unmarked vans.

        A memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that these officers are acting under the auspices of DHS and are members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). This is a unit typically tasked with high level law enforcement operations and it is formed under US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). These officers are acting under direct orders from the Trump Administration and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Aerospace to garden hoses: differing opinions in the English Court of Appeal as to obviousness over obscure prior art.

          At first instance, Emson (as exclusive licensee of UK Patent 2,490,276 and European Patent (UK) 2,657,585: “the Patents”) had brought infringement proceedings against Hozelock. The Patents protected an extendable hose, such as the ”XHose” manufactured by Emson. Emson successfully asserted that Hozelock’s “Superhoze” infringed the Patents; however, Hozelock was successful in its counterclaim to invalidate the Patents which were held to be obvious over a piece of prior art named “McDonald”, which was from the aerospace industry.

          The first instance judgment was notable and widely reported, primarily due to the obiter comments about a potentially novelty-destroying prior disclosure by the inventor, Mr Berardi, who had been testing prototypes in his garden in Florida. This interesting aspect of patent law – which on the facts encouraged English patent lawyers to imagine the scenes in Mr Berardi’s garden, with blue skies and presumably a bright green, beautifully watered lawn – had the scope to alter the traditional test for what constitutes a public disclosure. However, this part of the case was only in issue on appeal by way of respondent’s notice, and unfortunately for connoisseurs of patent law, the appeal did not make it to that stage. Rather, the appeal judgment centered on the part of the case which was less likely to conjure up images of Mr Berardi’s Florida garden: the issue of whether Emson’s Patents were obvious over McDonald.

          [...]

          All of Nugee J’s findings were therefore upheld by Arnold LJ, with whom Henderson LJ agreed. The patent was therefore obvious over McDonald. Nevertheless, both judges were sympathetic to the inventor, Mr Berardi. Henderson LJ went as far as acknowledging that their decision was harsh and potentially even unfair on Berardi. Arnold LJ highlighted, as Nugee J had done, the underlying policy considerations. He accepted that in balancing the monopoly right of the patentee and the public’s right to do something disclosed in the prior art, it is an unfortunate consequence that, as in this instance, clever patents can sometimes be found invalid due to an obscure piece of prior art totally unknown to the inventor.

          [....]

          The difference of opinion between Arnold LJ and Floyd LJ shows that hindsight is an ugly subject matter which constantly needs to be grappled with. It is interesting that Arnold J (as he was until last year), was known for his commentary on avoiding hindsight in the instruction of experts (including his criticism of practitioners). Indeed he considered this issue very recently in Fibrogen v Akebia [2020] EWHC 866 (Pat). Yet in this case he has found that there was no error of principle in relation to hindsight.

          In this appeal, the majority judgment upholds the application of patent law in relatively strict terms, at the unfortunate expense of a genuinely good idea from an individual in his garden. In future, practitioners might seek to use Floyd LJ’s comments on unknown, “mere paper proposal” ideas (as opposed to real life, worked inventions) as weaker starting points for obviousness attacks, although this may be limited to unusual situations such as this one, where the prior art is from a completely different field.

          The case also illustrates how influential the specific expertise of an expert can be in determining the identity of the skilled person, and in turn how the expertise of the skilled person can impact the outcome of a case.

          Whatever practitioners think of the outcome, they will be comforted (whilst their clients may be dismayed) to know that even when two highly experienced patent practitioners are faced with exactly the same task and are allowed to review each other’s work, they can come to, and stick with, very different conclusions.

        • Software Patents

          • JustService patent challenged as likely invalid

            On July 20, 2020, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 10,476,868, owned and asserted by JustService.net, LLC, an NPE. The ’868 patent is related to cloud and data-storage technology and is currently being asserted against Dropbox.

      • Trademarks

        • Reconsidering DESCRIPTIVE.COM trademark registrations after BOOKING.COM

          The USPTO refused to register the mark — finding “cookinpellets.com” would be “understood by consumers as referring to a company that sells cooking pellets online.” The Board (TTAB) also used the (former) shortcut almost-per-se rule of the patent office that adding “.com” would not transform a generic word into a registrable mark. See Booking.com B.V. v. Pat. & Trademark, 18-1309, 2020 WL 3578671 (U.S. July 2, 2020). After the BOOKING.COM decision, the Federal Circuit received supplemental briefing. However, rather than deciding the case the court remanded to the TTAB. “The impact of the Supreme Court’s decision in Booking.com is best determined by the Board in the first instance.”

          [...]

          The problem with the PTO’s argument here is that the Board did not give any weight to the “.com” portion of the mark when determining distinctiveness or acquired distinctiveness. Rather the Board applied the now-rejected PTO almost-per-se rule that “.com” adds nothing and therefore could not “expand the meaning of the mark” beyond that of “cookinpellets” itself. The PTO briefing on this point does not appear to fully consider the holding of Booking.com — it will be interesting to see how the TTAB responds.

      • Copyrights

        • [Guest post] Copyright protection in times of regional instability: national security and the relevance of the WTO case Saudi Arabia – Measures Concerning the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

          On the 16th of June 2020 a Panel of the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued its Report on the case where Qatar claimed that Saudi Arabia had committed a number of copyright violations against Qatari sport broadcaster beIN. The case raised limited issues with regard to the interpretation of the core obligations of the WTO Agreement on Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) but it is of great significance because it is the first time that the TRIPS national security exception of Art. 73 was adjudicated in a WTO dispute. This exception is identical to the one of Art. XXI GATT that has been hitting the headlines recently because US President Trump used it to justify unilaterally a number of protectionist measures against China and other countries. The interpretation of the national security exception given by the Panel clarified when a State is considered exempted from its TRIPS obligations in situations in which it considers that its national security is at risk because it is at war with another WTO Member or because of another emergency in international relations. As this case showed, even if the WTO Panel interpreted restrictively the conditions of TRIPS Art. 73 it did find that, in some limited circumstances, a WTO Member can be excused by the national security exception when not respecting TRIPS law. This is in line with the only previous case on national security Russia – Measures Concerning Traffic in Transit where also the conditions of the national security exception (in that case Art. XXI GATT) were considered fulfilled.

          [...]

          The case demonstrated that the identical wording of the national security exceptions of Art. XXI GATT and Art. 73 TRIPS mean that the interpretation given in the previous Russia – Measures Concerning Traffic in Transit can be applied also in the context of TRIPS law. Doing this the Panel reiterated that the exception provides additional policy space under WTO law to take measures that would be otherwise illegal on the basis of the TRIPS. However, this is generally correlated to some kind of military tension between the countries involved and excludes political or economic conflicts. A four step test must be applied to assess if the exception is fulfilled which also requires to demonstrate the connection between the measures taken and the essential security interest protected. This case is highly relevant for looming disputes against protectionist measures implemented by President Trump on the basis of the same national security exception against China, the European Union and other nations. If the reasoning is confirmed, those measures would not pass the four steps test used by the Panel.

Links 21/7/2020: GeckoLinux Release, Atari VCS Develops

Posted in News Roundup at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Pinebook Pro Linux laptop is available for $200 (again)

        The PineBook Pro is a laptop with a 14.1 inch full HD display, a Rockchip RK3399 processor, and 4GB of RAM. Designed to run GNU/Linux software rather than Windows or Chrome OS, the PineBook Pro went up for pre-order for $200 last summer, shipped last fall, and has been kind of hard to get your hands on recently.

        Now Pine64 has announced that it’s produced more PineBook Pro laptops, which means it’s available for purchase again.

        The latest batch should ship to customers in late August 2020.

      • Tuxedo Pulse 15 Linux laptop powered by AMD Ryzen Renoir CPU

        The new Tuxedo Pulse 15 Lionux laptop is equipped with a 5.6 inch Full HD 60 Hz display offering users a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The Pulse 15 laptop can be powered by the 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800H or the 6-core AMD Ryzen 5 4600H both of which are supported by up to 64 GB DDR4 3200 MHz Dual Channel and AMD Radeon Graphics.

        “The low weight as well as its compact design is due to the robust magnesium chassis, which gives the powerful AMD-only Linux Notebook a very elegant touch. Via 2x DDR4 RAM slots, the TUXEDO Pulse 15 can be equipped with up to 64 GB RAM with up to 3200 MHz in high-performance dual channel mode.”

        Ports on the Tuxedo Pulse 15 laptop include a single HDMI 2.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C (with power delivery, but no DisplayPort, 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, USB 2.0 Type-A, 3.5mm headset jack and a handy microSD card reader.

      • Tuxedo Pulse 15: An Ubuntu laptop with 45 W AMD Renoir APUs and a 91 Wh battery

        Tuxedo has announced its latest laptop, the Pulse 15. Based on the same design as the Schenker VIA 15 Pro, the Tuxedo Pulse 15 can be equipped with either an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H or a Ryzen 7 4800H APU. These Renoir chips can be paired with up to 64 GB of RAM, a 2 TB SSD and in a variety of keyboard layouts. The laptop has a 91 Wh battery like the VIA 15 Pro, which has been installed in a 356 x 17 x 234 mm chassis that weighs 1.5 kg.

        The magic of the Pulse 15, and all Tuxedo laptops for that matter, is its software support. Tuxedo pre-installs Ubunutu and TUXEDO_OS 64-bit, which is based on Ubuntu with Budgie Desktop. The company also includes WebFAI for managing your Linux installation. Additionally, the company offers openSUSE 15 with Xfce, Gnome or KDE plasma, all of which are configured and pre-loaded with all drivers and updates.

        On request, Tuxedo can also encrypt your Linux system, details of which you can read here. You can ask Tuxedo to install Windows too, for which it will provide a license key, sticker and installation DVD. Please note that this can add 1-2 working days of additional lead time to the configuration of your device.

      • Tuxedo Pulse 15 is a 3.3 pound Linux laptop with an AMD Ryzen “Renoir” processor

        Tuxedo Computers has introduced one of the first Linux laptops powered by an AMD Ryzen 4000 series processor. The new Tuxedo Pulse 15 is a thin and light laptop with a 15.6 inch display, a choice of a 45-watt AMD Ryzen 5 4600H or Ryzen 7 4800H “Renoir” processor, and a starting price of 896 Euros ($1025).

        You can select Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, or the company’s Tuxedo_OS as your operating system, or even pay extra to have Windows installed.

        Alternately, you can save about $80 by ordering a Tuxedo Pulse 15 without any storage or operating system at all if you’d rather supply your own. The laptop is up for pre-order now, and should begin shipping in mid-August.

      • Google announces Explore app for Chromebook

        Chromebooks are wonderful computers and anyone that says otherwise is simply uneducated on the subject. These laptops run a Linux-based operating system called “Chrome OS” that is arguably the most secure web surfing platform on the planet. Not only can Chromebooks run web apps, but Android apps and desktop Linux programs too, giving them a huge library of useful software. Most importantly, they are very easy to use. For instance, you get periodic OS updates that silently install in the background — very unlike the complicated Windows 10.

        Even though Chromebooks are simple to use, that doesn’t mean everyone will become an expert on day one. Through experience and education, Chrome OS users can always improve their knowledge of the platform. Today, Google launches a new app for Chromebooks called “Explore” aimed at helping users get the most from the Chromebook experience. For instance, as part of the onboarding process, it can teach you how to change your wallpaper or lock your screen.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-07-20 | Linux Headlines

        Pine announces exciting additions to its product line, The Linux Foundation picks up a project donation from Ireland’s health service, OPPO unveils an impressive new fast-charging standard, and a vote of no confidence petition fails to remove the openSUSE board.

      • Ubuntu Update Hack Chat

        Everyone has their favorite brands, covering everything from the clothes they wear to the cars they drive. We see brand loyalty informing all sorts of acquisition decisions, not only in regular consumer life but in technology, too. Brand decisions sort people into broad categories like Mac versus PC, or iPhone versus Android, and can result in spirited discussions of the relative merits of one choice over the others. It’s generally well-intentioned, even if it gets a bit personal sometimes.

        Perhaps no choice is more personal in hacker circles than which Linux distribution to use. There are tons to choose from, each with their various features and particular pros and cons. Ubuntu has become a very popular choice for Linux aficionados, attracting more than a third of the market. Canonical is the company behind the Debian-based distro, providing editions that run on the desktop, on servers, and on a variety of IoT devices, as well as support and services for large-scale users.

        To fill us in on what’s new in the world of Ubuntu, Canonical product manager Rhys Davies and developer advocate Alan Pope will stop by the Hack Chat this week. They’ll be ready to answer all your questions about the interesting stuff that’s going on with Ubuntu, including the recently announced Ubuntu Appliances, easy to install, low maintenance images for Raspberry Pis and PCs that are built for security and simplicity. We’ll also talk about snaps, desktops, and whatever else crops up.

      • Podcast.__init__: Idiomatic Functional Programming With DRY Python

        Python is an intuitive and flexible language, but that versatility can also lead to problematic designs if you’re not careful. Nikita Sobolev is the CTO of Wemake Services where he works on open source projects that encourage clean coding practices and maintainable architectures. In this episode he discusses his work on the DRY Python set of libraries and how they provide an accessible interface to functional programming patterns while maintaining an idiomatic Python interface. He also shares the story behind the wemake Python styleguide plugin for Flake8 and the benefits of strict linting rules to engender good development habits. This was a great conversation about useful practices to build software that will be easy and fun to work on.

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 94

        It’s been an unusually busy couple of summer weeks so we dig into the news including Canonical teaming up with Google, more updates from Pine64, and LibreOffice drama. Plus Will came up with a new segment, and KDE Korner.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.9 To Support DM-CRYPT On Zoned Block Devices

        Along with Linux 5.9 set to add NVMe ZNS support for the spec surrounding placement of data within zones, more broadly this next kernel is positioned to bring dm-crypt support for zoned block devices.

        For zoned block devices / zoned storage where the address space is partitioned into zones for having more control over data placement, reducing latency, and other reasons with the standards from the likes of ZBC, ZAC, and now NVMe ZNS, the dm-crypt component is having to adapt. The Linux Device Manager’s dm-crypt allows for transparent disk encryption and does so quite well, but until now hasn’t properly supported zoned block devices.

      • Linux Sound Subsystem Begins Cleaning Up Its Terminology To Meet Inclusive Guidelines

        Merged just over one week ago to the mainline kernel were inclusive terminology guidelines following the recent discussion among upstream developers. The Linux sound subsystem has begun preparing patches for Linux 5.9 to overhaul their naming conventions as a result.

        The Linux Kernel Inclusive Terminology Guidelines are to reflect future code contributions as well as when updating existing code as long as the API/ABI isn’t broke. Or as we also have begun to see, patches solely for updating existing code to reflect the new guidelines.

      • Linux Secret Memory “secretmemfd” System Call Remains Under Review

        A few months back we wrote of experimental work for creating “secret” memory areas with memfd and now that work has turned into the secretmemfd system call that is under review.

        The motivation for this work is for creating memory areas from user-space that are only visible to the process owning said memory and is not mapped for other processes or the kernel page tables. One use-case mentioned in the past was for OpenSSL usage with these secret memory areas for the storing of private keys.

      • Linux 5.7 released, Bootlin contributions

        We’re late to the party as Linux 5.8 is going to be released in a few weeks, but we never published about our contribution to the current Linux stable release, Linux 5.7, so here is our usual summary! For an overview of the major changes in 5.7, KernelNewbies has a nice summary, as well as LWN, in two parts: part 1 and part 2.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Intel Async Page-Flipping Support Revised For Benefiting Skylake Graphics And Newer

          Over the past several months there has been work on Intel’s Linux kernel graphics driver for async page-flipping to yield better performance. That work was revised against today for hopefully making it into a kernel release in the near future albeit too late for Linux 5.9 but regardless nice to see this work moving forward.

          Asynchronous page-flipping is about being able to avoid an extra blit that occurs per-frame when flipping while full-screen applications like games are running at a resolution equal to the screen resolution. Basically if no scaling is necessary, the overhead of an extra blit per-frame can be avoided prior to page flipping, which in turn is good for full-screen gaming performance.

        • FFmpeg Adds H.265 Tile Encoding Support For VA-API With Intel Icelake+

          The latest FFmpeg multimedia library code can see faster H.265 video encoding with the Video Acceleration API when running on Icelake and newer Intel graphics.

          Tile encoding is now exposed for FFmpeg’s H.265 VA-API encode path. The number of tiles can be configured by the user but a best effort will be made to use a sane default for the number of tile rows and columns in splitting up the video encode workload. With tile encoding the aim is to offer greater parallelism/efficiency of the process.

        • NVIDIA 450.56.02 Vulkan Beta Driver is out for Linux

          NVIDIA continue expanding their Linux driver support, with a fresh Vulkan Beta Driver going live today.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Memory

          Last week was my birthday (all week), and I decided to gift myself fewer blog posts.

          Now that things are back to normal, however, I’ll be easing my way back into the blogosphere. Today I’m going to be looking briefly at the benefits of code from a recent MR by Erik Faye-Lund which improves memory allocation in ntv to let us better track all the allocations done in the course of doing compiler stuff, with the key benefit being that we’re no longer leaking this entire thing every time we compile a shader (oops).

          Mesa internals use an allocator called ralloc, and this was first added to the tree by Kenneth Graunke way back in 7.10.1, or at least that was the earliest reference of it I could find. It’s used everywhere, and it has a number of nice features that justify its use other than simple efficiency.

    • Benchmarks

      • Sabrent USB 3.2 Enclosure + Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe SSD On Linux Performance

        For those looking at an NVMe PCIe M.2 solid-state drive enclosure for connecting to USB 3.1/3.2 systems, Sabrent offers a nice option with their EC-TFNB enclosure that is constructed out of aluminum, 100% tool-free, and runs well. I recently bought this Sabrent USB 3.2 enclosure along with the Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB NVMe solid-state drive, which offers nice performance for a PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD and the 2TB capacity can be found for just about $250 USD.

        I bought this Sabrent USB 3.2 enclosure and 2TB NVMe solid-state drive to serve as another local Steam cache. While the Phoronix Test Suite’s Phoromatic makes caching on the LAN transparent for benchmark test files, etc, Steam games are the exception. Not to mention with the sizes of today’s games, it’s always much easier having an external drive for the Steam data. In replacing a SATA 3.0 2TB SSD that has begun failing, I picked up the Sabrent EC-TFNB enclosure and for going with that was the Sabrent Rocket Q 2TB.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Best Open Source Games for Linux

        If you are a gaming enthusiast and like to play all ranges of video games then we are pretty sure you must also have explored the wide array of open-source games. Open source games are free of cost and require downloading source code to run the game.

        There are plenty of open-source software available on the internet which houses a hefty amount of open source games across all the major platforms such as Linux, Windows and macOS. These games are not just fun to play but also lets you play with or against your friends and other members.

        Open source games consist of numerous single-player and multiplayer games that are worth exploring but the real challenge lies in selecting the best and the most interesting game out of so many games. Well, do not worry, leave this job up to us!

      • 5 best games that can run on Linux in 2020

        Steam has recently introduced a compatibility layer between Windows and Linux operating systems, which allows Linux users to play the games that were initially designed for Windows. The compatibility layer, Proton, has the ability to translate Windows DirectX API to Vulkan or OpenGL API.

      • Death Stranding Linux Playable Now On Steam

        Proton is a program that works in conjunction with Steam to bring Windows exclusive games to the Linux platform. In order to do this, it uses Wine, a program that Mac users use in order to play Windows games on Mac systems. In what’s also a first for Linux, Direct X12 is now working on Linux. This will have ramifications for future AAA games as it means that they are more likely to be available for Linux gamers.

      • Quirky 8-bit sailing adventure The Caribbean Sail gets a free expansion

        Sail across the seas and probably die a thousand deaths, The Caribbean Sail is a quirky retro 8-bit take on sailing the world in the 1700′s and it got a huge update.

        “Set sail across the Atlantic with your best friend, food. Food will keep you alive and food will keep you well- you get food by throwing harpoons at fish and turtles. Then one day BAM! The RNG screws you over and throws a pirate ship at you and you’re forced to fight and defend your food!”

        Covered here on GOL back in 2018, our contributor BTRE gave it a favourable look. Recently, the developer put out the Fantasy Toggle expansion to The Caribbean Sail adding in a completely new story, new encounters, new events, new opportunities, treasure hunting, sea monsters, mythical locations and a lot more.

      • Are Gaming Companies Maddened by Mods or Embracing Them?

        While many software providers choose to vigorously defend their intellectual property rights in the software they create, in the gaming industry, some developers of PC video games have taken a different approach by allowing or even encouraging fans of their games to modify (or mod) them. Fan-developed modifications of video games have been made since the 1980s, usually by fans seeking to enhance or replace visual elements of, add gameplay features or characters to, or fix bugs or errors in a game. Mods are sometimes released by their creators (or modders) to the gaming community for free, but, in other instances (including some condoned or created by major gaming studios), they may be released for a fee, from behind paywalls, or as entries into contests.

        Game developers have taken divergent approaches to interacting with modders, ranging from aggressively seeking to stop modders’ activities, to utilizing communities of modders to develop and release patches to their games, to opening up mod marketplaces and releasing free software and tools to facilitate modding. A recent re-release of the source code of an old game, Command & Conquer: Tiberian Dawn, under the GNU General Public License v3 open source license by major game developer Electronic Arts, is the latest step in a long-emerging trend of studios embracing interactions with their fans and promoting vibrant mod communities.

      • Atari VCS gets another streaming service, teams up with Game Jolt

        With the Atari VCS looking to actually ship properly by the end of this year after many delays, they’re finally starting to announce some actual partnerships.

        Atari, well the people currently wearing the face of Atari, have been pretty tight lipped on what you will actually be able to do with it. We already know it will support the Antstream retro game streaming service, the Atari Vault selection of retro games, the newly released Missile Command: Recharged and recently they also announced support for the AirConsole game streaming service too. I actually tried out AirConsole myself and while it worked as advertised, the selection of games was hilariously poor. Today though, July 20, they also announced a partnership with indie game store/community Game Jolt which they said will help bring ‘a curated list of games’ from Game Jolt over to the Atari VCS.

      • Unspottable is an amusing upcoming crowd-blending party game

        Coming later this year is Unspottable, an amusing party game about blending in with the crowd across a few different game modes and it’s confirmed for Linux with a demo.

        It’s similar in idea to Hidden in Plain Sight, in fact the basic idea of the game is the same. There’s lots of the same character on the screen and you each need to find who is real to beat them. There’s a demo that’s available now with Linux support that has two different levels available and both are quite funny with gameplay that’s already pretty great.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Media Player Integration into KDE connect SMS App, GSoC 2020

          It’s been over two weeks since I posted last time. This is the fourth report for my GSoC project. Previous two to three weeks period, I spent working on integrating media player and image viewer into KDE Connect SMS app as well as changed and improved some of my previous implementations as pointed by my mentors. The project has reached the stage where the SMS app is able to receive and display thumbnails in the chat as well as user can request to view any original attachment file just by clicking on that particular attachment thumbnail and it will get opened inside the SMS app as well as user can open it in another multimedia application present on the desktop. Here’s a demonstration video of it’s working.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Sam Thursfield: Tracker at GUADEC 2020

          GNOME’s conference is online this year, for obvious reasons. I spent the last 3 month teaching online classes so hopefully I’m prepared! I’m sad that there’s no Euro-trip this year and we can’t hang out in the pub, but nice that we’re saving hundreds of plane journeys.

          There will be two talks related to Tracker: Carlos and I speaking about Tracker 3 (Friday 23rd July, 16.45 UTC), and myself on how to deal with challanges of working on GNOME’s session-wide daemons (Thursday 22nd July, 16.45 UTC). There are plenty of other fascinating talks, including inevitably one scheduled the same time as ours which you should, of course, watch as a replay during the break

        • Julian Sparber: I finished my master’s degree \o/

          In the last couple of months, I was busy writing my thesis to conclude my master’s degree in computer science at the University of Bologna, therefore, I wasn’t much active in the GNOME community I hope that now I have much more time to dedicate to writing software ;).

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • TrueNAS Core will soon replace FreeNAS—and we test the beta

          Earlier this week, network-storage vendor iXsystems announced the release of TrueNAS 12.0-BETA1, which will replace FreeNAS later in 2020. The major offering of the new TrueNAS Core—like FreeNAS before it—is a simplified, graphically managed way to expose the features and benefits of the ZFS filesystem to end users. In the most basic environments, this might amount to little more than a Web front-end to ZFS itself, along with the Samba open-source implementation of Microsoft’s SMB network file-sharing protocol.

          Although this might be sufficient for the majority of users, it only scratches the surface of what TrueNAS Core is capable of. For instance, more advanced storage users may choose to share files via NFS or iSCSI in addition to or in place of SMB. Additional services can be installed via plug-ins utilizing FreeBSD’s jail (containerization) facility, and the system can even run guest operating systems by way of FreeBSD’s BHyve virtualization system—all managed via Web interface alone.

          TrueNAS Core will be what FreeNAS is now—the free, community version of iXsystems’ NAS (Network Attached Storage) distribution. End users—and system administrators who aren’t looking for paid support—can download FreeNAS or TrueNAS Core ISOs directly from iX, burn them to a bootable optical disc or thumbdrive, and install them on generic x86 hardware like any other operating system.

          We’ve been kicking the tires on early versions of TrueNAS Core since its announcement in March, and we see no evidence of any FreeNAS functionality slipping away behind “premium only” paywalls. The dividing lines between TrueNAS Core and TrueNAS Enterprise are no different than those between earlier versions of FreeNAS and TrueNAS itself.

          Due to the sheer breadth of TrueNAS Core’s offerings, we can’t walk you through everything it’s capable of in a single article. But we will hit the major highlights along the way—we’ll install the distribution and set up a storage pool on eight physical disks, join TrueNAS Core to a Windows Active Directory domain, set up some file shares, and play with ZFS snapshot and replication facilities.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Released: GeckoLinux [Static] [all editions] 152.200719

          GeckoLinux is pleased to announce updated spins of its Static series, generated from openSUSE Leap 15.2 and Packman package repositories. Despite the lack of new ISO refreshes during the past couple of years, users have continued to be able to install and update GeckoLinux systems thanks to the fact that it directly uses openSUSE and Packman repository sources. But for users that need to install GeckoLinux on newer hardware, and to continue improving the default configuration, the GeckoLinux Static 152.200719 series is now available. Updated spins of GeckoLinux NEXT Plasma and the GeckoLinux ROLLING series will also be released in the near future.

        • GeckoLinux Distro Has a New Release After Two Years, Based on openSUSE Leap 15.2

          GeckoLinux, the openSUSE-based GNU/Linux distribution for detail oriented geckos, has a new release after more than two years of absence from the Linux scene.

          I have to admit that I forgot about GeckoLinux. Last time I wrote about it was back in June 2018, when the development team released new major Stable and Rolling versions. The Stable version was actually the first distro to be based on the openSUSE Leap 15 operating system series.

          Stable GeckoLinux releases are based on the latest openSUSE Leap, while Rolling releases use the rolling openSUSE Tumbleweed repositories. Today, the team announced GeckoLinux 152 as the latest Stable release, based on openSUSE Leap 15.2.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Stratis 2.1 Proposed For Fedora 33 To Bring Per-Pool Encryption

          While Fedora 33 desktop variants are aiming to use Btrfs by default, non-desktop environments are not and Red Hat remains committed to XFS and their Stratis Storage technology for Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Coming to Fedora 33 will also likely be Stratis 2.1 for offering the latest on that front.

          As a late feature proposal for Fedora 33, Red Hat engineers are proposing Stratis 2.1 be available in F33 as the newest version. The shiny new feature of Stratis 2.1 is supporting per-pool encryption and various new interfaces for administering/monitoring it along with stratis-cli support for making use of the encryption functionality.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint: Which One Should You Use?

          Linux Mint, while based on Ubuntu, has a different approach than Ubuntu for creating a Linux distribution. Ubuntu makes use of Gnome 3 and tries to keep everything vanilla, while Linux Mint’s developers take all things they don’t like about Ubuntu and simplify it to make it easier for end users. If you are wondering which one is better, read on to find out how they differ and which one’s best for you.

        • [Older] Google and Canonical partner to support Flutter-based apps on Linux

          Google LLC’s said today it’s forging a partnership with Canonical Ltd.’s Ubuntu Desktop team to support applications built using its Flutter framework on Linux-based computer systems.

          Flutter is a software framework that’s used by developers to build “native” apps on multiple operating systems, including Android, iOS, Windows and MacOS. The idea is that they can write their apps just once using Google’s Dart programming language and have them run perfectly across all of those platforms, without needing to tinker with the code for each version.

          The framework is designed to enable what Google calls “ambient computing.” That’s where people can access their favorite apps and services from any location, be it at home or at work, on any kind of device, using a consistent set of methods and commands.

          The partnership with Canonical means that developers who use the Flutter framework can now deploy their apps on the Snap store and other kinds of Linux app stores, said Chris Sells, a senior product manager at Google, and Ken VanDine, an engineering manager at Canonical.

          “It has long been our vision for Flutter to power platforms,” Sells and VanDine wrote in a blog post. “Today we are happy to jointly announce the availability of the Linux alpha for Flutter alongside Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu, the world’s most popular desktop Linux distribution.”

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 640

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 640 for the week of July 12 – 18, 2020.

        • Design and Web team summary – 20th July 2020

          The web team here at Canonical run two week iterations. Here are some of the highlights of our completed work from this iteration.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Open source groups spar over Google trademark initiative

        It was no surprise, then, that Google’s announcement of a new open source initiative called the Open Usage Commons caused some consternation among other open source proponents. IBM’s reaction is typical. In a statement, the company said that “the creation of the Open Usage Commons (OUC) is disappointing because it doesn’t live up to the community’s expectation for open governance. An open governance process is the underpinning of many successful projects. Without this vendor-neutral approach to project governance, there will be friction within the community of Kubernetes-related projects.”

        This row between the various groups has been a distraction for what has been a radical move by Google. What the company has done has highlighted how companies had previously missed out on a crucial area of intellectual property and the company has shown that this could be a vital new area to explore.

        Google’s bright idea was to tap into the neglected area of trademarks, which previously has not been the most exciting area for developers to explore. However Google sees this differently. Launching the new initiative, the company explained that it “created the Open Usage Commons because free and fair open source trademark use is critical to the long-term sustainability of open source.”

        The underlying reason was that the management of trademarks was an area for legal specialists – something beyond the competence of open source project maintainers. According to Google, the new initiative would address this knowledge gap.

      • Web Browsers

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • The Document Foundation Officially Drops Branding For LibreOffice 7.0 “Personal Edition”

          Surprising many in the open-source community in recent weeks was the LibreOffice 7.0 release candidate branded as a “Personal Edition”. While still being free/open-source software and no licensing change, the traditional LibreOffice build was going to be marketed as “Personal Edition” to differentiate from other stakeholders that may market their professional/enterprise services around this cross-platform, open-source office suite. Those Personal Edition plans are now officially being reverted from next month’s LibreOffice 7.0 release.

          Following the negative backlash from the LibreOffice “Personal Edition” branding appearing on the splash screen and other marketing elements, The Document Foundation Board of Directors sought feedback on the matter.

          The board met on Friday to discuss what to do regarding LibreOffice 7.0′s branding and they have decided to revert the changes made to the release candidates and instead opt for the same branding as found in LibreOffice 6.4. In other words, no “Personal Edition” at least for the LO 7.0.x series.

        • Update on marketing and communication plans for the LibreOffice 7.x series

          Time has now come to decide how to proceed with some of the proposed changes taken from the Marketing/Communication Plan for 2020-2025 with the regards of the 7.0 release, due in some weeks.

          We really appreciated ideas and thoughts coming from our Community and we want to thank everyone who actively participated in the discussion, providing different points of views and sharing different scenarios, and proving themselves as passionate and caring members of the Community. Many contributions found on the board-discuss mailing list and/or via other channels are thoughtful, interesting and worthy of a much more profound discussion, in the common effort to overcome the challenge we have at hand: providing even better sustainability to the Project and its Community.

          All those ideas, objections and insights will require more time to digest, merge and distill than the short time that separates us from the 7.0 release, the major release for the 10th anniversary of our beloved project, LibreOffice.

          As such, the Board of Directors decided that the Marketing/Communication Plan for 2020-2025 has to undergo further investigations and refinements, that we hope to carry on with the support of Community members, with the goal of implementing in a future release some clear, discussed and agreed changes on branding and Marketing that will help improving the sustainability of the project without lessening or hindering the role of LibreOffice and its Community inside the free software panorama.

          Because of the importance of the topic at hand and the need of a worthy and compelling discussion with the Community, we will provide a time plan in a few days as well as some guidelines, with the goal of streamlining the process and coming to some good conclusions in a quick and effective way.

          As such, the 7.0 release of LibreOffice will not see any of the tagline/flavor text proposed inside the release candidate (RC) versions, the Marketing/Communication Plan for 2020-2025 or any of the alternatives proposed during the discussion, specifically inside the splash-screen, the start center and the about box; to explain it with other words, the modifications put in the RC versions with the regards of branding will be reverted to a previous state, so there will be seamless continuity from the 6.4 version to the 7.0.

          As stated before, none of the changes being evaluated will affect the license, the availability, the permitted uses and/or the functionality. LibreOffice will always be free software and nothing is changing for end users, developers and Community members.

          Yet again, we renew our encouragement to contribute actively in the discussion about the Marketing/Communication Plan for 2020-2025 in the next weeks, to allow for a more effective branding/Marketing ideas for the LibreOffice product and sustainability of its Community.

          LibreOffice is celebrating its tenth birthday this year. We wouldn’t be where we are today without you, our worldwide amazing Community and all of its members, no matter their profession or background. Thank you truly, to all of you, for the passion, energy and creativity you put into this joint and thriving project. We’re looking forward to the next ten years to come!

        • [GSoC] Simulated Animation Effects Week#7

          So after the last blog post, I have added support for animations that change positions by value ( AttributeType::PosX and AttributeType::PosY ). They pretty much share the same implementation with path motion animations.

          While doing so realized a logic error in my implementation which caused animation effects to skip updating bodies on the last frame of the animation causing a slight inaccuracy problem when they are over. To fix it added an option to delay the update event for a specified amount of box2DWorld steps.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • February 2020 License-Discuss Summary

            Statement that all major open source licenses rely on copyright for protection, none of them have severability clauses to address what happens if one or more clauses in the license cannot be enforced, and that works authored by the US Government (USG) does not have copyright attached in the USA. Concern that if standard licenses are used, it is not known if the license will be struck completely or if only portions would be, as well as whether it would expose the government if a standard license is used when some clauses don’t apply.

          • License Review Process Update

            We’d like to update you on some work we have underway on improving the OSI’s work on reviewing open source licenses. We’re working on two initiatives, one substantive and one process.

            First, on process, we know that an email list is a suboptimal way to perform the license review process. We have published a Request for Proposals for a contractor to, first, develop a set of requirements for an appropriate license-review vehicle and, second, implement the selected process. You can find the full RFP here. If you’re interested in participating as a stakeholder, stay tuned to this space for an announcement when we’ve started work on the project itself.

            Second, on substance, we are starting a License List Working Group. The mission will be to review, re-evaluate, and redefine current processes and standards for license review with a view towards ensuring that the OSI’s license list is appropriately comprehensive while also continuing to encourage the use of a smaller set of well-known, well-understood licenses. More information on the Working Group can be found here.

      • Programming/Development

    • Standards/Consortia

      • How to decentralize the Internet

        The Internet is centralized and what that means is that three of five companies will own the Internet, and that is not something that may happen, that is something already happening.

        Let’s see an example of how three companies share most of the Internet: [...]

      • [Old] A Month-and-a-Half of Self-Hosted Email

        I went live with my self-hosted email server on 2020-05-19; almost a month and a half ago. Since then, I’ve been using it daily for all of my email-based communications through IMAP (there is no web interface). As I discussed in my blog posts about setting up email, I am using OpenBSD with OpenSMTPD, Dovecot, and Rspamd which is holding up well as a solid, reliable software stack.

  • Leftovers

    • Education

      • “How Are Our Students Going to Stay Safe?” Teachers Protest School Reopenings

        As school districts across the country begin to decide what their plans will be in the fall — to reopen their doors amid the coronavirus pandemic’s continued rise, or to stick with a virtual learning curriculum that was utilized in the spring — many teachers and their unions are voicing support and demands for the latter option.

      • Teachers Sue Florida Governor for Order to Reopen Schools in Defiance of ‘Basic Human Needs for Health and Safety’

        The state’s “push to physically reopen schools full time without any precautions or new resources, and, most importantly, amid a skyrocketing Covid-19 surge, ignores science, safety, and basic humanity.”

      • What Happens When School Reopens? A Teacher’s Letter to His Administration
      • Coronavirus home schooling highlights the religious right’s education system influence

        In a way, the abuse proved one of Bartholet’s central theses: that much of home-schooling advocacy right now is in the hands of a small but belligerent minority who believe that parents have absolute rights over their children and that any form of regulation amounts, in the words of some home-schooling families, to “tyranny.”

        Lawmakers have run into similar resistance. Consider the case of New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg. In 2004 — following the horrific discovery of children who were kept out of school and were alleged to have been subjected to severe forms of physical and psychological abuse — Weinberg, then in the state Assembly, introduced legislation that would have required parents, for the first time, to notify the state that their children were being home-schooled. The bill also asked that parents submit proof of their children’s annual medical exams and provide assessments in core academic topics like reading and math.

    • Hardware

      • At Last, a 2.5Gbps Consumer Network Switch: QNAP Releases QSW-1105-5T 5-Port Switch

        After entirely too long of a delay, the wait for faster consumer-grade network switches appears to be coming to an end. This week QNAP launched its QSW-1105-5T switch, one of the industry’s first unmanaged 2.5Gbps (2.5GBASE-T) switches. The 5-port switch supports 2.5GbE operation on all five of its RJ45 Ethernet ports, and along with being unmanaged it is also fanless, allowing the switch to work maintenance-free and installed virtually anywhere. The QSW-1105-5T is already on sale in Taiwan for roughly $100, meaning that we’re looking at a price-per-port of about $20.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • In Quarantine, on the Plains of Colombia

        “We are not locked in, we have this infinity of savannah at our doorstep, but I am still locked in, I feel the air locked in, I don’t feel free.” —Sarai

      • ‘The hospital didn’t help me’: An infectious disease specialist from southern Russia recounts her forced resignation during the coronavirus pandemic

        In the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, located in Southern Russia, a number of residents who spoke out about the actual scale of the region’s coronavirus outbreak came under pressure from the authorities. A criminal case was launched against the hosts of the program “Cherny Kub” (Black Cube), after they revealed the underreporting of coronavirus statistics in Karachay-Cherkess. In the nearby city of Stavropol, a wheelchair-bound woman by the name of Anna Dargan had her computer equipment seized — security officials suspected that she was running an opposition Instagram account called “Politika09.” Meanwhile, Leila Batchayeva, the head infectious disease specialist for Karachay-Cherkessia’s Karachaevsk district, came under twice the pressure. Security officials summoned her for interrogation several times, and she was forced to quit her job after speaking with Meduza and a few other media outlets and bloggers about the coronavirus pandemic. In her own words, Leila Batchayeva tells Meduza about the circumstances surrounding her resignation.

      • Pharma Tries to Cash in on Covid Shutdowns With Its Best-Selling Drug

        Stuck at home? Watching a lot of TV? Pharma’s way ahead of you.

      • Southern Governors Are Finally Making Their States Mask Up
      • Despite Surging Need Amid Pandemic, GOP Moves to Rollback SNAP When Food Assistance ‘Matters Now More Than Ever’

        “SNAP delivered. Like it always does.”

      • Trump Is Bringing Back His Daily COVID Press Briefings

        President Donald Trump announced on Monday that, starting this week, he would be resuming daily coronavirus press briefings similar to those he held earlier this year.

      • The Disastrous Handling of the Pandemic is Libertarianism in Action, Will Americans Finally Say Good Riddance?

        We have now reached peak Libertarianism, and this bizarre experiment that has been promoted by the billionaire class for over 40 years is literally killing us.

      • Trump AWOL on Coronavirus

        We’re dealing with a president who thinks the Oval Office is a throne room with him as king. We once had one and definitely don’t want another.

      • ‘If We Had Single-Payer Healthcare, People Would Get the Care They Need’
      • “COVID parties”: Almost certainly an urban legend

        Today I’m going to write about something that’s been bugging me for a couple of months now. It’s a topic that’s more of a discussion of general skepticism and critical thinking, but it’s useful to discuss, as it’s about COVID-19 stories that are, at best, implausible, unproven, and unlikely, and, at worst, urban legends. I’m referring to the phenomenon known as “COVID parties”. No doubt you’ve seen several news stories about so-called “COVID parties”, in which people allegedly gather in order to intentionally catch SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. There are even variants of the story where there is a cash prize for the person who is diagnosed with COVID-19 first after such parties. I’m also going to distinguish a “COVID party” of this sort from your basic run-of-the-mill party where masking and social distancing are not followed but the intent is not to catch COVID-19; these parties are more due to recklessness and heedlessness of the danger from coronavirus, not due to an intention to catch the disease, such as appears to be the case with underground parties in New York City.

      • Trump Has Destroyed the Fauci Protocol

        Nobody has ever played the game of insider/outsider politics quite the way Dr. Anthony Fauci did with his public foe and private friend Larry Kramer, the late playwright and cofounder of ACT UP. In 1988, Kramer wrote an open letter, published in the San Francisco Examiner, which started with a bang: “Anthony Fauci, you are a murderer and should not be the guest of honor at any event that reflects on the past decade of the AIDS crisis. Your refusal to hear the screams of AIDS activists early in the crisis resulted in the deaths of thousands of Queers.”

      • American tourists barred from entering Bahamas due to COVID-19 cases; other countries still allowed

        American tourists will be barred from entering the Bahamas amid the re-surging COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said in a national address Sunday.

        The rollback comes three weeks after the Bahamas reopened its borders to travelers.

        The situation in the Bahamas has deteriorated “at an exponential rate since we reopened our international borders” on July 1, Minnis said. The country’s Ministry of Health reported 49 new cases since borders fully opened, for a total of 153 cases.

        In the address, Minnis announced that the country’s national airline Bahamasair will cease flights to the United States, effective immediately.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • MLflow is now a Linux Foundation project

                Databricks, the company behind the commercial development of Apache Spark, is placing its machine learning lifecycle project MLflow under the stewardship of the Linux Foundation.

                MLflow provides a programmatic way to deal with all the pieces of a machine learning project through all its phases — construction, training, fine-tuning, deployment, management, and revision.

                It tracks and manages the the datasets, model instances, model parameters, and algorithms used in machine learning projects, so they can be versioned, stored in a central repository, and repackaged easily for reuse by other data scientists.

                [...]

                MLflow differs from Kubeflow in several key ways. For one, it doesn’t require Kubernetes as a component; it runs on local machines by way of simple Python scripts, or in Databricks’s hosted environment. And while Kubeflow focuses on TensorFlow and PyTorch as its learning systems, MLflow is agnostic — it can work with models from those frameworks and many others.

              • Open source and health leaders join forces to fight coronavirus

                When coronavirus appeared, open-source developers turned their efforts to defeat it. Now, The Linux Foundation is bringing together corporate open-source and public health authorities (PHAs) leaders to fight COVID-19 in the Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH).

                This also brings some much-needed organization to some open-source anti-coronavirus efforts. True, from the start of the pandemic, open-source has tackled COVID-19 problems. Indeed, some of the first efforts to track the virus’ infection testing numbers came from open-source developers. But these efforts — even when they’re from large organizations like The Mozilla Foundation or companies like IBM and Verizon — tend to be one-offs. The LFPH is bringing together numerous organizations.

              • Source Code of Covid Tracker Ireland App Goes Global With Linux Project

                The Linux Foundation Public Health initiative has chosen the Covid Tracker Ireland app as one of its first two open-source Covid-19 projects.

              • The Linux Foundation Public Health initiative has chosen the Covid Tracker Ireland app as one of its first two open-source Covid-19 projects.

                Since its launch, more than 1.3m people have downloaded the Covid Tracker Ireland app, which was developed to help track the future spread of the coronavirus. Now, the app has been chosen as one of the first two open-source contact-tracing projects by the newly established Linux Foundation Public Health (LFPH) initiative.

                Nearform, the Waterford-based company that developed the app with the HSE, has been made one of the initiative’s seven premium members, along with Cisco, Doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, Tencent and VMware.

                Under the project name ‘Covid Green’, the source code of the Irish app is being made available for other public health authorities and their developers across the world to use and customise. As part of the agreement, Nearform will manage the source code repository on GitHub.

              • Linux Foundation Planning Kubernetes Security Certification

                Kubernetes was originally designed by Google as an open source container-orchestration system for automating cloud applicaiton deployment, scaling and management, and is now maintained by the CNCF.

                Many cloud services offer a Kubernetes-based platform or infrastructure-as-a-service on which Kubernetes can be deployed as a platform-providing service, with some vendors also providing their own branded Kubernetes distributions.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (libopenmpt, nginx, nss, qemu, rails, redis, ruby-sanitize, and tomcat9), Fedora (glibc, libldb, nspr, nss, samba, and webkit2gtk3), openSUSE (cairo, firefox, google-compute-engine, LibVNCServer, mumble, ntp, openconnect, openexr, openldap2, pdns-recursor, python-ipaddress, rubygem-puma, samba, singularity, slirp4netns, thunderbird, xen, and xrdp), and Oracle (.NET Core, .NET Core 3.1, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, kernel, and thunderbird).

          • Security Companies Taking PPP Funding total $40 million
          • Could Your Router Be The Biggest Security Flaw in Your Linux System?

            Is your home router leaving your network vulnerable to attack? New research suggests that this worrisome scenario is more likely than you may have thought.

            A Fraunhofer Institute for Communication (FKIE) report reveals that the firmware used in a large number of popular home routers is susceptible to malware and other serious exploits. We explored the importance of prioritizing network security in a recent LinuxSecurity.com feature article: Top Tips for Securing Your Linux System in 2020, and thought it was important to dive deeper into the topic given these critical new findings.

            After examining 127 home routers from seven leading brands (Netgear, Linksys, D-Link, ASUS, AVM, TP-Link and Zyxel), FKIE security researchers discovered that, on average, these routers contained 53 critical security vulnerabilities – and none of the routers were fully protected. The study revealed that an alarming number of routers have not received a single firmware update in their lifetime, and are susceptible to hundreds of notorious security issues as a result. To make matters worse, certain vendors have been shipping firmware updates without fixing known security bugs. Fifty of the routers examined in the study used hard-coded credentials, where a known username and password was encoded into the router by default, and many published at least five private keys per firmware image. FKIE concluded: “The update policy of router vendors is far behind the standards as we know it from desktop or server operating systems. However, routers are exposed to the Internet 24 hours a day, leading to an even higher risk of malware infection.” The organization emphasizes the need for industry-wide improvements in router security.

          • Bluetooth Reconnection Flaw Could Lead to Spoofing Attacks

            A group of researchers at Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS) recently discovered a vulnerability that affects the many IoT devices running Bluetooth.

            Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) is the most widely utilized low-energy communication protocol for mobile and IoT devices. Sales of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices are forecasted to triple by 2023 to 1.6 billion annual shipments, according to market advisory firm ABI.

            [...]

            After discovering the design weaknesses in the BLE specification, the researchers analyzed mainstream BLE stack implementations, including BLE protocol stacks on Linux, Android, iOS and Windows to see if “real-world devices” were vulnerable to the security flaws. Three of the devices tested were determined to be vulnerable because they failed to ensure the connecting IoT device authenticated its data and accepted unauthenticated data.

            “This vulnerability has a broad impact on mainstream platforms that support BLE communications, including Linux, Android and iOS,” said Wu. “According to a recent study, more than 1 billion BLE devices do not use application-layer security, which could have provided a second line of defense. At least 8,000 Android BLE apps with 2.38 billion installations read data from BLE devices in plaintext. Similar numbers may apply to iOS apps.”

          • A look at password security, Part III: More secure login protocols

            In part II, we looked at the problem of Web authentication and covered the twin problems of phishing and password database compromise. In this system, I’ll be covering some of the technologies that have been developed to address these issues.

            This is mostly a story of failure, though with a sort of hopeful note at the end. The ironic thing here is that we’ve known for decades how to build authentication technologies which are much more secure than the kind of passwords we use on the Web. In fact, we use one of these technologies — public key authentication via digital certificates — to authenticate the server side of every HTTPS transaction before you send your password over. HTTPS supports certificate-base client authentication as well, and while it’s commonly used in other settings, such as SSH, it’s rarely used on the Web. Even if we restrict ourselves to passwords, we have long had technologies for password authentication which completely resist phishing, but they are not integrated into the Web technology stack at all. The problem, unfortunately, is less about cryptography than about deployability, as we’ll see below.

            [...]

            What a PAKE gets you is security against phishing: even if you connect to the wrong server, it doesn’t learn anything about your password that it doesn’t already know because you just get a cryptographic failure. PAKEs don’t help against password file compromise because the server still has to store the verifier, so the attacker can perform a password cracking attack on the verifier just as they would on the password hash. But phishing is a big deal, so why doesn’t everyone use PAKEs? The answer here seems to be surprisingly mundane but also critically important: user interface.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Holy Hell Were We Lucky That Twitter’s Big Breach Was Just A Bunch Of SIM Swapping Kids; Can We Please Encrypt DMs Now?

              Everyone is still sorting out exactly what happened last week with the big hack of Twitter in which a number of prominent accounts — including those of Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Apple, and Uber — all tweeted out a Bitcoin scam, promising to double people’s money if they sent Bitcoin to a specific wallet (which appeared to receive a little over $100k). However, from what has been reported so far, it appears we actually got fairly lucky and that it was mainly a bunch of SIM swapping social engineers who historically have focused on getting popular short usernames. If you’re not familiar with all of this, the Reply All podcast had a fascinating episode about the scam last year.

            • COVID-19 Cases At Carswell Spike To More Than 500 As Reality Winner Tests Positive, Faces Retaliation

              More than 500 women imprisoned at Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, have tested positive for COVID-19. The facility has the second-most cases out of all federal prisons in the United States, and one of the prisoners who has tested positive is NSA whistleblower Reality Winner.

              Last week, The Dissenter reported that COVID-19 cases tripled at Carswell in one week. The article included comments from Winner’s sister Brittany Winner. Staff at Carswell apparently read the story, and according to Brittany Winner, she is experiencing retaliation for our reporting.

            • Whistleblower Reality Winner has tested positive for COVID-19 in prison

              Former intelligence contractor and whistleblower Reality Winner has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. Winner’s sister, Brittany Winner, tweeted her diagnosis earlier today. Winner is currently incarcerated in a federal medical prison in Fort Worth, Texas, where an outbreak has sickened hundreds of inmates and killed at least two.

            • Government Leak: Cops Terrified Masks Will Block Facial Recognition

              It turns out that the masks that keep us safe from COVID-19 are a real pain for the police.

              Leaked documents reveal that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been particularly concerned about how masks block the facial recognition used to surveil Americans, The Intercept reports. Apparently, federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been circulating these concerns since late May, when the mass Black Lives Matter protests began to sweep the country.

            • Unilever: Facebook Boycott to Continue Until Independent Supervision Is In Place

              Unilever will continue its advertising boycott on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram until the social media platforms are placed under the supervision of an independent party. This party must check that the platforms are doing enough to fight hate speech and misinformation, Unilever CMO Conny Braams said to Financieele Dagblad.

            • ‘It’s not worth it’: Young women on how TikTok has warped their body image

              Long’s video amassed 2 million views before she deleted it a week later. The next month, Long was diagnosed with an eating disorder and sent to a treatment center. She said that TikTok, along with other influences on social media like Instagram and Snapchat, had pushed her to restrict her food intake over the past year.

              Long is not alone. Seven women in their teens and 20s told NBC News that the content they viewed on TikTok had pushed them to fixate more on their diets and exercise regimens to a dangerous extent. And experts who study eating disorders say the social dynamics on the app mirror the problems found in recent years on other platforms.

            • EU-US Data Privacy Shield Invalidated

              The EU Court of Justice (ECJ) has invalidated the EU-US Data Privacy Shield, an agreement that governs transatlantic data transfers, saying basically that US law does not protect EU citizens’ data to the extent required by EU law.

              In an article for Forrester, analyst Enza Iannopollo stated, “about 5,000 companies currently rely on the framework to transfer personal data to the US, and these transfers contribute to transatlantic trade, which is worth about £5.6 trillion.

            • Social Networks Implement Policies To Monitor Speech And Thought

              Recently, I noticed that several of the big social media sites are starting to implement new policies to help combat some of the bad, toxic people that hangout on those social networking sites. I will share with you some of the programs that the big social site’s are implementing.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Trump Administration Has Given The CIA Free Rein To Engage In A Cyberwar

        Outside of the agencies desiring to participate in a cyberwar, cyberwars are generally considered to be a bad idea. At some point, the cyber is going to turn physical and we’ll just be stuck in a regular war that actually kills people. And since accurate attribution still remains elusive, the potential for picking the wrong fight remains.

      • Americans Overwhelmingly Support Cutting the Pentagon to Support Our Real Needs

        A 10 percent cut to the Pentagon could come from a multitude of places, including: ending our never-ending wars in the Middle East, reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons, and turning off the spigot to arms contractors.

      • A World of “Killer Robots” But Not “National Security”

        The Pentagon confronts the pandemic.

      • Robert M. Gates’ “Exercise Of Power”: More Confessions From a Windsock

        When former secretary of defense Robert M. Gates retired from the Obama administration in 2011, he explained that he could no longer support a president who favored a smaller military that would be “able to go to fewer places and do fewer things.”  Gates said that he couldn’t imagine “being part of [such] a nation, part of [such] a government.”  Nearly a decade later, he has written a so-called “insider’s account” that touches on the limits of military power—but provides no recommendations for demilitarizing the national security process.  Gates’ “Exercise in Power: American Failures, Successes, and a New Path Forward in the Post-Cold War World” requires a two-part review.  The first part will be a review of Gates’ record in the government, particularly his politicization of intelligence on the Soviet Union.  The second part will discuss the inadequacies of the book and provide a strong case for demilitarization—with recommendations about what needs to be done.

      • Trump Administration Wants to Deprive Cubans of Food

        Food availability was the top concern of 21 percent of Cubans responding to a recent opinion survey. The question thus comes to the fore of how the U.S. economic blockade affects the supply of food that Cubans eat.

      • Long Overdue for Latin America: A New “Good Neighbor Policy”

        Instead of continuing down this imperial path of endless confrontation, U.S. policymakers need to stop, recalibrate, and design an entirely new approach to inter-American relations.

      • New SAS War Crimes Revealed as Australia Braces for Report

        “A small number of commissioned officers had allowed a culture where abhorrent conduct was permitted.”

      • Cold Wars and Profit

        The Guardian carried a very strange piece yesterday under the heading “Stamps celebrating Ukrainian resistance in pictures”. This was the first image shown…

      • The UK and US are Starting a New Cold War with Russia and China, So What are These Governments Trying to Hide?

        The new Cold War launched by the West against China and Russia is escalating by the day. In a single week, the Kremlin has been unmasked trying to discover the secrets of Britain’s pursuit of a vaccine against coronavirus and revelations are promised about covert Russian interference in British politics. Boris Johnson made a U-turn on Huawei, announcing that it is to be kicked out of participation in the 5G network because it poses a threat to British security, though a curiously slow-burning one since they will only be evicted over seven years.

      • [Old] Will France foil Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to take over?

        The MB has existed in France for decades, but since the heavy financial and political support the group has enjoyed for many years now, France has witnessed a spate of Islamist violence, prompting the authorities to counter the radicalization spiral instead of leaving the matter to foreign powers.

      • [Old] How Saudi Arabia’s religious project transformed Indonesia

        As the largest Muslim-majority nation and a developing, postcolonial state, Indonesia has been a prime recipient of the full spectrum of Saudi proselytisation – known as dawa, the call to Islam. And while investments peaked in absolute terms at least a decade ago, as they did in most of the Muslim world, their effects continue to reverberate. Saudi investment in Indonesia has at turns fuelled jihadists, helped consolidate the country’s leading Islamist political party and produced dozens of influential ideologues. The Saudi soft-power apparatus in Indonesia is unrivalled, including Lipia, a large embassy and a powerful, standalone “religious attache”. Saudi charity has also paid for thousands of poor students to go to school and university, and helped rebuild devastated regions such as Aceh after the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004.

      • [Old] The Islamists of Sweden, slowly turning Sweden into a Muslim Brotherhood’s safe haven

        After the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) defeat in the Middle East, the MB quickly made use of the west’s political correctness and repositioned their foothold in European Union (EU) through one of their offshoots — The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE)—it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1989.

        FIOE subsequently created the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a pan European Muslim Brotherhood organisation which provides guidance to Muslims in Europe.

        The Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE) lead the Muslim Brotherhood plans of creating a “parallel social structure” in Europe, aided by “political elites and social justice advocate groups” making it impossible to criticise Islamist groups in fear of criticism. MB aims to organise Islamist followers politically across the Europe and slowly bring their own members into the political spheres of Europe.

      • With Bill to Mandate Identifying Info on Officer Uniforms, AOC Says US ‘Should Not Have Secret Police’

        “If an officer violates their agency’s policies, their victim should have the ability to report them to their agency and demand accountability.”

      • Trump Wants Federal Agents to Invade American Cities. Democrats Aren’t Doing Much to Push Back.

        With congressional Democrats on their way to approving $50 billion for the DHS, Trump administration officials are now boasting about their plans to replicate the Portland invasion in other cities. Those officials seem emboldened to ignore local Democratic opposition to the federal deployments.

      • ‘Feds Stay Clear, Moms Are Here’: Portland Mothers Form Human Shield to Protect Protesters from Federal Agents

        “Portland moms are nothing to mess with.”

      • ‘Fascism Coming to a City Near You’: Trump Pledges to Deploy Secret Police Units to Major US Cities

        The president also praised federal agents for doing a “fantastic job” with a widely condemned crackdown on Portland, Oregon.

      • Watching Constitutionally Protected Freedoms Die in Oregon

        One of the most clear signs of a fascist takeover of a nation or society is when words start to lose their meaning.

      • Navy Veteran Speaks Out After Being Attacked by Secret Police in Portland

        The U.S. Navy veteran who was brutally attacked by unidentified federal police in Portland, Oregon over the weekend is speaking out about the incident—a video of which has gone viral online—and explained that he traveled to the site of local protests to get some answers directly from the personnel in the secretive units after becoming outraged over their deployment by the Trump administration.

      • DHS Goes Full Gestapo In Response To Ongoing Protests In Oregon

        Looks like we finally have some secret police to call our own. Ongoing protests stemming from a Minnesota police officer’s brutal killing of an unarmed Black man have provoked a federal response. In some cases, the National Guard has been called in to quell the more violent and destructive aspects of some demonstrations. Others — like the 50+ days of continuous protests in Portland, Oregon — have been greeted with something far more frightening.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Fugitive ‘Wirecard’ executive is reportedly hiding in Moscow under guard of Russian military intelligence

        Jan Marsalek, the former chairman of the German firm “Wirecard” who disappeared after 2 billion euros ($2.3 million) in company money went missing, is now hiding in Russia, according to a new report by the German newspaper Handelsblatt, which cites corporate, diplomatic, and legal sources. Days earlier, a joint investigative report by Bellingcat, The Insider, Der Spiegel, and McClatchy found that Marsalek had flown to Belarus aboard a private jet.

      • Baseball’s Stadium Workers Are Getting Peanuts From the Billionaire Owners

        Major League Baseball has imposed a Covid-shortened 60 -game season on the ballplayers after months of haggling over salaries and health provisions. Meanwhile, Jackie Walker worries about her future.

      • We’re in a Pandemic. Cancel Student Debt Now.

        Sarah Sitzler worked all the way through college, but her income was never enough to afford rent in New York City. Despite receiving scholarships and grants, Sarah was faced with paying for an expensive school in an expensive city—Fordham University, a private school whose undergraduate cost of attendance ranges from $54,393 to $72,903 per year. Almost 10 years after graduating, Sitzler has hardly been able to pay off more than the interest on her student loans.

      • What Lies Ahead

        The US economy at mid-year 2020 is at a critical juncture. What happens in the next three months will likely determine whether the current Great Recession 2.0 continues to follow a W-shape trajectory—or drifts over an economic precipice into an economic depression. With prompt and sufficient fiscal stimulus targeting US households, minimal political instability before the November 2020 elections, and no financial instability event, it may be contained. No worse than a prolonged W-shape recovery will occur. But should the fiscal stimulus be minimal (and poorly composed), should political instability grow significantly worse, and a major financial instability event erupt in the US (or globally), then it is highly likely a descent to a bona fide economic depression will occur.

      • You’re Only As Free as You Are Wealthy

        In early Anglo-Saxon England and until the end of European feudalism, there existed a class of people known as churls, from which we get the adjective “churlish.” They weren’t called that because they had bad manners; churls were the lowest class of free people. They were not bound to a manor like serfs, but neither did they have wealth and own property like nobles. They were people who possessed freedom to do as they pleased in theory. In practice, their poverty meant that their “free” lives were little different from those of unfree serfs.

      • Senate Democrats Ask Banking Regulator to Explain Handling of “Redlining” Investigations

        Eighteen Senate Democrats on Monday asked a leading U.S. bank regulator to explain how his agency handled investigations into discrimination and “redlining” in the banking industry.

        The letter, signed by Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, and the other lawmakers, comes after a story by ProPublica and The Capitol Forum recounting how six lending discrimination probes were dropped under President Donald Trump.

      • Inside One Huge Company’s (Mostly) Successful Campaign to Escape Trump’s Tariffs

        Last August, Adam Durand, legislative director for Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, fired off an email on behalf of an important state manufacturer that was waging a frustrating fight for relief from President Donald Trump’s China tariffs.

        “I wanted to let you know that the executive team with Polaris is meeting with Chairman Peterson this afternoon,” he wrote to Haley Dorval, an assistant to the chief of staff at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. “It would be greatly helpful if I could talk to someone by early afternoon about the status of this issue.”

      • [Old] Coronavirus bailout for airlines and cruise lines is socialism for the undeserving rich

        Start with the airlines. Rather than using their profits from the past five years to pay off debts and save for a rainy day, the big four — American, United, Delta and Southwest — instead grew their combined liabilities to $166 billion, all while spending $39 billion on share repurchases. That number, which is only from the big four, is almost 80% of what they’re asking for now from U.S. taxpayers. Similarly, the three largest Cruise companies—Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean—have liabilities of $47.5 billion and engaged in share repurchases of $8 billion.

      • [Old] After Blowing $4.5 Trillion on Share Buybacks, Airlines, Boeing, Many Other Culprits Want Taxpayer & Fed Bailouts of their Shareholders

        Share buybacks were considered a form of market manipulation and were illegal under SEC rules until 1982, when the SEC issued Rule 10b-18 which provided corporations a “safe harbor” to buy back their own shares under certain conditions. Once corporations figured out that no one cared about those conditions, and that no one was auditing anything, share buybacks exploded. And they’ve have been hyped endlessly by Wall Street.

        The S&P 500 companies, including those that are now asking for huge bailouts from taxpayers and from the Fed, have blown, wasted and incinerated together $4.5 trillion with a T in cash to buy back their own shares just since 2012: [...]

      • [Old] Airlines spent cash on buybacks, now want bailouts

        U.S. airlines have spent almost 100% of their free cash flow buying back shares over the last decade, but now they could be in need of a government bailout. It’s no secret that the coronavirus pandemic may be one of the worst crises to impact the travel industry. However, airlines could be sitting on a lot more cash to deal with the crisis if they hadn’t been focused on juicing their stock prices for the last 10 years.

      • Nearly 17,000 Southwest employees sign up for buyouts, voluntary leave as furlough threat looms
    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Most Dangerous President Ever Threatens Not to Leave Office, Again

        Donald Trump sat for a one-hour Fox News interview with Chris Wallace on Sunday, and if you think this sentence is boring to read, try writing it for a living, again. Trump doing Fox News is the news equivalent of “Sun Rises in East”; the man hasn’t given an interview to a non-Fox station since God was in short pants, for a whole galaxy of deeply cowardly reasons. Nothing ever comes of these safe-space chats, and I assumed Sunday would be no different.

      • ‘One day was enough for God’ Russia’s authorities are set to introduce multi-day voting in all elections, but not everyone is on board

        Voting in Russia’s recent plebiscite on constitutional amendments went on for a week, and according to experts it was the most fraudulent vote in the country’s recent history. Nevertheless, the Central Election Commission and the State Duma have deemed the process a success and are hurrying to introduce multi-day voting for all elections. Deputies from the ruling party, United Russia, are rapidly amending the country’s election legislation, regardless of protests from other parties and rank-and-file electoral officials. Meduza breaks down how United Russia is pushing through these changes and who is trying to stop them.

      • Russia’s Investigative Committee reveals that jailed governor Sergey Furgal was arrested on suspicion of organizing killings in 2004

        The Khabarovsk Territory’s now ex-governor Sergey Furgal and his business partner Nikolai Mistryukov were arrested as suspects in the murder of businessman Yevgeny Zorya back in 2004. The case was closed due to lack of evidence, the Investigative Committee revealed in a press release.

      • Putin appoints new acting governor for Russia’s Khabarovsk Territory

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has named Mikhail Degtyarev, a State Duma deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), the acting governor of the Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory. 

      • Navalny announces dissolution of Anti-Corruption Foundation

        Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has announced the dissolution of his non-profit organization, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). 

      • The Left Can Lose This Election by Becoming as Unlikeable as Clinton

        This country might not be able to survive another four years of Trump. We cannot let the left become as hated as Clinton, because in that environment anyone could be elected instead of them.

        Including someone whose incompetence just lead to the deaths of 200,000 Americans.

      • Trump’s Cynical and Deeply Dangerous Reelection Ploy: Sow Chaos in US Cities

        This is what fascism looks like. It spares no one.

      • Credit union’s lawsuit against Fiserv is a test for cybersecurity liability

        A Pennsylvania credit union is taking on Fiserv, a Fortune 500 company that claims clients in over 100 countries, in a case that is a test of the legal obligations big financial firms have to protect client data.

        Bessemer System Federal Credit Union’s (FCU) originally sued Fiserv in April 2019. After moving to federal court, the case took on new life Tuesday when a judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania ruled that the court would hear some of the credit union’s claims against Fiserv.

      • ‘Don’t Redeem the Taliban’, Afghan Social Media Users Ask World Before Peace Talks

        Afghans shared accounts of violence linked to the Taliban on social media with the hashtag phrase ‘don’t redeem the Taliban’ as anxiety grows as the United States withdraws troops and attempts to usher peace talks with the militant group.

        The accounts of alleged violence and human rights abuses with the hashtag phrase in Dari meaning ‘don’t redeem the Taliban’ have been shared more than 100,000 times on Twitter.

        Kabul-based Twitter user Ejaz Malikzada, 26, said the message had gained traction as Afghan social media users sought to remind foreign powers not to sacrifice achievements on human rights made in the last few decades.

        “By participating in this hashtag I want to tell those foreigners who insist on starting peace talks in Afghanistan, they have ignored or forgotten the crimes and violence committed by the Taliban against Afghan people,” he said.

      • Tibetan Former Political Prisoner Dies After Years of Ill Health Following Release

        “He was finally arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for taking part in a peaceful demonstration with 16 other monks on May 12, 1992 in Lhasa,” Woebar said.

        After he had served his full term, Samdrub, who was a monk at Lhasa’s Drepung monastery, was not allowed to return there, and he found temporary work in Lhasa printing and copying religious scriptures of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.

        “But he continued to distribute political pamphlets and literature, and as a result he was arrested at his place of work and was sentenced to another four years in prison,” Woebar said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Third Circuit Court Of Appeals: Fuck Cheer, Indeed

        A little more than a year ago, a federal court was asked how much First Amendment do we hand out to minors? Well, it’s more than this particular school thought. The Pennsylvania school being sued was pretty sure it could draw the First Amendment line wherever it felt was appropriate. That’s why administrators took action against a teen cheerleader (referred to in the lawsuit as “B.L.”) when she decided to express her displeasure with her extracurricular activities with some extra-colorful language.

      • Security law: Speech is no longer free for Hongkongers, wherever they are

        After I hastily drafted an essay as an attempt to articulate these feelings, I felt paralyzed as a writer, academic, and diasporic Hongkonger. The editorial staff of Hong Kong Free Press had slightly altered the title I gave to the essay: while I called myself a diasporic Hong Konger in the original title, the staff had changed it to “an exiled Hongkonger.”

        Prior to this, I was hesitant to consider myself an exile—partly out of denial, but mainly because I did not want to eclipse the more imminent danger and risks that many local activists and journalists face. To write about Hong Kong is to confront the fact that I might not be able to return home safely.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Under Hedge Fund Set to Own McClatchy, Canadian Newspapers Endured Big Cuts

        Last week, that kind of financial maneuvering reappeared in another major newspaper deal, when Chatham emerged as the winning bidder in a bankruptcy auction for the McClatchy Company, a chain with 30 media outlets including The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star and The Sacramento Bee. With roots going back to 1857, McClatchy, a consistent winner of top journalism awards, was one of the last major family-run news publishers.

        Chatham’s track record as an owner of a major newspaper chain is grim, according to 10 current and former Postmedia employees who spoke with The New York Times on the condition of anonymity because they feared retaliation.

        Since Chatham took a majority stake in Postmedia, the company has cut its work force, shuttered papers across Canada, reduced salaries and benefits, and centralized editorial operations in a way that has made parts of its 106 newspapers into clones of one another.

      • Tajikistan authorities question family members of exiled journalist

        Salimpur said he believes his relatives were interrogated in an attempt to pressure him in the run-up to the country’s presidential elections, set for later this year. Salimpur is the founder and chief editor of the Prague-based independent news website Akhbor, which has recently published critical reporting on alleged corruption among Tajik officials and on the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

      • Freelance reporter charged with insulting Zimbabwe’s president

        Mtimba was charged under Section 33 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, according to Shumba and a statement by the Zimbabwean chapter of the regional press freedom group, the Media Institute of Southern Africa.

        The offense is punishable by one year in jail or a fine of up to Z$4,800 (US$13.26) or both, according to the law and the Criminal Law Codification and Reform (Standard Scale of Fines) Notice, 2020.

      • Reported press freedom violations in Black Lives Matter protests near 500

        The incidents include journalists arrested, assaulted, hit with rubber bullets, pepper sprayed, tear gassed and threatened with weapons. A vast majority of the attacks involve alleged police abuse. The Tracker has published 128 stories of confirmed press freedom violations in the past month — detailing descriptions of 47 arrests and 125 physical attacks of journalists. The rest remain under investigation.

      • ICE Questions an Admin of The-Eye Archive Site That Hosted ‘Blue Leaks’

        The woman, Meghan, who asked to be only identified by her first name because she fears retaliation from law enforcement, is an administrator of The-Eye, a site that has undertaken several high profile archiving projects, including hosting a BlueLeaks mirror for a brief time. She said three agents who identified themselves as part of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the investigative division of ICE, came to her home in the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts on Thursday morning and asked questions about BlueLeaks, The Eye, and Emma Best, the person who founded the WikiLeaks-style website Distributed Denial of Secrets, which originally published the leaked trove of police documents.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • After mother apologizes for suggesting foul play, Chechnya gifts housing to widower of young woman who died mysteriously

        The Chechen authorities have bestowed a new, furnished house to the widower and children of Madina Umayeva, the 23-year-old woman who died in June under questionable circumstances. A state television report announcing the gift highlighted that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov recently promised Umayeva’s children would not go for want.

      • ‘Who’s a patriot?’ Facing 15 years in prison, Russian historian Yuri Dmitriev delivers closing statement in court. Verdict expected on July 22.

        On Wednesday, July 22, a court in Petrozavodsk will announce its verdict against Yuri Dmitriev, the local historian accused of sexually abusing his foster daughter. The case began back in December 2016, when police responded to an anonymous tip and raided Dmitriev’s home, discovering nude photographs on his computer of his then 11-year-old foster daughter. After one incriminating report, a second forensic study of the photos found no signs of pornography, and three expert review boards cleared Dmitriev of any symptoms indicating deviant sexual behavior. In April 2018, he was acquitted, but the region’s Supreme Court overturned the ruling after two months and returned the case to prosecutors, who promptly brought new charges. Dmitriev’s second trial — the one about to end — has been closed to the public, but the newspaper Novaya Gazeta has learned the essence of the case: Dmitriev allegedly touched his foster daughter’s groin several times to check the dryness of her underwear. (Hospital discharge paperwork confirms that the girl had bedwetting issues when she was in the second grade.) Yuri Dmitriev denies any wrongdoing and Meduza is publishing the text of the closing statement he made in court on July 8. This is the first time these remarks have appeared in the news media.

      • Why the Left Is Winning Over Philly

        Rachie Weisberg, the field director for Rick Krajewski’s Pennsylvania House campaign, was working a phone bank from her home in West Philadelphia when she smelled tear gas. It was only a few days after Minneapolis police killed George Floyd, leading to a wave of protests against racism across the country. The police had begun shooting tear gas at demonstrators on 52nd Street—two blocks from her apartment—and the wind was carrying it through the neighborhood. She had to pause to rush and close her window. It felt as though the fight for justice were converging on several fronts at once, both in the Democratic primary campaigns and in the streets. “We’re trying to get these progressives elected and push the conversation outside the field of just electoral politics,” says Weisberg. “One can’t really exist without the other.”

      • Then They Came For the Drummers, Chanters, Chalk Artists, Trash Pickers, Balloon Carriers, Bike-Helmeted Moms and Naked Athena
      • Veteran Black Panther: Links Between Capitalism and Racism Are in Plain Sight

        The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was co-founded in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey Newton in Oakland, California. Motivated by outrage against police abuse in Black and Brown neighborhoods, Seale and Newton compiled a Ten-Point Program for their new organization.

      • Building Community Power in a White Supremacist Country

        In late May, as the national uprising against police brutality forced on America a crash course in “defunding” and “abolishing” the police, another concept also began circulating: “community control.”

      • Outside the Clinic Doors

        Reading Jessa Crispin’s “The pro-choice movement is in tatters. Planned Parenthood is part of the problem,” (Guardian, July 13, 2020), brought back memories of escorting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in a large city in New England for about a dozen years that ended in the early years of the new millennium. Crispin’s critique aligns with my feelings and beliefs about the work I did at that clinic. The anti-choice movement has been very, very successful at hammering away at reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade (1973). They placed bars on access to abortion, from unnecessary medical tests to forcing patients to wait before having the procedure and forcing doctors to provide useless information to patients before they perform an abortion. Sometimes forcing physicians to have admitting rights to local hospitals and the scant number of medical schools that teach the procedure have further reduced the number of clinics that perform abortions. If a person does not have the money and the means to travel hundreds of miles or more for an abortion, then that person is out of luck and has very, very unappealing alternatives, including having an unwanted child, and that result seems like a desired outcome of the anti-abortion movement.

      • How a Trip to Prison Cost Kenneth Clark His Right to Be a Parent

        Kenneth Clark sported a colorful striped shirt and black shorts the last time his two daughters, Kira and Kenae, saw him. The father of five slung his bag over his shoulder and set out for the day. Listening to music, Clark took in the southern warmth of Fort Smith, Ark., and pounded Midland Avenue looking for an affordable used vehicle for his family. There was a truck for sale that he’d spotted about an hour away from his home, but he also wanted to visit a few used-car dealerships in the surrounding area. Clark was just starting to emerge from the worst two years of his life; he remained out of work, but he had managed to save three months of his disability payments and had recently received his stimulus check. Finally, he thought, he might have enough to make the purchase.

      • ‘A Moment of Reckoning’: Thousands Across Country Take Part in #StrikeForBlackLives

        “When we come together in our union and with our community, we have power.”

      • Why We’re Striking for Black Lives: It’s Time for a Reckoning

        On April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood up at the Mason Temple in Memphis and spoke in support of the city’s 1,300 sanitation workers. The workers were on strike to fight for the ability to unionize, put better safety standards in place, and their right to a livable wage. They had stopped work, partially in response to the deaths of Echol Cole and Robert Walker, who had been crushed to death by a garbage truck while on the job.

      • South Carolina Supreme Court Says Cops Aren’t Getting Any No-Knock Warrants Anytime Soon

        Earlier this year, Louisville (KY) police officers killed an unarmed woman during a no-knock drug raid. Breonna Taylor was killed after her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, opened fire on SWAT officers Walker believed were criminals entering their home. The officers claimed they had announced their presence before entering. A 911 call placed by Walker — a licensed gun owner — indicated no warning had been given.

      • ‘No Tactics… Just Seemed Like a Gang’: Navy Veteran Speaks Out After Attack by Secret Police in Viral Video Viewed Nearly 10 Million Times

        “They just started whaling on me with batons, and I let them,” said Christopher David.

      • Trump Threat to Unleash Secret Police in Other US Cities Slammed as Scheme to ‘Steal the November Election’

        “The exercise also has the advantage for Trump of entrenching a new form of secret police and of turning federal agents into instruments of his authoritarianism.”

      • Magical Thinking
      • ‘Moral and Intellectual Bankruptcy’: Trump Seizes on Bush-Era Torture Memo Author John Yoo’s Call for Extralegal Executive Authority

        “There is a lot of continuity between the Bush and Trump administration, including an almost limitless view of executive power.”

      • To Honor John Lewis, Democrats Demand McConnell Stop Blocking Voting Rights Act

        Democratic lawmakers in Congress are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to end his years-long obstruction of a bill that would restore the Voting Rights Act, a push that those in favor of the bill say would honor the late Civil Rights icon Rep. John Lewis, who passed away on Friday at age 80.

      • “I Felt Like I Was Going to Die”: The Late John Lewis on Selma’s “Bloody Sunday”

        As the United States mourns the loss of civil rights icon and 17-term Democratic Congressmember John Lewis, we feature his 2012 in-studio interview, when he tears up remembering the historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery march he helped lead in 1965 as a 25-year-old man, when he was almost beaten to death by police in what came to be called “Bloody Sunday” and helped push the country toward adopting the Voting Rights Act. “They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks and bullwhips, trampling us with horses,” he told Democracy Now! “All these many years later, I don’t recall how I made it back across that bridge to the church.”

      • “I Felt Like I Was Going to Die”: Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Recalls 1965 “Bloody Sunday” in Selma

        As the United States mourns the loss of civil rights icon and 17-term Democratic Congressmember John Lewis, we feature his 2012 in-studio interview, when he tears up remembering the historic 1965 Selma to Montgomery march he helped lead in 1965 as a 25-year-old man, when he was almost beaten to death by police in what came to be called “Bloody Sunday” and helped push the country toward adopting the Voting Rights Act. “They came toward us, beating us with nightsticks and bullwhips, trampling us with horses,” he told Democracy Now! “All these many years later, I don’t recall how I made it back across that bridge to the church.”

      • In Praise of a Young Black Lives Matter Leader With His Eyes on the Prize

        It is a story of inspired, passionate, self-restrained, and thus dignified non-violent resistance to oppression, and of the profound obstacles to this resistance.

      • Is a Feminist City Potentially a Humane City?

        The world we live in is a world built primarily through a male lens. This can be seen in film and on television, in politics and academia. The reasons for this are many, but boil down to one essential fact: the existence of patriarchy. It’s true that in recent times, various aspects of male domination of the public sphere have been modified in reaction to the demands of women and the necessities of the marketplace. However, the patriarchal structure is still quite intact. Like white supremacy, it continues to distort and diminish the possibilities of the human experience.

      • Imagine Yourself With Two Abusive Boyfriends …

        One comes home from work, gets blind drunk, beats you, rapes you, and then molests your two-year-old child. The other comes home from work, gets blind drunk, beats you, rapes you, and then falls asleep. Naturally, you would not want either. But if you had to choose – as you have to choose between Trump and Biden because to abstain is tantamount to voting for one or the other – surely you would choose the one who didn’t molest your two-year-old child.

      • Remembering C. T. Vivian, Civil Rights Icon MLK Called “Greatest Preacher to Ever Live”

        Reverend C. T. Vivian, whom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once described as “the greatest preacher to ever live,” died July 17 at age 95. Vivian was a giant of the civil rights movement and a leading proponent of nonviolent struggle against injustice. He spoke to Democracy Now! in 2015 outside the historic Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama, on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in 1965. Vivian describes how he was assaulted on the steps of the courthouse as he tried to escort a group of African Americans inside to register to vote. “There is nothing we haven’t done for this nation,” Vivian said of the civil rights movement and the ongoing fight for voting rights. “But we kept knowing the scriptures. We kept living by faith. We kept understanding that it’s something deeper than politics that makes life worth living.”

      • Be Kind to Those Offended By It

        “Good Morning! Would you mind staying a safe distance away?”

      • Influential DC-based Ukrainian think tank hosts neo-Nazi activist convicted for racist violence

        The US-Ukraine Foundation hosted notorious neo-Nazi militant Diana Vynohradova in a webinar this month. While legitimizing Ukrainian white supremacists, the think tank has forged close ties with foreign policy elites in Washington.

      • Judge Won’t Free Michigan Teenager Sent to Juvenile Detention After Not Doing Online Schoolwork

        A Michigan family court judge on Monday denied a motion to release a teenager who has been held at a juvenile facility since mid-May for violating probation after not doing her online schoolwork, saying the girl will benefit from ongoing treatment there.

        “I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” the presiding judge of the Oakland County Family Court Division, Mary Ellen Brennan, told the 15-year-old. “You are blooming there, but there is more work to be done.”

      • Authors Greg Palast and Ted Rall – The Project Censored Show
      • “How Trump Stole 2020″— An Interview With Greg Palast

        “Voter suppression is simply class war by other means.” —Greg Palast

      • I am Native American and a former football player. Our history is much darker than racist mascots.

        An NFL team changing its name does nothing to address the role of Indigenous people in the game’s legacy.

      • Michael Bennett Thinks the NFL Is Starting to Wake Up

        Michael Bennett is a multi-time NFL pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion. He also was one of the first players in 2016 to protest racial inequity and police violence during the national anthem, after Colin Kaepernick. Then, in 2018, he cowrote (along with Dave Zirin) the New York Times best-seller Things that Make White People Uncomfortable. Here, he gives his first extended interview since the protests began following the police killing of George Floyd. This has been edited for length and clarity. To listen to the entire interview, check out The Nation’s Edge of Sports podcast here.

      • ISS: Migrant smugglers are profiting from travel restrictions

        Migrants continue to travel through key African land migration routes, including across the Sahel and southwards from the Horn of Africa to South Africa. In March, 64 Ethiopian migrants were found dead – probably from asphyxia – inside the back of a shipping container on a lorry. After an initial easing of migrant flows, smugglers in Libya are now seeing new passengers from neighbouring countries and those further afield including Eritrea, Ghana, Mali and Nigeria.

        Migrants aren’t deterred even from reaching countries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19.

      • Why the Federal Cops in Portland Are All About Election Day

        Strongarm tactics in Oregon may be just the warmup for a stolen vote.

      • Portland protests: Oregon sues over ‘unlawful detentions’

        Unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets “without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action,” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

        “The federal administration has chosen Portland to use their scare tactics,” the statement read. “Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening.”

        Rosenblum added that she was seeking a temporary restraining order to “immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.”

      • From Antifa to Mothers in Helmets, Diverse Elements Fuel Portland Protests

        “I’m appalled and disappointed at the feds’ behavior — that whoever led them and trained them allowed them to become this way,” Mr. David said. “This is a failure of leadership more than it is a failure of their own individual behavior towards me.”

        Luis Enrique Marquez, a self-described anti-fascist who has been a fixture at protests in Portland for years, said the purpose of the federal officers’ arrival had appeared to be to scare the protesters. But he said the officers had instead galvanized them by displaying the types of actions that have concerned protesters for years.

      • A House Bill Would Require Feds to Identify Themselves

        The bill would require on-duty federal agents to display not just the name of their agency but also the individual agent’s last name and identification number. It would also mandate a new form of oversight for the Justice Department, requiring its inspector general to conduct routine audits to ensure compliance with the legislation. The results of these audits would then be reported to Congress.

        Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) drew scrutiny after federal agents in military fatigues used unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters in Portland. Among these federal agents were members of elite Border Patrol Tactical Units (BORTAC), Custom and Border Protection’s SWAT team equivalent. Despite the mayor of Portland’s demand that federal agents leave the city, DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf refused.

      • A Partial India

        The experiences of those three weeks were so rich for me I decided to re-work my notes into shorter, more digestible pieces, which together form what I called A Partial India. Partial, because they obviously captured only a tiny part of the vast land, its people and civilisation; partial, too, because it was born of my gratitude for the experiences India gave me.

        A third of a century later, it describes an India which no longer exists, if it ever did. Given my inevitable lack of comprehension of India’s subtleties during that first journey, perhaps this is the best I can now hope for: that the evident non-existence today of the land I described will make A Partial India of mild historical interest to others.

      • Rep. John Lewis on the Freedom Rides, Surviving KKK Attacks, 1963 March on Washington & Malcolm X

        Civil rights movement icon and 17-term Democratic Congressmember John Lewis, who died July 17 at the age of 80, helped found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and was the youngest of the so-called Big Six who addressed the March on Washington in 1963. Before that, he was among the 13 original Freedom Riders who rode buses across the South to challenge segregation laws. He spoke to Democracy Now! in 2012 about his activism and that historic campaign, during which they were beaten and attacked by white mobs and the Klu Klux Klan, including by Klansman Elwin Wilson, who apologized to Lewis decades later. “It is so important for people to understand, to know that people suffered, struggled. Some people bled, and some died, for the right to participate,” Lewis told Democracy Now!

      • NLG Mourns the Loss of Civil Rights Icons Congressman John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian

        The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) mourns the passing of Congressman John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian, two giants in the Civil Rights movement who devoted their entire lives to Black liberation. Both walked together across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965 and suffered the blows of Sheriff Jim Clark on “Bloody Sunday,” died on July 17, 2020.

        John Lewis, as the conscience of the Congress, once said: “We are involved now in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, “My party is the party of principles?” Unlike so many of his colleagues in both parties, he always stood up for his principles.

        Congressman Lewis was the keynote speaker at the National Lawyers Guild’s convention in 2004 in Birmingham, Alabama. He recalled his time when he was the Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and had asked the NLG to support “Mississippi Summer,” and was warned against working with the Guild and such radical NLG lawyers as Arthur Kinoy and Bill Kunstler. He never wavered. He worked with the NLG because, he told us, NLG lawyers were there when others were not. He continually said, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” He made good trouble.

      • The Ghost of Sabato Rodia

        Who, as they say,
        will inherit the earth
        When the cops dissolve —
        With the rich, who train them,
        Like horses, or dogs

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Charter Spectrum’s Bullshit ‘Broadcast TV’ Fee Soars To $16.45 Per Month

        Like countless other American business sectors, U.S. cable and broadband providers have been using hidden fees to covertly jack up their advertised rates for much of the last decade. These fees, which utilize a rotating crop of bullshit names, help these companies falsely advertise one rate, then sock the consumer with a significantly higher rate post sale (often when locked into a long-term contract). They also let them falsely try and claim that prices haven’t increased, when they pretty clearly have.

    • Monopolies

      • Microsoft President Raised Apple Issues to House Antitrust Group

        His comments came days after European antitrust regulators opened an investigation into Apple’s policies, saying developers may be forced unfairly to provide a share of app store revenue to the company.

      • Patents

        • Packet Intelligence LLC v. NetScout Systems, Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          Packet Intelligence sued NetScout in the Eastern District of Texas, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,665,725, 6,839,751, and 6,954,789. The District Court ruled that all three patents were valid under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101 and 102, and infringed. The § 101 dispute was tried at the bench. NetScout 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.

          [...]

          With the § 101 framework in place, the majority agreed with the District Court that claim 19 was not directed to an abstract idea. Particularly, “claim 19 purports to meet a challenge unique to computer networks, identifying disjointed connection flows in a network environment” and provides “detail how this is achieved in several steps.”

          [...]

          The majority found claim 19 to be a reasonably specific technical invention that provided an advance over the prior art. Judge Reyna disputed this finding because he views the claim as being non-specific in terms of its technical character, thereby making any such improvement to be too abstract for patenting. The case turned on a disagreement in fundamental principle — when and how should one read the technical aspects of a specification into the broader language of the claims, if at all? Until this question is answered, the appropriate level of detail to place into claims will remain an open issue.

        • The UK takes the final step out of Unitary Patent Court

          It does not come as a big surprise, but it comes certainly with some bitter feelings. The UK takes the final formal steps towards its withdrawal from the Unified Patent Court project (UPCA).

          Already in late February, the UK government made it clear that the UK would not participate in the UPC. Contrary to the position of the government led by Theresa May, confirming UK commitment to the UPC project, Boris Johnson has expressed a clear line, a very neutral relation to the EU post Brexit. This means also avoiding any form of Court of Justice of the European Union – CJEU involvement, something that would not be possible should the UK proceed with its commitment to the UPC.

          The CJEU has a central role in the UPC agreement as the ultimate arbiter of EU law, and Article 20 of the agreement specifically states that the Unified Patent Court “shall apply Union law in its entirety and shall respect its primacy”.

        • The UK Supreme Court on pemetrexed: judicial colonialism or a step towards harmonization?

          On 9 June 2020 Barcelona Commercial Court no. 4 issued a decision rejecting the opposition filed by a company (the “Defendant”) against a decision of 2 September 2019 from the same Court that had ordered an “ex parte” preliminary injunction preventing the Defendant from marketing pemetrexed diarginine in Spain. The background of the case can be summarized as follows:

          In 2016 the Defendant obtained a marketing authorization (“MA”) to commercialize pemetrexed disodium generics in Spain. The patent owner (Eli Lilly & Company) sent a warning letter to the Defendant, and the latter undertook not to launch the product for which it had just obtained an MA without giving the patentee 30 days’ prior notice.

          [...]

          Without further ado, on 2 August 2019, when commercial courts are closed in Spain for the summer holidays, the Defendant sent a letter to the patentee pretending to be complying with the “30-day prior notice”, announcing that it would launch its pemetrexed diarginine generic in the market on 2 September 2019. This low move obliged the patentee to immediately apply for a preliminary injunction, despite the fact that, as mentioned, commercial courts – the only courts with competence to deal with patent cases – are closed in August. The first working day after the summer recess, on 2 September 2019, Barcelona Commercial Court no. 4 ordered an ex parte preliminary injunction preventing the Defendant from launching its product. Not surprisingly, the decision mentioned twice that the Defendant had acted against the principle of good faith by giving the 30-day prior notice at a time (August) when the goal for which it had been agreed (i.e. to allow the patentee sufficient time to seek court protection of its rights) could simply not be achieved. On the merits of the case, the Court considered that the judgment of 12 July 2017 from the UK Supreme Court – which, as readers will know, decided with effects in England, France, Italy and Spain, in response to a declaratory non-infringement action filed by Actavis, that the scope of protection of the patent is not limited to the salt mentioned in the claim (pemetrexed disodium) – was of relevance to deciding the matter. This did not come as a surprise, either, as it is an undisputed fact that the English Courts had jurisdiction to decide that case by applying English, French, Italian and Spanish law. In fact, the parties in that case filed no less than four legal opinions from two leading professors each explaining the Spanish case law on the “doctrine of equivalents”. For the reader’s benefit, it should be clarified that on 10 May 2011 the Spanish Supreme Court, in a landmark en banc decision, confirmed a judgment from the Barcelona Court of Appeal (Section 15) that had “imported” the three-question “Catnic/Improver” test to Spain.

          [...]

          In any event, in its decision of 9 June 2020, Barcelona Commercial Court no. 4 rejected the Defendant’s opposition after noting that the diarginine salt was an equivalent variant applying both the old test and the new test. Interestingly, a few weeks before the opposition hearing the European Patent Office revoked, for obviousness, a patent owned by the Defendant’s supplier that protected the pemetrexed diarginine salt.

        • Flash-of-Genius as Evidence of Eligibility

          Patent holder and occasional Patently-O commentor Steve Morsa has filed his petition for writ of certiorari to the US Supreme Court on his pending Patent App. No. 13/694,192. [Petition].

          Morsa’s approach is interesting — using the Supreme Court’s “flash of genius” decision in a positive light and arguing that his own flash of creative genius is proof of eligibility.

          [...]

          The preemption argument is interesting and important. The Supreme Court has noted that preemption-of-ideas is a fundamental basis for the restriction on eligibility. At the same time, the Federal Circuit & USPTO have refused to consider any actual evidence of whether a particular claim would be preemptive. Instead, the tribunals look to the two-step Alice/Mayo process as the proxy for determining preemption.

        • Software Patents

          • EPO challenge filed against Velos Media by Unified Patents

            Unified believes patent quality is not just a U.S. issue but an international one. For those reasons, on July 17, 2020, Unified filed opposition proceedings against recently issued EP 2 347 591 B1, owned by Velos Media, LLC. The ‘591 patent is generally related to decoding data using macroblocks. This filing is a part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone.

            In mid-July, Velos announced Technicolor as their first public HEVC patent licensee. However, in June, Technicolor declared bankruptcy in the U.S. because of higher than expected costs and lower revenue.

            The ‘591 patent is also part of a family that Unified challenged and the PTAB instituted review on all claims as likely unpatentable, IPR2019-00757. This family is one of Velos’ largest and originally owned by Qualcomm.

      • Copyrights

        • Police Target Pirate IPTV With 72 Searches Against Operators & Financial System

          Police have targeted a pirate IPTV operation, executing 72 searches across Italy, blocking a website and seizing pre-paid cards used to finance the system. The investigation has identified 22 people supplying pirated content from Sky and DAZN, among others, a network of resellers, and more than 65,000 customers paying around a million euros per year.

        • Movie Companies Identify Pirating YTS User as US Army Veteran

          A group of movie companies has named a US army veteran as a pirating user of the popular torrent site YTS. The site hasn’t commented on how the movie companies got access to its user data but the site’s operator stresses that people can take several precautions to increase their privacy.

        • Yet Another ‘Stranger Things’ Copyright Suit Over A String Of Likely Non-Protectable Elements

          As one of, if not the, largest player in the streaming platform wars, Netflix is oft the target of copyright infringement threats and lawsuits. These actions against it have by and large been found to be absolutely baseless. Whether it’s estates of long-dead authors, private prisons, or the brother of dead drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, there are plenty of folks out there who see a wealthy company on the rise and try to get a piece of that cash for themselves by making dubious intellectual property claims.

They Tell Us About ‘Flying’ Cars and ‘Smart’ Cars When Car Ownership Decreases and Many Automobile Companies Go Bust

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 9:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Last year: Driven by Freedom or Just by Linux?

Free cars

Summary: Free cars? No such thing. Not even freedom-respecting cars (not anymore); the expensive ‘gadgets’ industry is still trying to push things people don’t need as much as large corporations need those people to buy (by taking a loan)

THE media kept talking about flying cars and taxis some years ago, especially in countries that are only rich because of oil (which they now drill back into the ground or give away at a negative price). Tesla hype is noteworthy also; we’re supposed to believe a company that generates so much in losses is in fact worth a fortune and people with no job security (or no job) will invest in some ‘smart’ thing. Many of them don’t even drive to work anymore.

“Considering people spend more time indoors, in their own homes, one might as well just purchase a laptop with GNU/Linux (the employer cannot easily impose Windows on people).”This whole ‘yuppie fantasy’ associated with consumerism (buying newer and supposedly better things) has introduced many patents but not many sales (the EPO, WIPO and USPTO love bragging about such patents) and it’s geared towards surveillance and remote control, not freedom or net benefit to drivers/passengers. Tesla — like Uber — isn’t worth any more than the banner standing in front of its manufacturing plants. Its chief has gone so insane that he’s willing to support fascism the way Ford and other industrial ‘geniuses’ did when the Nazi Party rose to power.

Free software has long preached modesty and simplicity. GNU tools are deliberately rudimentary, albeit modular and highly versatile. They withstood the test of time, unlike the vast majority of proprietary software (which can barely be made to even run on today’s computers). Instead of dreaming (or fantasising) about flying in a car — a very energy-inefficient thing by the way — maybe we need to adapt. Heck, even planes are barely flying anymore. Who out there is booking a flight right about now? Exactly. Almost nobody. Likewise, who buys a ‘smart’ phone for like $1,500 at some Apple ‘store’? Considering people spend more time indoors, in their own homes, one might as well just purchase a laptop with GNU/Linux (the employer cannot easily impose Windows on people).

Stop dreaming of flying cars and other silly gimmicks like self-driving/autonomous cars. Would you rather watch a film instead of keeping control of the car and keeping your eyes on the road (to avert accidents/disasters)? After all, any incidents inside and outside the cars affect you physically. And they can kill pedestrians around you too, holding you accountable.

Rotting Away in an Age of Several Crises

Posted in Europe at 9:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Venetian Streets

Summary: The world as we know it is reaching the edge; for some people life is still sustainable, but we’re only at the cusp now

WITH a multitude of floods, wildfires and plagues so far this year (yes, even Ebola, which doesn’t interest the West as much… as long as it only kills Africans), not to mention at least three moments when we came close to nuclear conflict (Russia, Iran, China/India/Pakistan) and many plane crashes (before the shares of airlines crashed) we’re gradually seeing the economic status quo crumbling, grinding to a halt, one might say “collapsing” (US national debt is about to exceed 27 trillion dollars, 7 trillions more than total US GDP). There are riots in the streets and reactionary misuse of force by the state (what happens in the US is akin to “SS”; see Portland, Oregon).

“There are riots in the streets and reactionary misuse of force by the state (what happens in the US is akin to “SS”; see Portland, Oregon).”I myself still work from home; our main office shut down last week (after more than 20 years), quite likely as a permanent measure because it’s impractical to still work in a shared space/office. So we’re all remote workers now (“remote” seems like a misnomer when one works locally, from one’s own home). Last week we received a document from inside the European Patent Office (EPO), suggesting a lot of layoffs to come. The rumours we heard years ago were true. António Campinos is merely an EPO destroyer, maybe worse than Benoît Battistelli. Patents, i.e. monopolies, are being granted faster than ever (even in the US, in spite of 35 U.S.C. § 101) and the passage of wealth from the bottom to the top (it’s a class thing, not a race thing) accelerates wildly. Words are being banned for seeming “racist”, the general public is being called “looters” (while ignoring “bailouts” for billionaires, which are in effect the same albeit at a vastly bigger scale and with “professionals” in suits taking the loot through “professional” treasuries), and I keep hearing about people who lose their job. People I know, people I speak to…

“Life isn’t coming back to normal.”Yesterday the gym I had been going to since I was 19 sent an E-mail with somewhat alarming language; “The last 4 months has put a serious financial burden on the business,” it said, “because despite the government furlough scheme, we still have many fixed operating costs to pay. This period has been challenging and threatened the ongoing viability of the club. If you are not ready to start using your membership again but feel that you would like to support the club and would be happy to commence paying the membership, then this gesture would be most appreciated.”

Life isn’t coming back to normal. Our health officials have said the same (earlier this month). The gym reopens this coming Saturday, but there will be many exclusions and restrictions. Over the years I wrote many articles from there (with a portable keyboard, using a PDA between sets) and did lots of readings from there. But now we consider canceling the membership; with sadness. Well, the world has changed. Not for the better. Almost nobody is better off now.

As Techrights Predicted All Along, UPC Support Would Become a Self-Inflicted Wound for Germany and the EU (or European Commission)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO tarnishes/discredits everything it touches

German Reichstag

Summary: Benoît Battistelli‘s friend Mr. Breton (EC) and the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (“BMJV”), which EPO President António Campinos cited selectively, have become a good example of self-inflicted wounds; their public support for the UPC is now a major liability (to these institutions’ reputation; the European Patent Office was already viewed quite widely — even internally among staff — as rogue and corrupt)

THIS week was historic; UPC collapsed again. Another death, another irrecoverable ordeal. Only the insane would still insinuate that the UPC/A stands a chance.

“If the EC wants to do something useful, it’ll start cracking down on EPO corruption.”With Campinos still lobbying for software patents in Europe (in defiance of patent courts’ rulings, as well as the EPC, the Parliament and basic common sense, a la 35 U.S.C. § 101/SCOTUS) we’ve come to the point where the EPO writes its own obituary. As recent leaks show, the EPO will not only decrease the pay of staff while purchasing power plunges; it’ll also let many examiners go (so the rumours we heard years ago were correct).

To me, personally, the sad thing is that EPO corruption now harms the EU. It also harms Germany (my roots). It harms ILO, which was supposed to guard justice and workers (the L stands for Labour or Labor). How much more damage will EPOnia’s “Mafia” cause? Yes, insiders call it “Mafia”…

How many more institutions will lose their reputation?

How many more scholars (or universities) and journalists (or publishers) will the EPO bribe and blackmail?

If the EC wants to do something useful, it’ll start cracking down on EPO corruption. That’s unlikely to happen, however, with the likes of Breton in charge, along with a dynasty of slaveowners. Failure to contain the EPO 'cancer' means that it’s spreading to the whole body, not only in the EU but also elsewhere (ILO is only based in Geneva but it’s international in scope). It’s like too many appointments these days are being optimised for cover-up, rather than accountability or public service. Who’s in charge of today’s Europe? Clearly not its people. Breton has some very difficult questions to answer.

Battistelli-Breton photo-op

[Meme] Linux (or Linux Foundation) Rapidly Becoming ‘Stalin’s Dream’

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Linux Foundation and the Big Surveillance Industry, Media Industry, Microsoft Azure | The Linux Foundation is Deep in the ‘Surveillance Capitalism’ Industry Now | Linux Foundation Still Owned and Controlled Largely — and More Over Time — by Surveillance Companies (Openwashing Services for Bad Practices and Bad Actors)

Stalin hotline: Incompetent (but useful) idiots; Contact-tracing! I like!
“As part of the agreement, Nearform will manage the source code repository on [Microsoft's proprietary software prison] GitHub,” it says this Monday (more in our Daily Links to come)

Summary: The Linux Foundation‘s deep ties and collaborations with the surveillance industry (and Microsoft) continue to tighten

2020: Year of Clickbait Nonsense

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clickbait Nonsense

Summary: Journalism is dead; people are rewarded better for telling lies

Wearing Masks Isn’t a Political Statement

Posted in Deception at 6:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nor a fashion statement

Summary: A gentle reminder that public health requires some form of collective responsibility

THERE are now just about over 2 million “active cases” of COVID-19 in the US (with tests to confirm these). Later today it’ll be over 4 million cases overall. With about 4% of the world’s population the US now has 1,966,953 “active cases” out of 5,331,706 worldwide, i.e. 36.87% of the total. Our next Daily Links will contain American tourists barred from entering Bahamas due to COVID-19 cases; other countries still allowed (so COVID-19 is like leprosy now, with carriers being treated like lepers).

“This is what happens when institutions are run by corrupt and unfit-for-service people.”For one reason or another, mostly in the US, masks become a “political” thing in the eyes of so many. This is worrying. The systematic shaming and disdain for science is ruining the country’s ability to defend itself from an invisible (albeit very real) enemy.

We typically focus on technology, but this issue is important and it is global. For crying out loud, wear a bloody mask. And don’t listen to bigots and demagogues who months ago also told us that tens of thousands of dead Italians were just ‘collateral damage’ of “Impeachment Hoax” perpetrated by the US Democratic Party, seeding something in Wuhan as if American politicians also govern China.

As a side note, remember that management of the European Patent Office (EPO), led by this orange clown, failed to provide masks to staff like it was supposed to. This is what happens when institutions are run by corrupt and unfit-for-service people. Welcome to the future. Facts don’t seem to matter anymore.

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