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.

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