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

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

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Lemur Pro review

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Pine64 Linux laptop available once again for $200

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • Server

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

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

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

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

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

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • LHS Episode #357: Lethal Weapon

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

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

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

    • Kernel Space

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

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

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

      • Graphics Stack and Input Devices

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

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

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

        • FreeBSD Qt WebEngine GPU Acceleration

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

        • Custom Keyboards with QMK

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

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

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

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

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Gross Restarts

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

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

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

    • Applications

      • Download Now: Glimpse 0.2.0 Beta Available for Testing

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

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

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

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Emulating Nintendo Switch Games on Linux

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


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

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

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

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

      • SuperTuxKart’s New Release is Ready for Testing

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

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

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

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

      • 5 games for hosting your own Free RPG Day

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

      • Linux support for ASUS ROG laptops is coming along nicely

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Xfce Review: A Lean, Mean Linux Machine

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

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Improve MAVLink Integration of Kirogi – Progress Report 2

          This is my second progress report about GSoC 2020 project.

        • [Krita] Week 7: GSoC Project Report

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

    • Distributions

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

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

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

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

        • Suse Unveils Major Enhancements To Its Enterprise Platform

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • SUSE releases major Linux update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        • Digest of YaST Development Sprint 104

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

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Using source-git to maintain packages in Fedora

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

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

        • Fedora Developers Brainstorming Options For Better Memory Testing

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

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

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

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

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

        • Cloud platforms lead the way for banking innovation

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

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

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

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


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

        • Red Hat Insights: Vulnerability management

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Debian Family

        • Screen ghosts

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

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

        • Lite Editor

          There is a new application available for Sparkers: Lite Editor

          What is Lite Editor?

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

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

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

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

          Maintainers in the last two months:

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


      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Comet Lake-S computers support Ubuntu

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

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

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Safely reviving shared memory (Mozilla Hacks)

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

          • Hacks.Mozilla.Org: Safely reviving shared memory

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

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

          • Extension Spotlight: SponsorBlock for YouTube

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


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

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

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5 Beta 3

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


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

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


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

      • Programming/Development

        • Arm Backporting SLS Vulnerability Mitigation To Existing GCC Releases

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

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

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

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

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

        • New features in CMake 3.18

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

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

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn XML

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

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

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

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

        • A comparison of 6 top programming languages

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

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


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

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

        • Python

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

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

          • How to Listen for Webhooks with Python

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Mastering Python’s Built-in time Module

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

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

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

  • Leftovers

    • Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Old Hardware

      • FlashFloppy OLED display

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

      • Computer history and modern computers for sysadmins

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

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


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

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

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

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

    • Health/Nutrition

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • SFC and Linux Foundation

              • The Institute for Computing in Research Joins Conservancy!

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

        • Security

          • Security updates for Tuesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Apple Has No Tolerance For Webcam Covers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Finance

      • Europe: Will This Crisis Be Different?

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


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

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Black Lives Matter: The emotional toll of speaking up

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

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

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

      • NLG Announces Federal Defense Hotline

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

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

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

        • Software Patents

          • JustService patent challenged as likely invalid

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

      • Trademarks

        • Reconsidering DESCRIPTIVE.COM trademark registrations after BOOKING.COM

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


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

      • Copyrights

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

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


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

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