Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 23/7/2020: Release of OpenRGB 0.3, DebianDay 2020 Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 6:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • From a dream to reality: How Linux changed my life

      This story is not about the money; it’s about how a lower-middle-class guy overcomes obstacles and learns from failures to achieve his dream.

      After completing school, everyone thinks about their college life, but for me, it was something a little different. I went to a normal private college—Haldia Institute of Technology, Haldia in West Bengal, India. I was not the best student, but computers were the subject that caught my interest.

      Private colleges often have higher fees but are considered lower in educational quality with limited placement scope. During the first year of my college life, I participated in a lot of sports, which was great until I lost interest in my studies as a result. I ended up with only average grades that first year. During my second year, some seniors came into one of my classes and asked about open source; at that point, I hadn’t even heard of the term yet, but I ventured an answer anyway. My classmates laughed at my obviously wrong guess but little did any of us know that experience would become the foundation of my great career.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The 3rd-Gen KDE Slimbook is Here, And Boy is it Powerful

        Hiding inside its thin and light magnesium alloy case is a powerful AMD Ryzen 4000 processor, ample RAM, speedy SSD, and a pre-installed version of the latest KDE Neon with Plasma desktop.

        Two display sizes are available: 14.1-inch and 15.6-inch. Both screens are Full HD IPS LED panels with 100% sRGB range. Size is the only real differentiator — and yes that 1.5-inch extra does feel huge when you’re a smol guy like me

      • The new KDE Slimbook is a Linux laptop with Ryzen 7 4800H

        The newest member of the KDE Slimbook family is one of the most powerful thin and light Linux laptops to date.

        The new KDE Slimbook Pro X features a 45-watt AMD Ryzen 7 4800H octa-core processsor with Radeon Vega graphics and a starting price of 899 Euros ($1040) for a model with a 14 inch display or 929 Euros ($1075) for a 15.6 inch version.

      • KDE teams up with Slimbook to bring a stylish new AMD Ryzen 4800H laptop

        Power, style and what looks like a pretty good price too. KDE and Slimbook team up to announce the KDE Slimbook, powered by a beefy AMD Ryzen processor. They’re not the first to announce a Linux laptop with a newer AMD Ryzen processor though, as we only just had TUXEDO announce their Pulse 15 too.

        This isn’t actually a brand new initiative either, KDE and Slimbook have actually been good partners for a few years now. This is the third generation, so hopefully together they’ve been able to craft something special and it certainly looks that way. If you’re in the market for a new laptop with Linux, this could be what you need.

    • Server

      • 25 Basic Linux Commands All System Admins Should Know

        System administrators are responsible for configuring, upkeeping, and delivering reliable operation of computer systems, especially in the multi-user computers (e.g., servers). A successful system admin offers

        This article covers some basic Linux commands that all system admin should know. If you are already a system admin, chances are, you will know these commands. If you are interested in the field of system administration, then learning these commands will improve your background knowledge in this area.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • FLOSS Weekly 588: KidOYO – Education & Open Source

        KidOYO teaches kids coding, computer science, engineering, and the concept of entrepreneurial learning, for K12 to University. Doc Searls talks with Shawn Powers and Devon Loffreto the owner of KidOYO, and also the creator of the term Sovereign Identity.

      • Destination Linux 183: It Is Okay To Use Nano

        Coming up on this week’s episode of Destination Linux we’re going to discuss the age old topic, why it is okay to use Nano instead of Emacs or Vim. In the news this week were going to discuss the latest announcement from Pine64 about the new more powerful PinePhone that also comes with a USB Dock in the Convergence Package. Speaking of Convergence, we’re going to discuss what “Real” Convergence is as a response to a blog post made by Purism. Later in the show we’ll let you know about a great game deal for the Warhammer series from Humble Bundle and we’ll cover some awesome community feedback from Space (sort of) and we’ve got the beloved tips/tricks and software pick. All of this and so much more on the Destination Linux podcast!

      • Benigànim signs Open Letter +++ Interview with city of Bühl +++ New Podcast

        We just sent out a big thank you to all the people who supported us over the years and who are supporting us now. With their help we have been able to build trust and grow expertise in the last decade and to cope with troubling times introduced with the global spread of the corona virus and its dramatic effects. With your help we even have been able to raise attention that we need global solutions to tackle global problems. And we have been heard.

        Members from our community convinced public hackathons to publish their results under free licenses. International and national political fora continue to demand that contact tracing apps have to be Free Software. Many national authorities are complying with these demands. Also in the last months, administrations in Hamburg, the Netherlands and Spain committed to use and focus more on Free Software. These are the positive developments we have seen in the last months – despite the crisis – and these are the fruits of our long-term commitment and your long-term support.

        It’s now time to share this good news. Let people know that Free Software matters even, or especially, in such difficult times introduced to us by the coronavirus. Use the chance yourself to order our professional promotion material, to talk with your friends, neighbours, employers or anyone else about the benefits of Free Software.


        In our sixth Software Freedom Podcast we invited Miriam Ballhausen to talk with us about copyright enforcement. Miriam is a German lawyer who specialises in Free Software copyright questions. Together we cover the basics about Free Software licensing and discuss how Free Software copyright can be enforced, what the steps to enforce it are, and why it is often enforced in Germany. We also explore how the REUSE project could help with being in compliance with Free Software licenses.

      • 2020-07-22 | Linux Headlines

        Two new Linux ultrabooks hit the market, Google is poised to enforce usage of Android Go on low-end devices, and the 3MF Consortium joins the Linux Foundation.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.7.10

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.7.10 kernel.

        All users of the 5.7 kernel series must upgrade.

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


      • Linux 5.4.53
      • Linux 4.19.134
      • Linux 4.14.189
      • Linux 4.9.231
      • Linux 4.4.231
      • Graphics Stack

        • Shader Processing

          As I’ve touched upon previously, zink does some work in ntv to perform translations of certain GLSL variables to SPIR-V versions of those variables. Also sometimes we add and remove variables for compatibility reasons.

          The key part of these translations, for some cases, is to ensure that they occur on the right shader. As an example that I’ve talked about several times, Vulkan coordinates are different from GL coordinates, specifically in that the Z axis is compressed and thus values there must be converted to perform as expected in the underlying Vulkan driver. This means that gl_Position needs to be converted before reaching the fragment shader.

        • RadeonSI Lands Bits In Mesa 20.2 For Better Dealing With GPU Virtualization

          Well known open-source AMD graphics driver developer Marek Olšák has landed a set of 15 patches into Mesa 20.2 for improving the RadeonSI driver’s handling within virtualized environments.

          The support added is mid-command buffer preemption and when enabled is mirroring registers in memory using a register shadowing technique. This is being done so that the GPU can switch to a different process at any point within command buffers.

        • Open-Source NVIDIA “Nouveau” CRC Support Ready For Linux 5.9

          Stemming from documentation released by NVIDIA last year, the forthcoming Linux 5.9 kernel will feature CRC support on the display side thanks to the development work by Red Hat.

          Nouveau CRC support is coming in Linux 5.9 for Fermi and newer. This is about Cyclic Redundancy Checks (CRC) for error detection in the display handling on NVIDIA graphics cards.

    • Benchmarks

      • AMD Ryzen “Renoir” CPU Frequency Scaling Governor Performance

        With 129 tests carried out while also looking at the CPU power consumption and temperatures during benchmarking, here is a look at how the CPU frequency scaling governor plays a role in the performance of the latest-generation AMD Ryzen 4000 “Renoir” laptops for Linux.

        Running most Linux distributions on an AMD Ryzen 4000 series laptop will result in the CPUFreq “ondemand” governor used by default as a sane default for controlling the CPU frequency scaling behavior. But there is also the performance governor as the most performance-minded and quickest to ramp up CPU frequencies when needed, conservative for more conservative frequency scaling decisions, schedutil as the possible future default that leverages the Linux kernel’s scheduler utilization data for making more accurate power management decisions, and powersave as an attempt to conserve power use over performance. Those different CPUfreq governors are being benchmarked in this article with the Lenovo Flex 5 with Ryzen 5 4500U processor.

    • Applications

      • Top 8 File and Disk Encryption Tools for Linux

        Data protection is an imperative aspect of digital security for both businesses and individuals. In this new remote work environment brought on by COVID-19, securing one’s private data is more critical than ever.

        Linux handles this issue far better than Windows or MacOS due to its transparent open-source code and the passionate global community constantly reviewing it. With so many astute eyes on Linux source code, security vulnerabilities are quickly detected and solved – which is why those looking for a highly secure OS often turn to Linux.

        That being said, this doesn’t mean that your Linux computer is 100% unhackable. In fact, the growing popularity of Linux is making the OS an increasingly popular target among malicious hackers. Thus, it never hurts to add a layer of privacy in the form of file and disk encryption.

        File and disk encryption makes your data unreadable and unusable even if your computer does get hacked. In this article we explore the eight best file and disk encryption tools for Linux.

      • OpenRGB 0.3 Released For Open-Source RGB Lighting Control

        Out this evening is OpenRGB v0.3 as the newest feature release of this open-source RGB lighting control solution that works on both Windows and Linux. ASUS, ASRock, Corsair, GSKILL, Gigabyte, Kingston, MSI, Razer, and Thermaltake are among the brands of devices supported by this growing software package.

        OpenRGB 0.3 adds support for allowing one user-interface to now control multiple PCs’ RGB lighting, various other client / server improvements, numerous new drivers and different improvements, and dealing with a lot of other device-specific improvements/fixes.

      • Sorting the mess of vendor specific lighting apps, OpenRGB has a new release

        Having something with pretty RGB lighting and want to play with it on Linux? Often the hardware vendor doesn’t bother with Linux tools or drivers but the OpenRGB firmly has your back.

        This is not just another open source project for Linux to make up for vendors ignoring Linux, in fact it’s actually made for Windows too. Their aim is to sort the big stinking mess of vendor-specific tools and applications to deal with RBG lighting across various motherboards,

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Linux distro Fedora 33 may get DXVK as the default for Wine

        If you make use of the Wine compatibility layer on Fedora, it seems the upcoming Fedora 33 release may end up defaulting to DXVK for better performance.

        Currently in Fedora, like most distributions, Wine is mostly left alone. Once installed, it’s up to users to tinker with it and configure it (I much prefer using Lutris personally). That may change though if this latest proposal is accepted for Fedora 33 which releases in October 2020. There is currently a dedicated wine-dxvk package you can install to get it but this change would set DXVK as the default graphics backend for Wine to translate Direct3D 9/10/11 to Vulkan.

    • Games

      • [Godot] Announcing the monthly Live Q&A!

        What has been an idea (and something many community members suggested for a long time) is now a reality. We will be hosting a Live Q&A session with Godot core contributors the last week of each month.

      • A DIY USB gear stick for PC racing games

        If you’d like to add a gear stick to your PC racing game experience, then Oli Norwell has just the project for you.

        His USB device extends a joystick with a length of threaded rod through a custom-cut wooden plate, restricting movements to a 1-5/reverse/neutral layout. The shifter is held in different gear positions using magnets, in order keep it from automatically springing back to center.

        An Arduino Leonardo reads the switch states, and passes along the shift positions as a simulated joystick in HID mode. Possible future improvements include extra buttons, mode selection switches, and even an LCD screen for feedback.

      • Narrative exploration RPG ‘Vagrus – The Riven Realms’ enters Early Access

        Vagrus – The Riven Realms puts you in the shoes of a travelling caravan leader, as you explore the wastelands left over from the gods getting angry at humanity and basically annihilating everything while also leaving behind all sorts of horrors. It’s a setting that demands to be explored and sucks you right in with the impressive world-building.

        It’s been a long time coming, after being available on the crowdfunding platform Fig for a year already. This is where they used a hybrid model of Early Access / Crowdfunding to raise funds to develop the game further while also providing people with a copy to play right away. Which obviously proved to be worthwhile for them, as the campaign recently passed $95,000.

      • The no-violence survival platformer ‘Residual’ gets a demo and Kickstarter

        Orangepixel are a long-time indie game developer with titles like Space Grunts, Gunslugs, Heroes of Loot and more. Their next title is Residual, a survival platformer with a difference.

        Setting itself apart from the rest, there’s no combat. The whole idea is to have a non-violent game of survival and exploration which I will admit has made me most curious about it. Stranded on a strange alien world, your task is to find a way off as you come across the residual technology left behind an ancient advanced race.

      • Euro Truck Simulator 2 gets a big free update with SSAO

        For those who prefer trucking around Europe instead of America, SCS Software just upgraded Euro Truck Simulator 2 with some nice engine upgrades and location improvements.

        Much like they also did with American Truck Simulator just recently in their big update, this update for Euro Truck Simulator 2 brings in some graphics updates. This includes Screen Space Ambient Occlusion (SSAO), a redesigned route advisor, a redesigned RGB colour picker with support for specific color inputs (HSV, RGB, and HEX), and more. All dealership locations across the Euro Truck Simulator 2 map have received a refresh too, with each being unique. There’s plenty more map updates, improved automatic transmission for vehicles and so on. SCS continue giving ETS 2 plenty of attention.

      • It’s now easier than ever to play STAR WARS: The Old Republic on Linux

        With EA continuing to dump their older games onto Steam, the popular MMO STAR WARS: The Old Republic is now available thanks to Steam Play Proton it’s easier than ever to play it on Linux.

        Confused? Don’t know what Steam Play or Proton are? Check out our dedicated page first.

        This free to play MMO originally released in 2011 and it’s set thousands of years before the original Star Wars movies. A time when the Sith are very much around and something not explored in any of the movies. As a huge Star Wars fan, seeing this easy to access on Steam makes me happy. Not a fan of Origin? Good news for Linux users, as it’s not here. The Old Republic is one EA title that does not come with the Origin client and so it should be less of a nuisance.

      • Accessible and colourful fighting game ‘Fantasy Strike’ goes free to play

        Fantasy Strike, a fighting game designed to be easy for all types of players that released in July 2019 has now officially gone free to play.

        Created by Sirlin Games, they’re an ex-Street Fighter developer and they think of themselves as something of a “hardcore” fighting game player. Fantasy Strike was their attempt to create a fighting game that anyone could become reasonably good at quickly to enjoy it.

        Originally £23.79 / $29.99, with the free to play release all characters are unlocked for everyone to play with. Everyone also has access to online casual play, online ranked play, offline practice mode, and offline “single match” mode against AI so out of the box it’s a pretty full game. The update also came with two entirely new characters to boost the roster, Chancellor Quince and General Onimaru.

      • SuperTuxKart has a fresh Release Candidate out for testing

        It seems the current focus for SuperTuxKart is to improve the overall look and feel of it right now, giving it that all important professional feel. One of the big changes behind the scenes is the move to using more of SDL2, instead of Irrlicht which is missing some big features. They’re now using SDL2 for things like window creation and input handling. As a result it should get better with gamepad handling, hot-plugging and less gamepad input annoyances.

        The interface is also going through something of an overhaul to make it more modern. With the 1.2 update bringing in a “Modern” skin. A highlight there is the addition of SVG icons, along with work to enable the SuperTuxKart engine to properly render SVG files to ensure the UI looks great at high resolutions. They said they plan to blog about this more work in a future update.

      • Widelands, the Settlers II inspired RTS has a huge Build 21 release out now

        Widelands, a free and open source strategy game inspired by the classic Settlers II has now formally released the massive Build 21 update.

        Recently I wrote about the upcoming update after doing some pre-release testing, and it’s proven to be a wonderful RTS that keeps the spirit of the classic Settlers experience alive. Widelands is a strategy game where you don’t have direct-unit control, instead you place down orders and everyone gets to work—as long as your road system is connected up properly. I’ll openly admit to getting a bit carried away with playing Widelands recently sinking half a day into it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Google Summer of Code 2020 – Post 6

          I updated the user interface of the Rocs graph layout plugin. Now, each layout algorithm corresponds to a tab. See below the tab for the Radial Tree Layout.


          The root vertex can be selected by the user or determined automatically. Currently, a center of the tree is used for automatic root selection. The user can also control the distance between nodes by changing the node separation. Tomorrow I will finish the tests and add some code to check if the graph being laid out is a tree.

          Note: I decided to change the title of my GSoC posts to reflect the fact that I am not being able to follow a weekly schedule.

        • Going Focal

          Here at KDE neon base camp we have been working on moving the base of our system to Focal, Ubuntu 20.04. If you’re interested in the mechanics you can see the status, and indeed help out, on our 20.04 workboard.

          But probably you’re more interested in giving it a try. This is in testing mode still and comes with a no money back warranty. Instrucitons are on the testing forum thread. You can either do an upgrade or a full install from the preview ISOs. Let us know how you get on!

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Alternative GNOME Shell Application Menu Extensions

          GNOME shell comes with a dashboard-like application menu layout by default. The default layout features a spacious, grid-like layout, search bar, and large icons for easy accessibility. Linux users who have used Unity or macOS application menus would find this menu familiar. This article will cover a few application menu extensions that can be used as alternatives for the default menu in the GNOME shell.

        • Ayush Mittal: Pitivi: Making the Render dialog usable: Render profiles

          It’s been around two months when I officially became a GSOC student Developer at Pitivi and now, the 1st coding month has completed. Although we had a structured proposal to follow during GSOC, we adapted as per what looked much more suitable and made more sense. If you have been using Pitivi, you are in for a surprise.

        • Alejandro Domínguez: Fractal: Update progress

          It’s being a busy month, but productive nonetheless!

          Since the last update about how things were going most of the error handling stuff has been reworked, as announced. There are a few bits remaining but they are in very specific places that require prior work in other areas. The approach chosen was to have a common trait that handled the error and each backend function now has a (mostly) specific error type that implements that said trait. Managing errors for new requests is as easy as creating a new type for the error that indicates all possible cases, composing over foreign error types if required, and implementing the trait HandleError to manage how the error should be shown in the GUI and/or logged, or just marking the trait if the default implementation is good enough.

        • Refactoring Pitivi’s Media Library

          Since my GSoC project is about improving Pitivi’s Media Library and introducing new features to it, the first task was to clean it up.

          To display assets the Media Library used a Gtk.TreeView widget to show a detailed list view and a Gtk.IconView widget to show a simpler icon view. Some major drawbacks with the previous implementation using two separate widgets are:

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 enterprise Linux distributions to consider adopting

        Most enterprise desktops run Windows or, to a lesser extent, macOS, but certain use cases require a Linux desktop OS.

        The Linux operating system install base has shown growth over the years, in part because Linux-based servers are so widely implemented in the cloud. Development teams, for example, might prefer to build their applications on Linux desktops so they’re working in a consistent environment. Server administrators and programmers could also find Linux’s flexible approach to be suitable for their work. Linux desktops are also becoming more user-friendly, increasing their overall appeal.

        For many organizations, the most important advantage that Linux offers is the reduced cost compared to the pricey Windows and Apple license fees. In addition, base Linux is an open source OS, providing more opportunities for customization.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • SUSE offers new features in enterprise Linux and management software

          Germany-based open source software provider SUSE has announced major enhancements to two of its solutions for businesses to simplify and modernise their functions.

          The changes, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 and the latest in infrastructure management from SUSE Manager 4.1, are now available, the company said in a statement.

          “SUSE solutions, including SUSE Linux Enterprise, are designed for IT transformation,” said Thomas Di Giacomo, SUSE president of engineering and innovation.

        • Understanding Horizontal Pod Autoscaler

          Auto-scaling is a way to automatically increase or decrease the number of computing resources that are being assigned to your application based on resource requirement at any given time. It emerged from cloud computing technology, which revolutionized the way computer resources are allocated, enabling the creation of a fully scalable server in the cloud.

          What is the HPA?

          HPA or Horizontal Pod Autoscaler is the autoscaling feature for Kubernetes pods. HPA offers the following advantages: economic solution, automatic sizing can offer longer uptime and more availability in cases where traffic on production workloads are unpredictable. Automatic sizing differs from having a fixed amount of pods in that it responds to actual usage patterns and therefore reduces the potential disadvantage of having few or many pods for the traffic load. For example, if traffic is usually less at midnight, a static scale solution can schedule some pods to sleep at night, on the other hand, it can better handle unexpected traffic spikes.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Zine call for submissions

          The Design team is preparing a zine to recognize the amazing work done by everyone here in the Fedora Project. The zine will serve as a guide to future contributors as a sneak peek into what Fedora is all about and what kind of work we do. It’s also a fun way for Fedorans to express and showcase their creativity.

          A zine is an original, self-published mini-magazine that is intended for small circulation. Zines are intended for niche interest groups and communicate that interest through artistic expression. For centuries, zines have been aiding creative movements and artistic expressions all around the world.

        • Language is the OS that runs our thoughts

          I think in tech, it’s really important to get as much inclusive language as we can nailed down as soon as we can. One trend I’ve seen as time has gone on is that we’re abstracting on top of abstractions further and further out. If we can clean up the base it’s all built on top of, that will hopefully mean a lot less issues moving forward as new abstractions need to be named / expressed in language.

          I have seen a lot of pushback against the suggestion that we actively fix some of the language in our code that could enforce old and problematic ideas. I want to talk about why these words are not so benign, and why changing them matters.

        • Using IBM CloudLabs for Hands-on Kubernetes Training on IBM Cloud
        • How Red Hat is supporting the next generation of technology experts at the University of Massachusetts

          Red Hat is working to encourage the next generation of developers and computer programmers, and we are proud to work with The University of Massachusetts to help sponsor some of their intern and summer leadership, technology and computer science programs. The goal of these programs is to support college-aged students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in careers in technology, engineering and science.

          This summer, Red Hat is proud to sponsor the Leadership Academy, a new program launched by UMass Amherst and partners, led by equity and inclusion expert Nilanjana “Buju” Dasgupta. The goal of the Leadership Academy is to offer an online, fast-paced accelerator program for students of color and women to kickstart their journeys in technology and engineering. This is especially important during COVID-19, when many internship opportunities have been cancelled.

        • BrianzAcque Taps Red Hat to Activate Smart Water Kiosks

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that BrianzAcque, a provider of water and sewage utility services in Italy, has standardized on Red Hat OpenShift to manage its network of smart water kiosks across a hybrid cloud environment.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Machine vision camera offers choice of Jetson TX2 or Xavier NX

        Adlink claims superior ease of use due to the camera’s compact all-in-one design and its pre-installed AI software. Optimized for machine vision, the stack integrates Ubuntu 18.04 L4T (Linux for Tegra) with Nvidia’s Jetpack 4.3 AI software, Basler Pylon, and machine vision sample code. There is no mention of support for the related, Kubernetes/OpenShift enabled Nvidia EGX AI edge computing stack, which Adlink launched last year on four Jetson-based embedded computers.

        Adlink touts the NEON-2000-JT2 for its safety certification from both the FCC and CE (European Commission) The camera is said to be validated for shock (11ms, 30G, half sine, 3 axes), vibration (5-500Hz, 5 Grms, 3 axes), and temperature stability (0 to 45°C). Typical power consumption is 30W. The 123.3 x 77.5 x 66.8mm, 700-gram camera offers EMC and ESD protections and optional IP67 compliance against ingress.

      • AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – Video and Audio – Week 3

        Last week I looked at some benchmarking tests on the AWOW AK41. I’m eager to crack on and discover how this tiny machine performs as my main desktop machine. This series will also examine how the machine performs as a server. I’ll cover things like running WordPress on the machine, setting up a file server, a backup server, and much more.

        For this week, I’m going to look at an area very close to my heart. Multimedia. It’s a large topic to tackle. So I’ll confine this week to video and audio playback. I’ll tackle other multimedia tasks in a later edition of the blog.

      • Cooler Master Launches Pi Case 40 for Raspberry Pi 4 on Kickstarter

        Cooler Master, known for its PC cooling solutions and cases, has now launched a Raspberry Pi 4 case on Kickstarter.

        Cooler Master Pi Case 40 has already raised over $120,000 within a few hours, with the $27 Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure blasting pass the $10,000 funding target in about one hour.

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • ATCwatch Arduino Firmware Works with PineTime, COLMI P8, “Da Fit” Smartwatches

          Earlier this week, we wrote about fake heart rate sensors found in ultra-low-cost fitness trackers as reported by Aaron Christophel. It turns out he also maintains an open-source project specific to P8 watch, PineTime, and other smartwatches compatible with Da Fit Android app: ATCwatch Arduino firmware.

          The firmware provides a basic menu system, notifications, and the latest implementation enables direct HTTP or HTTPS GET requests to control IoT devices and get info from the Internet. The current firmware consumes about 150-200uA standby current, and last roughly 92 hours on a charge with heavy notification and usage.

        • 5 Best Robotics Kits for Kids

          The best way to learn anything is to do it yourself. The fastest way is to have earlier projects to learn from and instructions. The instructions can come from documentation, videos and teachers. Today, you will learn about great kits for teaching your kids about robotics.

          Some of these kits are ready built and requires only hooking things up. You should consider how much of the building your kids may want to do. Depending on the kit, the focus is on learning how the mechanics are built and how to program the robots. In the beginning, you may want kits that assemble in minutes before you can experiment.


          Build Your Robot; you buy this kit to get going with understanding the logic and practicalities of robotics. You can connect the pieces without tools and start trying out the logic of robotics. The creators made a very pedagogic system, inputs are blue, and outputs are green.

          You receive four inputs and four outputs in the kit from BYOR. In the box, there is also the main board and some cables. The cables are the same as the audio cables for your phone. The inputs are distance, audio and light sensors. Also included is a tuning knob for manual control. The four outputs are a servo motor, a stepper motor, an LED and a buzzer. The idea of this package is that you build the body of a robot from cardboard. With the parts involved, you can make the simplest robots. To program the robot, you use microbit to program this robot. This makes it very easy to get started programming. On Linux, you can use MicroPython to program it. This kit is limited if you want to make useful robots, but it is very fast to get started. Aimed at education, you can use this kit to teach and learn about robotics. If you aim for bigger projects, you need another kit.

        • Arduino Programming Projects for Learning

          Arduino is an open-source single-board microcontroller that’s loved by makers around the world for its open nature, affordability, and ease of use. You can think of it as a lightweight Raspberry Pi with limited processing power but impressive versatility.

          It takes no time to connect an Arduino board (such as the Arduino UNO R3 or the Arduino Nano) to all kinds of sensors, actuators, and lights and program it to do just about anything you want.

          If you’ve never programmed an Arduino before, you have absolutely nothing to worry about because getting started with it is very easy. All the projects listed in this article come with source code, so you can get them to work first and figure out how they work second.

        • Control your Internet of Things projects from anywhere with the new Arduino IoT Cloud Remote app

          The latest dashboard for the Arduino IoT Cloud comes with a host of enhanced features. Creating your dashboard via a desktop or tablet is quick and easy. The tool automatically configures your devices (including the secure crypto element) and automatically generates the main code for your project, making setup as straightforward as possible. A broad set of simple widgets to connect to the properties provides maximum versatility and enables you to set up a new dashboard in minutes.

          Your dashboards, how you like them — all dashboards are fully customizable, it’s possible to group devices and organize them in any sequence — just drag and drop to arrange the layout, and select from multiple options including graphs to visualize the data. You can gather and display data from multiple IoT devices in one dashboard, and control those devices as required through your dashboard to fully integrate your solution.

      • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 10 Reasons to Use Open Source

        For more than 50 years, the production and use of software and hardware have been almost entirely commercial. This is in stark contrast to the principles of the Free Open Source Software (FOSS) model. FOSS is based on communities and does not require the exchange of material goods to participate in the development process or to share the results.

        Rather, the interaction of individual actors is based on a shared philosophy in which common goods are created (abbreviated as “commons”) for the benefit of all. Behaviour is controlled by social norms, rather than legal regulations. The motivation in participating is less profit, but greater meaningful contributions to society for the benefit of all.

      • Events

        • Let’s celebrate DebianDay 2020 around the world

          We encourage our community to celebrate around the world the 27th Debian anniversary with organized [DebianDay][1] events. This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic we cannot organize in-person events, so we ask instead that contributors, developers, teams, groups, maintainers, and users promote The Debian Project and Debian activities online on August 16th (and/or 15th).

          Communities can organize a full schedule of online activities throughout the day. These activities can include talks, workshops, active participation with contributions such as translations assistance or editing, debates, BoFs, and all of this in your local language using tools such as [Jitsi][2] for capturing audio and video from presenters for later streaming to YouTube.

          If you are not aware of any local community organizing a full event or you don’t want to join one, you can solo design your own activity using [OBS][3] and stream it to YouTube. You can watch an OBS tutorial [here][4].

          Don’t forget to record your activity as it will be a nice idea to upload it to [Peertube][5] later.

        • GUADEC 2020 Kicks Off Today as GNOME’s First Virtual Conference

          The GUADEC 2020 (GNOME Users And Developers European Conference) event kicks off today until July 28th as GNOME’s first online conference in the coronavirus era.

          The time has come for the summer Linux conferences to open their doors to virtual visitors, and GUDEC 2020 is the first major Linux conference to switch to an online format. The event was supposed to take place in Zacatecas, Mexico, but as you can imagine, everyone is adapting every day to respond to the needs created by the COVID-19 crisis, which affects us all.

          GUADEC 2020 is the place where GNOME users and developers from all over the world gather together to share knowledge and discuss upcoming features of the next major release of the GNOME desktop environment, which is used by numerous Linux-based operating systems, including Ubuntu, Debian, openSUSE, Fedora, and many others.

        • openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual Conference Extends Call for Papers

          Organizers of the openSUSE + LibreOffice Virtual Conference are extending the Call for Papers to August 4.

          Participants can submit talks for the live conference past the original deadline of July 21 for the next two weeks.

          The conference is scheduled to take place online from Oct. 15. – 17.

          The length of the talks that can be submitted are either a 15-minute short talk, a 30-minute normal talk and/or a 60-minute work group session. Organizers believe shortening the talks will keep attendees engaged for the duration of the online conference.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla Localization (L10N): L10n Report: July 2020 Edition

            Welcome Prasanta Hembram, Cloud-Prakash and Chakulu Hembram, from the newly created Santali community! They are currently localizing Firefox for iOS in Santali Ol Chiki script.

          • This is how I surf the Internet

            Aside from a handful of pinned tabs, I open a new tab for anything I need to do: search the web, file a bug, look up documentation, check on the news, the weather, you get the idea. I am also addicted to Firefox’s new tab page, so I’ll often open a new tab out of boredom to let Pocket suggest an article for me. I hardly ever look at the same tab twice. If I need to get to something, it is never worth digging through all those tabs, I’ll just type what I am looking for in a new tab, and hope for a good suggestion from the awesomebar. After a couple of days I’ll have hundreds of tabs open. I declare “tab bankruptcy”, I purge them all, and start over.

            A while ago I made an addon for myself. It was essentially a tab FIFO. It would only allow 10 tabs to be open at a time. If an 11th tab was created, the least recently activated tab would be closed.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • CMS

        • Unsplash Launches Official Plugin for WordPress

          Unsplash has released its own official plugin for WordPress, co-developed with the team at XWP. The plugin seamlessly connects Unsplash’s 1 million+ free high-resolution image library with the WordPress editor.


          Instant Images, a plugin that boasts one-click Unsplash uploads, is currently the largest competitor to the adoption of the official plugin with more than 50,000 active installs. Many other plugins have also added some form of Unsplash integration in the past. Chesser said his team has loved seeing the variety of applications developers have created with their API and they were hesitant to create their own plugin.

      • Programming/Development

        • Open Source Success: Git

          The Git software control system is widely used by software developers to track changes in source code. Git was created in 2005 by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development, and it is now used by developers and distributed teams around the world to contribute to open source projects. In this latest article in our open source success series, we’ll take a brief look at the history of Git and its rise to prominence.


          Within a matter of days, Torvalds had produced the Git revision control system. “Within weeks,” Brown wrote, “it was ready to host Linux kernel development.” Once Git was fully functional, Torvalds turned maintainership over to Junio C. Hamano and returned to Linux development.

        • Ruby on Rails 6.0 Slated For Fedora 33

          Fedora 33 is already set to be one of their largest releases ever and it’s only getting bigger.

          Adding to the recent change proposals like DXVK by default for Wine and Stratis 2.1 is another proposal, this time for packaging up Ruby on Rails 6.0.

          Ruby on Rails 6.0 was recently released with parallel testing support, Action Text and Action Mailbox, Webpacker by default, and other changes as outlined in the release notes. There are also a whole lot of fixes with Ruby on Rails 6.0.

        • The feature that makes D my favorite programming language

          Back in 2017, I wrote about why the D programming language is a great choice for development. But there is one outstanding feature in D I didn’t expand enough on: the Universal Function Call Syntax (UFCS). UFCS is a syntactic sugar in D that enables chaining any regular function on a type (string, number, boolean, etc.) like its member function of that type.

          If you don’t already have D installed, install a D compiler so you can run the D code in this article yourself.

        • My file menu is not full of eels [Ed: MacOS being a pain]

          This is the story of a bug in an open-source project I maintain; as the maintainer I review and sometimes fix bug reports from the community. Last week, a user reported that the ‘File’ menu of the application was not appearing on macOS. Some investigation showed this didn’t happen when using the default translation (i.e English), but a bit more investigation showed that it only happened when the language in use was Dutch.

          At this point I’d like to make it clear that I like the Dutch and especially gevulde koeken, a type of almond cookie you can only get in the Netherlands. When passing through Amsterdam Schiphol, I take care to stock up at the supermarket on the main concourse. If you’re passing through Schiphol and wonder why they’ve been cleaned out of cookies, it was me.

          Anyway, it was weird that the menu code I had written seemed to dislike the Dutch. Actually, as part of investigating the defect, I needed to switch my system language to Dutch. So I just did that for a week, and got to learn most of the macOS UI in Dutch. Lekker!

        • Python

          • Python Packages: Five Real Python Favorites

            Python has a vast ecosystem of packages, modules, and libraries that you can use to create your application. Some of these packages and modules are included with your Python installation and are collectively known as the standard library.

            The standard library consists of modules that provide standardized solutions to common programming problems. They’re great building blocks for applications across many disciplines. However, many developers prefer to use alternative packages, or extensions, that may improve on the usability and usefulness of what’s in the standard library.

            In this tutorial, you’ll meet some of the authors at Real Python and learn about packages they like to use in place of more common packages in the standard library.

          • Deep Learning Models in Keras – Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA)

            Deep learning is one of the most interesting and promising areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning currently. With great advances in technology and algorithms in recent years, deep learning has opened the door to a new era of AI applications.

            In many of these applications, deep learning algorithms performed equal to human experts and sometimes surpassed them.

            Python has become the go-to language for Machine Learning and many of the most popular and powerful deep learning libraries and frameworks like TensorFlow, Keras, and PyTorch are built in Python.

            In this article, we’ll be performing Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) on a dataset before Data Preprocessing and finally, building a Deep Learning Model in Keras and evaluating it.

          • Glyph Lefkowitz: I Want A New Duck

            Mypy is a static type checker for Python. If you’re not already familiar, you should check it out; it’s rapidly becoming a standard for Python projects. All the cool kids are doing it. With Mypy, you get all the benefits of high-level dynamic typing for rapid experimentation, and all the benefits of rigorous type checking to complement your tests and improve reliability.1 The best of both worlds!

          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 013, Day 14 – Python, Advanced Data Structures, Done!
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Blog Post #4
          • Release: PyCharm 2020.1.4

            You can update PyCharm by choosing Help | Check for Updates (or PyCharm | Check for Updates on macOS) in the IDE. PyCharm will be able to patch itself to the new version, there should no longer be a need to run the full installer.
            If you’re on Ubuntu 16.04 or later, or any other Linux distribution that supports snap, you should not need to upgrade manually, you’ll automatically receive the new version.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • A grizzle about captive data

            A co-worker gave me some data for checking. The client had sent it in a RAR file. Inside the RAR was a Microsoft Access database. Inside the Access database was a single Access table, and inside the Access table was the data.

            I don’t know why the client did that matryoshka-style data packing, but I know that many people don’t understand that software is not data.

        • Build2 and Rust

          • Build2 v0.13 Released As C/C++ Build Toolchain Inspired By Rust’s Cargo

            Version 0.13 of the Build2 build toolchain is now available, the open-source project inspired by the Rust programming language’s Cargo system but instead tooled for C/C++ while serving not only as the build system but also a package and project manager.

            Build2 v0.13 now makes use of SPDX for the default license name, better handling of the library installation directory on UNIX-like systems, improved handling for project-specific configurations, ad-hoc recipes, support for package downloads via proxies, and other changes.

          • This Week in Rust 348
  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How should policymakers incentivize and regulate convalescent serum therapy for COVID-19?

        Over 120 years ago, a milk wagon horse named Jim was the United States’ most potent weapon against a raging diphtheria epidemic. During his lifetime, Jim—inoculated against the bacterial toxin that causes the disease—produced gallons of anti-diphtheria serum that, once extracted, could then be administered directly to patients. But tragic difficulties in making a safe and standard therapy from a single horse led Congress to pass the 1902 Biologics Control Act—the predecessor to the FDA’s current oversight over biologic products.

        While convalescent sera have largely fallen out of favor since the development of modern vaccines, there is renewed hope in the space: the development of therapeutic sera from recovered COVID-19 patients. Encouraging the development of safe, pure, and potent COVID-19 convalescent serum has recently tasked policymakers with numerous challenges—some old, and some new. In this post, we explain the “manufacture” of COVID-19 convalescent sera and explore the regulatory and innovation policy difficulties in maintaining it.


        Passive antibody therapy has a long history—including some improvements in survival during the 1918 flu pandemic and against the coronaviruses that caused SARS and MERS—and is expected to be most effective when administered before infection (when it can provide weeks to months of protection) or shortly after the onset of symptoms. Some researchers are studying the preventative effect of convalescent plasma in health care workers, but given the scarcity of plasma donors, this intervention mostly has been used for hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

        The first randomized convalescent plasma trial for COVID-19 treatment, with 103 patients in China, found no statistically significant benefit among all patients but promising enough results among severely ill patients that a JAMA editorial found “optimism for the future of antibody therapy in this disease.” A matched control study in which 39 NYC patients with severe COVID-19 received convalescent plasma transfusions concluded that the treatment improved survival for non-intubated patients but not for intubated patients. But the lack of randomization makes interpretation more challenging. A report on 5,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients as part of the FDA expanded access program for convalescent plasma concluded that the treatment appears safe—but the study did not have a control arm, leaving efficacy uncertain. A number of registered randomized trials are recruiting patients, although enrolling a sufficient number of participants can be challenging. As the New York Times reports, although the “only way to know for sure if the treatment works is to randomly assign patients to receive antibodies or a placebo … it can be impossible to find many patients who agree to have their treatment randomized to an unknown treatment,” especially because the product is already accessible outside the clinical trial setting.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • 3MF Consortium to join Linux Foundation with new executive director Luis Baldez

                The 3MF Consortium, which has worked towards the development of a universal 3D printing specification since 2015, has announced that it will be joining the Linux Foundation as an open standards project. The organization behind the 3MF file format will also be moving forward with a new executive director, Luis Baldez, who is set to replace original co-creator Adrian Lannin. While the substitution is a major one, Lannin will remain a strategic advisor to the Consortium.

              • The Linux Foundation offers Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp program

                Cloud jobs are hotter than hot. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Indeed.com reported that between October 2015 and October 2019, cloud computing jobs increased by 55%. By 2022, Gartner predicts the public cloud services market alone will be three times bigger than overall IT services. The jobs are there. What we don’t have are enough cloud experts to meet the demand. The Linux Foundation is addressing this — with its recent introduction of a Cloud Engineer Bootcamp for new would-be cloud professionals. Now, The Linux Foundation has unveiled another new program, but it’s for experienced cloud engineers who need some help getting a leg up in their career: Advanced Cloud Engineer Bootcamp.

              • Linux Foundation Public Health projects first focused on Google-Apple Exposure Notification API

                The Linux Foundation Public Health Initiative has signed on seven premier members – Cisco, doc.ai, Geometer, IBM, NearForm, Tencent and VMware – as it works on two initial projects.

              • Solving technical debt with open source

                In a new Linux Foundation paper, Technical Debt and Open Source Development co-authored by Ibrahim Haddad, Ph.D. and Cedric Bail, M.Sc., the causes and consequences of technical debt are explored in detail. It includes discussions on identifying technical debt, how to minimize it, the role of open source development, and strategies to address the issue at scale.

                The authors worked together within the Open Source Group at Samsung Research and directly experienced minimizing internally carried technical debt via working with upstream open source projects. That experience covered dozens of open source projects used across multiple products and business units with varying degrees of involvement and expertise with upstream development.

              • How open source development provides a roadmap for digital trust, security, safety, and virtual work

                During COVID-19, we’ve all seen our daily lives, and those of many of our colleagues, friends, and family around the world completely changed. Many are adjusting to working from home and homeschooling their children, or caring for family and those with the virus. At the same time, billions worldwide are connected, sharing, and working together virtually despite their daily routines and working arrangements changing drastically.

                While there’s no disputing that the pandemic will dominate our collective attention for months to come, it’s a natural time to reflect on what is essential. It’s also a natural time as open source developers to consider how we should prioritize the most impactful work, and collaborate on technology development that can influence our world, for the better, after COVID-19.

                We’ve seen an uptick in interest around open source, in particular, as a means of helping humanity through these challenging times. What better way to solve a problem that affects all of us, collectively, than to share and build solutions to our problems, together?

                Here we outline the trends we’re seeing shape technology development in this unprecedented time. We believe this can also provide insight into what a post-COVID world may look like.

        • Security

          • Security updates for Wednesday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (librsvg and squid), Fedora (mailman, mingw-LibRaw, php-horde-kronolith, and targetcli), openSUSE (openconnect), Red Hat (cloud-init, container-tools:rhel8, dbus, java-1.8.0-openjdk, java-11-openjdk, jbig2dec, kernel, kpatch-patch, mod_auth_openidc:2.3, nodejs:10, openstack-keystone, rh-nodejs10-nodejs, sane-backends, thunderbird, and virt:rhel), SUSE (webkit2gtk3 and xrdp), and Ubuntu (evolution-data-server, linux, linux-aws, linux-aws-hwe, linux-gcp, linux-gcp-4.15, linux-gke-4.15, linux-kvm, linux-oem, linux-oracle, linux-raspi2, linux, linux-aws, linux-gcp, linux-hwe-5.4, linux-kvm, linux-oracle, linux-raspi-5.4, linux-riscv, linux, linux-aws, linux-kvm, linux-lts-xenial, linux-raspi2, linux-snapdragon, pillow, and python2.7, python3.4, python3.5, python3.6, python3.8).

          • Popular Linux-Based Toolkit REMnux® Version 7 Now Available

            SANS Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR), a curriculum focus area of SANS Institute, today announces the availability of version 7 of the REMnux® toolkit for malware analysis, founded and primarily maintained by Lenny Zeltser, SANS Faculty Fellow and course author. Updates to the REMnux toolkit will be shared and discussed by Lenny Zeltser in a SANS webcast on July 28.

            REMnux is a popular Linux-based toolkit for reverse-engineering malicious software which malware analysts have been relying on for more than 10 years to help them quickly investigate suspicious programs, websites, and document files.

          • Information security recommendations for IPFire users

            As announced last week, this is the first post of a small series containing security recommendations for IPFire users. The series mainly applies to home users – which are estimated to roughly make up a third of all IPFire installations – and aims to achieve a security level that also offers protection against sophisticated attackers.

            When it comes to IT security, you will need to rely on the users sooner or later – think about being lured to enable Macros in malicious MS office documents. This is why raising security awareness of both administrators and users is the first step to a less insecure network. Hence this post focuses on non-technical aspects and preemptive information security (sometimes abbreviated as “infosec”) considerations.

          • Chromium 84 packages available for Slackware

            It took a bit longer than usual to come up with packages for the recently released Chromium 84. Google’s “Stable Channel” blog for Chrome announced the version 84.0.4147.89 just over a week ago, but as I was traveling at the time (without computer) new packages needed to wait.

            And just when I uploaded these packages to the mirror server I discovered that Google already released an update yesterday: 84.0.4147.94. That will have to wait since again I am busy at the moment. Enjoy the first 84 release though!

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Image “Cloaking” for Personal Privacy [Ed: BSD-licensed privacy-protection tool]

              2020 is a watershed year for machine learning. It has seen the true arrival of commodized machine learning, where deep learning models and algorithms are readily available to Internet users. GPUs are cheaper and more readily available than ever, and new training methods like transfer learning have made it possible to train powerful deep learning models using smaller sets of data.

              But accessible machine learning also has its downsides as well. A recent New York Times article by Kashmir Hill profiled clearview.ai, an unregulated facial recognition service that has now downloaded over 3 billion photos of people from the Internet and social media, using them to build facial recognition models for millions of citizens without their knowledge or permission. Clearview.ai demonstrates just how easy it is to build invasive tools for monitoring and tracking using deep learning.

              So how do we protect ourselves against unauthorized third parties building facial recognition models to recognize us wherever we may go? Regulations can and will help restrict usage of machine learning by public companies, but will have negligible impact on private organizations, individuals, or even other nation states with similar goals.

              The SAND Lab at University of Chicago has developed Fawkes1, an algorithm and software tool (running locally on your computer) that gives individuals the ability to limit how their own images can be used to track them. At a high level, Fawkes takes your personal images, and makes tiny, pixel-level changes to them that are invisible to the human eye, in a process we call image cloaking. You can then use these “cloaked” photos as you normally would, sharing them on social media, sending them to friends, printing them or displaying them on digital devices, the same way you would any other photo. The difference, however, is that if and when someone tries to use these photos to build a facial recognition model, “cloaked” images will teach the model an highly distorted version of what makes you look like you. The cloak effect is not easily detectable, and will not cause errors in model training. However, when someone tries to identify you using an unaltered image of you (e.g. a photo taken in public), and tries to identify you, they will fail.

              Fawkes has been tested extensively and proven effective in a variety of environments, and shows 100% effectiveness against state of the art facial recognition models (Microsoft Azure Face API, Amazon Rekognition, and Face++). We are in the process of adding more material here to explain how and why Fawkes works. For now, please see the link below to our technical paper, which will be presented at the upcoming USENIX Security Symposium, to be held on August 12 to 14.

              The Fawkes project is led by two PhD students at SAND Lab, Emily Wenger and Shawn Shan, with important contributions from Jiayun Zhang (SAND Lab visitor and current PhD student at UC San Diego) and Huiying Li, also a SAND Lab PhD student. The faculty advisors are SAND Lab co-directors and Neubauer Professors Ben Zhao and Heather Zheng.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Language changed as leaked report into Congo aid corruption made public

        An operational review that detailed widespread corruption and sexual exploitation in humanitarian aid operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been made public after a draft version was leaked to The New Humanitarian.

        The final version of the 80-page review – funded by DFID, the UK government department responsible for overseas aid – shows the domino effect of corrupt practices in Congo, impacting everything from staff recruitment to the delivery of aid. The report was released on Monday, a month after TNH obtained a draft.

        Sexual abuse and exploitation by aid workers was described as being widespread, with very few cases having been investigated because of ineffective reporting systems and perpetrators using money and influence to keep survivors and their families quiet.

        Parts of the final report – which comes as cash-strapped governments look to cut aid amid the COVID-19 pandemic – have been altered compared to the draft copy TNH obtained as part of a months-long investigation into aid operations in Congo, where hundreds of millions of dollars of foreign aid are spent annually.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • NLG-PDX Chapter Statement on Federal Troops in Portland

        For the past two months, after the police killing of George Floyd, tens of thousands of Portland residents have continued to engage in daily demonstrations against police violence and in support of the movement for Black lives. In response, the Portland Police and Multnomah County Sheriffs have used unnecessary and unlawful violence against them, including tear gas, OC spray, flash bang grenades, and other so-called “less than lethal” weapons to dispel protestors, enforcing a curfew in the early days and after the curfew was lifted, simply using force to clear the streets. The Portland Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-PDX) has had Legal Observers in the streets every day and night who, along with members of the press, have also been the subject of police violence. NLG-PDX condemns the federal government and its use of Border Control and U.S. Marshals in their effort to act as anti-protest shock troops in our city. We call on the federal government, the City of Portland, and the State of Oregon to immediately expel federal law enforcement from Portland, and for all charges related to arrests by those forces to be immediately and summarily dropped.


        As the protests continued, President Donald Trump saw an opportunity to distract from his failures with the COVID-19 pandemic and burnish his credentials as a so-called “law and order president.” On the 4th of July, President Trump deployed federal law enforcement officers to Portland to “quell” the demonstrations. These federal officers—apparently including U.S. Marshals and members of BORTAC, a tactical unit within Border Patrol—have routinely subjected demonstrators to unconscionable violence. They have broken protesters’ bones with baton strikes and tackles, shot at least one protester in the head with so-called “less lethal” munitions, and indiscriminately launched huge amounts of tear gas and other chemical agents at crowds of demonstrators, all without warning. These officers do not wear name badges; they are unidentifiable and unaccountable as they terrorize Portlanders on a nightly basis. Recently, unidentified agents in military camouflage pulled random protesters into unmarked vans, taking them into custody to search their persons and belongings. To date, residents and local officials have not received an explanation or reason why federal agents are abducting people off our streets. When Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf visited the city this week to applaud the actions of this federal occupying force, he did not meet with the Mayor or the Chief of Police but did meet with the defiant head of Portland Police union. Alarmingly, on Monday Trump applauded the disturbing actions of federal troops in Portland saying they have done a “fantastic job,” and has signaled that similar responses to protests may be replicated in other U.S. cities.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Hot Pocket or Hot Potato?: Parallel Infringement + Antitrust Lawsuits

          The district court dismissed the lawsuit on summary judgment, and the 8th Circuit has now affirmed.

          Regarding inventorship, Inline never identified an actual person from Nestlé who should be considered a co-inventor or who has claimed to be a co-inventor. “On this record, we therefore affirm the district court’s dismissal of Inline’s claim of fraudulent procurement of the asserted patents based on false inventorship.” See Pro-Mold & Tool Co. v. Great Lakes Plastics, Inc., 75 F.3d 1568 (Fed. Cir. 1996) (“When an alleged omitted co-inventor does not claim to be such, it can hardly be inequitable conduct not to identify that person to the PTO as an inventor.”).

          Regarding the duty do disclose, Inline was able to avoid liability by dividing up the corporate knowledge. Even if the prior sales by Inline were material to patentability, there was no evidence that the particular individuals (the inventor + patent attorney) knew of those prior sales. Further, there was no due diligence duty for these two individuals to look into the company’s “similar designs created and sold in the past.” See Brasseler, U.S.A. I, L.P. v. Stryker Sales Corp., 267 F.3d 1370 (Fed. Cir. 2001) (“a duty to investigate does not arise where there is no notice of the existence of material information”).

        • Software Patents

          • Bots, Inc. Joins the Open Invention Network

            BOTS, Inc. (OTC: BTZI) (GERMAN EXCHANGE: M06.SG) an emerging innovator of products, technologies, and services for the rapidly growing digital robotic automation and manufacturing industry is proud to announce that it has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the largest patent non-aggression community in history. Bots Inc has become a licensee and member of the 3,200 strong community of OIN licensees. As a leading provider of robotic and blockchain technology and infrastructure, BTZI is committed to embrace open source software (OSS). The company has acquired Bitcoin ATM patent and other patent pending from First Bitcoin Capital Corp (OTC : BITCF) and is planning to develop Global Bitcoin ATM network utilizing open source software platform as a Joint Venture with First Bitcoin Capital.

          • Portal Communications, a Dominion Harbor sub, patent held unpatentable

            On July 22, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Portal Communications, LLC, holding all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 7,376,645 unpatentable. The motion to amend was also denied with the Board finding the claim was obvious under both of the prior art grounds Unified presented. The ‘645 patent is owned and asserted by Portal Communications, LLC, a subsidiary of well-known NPE, Dominion Harbor. The ‘645 patent, directed to natural language processing techniques, had been asserted against SoundHound, Microsoft, and Apple.

          • Federal Circuit: Amended Claims in IPR Should be Subject to Full Examination (Including 101)

            A divided Federal Circuit has authorized the PTAB to consider patent-eligibility challenges during inter partes review (IPR) proceedings in the context of a patentee’s motion to amend the claims. Uniloc had moved to amend with substitute claims and Hulu opposed. The PTAB then denied the motion to amend — concluding that the proposed claims were not subject matter eligible under Section 101. The PTAB’s subsequent rehearing denial was designated as precedential — holding that any ground of unpatentability can be considered in the context of a motion to amend.

            The PTAB holding is controversial because inter partes review proceedings are strictly limited to cancellation of claims “on a ground that could be raised under section 102 or 103 and only on the basis of prior art consisting of patents or printed publications.” 35 U.S.C. 311(b).

            On appeal, the Judge Wallach wrote the majority opinion joined by Judge Taranto. Judge O’Malley dissented.

            In his opinion, Judge Wallach looks to the statute and concludes that the limitations on the “grounds” for challenging a patent via IPR do not apply to whether the PTAB allows amendments to the claims.


            The implication here is that any new or amended claim must be fully reviewed for patentability–under all of the patentability doctrines–before being allowed. This is different from the limitations of Section 311 that are directed toward cancellation of already existing claims. The majority did not reach the issue of whether the PTO determination should be given deference — since the “text, structure, and history of the IPR Statutes are unambiguous.”

            Note here that this outcome is in sharp tension with the language of Aqua Products Inc. v. Matal, 872 F.3d 1290 (Fed. Cir. 2017) (en banc). In that case, the plurality opinion explained that challenges to amended claims should be limited since the PTO requires that substitute claims be narrower than the original claims. Here, the majority rejected this portion of Aqua Products–explaining that the en banc case did not have a majority opinion and that aspect of the case was thus merely dicta of a handful of judges.


            Writing in dissent, Judge O’Malley would have dismissed this appeal as moot. In particular by the time the PTAB issued its rehearing denial, the Federal Circuit had already held these claims invalid in the parallel infringement proceeding.

      • Trademarks

        • (Almost) everything you want to know about a portmanteau word as a mark

          From time to time, this Kat encounters an examiner’s assertion that the trademark in question is a “portmanteau” word or the equivalent. The idea here is that the mark consists of two words, which are truncated and blended to create a new word, such as smog (blending “smoke” and “fog”) and motel (blending “motor” and “hotel”). The objection usually made is that the trademark lacks distinctiveness, having reference to the descriptive meaning of the underling words from which the portmanteau mark is created.

          This kind of word poses an interesting challenge for the trademark system. Assuming that the underlying words are descriptive, under what conditions will the truncation and blending of these two words be deemed descriptive, or, to the contrary, is the newly coined term distinctive, despite its descriptive origins?

          So we are all on the same Kat page–this is not a situation where two descriptive terms are adopted in their entirely to create a new compound word. For example, and just to make Kat readers feel good, take the term “coronapocalypse” [this Kat recognizes that the letter “a” has been elided, of no matter], which, in a short period of time, has come to mean exactly what it appears to mean. In this case, both underlying words are retained in full in the new word.


          Third, it is better when there is an overlap in the distinctive sound of the two words. In the example above, the overlap is the sound “teen” in the coined word “quarantini”. This also aids the compactness of the portmanteau word, making it easier to be adopted.

          Fourth, the second element of the portmanteau word is more important than the first. The reason is that in a portmanteau word consisting of X and Y, it is argued that Y is the “core” of the coined word, with the result that XY is a type of Y, not a type of X”. This is explained by reference to the word “morona”, which is intended to be a synonym of “covidiot”, where both are derived from the words “corona moron”. Applying the rule, the word “morona” fails because, it is argued, “morona” is not a type of corona.

      • Copyrights

        • Retweeting pics can now get you in legal trouble in Japan

          Using Twitter in Japan just got a lot more complicated. The country’s Supreme Court has ruled that users who retweet copyright-infringing images can have their details passed onto rightsholders — whether they knew the pic was in violation or not.

          In a decision handed down yesterday, the court ordered Twitter to turn over the email addresses of three users who allegedly retweeted a copyright-infringing image on the platform, TorrentFreak reports.

          The ruling dates back to a case from 2014, when a photographer spotted one of his photos had been scraped from his website and posted to Twitter without his consent. He was also irked that retweeting the image automatically cropped his name out — a result stemming from Twitter‘s own algorithm and not the actions of its users.

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