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07.24.20

Many Things to Feel Thankful for in the GNU/Linux and Free Software Community

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNOME, GNU/Linux, KDE at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The success of Free software may be proportional to the veracity and determination of attacks on it

Tribbles/creatures: It says 'GPL', so you can make as many copies as you wish

Summary: Although we may seem pessimistic at times, for we’ve come under many forms of attacks lately, Free software keeps growing and it has also grown more robust to disruption (from those it replaces, making some hopeless monopolists obsolete or increasingly powerless)

THOUGH it may often seem like we have nothing positive to tell, except perhaps in Daily Links, we’re actually grateful and satisfied to see a number of positive trends, which likely secure software freedom for our future. Let’s elaborate for a bit.

“Don’t fall for the shaming tactics and other manipulations perpetrated and constantly disseminated by dying monopolies. They bomb people for a living while calling us “rude”.”Aside from all sorts of work to liberate ourselves from superficial and artificial hardware restrictions (e.g. booting freedom), we’ve been seeing growing adoption of “open hardware” and freer silicon designs. This is something which seemed like a distant dream a few decades ago. Seemingly unsurmountable obstacles are no more. We have more options out there. Days ago we wrote about a 'flood' of laptops with GNU/Linux preloaded. Some of these include booting freedom as a selling point. This is great!

For me, personally, seeing the demise of the UPC and of software patents (especially in the US) is very much encouraging. Prior to Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101 (SCOTUS, 2014) it seemed almost impossible. Many fellow activists did not believe they could stop the UPC, either. But we did it. Eventually…

Seeing how projects are migrating out of (or away from) GitHub is also encouraging. Some of them are partly inspired by things we wrote here (they state that their motivations include our articles). Even some really large projects are becoming self-hosted. As for KDE and GNOME, they’ve chosen Gitlab and some of the developers adopt Mastodon (or similar) instead of proprietary and centralised Social Control Media such as Twitter. Over the past few years they’ve been saying “Free software” more often (the term “Open Source” is losing its appeal) and there seems to be growing awareness of the attacks against the community, including but not limited to attacks by Microsoft. GitHub is one of those attacks; “Microsoft loves Linux” is “stop resisting” (the police saying, typically uttered when brutalising defenseless people).

I’m ever so thankful for having found Free software; it has the capacity and the means to improve society, to tackle injustices, to enhance transparency, to improve working conditions, to reduce inequality, and to speed up scientific progress at a global scale, without exclusion. Nothing is more tolerant than Free software. Don’t fall for the shaming tactics and other manipulations perpetrated and constantly disseminated by dying monopolies. They bomb people for a living while calling us “rude”. Machinations and manipulations of this kind aren’t uncommon. They’re projection tactics at best.

Social Justice Hooey Killed the Free Software Movement

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF, GNU/Linux, IBM, Microsoft, OSI at 10:15 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Article by figosdev

Sevilla at night

Summary: It’s important to distinguish “social justice hooey” from social justice itself

Many people in our community are in favour of some degree of social justice. The Black Lives Matter movement, launched again into the spotlight by protests against the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, is easily as strong as it has ever been. Techrights has run several articles related to some of the more outward effects of this political climate. It’s important to distinguish “social justice hooey” from social justice itself.

“It’s important to distinguish “social justice hooey” from social justice itself.”I am not someone who believes that Free Software needs to cater to a particular swath of the political spectrum exclusively — nor do I think that its leaders (or members) need to pretend they support no other causes than Free Software. If a Free software project wishes to support BLM, I’m okay with that. Others may not be.

What I call “social justice hooey” is limited to certain artifacts that I consider tangential to the movement. I am well aware that others may consider these tangential artifacts to be integral to the whole thing.

“Corporations have always co-opted legitimate social movements.”Although Open Source has always looked for ways to paint itself as more hip, more aware, less bigoted and more progressive than Free software, I consider this an opportunistic ruse. Corporations have always co-opted legitimate social movements.

It’s too far back in progress to imagine Coca Cola trying sponsor the sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, but it’s not hard to imagine now. “Sitting In? Have a Coke!” The 30th anniversary of the Woodstock music festival was a fine example of big corporations cashing in on events that originally stood against corporate fascist culture.

I consider the pandering of Open Source to any who will listen to be a bug and a feature, dating back to its beginnings when Co-founder Bruce Perens said that he was resigning from OSI due to Free software being overshadowed by its work. He did not mean that OSI’s work was more important, rather that the importance of freedom was being ignored.

My goal with this article is not as much to react to the current events by themselves, but as part of a long-standing pattern that dates back more than a decade — Black Lives Matter only goes back to 2013 as far as I know, so while they’re extremely relevant right now (and if I blamed them for this, I would just say so) the real problem is when progressive causes are co-opted and weaponised against us — not the progressive movements themselves.

“…the real problem is when progressive causes are co-opted and weaponised against us — not the progressive movements themselves.”Free software was always about freedom, while Open Source was created specifically to couch the products (the software) produced by the movement in terms that avoid and sidestep the movement’s revolutionary terms and positions. It existed to make Free software friendly to corporations that didn’t want to hear about why “Intellectual Property” is a term designed to mislead and confuse people, for example. In order to justify co-opting Free software, it had to paint the movement in increasingly unflattering terms, which it did so frequently and dishonestly.

By no means is the movement perfect — freedom attracts all sorts of people, including those who wish to thwart progress. But for the most part, the Free software movement was always comprised of thoughtful and gifted individuals.

Like BLM, which has supporters from every race and many creeds, many of these individuals were outspoken and iconoclastic. In its narcissistic fashion, Open Source has always reserved the right to exhibit an iconoclastic veneer, while complaining that Free software won’t ever be understood, can’t represent its own movement unless everybody acts like a professional (the author of the Linux kernel can’t code in a bathrobe, what will people think?). These sorts of nags are exactly what hypocritical perfectionists do.

“In its narcissistic fashion, Open Source has always reserved the right to exhibit an iconoclastic veneer, while complaining that Free software won’t ever be understood, can’t represent its own movement unless everybody acts like a professional (the author of the Linux kernel can’t code in a bathrobe, what will people think?).”“Good speech. Be sure to stand up straight! It went a little long. Don’t be so rigid, be personable.” Note that the criticism about standing up straight and “don’t be so rigid” is almost contradictory. This isn’t because of nuance or caring, it’s simply arbitrary.

The problem isn’t that Open Source is critical, but that it’s dishonest and conniving. You could never establish this from a few fairly innocuous examples, but when there are decades worth of the same pattern it would be ridiculous to ignore. Whatever the goal of Open Source was, the effect was to sell Free software out to Google, IBM, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft.

So what is social justice hooey then?

Social justice hooey is the superficial veneer of things that do actually matter, that will turn all progress into disposable corporate campaigns and slogans. Like McCarthyism, social justice hooey provides a cynical measuring stick for humanity that you either attain (via appearances and conformity) or you don’t. It sorts the “believers” from opportunists — using criteria that puts the opportunists ahead — How “American” was the House Un-American Activities Committee? How “Patriotic” is the PAT-RIOT Act?

“Social justice hooey is the superficial veneer of things that do actually matter, that will turn all progress into disposable corporate campaigns and slogans.”Hooey has nothing at all to to do with sincerity, integrity, humanity, tolerance, honesty, equality, reform, or decency. It’s purely for show; it’s the little flag pin that every presidential candidate is expected to wear to show they’re patriotic. But whether you really care about the things that really matter can’t be determined by what kind of pin you wear. It’s nothing but social cause theatre.

There are lots of ways to address social change, but hooey demands conformity and change that is skin-deep. It’s ironic (or it’s deliberate) that the same injustice based on mistreating people over differences that are only skin deep leads to some people proposing solutions that treat the problem in only a skin deep fashion. This kind of superficiality is exactly where injustice comes from.

“Agreeing on everything” isn’t what “progress” or “progressive” means. Years before Erykah Badu brought “woke” back into popular culture, an acquaintance and shaman told me about people who were “awake.” This was a spiritual matter, and a mind matter, which “woke” has every potential for being as well. You can be politically “woke” and be an atheist, just as you can be “woke” and part of practically any religious background. “Awake” is a state of mind, though I like to think it means you frequently (if not always) work to see past the superficial.

“Full, unquestioning agreement is such a shallow measure of awareness or humanity.”Hooey demands we do the opposite — it demands that we become prostrate to symbolism and conform to superficial expectations.

Full, unquestioning agreement is such a shallow measure of awareness or humanity. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X didn’t agree on everything, and if we are “real” (I remember when “real” was a bigger thing than “woke” — I liked “real…”) then we know that no two people actually agree on everything. If we all agreed on everything, we wouldn’t “need” rights at all! (Don’t assume this is a coincidence.)

Freedom means that people who care about a cause (and even those who don’t) retain the freedom to disagree, and to say so. This freedom won’t last if we create the thought police, and it is the corporate thought police — not real social reformers, that are destroying our movement. They are wolves in reformer clothing.

Nobody who really cares about freedom is going to stand by silently while the racist police are replaced with thought police. If you care about freedom, you will ultimately seek solutions to both of these problems.

“Freedom means that people who care about a cause (and even those who don’t) retain the freedom to disagree, and to say so. This freedom won’t last if we create the thought police, and it is the corporate thought police — not real social reformers, that are destroying our movement. They are wolves in reformer clothing.”It’s certainly alright if some people focus on the problems of brutality and racism exclusively. But “solutions” that involve thought conformity and militant thought policing are not the answer, and yet these are exactly the weapons being used (as predicted and warned against more than a year ago, when George Floyd was still alive) to dismantle the Free software movement. If you force people to think the same way, you are forcing them not to think — and not to think about real freedom, but just a hollow shell of it.

I certainly don’t blame George Floyd (RIP) and I don’t blame BLM either — I blame people who are more immediately close to what we do, who are using events and outrage with things like these events opportunistically to take control and attack good people who are real reformers — reformers who may not bow to whatever cynical superficiality and conformity is sometimes proposed.

Iconoclasts aren’t like that just because they’re stubborn and obtuse; they’re stubborn and obtuse because they actually believe in something, and it isn’t just about image.

Systematic injustice has many different angles. Just because you reject a false solution that won’t help, doesn’t mean you’re “for” the problem.

“When rights are not respected, rebellion is inevitable.”Black Lives DO Matter, and everybody has the right both to be free — and to petition for a redress of grievances. That’s simply what the U.S. Constitution says, and lots of people know that it’s been used as toilet paper by every administration since at least the year 2000 (I would say longer.)

When rights are not respected, rebellion is inevitable. The preamble to UDHR warns of this, and while it is particularly applicable to the current climate of protest, I hope we might agree that a climate of rebellion with an expectation of complete agreement is a contradiction in terms.

We are not a corporation, we are many different people who don’t (in any circle) all consider ideas in an exactly identical fashion. Corporations expect much greater conformity than a real community — and that’s the dystopian future of the FSF, sadly. Any side-politics that demand complete conformity should be rejected, and treated as some level of threat to what we do. It’s clear that many have ignored this threat, and have let it take over and partially dismantle our political work already.

None of which is necessary or useful to the sort of reform that Black Lives need to be as free as everyone else. Though I will say that the level of passion, anger and occasional destruction in these protests is most likely justified at this point. What really impresses me is that most people seem to think so as well.

Don’t let Coca Cola, or anything like it, steal this movement and use it against Free software. And if Open Source tries, just tell them they’re not even a social movement — they’re a sold out branch of Microsoft that pays ZDNet to conflate GNU with Linux, Linux with Windows, Stallman with Epstein (who is closer to Bill) and Free software with bigotry. That kind of dishonesty calls for protest and rebellion as well.

“And if Open Source tries, just tell them they’re not even a social movement — they’re a sold out branch of Microsoft that pays ZDNet to conflate GNU with Linux, Linux with Windows, Stallman with Epstein (who is closer to Bill) and Free software with bigotry. That kind of dishonesty calls for protest and rebellion as well.”IBM has put away its racist spy toys which tracked minorities on surveillance cameras as well as minorities, various races and political enemies during the Holocaust, though they are sporting a "woke" flag pin themselves.

Is this really any better than Coca Cola (another Nazi collaborator, which rms has protested for years) co-opting the Civil Rights movement to sell soda?

It doesn’t bother me that Free software dabbles in other aspects of progress. It’s hilarious that Bradley Kuhn has held it against rms for having political opinions outside of the subject of Free software, when Kuhn’s own politics are right on display even while he’s saying this. The introduction of side politics, far from emanating from rms alone, is being used as a tool to silence him and other Free software supporters.

The problem for Free software in general, is that these other aspects of progress are being used as a form of political blackmail. Open Source didn’t invent that sort of dishonest, opportunistic ploy —

They’re simply borrowing it, and after 20 years of hypocritical gestures, people should decide they’ve had enough. Smarter people ought to be dabbling in progress without letting hooey come between some of our best people, and their opportunities to work with us.

It’s no surprise then, that some of our best people are women, racial minorities and former ACLU directors (who are also women) that defend rms against the dishonest, contrived, political blackmail used to manipulate not only the structure of the FSF — but all of its members as well.

“Smarter people ought to be dabbling in progress without letting hooey come between some of our best people, and their opportunities to work with us.”This isn’t a new ploy, even for Open Source and its victims — rms is simply one of the more recent and most prominent losses. I don’t like Linus Torvalds or ESR, but they did the same thing to both of them, and that was dirty too. Torvalds (more recently his boss, Jim Zemlin) did the same thing years ago, comparing Free software to “extremism” and “hate” — which is exactly why no one should fall for the same dishonesty when Kuhn or the FSFE do it to rms himself.

Superficiality is dishonesty — and dishonesty isn’t progress. When we are expected to comply with dishonesty, this is a giant step backwards for a movement — on the verge of systemic failure. Such dishonesty is used as a weapon against us, against our movement — and also against the other movements that it exploits, while distracting us from the more legitimate aspects of these good causes.

Long Live rms, and happy hacking.

Licence: Creative Commons CC0 1.0 (public domain)

Links 24/7/2020: digiKam 7.0, Cockpit 224, Bison 3.7 and GCC 10.2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • AMD Ryzen 4000-powered KDE Slimbook Linux laptop is ready to run

        There’s a new Linux laptop in town. The Spanish PC vendor Slimbook and the Linux desktop non-profit KDE have united their efforts to release a new high-end Linux laptop: The third-generation KDE Slimbook.

        This slender laptop comes in two versions. The KDE Slimbook 14 and, the slightly larger, KDE Slimbook 15. Other than the screen size, 14 and 15.6-inch full HD IPS LED displays, the two are essentially identical.

        [...]

        The laptop uses the KDE Neon Linux desktop operating system. This is built on top of Ubuntu 18.04. KDE’s developers are working hard on moving Neon to the recently released Ubuntu 20.04.

        Unlike Ubuntu, which uses GNOME as its default desktop, Neon, as you’d expect, uses the KDE Plasma desktop and KDE applications as its defaults. It is not, however, compatible with Ubuntu’s own KDE branch, Kubuntu. Neon, somewhat like Fedora, is a cutting edge Linux distribution with KDE’s latest and greatest programs.

        The company behind this laptop, Slimbook, is dedicated to Linux. Its team is made up of Linux sysadmins and open-source developers. It’s partnered with KDE since it started in 2015, but it also supports other Linux desktops.

        Pricing for the Slimbook 14 starts at 899 Euros with the 15 going for 929 €. In American dollars, that would be, as of July 23, 2020, respectively $1,042 and $1,077. To ship a Slimbook to the United States, or any country outside of Europe, it will cost you an additional 120 € or $139. All purchases include a donation to the KDE community.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • 2020-07-24 | Linux Headlines

        Calls for political activism in software projects continue to ramp up, digiKam 7 arrives with enhanced facial recognition, Zulip unleashes its biggest release ever amid tensions between its competitors, and a new ‘zine focusing on Fedora seeks contributors.

      • Brunch with Brent: Carl Richell | Jupiter Extras 75

        Brent sits down with Carl Richell, Founder and CEO of System76. We explore the people, passion, and culture behind the scenes, learn of young Carl, the early years of building a Linux-focused hardware business, how today System76 fuels a tiny piece of SpaceX, and more.

      • Episode 19: Advanced Python Import Techniques and Managing Users in Django

        Would you like to clearly understand what’s happening when you use the Python import keyword? Do you want to use modules more effectively to structure your code? Or maybe you’re ready to move to the next level with your Django project by adding user management. This week on the show, David Amos is back with another batch of PyCoder’s Weekly articles and projects.

      • LHS Episode #358: The Weekender LIII

        It’s time once again for The Weekender. This is our bi-weekly departure into the world of amateur radio contests, open source conventions, special events, listener challenges, hedonism and just plain fun. Thanks for listening and, if you happen to get a chance, feel free to call us or e-mail and send us some feedback. Tell us how we’re doing. We’d love to hear from you.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Seccomp Notifier – New Frontiers in Unprivileged Container Development

        That (Linux) Containers are a userspace fiction is a well-known dictum nowadays. It simply expresses the fact that there is no container kernel object in the Linux kernel. Instead, userspace is relatively free to define what a container is. But for the most part userspace agrees that a container is somehow concerned with isolating a task or a task tree from the host system. This is achieved by combining a multitude of Linux kernel features. One of the better known kernel features that is used to build containers are namespaces. The number of namespaces the kernel supports has grown over time and we are currently at eight.

        [...]

        So from the section above it should be clear that seccomp provides a few desirable properties that make it a natural candiate to look at to help solve our mknod(2) and mount(2) problem. Since seccomp intercepts syscalls early in the syscall path it already gives us a hook into the syscall path of a given task. What is missing though is a way to bring another task such as the LXD container manager into the picture. Somehow we need to modify seccomp in a way that makes it possible for a container manager to not just be informed when a task inside the container performs a syscall it wants to be informed about but also how to make it possible to block the task until the container manager instructs the kernel to allow it to proceed.

      • FGKASLR Revved For Improving Linux Kernel Security

        Intel open-source developer Kristen Carlson Accardi continues work on Function Granular Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (FGKASLR) as a big improvement over traditional KASLR address space layout randomization.

        FGKASLR was originally published earlier this year, 15 years after the debut of KASLR for randomizing the base address of the running kernel. With FGKASLR, individual kernel functions are reordered so that even if the kernel’s randomized based address is revealed, an attacker still wouldn’t know the location in memory of particular kernel functions as the relative addresses will be different.

      • Linux 5.9 Bringing IBM POWER “System Call Vectored” Support

        The Linux 5.9 kernel is set to introduce support for the new IBM POWER System Call Vectored (SCV) ABI with the new SCV and RFSCV instructions. These new instructions can help with performance.

        POWER9 / POWER ISA 3.0 supports System Call Vectored (SCV) but to date has not been supported by the mainline Linux kernel. That finally is set to happen with Linux 5.9 with the SCV support being queued in the PowerPC-next tree.

      • Xen Project Hypervisor Version 4.14 brings added security and performance

        The Xen Project, an open source hypervisor hosted at the Linux Foundation, today announced the release of Xen Project Hypervisor 4.14, which introduces Linux stubdomains, better nested performance, more robust live patching and reflects contributions from across the community and ecosystem. This release also continues the fundamental shift for Xen, which was outlined in version 4.13, to make it increasingly resistant to side-channel attacks and hardware issues.

        “Xen Project Hypervisor 4.14 is a clear example of important investments from companies and community members to move the project forward,” said George Dunlap, Xen Project Advisory Board Chair. “We continue to see broad participation from many companies, which is validation of the important role Xen plays in the open-source virtualization space: a project focused solely on virtualization, with a mature code base and community.”

      • Linux 5.9 To Support 6GHz WiFi With Qualcomm’s Ath11k Driver

        The initial batch of WiFi/wireless driver improvements slated for Linux 5.9 landed in net-next this week with a few noteworthy additions.

        Among the WiFi driver changes queued so far for introduction in the Linux 5.9 kernel include:

        - The wilc1000 driver is being promoted out of staging and into the proper Linux networking subsystem area. This is the driver for supporting the Microchip ATWILC1000 series hardware. The ATWILC1000 is designed as an 802.11b/g/n IoT link controller module for various devices. After getting into good enough shape in staging, it’s time for graduation.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDVLK 2020.Q3.2 Radeon Vulkan Driver Christened Early Due To Bugs

          While it was just two days ago that AMDVLK 2020.Q3.1 debuted and normally there is a two to three week release cadence for these open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan driver code drops, this morning was already met by the debut of AMDVLK 2020.Q3.2.

          This expedited AMDVLK 2020.Q3.2 release is coming principally due to a few bugs. AMDVLK 2020.Q3.2 has changed its preference around Y-coordinate swizzle modes for 3D color attachments with GFX10/Navi, restricts its pipeline cache flush optimization to only cases where it’s certainly legal behavior, updating against the Vulkan API 1.2.146 headers, and extends its “defer reusing command stream chunk concept” to all scenarios. There is also fixes for a shared metadata bug on GFX6 (Southern Islands) and fixing of some 999e5 format failures.

        • Mike Blumenkrantz: Partial Writes

          It’s a very slow day, and I awoke at 4:30 with the burning need to finish tessellation shaders. Or maybe I was just burning because it’s so hot out.

          In either case, I had a couple remaining tests that were failing, and, upon closer inspection and a lot of squinting, I determined that the problem was the use of partial writes to patch output variables in tessellation control shaders.

          With this knowledge in hand, I set about resolving the issue in the most bulldozer way possible, with no regard for how much of the code would survive once I discovered which nir pass I probably wanted to be running instead.

    • Applications

      • The 6 Best Network Scanners for Linux

        Computer Networks facilitate the sharing of information and resources between multiple nodes linked together. It is regarded as the backbone of telecommunication in the field of technology.

        The other crucial term under networks is Computer Network security. It refers to the set of rules and configurations adopted to prevent and monitor network misuse, data modification (integrity), and denial of network access and resources.

        Having understood these two terms, now we can look at Network Scanning. Network scanning mainly deals with security in computer networks. It is a procedure used to identify nodes on a network, services offered by different devices, identify network security systems in place, the operating systems, protect networks from attacks, and check the overall network health.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • WW1 survival horror ‘CONSCRIPT’ is fully funded and coming to Linux PC

        CONSCRIPT, a blending of themes and elements similar to Resident Evil and Silent Hill come together in the harsh trenches of the first world war. It recently completed a Kickstarter campaign, pulling close to $40,000 (AU) from almost 800 backers to bring it to life across the confirmed platforms of Linux, macOS and Windows.

        Exploring a setting that horror games don’t usually go to, a pixel-art survival horror like this definitely has a way of capturing our interest.

        “During the First World War, a lone French soldier must navigate twisted trenches, scavenge for limited supplies and solve complex puzzles – all whilst fighting for survival in the midst of mankind’s most brutal and horrifying conflict.”

      • Jack Black provides the tunes for the latest Psychonauts 2 trailer

        With some fully psychedelic styling to it, the latest Psychonauts 2 trailer is out now with vocals from Jack Black.

        What is Psychonauts 2? Crowdfunded on the Fig platform with over three million dollars back in 2016, it’s a sequel to the much loved first full game from Double Fine Productions, which ended on something of a cliffhanger. Fans have been waiting so very long to find out more and they will…in 2021.

        In the brand new trailer, Raz is jumping inside a brain and it all gets thoroughly weird. As if things weren’t trippy enough! It also showcases a brand new power with the ‘Time Bubble, which lets you slow down platforms and you can use it against enemies too.

      • No 10nm-based Intel CPUs for desktop users until 2021, 7nm-based CPUs delayed

        Seems Intel are not having the best of times with their CPU tech lately. Not only have they been through waves of security issues, they’re continuing to struggle to move to smaller processing nodes.

        In the latest earnings call showing off their second-quarter 2020 financial results, we got an interesting little peek behind the curtain at their plans for future CPUs. What we know is that Intel are continuing to lag behind and it’s not getting any better for quite some time.

      • Unity 2020.1 game engine released, Unity acquires the Bolt visual scripting asset

        Unity Technologies have released the latest version of the Unity game engine with Unity 2020.1 with lots of new features and bug fixes included.

        This is the first planned ‘TECH’ release of this year, which is the interim release build where all the fancy new tech goes in for developers who need the latest and greatest. Unity do two TECH releases a year to introduce and polish all the new stuff but they suggest sticking to the LTS (long term support) releases for production, which release following the two TECH builds.

        Looking over the release notes, there’s quite a lot of fixes for Linux included in there, and plenty of Vulkan improvements too which is good news. It also mentions added IL2CPP support for the Linux Standalone player, although that’s been available in previous releases.

      • Ova Magica blends Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley and Pokemon in the tech demo

        Currently available as a tech demo with the developer needing feedback, Ova Magica looks like a promising start of a new casual sim blending lots of different gameplay features.

        Ova Magica looks like it mixes in a farming-life type of sim, with a creature hatching and battle system with blobbly little creatures that look like something slightly resembling what’s in Slime Rancher. Inspired by the likes of Azure Dreams, Harvest Moon, Stardew Valley, Pokemon, Grandia and many more it’s in early development but they’re planning full Linux support. The developer, ClaudiaTheDev, is being backed up by Top Hat Studios who are also helping to publish Steamdolls and Synergia for Linux too.

      • 5 best Linux games on Steam in 2020

        Linux or Ubuntu has been for quite a while, an extremely popular OS for a lot of PC users. A lot of PC users prefer using the Linux OS over other platforms, but one that is not necessarily built for playing games.

        While not a lot of substantial Triple-A games come out with a version of the game for Linux platforms, there is no shortage of quality games for Linux on Steam.

        Here we look at some of the best games available for Linux OS on Steam.

      • Carrion | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 20.04 | Native

        Carrion running natively through Linux.

      • Destroy, consume, spread and stop at nothing – CARRION is out now

        CARRION from Phobia Game Studio and Devolver Digital sees you turn into an almost unstoppable force and you’re so very hungry for tasty Human flesh. Note: key provided by GOG.com.

        A creature of unknown origin, whose body doesn’t have any real form. You’re just a mess of angry, red tentacles that you use to reach out and destroy with. It’s a reverse-horror and a damn good one at that. The kind of setting we don’t often get to play in video games and a welcome change. Plenty of gore, screaming and exploration are on the cards here and none of it is boring. I often found myself just destroying everything possible because CARRION makes it feel so good.

      • Civilization VI – Ethiopia Pack is out with a ‘Secret Societies’ game mode – free weekend

        Firaxis Games and 2K, along with Aspyr Media for the Linux and macOS versions today released the next DLC for the New Frontier Pass available for Civilization VI.

        Coming as either part of the pass or as an individual purchase, the Ethiopia Pack is the second in a planned year of free updates and paid DLC for Civilization VI. If you buy the full New Frontier Pass instead of individual DLC, you also get access to ‘Persona Packs’ which add new flair and abilities to some rulers.

      • Get a bunch of Paradox Interactive titles in the latest Humble Bundle

        Need some games for this coming weekend? Humble Bundle has returned with a new Paradox Interactive bundle.

        The Humble Best of Paradox Interactive Bundle runs from now until Thursday, August 6th, 2020 and has some quality gaming experiences.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • 6 Best Free Dynamic Window Managers

        A window manager is software that manages the windows that applications bring up. For example, when you start an application, there will be a window manager running in the background, responsible for the placement and appearance of windows.

        It is important not to confuse a window manager with a desktop environment. A desktop environment typically consists of icons, windows, toolbars, folders, wallpapers, and desktop widgets. They provide a collection of libraries and applications made to operate cohesively together. A desktop environment contains its own window manager.

        There are a few different types of window managers. This article focuses on dynamic window managers. A dynamic window manager is a tiling window manager where windows are tiled based on preset layouts between which the user can switch. Layouts typically have a main area and a secondary area. The main area usually shows one window, but one can also change the number of windows in this area. Its purpose is to reserve more space for the more important window(s). The secondary area shows the other windows.

        Here’s our recommended free dynamic window managers. All of them are free and open source software.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • CSD support in KWin

          If you are a long time Plasma user, you probably remember the times when most GTK applications in KDE Plasma prior to 5.18 were practically unusable due to the lacking support for _GTK_FRAME_EXTENTS. In this blog post, I would like to get a bit technical and walk you through some changes that happened during the 5.18 time frame that made it possible to support _GTK_FRAME_EXTENTS in KWin. I also would like to explain why after so many years of resistance, we had finally added support for client-side decorations. So, buckle up your seat belt!

        • DigiKam’s Improved Face Detection for Photos Even Works on Animals

          he team behind the open-source app say the new neural network model used in release “can detect blurred faces, covered faces, profiles of faces, printed faces, faces turned away, partial faces, etc”

          Which is pretty impressive if a little creepy — hey, I watched a lot of cyberpunk movies as a kid.

          DigiKam 7.0’s redux facial recognition even works on animals too…

        • digiKam 7.0 Open-Source Photo Manager Embraces Deep Learning, Improved HEIF Support

          DigiKam 7.0 is out for this KDE/Qt-aligned open-source photography manager solution.

          One of the big new features of digiKam 7.0 is deep learning powered faces management. The digiKam 7.0 software makes use of deep learning for detecting and recognizing faces within photos. DigiKam is making use of the Deep Neural Network features within OpenCV.

        • digiKam 7.0.0 is released

          Just in time to get you into the holiday spirit, we are now proud to release digiKam 7.0.0 final release today. This version is a result of a long development that started one year ago and in which we have introduced new features and plenty of fixes. Check out some of the highlights listed below and discover all the changes in detail.

        • digiKam 7.0.0 released

          Version 7.0.0 of the digiKam photo editing and management application is out. This release adds support for a number of new raw formats, support for Apple’s HEIF format, and a new mosaic plugin. The headline feature, though, appears to be completely reworked face detection: “The new code, based on recent Deep Neural Network features from the OpenCV library, uses neuronal networks with pre-learned data models dedicated for the Face Management. No learning stage is required to perform face detection and recognition. We have saved coding time, run-time speed, and a improved the success rate which reaches 97% of true positives. Another advantage is that it is able to detect non-human faces, such as those of dogs.”

        • digiKam 7.0 Open-Source Image Manager Released with Major Features and Improvements

          digiKam 7.0 comes eight months after latest version 6.4, which probably many of you are currently using on your favorite GNU/Linux distributions, and about a year and a half after the digiKam 6.0 series. So, as you can imagine, it’s a massive update that adds numerous changes.

          A lot of the work in digiKam 7.0 was done around the face recognition capabilities of the program, which now use modern neuronal networks and deep-learning technologies based on the latest Deep Neural Network features of the OpenCV library.

        • Jonathan Riddell: All About the Apps Junior Jobs

          They did suggest adding a featured app, which is a task we also want to do for Discover which has featured apps but they don’t currently change. That feels like an interesting wee task for anyone who wants to help out KDE.

          But more easy would be the task of going over all the apps and checking the info on them is up to date, including going over the various app stores we publish on like the Microsoft Store and making sure those links are in the Appstream meta-data files.

          Finally, the main task of All About the Apps is getting the apps onto the stores so we need people who can get the apps running on Windows etc and put them on the relevant Stores. I did an interview asking for this for Flathub in the most recent monthly apps update.

        • You can open Mesh Gradients in Krita now!

          meshgradient get rendered in Krita just like you’d expect them to render in other apps

          Well, because I couldn’t get Bicubic interpolation fully working by the time of writing and publishing this blog. This part is still in pending state :(

          [...]

          I started with reading the algorithm mentioned in the specs sheet i.e Divide And Conquer. I had some confusions about it, but thanks to my mentors. I got the idea. Then, to implement this algorithm, the idea was to subdivide the patches, until the difference between the corners is small enough.

          Now the question was, how am I going to divide the surface. Luckily, there was a paper, one search away, which I picked up. I read it quickly and started writing the algorithm on paper. Somethings didn’t quite make sense, but as I later found out that they were probably misprints.

          So, as I implemented the algorithm, the first thing that I tried to open was this, to check if the subdivision algorithm was right. Comparing this to Inkscape, it was pretty accurate (not the color, but the surface itself).

        • Week 6-7-8

          This month, I took forward my ongoing project with Gcompris and added Multiple Datasets for Categorisation, Gnumch equality, and Gnumch inequality activities.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Ergonomics and Gnome Software

          Ergonomics is about the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimize overall interaction. In short, ergonomics is about making things comfortable and efficient to work with. This also applies to software design and development, or at least it should.

          Companies and projects have been thinking and researching ergonomics in software development pretty much since the beginning, even if that was just a developer thinking about where best to place this or that button in his program.
          The GNOME project had the Usability Project from 2001 to 2011 and now apparently has design teams to cover usability. GNOME also came up with the HIG – the Human Interface Guidelines. So you would think the GNOME world is well prepared in terms of software ergonomics as far as human to interface interactions go.

          Unfortunately the GTK+/GNOME using world in reality seems to have paid little heed to usabiliy studies as of late, just as much as the hodgepodge of applications written for the different desktop environments using the toolkit, with all their various takes on window borders, size, button placement and size etc. and custom applications for the various distributions and projects does not help.

          KDE on the other hand has never had this problem and presents a well integrated desktop experience, even when using Qt applications not explicitly written for being part of the KDE suite. It even has a settings module to integrate GTK applications into the overall look as much as possible. This works quite well but perhaps apart from Firefox and LibreOffice most KDE users seem to prefer a as pure as possible desktop experience.

        • Proposal Raised For GNOME Software Labeling Its Carbon Cost / Environmental Impact

          While GNOME software may be free as in beer, at today’s GUADEC 2020 annual GNOME developers conference there was a call that GNOME software should label their “embodied carbon cost” as part of collecting more data on the environmental impact of creating said software and working to reduce said impact.

          Philip Withnall of Endless presented at the virtual GNOME developer conference today on the environment impact of GNOME and that more responsibility should be taken as to the environmental impact and in turn reducing that impact.

    • Distributions

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • New SUSE YES Certification Kit for SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2

          SUSE® officially released SUSE® Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 on July 21, 2020. With this new version of SUSE Linux Enterprise, we also announce the availability of the latest SUSE YES System Certification Kit (SCK), version 8.5. The 8.5 SCK provides certification support for SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP2 including Xen and KVM virtualization certification.

          The 8.5 SCK continues support for SUSE Linux Enterprise for Arm, SUSE Linux Enterprise for Power, and SUSE Linux Enterprise for z Systems. Certifications for servers, workstations, desktops, laptops, point of service systems, virtualization hosts, and third-party hypervisors are also supported.

        • SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2 Released!

          This week SUSE announced the release of SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 Service Pack 2, which comes with many new features and support for new hardware. We sat down with Dr Thomas Di Giacomo for an exclusive interview to learn more about the new release.

        • SUSE Enterprise Storage delivers best CephFS benchmark on Arm

          Since its introduction in 2006, Ceph has been used predominantly for volume-intensive use cases where performance is not the most critical aspect. Because the technology has many attractive capabilities, there has been a desire to extend the use of Ceph into areas such as High-Performance Computing. Ceph deployments in HPC environments are usually as an active archival (tier-2 storage) behind another parallel file system that is acting as the primary storage tier.
          We have seen many significant enhancements in Ceph technology. Contributions to the open source project by SUSE and others has led to new features, considerably improved efficiency, and made it possible for Ceph-based software defined storage solutions to provide a complete end-to-end storage platform for an increasing number of workloads.

        • Suse’s Recipe Books For Hana-Linux Clusters

          Some might be skeptical of Hana-Linux clusters. If their implementation will be a success largely depends on know-how.
          With an increasing number of customers either deploying or planning to deploy SAP Hana and Hana-based applications like S/4, BW/4 and C/4, cluster solutions (especially Hana-Linux clusters) are gaining importance mostly due to high availability as well as disaster and recovery concerns.

      • Slackware Family

        • Sonic-Pi: live-coding music software now on Slackware

          Here is a new program for inclusion into my DAW package collection. It is Sonic-Pi, a ‘code-based music creation and performance tool’ as its web site states. My DAW collection already features Supercollider, which at its core is a powerful audio synthesis engine, but it also features a graphical user interface which you can use for live-coding music. Sonic-Pi has similar capabilities but it is more intuitively accessible (compare it to vi and notepad for instance).

          Therefore Sonic-Pi would be better suited for introducing people to the concept of creating music through writing code, and letting that music evolve during a live performance by updating on-the-fly the code which represents the audio synthesis.

          [...]

          The software is usually distributed as an ‘appimage’ which simply bundles everything you need into an archive. This is not really Slackware-like, so I wrote a SlackBuild script which brings some order into the directory structure, removing a lot of redundant megabytes and creating a proper package with a nice menu item.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 7 New Feature Changes Coming to Fedora 33 Release

          Fedora 33 development is in progress. Check out the major feature changes in the upcoming Fedora 33 release.

        • Royal Bank of Canada and Borealis AI announce new AI private cloud platform, developed with Red Hat and NVIDIA

          Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and its AI research institute Borealis AI have partnered with Red Hat and NVIDIA to develop a new AI computing platform designed to transform the customer banking experience and help keep pace with rapid technology changes and evolving customer expectations.

          As AI models become more efficient and accurate, so do the computational complexities associated with them. RBC and Borealis AI set out to build an in-house AI infrastructure that would allow transformative intelligent applications to be brought to market faster and deliver an enhanced experience for clients. Red Hat OpenShift and NVIDIA’s DGX AI computing systems power this private cloud system that delivers intelligent software applications and boosts operational efficiency for RBC and its customers.

        • What we learned shifting Red Hat’s premier event to a virtual experience

          “Learn to pivot” has been the mantra for 2020. Like most businesses, March 2020 was a challenging time for us on the Red Hat marketing team. With COVID-19 spreading across the world, and businesses sending their employees to work from home, it became clear that Red Hat Summit, scheduled to be hosted in April in San Francisco, could not go on as planned.

          By mid-March we were in full pivot mode to change Red Hat Summit, the premier open source technology conference, from an in-person event to a full digital experience. The challenge — that the event would still immerse our attendees in everything that makes a Red Hat event special. It was certainly an exciting ride, and on April 27, we opened the Summit virtual experience to the world. In the end, we had more than 50,000 attendees from more than 100 countries visit the live environment. We learned a lot of lessons along the way – below are a few successes we had while pulling off this event, and a one tip for improving a virtual experience.

        • 5G core adoption the open way with Red Hat OpenShift

          Red Hat continues to drive support of an open 5G infrastructure to help drive accelerated adoption of cloud-native technologies for our communications service provider (CSP) customers and partners. As operators look to offer new revenue generating services, the importance of scalability, flexibility and security become critical for the smooth evolution of their networks. With this in mind, customers are looking for ways to deploy cloud-native technology with confidence and an open hybrid cloud foundation offers an essential tool for those deployments.

          Red Hat OpenShift delivers the container based platform that provides consistency from the core to the edge. This platform is part of the recently announced HPE Telco blueprint that we collaborated on with Hewlett Packard Enterprise and utilizes Intel® Xeon® processors. CSPs can use the blueprint to implement an open 5G cloud-native core that provides transformation for telco networks and enables CSPs to engage with leading industry ecosystem partners more easily.

        • Hiring! IBM wants mainframe, DBMS and UNIX specialists! How to get skilled in these?

          During mid-July, US Tech major IBM had close to 200 positions open in India. Of course cloud architects and machine learning experts were part of the list, but they were fewer in number.

        • Fedora Ambassadors Revamp 2020 — call for volunteers

          In the past times the Fedora Ambassadors Program had some issues, which made the Ambassadors Team feel disheartened and discouraged. This caused the Mindshare Committee to step up and to gather community input to improve the Ambassadors Program, which gave birth to the Fedora Ambassadors revamp proposal and to create a temporary taskforce which would work on the plan of action in the proposal.

        • Madeline Peck: Intern Day is Coming Up

          I hope you are all having a good week! I have to say, writing these blog posts and reflecting on the week and what I’ve done has become a really therapeutic process. Also maybe I’m enjoying myself this week even more, because I’m testing out a Bluetooth keyboard that I got for school and for writing on the go without a laptop.

          Let’s see what have I been up to. Over the weekend I decided to take the plunge and order some stickers with my own design. I had this great drawing in my sketchbook of a plant with a little face on it’s pot, so I redrew it with the right dimensions and higher quality on my iPad and ordered a small batch of die cut stickers, to see the quality and if I want to get more for the future. It was really cool and I’m looking forward to getting them in the mail in the next week or so.

          The process for the Fedora 33 and Fedora 34 wallpapers has started, you can look at the tickets Mo’s created for them here and here. But over the weekend people voted on which scientist/mathematician/inventor/amazing human being for inspiring the wallpaper, and Walter Lincoln Hawkins was chosen for Fedora 33, and Ub Iwerks was chosen for Fedora 34. I compiled a document full of info for all of the options, which I hope was helpful to others, but at least it was helpful to me.

        • Cockpit 224 and Cockpit Podman 20

          Cockpit is the modern Linux admin interface. Cockpit 224 with bug fixes was released as well as Cockpit Podman 20. Here are release notes for Cockpit Podman 20.

        • PHP version 7.3.21RC1 and 7.4.9RC1

          Release Candidate versions are available in testing repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL / CentOS) to allow more people to test them. They are available as Software Collections, for a parallel installation, perfect solution for such tests, and also as base packages.

          RPM of PHP version 7.4.9RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 32 or remi-php74-test repository for Fedora 30-31 and Enterprise Linux 7-8.

          RPM of PHP version 7.3.21RC1 are available as SCL in remi-test repository and as base packages in the remi-test repository for Fedora 30-31 or remi-php73-test repository for Enterprise Linux.

        • Using Red Hat Satellite with the LVFS

          A months weeks ago I alluded that you could run the LVFS in an offline mode, where updates could be synced to a remote location and installed on desktops and servers in a corporate setting without internet access. A few big companies asked for more details, and so we created some official documentation which should help. It works, but you need to script things manually and set up your system in a custom way.

        • The central processing unit (CPU): Its components and functionality

          The legacies of earlier designs, such as Babbage’s difference engine and the mainframe punch card systems of the 1970s, have a significant impact on today’s computer systems. In my first article in this historical series, Computer history and modern computers for sysadmins, I discussed several precursors to the modern computer and listed characteristics that define what we call a computer today.

          In this article, I discuss the central processing unit (CPU), including its components and functionality. Many of the topics refer back to the first article, so be sure to read it if you haven’t already.

          The central processing unit (CPU)

          The CPU in modern computers is the embodiment of the “mill” in Babbage’s difference engine. The term central processing unit originated way back in the mists of computer time when a single massive cabinet contained the circuitry required to interpret machine level program instructions and perform operations on the data supplied. The central processing unit also completed all processing for any attached peripheral devices. Peripherals included printers, card readers, and early storage devices such as drum and disk drives. Modern peripheral devices have a significant amount of processing power themselves and off-load some processing tasks from the CPU. This frees the CPU up from input/output tasks so that its power is applied to the primary task at hand.

          Early computers only had one CPU and could only perform one task at a time.

          We retain the term CPU today, but now it refers to the processor package on a typical motherboard. Figure 1 displays a standard Intel processor package.

        • Open Herdware
        • As cloud native computing rises, it’s transforming culture as much as code

          Most experts say it’s a mistake to think of cloud native computing in technology terms. Rather, it’s a mindset shift based on the assumption that better technology is available in the cloud than inside a company’s data center. Think of cloud native principles as more of a business enables than an infrastructure improvement.

          “The primary benefit is to reduce the time between forming a business idea and delivering it into production,” said John Clingnan, senior principal project manager, middleware, at Red Hat Inc., an IBM Corp. subsidiary. “It can also be critical when businesses are in a pitched battle to implement a concept and out-executing the competition through rapid, incremental change” will determine who wins.

          “Cloud gives you the flexibility to pick and choose which parts of your application to abstract and which to spend your engineering resources on, giving companies the ability to focus on building on their core differentiators,” said Steven Mih, chief executive of Ahana Inc., a startup that provides services around the Presto distributed database platform

        • The secret to hosting a successful virtual conference

          A Red Hat marketing executive shares insights on how to smoothly shift a big in-person event to a virtual one in a short amount of time as her company just did.

      • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu: Major Backports Update

          For those of you using the Ubuntu Studio Backports Repository, we recently had a major update of some tools. If you’ve been using the Backports PPA, you may have noticed some breakage when updating via normal means.

          To update if you have the Backports PPA enabled, make sure to do the following…

        • Ubuntu Web: A Chrome OS Alternative Linux With Firefox Coming Soon

          As the world is moving toward cloud-based services, we can perform almost every task using a single Web browser. This is one of the reasons why Chrome OS integrated with the Google Chrome web browser has become the most popular web-centric operating system.

          Even though Chrome OS uses Linux kernel under the hood, it is exclusively available to run only on Google’s hardware like Chromebook. Hence, if you’re looking for an alternative, soon you’ll be able to experience the potential of cloud computing right on your laptop using Ubuntu Web.

        • Ubuntu Web is an upcoming Firefox-based web OS to rival Chrome OS

          Chromebooks have become popular alternatives to Windows and Mac laptops in recent years due to their simplicity, security, and ease-of-use, among other things. The fact that many entry-level models are super cheap probably doesn’t hurt.

          But Google doesn’t necessarily hold a monopoly on the idea of building an operating system that puts the web browser front and center. Mozilla’s Firefox OS may have been a short-lived experiment, but developer Rudra Saraswat plans to create a new web-based operating system that puts Firefox front and center.

          Right now just about all we know about the project is the name: Ubuntu Web.

        • Robotics controller runs Ubuntu on AGX Xavier

          Adlink’s rugged “ROScube-X” robotics controller runs Ubuntu, ROS 2, Adlink’s Neuron SDK, and AWS RoboMaker on a Jetson AGX Xavier with 2x GbE, 5x USB 3.1, 2x M.2, and optional PCIe, CAN, LTE, and time-sync’d GMSL2 camera I/O.

          In May, Adlink announced support for Nvidia’s “Nvidia EGX” AI edge solution on four new edge servers using Nvidia’s Jetson Nano, TX2, AGX Xavier, and Tesla. The Xavier-based model, called the M300-Xavier-ROS2, has now apparently been replaced with a similar ROScube-X controller. The system has fewer USB and serial ports, but additional expansion, including support for optional FAKRA connectors for time-synchronized GMSL2 cameras.

        • Devs can now use Google’s Flutter to build apps on Linux

          A common developer’s dream is of a single programming framework and language that can be used to publish production-ready applications on just about every platform under the sun. Ideally, developers should be able to write one set of code, and then deploy it — with as few tweaks as possible — onto mobile (iOS and Android), the desktop (Windows 10, Mac, Linux) and the web.

          The magic word here is, of course, convergence, which several companies and organizations have tried (remember Windows Mobile?), and many still continue to strive for. The most recent example of work-in-progress is Apple’s decision to roll out “Apple silicon” (aka ARM processors) in its desktop and laptop Macs over the next few years.

        • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E18 – Full moon

          This week we’ve been making operating systems for the Raspberry Pi 4. We discuss our favourite gadgets, bring you a verrrry long command line love and round up all your wonderful feedback.

          It’s Season 13 Episode 18 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

        • Complex problems, clever solutions – unique containers and virtualization snaps

          If you’re a fan of virtualization, then you are most likely aware the one thing virtual machines do less well than systems installed on physical hardware is the graphics stack. You can get guest operating systems up and running relatively easily. But sometimes, there is no guarantee you will have advanced graphics features, like 3D acceleration, available in the virtual machines, which can limit their usefulness.

          In recent years, there have been attempts to rectify this, and different virtualization tools now offer some 3D support. Qemu-virgil is a snap that bundles the latest version of QEMU, along with GTK, SDL2 and Virgil 3D enabled, designed to give you decent graphics performance out of the box.

          Once you install the snap, you will need to connect the kvm interface (snap connect qemu-virgil:kvm), but after that, you can launch virtual machines, and start enjoying solid graphics performance. Now, be aware that you will probably not have native-level results, but you can still get a decent level of usability, without having to resort to any significant manual changes or complex command line arguments.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Choosing open source as a marketing strategy

        It can take a while to understand the concept of open source software—at least for me, it was difficult to understand why anyone would develop a product and then open it up to the entire world. It is a general assumption that products are developed to be sold, not to be given for free, and I saw software as such a product. After a while, however, the value of open source, especially in terms of product development, became clearer to me. Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes, and any developer, regardless of their location, can work on an open source project and contribute with incredible results—a dynamic not as easy or possible to achieve in proprietary software projects. But what I want to discuss here is how the benefits of open source are as relevant from a marketing strategy point of view as they are for product development.

      • Why the future of AI is open source

        Artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is the next phase of artificial intelligence, where computers meet and exceed human intelligence, will almost certainly be open source.

        AGI seeks to solve the broad spectrum of problems that intelligent human beings can solve. This is in direct contrast with narrow AI (encompassing most of today’s AI), which seeks to exceed human abilities at a specific problem. Put simply, AGI is all the expectations of AI come true.

        At a fundamental level, we don’t really know what intelligence is and whether there might be types of intelligence that are different from human intelligence. While AI includes many techniques that have been used successfully on specific problems, AGI is more nebulous. It is not easy to develop software to solve a problem when the techniques are not known and there is no concrete problem statement. The consensus from the recent AGI-20 Conference (the world’s preeminent AGI event) is that AGI solutions exist. This makes the emergence of AGI in the future likely, if not inevitable.

      • Web Browsers

        • Chromium

          • Chrome 85: Upload Streaming, Human Interface Devices, Custom Properties with Inheritance and More

            Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to the newest Chrome beta channel release for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows. Learn more about the features listed here through the provided links or from the list on ChromeStatus.com. Chrome 85 is beta as of July 23, 2020.

          • Chrome 85 Beta Brings WebHID API For Better Gamepad Support, AVIF Image Decode

            Following the recent Chrome 84 stable release, Google has now promoted Chrome 85 to beta as their latest feature update to this cross-platform web browser.

            Chrome 85 Beta brings initial fetch upload streaming capabilities, the WebHID API is taking shape to improve gamepad support within web browsers, a declarative shadow DOM API is now available as an origin trial, and auto-upgrading of images served over HTTP from HTTPS sites.

        • Mozilla

          • Use your voice to #StopHateForProfit

            Facebook is still a place where it’s too easy to find hate, bigotry, racism, antisemitism and calls to violence.

            Today, we are standing alongside our partners in the #StopHateForProfit coalition and joining the global day of action to tell Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: Enough is Enough.

          • Firefox 79 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 79, we are pleased to welcome the 21 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 18 of whom were brand new volunteers!

          • MDN Web Docs: 15 years young

            On July 23, MDN Web Docs turned 15 years old. From humble beginnings, rising out of the ashes of Netscape DevEdge, MDN has grown to be one of the best-respected web platform documentation sites out there. Our popularity is growing, and new content and features arrive just about every day.

            When we turned 10, we had a similar celebration, talking about MDN Web Docs’ origins, history, and what we’d achieved up until then. Refer to MDN at ten if you want to go further back!

            In the last five years, we’ve broken much more ground. These days, we can boast roughly 15 million views per month, a comprehensive browser compatibility database, an active beginner’s learning community, editable interactive examples, and many other exciting features that didn’t exist in 2015. An anniversary to be proud of!

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Starburst advances Presto to handle Hadoop data better

          Starburst’s mission is to help organizations with data stored in Hadoop-based deployments to access and query that data quickly, using the open source Presto SQL query technology.

          The data access and analytics vendor said on Wednesday that it updated the Starburst Enterprise Presto platform, which is based on the open source Presto distributed SQL project originally developed by Facebook.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice-Based Collabora Office Is Now Available for Chromebooks

          If you own a Chromebook, most probably you’re missing a rich office productivity software that respects your privacy and lets you have full control over your files. But, as of today, Collabora Office brings all the office tools you love to your Chromebook, so you won’t have to depend on Google or Microsoft.

          Collabora Office for Chromebooks not only gives you full control over your files and respects your privacy with GDPR compliant on-site storage capabilities, but it also promises top-notch collaboration and interoperability tools for students and home office workers.

        • Mastodon to Pleroma — 1 — Setting up a Pleroma Server

          Pleroma is another social media/microblogging platform similar to Mastodon. It also interoperates with the rest of the Fediverse using ActivityPub so it still allows me to follow people who use Mastodon, just like Mastodon allowed me to follow people who use Pleroma. However, there are a number of advantages that Pleroma brings to the table over Mastodon.

        • Mastodon to Pleroma — 2 — Customizing My Instance

          Pleroma provides so many customization options, it took me a while to go through all of them and customize my instance to my liking. That is by no means a bad thing; it was a really enjoyable process and it feels like it’s social media but for hackers (not the Hollywood kind).

        • Annual Report 2019: Social media and video channel

          In April, we joined Mastodon, a Twitter-like open source, federated and self-hosted microblogging service. Fosstodon – a Mastodon server set up specifically for free software projects – kindly accepted our request for an account, so we set up this account and started posting content, often more focused on technical users, compared to our tweets and Facebook posts. By the end of the year, we had over 3,100 followers, and have been engaging with other users who have questions and suggestions.

          Our Facebook page growth was smaller, from 54,045 page likes to 55,985, and on April 2, Google officially discontinued its Google+ service. We had over 16,000 followers at the time, but that number had gradually been reducing, as most users had been aware for many months that Google was closing the service for personal accounts.

      • FSF

        • People everywhere are standing up for free software

          The above is a statement from Michael Stenta, lead developer of FarmOS, and a LibrePlanet 2020 speaker. He submitted his thoughts for us to add to the “Working Together for Free Software” pages, which we have been updating as part of a summer push highlighting “free software in action.” On these pages, we explore the different reasons why people dedicate their time to free software, and highlight all the different ways that user freedom is important to them.

          With each submission that comes in, we realize again just how far the fight for software freedom stretches. Thankfully, like Michael and many other community members that we have spoken to recently, there are people all over the globe and in many industries, who are fighting for justice.

          Right here in the Boston area, Micky Metts (also known as FreeScholar, and a member of Agaric, a worker-owned cooperative of Web developers), is working with the Boston Public School system to host an online Learning Management System (LMS), as schools will not be open for the summer, and possibly not even in the fall. Agaric is using some packages the FSF put together with Canvas as the LMS and BigBlueButton as the video chat/whiteboard. On Micky’s “Working Together” page, you can find more information about the timely and relevant work that Agaric does with free software in education, immigration, and community engagement.

        • GNU Projects

          • GCC 10.2 Released
            The GNU Compiler Collection version 10.2 has been released.
            
            GCC 10.2 is a bug-fix release from the GCC 10 branch
            containing important fixes for regressions and serious bugs in
            GCC 10.1 with more than 94 bugs fixed since the previous release.
            
            This release is available from the FTP servers listed at:
            
            http://www.gnu.org/order/ftp.html
            
            Please do not contact me directly regarding questions or comments
            about this release.  Instead, use the resources available from
            
            http://gcc.gnu.org.
            
            As always, a vast number of people contributed to this GCC release
            -- far too many to thank them individually!
            
          • GCC 10.2 Compiler Released With Nearly 100 Bug Fixes

            GCC 10.2 serves as the first stable point release to the GCC 10 compiler as this year’s stable feature series.

            GCC 10.2 back-ported 94 bug fixes to the release compared to GCC 10.1 as the inaugural stable release of the series. But that’s about it is just under 100 bug fixes — all feature work continues to be focused on GCC 11 for its stable debut around Q2’2021.

          • A List of Free or One-Time Payment Alternatives to Adobe Subscription Programs

            GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a robust and highly capable image editor that offers a wide array of functionality that covers the needs of the majority of photographers. Features include layers, brushes, channels, filters, automated correction tools, plug-in support, gradients, cropping, noise reduction, and more, all packaged in a fairly standard interface that does not take long to get used to, especially if you are coming from Photoshop. Better yet, because the program is open source and highly popular, there is a huge support community, and development is continually being pushed forward.

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Bison 3.7 released

            I am very happy to announce the release of Bison 3.7, whose main novelty, contributed by Vincent Imbimbo, is the generation of counterexamples for conflicts.

          • Unsplash Responds to Image Licensing Concerns, Clarifies Reasons for Hotlinking and Tracking

            Concerns are mounting regarding Unsplash’s terms and image licensing after the site launched its official WordPress plugin this week. Several people commented on the restrictions and lack of clarity in the license.
            “The irony here is that this goes against Unsplash’s own licensing for images,” Aris Stathopoulos commented. “It’s vague and restrictive to the point where one doesn’t even know if they can actually use the images they import.”

      • Public Services/Government

        • Schleswig-Holstein: ‘National and international cooperation decisive for open source’

          The German state of Schleswig-Holstein says national and international cooperation among public services and others is key to success in making a switch to open source. The state government published its open source strategy in June, presenting it as a combination of a response to the changing business models of software vendors, and a strategic focus on data, sustainability, and technological sovereignty.

      • Programming/Development

        • PHP 8.0.0 Alpha 3 available for testing

          The PHP team is pleased to announce the second testing release of PHP 8.0.0, Alpha 3. This continues the PHP 8.0 release cycle, the rough outline of which is specified in the PHP Wiki.

          For source downloads of PHP 8.0.0 Alpha 3 please visit the download page.

          Please carefully test this version and report any issues found in the bug reporting system.

        • PHP 8 alpha 3 released

          The PHP project has released PHP 8 Alpha 3, the final alpha release according to the 8.0 release schedule. Feature freeze for the 8.0 release is scheduled for August 4, making this release the last one before features for the latest version of PHP are finalized. PHP 8.0 is scheduled to be released for general availability on November 26.

        • R Programming in clinical trial data analysis

          In the last few years, Data Science has been fuelling powerful business decisions taken by Industry leaders. Data scientists are story tellers. They often need to dig into Data, clean, transform, build and validate models, understand pattern, generate insights and, most importantly, communicate results effectively.

          In the field of Statistics, Analytics and Visualization, in addition to SAS (Statistical Analysis System), most talked about languages are R and Python. This article highlights the current status, the observed challenges of R, proposed approaches for the risk assessment of R packages, mitigation, and implementation for Clinical Trial Data Analysis.

          So, what is the Need of the Hour? It is of paramount importance that we understand the bigger picture for the Life Sciences Industry.

        • Top 5 programming languages for network admins to learn

          In the first article in this series focusing on the top 5 languages for systems admins, I wrote about not being too fond of programming. To recap, it’s not because I don’t see the value behind it, because I whole-heartedly do. I mean, creating your own apps to manage client devices and make them do exactly what you want them to do is incredible as far as I’m concerned. My hesitation stems partly from frustration as it’s not a natural talent for me and can—at times—take me some time to develop the solution I need.

        • Python

          • Automate testing for website errors with this Python tool

            As a technical search-engine optimizer, I’m often called in to coordinate website migrations, new site launches, analytics implementations, and other areas that affect sites’ online visibility and measurement to limit risk. Many companies generate a substantial portion of monthly recurring revenue from users finding their products and services through search engines. Although search engines have gotten good at handling poorly formatted code, things can still go wrong in development that adversely affects how search engines index and display pages for users.

            I’ve been part of manual processes attempting to mitigate this risk by reviewing staged changes for search engine optimization (SEO)-breaking problems. My team’s findings determine whether the project gets the green light (or not) to launch. But this process is often inefficient, can be applied to only a limited number of pages, and has a high likelihood of human error.

            [...]

            One website with a complex and novel implementation of React had a mysterious issue with regression of origin.domain.com URLs displaying for its origin content-delivery network server. It would intermittently output the origin host instead of the edge host in the site metadata (such as the canonical link element, URLs, and Open Graph links). The problem was found in the raw HTML and the rendered HTML. This impacted search visibility and the quality of shares on social media.

          • Handle Default Values – Building SaaS #65

            In this episode, I updated a model to handle the default duration of new tasks. This default needed to come from the Course model instead of the CourseTask model so we had to determine how best to set that data in various forms. I also fixed some drop down selection bugs that populated a form with the wrong data. We made sure that all the code was well tested.

            I created a new default_task_duration field to the Course model. The field records the number of minutes that will be set when create a new task. We added the field and wrote some model tests to confirm the behavior.

            Then we updated the Course creation and edit forms. To do this, I needed to add the new field to the CourseForm model form and update the template to include the new field. After that, I fixed the POST tests that broke because the required field was missing.

          • PyCharm 2020.2 – Release Candidate

            Good news! PyCharm 2020.2 Release Candidate build is out today!

            After 8 weeks of EAP builds, feedback gathering, and polishing, we are proud to share our release candidate for PyCharm 2020.2. This week’s build brings a couple of bug fixes as we hope to take the release in for a smooth landing. Let us know how we’re doing by getting this version and if you run into any issues please leave us a ticket on YouTrack.

          • Python RegEx

            In this tutorial, you will learn about regular expressions (RegEx), and use Python’s re module to work with RegEx (with the help of examples).

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 8: Where’s the problem ?
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 8 blog!
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In – 7
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #8
          • A Hundred Days of Code, Day 015 – Python, Advanced Functions, Done!

            Delving deeper into Python functions and learning more about them, using Reuven Lerner’s Advanced Python Functions Course

          • STX Next, Python development company, uses Spyder to improve their workflow

            STX Next, one of Europe’s largest Python development companies, has shared with us how Spyder has been a powerful tool for them when performing data analysis. It is a pleasure for us on the Spyder team to work every day to improve the workflow of developers, scientists, engineers and data analysts. We are very glad to receive and share a STX Next testimonial about Spyder, along with an interview with one of their developers, Michael Wiśniewski, who has found Spyder very useful in his job.

          • Recap of PyCon 2020 Converting to Online

            In early March the final steps of planning, scheduling, ordering, counts, rooming lists, shipping, and signage had just begun for PyCon 2020. Our team was working diligently to pull all the final pieces together when we began to fully realize the impact that could be expected of COVID-19. The new words in planning quickly became stop, wait, change…..what? We went from finalizing the event to evaluating contracts to determining cancellation options and potential losses.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • Ask an expert: Why is CSS . . . the way it is?

        CSS debuted way back in 1994, when web browsers were a very new, relatively undeveloped technology. People were excited just to see documents that lived on other computers across the world—and not just in plain text, but with headings and lists, too! Adding finer control over presentation was mostly seen as a secondary goal.

  • Leftovers

    • VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide
    • Strange Rhythms

      In 1971, the artist Rosemary Mayer was 28 and living alone in New York City. At the time, much of her work took the form of large abstract sculptures made from fabric that was pinned, knotted, draped, and painted, meant to be hung on the wall or from the ceiling. The bolts of material—voile, burlap, nylon, not necessarily precious stuff—were picked up at Macy’s or from her friend Hannah Weiner, who at the time had a day job as a lingerie designer. Mayer cobbled together her own living by art modeling and (illegally) collecting unemployment, all the while daydreaming about other forms of self-support as an artist. Among the year’s events: She participated in a feminist consciousness-raising group with her art-school friend Adrian Piper; she had a fruitless studio visit with the art critic Lucy Lippard; she attended a John Cage concert and read Anaïs Nin’s diary; she tried to curb her smoking; she had a handful of lovers, many disappointing but one promising; at least once, she ate a half-pound ball of mozzarella in one sitting.

    • Education

    • Hardware

      • One Network Operating System To Rule Them All

        While companies certainly want choice when it comes to the chips in their switches – and are increasingly demanding more open and less costly routing chips – when it comes to network operating systems, they are sick of making choices. Or more precisely, they are sick and tired of having choices thrust upon them. Switching is like the RISC/Unix operating system era, where vendors had their own silicon and a flavor of Unix that was just enough alike the others it could be called Unix and offer a certain degree of portability between platforms. But these RISC/Unix systems had enough differences when it came to their APIs and the way they were operated that it was nonetheless still hard to move from platform to platform. With routers, the situation is more like the proprietary minicomputers that predate the RISC/Unix revolution in servers in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The chip is closed and the operating system is closed and there really is not interoperability or porting.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Promoting Study in the USA in Trying Times

        As I observed in a 17 April article, “View from Vietnam: COVID-19 reminds the world that Trump has no clothes”: “The coronavirus lays bare on an almost daily basis the litany of faults and weaknesses of Donald Trump and the country he was elected to lead.”

      • Russia’s way out: Microbiologist Denis Logunov explains his headstart on a coronavirus vaccine and why a two-vector approach promises better immunity

        Denis Logunov, a deputy research director at the Gamaleya Center, leads the group developing Russia’s first coronavirus vaccine. In an experiment he now refuses to discuss publicly (saying he “doesn’t like the hype”), Logunov actually tested the treatment on himself. He has since administered the vaccine to 76 volunteers, each of whom has maintained a “journal,” noting any side effects, like fever, rash, and irritation where they received their shots. So far, fortunately, there have been no serious aftereffects. The authorities hope the immunization will be ready as soon as September. In an interview with Meduza science editor Alexander Ershov and special correspondent Svetlana Reiter, Logunov explained that the vaccine’s mass production won’t begin any sooner than the end of the year, though he expects provisional approval for broader testing by the fall. Logunov has yet to publish the results of his research in scientific journals, but he agreed to share some of the details of his work here.

      • ‘Behave like adults’ Russia’s Sverdlovsk Region is among those hardest hit by the coronavirus. Regional authorities are blaming local residents.

        Russia’s Sverdlovsk Region registered its first case of the coronavirus in mid-March. By June 1, the region was recording 250–290 new cases per day. By June 24, this figure had dropped to 181 cases, but the start of voting in the constitutional plebiscite was accompanied by another spike in infections. In the past week (since July 15), the regional statistics have risen to 263–349 new cases per day. 

      • SCOTUS’ Birth Control Decision Favors Medicare for All

        Access to essential medications should not be subject to the whims of our employers.

      • Trump Won’t Back a National Mask Mandate. Three-Quarters of Americans Want One.

        An overwhelming number of Americans believe that there should be a national mandate requiring masks or facial coverings to be worn when people are out in public to stop the spread of coronavirus in the U.S.

      • St. Petersburg records tenfold increase in community-acquired pneumonia cases

        In May 2020, St. Petersburg recorded 9,560 cases of community-acquired pneumonia — 9.9 times more than in May 2019, states a report from the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region’s branch of the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat). This statistic was first reported by the St. Petersburg-based news outlet Fontanka. 

      • ‘This Is a Pandemic. You Cannot Hide It’: Experts Denounce White House Secrecy in Private Warning to Cities to Take ‘Aggressive’ Covid Action

        “The more that we can provide information to people to keep themselves and their families safe, the better off we’ll be.”

      • ‘Cruelty of the Occupation Knows No Bounds’: Israel Demolishes Covid-19 Clinic in Epicenter of West Bank Outbreak

        “There is no humanity in destroying grassroots attempts to support an already deprived health system suffocated by occupation.”

      • Total Masking: Victoria’s Coronavirus Response

        The Victorian Premier turned up for his weekend delivery of coronavirus infections, gruffly delivering the news. It has become grim if compelling viewing: the announcement about the next spike in coronavirus infections, the next gruesome statistical spread on transmission. On Sunday, Daniel Andrews had a pose that has become legend, a cross between plasticine figure and instructive despair. Stern, humourless, with little to be humour filled about, his role of late is telling people what to do. With stern command he had a message: All those in the state of Victoria, had to wear face masks. “Most of us wouldn’t leave home without our keys, we wouldn’t leave your home without our mobile phone – you won’t be able to leave home without your mask.”

      • Trump’s Authoritarianism Is Ill-Suited to a Pandemic

        Even if he’s wearing a mask now, he’s still trying to conceal data, silence experts, and block funding.

      • They Warned OSHA They Were in “Imminent Danger” at the Meat Plant. Now They’re Suing the Agency.

        Frustrated by the lack of response to their complaint of the “imminent danger” posed by COVID-19, three meatpacking workers at the Maid-Rite Specialty Foods plant outside of Scranton, Pennsylvania, took the unusual step Wednesday of filing a lawsuit against the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia.

        The lawsuit, filed in a Pennsylvania federal court, accuses the government of failing to protect essential workers from dangerous conditions that could expose them to the coronavirus. It relies on a rarely used provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act that allows workers to sue the secretary of labor for “arbitrarily or capriciously” failing to counteract imminent dangers.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Only EU can help us, pleads Slack as it slings competition complaint against Microsoft Teams

          From the department of “if you can’t beat ‘em…” comes the inevitable sueball slung by Slack over Microsoft’s bundling of Teams into its Office behemoth.

          A competition complaint has been filed against Microsoft before the European Commission.

          Microsoft’s collaboration platform, Teams, has been enjoying impressive growth, hitting 75 million users in the last set of published figures, and the company used this week’s Inspire event to tease partners with more features to tempt customers.

          [...]

          David Schellhase, general counsel at Slack, asked for the EU to take on the role of referee and conjured the spectre of decades past. “Microsoft is reverting to past behavior,” he alleged. “They created a weak, copycat product and tied it to their dominant Office product, force installing it and blocking its removal, a carbon copy of their illegal behavior during the ‘browser wars.’”

          Schellhase optimistically called for the European Commission “to take swift action.”

          The complaint will now be reviewed before the commission decides if action needs to be taken.

        • Data stolen [sic] in ransomware attack on French telco Orange [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The Nefilim ransomware was previously said to share similarities to the Nemty 2.5 ransomware, though without the ransomware-as-a-service component. The ransomware was previously noted to spread likely through RDP and uses AES-128 encryption on a victim’s files.

        • California university pays $1 million ransom amid coronavirus research [iophk: Windows TCO]

          While U.S. law enforcement typically advises against paying ransomware demands, victimized organizations sometimes meet attackers’ demands when decryption without hackers’ help seems unlikely, or cost-prohibitive.

          Attackers from the so-called Netwalker ransomware gang were behind this incident, BBC News reported, the latest in a series of ransomware hacks against universities and public health agencies. The scam also coincides with an evolution in ransomware techniques, as hackers increase the size of their demands and, in some cases, threaten to publicize stolen data when victims refuse to pay.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Transport Minister: €1.3bn state investment in rail over next decade

              Finland will invest 1.3 billion euros on rail infrastructure over the next ten years, Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka announced at a press conference on Thursday morning.

              The most significant projects include plans to reduce travel time between Helsinki and the cities of Turku and Tampere to one hour, as well as the Espoo city line.

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation offering Kubernetes certifications courses and exams as demand spikes

                Almost 45,000 people have registered for the courses so far, and the Linux Foundation recently announced the availability of a bootcamp program designed so that those with very little to no experience can become certified cloud engineers in six months. This bootcamp includes a Kubernetes fundamentals course.

              • Roundup: UK’s test and trace failing to contact thousands, France deploys AI-based cancer detection and more briefs

                Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) announced that is donating the code for COVID Tracker app as open source to the not-for-profit Linux Foundation.

                This will enable jurisdictions worldwide to quickly build and deploy their own contact tracing apps.

              • Meet the new GM of CNCF – Priyanka Sharma

                CNCF, a Linux Foundation project, recently appointed Priyanka Sharma as its new GM. As a long time expert of cloud native technologies Sharma brings unique vision and insights to the organization. On behalf of the Linux Foundation, Swapnil Bhartiya, founder and producer at TFiR talked to Sharma to better understand the vision she has for CNCF and what goals she has set for herself and the foundation.

              • 3MF Consortium joins Linux Foundation, appoints new Executive Director

                The 3MF Consortium, an organisation dedicated to advancing a universal specification for Additive Manufacturing, has announced that it is becoming a Linux Foundation member and that HP Inc.’s Luis Baldez is its new Executive Director.

                Baldez succeeds Microsoft’s Adrian Lannin, who has served as 3MF’s ED since the consortium was founded in 2015. Lannin will remain a strategic advisor to the group.

        • Security

          • REMnux toolkit for malware analysis version 7 released

            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.

          • Popular Linux-Based Toolkit REMnux® Version 7 Now Available
          • Mozilla Joins New Partners to Fund Open Source Digital Infrastructure Research

            Today, Mozilla is pleased to announce that we’re joining the Ford Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and the Open Society Foundations to launch a request for proposals (RFP) for research on open source digital infrastructure. To kick off this RFP, we’re joining with our philanthropic partners to host a webinar today at 9:30 AM Pacific. The Mozilla Open Source Support Program (MOSS) is contributing $25,000 to this effort.

            Nearly everything in our modern society, from hospitals and banks to universities and social media platforms, runs on “digital infrastructure” – a foundation of open source code that is designed to solve common challenges. The benefits of digital infrastructure are numerous: it can reduce the cost of setting up new businesses, support data-driven discovery across research disciplines, enable complex technologies such as smartphones to talk to each other, and allow everyone to have access to important innovations like encryption that would otherwise be too expensive.

            [...]

            We’re pleased to invite interested researchers to apply to the RFP, using the application found here. The application opened on July 20, 2020, and will close on September 4, 2020. Finalists will be notified in October, at which point full proposals will be requested. Final proposals will be selected in November.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (poppler and tomcat8), Fedora (cacti, cacti-spine, java-1.8.0-openjdk, mbedtls, mingw-python3, singularity, and xen), openSUSE (firefox, redis, and singularity), Red Hat (samba), SUSE (java-11-openjdk, qemu, and vino), and Ubuntu (ffmpeg and pillow).

          • North Korean hackers attack Windows, Linux, Mac operating systems; India among victims [Ed: Oh, look. FUD campaign from antivirus companies says “organisations should install a dedicated [proprietary] cyber security product on all Windows, Linux and MacOS endpoints (devices)” (i.e. buy our flawed stuff)]

            The first of the MATA attacks were April 2018. Since then, the actor behind this advanced malware framework has taken an aggressive approach to infiltrate corporate entities around the world, cyber security solutions firm Kaspersky has said.

          • Ongoing Meow attack has nuked >1,000 databases without telling anyone why

            Besides amounting to a serious privacy breach, the database was at odds with the Hong Kong-based UFO’s promise to keep no logs. The VPN provider responded by moving the database to a different location but once again failed to secure it properly. Shortly after, the Meow attack wiped it out.

            Representatives of UFO didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

            Since then, Meow and a similar attack have destroyed more than 1,000 other databases. At the time this post went live, the Shodan computer search site showed that 987 ElasticSearch and 70 MongoDB instances had been nuked by Meow. A separate, less-malicious attack tagged an additional 616 ElasticSearch, MongoDB, and Cassandra files with the string “university_cybersec_experiment.” The attackers in this case seem to be demonstrating to the database maintainers that the files are vulnerable to being viewed or deleted.

          • How to Choose Linux Kernel Live Patching Software

            In 1991, two unrelated events occurred, each the promise of two very different kinds of freedom: the death of the Cold War and the birth of Linux.

            Kernel live patching arrived in 2008 during Linux’s teenage years. Today, with the Linux kernel approaching 30 years old, live patching has matured, ready to ditch its reputation as an optional extra—a “nice to have.”

            There are two reasons for this. The first is the predominance of Linux as the platform of choice for cost-effective, versatile web hosting—more than half of all known websites now run on Linux. The second is the recognition that live patching is not just a convenience; it’s also an effective, low-impact way to augment Linux system security.

          • IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 147 released

            Another update is available for IPFire: IPFire 2.25 – Core Update 147. It contains a vast amount of package updates and brings some security updates.

          • Latest IPFire Linux Firewall Release Adds Security Updates, Support for More Hardware

            IPFire 2.25 Core Update 147 has been announced today by project maintainer Michael Tremer. This release comes about a month after the previous version, which deprecated support for 32-bit system with PAE, to update several core components and add-ons, as well as to patch some security vulnerabilities and fix other bugs.

            First, security, because it’s important for every operating system. IPFire 2.25 Core Update 147 includes a recent version of the Squid web proxy software that was patched against HTTP Request Smuggling and Poisoning attacks (CVE-2020-15049).

          • ASUS Home Router Bugs Open Consumers to Snooping Attacks

            The two flaws allow man-in-the-middle attacks that would give an attacker access to all data flowing through the router.

            A pair of flaws in ASUS routers for the home could allow an attacker to compromise the devices – and eavesdrop on all of the traffic and data that flows through them.

            The bugs are specifically found in the RT-AC1900P whole-home Wi-Fi model, within the router’s firmware update functionality. Originally uncovered by Trustwave, ASUS has issued patches for the bugs, and owners are urged to apply the updates as soon as they can.

          • What Is DDoS Attack?

            A Denial of Service attack is any attempt/attack that is aimed at making the web resource unavailable to its users (denying service, hence the name), mainly by flooding the website’s URL with so many requests that the server can handle. During a successful DoS attempt, regular traffic on the website will be slowed down or completely unavailable.

            A DDoS attack, on the other hand, is a DoS attack that comes from more than one source which is distributed. A DDoS attack can involve thousands or even hundreds of thousands of computers. These computers/devices might not know that their resources are used to attempt a DDoS attack, but they have been previously infected with malware and are collectively known as “botnets”.

            It is suspected that there are tens of millions of machines that have been compromised and used in DDoS attacks, which can include traditional computers to smartphones and even IoT devices.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Top EU court sinks main framework for sending personal data across the Atlantic

              The Privacy Shield framework for transferring personal data across the Atlantic was brought in to deal with a problem created by the EU’s GDPR. According to the latter, the personal data of European citizens can only be transferred to countries that offer “adequate” data protection, equivalent to the GDPR. The Privacy Shield system was devised to allow the European Commission to confirm that the US did offer adequate privacy protection. The EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has just ruled that the Commission was wrong to do so, and that Privacy Shield is invalid, and may not be used to transfer personal data to the US. The main reason is that Edward Snowden revealed that data sent to the US from abroad is routinely spied on by the NSA, which means EU personal data is not adequately protected. This is another major victory for the privacy expert and campaigner Max Schrems, who commented:

            • US Court rules that cryptocurrency exchanges must give up your private financial data

              The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that. The ruling came down in the case of U.S. v. Gratowski and sets the precedent that law enforcement doesn’t need a warrant to access the stored financial data at cryptocurrency exchanges such as Coinbase. Essentially, the court ruled that Gratowski had no constitutional expectation of privacy from the cryptocurrency exchange because of the third party doctrine. The EFF writes:

            • Good News: ACLU Calls On Californians To VOTE NO On Bogus ‘Consumer Privacy’ Proposition 24

              Last fall we wrote about the unfortunate situation happening with privacy laws in California. As you may know, California has a new privacy law that recently went into effect. And even though we’re big supporters of privacy here at Techdirt, we’ve noted that the CCPA law is and remains an unmitigated disaster. Much of that has to do with the way it came together. A wealthy real estate developer, Alastair Mactaggart, with little to no understanding of how the internet actually works, spent millions of dollars to get a “consumer privacy” ballot measure on the ballot in 2018. But it was incredibly dangerous and confused. Mactaggart, though, cut a deal: if the California legislation agreed to a privacy law, he would drop the ballot measure. So, the California legislature rushed through a very under-cooked privacy bill, that was written in just a couple of weeks, in order to get Mactaggart to drop his much, much worse ballot measure.

            • DNA Company Accidentally Exposes Opted Out Users’ Data To Law Enforcement

              A couple of years ago, investigators in California used a DNA matching service to track down the so-called “Golden State Killer.” Uploading a sample of the suspected serial murder’s DNA, they were able to identify distant relatives of the suspect. Using these sentient clues, investigators eventually worked their way back to the suspected killer, who had eluded authorities for years.

            • Former Ghana government officials sentenced to jail for doing business with NSO Group

              The case, which has been in the country’s high court since 2017, hinged on the argument that officials had caused significant financial loss in the country due to their $4 million purchase of NSO Group’s signature Pegasus spyware. The National Communications Authority (NCA) allegedly bought the surveillance product through a reseller in order to track suspected terrorism, according to Graphic Online, which attended the court session Tuesday. It was not clear if the officials used NSO Group’s products.

            • Steve Wozniak sues YouTube over ongoing bitcoin scams

              The plaintiffs, which include Wozniak and 17 other individuals, allege that YouTube is aware of these scams but has nonetheless not taken the videos down.

            • New York legislature bans use of facial recognition technology in schools

              The legislation comes after the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit forcing the state education department to block Lockport school district from adopting facial recognition systems to screen people entering campuses.

            • Former Facebook engineer says that the company has enshrined failure in its policies

              “We weren’t asking ‘does this thing follow our policy?’ We were asking ‘why do our policies allow for this thing?’” Wang said. “Why don’t our policies require that we do take some kind of action?” Zuckerberg framed his response around following policies rather than fixing policies, Wang added. The response prompted a June 1st virtual walkout by dozens of Facebook employees.

            • Facebook Sweetens Biometric Privacy Accord to $650 Million

              The case is In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation, 3:15-cv-03747, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).

            • Facebook Adds $100M to Privacy Settlement in Bid to Satisfy Skeptical Judge

              Well, consider this: Last month, a San Francisco federal judge wasn’t particularly impressed by the eye-popping $550 million proposed to settle a class action against Facebook. He rejected it. Now weeks later, the parties are headed back to the judge with a new number — $650 million. That’s right. Facebook just added $100 million in an attempt to make one of its problems on the privacy front go away.

            • Twitter Daily Users Rise to 186 Million, CEO Addresses [Cr]ack of High-Profile Accounts

              Analysts had forecast 178.8 million users for the latest quarter. Twitter is no longer reporting monthly active users as a metric.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Day After Voting Down 10% Pentagon Cut, 37 Senate Dems Join GOP to Approve $740 Billion War Budget

        “I don’t want to hear anyone tell me that we can’t afford to expand enhanced unemployment benefits when we spend more on endless wars than the next ten countries combined,” said Rep. Ro Khanna.

      • Canada’s Support for Trump Administration’s Venezuela Policy

        Ottawa has not criticized the devastating US sanctions. Quite the opposite. It has egged the bully on.

      • Okinawa: Will the Pandemic Transform U.S. Military Bases?

        Okinawans opposed to the expansion of U.S. military bases on their island have been upset by the environmental damage, the accidents, and the crimes associated with the presence of 25,000 American troops. Now the anti-base movement has one more powerful argument to use in its case to shrink the U.S. footprint in this southernmost Japanese prefecture: the coronavirus.

      • ‘War Is Not a Game’: AOC to File Amendment Banning US Military From Recruiting on Twitch

        “It’s incredibly irresponsible for the Army and the Navy to be recruiting impressionable young people and children via live streaming platforms.”

      • An inside look at Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution on its 41st anniversary

        The Sandinista Front’s fight against poverty, coronavirus, and imperialism

      • Erdogan’s Libya Campaign Puts Africa on the Brink of War

        Late June Abdul Fattah Al Sisi said that Egypt was prepared to launch a military intervention in the neighbouring Libya because of a direct threat to his country’s security. He also called the GNA’s attempts to capture Sirte town and Jofra airbase a “red line” for Cairo. Such statements demonstrate Egypt’s deep concern about the Turkish quest for dominance in Libya that manifested itself in breaking a deadlock in a struggle between the GNA and LNA. However, Turkey had to pay a hefty price for the recent victories as it deployed its national Armed Forces to Libya despite the rapid deterioration of the economy, in addition to sending thousands of the Syrian mercenaries and modern weapons to its Islamist-weighted ally GNA.

        Turkey and Egypt are almost equal in their military capabilities, but Cairo has a number of strong advantages. First, Egypt has a 1,115 km long land border with Libya. It significantly simplifies the logistics and deployment of the Egyptian armed forces. Besides, Cairo will definitely benefit from unique opportunities offered by Mohamed Nagib, the biggest Middle East military base located not so far from the Libyan border. As for Turkey, it has to overcome a lot of obstacles due to its geographical position. Put simply, the only locations able to receive the Turkish troops and the Syrian mercenaries are two cities of Tripoli and Misrata that both have an airport and a seaport. The Turks are literally trapped in this “bottleneck”. Direct confrontation with Cairo will most likely result in Ankara’s military defeat – due to the above-mentioned considerations the Egyptians are potentially capable of eliminating the Turkish troops faster than Turkey deploys reinforcements to Libya.

      • ISS: How serious is the Islamic State threat to attack South Africa?

        Over the last few months, the debate has however risen to a different level via the growing assertiveness of Islamic State in the brutal insurgency in Mozambique’s northernmost Cabo Delgado province. Though the precise nature of that insurgency remains hazy, Islamic State has for some months been laying claim to the attacks. The extremists themselves, generally known as Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jama, have proclaimed allegiance to Islamic State.

        The involvement of Islamic State in northern Mozambique seems to be what has eventually jolted the South African government into really taking notice of the insurgency, which started in October 2017 and has killed over 1 400 people.

      • Islamists’ menace endangering peace in entire SADC

        Already, the insurgency is greatly tainting the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC’s) reputation as the most peaceful regional bloc in the continent.

        Recently, ISIS, warned it would “open a fighting front inside South African borders” if it deployed its military to boost the response by the Mozambican government to eradicate the ISIS-affiliated Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jamaah, whose terror has led to the deaths of an estimated 2 000 civilians in the Cabo Delgado. Members of the Mozambican military have also been killed.

        Considering the threat has been issued in coincidence with leaders of the SADC committing to support fellow member Mozambique against the armed groups and terrorists perpetrating bloodshed in the north, the threat could be directed to South Africa but ultimately a menace to the entire bloc.

      • Boko Haram executes aid workers

        The terrorists confirmed that their victims were humanitarian staff of non-governmental organisations.

      • Islamic Extremists Kill 5 Aid Workers in Northeast Nigeria

        Islamic extremists released a video showing the slayings of five aid workers who were abducted last month in northeastern Nigeria.

        Their abductions came around the same time that a Boko Haram splinter group said it would begin targeting Nigerians who work for international aid groups as well as those who help the military.

        Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari issued a statement identifying the victims as staff members of the country’s State Emergency Management Agency and the international charities Action Against Hunger, Rich International and International Rescue Committee.

      • New evidence of Qatar financing anti-Jewish terrorism

        The lawsuit describes how the money was funneled through banks based in New York City, then re-routed to Qatar Charity’s accounts at the Bank of Palestine and the Islamic Bank, which are located in the Palestinian Authority-controlled capital of Ramallah. From there, the funds were distributed to cells of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

        If that’s not bad enough, the German weekly news outlet Die Zeit last week reported evidence that Qatar is also providing financial support to the Hezbollah terrorist group.

      • Shirish Agarwal: Hearing loss, pandemic, lockdown

        While everybody today knows how China has intruded and captured quite a part of Ladakh, this wasn’t the case when they started in April. That time Ajai Shukla had shared this with the top defence personnel but nothing came of it. Then on May 30th he broke/shared the news with the rest of the world and was immediately branded anti-national, person on Chinese payroll and what not. This is when he and Pravin Sawnhey of Force Magazine had both been warning of the same from last year itself. Pravin, has a youtube channel and had been warning India against Chinese intentions from 2015 and even before that. He had warned repeatedly that our obsession with the Pakistan border meant that we were taking eyes of the border with China which spans almost 2300 odd kms. going all the way to Arunachal Pradesh. A good map which shows the conflict can be found at dw.com which I am sharing/reproducing below –

        [...]

        Nepal had been a friend of India for 70 odd years, what changed in the last few years that it changed from friend to enemy ? There had been two incidents in recent memory that changed the status quo. The first is the 2015 Nepal blockade . Now one could argue it either way but the truth is that Nepal understood that it is heavily dependent on India hence as any sovereign country would do in its interest it also started courting China for imports so there is some balance.

        The second one though is one of our own making. On December 16, 2014 RBI allowed Nepali citizens to have cash upto INR 25,000/- . Then in 2016 when demonetization was announced, they said that people could exchange only upto INR 4,500/- which was far below the limit shared above. And btw, before people start blaming just RBI for the decision, FEMA decisions are taken jointly by the finance ministry (FE) as well as ministry of external affairs (MEA) . So without them knowing the decision could not have been taken when announcing it. The result of lowering of demonetization is what made Nepal move more into Chinese hands and this has been shared by number of people in numerous articles in different websites. The wire interview with the vice-chairman of Niti Ayog is pretty interesting. The argument that Nepal show give an estimate of how much old money is there falls flat when in demonetization itself, it was thought of that around 30-40% was black money and would not be returned but by RBI’s own admissions all 99.3% of the money was returned. Perhaps they should have consulted Prof. Arun Kumar of JNU who has extensively written and studied the topic before doing that fool-hardy step. It is the reason that since then, an economy which was searing at 9% has been contracting ever since, I could give a dozen articles stating that, but for the moment, just one will suffice. The slowing economy and the sharp divisions between people based on either outlook, religion or whatever also encouraged China to attack us. This year is not good for India. The only thing I hope Indians and people all over do is just maintain physical distances, masks and somehow survive till middle of next year without getting infected when probably most of the vaccine candidates have been trialed, results are in and we have a ready vaccine. I do hope that at least for once, ICMR shares data even after the vaccine is approved, whichever vaccine. Till later.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Ex-boss of ICANN shifts from ‘advisor’ to co-CEO of private equity biz that tried to buy .org for $1bn+

        The former head of DNS regulator ICANN has been named as co-CEO of a company that launched a controversial attempt to purchase the .org internet registry earlier this year. The news has again raised concerns over the revolving doors between regulators and those who need regulation.

        In the past week, the website of Ethos Capital, the private equity firm that offered $1.13bn to take control of the popular .org registry, was updated to list ex-ICANN CEO Fadi Chehade as its joint head.

        The change is significant because it was Chehade’s involvement in the attempted .org purchase that first alerted internet users that the deal deserved closer scrutiny.

    • Environment

      • Activists Ramp Up Pressure on Other Insurers After Swiss Company Ditches ‘Climate-Wrecking’ Trans Mountain Pipeline

        “Zurich’s decision to walk away from the pipeline just underlines how risky this project has become.”

      • Amid Disappointment Over Party’s Draft Platform, 25,000+ People Urge DNC to Adopt Climate Panel’s Ambitious Policies

        Critics charge Democrats’ current proposal “will not go nearly far enough to secure a just and equitable transition.”

      • Human climate change causes Arctic’s record heat

        The coldest place in the Arctic has experienced record heat. Climate change has made this 600 times more probable.

      • About Our Climate Migration Model

        ProPublica, with The New York Times Magazine and funded by the Pulitzer Center, hired geographer Bryan Jones at Baruch College to build an extended version of a climate migration model that Jones had done with the World Bank for its 2018 report, “Groundswell.” The model aims to understand how climate change might lead to population shifts in Central America and Mexico, including how people may move across borders between these countries and to the United States.

        Jones’ work considers five specific plausible socioeconomic and climate scenarios for the future, which makes it possible to examine the relative importance of different climate and societal futures in terms of their influence in driving migration. The scenarios take into account standard versions of global socioeconomic development — including border management, GDP growth and trade — used by the United Nations scientists, combined with levels of future atmospheric global carbon concentrations also standardized by global climate scientists.

      • Analysis: Aviation Industry Coronavirus Bailouts Contradict Governments’ Climate Commitments

        Despite governments around the world claiming they want to support low-carbon industries in the wake of COVID-19, many have prioritised airlines and plane manufacturers for bailouts with no green strings attached — giving or lending money to some of the world’s biggest polluters.

      • Where Will Everyone Go?

        ProPublica and The New York Times Magazine, with support from the Pulitzer Center, have for the first time modeled how climate refugees might move across international borders. This is what we found.

      • The Coronavirus-Climate-Air Conditioning Nexus

        A wave of persistent, intense heat and humidity has enveloped the Midwest, South, and Northeast in this second half of July. By the time it subsides, more than half of the U.S. population will have been hit with heat indexes above 100; for many, the heat wave will last for several days.

      • Energy

        • Bikes are hot but e-bikes are on fire

          While conventional bike sales declined slightly in 2018 and 2019, e-bikes soared more than 50%, according to data from market research firm NPD. And they’ve gone into overdrive during the coronavirus pandemic. E-bike sales have more than doubled since January, outpacing even huge sales growth in conventional bicycles.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Why Does Essential Work Pay So Little…

        And cost so much?

      • ‘Unconscionable’: As Unemployment Claims Tick Upward, GOP Seeks to Gut $600 Weekly Benefit

        “A disaster of Congress’ making is looming for those who have lost their livelihoods during the global pandemic.”

      • Let the Banks Go Under and Put Money Into the Real Economy

        Ellen Brown: My guest today is Dr. Michael Hudson, who we’re delighted to have on our Public Banking Institute Advisory Board, and who really should be advising the Federal Reserve and the Treasury, but BlackRock seems to have gotten the job. Paul Craig Roberts, who is former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Reagan, called Michael Hudson the greatest economist on the planet. He’s a Wall Street financial analyst, Professor of Economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and author of over two dozen books, including Killing the Host and one called … and Forgive Them Their Debts, which are both particularly relevant today. So it’s great to be speaking with you, Michael.

      • Wells Fargo Reported Giving Only One Large PPP Loan to a Black-Owned Business

        The Trump administration’s reliance on big banks to distribute small business aid under the Paycheck Protection Program and a lack of transparency requirements have resulted in many Black-owned businesses being shut out of the program. One bank, Wells Fargo, reported distributing only one PPP loan larger than $150,000 to a Black-owned business out of the more than 12,000 it gave out.

      • What We Can Learn From Feminist Federal Credit Unions

        Women demanding equality in work opportunities and conditions march along Beacon Street in Boston in March 1970. (Don Preston / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

        At the opening of the Connecticut Feminist Federal Credit Union in August 1974, 24-year-old Dawn Ladd used a bolt cutter to snap a five-foot-long steel chain. Ladd, the credit union’s president, explained that she was symbolically “breaking the economic chains” that tie women down. Susan Osborne, 26 and a cofounder of the credit union, spoke to reporters about the group’s mission: “Our answer to this continuing discrimination is to create our own credit institution, a credit union where we can save money together and where we lend our money, to each other.”

      • As McConnell Tees Up Next Aid Package With Corporate Liability as ‘Red Line,’ Polluters Pushing to Secure Shield Against Covid-19 Lawsuits

        “Corporate liability waivers are just the next phase of a Trump polluter bailout.”

      • Dear Roger Williams University: Tax The Rich And Pay Your Share!

        On July 19, 2020, The Providence Journal published an opinion piece authored by Marcela Betancur of Roger Williams University (RWU) that advocated for a policy agenda that synchronizes with the anti-union orientation of Gov. Gina Raimondo and Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green. The Governor’s entire political career has been financed by the hedge fund sector of Wall Street that backs the demolition of public sector pensions and union-busting charter schools, exemplified by individual donors such as Paul Tudor Jones and Enron alum John Arnold. The Journal is a longtime bastion of anti-labor sentiment. It also is now even more limited as a forum for respondent Letters to the Editor, saying they “welcome letters, and greatly favor those 150 words or less.”As such, I submit my response to Counterpunch in hope of gaining a full venue for an important rebuttal.

      • GOP Floats Slashing Boosted Unemployment Payments to $100 Per Week

        With the final boosted unemployment check set to go out in just three days barring an unlikely last-minute extension by Congress, Senate Republicans are reportedly considering a proposal to slash the $600-per-week benefit boost to $100 — a cut that would drastically reduce the incomes of 30 million Americans and potentially cause massive job loss.

      • Warning, Warning: Republicans Are Plotting to Raid Social Security

        Trump and his GOP allies know that they cannot succeed by attacking Social Security directly. It is too popular. Instead, they profess their support for Social Security, all while undermining the program’s funding so they can demand cuts down the road.

      • Navalny’s group finds lavish real estate owned by Putin’s Far East envoy

        According to a new investigation from Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev is the owner of a large house located in Moscow’s Serebryany Bor Park. Trutnev, who is also the presidential envoy to the Far Eastern Federal District, is known for his difficult relationship with the Khabarovsk Territory’s recently dismissed governor, Sergey Furgal. Putin’s envoy arrived in Khabarovsk unannounced on July 13, in an apparent effort to calm the sustained mass protests that ensued following Furgal’s arrest on July 9.

      • Showing ‘Contempt for the American People,’ GOP Floats Slashing Boosted Unemployment Payments to $100 Per Week

        “Senate Republicans are wildly out of touch with reality. Seriously, just $400 a month? Cutting monthly income for 30 million families by $2,000 would cost the country millions of jobs.”

      • Joblessness Remains at Historic Levels and There Is No Evidence UI Is Disincentivizing Work

        Congress must extend the extra $600 in UI benefits.

      • Little Apples Will Grow Again: the EU, Ireland and the Apple Tax Case

        Last Wednesday there was a collective sigh of relief from the Irish government. The EU’s General Court had ruled against the EU Commission in their case against Ireland/Apple. The Court found that the 0.005% corporate tax rate that Apple had availed of here in Ireland did not constitute illegal state aid.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Defending the US Against Looming Presidential Dictatorship

        At least Vladimir Putin is gaining his  dictatorial powers democratically. He got elected by a solid majority of Russians, and then he went to the Russian Duma and asked for a constitutional change to allow him to continue to be elected through 2030.

      • Opposition YouTuber beaten in Khabarovsk after live-streaming rally for ousted governor

        Reporter Dmitry Nizovtsev, the host of the YouTube channel “Navalny’s headquarters in Khabarovsk,” was beaten after covering a march in support of jailed former governor Sergey Furgal on July 23. Nizovtsev wrote about the attack on Twitter, after which it was reported by Mediazona. 

      • Who Ought to Govern, the President and the People, or the National Security State?

        Donald Trump does not have the qualifications to be President of the United States. He has limited understanding of modern history and the political-economy of the world-system. He is self-centered, and he has an erratic administrative style. He is not the first to occupy the office without the necessary qualifications; but he brings the phenomenon to new heights.

      • Long Overdue for Latin America

        U.S. policy towards Venezuela has been a fiasco. Try as it might, the Trump regime-change team has been unable to depose President Maduro and finds itself stuck with a self-proclaimed president, Juan Guaidó, who President Trump was reported to have called “a kid” who “doesn’t have what it takes.” The Venezuelan people have paid a heavy price for Trump’s debacle, which has included crippling economic sanctions and coup attempts. So has U.S. prestige internationally, as both the UN and the EU have urged lifting sanctions during the pandemic but the U.S. has refused.

      • AOC Rejects Yoho’s Non-Apology in Iconic Speech “I Am Someone’s Daughter Too”

        Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) appeared on the House floor Thursday to address comments directed toward her from Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Florida), who reportedly used derogatory language earlier this week following a heated exchange between the two members of Congress.

      • Judge Says The Bureau Of Prisons Violated Michael Cohen’s 1st Amendment Rights In Sending Him Back To Prison

        I wasn’t expecting this, but this morning Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered Michael Cohen released from prison, saying that the Bureau of Prisons violated his 1st Amendment rights. If you haven’t been following this story beyond the fact that Cohen was sent to prison last year for tax evasion and campaign finance violations, what you need to know is that (following his request for such), Cohen was furloughed from prison to home confinement in May, as the prison system tried to lessen the number of people in prison during the pandemic. A little over a month later, he was returned to prison. While there were reports it had to do with the fact that he was seen eating out, it turned out to be because he refused to sign an agreement saying he would not speak to the media in any form, including saying he could not publish the “tell-all” book he is supposedly writing.

      • McConnell Accused of ‘Doing Everything He Can to Suppress the Vote’ by Proposing $0 in Election Assistance

        “It is outrageous that this proposal contains not one penny to help states conduct safe elections during a global pandemic.”

      • Roger Stone Commutation Violates the Constitution

        Even if we don’t characterize this as a bribe, at a minimum, the public evidence demonstrates that Trump’s purpose in commuting Stone’s sentence is to reward him for covering up for Trump.

      • America’s Penis Envy of the Nazis

        It’s been 75 years since the end of WWII and interest in all things Nazi has seen no end of interest; indeed, you could argue cogently that the monster Herr Docktor Deutschenstein brought to life from the parts of dead people and

      • After Sexist Attack by GOP Colleague, AOC Says on House Floor That Her Parents ‘Did Not Raise Me to Accept Abuse From Men’

        “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of… impunity, of accepting violence and violent language against women.”

      • Russian interference highlights Britain’s political failings

        Russia sows discord and undermines institutions in many Western countries, but Britain is a particular target. The presence of émigrés such as Alexander Litvinenko, who was murdered by the Kremlin, and Sergei Skripal, who nearly suffered the same fate, infuriates Russia’s leadership. It regards Britain as hypocritical and duplicitous for making money from Russians through the “London laundromat” for cleaning money and reputations while offering sanctuary to its opponents. Britain’s special relationship with America also makes it a convenient proxy for Russian attacks on its bigger rival.

      • Scottish Nationalists Urged to Boycott Russian State Media

        The intelligence and security committee of the House of Commons says the effort to encourage Scotland to break away from the United Kingdom is part of a much broader Kremlin bid to destabilize Western democracies.

      • Bill Binney on Russian “Hacking” – Live

        UPDATE Since posting the link to Bill Binney’s talk, a number of people have been in touch to allege that the hosting organisation, the Schiller Institute, has an objectionable right wing or even racist agenda. I am not aware and have no time now to research. I am however 100% certain that Bill Binney, whom I know, is neither right wing nor in any sense racist, and that he has very important things to say. This does not constitute either an endorsement or a condemnation of the Schiller Institute or anybody else who may be present or speaking.

      • William Binney Makes His Case To The World: There Was No Russian [Attack]

        Is there actually a way to know, and to then prove, that the “Russiagate” story of the 2016 elections—a story which resulted in massive federal prosecutions, escalating international tensions, national paralysis, and a presidential impeachment trial—was completely false?

        William Binney, a thirty-year veteran of the National Security Agency and its former technical director, will expose the continuing suppression by British intelligence agencies and their American counterparts of his evidence disproving the entire “Russiagate” story. “We can prove, that all the data that Wikileaks published from the DNC, that was downloaded on the 23rd and 25th of May, and also the 26th of August of 2016; all of that carried the signatures of being downloaded to a thumb drive or a CD-ROM, and physically transported,” Binney says. “So, we can prove that in a court of law. In fact, I put that in sworn affidavits that I submitted in the Roger Stone case and also in the General Flynn case. And the judges would not let my testimony in. I’ve been hard pressed to find anything (Russia) did in the 2016 election, let alone anything they’re trying to do in the 2020 election,” Binney said.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Turkey’s ruling party moving to tighten grip on social media

        The nine-article draft legislation would force social media companies with more than 1 million daily users in Turkey — such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube — to establish a formal presence or assign a representative in Turkey who would be accountable to Turkish authorities legally and for tax purposes.

        A social media company or its representative would also be required to respond within 48 hours to complaints about posts that violate personal and privacy rights.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Ask your MP to sign EDM 719

        EDM 719 acknowledges statements by the National Union of Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and others in relation to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and affirms commitment to press freedom and public-interest journalism.

      • Death of Saudi journalist sparks calls by rights groups for investigation

        In a tweet on Sunday evening, Abdullah al-Odeh – son of imprisoned Saudi cleric Salman al-Odeh – described Shehi’s death as just the latest tragedy in a line of deaths of prominent dissident Saudi journalists, including Khashoggi and Abdullah Hamid.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Standing Up to the Armed and Inarticulate

        American fascism is always a force waiting to be born.

      • Beyond John Muir’s Racism: The Sierra Club and the Changing Face of Environmentalism

        It’s about 100 years too late, but the well-heeled Sierra Club is finally grappling with its founder’s racist past. John Muir, lauded by many as the grandfather of the modern conservation movement, saw the West as a bastion of untrammeled freedom. Not for Indigenous peoples or Black slaves, of course, but for white colonialists.

      • Confronting White Supremacy Can’t Come Through Top-Down “Justice”

        We bear witness to an extraordinary historical moment, one convulsing with both immense pain and opportunity. We’re finally looking in the mirror, facing the truth that we are a nation born not in liberty but in terror — of white supremacy, slavery, genocide, land theft and racial capitalism. At last we are disrupting centuries of denial.

      • California Initiative Moves Away From Relying On Police To Address Mental Health Crises

        As more Americans wake up to the notion of police abolition, one organization in California is already making it a reality. Mental Health First—from the Anti Police-Terror Project—is a community-centered initiative to eliminate the need for law enforcement as the first response to mental health crises.

        On May 22, Maurice Gordon’s friend called the cops concerned about the 28-year-old’s whereabouts. He informed the dispatcher of Gordon’s mental health history, and said Gordon appeared “panicked” and told him he was having a “paranormal experience.” More than 24 hours later, Gordon was fatally shot by a state trooper during a routine traffic stop in New Jersey.

      • Cops and Constitutions

        The cops are violating the Constitution by attacking people exercising their basic rights — — that much is obvious.

      • Moment of Supreme Danger: Trumpism-Fascism Rears its Head

        “What He Wishes He Had: Total Power”

      • It’s Time for the Democratic Party to Mention the Occupation

        The Democratic Party often has meaningful debates when putting together its platform on a range of issues—including one often seen as the third rail of American politics: US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      • The Khabarovsk Territory’s new acting governor is refusing to meet with protesters

        The newly appointed acting governor of Russia’s Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory, Mikhail Degtyarev, does not intend to meet with protesters, who have been carrying out sustained demonstrations in Khabarovsk for nearly two weeks.

      • Bill Barr Celebrates New DOJ ‘Surge’ Targeting Violent Crime By Touting 199 Arrests That Occurred Pre-Surge

        Earlier this month, the DOJ announced the launch of “Operation Legend.” The operation — named after four-year-old homicide victim LeGend Taliferro — targeted cities experiencing spikes in violent crimes, including Kansas City, Missouri, where Taliferro was killed.

      • Tribute to a True Prophet
      • Is Our Generation Ready to Take Up the Torch That John Lewis Lit?

        My mother was born in 1950 in segregated Mississippi. The first time she met the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., she was at home after church in the late ’50s when he visited my grandmother and her young family. My grandmother was a respected schoolteacher, and a lot of those civil rights leaders understood that getting in good with the teachers was a good way to connect with the young people.

      • Federal Prisons Went on Lockdown and Deployed Staff to Quash BLM Protests

        On June 2, for the first time in 25 years, the Bureau of Prisons directed all federal jails and prisons to implement a full lockdown, confining nearly 160,000 people to their cells and severely limiting contact with the outside world. The following day, on the orders of Attorney General William Barr, the Bureau pulled some of its most militarized units out of BOP facilities and deployed them to confront protesters on the streets of Washington, D.C.

      • The Poetry of a Movement to Change This Country

        The word jubilee comes from the Hebrew “yovel,” meaning a “trumpet blast of liberty.” It was said that, on the day of liberation, the sound of a ram’s horn would ring through the land. These days, I hear the sound of that horn while walking with my kids through the streets of New York City, while protests continue here, even amid a pandemic, as they have since soon after May 25th when a police officer put his knee to George Floyd’s neck and robbed him of his life. I hear it when I speak with homeless leaders defending their encampments amid the nightmare of Covid-19. I hear it when I meet people who are tired, angry, and yet, miraculously enough, finding their political voices for the first time. I hear it when I read escaped slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass’s speech on the eve of the Emancipation Proclamation.

      • Brutalized by Thugs

        The people of the United States are being brutalized by thugs. Our leaders, as if we had some leaders, are for the most part, not to be found. Occasionally, one or another will poke their heads out from some enclave they share or they might step into the safety of a secured television or recording studio to offer-up some trite response to the dismantling of the country, but they do not take a firm and committed stand against this present catastrophe which is taking place in the heart of America. They do not call this terror by its name.

      • Paramilitary-Style Tactics in Portland Mirror Decades of U.S. Violence on the Border & Abroad

        The harrowing scenes of paramilitary-style units in the streets of American cities like Portland has shocked mainstream America, but award-winning independent journalist Todd Miller, who has reported on border security and immigration for over a decade, says it’s a reflection of how the U.S. has operated around the world. We also speak with Cecilia Menjívar, UCLA sociology professor, who says the image of unmarked vans snatching people from the streets “brings back memories to Latin Americans who lived through disappearances of families and friends and co-workers.”

      • Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner on Mumia Abu-Jamal, Police Corruption & Reexamining Old Cases

        Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has made addressing police corruption a cornerstone of his time in office, and he says it affects many criminal cases, including that of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has always maintained his innocence for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer for which he has spent four decades behind bars. Within weeks of the end of the trial, a third of the police involved in his case were jailed for systematically tampering with evidence to obtain convictions in cases across the city, and at least one police officer in the case, James Forbes, lied on the stand, saying he had properly handled guns. “It is a microcosm of the realities of what progressive prosecutors face now when they’re trying to go back in time and do justice,” Krasner says of efforts to rectify police abuses steeped in “a culture that used to shred and used to hide and used to destroy.”

      • Philly DA Larry Krasner: Trump Is a “Wannabe Fascist.” I Will Charge His Agents If They Break Law

        As President Trump announces a “surge” of federal agents into major U.S. cities to confront protesters, we speak with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who warns he will arrest and charge Trump’s police forces if they violate the rights of residents in his city. “The law applies to the president of the United States, even though he doesn’t think so. The law applies to law enforcement. The law applies to civilians. It is real simple,” says Krasner. He also discusses the importance of releasing incarcerated people during the pandemic, and tackling police corruption, such as in the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.

      • “This Is Abhorrent”: Portland Mayor Tear Gassed by Federal Officers

        Federal agents sent by President Donald Trump to Portland, Oregon, tear gassed Mayor Ted Wheeler after he joined protesters on Wednesday evening, hoping to de-escalate tensions and address the crowd’s demands for police reform.

      • Paramilitary-Style Tactics in Portland Mirror Decades of Global US Violence

        The harrowing scenes of paramilitary-style units in the streets of American cities like Portland has shocked mainstream America, but award-winning independent journalist Todd Miller, who has reported on border security and immigration for over a decade, says it’s a reflection of how the U.S. has operated around the world. We also speak with Cecilia Menjívar, UCLA sociology professor, who says the image of unmarked vans snatching people from the streets “brings back memories to Latin Americans who lived through disappearances of families and friends and co-workers.”

      • ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over ‘Unconscionable’ Attacks on Portland Medics

        “This lawlessness must end.”

      • The Federal Response to Protests Extends Far Beyond Portland

        In a conspicuous show of force, armed Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers were recently seen in Portland carrying out surveillance and arrests. Agency director Mark Morgan has defended the deployment as measured and restrained. “I will not send any resource out anywhere to confront American citizens,” he told Time. But CBP’s support to local law enforcement has extended far beyond its controversial Portland deployment, and includes not just thousands of personnel but also drones and dozens of other aircraft, according to a CBP document obtained exclusively by The Nation.

      • “Her Front Teeth Were Knocked Out”: Chicago Teen to Sue Police Officer Who Hit Her at a Protest

        Protesters in Chicago are demanding justice after police officers attacked a teenage activist last week during a demonstration in which people attempted to topple a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. An officer struck 18-year-old Miracle Boyd, a recent high school graduate and organizer with the group GoodKids MadCity, in the face, knocking out several teeth. Journalists also reported being mistreated by police officers, who used chemical sprays and batons on protesters. “This is consistent with what we’ve seen from the Chicago Police Department in their response to these uprisings,” says Sheila Bedi, the civil rights lawyer representing Boyd.

      • Why Policing Is Broken

        Years ago, while working on a story for Rolling Stone about why so few white-collar offenders went to jail, I realized I needed to better understand why the criminal-justice system worked with such monstrous efficiency to put poorer people in prison.

      • Bigotry against black people poisons the Arab world, too

        For years activists have urged the government to scrap the kafala system, which prevents foreign workers from leaving an abusive employer without also leaving the country. Economic crisis may make the issue less pressing: fewer Lebanese can afford to employ foreign maids. In June a Ghanaian television channel covered the return of 211 citizens from Lebanon, most of them female domestics. They described long hours, beatings and having to steal food to survive. “No one should make that mistake and go back to Lebanon,” one woman said. “They don’t respect us.” ■

      • As Trump Threatens Cities, Philadelphia’s DA Prepares to Uphold the Rule of Law

        “My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,” Krasner announced Tuesday. “Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office.”

      • UN Warns Too Few Islamic State Women Are Facing Justice

        And some analysts fear the longer they stay there, the harder it will be to ensure any of them answer for potential crimes.

        “It becomes harder and harder to gather that evidence,” said Devorah Margolin, a senior research fellow with George Washington University’s Program on Extremism.

        “People become less cooperative,” she said. “Or memories aren’t as strong as they were when incidents first happened.”

      • The fallen Buddha

        The Buddha, of course, is destroyed. It had been found accidentally, and it is evident from the video that it was in good condition when it was found. It will never be in good condition again. Even after the men have been punished, put in prison for five years or been made to pay Rs2m, the destroyed piece from so long ago will never be whole again. That is the thing with things that are destroyed; they can never be returned to what they were.

      • Moroccan Christians repeatedly arrested

        He added that it is even more dangerous for Christian converts when allegations of blasphemy are made -Christians have been held for several days and there have been incidents of violence.

        The human rights activist said that police have also threatened spouses and children with arrest.

      • Yemenis outraged after imam issues fatwa to kill young ‘magician’

        In a social media campaign that has picked up speed in just two days, Yemenis expressed solidarity with Mohammed Abdul Karim, known by his stage name Mohammed Tika, condemning a Friday sermon that called for his killing over his talent.

        The campaign was launched after the imam of the Othman bin Affan mosque in the coastal city of Aden incited violence against Tika, including making permissible his killing, after the young magician was hired to do a magic show at the opening of a new mall.

      • The Dignity of Labor

        Despite the outpouring of praise for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, their own interests continue to come second to the broader public’s need for cheap and reliable labor.

        [...]

        These essential workers have long faced harsh conditions on the job, regardless of the economic and political context. This was the case even in the 1960s when a tight labor market increased wages for unskilled workers and when organized labor was at its strongest. “So often we overlook the work and the significance of those who are not in professional jobs, of those who are not in the so-called big jobs,” Martin Luther King Jr. stated to sanitation workers on strike in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1968. “But let me say to you tonight, that whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity, and it has worth.”

        The problems facing the sanitation workers in Memphis stemmed from their exclusion from federal labor laws that had protected the rights of mostly white, male industrial workers to form unions and bargain collectively for better wages and working conditions since the 1930s. This exclusion was rooted in policies aimed at ensuring the availability and affordability of essential goods and services, which stretched back to the Progressive Era. Reformers insisted that rapid urbanization and industrialization required city and state governments to provide services that had previously been performed within private households, such as child care, healthcare, food preparation, cleaning, and waste disposal. They coined the terms “Public Housekeeping” and “Municipal Housekeeping” to explain the transition.
        The comparison between domestic and public service helped to legitimize women’s participation in public life and leadership in city government, but it also encouraged officials to adopt racist and sexist assumptions that had informed structures of domestic servitude for centuries. In 1930 the trade journal The American City published an article by a Philadelphia sanitation engineer, which boasted of various methods used to reduce costs and raise funds. It was illustrated with a photograph of African-American women sorting rubbish for material that could be sold or burned for heat. “Colored women are used for this work,” the engineer informed readers, adding: “many typical mammies are found there.”

        That a prominent professional journal would employ such derogatory language to describe city employees demonstrates how uncritically assumptions about the value of domestic labor were adapted to essential public services. And through the 1930s, conservatives fretted that increasing public employment would deprive them of low-wage household labor. “Five Negroes on my place in South Carolina refused work this Spring, after I had taken care of them and given them house rent free and work for three years during bad times saying they had easy jobs with the government,” wrote a prominent critic of New Deal employment programs in 1934.

      • In the news: US not a safe third-country for refugees, says Canadian court

        Returning asylum seekers to the United States under a “safe third-country” agreement violates human rights protections contained in Canada’s constitution, according to a 22 July ruling by Canada’s Federal Court.

        The ruling found that the United States is no longer a safe third-country because US authorities “immediately and automatically” imprison returned asylum seekers. People returned under the agreement face “cruel and unusual detention conditions, solitary confinement, and the risk of refoulement… [which are] ‘entirely outside the norms accepted in our free and democratic society’,” according to the decision by Justice Ann Marie McDonald.

        The evidence presented in the case, brought by a coalition of human rights groups and individual litigants, was “sufficient to ‘shock the conscience’,” the ruling added.

        “The Canadian court ruling is a strong condemnation of US asylum and detention policies,” Human Rights First, a US NGO that provided expert testimony in the case, said in a press release. “The ruling confirms that these policies are inconsistent with the Refugee Convention and the norms of free and democratic societies.”

      • The closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston from the trade secret perspective

        Former Katonomist, Nicola Searle, has devoted significant research attention as Senior Lecturer and Digital Economy Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London, to the issue of trade secrets. She brings her insights to the issue of the closure by the U.S. government of the Chinese consulate in Houston.

        With countries around the world furiously trying to develop COVID treatments and vaccines, and with the potential economic and health reward enormous, the race is on. Reports that malicious state actors (particularly Russian and Chinese actors) are targeting COVID research through economic espionage increasingly link national security to trade secrets. All of this has culminated in the announcement on Wednesday that the US has ordered China to close its Houston consulate.

        A quick lesson in trade secrets and espionage. Not all jurisdictions recognise trade secret theft as a criminal act. US law treats the ‘theft of trade secrets’ as a federal crime. American international trade agreements increasingly criminalise trade secret misappropriation. Trade secret theft is largely synonymous with ‘industrial’ or ‘corporate’ espionage. ‘Economic espionage,’ on the other hand, is the theft of trade secrets to benefit a foreign entity. ‘Foreign entity’ includes means foreign governments and foreign corporations, whose power can exceed that of nations.

        [...]

        Defendants with Chinese nationality are identified in at least 30% (59 of 202) of the cases in my database of all American federal trade secrets criminal cases (covering 1996-2018). Indeed, the number of publicly known prosecutions of Chinese nationals may likely be significantly lower than the number of cases the US government has actually identified, as other cases may not be made public due to national security issues or not be pursued for political/strategic reasons.

        None of this is new, as nations have for a very long time ‘stolen’ IP from each other. Nations happily engage in economic espionage when they are still developing their economies, but their public stance changes once they develop enough knowledge to become targets themselves. The United States itself is known to have engaged in such activities as recently as 1995, here.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Why Is The Boys And Girls Club Trying To Kill A Cable Monopoly’s Merger Conditions?

        Earlier this month, we noted that Charter (Spectrum) had been lobbying the FCC to eliminate conditions affixed to its 2015 merger with Time Warner Cable. As part of those conditions Charter had to not only adhere to basic net neutrality (regardless of the fact that lobbyists had already killed FCC net neutrality rules), but it was also prohibited from imposing arbitrary, bullshit usage caps and overage fees, or engaging in the kind of “interconnection” shenanigans that caused Netflix streams to slow for Verizon customers earlier this decade. It also had to expand broadband coverage, which it failed utterly at.

    • Monopolies

      • Big Tech CEOs ready defenses for U.S. Congress hearing into their growing power

        The chief executives of four of the largest U.S. tech companies plan to deflect criticism next week in a Congressional hearing into their use of market power to hurt rivals by saying they themselves face competition and by debunking claims they are so dominant.

        The CEOs of Facebook, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet’s Google and Apple, are set to speak before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel on July 27. They will present their testimonies virtually, according to sources familiar with their plans.

      • Patents

        • Lord Justices Floyd and Arnold disagree on the inventiveness of expandable hoses [2020] EWCA Civ 871

          Some of the best inventions are the most simple. When judging the inventiveness of a simple invention, it is difficult not to be prejudiced by hindsight. An invention may seem obvious once an inventor has pointed the way, making it hard to recognise the inventive leap that was required. The case of Emson v Hozelock ([2020] EWCA Civ 871) considered whether a relatively technically simple invention was non-obvious in view of an obscure prior art document. The invention was found obvious using the UK legal test for inventive step, in a result that the judges themselves noted might seem unfair. The difficultly inherent in the case was reflected by the disagreement between the two patent specialist judges who heard the case, Lord Justices Arnold and Floyd.

          The EP (UK) patent (EP2657585) related to a collapsible garden hose, the Xhose. The Xhose was invented by a sole inventor, Mr Berardi, in his garden. The Xhose, licensed to Emson, has enjoyed considerable commercial success but has been facing competition in the UK from a rival product, Hozelock’s SuperHose. The Court of Appeal considered Emson’s appeal from a High Court decision finding the Xhose patent obvious in view of a prior art patent document, McDonald (US 2003/0000530).

          [...]

          On appeal, Emson argued that the High Court’s conclusion that the Xhose was obvious was based on an analysis tainted by hind-sight. Emson further argued that the considerable commercial success of the Xhose was evidence of its non-obviousness. Given that McDonald had been around for a long time, if the invention had been so obvious, surely someone would have designed such a hose before Mr Berardi?

          However, both Arnold LJ and Floyd LJ were in agreement that the commercial success of Mr Berardi’s invention could not be relied on to demonstrate inventiveness. As Floyd LJ put it, whilst “viewed against the common general knowledge of garden hoses, the invention was one of breathtaking ingenuity”, the issue of obviousness had to be assessed with respect to the state of the art, i.e. McDonald, not the common garden hose.

          Arnold LJ agreed with the High Court that McDonald related generally to the field of self-elongating hoses that could be used for multiple purposes, including garden hoses. Arnold LJ thus found that a skilled person would combine the disclosure of McDonald with their common general knowledge of garden hoses to arrive at the invention. Arnold LJ importantly noted the lack of anything in McDonald that would teach way from applying the disclosure to garden hoses. Arnold LJ therefore found that hindsight had not tainted the High Court’s finding that the Xhose was obvious in view of McDonald.

          [...]

          All of the judges commented that, to a casual observer, the Xhose would seem obviously inventive or expressed sympathy for the sole inventor when finding his “simple and brilliant invention” obvious in view of a niche patent document of which the inventor had not been aware (see Arnold LJ at para. 76). Does this perhaps suggest that the problem-solution approach may be a better test for assessing obviousness than Windsurfer/Pozzoli? The problem-solution approach incorporates the idea that the best starting point for an inventive step analysis is a disclosure from the same field as the invention in preference to a document from a different field. The Problem-Solution approach thus gives more weight to whether a skilled person would be motivated to seek out other documents in order to solve a problem. Interestingly, the USPTO approach is again different. The USPTO generally gives very little credence to the argument that a skilled person would not be motivated to combine prior art documents from very disparate fields.

          Regardless of your view with respect to the merits or otherwise of Windsurfer/Pozzoli, this case undoubtedly provides some interesting commentary on how to apply the test.

        • Webinar Materials – Amplifying Underrepresented Voices at the PTAB

          During this webinar, we discussed current diversity issues in the PTAB bar, such as those highlighted in the PTAB Bar Association’s 2019 Report on Women at the PTAB and The ABA and NALP’s After the JD III: Third Results from a National Study of Legal Careers. We spoke about efforts being made to diversify the bar, including the PTAB’s LEAP initiative. We concluded the discussion with our panelists offering their personal endeavors to ensure diversity in their own companies and how they started their careers in their respective industries.

        • Clarifications and outstanding questions on the PEB online exams

          First, the exam will still be closed book. The possibility of changing the exam to open book was briefly considered, but was thought to be too big a step on top of the changes that will already be taking place this year. However, importantly, screen breaks will be provided: a 10 minute break for 4 hour exams, and 20 minutes for the 5 hour exam. The format of the breaks has not yet been determined. In view of the time pressure of the exam, it seems unlikely to this Kat that, given an extra 20 minutes, many candidates will not just struggle on without a break if given the chance.

          Mr Williams assured candidates that a flaky internet connection will not result in an automatic fail. The issue will be flagged by the proctoring software and followed-up on. Furthermore, an emergency contact number will be provided in case of serious technical issues. Candidates will only be permitted to work from one monitor, but there will be no restrictions (so far as Mr Williams is aware), to the size or type of this monitor. Food and drink will be permitted, but drinks containers will need to be transparent.

          Thankfully, the proctoring software will permit candidates to take toilet breaks. Candidates will have to “announce” to the system that they are going to visit the bathroom.

          Unfortunately, it seems that there will not be any flexibility with regards to the 31 August 2020 cut-off date for candidates to specify where they will take the exam. This may cause difficulties for candidates who are moving house, moving jobs, or are located in an area that becomes subject to local lock-down. However, Mr Williams assured candidates that a pragmatic approach will be taken in exceptional circumstances, such as a local lock-down.

          Candidates with busy houses (children, partners, cats…) may also have difficulties, as any disturbances will be flagged by the software. Candidates were also warned off from taking the exam at work in glass offices.

        • Software Patents

          • Another Dominion Harbor subsidiary, Pure Data Systems, patent held unpatentable

            On July 22, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) issued a final written decision in Unified Patents, LLC v. Pure Data Systems, LLC, holding all challenged claims of U.S. Patent 5,999,947 unpatentable. The ‘947 patent is owned by Pure Data Systems, LLC, a Dominion Harbor subsidiary and well-known NPE, and is directed to distributing database changes to one or more client computers. The ‘947 patent has been asserted in 16 district court cases against such companies as Electronic Arts, Spotify, CNN, CBS, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others.

          • Sanctions against the Attorney

            The district court quickly dismissed that defense finding it “squarely foreclosed by recent Supreme Court precedent. See Microsoft Corp. v. i4i Ltd. P’ship, 131 S. Ct. 2238, 2241 (2011). MORryde then amended its complaint to add a counterclaim to the same effect. Having none of that, the district court granted sanctions against attorney Fountain (but not MORryde) with an accounting of $16,000. Fountain immediately appealed the sanction to the Federal Circuit, but that appeal was dismissed for lack of final judgment in the case. By that time, Fountain had withdrawn from representing MORryde (on request of the client). Meanwhile as the case moved forward Fountain filed additional papers in the court including documents allegedly protected by attorney-client privilege in order to protect himself from potential further sanctions (even though his former client was not seeking sanctions). That filing was stricken from the record by the district court judge.

            Fountain filed this appeal once the parties finally settled the case in 2019. On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed in a 2-paragraph per curiam decision — finding no abuse of discretion in the sanction award. In addition, the appellate panel held that Fountain did not have any right to appeal the district court’s striking of his filing from the record — since that striking did not constitute a sanction. [Fed. Cir. Decision]. The appeal was interesting because it was Fountain against both parties in the lawsuit–the plaintiff who sued his former client and his former client.

            [...]

            The problem with Fountain’s argument here is that these cases go to the issue of when questions of law require clear and convincing evidence. The sanctioned pleadings did not attempt to make any kind of law/fact distinction but instead argued the constitutional question.

      • Trademarks

        • Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Pet Just Applied For Trademark On Jingle For Some R-R-R-Reason

          I’ll forgive you if you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about Chia Pets lately. This is, after all, 2020 and not the 90s and we a couple of things going on that have probably held your attention. If you’re so young that you don’t remember these things, they’re essential potted plants shaped like a variety of animals, objects, and celebrities, laden with grass seeds that grow and look like hair and oh my god why is this a thing? Regardless, the product, first developed in the 70s, became popularized in the 90s and was advertised with a well-known jingle: ch-ch-ch-Chia! While Chia Pets are still sold today, they are no longer the cultural icon that they were in these earlier times.

      • Copyrights

        • [Guest Post] Anne Black’s copyright battle part II: how low can you go? – not that low

          The IPKat team is grateful to Hanne Kirk and her team at Gorrissen Federspiel (Denmark) for an update on the fascinating copyright dispute involving the designer, Anne Black:

          Last year, this GuestKat wrote her first IPKat post about the decision from the Danish Maritime and Commercial Court in the case between Anne Black and Salling Group, which is the company behind the Danish discount supermarket Netto. The case was appealed and, on 11 June 2020, the High Court of Eastern Denmark gave its decision, thereby ending this long and media-intensive copyright dispute.

        • From Educators to Illustrators: Meet the Users of CC Search

          It’s been over a year since CC Search moved out of beta (we just celebrated its first birthday!), and we now have a better idea of who we serve and their needs thanks to user feedback and insights derived from anonymized data. We’re excited to share with you what we’ve learned!

        • Google Takes No Action for 99.2% of Copyright Notices Targeting Internet Archive

          Copyright holders and anti-piracy groups might want to consider best use of their resources when sending takedown notices to Google targeting the Internet Archive. According to data published by Google, 99.2% of complaints against IA result in ‘no action taken’, with just 0.1% of complaints resulting in some kind of takedown.

        • Charter Demands More Evidence from Anti-Piracy Tracking Company

          Internet provider Charter wants piracy tracking outfit MarkMonitor to share all evidence requested as part of an ongoing piracy liability lawsuit. The RIAA’s anti-piracy partner says that it has handed all data over but Charter is missing hundreds of thousands of ‘evidence packages’ and other relevant information.

        • Judge Benchslaps Richard Liebowitz Again Over His Request To Not Have To Tell Everyone About Previous Sanctions

          Judge Jesse Furman clearly is not interested in copyright troll Richard Liebowitz’s games any more. As you may recall, Furman put together that massive benchslap of Liebowitz last month, detailing the many, many, many times Liebowitz failed to follow court orders, and plenty of examples of where he appeared to lie to the court. Furman also included an appendix with an astounding list of 40 examples in other cases where Liebowitz had been found to similarly fail to follow court orders and/or lie to the court. The ruling concluded with Liebowitz being sanctioned a bit over $100k, but also with requirements that he send the order to all of his clients and every other judge handling a Liebowitz case.

        • Japan’s Top Court Says 45 Million Twitter Users Must Check That Anything They Retweet Is Not A Copyright Infringement

          Earlier this year, Techdirt reported on an extremely serious development in the world of Japanese copyright, with a new law that will make copyright infringement a criminal offense. Now the country’s Supreme Court has issued a ruling that will make using Twitter in Japan more of a risk, legally speaking. The case concerns a photo of a flower, originally posted on a web site in 2009, with the photographer’s name and copyright notice. As often happens, the photo was then tweeted without the photographer’s consent, and was further retweeted. The problem is that Twitter uses “smart auto-cropping” of images, with the aim of focusing on “salient” regions, and thus increasing the likelihood of someone looking at and engaging with the tweet. Twitter’s auto-cropped version of the photo did not include the photographer’s name or copyright notice.

How Social Control Media Works: The Case of Twitter, Visualised and Annotated

Posted in Deception at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Zoom in or click below for full view/size

Twitter Visualised and Annotated

A: We suggest you listen to people you quite likely dislike, based on our “Hey Hi” (AI) algorithm, optimised to stir up confrontation

B: We tell you what the news is, according to Twitter Inc.

C: We throw a cryptic clue to ‘clickbait’ you into a trail of meaningless and out-of-context tweets (because your time is worthless, just scroll on)

D: We throw pop-ups at you to give you the illusion of control, privacy, etc.

E: We decide for you what tweets you need to read (it’s not about who you follow, chronological timelines are dead because they put you in control)

F: We’ve repeatedly asked you to upload more files for the surveillance engines; the more you upload, the more we reward you

G: We want to know what you have in mind and gossip too is good

H: We insist that the more “likes” there are, the more accurate and important it is (not the person)

I: Submit comments, they help us sell ads and keep people in the site more active (“engaged”)

J: Talk as if you have “private messages” (but we read everything and relay — or lose — this data)

K: Help us categorise people; lists that cluster people help the state control the population

L: Keep your bookmarks dependent on a private company in “clown computing” (vendor lock-in)

M: We always want to keep you totally distracted, addicted and we conflate this with “popularity” or “success” (your online “friends” and “followers”)

N: Find random things that corporations think will net them more profits (you’re bored, right?)

O: Our site is your “home”, the centre of your universe (see logo above; harmless bird)

P: Waste more time in our site, as “engagement” gives us power

Q: Even Christine is starting to understand how annoying Social Control Media really is (it’s like a design flaw)

R: We expand your links onto a “card” (even when the links themselves are more descriptive and informative than some site’s logo)

S: We give you an illusion that we value your privacy when in fact violating it is our business model

S+: Missing option? Can I have no ads at all?

Extra: You need several megabytes of HTML, CSS, JavaScript and fonts just to render a message or a bunch of messages (at most 280 characters long)

How to Dismiss One’s Opposition or Discredit One’s Exposer/s Without Doing or Saying Anything of Substance

Posted in Deception at 11:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It does not rhyme and it does not matter

“Position responsibilities: demolish competition by knowing everything they do and thwarting their every move in the relevant space.”

Microsoft employment ad for a ‘Developer Evangelist’

Summary: This is not a poem and it’s not intended to be seen or read as such; but there are several subtleties in the message

THEY envy our freedom

Expounded the politician

They want the women, the money, the children…
If not, they must me racist

Hypocrites, for sure!
Altogether misinformed…

They’re bigots, Nazi nationalists
Or socialists sans Marxism

They’re “FASCISTS!”
Or contrariwise “antifa!”

All they want is to loot
To pirate our intellectual property

They want to take society down
Antivaxxers, what a bunch of loonies

Corruption is merely a perception
The perception of corruption

“Bribery” is a bad term
When some “contribute” and “support” and “Summer of Code”

Sure, he made a fortune
For the genetically superior mind he is

Sure, she had connections
But you connect the dots too much

Why not find a hobby?
Here, there’s this football match

Don’t you like celebrities?
Sure you have no social life

Corporations are really people
Stop offending them, respect the brand at least

Anger leads to violence
Verbal violence is now a thing

Freedom of thought ignites thinking
So it’s the free speech that’s abominable

Mental wards we have aplenty
To facilitate those in least need

The revolt of the rich
Top-bottom class war certainly

So much to be angry about
Big governments taxing those who have most… to lose

Firearms are bad, except… just join the army
War brings in the money, for sellers, not receivers

Critics are only opportunists
Unlike the profiteers

Sick in the head are sources of provocation
For greed is not a sickness

Truth be said, the game may seem rigged
Join the game, rig along, you too may enjoy the spoils

People have their voices
We judge them by their salaries

And protests are unorganised chaos
They interfere with corporate profits

Go back home, dear people
Go and mind your own business, not businesses’

The strategies shall remain benign
Language will be sanitised for your protection

[Meme] VMware Violates the GPL. But It Compensates With ‘Search and Replace’…

Posted in Deception, GPL at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related and older: The Linux Foundation Has Helped VMware Lie About Its Deliberate GPL Violations That are Connected to Microsoft, Another Prolific GPL Violator | The Openwashing of VMware, Sponsored by the Linux Foundation (in Turn Sponsored by VMware) | Openwashing Report: The Linux Foundation Champions Openwashing of GPL-Violating VMware

Oh, they caught us violating the GPL. But we don't want to actually comply by liberating our code.

VMware: OK, we’ve heard you. We’ll do something about our violations…

VMware to stop describing hardware as ‘male’ and ‘female’ in new terminology guide

Summary: Finally, albeit belatedly, VMware responds to its illegal behaviour (without actually tackling that behaviour, just cheap and rather shallow tokens of ethics or “corporate responsibility”)

Art 7(2) UPCA Doomed Unitary Patent (UPC) for Good

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

If they envision a pan-European system without the UK (less beneficial to their agenda), they’ll need to start all over again

Space-time

Summary: The UK completely rejects the EU’s Court of Justice (CJEU) and if one judges the UPC Agreement (UPCA) it seems rather clear that there’s simply no way forward for the UPCA, which was only ratified by one essential country (France)

THE EPO’s insiders might think that UPC is so dead that it's not even worth commenting on anymore. We beg to differ because setting the record straight is important also for the future’s sake. Facts matters, constitutions matter, and laws cannot be arbitrarily changed if they violate constitutions.

This morning we spotted the 17th comment here, citing FRKelly’s Donal M. Kelly (UPC boosters for many years). The commenter calls that “[a]n interesting view coming from Ireland!” (The prior comments are mostly reply to a sort of Internet troll, who has long posted pro-Battistelli junk and Team UPC lies).

“One thing is sure Art 7(2) UPCA remains a stumbling block,” this comment continues (there’s a similar comment here at the very bottom). “One more nail in the coffin of the new attempt for Germany to attempt an new ratification. The common declaration under Art 33(1) VLCT wished by the Ministry of Justice seems less and less probable.”

“Yes, London is a strict requirement, so one cannot just swap it with another place and leap ahead.”Kelly, being a UPC booster (the firm’s track record was noted here before), writes this: “Just this week, the UK has withdrawn its ratification of the UPC Agreement on the basis that participating in a court that applies EU law and is bound by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) is inconsistent with the aim of becoming an independent self-governing nation.

“So… onwards without the UK!

“Actually, that’s not so straightforward!

“A.7(2) of the UPC Agreement places the seat of the central division of the UPC in Paris, with sections in London and Munich.”

Yes, London is a strict requirement, so one cannot just swap it with another place and leap ahead. It doesn’t work that way. The European Patent Office (EPO) knows it, hence Benoît Battistelli warned about the impact of ‘Brexit’ ahead of the 2016 referendum. António Campinos, being a ghost of Battistelli, is just leaning on the German injustice minister. That says a lot about him and his view on justice/judges/Justices (like the FCC’s).

As even the UPC booster admits, UPCA is now ‘invalid’. Any progress strictly requires “amendment to the Agreement” and then another round of ratifications (at a time when many constitutional complaints are raised around Europe and governments walk away from the plan). In Kelly’s own words:

Although the central division could theoretically maintain a section in London as the section will only be geographically located in the UK, but will jurisdictionally still fall under the UPC – the question is whether, politically, the central division could maintain a section in the UK. Likely, there will be a strategic manoeuvre to try to wrestle the section to another Contracting Member State, which will in any case require an amendment to the Agreement.

The people who crafted UPCA already said, even out in the open, that the setback from the FCC meant half a decade of lost ‘progress’; one of them even wrote an article to state this candidly and he’s being too optimistic. Considering the fact that UPC has been floating around for about 15 years already (without breakthrough) one can expect a whole decade of expensive struggle from Team UPC (so expensive in fact that they might not want to bother).

[Meme] Inhumane EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: EPO’s Elodie Bergot Calls Staff Suicide Just ‘Passing Away’, Pretends to Care

Kirk Klingon Star Trek TUC meeting: My husband thanks you for giving me this job of bullying people; How could I put humans in charge of Human Resources?

Summary: EPO insiders would know what this meme is all about

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