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08.09.20

Links 9/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC and New Interview With Richard Stallman

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 5 of the Best Linux Laptops in 2020

      If you’re shopping for a laptop and know you’re planning to run Linux, you can either get any laptop, reformat the hard drive and install your favorite Linux distro on it or just get a laptop that is running Linux right out of the box. Here are some of the best Linux laptops you can get in 2020.

      [...]

      These all come preloaded with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, which is a solid base for any of the various flavors or just vanilla Ubuntu. Many of the drivers have been contributed upstream by Dell, so many distros that use newer kernels should be able to take full advantage of the Killer Wi-Fi cards and Intel Iris Plus Graphics.

      [...]

      Pine64 has been in the news often for its Pinephone, but the Pinebook Pro is another great product from them. It’s a 14” ARM laptop that weighs less than 3 lbs/1.5 KG and sips power. It’s a great little machine that helps to push Linux forward on the ARM platform and comes in just under $200.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Exploring Desktop Alternatives Live

        Exploring Desktop Alternatives Live – This stream will do a full Debian Install and customize the Desktop Environment to something new.

      • TuxURLs And Other Linux News Aggregators Worth Checking Out

        There’s always way too much news too look at and I find that the easiest way to deal with this is too use some sort of Linux news aggregation service to filter out the garbage that I don’t really want to see and today we’re going to take a look at a couple of those Linux news aggregators which I think are worth checking out. One such example is TuxURLs which as you’ll see if you watch towards the end of the video is my personal favourite for very self centred reasons.

      • Distrohopping Sucks. I’m Never Leaving You Again, Arch Linux!

        In the last 24 hours, I have distrohopped 8 times on my main production machine. Several failed installs and several bottles of wine later, I realized I messed up. You never quit a good thing, and I had a good thing with the Arch-based distros, especially Arco.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Plumbers currently sold out

        Linux Plumbers is currently sold out of regular registration tickets. Although the conference is virtual this year our virtual platform cannot support an unlimited number of attendees, hence the cap on registration. We are currently reviewing our capacity limits to see if we can allow more people to attend without over burdening the virtual platform and potentially preventing discussion. We will make another announcement next week regarding registration.

      • Linux 5.9 Supports A Lot Of New Audio Hardware, Intel Silent Stream Added

        The Linux kernel continues supporting a lot more audio devices and much more punctual than a decade or two ago.

      • Linux 5.9 Networking Changes Are As Active As Ever

        Each kernel cycle the networking subsystem sees a lot of churn given the importance of network interconnect performance and reliability especially in high performance computing environments where Linux dominates.

      • Several Drivers Promoted Out Of Staging With Linux 5.9

        The “staging” area of the kernel, where new drivers and other code live that has yet to prove itself or live up to kernel code quality standards, saw a few drivers graduate into Linux mainline proper for the current 5.9 cycle.

        Linux 5.9′s staging area is quite vibrant along with the IIO (Industrial I/O) changes sent in as part of the pull request as usual by Greg Kroah-Hartman.

      • Linux 5.9 Brings More IBM POWER10 Support, New/Faster SCV System Call ABI

        With Linux 5.8 there is initial support for booting POWER10 CPUs while with Linux 5.9 there is more POWER10 work underway. Additionally, Linux 5.9 is bringing support for the newer and faster system call ABI for POWER9 and newer with the SCV instruction.

        Linux 5.9 has “support for a new faster system call ABI using the scv instruction on Power9 or later.” That is the recently covered work on POWER System Call Vectored (SCV). Using SCV can utilize faster registers and reducing machine specific register updates among other benefits for existing POWER9 CPUs and future POWER10 hardware.

      • AMD Sensor Fusion Hub Driver Under Review A Sixth Time For Linux

        While a lot of interesting changes are coming for the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel, sadly a long overdue change isn’t going to make the merge window and that is the AMD Sensor Fusion Hub driver.

        The AMD Sensor Fusion Hub is utilized by some AMD Zen laptops for accelerometer and gyroscopic sensors on the devices, akin to the Intel Sensor Hub (ISH) that has long been supported under Linux. While the Sensor Fusion Hub (SFH) is used by laptops going back to Zen 1 hardware, it was only earlier this year that the AMD SFH Linux driver was posted.

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa To Join Other Open-Source Projects With “Main” For Primary Code Branch

          This week Mesa developers began drafting plans for transitioning their primary Git branch to “main”, following the naming plans of other open-source projects using Git.

          With Git now allowing a configurable default branch and GitHub working to transition from “master” to “main” as their default Git branch name, various other open-source projects have also been working to change their default Git branch name. Most open-source projects have been settling for “main” as the best and most descriptive default branch name rather than alternatives like trunk, default, etc. Mesa developers are similarly aiming for a “main” transition.

    • Applications

      • Linux Weekly Roundup: Ubuntu 20.04.1, LibreOffice 7, Pinta – Aug 8, 2020

        Here’s a recap for the week in the form of weekly roundup, curated for you from the Linux and opensource world on application updates, new releases, distribution updates, major news, and upcoming trends.

        This week there has been plenty of app updates, distribution release announced. With so many moving items happening all around the Linux and the open-source world, it is not always possible to cover the updates, especially the minor releases of news.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Frameworks 5.73 Released with Many Changes to Breeze Icons, Kirigami and KNewStuff

          KDE Frameworks 5.73 is a monthly update to the open-source software suite, but it packs a lot of interesting changes. For example, the Kirigami UI builder received a new FlexColumn component and now supports action visibility in the GlobalDrawer, along with optimizations to the mobile layout and to the accessibility of the Kirigami input fields.

          The Breeze icon theme saw a lot of changes too during the development cycle of KDE Frameworks 5.73, and it now comes with a bunch of new icons for Kontrast, kirigami-gallery, snap-angle, document-replace, SMART status, task-recurring, appointment-recurring, Overwrite action/button, and applications/pkcs12 mime type.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Elementary OS 6: What’s Coming In The Next Major Version?

          In January of this year, Co-founder & CXO of elementary OS Cassidy James Blaede revealed that the upcoming elementary OS 6 will be based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. In the latest update blog, he has now further highlighted the new features coming in this major version.

          Though before a beta release, a lot of work is still to be done on elementary OS 6, the planned features are still undergoing work. Surprisingly, you can also try the pre-release build of elementary OS 6 using recently launched Early Access Builds.

        • Porteus-v5.0rc2 is released

          After nearly 14 months and a lot of developments (circumstantial and technical), Team Porteus is happy to announce Porteus-v5.0rc2.

      • BSD

        • Recovering 2.11BSD, fighting the patches

          Well, if we have patch 195, and all 195 patches, what’s the problem? Why can’t you do a simple for loop and patch -R to get back to original? And for that matter, why were no copies of the original saved?

          Turns out the root of both of these problems can be summarized as ‘resource shortage’. Back in the day when this was released, 100MB disks were large. The release came on 2 mag tapes that held 40MB each. Saving a copy of these required a substantial amount of space. And it was more important to have the latest release, not the original release, for running the system. It was more efficient and better anyway.

          In addition to small disk space, these small systems were connected via USENET or UUCP. These connections tended to be slow. Coupled with the small size of the storage on the PDP-11s running 2.11BSD, the patches weren’t what we think of as modern patches. The patches started before the newer unified diff format was created. That format is much more efficient that the traditional context diffs. In addition, compress(1) was the only thing that could compress things, giving poor compression ratios. The UUCP transport of usenet messages also mean that the messages had to be relatively short. So, this mean that the ‘patches’ were really an upgrade process, that often included patches. But just as often, it included instructions like this from patch 4: [...]

        • NetBSD on the NanoPi NEO2

          The NanoPi NEO2 from FriendlyARM has been serving me well since 2018, being my test machine for OpenBSD/arm64 related things.

          As NetBSD/evbarm finally gained support for AArch64 in NetBSD 9.0, released back in February, I decided to give it a try on this device. The board only has 512MB of RAM, and this is where NetBSD really shines. Things have become a lot easier since jmcneill@ now provides bootable ARM images for a variety of devices, including the NanoPi NEO2.

      • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva/OpenMandriva Family

        • Mageia 8 Beta 1 Linux distro now available with KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Xfce

          Development of Mageia 8 seems to be progressing nicely, which is good news for fans of the Linux-based operating system. Last month, we shared that the first Alpha of the distribution was available for testing, and now today, the first Beta arrives.

          As with the Alpha, the Beta is available with your choice of three desktop environments — KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Xfce. All three are available in 64-bit Live ISO images, but the 32-bit variant of the operating system is limited to Xfce only. This makes sense, as 32-bit-only computers in 2020 are quite ancient and under-powered, while Xfce is the most lightweight DE of the bunch.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Linux kmod tools on macOS

          First, this does not mean you can load Linux kernel modules on macOS. This port is far more boring than that.

          Recently I migrated from Travis-CI over to GitHub Actions for rpminspect. I took some time to understand how GitHub Actions worked and expanded the CI tests to run across Fedora rawhide, the latest release of Fedora, Debian Testing, Ubuntu, OpenSUSE Leap, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, CentOS 8, CentOS 7, and Arch Linux. I wanted to prove that the software was portable across different distributions, but then that had me thinking about non-Linux platforms. GitHub Actions offers macOS as a platform, so what if I built things there too?

          Gaining access to a remote macOS VM (thanks, jbair), I was able to start working on porting rpminspect. The first problem I hit was the lack of libkmod from the Linux kmod project. Makes sense that this would not exist on macOS. All rpminspect does with libkmod is open and read Linux kernel modules, so porting it to macOS is technically possible. So I decided to give that a try.

      • Debian Family

        • Redo Rescue Backup and Recovery Live System Gets NFS Share Support, SSH Server

          For those not in the know, Redo Rescue is a great, free and easy to use live Linux system based on Debian GNU/Linux that can help you whenever your computer is broken by letting you backup and restore an entire system in just a few minutes.

          For example, if your computer no longer boots after installing the recent BootHole patches for the GRUB2 bootloader, you can use Redo Rescue to repair the boot. Of course, there are a few other tools that can do the same, but Redo Rescue can also do bare metal restores by replacing the MBR and partition table, re-map original data to a different target partition and even verify the integrity of an existing backup image.

        • DebConf8

          Also this is my 6th post in this series of posts about DebConfs and for the last two days for the first time I failed my plan to do one post per day. And while two days ago I still planned to catch up on this by doing more than one post in a day, I have now decided to give in to realities, which mostly translates to sudden fantastic weather in Hamburg and other summer related changes in life. So yeah, I still plan to do short posts about all the DebConfs I was lucky to attend, but there might be days without a blog post. Anyhow, Mar de la Plata.

          When we held DebConf in Argentina it was winter there, meaning locals and other folks would wear jackets, scarfs, probably gloves, while many Debian folks not so much. Andreas Tille freaked out and/or amazed local people by going swimming in the sea every morning. And when I told Stephen Gran that even I would find it a bit cold with just a tshirt he replied “na, the weather is fine, just like british summer”, while it was 14 celcius and mildly raining.

          DebConf8 was the first time I’ve met Valessio Brito, who I had worked together since at least DebConf6. That meeting was really super nice, Valessio is such a lovely person. Back in 2008 however, there was just one problem: his spoken English was worse than his written one, and that was already hard to parse sometimes. Fast forward eleven years to Curitiba last year and boom, Valessio speaks really nice English now.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • We may wind up significantly delaying or mostly skipping Ubuntu 20.04

          The highest priority machines to upgrade are our remaining Ubuntu 16.04 machines, which will be going out of support in April of next year. Fortunately we don’t have very many of them compared to our 18.04 machines, so there is not a huge amount of work to do. Unfortunately, most of our Exim based mail machines are 16.04 and the 20.04 version of Exim is a significantly disruptive upgrade, plus a number of the remaining machines are delicate to upgrade (our Samba server, for example).

          This opens up the issue of what Ubuntu version to upgrade these 16.04 machines to. Normally we’d upgrade them to Ubuntu 20.04, but normally we’d already be running less critical machines on 20.04 and getting experience with it; this time they’d be among our first 20.04 machines. On the other side, we’re already running Ubuntu 18.04 in general and in some cases running the same services on 18.04 as we currently do on 16.04 (we have a couple of 18.04 Exim machines, for example). This makes upgrading most or all of our 16.04 machines to 18.04 instead of 20.04 a reasonably attractive proposition, especially for Exim based machines. We’d have to upgrade them again in two years when 22.04 comes out and 18.04 starts going out of support, but hopefully in two years the situation will be a lot different.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • 9 of the Best Firefox Addons for Social Media Enthusiasts

            Are you active in social media? If you’re using the Firefox browser, there are many extensions that will save you time, connect better with your audience, and boost your overall experience. The following is our shortlisted selection of some of the best Firefox addons for social media enthusiasts. Each has been verified for delivering what it promises and is quite easy to use. 1. Facebook Container For those active on the social scene, using Facebook is easier as a login option.

            [...]

            Love them or hate them, emojis may have become the official language of the Internet. If you’re running out of emoji styles to describe a specific mood or reaction, Emoji Cheatsheet just may give you the perfect idea. The emojis you click are automatically saved to your clipboard so that you can paste it on any social media site.

          • U is for Unreliable UI (or: Why Firefox’s “Do this automatically this from now on” checkbox is so flaky, and how to work around it)

            It’s been a frustration with Firefox for years. You click on a link and get the “What should Firefox do with this file?” dialog, even though it’s a file type you view all the time — PDF, say, or JPEG. You click “View in browser” or “Save file” or whatever … then you check the “Do this automatically for files like this from now on” checkbox, thinking, I’m sure I checked this last time.

            Then a few minutes later, you go to a file of the exact same time, and you get the dialog again. That damn checkbox is like the button on street crossings or elevators: a no-op to make you think you’re doing something.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Richard Stallman: A Discussion on Freedom, Privacy & Cryptocurrencies

            Dr. Richard Stallman is well-known for his free software movement activism. His speeches and work revolve around a term: freedom. And it is precisely that word that prompted Stallman to launch the GNU Project, founding the Free Software Foundation and releasing the GNU General Public License, among other projects, to promote the free software concept.

            RMS, as Dr. Stallman is also known, has some opinions regarding the concept of cryptocurrencies that have been widely discussed within the crypto community.

      • Programming/Development

        • Fujitsu Begins Adding A64FX Support To GCC Compiler

          The Fujitsu A64FX ARM processor that has 48 cores per node and 32GB of HBM2 memory that currently powers the fastest supercomputer is beginning to see GCC compiler support.

          Fujitsu months ago upstreamed A64FX support to the LLVM/Clang compiler. It appears this ARMv8.2-based chip with 512-bit SIMD is using LLVM/Clang as its preferred compiler. But now Fujitsu is also upstreaming GCC support for their high performance A64FX.

        • Jussi Pakkanen: The second edition of the Meson manual is out

          I have just uploaded the second edition of the Meson manual to the web store for your purchasing pleasure.

        • Junichi Uekawa: Started writing some golang code.

          Started writing some golang code. Trying to rewrite some of the tools as a daily driver for machine management tool. It’s easier than rust in that having a good rust compiler is a hassle though golang preinstalled on systems can build and run. go run is simple enough to invoke on most Debian systems.

        • Url Shortner in Golang

          I decided to write my own URL shortner and the reason for doing that was to dive a little more into golang and to learn more about systems. I have planned to not only document my learning but also find and point our different ways in which this application can be made scalable, resilient and robust.

        • LLVM Clang 11 Has A Nice Build Speed Improvement With New Feature For Pre-Compiled Headers

          There are many improvements in LLVM/Clang 11.0 due out in the weeks ahead though an interesting change merged prior to last month’s code branching that slipped under our radar… If using the clang-cl driver for MSVC or when otherwise making use of pre-compiled headers (PCH) functionality, there is a new option that can offer significant build time speed-ups.

          When making use of Clang PCH functionality for leveraging pre-compiled headers, Clang 11.0 is introducing the -fpch-instantiate-templates option separate from the existing PCH options. This -fpch-instantiate-templates option instantiates templates already while generating a precompiled header instead of instantiating every time the pre-compiled header is used. Avoiding the instantiation each time the pre-compiled header is used can provide measurable build time improvements. Aside from the MSVC clang-cl drop-in, this feature though isn’t enabled by default since it can result in errors if the source header file is not self-contained.

        • Call for Code Daily: open source projects and answered calls

          The power of Call for Code® is in the global community that we have built around this major #TechforGood initiative. Whether it is the deployments that are underway across pivotal projects, developers leveraging the starter kits in the cloud, or ecosystem partners joining the fight, everyone has a story to tell. Call for Code Daily highlights all the amazing #TechforGood stories taking place around the world. Every day, you can count on us to share these stories with you. Check out the stories from the week of August 3rd:

        • Perl/Raku

          • On Perl 7 and the Perl Steering Committee

            For those who are wondering about the state of the proposed Perl 7 fork and the role of the newly formed Perl Steering Committee, Ricardo Signes has put together a detailed explanation that is worth a read. “You should not expect to see a stream of unjustified dictates issuing forth from some secret body on high. You should expect to see perl5-porters operating as it generally did: with proposals coming to the list, getting discussion, and then being thumbed up or down by the project manager. This is what has been happening for years, already. Some proposals were already discussed by the project manager and some were not. If you eliminated any named mailing list for doing this, it would still happen. The PSC is a means to say that there is a default group for such discussions. If you were wondering, its initial membership was formed from ‘the people who came to or were invited to the Perl Core Summit’ over the last few years.”

          • LWN: On Perl 7 and the Perl Steering Committee

            LWN has covered an email from Rjb’s to perl5-porters

          • The Perl Ambassador: Curtis ‘Ovid’ Poe

            This month’s interview is Curtis ‘Ovid’ Poe, one of the most-respected and well-known leaders in the Perl community.

            Curtis has been building software for decades. He specializes in building database-driven websites through his global development and consulting firm, All Around The World. He’s the main developer behind Tau Station, a text-based Massive Multiplayer Online Browser Game (MMOBG) set in a vibrant, far-future universe.

          • Mohammad S Anwar: Thank you for the support

            Inspired by the blog by Gabor Szabo, I am writing this blog to thank all the supporters on Patreon. I would also like to thank Gabor Szabo for the support and guidance. I wouldn’t have come this far without your support.

        • Python

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 6 Check-in

            Works towards analyzing multistage dockerfile. I combined the draft PR and the review from my mentors, the new commit is the first step of my plan. We split the multistage dockerfile into seperate dockefiles for build. Here are the changes in the new commit.

            1. Modified function check_multistage_dockerfile() to return.

            2. Remove function split_multistage_dockerfile() since we are working on the building stage. split_multistage_dockerfile() can be improved on analyze stage.

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (ccxxxix) stackoverflow python report
          • Send WhatsApp media/message using Python.

            Though there are many scripts available which are almost free but later on leads to getting blocked by Whatsapp.

            We can use Twilio Library for sending and receiving whatsapp messages even for WhatsApp bussiness.

        • Java

          • Generate a random number in Java

            Java contains many ways to generate random numbers. The random number can be int, long, float, double, and Boolean. Math.random class and Random class are mostly used to generate random numbers in Java. The uses of these classes are shown in this tutorial by using various examples.

            [...]

            The random class has many methods to generate different types of random numbers, such as nextInt(), nextDouble(), nextLong, etc. So, the integer and fractional numbers can be generated by using the appropriate method of this class. You have to create an object to use in this class.

  • Leftovers

    • The strange history of the chemical cargo that caused the Beirut blast

      Thousands of tonnes of ammonium nitrate, believed to be responsible for the devastating explosion in Beirut on Tuesday, have been traced back by journalists to a Moldovan-flagged boat that was supposed to deliver the chemicals to Mozambique. An impecunious crew living as “hostages on a floating bomb” and repeated requests to the Lebanese authorities to shift the cargo, which went unheeded, are part of the cargo ship’s devastating story.

    • Science

      • COVID-19 mask guidance in America has evolved — but rejecting science isn’t the answer

        Science is real, built on foundations of evidence, testability and repeatability. COVID-19 is real, and so are the over 160,000 deaths this disease has caused in the U.S. in just six months.

        Universal mask-wearing is a simple step toward reclaiming the freedom Americans have lost to COVID-19. And it’s backed by a vital weapon that doesn’t care about politics or spin: science.

    • Education

      • Universities Round the World Fail to Stand up to China: Report

        Universities and colleges around the world are “unprepared” to deal with threats to freedom of speech on campus and academic freedom among their scholars as a result of political pressure from Beijing, a New York-based rights group said on Friday.

        “Institutions of higher learning around the world should resist the Chinese government’s efforts to undermine academic freedom abroad,” Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

        “Few have moved to protect academic freedom against longstanding problems, such as visa bans on scholars working on China or surveillance and self-censorship on their campuses,” it said.

      • How expanding elite education could undermine the populists

        Yet none of this was sufficient, Dr Tucker went on, to address the core goal of getting universities “out of the class-reproduction business” and concentrating “on scholarship and education”.

        The answer, he suggested, was to “keep everything else and expand institutions. I would like to see millions of graduates of elite universities.” This could be achieved by “asking how much of an unfair advantage graduating from institution X gives to a young person” through looking at the share of top jobs that go to such graduates. The university would then be required to “accept a proportion of applicants equal to the expected proportion of alumni members of the elite”. While “new institutions could be as selective as they want”, therefore, older elite institutions would be forced to become less selective. Amid far larger numbers of graduates, it would become much less significant “if some ancient alumni help their scions to gain admission” to Oxbridge or the Ivy League.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • How The Lancet backed Beijing and lost all credibility

        It is widely suspected the CCP knew about the Wuhan coronavirus since October 2019 or perhaps even earlier. It is also known that they went to huge efforts to cover up the outbreak, silencing medical professionals, destroying evidence, and abandoning innocent Chinese people to their fate, in order to protect the party’s reputation.

        It was only when Taiwan drew the world’s attention to the coronavirus at New Year, that the global response finally began to grind slowly into action.

      • Anti-Lockdown, Anti-Mask Protesters Are Getting Arrested in Australia

        The two men organized a protest on Facebook, called the “Freedom Day Celebration” according to 9News in Australia. The protest was scheduled to take place on Sunday, August 9, at the steps of Parliament on Melbourne as the organizers reportedly believed that the new coronavirus is a “biochemical” weapon, 9News reported.

        In the police department’s email to Newsweek, it explained that the current coronavirus lockdown restrictions in Melbourne “do not allow for any form of public gatherings, including public protests, to occur under the recreational activity clause even if there are two people or less.”

      • India needs a hospital, not a mosque. Twitter explodes with a new hashtag

        Someone publish the statistic of mosques numbers on Twitter, someone invoked the help of the State, but the reality is that the State if India already did its choice. No hospital, but a mosque that will be functional in 10 to 12 days. Why are people angered? COVID-19 changed our lives and all over the world, this virus must be fought energetically. Only with advanced medical buildings and systems, a country can face the coronavirus with success. That is why many are going to complain about the choice of the government of India in building a mosque instead of a hospital.

      • Tabasco to follow Oaxaca’s lead, prohibit junk food sales to minors

        The enactment of the law comes as health authorities blame Mexico’s high coronavirus death toll on diet-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Deputy Health Ministry Hugo López-Gatell, who has declared his support for the Oaxaca law, last month described soft drinks as “bottled poison.”

        The governor of Puebla, Miguel Barbosa, joined the Tabasco governor in praising Oaxaca’s anti-junk food law and said that he, too, might consider such a measure.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • [Cr]ackers can still steal wads of cash from ATMs. Here’s the vulnerabilities that could let them in.

          “You’re literally trusting this machine to hold thousands of dollars, but it’s running [Windows operating system] CE 6.0? It is just a computer, on a network, running an older operating system,” Keown said, noting that the latest release for CE 6.0 was over a decade ago in 2009. “This is still a problem. Let’s focus some effort here and see if we can’t move the needle in the right direction.”

        • Canon Admits Ransomware Attack in Employee Note, Report

          The consumer-electronics giant has suffered partial outages across its U.S. website and internal systems reportedly, thanks to the Maze gang.

        • Windows, Gates and a firewall: Microsoft’s delicate castle in China

          Microsoft arrived in China in 1992 and opened its largest research and development centre outside the United States. It now employs around 6,200 people in China.

        • All you need to hijack a Mac is an old Office document and a .zip file

          The exploit uses a rigged Office document, saved in an archaic format (.slk), to trick the target machine into allowing Office to activate macros without consent and without notifying the user.

          The attack then takes advantage of two further vulnerabilities in order to seize control of the machine. By including a dollar sign at the start of the filename, [an attacker] can break free of the restrictive Office sandbox, while compressing the file within a .zip folder bypasses macOS controls that prevent downloaded items from accessing user files.

        • Apple’s Chinese business could be devastated by Trump’s WeChat ban

          Apple has a significant Chinese customer base, and nearly all of its critical manufacturing and assembly partners are based there. Trump’s ban might not only force Apple to remove WeChat from its App Store — which would destroy Apple’s Chinese smartphone business — it could existentially change how Apple is able to build and sell new products in the future.

        • It’s Time To Stop Talking and Take Action Against the Beasts that Want to Control Us

          I know I have not been active on this BLOG the past year. No reasons. Anyway, I’m back at it. This time, I have a specific focus on Big Tech. The way I see it, the root of the problem is not the tech companies themselves, it starts with the software we use. This includes Adobe, Intuit, Microsoft. I call them AIM. They are the worst offenders in there attempts to control the free world.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Facebook’s new open-source Pysa security tool detects [cr]ackable code

              Pysa is designed exclusively to analyze code written in Python. That limits the scenarios where the tool can be applied, but it could be still useful for other companies because Python is the world’s second most widely used programming language as of earlier this year. It’s especially popular in artificial intelligence development and is also the language in which most of the code for Instagram is written.

              Facebook has applied Pysa to the Instagram code base to great effect. According to the company, the tool was responsible for spotting 44% of the server-side security issues that it detected in the photo sharing service during the first half of 2020. Some 49 of the flaws Pysa caught were determined to be “severe” vulnerabilities.

              Under the hood, the tool works by employing a technique known as static code analysis. It sifts through Facebook developers’ raw code files without the delay of running them to quickly generate security assessments.

            • Have I Been Pwned — which tells you if passwords were breached — is going open source

              While not all password checkup tools actually use Hunt’s database (a just-announced LastPass feature calls on one hosted by Enzoic instead), many of them are apparently based on the same “k-Anonymity” API that Cloudflare engineering manager Junade Ali originally designed to support Have I Been Pwned’s tool.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Open Source Jenkins CI/CD Project Graduates From CD Foundation

                Officially launched by the Linux Foundation in March 2019, the CD Foundation includes in its project portfolio some of the most widely used and deployed CI/CD tools, including Jenkins, Spinnaker and Tekton. The open source Jenkins CI/CD project gains more community participation and a roadmap for future improvements.

        • Security

          • Reproducible Builds in July 2020

            Welcome to the July 2020 report from the Reproducible Builds project.

            In these monthly reports, we round-up the things that we have been up to over the past month. As a brief refresher, the motivation behind the Reproducible Builds effort is to ensure no flaws have been introduced from the original free software source code to the pre-compiled binaries we install on our systems. (If you’re interested in contributing to the project, please visit our main website.)

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Republicans paid huge, strange sums to Facebook and a mystery company for “list acquisition”

              After reporting essentially no payments to Facebook for about three years, the Republican National Committee paid the social media company $5.5 million for “list acquisition” between September and November 2019, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

              The RNC has also paid about $5 million for contact lists to a mystery company created in January, including a million-dollar buy on the day the Trump campaign sent 88 targeted ads to Facebook users featuring images similar to Nazi iconography.

            • If you ever set up a Google+ account, you might be due some money

              Users are only allowed to submit one $12 claim regardless of the number of Google+ accounts you may have had. You can file a claim using this link.

              The only requirements for filing a claim are that you had a Google+ account at some point between January 1, 2015, and April 2, 2019, and “entered private (meaning non-public) information in at least one of (the) Google+ profile fields that was not set to be shared publicly.” Finally, you must consent that you either shared that information with another Google+ user or authorized a third-party app to access my Google+ profile field information.”

            • What women in Congress want from Facebook

              About 100 female lawmakers from across the world have sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg demanding that the company do a better job combating misogyny on its platform, especially hateful content directed at female public figures.

            • US Senate Votes to Ban TikTok on Government Phones

              The bill passed by the Republican controlled Senate now goes to the House of Representatives, led by Democrats.

              “TikTok is a major security risk and has no place on government devices,” said Republican Senator Josh Hawley, the sponsor of the bill.

            • A Private Equity Firm Bought Ancestry, and Its Trove of DNA, for $4.7B

              The announcement was made in a press release published earlier this week by Blackstone, which shared it had “reached a definitive agreement to acquire Ancestry from Silver Lake, GIC, Spectrum Equity, Permira, and other equity holders for a total enterprise value of $4.7 billion.”

              Ancestry is known for its genealogy and home DNA testing services. According to its website, the company has 3 million paying subscribers, 27 billion records, and 100 million family trees. The website also says that over 18 million people have been DNA tested through the company.

            • Facebook Removes Foreign Pro-Trump [Astroturfer] Farms

              A Romania-based [astroturfer] farm pushed pro-Trump content under the names of “Black People Vote For Trump” on Instagram and “We Love Our President” on Facebook.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Hiroshima and Nagasaki: 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

        The recorded death tolls are estimates, but it is thought that about 140,000 of Hiroshima’s 350,000 population were killed in the blast, and that at least 74,000 people died in Nagasaki.

        The nuclear radiation released by the bombs caused thousands more people to die from radiation sickness in the weeks, months and years that followed.

        Those who survived the bombings are known as “hibakusha”. Survivors faced a horrifying aftermath in the cities, including psychological trauma.

        The bombings brought about an abrupt end to the war in Asia, with Japan surrendering unconditionally to the Allies on 14 August 1945.

      • African militant Islamist groups set record for violent activity

        A June-to-June review of violent episodes involving militant Islamist groups in Africa over the past decade underscores the growing and shifting threat posed by these groups. Key findings include:

        A 31-percent jump in violent events involving militant Islamist groups in Africa in the 12 months ending June 30, 2020, represents a record for violent activity by these groups. With 4,161 violent events, this period marks the first time this total has exceeded 4,000 and reflects a sixfold increase from 2011 (693).

      • 64-Year-Old Woman Says She Was Punched For Wearing Mask, Supporting Biden

        One man then allegedly exited the vehicle and punched the woman on the left side of her face, knocking her down and leaving swelling, a bloody scrape and a bruise where he struck her. Another woman helped pick her up from the asphalt and transport her home. The 64-year-old survivor declined medical assistance.

      • Saudi ex-intel official accuses crown prince of sending ‘hit squad’ to kill him

        Saad al Jabri filed a lawsuit in a Washington, DC court against bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia often known as MBS, and 24 others, accusing the prince of flying a “hit squad” along with crime-scene clean-up specialists to Canada.

      • China Still Blocks US Travel to Tibet, State Department Says in Second Annual Report

        China’s government last year “systematically impeded travel to the [Tibet] Autonomous Region (TAR) for U.S. diplomats and officials, journalists, and tourists in 2019,” the Aug. 5 Report to Congress says, describing the situation as “unimproved” from that described in last year’s report.

        Even when permitted, U.S. official visits to Tibet “were highly restricted,” the report says, adding that travel in Tibetan areas outside the TAR were also closely supervised by Chinese police and government officials.

      • Online conference on the massacres carried out by Turkish UAVs

        Turkish UAV have recently been used often in attacks on civilian settlements in South Kurdistan, and have been on the agenda of the opposition parties in Germany for a while. ANF published an article titled “Technology of Roketsan from Germany” last week, in which it revealed that the warheads for the anti-tank missiles designated by the Turkish military as “UMTAS” or “Mızrak-U” and “MAM-L”, are manufactured by the Turkish company Roketsan.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Someone hijacked Reddit moderator accounts to promote Trump

        “An investigation is underway related to a series of vandalized communities,” the spokesperson said. “It appears the source of the attacks were compromised moderator accounts. We are working to lock down those accounts and restore impacted communities.”

        Reddit moderators are often unpaid users who volunteer their time to maintain forums and discussions on the popular site.

      • ‘Russiagate’ Hoax Unravels, But Their Anti-Russia Sanctions Don’t

        It was reported only on ‘fringe’ media (such as “Disobedient Media” now gone from the Web) until recently. However, the evidence that the entire “Russiagate” charge — that Russia’s Government had “hacked” the Democratic National Committee in 2016 — is an Obama Administration hoax (which was continued into Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report), is now starting to come out into public view and be endorsed publicly by retired U.S. intelligence professionals who can’t be fired. It’s not yet published in any mainstream U.S. news media, however. So, in this place will be chronologically presented the gradual unraveling of the Russiagate hoax, and maybe someday this history (all of which is solidly documented) will be publishable in the United States, even within the mainstream (non-billionaire-controlled) media.

        Also, the complicity of the U.S. Congress — both Parties — in advancing this hoax, and in suppressing its being exposed as being a hoax, will be discussed here, because Congress’s nearly unanimous votes in favor of imposing sanctions against Russia for this “Russiagate” that never was, are now forcing every member of Congress who had voted for those hoax-based sanctions to either apologize to his/her voters, or else to continue ignoring the now (and increasingly) solid proof that they had been either fooled, or else themselves were complicit, in advancing this hoax and voting for those sanctions.

    • Environment

      • Canada’s Last Intact Ice Shelf Collapses Due to Warming

        Canada’s 4,000-year-old Milne Ice Shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island had been the country’s last intact ice shelf until the end of July when ice analyst Adrienne White of the Canadian Ice Service noticed that satellite photos showed that about 43% of it had broken off. She said it happened around July 30 or 31.

      • Mauritius Scrambles to Counter Oil Spill From Grounded Ship

        Residents and environmentalists alike wondered why authorities didn’t act more quickly after the ship ran aground July 25 on a reef. Mauritius says the ship, the MV Wakashio, was carrying nearly 4,000 tons of fuel.

        “That’s the big question — why that ship has been sitting for long on that coral reef and nothing being done,” Jean Hugues Gardenne with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation told The Associated Press.

      • Energy

        • Electric bikes are a pandemic boon. We tried one of the best (and priciest).

          Bicycling has boomed during the pandemic, but not everyone has the stomach or the stamina for extended cycling. Understandably, some don’t want to work up a sweat and risk a pulled muscle while fighting hills on mechanical steeds.

          That is where electric bicycles come in. The two-wheelers have built-in motors to make rides easier and more enjoyable. You still get exercise, but the motor helps with the pedaling so you’re not wiped out and dripping in perspiration at the end.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • TikTok owners show true colors with communist flag

        On Wednesday, human rights activist Jennifer Zeng posted on Twitter a photo of a CCP event held inside the corporate headquarters of ByteDance in Beijing’s Haidian District, showing employees and CCP members holding a communist banner. The photo originates from a report on a CCP event held at the headquarters last July.

        The event was held by the CCP branch of the Information and Communication Department and the Haidian District Overseas Chinese Federation (HCTF) and was titled, “Never forget the original intention, remember the mission, and promote the new era of Overseas Chinese Federation information communication work.”

      • Facebook removes [astroturfer] network posing as Black Trump supporters

        According to a report on its July enforcement activity, Facebook removed 35 Facebook accounts, three pages and 88 Instagram accounts for “violating our policy against foreign interference, which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign entity.” Activity by the pro-Trump network originated in Romania, Facebook said, and posted on Instagram using hashtags such as “BlackPeopleVoteForTrump.” The pages had about 1,600 followers on Facebook, and about 7,200 people followed the Instagram accounts.

      • Russian artists refuse to play state-sponsored concerts in Belarus after fans ask them ‘not to support dictatorship’

        A number of Russian artists have refused to perform at the free, state-sponsored concerts taking place across Belarus on the day before the presidential elections (the vote is on August 9). This was reported by news outlet Nasha Niva, among other Belarusian media on Thursday, August 6.

      • Outraised 250-1, Progressive Marquita Bradshaw Upsets Establishment Opponent in Tennessee Primary for US Senate

        “The progressive movement is undeniable!” Bradshaw said following her win. “Thank you all so much for your support and this victory. It’s time to put hardworking people first. Onward.”

      • Another opposition candidate’s campaign chief arrested just days before end of presidential elections in Belarus

        Belarusian presidential candidate Sergey Cherechen (Syarhey Cherachen) has reported the arrest of his campaign chief, Nikolai Lysenkov, says the Belarusian news outlet TUT.by. 

      • Remind Me, What Was the Civil War About, Anyway?

        Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas delivers a coded message about slavery.

      • Haven’t We All Known Guys Who Were Exactly like Donald Trump?

        Although it gives me no pleasure to report this, while growing up in the shady suburban confines of Southern California, in the Sixties, I probably knew half a dozen guys who—other than being middle or lower middle-class rather wealthy, and shorter rather than taller—were otherwise exactly like President Trump.

      • Clyburn’s Complaint

        For the most part, when people use words like “sick” or “demented” or “insane” in political contexts, they are speaking metaphorically or for rhetorical effect. Sometimes, however, these and related words actually do denote phenomena of clinical interest.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • [Old] Catholic bishops fear Scotland’s hate crime law could criminalize Bible and Catechism

        The bishops made the comments in a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee, which is scrutinizing the bill. The bill was introduced by the Scottish Government April 23.

        The proposed legislation creates a new crime of stirring up hatred against any of the protected groups covered by the bill, which include race, religion, sexual orientation, and transgender identity.

      • Rank and file police body warns of ‘dangers’ of proposed hate crime law

        The SPF is the latest body to warn of difficulties with the legislation being piloted through Holyrood by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf. Opposition MSPs have raised concerns about the impact of the Bill on free speech, and the Law Society of Scotland has also expressed fears about a “significant threat to freedom of expressions” and said the law as currently drafted contains “major flaws”.

      • MBM submission on the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Bill

        By increasing the number of characteristics included, the Bill reinforces a hierarchy between those characteristics that are protected and those that are not. The longer the list of groups included, the stronger the signal sent about the status those who are not. We are particularly concerned about the message sent by the omission of sex from the same protection as other characteristics, as the list expands.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Monopolies

      • Celgard secures UK injunction to protect alleged trade secrets

        Celgard and Senior both make battery separators (specifically, “dry” battery separators, which are engineered sheets of microporous polymer). Separators are critical to the performance, lifespan and safety of lithium-ion batteries, the market for which is growing because of the move towards electric vehicles. Senior is (ironically) the junior player in the market, and Celgard the more established player.

        In 2016, a Celgard scientist named Dr Zhang left Celgard and, in January 2017, he joined Senior as Chief Technology Officer. Not long afterwards, Senior’s product range expanded considerably and its market share increased to 25% (from a previously stable 15%) between 2017 and 2019. The evidence showed that Dr Zhang and Senior had potentially misled Celgard about Dr Zhang going to work for Senior. Further, Dr Zhang’s responsibilities at Celgard included the selection of resins to use in Celgard’s separator products, and analysis adduced by Celgard suggested that Senior had begun using a binder (produced by a third party) in a particular formulation that it did not use previously, and that this change in formulation quite possibly occurred after Dr Zhang joined Senior. Senior sought to explain away these facts by pointing to an increase in its independent R&D activity.

        [...]

        Celgard is based in the US, Dr Zhang signed an NDA governed by the law of South Carolina, and any misappropriation of trade secrets is likely to have taken place in the US. The incorporation of any of Celgard’s trade secrets into Senior’s products would, however, have taken place in China. Senior was keen that Chinese law should apply to the dispute, but the judge agreed with Celgard that English law should apply. The parties agreed that Rome II should be used to determine the applicable law as the obligation of confidentiality (at least in relation to Senior) is non-contractual. Therefore, the court proceeded to apply Article 4 of Rome II and determine the country in which the damage (would) occur, the law of which would govern the dispute. Celgard’s claim focuses on the loss that would be suffered should Senior’s separators be supplied in the UK; not on the alleged theft of Celgard’s trade secrets in the US or the alleged misuse of the trade secrets in China. This point applied equally to Celgard’s claim that Senior is vicariously liable for Dr Zhang’s alleged breach of confidence as to the claim brought directly against Senior.

      • Patents

        • FCBA Program on Virtual Hearings and Oral Arguments

          The Federal Circuit Bar Association (FCBA) will be offering a remote program entitled “Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Hearings and Oral Arguments” on August 14, 2020 from 1:00 to 2:00 pm (EDT). Rachel C. Hughey of Merchant & Gould P.C. will moderate a panel consisting of Hon. Elizabeth Cowan Wright, Magistrate Judge, District of Minnesota; Tara D. Elliott of Latham & Watkins LLP; Kelly E. Farnan of Richards Layton & Finger; and Jennifer H. Wu of Paul, Weiss, Rilkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. The panel will discuss the things they have learned from their substantial experiences with virtual proceedings, as well as the dos and don’ts of virtual hearings and oral arguments.

        • TC Heartland becoming ‘major point of dispute’ in ANDA cases

          Innovators have to be more careful when bringing a single case against multiple infringers, especially when some generics – such as Mylan – are involved

        • Swiss Federal Supreme Court follows the practice of EPO’s Board of Appeal on singling out

          In a recent decision (4A_613/2019, 11 May 2020), the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (Supreme Court) followed the practice of the Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office (EPO) as it held that the singling out of single features from two separate lists of features and therefore the combination of these two specific features constitutes an extension of the subject-matter of the patent application leading to its nullity.

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