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08.10.20

Links 10/8/2020: Popcorn Computers Pocket PC, Finnix 121, GhostBSD 20.08.04, EasyOS 2.3.8

Posted in News Roundup at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Popcorn Computers Pocket PC Linux handheld open source design files now available

      Even though the Pocket P.C. is still available to preorder priced at $199 the development team at Popcorn Computers have released the open source design files for the handheld Linux computer. The small handheld PC is capable of running Debian 10, Mainline Linux and is compatible with Gadget OS and Buildroot and comes complete with an open source keyboard and LED controller firmware.

      “Finally, a handheld Linux device with a high-definition 1080p display and large battery life. Pocket P.C. is your hacker terminal on-the-go. People should be able to use their devices as they want. This is the premise that we based Pocket P.C. on when we began development of this device. This is the device we always dreamed of owning that’s why we made it. In today’s technology lanscape, there are plenty of Android and iOS devices however Linux-based are largely ignored.”

    • THE ZERO TERMINAL 3: A POP-OUT KEYBOARD LINUX COMPUTER IN YOUR POCKET

      The mobile phone revolution has delivered us attractively packaged and convenient computing in our pockets, but without the easy hackability we like in our community. Meanwhile the advent of single board computers has given us affordable super-powerful hardware that can run a very capable GNU/Linux operating system and fulfill all our hackable computing needs. Combine the two though? Plenty have tried, few have succeeded in making something as slick as the former with the open power of the latter. Fine if you like your portable devices to have a cyberdeck vibe, but maybe not something you’d take into the boardrooom. Never fear though, for [N-O-D-E] have the solution, in version 3 of the Zero Terminal. It’s the ultimate in Raspberry Pi based handheld computing, and it resembles a slightly chunky mobile phone.

    • Elecrow’s new Raspberry Pi laptop is perfect for STEM students

      Since launching back in 2012, the Raspberry Pi has proven to be an extremely successful method of miniaturising the PC experience, with sales topping 30 million at the end of 2019.

      At just US$35, it’s an extremely affordable way to make your first steps into the world of computer science, allowing you to build a fully functioning computer with relatively little expertise.

      However, one of the common complaints about the Raspberry Pi is the maze of wires that you’ll need to connect in order for it to work properly.

      Hong Kong-based company Elecrow is hoping to change that with the CrowPi2, a tiny laptop which is making waves on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. With an initial goal to raise around £15,000, it’s at over £420,000 at the time of writing and growing all the time.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Lenovo’s New ThinkPad P53 Is Everything I Want In A Linux Laptop

        This is not a review of the new Fedora-powered ThinkPad P53 which releases later this month. Rather, it’s a story about being spoiled by hardware. It’s a tale about giving a Linux distribution another chance. It’s a subtle admission that maybe, just maybe, we shouldn’t rule out corporate behemoths like Lenovo in our search for the perfect Linux laptop. This somewhat melodramatic introduction is meant to boil down to one bold statement: holy crap, the Fedora-powered ThinkPad P53 is amazing.

    • Server

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • “Hey, DT. Why Arco Linux Instead Of Arch?” (Plus Other Questions Answered)

        In this lengthy rant video, I address a few questions that I’ve been receiving from viewers. I discuss fake DistroTube accounts on social media, my thoughts on PeerTube, my experience with LBRY, my thoughts on Arco vs Arch vs Artix, and what YouTubers have influenced my life.

      • 2020-08-10 | Linux Headlines 186

        elementary OS teases big changes coming in version 6, RetroArch rolls out major search improvements with version 1.9, Microsoft releases Minecraft: Education Edition for Chromebooks, and the new Krita Scripting School website aims to help developers expand the painting application.

    • Kernel Space

      • A “Large Hardware Vendor” Wants A EULA Displayed For Firmware Updates On Linux

        The open-source Fwupd firmware updating utility paired with LVFS as the Linux Vendor Firmware Service has seen explosive growth for vastly improving the BIOS/firmware updating experience on Linux. Many major hardware vendors distribute their firmware updates on LVFS for consumption by Fwupd and more than 17 million firmware files have been served. Now though there is a new “large hardware vendor” willing to distribute their firmware updates this way but they want a end-user license agreement (EULA) added.

        Fwupd/LVFS lead developer Richard Hughes of Red Hat noted today that “A large hardware vendor wants to join the LVFS, but only on the agreement that every user has to agree to a English-only EULA text when deploying their firmware updates. This is the first vendor that’s required this condition, and breaks all kinds of automated deployment.”

      • Linux 5.8 released: Bootlin contributions

        Linux 5.8 was released recently. See our usual resources for a good coverage of the highlights of this new release: KernelNewbies page, LWN.net article on the first part of the merge window, LWN.net article on the second part of the merge window.

        On our side, we contributed a total of 155 commits to Linux 5.8, which makes Bootlin the 19th contributing company by number of commits according to Linux Kernel Patch Statistic.

      • SD Times news digest: New Relic and Grafana Lab on open instrumentation, Atlassian TEAM Anywhere, and Linux 5.8 rc-1 released [Ed: No, Linux 5.8 rc-1 released ages ago]

        The Linux working group stated that 5.8 looks to be one of the project’s biggest releases of all time, including a lot of fundamental core work and cleanups, as well as filesystem work and driver updates.

        Within the 5.8 merge window, about 20% of all the files in the kernel source repository have been modified.

        In total, the release includes over 14k non-merge commits (over 15k counting merges), 800k new lines, and over 14 thousand files changed.

      • Linux 5.9 HID Has Improvement For Faster Probe/Boot Time

        The HID changes for Linux 5.9 aren’t too many but there are a few worth mentioning for improving input device support on Linux.

      • XFS Is Packing Many Improvements With Linux 5.9

        The XFS file-system has many improvements ready for the Linux 5.9 kernel.

        The main XFS feature pull was sent in on Friday for Linux 5.9 and includes a wealth of improvements for this mature file-system…

      • Graphics Stack

        • R600 Gallium3D Now Has Compute Shaders Working With NIR

          If you are still rocking a pre-GCN AMD Radeon graphics card on the R600g driver for the HD 2000 through HD 6000 series, you really ought to consider upgrading in 2020, but otherwise at least from the open-source community there continues to be improvements.

        • NVIDIA GeForce are teasing something for August 31, likely RTX 3000

          Ready for your next upgrade? NVIDIA think you might be and they’re teasing what is most likely the GeForce RTX 3000 launch at the end of this month.

          We don’t know what they’re actually going to call them, although they will be based on the already revealed Ampere architecture announced back in May. It’s probably safe to say RTX 3000 for now, going by the last two generations being 1000 and 2000 but NVIDIA may go for something more fancy this time.

    • BIOS/UEFI

      • Boothole GRUB2 bug breaks Secure Boot on Linux and Windows
      • Linux GRUB2 bootloader flaw breaks Secure Boot on most computers and servers

        Operating system maintainers, computer manufacturers, security and virtualization software vendors have worked together over the past few months to coordinate a unified response to a vulnerability that allows attackers to bypass boot process integrity verification, one of the key security features of modern computers. The flaw is located in the GRUB2 Linux bootloader, but because of how Secure Boot is implemented, it can be used to compromise the booting process of Windows and other systems as well.

      • BIOS Update Dell Latitude E6440 on Linux

        My BIOS was 4 years out of date. I thought it was time to update it. I went to the Dell Support page and noticed that they only had *.exe files available. I sighed and was initially frustrated because my initial supposition was that I was going to have to have a working copy of Windows to do the update. My last Dell Latitude, a D630, the BIOS updates required a lot of fiddling on my part. At the time, I would burn a special FreeDOS CD with the BIOS update EXE on it. I figured I would have to do the same with this computer. The good news is, that is not the case and it could be I am the last person to know this bit of information.

        [...]

        Due to my laziness and inhibition to use Windows caused me to avoid pursuing updating my BIOS. Dell, on newer systems (~2015 and later), have built in a service to perform these updates outside of the operating system and has removed or eliminated your excuses for keeping your system up to date and more secure.

        I am glad I took the time today to figure this out and do the proper thing in keeping my system updated.

    • Applications

      • Byte – music player designed for elementary OS

        I spend an inordinate amount of time listening to music. My favorite pastime is to see an eclectic range of bands, solo artists, and orchestras live. It’s such a life-changing and exhilarating experience. It’s one thing to be sitting at home listening to a CD or watching music videos on TV or on YouTube, but being in the audience, packed out in a stadium or music hall, takes it to another level. But it’s an expensive pastime, and on hold given the current coronavirus pandemic. These days, I’m listening to music from my CD collection which I’ve encoded to FLAC, a lossless audio format.

        Linux is endowed with a plethora of open source music players. And I’ve reviewed the vast majority. But I seem to keep finding interesting music players. Byte is the latest I’ve stumbled across.

        Byte is a GTK-based music player. It was created with the desire to make a good music player for elementary OS. It focuses on two aspects: features and design. Byte isn’t tied to elementary OS; it runs on other Linux distributions. It’s in a fairly early stage of development, with its initial release only back in August 2019.

      • Beaker Browser – A P2P Browser for Web Hackers.

        Beaker is a free and open-source web browser built to enable users to publish websites and web apps themselves directly from the browser without having to set up a separate web server or hosting their content with a 3rd party.

        To quote one of the project devs, it has been built to “to give users more control over the Web”. We’ve covered several projects based on similar technology (e.g. PeerTube) but this one has a little more icing on the cake.

        [...]

        The Dat protocol is favoured over HTTP for Beaker for 5 main reasons. It can sync archives from multiple sources; the URLs remain the same even when the archives can change hosts. All updates have checksums; changes are written to an append-only version log, and any archive can be hosted on any device. Although it uses Dat by default, Beaker supports connecting to traditional servers with HTTP so you can equally visit typical websites.

      • Darktable 3.2 Open-Source RAW Image Editor Released with Major New Features

        Darktable 3.2.1 is now available and it’s the first major update to the application since the introduction of the 3.0 series. If you’re asking, there wasn’t a 3.2.0 release, nor a 3.1 release. The development team jumped straight to the 3.2.1 version number from version 3.0.2, which you’re probably using right now on your GNU/Linux distribution, because of a last minute bug in the 3.2.0 release.

        But don’t let the version number fool you, because Darktable 3.2.1 is a massive update with lots of goodies for amateur and professional photographers alike. Highlights include support for up to 8K screen resolutions thanks to the complete rewrite of the Lighttable View and the revamped Filmstrip.

      • The 10 Best Linux Performance Monitoring Tools

        Do you want to monitor the performance of your Linux system? Are you looking for some powerful performance monitoring tools to help you out? If you agree, it’s your day as we have put together a detailed list of the ten best Linux performance monitoring tools. Performance monitoring tools can help users check on how much system resources are being used and which apps are consuming what percentage of it. This helps the user to properly manage the applications and make sure that the system is in good health.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Challenging co-op dungeon crawler ‘Barony’ gets Linux Steam and Epic Store crossplay

        Recently, the first-person dungeon crawling roguelike Barony had a bit of an upgrade along with a release on the Epic Store and that came with crossplay.

        “Barony is the premier first-person roguelike RPG with cooperative play. Cryptic items, brutal traps and devious monsters, like those found in classic roguelikes and CRPGs, await you. Conquer the dungeon alone, or gather a perfect party in co-op with iconic and exotic RPG classes.”

      • Get ready to beat ‘em up as 9 Monkeys of Shaolin releases in October

        9 Monkeys of Shaolin is an upcoming beat ‘em up from Sobaka Studio, what they claim will mark the “true rebirth of the iconic beat ‘em up genre in vein of old-school video games”.

        We’ve been waiting on this for quite some time now after being announced back in 2018. They’ve now confirmed it will see a release on October 16.

      • The ‘Tiny Teams Festival’ on Steam shines a light on micro studios

        Tiny Teams Festival, a little sale and event page went live on Steam recently to showcase a bunch of micro-teams and their games and there’s a few fun picks there.

        Run by Yogscast Games, a YouTube / Twitch group that have turned to publishing indie games. So you could compare this little Steam event to other publisher-focused sales although this includes plenty not published by Yogscast. It’s interesting for us, because smaller teams are what make up a large majority of games supported on Linux. They’re the ones who most need our support too and so it’s nice to highlight some good stuff they make.

      • Darkest Dungeon – The Butcher’s Circus due for Linux ‘in the next week or so’

        Red Hook Studios are currently working on the free DLC The Butcher’s Circus and with Season 2 about to release, the Linux (and macOS) versions are just about ready.

        To be clear, Darkest Dungeon is already on Linux but the updates to support this brand new competitive game mode are not. Red Hook Studios have been pretty clear on it for some time that it would come later, and they mentioned in early July about it being close but they wanted to ensure they’re ready for release.

      • PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3 gains online play with PSN Emulation

        It seems a very exciting development will be coming to the next release of the PlayStation 3 emulator RPCS3.

        While they haven’t done a blog post to go over their progress since 2019, work is as always ongoing. The main reason they don’t often talk about progress, is simply a lack of people to go over it all and blog about it for them.

        Thankfully though, they do release videos to show off and talk about some of the major progress. One such brand new feature coming is online play via PSN Emulation. That is absolutely huge especially since online features were such a major part of some games.

      • Upcoming ‘post-cyberpunk’ RTS NeuroSlicers looks great, Steam page up

        NeuroSlicers is an upcoming in-development real-time strategy game that aims to ‘modernize’ the genre with a ‘post-cyberpunk’ setting and it’s looking slick.

        “Instead of seeing how fast you can click, NeuroSlicers tasks you with how fast you can think. Using intelligent AI-powered units, you are free to make more significant, more strategic decisions that focus on territory control, resource management, upgrading and careful placement of customizable buildings, units and powerful function abilities called Scripts.”

        It’s been quite a long time since we last covered it, while also keeping an eye on their progress. They’ve now announced that their Steam page has finally gone live as they continue their very early testing period. While this ‘pre-alpha’ is currently limited to supporting Windows, they confirmed to GOL on Twitter that a Linux release continues to be planned.

      • Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition gets more graphical upgrades

        Beamdog are really starting to put the Enhanced into Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition and showing just how much they care about the classic RPG experiences as a studio.

        A fresh development build for Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition went up recently with a brand new Lighting Engine and the difference it makes is quite ridiculous. They said their aim with this is to “allow much higher quality future content, but also in large to enhance the visual quality of existing content” and since pictures say more than a thousand words they showed quite a few examples.

      • RetroArch 1.9.0 is out with video player improvements, UI upgrades and more

        RetroArch is practically the go-to for all your emulation needs under one roof and the project just release the latest major upgrade with RetroArch 1.9.0.

        It seems they’ve continued going over the user interface, with an aim to make everything clearer and more useful. Part of this work went into adding a new “Explore View” for playlists, which lets you search and find content based on criteria like the amount of players, developer or publisher, the system it was released for and much more. This only looks through what you’ve directly added though and the metadata it uses will be improved as time goes on.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE neon Rebased on 20.04

          KDE neon is our installable Linux with continuous integration and deployment. It’s based on Ubuntu who had a new Long Term Support Release recently so we’ve rebased it on Ubuntu 20.04 now.

          You should see a popup on your install in the next day or so. It’ll ask you to make sure your system is up to date then it’ll upgrade the base to 20.04 which takes a while to download and then another while to install.

          Afterwards it should look just the same because it’s the same wonderful Plasma desktop.

        • KDE Neon 20.04 is Out, Available to Download Now

          The very appeal of KDE Neon — which doesn’t like to be called a ‘Linux distro’, apparently — is that it doesn’t require you to sacrifice stability in favour of newness, or vice versa as you get both: new versions of KDE Plasma on top of a rock solid, long-term support foundation.

          “KDE neon is our installable Linux with continuous integration and deployment. It’s based on Ubuntu who had a new Long Term Support Release recently so we’ve rebased it on Ubuntu 20.04 now,” Jonathan Riddell says.

        • KDE neon Is Now Based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa)
    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • EasyOS version 2.3.8 released

          Many changes since 2.3.3!

        • Easy Buster version 2.3.8

          EasyOS versions 1.x are the “Pyro” series, the latest is 1.3. Easy Pyro is built with packages compiled from source using ‘oe-qky-src’, a fork of OpenEmbedded. Consequently, the builds are small and streamlined and integrated. The Pyro series may have future releases, but it is considered to be in maintenance status.
          The “Buster” series start from version 2.0, and are intended to be where most of the action is, ongoing. Version 2.0 was really a beta-quality build, to allow the testers to report back. The first official release was 2.1.
          The main feature of Easy Buster is that it is built from Debian 10 Buster DEBs, using WoofQ (a fork of Woof2: Woof-CE is another fork, used to build Puppy Linux).
          The advantage of Buster over Pyro is access to the large Debian package repositories. That is a big plus.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.08.04 Now Available

          I am happy to announce the availability of GhostBSD 20.08.04. This release comes with kernel, OS and software application updates. We updated the MATE desktop to 1.24.0.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Fedora Nest 2020

          This year Flock did not happen due to COVID-19, and in its place, Fedora Nest happened. After many events I’ve seen going virtual in the last few months, I was skeptical. I was yet to see an acceptable online platform to run events. I was wrong on the platform. Fedora Nest used Hopin , which is by far the best platform for events I’ve seen so far. Don’t get your expectations too high, though, because when I say the best one I’ve seen so far, only means that it is usable, and it does not mean in any way that is on par of real conferences.

          I might be a weird being, but I find traveling relaxing, so I usually add to the joy of the conference the pleasure of traveling. In addition to this, at conferences, I find myself to connect with people – sometimes briefly, sometimes more deeply – and this does not occur in online events. For those reasons, I really hope we will be able to soon go back to in-person conferences.

        • Miroslav Suchý: Nest 2020 – my notes

          This year, we had Nest conference instead of traditional Flock, which has been canceled due to COVID. The conference happened purely remotely over the Hopin video conference. This was good and bad. The good is that we saved a lot on traveling and that it happened at all. It would be bad if it was canceled. The bad part was that I found it hard to focus on the conference. There are too many distractions at home. It was much harder to socialize. And a lot of people had issues either with microphone or internet upload. It was sometimes hard to follow. The conference was organized mostly for US folks, and therefore some sessions were very late in my timezone.

        • Btrfs by default status updates, 2020-08-09
        • Fedora Btrfs Activity Continues – New Options To Control Discard, Compression

          Fedora developers continue embracing the work on making the Btrfs file-system the default for F33 desktop variants. Their latest progress report indicates new installation options being wired up for the Btrfs support.

          A new Anaconda Kickstart install configuration knob is being added for setting the async discard behavior for solid-state drives. This configuration option will simply set the Btrfs DISCARD option to be enabled by default per the /etc/fstab options. They are still weighing whether to make it the default or more than likely that default transition would be next year for Fedora 34.

        • “To be, or not to be,” vulnerable… How customers and partners can understand and track Red Hat security vulnerabilities

          That is the question. Yes, I believe William Shakespeare was thinking about container security when he began Act 3 of Hamlet. He probably scanned his Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) 8 container with multiple vulnerability scanners, and with “the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks”, noticed each report told him something different. One report said his container had a vulnerability, another indicated the vulnerability was patched, and another didn’t even show the vulnerability. As Hamlet contemplates his fate, it’s no wonder he says: “With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.” In other words, he rips up the reports and does nothing!

          In many ways our customers are experiencing the same vulnerability inconsistencies as Hamlet. But unlike our hero’s tragic fate, there is some good news: Red Hat is working with independent software vendors (ISVs) to help drive vulnerability consistency for both Red Hat and our partners.

        • Kubernetes and the hybrid cloud with Skupper

          DevNation Tech Talks are hosted by the Red Hat technologists who create our products. These sessions include real solutions plus code and sample projects to help you get started. In this talk, you’ll learn about Kubernetes and the hybrid cloud with Skupper from Ted Ross and Burr Sutter.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian-Based Finnix 121 Live Linux Distro Arrives with Goodies for Sysadmins

          In early May, the Finnix developers celebrated the project’s 20th anniversary with the release of Finnix 120, making Finnix one of the oldest LiveCDs for system administrators that’s still maintained and kept up to date with the latest GNU/Linux and Open Source technologies.

          It’s actually good to see people still maintaining older distributions, and the new release, Finnix 121, brings a bag of goodies that include a new base from the Debian Testing repositories, where the Debian Project currently develops the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 11 “Bullseye” operating system series.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu Linux 20.04′s first point release arrives

          As always, this point release includes many updates and security patches. Indeed, it’s mostly a roll-up of existing bug fixes, app updates, performance tweaks, and security patches. Simultaneously, it maintains stability and compatibility with its parent distribution, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. It doesn’t have any major Linux kernel or hardware upgrades. For that, you must wait for Ubuntu 20.04.2, which I expect will be released in early 2021.

          With this release, users who are still running the last long-term version, Ubuntu 18.04, now have an easy, one-step upgrade from 18.04 to 20.04. Most 18.04 users will probably have already seen an announcement letting them know they can smoothly update from one to the other.

        • AMD Ryzen Embedded SBC Review with Ubuntu 20.04

          DFI GHF51 Ryzen Embedded SBC runs about as well in Ubuntu 20.04 as it does in Windows 10. Everything basically works and performs well. Our testing shows AMD Ryzen Embedded R1606G processor to offer slightly better performance than the top of the line Intel Gemini Lake Pentium J5005 processor.

          I also had one of the same issues as in Windows: one Seagate USB hard drive would not work reliability at all with transfer stalled. That’s probably just a hardware incompatibility, as the drive works with other platforms, and other USB storage devices achieve normal performance when connected to DFI SBC. I also noticed some artifacts with one 3D graphics benchmark, but those did not show up in other 3D accelerated programs.

          DFI GHF51 is an impressive piece of hardware as it packs lots of CPU and GPU power in a form factor similar to Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. I’d like to thank DFI for sending a review sample. If you plan to buy in large quantities to integrate the board into your product, you could contact the company via the product page. It’s used to be available as a sample on the company’s DFI-ITOX online store for $378, but it has been taken down since last time.

        • Everything You Need to Know About Linux Ubuntu Server

          As you should probably know, Linux powers the majority of the web we see today. This is mainly because Linux systems are inherently more secure and stable than other systems. There are several types of Linux distributions for powering servers. Some notable ones include Ubuntu, Red Hat, Debian, and CentOS. Ubuntu, in particular, has been enjoying a surge in popularity as a server distro in recent times. In this guide, our editors have outlined why the Linux Ubuntu server is outgrowing many of its competitions. Stay with us throughout this guide to learn why Ubuntu shines as a server distro.

        • Ubuntu 18.04.5 and 16.04.7 LTS Release Candidate ISOs Now Ready for Public Testing

          After last week’s release of Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS as the first point release in the Focal Fossa series, Canonical is now working on new point releases for its long-term supported Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system series.

          Your reaction right now would be like… wait, Ubuntu 16.04.7? Why? Aren’t there only five point releases during the life cycle of an Ubuntu LTS series? Yes, you’re right, Canonical usually bakes only five ISO point releases for each LTS series, but sometime they have to release emergency ISOs because of some nasty bugs.

          It happened last year with Ubuntu 16.04.6 LTS and Ubuntu 14.04.6 LTS (now ESM) to patch a critical security vulnerability in the APT package manager, which allowed attackers to execute code as root or possibly install malicious apps and crash the system.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Photoflare: An Open Source Image Editor for Simple Editing Needs

        When it comes to image editing on Linux, GIMP is the first and obvious choice. But GIMP could be overwhelming if you don’t need advanced editing feature. This is where applications like Photoflare step in.

        Photoflare is an editor that provides basic image editing features with a simple-to-use interface.

        It is inspired by the popular Windows application PhotoFiltre. The application is not a clone though and it has been written in C++ from scratch and uses Qt framework for the interface.

        The features include cropping, flipping/rotating, resizing image. You can also tools like paint brush, paint bucket, spray can, blur tool and eraser. The magic wand tool lets you select a specific area of the image.

      • The many meanings of ‘Open’: Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards

        It is important to note that open source software is not always “free” software. The difference is in the licensing and the level of effort required to customize the code for your use case. According to GNU progenitor and software freedom advocate Richard Stallman, free does not mean non-proprietary but rather suggests that “users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software” for any purpose. (“This is a matter of freedom, not price, so think of ‘free speech,’ not ‘free beer,’” Stallman says.). One also has the freedom to sell the software after modifying it. Implementing open source software inside a business enterprise frequently requires customization for your organization’s workflow. Whether this customization is done using internal resources or with the help of external consultants, it typically is not free, nor is the subsequent maintenance of the software.

        Successful open source software is designed and built using a collaborative community software development process that releases frequent updates to improve functionality and reliability. The key is in the “community” adoption and development.

      • How an open community rebrands

        As an open community evolves, so does the way it expresses its identity to others. And having open conversations about how you’d like your community to be recognized is an important component of community engagement.

        Simply put, your community’s brand is what people (especially potential contributors) see first when they encounter you. So you want to make sure your brand reflects your community—its values, its principles, and its spirit.

        [...]

        Together, then, we were able to augment Jim’s experience at Red Hat (though we always welcomed his perspectives along the way). Over the past half-decade, the Open Organization community has grown from a small group of passionate people debating nascent ideas about the “cultural side” of open source to a bustling bunch of thought leaders who have literally written the definition of what it means to be an open organization. To put it in open source terms: Our entire upstream project continues to evolve from that founding gesture.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • FSF

        • FSFE

          • 100 days of ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ in Munich

            100 days ago, the new Green-Red coalition in Munich adopted the principle of ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ to guide their procurement of software. Now, we take a look at the first activities undertaken for the use of Free Software.

            100 days ago, the coalition agreement “Mit Mut, Visionen und Zuversicht: Ganz München im Blick (With courage, vision and confidence: All of Munich in view”) was signed in Munich by the new government groups Grüne/Rosa Liste and SPD/Volt, as well as by the Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter. This agreement contains a strong commitment to the use of Free Software; that in the future, the principle of ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ shall apply. Munich has thus agreed to the FSFE’s demand; in turn, we are happy about this decision and have promised to follow and evaluate its implementation.

            Together with LibreOffice Foundation “The Document Foundation”, we asked the two groups what activities they have undertaken in the last 100 days to implement ‘Public Money? Public Code!’ in Munich.

            Of course, significant changes cannot always be accomplished after a mere 100 days, especially considering the difficulties in current events. However, it is still easy to see if the new government is serious about its commitment, or if is just empty words, by their actions so far.

        • GNU Projects

      • Programming/Development

        • Python

          • How to Learn Python in 21 Days?

            Before moving further, let’s have a brief introduction to Python Language. Python, designed by Guido Van Rossum in 1991, is a general-purpose programming language. The language is widely used in Web Development, Data Science, Machine Learning, and various other trending domains in the tech world. Moreover, Python supports multiple programming paradigms and has a huge set of libraries and tools. Also, the language offers various other key features such as better code readability, vast community support, fewer lines of code, and many more. Here in this article, we’ll discuss a thorough curriculum or roadmap that you need to follow to learn Python in just 21 days!

        • Rust

          • This Week In Servo 135

            Last week we released Firefox Reality v1.2, which includes a smoother developer tools experience, along with support for Unity WebXR content and self-signed SSL certificates. See the full release notes for more information about the new release.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • The Facts Just Aren’t Getting Through

        If they even heard it: If that doesn’t sound familiar, it should. Because the same thing could happen in the United States this fall—or during the next election in France, or Italy, or Ukraine. American politics, Polish politics, French politics, Italian politics, Ukrainian politics, all derived from their own history, economics, and culture, now have this in common: In each of these countries, deep informational divides separate one part of the electorate from the rest. Some voters live in a so-called populist bubble, where they hear nationalist and xenophobic messages, learn to distrust fact-based media and evidence-based science, and become receptive to conspiracy theories and suspicious of democratic institutions. Others read and hear completely different media, respect different authorities, and search for a different sort of news. Whatever the advantages of these other bubbles, their rules render the people in them incapable of understanding or speaking with those outside of them.

    • Hardware

      • TinyFloat, Troll Arithmetic, GIMP Palettes

        I’ve been working on a 64 bit extension to the 6502 processor architecture. This is for the purpose of implementing a secure computer which also has a hope of working after post industrial collapse.

        Along the way, I have found a use for a practical use for 8 bit floating point numbers. Floating point representations were historically used for scientific calculations. The two components of a floating point number – the exponent and mantissa – work in a manner similar to logarithms, slide rules and the scientific representation of numbers. For example, 1.32×104 = 13,200. Why not just write the latter? Scientific notation works over a *very* large scale and is therefore useful for cosmology, biology and nanofabrication. For computing, floating point may use binary in preference to decimal. Also, it is not typical to store both the exponent and mantissa within 8 bits.

      • Goodbye Toshiba Laptops. It’s Been Good Knowing Ya

        Toshiba will officially no longer be making PCs. To be fair, in recent years it had taken a step back from making laptops, but this goes beyond that. It’s a complete exit.

        In a little-reported press release published this week, Toshiba issued a short and to-the-point statement announcing that it had transferred its remaining minority stake in its personal computer business to Sharp. Toshiba sold 80.1% of this business unit, which its new owners renamed Dynabook, to Sharp in 2018, retaining 19.9% of shares. Sharp currently sells laptops under the Dynabook name.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Open Source Contributions on the Rise in FinTech, Healthcare and Government [Ed: "The Linux Foundation sponsored this post." So the Foundation is now busy distorting the media instead of actually supporting developers who develop Free software on shoestring budget.]

                Enterprise use of open source remains stable, and a new generation of companies are increasing their engagement with open source communities. Led by financial services, healthcare and government, more organizations across most industry verticals are regularly (frequently or sometimes) contributing to upstream projects, going from 42% to 46% over the last three years.

              • TODO Group Survey Shows Stable Enterprise Open Source Use

                The “Open Source Programs in the Enterprise” survey, from The Linux Foundation’s TODO Group and The New Stack says “enterprise use of open source remains stable.”

                An article by Lawrence Hecht reports that more organizations across industry verticals are regularly contributing to upstream projects, increasing from 42% to 46% over the past three years. “The multi-year effort provides a solid baseline for measuring change, growth and effectiveness of efforts to guide corporate open source policies and community participation,” Hecht said.

        • Security

          • 1Password is coming to Linux

            Maybe you can remember dozens of complex passwords, I can’t. That’s why password managers, such as 1Password, Keeper, and LastPass, are so important. Now, AgilBits, 1Password’s parent company, has finally listened to their customers who have been asking for a Linux version for a decade. At long last, the company announced, “1Password is coming to Linux.”

            Don’t get your credit cards out yet though. True, the first development preview version of 1Password is out now. But it’s not ready for prime-time yet. It’s not a finished product. “For example, the app is currently read-only: there is no item editing, creation of vaults, or item organization.”

          • Security updates for Monday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (pillow, ruby-kramdown, wpa, and xrdp), Fedora (ark and rpki-client), Gentoo (apache, ark, global, gthumb, and iproute2), openSUSE (chromium, grub2, java-11-openjdk, libX11, and opera), Red Hat (bind, chromium-browser, java-1.7.1-ibm, java-1.8.0-ibm, and libvncserver), SUSE (LibVNCServer, perl-XML-Twig, thunderbird, and xen), and Ubuntu (samba).

          • Have I Been Pwned to release code base to the open source community

            Members of the general public can submit their email addresses into the Have I Been Pwned search engine to find out if they have been “pwned,” and if their emails have been linked to a data breach, each one and a summary of what happened is displayed — as well as what information has been exposed.

            Since its launch in 2013, Hunt has poured more resources, including time and energy, into managing the search engine over time, expanding the service to include domain monitoring and breach alerts.

            At the heart, one main operator isn’t enough to ensure future scalability or sustainability, and with this in mind, Hunt previously attempted to find a buyer to help expand his life’s work.

            Unfortunately, the merger and/or acquisition process failed, and so Hunt has decided to pursue another alternative — opening up the Have I Been Pwned code base to the open source community.

          • Researcher Demonstrates Several Zoom Vulnerabilities at DEF CON 28

            Popular video conferencing app Zoom has addressed several security vulnerabilities, two of which affect its Linux client that could have allowed an attacker with access to a compromised system to read and exfiltrate Zoom user data—and even run stealthy malware as a sub-process of a trusted application.
            According to cybersecurity researcher Mazin Ahmed, who presented his findings at DEF CON 2020 yesterday, the company also left a misconfigured development instance exposed that wasn’t updated since September 2019, indicating the server could be susceptible to flaws that were left unpatched.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Tencent Shares Fall Further as Worries About U.S. Action Persist

              Tencent Shares Fall Further as Worries About U.S. Action PersistTencent Holdings Ltd. added to Friday’s sharp decline to start the week, helping lead weakness in technology shares after the U.S.’ move to ban residents from doing business with the company’s WeChat app.

            • Twitter [attackers] were caught after sending bitcoin to verified Coinbase accounts

              The path to capturing the trio turned out to be fairly easy for the FBI. The three may have been crafty in gaining access to Twitter, but ultimately they were extraordinarily lax in hiding their trail. Using blockchain analysis tools, the FBI traced the bitcoin sent to the trio in the scam to Coinbase Inc. accounts that had been registered and verified with real driver’s licenses of Fazeli and Sheppard.

            • How Malicious Tor Relays are Exploiting Users in 2020 (Part I)

              Tor exit relays are the last hop in the chain of 3 relays and the only type of relay that gets to see the connection to the actual destination chosen by the Tor Browser user. The used protocol (i.e. http vs. https) by the user decides whether a malicious exit relay can actually see and manipulate the transferred content or not.

              In this post I want to give you an update on the malicious Tor relay situation for the first seven months of 2020 by looking at a single large scale malicious actor that is of ongoing concern. It demonstrates once more that current checks are insufficient to prevent such large scale attacks.

            • Twitter shows interest in acquisition as TikTok plans to sue over ban

              Twitter, which owned a predecessor to TikTok called Vine that it acquired in 2012 for $30 million before closing the service in 2016, is said to have held preliminary talks with ByteDance over a possible acquisition. TechCrunch reported that there are serious questions as to whether a deal might be possible given that Twitter may not have the capacity or investor support to raise the money required.

              Twitter itself has a market valuation of $29 billion, whereas the parts of TikTok currently on the table — operations in the U.S., Australia, Canada and New Zealand at the least — could have a valuation of between $15 billion and $50 billion. Microsoft, by comparison, has a market cap of $1.6 trillion, with $136.6 billion in cash [sic] on hand as of November, and would easily win any bidding war against Twitter should it come to that.

            • Coronavirus and the Surveillance State

              The coronavirus pandemic is challenging our ideas about the fundamental responsibilities of government and the proper limits of government demands on the governed.
              These issues are particularly pressing when it comes to government surveillance. How far should government agencies and representatives go to monitor the well-being of individual Americans and, more importantly, to reach out with corrective action, when things go wrong? To answer these questions we have to go far beyond policies for health and illness, and grapple anew with tensions between government efforts to protect people (and administer justice) and the perils of oppressive overreach.
              Classic conservative doctrines stress limitation of government powers as the best safeguard for liberty. Americans who have resisted restrictions on public socializing in restaurants and other gathering places and orders to close business show that this doctrine still resonates today.
              Yet changing technologies upend established compromises on these matters and force us to confront possibilities that once seemed fantastical. In the last few years, for example, political campaigns have turned to techniques like geofencing, which enable strategists to scan crowds and identify their members—without the latter’s knowledge—by the signals emitted by their cell phones. This information makes it possible to trace the presence of those targets in future public venues. Law enforcement agencies at many levels have wide recourse to related technologies, such as Stingray, that track the movements of persons of interest using the signals between the targets’ phones and the nearest towers. The legal status of these activities is unclear, and court orders are rarely sought for them. Many of these technologies have been developed not by government agencies but by advertising and marketing entrepreneurs.
              Thus far use of these capabilities in the United States has largely been scattered across different private-sector and government organizations, rather than concentrated in any single institution. By contrast, mainland China has openly deployed its considerable resources to track the movements of virtually every member of its population. During the pandemic, citizens were classified by three color codes—green, yellow, and red—based on the history of their movements. These codes were available via each person’s cell phone, which must be used for crucial transactions. When seeking access to high-speed rail service or bus connections, or entering other public spaces likely to be crowded, everyone expected to have their code checked. Those coded red or yellow were assumed to have had close contact with a confirmed coronavirus carrier; the authorities would block holders of these phones from further travel and possibly assign them enforced quarantine. Those lucky enough to show a green classification faced few restrictions. An additional feature of the system enables the authorities to drill down into the detail of the person’s traveling history should suspicions remain. Citizens revealed to have traveled recently to Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, risked further investigation as possible virus carriers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Our Moral Awakening in the Long Shadow of the Bomb

        The continued existence of nuclear weapons are effectively killing us every day even without their use.

      • The Atomic Bomb Poets and the Military Realists 75 Years After Nagasaki

        May the hibakusha and this generation guide us to global abolition of nuclear weapons.

      • What wasn’t the US telling about Hiroshima? A reporter found out.

        In “Fallout: The Hiroshima Cover-up and the Reporter Who Revealed It to the World,” Lesley M.M. Blume goes behind the scenes of journalist John Hersey’s reporting on Hiroshima, which was published in 1946 in The New Yorker. “Fallout” is not a rehashing of Hersey’s reporting, but rather a deconstruction of the dynamics among Hersey, his editor William Shawn, and New Yorker founder Harold Ross, that made the article’s publication possible.

        In 1946, it was daring for any publication to report on what happened to the victims in Japan. As Hersey and The New Yorker reported, there was a need to cast a light on what was happening on the ground versus what Americans were hearing from the U.S. government spin machine. We often forget that the bombings took the lives of 42,000 Hiroshima residents instantly, and left in its wake a litany of deaths and health effects from the radiation. Hersey’s calculations pushed the number of deaths into the hundreds of thousands.

      • Japan marks 75th anniversary of Nagasaki atomic bombing

        The attack on Nagasaki occurred just three days after the US carried out the world’s first ever atomic bombing in Hiroshima. The bomb that hit Nagasaki, known as Fat Man, destroyed most of the city and killed tens of thousands of people instantly. Approximately 74,000 people died from the bombing and its after-effects by the end of 1945.

      • Gone in a flash: Hong Kong’s dreams of a democratic majority, candidates, even election

        Rarely has victory been transformed into defeat quite so quickly, but things move at high speed once Beijing takes charge.

        The watershed event was Hong Kong’s new national security law, announced in late May, and promulgated by the central government close to midnight on June 30. The law went into effect on June 30, and from that day forward, as the unfamiliar routines of a security regime went into effect, all things political began to change.

      • Six French tourists killed by gunmen in Niger

        The French foreign ministry said it was looking into the reports. There was no immediate comment from the government in Niger. The French government warns people against traveling to large parts of Niger where militant groups including Boko Haram and an affiliate of Islamic State operate.

      • In the news: Seven aid workers killed in Niger

        Unidentified gunmen on motorbikes killed seven aid workers and a tourist guide who were visiting a wildlife reserve on Sunday in Niger’s Tillabéri region, where jihadist groups have become increasingly active in recent years.

        In a joint statement, the humanitarian organisations, ACTED and IMPACT Initiatives, confirmed the “senseless” and “cowardly” killing of six French nationals and one Nigerien.

        “Our colleagues have been working to support the people of Niger facing hardship, driven by values of humanity and solidarity,” the statement said.

        Jihadists were not previously known to operate near the tourist attraction, which is 40 miles east of the capital, Niamey, and home to an endangered population of West African giraffes.

        But Mathieu Pellerin, a Sahel analyst at the International Crisis Group, said “all eyes” are on the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, a regional offshoot of the so-called Islamic State group that has been under increasing pressure from military forces in the region over recent months.

        Ten humanitarian workers from the local NGO APIS were also abducted in June while distributing food in a different part of Tillabéri, where tens of thousands of people have been displaced by violence.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Trump walks out of news conference after reporter asks him about Veterans Choice lie he’s told more than 150 times

        In fact, former President Barack Obama signed the Choice program into law in 2014. The law, which allowed eligible veterans to be covered by the government for care provided by doctors outside the VA system, was a bipartisan initiative spearheaded by two senators Trump has repeatedly criticized, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and the late John McCain of Arizona.

      • Facebook Fired An Employee Who Collected Evidence Of Right-Wing Pages Getting Preferential Treatment

        But some of Facebook’s own employees gathered evidence they say shows Breitbart — along with other right-wing outlets and figures including Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, Trump supporters Diamond and Silk, and conservative video production nonprofit Prager University — has received special treatment that helped it avoid running afoul of company policy. They see it as part of a pattern of preferential treatment for right-wing publishers and pages, many of which have alleged that the social network is biased against conservatives.

        “We defer to third-party fact-checkers on the rating that a piece of content receives,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement. “When a fact checker applies a rating, we apply a label and demotion. But we are responsible for how we manage our internal systems for repeat offenders. We apply additional system wide penalties for multiple false ratings, including demonetization and the inability to advertise, unless we determine that one or more of those ratings does not warrant additional consequences.”

        On July 22, a Facebook employee posted a message to the company’s internal misinformation policy group noting that some misinformation strikes against Breitbart had been cleared by someone at Facebook seemingly acting on the publication’s behalf.

    • Environment

      • EPA Destroys Water Quality Records, Deceives Archivist

        The Environmental Protection Agency illegally destroyed records, deceived the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about that destruction, and falsely blamed the coronavirus pandemic to escape accountability, according to internal documents uncovered by CREW.

      • Ocean Warming Due to Climate Change Could Soon Imperil Coral Reef Restoration

        Anyone who’s tending a garden right now knows what extreme heat can do to plants. Heat is also a concern for an important form of underwater gardening: growing corals and “outplanting,” or transplanting them to restore damaged reefs.

      • Energy

        • Saudi Aramco Says Profit Fell 73 Percent as Demand for Oil Shrank

          The company said Sunday that on April 2 it achieved a record daily production of 12.1 million barrels. The Saudi production surge sent a gusher of oil into the market as demand was plummeting, rattling markets. Futures for the U.S. benchmark, West Texas Intermediate, briefly reached a negative price.

          In May, Saudi Arabia reined in production through an agreement reached under pressure from the Trump administration. Prices for Brent crude, the international benchmark, have risen from their April lows of under $20 a barrel to about $44 a barrel but still remain down about a third on the year. Under that agreement the Saudis are able to increase production by 500,000 barrels a day in August, but without a discernible impact on prices so far.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Interests of the Nation
      • Critics Warn Against Smear Campaign, ‘Creepy Victorian Moralizing’ Aimed at Progressive Challenger Alex Morse

        “Would be quite something if the groups backing Alex Morse took a stand here on behalf of free, consenting adults not in a subordinate role to do what they want with their lives,” said one political observer. “Not counting on it but we’ll see.”

      • Progressives Call Trump Executive Orders What They Are: Illegal. Inadequate. Misleading. ‘A Disgrace.’ ‘A Sham.’ ‘A Cruel Joke.’

        If president actually “cared about helping Americans,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “he would have demanded Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell start negotiating as soon as the House passed the HEROES act almost two months ago.”

      • Warren Denounces Trump’s Executive Orders as “Cruel Joke” on American People

        Progressive critics and Democratic lawmakers did not need the help of even the Republican U.S. Senator who used the phrase “unconstitutional slop” to describe President Donald Trump’s slate of executive orders—signed Saturday at his private golf club in New Jersey—to rack up ferocious condemnation of the presidential actions as “legally dubious,” shortsighted, wholly inadequate, and final proof that Trump does not understand the scale of the economic devastation his Republican Party is unleashing on the nation with its refusal to join Democrats to pass a far-reaching Covid-19 rescue package.

      • Belarusian authorities begin violent crackdown on opposition protesters, after presidential vote ends and suspicious exit polls are released

        Following a hotly contested presidential election in Belarus, riot police have resorted to rubber bullets, flashbang grenades, and water hoses against opposition demonstrators trying to build road barricades using dumpsters and trash cans. A correspondent for the news website MBK Media reported that the authorities fired at least seven shots using non-lethal ammunition.

      • What Is the US-Mexico Border to Indigenous Peoples Who Have Lived There?

        For Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the U.S.-Mexico border is increasingly a symbol and tool of genocide. When this border was created, Indigenous peoples of the region were divided, including the Yaqui, O’odham, Cocopah, Kumeyaay, Pai, Apache, and Kickapoo. These peoples are represented by 26 sovereign tribal nations in the United States with tribal relatives residing in Mexico. Indigenous peoples tend to understand and talk about the U.S.-Mexico border in different terms from those who understand the border to be an agreement between governments, often describing the border as artificial or “imaginary.”

      • Positive Nationalism

        We should decide what our identity is, and make sure it’s a positive one.

        And then go about making it real.

      • Reddit [attacked] and defaced with pro-Trump messages in English and Chinese

        The [attack] occurred on Friday and involved those behind the attack accessing accounts belonging to moderators of popular subreddits with millions of subscribers, including r/space, r/food, r/Japan, r/nfl, r/cfb and r/podcasts.

      • Facebook Sued in Washington State Twice in Two Years Over Political Ads

        According to The Seattle Stranger, Washington state law requires political ad-sellers “to make significant disclosures about who’s paying for political ads that target state and local elections, as well as details about the reach of those ads.”

        In June 2018, Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued Facebook and Google after the web giants refused to publicly furnish information on political ads as required by state law. Because state statutes allowed for both companies to be fined as much as $10,000 per violation, Facebook and Google potentially owed millions of dollars to the state for the hundreds of ads they had run for local and state elections.

      • Trump’s TikTok ban is bad policy

        The risks from these mobile apps arise from the data they collect and how they transmit and store it, as well as potential Chinese government influence over the internet and technology companies within China that control the apps. There are real questions to be asked on the issue of TikTok, mobile apps, and national security risks alone, separating out and unpacking policymakers’ purported, yet sometimes ill-elaborated or conflated, concerns. There are also real and broader questions that can and should be asked by the United States and its allies about risks like Chinese government censorship, espionage, and data access through technology companies.

        Yet policy process matters—not just policy outcomes. The reality is that these digital supply chain risks are incredibly complicated, and substantive analyses of these issues don’t often lend themselves to soundbites. The global technology supply chain is deeply interdependent and interconnected; if you cracked open your smartphone, you’d see components sourced from numerous countries on the inside. Devices designed and sold by a company incorporated in one country, in other words, may have numerous subcomponents manufactured in others. Software, too, comes from all over the place—and research into technologies like artificial intelligence depends on heavy cross-border collaboration, such as between China and the United States. If you fly out of the country, you can, from many places, still access your email or your online banking. All the while, the United States benefits from internet freedom and openness, and has long been a staunch global defender of those principles, even in light of cyber and information threats posed through that interconnection.

        Prohibiting federal employees from using TikTok would be a narrowly targeted way to deal with espionage concerns. Providing evidence that the Chinese government actively orders, encourages, or causes worldwide political censorship on TikTok or actively manipulates its political messages, to give another example, would be a way to demonstrate to the US public reason for concern. Communicating that many of these issues of data collection and security—including data collection on minors—apply to many more apps than TikTok would be a smart approach as well.

        But that is not what’s happening here. Even in the presence of real data policy questions, the Trump administration is pursuing a dangerously broad and unproductive whack-a-mole policy that’s not about security.

      • How Pro-Trump Forces Work the Refs in Silicon Valley

        But while it was a quintessentially 2020 exchange, the gripe voiced by Representative Greg Steube was also a classic example of a politician “working the refs” — that is, complaining vocally about a referee’s decision in the hopes of getting a better call next time. It’s a tactic the Trump movement has revived and deftly employed against the powerful, befuddled new referees of public debate, Google, Facebook and Twitter.

        I’ve been thinking about conservatives’ long and persistent campaign to influence the referees since the historian Rick Perlstein emailed me recently to offer me a scoop, if a somewhat dusty one.

        In combing the archives of The New York Times at the New York Public Library for his new book Reaganland, he’d come across correspondence from the 1970s and 1980s between The Times’s publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, known as Punch, and Reed Irvine, the founder of Accuracy in Media and the prototype of the professional partisan media critic. Mr. Irvine had the ingenious idea of buying Times stock and then showing up at shareholders’ meetings to vocally accuse the paper of being soft on communism. Mr. Sulzberger, in an effort to mollify him, offered him instead private meetings every year in the publisher’s office. A warm, first-name basis correspondence ensued.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Trump’s Threat to Press Freedom Is Global

        Conservative filmmaker Michael Pack is a true believer in Trump’s version of a global war of ideas, as was made evident by a recent editorial penned by the Trump loyalist. That is likely why the Senate confirmed his appointment in June as head of the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), one of the largest news networks in the world. USAGM runs a number of state media and technology organizations, including Voice of America (VOA), Middle East Broadcasting, Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Office of Cuba Broadcasting (which oversees Radio Televisión Martí) and the Open Technology Fund (OTF), which promotes internet access around the world.

      • Jimmy Lai: Hong Kong media tycoon arrested under security law

        Chinese state media Global Times on Monday described Mr Lai as “riot supporter” and his publications as having been “instigating hatred, spreading rumors and smearing Hong Kong authorities and the mainland for years”.

        The Global Times also reported that two of his sons as well as two senior executives of Next Digital had also been arrested.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Lynching Is Not a Relic of a Jim Crow Past. It’s a Modern Form of Racial Terror.

        The moment haunts me. It resides in my consciousness as a harbinger of stalled progress. It grasps my existence with the tension of every maddening expression of racial othering and inhumanity I have witnessed, studied, experienced.

      • How the 1971 Stanford prison experiment prophesied America’s authoritarian backslide

        Although intended to last for two weeks, the plug was pulled after less than one week. Still, the experiment became a go-to reference point for scholars and pundits attempting to explain how ordinary people can become tyrants when given power. Though ethical concerns and controversy still swirl around the Stanford prison experiment, its relevance today is undeniable. And as many Americans perceive the nation lurching towards authoritarianism, its conclusions are more vital to understand than ever. Indeed, only in understanding authoritarianism can one stop it.

      • Three years after the Caliphate, Iraq’s Christians find little incentive to return

        It’s been three years since the guns fell silent in Mosul, the onetime capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). With the Caliphate finally pushed out, it seemed the nightmare of extremist rule was finally coming to an end, giving Iraq’s Christian minority a chance to reclaim their homes after years spent sheltering under brutal conditions, fleeing to refugee camps, or taking flight abroad.

        Instead, their hopes of rebuilding have diminished even as the threat of the Caliphate has faded. The region’s few remaining Christians find themselves caught between Iran-backed Shia militias and an Iraqi government that, nearly twenty years after the American invasion, is politically paralyzed and still unable to provide basic security and services—let alone protect the country’s embattled minority populations. As a result, most Iraqi Christians are searching for brighter pastures, even if it means forever parting with the land of their ancestors.

      • Life in prison for smashing windows? Utah charges BLM protestors.

        Some Black Lives Matter protesters in Salt Lake City could face up to life in prison if they’re convicted of splashing red paint and smashing windows during a protest, a potential punishment that stands out among demonstrators arrested around the country and one that critics say doesn’t fit the alleged crime.

        The felony criminal mischief charges are more serious because they carry a gang enhancement. Prosecutors said Wednesday that’s justified because the protesters worked together to cause thousands of dollars in damage, but watchdogs called the use of the 1990s-era law troubling, especially in the context of criminal justice reform and minority communities.

      • The legal battle to hold the EU to account for Libya migrant abuses

        More than 6,500 asylum seekers and migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard so far this year. Since the EU and Italy began training, funding, equipping, and providing operational assistance to the Libyan Coast Guard in 2017, that number stands at around 40,000 people.

        Critics say European support for these interceptions and returns is one of the most glaring examples of the trade-off being made between upholding human rights – a fundamental EU value – and the EU’s determination to reduce migration to the continent.

    • Monopolies

      • [Guest post] Why IP lawyers are among the best placed to help lead the sustainable revolution

        Here we are halfway through 2020. What an eventful year it’s been in unprecedented ways that will be unforgettable for all sorts of reasons — both bad and good. Positive changes are undeniable: agile working is becoming normal for some professions, including ours. As we are going back to some sort of “new normality” around the world, we are now avoiding long travels like unnecessary commutes and we can attend conferences and webinars from the comfort of our own homes, meaning less jetlag and more time for family or catching up on this blog!

      • Patents

        • Guest Post: We Must Protect Access to Vital Telemedicine Services

          Seniors have been taking advantage of telemedicine services, often accessed via their smartphones, tablets or laptops, for some time now. But the coronavirus has put that trend into overdrive, as more older Americans look for ways to stay safe while still getting the medical care they need.

          The Trump administration has helped accelerate telemedicine for seniors. The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced new initiatives at the end of April to increase access to telehealth services. At a White House coronavirus task force meeting recently, the President said that the number of Medicare recipients using telehealth had increased from about 11,000 patients a week to more than 650,000.

          The COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated this trend. Many seniors are enthusiastic mobile technology owners. They use their mobile devices to supplement or take the place of traditional office visits or other communications with health care providers. In a January 2020 survey of older Americans – taken prior to the pandemic – 38% had already used their smartphones or tablets to manage or receive medical care in the last three months. More than half of respondents said they preferred to handle their medical needs with a combination of health care professionals and technology, and 32% had used their smartphones or tablets to track their health and fitness routines.

          [...]

          Neodron is a type of business known as a patent assertion entity or, more commonly, a patent troll. The company was established for the sole purpose of obtaining whatever patents it could find to use as the basis for filing patent infringement suits. Neodron’s actions are especially dangerous because they focus on the ITC. Unlike a court, the ITC cannot offer money damages for possible infringements and therefore cannot calibrate remedies to the facts. The ITC’s only power is to issue an exclusion order – a ban on importing a product into the U.S. market, which can occur on the basis of even just one minor patent claim. And even though claims of infringement from trolls may not ultimately stick, trolls have become skilled at essentially extorting tech company targets whose products can encompass thousands of patents. For these companies, the threat of excluding an entire product from the US market on the basis of a single patent claim creates an intolerable choice between extortion and exclusion.

        • Shining the light on insufficiency (T 1285/15)

          One of the arguments heard again and again during opposition is that an Opponent’s insufficiency objection is merely a dressed-up clarity objection. The distinction is crucial, given that insufficiency is ground for opposing a patent whilst clarity is not (unless the clarity issues results from a post-grant amendment). In a recent case from the Boards of Appeal (T 1285/15), the Opponent attempted to circumvent the issue by arguing that a collection of clarity issues amounted to insufficiency when taken in combination. The Board of Appeal was not convinced by these arguments, reasoning that the only way to deal with a series of separate issues with the claim language was in a step-by-step fashion.

          [...]

          The Board of Appeal agreed with the Patentee. In particular, the Board of Appeal “could not endorse” the Opponent’s objection that the insufficiency attack should be treated holistically as opposed to atomistically. The Board of Appeal’s reasoning was quite simply that anything other than an atomisitc approach would be impractical: “there is no other way for the board to tackle the multiple objections than by breaking the sum of objections into distinct aspects” (r. 12.2.10). Furthermore, the Board of Appeal reasoned, the step-by-step approach is also the way in which the skilled person would tackle the problem: “A more holistic approach would have to be based on some overall impression and would therefore lack objectivity”.

        • Software Patents

          • American Axle & Mfg. v. Neapco Holdings LLC (Fed. Cir. 2019)

            The District Court granted summary judgment that these claims, and all other asserted claims, were invalid under Section 101 for being directed to a natural law (at least Hooke’s law and “friction damping”) and did nothing more than instruct the skilled worker to “apply” that law, in contravention of the patent eligibility requirements for satisfying Section 101 set forth in Mayo Collaborative Servs. v. Prometheus Labs., Inc. The District Court’s basis for arriving at this conclusion was that the ’911 specification did not provide a “particular means of how to craft the liner and propshaft in order to do so.” American Axle appealed.

            As it had in the earlier-issued decision, the Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Dyk joined by Judge Taranto; Judge Moore filed a vociferous dissent. In its earlier opinion, the majority set out its understanding of the invention and the basis for the District Court’s decision to invalidate.

            [...]

            Turning to specifics, the majority identified two relevant types of attenuation of these vibrations: resistive attenuation (“a vibration attenuation means that deforms as vibration energy is transmitted through it . . . so that the vibration attenuation means absorbs . . . the vibration energy “) and reactive attenuation (“a mechanism that can oscillate in opposition to the vibration energy [of the propshaft] to thereby ‘cancel out’ a portion of the vibration energy”). The ’911 specification (according to the majority) discloses that the prior art contained means and methods for attenuating each of the three propshaft vibration modes, but were limited insofar as they could not attenuate two vibration modes simultaneously; the specification identified a “need in the art” to dampen shell mode and bending mode vibrations simultaneously (which American Axle contended below and at the Federal Circuit comprised the “inventive concept” required by Supreme Court precedent to make their claim patent eligible). While recognizing these assertions, in the majority’s view the ’911 specification does not disclose how to achieve these goals (this being the basis for finding the claims were not patent eligible).

            While putting their decision in the context of the two-step test for patent eligibility announced in Mayo and further clarified in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank International, the majority appeared to anticipate the furor their decision would engender, saying that “[t]here is no legal principle that a claim to a method of manufacturing cannot be directed to a natural law, nor are there any cases saying so.” The majority based its opinion on its belief that according to the ’911 “most aspects of the ’911 patent were well known in the art” and thus failed the inventive concept requirement of the Supreme Court’s Alice test.

          • Covered Business Method Review: Last Day to File is September 16, 2020.

            Under the 2011 America Invents Act, certain Covered Business Method Patents (CBM) can be broadly challenged as part of a Post-Grant Review (PGR). CBM filing was opened on September 16, 2012 – 1 year after AIA enactment. So far, about 600 CBM petitions have been filed.

            The CBM program is “transitional” — and is set to sunset (i.e., become inactive) soon. Under the law, the program sunsets “upon the expiration of the 8-year period beginning on the date that the regulations … take effect.” That takes us to September 16, 2020 — CBM Sunset Date. The particular language of the law indicates that Section 18 of the AIA is “repealed” as of the sunset date. However, the provision will still apply to “any petition … filed before the date.”

          • Another Sound View patent challenged

            On August 6, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 6,725,456, owned and asserted by Sound View Innovations, LLC. The request was filed in an effort to protect Open Source technologies from invalid NPE assertions. The ’456 patent generally relates to ensuring quality of service in an operating system. Sound View recently asserted this patent against Cigna, Walmart, Vudu, Delta Air Lines, DISH Network, and Sling TV.

          • Sound View patent challenged

            On August 3, 2020, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 7,426,715, owned and asserted by Sound View Innovations, LLC. The request was filed in an effort to protect Open Source technologies from invalid NPE assertions. The ’715 patent generally relates to shutting down a plurality of software components in an ordered sequence. Sound View recently asserted this patent against Walmart, Vudu, and Delta Air Lines.

      • Copyrights

        • Anime Publisher Asks Google to Wipe Dictionary Page

          Japanese manga publisher Shogakukan has asked Google to remove a Dictionary.com page for the word ‘magi’ from its search engine. While Magi is the name of a popular manga comic, it also refers to the Bible’s three wise men. Something Shogakukan should know, as the company also publishes dictionaries.

        • Looks Like Sky Was Funding CrimeStoppers’ “Report a Pirate” Campaign

          Late 2017, UK charity Crimestoppers launched a campaign to discourage the use of pirate set-top boxes and encourage people to report pirates to the police. While the financial backers of the initiative were never revealed at the time, Crimestoppers accounts reveal that it had £100,000 at its disposal, with the amount now attributed to broadcasting giant Sky.

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