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08.11.20

Infographic by Marcia Wilbur: Where’s My Refund?!

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:41 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Tweet by Marcia Wilbur:

DMCANews: DARK Infographic. Some people are visual learners...@schestowitz Thanks for the copyleft article. Found the missing piece there! #GNU #Linux The #Microsoft Connection... I call this, 'where's my refund?!' #FSF #inkscape #phpmyadmin #etherpad #QEMU #Samba - who are your stewards?!

Image alone:

Where's My Refund?!

Links 12/8/2020: New GNU Emacs, GXml-0.20, WordPress 5.5, and Mozilla is Laying off 250 Staff

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • The Massive Privacy Loopholes in School Laptops

        It’s back to school time and with so many school districts participating in distance learning, many if not most are relying on computers and technology more than ever before. Wealthier school districts are providing their students with laptops or tablets, but not all schools can afford to provide each student with a computer which means that this summer parents are scrambling to find a device for their child to use for school.

        Geoffery Fowler wrote a guide in the Washington Post recently to aid parents in sourcing a computer or tablet for school. Given how rough kids can be with their things, many people are unlikely to give their child an expensive, premium laptop. The guide mostly focuses on incredibly low-cost, almost-disposable computers, so you won’t find a computer in the list that has what I consider a critical feature for privacy in the age of video conferencing: hardware kill switches. Often a guide like this would center on Chromebooks as Google has invested a lot of resources to get low-cost Chromebooks into schools yet I found Mr. Fowler’s guide particularly interesting because of his opinion on Chromebooks in education…

      • Enabling Dark Mode on a Chromebook (Do not try this at home)

        It has been well over a year since we discovered work being done that would bring “dark mode” to Chrome OS. By now, I really thought that developers would have wrapped this one up but apparently, it’s been a greater undertaking than I presumed. Every time I get a Canary update, I look for “dark mode” in the hopes that we can finally get a rough idea of when we may see this much sought after feature. I, for one, use dark mode on any and all apps that offer it and that includes the system theme on my OnePlus 8. Sadly, dark mode is still absent from even the Canary channel which is currently on version 86 of Chrome OS.

        [...]

        Crosh is essentially a terminal for Chromebooks. Even without entering the non-secure developer mode, you can use crosh to enter a handful of commands to do things like checking your battery health or identifying the kernel version on your device. Go ahead. Give it a try. Just type Ctrl+Alt+t on your keyboard and crosh should open in a new window. Don’t worry. So long as you don’t tinker around, you aren’t going to break anything. At the crosh> prompt, type battery_test 1 and hit enter. The output should show you the current charging state, battery level and battery health. There are other useful commands you can use in crosh but we’ll cover those another time. Right now, we’re going to look at how I enabled dark mode on my Chromebook.

    • Audiocasts/Screecasts

      • BunsenLabs Linux Lithium overview | Crunchbang Reborn

        In this video, I am going to show an overview of BunsenLabs Linux Lithium and some of the applications pre-installed.

      • Why Do You Guys Want Linux Creators To Record Outside

        For some reason people seem to like the outside Linux rants so I thought I’d explain why they went away and how I’m planning to bring them back, they’re very easy to make so I feel like I’m generally just being lazy when I put one of these out but if you guys want them I guess I can’t say no.

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux Kernel 5.8 Gets First Point Release, It’s Now Ready for Mass Adoption

        Released by Linus Torvalds last week, Linux kernel 5.8 is dubbed as one of the biggest kernel releases of all time and brings with it numerous new features, updated hardware support, and several security enhancements.

        Highlights of the Linux 5.8 kernel series include Shadow Call Stack and Branch Target Identification (BTI) support for ARM architectures, LZO-RLE compression support in the F2FS file system, a new boot option for specifying an initial RAM disk image, and a new event-notification mechanism.

      • Linux 5.8.1

        I’m announcing the release of the 5.8.1 kernel.

        All users of the 5.8 kernel series must upgrade.

        The updated 5.8.y git tree can be found at:
        git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.8.y
        and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

        https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

      • Linux 5.7.15
      • Linux 5.4.58
      • Linux 4.19.139
      • Linux 5.9 Performance Is Off To A Great Start With FSGSBASE Boost

        FSGSBASE particularly helps out context switching heavy workloads like I/O and allowing user-space software to write to the x86_64 GSBASE without kernel interaction. That in turn has been of interest to Java and others.

        While going through patch review, we’ve benchmarked FSGSBASE patches at different points and found the performance benefits to be evident and helping in areas hurt by the likes of Spectre/Meltdown. FSGSBASE is supported on Intel CPUs since Ivy Bridge as well as newer AMD CPUs, where the performance is also helped.

        On Linux 5.9 where FSGSBASE is finally mainlined, it’s enabled by default on supported CPUs. FSGSBASE can be disabled at kernel boot time via the “nofsgsbase” kernel option. On Linux 5.9+, looking for “fsgsbase” in the /proc/cpuinfo is the indicator whether FSGSBASE kernel usage is happening though note prior to 5.9 on supported CPUs the “fsgsbase” string is always present.

        For this article are some early data points of Linux 5.9 tested out-of-the-box on a Git snapshot and then again when booting that kernel image with “nofsgsbase” and repeating the tests. Via the Phoronix Test Suite various benchmarks relevant to FSGSBASE testing were carried out. Quick tests on both Intel Core and AMD Ryzen are done for this article while additional tests will be coming of Linux 5.9 over the weeks ahead — 5.9-rc1 isn’t even out until next weekend as marking the end of 5.9 features landing.

      • Please pull NFS server updates for v5.9
      • User Xattr Support Finally Landing For NFS In Linux 5.9

        The NFS code going into Linux 5.9 is finally presenting support for user extended attributes (user xattrs).

        The NFS server updates for Linux 5.9 have support for user-extended attributes on NFS. This is the functionality outlined via IETF’s RFC 8276 for handling of file-system extended attributes in NFSv4. “This feature allows extended attributes (hereinafter also referred to as xattrs) to be interrogated and manipulated using NFSv4 clients. Xattrs are provided by a file system to associate opaque metadata, not interpreted by the file system, with files and directories. Such support is present in many modern local file systems. New file attributes are provided to allow clients to query the server for xattr support, with that support consisting of new operations to get and set xattrs on file system objects.”

      • Intel Adds Capability To Linux 5.9 For NVDIMM Firmware Updates Without Reboots

        For Intel NVDIMMs like DC Persistent Memory there is support on the way with Linux 5.9 to support firmware updates to the non-volatile memory device without the need for a system reboot.

        The LIBNVDIMM changes for Linux 5.9 include “Runtime Firmware Activation” as the Intel-devised feature for accommodating device firmware updates to supported NVDIMM modules without needing a reboot. The intent is on being less disruptive than a reboot and allow loading the firmware still via the ndctl user-space utility and then the new ability to “activate” the new firmware.

      • F2FS With Linux 5.9 Adds Secure TRIM, New Garbage Collection Option

        The Flash-Friendly File-System (F2FS) changes have been sent in for the in-development Linux 5.9 kernel.

        The prominent changes this cycle include a new garbage collection mode (GC_URGENT_LOW) and a “secure” TRIM option (F2FS_IOC_SEC_TRIM_FILE) in the name of security.

        The F2FS_IOC_SEC_TRIM_FILE functionality is intended as secure erase functionality. For drives not supporting TRIM/DISCARD, zeroing out the given data range for the regular file is performed to ensure the data is wiped on disk.

      • Linux 5.9 Bringing Mellanox VDPA Driver For Newer ConnectX Devices

        There are a few changes worth mentioning out of the VirtIO updates submitted today for the Linux 5.9 kernel.

        The latest Mellanox driver going mainline in the Linux kernel is a VDPA (Virtual Data Path Acceleration) for their ConnectX6 DX and newer devices.

        The VDPA standard is an abstraction layer on top of SR-IOV and allows for a single VirtIO driver in the guest that isn’t hardware specific while still allowing wire-speed performance on the data plane. VDPA is more versatile than the likes of VirtIO full hardware offloading. More details for those interested via this Red Hat post.

      • Linux Plumbers Releasing More Passes

        After a careful review we have decided to release more passes. We are thrilled with the interest for this first ever online Linux Plumbers. The highlight of Linux Plumbers is the microconferences which are heavily focused on discussion and problem solving. To give the best experience for discussion, we have chosen to use an open source virtual platform that offers video for all participants. The platform recommends not having more than a certain number of people in each room at a time, hence putting a cap on registration to avoid hitting that limit. We do have solutions that will hopefully allow as many people as possible to experience Plumbers. We appreciate your patience and enthusiasm.

      • Hardware

        • Performance Delivered a New Way

          The server CPU has evolved at an incredible pace over the last two decades. Gone are the days of discrete CPUs, northbridges, southbridges, memory controllers, other external I/O and security chips. In today’s modern data center, the SoC (System On A Chip) does it all. It is the central point of coordination for virtually all workloads and the main hub where all the fixed-function accelerators connect, such as AI accelerators, GPUs, network interface controllers, storage devices, etc.

        • NUVIA Published New Details On Their Phoenix CPU, Talks Up Big Performance/Perf-Per-Watt

          Since leaving stealth last year and hiring some prominent Linux/open-source veterans to complement their ARM processor design experts, we have been quite eager to hear more about this latest start-up aiming to deliver compelling ARM server products. Today they shared some early details on their initial “Phoenix” processor that is coming within their “Orion” SoC.

          The first-generation Phoenix CPU is said to have a “complete overhaul” of the CPU pipeline and is a custom core based on the ARM architecture. They believe that Phoenix+Orion will be able to take on Intel/AMD x86_64 CPUs not only in raw performance but also in performance-per-Watt.

        • Take control of your AMD Wraith Prism RGB on Linux with Wraith Master

          Where the official vendor doesn’t bother with supporting Linux properly, once again the community steps in to provide. If you want to tweak your AMD Wraith Prism lighting on Linux, check out Wraith Master.

          It’s a similar project to CM-RGB that we previously highlighted. With the Wraith Master project, they provide a “feature-complete” UI and command-line app for controlling the fancy LED system on AMD’s Wraith Prism cooler with eventual plans to support more.

    • Applications

      • Better Than Top: 7 System Monitoring Tools for Linux to Keep an Eye on Vital System Stats

        Top command is good but there are better alternatives to Top. Take a look at these system monitoring tools in Linux that are similar to top but are actually better.

      • Linux users are finally getting this popular password manager

        Who says persistence doesn’t pay off? After 10 years of nagging that resulted in the longest forum post in 1Password’s history, the popular password manager is finally coming to Linux.

        1Password has been enjoyed by Windows, Android and iOS users for years, but not Linux fans. Fortunately, those days of longing are coming to an end, with AgileBits recently announcing that it will release a desktop Linux client of 1Password later this year. “A full-featured Linux desktop app has been our most requested feature by far and responsible for the longest forum post in our history,” the company said in a blog post.

      • 1Password finally comes to Linux — Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, and more!

        If you aren’t using a password manager to both create and store your various online passwords, you are doing yourself a great disservice. True, storing your passwords in the cloud seems counter-intuitive, but in reality, it is far more secure than re-using passwords or writing them down. Make sure you are also using Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) whenever possible too.

        On the desktop, there are many password managers for Windows and Mac, but on Linux, things are far more limited. For instance, 1Password is arguably the best password manager in the world, yet despite a decade of requests for it to come to Linux, it never did. Sure, Linux users could use the 1Password X browser plugin, but there was no native Linux version. Well, folks, this is no longer true — as of this month, developer Agilebits has finally brought 1Password to Linux as a development preview!

      • Top password manager is finally coming to Linux

        After a decade of requests from customers, 1Password’s parent company AgilBits has announced that its popular password manager is finally coming to Linux.

      • AgilBits announces 1Password for Linux [TechRadar]

        TechRadar reports that the popular password manager, 1Password, is coming to Linux. Currently available as a development preview, readers can check it out here. In a support forum post, 1Password founder David Teare said the release is “for testing and validation purposes only”, with an official release expected later this year.

      • Darktable 3.2.1 Released with Greatly Improved Lighttable View[PPA]

        Darktable 3.2.1 was released a day ago as the latest release of the open source photography workflow application. PPA has been updated with the packages for Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Linux Mint 19.x / 20.

        Version 3.2.0 has been skipped due to last minute bug fixes. Therefore, the 3.2.1 release is the expected 3.2.

        Darktable 3.2.1 is a big release that features lighttable view rewritten and filmstrip reworked, resulting in large performance gains. Also the culling view has been rewritten from scratch. Operations are smooth at any screen resolution up to 8k.

      • MailSpring • An amazing email client for Linux

        In this article, we will review MailSpring – an amazing email client for Linux. We will also go through the guide on how to install MailSpring on any Linux distribution.

        A few years back an open-source email client called Nylas became sensational in the Linux community. People were just loving it. You may ask why? Because it was just amazing, the design was cool and the features were even cooler.

        Unfortunately, the company behind the client decided to drop-out the project probably due to the financial constraints. However, few brave souls raised the project and forked it into what is known as now – MailSpring.

      • NewFlash – Modern New GTK Feed Reader for Gnome Desktop

        NewFlash, spiritual successor to FeedReader, is a modern feed reader designed for the GNOME desktop.

        NewsFlash is a program designed to complement an already existing web-based RSS reader account. It combines all the advantages of web based services like syncing across all your devices with everything you expect from a modern desktop program: Desktop notifications, fast search and filtering, tagging, handy keyboard shortcuts and having access to all your articles as long as you like.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • 3D Realms announces the Realms Deep 2020 digital event for September

        Are you a fan of first-person shooters? Mark down September 5 – 6 in your calendar as 3D Realms (and “Friends”) have announced the Realms Deep 2020 event. With travel still being crazy due to COVID19, this is another wonderful sounding online event to keep you busy.

        This event will be featuring companies including 3D Realms, New Blood, Running With Scissors, Nightdive Studios, 1C Entertainment, Apogee Software and a bunch of special guests too like Cliff Bleszinski and John Romero. As for what will be shown? Well, it’s not entirely clear, the actual schedule is just a bunch of ??’s. Obviously though lots of first-person shooting and slashing is to be expected.

      • Party game ‘Drink More Glurp’ is an absolute barrel of laughs – out now

        Drink More Glurp, a party game that thoroughly parodies sporting events like the Olympic Games and also pokes fun at sponsorship systems is out now. Note: key provided by the developer.

        Set on an alien world where the inhabitants attempted to copy our sporty games, however they got everything just a little bit wrong which has resulted in a serious of ridiculous contests with completely mental physics. This might be the funniest party game I’ve played all year. After trying the original demo during the Steam Game Festival, I was hooked.

      • AntiMicro | Map Keyboard and Mouse Controls to Gamepad on openSUSE

        Installed a game called Pokemon Insurgence on Lutris and there was no way to play the game with a gamepad. Rather than try to fight things, set out for an application that would map the keyboard controls to the WiiU Pro Controller that has become my gamepad of choice.

        I know I heard it was possible on a podcast some time ago and since I was probably doing something else and didn’t have a notebook handy to write down whatever it was, I began my search and found this AntiMicro as a solution.

      • Vibrant twin-stick slasher ‘Breakpoint’ gives you exploding weapons

        Enjoy some classic fast-paced vibrant arcade-style action? Breakpoint looks like it’s worthy of some attention for putting a nice unique spin on it.

        With bright neon graphics, they mixed in elements from the classic arcade games with “modern sensibilities”. It’s a top-down highscore chaser with melee weapons that…explode? Yes. No ranged attacks, no laser weapons, no pew-pew-pew. Instead you slice, crush, and blast your way through the swarm and when you push your weapons to their breaking point (it’s called Breakpoint—get it?), they unleash a big explosion.

      • Steelbreakers turns the feel of classic Zelda into local multiplayer action

        The developer mentioned their idea with it was to make a game they wanted to play that they felt didn’t exist already. As they said they “always wanted to play a Zelda game that demanded technical skill and would let you fight with your friends on a top-down 2d playing field” and so Steelbreakers was created.

        Together up to four players can fight for dominance in small arenas with traps and all sorts. At release, the developer is planning to have online play, additional game modes, plenty of maps and weapons, AI enemies and the list goes on. The demo is just a small slice of what to expect.

      • RimWorld gets a big 1.2 update out with lots more options to tweak your game

        The brilliant colony-building sim RimWorld has another mega post-release update available now, with content included for both the base game and the Royalty expansion.

        Looking over the changelog, which is as long as expected, it sounds excellent. RimWorld has gained a whole new way to tweak your experience with a “custom playstyle system”, which allows you to adjust a large number of settings to how you want your game to be. So you could make it a lot easier and more of a building sim and less of a “oh my god everyone is going to die from raiders” sim. There’s also a bunch of new visual effects and many new sound effects added in for free too. There’s loads more, especially for the Royalty DLC like an entirely new major quest that involves defending a damaged shuttle or assaulting a bandit camp.

      • Competitive platform-jumper ‘Jumpala’ reveals new character, getting a free version

        Jumpala is an upcoming fast-paced competitive platformer that sees you constantly hopping across tiny little pads, it’s actually brilliant fun and they’ve done a few new reveals recently.

        When you think about platformers, traditionally this would mean running along different floors, a little tricky jumping here and there and perhaps various enemy encounters. Jumpala is none of that. Instead, the whole arena scrolls upwards with small platforms each player needs to jump across, to turn it into their colour before it drops of the screen. It’s highly competitive and from the early builds we played—a huge amount of fun.

      • Hilarious slapstick comedy game West of Loathing had an anniversary update

        Three years after launching, Asymmetric have given West of Loathing a big anniversary update to get rid of some issues and add in some silly new content. Even their version numbering is ridiculous, with this being update v1.11.11.11.1.

        From the creators of the browser-based comedy MMORPG Kingdom of Loathing, don’t let the stick figures and super-simple style fool you, this is a great game worthy of your time and it’s definitely funny. Easily on of 2017′s best indie games. This is where you get to pick a character class between a Cow Puncher, a Beanslinger and a Snake Oiler so you know you’re in a for a wild ride right away.

      • Check out the new trailer and demo for the sci-fi puzzle platformer Transmogrify

        Your facility appears to be overrun by strange creatures, with a forgetful research AI trying to help you escape but you do at least have a gun that can turn creatures into useful objects. This is Transmogrify, an upcoming sci-fi platformer that was partly funded on Kickstarter a few years back.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • QML Online – Qt 5.15, Kirigami, Breeze and more!

          I’m happy to announce that QML Online is now running with the last version of Qt (5.15) and with an initial Kirigami integration with breeze icons!

        • Old truths remain

          This week I was going through the locale module in Calamares, bumped into a odd combination of new and deleteLater(), and something started nagging; that code can be better. I first did the “obvious” and moved things to the stack (er .. automatic storage duration) and then asked around, and in 2009 Frank Osterfeld blogged exactly about my problem, and explained that I’d done exactly the wrong thing.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Philip Withnall: Controlling safety vs speed when writing files

          g_file_set_contents() has worked fine for many years (and will continue to do so). However, it doesn’t provide much flexibility. When writing a file out on Linux there are various ways to do it, some slower but safer — and some faster, but less safe, in the sense that if your program or the system crashes part-way through writing the file, the file might be left in an indeterminate state. It might be garbled, missing, empty, or contain only the old contents.

          g_file_set_contents() chose a fairly safe (but not the fastest) approach to writing out files: write the new contents to a temporary file, fsync() it, and then atomically rename() the temporary file over the top of the old file. This approach means that other processes only ever see the old file contents or the new file contents (but not the partially-written new file contents); and it means that if there’s a crash, either the old file will exist or the new file will exist. However, it doesn’t guarantee that the new file will be safely stored on disk by the time g_file_set_contents() returns. It also has fewer guarantees if the old file didn’t exist (i.e. if the file is being written out for the first time).

        • Daniel Espinosa: Training Maintainers

          Is not just help others to help you, is a matter of responsibility with Open Source Community. Your life have wonders and should change for better, so you will be lost opportunities or simple can’t work on your favorite open source project. Prepare your self to be a maintainer professor, change your mind for the beginning and help others, that is also a great contribution to open source software.

          Be kind. Your potential contributors will take over when required. Making sure they have the abilities and use best practices in the project, is not just good for your project, is good for all others out there; they will use them to help other projects.

    • Distributions

      • Calculate Linux 20th Anniversary: Consistent by Design

        Calculate Linux is an impressively different Linux operating system.

        This is a distribution designed with home and SMB users in mind. It has expanded its user interface into an appealing selection of desktop choices over the years.

        Calculate is particularly appealing to small businesses that want a rock-solid system with the flexibility to meet a variety of needs. It is optimized for rapid deployment in corporate environments.

        It can also be an inviting computing option for consumers with a bit of Linux know-how under their belts. Calculate is not difficult to use. But it is a bit different under the hood, especially in how its package management system works.

        Calculate comes in a smart collection of some of the best desktop environments. That adds to its appeal because it is not a distro with one size having to fit all users.

        It comes in KDE Plasma, Cinnamon, LXQt, MATE, and Xfce editions. A community edition gives you an added choice for a nicely-tweaked GNOME 3 desktop.

        All are rolling-release distribution sets. That means you install it once and just apply the updated packages as they are released. You never have to reinstall a major release.

        The latest update, version 20.6, released on June 21, is a hallmark edition of sorts. It marks Calculate Linux’s 20th year.

      • BSD

        • GhostBSD 20.08.04 Shipping With Updated Packages – Including MATE 1.24

          For those wanting to experiment with an actively-maintained BSD-powered, desktop-focused operating system, GhostBSD remains a great choice powered off FreeBSD.

          GhostBSD 20.08.04 was released on Monday as the latest release for one of the few BSDs having a pleasant out-of-the-box desktop experience and is being actively maintained with frequent releases. Personally, GhostBSD has been one of my favorites in a time post-TrueOS/PC-BSD for a desktop-friendly BSD operating system and one that sees frequent releases and generally working well on modern Intel/AMD hardware.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • New Prototype Builds Bringing Leap, SLE Closer Will be Available Soon

          The release manager for openSUSE Leap, Lubos Kocman, has updated openSUSE’s develop community on efforts to bring the codes of Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise closer together.

          In an email to the openSUSE-Factory mailing list, Kocman explained that the prototype project openSUSE Jump should become available for early testing soon and that contributions to the project could become available in the next five weeks.

          “First, I’d like to announce that we’ll start publishing images and FTP trees for openSUSE Jump, so people can get their hands on [it],” Kocman wrote. “Please be aware that Jump is still in Alpha quality. I expect data to be available later this week as there is still pending work on pontifex by Heroes.

          The Alpha quality state of Jump is gradually progressing.

          Jump is an interim name given to the experimental distribution in the Open Build Service as developers try to synchronize SLE binaries for openSUSE Leap.

          Kocman explained how feature requests will work, the process for how contributions will be handled and and he also explained how the submissions will lead to greater transparency.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Secure authentication with Red Hat AMQ 7.7 and ApacheDS LDAP server

          In this article, we will integrate Red Hat AMQ 7.7 with the ApacheDS LDAP server. However, any version of the AMQ 7.x series can be integrated with the steps mentioned in this article.

          For this example integration, we’ll use Apache Directory Studio, which is an LDAP browser and directory client for ApacheDS. You will learn how to set up the ApacheDS LDAP server from scratch, and how to integrate the new LDAP configuration changes that are required in AMQ 7.7. Finally, we’ll test the integration with an AMQ 7.7 shell-based client, using Hawtio as a graphical user interface (GUI). This will be helpful to system administrators and developers as they can quickly create a proof of concept for LDAP and AMQ integration. This will help in enabling role-based access control(RBAC) for accessing AMQ 7.7.

        • Red Hat Insights delivers easier RHEL management with Red Hat knowledge base integration and enhanced customer portal applications

          As a system administrator, working quickly and efficiently is important. There is a good chance that you manage a large estate of Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems and that it continues to grow in complexity. In this post, we’ll look at some ways Red Hat Insights can help you deal with that complexity.

          Red Hat Insights, an operational efficiency and vulnerability risk management service that provides continuous, in-depth analysis of registered RHEL systems, is included in your Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription. Some users have referred to Insights as “like having an extra pair of eyes” to help you identify and manage risks to security, compliance, and operations across your evolving environments.

          Now, we’ve added three new integrations between Insights and the Red Hat Customer Portal to help you become even more productive.

        • IBM-backed Grillo open sources earthquake early-warning system through The Linux Foundation

          Earlier today, The Linux Foundation announced it will host a new initiative to accelerate the standardization and deployment of earthquake early-warning (EEW) systems for earthquake preparedness around the world. Created by Grillo with support from IBM, USAID, the Clinton Foundation, and Arrow Electronics, the OpenEEW project includes the core components of the Grillo EEW system composed of integrated capabilities to sense, detect, and analyze earthquakes and to alert communities.

          IBM was originally connected to Grillo through the Clinton Foundation at a convening of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Action Network. Now, IBM is assisting Grillo by adding the OpenEEW earthquake technology into the Call for Code deployment pipeline supported by The Linux Foundation.

          We sat down with Call for Code Chief Technology Officer Daniel Krook and IBM Developer Advocate Pedro Cruz to learn more about OpenEEW.

        • IBM, Grillo, and the Linux Foundation partner on early earthquake detection systems

          The Linux Foundation — in partnership with IBM and startup Grillo — today announced an initiative called OpenEEW to accelerate the deployment of open source earthquake early warning (EEW) detection systems around the world. The organizations say OpenEEW will incorporate sensing, detection, and analysis components from Grillo’s EEW platform, along with a Docker software version of the detection component that can be deployed to Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift on IBM Cloud.

          An estimated 3 billion people live with the threat of earthquakes globally. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, in California, there’s a 94% chance that an earthquake will not be just a foreshock. Yet only a few countries — like Mexico, Japan, Turkey, Romania, China, Italy, portions of the U.S., and Taiwan — have EEWs, in part because they can cost upwards of $1 billion.

        • The Linux Foundation, Grillo and IBM Announce New Earthquake Early-Warning Open Source Project

          The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced it will host Grillo’s OpenEEW project in collaboration with IBM to accelerate the standardization and deployment of earthquake early-warning systems (EEWs) for earthquake preparedness around the world. The project includes the core components of the Grillo EEW system comprised of integrated capabilities to sense, detect and analyze earthquakes as well as alert communities. OpenEEW was created by Grillo with support from IBM, USAID, the Clinton Foundation and Arrow Electronics.

          Earthquakes often have the most severe consequences in developing countries, due in part to construction and infrastructure issues. Timely alerts have the potential to help save lives in the communities where earthquakes pose the greatest threat. EEW systems provide public alerts in countries including Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, but nearly three billion people globally live with the threat of an earthquake and don’t have access to nation-wide systems, which can cost upwards of one billion U.S. dollars. OpenEEW wants to help reduce the costs of EEW systems, accelerate their deployments around the world and has the potential to save many lives.

          “The OpenEEW Project represents the very best in technology and in open source,” said Mike Dolan, Senior Vice President and GM of Projects at the Linux Foundation. “We’re pleased to be able to host and support such an important project and community at the Linux Foundation. The open source community can enable rapid development and deployment of these critical systems across the world.”

        • [S5:E3] Command Line Heroes: What Kind Of Coder Will You Become?
      • Debian Family

        • Jonathan Carter: GameMode in Debian

          About two years ago, I ran into some bugs running a game on Debian, so installed Windows 10 on a spare computer and ran it on there. I learned that when you launch a game in Windows 10, it automatically disables notifications, screensaver, reduces power saving measures and gives the game maximum priority. I thought “Oh, that’s actually quite nice, but we probably won’t see that kind of integration on Linux any time soon”. The very next week, I read the initial announcement of GameMode, a tool from Feral Interactive that does a bunch of tricks to maximise performance for games running on Linux.

        • Mike Gabriel: No Debian LTS Work in July 2020

          In July 2020, I was originally assigned 8h of work on Debian LTS as a paid contributor, but holiday season overwhelmed me and I did not do any LTS work, at all.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • UbuntuDDE Remix 20.04.1 Released, Available For Download Now

          Following the first point release of the upstream Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS, UbuntuDDE lead developer Arun Kumar Pariyar has also announced the point release of UbuntuDDE Remix 20.04.

          For those who don’t know, UbuntuDDE is a brand new unofficial flavor of Ubuntu, which arrived in April this year and launched its first-ever long-term version 20.04. It blends the power of Ubuntu Linux and the most beautiful Deepin desktop.

        • Opinion: Robots are proving themselves now more than ever

          By Rhys Davies, product manager for robotics, Snapcraft and Ubuntu Appliances at Canonical, the publisher of Ubuntu

        • Kubernetes 1.19 release candidate available for testing

          The Kubernetes 1.19 release candidate is now available for download and experimentation ahead of general availability later this month. You can try it now with MicroK8s.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 643

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 643 for the week of August 2 – 8, 2020. The full version of this issue is available here.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • There’s going to be an online Linux App Summit this November

          Are you interested in helping to make Linux a great end-user platform? Or perhaps you just want to listen to speeches and find out more info from those working on it? Mark November 12-14 on your calendar.

          This is the date of the upcoming 2020 Linux App Summit, an event co-hosted by GNOME and KDE as they work to bring everyone together to push Linux further. LAS will have a range of different talks, panels, and Q&As on a wide range of topics covering everything: creating, packaging, and distributing apps, to monetization within the Linux ecosystem and much more.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla is laying off 250 people and planning a ‘new focus’ on making money

            As part of the layoffs, Baker laid out a series of new focuses for Mozilla to set a stronger course for the company. That includes focuses on building community, building new products that “mitigate harms” and “that people love and want” to use, and crucially, to build out new revenue streams.

            Mozilla makes most of its money from companies paying to make their search engine the default in Firefox. This includes deals with Baidu in China, Yandex in Russia, and most notably, Google in the US and most of the rest of the world. The company also makes money from royalties, subscriptions, and advertising, but those search deals still represent the “majority” of its revenue.

            Baker says Mozilla will initially focus on products such as Pocket, its VPN service, its VR chatroom Hubs, and new “security and privacy” tools. The company started launching paid consumer services over the past year, offering a news subscription and access to a VPN from directly within Firefox.

            Firefox is also getting a stronger focus on user growth “through differentiated user experiences.” That means reducing investment in other areas, though, such as in building out developer tools.

            Mozilla has had a rough decade, as Firefox’s market share dwindled and attempts at bigger projects — like a Firefox phone running Firefox OS — fell apart. Baker seems to recognize that Mozilla needs to meet people where they are, building products that people want to use on the platforms they’re already using. She became CEO in April and was appointed interim CEO in December 2019; Baker has been the chair of the Mozilla Foundation since 2003.

          • Baker: Changing World, Changing Mozilla

            Mitchell Baker writes about changes at Mozilla, headlined by the laying-off of 250 people.

          • Changing World, Changing Mozilla

            This is a time of change for the internet and for Mozilla. From combatting a lethal virus and battling systemic racism to protecting individual privacy — one thing is clear: an open and accessible internet is essential to the fight.

            Mozilla exists so the internet can help the world collectively meet the range of challenges a moment like this presents. Firefox is a part of this. But we know we also need to go beyond the browser to give people new products and technologies that both excite them and represent their interests. Over the last while, it has been clear that Mozilla is not structured properly to create these new things — and to build the better internet we all deserve.

            Today we announced a significant restructuring of Mozilla Corporation. This will strengthen our ability to build and invest in products and services that will give people alternatives to conventional Big Tech. Sadly, the changes also include a significant reduction in our workforce by approximately 250 people. These are individuals of exceptional professional and personal caliber who have made outstanding contributions to who we are today. To each of them, I extend my heartfelt thanks and deepest regrets that we have come to this point. This is a humbling recognition of the realities we face, and what is needed to overcome them.

          • Mozilla Laying Off Around A Quarter Of Their Employees

            Mozilla today announced they are laying off around 250 of their employees with Mozilla Corporation and closing up their Taipei, Taiwan operations.

            Due to falling revenues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, Mozilla is resorting to immediate cost-saving measures and acknowledging their pre-COVID plans are no longer feasible. This 250 reduction in headcount appears to be roughly a quarter of their paid staff.

          • Christopher Arnold: The Momentum of Openness – My Journey From Netscape User to Mozillian Contributor

            Working at Mozilla has been a very educational experience over the past eight years. I have had the chance to work side-by-side with many engineers at a large non-profit whose business and ethics are guided by a broad vision to protect the health of the web ecosystem. How did I go from being on the front of a computer screen in 1995 to being behind the workings of the web now? Below is my story of how my path wended from being a Netscape user to working at Mozilla, the heir to the Netscape legacy. It’s amazing to think that a product I used 25 years ago ended up altering the course of my life so dramatically thereafter. But the world and the web was much different back then. And it was the course of thousands of people with similar stories, coming together for a cause they believed in.

            The Winding Way West

            Like many people my age, I followed the emergence of the World Wide Web in the 1990’s with great fascination. My father was an engineer at International Business Machines when the Personal Computer movement was just getting started. His advice to me during college was to focus on the things you don’t know or understand rather than the wagon-wheel ruts of the well trodden path. He suggested I study many things, not just the things I felt most comfortable pursuing. He said, “You go to college so that you have interesting things to think about when you’re waiting at the bus stop.” He never made an effort to steer me in the direction of engineering. In 1989 he bought me a Macintosh personal computer and said, “Pay attention to this hypertext trend. Networked documents is becoming an important new innovation.” This was long before the World Wide Web became popular in the societal zeitgeist. His advice was prophetic for me.

            [...]

            The Mozilla Project grew inside AOL for a long while beside the AOL browser and Netscape browsers. But at some point the executive team believed that this needed to be streamlined. Mitchell Baker, an AOL attorney, Brendan Eich, the inventor of JavaScript, and an influential venture capitalist named Mitch Kapoor came up with a suggestion that the Mozilla Project should be spun out of AOL. Doing this would allow all of the enterprises who had interest in working in open source versions of the project to foster the effort while Netscape/AOL product team could continue to rely on any code innovations for their own software within the corporation.

            A Mozilla in the wild would need resources if it were to survive. First, it would need to have all the patents that were in the Netscape portfolio to avoid hostile legal challenges from outside. Second, there would need to be a cash injection to keep the lights on as Mozilla tried to come up with the basis for its business operations. Third, it would need protection from take-over bids that might come from AOL competitors. To achieve this, they decided Mozilla should be a non-profit foundation with the patent grants and trademark grants from AOL. Engineers who wanted to continue to foster AOL/Netscape vision of an open web browser specifically for the developer ecosystem could transfer to working for Mozilla.

            Mozilla left Netscape’s crowdsourced web index (called DMOZ or open directory) with AOL. DMOZ went on to be the seed for the PageRank index of Google when Google decided to split out from powering the Yahoo search engine and seek its own independent course. It’s interesting to note that AOL played a major role in helping Google become an independent success as well, which is well documented in the book The Search by John Battelle.

            Once the Mozilla Foundation was established (along with a $2 Million grant from AOL) they sought donations from other corporations who were to become dependent on the project. The team split out Netscape Communicator’s email component as the Thunderbird email application as a stand-alone open source product and the Phoenix browser was released to the public as “Firefox” because of a trademark issue with another US company on usage of the term “Phoenix” in association with software.

            Google had by this time broken off from its dependence on Yahoo as a source of web traffic for its nascent advertising business. They offered to pay Mozilla Foundation for search traffic that they could route to their search engine traffic to Google preferentially over Yahoo or the other search engines of the day. Taking “revenue share” from advertising was not something that the non-profit Mozilla Foundation was particularly well set up to do. So they needed to structure a corporation that could ingest these revenues and re-invest them into a conventional software business that could operate under the contractual structures of partnerships with other public companies. The Mozilla Corporation could function much like any typical California company with business partnerships without requiring its partners to structure their payments as grants to a non-profit.

            [...]

            Working in the open was part of the original strategy AOL had when they open sourced Netscape. If they could get other companies to build together with them, the collaborative work of contributors outside the AOL payroll could contribute to the direct benefit of the browser team inside AOL. Bugzilla was structured as a hierarchy of nodes, where a node owner could prioritize external contributions to the code base and commit them to be included in the derivative build which would be scheduled to be released as a new update package ever few months.

            Module Owners, as they were called, would evaluate candidate fixes or new features against their own list of items to triage in terms of product feature requests or complaints from their own team. The main team that shipped each version was called Release Engineering. They cared less about the individual features being worked on than the overall function of the broader software package. So they would bundle up a version of the then-current software that they would call a Nightly build, as there were builds being assembled each day as new bugs were upleveled and committed to the software tree. Release engineering would watch for conflicts between software patches and annotate them in Bugzilla so that the various module owners could look for conflicts that their code commits were causing in other portions of the code base.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • TDF Annual Report 2019

          The Annual Report of The Document Foundation for the year 2019 is now available in PDF format from TDF Nextcloud in two different versions: low resolution (6.4MB) and high resolution (53.2MB). The annual report is based on the German version presented to the authorities in April.

          The 54 page document has been entirely created with free open source software: written contents have obviously been developed with LibreOffice Writer (desktop) and collaboratively modified with LibreOffice Writer (online), charts have been created with LibreOffice Calc and prepared for publishing with LibreOffice Draw, drawings and tables have been developed or modified (from legacy PDF originals) with LibreOffice Draw, images have been prepared for publishing with GIMP, and the layout has been created with Scribus based on the existing templates.

        • LibreOffice / The Document Foundation Generated Around One Million Dollars For 2019

          The Document Foundation that is behind the cross-platform LibreOffice open-source office suite has published their 2019 annual report.

          Perhaps most interesting out of their 2019 report is their total income that came in at 906,470 EUR for their 2019 fiscal year. Or at least as far as today’s currency exchange rates go, roughly 1.063 million USD. That is a measurable increase from their 2018 annual report where they saw a total income of 855,847 EUR or 2017′s income at at 743,111 EUR. The Document Foundation has been seeing healthy year-over-year increases.

        • LibreOffice QA/Dev Report: July 2020

          LibreOffice 6.4.5 was announced on July, 2

        • Physics Based Animation Effects Week#10

          This week, I was mainly working on cleaning up and migrating the patches from my experimental branch to LO master.

        • Libre Office 7 packages for Slackware-current

          New! LibreOffice 7.0.0 was released last week and I built packages for Slackware-current.

          The release announcement gives a concise overview of the new features and enhancements all over the board – among which a much improved support for Microsoft Office document file formats. I will not repeat all of that here on the blog, so please check out the content behind above link.
          Amazing that even with several big companies driving the development of this Open Source office suite, still 26% of LibreOffice’s code contributions come from non-corporate individuals.

        • LibreOffice 7.0 Now Available

          The LibreOffice Project has announced the availability of LibreOffice 7.0, a new major release of the FOSS office suite.

      • CMS

        • WordPress 5.5 “Eckstine”

          Here it is! Named “Eckstine” in honor of Billy Eckstine, this latest and greatest version of WordPress is available for download or update in your dashboard.

      • LIMBAS

        • LIMBAS: Build a Database-Powered Enterprise Apps with ease

          LIMBAS is a framework for building enterprise applications for medium and large-scale companies.

          With LIMBAS you don’t need to re-invent the wheel or start from scratch as it offers you the tools for building highly performed applications.

          LIMBAS is a good option for prototyping because it’s fast, offers powerful tools that ease the production. It can be used to create all sort of databased powered applications.

          The project is already used by several companies in Europe (Germany and Switzerland).

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • Slovak procurement office recommends making licence requirements specific

            Public services in the Slovak Republic that wish to avoid IT vendor lock-in have been advised to make their licence requirements clear – for example by requesting open source – when procuring software and related services. This is one of the recommendations in a case study published last April by the country’s public procurement office and Slovensko.Digital, a non-profit organisation promoting open government and government modernisation.

      • Programming/Development

        • nanotime 0.3.1: Misc Build Fixes for Yuge New Features!

          The nanotime 0.3.0 release four days ago was so exciting that we decided to do it again! Kidding aside, and fairly extensive tests notwithstanding we were bitten by a few build errors: who knew clang on macOS needed extra curlies to be happy, another manifestation of Solaris having no idea what a timezone setting “America/New_York” is, plus some extra pickyness from the SAN tests and whatnot. So Leonardo and I gave it some extra care over the weekend, uploaded it late yesterday and here we are with 0.3.1. Thanks again to CRAN for prompt processing even though they are clearly deluged shortly before their (brief) summer break.

        • Explore 10 popular open source development tools

          There is no shortage of closed-source development tools on the market, and most of them work quite well. However, developers who opt for open source tools stand to gain a number of benefits.

          In this piece, we’ll take a quick look at the specific benefits of open source development tools, and then examine 10 of today’s most popular tooling options.

          [...]

          Git is a distributed code management and version-control system, often used with web-based code management platforms like GitHub and GitLab. The integration with these platforms makes it easy for teams to contribute and collaborate, however getting the most out of Git will require some kind of third-party platform. Some claim, however, that Git support for Windows is not as robust as it is for Linux, which is potentially a turnoff for Windows-centric developers.

          [...]

          NetBeans is a Java-based IDE similar to Eclipse, and also supports development in a wide range of programming languages. However, NetBeans focuses on providing functionality out of the box, whereas Eclipse leans heavily on its plugin ecosystem to help developers set up needed features.

        • GNU Emacs 27.1 Adds HarfBuzz Text Shaping, Native JSON Parsing

          GNU Emacs 27.1 is the latest feature release for this very extensible text editor. With Emacs 27.1 there is support for utilizing the HarfBuzz library for text shaping. HarfBuzz is also what’s already used extensively by GNOME, KDE, Android, LibreOffice, and many other open-source applications.

          Emacs 27.1 also adds built-in support for arbitrary-size integers, native support for JSON parsing, better support for Cairo drawing, support for XDG conventions for init files, the lexical binding is now used by default, built-in support for tab bar and tab-line, and support for resizing/rotating images without ImageMagick, among other changes.

        • Emacs 27.1 released

          Version 27.1 of the Emacs editor is out. New features include support for arbitrary-sized integers, HarfBuzz support, improved drawing with Cairo, and the obligatory new JSON parser.

        • Don’t look, vi users: Emacs 27.1 waves bye to ImageMagick, adds native JSON parsing support

          The GNU project’s text editor Emacs is now available in version 27.1, which introduces native JSON parsing and tab bar support, allows basic image transformations without ImageMagick, and uses HarfBuzz, a tool also employed in GNOME, KDE, and Android, to make text look nice.

          Amongst other things, Emacs has learned to work with arbitrary-size integers, and graduated the option –with-cairo for building the editor with support for the drawing tool from its experimental state. Emacs now also uses the GNU Multiple Precision library GMP if not told otherwise, and replaces unexec with a portable dumper as the default. The latter is meant to improve compatibility with memory allocation on modern systems, which lets the tool work with techniques such as address space layout randomisation which is supposed to improve security.

        • Engineer Your Own Electronics With PCB Design Software

          A lot of self-styled geeks out there tend to like to customize their own programs, devices, and electronics. And for the true purists, that can mean building from the ground up (you know, like Superman actor Henry Cavill building a gaming PC to the delight of the entire internet).

          Building electronics from the ground up can mean a lot of different things: acquiring parts, sometimes from strange sources; a bit of elbow grease on the mechanical side of things; and today, even taking advantage of the 3D printing revolution that’s finally enabling people to manufacture customized objects in their home. Beyond all of these things though, engineering your own devices can also mean designing the underlying electronics — beginning with printed circuit boards, also known as PCBs.

          [...]

          On the other hand, there are also plenty of just-for-fun options to consider. For example, consider our past buyer’s guide to the best Linux laptop, in which we noted that you can always further customize your hardware. With knowledge of PCB design, that ability to customize even a great computer or computer setup is further enhanced. You might, for instance, learn how to craft PCBs and devices amounting to your own mouse, gaming keyboard, or homemade speakers — all of which can make your hardware more uniquely your own.

          All in all, PCB design is a very handy skill to have in 2020. It’s not typically necessary, in that there’s usually a device or some light customization that can give you whatever you want or need out of your electronics. But for “geeks” and tech enthusiasts, knowledge of PCB design adds another layer to the potential to customize hardware.

        • Programming pioneer Fran Allen dies aged 88 after a career of immense contributions to compilers

          Frances Allen, one of the leading computer scientists of her generation and a pioneer of women in tech, died last Tuesday, her 88th birthday.

          Allen is best known for her work on compiler organisation and optimisation algorithms. Together with renowned computer scientist John Cocke, she published a series of landmark papers in the late ’60s and ’70s that helped to lay the groundwork for modern programming.

          In recognition of her efforts, in 2006 Allen became the first woman to be awarded the AM Turing Award, often called the Nobel Prize of computing.

        • Excellent Free Tutorials to Learn ECMAScript

          ECMAScript is an object‑oriented programming language for performing computations and manipulating computational objects within a host environment. The language was originally designed as a scripting language, but is now often used as a general purpose programming language.

          ECMAScript is best known as the language embedded in web browsers but has also been widely adopted for server and embedded applications.

        • Alexander Larsson: Compatibility in a sandboxed world

          Compatibility has always been a complex problems in the Linux world. With the advent of containers/sandboxing it has become even more complicated. Containers help solve compatibility problems, but there are still remaining issues. Especially on the Linux desktop where things are highly interconnected. In fact, containers even create some problems that we didn’t use to have.

          Today I’ll take a look at the issues in more details and give some ideas on how to best think of compatibility in this post-container world, focusing on desktop use with technologies like flatpak and snap.

          [...]

          Another type of compatibility is that of communication protocols. Two programs that talk to each other using a networking API (which could be on two different machines, or locally on the same machine) need to use a protocol to understand each other. Changes to this protocol need to be carefully considered to ensure they are compatible.

          In the remote case this is pretty obvious, as it is very hard to control what software two different machines use. However, even for local communication between processes care has to be taken. For example, a local service could be using a protocol that has several implementations and they all need to stay compatible.

          Sometimes local services are split into a service and a library and the compatibility guarantees are defined by the library rather than the service. Then we can achieve some level of compatibility by ensuring the library and the service are updated in lock-step. For example a distribution could ship them in the same package.

        • GXml-0.20 Released

          GXml is an Object Oriented implementation of DOM version 4, using GObject classes and written in Vala. Has a fast and robust serialization implementation from GObject to XML and back, with a high degree of control. After serialization, provides a set of collections where you can get access to child nodes, using lists or hash tables.

          New 0.20 release is the first step toward 1.0. It provides cleaner API and removes old unmaintained implementations.

          GXml is the base of other projects depending on DOM4, like GSVG an engine to read SVG documents based on its specificacion 1.0.

          GXml uses a method to set properties and fill declared containers for child nodes, accessing GObject internals directly, making it fast. A libxml-2.0 engine is used to read sequentially each node, but is prepared to implement new ones in the future.

        • Perl/Raku

          • Let Mom Help You With Object-Oriented Programming

            Mom is a shortcut for creating Moo classes (and roles). It allows you to define a Moo class with the brevity of Class::Tiny. (In fact, Mom is even briefer.)

            A simple example:

            Mom allows you to use Moo features beyond simply declaring Class::Tiny-like attributes though. You can choose whether attributes are read-only, read-write, or read-write-private, whether they’re required or optional, specify type constraints, defaults, etc.

          • Perl Weekly Challenge 73: Min Sliding Window and Smallest Neighbor

            These are some answers to the Week 73 of the Perl Weekly Challenge organized by Mohammad S. Anwar.

            Spoiler Alert: This weekly challenge deadline is due in a few days from now (on Aug. 16, 2020). This blog post offers some solutions to this challenge, please don’t read on if you intend to complete the challenge on your own.

          • [rakulang] 2020.32 Survey, Please

            The TPF Marketing Committee wants to learn more about how you perceive “The Perl Foundation” itself, and asks you to fill in this survey (/r/rakulang, /r/perl comments). Thank you!

        • Python

          • Improve your focus and productivity with this Python tool

            Limiting distractions helps you focus on your work so you can increase productivity. Prioritizing your tasks, especially when you have too much on your plate, is one way to help you focus on the most important or high-attention things on your list.

            Another way to focus on tasks is Python Concentration, a helpful tool I found a few years ago for improving my time-management skills and increasing my focus. It is a simple Python 3 console utility that reduces distractions by blocking things like gaming, news sites, YouTube, and Netflix when I need to pay attention to work, but it also allows me to take timed breaks when I need them.

          • PyDev of the Week: Julia Signell

            This week we welcome Julia Signell (@JSignell) as our PyDev of the Week! She helps develop Holoviz, a browser-based data visualization open source package for Python and Conda. Julia is also a co-organizer for PyDataPHL.

          • Translating Strings in Python with TextBlob

            Text translation is a difficult computer problem that gets better and easier to solve every year. Big companies like Google are actively working on improving their text translation services which enables the rest of us to use them freely.

            Apart from their great personal use, these services can be used by developers through various APIs. This article is about TextBlob which uses one such API to perform text translation.

          • Repeat repeat and more repeat with Python

            In this article, we are going to revisit CodeWars and solve a simple problem using Python. The problem is as follows.

            Write a Python function that will repeat the given string with the number of times that string supposed to be repeated. The solution to this question is as follows.

          • How to Perform a Two-Sample T-test with Python: 3 Different Methods

            In this Python tutorial, you will learn how to perform a two-sample t-test with Python. First, you will learn about the t-test including the assumptions of the statistical test. Following this, you will learn how to check whether your data follow the assumptions.

          • Talk Python to Me: #277 10 tips every Django developer should know

            We recently covered 10 tips that every Flask developer should know. But we left out a pretty big group in the Python web space: Django developers! And this one is for you. I invited Bob Belderbos, who’s been running his SaaS business on Python and Django for several years now, to share his tips and tricks.

          • Options for packaging your Python code: Wheels, Conda, Docker, and more

            How exactly do you package up your application so all of these are available? There’s Docker, of course, but there are actually many more options, from wheels to system packages to Conda to PEX to self-contained executables, each with their own tradeoffs. And that’s just a partial list!

            Given the large range of choices, there are too many to cover each in detail. Instead, this article will give a sense of the different categories, the pros and cons, and provide links to specific implementations within each category. For simplicity’s sake I will only cover running on Linux.

          • Pass by Reference in Python: Background and Best Practices

            After gaining some familiarity with Python, you may notice cases in which your functions don’t modify arguments in place as you might expect, especially if you’re familiar with other programming languages. Some languages handle function arguments as references to existing variables, which is known as pass by reference. Other languages handle them as independent values, an approach known as pass by value.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Extending CNNs beyond classification – Weekly Check-in 11
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Weekly Check-In #6
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #11
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Sixth Check-In
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Pagination, Privacy Policy, Bug Fixing and Testing in the User Story system in GSOC’20
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #6
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-in #11
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC Week 11: Report.print()

            This week I was looking what is the best way to provide the users with a printable format. I am working on ReportLab solution. But I also worked on improving and adding some changes to HTML structure.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check In #6

            Finally the last stage of GSoC is here. I think a most viable product is ready leaving out a few bugs which are being worked on right now.

          • Andre Roberge: Rich + Friendly-traceback: first look

            After a couple of hours of work, I have been able to use Rich to add colour to Friendly-traceback. Rich is a fantastic project, which has already gotten a fair bit of attention and deserves even more.

            The following is just a preview of things to come; it is just a quick proof of concept.

          • Growing Dask To Make Scaling Python Data Science Easier At Coiled

            Python is a leading choice for data science due to the immense number of libraries and frameworks readily available to support it, but it is still difficult to scale. Dask is a framework designed to transparently run your data analysis across multiple CPU cores and multiple servers. Using Dask lifts a limitation for scaling your analytical workloads, but brings with it the complexity of server administration, deployment, and security. In this episode Matthew Rocklin and Hugo Bowne-Anderson discuss their recently formed company Coiled and how they are working to make use and maintenance of Dask in production. The share the goals for the business, their approach to building a profitable company based on open source, and the difficulties they face while growing a new team during a global pandemic.

          • The best frontend JavaScript framework for Django

            A question I’ve seen asked a lot is “what’s the best frontend JavaScript framework to use with Django”.

            Django itself doesn’t make any recommendation on which frontend framework to use, or even assumes you’re using a frontend framework at all.

            So, which frontend framework should you be using? And which one “plays well” with Django?

          • Ned Batchelder: You should include your tests in coverage

            This seems to be a recurring debate: should you measure the coverage of your tests? In my opinion, definitely yes.

            Just to clarify: I’m not talking about using coverage measurement with your test suite to see what parts of your product are covered. I’ll assume we’re all doing that. The question here is, do you measure how much of your tests themselves are executed? You should.

          • Is Java and Python similar?

            I don’t think python and Java have anything in common. I enjoy the simple clean utilitarian nature of python. As long as simple pep8 guidelines are followed it is very easy to read any strangers code. Most people write python in an OO sort of way. However one can get pretty far in writing with an FP lite methodology. Many people complain about indents. To me it is just different and something easy to get used to. Python has idioms that values being clean and concise. It is trivial to deploy. My main critique of python is that if one uses too much python it is easy to get dumbed down by all the magic. It is important to use other languages in addition to python just to keep ones skills sharp. Thinking about writing high performing Python usually means thinking about doing it in some other language.

            [...]

            Note: I recognize Java is the most popular language in the world. Many great successfull applications use Java. One can eventually use Java to solve almost any problem. That doesn’t mean I like it or think it is good for the industry.

          • Real Python: Identify Invalid Python Syntax

            Python is known for its simple syntax. However, when you’re learning Python for the first time or when you’ve come to Python with a solid background in another programming language, you may run into some things that Python doesn’t allow. If you’ve ever received a SyntaxError when trying to run your Python code, then this guide can help you. Throughout this course, you’ll see common examples of invalid syntax in Python and learn how to resolve the issue.

          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #6 (2nd Aug – 9th Aug)
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Weekly Check-In #11
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 10 Check-in
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: Week 10
          • PSF GSoC students blogs: GSoC: Week 11: InputEngine.add(paths)
          • Edit images with Jupyter and Python

            Recently, my kid wanted to make a coloring page from a favorite cartoon. My first thought was to use one of the open source programs on Linux that manipulate images, but then I remembered I have no idea how to use any of them. Luckily, I know how to use Jupyter and Python.

  • Leftovers

    • It Could Have Been Different

      My world and (unfortunately) welcome to It.

    • Look! (A Bit of) Journalisting!
    • A Tomos
    • Some Come, Others Go

      Some come and others go, to the applause of some and regret of others.

    • Inconvenient by Design
    • Science

    • Education

      • I’m working 50 unpaid hours a week and I fear for my job

        We can’t wait any longer. Now is the time to precipitate the revolution in tenure and promotion process, building in transparency and objectivity. Now is the time to discount student evaluations that we know are both sexist and racist. Now is the time to recognise that university service is a foundation and important part of joint governance and the only mechanism to bring about much needed and desired institutional change.

        It’s time for administrators to stop asking faculty of colour to do more than our fair share and then punishing us for it. It is time to stop demanding that faculty who suffer from discrimination come up with the remedies for it. It is time to stop paying us less. It is time to stop touting increases in “diversity” when those increases are largely in contingent faculty who are the first to be laid off during a pandemic.

        I love my job and I don’t want to lose it. But I would rather be denied tenure and fired than stop fighting for what is right. I hope that universities across the country finally realise that asking me to choose between instigating meaningful change and pursuing my chosen career is unconscionable.

      • School That Suspended Student Documenting Lack of Social Distancing Goes Virtual

        A high school in Paulding County, Georgia, is reversing its decision to suspend a student for highlighting the lack of mask-wearing in hallways, which drew widespread criticism last week after her story (and the images she shared) went viral.

    • Hardware

      • Adding a fiber link to my home network

        Replacing this particular connection with a fiber connection was a smooth process overall, and I would recommend it in other situations as well.

        I would claim that it is totally feasible for anyone with an hour of patience to learn how to put a field assembly connector onto a fiber cable.

        If labor cost is expensive in your country or you just like doing things yourself, I can definitely recommend this approach. In case you mess the connector up and don’t want to fix it yourself, you can always call an electrician!

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Amazon Launches Prime Gaming With Free Monthly Games and Exclusive Content

          Amazon has launched Prime Gaming, offering free exclusive content and games to subscribers every month and building upon the benefits of Twitch Prime.

        • Amazon rebrands Twitch Prime as Prime Gaming

          Amazon is rebranding Twitch Prime, which gives Amazon Prime subscribers perks on the company’s live streaming platform, by dropping the Twitch name and emphasizing the Prime part of the brand. The service will now be known as Prime Gaming.

        • Twitch Prime Rebrands as Prime Gaming

          Amazon confirmed the branding change for Twitch Prime today into Prime Gaming. As per the leaks, Prime Gaming will be free for all Amazon Prime members and include benefits like free in-game content, free games, and a monthly channel subscription.

          Amazon is promising exclusive content for titles like Grand Theft Auto Online, Red Dead Online, Apex Legends, FIFA 20, League of Legends, and more. Members can also claim free monthly PC games they can keep forever.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Facebook open-sources a static analyzer for Python code

              Pysa is a security-focused tool built on top of Pyre, Facebook’s performant type checker for Python.

              “Pysa tracks flows of data through a program. The user defines sources (places where important data originates) as well as sinks (places where the data from the source shouldn’t end up),” Facebook security engineer Graham Bleaney and software engineer Sinan Cepel explained.

              “Pysa performs iterative rounds of analysis to build summaries to determine which functions return data from a source and which functions have parameters that eventually reach a sink. If Pysa finds that a source eventually connects to a sink, it reports an issue.”

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation to improve open-source security with new initiative

                The Linux Foundation has announced a new collaboration effort to improve open-source security. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) aims to consolidate industry efforts with targeted initiatives and best practices.

                According to the Linux Foundation, OpenSSF is committed to collaboration and working both upstream and with existing communities to advance open source security for all as open-source software has become more pervasive in data centers, consumer devices, and services.

              • New Foundation Aims to Tighten Security Across the Open Source Ecosystem
              • New Training Course Explores Open Source CI/CD Tool Jenkins X

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, today announced the availability of a new training course, LFS268 – CI/CD with Jenkins X.

                LFS268, developed in conjunction with the Continuous Delivery Foundation, is designed for site reliability engineers, software developers and architects, DevOps engineers and others who need to not only master continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), but also gain a deeper understanding of the cloud-native ecosystem.

              • Participate in the 2020 Open Source Jobs Report!

                The Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to update the Open Source Jobs Report, which was last produced in 2018. The report examines the latest trends in open source careers, which skills are in demand, what motivates open source job seekers, and how employers can attract and retain top talent. In the age of COVID-19, this data will be especially insightful both for companies looking to hire more open source talent, as well as individuals looking to advance or change careers.

        • Security

          • [Older] Boothole vulnerability puts billions of Windows and Linux devices at risk

            Newly discovered flaw could give criminals access to almost any device’s boot loader.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Tracking Apps Are Unlikely to Help Stop Covid-19

              The debate over using apps for contact tracing or exposure warnings to help fight Covid-19 is largely a sideshow to the principal coronavirus health needs.

            • Privacy Advocates Demand Ban on Facial Recognition in Schools in Response to Damning Study on the Technology

              A new publication warns that the surveillance technology in schools could exacerbate racial biases.

            • Anti-censorship team report: July 2020

              Tor’s anti-censorship team writes monthly reports to keep the world updated on its progress. This blog post summarizes the anti-censorship work we got done in July 2020. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback!

            • China expands Great Firewall to block HTTPS traffic that uses TLS 1.3 and ESNI

              The Great Firewall of China is getting longer. Chinese censors upgraded the GFW to be able to block HTTPS traffic that uses TLS 1.3 and ESNI. We know about this news thanks to a joint report by three long-time observers of the Chinese censorship machine: iYouPort, the Great Firewall Report, and the University of Maryland. The report does indicate that there are several working circumvention techniques to still send this typeof HTTPS traffic through the GFW.

            • Baltimore’s Aerial Surveillance Program Has Logged 700 Flight Hours, One (1) Arrest

              The Baltimore PD’s eye in the sky program continues. First (inadvertently) introduced to the public in 2016, the camera/Cessna system, made by a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems, flew above the city capturing up to 32-square miles of human and vehicle movements using a 192-million-megapixel camera.

            • WeChat Users in the U.S. Fear Losing Family Links With Ban

              Yu is just one of WeChat’s more than one billion users globally. The app, owned by Tencent Holdings Ltd., is more than just a messaging service. It’s used for online payments, for food and metro fare and is a staple of personal and business communication in China. Yu’s parents, who work in investment banking and real estate, use the platform for their jobs.

              WeChat has about 19 million daily active users in the U.S., according to analytics firm Apptopia. For some, the app is a way to stay connected to the elderly in the U.S. and abroad. “Young activists and community organizations led by Asian Americans also use WeChat to engage our elder and immigrant communities, since the translation tool is helpful for overcoming language barriers,” said Joyce Chang, a WeChat user from New York. “WeChat is the dominant tool that our older generation uses, and losing it would also be a loss of a bridge we use to connect with them.”

            • Don’t let your children use TikTok, former MI6 intelligence chief urges Government Ministers

              However, Mr Inkster told The Telegraph that as long as TikTok was owned by a Chinese company the country’s security services potentially had a back door into its data. #

              He warned the app could also serve as an entry point to prominent UK figures’ online devices, even if on the phones of household members or relatives sharing the same wi-fi network.

              “Where the Chinese intelligence services are very strong is in identifying non-obvious entry points to certain targets,” Mr Inkster said.

            • That incessant plane noise you’ve heard? It’s the State Patrol monitoring protests

              But beginning in late May, and continuing through the end of July, the State Patrol spent 36 hours, 20 minutes in the skies above Olympia to monitor mostly nighttime protests — flying frequently enough that the drone of plane noise had many residents on edge.

              The State Patrol received 71 noise complaints in June, Wright said.

            • Police Are Monitoring Black Lives Matter Protests With Ring Doorbell Data and Drones

              According to a new searchable database called the Atlas of Surveillance, Amazon Ring has video-sharing partnerships with more than 1,300 law enforcement agencies across the U.S., including the Los Angeles Police Department in California, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in Missouri and the Louisville Metro Police Department in Kentucky.

              The partnerships involve an agreement that allow the departments “special access” to Amazon Ring’s Neighbors app, which provides users with crime and safety alerts.

              According to the database, drones are used by more than 1,000 law enforcement agencies: the Boston Police Department has three drones, while the New York Police Department operates 14. Other surveillance technologies being used include facial recognition, currently used by more than 350 agencies, according to the database.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Weeks After Voting for $740 Billion Pentagon Budget, Ted Cruz Says ‘Magic Money Tree’ Isn’t Available to Struggling Families

        “It’s not a goddamn joke, Ted,” Sen. Ed Markey said.

      • After Nagasaki, the U.S. Did Not Choose Peace

        On August 9, 2015, the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki, I attended a ceremony at Ashley Pond, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This is the place, geographically, where the first atom bombs were constructed.

      • Death From the Sky: Hiroshima and Normalised Atrocities

        When US President Harry S. Truman made the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, followed by another on Nagasaki a few days later, he was not acting as an agent untethered from history. In the wheels of his wearied mind lay the battered Marines who, despite being victorious, had received sanguinary lashings at Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

      • Commission rules in favour of 2 Muslim students who wanted prayer at private school

        School president Neil Webber said Webber Academy planned on immediately appealing the decision to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, adding that the school’s lawyer believes that the new decision also contains errors of law.

        “We feel that we should have the right, as a private school, to have youngsters here of many different faiths and backgrounds together, free of religious practices,” he said.

      • ‘Nazi Political Applications’ Are Being Handed Out in Indiana

        And another added: “Both of my grandfathers gave up the best years of their youth to rid the world of these a**holes. They are spinning (in) their graves. What. The. Actual. F**k.”

      • The enduring harm inflicted by the Lord’s Resistance Army

        They have ambushed civilians and soldiers in remote corners of the Democratic Republic of Congo, pillaged markets in South Sudan, and forced villagers to porter stolen goods through forests in Central African Republic. And that was just over the course of a few weeks.

        The once-fearsome Lord’s Resistance Army has been reduced to a dwindling rump of fighters hiding out in jungle camps across vast swathes of territory in Central Africa. But a spate of recent attacks has once again demonstrated its capacity to inflict harm on long-suffering communities.

        At least 55 attacks and 163 abductions have been recorded over the past year in the three countries where the group operates, according to data from Invisible Children, an NGO focused on the LRA.

        The number of violent incidents is down from the previous 12 months – and far less than a decade ago – but thousands of people have still been forced to flee their homes since April in LRA-affected parts of northern Congo.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Bills In Congress Would Grant Federal Whistleblowers Access To Courts

        Legislation introduced in Congress would fill multiple gaps in federal whistleblower protections and finally grant access to courts and jury trials for review of their cases.

        All private sector whistleblower laws since 2002 have included court access, yet when the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA) moved through Congress in 2012, court access was removed before it was passed and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

    • Environment

      • Derecho with 100 mph winds moving across the Midwest
      • Climate science’s worst case is today’s reality

        Climate science’s worst case scenario isn’t just an awful warning. It describes what is already happening right now.

      • Episode 101 – A 3rd Reconstruction And Critical Environmental Media Literacy w/Professor Jeff Share – Along The Line Podcast

        On today’s episode, Nicholas Baham II (Dr. Dreadlocks), Janice Domingo, and Nolan Higdon host University of Los Angeles’ Jeff Share.

      • For Species That Rely on Wind, Climate Change Won’t Be a Breeze
      • Energy

        • BP Plans to Keep It in the Ground, Sort Of

          The climate justice movement has created conditions that make it harder for companies like BP to explore and extract fossil fuels.

        • Climate Activists Push Biden to Cut Ties With Industry-Friendly Energy Advisers

          With President Trump’s poll numbers sinking, he is increasingly turning to the fossil fuel industry for support. Rallying oil patch workers and executives during a stop at a fracking rig in West Texas’s Permian Basin in late July, the president stood in front of stacked oil drums and declared “victory” over spring’s historic crash in oil prices that continues to throttle most of the U.S. oil and gas industry.

        • SoCalGas, Nation’s Largest Gas Utility, Sues California Over Climate Policy for not ‘Maximizing the Benefits’ of Gas

          Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) recently filed a lawsuit against the California Energy Commission, a state energy policy and planning agency, for allegedly aiming to “substantially eliminate” gas use in the state and violating a California natural gas law.

        • How the UK’s Climate Science Deniers Turned Their Attention to COVID-19

          But less than three months later, on March 23, Boris Johnson was ordering a national lockdown to try and stop that virus, by then known worldwide as COVID-19, from raging across the UK. This came 52 days after the chief medical officer of England had confirmed the nation’s first two cases.

        • Fuel loading starts at Belarusian reactor

          Following fuel loading, the reactor will be brought to the minimum controlled power level (1% of the total power capacity) and relevant tests will be performed. From that moment on, the reactor acquires the status of a nuclear power facility, Rosatom said. After the reliability and safety of the power unit according to its design parameters have been verified, the power start-up stage will begin and the reactor will be connected to the grid for the first time.

          “The Republic of Belarus has become the owner of a power unit built according to the latest Gen 3+ technologies,” Rosatom Director General Alexey Likhachov said on the occasion of the start of fuel loading. “This technology has been proved and tested through the operation of similar power units in Russia. They meet all the post-Fukushima safety requirements, and all the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) missions have recognised their reliability. It is very important to us that we have built the first VVER-1200 unit abroad in the Republic of Belarus, a good neighbour of ours.”

          The Belarusian NPP construction project is being implemented in an open and transparent manner, Rosatom said. “The power plant meets all the IAEA safety requirements. Belarus is cooperating with the management and experts of the organisation regularly, and it also interacts with representatives of the European Commission and the European Nuclear Safety Regulators Group (ENSREG). Overall, in 2012-2020, seven key IAEA missions, which are recommended for countries building their first nuclear power plants, were carried out,” it said.

          Unit 1 is the first unit of the newest Gen 3+ built using Russian technologies abroad. Currently, three power units of this type are in operation in Russia: two at the Novovoronezh plant and one at the Leningrad plant. Furthermore, in July, construction was completed and start-up operations began at the fourth Russian Gen 3+ power unit – Leningrad unit 6.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • Need for innovation in agriculture

          Pakistan’s population is forecast to almost double in the next 30 years. That means we will have another 200 million mouths to feed by 2050. On top of rapid population growth, the changing climate or global warming is bringing new challenges to the nation’s food security — a total of 21m people in the country are already estimated to be acutely food insecure at present.

    • Finance

      • Get Ready For Deepfakes To Be Used In Financial Scams

        Last month, scammers hijacked the Twitter accounts of former President Barack Obama and dozens of other public figures to trick victims into sending money. Thankfully, this brazen act of digital impersonation only fooled a few hundred people. But artificial intelligence (AI) is enabling new, more sophisticated forms of digital impersonation. The next big financial crime might involve deepfakes—video or audio clips that use AI to create false depictions of real people.

      • Experts Warn Trump Executive Action on Unemployment Insurance Deliberately Leaves Out Poorest Americans

        “Literally every new detail about these executive orders confirms that in addition to being wildly unconstitutional, they will do absolutely nothing to help anyone who’s suffering.”

      • The Money Plague

        I am not an economist and I have a bad taste for money. No doubt Plato and Aristotle had something to do with my economic views.

      • Michigan Supreme Court: Selling A $24,000 House (And Keeping The Proceeds) Over An $8.41 Debt Is Unlawful

        This seems like the sort of thing a court shouldn’t need to sort out, but here we are. More specifically, here are two plaintiffs suing over Oakland County, Michigan’s forfeiture policy. This isn’t civil asset forfeiture — where property is treated as guilty until proven innocent. This isn’t even criminal asset forfeiture — the seizure of property by the government following a conviction.

      • Strike reported at Byelorussian Steel Works plant

        Several workshops at the Byelorussian Steel Works (BMZ) plant have stopped production, reports the Belarusian news outlet TUT.by. 

      • Authors William I. Robinson and Peter Phillips Discuss Corporate-Directed Changes in the Economy – The Project Censored Show
      • Trump Trade Policies and Mishandling of Coronavirus Pandemic Have ‘Wiped Out’ US Manufacturing Jobs: Economist

        “Trump’s erratic, ego-driven, and inconsistent trade policies have not achieved any measurable progress, despite the newly combative rhetoric.”

      • ALEC Works to Pass Industry-Backed COVID Liability Shields at the State Level

        The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has long fought for restrictions on individuals’ right to sue in civil court because of unsafe workplaces or products.

      • Trump’s Social Security Sleight of Hand Is Another Scam. Don’t Fall for It.

        We begin with a foundational premise, a stone-bound axiom learned the hardest of hard ways after three long years: Donald Trump does not care about you, or me, or anyone on this planet. Donald Trump cares only about Donald Trump, full stop, end of file. Do not let the triumphant-sounding weekend headlines about his executive orders fool you; those orders are made of soap bubbles. Yes, friends, it’s yet another scam.

      • Trump Executive Action on Unemployment Insurance Deliberately Leaves Out Poorest

        On top of serious questions about the directive’s legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump’s executive action to extend the federal unemployment insurance boost at $400 per week — using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief — leaves out the poorest Americans by design.

      • Millions Facing Eviction and Joblessness Get No Immediate Help from Trump’s New Executive Orders

        President Trump’s latest executive orders to extend unemployment benefits and defer payroll taxes may be unconstitutional. Democrats had hoped to extend a program to give unemployed workers an additional $600 in weekly benefits and to extend a federal moratorium protecting some renters from evictions, but failed to overcome opposition from Republican lawmakers. Under Trump’s order, unemployed workers would continue receiving an additional $400 a week, but only once states put up a quarter of the money and set up a new system to distribute the payments — a process that could take months. Trump also signed an executive order on evictions that does not extend the federal moratorium on evictions, and ordered a deferral of payroll taxes that will still need to be paid back next year, after the election. Trump’s executive orders amount to “political theater,” says David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect, but could “set a really dangerous precedent” for the separation of powers in the future.

      • The Overly Complicated Law of Getting Your Money Back From the Government

        The Boeing Company holds over $28 billion in contracts with federal government, mostly with the Department of Defense. Those contracts are governed by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which dictates all manner of procurement procedures and contract clauses, and includes non-negotiable requirements for federal contracts. Boeing argues that one such requirement concerning price adjustments to contracts based on changes in cost accounting, FAR 30.606, is incompatible with 41 U.S.C. § 1503(b).

        [...]

        The government argued that money-mandating provisions were required in both NVLSP and Boeing. Under the government’s theory, federal courts lack jurisdiction over illegal exaction claims unless the statutory or regulatory provisions allegedly violated are “money-mandating.” A money-mandating statute is, quite simply, one that requires the government to pay money to someone. For example, the Military Pay Act is money-mandating because it says military personnel “are entitled” to be paid. 37 U.S.C. § 204. Therefore, if a servicemember is wrongfully dismissed, they can sue for back pay. By contrast, neither the PACER fees statute at issue in NVLSP or the cost accounting standards statute in Boeing requires the government to pay money to anyone. Instead, they require people to pay money to the government. Therefore, the government argued, because the statutes contained no mandate for the government to pay money, much less a requirement that money be paid as damages for the violation of those statutes, they were not money-mandating, and federal courts lacked jurisdiction to hear the plaintiffs’ claims at all.

        In both cases, the Federal Circuit rejected the government’s argument. In Boeing, the Court went a step further and clarified prior confusing case law, largely stemming from dicta a 2005 Federal Circuit decision, and definitively held that an illegal exaction claim does not need to be based on a money-mandating provision. This opens up a wide variety of potential illegal exaction claims. Any time a person or organization has to pay money to the government or to a third party because of the government’s incorrect interpretation of its legal authority, that person can potentially recover the money back under an illegal exaction claim. Because illegal exactions are not limited to a specific doctrinal area of law, the claim can provide relief whenever the federal government oversteps its bounds and creates direct monetary damages.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Lawmakers Demand Removal of Postmaster General DeJoy Over ‘Nefarious’ Efforts to Destroy the Postal Service and ‘Aid Trump Reelection’

        “He is working to dismantle a fundamental institution of our democracy. He needs to resign or be removed, now.”

      • Lawmakers Demand Removal of Postmaster General DeJoy

        On the heels of a “Friday Night Massacre” at the U.S. Postal Service that deeply alarmed lawmakers, activists, and ordinary citizens nationwide, two House Democrats are demanding the immediate removal of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy over his sweeping operational changes to the beloved government service that have slowed the delivery of essential packages and jeopardized mail-in voting.

      • Trump’s Executive Orders: EOs as PR and FUs

        Less than 24 hours after Trump broke off negotiations on the economic stimulus package with Congressional Democrat leaders, Pelosi and Shumer, last Friday August 7, Trump issued a series of Executive Orders (EOs) that he had been signaling and threatening all last week well before the break up.

      • Politicizing Fear Through the News Media

        News coverage of fear, threat, and violence continues to influence and be manipulated by politicians attuned to network TV criteria for coverage. President Trump sent armed federal agents to several cities, to battle “terrorists” because he says some cities run by Democrats, are out of control.

      • How Did Americans Become Such Wimps?

        Silence as Trump kills tens of thousands, destroys Social Security and post office, and plots election fraud.

      • The Last Temptation of Jerry

        Jerry Falwell Jr., recently deposed as president of Liberty University, is a new type of Christian sinner. The figure of a pious hypocrite is as old as religion itself, an inevitable by-product of the fact that any moral system will be upheld by flawed people. But usually godly miscreants try to keep their transgressions secret.

      • Geneva: The Home of Lost Causes

        Anniversaries call for celebrations. The 75th anniversary of the United Nations was supposed to be the event of 2020 for the multilateral system. The list of scheduled events and publications is too long to mention. Should we celebrate? What is there to celebrate? A global pandemic with no multilateral response? Increasing economic and social inequality with little international leadership? Wars in Yemen, Syria, Libya, and Afghanistan? Growing U.S. – China tensions? Lack of progress on Sustainable Development Goals? World Trade Organization blocked? U.S. withdrawal from the World Health Organization?

      • The Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women Human Rights Emergency is Not a Photo-Op for Ivanka Trump

        We need to be clear about what is needed to address this crisis, and it is not a photo-op where our sacred symbols of high office are degraded by being used as props by Ivanka Trump. Democratic 2020 presidential candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, accurately called MMIWG “an unconscionable human rights emergency,” and the response must be commensurate. Federal legislation needs to be passed and fully funded. The Reduce, Return and Recover Act is a proposed bill the late US House Rep. John Lewis wanted to see introduced. It would be the most comprehensive piece of MMIW legislation. It goes far beyond Savanna’s Act and is based upon the amendments to Savanna’s Act that were submitted to Members of Congress by the tribal alliance of the Global Indigenous Council, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, and the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council.

      • Trump Thinks It’s a “Good Idea” to Add His Own Face to Mount Rushmore

        In a tweet on Monday morning, President Donald Trump denied reports that he had ever suggested his likeness should be included alongside the four other presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore, but also said the idea was appealing to him.

      • Donald Trump is Defeating Himself

        The combination of greed and power often spin out of control and challenge the enforceable rule of law and the countervailing force of the organized civic community.

      • Revolutionaries Living in a System of Growing Fascism

        Watching the documentary The Weather Underground (2002) (see Independent Lens review, PBS) is a painful experience. Included with this award-winning documentary about Vietnam-era revolutionaries is the smaller and separate interview with David Gilbert, who remains imprisoned in New York for his part in the 1981 Brinks robbery in which some of those involved in the robbery killed two policemen and a security guard. He’s eligible for parole in the second half of the 21st century. The practical result of that parole date for a revolutionary already in his mid-70s is obvious. The US does imprison political prisoners.

      • Ilhan Omar Faces a Primary Tuesday Because She Speaks Truth to Power

        Trust Representative Ilhan Omar to introduce a piece of legislation that cuts straight to the heart of the matter. While other officials in Washington are arguing about where to find resources to address the mounting challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and mass unemployment, the Minnesota Democrat has stepped up with the Make Billionaires Pay Act. Introduced last week in cooperation with her frequent ally Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the proposal would impose a 60 percent tax on the gains in wealth accumulated by billionaires as the country has been reeling from Covid-19.

      • Cognitive Without Conscience

        President Trump took a cognitive test, and touted his performance as “amazing.” The test: he repeated “Person, Woman, Man, Camera and TV” in that order. It is a dementia test that measures memory, not morality, the capacity to recall, not intelligence. Seventy-four-year-old Trump proposed that his 2020 presidential opponent, seventy-seven-year-old Joe Biden take the test — an effort to paint Biden as cognitively impaired. Trump’s own fear of dementia is believed to be seen in his preoccupation with his own cognitive functioning. He said about his score: “They say. ‘That’s amazing. How did you do that?’ I do it because I have a good memory, because I’m cognitively there.’ ” (“ ‘Person. Woman. Man. Camera.TV.’ Didn’t Mean What Trump Hoped It Did,” By Peter Baker, New York Times, July 23, 2020)

      • Marginalized Communities Could Be ‘Shortchanged’ for Decades to Come by Trump’s Abrupt Change to Census Deadline, Critics Say

        Last week, the Trump administration shortened the Census deadline by a month as the government scrambles to get an accurate count amid the pandemic.

      • America’s Death March

        Regardless of the outcome, the election will not stop the rise of hypernationalism, crisis cults and other signs of an empire’s terminal decline.

      • In post-blast Lebanon, farmers struggle as food shortages feared

        Without money to plant, Lebanon’s farmers were already in deep trouble before last week’s explosion. Far from being the solution to the country’s food shortages, the agricultural sector that is a lifeline to many Syrian refugees now risks falling into full-blown crisis.

        The 4 August blast, which appears to have been caused by a large quantity of ammonium nitrate that had been stored at the port for years, killed more than 200 people and injured thousands more.

        But it also destroyed 15,000 metric tonnes of wheat as well as Lebanon’s main grain silos, meaning ships bringing in the estimated 65 to 80 percent of the country’s food that comes from abroad may – at least for a while – have to dock at other ports, like the northern city of Tripoli. This will likely contribute to already rising prices.

        The damage from the explosion will “significantly exacerbate the already grim economic and food security outlook in the country”, the World Food Programme said in a 6 August statement.

      • Lebanese Prime Minister and His Entire Cabinet Resign Amid Mass Protests Over Deadly Beirut Explosion

        Outgoing Prime Minister Hassan Diab called the devastating blast a “crime” and blamed it on the “chronic corruption” of Lebanon’s political elite.

      • Lebanese Gov’t Faces Collapse Amid Rage-Filled Protests over Blast, Economic Crisis & Corruption

        The Lebanese government may be on the verge of collapse amid protests over the massive port explosion that devastated much of Beirut and killed at least 200 people and injured thousands. At least four ministers and nine members of Parliament have resigned. “The dominoes are falling,” says Dion Nissenbaum, a Beirut-based reporter for The Wall Street Journal, who led an investigation into the official neglect that preceded last week’s explosion, and says it has intensified public outrage over long-standing government dysfunction, calling it “the straw that’s broken the camel’s back here.”

      • Lebanese Government Faces Collapse Amid Protests Over Blast, Economic Crisis

        The Lebanese government may be on the verge of collapse amid protests over the massive port explosion that devastated much of Beirut and killed at least 200 people and injured thousands. At least four ministers and nine members of Parliament have resigned. “The dominoes are falling,” says Dion Nissenbaum, a Beirut-based reporter for The Wall Street Journal, who led an investigation into the official neglect that preceded last week’s explosion, and says it has intensified public outrage over long-standing government dysfunction, calling it “the straw that’s broken the camel’s back here.”

      • Lebanese Gov’t Faces Collapse Amid Rage-Filled Protests
      • Biden’s Ukrainegate Problem

        In Danny Boyle’s 2019 movie comedy “Yesterday,” after a global blackout causes the near worldwide memory loss of the existence of the Beatles, an amateur musician from an English coastal town takes advantage of the situation to steal their songs and achieve instant global stardom. In this scenario, it is an accident that causes Beatles amnesia.

      • How the U.S. Failed at Its Foreign Policy Toward Venezuela

        On August 4, 2020, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on Venezuela. Appearing before the committee was U.S. State Department Special Representative Elliott Abrams. Abrams, who has had a long—and controversial—career in the formation of U.S. foreign policy, was assaulted by almost all the members of the Senate committee. The senators, almost without exception, suggested that Abrams had been—since 2019—responsible for a failed U.S. attempt to overthrow the Venezuelan government of President Nicolás Maduro.

      • Is Trump Sabotaging U.S. Postal Service Ahead of Election as Part of His Attack on Mail-in Voting?

        Democratic lawmakers say the Trump administration is sabotaging the United States Postal Service ahead of the November election, when a record number of votes are expected to be cast by mail. Since taking office, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy — a major Trump donor — has instituted a number of cost-cutting measures that have slowed down the delivery of mail, and overhauled the leadership of the agency in a move that critics say will give him more power. This comes as President Trump continues to attack mail-in voting, claiming the post office can’t handle an increase in ballots. We speak with Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, and David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect and author of the new book, “Monopolized: Life in the Age of Corporate Power.”

      • Sugar

        It is being reported that enthusiastic Tory Party donors Tate and Lyle stand to be the sole beneficiary of the abolition of EU tariffs and quotas on raw cane sugar imports, to the tune of over £70 million a year. This is a good anti-Tory and anti-Brexit story, but deeper thought raises some extremely interesting ethical issues around agriculture, trade, the developing world and environmentalism. Let me just unpack a little of it for you to see and start thinking about. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do have some interesting questions. I want you to indulge me if I start by going back over thirty years to recount an experience of my own.

      • Twitter spreads paid US gov’t propaganda while falsely claiming it bans state media ads

        US Agency for Global Media and CIA’s global propaganda network

      • QAnon groups have millions of members on Facebook, documents show

        The top 10 groups identified in the investigation collectively contain more than 1 million members, with totals from more top groups and pages pushing the number of members and followers past 3 million. It is not clear how much overlap there is among the groups.

        The investigation will likely inform what, if any, action Facebook decides to take against its QAnon community, according to the documents and two current Facebook employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. The company is considering an option similar to its handling of anti-vaccination content, which is to reject advertising and exclude QAnon groups and pages from search results and recommendations, an action that would reduce the community’s visibility.

      • Internal Facebook investigation found millions of users involved with QAnon theory: report

        According to the report, the top 10 groups had more than a million members between them while the remaining groups and pages pushed the total figure past 3 million.

        However, the report did not make clear how many users were members of multiple pages.

      • Iran: China’s Newest Colony?

        The deal is a clear win for China; the $400 billion will be invested over 25 years, which is a small amount of money for the second-largest economy in the world. China will also have full authority over Iran’s islands, gain access to Iran’s oil at a highly discounted rate and increase its influence and presence in almost every sector of Iranian industry, including telecommunications, energy, ports, railways, and banking. China, incidentally, is the world’s largest importer of oil.

        Even some of Iran’s politicians and state-owned newspapers have begun criticizing the deal. A headline in the Iranian newspaper Arman-e Melli, for example, surprisingly criticized the government: “Iran is not Kenya or Sri Lanka (to be colonized by China).”

      • DLT Voting Would Likely Benefit Democrats: UNSW Professor

        Richard Holden, an economics professor at the University of New South Wales Business School, says using distributed ledger technology could allay Republican concerns over mail-in voter fraud — but would likely benefit the Democratic Party.

        Holden spoke at the Unitize conference on July 9 on The Law and Economics of Blockchain. The university professor said distributed ledger technology (DLT) has the potential to increase voter turnout and have a “meaningful effect” on the outcome of U.S. elections — but there are still issues around the overall integrity of the process.

      • Trump Says Biden Is Insulting Men Everywhere by Picking Woman as Running Mate in Interview With Clay Travis
    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Section 230 Isn’t Why Omegle Has Awful Content, And Getting Rid Of 230 Won’t Change That

        Last year, I co-authored an article with my law school advisor, Prof. Eric Goldman, titled “Why Can’t Internet Companies Stop Awful Content?” In our article, we concluded that the Internet is just a mirror of our society. Unsurprisingly, anti-social behavior exists online just as it does offline. Perhaps though, the mirror analogy doesn’t go far enough. Rather, the Internet is more like a magnifying glass, constantly refocusing our attention on all the horrible aspects of the human condition.

      • Nust rector registers cyber crime case against 20 people

        Once it surfaced again recently, he said, a fresh case was registered against 20 individuals who were in the forefront, belonging to a mix of “anti-state elements”, those with vested agendas, including some activists belonging to a political party.

        The Nust rector termed the campaign against him a part of the fifth generation warfare to put the senior leadership of armed forces in bad light, creating a division between the army and the people.

      • Jimmy Lai’s arrest in Hong Kong is the latest blow to free speech

        It was, at least, live-streamed on Facebook. But those hunting for signs that freedom of expression has not been completely cowed in Hong Kong will have found little else to give them hope when, earlier today, they watched police rifle through the offices of Apple Daily, a local tabloid, bind the wrists of Jimmy Lai, its proprietor, and lead him away.

      • How to Fight the Enemies of Academic Freedom

        We should reject any attempts from the Right or the Left to politicize our fight, even as we should attempt to form a broad coalition of conservatives, traditional liberals, and civil libertarian progressives supported by our immigrant citizens. Furthermore, we must strive to have members of our most disadvantaged minority groups join us by unmasking the fake promises of the Woke, which may seem well intended but are ultimately destructive to the very groups they claim to champion. We must insist on education as the key to success, and stress that Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “promissory note” will continue to be honored within the framework of our constitutional system.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Beaten and disappeared: Meduza demands to know what happened to special correspondent Maxim Solopov

        Meduza has been unable to contact our special correspondent Maxim Solopov for more than 12 hours. For the past several days, he has reported on the Belarusian presidential elections from central Minsk, where police violently suppressed opposition demonstrations on Sunday night. Maxim stopped responding to messages around 1 a.m. on August 10. Neither Meduza’s newsroom nor his family has been able to determine what happened to him.

      • Mohamed Monir’s death of COVID-19 is a warning sign for journalists held in Egypt’s prisons

        The journalists syndicate came to Monir’s aid, and he was moved to a hospital in Giza the next day, said a person close to Monir who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal. But less than a week later, on July 13, Monir died from complications due to COVID-19. The journalist contracted the disease while he was held in pretrial detention, according to a Facebook post by Monir’s daughter and reports in Al-Jazeera and the independent Egyptian news website Mada Masr.

        Monir was a “martyr of the freedom of the press in Egypt,” said one of his colleagues, Abu Al-Maati Al-Sindoubi, in an interview with Al-Jazeera. Over a decades-long career, he covered everything from the 1979 Israel-Egypt peace treaty to the 2011 revolution, Al-Jazeera noted, to his country’s response to coronavirus.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • When Things Feel Dire, Remember Real Change Begins at the Grassroots Level

        Right now feels like a challenging time to be an American fighting for equality, fighting for justice. We have COVID-19, an economic crisis, and the violence against Black Americans and anti-Blackness in the foreground. But we also have people across the nation rising up to say, in the words of Ella Baker, “We who believe in freedom cannot rest.”

      • In the Fire of Activism

        In May of 1969, Ebony magazine ran a profile of Julian Bond, the activist and civil rights leader who had recently been reelected to the Georgia House of Representatives. With the United States mere weeks away from putting a man on the moon and the war in Vietnam still raging, the magazine wanted to take stock of where Black America found itself at the end of the decade. It was a moment of both retrospection about the civil rights movement and excitement about what the future held for African American politics. Yet Bond had been fighting for freedom and justice for more than a decade, and it showed. Ebony’s David Llorens wrote, “Attractive cat that he is, Julian Bond looks tired.”

      • Could Wonder Woman Save Us From Covid-19?

        Nobody is coming to save us from the coronavirus or the deaths the incompetent Trump administration has caused. Ultraviolet light, bleach, and hydroxychloroquine are not cures. Even when there is a vaccine, distributing it will take months, if not years. In the meantime, the Republican misinformation machine has insured that a dedicated minority of Americans will resist all attempts to take basic precautions to protect the health and safety of our society. We are doomed by our leadership and ignorance to face more cases and more deaths from this disease than any other country on Earth.

      • How Stephen Miller Turned the Department of Homeland Security Into a Political Weapon

        In March of 2016, Donald J. Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination was in trouble. His poll numbers were collapsing, and he was repeatedly the subject of jokes on major TV networks and elsewhere for his attacks on women, Muslims, and Mexicans. Fox News criticized his “extreme, sick obsession” with Megyn Kelly. “The bottom is dropping out for Donald Trump,” read one article on NBC News. Even immigration hard-liners weren’t sure about the reality-TV star. They knew his promised border wall was a costly, impractical symbol; for decades, border barriers had underwhelmed in their ability to decrease immigration.

      • Citing ‘Years of Chaos and Impunity,’ ACLU Calls for Breakup of Department of Homeland Security

        “We have to remove the loaded weapon that sits on the proverbial coffee table in the Oval Office.”

      • The Police Force Stampede in Portland on August 8, 2020

        I was in attendance of another BLM demonstration  in Portland, Oregon this weekend. I say attendance,  because eventually if there is going to be any real  changes in this country, we need more attendance. If there is going to be real Police Reform in the U.S. then the resistance calling for that reform has to be  constant, or shall we say relentless. That is why the  demonstrations have been going on every night in  Portland for the past 70 + days. There are certainly  a lot of different opinions as to how that should be  played out. It is hard to tell where this is all going  in Portland, or any other major city across America. And, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has put so many things on drastic hold.

      • San Diego Police Officers Are Using An Old Sedition Law To Punish People For Swearing Around Cops

        It’s pretty well established that offensive hand gestures are covered by the First Amendment, even when it’s a cop receiving the finger. This free speech has resulted in “contempt of cop” arrests and citations, but there hasn’t been a federal court yet willing to recognize a police officer’s “right” to remain unoffended. And if the First Amendment is violated by cops in retaliation for flipping the bird, there’s going to be some Fourth Amendment violations as well.

      • Gone without a trace How ‘Meduza’ journalist Maxim Solopov was beaten and arrested in Minsk before he disappeared

        Meduza special correspondent Maxim Solopov is one of four Russian journalists who were jailed in Minsk on Sunday night, August 9. Unlike his three colleagues, however, Solopov is still missing. He was in Belarus to cover Sunday’s presidential election and related events. The last time he was in contact with Meduza’s newsroom was around 1 a.m. on August 10. Eyewitnesses say he ended up in a crowd that was violently dispersed by riot police, who attacked him and allegedly arrested him, though Belarusian officials have since been unable to locate him. Meduza demands to know where our colleague is. In the text below, we explain what preceded Maxim Solopov’s arrest and how our search for him continues.

      • Solo-demonstrators in Moscow demand release of Russian journalists arrested in Belarus
      • Opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya is appealing the results of the Belarus presidential election

        Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svitlana Tsikhanouskaya), the opposition candidate who took second place in yesterday’s presidential elections in Belarus, is challenging the results of the vote, reports RIA Novosti. 

      • Controlled by puppeteers Here’s what the Belarusian president had to say about last night’s crackdown on protesters

        The elections were a holiday. “Some [people] wanted to spoil this holiday. We saw them — they were even brighter [last] night. “Great queues demonstrated” outside of polling stations, deliberately delaying the vote in order to challenge the election results. But I asked the Central Election Commission to extend the voting — 20 minutes later there were no lines. After 8:00 p.m., crowds blocked 33 polling stations in Minsk, putting pressure on members of the election commissions, the military had to get involved. “Our, excuse me, sheep,” were controlled by puppeteers from Poland, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic. They also arrived from Ukraine and Russia — and dropped [off] “boys” with bayonets: in two cities they wanted to storm government bodies, in another [city] the district executive committee was surrounded, “border guards had to intervene.” We didn’t shut down the Internet in Belarus. “If the Internet isn’t working well, this isn’t our initiative, it’s from abroad.” Many were denied entry into the country in the last 24 hours, but, nevertheless, “they walked and wandered around all night, and tried to attack guys from the police” — who responded with dignity. It’s good that riot police protected the people in Minsk, that they didn’t let them get to the presidential residence, because it would have been a different kettle of fish there. The police officers acted mildly, rubber bullets were only fired during an attack on the police department. “They’re throwing around [the idea] that in [one] city the guys from the riot police almost put down [their] shields” — this is an absolute lie. At night, I instructed the KGB [the national intelligence agency] to provide security for [Svetlana] Tikhanovskaya’s campaign headquarters (they asked for this themselves), “So that, God forbid, they wouldn’t kill anyone: they needed a sacred sacrifice.” There will be no Maidan, we will not allow the country to be torn apart. They are trying to put pressure on Belarus from different sides purposefully, “they’re acting in a hybrid manner on all fronts,” but we will prevail. 

      • Live blog: The day after the election Protests and arrests resume in Belarus
      • The contest after the vote Eight major takeaways from the immediate aftermath of the Belarusian presidential election

        On the morning of August 10, Belarusian election officials published the first preliminary results of the presidential election. According to these numbers, Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) won more than 80 percent of the votes, while his main opposition rival, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya), got less than 10 percent. Turnout was a whopping 84 percent. These figures line up with the exit polls released by state-accredited sociologists, but they radically contradict reports by the opposition, which says Tikhanovskaya won 70 percent. Russian sociologist Grigory Yudin warns that neither side’s numbers are reliable because of the non-transparency of state officials’ counting procedures and the ambiguity of the opposition’s own monitoring methodology. Tikhanovskaya’s campaign refuses to recognize the election’s results and says the government’s numbers “completely contradict common sense.” In remarks on Monday, she called on “those who believe their vote was stolen” “not to remain silent.”

      • Scenes from last night’s post-election crackdown in Minsk, Belarus

        Spontaneous, mass protests took place in large cities across Belarus last night, after the end of voting in the presidential elections. Tens of thousands of people took part in demonstrations opposing the first exit polls published by the country’s Central Election Commission, which claimed that incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) had won 80 percent of the vote. Riot police responded with a violent crackdown using rubber bullets, flashbang grenades, and water hoses against opposition demonstrators. One person has been reported dead after last night’s skirmishes and, according to police officials, more than 50 civilians were injured, along with 39 officers.

      • The Case for Abolishing the Department of Homeland Security

        It’s worth taking a moment to distinguish between the distinct operations the government has deployed in recent weeks. The DHS agents dispatched to Portland, through “Operation Diligent Valor,” were specifically tasked with protecting U.S. government buildings during protests, as Politico reported. “Operation LeGend,” a multiagency initiative, has recently expanded to cities including Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Detroit, which Attorney General Bill Barr said “are experiencing upticks in violent crime.” Both of these operations seem to be a response to protesters’ anti-police activism, as members of the administration have used recent riots and protests as the explanation for increased violence in cities. But there seems to be less alarm about the general crime-fighting focus of Operation LeGend. There are likely two reasons for this: one, the distinction between these operations is confusing; two, it is easier for many people to recognize the neat narrative of federal agents repressing protesters than it is to understand the systemic criminalization of Black and brown communities. It is systemic criminalization that the Black Lives Matter movement is asking us to oppose with calls to abolish the police and invest in life-affirming resources.

      • Man kills sister for ‘honour’ in Karachi’s Clifton area

        Qamar claimed his sister used to talk to a man in the neighbourhood and he had “stopped her time and again”.

      • Hindu married woman allegedly abducted and married off to Muslim man in Pak

        According to Rahat, Adil, son of an influential Muslim leader, went with half a dozen of his armed henchmen to the house of Hemraj Kolhi, husband of Kavita, and allegedly kidnapped her.

        “When Hemraj, his parents and other family members tried to prevent Adil from taking Kavita, they were all beaten up. Kavita’s mother and two more family members suffered injuries,” he said.

        On Saturday, Adil had uploaded a video of his marriage with Kavita.

      • What I fear as a white woman married to a Black man

        Conversations on race and racial justice in the United States have become so polarized that too often these discussions result in people talking at one another, and an invisible distance is created between “the issue” and the humans affected. Today, I am asking you to take a step back and hear not from a political perspective, but from a human one.

        The harsh reality that our Black and brown brothers and sisters face is that they are not safe living in the United states.

        I studied the history of slavery and Jim Crow in college, I read about the experiences of African Americans and heard testimonies from friends about the challenges they faced. Although I cared deeply, reflecting back now, I realized now that I did not really understand.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • New York State Leaders Finally Realize U.S. Broadband Availability Data Is Hot Garbage

        We’ve noted for years how, despite a lot of pretense to the contrary, the federal government doesn’t actually know where broadband is or isn’t available. The FCC usually doesn’t independently confirm that ISP-provided data is accurate, and the agency declares an entire area “served” with broadband if just one home in a zip code has service. Efforts to fix this problem have historically been undermined by telecom lobbying, since incumbent ISPs aren’t keen on further highlighting the profound lack of competition (and high prices) that plague the sector.

    • Monopolies

      • The Harry Potter Films Are Now Exclusive To Comcast, And The Streaming Sector Remains Oblivious To Piracy’s Looming Resurgence

        The rise of streaming video competitors is indisputably a good thing. Numerous new streaming alternatives have driven competition to an antiquated cable TV sector that has long been plagued by apathy, high rates, and comically-bad customer service. That’s long overdue and a positive thing overall, as streaming customer satisfaction scores suggest.

      • Why We Oppose Golden Rice

        The push for corporate-led solutions to hunger and malnutrition is alarming. In particular, Golden Rice is now being proposed as a solution to the worsening hunger and malnutrition associated with the pandemic. Agrochemical transnationals (TNCs) and collaborating institutions such as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) are using concerns over food security during the pandemic to push for an industrial agricultural system that is already discredited. To quote PAN Asia Pacific:

      • Uber and Lyft ordered by California judge to classify drivers as employees

        In May, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, along with city attorneys of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego, sued the companies, arguing that their drivers were misclassified as independent contractors when they should be employees under the state’s AB5 law that went into effect on January 1st. Becerra later filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that could compel the ride-hailing companies to classify drivers as employees immediately. AB5, which was signed into law last September, enshrines the so-called “ABC test” to determine if someone is a contractor or an employee.

      • Judge rules Uber, Lyft must classify drivers as employees

        The San Francisco Superior Court judge is giving the companies a 10-day window to file appeals before the injunction takes effect, and spokespeople for both told The Hill they will be doing so.

        The case forcing Uber and Lyft to comply with AB5, a landmark law requiring a company to classify its workers as full employees if the firm has control over how they perform tasks or if the tasks are a routine part of the company’s core business, was brought by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a group of city attorneys.

      • Uber CEO proposes flexible ‘benefits funds’ for drivers without making them employees

        Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is calling for a set of new laws providing more benefits for independent contractors without designating them as employees.

        In a New York Times op-ed published Monday, the head of the ride-hailing service called the current employment system “outdated and unfair” and acknowledged that the gig economy doesn’t offer enough protections for its workers.

      • Patents

        • Obviousness: Known Solutions from other Fields of Art

          In this short decision, the Federal Circuit has affirmed the PTAB’s determination that Kross’s claimed invention would have been obvious. Apn. No. 13/275,400. (Real party-in-interest here is Poly-Gel L.L.C.).

          The invention: A method of printing using “non-gelatin viscoelastic gel printing plates.” The gel used here is designed to solve cracking problems that were “a hallmark of gelatin plates.” The claimed viscoelastic gel was already known in the art for its non-cracking properties. In its decision, the Board concluded that PHOSITA would have been motivated to solve the known cracking problem by using “known properties of a known material.”

          The difficulty in this case involves the claimed viscoelastic gel. The prior art (Chen) discloses the gel and its non-cracking and ease-of-manufacture properties. However, Chen only describes this outside of the printing context.

        • New Espacenet: Improved search functionality but reduced accessibility

          Last year, the EPO began roll out of New Espacenet, which will eventually replace Classic Espacenet. Espacenet is the EPO’s online patent database. The site has a good reputation for usability and accessibility compared to other online patent databases, such as the pet hate of many a patent attorney, the USPTO’s Public Pair. With New Espacenet, the EPO clearly intends to build on the past success of this essential online tool. However, whilst many of the changes in New Espacenet are welcome, including improvements to search functionality, the EPO has made some changes that unfortunately have the effect of reducing accessibility as opposed to improving it.

          [...]

          Other notable changes in New Espacenet include removal of the CAPTCHA for downloading documents. Users can now download patent documents without having to prove they are not a robot. It is also now possible to download the description in docx format. On the flip side, you can now only download the first 100 front pages as opposed to first 500 front pages of a search, and bulk download of patents is not possible.

        • Software Patents

          • Data Scape abandons patent, terminating proceeding

            On July 17, 2020, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) terminated proceedings in Unified Patents, LLC v. Data Scape Ltd. in view of Data Scape’s submission of the Federal Circuit decision invaliding U.S. Patent 7,720,929 patent claims and Data Scape’s submission of a disclaimer disclaiming the claims challenged in the IPR. The ‘929 patent, directed to controlling the transfer of digital files from one computing device to another, had been asserted against numerous companies including Amazon, Apple, Box, Citrix, Dell, Dropbox, F5 Networks, Spotify, Teradata, and Verizon. Data Scape Limited is a Fortress subsidiary and well-known NPE.

      • Copyrights

        • Tencent’s Grip on Music Weakens After NetEase-Universal Deal

          The world’s biggest music company said it’s agreed to license tunes to both Tencent Music Entertainment Group and closest rival NetEase, ending an exclusive arrangement with China’s dominant music-streaming platform. Tencent Music’s shares dropped 2% in New York, but its parent gained 3.5% in Hong Kong after falling two straight days.

          The move gives NetEase new ammunition in a fight against Tencent. China’s antitrust authorities had investigated Tencent’s dealings with the world’s three biggest record labels but the probe was suspended this year, people familiar with the matter said in February.

        • GitHub Reinstates ‘Chimera13’ iOS Jailbreak After DMCA Counter Notice

          Early last month, GitHub was asked to pull the Chimera13 iOS jailbreak code offline. The request didn’t come from Apple, as some would think, but from the team behind another jailbreak tool. The developer of Chimera13 countered the notice and that had the desired effect, as it’s now restored in its full glory.

        • Sky Targets ‘Evil King Media’ IPTV App, Developer Says “No More Updates”

          Android app Evil King Media (EKM), which provided free access to ‘pirate’ IPTV streams, VOD content and music has been targeted by Sky. Following the forced removal of the software from Github after several other takedowns filed with Google, the developer says EKM should be deleted.

        • Artificial Intelligence and Creativity: Can Machines Write Like Jane Austen?

          Here’s the gist: Through the Jane Austen examples below, it’s clear that the seemingly “creative” choices made by the AI system are not attributable to any causal link between a human and the result, nor is it a human that defines the final form or expression of the work. The randomness elements incorporated in an AI program is what gives the illusion of creativity—and the closer one gets to a semblance of a creative work created by a human, the higher the similarity, thus the lower the originality. All this leads us to conclude that the copyright protection requirements of authorship and originality are not satisfied.

        • Artificial Intelligence and Creativity: Why We’re Against Copyright Protection for AI-Generated Output

          In search of an answer, we ran an admittedly unscientific Twitter poll over five days in June. Interestingly, almost 70% of a total of 338 respondents indicated that novel outputs from an AI system belong in the public domain, while 20% weren’t sure. For example, one commentator said that “since an AI will (given the same inputs and the same model) produce the same output every time, it’s hard to argue it’s unique and creative,” another succinctly argued: “system-generated activities = no creative input, therefore, no copyright,” while another respondent noted that it “depends on the nature of the AI, and the source materials used…I don’t think you could make a blanket rule for all AI.” This question was also debated at the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Conversation on Intellectual Property and Artificial Intelligence (Second Session) held from 7-9 July 2020. To share our general policy views on this topic from a global perspective, Creative Commons submitted a written statement and made two oral interventions (here and here). 

You Just Know Somebody is in a State of Retreat When the Strategy Becomes to Discredit One’s Critics (or Collectively Paint Them All as Wrong/Crazy)

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 9:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Potpourri of nonsense from pusher of stuff FDA rejects or has not approved

Fresh pork and vegetable-stuffed sausage meat

Summary: A goulash of bullcrap from Bill Gates doesn’t add up; it seems like his media strategy has warped (or fallen back) onto discrediting his critics as though they don’t exist, don’t know anything, or are simply jealous

THIS morning I noticed something rather spectacular. Bill Gates has shifted from pandemic salesmanship to attempts to discredit all of his critics. Of course he’s helped by the fact that k00ks do exist out there and certainly spread misinformation (like “QAnon”). But as we’ve been saying all along, he’s facing an uphill battle if he plans to paint everyone with the same broad brush and getting social control media giants/monopolies to censor/block/shadowban all of his critics is infeasible; it simply doesn’t scale and cannot be rationalised. I therefore must conclude that he’s running out of defenses and is now resorting to collective/en masse (large-scale) ad hominem; basically he’s in retreat, having lost control of the narrative and public opinion (in spite of many media bribes).

The other day in IRC (#techrights) Ryan said: “Having Bill Gates’ name plastered everywhere might be why the percentage saying they’d accept a vaccine is crashing. So it may well be doing more harm than good.”

Separately he wrote: “Lots of Bill Gates bullshit on Fox Business about the virus. I was unaware that he went back to school and actually graduated, much less with a medical degree. ;)”

“…getting social control media giants/monopolies to censor/block/shadowban all of his critics is infeasible; it simply doesn’t scale and cannot be rationalised.”We’ve said many times before that the corporate media (bribed by Gates) associating the the vaccine with Gates would simply harm public health. The people won’t accept it if the person putting these things in circulation is a profiteer (with lots to gain financially).

A lot of people point out that Gates is no expert in the area he speaks about. It’s actually a lot worse than Gates being put on TV as if he’s a medical ‘expert’ despite having zero qualifications. He’s a profiteer and what he says is intended to help him make a profit. “Follow the money”-type interpretation by viewers then leads them to thinking even baseless stuff like, “what if he created it?” (he did not)

He keeps saying companies he invests in may have vaccine by year’s end. Companies for him to profit from. It’s not like Gates is known for generosity (ignore puff pieces he paid for); his lifelong track record shows endless greed and ruthlessness. Even people who knew him as a young person spoke about that.

We can’t help wondering what actual experts think when they see Gates et al with their salesmanship on TV (without actual experts). It usually takes 10-15 years to properly develop and test vaccines, so optimistic predictions and an aggressive push to sell several doses per person are an invitation to join an experiment (partly facilitated already by the Gates-funded GAVI and collaborators who test things in the “global south”, the clinical trials experiment zone with human subjects too poor to sue when things go wrong).

“We’re not saying vaccination is bad; the very opposite is true. But to associate vaccination with people like Gates is harmful to everyone.”The most frustrating facet about this whole thing is that corporate media is so toxic that it’s happy to kill people (from diseases) if it means another buck… it could speak to actual experts, but instead it chose celebrities for irresponsible “marketing” disguised as journalism…

We’re not saying vaccination is bad; the very opposite is true. But to associate vaccination with people like Gates is harmful to everyone. Gates-funded programs in South Africa have already come under scrutiny; if the vaccine fails and has serious long-term side effects, who will be held accountable?

United States v IBM Archives/Resources

Posted in America, Antitrust, Courtroom, IBM at 8:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Better days

Summary: As the massive case against IBM monopoly (United States v IBM; 104,400 pages of trial transcripts and 17,000 exhibits) predates the World Wide Web it’s difficult to find comprehensive literature about it any longer (Wikipedia and more modern sites are instruments of revisionism and reputation laundering)

WE recently used Wikileaks to access national archives about IBM, seeing that libraries are perishing and online libraries are often blocked by paywalls. Even more recent articles on this subject have been locked away from the public [1, 2, 3], so the younger generations are unlikely to learn much about what happened and why.

Back in the 1980s there were several widely-cited journal papers about it. Here’s one:

Thomas on IBM

Another one (much more recent):

2000 paper about IBM

This one we were able to get in PDF form with OCR:

Ibm antitrust

It’s possible that we’ll examine those more closely; very little is known to today’s younger people and the P.R. industry is happy to exploit that. IBM is still trying to control the news.

History Goes in Cycles

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Better to swim

Summary: Just like antiwar activism was ‘quelled’ or ‘pacified’ half a century ago nowadays we’re led to think that software freedom is just fine and there’s nothing left to argue about (except words and other petty nonsense)

THE history books tell us about robber barons. Where did they go? What about slaves? Did the barons willfully disappear themselves from this planet? Did slavery in all its forms stop? Was it outsourced? Was it reshaped and redefined? Those are rhetorical questions of course and the answers may vary somewhat depending on who’s asked.

“Did slavery in all its forms stop? Was it outsourced? Was it reshaped and redefined?”As we’re not a political site (not in the ‘pure’ sense of it) we aren’t going to debate those points though we recently expressed concerns about the ludicrous idea that banning some words would magically resolve the problems those words refer to. It’s idealistic and short-sighted… if not utterly misguided. Think this is old news? It’s not. Only 3 days ago Phoronix published “Mesa To Join Other Open-Source Projects With “Main” For Primary Code Branch“; most comments on this article sound a lot like ours. Just because Mesa has no “masters” anymore (well, technically it still has masters and they’re large corporations) doesn’t mean that slavery or domination over people is a thing of the past. As someone explains earlier on in the comments (there are now 75 comments!): “The word “Master” conceptually has nothing to do with slavery. A slave-master is a specific term, with a specific meaning. Likewise, a master blacksmith, or master electrician, or “Head Master”.”

There’s lots and lots more like that (among so many comments; it’s a very heated debate/subject).

I have personally not met (even online) people who are supposedly ‘offended’ by having to commit to a “master” branch. Are they fictitious people being spoken ‘on behalf’ of? “Slave” isn’t a good term; but in Git there’s just master, not slave. So who does all the complaining anyway? Maybe I am wrong and some people are genuinely offended by a “master” branch in a Git repository, but I’ve not seen them yet, nor have I seen evidence that they exist (except hypothetically, in theory, some time in the future)… I’ve actually seen black people condemning this whole charade, which helps them not even as a token of appreciation.

The sad thing about it all is that it occupies a lot of development time, it raises the risk of code breaking (especially where one program connects to another), and it solves just about nothing except cosmetics.

“Just because Mesa has no “masters” anymore (well, technically it still has masters and they’re large corporations) doesn’t mean that slavery or domination over people is a thing of the past.”A long time ago I watched a decent documentary about the ‘Hippies’ (whose term is it?) and how their antiwar movement was basically captured and co-opted; they were led to believe that their mission was “accomplished” or whatever because the fashion industry adapted somewhat (shades of “open source has won”-type statements, typically alluding to Microsoft capturing code in proprietary GitHub, commandeering the world’s developers).

If we all fight over language and waste a lot of time removing words that in no way imply slavery (“master” is a very generic word), can we find energy to tackle bigger issues? Last week we wrote about nuclear bombs (two were dropped on civilians 75 years ago) and the role IBM played in that. It’s still playing a huge role. Did anyone in the media bother mentioning any of the corporations that participated? Not the corporate media…

“If we all fight over language and waste a lot of time removing words that in no way imply slavery (“master” is a very generic word), can we find energy to tackle bigger issues?”‘Hippies’ is what some people nowadays call Free software enthusiasts (it’s rarely justified; they don’t even look alike) and seeing how the antiwar movement was suppressed after the Vietnam war (in which millions were killed; quit counting only American casualties) I worry that software freedom advocates are being pushed to surrender under the guise of “mission accomplished” (when in fact we have the least digital freedom and technical rights we’ve ever had). Turn on the listening device (a.k.a. “smart assistant”), access “the clown” (military-grade US surveillance) and try to boot the operating system that refuses to even start because the hardware does not “trust” you (thanks, Microsoft and Intel, for UEFI ‘secure’ boot). And then repeat after me: I. Am. Free!

A family that gets a hydrogen bomb over its roof could not care less if the code in that bomb was developed in a “main” branch or a “master” branch.

Looking Back at the Real Story of Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can you imagine...?

Summary: Let’s take a moment to examine what Microsoft was all along (since its formation in 1975)

JUST OVER 45 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Microsoft was founded by two men, one of whom is now dead, years after becoming a patent troll (a troll that is active posthumously, too).

“Gates is now a major participant in the “war on cash”…”The other co-founder used his powerful (well-connected and super-affluent mom) to left/raise the company from the ditch. He had already been arrested (and bailed out), he argued with his parents regularly (shouting matches and glasses poured at the face!), he had sabotaged computers on several occasions, and faced disciplinary actions for some of these deeds. Good luck finding media that still speaks about those deeds; he nowadays bribes a lot of the media to pretend he’s an economist, epidemiology expert and so on. Well, ‘Professor Bill’ never even graduated from college. He never did. As one Microsoft expert recalls, based on Newsweek (1994), Bill (descendant of a banking dynasty/family) had those things to say: “Banks are dinosaurs, says Gates. We can “bypass” them. [The Money product manager] is unhappy with an alliance involving a big bank-card company. “Too slow.” Instead he proposes a deal with a small–and more easily controllable–check-clearing outfit. “Why don’t we buy them?” Gates asks, thinking bigger. It occurs to him that people banking from home will cut checks using Microsoft’s software. Microsoft can then push all those transactions through its new affiliate, taking a fee on every one. Abruptly, Gates sheds his disappointment with Money. He’s caught up in a vision of “the transformation of the world financial system.” It’s a “pot of gold,” he declares, pounding the conference table with his fists, triumphant and hungry and wired. “Get me into that and goddam, we’ll make so much money!” Here is Microsoft in action. In just three hours, it laid plans to buy at least two companies, ditched an alliance with a major financial institution, opted for another and made major moves into “two incredible new worlds,” as Gates put it–home banking and sports entertainment. Another company might take months to accomplish as much.”

“Microsoft was all along about one thing: money.”Gates is now a major participant in the “war on cash” (trying to control the money supply) and having showered Mr. Modi with ridiculous and highly notorious gifts he now acts like his boss and implements this vision across India.

Microsoft was all along about one thing: money.

Engineering? Virtually everything was lifted from other companies.

This is a matter of public record.

Resistance against Microsoft is part of the fight for technical excellence. As history shows, Microsoft typically fights against progress and against technological advancement. After all, any such advancement puts in jeopardy existing monopolists (such as Microsoft).

Fast forward to 2020 and the media, already bribed by Gates for nearly 20 years through his fake ‘charity’, tells us that this college drop-out will save the world from a pandemic. A closer scrutiny of his financial record reveals him to be a pandemic profiteer, not an expert, an opportunistic and monovalent monopoliser rather than benevolent giver. If he has given so much, how come his wealth nearly tripled in about a decade? If he wishes to help kids around the world, how come he worked so hard to whiten the reputation of someone who trafficked kids for sex (about 2,000 of them per year)?

Microsoft is not a software company; it’s a cult. It started by stealing other people’s work (literally diving dumpsters or fishing garbage cans for other people’s code while projecting), it broke the law countless times, and now it's liaising with Donald Trump to steal other people's companies (like it did many times before; the tactics hardly vary).

We’re not dealing with child prodigies or geeky geniuses here; we’re dealing with a cult and cults cannot be tackled by conventional means. This cult's roots are deeply racist (white supremacy) and leaning to the right [1, 2]. Don't be confused about the current CEO's ethnicity. It is a bit of a decoy.

“Microsoft, the world’s most valuable company, declared a profit of $4.5 billion in 1998; when the cost of options awarded that year, plus the change in the value of outstanding options, is deducted, the firm made a loss of $18 billion, according to Smithers.”

The Economist, 1999

Europe Deserves Better Than Today’s EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forbidden is better

Summary: Overly restrictive society with countless monopolies (even on seeds!) will neither serve people nor will it breed general acceptance

THE European Patent Office (EPO) which I once respected — the office that didn’t pursue software patents “as such” (unlike the USPTO) — is gone. It has been long gone, predating even Benoît Battistelli although President Brimelow wasn’t anywhere as grotesque as him and I sometimes found her amicable, unlike António Campinos (he’s not amicable, he’s 100% faking it!).

As a proponent of the EU I’ve long viewed the EPO as something that might be OK, especially if it shapes its policy based on Europe’s needs (like developers’ and customers’ needs) rather than Team UPC’s (litigation parasites). Battistelli and Campinos keep making it very clear whose side they're on and it's not Europe's. Look no further than all the UPC propaganda they’ve been flinging out there for a decade, basically lying to the European public.

The truth of the matter is, even UPC proponents have virtually given up by now. So many nails on their coffins are adding up.

Osborne Clarke’s Xavier Pican, Gaspard Debiesse, Will James and Johannes Graf Ballestrem — in Lexology and the firm’s own site — show the growing trend, wherein law firms are either absolutely silent about UPC (when did Bristows last mention it?) or acknowledging that this “paper giant” (their term) is likely dead, but they continue to downplay this death:

Will we ever see the Unified Patent Court operate? Many have doubts, as its path – already long and difficult – runs into new obstacles and the venture looks more and more like a “paper giant”.

IAM produced countless “fake news” items about the UPC, hoping to give it momentum based on deliberate falsehoods and distortions.

Let’s hope — although chances seem slim — that something can suddenly change in a major way. Maybe the Council of Europe can do something, recognising the EPO crisis and impending layoffs as a sign of things gone awry. The courts and national governments in German and Dutch territories certainly don’t plan to do anything; the EPO is their cash cow.

Resistance to the patent system as a whole will continue to grow (disdain for the very concept) if things carry on like this. COVID-19 is already changing many people’s attitude towards monopoly on medicines/vaccines and seeing the dysfunctional state of the EPO can contribute to that. For the patent system to survive it will simply have to earn consent/respect from the general public.

The other day Bardehle Pagenberg’s Axel B. Berger and Kerstin Galler boosted their article about “patentability of plants and animals in Europe” and another one by Jennifer Bailey (HGF Ltd) highlighted the absurdity of a patent office ever so eager to grant patent monopolies on life and on nature (“Battle Over Beer Patents Brewing At The European Patent Office”). To quote what she said some days ago:

Oppositions launched by 16 organisations against patents for mutant barley owned by Carlsberg & Heineken highlight the tensions that exist over the grant of monopolies for plant products. We consider which party will most likely be raising a glass to victory in light of recent legal changes, and the lessons applicable to patentees across the spectrum of plant innovation.

A recipe for dispute

The patents in question, EP2384110 (EP’110) and EP2373154 (EP’154), relate to a beverage prepared from a barley plant carrying a particular mutation, and the mutated plants themselves. EP’110 covers barley plants comprising mutations that cause loss of functional lipoxygenase (LOX)-1 and LOX-2 enzymes, while the mutation described in EP’154 causes functional loss of methionine S-methyltransferase (MMT). These mutations are said to improve the taste of the resulting beer.

The patents were opposed by a group of organisations represented by Dr Cristoph Then of the campaign ‘NO PATENTS ON SEEDS!’. The opponents object that the patents cover conventionally bred barley, which they argue is excluded from patent protection by Article 53(b) of the European Patent Convention.

[...]

In the case of EP’110, the EPO’s Opposition Division noted that plants carrying a mutation introduced by technical means, such as incubation of seeds with a mutagen, are not excluded from patent protection. Nevertheless, the claims were considered to encompass both plants created by technical means and plants obtained by an essentially biological process, the latter falling foul of Rule 28(2). As such, the patent was found invalid.

The patentees overcame this problem by clarifying that the barley plant had not been exclusively obtained by an essentially biological method. However, the Opposition Division then deemed the claimed plant to be insufficiently disclosed. Although the patent described one method of making a mutant plant (the seeds of which were deposited in a publicly accessible culture collection), this method relied on random mutagenesis and subsequent screening of 35000 mutants, placing an undue burden on someone trying to reproduce the invention. Accordingly, it was held that the patent does not enable the skilled person to obtain any mutant barley plant lacking functional LOX enzymes, but only the specific mutant deposited. This appears consistent with established case law on sufficiency, as re-affirmed by the UK’s Supreme Court in Regeneron v Kymab.

Can the EPO not understand that these patents cause grassroots organisations to rebel against the system as a whole? If the EPO cares about Europe’s future and the very decree upon which it exists, then it’ll stop doing all these inane/insane things. What’s so hard to understand here? As we put it 2 years ago, “The Enemies of the Patent System Are Patent Maximalists, Not Those Pursuing Saner Patent Policy“.

European Patent Office Management Swims With Sharks and Liars

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Water splash

Summary: It has become increasingly if not abundantly evident that European Patent Office President Campinos is no better than Battistelli as he’s still a ‘darling’ of patent litigation trolls and their front groups/lawyers

THE European Patent Office (EPO) is run by a bad person, whose own staff rejects him (only 3% of those surveyed trust him). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), thanks to a corrupt appointment made by Donald Trump, is also run by a bad person. They’re all about litigation/lawsuits; this isn’t what patent offices were made for. This is sometimes called “vendor capture” (the vendors being firms that pursue as much litigation as possible, not science or innovation).

Iancu vainly sidesteps 35 U.S.C. § 101 in order to mass-grant illegal software patents (without a chance in court; judges would toss these out) and artificially inflate meaningless numbers; so does Campinos, who openly and shamelessly promotes software patents in Europe and sometimes pressures judges to let him do this. IAM certainly pushes very hard in that direction…

“IAM and the EPO aren’t separate; there’s a business relationship, which we wrote about before.”Later these liars have the audacity to speak about patent “quality” (they mean speed or volume, not objective quality) and the EPO always cites a bunch of lies from IAM to ‘support’ the lie. They last did this a few months ago. IAM and the EPO aren’t separate; there’s a business relationship, which we wrote about before. IAM also has business relationships with Microsoft and its various patent trolls, including Intellectual Ventures. According to this new page “Intellectual Ventures COO Arvin Patel” will be an IAM ‘VIP’ soon, alongside Campinos and Iancu. What does that say about IAM? What does that say about the EPO? They’re both boosters of patent trolls because of the money; they’ve become a megaphone of blackmail and extortion artists funded by Microsoft. There’s a “virtual fireside chat” (careful not to get burned) coming:

António Campinos and Andrei Iancu are among the confirmed speakers participating in IAM’s ground-breaking IPBC Connect, being held over the course of next month.

The USPTO Director and the President of the EPO will be taking part in a virtual fireside chat on 15th September with IAM editor-in-chief Joff Wild, during which a wide range of subjects will be addressed. These will include, no doubt, how both agencies have responded to the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic and the longer-term implications for IP practice that the current crisis creates.

If one goes to the sponsors page one finds Intellectual Ventures in there. Is that what they pay for? That literally means that money is flowing from Intellectual Ventures (the world’s biggest patent troll) to IAM. Other sponsors include Sisvel (troll), Avanci (troll) and even OIN (yes, OIN the sellout, which works to reinforce software patents). Quite a bunch right there! We’ve highlighted/underlined them below (screenshot from the site).

OIN is sponsoring all sorts of patent trolls-infested events while calling some trolls "charities". This isn’t the OIN that we supported more than a decade ago. OIN is nowadays literally run by people who came from notorious patent trolls.

IAM sponsors 2020

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